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Old 07-04-2014, 10:00 PM   #1
StaceySue
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A Disney Trip Report

I thought I'd do a little trip report because I love to read them. I know I could do it on a Disney board, but I like hanging around here, so here it goes.

We are crazy driving people. We always drive. Everywhere. It can be an adventure, but at times it's really long and monotonous, especially along interstates. I get my DH off of them at times, but never for very long. Our family consists of DH and me, and then we have a DD16 and DD4. Yes, the best of both worlds.

We literally left the day I finished up at school. I drove home at about 3:30 after I packed up the classroom, and 30 minutes later we were on the road. Our goal was Sikeston, MO, to a hotel with a pool. We ended up at a Drury for the first time, and it was really nice. The breakfast had scrambled eggs and sausage, among other standard items. It was a nice stay.

Our next major stop along the way was at Rock City near Chattanooga, TN. I remembered that place from my childhood, and I knew it would be just the touristy place we'd love. It was a fun stop. Also, walking among the rocks made for a cool afternoon. You could actually feel blasts of cool air in places. There were also beautiful views and a lovely waterfall. Here's a picture of Rock City. Good times.
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:40 PM   #2
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We spent the night outside of Atlanta at Country Inn and Suites. It was a nice stay as well. We had a good meal at Cracker Barrel that evening, too. My youngest again appreciated the pool. The next morning we also had a little hot breakfast again, and we hit the road. That evening, we arrived at Orlando! We settled in at Buena Vista Suites for We actually left a day early according to our reservations, but we wanted to make sure we didn't have any problems getting there or anything.

This is a nice hotel, but it's not Disney property. We were on the seventh floor in a one-bedroom suite, which is not as nice as a Disney villa, but it is better than a standard mid-priced room. We paid a little over $100. They had a full buffet breakfast the next morning included. We stayed here two nights for our last trip, so we knew what to expect.

The next morning, we packed up and headed to our princess room at Port Orleans Riverside! It is a beautiful Disney resort. Since we were in princess room, we were in the manor section which looks like plantation mansions. For our first day, we ate at the food court and explored our resort. We then when swimming in the main pool.

After a fun swim, we went to Downtown Disney for dinner at T-Rex. We made a reservation, but we are also Landry's Select Club members, so we were seated a little earlier than our reservation. (The club is so worth it even though it costs $25 to become a member. They give you that money back to use, and you get $25 on your birthday month every year. Throw in a couple of MyPoints giftcards, and we have a free meal with the chain every year.)

We were seated in the ice cave that changed colors. The food is okay, but the main draw is the experience of it all. We walked around Downtown Disney after dinner, but it felt crowded because there are a lot of walls up for construction right now. It is hard to find parking there, too. We should have taken the boat from our resort. Anyway, it was a good time!

Here is the bed in our room and some pictures of T-Rex.
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:52 PM   #3
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We slept in a tad the next morning, and then we headed back to Downtown Disney for my youngest's appointment at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It's a little salon where children can have a princess or prince makeover.

My DD4 loved it. She chose her hair, nail color, and eyeshadow color. They don't show the kids what they look like until the end, and she was certainly surprised by her transformation.

After that, we went back to the resort for a nap. After resting in the cool room, it was time to get ready for dinner with Cinderella at the Grand Floridian Resort.

The resort is beautiful, and I'm glad we visited because I will probably never stay there. The dinner was a buffet, and it was actually pretty good. My picky family all found things to eat. I was looking forward to trying the strawberry soup, and it was good.

We met Cinderella, Prince Charming, the stepmother, and the stepsisters. The stepsisters are hilarious! After dinner, we went back to our resort to get to bed early. The next morning we were heading to the Magic Kingdom!

Here are some pictures.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:24 PM   #4
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The next morning we were ready to visit a park! I had arranged for our fastpasses ahead of time, and we were hopeful that everything would work. Disney has started using Magic Bands which are little bracelets that are your key to everything. We had been successfully been using our Magic Bands to open our room door and charge to the room, but we hadn't used fastpasses or park tickets yet, which are also linked to your Magic Bands.

Everything went fine. We were there just a tad past rope drop, but it was okay. Our first fastpass wasn't scheduled until 10:30, so we went to break in the rides slowly with our youngest.

We walked through the castle to Fantasyland, and DD4 wanted to ride the carousel, so we did before the line got too long. We did It's a Small World, and then it was the moment of truth--Splash Mountain. Our fastpass window opened up, and it was time. Our DD4 was pretty uncertain, but we finally convinced her to ride. She liked it, but she didn't want to ride it again!

