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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss Ultimate Adventurer Grand Prize Trip, Days 2-4 in the Vacation Planning forums; Tuesday, Mon 11 Up and at ‘em! No sleeping in on this trip! Actually I had trouble sleeping – so when 5:45am came, I was happy. No trying to get ...
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    TikiGoddess's Avatar
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    Ultimate Adventurer Grand Prize Trip, Days 2-4

    Tuesday, Mon 11

    Up and at ‘em! No sleeping in on this trip! Actually I had trouble sleeping – so when 5:45am came, I was happy. No trying to get to sleep anymore. Plus I was excited for the day ahead of us. This was our first day at the Magic Kingdom!

    We started at Chef Mickey’s at 7am. Our favorite was Pluto – the girls scratched his ears and he loved it. We left the Contemporary around 7:55am and made the short (but already hot) walk over to the Magic Kingdom. Tim went off for Splash FPs while the girls and I went to the Pooh ride. After that we hit Small World (ride #1), Haunted Mansion (not their favorite), and then Thunder Mountain. We actually rode with some friends of ours from home – what a surprise to see them there waiting in line with us!

    We made a detour over to Adventureland for the Magic Carpets (short line) and the Tiki Room. The girls were unimpressed with the Tiki Room – too loud. Everyone was starting to drag in the heat, but we wanted to use our FPs for Splash! The girls loved it and we all agreed that we’d have to do it again.

    We headed back to the Lodge and had lunch at Roaring Fork. We all enjoyed some quiet time in the room before leaving for the Magic Kingdom again. This time we were headed for a special treat – a private photography session in the rose garden.

    Of course, we were running late. We left the WL at 3:45, hoping for a boat going to the MK. There was only one going to the Contemporary, so we figured the quickest way to get there was to get on the boat, go to the CR, and catch the resort monorail. Not quick (especially since the boat went to FW first!), but the best plan of action available. I called my TA on the way and she managed to get a message to the Disney photographer.

    Turns out we had not one but two photographers who were going to take pictures of us! We were let into a gated grassy patch and not two minutes later, Lou Mongello snuck up behind us with his video camera going. We said a quick hello and then proceeded to have pictures taken of us for the next 30 min or so, in different locations around the castle. It was quite an experience, having professional photogs taking our pictures. The only drawback was the heat. I’m not sure what we’ll all look like (Katie’s face was red!) but we’re getting a proof book of all of them, and there must be some good ones.

    We then stood and talked to Lou by the BatB show and then started over to Splash Mtn as promised to the girls. I got to sit with both girls while Tim sat in the back with Lou. We got wet, thankfully, in our fancy dresses and all! The water cannons hit us good. Katie was all smiles.

    After that we went back to the hotel and spent the evening there, relaxing, cooling down, and reflecting on the trip so far.

    Wednesday, August 12th

    To be titled:
    The bad, the ugly, and the good
    Or
    I’m smiling so much my face hurts
    Or
    What did I do to deserve all this?

    Let’s try the first title. This morning we had the bad and the ugly, although there was a bunch of good in there too. We got up at 6am (and yes, strangely enough I was awake before the alarm) and had breakfast in the lounge. We met up with our party (Tim’s extended family – 2 brothers, Mom, and assorted niece and nephews) and got on the bus for AK EMH.

    So far, so good. We got into the park and sent the boys to get FPs for Everest while us womenfolk walked up to the Safari. Upon arriving at the Safari I mentioned to a nearby CM that we were waiting for the men to come back from getting FPs, and she said “you know the tips board? You can get FPs at the front of the park.” DUH. I was just mentioning this to Tim the other day.

    Oh well, they met up with us pretty quickly anyway. 15-20 min wait for the Safari and we were off. Some of the animals were eating breakfast and rather active. We then decided to go to Dinoland and rode Triceratop Spin (2x without stopping). After some shopping we walked over to Everest. Everyone except Tim’s mom and our girls wanted to go on. So she took them to get drinks. Everest was AWESOME. Tim’s brother and I got to ride a 2nd time with the leftover FPs. By then it was 10:20ish and believe it or not, we were all ready to leave the park. It was H.O.T. I had heard people say that AK was hot, but now I believe them. There are very few air conditioned spots to hide in. Plus you’d think the shade would help but no. It was brutal. We walked out to the bus stop (melting) and waited (NOT SO MAGICAL BUS MOMENT #2) about 30 min for a bus. Bus stopped at Blizzard Beach, then WL. We got lunch at RF. After 2 days of watching our girls eat (or not eat), we finally got smart about ordering counter service. Sharing meals worked great for us and allowed us to use our extra credits for some extra meals on our last day at WL.

