Michelle Costello -- August 2001 -- Walt Disney World (PORR)
One night in July while surfing the Internet I found awesome rates of $68.00 round trip from Buffalo to Orlando. It meant a little bit of a drive, but to fly out of Rochester it would cost $142.00 round trip so it was a no brainer. I wasn't planning a trip to WDW until next year but there was no way I could turn down such great prices. We had planned on doing some sort of a family vacation the last week of August anyway so Disney now would become that trip. I was able to get a great rate of $71.00 a night at Port Orleans Riverside, so now the room was set. We decided to rent a car this trip because we like the freedom of coming and going when we want so the search was on for a good rate. I recently joined the Emerald Aisle Club for free as a DC member, and I was able to get a great rate of $113.00 for the week for a full-size car.
My husband and kids had 7 day park hopper passes from our last trip that still had 1 day on them as well as all 4 options left. I was able to get 2 six -day hopper plus passes from a friend of my husbands, and both tickets had 3 days plus all 3 options left. We plan on spending two days in the parks, one- day park hopping and the other only at Magic Kingdom. My family will use their hopper passes for the park hopping day, and I will use one day of the 6-day pass. For the MK day I will buy one day passes for the kids and my husband and I will use the 2 tickets he got from his friend. We will use the options from the passes for our water park days. I now had the main items done, and all I had to do was make my 2 dinner reservations (Boma and Artist Point), and try to not go crazy waiting for the trip to finally be here.
Day 1, August 25th - Saturday
The day was finally here and we were all ready to go. I had been packed for a week, and all I had to do was throw in my make-up and hair dryer into my suitcase and we were on our way to the Buffalo airport. We left about 9:30am and arrived at the airport around 10:30. We parked our car in long-term parking and checked in for our flight. We were not leaving until 12:45pm so we grabbed some lunch and patiently waited until we could finally get on the plane. We had to make a connection in Detroit (we flew Northwest and that is their hub) and were off to Orlando after switching planes. We bring backpacks with us on the plane filled with toys, books, CD players and snacks to keep us all occupied on the plane, and it seems to help make the time go a little bit quicker.
We arrived on time at the Orlando airport at 6:00pm and went to retrieve our luggage and get our rental car. We weren't sure how it would be getting the car since it was our first time using Emerald Aisle, but it was fine. We got a Buick LeSabre and it was perfect for the four of us. We finally left the airport and headed to WDW!! We stopped at a Publix on the way to the resort to get some groceries for the week; we spent about $25.00 on soda, cereal, sandwich stuff, a cooler and some snacks. We arrived at Port Orleans about 7:30pm and went right to check in. We had no wait and were soon in our room (building 14, 2nd floor, just like we wanted).
We were starving so we got back into our car and went to Celebration for dinner. We ate at the Celebration Town Tavern, which we really enjoyed. We started with the spicy tuna dip, which was wonderful, even the kids ate it. For dinner I had the Cape Cod salad with lobster (yummy), my husband had the seafood combination platter, and my kids both had the spaghetti (they all liked their food also). The cost of the meal was about $65.00 with tip (we also had a beer and 3 sodas). After dinner we took a nice stroll around Celebration, just enjoying the warm Florida night air and feeling so lucky that we were really here. We all started to get a little tired after our walk and our long day so we headed back to the room to unpack and get some much-needed sleep.
Day 2, August 26th- Sunday
We have never done early entry before on any of our Disney trips, but decided to give it a try since we only had a couple of days here. Today was early entry at MGM so we decided to go there. We were awake by 6:00am. We grabbed some cereal for the kids, and we were out of the room by 7:15am. We decided to drive and we got a really good parking spot (of course since it was only about 7:30) and walked to the front entrance. We had no wait to get inside and we walked quickly to Rock n' Roller Coaster to jump-start our morning. We were excited that we would be able to ride this all together as a family. My son is finally 48' (at least with sneakers on he is) so this would be his first time riding the coaster. He was a bit nervous, but he did it, and he liked it a lot. It ended up being his second favorite ride of the trip. After RnRC we headed over to Tower of Terror, which only my husband and I rode. TOT is my favorite ride; I could ride this over and over again if I had the time. I think the special effects, and the music and the smell of the attraction just make it so spectacular. I wish I could get the kids on it, they don't mind the drop, they just don't like the ghosts...lol.
