Gaylene Gray -- April 1999 -- Walt Disney World (OKWR, BWR) / Disney Cruise Trip
How This Trip Started:
I had originally booked the Magic for April of 1998. The ship was delayed, so they sent us coupons for 25% off a future cruise. I went to a Disney Cruise presentation at a local travel agent in August, and with the early booking discounts and the 25% coupon, lets just say it was too good of an offer to pass up.
I had tentatively planned for my whole family to go to WDW in November of 1999. My brother-in-law wasnt that thrilled with the idea (he bought a motor home), so I had these DVC points burning a hole in my pocket. In December I called to see if it was possible to add on 4 nights at OKW after the cruise. They were completely booked and the waiting list was closed. I was bummed, but then the CM says, I can get you 4 nights in a one-bedroom before the cruise!!! Suddenly the clouds parted and the sun came out. Woo Hoo. So now I called the travel agent to see about changing our flights. No problem, so we were set.
We were now going to leave on the red-eye on Wednesday, April 7, spend 4 nights at OKW, check-into the BWI on Monday, April 12 for 4 nights, board the Magic for 3 nights on Friday, April 16, then fly home on Monday, April 19.
Rental Car Dilemma:
I knew I wanted a car, but whom should I rent from... I wanted somebody at the airport and someone with an office close to WDW so we didnt have to go all the way to MCO to return the car. I searched the Internet, but couldnt get rates renting in one location and returning the car at a different location. Finally I called Member Services to see about National. I could get an Intermediate car at MCO and return it at the Car Care Center by MK. Since that would be fast, quick and easy (I hoped) and the price seemed okay, I decided to go for it.
The Waiting Begins:
Sometime in February, I start thinking about canceling the trip. Why? Because my dog sitter had gone away to college, and I wasnt sure what to do with Max. She is almost 11, and I worry way too much about her. But hey...shes my 4-legged kid! I was telling my sister that I was thinking about canceling, and lets just say she had an opinion about that. My mom volunteered to take care of Max...so Mom, I owe you a big one. Thanks. Now that that was settled lets make some dining reservations!!!
I worked on our tentative itinerary. We would have park passes while we were at OKW, but they did not include AK or Pleasure Island. So my plan was to hit MK, EPCOT, and The Studios while at OKW, then hit AK and Pleasure Island when we moved to the BWI. I was also hoping for an E-ticket while we were there...and it fell on Bobs Birthday!!! We were so excited.
"Please move all the way to your right filling in every available seat, and for the comfort of those around you, please refrain from smoking, eating, and flash photography. Now we are proud to present...Bob and Gaylenes Trip Report!"
Wednesday, April 7
Get ready day. We both took the day off of work so that gave us extra time to sleep-in and pack. Moms airporter picked us up ~7:15pm. We stopped at Wendys for a quick burger, then off to the airport. We arrived at SeaTac at 8:45pm. I had received Silver Medallion status from Delta and one of the perks is being able to check-in at the 1st class counter. What a great perk, no waiting in line, just walk up and check-in (and there must have been 45 people in the regular line). We hung around our gate until it was time to board. Another Silver Medallion perk is early boarding. They call 1st class, then Medallion members, then everyone else. How cool to leisurely board the plane. I could get used to this!!!
Unfortunately, I did not check our boarding passes for seat assignments, and we got "hosed". We were supposed to have 18A and 18B. We got 27D and 27E, which were bulkhead seats! We could not watch the movie and we had no storage in front of us. I guess I could have complained, but I decided that I was on vacation, the plane was full, and it wasnt that big of a deal. Actually it turned out kinda nice, because we could prop our feet up on the bulkhead.
Anyway, we left SeaTac on time and it was an uneventful flight.
Thursday, April 8 (High 87ish, Low 65ish)
We arrived 10 minutes early into Atlanta. Left Atlanta on time. Again, we did not get the seats we were supposed to, but its only an hour flight. Arrived at MCO at ~7:52am. Got luggage with a small wait then went to rental car counter. They are remodeling portions of MCO so not all of the elevators go to the rental car level. We had to walk a ways to get to the right elevators, and once we got to the rental car level, it was a little walk to the car counter.
Walked right up to the National counter. I couldnt get an upgrade, but I could use my $20 off coupon. Cool, that covers some of the tax anyway. I filled out the paperwork, then we went to the garage, found the category for our car, and picked which car we wanted. What a slick system. We chose a white 4-door Oldsmobile Alero (kinda like a Honda Accord) with Georgia plates and leather interior (not a smart move with the temperatures as hot as they were). Loaded up everything, stopped at the checkout booth and we are on the road to WDW at ~8:37am. We took 417 and boy is it nice. No traffic and two $1 tolls.
Pulled up to the guard gate at OKW at 9:00am. No "welcome home" but he gave us directions to the hospitality house. It seemed strange to see the construction instead of the Commodore House. It seems that they are building quite a few units. Parked and walked to check-in. Waited ~10 minutes to get to desk. No "welcome home" I guess since they arent trying to sell us OKW that some things arent important. Well I wished myself "welcome home". ;o) Our room wasnt ready, but we got all our information, and room keys/park passes. They gave us a card with the phone number to call later in the day to see if our room was ready.
We dropped our luggage at bell services, then to Olivias for breakfast. No wait just walked right in. Bob had the 3-egg omelet and OJ; I had the scrambled eggs and iced tea. ($18.02 w/o tip) Breakfast was good, and I enjoyed the knowledge that I was at OKW with my whole vacation ahead of me. Our table was inside, but right along Turtle Krawl, so we got to watch people go by. After a leisurely breakfast, Bob changed his clothes while I checked on E-tickets for April 13. They were not available yet, so I will need to check back later.
Drove around OKW and shot some video, then drove over to Downtown Disney (DTD). Checked out the World of Disney (WoD) stored and bought a notebook for my trip notes. I had bought one and left it at home. Oh well, a good excuse to buy a Mickey one! Shot some more video and checked-out the Lego store and the Lego sculptures. They are truly amazing to me since I am "Lego impaired". LOL Just the fact that someone designed them, let alone built them boggles my mind. We found a table and chairs along the water, so we sat in the shade and watched the boats and people go by. Very relaxing and Bob dozed off a couple of times.
