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Thread: Is this the End? Last AP trip - Dec. 15-22, 2018

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    Is this the End? Last AP trip - Dec. 15-22, 2018

    After 3 big trips and one tiny trip in 2018, I believe this trip will be the last on these Annual Passes.

    You can read the previous trip reports for 2018 https://www.easywdw.com/forums/showt...for-6-Nov-2018 and https://www.easywdw.com/forums/showt...-May-25-June-4 and https://www.easywdw.com/forums/showt...-Annual-Passes

    Who's going?

    Me - 42 year old lifelong WDW fan. First trip in 1978, every other year til I was in college, then did the WDWCP, and have returned several times since!
    Jason - 42 year old husband, had never been to WDW until we were married; reluctant at first, now enjoys it very much (but is a little tired of it after 3 trips in one year!) - also hearing impaired, so even with hearing aids, he misses a lot of what is going on
    Jonah - 12 year old son - extremely introverted, scientifically-minded, practical son - not such a big Disney fan - huge Harry Potter fan - also hearing impaired
    Abel - 11 year old son - loves cats, science, and the outdoors - homebody - has autism, anxiety/depression, ADHD, and learning disabilities, all of which affect not just his day-to-day but his hour-to-hour
    Corban - 7 year old son who has never met a stranger - loves everybody and everything. Loves WDW. Favorite ride is it's a small world.

    If you've read my previous trip reports, you'll know that my mom (Beppe) usually goes with us. But she's sitting this trip out.

    So this trip came about for a few reasons. Obviously, the AP's and our desire to get every pennies worth is a big one! We live in a very small 3bed/1bath 1100 sqft house (5 people, 6 cats, my husband works from home and I run a small business from home). Until Thanksgiving, my husband had a private office in one of the 3 bedrooms - meaning all 3 boys were in one bedroom - and when the kids were home while he was working, it was relatively easy to be quiet enough so he could continue with his conference calls, etc. But Jonah is now 12, and really needing space, so Jason moved his office into our den so Jonah could have his own room. As a result, it's pretty difficult when the kids are home for Jason to have the quiet he needs to get work done. It's not so bad after school for just a couple of hours, but when they are home all day and it's wet/cold outside? Not so much.

    On our trip last month, I was thinking about how the kids are out of school for 2 weeks for Christmas, and it's going to be difficult to keep the house quiet enough for Jason to work. What in the world could I do with them, what could I do, what could I do...well, we DO have these AP's. And I bet I can find a cheap place to stay for a few days.

    I found a one bedroom condo for less than $400 for the week before Christmas, and told Jason I planned to take the kids so he could get his work done in peace. My mom was not going to go - she felt like she needed to stay with her mother so close to Christmas. Jason blew me away by saying he would go too! Since he works from home, it doesn't really matter where HOME is. He can take 2 days off, so he'll spend the other 3 weekdays working from the condo. I went online and found a 2 bedroom at Mystic Dunes for $370 for 7 nights. Yes, please, we'll take it!

    Now we've been planning this for only about 4 weeks. Since Jason will be working Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I decided to do something I've always wanted to do with my kids. Each kid gets one day to do whatever they want with me. The other two kids will stay at the condo with Jason. I've let them know about this and they are very excited.

    Our loose schedule:

    Friday, 12/14: leave at 6pm when Jason is done with work and arrive super late (we are in NC, it's about a 10-hour drive with time built in for gas/bathroom breaks)
    Saturday 12/15: sleep in, Epcot for the Gary Sinise Candlelight Processional
    Sunday, 12/16: rope drop Studios, MK
    Monday, 12/17: Jonah and I have a date day - I'm taking him to Universal to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This is an expensive date, but he puts up with so much that he deserves this! After Jason is done with work, we'll do something fun as a family.
    Tuesday, 12/18: Abel date day - he wants to go to Studios first, then Animal Kingdom to see the animals on the trails and lunch at Rainforest, then Epcot. We'll probably go to Disney Springs that night.
    Wednesday, 12/19: Corban Date Day - he wants to go to Magic Kingdom to ride it's a small world 5 times, see PhilHarmagic, the Treehouse, then to Epcot for Test Track. Family night again.
    Thursday, 12/20: kinda undecided
    Friday, 12/21: check out of Mystic Dunes and into Port Orleans Riverside for the night; Epcot to finish out the day
    Saturday, 12/22: take our time at the resort, let the kids swim, arcade, whatever; head home; may stop for the night on the way home.

    That's the plan! We're all ready in a laid-back way for this trip, as we all agreed we've seen pretty much everything there is to see at WDW at this point and will only do favorites on this trip. As much as I love my mom and am glad she's been able to go with us, I do look forward to my own little family have a whole week alone together. And no strollers/ECV's! And I'm refusing to take a bag this time, so NO BAG CHECK!

    ps. Lest everything feel badly for my mom, I do plan to take her on one more trip in January, just the two of us, before our AP's expire on Feb. 4. Sadly, it will probably be her last trip as she won't go alone and we're not planning to return for a few years.

  2. #2
    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    Sounds like a fun trip! Did you get snow/ice where you're at? I'm in Concord and we got a little snow but a lot of rain/sleet. No school for the kids tomorrow.
    Jill & Hannah

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    Quote Originally Posted by jillyb View Post
    Sounds like a fun trip! Did you get snow/ice where you're at? I'm in Concord and we got a little snow but a lot of rain/sleet. No school for the kids tomorrow.
    We are in Rocky Mount (one hour east of Raleigh) and while we were only supposed to get a dusting, we got 6" of snow yesterday, followed by 14 hours of rain/sleet and now it's snowing again! The rain melted all of the snow we had, and nothing is sticking now, but the kids are out of school and we are having a laid-back day. It's supposed to freeze tonight, so not sure if they will go to school tomorrow - they are hoping to stay home another day for sure! We lived in Charlotte until 3 years ago. I'm really surprised y'all didn't get more than you did.

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    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by my3rascals View Post
    We are in Rocky Mount (one hour east of Raleigh) and while we were only supposed to get a dusting, we got 6" of snow yesterday, followed by 14 hours of rain/sleet and now it's snowing again! The rain melted all of the snow we had, and nothing is sticking now, but the kids are out of school and we are having a laid-back day. It's supposed to freeze tonight, so not sure if they will go to school tomorrow - they are hoping to stay home another day for sure! We lived in Charlotte until 3 years ago. I'm really surprised y'all didn't get more than you did.
    I think we were right on the line. It was snowing this morning when I got up. By the time I got into work in Charlotte, it was just rain. The sun is out now. DD is out of school today and I imagine she will be out tomorrow as well, or at least a 2 hour delay.
    Jill & Hannah

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    Senior Member lovett1979's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great trip, and I can't wait to read along. But I love how "let me take the children away so husband can do his work alone" turned into "husband will watch 2 kids for 3 days without me around."
    Feb 2019-Festival of the Arts (POFQ); Nov 2018-40th Birthday Trip (Pop); Aug 2018-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil), Nov 2017-Wine & Dine 5K (Pop), Aug 2017-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil); May 2017-Tinkerbell 10K (Disneyland); Novr 2016-Wine & Dine 10K (POFQ); Aug 2016-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil); Nov 2015-1st Solo Trip (All-Star Movies); Aug 2015-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil); Aug 2014-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovett1979 View Post
    Sounds like a great trip, and I can't wait to read along. But I love how "let me take the children away so husband can do his work alone" turned into "husband will watch 2 kids for 3 days without me around."
    I know, right?!?!? I thought about that as I was typing it out. I did confer with him first, and he said as long as he has a door he can shut, he's good with it. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only parent of 3 kids who's noticed this: when all 3 of my kids are together, things get LOUD and there tends to be a lot of arguing. Taking just one kid out of the mix calms things down by 80% it seems. I don't know why but I'm sure my husband will let me know if it's not working out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by my3rascals View Post
    Also, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only parent of 3 kids who's noticed this: when all 3 of my kids are together, things get LOUD and there tends to be a lot of arguing. Taking just one kid out of the mix calms things down by 80% it seems.
    My wife and I have three kids and we always talk about how much the whole dynamic changes when removing just one kid out of the equation.
    Who doesn't like a brat with dirty hair?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronnie2hotty View Post
    My wife and I have three kids and we always talk about how much the whole dynamic changes when removing just one kid out of the equation.
    Dynamic - that's the word I was looking for! It's like night and day. Much less arguing, in fact, they tend to get along.

