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Ultimate Adventurer Grand Prize Trip Report: Day 1
Pretrip report and backstory Ultimate Adventurer Grand Prize Pre-Trip report!
Pictures from trip!
Main cast of characters:
Kathy, mom and winner of trip
Tim, dad and happy companion
Julie, 6 yr old adventurer
Katie, 4 yr old princess
We started our trip in Tampa -- Seminole, FL to be exact, only 5 minutes from Redington Shores beach. We swam in the pool, visited with relatives, made sand castles, and floated in the Gulf. We also got to visit one of our favorite attractions, the Lowry Park Zoo. It's a spectacular place with lots of animals and great theming.
After four days of sun and sand, we were headed to WDW!! On Monday, August 10th we started at an ungodly hour – 4:50am – after a very restless night. We were out the door around 6:20am, quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for live-saving caffeine, and mercifully didn’t hit any traffic or construction. The girls watched a Veggie Tales movie so it was a quiet ride until we reached near Disney, when it was all “I see a Disney sign” or “Look at the big Mickey ears!” Katie had me smiling when she said, “We’re going to Disney World where if you have a dream, it will come true.” That's my girl!
We pulled into the Wilderness Lodge at 8:15am and stopped at the security shack for our parking pass. The lady who was working there had “Xxxxx, CT” on her nametag – our home town. Turns out she grew up down the street from our house!! She still has relatives that live in town… knows my step-father-in-law… and attended the same school that my husband teaches at. We took this as a good sign at the start of our vacation.
We drove up to the hotel, thinking valet parking. We unloaded our bags and went inside to the Concierge check-in desk. We were taken upstairs to the 7th floor and given our tickets etc. by the staff. We took a quick look around – noticing the fantastic view of the lobby from the 7th floor and the yummy breakfast items available in the lounge!
NOT SO MAGICAL BUS TIME #1 (more to come): After happily checking out our new ‘home’ we headed out to the buses for Epcot. After waiting for a bus for about 10 minutes with a slew of other people (with no buses in sight), we quickly decided that it would be a better idea to use the car. So, off we went to retrieve the car.
PRETRIP REPORT PREDICTION #1: DH will have to remind me (AKA the park commando) at least 5 times that we are not in a rush to get anywhere.
FALSE. It only took me one bout of rushing about to realize this vacation was going to be slower paced than normal.
When we got to Epcot I ran over to Soarin’ to get FPs. After I scored those I ran over to TT and realized that running was NOT in the plans for this vacation. It was too hot to be running and in a hurry. No more of that. After a 20 min wait, we took the girls onto TT for their first ride of the trip. Julie (my Cars girls) loved it of course and Katie was fine on it! She sat next to me and really enjoyed it I think!
First in the series of catching performing groups at the right time: the Jammitors!
This was a good theme on our trip, seeing lots of performing groups. These guys are very cool and talented. Nemo was a hit with the kids. We checked on Crush but the show was just starting and was full. So it was off to Soarin’ for our FPs. We decided to wait an extra 10 minutes so we could be in B1. It was worth it – the kids LOVED it. Katie was chattering away through the whole ride – “I’m gonna have to tell Julia (her friend at school) about this!” I admit this is one of my favorites too. The theming, the music, the smells… what an awesome experience. All this and Patrick Warburton.
After Soarin’ we got lunch at Sunshine Seasons. It was our first time using the dining plan as a family, so it took some coordination between Tim and I. Unfortunately at the checkout it seemed like it was also the first time for the guy at the register. It must have taken him 10 minutes to ring us up. We had sandwiches (ham and salami foccacia for me – YUM), water, strawberry shortcake, and crumb cake. The girls had mac and cheese with grapes and applesauce.
After lunch we did Imagination which impressed NONE of us (the only thing that impressed me was the 10 minute wait – when does that ever happen??). We had some fun in the labs afterward. The kids liked the part where you jump on the sounds. Tim and Katie saw “Honey…” while Julie and I made an impromptu bathroom run and played in the fountains. After that we did the long march out to the call, otherwise known as ‘sweating profusely under the hot Florida sun’. It was brutally hot and humid the first three days of our trip. After that it was still hot but the days were broken up with clouds and showers which seemed to help a little.
We got to the hotel and found out that our room wasn’t ready – so the kids laid down on the couch by the big screen TV. I had some business to take care of. Long story short – two of our reservations had been wrongfully cancelled the week before our trip, including the girls’ all-important BBB ADR. BBB was booked, so the concierge staff got us a Pirate’s League reservation for Saturday. Throughout the week we found that the concierge was VERY helpful in all matters – and had a good sense of humor (especially the two guys on the evening shift).
When our room was finally clean, we found it didn’t have our requested bunk beds. I talked to the desk but they said they were full up and couldn’t find us another room. No big deal, it just meant that we would be dealing with some “She’s on my side!” or “Stop kicking me!” from our lovely children. So anyway, we unpacked while the kids perked up in the coolness of the room and bounced on the bed. The only drawback to the room was the solid balcony, which blocked a beautiful view and more light coming in the room. The room itself was immaculate and we even had some towel animals throughout the week.
About 4:30 we went back to Epcot and hit World Showcase first. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the Gran Fiesta Tour. We stopped in China for a Mango Green Tea Slushy which was perfectly horrible – too mango-ey. Dinner was at Yakitori House and that was just okay, not as good as previous visits.
Second in the series of catching performing groups at the right time: the Japanese taiko drummers! I teach a unit on Japanese music to my students and it was great to see it live. We did just miss Voices of Liberty on our way around World Showcase but did hear Off Kilter in Canada. To the girls delight (and thanks to our second set of FPs) we rode Soarin’ again (C1, inside). Everyone loved it just as much as the first time! After that it was back to Nemo where the girls sat together in a clammobile. They did this a bunch of times during our trip – which left me and my hubby to ride together! Aww.
This time Crush was only 10 min away so we stayed for the show. Julie was happy that he picked her to ask a question – “how do you swim so fast?” We all learned some cool turtle facts. After the show Katie was upset that she didn’t get to talk to Crush, so we had her tell the CM to tell Crush “I Love You”. Awww.
We went back to the hotel early and found three lovely surprises! Our travel agent had sent Disney Florist treats… Mickey plush with folder, pen, and basket… a chocolate ‘hat’ with other treats, and a canvas WDW bag with snacks. What a nice surprise and a great way to end our first day.
Up Tuesday: The Kids hit the Kingdom, with a Surprise Appearance by Our Leader!
Re: Ultimate Adventurer Grand Prize Trip Report: Day 1
Great report, thanks for sharing.
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