We decided to head over towards the Millionaire show and see when that started for the day. The next show wasn't until 10:00am so we got fast passes and walked over to Star Tours. Star Tours was my son's favorite ride up until this trip so this was a must do. My husband opted out but I was the good mom and took the kids for the ride to Endor. We still had some time to kill until our fast passes so we let the kids burn off some energy in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. After they had their fun we took our time strolling over to the Millionaire Game, stopping to take many pictures of a very empty New York Street. The whole park was nice and quiet and we were very happy we decided to do early entry here today. We finally made it to the game and found some seats. We thought the game was ok, but don't feel the need to visit it anytime soon. We are not sure how anyone gets to the hot seat because we were getting all the questions right and answering them very quickly but our seat numbers were never on the board. I guess there must be some special way to hit the buttons that we were not figuring out, oh well.
We were ready to go after playing this game (we had done all that we wanted to do in the park) so we walked back to the car and drove to Animal Kingdom. We had two things we wanted to do here, the Safari and the Rapids ride. We got to the park, grabbed a tram and entered the gates very quickly. We walked to the wait board and saw that the rapids had the longer wait so we went there to get a fast pass and then did the safari. This was one of the best safaris we have ever done. The driver was very good; she stopped a lot for pictures, and pointed out a lot of hidden animals. The broken bridge was working this time; it hadn't been working our last two trips, so I guess they fixed it. We also noticed a part where they spray water at the vehicle; I don't remember this part from previous safari rides. After our really good Safari we headed over to the Rapids ride to use our fast passes. It was a good thing we had the passes because it was now a 70-minute wait. We were able to walk right on and we got soaked! It was about 90 degrees outside though so it wasn't a bad thing to be wet I guess.
We were wet now so we decided it would be best to head back to the resort to go swimming. We grabbed a tram and got to our car and drove back to the resort. We went to our room, changed into our suits, fed the kids some sandwiches, and then went to the pool. We spent a couple of hours at the pool enjoying the wonderful Florida sunshine and the very fun pool. After we had our fill of swimming we went back to the room to change and get ready for our evening. We wanted to get the most of our hopper passes so we decided to head to Epcot for the rest of the night. We hopped back into the car and drove over to the Dolphin to park (we planned on spending some time on the boardwalk after Epcot). We entered Epcot at the international gateway and walked over to the Italy pavilion for dinner. We had made reservations back at the room to eat at Alfredo's (we had never eaten there before) for 4:30pm. We got to the restaurant and were seated almost immediately. We started with an appetizer of salmon, swordfish, mozzarella, and asparagus. which was good but small. I had the rigatoni (which was good), my husband had the pasta sampler and the kids both got the spaghetti (which they all loved). We all thought the food was good, but the portions were small and the prices were a bit high. Dinner cost was about $70.00 with tip. We have a lot of really excellent Italian restaurants in our area so we are a bit critical of Italian restaurants in other places.
After dinner we decided to see what the lines were like at Test Track, so we walked over to Future World. The stand by line was long and they were out of fast passes so we went to the single rider's line. We were on the ride in about 1/2 hour and we all met up in the gift shop. This is one of my favorite rides so we always like to get at least one ride per trip. We felt that it was time to do some shopping now so we went into Mouse Gears to lighten our wallets. We found some fun souvenirs and then walked over to the Journey into your imagination ride. I have been on this ride (hated it), but my family never has. There was of course no line, and we were able to get right on. The kids actually liked it and my husband thought it was ok. He said that if they just explained things better, it could be a pretty decent attraction. After we filled up our imaginations we thought we would go check out the seating situation for illuminations. The whole area was pretty filled up so we just decided to grab some snacks from Morocco (baklava-yummy) and walk around the boardwalk. We were able to catch the fireworks from illuminations while we were walking, which was nice. After our walk we went back to the car and headed back to the resort to get some sleep.