    Tomorrow is our big departure day! Jason is getting off work at 4 instead of 6, so we'll get a bit of an earlier start than initially thought. I've got some podcasts queued up on my phone that I will play on the drive down, since I'm the only driver. Poor Jason "cant" drive our van due to his back problems, so we made him a bed in the back. I might be able to talk him into taking over the wheel for an hour or so. But I'll be okay! Can't wait for the Gary Sinise Candlelight Processional on Saturday night!

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    Day 1: Friday, December 14

    Corban woke up this morning very early - 5:30am. I awoke to him tapping on my arm and he said "Mommy, I'm so cold, I can't sleep and today we go to Disney and did you know I have a party at school but don't forget to send me money cuz it's pizza day but wait! I forgot we have happy meals coming for our party so I don't have to take lunch money and Joe slept in my bed with me last night and I am sooooo cold!" I may not have gotten all the words 100% correct, but that's the 30-second spiel I heard from him. I opened the covers for him to climb in and the cold air shocked me wide awake. While he settled into our warm bed, I went to check the thermostat - it was 55 degrees in our house! YIKES! What in the world? I couldn't do anything about it at that moment, so I went back to bed.

    The alarm woke me up at 6:35, and I hit snooze so I could cuddle with my "baby". Finally we got up, and I discovered my middle son Abel was on the couch. He was so stuffed up when he went to bed last night, he didn't get to sleep til late, and he took 2 hot showers to try to clear his sinuses. I gave him a decongestant and he went back to bed. One down. Uh-oh.

    Jonah got up and he and Corban got ready for school unusually quickly. I dropped them and all the teacher presents off at school and came home to find out why we had no heat or water. There was a leak in the central gas line in our vicinity and they cut off all natural gas to everyone. My mom told me an employee of the gas company knocked on her door at 12:15 last night?!? I was more upset about that than the gas being off. She didn't answer the door, but she didn't call us or my brother either.

    By 9:30, a maintenance worker made it to our road and cut the gas on for everyone. It's slowly warming up in here. Abel is feeling a little better.

    All I have left to do before we leave is finish the laundry (sheets only!), pack, and stop by the store for road trip snacks. To be continued...

    Abel, my sick one, spent the day in bed. His anxiety kicked into high gear and he said he didn't think he could go with us. His only other option was to stay home with Beppe and Grandma, with no video games and he had to go to school those 2 days next week...he decided he would tough it out and go with us!

    I picked up the kids at 3 as usual, and we stopped by Dollar Tree to get snacks. I figured each kid could get 5 "things". Drinks or snacks. That way we could avoid the ask ask ask that happens everytime we stop for gas, and get out cheaper. So for $25, we had more than enough snacks and drinks for the ride down and the first day in our condo.

    Jason was done with work when we got home, so we loaded up the van with our luggage and made a bed for Jason to lay down on for the trip. We were off! And the rain started. It rained the entire trip down. We stopped for dinner at Checker's, and they gave us extra food we didn't order, that we didn't realize was in the bag til we stopped for gas a few minutes later. There was a homeless couple sitting outside the store with their dog, and Corban said "Look, mom, they need food! That's why Checkers gave us extra food!". So we passed on those extra items to them.

    The rain was not a downpour, but it was steady enough that I had to pay very close attention. Around 11pm, as we were getting close to St. Augustine, I asked Jason if he could drive for an hour so I could rest my eyes. He got us almost to Orlando, and I got us to Mystic Dunes right at 3am.

    Y'all. I am pretty good at finding good deals. I used to be a travel agent. I like to stay at nice places. So I was so surprised at how nice Mystic Dunes was. I used SkyAuction to book the condo, and it was right around $375 for 7 nights in a two bedroom condo. We are on the ground floor. Very spacious, clean, exactly as described. Washer/dryer. 2 full baths and a huge tub. My family loves this place. It's about 1/2 mile past Windsor Hills.

    That was Day 1. Day 2 coming up!
    Last edited by my3rascals; 12-16-2018 at 08:03 PM.

  10. #10
    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by my3rascals View Post
    Dynamic - that's the word I was looking for! It's like night and day. Much less arguing, in fact, they tend to get along.
    I have a friend who says "It don't work with 3!" She would use that when it was her son and 2 of his friends because when it was 3 instead of 2 or 4 there was always some kind of issue.
    Jill & Hannah

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    August 2016 Trip Report http://www.easywdw.com/forums/showth...ip-08-10-08-20[/B]

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    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    Yay! It's Disney day! Safe travels!
    Jill & Hannah

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    May 2019 @ All-Stars Movies
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    August 2016 Trip Report http://www.easywdw.com/forums/showth...ip-08-10-08-20[/B]

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    Day 2: Saturday, December 15

    Seeing as we didn't arrive until 3am, and didn't get to sleep til almost 4:30am, we chose to sleep in. Jonah was so glad when we told him we had no plans until mid-afternoon, and said he was going to sleep til noon. Of course, I awoke at 9:30am to the sound of the kids banging around the kitchen, TV's being turned on, and laughter as they played some invented game.

    No one wanted to go with me to the grocery store, so I went alone. I had to grab a lightweight jacket for Jonah, as all he brought was his heavy coat, so I went to the Target (less than 10 minutes away). I picked out a jacket, then got our groceries. While I was waiting for our order at the deli, I called Flippers Pizza and placed a take-out order for 1 large pepperoni and 1 medium cheese pizza. $26. Quick, fast and easy. And tasty too.

    The kids unloaded the groceries pretty fast once they found out I had pizza but they couldn't have it til the groceries were in. We ate, put away groceries, and spent the early afternoon relaxing. Our first FP+ was for Epcot at 4pm at Mission:Space, so we left our condo at 3:30 and were parked and at the gate by 4pm.

    NO BAGS! This was my first trip ever (well, since I was a teen) with no bags! No bag check line! It was so liberating. We just breezed right through the no-bag line. Corban was tentatively planning to ride Mission:Space, with a little encouraging from me (and my wallet, I was not above bribing him - $20 in his bank if he rode it). Abel did not know about my bribe and offered him more money! Corban's little eyes were getting bigger and bigger. He decided he would do it. We loaded into our pod, and he was the Commander as he had requested. Just before "blast off", I told him that if he got scared, just to close his eyes. 10 seconds later, I heard the good kind of screaming, the half-laugh, half-giddy one. He was loving it! He absolutely loved it. He wanted to ride again, but no one else did. He and I will ride it again on our date Wednesday.

