View Full Version : Back and life already spinning out of control :)

05-09-2009, 04:20 AM
Hi everyone! I'm sorry I haven't kept up well since we got back August 13th. It seems like a life time ago because of graduate school and my son returning to school. So to sum up our vacation...it was fantastic! In this sharing of vacation please realize this is no type of order.

The first thing I want to mention is how much we loved French Quarter! Almost everyone there were so nice and helpful! My son finally realized after a few days there that people knew his name. CM's were always so welcoming to us. Our room was in building four in the corner by the restaurant. We were conveniently located to the central building and the pool. The room was always clean and we even got two animal towel surprises! So our first experience in a moderate resort was tremendous.

Daniel experienced the bayou pirate cruise out of Riverside. The resort was nice but noticeably bigger. The CMs weren't as friendly. They looked like they had too much to do to be able to show a relaxed and fun personality. They were all fine (I'm not trying to be negative about them). So Daniel had fun with the experience. When he returned we walked around a bit and enjoyed the resort.

The schedule I had originally composed went to the wayside immediately. Most of the time we spent as much relaxing time as possible. I refused to carry my cell phone or a watch and just asked people the time once and a while because of reservations. In fact, at one point I asked a woman the time without really looking at her (watching my son) and she turned out to be a friend who's children went to Daniel's school but the family had moved to Texas over a year ago :).

We started out losing a day because the plane took off without us and someone else in our little home town airport. They preceded to say that they called our names (no way) and that it was our fault that the plane had already taken off by the time of our tickets. Okay, so I'll take partial fault but these people also left without the guy who had fallen asleep in the chair right in front of the boarding door. So instead of getting to Orlando at 10am, we got in at 6:30 pm.

Probably our favorite park was Animal Kingdom. We spent three days there and would have spent more had we had more time. My son fell in love with Kali River Rapids his first time on the ride. We had lunch at Tusker House and loved it so much that we had to go back in the morning for breakfast. When we told the manager how much we loved it and wanted to come back, she fit us into the reservations. Breakfast was awesome too! We saw the Finding Nemo Musical and loved it! What a fantastic musical! Of course we couldnt' miss the Lion King show either!

We had a great time at Hollywood Studios. Daniel made his Darth Maul lightsaber. He had me take many pictures of him on the speeder outside of the Star Wars ride. I was happy to see that at one point there was a Photopass photographer there. Daniel loved the Pizza Planet and I always love the SciFi. We didn't spend nearly as much time there as I thought we would and so missed the shows and most rides. I made my son watch the Beauty and the Beast musical and he was nice enough to sit there and not whine.

For Epcot we had a nice time, but I was so exhausted. My son stayed in the stroller most of the time and so he lasted whole days :) We had our most fun at Innoventions. We must have went on the Finding Nemo ride 5 times. He loved doing the Kim Possible adventure but toward the end there were 4 other groups finishing the same mission. It kind of dampened the experience a little. Daniel loved the Mexican Pavilion boat ride but the Norwegian one scared him. We got out faces painted (I'll try to post pic). It was so hot but we got our faces done early evening and so held out with the makeup on for the night. We ate at the French restaurant and saw Chef Remy. There is a dynamic woman who takes him around on a serving cart and has interaction with him. They even did a dance together and she was a great singer. We also had dinner in Morroco, and UK. Both were outstanding meals!

Magic Kingdom will always have my heart out of the all of the parks. I finally talked Daniel into going on Splash Mountain toward the end of vacation! We probably rode on that at least 5 times (thank you Fast Passes). We spent one day in celebration of his birthday and went on his choice rides for the day (over and over and over and over...). We had a wonderful meal at Crystal Palace but sometimes I just got plain tired of waiting for characters at the meals. It really doesn't take me and my 6-yr-old an hour to eat at a buffet, so most often we would be sitting at the table bored for a while .

We had pre-purchased the Photopass CD and so I made sure to watch for the photographers. I found much less than I had 2 years ago. In all, after searching for them everyday and having them take lots of pics, we had maybe 90 pics out of 9 days of vacation. I also found the photographers were more fun at AK. I like unusual and unposed pics, or overposed pics (unless it's a session of course). The photographers at AK were excited when I told them what I wanted and tried to be creative. I also had some luck at the other parks but most often they would look at me like I was crazy.

We ate at the restaurants previously mentioned and also ate at Chef Mickey's (b & d), which was good. O'hana's was interesting because they messed up the reservations and gave us a table in the allergy section and seated someone else at the table set for Daniel's birthday. Garden Grill at Epcot was very tasty and fun. We ofen ate at FQ although when at AK I went to the quick service in Asia and picked up fried rice to take back to the resort one night. The refillable mugs were a great value for us. Daniel was excited about the Coke place at Epcot and so we had to stop there a few times. For the snack credits left over I picked up big lollipops for souveniers to bring home.