Day 3, August 27th- Monday
We were all very excited about today, this would we our first time visiting Blizzard Beach. I was up by 7:00am so I could get my run in before we headed out. Port Orleans has to be my favorite resort based on the running route alone. It is so peaceful running along the river in the quiet morning before it gets too crowded on the beautiful paths surrounding the resorts. After my run we gave the kids their cereal and were on the road to BB by 8:45am. We parked right near the front entrance and walked right into the park and over to the lockers. We got our locker, stored our stuff, and found a couple of chairs. We then went straight to Teamboat Springs. There was just a short wait and we were on our way down the raft ride. This was such a great ride! We should have gone again right away, but we figured we could come back later, (which we didn't because the lines got to long). We were anxious to try everything so went over to the other tube rides. We only did one of the tube rides and were ready for something different. We walked over towards downhill dipper, which my husband and daughter rode. My son is to short without his sneakers on so he couldn't ride. My husband and daughter really liked this ride and hopefully next time we can ride it as a family. We next went over to the racing slides. These ended up being our favorite rides of the day. We were able to ride these a couple of times. We also rode snow stormers a couple of times too; these were also a favorite.
We then decided to try out the wave pool. I wasn't too sure of this, but it ended up being a lot of fun! The waves are nice and mellow and very easy to play in. The kids and my husband really liked the wave pool, they are ocean wave fans (I refuse to go into the ocean) so this was great fun for them. After playing in the waves we wanted to try out the ski lift so we headed there next. The line was very long but we really wanted to try this so we waited it out. We finally got on and got to the top, but found the line for Teamboat Springs to be way to long, so we walked back down and went to the teen area. This area was busy but not so bad. We stayed for awhile so the kids could try all the activities, such as the t-bars, ice bergs and slides. They had a lot of fun, but after a while it got to crowded so we left. There was a bit of excitement while we were there though. In the t-bar area the kids drop off into 8 feet of water so they must be good swimmers. There was a girl who tried the t-bar who obviously didn't know how to swim. She dropped off the bar and then went under the water and was not coming back up. It took much to long for the lifeguard to respond, so a man from the side jumped in to save her. The lifeguard finally got to her, and helped her but she (the lifeguard) didn't seem too happy about it. She was more concerned about losing her glasses in the water then about the poor girl who almost drowned. The lifeguard had some man watching from the side go into the water to retrieve her glasses! I would definitely not leave my kids alone at a water park or near any water without supervision, I felt so bad for this girl. I never saw her parents anywhere, during or after the rescue. I hope she didn't continue swimming all by herself. Anyways, enough of that, after we left the teen area we went over to the lazy river. We didn't stay here too long because it was busy, and we couldn't even get tubes.
The park was really busy at this point and we had ridden everything we wanted so we decided to head back to the room to change. We walked back to our car with a stop at the gift shop (for a magnet) and the locker rental (to get our mug and locker stuff) first. We drove back to the room to shower, eat lunch, change, and take the kids to the arcade to get rid of the change that we had acquired so far. We emptied our pockets of quarters and then decided to do some shopping. We grabbed our car and drove to Downtown Disney. We found a good parking spot and went directly to the World of Disney store. I wanted to get some antenna toppers and hadn't seen any at any of the parks or at the resort. I was able to find my toppers, plus a couple of other items that called to me :). We hit a couple of other stores and eventually made our way back to our car. We decided to take a little drive before heading back to our resort so we went off property. We had a nice time exploring the area surrounding "the world" and finally made our way back to the resort. We put away our stuff and went back to the car to drive to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner. We had dinner reservations at Boma for 5:30pm. We has no trouble with the gate guard, she just waved us in when she saw our Port Orleans pass.