    Jason needed to get his traditional ice cream at the entrance to Test Track, so he and Corban got a Mickey Bar and one of the orange pops, and Jonah got a Crossaint Donut (chocolate with sprinkles). The girl that helped Jason immediately said, "Oh, you're from NC!" He asked how she knew...his bank card said BB&T, which apparantly is only in NC, and I had no idea. She went to East Carolina University (where Jason and I both went to school) and was here for the semester on the college program (just like I was 21 years ago).

    Our window for our FP+ for Test Track opened up. We each got to design our own car, and mine was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Purple truck with every bell and whistle. But it wasn't good enouigh for first place - that went to Corban. The kids hung out in the showroom for about a half hour, while Jason and I admired the new 2019 models. They have a nice green Equinox, which the guy really tried to sell us on, but I still am hung up on the Traverse.

    Time for Mexico. Abel was having an episode. He was not interested in doing anything. (He felt like he had been rushed in the showroom and was not handling it well). So when we got to Mexico, he stayed right there at the Coco displays in the entrance room while we did the boat ride. We were going to do Agent P with Corban but the app was not working properly. Jason and Corban and Abel wanted Chinese food, Jonah wanted Mexican, and I was waiting til a little later to eat. So we gathered our foods and met up at the Lotus Blossum Cafe and dined together as the sun was setting.

    A word about food: Abel is very picky and has a very poor appetite. He is not super-skinny or malnourished, but he eats very little of few few foods. Mostly carbs. He's 11 years old and for dinner ate NOTHING from his orange chicken plate except one forkful of rice. He didn't ask for anything either later that night. I am on a personal weightloss journey, complete with gym membership and calorie counting (and I have a personal trainer that I meet with once a week and text with multiple times per day - great for motivation!). So I am trying to make smart choices on what I'm eating, which is not the easiest on vacation.

    After dinner, we walked to the shop adjacent to the China movie theater, where Abel found all of the kitten puppets last month. He had the 2 that were on display already, so he asked the CM if there were any more in the cabinet there. There were none. He was still interested in some of the things there, so we humored him. He picked up the Diablo and started trying to do it, along with another guest, and they were having no luck at all. The CM came out and spent 15 minutes with Abel teaching him how to do it. It was amazing! He was so kind to Abel, showing him, telling him. I asked if this was something he had to learn just for the job, and he said no, it was a hobby. Later I asked how long he had been doing it, he said 1 month - which is when he started the job! Methinks they highly encourage those CM's that work that booth to learn the tricks. It works; Abel purchased a Diablo set.

    We stopped to watch the Chinese Acrobats, who finished off their set with a Diablo demonstration. Abel was in awe. On to Germany, where we purchased a beer flight and a Black Forest Roulade. Roulade - delicious (I only had one bite!)! Beer flight - not so great. I sipped each one, and none of them did it for me. Good thing I didn't buy them for myself! Jason stopped in Italy for a dessert and beverage while the kids and I went to the American Pavilion. Tonight Gary Sinise was narrating Candlelight Processional. It was 7:45pm, and we knew we wouldn't be able to get seats, but were happy to watch from the back. So I was ready for my supper, and Jason wanted to try the offerings at the American Christmas Booth, so I ordered the turkey and the ham.

    Turkey: 2-3 slices of turkey on top of mashed potatoes and stuffing, topped with gravy and cranberry sauce, with some green beans. Very good! Exactly what it should be.

    Ham: 2-3 pieces of (fatty) ham, with some sort of gravy, pureed sweet potatoes (so bland I didn't know exactly what it was til I read the menu again), and green beans. Would not order again.

    At 8:15, the Candlelight Processional started. I haven't seen this in years - and it hasn't changed a bit! It was beautiful. Gary Sinise did such a great job, and received a standing ovation. I love what he does for our veterans.

    We began the loooonnnnggg walk back to our van. Usually, since my mom is with me, we park in the disabled parking section. It's usually a nice quick walk. I have been spoiled by that. Parking way out in the boonies is no fun! We made it back to the van around 9:35, and were back at our condo a few minutes before 10. Everyone was exhausted, and after showers and brushing teeth, eveyrone was out.

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    Day 3: Sunday, December 16

    I awoke around 8am this morning, along with Corban who was sleeping in the big bed with us. We had breakfast on our lovely patio, and watched a little TV together. The plans for the day were pretty fluid - I had made some FP+'s for MK, but I just wasn't sure what our crowd would want to do.

    Around 10, I decided it was time for everyone else to wake up. Immediately, I knew Abel was sick. He sounded like he had Croup - but he's 11 and 11 year olds don't typically get croup, though he had it many times as a toddler. Jason sounded not much better than Abel. Any idea I had that we would all do something was quickly discarded.

    So Corban and I decided to go to Disney Springs while Abel, Jason and Jonah stayed behind and rested (Jonah really just wanted to play video games). Corban and I set out to Disney Springs around 11am.

    We parked on the top floor of the Lime parking garage, and our first stop was the LEGO store where Corban was dying to make a purchase. He had an extra $20 to spend, baby! After a half-hour of inspecting nearly ever set, he chose a $10 airplane set. We got to the checkout, and when they looked up our VIP account, we found out that we had a $10 reward we could use! So Corban didn't even have to pay for his LEGO set.

    On to the new World of Disney - and right back out of the door, cause, man it was CROWDED! No thank you. We walked over to Raglan Road so I could try to find some Irish-themed stocking stuffers for my brothers (I play Santa and leave stockings for my brother, mom, grandma, Uncle, Aunt, and other Uncle each year). We also stopped at one of the unique gift kiosks and bought this metal circle bracelet things. Very odd. But it was fun and I think it will be in my stocking!

    Corban was ready for lunch, so we got in the line for check-in at T-Rex. It was probably 15 minutes before we even made it to the counter, but thanks to our Landry's Select card, we were seated after waiting just 2 minutes! Our waitress was very friendly and joked around with Corban a lot. He loved it. He had sprite and the kids meals with 2 cheeseburgers and fries (his favorite), and a "bottle of ketchup" which is how he asked for it. I didn't see much on the menu that would work for me diet-wise, so I had a caesar side salad with the dressing on the side, and planned to have a protein shake when we got home. Our food was served quickly and was good. Corban then had the Tarpit kids dessert, which was chocolate pudding topped with oreos and dino gummies. He was very happy wtih that!

    We walked around Disney Springs for a little while, and I let him pick out a bath bomb at Basin. He loves Bath Bombs! I got some lime sugar lip balm - it's very nice.

    Back to the parking deck, then home around 3. We regrouped and tried to make plans for the night, but Abel and Jason were still feeling pretty lousy. We decided to stay in and rest. I put a lasagna in the oven (frozen!) at 5, ran to the Walgreens for a couple of things, then we kicked back and are watching Oceans 11. I'm particularly enjoying this Peach Wine I got at the Southern Christmas Show last month.

    Tomorrow is my big date with Jonah. We are going to Universal to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We plan to leave at 7:30am and spend the day. I'll post an update when I have some time to spare!

