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Trip Report April 2009 - Insanely Long!!!

#1 User is offline   jbwolffiv 

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 05:04 PM

Trip Report 4/13-4/17/2009

This trip was planned back in September of 2008 when Jennifer was going through the calendar to mark the days each of us was going to be off from school. This is when Jen realized that all 3 of us would be off the same week in April, plus Amanda’s 8th birthday was during the vacation too! I believe her words to me were something to the fact of she had come up with a “really bad idea!” She thought we should go to Disney World for Amanda’s birthday. That was all I needed to start the planning! We would find the money somehow! So it was booked. We decided to tell no one! That lasted about 3 weeks. We told Julie since we knew she would love to help us plan and then Kim a few weeks later, she was our plan for what we would be doing for Easter.
Finally April rolled around, after what seemed like about 17 years! Amanda still had no clue! On Saturday, April 11 I pretended to not feel well. Therefore I could not go to dinner with Jen’s parents. Only this was so I could take the time to pack the car without Amanda knowing. I went to bed at about 7 pm.
My alarm went off at 12:00 and I got up to see if the Easter bunny had come yet! He had, so we woke up Amanda to go around and get her basket and eggs, which seemed to take forever as well. Then Jen gave Amanda a birthday present. She opened the card and it was a picture of the Castle in the clouds with the Mickey balloons in the sky asking “What will you celebrate?” On the inside it said Amanda’s 8th birthday in Walt Disney World. She proceeded to toss the card to the floor and open her present. She got a Baby Pluto shirt and it said Amanda’s 8th birthday. I asked her to read her card again and see if she could tell what it meant.
She read it again and she said “Didn’t get it.”
Jen asked “What would you want to do on your birthday?”
Amanda responded “Go to Disney!”
Jen then said “So let’s go!”
Amanda asked, “Really?”
“Yes, lets go!” again from Jen.
“Yes, let’s get in the car!” Jen said.
“I am not sick; I packed the car while you were at dinner!” I added.
That is about the time Amanda began to scream and jump up and down and gave us huge hugs. So we told her to get some stuffed animals and anything she might want to bring (most of it was in the car already!)
We left the house around 12:35 or so, but our first stop was Dunkin Donuts for a coffee. We set off for Palm Coast, Florida at 12:49 am.
We stopped for breakfast in North Carolina at Amanda’s favorite breakfast place on I95, Waffle House. It was at this time that Jen called Joy to say Happy Easter and mention that we were in NC on our way to WDW. It was fun for Amanda to tell Megan where we were going.
We drove all the way to Palm Coast, FL, a town just north of Daytona, to stay at a Holiday Inn Express. We arrived at about 4:30 and checked in. There was only 1 other car in the parking lot. The manager said they had many travelers in on Friday on their way to WDW. We quickly get our bathing suits on and went to the pool. Amanda played in the pool for about 30 minutes; I got in for about 10 and Jen sat by the side. This was the beginning of Jen and me realizing that we are cold too much! We went to the beach for dinner to a great bar/restaurant. Why was it great? They had Michelob Light!!!!!! So I had 3, and a burger. We took a walk on the beach after dinner and Amanda collected some shells and I froze. Here I was in Florida at the beach and I was shivering. We went back to the hotel and more or less went to sleep.
I had the alarm get us up at 4:00 am so we could be on the road by 4:30. That way we could check in at Pop Century at around 6:00 am to then catch the bus to the Magic Kingdom, it was going to open at 7:00 am!
The ride from Palm Coast to WDW was uneventful, other than Amanda having one of her rare awake appearances for when we pull on property and drive under the arch. That was very exciting as usual. We pulled up to the gate at Pop Century and checked with the security guard, he laughed when we told him we were there to check in. When we pulled into the parking lot it was 5:53 am. We quickly walked across the parking lot so we could go and check in. I walked up to the counter and laughed when I said I would like to check in. This is when I was told you can not check in until 7:00 am. I asked if there was anything that could be done since we wanted to get off to the Magic Kingdom for the Extra Magic Hours. He shook his head no, and then another CM said in a not so friendly voice, “It will ruin your whole reservation if we try to check you in!” So we had and hour to kill, how else do you do that? Off to Dunkin Donuts of course! We got back at about 6:40 and walked around the store, it had opened at 6:00. I got in line and began my check in process at about 6:55. By 7 o’clock we were all set and our room was ready! We went back to the car and got what we needed for the day at MK. Of course the bus arrived as we crossed the street to get to our car, so we would need to wait for the next one. Just our luck the bus sat there for a few minutes and we were able