We parked our car and spent some time wandering around the resort checking things out. We went out back to see the animals; we were able to see quite a few. After walking around a bit we were all getting hungry so we headed over to the restaurant. It was only about 5:15 and the restaurant wasn't supposed to open until 5:30 but they were already seating people. We checked in and were seated right away. This was probably our best meal of the trip. We got to try all sorts of new and interesting foods. Some of my favorite things were the watermelon rind salad, the sweet potatoes, the chicken corn porridge, and the zebra dome dessert. My husband and kids also loved their food and want to come back again. Dinner cost was about $70.00 with tip. After dinner we headed back to our resort to change back into our swim suits. We decided to try out some of the other pools at the other resorts to see if we would like to stay at any of them. We got into our suits and headed back to the car. We first drove over to the Wilderness Lodge. The pool wasn't too busy but we didn't stay all that long because we wanted to check out the pools at the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian. We next drove to the Grand Floridian, wow the parking lot is FAR from the hotel. We wondered why the gate guard suggested we use valet parking, and we quickly found out why. We walked over to the GF pool, but it didn't really impress us (the new one was closed for the night), so we walked over to the Polynesian pool.
We loved this pool! We got some nice seats right in front of the pool and just swam and relaxed for a couple of hours. I got a beer (I don't drink beer...lol) and actually drank most of it. I think it just felt right to sit there in this very tropical romantic setting, having a drink with my husband, and just enjoy being on vacation. This would end up being my favorite day of the trip. We started off with a great time on some really fun water park attractions, and were ending the night relaxing at a beautiful pool. We were also very lucky to be there when the Electrical Parade was going on, so that was a nice bonus. After our wonderful swim we took the LONG walk back to our car and drove back to our resort where we all crashed for the night.
Day 4, August 28th- Tuesday
I got up at 7:00am again today so I could get in another run before our big day. Today is our Magic Kingdom day, we are going in the morning and then again at night for e-night. After feeding the kids their cereal we were out of the room by 8:15 to catch our first Disney bus of the trip. We were on the bus by 8:30 and to the MK by 8:45. We stopped at the bakery on Main Street so I could get my breakfast (a bagel and cream cheese) and then we headed over to Adventureland to wait for rope drop. 9:00am finally came and we headed straight to the new Magic Carpet Ride. We really liked this ride; it was a lot of fun! I usually don't ride Dumbo because it makes me nauseous...lol...but this ride didn't bother me. We next headed over to the Jungle Cruise. Our skipper was ok, so the ride was just ok, but the kids really like this ride so we always do it. After our cruise we walked to Fantasyland. It was really empty in the park at this time, which was really nice. We went on Peter pan and then Winnie the Pooh, which were both walk-ons. The kids decided they wanted to ride Snow White so we went there next. They usually don't want to ride this because of the darkness but they seemed to enjoy it this time. We were now done with Fantasyland so we walked over to Mickey's Toontown. We walked right on the Barnstormer and were able to stay on for a second ride (did I mention how empty the park was!!). We left Toontown and took the "secret path" over to Tomorrowland. We then discovered where all the people were. It was very busy over here and the rides all had long lines. We knew we would be back that night for e-night so we decided to leave the park and get some more swimming in.
We went back to the resort, ate lunch, changed into swimsuits, and got back into our car. We decided to use another one of our pass options so we drove over to Fort Wilderness to check out River Country. We parked in the visitor parking lot in the front of the resort and caught a River Country bus to the water park. We were able to get right in to the park with no lines. We went to get our locker and put away our stuff and then we found a spot for our towels. We decided to do the tube ride first so we checked out the map and made our way over to that section of the park. We were not very impressed with this ride. I didn't like walking through the dirty lake water to start with and then the ride was very painful and not a lot of fun. Since the ride empties out into the beach/lake area we stayed there for a little bit and let the kids swim. After this my husband and daughter went over to the body slides since my son was not tall enough. I took my son over to the kiddie area to play and slide while we waited for them to come back. They also decided to try the body slides in the pool area so we met them over by the pool when my son was done playing. We let the kids swim for a little bit in the main pool to wash off some of the grime from the lake water and then made our way out of the park and back to our car. Overall we were not very impressed with this park. I know it was the original water park and things have changed since it was built but I don't think we would go back unless we had PAP's that gave us unlimited use of water parks.
We decided that we would still like to get some swimming in so we drove over to the Comptemporary. The gate guard just waved us in again when he saw our Port Orleans pass. We never had any problems with the gate guards, and were never issued a 3-hour parking pass; maybe this time of the year it is not a problem. We parked our car and walked out to the back of the resort to find some seats by the pool. The pool was practically empty so we were able to get some seats in the shade. My husband rested and read while I played in the pool with the kids. They really loved the slide and spent most of their time on it.
