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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss Disneydarling long strange trip (MK and AK...pic heavy) in the Vacation Planning forums; By now you all may have tired of my plethora of one day trip reports…but I promise that this one is both info and pic heavy, with a little history ...
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    disneydarling's Avatar
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    Disneydarling long strange trip (MK and AK...pic heavy)

    By now you all may have tired of my plethora of one day trip reports…but I promise that this one is both info and pic heavy, with a little history and griping thrown in for good measure.

    I had planned a day trip with my friend (and my sons ex nanny) Cathy and her partner Shandi…as luck would have it they called me late Friday night to let me know that they had a family emergency and were unable to make it. So I hemmed and hawed for a bit…on the one hand its WDW, but on the other hand going to WDW alone with a two year old is sometimes more headache than its worth. Finally at about 8 am Saturday morning I decided to make a go of it.


    For those of you familiar with Florida, the only easy way to get to WDW from the north is to spend a bit of time on the Florida Turnpike…A TOLL road. I normally keep a change cup in my car for just such occasions, but had removed it earlier in the week to clean. So I find myself barreling down towards the turnpike without a dime to my name, one foot hovering over the gas (love cruise control) and one hand on the wheel while my spare limbs shuffle about for change. I came up with 2 nickels and a dime covered in some questionable sticky brown liquid – a bit short of the 6 bucks I need to get to WDW and back. I flew by a sign indicating that I was about approaching the last toll free exit and was somehow able to make it across two lanes of traffic and off the ramp unscathed. I figured I would find the first Publix or Winn Dixie and see if I could over write myself a check for cash.

    A couple of weeks ago I lost my debit card and have been waiting on a new one to arrive via snail mail. In the meantime I’ve kept my check book in my purse and have gotten quite proficient at signing my name. Now, I have a special Disney bag that I like to take whenever I go (its actually an old diaper bag). It has nice compartments and an insulated bottle carrier (now used to carry my soda and/or water bottle around the park). So I dumped everything from my purse into my Dapper Disney Diaper Bag and hit the proverbial road….problem is I left my checkbook on my kitchen counter. I tried to bargin with the cashier at Winn Dixie and offered her the 25 cents from my car plus a stick of stale gum, a hair tie, and a (used?) Kleenex that I found at the bottom of my bag in exchange for toll fare…she did not appreciate my humor (or my offer) but did suggest that I take a series of back roads to get to WDW….the formula went something like….”Take 44 east, no west, no east, definitely east to 27, go south on 27, and then there is another big road you need to turn left on, I think its 456 or maybe 298, but maybe you don’t need to do that at all to get to 192 which goes to Disney”

    I have a very keen sense of direction (its kind of like my secret super power) but I hesitated for two reasons: One the cashier had begun making strange hand motions and intense grimaces and seemed truly and utterly confused…and two; the alternate route was all Lake County, all the time.

    Lake is the county which separates my county (Marion) from WDW, and I am fairly convinced that’s its roads and thoroughfares were put together by a committee that could not agree (or by one schizophrenic with multiple personalities). Just last month I had a meeting in Tavares (about an hour south of my office) but ended up an hour late after driving in circles between Okahumpka and Clermont…(real names). Lake county is not my friend…but neither is filling out mountains of paper work at each toll and mailing in the fee at a later date. So I left Winn Dixie heading east (or was it west) on 44.

    As I traversed Lake county I happened upon Schofield road, which is the road my old college roommate lived on. I use to go home with her on breaks and was enamored with her house. It was an old farm house surrounded by orange groves as far as the eye could see. We use to take the horses out and sneak into groves to steal ripe oranges – you have not lived until you have eaten an orange right off the tree, the juice is so sweet and hot from the sun…hmmm. There was a lake across from her house where, on warm days, we would put on bikinis and swim the horses. The coolest part about her place was that you could see the contemporary and the skyline of the MK from her porch and at night you could see the fireworks in the distance. Her property was actually adjacent to the grove of trees that is shaped like a giant HM that you can only see from the sky. We rode over there once and found the gate unlocked and decided to ride the perimeter of the HM. Half way through we smelled something terrible and found the carcass of a beheaded cow in the center of the HM which was very disturbing and very un-disney, but also neither here nor there and completely irrelevant to the tale at hand…the point is that when I went in search of her house again I found instead…A subdivision, and a golf course!!!!

    Growth (much of which has been encouraged by WDW) is rapidly changing the landscape of Florida – I would urge all of you to take a couple of days during your next Fl holiday to spend visiting the real (and vanishing) Florida. It always amazes me how many people come to Florida and never leave Orlando (arguably one of the uglier areas of the state). Just an hour or so drives north you would find rolling hill, huge oak trees, thick sub tropical jungles, and freshwater springs.