to board it and we were off to MK! We arrived there at about 7:25 and the crowd level was very low. On the walk down Main Street I got a little teary eyed, we were finally “home” and the dream of Amanda’s surprise birthday trip was finally here! We headed strait for a ride on Peter Pan’s Flight. From there it was a ride on Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, I even went on. We decided to walk over to Tomorrowland and Amanda and I went on the Astro Orbiter while Jen rode Buzz Lightyear’s Spaceranger Spin. Amanda got freaked out when she took us up real high and then brought our ship down low, Jen scored about 30,000 on Buzz. After that it was a ride on our favorite Tomorrowland attraction, the TTA! This was exciting since it would be going down for rehab at the end of the week. We then headed for the Haunted Mansion, but along the way we stopped at the Tea Cups, where we did not get dizzy!
From there it was off to “Pin Heaven.” as Amanda likes to call it, otherwise know as the Frontierland Pin Station. That is when we had a very thrilling moment. Amanda and I each bought a Hidden Mickey Fastpass pack of 2 pins. Amanda opened them both and we got all 4 pins! That was Amanda keeping up her lucky streak!
We then ventured over to The Pirates of the Caribbean where Amanda noticed the shovels in the sand by the dead pirates in the first cave scene. Our last attraction of the morning would be the Jungle Cruise. This was our Magical Moment of the day! Skipper Autumn had Amanda come to the front of our boat and she began to drive! She was given a special card to show that she was the skipper today! It was great! Amanda was hungry so we got her some corn dog nuggets at Casey’s. It was the only time we sat in the bleachers since the place was still empty. We figured that would be a great time to go back and get into our room.
When we arrived there was a basket in the room for Amanda. It had a camera, a balloon and some other stuff to wish her a happy birthday. After getting our entire luggage to the room Jen and I had lunch at Everything Pop, I had a double cheeseburger and she a cheese steak wrap. That is when we notice the bar we spent a few hours at after the Marathon was gone.
We decided to go over to the Downtown Disney Marketplace to shop some. Our first stop was in the World of Disney where Amanda found a new Puffle and Club Penguin; she named him Sleepy, only I think his name is Carl. We walked through Tren-D and then over to the Pin Station. This is where I got my DVC bus pin. We then went over to Design-a-T and we all made a new t-shirt. I made mine a Christmas one with long sleeves. From there we went into the Disney Days of Christmas and bought some ornaments. One of them we had personalized for Amanda’s birthday and it was amazing. We wondered why we had never had this done before. We strolled over to Goofy’s Candy Co. and I got a Goofy Glacier, I had been waiting a long time for that! Amanda got a Rice Krispy Treat that was dipped in chocolate and covered in mini peanut butter chips, it tasted real good! Jen and Amanda headed to get our t-shirts and I went to Lego. I got no Lego’s and they made my t-shirt a short sleeve. They said they would fix it and we decided to pick it up after dinner. That is when we went back to Pop.
We were going to have dinner that night at 1900 Park Fare to meet with Cinderella and the Prince. We drove over to the Grand Floridian and Amanda tried out her skill at video taping by filming the man in the lobby playing a piano. That is when they paged us to go in. We had our picture taken and of course it was great so we bought it (not sure when we have not bought it in the past). We were sat in the corner which was nice and Amanda got a Happy Birthday placemat with signatures on it. Cinderella turned out to be very hot (she had been kind of nasty the past few times we have seen her) and the Prince was not! Dinner was great; Amanda met Cinderella, the Prince, Lady Tremain, Anastasia and Drisella. She crossed out the signature from the Prince since she did not like him. Toward the end of dinner Jen left to go to the bathroom. She was gone for 20 minutes! The bathroom by the restaurant was crowded and she went upstairs. Both Amanda and I were getting very nervous. Our waitress wanted to bring Amanda’s birthday cupcake but wanted to wait for Jen. After the 20 minutes Jen returned to tell her tale and we had a small birthday celebration.
We stopped at Downtown Disney to have Jen run in and get my corrected t-shirt and then headed back to Pop. We decided to go out Adventuring to see the resort. We passed the 70’s buildings where we stayed for the 2008 Marathon and Amanda played Twister for a while and then again on the way back. We had an early evening since we had been up since about 4 am.
Tuesday began with the possibility of rain, but so what! Our plan was to go to the Magic Kingdom again. We went to the bus at about 6:40 and hopped on the next bus. When we arrived we were let through the turnstiles and had to wait about 2 minutes for the official opening. We headed right for Peter Pan, but it was having some difficulties, so we went on It’s a Small World. Yep, IASM at 7:08 am! When we got off IASM, we were able to ride Peter Pan, so we were all very pleased. Then it was off to the best 3-D movie in all of WDW, Mickey’s Philharmagic. From there it was on to Snow White.