Our next fastpass was for Pirates of the Caribbean, which often doesn't need a fastpass, but this time it saved us some time. After that, we didn't have another fastpass until 6:30 pm, which is annoying because once you use your three, you can get a fourth at the park. But our third was a fastpass I didn't think I would be able to get, and I didn't have it until during our drive to Florida when they opened up evening spots. It was the Anna and Elsa from Frozen Meet and Greet, so it was pretty special.

We did the Country Bear Jamboree, and then it was time for a special fastpass that is separate from the other for resort guests--it was a fastpass for lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

My picky eaters didn't want to have actual lunch there, but we did have snacks and dessert to tide us over for awhile. It was also a nice break from the sun. We had fries and cupcakes, and I tried the French onion soup. Our cupcakes had the gray stuff for frosting; it's delicious! The cold drinks were also welcome.

The restaurant is beautiful inside. There are three rooms to choose to sit in, and the ballroom looks just like the movie. It is even snowing outside the windows! Needless to say, that is where we sat.

After our snack, we decided to head out of the park for awhile. We just do better as a family if we do theme parks in spurts. We got back to our resort, and we had a nice nap in the cool room before heading back for evening fun.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:44 PM   #5
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After a nap, we were ready to go again! We had our fastpass at 6:30 for Anna and Elsa, so DD4 wore her Elsa dress into the park. We brought a change of clothes for after the meet and greet. We were so thankful to get the fastpass since wait times to meet them had been hours long.

We waited about 10 minutes. My DD4 loves Frozen, and she dressed as Elsa at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, so she was beyond excited. They met with her together. I hear now that they don't meet at the same time, just the same room. Another "visiting" princess was also there, so we met Sleeping Beauty, as well.

After a quick change of clothes in Rapunzel's bathroom area, we were off to more adventures. I was able to get a new fastpass then for Dumbo, so we scheduled that. We did the 3-d movie Philharmagic which we missed last time, and then I convinced my husband to do the Hall of Presidents. I love that attraction!

We did Dumbo next, and then we got a fastpass for the Jungle Cruise. We missed this attraction last time. We were getting a little hungry, so we went to a quick serve place, Pecos Bill's. Everyone had hamburgers and fries, except for me; I had the taco salad. They coolest part about this place is that it has an awesome fixins bar with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, cheese sauce, onions, salsa, peppers...I'm sure I'm leaving things out. It wasn't too busy, just steady. We ate towards the end of traditional dinner time.

It was then time for the Jungle Cruise, which was fun at night. We then walked on to the magic carpet ride. We were riding the Jungle Cruise and walking around during the first Main Street Electrical Parade, so after the carpets, the Wishes fireworks started. We got some frozen drinks and watched Wishes. Then we went over to Liberty Square to see the 2nd parade. It had really cleared out, and we were able to find a seat on a rock ledge. After that, we slowly made our way out. It was a little crazy, but Disney is pretty efficient when it comes to crowd control.

We got back to the resort and went to bed. We were checking out in the morning and heading to Animal Kingdom, or so we planned...
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:06 AM   #6
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The next morning, we packed up and checked out of Riverside. It is a lovely resort, but we were heading to Animal Kingdom Lodge--Kidani Village to check into our one-bedroom villa. We stayed there for our last trip, and it was so wonderful!

We were going to head over to Animal Kingdom after checkout, but we were told at checkout that the system showed our next room was ready. It was just too tempting to head over to the next resort instead of heading to Animal Kingdom, so that's what we did.

Our room was ready, and we moved in. It was like coming home! This time, we had a partial savannah view, so we could see some animals outside our balcony. (We only paid for a standard view.) That was really cool! We were also able to park in the parking garage below our room most of the time, even though we were a little far from the lobby. We were close to the pool area, though.

Our one-bedroom had a king-size bed in the bedroom along with a master bath with walk-in shower and jacuzzi tub, which is nice after being in the parks. There was a full kitchen and another bathroom. The living area had a sofa bed and a chair bed. We also had a washer and dryer. We love it here!
We will probably always rent points to stay in a villa. In fact, we just may always stay at Kidani!

We got settled in, and we went to Jambo House to eat at the food court. That's the only drawback for us at Kidani--no food court. We went back and decided to rest in the room for awhile and skip Animal Kingdom this trip. We had only planned this day, and it just seemed okay to skip it this trip. We decided to go to Epcot that evening instead. We made a quick trip for some groceries, and then we got ready to go out.