    We changed into our swimsuits and got in the pool, oh blessed relief. The water was warm but at least the air didn’t feel so hot – plus some clouds came through and helped cool things a little. The pool slide was a big hit with both of the girls (and me). We stayed in until 2pm when we headed back to the room for a shower. A quick boat trip got us over to the Contemporary Resort arcade. $20 and 45 min later we had two happy kids with trinkets and two cool parents. The boat ride was very pleasant too. When we got back to the WL there was a beautiful breeze signifying a change in the weather.

    Now for the best part of the day. We left our girls in the capable hands of my mother-in-law and headed to the Boardwalk in the car. We walked over to Epcot through the International Gateway. I’ve never been this way before… it’s a nice entrance. Quiet. Plus there was full cloud cover by now (and a disappearing sun) so the weather was bearable.

    Here’s where “I’m smiling so much my face hurts” comes in. We stopped in France for drinks – champagne for me and a Grand Marnier Slush for Tim. We strolled over to Japan for our dinner with Lou. Tokyo Dining was crowded but we only waited about 10 min for our table. The sushi was FANTASTIC. I was surprised at how good it was, for a theme park. Volcano Roll (very spicy – lots of orange spicy sauce), Dynamite Roll, and 2 spicy tuna crunch rolls. YUM. I had a cherry blossom martini that was okay (the plum wine martini at the Ginza in Bloomfield, CT is way better.)

    We had lots to talk about – including Lou’s interesting day at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, being parents, and food (of course). At about 8pm we walked outside to rain. It wasn’t too bad but enough that we needed to duck under cover of the Japanese snack tent. Here we found wasabi peas and other assorted foreign treats. After ogling the dried fish and buying some more yummy looking treats, we found the rain had basically stopped. I asked where we were going and Lou said, “this way”.

    Turns out we walked to England, right by the fish and chips stand. We had a private table down on the Rose and Crown patio, away from all the others. Dessert -- mini éclairs, cannollis, fruit, and other delicacies. Coffee, tea, water. And our own attendant. WOW. We sat and talked until Illuminations. The view was stunning, as if the fireworks were being done just for us.

    It was at this point that I literally said to Lou, “My face hurts from smiling.” Sitting, looking over the water at all of the pavilions, it all caught up with me. I really felt like the luckiest girl in the world. What did I do to deserve such a wonderful experience? It finally hit me, how special this trip is.

    Of course, now I’m spoiled for life.

    Well, all things must end, so we headed out via the International Gateway, only to run into Glenn Whalen and Ashley Fisher (another prize winner in the contest who is now working at WDW). We swapped a few stories and walked together over to the Boardwalk. I didn’t want the night to end but I did want to keep it the way it was, so we said goodbye and headed back to the hotel.

    When I was a kid I envied the families that got to stay at the WDW hotels. We only ever came for a day to the MK… ate bologna sandwiches in the car… I used to look at the brochures of the couples drinking wine over candlelight, of families arranged in their hotel rooms, and dream of what that might be like. And for years, I’ve tried to figure out how to make that dream come true. How was I to match such an idealized image of a vacation with my reality?

    And I think, finally, that night matched or exceeded my dream. We walked hand in hand to a great restaurant, had drinks, and a lovely dinner. Then we were surprised by a private viewing spot for Illuminations. Great company. And got to return to our beautiful hotel and happy, sleeping children.

    How blessed I am.



    Thursday

    Thursday was supposed to be the Princess Day. We originally had 10:30am reservations for Julie, Katie, and my niece to get transformed at the BBB. Key word: HAD. Turns out the week before we left, this reservation and one other were inexplicably cancelled. My travel agent was livid when she found out and had Disney Reservations pulling tapes of calls. Turns out that there was a guest with a name very similar to mine (staying at WL for 4 nights during our trip) that cancelled her trip and all her ADRs. The reservationist didn’t look and cancelled these. And it was impossible to get back into BBB as it was booked.