Called at 11:45am on the off chance that our room would be ready. No such luck, so it must be time for root beer floats from Ghirardellis. ($10.33) Yummy. Sitting in the shade was becoming too relaxing, so we decided to check out the new mini golf courses by Blizzard Beach (BB). BB was closed because they were at capacity, so they had a CM directing people wanting to golf. They had us park in the grass! Very strange that BB and the new golf course share a parking lot. Also, it is a long walk from the parking lot to the entrance of the golf course. Anyway, the CM that helped us park gave us a coupon for a free round of golf. Wow something free from Disney!!! I cant remember exactly how much a round of golf was, I think $9 and something, anyway, we wound up only paying $7.40 for both of us to golf. What a bargain.
We decided to play the "Summer" course because it appeared to have more shade than the "Winter" course. The course was fun and cute, but not a lot of shade. It was hot, especially for us who felt that we had just dropped from the "planet cold" to the "planet hot". Here is a warning on the 3rd hole you will get wet. There is no getting around it. Bob beat me, but we both came in under par for the course. Called OKW at 1:20pm and our room is ready!!! We are in 3915, which is in the Turtle Pond area.
Last time we were down we went to the Super WalMart on 192, so this time I decided to try out the Publix on 192. The Publix was nicer than WalMart, but not as fancy as the Goodings at the Crossroads. I noted that the Publix sold Lottery tickets and I assumed that I would have a chance to buy some later in the trip. Big mistake we never got back to Publix and we didnt have time to find some other place to buy them. So if you take nothing from this trip report, take this advice If you see something you want but think, oh Ill get it later, dont. You probably will not get back to the same place. Oh well. At Publix we bought the staples of vacation life, water, Coke, chips, fruit, donuts, etc.
Drove back to OKW and found our room. Everything was in working order, and looked very good. The front door was in need of a paint job, but other than that everything was great. Our deck faced a pond with a fountain. We had lots of ducks including a mama and her babies, but no bunnies. ;o( Unloaded our groceries and called for our luggage. Our luggage came within 10 minutes so we unpacked then crashed. We got up ~7:00pm and decided to order pizza in and rest instead of trying to hit a park. Pizza arrived ~8:00pm. When I answered the door the pizza guy says "pizza delivery". I said "pizza eaters". The guy really liked my comments, and Bob was proud of my wit and quick thinking. Believe me, it is NOT an everyday occurrence.
The pizza and salad were very good, ($27.27 w/o tip) and we had enough left over for lunch tomorrow. After dinner we went to the Turtle Pond pool. Aah, swimming on a warm night, now I really know Im at WDW. Back to the room to shower and lights out at 10:30.
Tomorrow Magic Kingdom.
Friday, April 9: (High 91, Low 66)
Alarm went off at 6:30, finally up at 7:00. Showered ate a banana and juice and we were at the bus stop at 8:00am. We waited about 10 minutes for a Magic Kingdom bus. We arrived at the MK at 8:30 and strolled down Main Street. We really took our time since rope drop wasnt until 9:00am. We checked out all the windows on Main Street and had our picture taken in front of the castle. Checked out Walts window, very cool that his is the only window that faces the castle. Just the way it should be. We were at the Adventureland entrance for rope drop. First the Jungle Cruise because I hate waiting in that line. We walked right on to a boat. Our skipper was ok, not the best or worst that I have had. Then PotC with no wait. We were saying, "dead men tell no tales" in the line area and scared the people in front of us. Voices really carry and sound scarier when they reverberate off the walls. We survived our visit with the Pirates, then off the BTMRR with a 5-minute wait. We got the last car (which is my favorite). I love this ride. Stopped off at the shooting arcade in Frontierland, then off to the Crystal Palace (CP) for breakfast.
We checked in at 10:00 and were seated at 10:05am. This was my first time to eat at CP since 1987! The buffet was good with lots of selection and fresh fruit, even though I had to steal a Mickey waffle off the kids buffet. Got to meet and have our picture taken with Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet. Pooh was there, but he always had a long line. ($31.70 w/o tip)
After breakfast it was off to Tomorrowland and Buzz Lightyear. We both decided that this was a new favorite ride. On this trip I got 35,600 points and Bob got 136,000. I wonder if his high points have anything to do with the fact that he was in control of our buggy. Ill have to do an experiment next time. After Buzz we went on Carrousel of Progress then Tomorrowland Transit Authority both with no wait. Then back to Buzz. This time I was in control and got only 10,100 points while Bob got 178,500. Well, so much for my theory. Maybe my gun wasnt working right. Yeah, I can hope.
Time for ice cream in Tomorrowland. Bob had a Mickey bar, and I had the Itsakadoozie. Very good Popsicle. After ice cream we shopped down Main Street. In the Emporium I found full-zip sweatshirts that were on sale for $29.99 regularly $49. Woo Hoo. I got one for my mom, sister, and myself. I had them shipped home via UPS. (They did not arrive until May 6!)
Walked to the bus stop at 1:30pm and a bus was waiting. Went back to the room, ate leftover pizza then went to the pool for a swim. Came back to the room ~3:45pm showered, changed and was out the door again at 4:30pm. We had no wait for the bus and arrived at the MK ~4:50pm. Went to the HM with a 10-minute wait, then to the Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner. We checked in at 5:45pm and were seated at 5:55pm. The food here was good, but not worth the price we paid. I understand that I am paying to eat with the characters, but I dont think that we will go back here anytime soon. The steak was so salty that we couldnt eat it, so we asked for additional turkey. The characters were Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale. ($43.20 w/o tip) After dinner we sat in the rockers on the porch of the Tavern and watched people go by. This would be our only opportunity to see Spectromagic this trip, so I wanted a good seat to videotape and take pictures, We had an enjoyable time eating ice cream and watching people. We had a great view of the parade, then walked over the bridge to watch Tinkerbell and the fireworks. Unfortunately there were trees in the way, so the lower fireworks were obscured, but otherwise a great show.