Amanda was a little hungry so we got her a croissant and me a coffee. We sat in the hub at about 8:00 am. It was so nice to just sit and relax and there probably is no better place to do that than at the Hub! This may have been the most relaxing part of the whole trip!
We headed to the Haunted Mansion next and I noticed that the drapes in the dining room scene were blowing in the wind since the window was open. I had never noticed that! We headed to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh; Amanda let us go on this ride, very kind of her. We then went off to meet Tinker Bell and her friends. We traveled to Pixie Hollow and met the gang. Tink was there with Iridessa and Rosetta too! I think I liked this more than Amanda. Rosetta asked if we had found the old Jersey when we told her we were from New Jersey. We then went to Goofy’s Barnstormer and had a fun ride, I videotaped the ride. We decided to take a ride on the Walt Disney Railroad and then hit some stores. As we attempted to board the train the conductors said the lightning was shutting down the train temporarily. That is about the time the skies opened up. We took some time and looked in the Judges Tent for stuff to buy with no success. When the rain got lighter, we headed over to the Pirates of the Caribbean for a quick ride. We finally decided it would be a good time to head over to the Contemporary for our brunch at Chef Mickey’s. It would just happen that we were stuck in the furthest part of the Magic Kingdom from the exit, oh well. When we got to the exit Amanda fit through the turnstile without spinning it!
We got to Chef Mickey’s and checked in. We knew that the picture would be different since they replaced the old spoon and fork Mickey with a new and 3-D Mickey. It would be our 1st picture with the spoon and fork after 7 pictures with it. We had some Mickey Waffles, breakfast lasagna and corned beef hash in corn bread. Ruth Ann was our server. She was a server about 3 years earlier and has been at WDW for 37 years, being one of only 10 cast members that have 30 or more years at WDW. We were able to meet the Fab Five.
When breakfast was over, it was still raining. Jen suggested we go over to the Polynesian to see if they had the t-shirt I wanted. So we hopped on the Black Monorail. We got off at the Poly and headed down to the shop. They had the shirt and we also found a David Doss print we liked, so we took one of those too! Amanda found a pink plaid dress she had seen before but they did not have her size. So we decided to try the Grand Floridian gift shop. Back to the Monorail and it was the Black again! We were very excited to find the dress in Amanda’s size!
When we got back to Pop Century Amanda and I headed to the arcade while Jen got some needed sleep in the form of a nap. We took a look at the “prizes” that could be won with tickets and Amanda saw the rubber ducks. That was going to be our goal. We began playing some game and then settled on a game that had a good payout. Before long we had enough to get the two ducks she wanted. She was so excited! We took a quick stroll through the shop and bought nothing, which was a surprise, but picked up the ornament we had personalized for Amanda’s birthday. It was beautiful!
The rain lasted to about 5:00-5:30, but that was fine since we arrived at the Magic Kingdom for dinner. We stopped at Casey’s to get Amanda some corn dog nuggets and then headed to our favorite counter service at MK, Columbia Harbor House. I had some chicken breast nuggets and Jen had the tuna sandwich. From there we headed to the Haunted Mansion for our second ride of the day. After that we headed to Tomorrowland for a leisurely ride on the TTA. When we got back they let us stay on and ride it again without getting off! We then headed out to the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. It was a great show but they did not use Amanda’s joke. Amanda said it was a good time to get a spot to watch Spectromagic. We found a spot on Main Street just past Casey’s on the other side, near the hat cart. We met a very nice couple from Pittsburgh who were chaperones for the students in the marching band. They shared some of the funny stories from their trip. Their band was the last of the 3 to come down Main Street before the parade started. The parade was great as usual, we all loved it!
When we got on the bus to head back to Pop Century Pat the driver asked if we wanted to have some fun. On the road that passes the TTC and the Poly he sped up to go over the speed humps and the whole bus bumps up. There were 4 humps so we all had a blast with that. He then began to take us to Animal Kingdom. He said that is what happens when you do the AK route all day!
Wednesday brought us beautiful weather! I got up and had a coffee at 6:00, but managed to pour 4 Splenda into the trash, oops! We headed over to Animal Kingdom for extra Magic Hours. We headed right for Dinosaur! There was no wait and it was awesome! I bribed Amanda with a pin if she tried out Primeval Whirl. She was a little scared and did not like the drop, but she did enjoy the spinning part. Amanda then got her face painted again. It was off to It’s Tough to be a Bug! Amanda did not let the hornets or cockroaches get her! We then headed to see what characters there were at Camp Minnie Mickey. We got in the line for Mickey and then Amanda and Jen met Chip and Dale. Dale did not know what to do with Amanda’s puffle!