We witnessed another rescue here near the slide. A girl got off the slide and seemed to be struggling to get to the side of the pool. The lifeguard was amazing here though, compared to BB. He was in the water before the girl could go under the second time. He got her out and asked her where her mother or father was. She replied that she didn't have a dad and wouldn't say where her mom was. A couple of minutes later her mom came down the slide (she was watching all this from on top of the slide) and asked her daughter what she was doing because she knows how to swim. The girl just laughed and the mom asked her if she had been goofing around and the girl said yes and then the mom started laughing. The mom never even thanked or apologized to the lifeguard or made her daughter apologize either. I couldn't believe it! The mom wasn't teaching her daughter a good lesson on how to behave around a pool, it was very sad. There was also a rescue at River Country while we there; a kid couldn't swim after coming off of one of the high body slides so a lifeguard had to rescue him. This lifeguard here was also excellent just like the one at the contemporary. I can't believe that we saw 3 rescues in two days, it was crazy.
We spent a couple of hours swimming in the pool and then decided we were all starving. We didn't have any dinner plans, we just had e-night to go to at 7:00pm. We wanted to leave our car in the Contemporary parking lot since we had such a good spot for when we left e-night so knew we would eat at one of the monorail resort restaurants. We didn't want Chef Mickey's or 1900 Park fair because we had already done those a couple of times on previous trips, so that narrowed it down a bit. We checked out the menu at the Concourse Steakhouse but that didn't catch our eye so we monorailed over to the Polynesian. We got to sit in the front car, which was fun, and we all got co-pilot's licensees signed by our driver, which was great. We got off at the resort and checked out the menu's for Kona Café and 'Ohanas. We decided no for Kona and maybe for 'Ohana. We then walked over to the Grand Floridain to look at the choices there. We decided no for Citricos and Narcoosees, so we went to guest services to make ps's for 'Ohanas for 5:00pm.
We then let the kids watch a movie in the lobby and we just sat and enjoyed the piano player to kill some time until it got closer to 5:00pm. At around 4:40pm we started our walk back to the Poly and arrived a little before our ps time. They seated us within minutes and we started our wonderful feast. I think we ate more during this meal then we did the whole trip :). Even though we liked the food better at Boma we still ended up eating more here. My husband and I must have eaten 3 bowls of the fried wontons and the kids ate 2 bowls of the chicken wings. We also consumed a lot of shrimp and turkey. We didn't really like the steak and we thought the pork was just ok. The dessert was also really good, we love pineapple, and having caramel to dip it in was great. Dinner cost was about $80.00 with tip. The table next to us was also impressed with the dessert. I heard the teenage daughter at the table tell her parents that she was stuffed and couldn't even think of eating anything else after they finished their entrees. I then heard the same girl ask for more pineapple and caramel after they had tasted and finished the first round of dessert...lol.
After dinner it was time to head back to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy our e-night. We grabbed the monorail over and were in the gates by about 6:30pm. We got our wristbands (with a bit of a wait) and walked over to Adventureland. The kids wanted another spin on the carpet ride. We got in line and the cast member noticed our wristbands and told us we should go ride either jungle cruise or pirates because this ride would be open for e-night. I thought that was really nice of him, because it wasn't marked anywhere that carpets would be open for e-night, so we had no idea. We had already done jungle cruise so we went over and rode pirates (with no wait). It was now 7:00 and e-night had officially started so we trekked back over to carpet ride and did that again (and thanked the cm). We then went over to Haunted Mansion and had a nice scary start to our night. This ride is another one of my favorites and I'm glad the kids were willing to do it with me (they are usually too chicken). After declining to be the 1000+ ghost we hopped a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The line was very short so we rode a second time and then made our way over to Tomorrowland. We started with Space Mountain because we really wanted our son to try it. He ended up loving it (it became his favorite ride) and we had to give it a second run. We then made our way over to Buzz Lightyear, which had a long line. We usually ride this several times, especially on an e-night but the line was too long to warrant another ride. My son wasn't upset though (this and star tours were his favorites) because he was still flying from his ride on SM. We still had one more ride we wanted to do before we called it quits to we walked back over to Frontiertown. We got in the very short line for Splash Mountain and proceeded to get soaked. The line was still short but we were getting tired so we made our way out of the park and back to the Contemporary parking lot (with 2 more rides on the carpet ride on the way out).