After the fireworks we made our way over to Buzz again. This time I had 71,900 points and Bob had 273,200. Bummer. I will never beat him. By now it was 10:15pm and we made our way towards the busses. We put the video camera away, and the bus pulled up. Yeah. Back to OKW ~10:45pm and to bed at 11:15pm.
Footnote for the day: If anyone has read any of my other trip reports, you know that I have a problem with blisters on my toes. I made some changes for this trip. I bought different socks (ones with less cotton and more poly) and put New Skin on my toes. So after a full MK day I had NO blisters!!! Life is good. Tomorrow: Studios
Saturday, April 10: (Record High 92!)
Alarm goes off at 6:30am, finally up at 7:10am. I am tired; my body hasnt adjusted to the time change yet. We had breakfast of fruit, juice, and English Muffins in the room. When Bob was putting the fruit back in the fridge he dropped the container and half of it went on the floor. He felt bad, but oh well. Things like that happen sometimes. We were at the bus stop at 8:35am and The Studios bus came at 8:45am. We arrived at The Studios at 9:00 and went straight to the ToT!!! The ToT is better than coffee to get your blood flowing in the morning. We got in line at 9:10am and entered the library at 9:22am. Bob got the seat belt seat, and now he only wants the seat belt. The new drop sequence is wild!
After ToT we went on the GMR. We got the gangster part. It was ok, but the CMs acting was lame. Even our guide was lame. Sometimes I think it would be a better attraction if they left the guides, gangsters, and bank robbers back stage. After GMR it was off to VotLM. This show is still one of my all-time favorites. Dont skip VotLM thinking that it is only for kids, because it is a not-to-be-missed item on my schedule. Now it was off to Muppets, which was great as usual. I just love the Swedish Chef.
We had an 11:30am PS at Sci Fi Diner. We hadnt been there since 1992, so I figured it was time to check it out again. We were seated at 11:25am and waited, and waited for our server. After 15 minutes we asked another waiter if they would find our waiter. People who had been seated after us were already eating and we hadnt been waited on! The family in front of us was from Redmond Washington (its a small world) and we were all thinking of leaving when lo-and-behold here comes our waiter Ken. Kens attitude was "I didnt know you were here". There were at least 10 CM hanging around the back of the restaurant doing nothing, so we were not amused and we let him know that. After we made our opinions clear, Ken really tried to kiss up. Well, we saw the humor and his tip in that change of attitude. Other than that problem, everything else was fine. Bob had the Stacked Sandwich and I had the Turkey Salad. I had ice tea and we shared a chocolate shake. ($27.46 w/o tip) The food was good, but Im not sure that I will return. Maybe just for dessert.
By now it is going on 1:00pm and it is hot!!! We decide to bail out and shop our way down Hollywood Blvd. We waited ~10-minutes for a bus, and they are doing a new thing with bus service. After THE STUDIOS the bus goes to EPCOT then to OKW. The bus driver said it should make our wait ~ 15-minutes between busses instead of ~30. It was a nice bus ride and we enjoyed the air conditioning. Back to OKW ~2:15pm and Bob took a nap and I went to the pool. The pool was deserted when I got there but by the time I left at 3:45pm, it was really crowded. We must have been about 1-hour ahead of the crowds. Got ready for dinner at Morocco and called to change our PS at the Yachtsman Steak House on April 13 from 6:30 to 5:30. April 13 was E-ticket night and we wanted plenty of time to get to the MK.
We decided to drive to the Beach Club and enter EPCOT through the International Gateway (IG). We stopped at the front desk to buy our E-tickets. The CM told me there was not an E-ticket coming up. I suggested that she check the computer for me anyway guess what there was an E-ticket night on 4/13. While she was printing out our tickets, we talked to a new CM from Miami. He was very nice and finally we were "welcomed home" by a CM.
Drove over to the Beach Club and when the guard asked what our business was I said we wanted to check out the hotel. I was afraid to tell him the real reasons, in case he wouldnt let me park there. He was really helpful then and suggested a couple of restaurants for us to try. Cool. We parked and made our way over to Morocco. When we checked in at Morocco they didnt have our PS on record, and of course I left the number back at OKW. Luckily they didnt have a problem seating us. We were leery about trying this restaurant, but we loved it. The food was awesome. Bob had the Cornish Hen and I had the Shish Kabob. We shared the apple crepe for dessert. Yummy. ($51.68 w/o tip) The belly dancer was beautiful and had all the little girls dancing up a storm. Hmmm maybe I should take belly-dancing lessons when I get home.
After dinner we walked around World Showcase (WS) and stopped to watch the acrobats in China. What a bunch of talented kids. We did some shopping in the UK then off to Beaches and Cream (B&C)! I still cant believe that last September was the first time I had been to B&C. Bob had a chocolate shake and I had 2 scoops of orange sherbet. ($6.35) I forgot to ask for sprinkles. Oh well. We sat outside and watched people go by and kids swimming in the pool. We went back to OKW ~9:40pm. I recorded the WDW information channels for home. I like to watch these videos before I got to bed. It really helps when the WDW withdrawal sets in. To bed 11:00pm.
Sunday, April 11 (Record High of 93!!!)
Our last day at OKW, tomorrow we move to the BW. We took our time getting up and ready today. We didnt get up until 9:45am and didnt get to the MK until 11:15am. I phoned home from the phones under the train station. Max is doing fine and the weather is cold and icky. Ill take the Florida weather, thank you. We had 12:00pm PS at Tonys Town Square. We were seated inside by the fountain at 12:05pm and our waitress was Susan from Indiana. She had a great sense of humor and was a lot of fun. While we were deciding what to eat I heard another waitress telling some kids that there are 9 Disney animated movies with 1-name titles. Well, that got my curiosity going. I talked to Susan, and she got the list from the other CM, but wouldnt tell me what they were until I tried to get them all. Between Bob and I we got all but 3, so Susan gave us some hints and we got all 9. NOTE: There will be 10 when Tarzan comes out this summer. Bob had the shrimp pizza with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and kalmata olives. I had the spaghetti and meatballs. ($30.16 w/o tip)
After lunch we rode the train around to check out SM. Well SM had a really long line, so we decided to wait until E-ticket night. We ended up riding the train back to Main Street then took the Monorail to the TTC the other Monorail to EPCOT. It is HOT. We rode Spaceship Earth (no wait) then into Innoventions to check things out. Boring. We went to Centorium and I finally bought a watch. I recently LOST my favorite Mickey watch that I bought at WDW in 1987. I was (and still am) very upset. I could not find a similar watch anywhere. I liked this new one, but I will always be on the lookout for a replacement that is the same. Anyway, after shopping we hung out in the shade and watched the people go by. We should have gone back to OKW, but didnt.