I rearranged our fastpasses, and we got a character meet and greet with Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. We did that first. We then had a fastpass for Spaceship Earth (the headliners were taken for the day), so we did that. We headed over to The Seas and did Nemo and Crush as well as the aquariums.

We headed into World Showcase and explored, and we decided to get fish and chips in England for dinner. It was a reasonable wait, two groups ahead of us. My older DD wanted to look in Japan's shop, so we took the fish and chips over there and ate while we waited for Illuminations to start. After that, of course, we went back to the resort. We had a quick swim, and then it was time for bed because the next morning was our Star Wars breakfast for Star Wars Weekends!
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:45 AM   #7
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I know you have more of your trip to share but I wanted to go ahead and say

Has been years since I've been to Disneyworld and it has changed so much since my last visit.

Looking forward to the rest of your trip report!
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:22 AM   #8
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Love your Disney Report...starting from the beginning...See Rock City!
Thanks for sharing with us.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:33 AM   #9
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Back in the day, when we took extended fam, we would exchange for a 3-bedroom at Orange Lake, conveniently located just west of the Reedy Creek Sewage Treatment plant.

It is a wonderful place except for when the wind is from the east.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/E+...9c90abb33ebb21
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:14 PM   #10
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Thanks for reading. I do love to think about the details of the trip!
The whole fastpass/magic bands thing is new since our trip two years ago. I do like being able to schedule some things so we can avoid some lines, even if we don't make it for rope drop.

One of my husband's favorite parts about going to Disney is being able to go for Star Wars Weekends. Last time, we went for the the last weekend, but this time they added a weekend, so we were there for the second to last weekend. They also added Star Wars character meals, so we had to try one. The one with Darth Vader and Stormtroopers was only offered at breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine In, so that's how our day began.

We arrived at Disney Studios, and we went straight to breakfast. I think our time was around 10:00 am, so we treated it like brunch.

When our name was called, we took pictures with Darth Vader and the Bounty Hunter. My pictures are a little chaotic here. Our photopass pictures that Disney takes for you were better.

After that we were taken to our car. For this restaurant, you are seated in cars that face a movie screen. We watched different Star Wars clips on the screen. The server got our drink order; you could even get blue milk, but no one in our family was brave enough to try it.

Then, they brought a plate of Star Wars themed pastries. We each chose our entrees. My DH, DD4, and I just had traditional breakfasts with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes, but DD16 got French toast sticks. In the end, both DD shared their breakfasts with each other. You also got a plate of fruit, and the melon was shaped like Yoda.

During breakfast, we were visited by two stormtroopers, Bobba Fett, and two Jawa that traded things with you. Great fun!

After breakfast, it was time for our Star Tours fastpasses. The kids, who are not thrill-seekers in any way, decided to do the 3-D Muppet Show. Also fun, although I am learning that one ride on Star Tours is all I can do. It makes me a little queasy, and I can ride any roller coaster. It's something with the 3-D and the moving seats. I can watch a 3-D movie fine.

We then had fastpasses for Toy Story Mania. It was nice to have fastpasses ahead of time and not have to run straight there at opening. We all rode this ride. It's pretty fun for everyone.

After this, we went over to the animation area. DD16 likes the drawing class there. She did it twice last time. There was a little bit of a line, so we took DD4 to a little film and then to some shops. DD16 met us at the shops afterwards. She was a little disappointed that her class had voted to draw Mickey Mouse since she thought it was too easy, but she was still glad she got to do it.

My this time, it was early afternoon and it was getting hot. We decided it was a good time to take a break. We went back to the resort for a nap and cool down.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:29 PM   #11
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After a nap at the resort, we went back to Disney Studios for some more fun. We walked over to Darth's Mall, a large sound stage with all kinds of Star Wars things for sale. We got a frozen pina colada-flavored drink in a stormtrooper mug. After walking around there for awhile, it was time for our Tower of Terror fastpass, so DH and I rode that. It is one of my favorite rides in all of Disney! After walking around in some shops, it was getting to be time for the Star Wars fireworks. We sat on a bench at the Brown Derby restaurant. We didn't have a view of the stage where the Star Wars characters were, so DH walked closer to the stage to watch while we saved our bench spot.