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    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    Sounds like it's been a nice, easy going trip so far! I hope Abel and Jason are feeling better. I woke up with a sore throat, coughing, headache, and runny nose on Saturday. The sore throat and headache are gone but I'm still coughing and have a runny nose. Looking forward to hearing about your day at Universal!
    Jill & Hannah

    June 2008 @ Pop Century
    November 2010 @ Pop Century
    August 2016 @ Pop Century
    August 2017 @ DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at Seaworld
    May 2019 @ All-Stars Movies
    August 2019 @ Pop Century


    August 2016 Trip Report http://www.easywdw.com/forums/showth...ip-08-10-08-20[/B]

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    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Hope your Universal day is going great!

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    Day 4: Monday, December 17

    Jonah and I were up early for our big day at Universal Orlando. I grabbed a protein shake and by 7:30 we were on the road. I wanted to be in line at the turnstiles by 8:45 for the 9am open, and we were successful. Traffic was smooth, parking was easy, the walk was long by easy to navigate, and we were walking through Citywalk before we knew it. Before we got out of the car, I gave Jonah $20 and told him he had to spend it or give it back to me. See, Jonah doesn't spend any money. He saves every penny. I know he wants things, but he really hates to spend. I thought maybe this would allow him to get something special without feeling like he would miss out on saving his money.

    So Islands of Adventure gives early morning admission to on-site guests pretty much every day, so we purchased our tickets (very heavy upsell attempt when we purchased them) and went to the Universal gate to wait for park open. We were in line by 8:30, and when no one was getting in line behind this one turnstile, we jumped in it. By 8:50, they let us in.

    I haven't been to Universal since 1998, so I knew it would be significantly different. We just followed the crowd, talking along the way. Jonah was not interested in anything at Universal Orlando except Harry Pottery. Sounds good to me.

    Our plan was to start in Diagon Alley, do what we wanted there and have breakfast as well, then take the train to Hogsmeade, visit there, then return to Diagon. Which is pretty much what we did.

    The look on my introverted, unsmiling, shy 12-year olds face was worth every bit of the $170 per ticket for the day (GULP). The first obvious sign we were at the Harry Potter area was the Knight Bus. Then we walked through these brick walls and BAM we were in Diagon Alley.

    Y'all. I am a Disney loyalist. I love it all, especially the "retro" stuff. Very nostalgic, family friendly, and no one does it like them. And I hate to say it - but Universal has knocked my socks off with Diagon Alley. Talk about immersive experience. Wow. Everything fit right in, every Team Member played his/her part, the food, the atmosphere, everything.

    We walked around for a few minutes, then decided to go ahead and ride Escape from Gringotts before it got too busy. But it was down for technical reasons, so we wondered through Nocturn Alley and found ourselves eventually back at the entrance - and since Jonah's never-full stomach was complaining that it needed food, we were happy to try out The Leaky Cauldron for breakfast. I like how they do crowd control at the restaurants - the line forms inside, a Team Member directs each party to one of several registers to order and pay (usually with one or two parties ahead of you), then you take your drinks and Candlestick with number on it to one of the Team Members waiting at the entrance to the dining room; they escort you to a table.

    Jonah had the pancake breakfast, which came with 3 pancakes, 3 or 4 strips of bacon, a croissant, and a beverage (he chose apple juice). I had water, my protein shake was not that long ago, and I'm saving my calories for something spectacular. The menu said it was $16.99 for the pancake breakfast, but our total was only $14 and change. Jonah enjoyed every morsel of his food, barely acknowledging me as 12-year olds tend to do (or not do for that matter), but took in the dining room for the 20 minutes we sat at our table. Our food as brought out within 2 minutes of sitting down. When he was done, we left our dishes at the table as we were instructed to do (it's part of the service, dear! she told me), and headed back out. Gringotts was still not operating, so we walked through several of the stores. He was waffling about whether or not he wanted a wand, but he eventually decided he didn't need one. A year ago he probably would have wanted one. We really liked the Hogwarts Express store, with all sorts of train souvenirs, and Jonah found a great Christnas Tree Ornament he really liked. It was gold with a white face and "9 3/4" on it. I bought it for him and told him that until he moved out and had his own family, the ornament stayed on my tree.

    The Quidditch shop was cool as well, and Jonah really liked the quidditch broom ($35). I could tell he was thinking about purchasing it. We made a note of where it was so if he wanted it later we could get it. The joke shop and the sweet shop were interesting, but we didn't make any purchases. After a bathroom break, we visited the "pet" shop. That was fun, lots of interesting plush World of Harry Potter toys. Jonah was particularly interested in Hedwig, and said he'd think about it. I took pictures of him with the huge spider, Scabbers the rat, Fluffy the 3-headed dog, Crookshanks, and several others.

    We walked out and realized that they had just begun letting people in to Gringotts. We jumped in line, and waited about a half-hour to board. The bank lobby is so real - very impressive. Jonah was just bug-eyed the whole morning. There were many many signs warning people that this was a very intense ride, don't ride if you had this or that or something else. Jonah was pretty nervous, but pushed through.

    It started out AMAZING - there is this drop that is just stomach-dropping. We kept waiting for the exciting part to start. Sure, we turned a couple of times, fast even, but we were stunned when the ride was over. Where was the thrill? The scariness? The intensity? Jonah just shook his head and said "Lame". I got the giggles over that. We agreed that the theming was incredible but our first HP ride was a let-down. We said we would only wait up to 10 minutes in the future to ride it.

    Before we jumped on the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade, we wanted to try a butterbeer (very very sweet) and catch a Beetle the Bard show (Jonah was not impressed, he was ready for the train). We exited Diagon Alley and went to Kings Cross Station, where we had our tickets checked to ensure we had a park-to-park ticket (you have to have a 2-park ticket to do Hogwarts Express). It was a long walk to the train, including some stairs, so we were glad when the train was waiting for us. We were in a compartment for 8, and it was quite like many trains I have ridden in Europe, the way it was laid out. The "window" was a screen, very realistic. The doors were frosted, and when they closed and the train began moving, became part of the show. We "left" "London" to go to "Hogsmead" and the window showed what the view on such a journey would be. Once we arrived, we disembarked and were in Hogsmeade in must moments.

    We were hungry, so our first stop was The 3 Broomsticks. This time we lined up outside, a TM handed us a menu and let us in to the line, where we waited about 10 minutes til another TM directed us to one of 6-8 registers. I ordered the Shepherds Pie with side salad and water, Jonah got the fish and chips with water and vanilla ice cream. We paid (just under $40) and were directed to a counter where our food was handed to us on a tray, then another TM took us to a table. My side salad was boring of course, but I made myself eat it before I had my shepherds pie, which was very good. Jonah loved his fish and chips, but it was too much food. That's right, I said TOO MUCH FOOD. He didn't care for the ice cream, but the bite I had was good.

    After a bathroom break, we popped in a couple of stores and then headed for Flight of the Hippogriff. This was about a 25-minute wait, and it was a fun little coaster. I'd say a little more intense and longer than Barnstormer.

    Jonah wanted to see the inside of the castle really badly, but he didn't want to ride Forbidden Journey as he felt it would be too intense. By then it was 2pm. We needed to be back by 5, and we had seen about everything we wanted to see in WWOHP. We took the train back to "London", and he decided he was going to buy the broom. After making the purchase, we started walking back to the front of the park. I offered to ride anything else he wanted, but he was done. This was the happiest I've ever seen him, I think.

    The walk back to the car seemed to go faster than the walk in that morning, and we were back at the condo around 3:15pm. Jason and I decided that we would go to Magic Kingdom that night when he was done with work, which should be around 5:30. So I grabbed some FP+'s for us, then took a nap for about an hour. At 5pm, I got up and made a light supper of sandwiches, then we headed to MK.