We caught the bus to The Studios at 4:00pm with a 5-minute wait. We stopped on Hollywood Blvd and bought sox (our feet were hot). We sat in the shade and let our feet cool off before our dinner at 50s Prime Time at 5:30pm. We checked in at 5:20pm and were seated immediately. Our waitress was Elizabeth from Miami. She had a great sense of humor and was into her part. Bob had the pork chops and I had the fried chicken. I was full, but really wanted smores for dessert, so I went ahead and got them, and Bob had a hot fudge sundae. ($47.70 w/o tip) We got done with dinner about 7:10pm and did some shopping on our way to the Fantasmic theatre. Bob finally found a hat that he liked. Now let me tell you, this man owns a lot of hats, but did he pack one no. So we had already bought a Mickey baseball hat, now we were after a hat to cover his ears. He looked pretty goofy in a lot of them, but this one looked pretty good. (Note from Bob: There is a method to my madness buy more hats!)
We entered Fantasmic theatre ~7:30pm. The pre-show was 2 ToT bellhops that juggled. They were fine, not too obnoxious. Fantasmic started at 8:30pm. It was a good show with some great special effects. My favorite nighttime shows are now Spectromagic/Fireworks, Fantasmic, and Illuminations. Getting out of the theatre wasnt too bad. We waited to a lot of people to leave, then got in line. They sent us through the back way and we came out at the exit of ToT. Interesting.
We waited about 10 minutes for a bus, but it was full, so we had to wait for the next one. There werent many of us on that bus, so we didnt have to stand. Back to room ~9:30pm and went to the pool. To bed at 11:30pm.
BLISTER REPORT: NONE!!!
Monday, April 12, 1999 (High 89ish, Low 65ish)
Up at 8:45am and started packing. Time for vacation part 2 to start. Left OKW at 10:40am and drove directly to the Boardwalk (BW). Bob waited in the car while I went to check-in. Left our bags with the valet then went inside to talk to a Disney Cruise (DC) line representative in the lobby to make sure that all my documents were in order. They were, so I went to the desk to check-in. Gave them all my documents, and our room was ready! We are in room #3248 on the Inn side! Bummer. I wanted a Villa room. Oh well. Even though our room was ready we left the BW and went to the Memories store on Hwy 50 (a.k.a. Colonial Drive). I love this store. Bob hung around with me, picking out stickers and asking me if I had certain things. Of course I already had everything he showed me. VBG
We then back tracked to Stamp Your Art Out on Orange Blossom Trail. This was a nice store, however the people were not friendly. I will not be visiting there again. After that visit we stopped for a late lunch at Tony Romas on International Drive. The food was good and the prices were low compared to what we had been paying at WDW. ($28.58 w/o tip) After lunch Bob dropped me off at Stamp Cabana by the Belz Factory Outlets. Now this is a stamp store. Lots of stock and FRIENDLY employees. They make you feel at home and that its okay to spend hours browsing the shelves. While I was shopping Bob went to an indoor shooting range that he had seen on I-Drive. He got to shoot a Colt National Match 45 and a Thompson Sub-Machine Gun 45 A.C.P. on full auto. It cost about $75 and he had a great time. He felt it was definitely worth the time and money. He picked me up about 1¼ hours later. We then stopped at Walgreens on I-Drive to pick up some sun screen and allergy/cold/sinus drugs. I wasnt sure if I had a cold or allergy problems, but I needed drugs!!
We got back to the BW about 5:30pm. Luckily our room was only part way down the massive hallways. Our room overlooked a courtyard and the quiet pool. If you looked far off to the left you could see part of Morocco and the very top of the American Adventure. Our room had 2 queen beds and a day bed that we used for storage. We sure missed the kitchen and laundry facilities at OKW. I am spoiled with a capital S. Anyway, we got our luggage from bell services, unpacked and went to the bus stop at 6:30pm. We decided to go to Pleasure Island (PI) for the evening. We waited 12 minutes for the bus and once it came we went straight to PI. We went directly to the Comedy Warehouse and saw the 1st show (which was great) then got back in line for the 2nd show. After the 2nd show we went over to the Adventurers Club. We saw a show in the Trophy Room, then the Adventurer of the Year 1937 in the Library. After that show we saw another show in the Library with Samantha. This Samantha was the same lady that was the maid last year. I really liked her in both roles. She is very funny and has great facial expressions. Left about 11:30pm and waited only a couple of minutes for the bus. The bus stopped at the Swan and Codfish (oops, I mean Swan and Dolphin) then the Y&B Club, then the BW. Got to bed ~midnight.
NOTE: No blisters, but I have now decided that I have a cold. Must be from all the air conditioning and HOT temperatures outside. I have never been sick at WDW before, but I guess if Im going to have a cold what better place to have one. ;o)
Tomorrow: Bobs Birthday and Animal Kingdom
Tuesday, April 13 (High 81ish, Low 58ish)
Today is Bobs Birthday!!! Happy Birthday Bob!!! Today was AK day so we got up at 6:30am. The beds were small and too soft after the great bed at OKW. Ok, I am spoiled. We walked to the bus stop and right onto a bus at 7:30am. We arrived at AK in time for the opening announcement. It was a great day for AK since it was cool this morning. We went directly to the safari and waited ~10-minutes for a jeep. Both lanes were open, but people were only going to the right. We took the left lane leaving lots of people behind. Lots of animals were out except we didnt see many giraffes or any of the lions. Oh well. Our driver was good and very authentic. There was an elderly couple sitting next to us and all the guy did was complain about the driver, his accent, the animals, everything. Geez, I guess that he got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!!