    Anyways…to make a long story even longer I did finally make to WDW via 192 (woo hoo)
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    disneydarling's Avatar
    disneydarling is offline ...and the mome raths outgrabe
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    It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, nice breeze and brisk temperatures….a perfect day, I thought, for Animal Kingdom. Apparently at least 6 million other people felt the same way. That place was packed! It seems like everytime I have been to WDW lately it has been packed….sheesh, don’t they know that the park is for my personal enjoyment alone…what are all these people doing in MY park!?


    I have a number of criticisms of AK, but one thing it does have going for it is that it tends to disburse the masses pretty well. Between the exhibits and the walking trails you never seem to find the congestion so common to MK at AK.

    Our first order of business was “The Festival of the Lion King” Golly I love this show…and for some reason I cry every time. Something about acrobatic monkeys trips my sensitivity nerve. It was Rileys first time and he was in awe. I wish I could have captured the experience on film but every pic I took turned out dark and wobbly looking.

    After LK we went to visit Goofy, Rileys fave. I had dressed Ri in a pair of overalls I had handpainted with a Goofy theme, they were a big hit with the man himself!
    Ri sharing secrets with Goof


    Face painting has become somewhat of a tradition so I requested that the CM ( a very hansome man from St. Croix) paint Goofy in lieu of a jungle animal – he was happy to oblige and made small talk about my puffy paint art work in the meantime. As I was ringing out a woman came up to him yelling in Spanish “Pharmacia pharmacia!”. The CM seemed truly bewildered so I stepped in…
    Me: ”Do you need a doctor, medicine”…
    Lady: ”Yes yes medicine”
    Me: What kind of medicine?
    At this point she started making somewhat grotesque gestures with her hands in the proximity of her derriere
    Lady: “How you say in English..too make explosive poo – poo”
    Me : “Ummm…diarrhea?”

    The CM was grateful for my intercession and more than a little embarrassed and flustered by the Spanish ladies diarrhea charades. I think we had a moment

    Rafikis planet watch was next. Riley hugged Rafiki and yelled “No, stranger!” when Pocahontas made a move on him. The goats outside are always fun, but for some reason Riley seemed to decide the choice of brush was more important the actual act of brushing the goat, and subsequently spent most of his time trading brushes.
    Rafiki signs Jens card


    Brushing a goat


    Brush Selection.......an endangered art form


    This trip was also somewhat of a good cheer mission for our own Bamajen who was just diagnosed with thyroid cancer – while I do not know her personally, I do know cancer personally, and wanted to do something special for her..so I bought a get well card and had a bevy of characters sign it. Going a step further I decided to collect a bit of WDW to send to her. So I carried along some small zip lock baggies and filled them with soil and pebbles from around the World. One CM stopped to ask me what I was doing (I was putting a handful of dirt into a bag) in a very suspicious tone, I told him the truth…but not before seriously considering some oh so witty and sarcastic response…”I am collecting soil to clone in the lab so that one day I too shall be ruler of a mighty multi national conglomerate”

    We caught up with Pooh et al. just outside Dino Land..the line wasn’t long but I have an uncanny ability to decide to join a line just as the characters go on break…so we waited a bit longer than predicted…but it was sooooo worth it. Riley loved seeing Pooh and friends!












    We also managed to run into Goofy one last time, garwsh, what are the chances




    On the way out we stopped at Flametree BBQ…which was just ok. Lets just say they need to get a real southerner on staff to give them a lesson or two on BBQ – we take it awful serious here. True story – I was once on a committee meeting were the decision over what type of BBQ should be served at the banquet was a three hour, hotly debated, topic…which resulted in 2 boardmembers being asked to step down…oh my


    I left AK not really knowing where I would go next and last minute settled on Epcot…until I got into the parking lot and decided that it would be a lot of walking and not too many kid friendly rides/ attractions (esp with SSE closed). So we did a U-ey and went the MK route instead.

    We parked in row 15 million or some obscure character I had never even heard of (ok, so I might be stretching the truth just a tad…but we were way out there) and……to be continued tomorrow!
    Last edited by disneydarling; 11-04-2007 at 12:48 AM.
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    Tinker Bell is offline DisneyWorldTrivia.com Lifetime Pass
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    Great report Meg, looking forward to the rest!

    Love the overalls!


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    mini-V is offline Home at last near Mickey!
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    Your pics are precious and completely worth the hassle of trying to get to WDW by the "back way".
    There is nothing more "fun" than driving the toll roads of FL and going through the sunpass lane, expecting the sunpass to give you the go-ahead....and it bleeps instead. With cars coming in behind you, there's nothing else to do but keep going and pray the highway patrol isn't out looking for you.
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    Meg, this a GREAT report, Riley seems to be growing so fast!
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    Great report!
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    awe those pics are too cute, as are the overalls!
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    How cute is that Piglet picture!!!!






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    disneydarling's Avatar
    disneydarling is offline ...and the mome raths outgrabe
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    I have a thing about waiting for the parking trams…I simply cannot stand to sit still when I could be moving – and thus prefer to walk from car to entry gate. And contrary to what my southern roots might tell you, I also cannot stand moving slowly…..so me and my chubby patootie power walked though about a mile of MK parking lot…..feel the burn baby, feel the burn!