We also spent a short time at Downtown Disney. T-Rex although expensive was tasty. The desert was the volcano one which was quite costly for only two people to be eating but tasted so good it was worth it. Daniel had to get a build-a-dinosaur. He rather enjoyed that. We also did the Mr. Potato Head box of parts. He now has parts for stormtroopers and Darth Vader. Later we pulled out the parts and he realized he only got one pirate ear and so I went back to the store and asked to buy one. The salesperson did not make me pay the typical $2.49 and gave us the ear. He also sold us a spare Head for $2.49 (better price than Walmart). We of course went to the Lego store and my son begged and pleaded for sets that cost over $100 (nice try son). He did get a set for $40 but paid for half of it himself.

If I were to pick out things I'd like to share to someone going to WDW:
Port Oleans French Quarter was awesome.
Buy the refillable mugs if going for more than a few days.
Sometimes it was worth renting a stroller than using the umbrella one we owned because the rentals are taller (I'm 5'10" and the umbrella started to hurt my back).
It was so nice to veer away from plans and simply relax.
Nothing ever goes as planned anyway ;)
Preorder the Photopass and make sure to utilize it the way you want (or get a refund when you get home if you don't like the pics)
Park Hopper was worth the $50 for us to have the freedom to switch parks whenever we wanted (and we did a lot).
The basic dining plan is sufficient but we did pay for a couple out of pocket meals until we learned how to better utilize our snack credits (the fried rice, etc.)
Magic is reciprocal: When I tried to hand out magic I got more back and vice versa!

I had a lot of fun sharing with you! If you've gotten this far through my chatter, thank you for spending the time trying to decipher this! Really, we had so much fun and experienced so much magic! if anyone wants to know of any other experiences just let me know. I'd be more than happy to share info!

P.S. 90% sure we're going back in October for MNSSHP. We went in 2007 and had a blast! Can't wait...and didn't tell Daniel ;)

05-09-2009, 07:42 AM
Sounds like you had an absolutley wonderful trip. :yes:
We do however NEED to see the photo of your painted faces :lol:

05-09-2009, 03:06 PM
Here are some pictures from our trip. The face painting took place at Epcot. I also included my favorite magic shot for the trip (go Stitch!). The rest are just some favs. The painted faces pic is from my son's camera and the rest are Photopass pics. And yes, we really did have a wonderful trip :)

05-09-2009, 03:07 PM
Wow those pictures turned out huge! I should probably get more savvy on posting!

05-09-2009, 03:11 PM
great pix hun....if they are toooooo big the forums auto resize them so these are ok :)

05-09-2009, 03:56 PM
They are fantastic photos ....made me smile :D
DH and I often dare each other to have our faces painted but we always chicken out!!!!

06-09-2009, 11:28 AM
Good luck with the next semester, I start yet another semester on Wednesday! :D I lived in Valpo for a year and enjoyed the lovely school there. (not sure if that's where you go). I was also born in LaPorte. :D

Love the face painting. Does it come off easily?

I'm so glad you both had a wonderful time!

06-09-2009, 02:19 PM
Thank you for wishing luck! I am from South Bend but go to Andrews in Berrien. I'm trying not to lose my "fire" but sometimes it's so hard. Undergrad was a gimme compared to this EdS program. I have an uncle who lives in LaPorte. Where are you going to school and what do you want to be when you grow up?

The face paint came off very easy! Daniel got his face painted at AK as a dinasaur one morning and it was off within the hour...lol. Every chance he had he was trying to wipe it off because it was so hot outside :)

06-09-2009, 02:32 PM
Good to know about the paint! I may give it a go.

I also have family in South Bend. Oh yes, undergrad was easy compared the PsyD program I'm in. I go to school in a suburb of Chicago. I have two years left of course work and then I'm off to internship (hopefully, keeping the fingers crossed).

06-09-2009, 02:49 PM
PsyD sounds challenging :) I'm thinking of switching from school psych to counseling psych (depends on this semester). Either one will ultimately need to have a d at the end. I was going to try Chicago School of Psychology but decided on Andrews. I will keep my fingers crossed for you too. I have a feeling that all will go well for you!

And yes, I highly recommend the painting! It really is for all ages! The only advice I have is to have it done later in the afternoon or evening. This is because of my son having his done so early that one time, and so he had some paint on his face (smeared) in the entire day's photos. Didn't really bother me because I just think he's so cute no matter what (Mother's right!), but may bother others.

06-09-2009, 02:55 PM
Thanks! I will keep mine also crossed for you! One semester at a time.