This was probably the busiest e-night we have ever attended. The rides weren't walk-ons like past e-nights and the park itself was definitely much more crowded. We also noticed a lot more strollers than past e-nights, which I think explains the long line at Buzz Lightyear. There really aren't any rides open for little ones on e-nights except for Buzz, so I think that everyone with kids was here in this area and on this ride. I also noticed long lines for the few characters that were around, which I have never seen before. We have only gone to e-night during off peak seasons in the past so maybe this is how it always is in the summer. We needed a few things at the store so we drove over to Goodings and then made our way back to the resort to get some sleep.
Day 5, August 29th- Wednesday
Today is our last full day here at the World, and we really didn't have a plan as to what to do. I decided to get another run in and hope I could come up with something fun to do that didn't cost a lot...lol. We were out of park passes but still had a water park option left. We really didn't want to start our day off with a water park though so my husband suggested we drive to Tampa. We had originally planned on driving to Tampa on our first full day at WDW and hit the beaches, but after seeing day after day of news stories about shark attacks we said no way. We still wanted to check Tampa out though so we decided to drive there and see what Tampa had to offer us in the entertainment area.
We fed the kids their cereal and then we headed out. We first drove to Busch Gardens but quickly decided that it would be too costly to go there and it was now 10:30 and the park had already been open for awhile. I was in need of some breakfast so we found a nearby Starbucks where I could fuel up and we could look over some guidebooks and brochures we had grabbed at a nearby hotel. We found a brochure for the Tampa aquarium, so we decided to head over there. I am so glad we discovered this place. We all really loved the aquarium. The displays were all very good, and they even had touching pools for the kids. They got to touch starfish, sharks and some other sea creatures that I can't remember. We spent a couple of hours here and then drove over to Ybor City, Tampa's Latin neighborhood.
There really wasn't a lot to do in this neighborhood during the day, but at night it must be really great. There were a ton of really nice looking restaurants and a lot of bars and nightclubs. We took a small stroll around the area, grabbed some cold water (it was 95 degrees today) and eventually made our way back to our car and on the road to WDW. It was less then 1-1/2 hours to Tampa (and the same back), so we felt it was worth the drive. We would definitely go back to the aquarium if we were ever in Tampa again, and we would probably visit the beaches sometime too.
By the time we got back to WDW we were all hot so we decided to go to Typhoon Lagoon. My husband and I went there on our Honeymoon, but our kids have never been there, so we wanted to try it. It was about 4:30 when we got there and the park was really starting to empty out. The cm at the gate said this was the perfect time to get here because all the morning people were now tired and leaving and the rides would not have long lines anymore. She was definitely correct. The only ride that had a wait was the family raft ride, and the wait was only about 10 minutes. Every other ride we did was a walk-on. We thought the raft ride was ok, but did not compare to the raft ride at BB. It was a pain to carry the tube up the stairs and the ride was way to short. My husband and daughter wanted to do Humunga- Kowabunga so we went there next, so we could wait for them at the bottom. After the ride I asked them if I could do the ride or would it freak me out too much. They both told me that it was nothing and that I would like it, well needless to say I almost killed them when I got off. I was so scared, I couldn't believe how fast and how vertical you are on the ride. I screamed my head off the whole ride down, which everyone on the bottom thought was really funny. I also got the biggest wedgie, which was very embarrassing...lol.
We tried a few more slides and then headed over to the wave pool. I wasn't very interested in this so I grabbed a chair on the water's edge and just watched my family get washed over with waves. After they had their fill of the waves we went over to the shark reef. My husband and daughter must have done this about 10 times. They absolutely loved it! My son finally tried it once after leaving and coming back to the start area about 4-5 times...lol. I wouldn't try it myself, because I didn't want to swim in that nasty water. I am a pool girl; I have a hard time with water in which I can't see the bottom. I was finally able to drag my family away from the sharks and we spent our last minutes in the park floating on the lazy river. There was no problem today with getting tubes; there were empty tubes everywhere.