    We hopped the pink monorail and shared a cabin with a really nice French Canadian family who were sooooooooo excited about there first trip to WDW. They about blew a gasket when Cinderella Castle first came into view. Their enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I felt like I was seeing MK through fresh (and eager) eyes.

    For some reason (which may have been increased sensitivity on my part) there seemed to be an abundance of jerks at WDW. I’ve always appreciated how chipper and cheery everyone is when they visit but today was a sad exception for whatever reason. Jeez people it’s the happiest place on earth, how but a little good will and cheer!

    I had my first encounter with a rude person at the ticket gate. A woman literally sprinted to get in front of me (presumably so that she could hurry up and wait in line) which struck me as odd but I shrugged it off as mere tackiness….what she did next fairly floored me. After scanning her ticket she corked the line so that her 16 member party could catch up (they hadn’t even gotten through the bag check yet) and s-l-o-w-l-y scan each of their tickets…..some people sheesh.
    Sisterhood of the traveling pirate in the pants: charter member

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    Why do people have to be so annoying! You are too nice. I would have chewed her head off and then spit it at the rest of her slow party.
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    I love Main Street USA and decided to be fairly liberal with my picture taking.










    I tried to imagine which building that I would want to live in and settled on this one at the back of the alley…set back, unassuming, and easy to lose sight of if you are rushing about.



    The castle is literally dripping in lights, clearly visible only in close proximity. I can not wait to see her all lit up.





    If I may toot my own kazoo - this is a fantastic shot - it pretty much summarizes the MK....the romance of the rose garden, the ruggedness of the fronteir land like rocks, and the excitment of tommorowland in the distance



    I always loved this litlle building as well...it's very Pinnocish (and yes I know that Pinocish in not a word...but it fits)



    Our first stop was (as always) the teacups…unfortunately after about 5 minutes in line Ri lost his patience, and subsequently his right to ride. A lady behind me gave me a dirty look for removing him from line, but I refuse to raise a brat and have to stick by my guns on this one.




    I changed Ri into some cotton overalls and let him go wild over at Poohs Corner. He loves the water feature (as evidenced below) and I just love Poohs corner. I know most of you traditionalist are still bitter over the demise of 20,000 leagues (and I don’t blame you…I am still in mourning for Mr. Toad) but I never rode it (my mum is deeply claustrophobic) and have nothing to miss. I chatted with some other parents while the kids played.



    Last edited by disneydarling; 11-04-2007 at 10:01 PM.
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    disneydarling's Avatar
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    We meandered around fantasy land and Liberty Square for a bit and finally made our way back to Mickeys Toontown Fair and the…….drum roll please…Barnstormer. When I was about 4 or 5 my dad decided that I was big enough to ride Space Mountain. I disagreed. Vocally and flailingly. I disagreed all the way through the line and right up to the point that they sent us hurtling off into space (and to, in my preschool mind, our near certain death). I would like to think that todays CM would be empowered (encouraged even) to step in when a child is screaming bloody murder and going all stiff over a ride. But in the early 80’s there was still a "Daddy Knows Best" mentality and ride I did…..and it was a full 15 years past before I strapped myself into another death machine (and discovered that I loved it). I really want Riley to love roller coasters as much as I do now – for one they’re just good clean fun, and two, as a single parent either we both ride or neither of us do….and I won’t give up BTMR for anyone, sole heir or not!!

    I’ve attempted GB twice before but each time Ri chickened out before the big ride..and not wanting to repeat my Dads mistake, I haven’t made a big deal out of it.

    We finally made it all the way to the front of the line by harnessing Rileys love of all things locomotive and telling him it was a choo-choo ride. He happily climbed aboard and grinned all the way up the hill…..and then it got fast, and scary. Ri’s eyes got huge and he started doing baby Lamaze “he he he he he whooo”. All was made well at the end of the ride when the CM gave Ri his “First Time Rider” card. As we made our way towards the exit Riley sagely told everyone he saw “Dat choo-choo is too fast. Too fast.”

    Ri waiting in line




    All strapped in and ready to go



    Proud (and in one peice) at the end




    More to come tommorow!

    Sisterhood of the traveling pirate in the pants: charter member

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    Tinker Bell is offline DisneyWorldTrivia.com Lifetime Pass
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    Great stuff Meg, very well written! LOVE the pic of Ri holding his first time card. I hear you about the getting out of the queue because Ri was misbehaving, the hardest thing sometimes is keeping your word (in this case, not riding). You have to be consistent and mean things when you say them, not always easy.

    I can't wait to see the castle dripping in lights, when are they turning the lights on?


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    Chrissy&Tayen is offline counting down to my vacation
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    OH MY! what a busy time! an d i love love love his overalls!
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