Then we went off to Pizzafari for some quick breakfast for Amanda. She had biscuits and gravy, delicious! This was the first of 2 very relaxing parts to our day. The next stop was Island Mercantile to look at the pins. We got all 5 pet pins in the minimum tries! From there we headed to the buses to catch a ride to EPCOT for the Flower and Garden Festival. On the ride over I was shaking my calves and we all had a great laugh at how they whipped back and forth.
We arrived at ECPOT and went off to Test Track to get some fastpasses. It gave us enough time to check out some Flower and Garden Festival things as well as get some lunch. We went over to Pixie Hollow to check out the topiaries from the Tinker Bell stories and movies. Amanda colored a picture at Tink’s Workshop and was given some seeds to plant when we got home. Then we went over to Minnie’s Butterfly Garden. We got some great pictures and Amanda did some “amateur” videoing. It was off to the Disney Earth tent where Jen and Amanda colored plastic flower pots. We had a chance to talk to two cast members about DVC while they worked. I also took some time to take some pictures of the flower beds, trying to time it with the monorail coming by. It was then off to Club Cool for some free Coke products. I had the Beverly again, it still sucked! Jen and I were hungry so we stopped by the Electric Umbrella for some lunch. I had chicken breast nuggets (big surprise), Amanda the kids nuggets and Jen the turkey sandwich.
After lunch it was time for a trip on Test Track. The standby line was 130 minutes, good thing we had fastpasses. Test Track was awesome! We then headed to France; Amanda wanted to get another parasol. We got a Fastpass for the Kim Possible Experience for 2:15 on the way. This is when we came across the Mickey Gnome. That would be a purchase for later in the day. Amanda picked a butterfly for her new parasol and we watched him paint it for a while. It was then we decided to put on sunscreen. Only it was broken, and we all got some sunburn as a result. On the way back Amanda got a chance to play on the playground by the rose garden, she loved the modern playground setup. When it was time, we headed to Norway to try out the Kim Possible Experience. Amanda had a good time using the Kimunicator to follow the clues so she could solve the riddles. I noticed that there were little trolls all over the Pavilion! When we finished Amanda did not want to do another adventure so we got Fastpasses for Maelstrom. In the time that we waited we went to Mexico to ride the Grand Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros. We love looking for Donald! We then headed back to Norway for the ride on Maelstrom, and we did not have to watch the film at the end. Amanda was thirsty and she wanted to try the tea slush in China. We should have remembered Len and the Eating Around the World because the tea sucked!
We began to head to Japan for our dinner. Along the way I got beers at Mexico, China (sucked) and Germany. We took a few minutes outside Germany to relax under a tree, the second very relaxing moment of the day. We talked to Jen’s mom to tell her to have a great time at Opening Day for the New Yankee Stadium. We walked by the American Pavilion and the Fife and Drum Corps. had just started, we took a few minutes to watch. The same man was leading this tribute to America. He invited all the children to come and help with the Pledge of Allegiance, and Amanda went up to participate.
We then went to Teppan Edo for a hibachi style dinner. We really wanted to go here since one of our favorite restaurants at home is just like this. We had the hibachi filet mignon and chicken and I had a Kiran Ichiban beer. The meal was nice but we all agreed that Mahzu was better.
Once dinner was finished we walked back toward the entrance, stopping in England and Canada for some beer. We figured that this would be a great time to head back to the hotel for some rest.
Thursday, April 16, was the whole reason for our trip! Today was Amanda’s 8th birthday! We started it with some breakfast at All Things Pop! Amanda had a Mickey waffle and Jen and I had a breakfast platter. From there it was off to EPCOT to ride Soarin. We arrived at EPCOT at about 8:30 and stopped at the ticket counter to get Amanda her Birthday Gift Card of $63. We then walked through the turnstiles and were in time to walk with the Soarin cast members to the ride. We ended up riding in the first row of Gate B, the best seats on the ride! We then headed over to Living with the Land. We were given the first row because we were Giant’s fans! We did not see any Mickey pumpkins! Amanda decided that she wanted to head to Downtown Disney to begin spending her gift card.