    We arrived at MK around 6pm, and once again entered the no-bag line at TTC and headed to the monorail. Our first FP+ was for Buzz Lightyear at 6:40, so we wandered down Main Street, over to Tomorrowland, and attempted to ride Peoplemover but didn't due to the really long line. Y'all, it was so crowded at MK. They were open til 11pm that night, which was just one of 2 nights for the week they were open late to the public due to the MVMCP.

    The line for FP+ at Buzz Lightyear was long so we went ahead and jumped in it, and by the time we got to the Magic Band Scanner, it was our return time. Jonah and I rode together, and I hit a couple of the 100k point targets, but his gun wasn't working properly and he only scored like 20k points. He was pretty irritated about that. Abel wasn't feeling it, and sat by himself in a car and didn't fire either one of the guns even once. He still was sounding terrible with his cold, and was refusing to wear a jacket.

    We had 50 minutes until our next FP+, and Jason wanted something hot to eat. So we went over to Pinnochio's Village Haus for him. He got a chicken sandwich, Abel and Corban split a cheese flatbread, and Jonah had breadsticks. I was good and drank some water. We headed back to Tomorrowland Speedway for our next FP+, and Abel insisted he didn't even want to drive it. I asked if I could ride with him, he said I had to drive. But when our car arrived and it was LIME GREEN, his favorite color, I asked him if he was sure he didn't want to drive and the tiniest smile appeared and he jumped in the drivers seat.

    Ice Cream was in order, so Jason took Jonah and Corban to Auntie Gravities in Tomorrowland. 2 chocolates, a vanilla, and a hot chocolate later, and I saw Jason and Corban heading towards me and Abel, as we were sitting on a bench next to the Speedway. But Jonah wasn't with them. Jason had no idea where he was, he was there a second ago, then wasn't. I walked around for 10 minutes looking for him, but couldn't find him. Jason stayed with the other 2 while I walked around, and finally after 20 minutes, I found a CM and said I needed help finding my hearing-impaired son. Jonah has moderate hearing loss, but even with hearing aids, has great difficulty understanding what people are saying (the aids amplify the sound but it all sounds kinda like the teacher in Charlie Brown so even making it louder doesn't help a lot), and his speech as a result is hard to understand. So I was really concerned that he wouldn't be able to communicate to a CM what he needed, etc. The CM I asked for help grabbed her area coordinator who immediately put out a call. Security called him a moment later to get more info. By that point it had been 30 minutes, and although he is 12 years old, I worry so much about him due to his disability. While I was on the phone with security, a 407-number beeped in and I knew it was him. Sure enough, his quivering voice said "Mommy?" And I knew he was fine. He was at the other side of the Speedway, by the Teacups, and when I got to him, he said he was following Jason but lost sight of him so kept walking. Then he got turned around. Thank goodness he found a CM and gave her our number.

    He was so upset, I had to sit with him for a few minutes to get him calm. By then it was almost time for our Barnstormer FP+, so we headed to Fantasyland. Jason took Jonah on Barnstormer while the rest of us went to Big Top for MY snack. I got the chocolate-covered pineapple spear (soooo good!) and each kid grabbed a bag of cotton candy which they barely touched last night but destroyed today.

    It was 9pm. I grabbed a FP+ for Jonah and Jason for Splash Mountain and for the rest of us, it's a small world. We split up with plans to meet at the Main Street Train Station later. We rode iasw twice in a row without getting off, then made our way to the front. It was a crush of people everywhere. Jason and Jonah weren't far behind us, and we all got in the enormous line for the ferry. It took about an hour to get from Main Street to our van at the TTC.

    We made it back to our condo, and I was asleep almost before I hit the pillow. Up next: Date Day with Corban.

  17. #17
    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    Great Date Day with Jonah! That had to have been a scary 30 minutes. Glad Jonah was found safe and sound!
    Jill & Hannah

    June 2008 @ Pop Century
    November 2010 @ Pop Century
    August 2016 @ Pop Century
    August 2017 @ DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at Seaworld
    May 2019 @ All-Stars Movies
    August 2019 @ Pop Century


    August 2016 Trip Report http://www.easywdw.com/forums/showth...ip-08-10-08-20[/B]

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jillyb View Post
    Great Date Day with Jonah! That had to have been a scary 30 minutes. Glad Jonah was found safe and sound!
    It was scary for Jonah - he was a mess when we got to him. I knew he was okay physically, and so while I wasn't worried about him in the sense of "oh no, he's been taken!", I was worried for his emotional reaction to being separated from us. I'm just glad it was only a half hour!

  19. #19
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    Day 5: Tuesday, December 18

    Originally this day was to be my date day with Abel. But he still was feeling pretty lousy last night, lots of coughing still, so we switched Corban's and Abel's days.

    Corban slept in the bed with me and Jason, so when my alarm went off at 7:30, he was awake right along beside me. After getting ready, having a light breakfast (waffles for him, protein shake for me), we were in the van and on our way by 8:00. On the drive, I told him about the Christmas Tree ornament he needed to pick out. We started out at the Studios, and parked pretty close to the front. He was all smiles and singing as we strolled/skipped to the gate (remember, this is a 7 year old who loves to skip and insisted I do it with him). He was so excited he could hardly stand it - because TODAY he was going to ride Alien Swirling Saucers! We were through the tapstyles by 8:35 and could see the crowd ahead as they were held back for the Official Opening. I explained to him how the crowd would mostly be going to Slinky Dog Dash, which he was not interested in riding. We walked through Keystone Clothiers, and he picked out some things he thought I should get. 7-year olds have hilarious fashion sense.

    A glance out the door showed the crowds start to move, and we joined them. Sure enough, the marjority of the people lined up for SDD, and we walked right past them (the line was backed up almost to the entrance of Toy Story Land when we walked by). We went straight to Alien Swirling Saucers, and walked right on. It was a fun little ride, great for kids who want something a little more exciting than Dumbo but are not interested in coasters. Corban shrieked and giggled with every sling of the saucer, and when it stopped, begged me to do it again. We returned to the queue, and walked right on again. When the ride stopped, the queue had backed up a little bit, and Corban said he was done.

    Time: 9:06. Whoa. We had an hour to kill before we could do Muppets, which was the only other thing he wanted to do at the Studios. I had made a FP+ for Frozen singalong, which he didn't know about, for 10, so I figured we'd go to the XBox Disney Infinity video game room, let him play, grab a little snack, then surprise him with the FP+. Sounds good, right? I mean, he's a boy, but he loves the Frozen songs. He and I learned to sing and sign Love Is An Open Door 4 years ago and I just knew he would love this!

    Except he didn't. He loved the video game time. He was too excited for a snack. He knew I had a surprise planned. We walked up to the attraction, I told him what it was, and his face just dissolved - first into confusion, then into defiance. "Mom, I am 7. I do not do Frozen. This is crazy." Pretty much his exact words. After about 10 minutes of me trying to coax him into it, I remembered that this was HIS day and he didn't want to do it. So we headed towards Muppets. (Later in the week, he very sweetly and solemnly approached me and asked me if I had wanted to do Frozen; I told him I did, but it was okay. He tearfully told me he was so sorry he had made me miss it. This was after a small meltdown I had with the kids when they were complaining about something minor and I may have told them about how I had bypassed things I wanted to do because I wanted them to be happy...)

