Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Will we ever get on a ride?

We made our way over to the Dolphin via MGM. I was a little bit nervous about taking our luggage on the buses. I didn't know if the drivers would allow it. Thankfully since it was EMH at MGM that morning, most people had already made there way over to the park and there wasn't too many people waiting for the bus. The driver didn't say anything about the bags and we were on our way!

After getting dropped off at MGM, we easily found the boat for the Dolphin, and it was there waiting for us! It was a nice, quick, and relaxing ride over to the Dolphin.

*** Quick note, we were very lucky to be staying at the Dolphin. DBF was there for a conference, so his company was paying for the room. We only paid for the night at AS Sports. I love this conference because I am able to travel with him. Last year we were in Anaheim and I got to go to Disneyland for the first time. The year before that we were in New Orleans (pre-Katrina). Next year the conference will be in Philly I told him he was on his own for the one! I'll save my money for another trip! ***

When we got to the Dolphin, we went to check in and our room wasn't ready yet so we checked our bags in and walked around the hotel. Mom called me to tell me that they had just picked up the rental car and they were heading back to the room to shower then they would be on their way over. DM takes forever to get ready.

We decided to head over to Epcot so I told DM to meet us there. She could just park at our hotel and take the boat over. Before heading to Epcot, we went down to the counter service restaurant (Picabu) and found out that even non-Disney owned hotels have refillable mugs. DBF and I got one to share and DSF2 and DB each got one of their own. Before we even finished paying, DBF got a call that our room was ready, so we decided to grab our bags and head up to the room.

When we got up to the room, this was what we saw:

Oh yeah, that was the view from our room!!!

DB thought he could take a break and lay down (on the oh-so comfy beds). Heck no! Get up boy! This is Disney!

DM still wasn't ready so we made our way down to the dock and waited for the boat to Epcot. DM and DSF1 would head over there when they were finished. Yay! We were finally on our way.

We picked up our tickets at the International Gateway. I must tell you, if you ever have the opportunity to buy tickets through a conference, do it! I searched all of the internet, AAA, etc. and the cheapest tickets I could find still cost more before taxes than our tickets through the conference did after taxes.

Once we got through the baggage check (much quicker at this entrance than anywhere else) and into the park, I knew that we needed to rush over to FP Soarin'. Um, yeah. I guess I didn't study the maps too well, because it wasn't easy for us to get over to the Land Pavillion. Once we found it, we got our fast passes for 4:30! I realized there was no complaining. We had started our day late, so we would have to head over to MK later, after the fast passes.

Once we got out of the Land Pavillion, I got a message from DM saying that they were waiting for the boat, so we started making our way back to the Int'l Gateway.

We made a quick stop at Club Cool to try the Beverly. I've never had it before, but I knew its reputation, so I just got everyone a cup to try it. Blech!!! We tried everything else and the got on our way again. DB found some of the fountains on the way over there, so we left him and DSF2 there while we went to retrieve my parents. DB had some fun while we we gone:

We made it over to the Int'l Gateway and DM had successfully picked up her Park Hoppers that I had ordered for her and they we just walking up to the gate when we got there. After some difficulty (DM was not so good with following directions at the finger readers) we were on our way!!! DM was hungry but settled for McD's fries (even though walking past the Fish and Chips was very tempting). I convinced her to have the fries as a snack because I wanted to head over to Mexico for lunch later. After all, it is Cinco de Mayo!

Next up: Finally some rides.

Mom, why didn't you listen to me in the first place?

Saturday, May 5,2007

I can't recall what time we woke up this morning, but I do know that it was later than I had originally planned. That all being thanks to good ole PHL.

Let's guess that we woke up around 8. Sounds good to me!

Unfortunately that means that we have already missed the morning EMH at MGM. Doh!

I give Mom and call and let her know that we are going to make our way over to the Dolphin and then we will meet her and DSF1 at Epcot.

***Flashback to trip planning stages***

DM: Honey, me and DSF1 are going to stay at a time share and go to WDW with you.

Me: Great Mom, make sure you find out about transportation to WDW.

DM: Oh, they said that there is a shuttle.

Me: I know Mom, but it will probably cost you some money. They weren't cheap from what I found.

DM: I'm pretty sure it is included.

Me: Just double check because it probably isn't.

DM: Ok, I will.