We were all getting pretty hungry by this time, so we got changed and headed out to our car. We wanted something a little simpler for dinner tonight so we decided to eat at Beaches and Cream. We didn't want to park at the Yacht or Beach Club because of their reduced parking lots so we parked at the Boardwalk. We were waved right in and found a nice spot, not to far from the bus stop area. We walked directly to Beaches and Cream and were given a booth with only a minimal wait. My husband and I ordered burgers; he got onion rings I got fries. My daughter had the grilled cheese and my son had a hot dog. My husband and I got vanilla diet Pepsi's, that I absolutely love! After we wolfed down our dinner we were craving some ice cream for dessert. We decided on the banana split and the no way Jose (with coffee and mint chip ice cream instead of chocolate and vanilla). I know that sounds like a lot of ice cream for just 4 people (I thought so too), but we managed to finish all but a couple of bites from both. Dinner cost was about $50.00 with tip. Beaches and Cream is one of our favorite restaurants, we have eaten here at least once on all of our trips. We were again happy with the service and with the food, and will probably be back on our next visit!
We were all very stuffed, so we figured we had better take a walk to try and burn off some of our dinner. We took a nice stroll around the boardwalk, stopping twice to watch the wonderful live entertainment they had going. One of the performers was a guy who juggled fire, and a bowling ball. His name was Randy and I think that he may be the Randy from the Hunchback Show. He looked familiar and his jokes were similar to the jokes told at the show (we usually have Matt the juggler). We eventually got tired and knew it was time to wrap up our last evening in WDW. We grabbed our car, filled it up with gas (we also got a Florida lottery ticket for fun), and drove back to the resort. We went to the food court to get our last refills of soda, and headed back to the room to finish up our packing. I was able to pack in a relatively short amount of time and then it was lights out for our last sleep in our wonderful resort beds :(.
Day 6, August 30th- Thursday
There is not much to tell about this sad last day. Our flight out of Orlando was at 6:40am so we had to be up at 4:00am and out of the resort by 5:00am. We left on time and were at the airport by 5:30am. We dropped off the rental car with no problems and made our way to our gate. Our plane took off on time, as did our connection in Detroit. We almost decided to stay in Detroit and rent a car to drive home to continue our vacation, but then we remembered that our luggage was already on its way home so we sadly got on the plane. We landed in Buffalo at 11:30am and started the drive home to Rochester. We were home by 12:30pm, which is the earliest I've ever arrived home after a vacation.
Even though this was one of our shortest WDW trips, it was still one of the best. We were able to cram a lot into a short amount of time because of early entry and e-night. I really liked early entry and would try it again on future trips. I wasn't quite as impressed with e-night this trip; it was much busier than we have experienced in the past. We would probably only do e-night again if we were going during an off peak time. I am glad we finally took the time to try the water parks. We all loved Blizzard Beach, and would go to it every trip. We weren't really happy with River Country and wouldn't be in a hurry to go back. We thought the slides were just ok at Typhoon Lagoon, but my family LOVED the shark reef, so the park gets high marks just for that one attraction. My daughter would want this park to be a regular, but it would depend on how long we were there to get my vote. We were very happy with our dinners at Boma, 'Ohana, Celebration Town Tavern, and Beaches and Cream. We thought that Alfredo's was just ok.
We loved our resort again, this is the third time we have stayed at PO Riverside (it was Dixie Landings the first 2 times), and we have stayed at PO French Quarter 2 times. We like the beautiful grounds, and the quiet relaxed feel of the resort. We think the food court is the nicest of the moderate resorts and the pool is a lot of fun too. We have stayed at the deluxe resorts but we will continue to stay at PO because we think you get more value for your dollar. The only place I would rather stay if I had the money would be the Boardwalk Villas (maybe when we win the lottery...lol). Overall this was a wonderful vacation and I am so glad I spotted those awesome plane fares. My husband didn't want us to make another Disney trip this year (we went in January) but even he couldn't argue with $68.00 plane tickets! Thanks for sticking with this report for so long, I hope it was enjoyable. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments.