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Karen Seemuth -- August 2003 -- Walt Disney World (ASMuR)


  • Karen--13th trip, turned 48 on the first day of the trip
  • Kristin--3rd trip, turning 15 next month

Kristin has added her own colorful commentary to the trip report in blue. We hope you enjoy the report.

I am not really sure how we did it, but my daughter and I convinced my husband to let us go to WDW for my birthday! {grin}

My daughter just mentioned to us one day that she would like to go, and I looked into the Fairytale Package. It was a great price, but my DH and the dog couldn't bear to have us gone that long.

So we pared it down to 3 nights at All Star Music, leaving on my birthday (August 11). Happy Birthday Mom!!

My daughter is dictating the plans (LOL) and she wants to make it all E-Rides. Fine by me. That's not true, we rode Pooh and Peter Pan and the Carousel! I'm a 5-year-old at heart!

We got a great air fare--$161 on Midwest Airlines--and with my Annual Pass we got our rooms for $69 a night instead of the seasonal $99.

We'll be taking Mears to and from the airport to save on the cost of a car, and we are taking bagels, cereal, fruit and snacks to save money on food. We ate sooooo many bagels!!!!

My suitcase is packed; my daughter has yet to even think about it. But if I pack too far in advance I can't wear the clothes that are in the suitcase. It entirely makes sense.

Day 1, Monday August 11, 2003

We flew out of Milwaukee at 2:45 PM. It was a direct flight and we landed in Orlando at 6:40 PM. We had a snack thing that looked like Gardettos. Yum : )

After picking up our luggage, we bought our Mears tickets and we left the airport at 7:25. They had one of those buzzer things that vibrates and flashes colors like at restaurants when a table is ready for you.

We dropped two parties at the Caribbean Beach Resort. One of the parties was a couple from Kingston, Ontario, at WDW for their honeymoon. Funny, because my husband and I spent our honeymoon in Ontario 25 years ago! There was a couple waiting at the Caribbean who missed their shuttle thing. I think the driver dude should've given them a ride. Our bus driver's name was Khurram Dar.

We got to the All Star at 8:15 PM, and there were very few people checking in. By the time we finished the process, the line had grown quite long. The Music notes going across the lobby are supposed to be “when you wish upon a star,” but don't be deceived! They are incorrect!!! Obviously the person who wrote out the music wasn't a musician. But the flats were correct and the clef sign looked like a clef sign, so it wasn't horribly awful.

We were assigned to Country Faire NIGHTMARE! but Seth noticed my request for 3rd floor in the Jazz building. He called to see if there were any rooms that fit the bill. There were no 3rd floor rooms but we took a 2nd floor, which was fine. I usually try to get the 3rd floor at the All Stars due to the noisy toilets. If you are on the 3rd floor, there are no toilets flushing on the floor above you!

I told him it was my birthday and he said he'd send something up tomorrow.

Seth never asked to see my Annual Pass to verify our room discount.

We walked our luggage to the room and promptly got on a bus to Downtown Disney. The plan was to celebrate my birthday with a sundae at Ghirardelli.

On the bus to DD we saw the Illuminations fireworks.

We ordered our sundaes. Yikes! $6.50 each. They were delicious. The fudge was all chewy and warm. : )

We browsed a bit at World of Disney and The Pooh store.

Back to the hotel about 11:00 PM, we went to the food court for a mug ($10.99) and the gift shop for 1.5 liters of water at $3.50. But it was a lot cheaper than renting a car to go to the grocery store.

I unpacked a bit, and went to sleep about midnight. See, I don't understand why you unpack, just to pack again a few days later. I just throw everything into the suitcase and then pull stuff out and then throw it all pack in again. And I went to sleep around 2:30 watching the Disney Channel.

Temperature: 85 and muggy
Miles walked: forgot to wear my pedometer

Day 2, Tuesday August 12, 2003

Today was Extra Magic Hour at MGM. I got up at 6:45 AM, showered, filled the mugs and bought 2 side salads for lunch. I could not get Kristin out of bed--she wanted to sleep. You do want to sleep when you don't go to bed until 2:30.

I decided to go to MGM to get Fastpasses for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.

I activated my Annual Pass and got a birthday pin.

At 8:30 AM the line for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was all the way to arch entering the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster courtyard. I decided that with the crowds of summer it might be a good idea to avoid the EMH park altogether.

The FastPass return time for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was in 1 hour. What I did not know was that you had to have entered the park in order to get a FastPass. So I could not get one for Kristin.

I went and rode Star Tours; there was a 10-minute wait.

At 9:00 I took the bus back to the hotel and bought 3 more bottles of water.

Kristin got up at 10:15 and we got to MGM at 11. We got Fastpasses for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. We had a PS for the 50s Prime Time Café at 11:30 but we got there at 11:10 and were seated right away. Uncle Patrick was our server.

We split the fried chicken plate, which included mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans. Kristin had French fries and I had the chicken noodle soup. We each had chocolate malts. We should have split the malt; we were both stuffed for hours after the meal and thought we might not ever need to eat again! Everything was excellent. I ate all my green beans. I was very disturbed when I didn't get a clean plate club sticker!

I had told the dining reservation CM that we were eating there for my birthday, so all the cousins in the room sang Happy Birthday, I got a card that the cousins signed and a pound cake cupcake with a candle. The plate said Happy Birthday in chocolate syrup. The cousins next to us had just gotten married, but didn't say anything. We were hurt, naturally, that family wasn't included in the ceremony. Maybe they eloped. I wonder what their parents think of that.

After lunch we went and picked up Fastpasses for Tower of Terror. Then we waited 50 minutes in Standby to ride Star Tours. I was very glad I had spent $1.14 at Wal-Mart for a key ring personal fan. It really worked quite well at creating a breeze to cool me off while waiting in the heat. It wasn't really that hot; it was indoors and everything. They had little Ewoks in the gift shop. Really cute. : )

Then we rode Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. That ride rocks, but the little video thing is really dumb. But the ride itself was awesome. The 2nd upside-down thing is the best!! It still was not time for our Fastpasses on Tower of Terror so we went to the Standby line there and waited 50 minutes. By the time we finished our first ride it was time for our FastPass return. The seat belts instead of the lap bar make for an interesting ride. My seatbelt was too loose; I kept flying up in the air. I did not notice till the 2nd ride that there was a handle between each seat. Unless you're on the end and then you don't have anything to hold on to but the seatbelt. We sat in same seats both times. The 2nd time I wanted to smile and wave when they took the picture but I couldn't figure out when they took it, so I think it's about a second after you start to drop the first time because I looked down to make sure I was hanging onto the seat belt. Ouch, we had a blood curdling, ear-splitting screamer right behind us on the 2nd ride. Man that was sooooo loud. You'd think you wouldn't have to scream that long. Man she just screamed like there was no tomorrow. I think it would be fun to ride it and scream every time you go back up but not at all when you drop. : )

We decided to get Fastpasses for Star Tours for later but the return time didn't fit our plans, so we got into the Standby line. The wait turned out to be 30 minutes. Mom, it was not that long. We had the same seats both times for Star Tours. Weird, huh?

We were really happy whenever the Standby wait time ended up being less than the posted time, but it drove me crazy when the wait time ended up being longer. Mom, its not like we were in a hurry or anything. And besides, it's Disney. Where everything is huge and in a million different colors and you pay 3 times as much as at home and wait in long lines. But that's ok because it's Disney. Where everything is relaxed and fun and worth the long lines. Unless you ride It's a Small World. That's not worth the wait, money, or weird colors. It's just downright weird. We noted on a number of attractions that some riders were given a magnetic card on a lanyard, which they turned in when ready to board the attraction. The card was scanned into a computer system to determine the current wait time for that ride. I guess even high tech isn't perfect, as the times were so often incorrect. We tried to just relax and let it go. My daughter is much better at that than I am!

We left MGM at 5:30. I was anxious to see what was waiting in my room from the All Star. When we went in, there was a helium birthday balloon, a card from the All Star with a signed photo of the Pooh characters, Eeyore signed it with a rain cloud above his name. That reminds me! Has anyone read the book Pooh and the Psychologist? Supposedly Pooh is a wonderful psychotherapist to his friends, like Piglet is horribly shy and afraid, and Eeyore is clinically depressed. We went to the library and Barnes and Noble to get it, but neither had it. And a box of chocolate covered peanut butter candies! I was amazed they knew chocolate and peanut butter was my favorite flavor combo! CoughCough DAD! Coughcough.

Later when we phoned home, and I told my husband about it, he asked me if there was a card with the balloon and candy. There was, but it just said, "Happy Birthday." Turns out they were from HIM, not the All Star! What a great husband. Dad told me not to say anything.

Kristin wanted a stuffed Mickey, and I could get a 10% discount with my Annual Pass at World of Disney, so we took the bus over to DD and got the Mickey. She really wanted a smaller version, but the size she wanted is the Pal Mickey size. The smallest Mickeys are bean bags and she did not want that. Who wants a bean bag Mickey?

We went back to the hotel for a quick swim, then to MGM about 9 PM.

We rode Rock 'n' Roller Coaster two more times. Our first ride of the day we were in the last row of the limo; our last ride of the day we were in the first row of the limo! Talk about a wind blown look when we got off the ride! But man it's so fun. Dude it's a million times faster when there's nothing to break the wind. It's like riding in a convertible on the highway with the top down. Actually it's not, but riding in a convertible on the highway with the top down is a blast.

We got in line for Fantasmic at about 10:10; the show was starting at 10:30 and there had been a 9 PM show as well. Even the 10:30 performance was quite full. It was pretty cool. I'd love to be one of the Indians that gets shot because you probably fall on something really soft like a huge mattress! Kind of like rappelling without a rope, and without bouncing off the rocks on your way down.

Somehow we got out really fast that's because you need to be pushy and sneak your way through the crowd! and were back to the room by 11:30.

Kristin was disappointed to find the cable TV was out, so she couldn't stay up and watch Toon Disney half the night. It wasn't Toon Disney; it was just the Disney Channel. And it's not half the night for me! I hardly ever go to bed before 1!

I was asleep by 12.

Temperature: Hot! Dew point low 70s the whole trip
Miles walked: 9.0

Day 3, Wednesday August 13, 2003

Today it was EMH at Epcot but we decided to not to go there since the only attraction open that we wanted to ride was Test Track. Kristin decided we should go to Magic Kingdom from 9-11, and that we didn't need to be in the park from 11-3 when it was hot and so many people were there. An excellent choice. Thank you. Much smaller crowd at Magic Kingdom than usual.

I got up at 7:30, Kristin at 8:10. At 8:40 we got on the bus to Magic Kingdom.

We rode Space Mountain 2 times; there was a 15-minute wait both times.

We rode the left side first, then the right. We could not tell a huge difference, thought the right side seemed just a bit smoother. Both sides are incredibly bumpy compared to RockNRollerCoaster. I thought the right side was brighter than the left. The left has a longer drop towards the end.

We rode Pooh with a 10-minute wait. We loved it! Love how the Hunny Pots bounce with Tigger. Aww the Pooh ride was so adorable! I'm glad I didn't go as a child because some of the Heffalumps and Woozles are jack in the boxes and those things scared me when I was little. And they went a little nuts with the color. Next we rode Peter Pan with a 20-minute wait.

We picked up Fastpasses for Splash Mountain and then rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We rode Splash Mountain (last row in the log) and left the park at 12:15.

Stopped off in the gift shop at the hotel for more water and a Mickey t-shirt.

I swam and then napped from 2:15-3:45! Wow, that felt good. Cable TV was working again, hooray.

At 4:20 we took the bus to Epcot. We checked at Test Track for Fastpasses and they were all gone.

We went to Mexico to buy a papier-mâché parrot for a friend. I don't understand it at all. A parrot. Of all things to buy. A parrot. Give me a bass guitar. I wouldn't know what to do with a parrot. But hey, to each his own. And I'm sure the parrot would look wonderful in a collection.

For dinner we had chicken tacos and churros at Cantina de San Angel.

We rode Test Track (Single Riders line) with a 30-minute wait.

Then we rode Mission: Space with a 40-minute wait. Wow, what can I say? What an awesome attraction! Man that was so rad. They did an excellent job at deceiving me! Similar to Star Tours but much more high tech and newer technology. A real winner. We did not suffer any motion sickness. We liked it so much we got right back in line to ride again.

Kristin closed her eyes for a brief moment to see if she could tell we were spinning (she could). It wasn't really a brief moment. It was like several long moments. But I wouldn't recommend closing your eyes because you miss too much of the ride, and the ride is more fun than spinning around in circles. During "acceleration," try lifting your feet off the floor. That was so weird. I felt like I was horribly out of shape.

We got Mickey ice cream bars and sat between the shops at the entrance to the World Showcase to watch Illuminations.

After Illuminations we rode the monorail to the TTC, then got on the express and rode it all the way around and back to the TTC. I love the monorail!! I'd ride it all day if I could.

We sat outside MK and watched Fantasy in the Sky and then took the bus back to the hotel.

I swam again, showered and went to bed at 12:15. I watched TV until 2.

Temperature: Hot!
Miles walked: 6.5

Day 4, Thursday August 14, 2003

Wednesday I had called to see if we could get a late check out. They couldn't give us till 1, but we could check out at 12.

I got up at 6:30, Kristin at 7:10. That's 5 or 6 hours before I normally get up. Talk about sacrifice. : ) just kidding.

On our way to the bus stop, we saw an armadillo in the bushes next to our building. That was the most adorable thing! (Glad we were on the 2nd floor!) Oh mom, it couldn't have gotten in our room even if we were on the 1st floor…..

We got to the bus stop and waited 30 minutes for the bus to Magic Kingdom--for the Extra Magic Hour park. The people at the front of the line had been waiting 45 minutes. The line of people waiting for a MK bus was so long. I bet it took 3 buses to pick everyone up. It was a frustrating wait because lots of buses for the other parks came and picked up 6-8 people for each of the other parks. : ( That was so dumb. But I suppose the All-star resorts are last in line for EVERYTHING!!! But that's ok, we can all stand to learn a little patience.

We finally left at 8:10 (the park had opened at 8).

First thing we picked up Fastpasses Space Mountain for 10:45.
We rode Pooh (10 minute wait), the Carousel, Peter Pan (15 minute wait),
Pirates of the Caribbean (walk-on), Splash Mountain (we sat in the front row and got soaked) that was the best!!!!!!!!!! (10 minute wait), and our FastPass on Space Mountain.

We finished off our morning with a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, then went to the hotel to check out. There was a bird on the moving walkway trying to get off when we first boarded, and it was still there when we got off. Poor thing.

It rained a bit while we were in line for Peter Pan, then stopped while we were in PoTC. While we were on the bus back to the hotel there was a downpour. I love rain. It's therapeutic to walk through a rainstorm. Splash in puddles. Catch raindrops on your tongue. Eat raw cookie dough. Make snow-angels. Climb a tree. Ride the carousel. That is my recipe for sanity.

We got packed and checked out at 12:10. We stored the luggage at the hotel and had lunch at the food court--$17.00. Glad we did not have to buy every meal there. Yea no kidding. And the pizza was very tasty but incredibly greasy. I'd get sick eating that for every meal.

Then we went back to MGM for one more ride on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (35-minute wait.) Totally worth it.

It rained again while we were in the queue. We still had time for one more ride and we were able to get in the first row again! While waiting under the UV lights just before you get out of your limo, we saw that Kristin's hand stamp from leaving MK had smeared all over her hand, on her knee and her nose, and all over her shirt and shorts. No question she had gotten her stamp that day! I never did get to see what it said though. My other stamps said Iago and Dumbo. I wanted to know what the other one said. But yea I really had it all over me.

We did a little last minute shopping and caught the bus at 3:00. We picked up our bags, and had a soda and one last Mickey ice cream bar at the food court while we waited for Mears. They were right on time--4: 10. We had one more stop to pick up riders and then headed to the airport.

We got to the airport right at 5:00 for our 7:00 PM flight. We cracked up when we were in the security line and they had a sign posted, "15 Minute Wait." Even funnier, a TSA employee asked how many in our party and directed us to scanner #8! Ok I don't mind waiting for rides, but waiting so they can verify the obvious fact that I'm not a terrorist isn't my idea of a good time.

We kept to tradition and had a latte and iced tea at Starbucks while we waited for our flight. I had no idea there had been a major blackout in much of the northeast. My sister called me on my cell to see if we were going to be able to fly. It did not affect us at all except we did get into Milwaukee about 20 minutes early. There were kids behind us playing little games. Like the one where you say things such as “A my name is Amy and I'm from Alabama and I sell Apples. And B my name is Brian and I'm from Boston and I sell bubble-wrap.” It was cute at first but got sort of old. It was funny when they couldn't think of places. Or names . X is the interesting one. I have yet to find a place that starts with the letter X.

My husband and our dog were there to pick us up. Aww it was adorable. Wyler licked our ears and faces and wagged his tail : ) And then drooled on me.

I finally finished unpacking 3 days after we arrived home and the laundry is nearly done! I'm still not totally unpacked, but I'm still not entirely unpacked from my last trip. (June 27)

Temperature: a little cooler in the morning but the afternoon was hot
Miles walked: 7

Final Thoughts

I would probably not choose to go in the summer months again, unless I had absolutely no choice in the matter. I would. I'd go to Disney ANYTIME!

I wore my WDW Birthday pin (pick one up at Guest relations) and received birthday greetings from many Cast Members and other guests as well! We kept joking it was too bad the pin didn't get you to the front of the queue for the attractions! Yea, it should've!

In spite of the heat, the crowds, and the not-so-on-time Disney bus to MK, we were able to do everything we planned plus a bit more. It was a wonderful time spent with my daughter, (:-D) who enjoys WDW as much as I do!

---And Kristin!


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