    The walk to Muppets was a little tense, as he was still indignant that I had tried to get him to see the Frozen show. But the second he saw the kiosk outside of Muppets with plush Muppet Babies, his demeanor lightened up and he was all grins. He loves Animal on Muppet Babies. It's weird, 'cause he's only seen the show a few times, but he's just hooked. He wanted to purchase it, but I reminded him he only had a little money left. We went inside and Corban giggled throughout the pre-show, then again through the main event. We visited the Muppet shop afterwards, where he wanted everything he saw. Of course.

    Having completed the only 3 things he wanted to do at the Studios (Alien Swirling Saucer, XBox lounge, and Muppets), we departed the park and headed for the boat launch to the International Gateway at Epcot. We had a lovely conversation with a lady who was doing her annual visit to WDW, solo as usual, and was on her way to Fantasia MiniGolf before she went to the MVMCP. Corban entertained her with his own sheep jokes (Why is the sheep in time-out? He was Baaaaddddd.)

    The boat ride was quite relaxing, though it took a while. We didn't mind. The gift shop at the International Gateway was our first stop - Corban was ready to make a pressed penny. No luck with the "right" ornament yet. I wanted to pick up some stocking stuffers for my mom, MIL, and SIL in France, so we went there first. By then, Corban was hungry and begging for Orange Chicken in China. I knew it would be a while before we made it over there, so I bribed him with Gelato from France after I picked up a few small stocking stuffers. We sat on a bench between France and Morrocco while he
    enjoyed his ice cream. We stopped again in Japan for more stocking stuffers at Mitsukosi, then in Italy where Corban befriended the CM working in the little shop behind the wine store. She gave him a long string of Italy stickers. On to Germany, where he wanted every single Steiff plush they had. Finally: China! He had his usual orange chicken, I had the mongolian beef noodles. I picked up a few more stocking stuffers, and then on to Mexico. I found some Jose Cuervo chocolates for my brother's stocking there.

    We still had not found the right ornament, and Corban decided he wanted a Mission:Space one - which doesn't exists as far as I can tell. He rode the ride, then purchased the X-2 model in the gift shop. We visited Club Cool for a little drink, then back to World Showcase. The Yukon booth had a very interesting dessert - Maple Buche de Noel - maple mousse rolled in Gingerbread chiffon cake with cranberry sauce and pecan crumble - and it was worth every calorie! Corban had the chocolate chip drizzled cookie. He ate half of it, then we stopped in the UK before heading back to the International Gateway.

    We still hadn't found an ornament he liked. I pulled up the Shop Disney app, and searched "Mission". 3 things appeared: a t-shirt and 2 pins. I went to the nearby pin cart and they had them both. One was round with a rocket that moved, and it could easily double as a Christmas Tree ornament, so we purchased it and Corban couldn't be happier!

    The boat ride back was uneventful. I pulled up my Map App and we followed our progress on the boat. We disembarked at the Studios and made our way back to the van. I kid you not - Corban skipped from the parking lot in the morning and skipped back into it in the afternoon. I was a little tired, but no skipping for me this time!

    We were back at the condo by 3:30. Jason finished work around 5:30, and we decided to have pizza in our condo then go play mini golf at the Mystic Dunes mini golf course. I cooked a couple of pizzas, enjoyed some more of the wine we brought, and then we all walked to the Activity Center to get our clubs and golf balls. The course was right across the street from the Activity Center, and we were playing by 7pm. Everything was going great until about 7:30, when Abel started to complain about his stomach.

    One of Abel's many issues is his diet. He eats very little other than carbs (lots of bread, plain pasta, etc.). So he has chronic constipation. He's done better with it in the last couple of weeks, but we've been at the ER 3 times in the past year due to it. I took him back to the room and gave him some miralax (prescribed by his doctor), but nothing helped besides lying on his side in the fetal position. Oh, and on the way back to the condo, I stepped in a hole and fell and twisted my ankle - it was a lovely blue color the next day!

    Jason and the other boys arrived about an hour later, and we all climbed into the big bed and watched Polar Express together. Crowded? For sure. But priceless. Lights out for me and Abel around 11, with him telling me all about what he wanetd to do tomorrow on his date with me.

  20. #20
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    Day 6: Wednesday, December 19

    Date day with Abel! He and I awoke at 7:15 and he was ready to go. We were out the door by 8, with plans to head to Hollywood Studios, then Animal Kingdom. On the way there, he mentioned that the only thing there he wanted to ride was Alien Swirling Saucers, which he had never done before. I described the ride to him, and was met with silence. I asked what was wrong, and he said he thought it would be like bumper cars, and if it wasn't, then he wasn't really interested.

    Deep breath. This is Abel's day.

    On to Animal Kingdom. Which was super easy because we were staying at Mystic Dunes, less than 10 minutes away from AK. We arrived and parked by 8:15, and walked up to the gates. He had no interest in any rides, he just really wanted to see all of the animals on the trails. That sounded fine to me! We went through the no-bag line, then ducked into Rainforest Cafe for breakfast. But while we were waiting for the hostess, he said he wasn't even hungry and since I had had my protein shake in the car, we just browsed the shop for a half hour or so. He fell in love with several things, most of them feline-related. There were these large stuffed lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs that he was determined to purchase. We decided we would return for lunch.

    We used the Rainforest park entrance and scanned our MB's, then headed into the Oasis, passing DeVine on the way. The crowds were pretty thick, but it was a nice feeling to know we wouldn't be fighting any of them! We visited every animal in the Oasis, and watched a CM feeding the ducks some breakfast (lettuce). Abel is an animal lover, and had some great questions for the CM's and answered all of their trivia questions correctly. We especially liked the wallaby's.

    Pandora was right there, and Abel remembered we had ridden Na'avi River earlier in the year. He wondered if the line would be long right at opening and I guessed it wouldn't, so we decided to give it a try. And I was right - not a single person in line, and we walked right on. Abel enjoyed all of the unusual creatures and the lighting, but didn't want to ride again.

    Abel's number 1 priority was the Maharaja Jungle Trek, so he could see the Tigers. We went straight there and learned that they don't open until 10am. We visited with the Gibbons and learned some great facts about them. The two colonies got into a screaming match while we were there, which the CMs said happens pretty regularly. It was pretty funny, reminded me of my kids at times.

    With time to kill, we decided to go the the Boneyard. Of course, upon arriving, we discovered that they also didn't open until 10. Triceratops Spin was right there with no wait, and so I asked Abel if he wanted to ride. He went back and forth on it and finally decided to do it. We climbed aboard, with Abel in the front and me in the back. He got to drop us and lift us and I was really surprised as he doesn't like that "drop" feeling. When it was over, there was no line so we stayed on but switched places. And when our 2nd ride was over, he climbed in the front with me and we rode a 3rd time. He was done when we finally landed, and we headed to the Dinoland gift shop, then the Dinosaur gift shop. We laughed at the funny t-shirts, but he didn't want to buy anything.

    The Boneyard finally opened, and Abel just wanted us to dig for fossils together. We were the only people in there at 10am, but Abel had worn his crocs that day and the pebbles were getting in his shoes and it was causing him anxiety. He asked the CM if he could take his shoes off and the CM said no, so we left. The walk back to Maharaja was quick, and we began the trail.