At this point in time, DM tells me that they have decided to rent a car because it will be cheaper than using the shuttle. Apparently the shuttle costs money every day (can we say Mears?). I tell her that is fine and she can drive over to our hotel and then we will head over to Epcot together.

We head over to the busses and get these pictures on the way:
Our hometown team

DB walking through All Star Sports.

My team

Next up: Will we ever get onto a ride?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

They want how many people to sleep in that bed?

After landing at MCO, and taking the fake monorail, we get our luggage. The luggage arrived amazingly fast because, after all, this isn't PHL.

Side note - I know they are working on improving the airport, but has anyone seen how horrible it looks, all of the infrastructure is exposed. Seeing everything had me mildly freaking out that there was some kind of asbestos exposure that I would need to worry about. I know that they would need to notify everyone and block off areas if there was an actual chance of exposure, but still, seeing the exposed ceilings made me nervous.

Anyways, DBF, DB and DSF2 were supposed to wait for the luggage while I went to check in for the Magical Mystery Tour, um, Express, but our luggage came out so quickly that we all got to wander around for a while to find the desk. I know, duh, it is right there, but I took the escalator down and was facing the busses instead of taking the elevator down and being dropped off right at the desk. I also know that I could have had my luggage taken care of by ME, but we were only staying at AS Sports for one night before switching to the Dolphin so I didn't want to wait for the luggage.

After checking in and quickly being shown to our bus (which, if I remember correctly, had some questionable comedy show playing on the radio. By questionable I mean not necessarily family-friendly.), we were on our way. I purposely picked out a seat that was near a TV monitor because I wanted to be able to watch the welcome film. Unfortunately, the monitor was no good and the picture kept jumping around. DBF was in the aisle seat (sleeping already, but I was too excited to sleep ), so I was trapped and had to strain to watch one of the other monitors.

I had to wake up DBF when we got to the gateway!!!!

After stops at the Beach Club and Coronado Springs (oooohh!!! can we stay there next time, can we, CAN WE?), we made it to AS Sports.

We didn't have too many problems at check-in, initially. When I made the reservations, we didn't know for certain that DSF2 would be joining us so I had only made the reservations for 3 of us. Still though, when we went to our assigned room (in the surf board building right next to the food court), our key didn't work and after glancing through the window, I saw that we were given a king size bed!!!!

That bed is great if it is only DBF and me, but um... They want four of us to sleep in that bed?!?!?!

So DBF and I have DB and DSF2 wait near the pool while we (I) go to get the room straightened out. A different cast member helped me with the room. At first she asked if we would just like a cot sent up to the room. Ummm, nooo, we really need that extra bed. So after some tippity-tapping on her keyboard, we were given a room ALL THE WAY down in the baseball section. (No biggie though, we just needed to get to bed and rest for our fun filled day tomorrow).

I do believe that we had a room that was the exact opposite side of the pool from where I was in 2002 (Spring Break ). Having to make the walk wasn't that bad because we (they) got to see the rest of the resort. DB thought the baseball pool was cool and really like the football field too.

After practically having to throw DB into the shower (he didn't want to go first, but everyone knows that dealing with a 10 y.o., they really need to be the first in bed in a situation like this), and getting everyone else situated, we finally got to bed. I believe that I was the last in bed at some time around 4 am. As excited as I was, it didn't take me long to fall asleep!!!

Next up: Mom, why didn't you listen to me in the first place!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Trying to Leave Philadelphia on a Friday night!

May 4, 2007
For the week preceding our trip, I was questioning why I would want to take a flight out of Philly at 8pm on a Friday. We could have taken an earlier flight, but it came down to three thing I believe.

1. Cost
2. Not wanting to use extra vacation days from work
3. School

So we were planned on taking an 8pm flight out of Philadelphia International Airport on a Friday night. I should know better. I've done that before. At least the last time I did that I was working in Center City and I was able to take the train to the airport. I only had to deal with airport issues on that trip, not Philly traffic issues.

So I had been questioning why I decided to take this flight instead of an earlier flight. I remember all of my reasons at the time, but none of them sound good to me now. I really think that DBF and I should have taken a morning flight and DSF2 and DB could have flow to MCO on their own Friday night or Saturday morning. I really wanted to leave on Friday night so that we could get there and get a good night's sleep to be ready and rarin' to go the next morning. Yeah right.

