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Lara Thompson -- February 2005 - Walt Disney World (PCR, POR)

Cast of Characters:

  • Lara – that is me, your lovely Trip Reporter, age 33
  • Sally – my friend from work, age, hmmmmmm

Sally came to me after her last kid moved out of the house. She had just finished her divorce and was looking to have some fun. She has listened to all my talk about my trips to DisneyWorld and she decided she needed a fun vacation, did I want to go? TWIST MY ARM!! So, I started pricing and here is how it went….

The Planning:
I started straight at the Disney.com site to start pricing packages. Although I had days left on my last park hopper purchase, it wasn’t enough, and Sally didn’t have any. I knew we wanted to stay on property. Being 2 adults, I didn’t really want to stay at a Value resort, being that I consider those to be strong family draws…so, Moderate it is. I had stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort last year on my Braves Baseball trip (am still thinking of writing a report for that one), so I wanted us to stay at one of the other ones. Coronado Springs looked interesting.

After finding pricing on packages for various resorts and plans on the Disney Site, I went to some Travel Agencies that have been listed on some boards I visit (AllEars and Mouseplanet – I am addicted to both!). Wow, who knew that it would be cheaper to book through them, I actually saved us close to $200!

I went with Susie at Small World Vacations – she has been THE BEST! I originally asked for a quote for Friday through Monday. When looking at plane fares and realizing that would just not give us enough time, I added a day. But since we were booked on a package at Port Orleans, I asked her to add 1 day onto the front at Pop Century – and she got it for us, at the Winter Rate – yeah!!

We decided to go with the Winter Dream Maker Silver Package. I wanted to make sure that Sally had a great time and with these Wishes each day, we could do something a little special.

First, I needed some park hours so that I could figure out where we would be each day. Yes, I am a planner, but I wont tell us to go right, ride this then see this…. I just like to pick a park based on the history of crowd levels as well as park hours, special events, and Extra Magic Hours – yeah, they started them up again for January!!

Once the hours were out, and the trip was 90 days away, I started planning our PS’s. Susie got us Priority Seatings for Whispering Canyon, 1900 Park Fare, and Donald’s Breakfastasaurus and booked the Keys to the Kingdom tour for us! I can’t wait until we get there!!

How were we getting there? Plane! I am not driving 8 hours from Atlanta…. not gonna happen this trip. So, I started to look for cheap fares! All those search engines came up with Delta roundtrip at $250 plus junk fees. That didn’t sound right. I went straight to the Airtran page and saw some flights on the days we wanted at $69 each way! By the time I got home to book my flight, it was $66 each way – so, for about $150, we are flying roundtrip on Airtran! Mears will take us from the airport to Pop Century and then back again from Port Orleans. Thanks Susie for booking this for us too!

Ok, I may be getting on Sally’s nerves. I am currently sending her daily Disney emails…. maybe I should skip a few days? I just want to keep her informed of all that is available to do at Disney and all the good things to explain like Extra Magic Hours and FastPass!

Ok, just 1 week and 1 day before we leave as I am writing this (should I say typing this?). On our 2-week countdown, I gave Sally 2 pins to put on her lanyard to trade when we got there. This week, I am putting together a travel journal for her that includes coloring pages and games and puzzles. Ok, ok, I know she is not 5, but I think she will get a kick out of it. I also printed off the Scavenger Hunt game off the Disney Trivia site (http://www.disneyworldtrivia.com/index.php) I think she will enjoy that too. I have not done the Daily Disney emails in awhile; I think I have her up to date on everything.

I have also added another PS for us – we will be eating a LATE dinner at Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge on Saturday the 12th. I am very excited about this, as I am a picky eater; I plan to be adventurous that night! I have heard so much about the zebra domes; I can’t wait to try them!

I have also been working on booking my best friend, Randi, and her soon-to-be husband’s honeymoon at Disney. Still working through Susie as I don’t think I could do it on my own. Randi is experiencing a little sticker shock right now, but I had to explain to her that she is going during PEAK season! That, and she doesn’t understand why I have “Wishes” with my package and she doesn’t…it all changed as of Jan. 1, 2005!

Thursday, February 10 – “This must be how the rich folk live.”
Planned: Fly to MCO; take Mears to Pop Century, Downtown Disney and dinner at The Whispering Canyon Café at the Wilderness Lodge.