    We visited the other animals that were out (not many as it was chilly, probably 55 degrees) and finally came to the Tigers. The juvenile was hanging out by himself, kind of in the distance, and we couldn't really see him. We moved on to the aviary, and just outside of the aviary, the female was close by. Abel sat and watched her for about 15 minutes. He was just zoned out, watching, loving every second. We finally left, finished the trail, and headed to Africa.

    Abel was tired and getting hungry, so we just went in the gift shop there by Kilimanjaro. I bought my nephew one of the wooden frogs that sounds like a real frog for Christmas. Hard to explain. We were looking for our Christmas tree ornament to commemorate our day, but finding nothing we really liked. We did stop at a shop and found a Hei Hei t-shirt that we bought for Jason.

    Our stroll back to Rainforest included stopping to watch more animals, and after looking around the store again, we put in our name with our Landry's card at the desk; we were seated just one minute later, right next to the fish tank. Abel ordered the kid's hot dog with corn (came with 2 small hot dogs), and since I am trying to watch calories, I searched the menu for non-fried, non-covered-in-sauce- entrees; no luck. There was grilled chicken on the kids menu, and I asked our waitress if there was an adult version. She said no. I asked if I could order the kids meal, and she said yes, but I could tell she "checked out" at that moment. No more enthusiasm, I guess she thought our check wouldn't be a lot so small tip? I don't know. I do know I intended to tip as if I had ordered a regular entree, but of course she couldn't know that. Our food arrived (my grilled chicken came with rice and steamed broccoli), and we played tic tac toe and talked while we ate. When our bill arrived, I asked about an AP discount, but was told it was only for adult entrees. Our bill was less than $20, but I tipped $8, which I think is great. Oh well.

    We returned to the gift shop where Abel decided to buy the giant stuffed cheetah and I got a cinch backpack that would fit in my pocket in case we bought souvenirs in the next few days. At the gift shop right by the bus stop entrance, we found a round wood Animal Kingdom magnet and decided that we could easily drill a hole in the top and turn it into a Christmas tree ornament. Abel was not interested in going anywhere else, so we headed back to the condo. We were back by 1:30.

    The afternoon was spent taking a nap, and then we decided to head to Epcot for the evening. It was starting to rain lightly, so we grabbed umbrellas and ponchos and enjoyed the night anyway. First up was The Seas with Nemo. No one wanted to do the ride, so we planned to walk in through the gift shop. Of course, right as we walked up, Corban said he wanted to ride, then everyone followed suit, so we ended up in a couple of clamshells. We disembarked in the aquarium and were heading for Turtle Talk, when Abel began to grimace in pain. He was having those terrible stomach cramps again. Jason took Corban & Jonah into Turtle Talk while Abel and I sat down for a while.

    Jason said that Crush called on Corban, asked for his name, then called him "Corbs" which is the nickname Corban is trying to make happen for himself, so he was very happy. Of course Crush then asked Corbs who he was with and found Jason, and then talked to Jason for a bit. By the time they were finishing up, Abel was feeling better, so he and I went in to the next show. Abel claims he didn't like it, but I saw several smiles on his face. So I know better.

    We visited around the aquarium, then went to The Land. We were going to eat there at Sunshine Seasons, but nothing looked really good. Everyone wanted burgers (except Abel, he doesn't eat them). So we braved the drizzle and walked over to Electric Umbrella. We all had burgers and fries (Abel ate my fries), and then we decided to go back to The Land to ride Living With the Land. But we got there at 7:05 and they had just closed...bummer.

    I didn't have any FP+'s for M:S or Test Track, but we knew the line for M:S wouldn't be long, so that's where we went next. Corban was excited to ride again, and I think we rode it twice that night. We were about done, but decided to see what the line was like for Soarin'. Short! We walked back over to The Land and got in line. The sign said the line was 20 minutes long, but we walked right on. Corban was a bit nervous, and Abel flat-out refused to ride, so he waited at the exit. But Corban ended up loving it! It was right around 9pm, and we were ready to go back to the condo. Spaceship Earth had no line either, so we rode that. It stopped at least 5 times for extended periods of time throughout the ride, and I nearly fell asleep when we were stopped going backwards.

    Back to the condo we went. Tomorrow was kind of up in the air. I left the day free on purpose. Jason didn't have to work anymore on this trip, and we were leaving the condo Friday morning, so I was planning to do some laundry and pack Thursday. But I wasn't sure what else would happen.
    Last edited by my3rascals; 01-01-2019 at 07:41 PM.

  21. #21
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    Day 7: Thursday, December 20

    We knew the weather would be rainy and windy today, but the forecast when we woke up was calling for up to 70 mph winds. Whoa. Jason didn't have to work, and we had planned to go to a park. However, the rain and his terrible cold that didn't seem to be getting any better solidified the decision to take the day off. I decided I wasn't staying in all day, I had a little more Christmas shopping to do, so I ran to Chick fil a to get breakfast for my crew, then went first to the outlet mall on Vineland then the TJ Maxx near our condo. It rained pretty hard all morning while I was out. I made just a couple of purchases at the outlet mall - nothing at the Disney outlet, which is unusual - and picked up a few stocking stuffers at TJ Maxx. Lunch at Pollo Tropical for the first time for me, and I headed back to the condo by 2pm.

    I took a little nap, and it was then that the rain and wind kicked into high gear. I personally love listening to storms while I'm snuggled up in bed, but I don't think my kids enjoy it so much. When I saw that the forecast was showing skies clearing up by 6-7pm, we decided we'd go to Disney Springs to see a movie (Mary Poppins was the plan). We drove over to Disney Springs, parking in the orange lot, and went to the box office to purchase tickets. Unfortunately, most of the times were sold old, and the only one that had 5 seats available had them all on the front row, which we didn't want to do. So that was out. We decided to go to LEGO and grab some dinner on the way. Pizza Pointe was where Jason and I ate in January, and it was good, so that's where we stopped. The pizza slices were huge, and of course my crew was happy because we could eat pizza every day and be fine with it.

    At the LEGO store, Abel was able to play with the LEGO Boost robot, which he has been wanting for a while now. It's $160, and we had already purchased it for him for Christmas, but HE didn't know that! He spent an hour trying to figure out how he could buy it, and was especially disappointed in himself because he had enough to buy it in November, but he bought so many small things that there wasn't enough left. I tried to remind him Christmas was coming, he would get money from grandparents, but he was pretty discouraged. He purchased a small LEGO set, as did Corban, and Jonah bought Corban a Christmas gift there.

    We then went to do a first for us, Ghiradelli Fountain! I haven't been there in 20 years, but I knew the kids would love it. I guess the rain sent everyone home, because here it was 8pm on a Thursday at Disney Springs and there was no line at Ghiradelli. I ordered the brownie Sunday, Jonah had the Mint Bliss, and Corban and Abel each had a scoop of chocolate. Jason went to Starbucks for an espresso and donut (yuck). We even were able to get a hard-to-find table inside, and we enjoyed our desserts for about 20 minutes. I wanted to go back to Basin, where I had found the most delicious Lime Sugar lip balm Sunday, so I could purchase a few tubes for stocking stuffers for the girls in my family, so Abel and I headed that way. The rest of the crew joined us, and all 3 boys discovered the joy of the sugar scrub hand wash (said in a sarcastic voice, as they thought it was gross).

    We were on our way back to the van after Basin, and back in the room by 10pm. I put on one more load of laundry, finished packing everything I could, Jason cooked up the french fries for a late snack and everyone drank milk. We would be checking out in the morning and moving over to Riverside for one night before we began our journey home. But wait! A Surprise! Stay Tuned...

