Monday, July 18, 2011: The alarm went off at 7:30 this morning. We got up and got showered and then went to the lobby for a hot breakfast, which was really good! We headed towards Orlando and made it to our Disney hotel (Port Orleans Riverside) to check in by 1:00pm. We are staying in the mansion section, in the Magnolia building. We all went to the main swimming pool and spent about 1.5 hours there. There is a small water slide there and the pool is pretty big. We then came back to the room and changed and headed back to the main building. We got a card for the game room and bought just a couple little things at the gift shop before heading to the Polynesian Hotel and a restaurant called O’Hana there for dinner. The meal consisted of food brought to your table family style. We had bread, salad, Asian-style dumplings, chicken wings, chicken breast chunks, lo mein, broccoli & snap peas, steak, pork, and shrimp. All the meat was brought to the table on skewers and then served to you according to how much you wanted. The dessert was pineapple bread pudding with ice cream and banana sauce over it. Bruce and I enjoyed the meal. Brittany was mostly OK with it too but Bailey didn’t eat a whole lot. After dinner, we looked around in the gift shop of the hotel and then headed to the Polynesian beach. We found a hammock which we all took turns sharing while the rest of us sat in lounge chairs. We watched the water parade first and eventually saw the fireworks (“Wishes”) from the Magic Kingdom. We were also able to see Tinkerbell fly from the castle! We then came back to our hotel and are now heading to bed.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011: We got up today at 7:00am and got ready to go to the parks. Bruce and the girls ate some breakfast in the room. We first went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There, we waited for rope drop and then headed straight to Toy Story Midway Mania, which we got fastpasses for and also rode stand-by. Then we headed to Rock n Roller Coaster but the line was too long so we decided to get some cupcakes for a snack from the Starring Roles Café. We then rode Tower of Terror, went back to Toy Story and rode it again, and finally rode Rock n Roller Coaster. This was Brittany’s first time riding it and she liked it. Finally, we went to the 12:30 showing of American Idol. This was my first time seeing it. We left the Studios and headed to Epcot. Once there, we were all hungry so we ate lunch at the Electric Umbrella inside Innoventions. Then we went to Test Track and rode the single rider line. Next was Captain EO, which I thought was really dumb. We tried to ride Soarin’ but the fastpasses were all gone and the stand-by line was always over 1.5 hours. We did go to the Seas and rode the Nemo and Friends ride as well as going to the Turtle Talk with Crush show. We went back to Test Track and rode it again and then headed to World Showcase. We rode the boat ride in Mexico and then ate dinner at the Biergarten in Germany. I really liked the meal there. It included a lot of things I liked. We didn’t stay in the World Showcase for very long after dinner and headed back to future world. We again rode Test Track (this time in the dark, which was cool) and finally went on Spaceship Earth. By the time we left the park our feet were killing us. We are now back in our room and ready for bed!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011: Today I took the “Keys To The Kingdom” Tour at the Magic Kingdom while Bruce and the girls went to Typhoon Lagoon. I got up at 7:00 and went to the bus stop at 8:00. I got to go into the Magic Kingdom before the other park guests! My tour began at 9:00 and lasted for 5 hours. We heard a lot of little tidbits about all kinds of things at the MK like names on the windows, hidden Mickeys, sounds, foliage, external facades, things behind the scenes, cast member costumes, and we got to go into the utilidors under the park! We also got to ride Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion without waiting in line! We all ate lunch together at Columbia Harbor House, which was included in the cost of the tour. I really enjoyed it! After the tour ended, I spent some time in the MK by myself. I tried to ride Astro Orbiter but the line was too long. I got a chocolate chip cookie sandwich at Sleepy Hollow and after I had eaten it, I watched the Hall of Presidents show, which always makes me cry! I love it. I then got a spot on the street and watched the afternoon parade. I rode the Liberty Belle, which I had never done before and then proceeded to the front of the park to watch the flag retreat (another new thing for me). I shopped a little in the emporium before heading over to the Polynesian to meet Bruce and the girls for dinner at Kona Café. This meal was really good and included steak. The desserts were really good too! After dinner, we returned to our hotel and watched YeHa Bob in the River Roost in our main building. He was hilarious! We watched from 8:30 until about 10:30 when we returned to our room for the night.
Thursday, July 21, 2011: Today was the most strenuous day so far as far as heat and sore feet are concerned. We began the day at Animal Kingdom and rode Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and saw the show “It’s Tough To Be A Bug.” We also played a couple of games in DinoLand USA. We left there about 12:00 or so and went to the Polynesian to eat at the quick-service place there called Captain Cook’s. Next up was the Magic Kingdom. We got there just before 2:00 and went to Space Mountain to get fastpasses. We then rode the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and Carousel of Progress. Then we headed across the park and waited about 45 minutes to go on Splash Mountain. We grabbed some fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, went to the Country Bear Jamboree show, grabbed some sodas, rode the train, and went back to Big Thunder Mountain. By now it was time for dinner which was at 6:10 at the Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square. It consisted of Thanksgiving-type food and was good. After dinner, we headed back to Tomorrowland. Bruce and Bailey rode Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin while Brittany and I rode Astro Orbiter. Then we all went on Space Mountain. We then headed to Fantasyland (first time in that land this trip!) and rode Peter Pan’s Flight. We came back around to Main Street USA and watched the new show where they put pictures on the castle. We also watched the beginning of Wishes and saw Tinkerbell fly from the castle. Brittany and Bailey bought a few souvenirs from the Emporium and then we headed out of the park to the busses. We are now back at our hotel and are definitely ready for bed. We will all sleep good tonight!