What actually happened: Well, other than Sally arriving just as she could board the plane (MARTA was slow that morning), our flight to MCO was uneventful. Oh wait; did I mention all the cheerleaders from Minnesota on the flight with us? That was only just a small sample of what was to come.

We arrived a few minutes early and headed to baggage claim – got our bags and looked for Mears. Well, that went ok, they gave me a pager and beeped us when our bus was there. Most of the others getting onto the bus with us were going to the Swan or the Boardwalk Villas. But we had the first stop – Pop Century Resort! Check out how the other half does Disney, folks!

We checked in and had a room ready, we were in the 80’s section, quite a little walk, but we were checking out so much stuff on the way, it was cool. There was a huge Roger Rabbit in front of our building. The room passed Sally’s cleanliness inspection; we changed clothes and headed out to Downtown Disney. But first we made a stop in Everything Pop! We were a little hungry, but didn’t want to eat too much, saving room for our dinner. I got the very sloppy joe and a soda ($8.50), Sally got some noodle concoction – the portions were huge. I had read about the very sloppy joes and it was very good, but I was burping it for the rest of the day – yeah, I know, TMI. We then perused the shop – I saw a group of antennae toppers for different seasons, I wish I had bought it then since I never saw it again. We then went to the bus stop.

The bus took forever, I think 3 Blizzard Beach buses came and went while we were waiting. Finally a bus arrives; we get a seat and head out. I have never entered Downtown Disney from this side, so I was a little turned around. We checked out the Christmas shop, the scrapbook store (I bought some things here, including sending a postcard to my niece with a Disney postmark on it – total $40.70) and I showed Sally all the cool things at the Toy Store. I didn’t get the figures I usually do, what is up with me? We head to Ghirardelli and get our sample and then proceed to get lost at the World of Disney – they really should hand out maps as you enter that store – “You are Here”.

I didn’t want to be late for dinner and I really wanted to check out the Wilderness Lodge. We hop on a bus and head over…

WOW – this place is awesome. Oh, and did I mention it was cold outside that night!? We walked around outside, checked out the geyser and the boat dock. I got some cool pictures of the sunset, but it was cold and we started to head inside. Wow, looking into the rooms, were those fireplaces? Are those canopy beds? Is that a suite? This must be how the rich folk live! I stopped at a little kiosk type store and got my Wilderness Lodge pin ($6.93).

Checked in a few minutes early at the Café and were seated pretty quickly. We were both a little tired and hungry by then. Dusty Trails was our waiter and as I asked for a straw, he threw about 20 at me. We were seated in a little walkway room by a fireplace, how quaint. We never were part of all the action, we didn’t get the napkins for our heads, we didn’t need any ketchup and we had no kids to participate in the horse race. But we had a great dinner – I had the Doc Willis’s roasted chicken and Sally had the Jeffro’s glazed pork chops. Plenty of food and it was all good, but this trip was all about desert, at least I declared at that time that it was. I had the Banana Dustbowl…and Sally had the brownie with ice cream, aka chocolate delight. I took a picture of the couple next to us, as it was her birthday. She asked what I had for desert because it looked so yummy! Total with tax and tip, $72.06.

After we finished eating, we went out to check on the geyser again, this time we saw it go off! That was so cool, but I couldn’t get a picture of it at night, not that I didn’t try. It was almost an hour to the Electrical Water Pageant and we were too tired to wait for it. Besides, we had to go back to Downtown Disney to get a bus for Pop Century. Stopped at the food court to grab a bottle of water ($2) and then headed for our room. When we got there, I set a wake up call and we CRASHED HARD.

Friday, February 11 – “You want us to go where?”
Planned: Check out of Pop Century, check into Port Orleans, get the things included in our package, check our luggage and head to EPCOT. Dinner at 1900 Park Faire with Cinderella.

What actually happened: The wake up call was Stitch, not really the way I wanted to wake up. We checked out of Pop Century, I wish I had done the express check out. Sally did not want to take a bus to Downtown Disney, switch buses to go to Port Orleans, so we went to get a cab. The nice lady out front got the attention of a driver for us, but the driver didn’t pull around. We walked up to the cab, told her where we wanted to go and she didn’t even get out of the cab. She popped the trunk, but there was a communication breakdown and I don’t think she understood us and we didn’t understand her. The lady at Pop Century tried to help and got another cab. Then the first driver finally got out and started arguing with us, saying we only wanted a male driver. No, we thought she only wanted someone going to the airport so she would have a larger fare. We finally got to Port Orleans and once again, she never got out and she didn’t get a tip either. Sally paid for this, so I don’t know how much it added up to, I should have looked at the counter in the cab.