We arrived at Downtown Disney and went right to World of Disney. Amanda grabbed two Club Penguin stuffed animals and made her first Birthday purchase. Now it was off to the Pin Traders where she bought two Mickey Mouse pins. We decided to have lunch at Goofy’s Candy Company. I got pretzel sticks dipped in white chocolate then dipped in crushed Butterfingers, Amanda got the same. Jen got chocolate covered marshmallows! I had a Goofy Glacier as well (can't pass them up!). This was when Amanda and I decided we needed 30 inches of sugar! We had a great time filling our tubes, mine with mostly root beer flavor! Amanda’s mouth turned all blue from the bubble gum flavor!
It was time for some relaxing at the pool so we headed to Pop Century. We spent a good hour and fifteen minutes hanging in the pool, but it was time to get ourselves over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Amanda’s birthday dinner. We were going to be eating at the 50’s Prime Time Café. We had asked Amanda about 7 months earlier if she could pick the restaurant in WDW to have her birthday dinner at what would it be, and this was the choice! We arrived with some time so we looked at some pins and saw Muppetvision 3-D. We even stopped to get temporary tattoos. Amanda got baby Mickey, Jen got Dory and I ended up with Mike Wozowski. It was then off to dinner.
Cousin Laurie was our server and she did a great job handling Amanda’s birthday. She made everyone in our kitchen sing her happy birthday and even had them all sign a card for her, now she has a birthday card signed by complete strangers! Jen ate the fried chicken and I the meat loaf. Amanda had some chicken nuggets. Again there was a cake to celebrate!
After dinner we walked around a little to kill some time before Fantasmic. In one store the cast members behind the counter stopped Amanda. They said they had a phone call for her. It was Goofy calling to wish her a happy birthday. We all thought that was really cool! We then got great seats for Fantasmic. Unfortunately it was a touch cold and I forgot to bring a sweatshirt and refused to buy something that I had in the room, so I just sucked it up and dealt with it. When the show started I got a little teary at the beginning as well as during the scene with the boat. We noticed that the dragon was new and the Evil Queen had a funny hat on. After the show we took our time walking back to the car to head back to the room.
We woke up the next morning and it was our day to head home. But this would be like no other travel day. We started by going to Hollywood Studios to ride Toy Story Midway Mania. We arrived at about 7:40 for the Extra Magic Hours and were off to TSMM to get a Fastpass and then ride. The first ride I got 184,000, Amanda got 89,000 and Jen a 79,000. From there it was off to Starring Rolls for a quick bite to eat. We shared a croissant and a cinnamon roll and I had a French Vanilla coffee. It was the most relaxing part of our day. We then hit the Great Movie Ride and had the scene with the gangsters and we all spotted the hidden R2-D2 and C-3PO. It was then off to use the Fastpass at TSMM and Amanda got 118,900, her highest score ever!!!!! We then decided to head over to Voyage of the Little Mermaid, we had not been to this show in 3 years! As the time got closer to needing to head to the car and drive up I-95. Amanda wanted to go on Muppetvision 3-D one more time where we sat in the front row! Amanda decided to buy one more set of Pins, and she got the same 2 pins for at least the 4th time. We then began the walk to the car, but I had the idea to go over to Animal Kingdom to get Flame Tree BBQ! We all thought it was a great idea, plus it delayed our trip home.
We drove over to AK and took the tram to the entrance. We walked over to Flame Tree and saw something we had never seen before. There was a queue for it!!!! We got in line and it actually moved very fast. Before long we were sitting with our pulled pork and chicken drumsticks with fries! Lunch was just amazing!
As we walked out of the park, I stopped to get a bucket of popcorn for the drive home. I then had the crap scared out of me by a macaw that decided to speak as I walked by, of course I jumped and everyone got a good laugh. Just past security we came across a cast member that would trade with Amanda. He traded 5 alphabet pins with her, hard ones to come by. That prompted up to head to Downtown Disney to see if they could be traded for pins Amanda wanted. Again we would delay our departure for home! We headed across property and parked near T-Rex Café, where we will eat this summer. We headed over to the pin shop and got some pins as well as traded some. We even stopped at World of Disney to get Amanda a watch. Jen got a Mickey ice cream bar then I forced a stop at the Lego store to buy a new set so I could build it after my knee surgery.
That was the last stop before heading to the car to drive home to NJ. It ended an amazing trip to celebrate Amanda’s 8th birthday, plus it was a much needed break from our classrooms.

#2 User is offline   jbwolffiv 

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 08:17 AM

I just realized I can blame Tim Foster for this long report, I used his journal and that is why I "remembered" everything.

#3 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 07:20 PM

Very good detail John. Thanks for sharing! :)

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