Friday, July 22, 2011: We used our last quick-service credits this morning and ate breakfast at the food court of our hotel. We loaded the car and checked out of Port Orleans. Our next stop was just a few miles up the road at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. When we pulled up here, people were waiting to help us out! I went inside and was whisked up to the 5th floor check-in concierge desk. Bruce and the girls unloaded the car along with help from the staff. Come to find out, we are on the top floor of the hotel which is the concierge floor. We did not register for this and when I asked why we were being given it, they told me that once in awhile when all the rooms are not full, they have some of the other people come to the top floor. I texted our travel agent and he humbly confessed to having had something to do with it and then said “Happy Anniversary!” The room is very nice with queen sized beds and a small balcony. We have lots of room in the bathroom area too as well as a flat-screen TV and fridge. The best part of being on this floor is that every time you get off of the elevator, the people at the concierge desk say “Welcome Home”…..just like they do to Disney Vacation Club members! AND… there is a little room right off of the 5th floor lobby area where we are allowed to go anytime for food. They have coffee very early in the morning, then breakfast items until 10am, then during lunchtime and the afternoon there are cookies, home-made chips with dip, yogurt covered pretzels, trail mix, and Swedish fish. From 5-7pm they have cheese & crackers, veggies & dip, 3 other kinds of appetizers, apples with caramel dip, bread, rolls, wine & beer. From 8-10pm there are a few little desserts, and from 11pm – 5am they have the pretzels, trail mix, and Swedish fish for people who come back from the parks need a midnight snack. They also have soda and water all day long. We feel very special! Once we checked in, we headed to the pool here, called Stormalong Bay. It is the best hotel pool I’ve EVER been to! There is a sand bottom throughout the entire pool and the depth ranges from 3.5 feet to 8 feet. There is a waterslide and a volleyball net as well as several small waterfalls. The pool is sprawling and HUGE! There is another pool next to it where there is a ton of sand and pails for kids to play, etc. It’s like a beach/pool combination. There is a snack/meal bar near the pool and a little counter that sells pool toys, sunscreen, etc. Beaches n Cream soda shop is located near the pool as well. One of the main reasons I wanted to stay here for 1 night is because of this pool. We spent time there this afternoon before coming inside to visit the concierge snack room. Bruce and I then took the boat over to the Boardwalk and looked around in some of the little shops there. When we came back, it began to rain so everyone had to get out of the pool. Bruce and the girls played some games in the gameroom while I came up to the room and took a shower. Bruce and I had dinner tonight at Cape May Café here in the Beach Club. It is a clam bake seafood buffet dinner. The girls ordered a pizza from room service and thought they were quite cool! We spent the rest of the evening in the room (only about 1.5 hours) watching TV, etc. Today was a really good/relaxing day!
Saturday, July 23, 2011: We checked out of the Beach Club this morning and went to Downtown Disney to shop a little. I got a silhouette of the girls made which matches the kind I had done of them in 2004 and 2008. We bought just a few things and Bruce and I had lunch at Earl of Sandwich. When we left Disney property, we went to a different souvenir store and then grabbed the girls some lunch from McDonald’s. We then headed east towards the coast. We checked in at our hotel (Hampton Inn in Titusville) and brought all our stuff to the room. I sorted laundry and headed to the laundry room here. We had 5 loads total. We spent the afternoon here. The girls swam while I did laundry and we then sorted everything and got all the luggage, etc. read for the cruise. We went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and then drove over to Cocoa Beach just to check the place out. We went out on the beach and walked in the water for a little while. On the way home, we stopped at Wal-Mart. Once we got back to the room, we finished packing and getting ready for tomorrow. We are now headed to bed.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011: We pulled out of the driveway this morning at 4:09am. I drove first since Bruce had worked late at the homecoming last night. We did not stop until we were past Nashville, TN when we needed to buy gas and got breakfast at Shoney’s. Our next stop was someplace in Georgia where we needed to go to the bathroom and again, filled the tank although it was only ½ empty then. We stopped one more time in Georgia at a rest stop to use the restroom and then we reached the Florida state line at 4:45 our time, 5:45 theirs. The welcome center closed at 6:00 so we were just in time to get the free orange juice, which was really good! We also picked up some brochures while there. We drove until we reached Lake City, FL and stopped for dinner at Red Lobster. We also got a hotel room here at a Comfort Suites. Now we are just hanging out in the room and will go to bed a little later. This is the farthest we have ever driven on the first day of a Disney or Florida vacation! Yay!