It was barely 8:30 in the morning and I knew our room would not be ready, but we had to check in to get our tickets for the parks. So I stood in line for a total of 30 seconds and up to a window I went. Guess what?! They had a room ready for us, one of the newly renovated rooms in the Alligator Bayou. AWESOME! We got our package stuff, our room cards and went to the food court to get some breakfast. Got my refillable mug (I am drinking out of it as I type this too), a couple of Mickey straws and some kid chocolate chip pancakes ($17.64). The servings are so huge; I ended up getting kids meals the whole time we were here. Then we made the hike to our room, following the map wasn’t easy, but we finally found it. It was quite a hike from the main building, but not too far from the West End bus stop.

Our room was beautiful! The beds were raised up from the ground; you had to hop up on them. Mine was the one with the trundle bed under it. We had a nice cabinet with the tv in it and our very own fridge – no extra charge! The 2 sinks and curtained off area was great for getting ready each morning as Sally slept in later than I did. We both loved our room, I took some pictures, and then we packed up for our first park. EPCOT here we come!

Caught the bus, got to the park and the place was PACKED! Cheerleaders everywhere and this was just for the lines to get through bag check. Once we made it through we were both so happy! First stop, bathrooms…hee hee, I went to the line for Spaceship Earth and Sally joined me. Ok, for those Disney purists, I am sorry – but this thing needs some major updating! It is cool to be going up into the golf ball, but this is a major snooze ride in my opinion. We then cut through Innoventions and headed to Test Track, getting into the Single Riders line. We waited nearly 15 minutes and we were in different cars. Mine was so quiet; the kids didn’t even yell or anything. Sally enjoyed her ride too and we then walked over to Mission Space. Sally did not want to ride this so she took a break while I went through the Single Riders line. I don’t think I waited 5 minutes before I was listening to Gary Sinise. I was a navigator this time. I think this went faster than when I rode it in October, I had tears coming out of my eyes and after I got off, I was dizzy for a while.

I wanted to find Ice Station Cool, but couldn’t find it on the map – we found it later as we were leaving the park that night and it was down for renovations or something. We then headed to the World Showcase and straight to the UK, I wanted some fish and chips! This place is always so crowded, we ended up sitting on some benches behind the stores across from the pub and eating our fish and chips ($8.92 with a bottle of water) – yummy! We then caught a little show, where in the middle they came up to me and said, “Then this woman screamed”, so I screamed – loud. The guy rubbed his ears and said “You have issues”, it was funny. We were then off to the Toy store, I needed to check on Pooh and Eeyore for my mom. Met with Mary Poppins, where are those penguins, then a little shopping. I just love the toffee you can get here. Finally Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore were taking pictures at the back of the toyshop. I know Sally thinks I am crazy, but I love having my picture taken with the characters. I got lots of kisses and made sure to tell Eeyore that my mom loves him!

As we crossed the bridge between London and France (and I am reminded of the girl on the Top 7 things at Disney “I see London, I see France, you know the rest”) I spotted Aurora. Now when I was here in October with the family, Kaitlin, Jamie and I saw Sleeping Beauty by the International Gateway. We ran to meet her and were cut off by a CM that was not very nice about it – she saw us running down the hill. Well, I had to get my picture taken with her and mentioned the story. She was very nice and signed my book “To Kaitlin”

We continued our trip around the world, stopping for pastries in France. I just love the chocolate mousse ($3.57); I really should try something new. Spoke French to the girls working here, I think they were impressed that I tried. It has been awhile since college, and I can’t say much anymore. We got a seat to eat our treats; I do not remember what Sally got. Checked back in the perfume shoppe and there were Belle and the Beast, so of course I had to get my picture taken.

We made it through the crowds to Morocco and checked out Aladdin and Jasmine through the doors. Sally wanted to look around some and I had to admit, I had not been into some of the shops in Morocco, they had some cool stuff – out of my price range, but cool stuff none-the-less.

It was getting a little late in the afternoon, and I wanted to try to see Turtle Talk with Crush before we left for our PS at 1900 Park Fare. We caught a Friendship boat out of Germany, over to Future World. We headed for The Sea, this is when we passed what I thought might have been Ice Station Cool. Got in line for The Sea and we were in our hydrolators in no time. The line for Crush was long, but we made it into the theatre. Boy this is so cute and I wish that Kaitlin could have seen it, she would love it!