Our first sign of things to come came a few weeks before when we find out that the flight has been switch to 8:30, meaning that we wouldn't land until 11pm. Ugh! Oh well, though, I get over it and figure that at least I will be going to WDW.

I also had to convince DBF that leaving work at 5pm was not a good idea. I wanted to leave the house by 5pm. So he decides to leave at 4 and I will make sure that the truck is packed and we are ready to go when he gets home. (luckily, my job is flexible enough that I am able to leave early sometimes. I also had worked the previous 5 weekends just to make sure that I had all of my cases done by 1 pm on Friday).

Once DBF gets home and everything is packed and ready to go, we head off into the Philly rush hour. We had already been listening to the traffic report and knew that it was going to be REALLY bad. Almost every single major highway was packed! The drive without traffic, i.e 4am, is about 40 minutes. We were able to get only one town over before we started hitting traffic. I ended up having to negotiate many of the back roads to get us near the airport. We got to the discount parking lot at 7:15. I am not good when you start cutting it close to departure time. Especially since I have seen the security lines backed up all the way to the parking lot.

Once we get to the airport, we get checked in and find out that our 8:30 flight is now leaving at 9pm! Which after landing and taking ME would get us to our rooms around 12:30 if we

At the time that we expect to be boarding a loud and raucous (sp?) group of people approach our gate. Now I've been working 60 hour weeks for at least a month up until this point, so seeing this large group of people was not making me happy since I was hoping to get some rest on the flight.

But I still hadn't heard a boarding call for Orlando. DBF looks around and points out that the people boarding our plane are dressed nicely and why am I not dressed like that? Um... I'm traveling and I want to be comfortable (besides, I was only wearing jeans and a tee shirt, he was in jogging pants and a tee shirt... I say that I was dressed nicer than him). Taking notice of this, I realize that most of these people are in their 20s and they all seem to be dressed nice. Much nicer than the 4 of us. Kinda like I used to dress when I worked for Wet Seal and I was only 23, and I was 50 lbs lighter.

Okay, well, maybe they weren't dressed quite like I used to, but these people were dressed like they were ready for a night on the town.

That's when I heard it...

"Ladies and Gentleman, in a few minutes we will begin boarding US Airways flight XXX to Las Vegas" (no the flight wasn't XXX rated - well, maybe it was, but I wasn't on it - I just don't know the flight number).

Um, no, this gate is for Orlando and it is supposed to bring me to see the Mouse. I see someone who had been waiting at the gate get up to look at the monitors and come over and tell her group that they have to go to a different gate.

So I send DBF on a mission. Let me tell you though, he is not good with certain things. Airports are one of them. I send him to find a monitor to check if our gate was changed. I hadn't heard an announcement, but that is how things roll in Philly. It is the worst airport in the country. At least when you are flying the main airline out. I've flown Southwest out of Philly many times (my godson is about 20 minutes away from Providence and it is a nice hour long flight for me), and while I've had problems with them, they at least tell you what gate you need to be at.

DBF makes MI:Mission Impossible, Possible and returns rather quickly to confirm the gate that we are supposed to be at. I get up to move since I hate running to the gate later and eventually everyone follows me. Now however, our flight is departing at 10pm.


I call DM to let her know our status and tell her that I will call her in the morning with some revised plans since us getting to Epcot by 9 am is just NOT going to happen.

We did get to meet a friendly girl who was going to a wedding with her boyfriend, so if anyone got married on Monday May 7 and had people coming from Philadelphia, Hello! I hope you had a wonderful day!

After waiting some more and asking the people at the desk, I found out that we should probably expect to START BOARDING at 10pm. Well, that is just no good for me, but I am held hostage yet again by PHL. Eventually, we board and have an pleasant and uneventful flight to MCO.

I did get the opportunity to listen to the latest WDW Today podcast and I heard Matt read my comment about funnel cake and marinara sauce. He was upset that they didn't offer marinara in the American Adventure the way they do at the fairs in New England. I had to correct him on that one. Any New Englander knows that it is fried dough that you eat the Marinara on, not funnel cake. BLECH!

Next up: They want how many people to sleep in that room?