    But it worked out okay in the end. We had breakfast at the WL lounge and took the boat to the MK at 7:30am for EMH. The rest of the family was still in bed, so we took off without them. We arrived just as the opening ceremony was finishing. Off to Peter Pan but it was closed so we went to Snow White (not a big hit). After a spin on the Tea Cups, it was almost 9am. We waited at the Tomorrowland rope drop and had the brilliant idea of doing the Indy Speedway right away. I’m not a big fan of this ride but Julie (my Cars lovin’ girl) was all over it. I rode with Katie and she was an awful driver and we crashed many times – hee hee! But much fun was had by all, I must admit!

    Then off to Buzz Lightyear. We rode two times and I won the 2nd time!!! It helps that the girls rode together. It’s hard to get a high score when the driver is a 4 or 6 yr old. By this time the rest of the family was awake and around, so we all met up at Small World and rode together (count: 2 total). We also saw Philharmagic with everyone and used our Peter Pan FPs (as a family).

    Princess time was near, so we stopped in Tink’s treasures to let the girls pick out some accessories for their outfits. Our travel agent had dropped off $60 of gift cards to use so we splurged on all of the girls, including my niece.

    Okay. Lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table. I was glad to see that we met Cinderella immediately. She was very gracious if a little rushed. Our pictures came out great. We climbed the stairs to the large dining room (something I’ve always wanted to see!). We were seated on the side towards the back… not a great table but hey, there’s not much to see anyway.

    I had the pasta primavera which was tasty. The princesses were very quick with their visits – as if they didn’t have time to talk to the girls. It was “hi everyone”, hugs, picture, “bye”. The wishing ceremony was cute (Katie had her eyes closed real tight). Overall I have to say it was a fun experience but not one I’d do again. It’s a “did it once, don’t need to do it again” kind of thing. I thought I would cry seeing the girls meet the princesses, but to be honest it wasn’t as special as I thought it would be.

    On the way out of the park we had a great treat. The Dapper Dans were singing by the Main Street bakery and had just started their set. They sang my favorite barbershop song, Lida Rose!! (I’ve acted in 2 different productions of Music Man…)

    After a quick boat ride back to the hotel, everyone napped from 3-4:30. We had a light dinner in our room, with pbj, cheese, crackers, some pork tenderloin, and corn chowder courtesy of the lounge. It was still raining when we left to return to the MK, so out came the ponchos and stroller covers. Tim’s mom came with us and we had a good time despite the light rain. We rode Pirates (one of Grandma’s favorites). After that we had to buy a pin as Julie had lost her 3rd tooth the night before and I had promised her a pin. We then saw Country bear jamboree and Pooh. It was getting late and we had the dilemma of staying for the parade or going back to the hotel. By the time we got to the train station, it was 8:50, so we found a spot by the right entrance and waited for the parade. Staying for the parade was a good call. The girls loved the lights and all of the characters. It is a beautiful parade and the effects are stunning. Because of our position close to the main entrance, we were able to make a quick exit and catch the first boat back to the Lodge. Tim and I were more tired and cranky than the girls were.

    Friday: T-Rexes, Triceratops, and Dinos… oh my!

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    NC_WDW_Daddy's Avatar
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    Re: Ultimate Adventurer Grand Prize Trip, Days 2-4

    Another great report! I'm looking forward to the next.

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    Jaxum's Avatar
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    Re: Ultimate Adventurer Grand Prize Trip, Days 2-4

    Keep them coming!
    Last edited by Jaxum; 08-28-2009 at 09:24 AM.
    Jaxum- Disneyland Aficionado!
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    little grammy's Avatar
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    Re: Ultimate Adventurer Grand Prize Trip, Days 2-4

    what a wonderful trip.. so glad you are taking the time
    to post your report!!
    "MagicMeets" Attendee 2006, '07, '08 and '09

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    flutter's Avatar
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    Re: Ultimate Adventurer Grand Prize Trip, Days 2-4

    Great trip report I'm glad you had a fantastic trip



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