After the safari we went down the Panghi Trail and all the gorillas were out. We saw an 11-week old baby riding on his Moms back, the big daddy and lots of bachelors. After the trail we stopped at the Tusker House for breakfast. Bob had the fruit plate and muffin and I had the bacon/egg biscuit and we shared a cinnamon roll. ($18.83) I have never eaten here for another meal except breakfast, but I would recommend it highly. After breakfast we went to Its Tough To Be A Bug (ITTBAB) inside the Tree of Life (ToL). Is it me, or does this movie seem blurry? I still like the effects even if I hate bugs. After ITTBAB we went to Asia and went down the Tiger Trail. The bats are UGLY and scary. I did not like even looking at them, let alone thinking about any "close encounters". We saw some cute Asian Cows and the Tigers were lounging around. Man are they beautiful animals.
Now came the big decision do we do the Rapids Ride? We sat on a bench and watched some of the people come off and they were soaked. Hmmm. We debated, but I didnt want to get my shoes wet. I can handle pretty much anything but wet shoes. Bob then suggested that "I was getting old!". Ok, them are fightin words!! The challenge was on. We decided that we would do the Rapids last, right before we were ready to leave, just in case we got soaked. That decision made we went to CtX in Dinoland. We waited about 15-minutes, and I just dont get this ride. I mean I understand the plot, but the ride sequence I dont get. Oh well. Maybe next time I will get it. After CtX we decided to hit the Flame Tree BBQ for lunch. I had the worst ribs in my life. They were all fat. Good thing I was going to have a big dinner tonight. Bob had the turkey salad in a bread bowl with Asian dressing. ($20.09) He though it was good, but itgave him really bad breath.
Now it was time to ride the Rapids. We waited about 20-minutes and it was well worth the wait. This ride is AWESOME! Although I learned something Confucius say she who goes down the falls backwards gets really wet! Yep, that was me, soaked, but I loved it. Also, I put my feet up under the holder in the middle of the raft and they stayed dry. Do not leave your feet in the bottom of the raft; there was probably 3 inches of water in the bottom of the raft.
Now it was 1:50pm and time to head back to BW, dry off and give my cold a nap. There was a bus waiting so we hopped on. We again made the milk run with us being the last off. Got back to the room ~2:15pm and napped until 4:00pm. We got ready for Bobs birthday dinner at the Yachtsman Steak House. We walked over to the Yacht club and we were there before the restaurant opened. We hung around until 5:30pm (when they opened) and were seated right away. What a nice restaurant, expensive, but nice. We had a great table by the window so we could watch people in the pool, and watch people walk by. Bob had the prime rib, and I had the filet mignon. Excellent dinner. Bob got a free dessert for his birthday and he chose the chocolate cake and I had the crème broulee. Again, excellent food. ($74.47 w/o tip) There was a girl at the next table who was celebrating her birthday and they sang to her, but Bobs glad that they didnt sing to him. The waitress brought his chocolate cake with a candle in the top and a birthday card. Bob thought that the card was from me until he opened it and realized that it was from Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip, and Dale! What a treasured memory. The little girl was fascinated by the fact that we were celebrating a birthday and she came over to ask Bob how old he was. When he said 41 she was in awe of a guy that old celebrating his birthday at WDW.
We waddled back to the BW to change for E-ticket night. We waited ~10-minutes for a bus, then it was direct to the MK. We got our wristbands and they only sold 2,000 tickets for tonight! Awesome. We decided to hang out at Town Square and watch the fireworks. I have never seen the fireworks from that end of Main Street and they were beautiful from there. It was truly a magical beginning to E-ticket night. We watched the people leaving the MK knowing that our fun was just beginning. Around 9:00pm we headed to Tomorrowland and Buzz Lightyear. We rode this twice in a row and Bob still beat me. The first time I only had 15,500 points and Bob had 137,200. The 2nd trip I had 55,600 and Bob had 197,100. I dont think I could ride this ride enough times to get that many points. After Buzz it was off to Space Mountain and we rode the left side. I like this ride, but for some reason one trip was enough (maybe because of my cold).
Now it was time to hang with the pirates, then on to BTMRR a.k.a. the "Wildest Ride In The Wilderness". The wait was ~20-minutes because they only had one track running. Bummer, I hate waiting in line on E-ticket night. Oh well, we got the last car again and had a great ride in the dark. Next we went to SM and got soaked. Not only did we get it from the air cannon in the beginning of the ride; we got wet on the drop, and got stopped by the waterfall by the exit. Ok, so were soaked, lets go again. This time we were in the front of the log. No one had been in the front of the log the previous trip so the seat was WET. My behind was soaked. On this trip we also got it from the air cannon, the drop, and the waterfall. Well we had to buy this picture because we were in the front, we both had our arms up, and you could tell how wet we were! Now back to BTMRR to dry off. Again, we had to wait ~ 20 minutes. By now it was going on midnight (just like Cinderella) so we made our way back to Main Street. I got some popcorn and a coke and we strolled leisurely down Main Street. Bye Mickey see ya next time.
A bus was waiting, and again we had the milk run. Got back to BW ~12:30pm and lights out ~1:00pm. What a birthday!!
BLISTER REPORT: NONE!!!
Tomorrow: Disney Quest
Wednesday, April 14 (High 83ish, Low 60ish)
Slept in this morning after our late night. Phoned home and everything is going well. Got out and about around 11:00am. Got the car from valet and drove over to Disney Quest (DQ). Admission was $25 pp, which is kinda steep especially since I am not a video game person. I remembered that DVC and/or MKC had a discount so I asked. I could get the best discount with the DVC so we saved $5 pp. DQ is definitely where all men turn into 12-year old boys!. It reminds me of a casino a place designed so you lose track of time. There are no windows and the lights and noise are intense. Bob was busy playing video games so I decided to wander around. We decided to meet in 2 hours. During my wandering I started talking to a security guard. He wanted to know what I though of DQ. I told him it was cool, but that video games werent really my thing. He then took me to the Alice in Wonderland area where the Internet computers are. Now youre talking my language. I spent the time surfing the net and enjoying the big comfy chairs. I also sent my boss a computerized post card. (Yes, he did get it and he said he forwarded it onto some of my co-workers.)