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    121
    Day 8: Friday, December 21

    Our plan was to check out of the condo, drive over to Animal Kingdom for the morning, then check into Riverside, and end up at Epcot for the night. So I was up at 7am to get ready, finish the little packing we had left, and cook what breakfast food remained. Everyone was ready to move over to Riverside, and we had the van loaded and ready to go by 8am. I just had to call to let the front desk know we were leaving, and drop the keys in the box by the gate.

    We parked at AK and started making our way to the gate. Halfway there, Abel realized he left his magic band in the van, so he and I returned to get it. We continued up through bag check no-bag line (whoop!) and got in the turnstyle line...at which time Jonah realized that HE too had left his magic band in the van. Jason took him back to get it while Abel, Corban, and I visited the animals in the Oasis. They finally caught up with us at the Oasis. Today's plans weren't huge. In fact, we had no specific plans other than Expedition Everest and the Maharaja trek. So we made our way to EE first. We did not have any FP+'s (all of our FP+'s were for that night at Epcot), so Jonah and I rode in the stand by line (10 minutes long). Jason and the other boys didn't want to ride, so they hung out in the gift shop. Corban fell in love with a cute little Yeti Kitty, and had to buy it.

    We departed EE and headed to Dinoland, where Jonah and I queued up to ride Primevil Whirl and Jason took the other two to Triceratops Spin. But the PW line barely moved in the 15 minutes we were there, so we left the line. Next we all headed to Maharaja Jungle Trek, where Abel was thrilled to see the 2 juvenile tigers taking a nap together. We learned many interesting things about them that day from the CM.

    Africa was up next, only so I could get another one of those croaking frogs for my other nephew for Christmas. Jonah went with me and bought one for Abel as well for Christmas, as I told him Abel wanted one pretty badly but was running low on money. (Spoiler - Abel was so excited to open it Christmas Eve!) We were done by then and made our way to the front, and when we were just about 10 steps from our car, the bottom opened up and the rain poured down! Perfect timing!

    We drove over to Riverside, and by the time we parked at the front lobby at 12pm, the rain had slowed to a drizzle. We were all ready for some good lunch, so we went to the food court. Corban had cheese pizza, Abel had nothing because he wasn't hungry, Jonah had the bacon cheeseburger, I had the brisket cheeseburger, and Jason had the make-your-own-pasta bowl. All was good except the pizza. No worries, Corban ate all my fries. I only ate half of my burger, Jonah finished it off with no problem.

    While we were eating, we received the text that our room was ready. We were in building 27, which was right next to the preferred rooms. In fact, we didn't even need to move our car because we were so close to the lobby! I sent Jason and Jonah out to the van to get our one small bag and the laptop bag, and they returned pretty quickly. We made our way to the room, where Jason promptly fell asleep. Jonah was playing on his Nintendo Switch, so Corban, Abel, and I headed to the Arcade. We had 3 Arcade cards left from our visit in November, so I didn't even have to purchase cards. But I did buy 25 minutes in the massage chair!

    We went back to the room, and Jason surprised me big time. We were supposed to check out and head home Saturday, 12/22, which was the next day. But Jason was lamenting the fact that he didn't make it to the Studios at all, or back to the MK. What did we have to return on Sunday for? I looked at the calendar and we had nothing scheduled. Why couldn't we stay another night? I called the front desk and asked about adding a night to our stay, but it was booked solid.

    I spent a little time online, and found out that I could book one more night at Riverside at rack rate, which was well over $300. Jason wasn't interested in that. The kids put on their swimsuits and we took them to the Swimmin' Hole at Ol' Man Island. Y'all, it couldn't have been more than 62 or 63 outside, and we were passing people all bundled up but my kids were just in their swim trunks! Jason ordered a couple of margaritas for us, and the kids swam for about 15 minutes then the clouds came and the sprinkles started. We let the kids stay about 15 more minutes, hoping the storm would pass, but it was just getting windier and cooler. So back to the room we went.

    We had FP+'s for Test Track that night at 7pm, so we headed to the bus stop at 5:30. The ride over was quick, and we started out with M:S two times, then Jonah got his usual croissant donut and Jason grabbed his ice cream. Test Track was next, and while we were waiting in line, Jason once again expressed regret that we were not staying another night. I realized he was very serious about this thing, so I started looking up rates on my phone. I found a great rate at All Star Music for one night ($167 including tax) and even though we were a party of 5 in a room for 4 (shhhhhh!), for one night I was willing to be a rebel and do it. Jason was so happy when I told him!

    On to the World Showcase. We had missed everything from Japan to Canada on our previous visits that week, so that's what we planned to do that night. As we approached WS, we realized the boat was about to load up so we hopped on and disembarked right at Morocco. Everyone made a quick bathroom trip, then it was off to France. Jason went to Les Halles, where he ordered dinner for himself and me (ham and cheese croissants) and a creme brulee along with a hot chocolate. I took the boys to get gelato, and we sat outside and waited for Jason. Dinner was just lovely, sitting at a nice little table there in France, and it was a cool 55 degrees or so, making it really feel wintery (I'm a NC girl, so anything belo 60 is wintery to me!).

    Jonah was hungry as well, and wanted fish and chips, so we walked over to the UK and ordered that for him and tea for Jason. Abel decided at the last second he would try it as well, so we got two orders. Abel rarely tries new things, so if he's interested, I don't ask questions, I just get it and hope he likes it. We sat on the waterfront and Jonah practically inhaled his fish and chips (he said it was slightly better than the ones he had at the 3 Broomsticks at Universal). Abel ate half of one piece of fish, which I was thrilled about, I ate the other half, and Jonah finished off the rest.

    We visited a few of the shops in the UK, then wondered back towards the front. We stopped at the Yukon kiosk, where they were about to close it down. We ordered one of the beef pockets, one salmon, and one maple cake. Jonah requested the salmon, surprising me again. He ate a little but didn't like it. Jason liked the beef pocket. I enjoyed my cake. The expediter saw that Corban wanted a cookie but I didn't buy him one, so asked me if it was okay if he snuck him one. I said yes. Corban was so excited, he even offered to share with Abel, who was so excited he didn't complain even a bit when Corban's half was bigger than his!

    As we passed Club Cool on the way out, we saw it was still open so we stopped for one last sample. I tried the Beverly for the first time in years, thinking that it really can't be all that bad. I was wrong. It was so much worse than I remembered. The boys enjoyed that little episode!

    The bus ride back was quick, and we were bundled up in the bed in no time at all. I spent time trying to get some FP+'s for Magic Kingdom the next night, and we were all out by midnight.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    898
    It’s always a great trip when the parents don’t want it to end! Hope the extra night works out.

  24. #24
    Senior Member lovett1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    880
    We need a follow-up! How was the lego robot reveal on Christmas???
    Feb 2019-Festival of the Arts (POFQ); Nov 2018-40th Birthday Trip (Pop); Aug 2018-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil), Nov 2017-Wine & Dine 5K (Pop), Aug 2017-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil); May 2017-Tinkerbell 10K (Disneyland); Novr 2016-Wine & Dine 10K (POFQ); Aug 2016-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil); Nov 2015-1st Solo Trip (All-Star Movies); Aug 2015-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil); Aug 2014-"Family" Trip (Parc Soleil)

  25. #25
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    4,299
    I love how spontaneous you are! I always pack too much into our plans.

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