How do you do WDW when no one else will follow your plans? May 4-9, 2007

Cast of Characters:

Me, (yes, I choose pirate, because I am not a pirate princess. I am a pirate or a princess, depending on who you ask) I love all things Disney. I am a huge fan of all the movies and the parks. May first trip was in 3rd grade over April vacation with my mom and grandparents. I don't remember too much about it, but I do remember Figment and the jumping fountains. I went again my senior year of high school over Christmas and I had a great time. I got to have breakfast in MGM with Aladdin and Jasmine!

I have also had the opportunity to go to Disneyland Paris before I started law school and just last year I got to visit Disneyland and California Adventure for the first time. I also got to go to WDW over Spring Break when I was in law school.

I never knew how much planning need to take place for these trips, but once I started listening to podcasts and I got the Unofficial Guide (Ding!) I knew I could handle it. Oh yeah, and I found the DIS

DBF, My sweet, wonderful and loving boyfriend. He is the reason that we are able to go on this trip. His job sends him to the same conference every year and this year it is at the Dolphin! We've also been able to go to Boston, New Orleans, and Anaheim (hence the Disneyland trip) thanks to this conference. Next year the conference is in...... Philadelphia!!! Um, yeah, I don't think I'll be joining him for that one.

He enjoys Disney and tolerates my obsession with it (which has only grown worse). He has been there before with his BFF's family and he was at DL with his dad when he was little.

DM, My mom! I love her! When she found out that we were going, she decided to go with us so that I wouldn't have to be alone (yeah, I know I would have been fine on my own, but she still likes to feel needed). She didn't know that DB and DSF2 would be joining us. She accepts my obsession and still occasionally buys me movies (which always seem to disappear at the hands of my goddaughter).

She went twice before with me and loves how excited her grown-up kid gets at the parks. She was begging me to see It's a Small World.

DSF1, My step-father. They were high school sweethearts and they reconnected about 9 years ago and got married 7 years ago. I am so thankful that he is there for her since I live four hours away from him. He went to WDW when he was a kid, but this is almost like his first time all over again. I'm pretty sure that his favorite attraction was the Country Bear Jamboree since he is in a blue grass band.

BF's DB, 10 DB and DSF2 live with us, so I was a little concerned about them joining us. On many occasions, DBF and I are the ones being the "parenting coach" so that one day DB will grow up to be a wonderful man. He loves wrestling (WWE). When I first met him when he was five, he was able to imitate all of the moves of all of the wrestlers on the Monday and Thursday shows. He does watch the Disney Channel and asked me if he would be able to see some of the characters at the parks (Zach and Cody, Raven, umm... the other kids). He was a little bit disappointed when I told him probably not, but he was excited about meeting Stitch.

He and DSF2 were at DL and DCA in December 2004 with some family members and I do remember him saying how much he loved California Screamin' when he got back.

He did have to "earn" this trip. What we originally set up was a challenge, but absolutely achieveable. DSF2 screwed it up and made it easy beyong belief for him. The only reason that he had to earn the trip was becuase he was struggling in school and getting in trouble with us. He also has travelled a lot having family in Australia (been there twice since I've know him and once before that). At least one of the Australia trips included touring China and Vietnam, and there was an additional China/Vietnam trip before I met him.

BF's DSF2, Hmm... He is a good man, but as I said, sometimes I feel like a parenting coach and sometimes like a baby sitter with him. Here's how he screwed up the earning system: DB need to get a certain number of A's before the trip (15 I think). 2 B's could count as one A. When we set up the system, there was about 12 weeks until the trip. DB had been getting A's in most of his weekly spelling tests and not doing as well in the other classes. Oh yeah, if he got an F he would need to make up an extra A for the F. DSF2 had a points system in place for chores, etc that he could use to get toys and games.

Well, as I envisioned it, the A's system was to be completely independent of any other rewards set in place. But... It didn't happen that way. DSF2 allowed DB to "purchase" A's along the way, so in about 6 weeks, he had earned the trip.

All that being said, DB has proven that he can get A's and B's with a little bit more work, therefore, other rewards will not be earned so easily. Oh yeah, if this ever happens again, I'll manage the chart or they will have to pay for their own hotel room.


Already starting out good with that combination isn't it? (I did my best with the charaters, but the only one that is really true to the personality is mine)

Clarification, DSF=Dear Step Father.

Im still on hold writing the blog

So I am going to post an old trip report for everyone to read while I find time to write.