Bob and I met up at 2:00pm and had lunch at Cheesecake Express. We both had hot dogs (of all things). ($12.72) After lunch I was freezing. Now I normally do not get cold, I am usually the hot-blooded one. So I decided to walk down to the Marketplace and look for Legos for my nephew. Bob decided to go with me, so off we went. You can come and go from DQ with a hand stamp and your ticket stub. The re-entry area is in the gift shop. We found some space Legos for Victor then went back to DQ for more games. They also have a coat/package check area so we checked our packages. Before we separated, we went to the Cheesecake Factory for dessert. I had the strawberry cheesecake that was very creamy and Bob had the chocolate mousse. ($11.53) Then I went to the Internet computers and Bob went to play more games. We agreed to meet at 7:00pm at the re-entry area. After about 1-hour I was freezing again, so I went out to the car to get a sweatshirt. Ah, I ended up sitting in the warm car for a while. Went back to DQ at 7:00pm to meet up with Bob. I wait, and wait. Ok, now Im mad. I wanted to go to PI for the 1st Comedy Warehouse show. Off on the elevator I go. I find him playing a game with another "kid". "Time to go Bob". "Ahh, gee!"
By now we had missed the 1st comedy show and my cold was making me feel crummy, so we went over to Goodings for cold drugs, water, and Coke. Headed back to BW. We valet parked the car and decided to head down to the take-out pizza window at Spoodles. I ate my pizza, but left most of the salad. I just was feeling crummy. On the way back to the room I decide that tonight would be laundry night. Luckily the laundry room was on our floor. There were only 3 regular and 1 double-load washers and 1 of the regular load washers was broken. We checked the laundry room on the way to our room and no one was there. Cool. We run down to the room, grab the dirty clothes, laundry soap, and quarters and off we go. I get everything going about 9:30pm. Well, my timing was great because suddenly the laundry room became the most popular place at the BW. I have to say that 5 women came in trying to do laundry. I kinda felt bad using all the washers, but hey, if I hadnt done it, one of them would have. I could not believe that this was the only laundry facility at the Inn. There were other laundry facilities by the big pool, but nobody wanted to walk over that way. We got back to the room at 10:55pm. Bob watched a TV show about the battle of Midway until 1:00am, and I crashed. Tomorrow is our last day at WDW before the cruise.
Thursday, April 15 (Record High of 95!!!!)
Today is "return the rental car day". I got up about 7:45am and got ready. Bob wanted to sleep, so I went by myself. I got the car from valet, stopped to get gas at the Exxon by the BW, and drove the back way (by Fort Wilderness) to the Car Care Center by the MK. Returned the car with no problem. They even have check-in people in the parking lot. Boarded a National Car Rental Bus that took me right to the BW. Now that was smooth. Bob was still asleep when I returned, and his first words to me were "havent you left yet?" LOL I told him I had been gone and back. He didnt believe me, but it was true. Ate a muffin and Bob got ready for the day. Called Mom to check-in before the cruise. Max is doing great. She and Mom are doing some heavy-duty bonding.
Went to EPCOT via the International Gateway (IG). Walked directly to Test Track (TT). We got slowed up some by the "reverse rope drop". What that means is we were by Canada and the rope was still up with lots of people waiting to enter WS. We waited for the crowd to disperse, then walked down the rose path to Future World. The weather today is HOT. We got in line at 11:12am and entered the pre-show at 11:55am. Line area is great. Bob was really impressed by all the real tools and tool boxes. He kept pointing out all of them as we walked through. He estimated that they had $15,000 to $20,000 worth of tool boxes!! All of them Snap-On, just like he uses. The attention to detail is amazing. Test Track is great. Bob said is reminded him of riding with me on the freeway. LOL My favorite parts are the bumpy road, the anti-lock break test, and of course the part where you go really fast. My only problem is that the picture was lame. We all had really dazed looks on our faces as we went from the dark inside to the very bright outside. Oh well. We walked through the gift shop and I bought a key chain.
Walked over to The Land for lunch. Bob had the BBQ chicken and I had the land salad. We both had big cookies for dessert. ($20.87) We had wanted to catch Off Kilter (OK) and the World Showcase Players (WSP) all trip and here we were on the last day. We decided to go back to the room and get the video camera to video the WSP and OK. It was really hot, so we rode the boat from the IG to the BW. Very leisurely. The captain told us some of the specifics of the boat, but right now I cannot remember them. Oh well. We went up to the room, then back on the boat to the IG. We video taped some of OK. Now I know what everyone is talking about. They are great; what personalities and talent. We left before their show was done because we wanted to catch the WSP. We got lucky and got a place in the shade by the Tea Caddy. They did King Arthur and the Holy Grail. Grail, Grail, Grail huh. Bob loves that show. We have yet to see Romeo and Edna. Maybe next time. After King Arthur we went back to see OK. After their show we went into Canada and looked at their CD. I decided not to buy it, something I know regret. Oh well, maybe Ill call WDW Mail Order, or wait until my next trip. Decided to go into the Canada show. I love that song, and Bob likes it because his family is from Canada.
Now it is really hot. We decided to stop by the entrance to WS and have a lemon ice. Yummy. They are getting set up for the Flower and Garden show that starts tomorrow. They have all of the topiaries up, and the vendors were busy getting their booths set up. I wish we could stay a couple of days to enjoy the show. Oh well. After the lemon ice we walk around WS to Japan where we have dinner PS at 5:45pm. When we get to Japan we both slipped into the restrooms to freshen up. Did I mention that it was HOT??? Dinner was great. I had the steak and shrimp and Bob had the steak and scallops. ($53.11 w/o tip) We sat with a family of 4 from PA and 2 ladies from Boston. Great place to relax. Our cook was from Hawaii. He was very good with the knives. After dinner we waddled around to France to see if "Chip" was working yet. He wasnt. Bummer. Bob didnt get to have his fun getting people wet. Oh well.