After the stage stuff, the fireworks started. They were set to Star Wars music. This was probably my favorite fireworks display out of all that I have seen. The finale lit up the sky in a way I have never seen, and you could feel the sounds of them in your body. So cool!

After that, we thought we would try to see the 2nd Fantasmic show. Most people seemed to be leaving the park, so we got in with know problem and had good seats. We had never seen this show before, so we were glad to see it. I would see it again; it was fun.

We left Disney Studios after that. This was our only day here. I still haven't seen the Beauty and the Beast show, so hopefully I'll get to do that next time.

Here's the end of Fantasmic.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:45 PM   #12
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We used magic bands and fast pass +in November. The fast pass + really saved us time and the magic bands were convenient for the dining plan, shopping, and room key. We are going back in January 2015, so we get to make dining reservations next week.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:59 PM   #13
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Thanks for the great trip report. We are going to WDW this September (our 4th wedding anniversary) for 5 nights, four full days there. We went on Disney Cruises for our honeymoon and the first three anniversaries but wanted to try all the new stuff in Fantasyland at WDW. Ann had also promised her adult niece that we would take her on vacation with us this year. We wouldn't have had enough DVC points to pay for both her standard inside stateroom and our usual deluxe outside stateroom with veranda. We could have booked the deluxe outside stateroom but would have had to give up the veranda, and we are spoiled and didn't want to do that.

We also are driving... we drove to Florida the last two years also... airfare has just gotten way more than I want to pay unless you take Allegiant, and their flight dates never align with when we need to go. It is also much less stressful than flying... no set schedules, no security to pass through, no need to minimize what we bring along. We do it in two nine-hour days... stopping for nothing but gas and to eat. We will be staying in a two-bedroom villa at the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort. When you are traveling with an adult guest we like to have our privacy, and didn't want to have to worry about being quiet in the kitchen and living room if we stayed up later or got up earlier than Ann's niece.

We are REALLY looking forward to the trip. I'm glad you had such a good experience with the Magic Bands... we are looking forward to using them also.

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Old 07-06-2014, 02:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StaceySue View Post
The next morning we were ready to visit a park! I had arranged for our fastpasses ahead of time, and we were hopeful that everything would work. Disney has started using Magic Bands which are little bracelets that are your key to everything. We had been successfully been using our Magic Bands to open our room door and charge to the room, but we hadn't used fastpasses or park tickets yet, which are also linked to your Magic Bands.

Everything went fine. We were there just a tad past rope drop, but it was okay. Our first fastpass wasn't scheduled until 10:30, so we went to break in the rides slowly with our youngest.

We walked through the castle to Fantasyland, and DD4 wanted to ride the carousel, so we did before the line got too long. We did It's a Small World, and then it was the moment of truth--Splash Mountain. Our fastpass window opened up, and it was time. Our DD4 was pretty uncertain, but we finally convinced her to ride. She liked it, but she didn't want to ride it again!

Our next fastpass was for Pirates of the Caribbean, which often doesn't need a fastpass, but this time it saved us some time. After that, we didn't have another fastpass until 6:30 pm, which is annoying because once you use your three, you can get a fourth at the park. But our third was a fastpass I didn't think I would be able to get, and I didn't have it until during our drive to Florida when they opened up evening spots. It was the Anna and Elsa from Frozen Meet and Greet, so it was pretty special.

We did the Country Bear Jamboree, and then it was time for a special fastpass that is separate from the other for resort guests--it was a fastpass for lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

My picky eaters didn't want to have actual lunch there, but we did have snacks and dessert to tide us over for awhile. It was also a nice break from the sun. We had fries and cupcakes, and I tried the French onion soup. Our cupcakes had the gray stuff for frosting; it's delicious! The cold drinks were also welcome.

The restaurant is beautiful inside. There are three rooms to choose to sit in, and the ballroom looks just like the movie. It is even snowing outside the windows! Needless to say, that is where we sat.

After our snack, we decided to head out of the park for awhile. We just do better as a family if we do theme parks in spurts. We got back to our resort, and we had a nice nap in the cool room before heading back for evening fun.
I would really like a Dole Pineapple Whip.
And some Tonga French Toast.
So many good things to eat at Disney World.
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:25 PM   #15
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I would really like a Dole Pineapple Whip.
And some Tonga French Toast.
So many good things to eat at Disney World.
Suse, you should try the Pineapple Whip stands around Springfield - they are BETTER IMO, than Disney. (and that is saying something)
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