We stopped for an ice cream then went back to the BW ~8:00pm. We went swimming in the quiet pool and it was freezing!!! The hot tub jets wouldnt turn on, so we went over to the main pool which was also freezing!!! I dont know if they dont want us swimming at night or what, but it was ridiculous and I wanted my pool at OKW.
Back to the room to pack. Part 3 of our vacation starts tomorrow and I have to have our checked luggage ready at 8:00am. Did I mention that it was HOT today???
Blister Report: A small one on my little toe.
Tomorrow: The Cruise Begins!!!
Friday, April 16
Urggh. The alarm goes off at 6:00am, finally up at 7:00am. We had ordered room service last night and it arrived at 8:30am. We shared the egg/combo breakfast ($23.13 w/o tip). We decided to just laze around the room this morning and wait for our bags to be picked up. The bellman arrived at 9:30am to pick up our bags. I had gotten sunburned on my arms yesterday, so I was laying low.
We went down to the lobby ~10:00am to wait and watch people. We answered a survey about BWI. They wanted to know how long our stay was, which parks we went to and how many times, did we rent a car and why, how the service was, and how we would rate the BWI on a scale of 1 to 10. I rated it an 8 because of the soft beds and the cold pools. The lady admitted that they get lots of complaints about the beds. Maybe they should do something about that. Bob went to play video games (like he didnt get enough at DQ) and I hung out in the lobby watching people. We went to the Bellevue Lounge at 10:50am to meet up with the DC representative. She checked our Ids then off to the busses. We got on the 2nd bus at 11:20am. We were off to Port Canaveral at 11:28am. The busses are way cool, they even have anchors and Mickey cruise logos on the seats.
We turned left at the light by the BW then right on Hwy 536, then 536 to Hwy 417. We went down 417 and then turned off onto Hwy 528. We followed 528 until we got to the port at 12:35pm. We did not get to watch a video on the way out. I was really looking forward to seeing it. Anyway, we get off the bus and were met by a group of singers in the lobby of the terminal. Nice touch. The line to board was very long, but they werent letting people on the ship yet. Once they did, the line moved quickly. Minnie was in the lobby posing for pictures. Bob took pictures and video of the cut-away of the ship. We entered the ship through the Mickey head at 1:15pm. Our Key to the World worked great and the turnstile said "Welcome Aboard Ms. Gray" on it. Way cool. We boarded on Deck 3, so we rode the elevator up to Deck 6. We found our room #6066 with no problem. It is really close to the elevator and stairs, which is nice. We ended up using the stairs a lot because the elevators were small and slow.
Our stateroom was nice, bigger than I expected. When we walked in the ½ bath was on the left and then the shower/sink bath was next. The closet and safe was on the right. Next on the left was the king-size bed (with DC Logos mixed in the pattern), and on the right was a cabinet, connecting door to the room next door, and a trunk with shelves for storage. Once past that area was a pull out couch and a sit down vanity, then the door to the verandah. We felt really dumb because we tried to open the door by pushing and pulling. We thought it was broken. When we reported it to Guest Services, they told us that it slid. Duh. Boy did we feel goofy. I said thanks, and escaped quickly.
We went up to the Topsider Buffet. We were a little ahead of the crowd, because later it was really crowded. We ate lots including the shrimp. The salad bar was a little lame, but the dessert bar was good. After lunch we went back to our room and ¾ of our luggage had arrived, and guess what? We got our verandah door open. Gee, it seemed so simple after Guest Services explained it to me. I decided to explore the ship while Bob relaxed in the room. I came back to the room about 3:30pm and Bob tells me that there is no TP, there is old food in the fridge, and the mini bar is empty. Not exactly the quality I was hopping for from Disney. I called Guest Services about the TP and they said they would find our room steward. We waited, but he never showed up. By now it was time for the lifeboat drill. Those life vests are hot. We had to go to Deck 4 to the L area. We gave our stateroom number and lined up. It went very smoothly and we were done within 15 minutes. I guess I need to thank the Titanic.
We returned our life vests to the cabin (still no TP) and headed up to the top of the deck for departure. We got a couple of chairs and sat right out front. There were dolphins playing in the water below us, and some very aggressive birds flying low looking for a "beak-out". About 5:05pm the horn sounds and we are off. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Da. We sit up front for a while then decide to get ready for the show and dinner. I called Guest Services to see how long the show lasted (about 1 hour) and we decided that we would have enough time to see the 6:15pm show, come back, change, and get to dinner at 8:30pm. So off we go to Disney Dreams. The show was good, corny in some parts, but Disney all the way.
We get back to the room (still no TP, so Bob finds our steward) clean up, and go to Lumieres for our first dinner. We have our picture taken by the Mickey statue by Lumieres. We are seated with 2 honeymoon couples (1 from OH and 1 from IL). RANT ON: Our water is from Romania and his assistant is from Saudi Arabia. We figure out that they are nice, mean well, but are "a few french fries short of a happy meal". We definitely didnt get the service that cruise lines are famous for. RANT OFF.
Bob had the sea bass and I had the tenderloin. We both had Lumeriers salad, which has bacon, egg, and a dressing with a definite kick. For dessert I had the chocolate mousse cake and Bob had the crème Broulee. After dinner we went and picked up our picture from embarkation and then shopping. They have some really nice stuff, it will be difficult for me to choose something for everyone. By now it is 11:00pm and we decide to head back to the room to bed. Such party animals. LOL
Saturday, April 17
We wake up in Nassau. I do not understand how the captain can back this ship into the slip and we never felt anything. Not a bump, not the engines change, nothing. We get up at 8:45am and get ready. We went to breakfast at Parrot Cay. Really neat set up. You go through the buffet line, then the servers take your plates and seat you at a table. Then you can order other things like bagels, toast, etc. We both enjoyed the fruit. After breakfast we decided to go to town and look around. Now this had been a debate between Bob and I. I have been to Jamaica, and knew that Nassau would be basically the same. We didnt want to go to the casino, and we didnt want to go snorkeling or on a boat tour. But Bob wore me down and I agreed to at least go into town. Getting off the ship is easy; they scan your Key To The World card, so they can keep track of who is on the ship and who is off in town. We walked into town and it was exactly what I expected. We checked out a few shops, then after 1-hour returned to the boat. Thanks Nassau, it was fun.
Bob decided to take a nap in the room, and I went up to the adult pool to hang out. I found a chaise lounge in the shade/sun and proceeded to swim and read. I called Bob about 1:00pm and told him to get out of the cabin and up to the pool. Once he joined me we went to Pinocchios for pizza. Great pizza. We both swam and hung around the pool until 4:00pm. Then we headed down to change. We decided to get ready for dinner before the show tonight since last night really cut it close.
We went to the 6:15pm showing of the Ghost Ship. It was a good show. After the show we wandered around and decided to hit the 7:45pm comedy show. There were only about 15 of us in the room, so they did a shortened show for us. We were going to go back later for a real show, but never made it.
Time for dinner at Animators Palate. I had the pasta with crab legs for an appetizer. Bob had the filet migon with the Caesar salad for an appetizer. The room changes were cool, and the little parade the waters do with the sparklers was a nice touch, especially the appearance by Mickey. Dessert was a "sampler" of different desserts. I cant remember exactly what they all were, but some were good, and some were awful. After dinner we changed for the deck party. The band was called Triple Threat and they were really good. They had put a dance floor over the Goofy pool and the band was playing by it. We listened to the band until 11:00pm when it was time for the fireworks. You could see the people on the other ships watching our party and the fireworks. Only Disney could shoot fireworks off from a ship. A great sight to see.
After the fireworks we wandered around the ship some more then went back and listened to the band again. Then it started to lightening. I mean big sheets of lightening. I am not a lightening fan. Lets just say that I hide under the bed with the dog. Bob however, was really into it. He actually spent some time on the deck trying to videotape it. Some of the tape came out ok. After I had enough lightening we headed back to the room, and then it started to rain. We stood out on our veranda and watched the people coming back from Nassau. Some were in pretty sad condition. The air smelt good after the rain. Time to go to bed. Tomorrow is Castaway Cay.
Sunday, April 18
We wake up around 8:00am and we are docked at Castaway Cay (CC). We never felt the ship leave Nassau, never felt the shop dock at CC. Amazing, simply amazing. Unfortunately the day is cloudy, windy, and cool. Bummer, so much for sun in paradise. We went to breakfast at Parrot Cay again. This breakfast is right up our alley. We go back to the room, grab our suits and snorkel gear and we are off the ship at 10:30am. We walked off the ship, picked up towel, and walked down the path to the tram. Ahh, this is definitely a Disney Island. The sand is beautiful, there are lounge chairs and umbrellas everywhere. We started off by riding the tram to the adult beach. We had pre-paid for floats, but there was no way I was going into the water. It was waay to cold outside. We walked down the beach and found 2 lounge chairs with a striped cabana thing. We hung out there for a while, but it felt like we were at home. Cold, windy, with a few drops of rain. We lasted about 1 hour and then we decided that it was time to go to the regular beach. There were a few hardy souls in the water, but there was a lot of seaweed in it. Ick.
We rode the tram back to the main beach, and it wasnt as windy as the adult beach. We found lounge chairs and decided to snorkel. We rented snorkel gear, but used our own tubes and masks. The water was cold. We saw a turtle and some fish, but you had to swim out a long way to find them. It made me nervous, so we only stayed out ½ hour. We came back in and ate lunch on the island. We both had hamburgers and tried the chicken. All the food was good, the island cookies were strange (I had to eat around the big fruit chunk).
We were wet and cold, so we headed back to the ship at 3:30pm. We showered
and headed up on deck. We were getting hunger (dinner wasnt until
8:30pm) so we had pizza from Pinocchios. I read up on deck and we
watched us depart from Castaway Cay. I really enjoyed our day on the island,
and it would have really been paradise if the weather had cooperated.
Once we left port the shops opened up and everyone
We dressed and had time before dinner, so we stopped in the Promenade Lounge for a drink. Then off to Parrot Cay for our last dinner. Everyone had steak for dinner that was really good. For dessert Bob had the Key Lime Tart and I had the Chocolate Coconut Cake. It tasted exactly like a Hostess Snowball!! I told our waiter this, and he didnt understand. I told him next time he had some time in the states, to go a convenience store and try one, then he would know what I meant.
After dinner we changed, finished packing and wandered the ship for a while. We watched a little of Triple Threat in the lounge, then lights out at 12:00am. We have to be at breakfast at 8:15am.
Monday, April 19
Up at 6:30am. How does the captain dock this ship without us feeling any type of movement. It is an amazing feat. Anyway, we are downstairs at 7:30am and hang out until breakfast at 8:15am in Parrot Cay. We both had the eggs (yuck, they were awful). Said our good-byes to our wait staff, and we were off the ship at 9:00am.
We found our luggage with no problems (3 pieces were together), got a porter to help us, he took our customs forms, handed them to the customs guy, and we walk outside. He takes over to the Delta check-in area, and unloads our luggage. We tip him, and he is gone. The check-in at Delta is quick, they take our tickets, tag our luggage, we show our id to the bus people and we are on our way to the airport at 9:30am. Wow, talk about efficient. It was a first class Disney operation all the way.
We went down Hwy. 528 directly to the airport. We got to watch the movie this time, and we pulled into the airport at 10:30am. We went to the Delta counter to get our boarding passes. Again being a Medallion member was great. We just walked up to the first class check-in area, no waiting in line. It was great. ;o)
We hung out at the airport until time to board, and had an uneventful flight to Dallas. We had an hour layover in Dallas, then had problems with the hydraulic system in the plane. They got everything figured out and we were only 30 minutes late leaving. Mom was there to meet us, and it is cold!!
So I guess it just depends on what you are looking for in accommodations. I really like OKW for the home feeling you get, but BW is great for location. Im just grateful that Ive been given the opportunity to have this dilemma.
My next trip is planned for the first week in November. My mom, sister, and nephew Victor will be joining me. Thanks for reading and "please gather all your personal belongings and exit through the doors on your right".