We left Epcot and headed for the Monorail. We had to switch at the TTC to a resort monorail and since we were first in line, I asked if we could sit in the front car if there was room – THERE WAS ROOM FOR 2!!! Yeah, I got my co-pilots license and once again, Sally thought I was insane. The driver was very nice and even had to do a test of the automatic system while we were in the car. The lady and her daughter that were in the car with us were also going to eat with Cinderella.

Wow, the Grande Floridian is really nice. We found our way to the restaurant and they checked us in right away. I met the Fairy Godmother as we went inside. Once inside, I told Sally to go ahead to the buffet, I had a job to do, and couldn’t even think about eating until it was done. Kaitlin had made a card for Cinderella and I had to deliver it. It had a picture of her on the front wearing her Cinderella dress and inside the card she told her that she wished she could have met her when we were there in October, and that she is her favorite princess. I had to wait and wait and wait for Cinderella to come by. Prince Charming did come by and spoke to us about us being 2 women alone at Disney with no kids. I told him about Kaitlin and he signed my book with a message to her, it was so sweet – I also got my picture with him, hee hee. Well, the princess finally made it to our table, and I explained about Kaitlin and gave her the card. She was touched – or at least acted like she was. I got a picture of her reading the card and then I got my picture with her. She signed my book for Kaitlin, but no message, I thought that was a little strange. Dinner was just ok, I don’t think I would pick this place for the food, but again, we got to see how the rich folk lived. I do not know how much it cost as we used 2 of our wishes for this dinner and it just lists the price as $0.00.

We made a couple of stops in the stores before catching a monorail back to the TTC and then another back to Epcot. I bought 2 pins, one for the GF and one cute Tinkerbelle with floppy wings, ($18.11). Once back in the park (they didn’t check my hand stamp, why do I have to get my hand stamped?) we headed to Mouse Gears – I really needed to find something warm to wear as it was FREEZING out that night. I couldn’t wait to see Illuminations as we were supposed to be in the preferred viewing area – part of our Silver Package. Man, that store is huge and crowded. I found a fleece I loved, but they didn’t have my size, I ended up with another one that was just as nice and warm ($51.12). We then booked it over to the meeting place, the boat docks at Morocco. The nice gentleman there said he was sending us to a better location – the end of the bridge near the UK, look for a lady dressed like he was. You want us to go where? So, off we went to look for her and after the 3rd or 4th person we asked, I think we found the place. Unfortunately, this area was for a convention only. The lady here was very nice and had someone escort us to the wall – we were right by the patio at the Rose and Crown. From everything I have read, the R&C is the best viewing location for Illuminations – so I was excited! We did have a great view; unfortunately, we couldn’t hear a darn thing. What was up with that? Are the speakers over here not working? It was so disappointing since I really love the music for Illuminations. I think Sally enjoyed it, but by this time she was not feeling well – only a glimpse of things to come.

We took our time leaving and strolled out of the park to the buses and headed to Port Orleans. Once we got to our room, Sally crashed while I went through my whole bedtime procedure and set a wakeup call for the next morning – we were going to MGM.

Saturday, February 12 – “Between a bus and a car, yeah, the car is gonna lose”
Planned: Head to MGM Studios and do as much as we possibly can without wearing ourselves out. Eat quick service for lunch; see Fantasmic and then head to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at Boma.

What actually happened: Once again, Stitch woke me up this morning, man, his voice is annoying when you first wake up, I really would prefer Mickey to tell me to get up and at ‘em. But I get out of bed and head to the shower as Sally sleeps in some more. We get kind of a late start in my book, having some breakfast at the dining hall – I got another kid’s platter and an apple ($4.88). Sally and I wait at the bus stop and she mentions how opposite we are – she just takes her time, she will get there eventually, and I want to go go go and get there as early as I can. I tell her that I have really tried to meet her half way on this trip, you will notice that we are not catching a bus until 10:30ish and the park opened an hour and a half ago!

An MGM bus finally comes and we hop on. The lines to get in were not as bad as Epcot the previous day, but it sure is crowded. Oh yeah, the Cheerleader competition is here today – oh god, what was I thinking?! No Indiana Jones, but that is ok with me, seen it, been there, done that, literally. I was picked as one of the participants in the show my first time at MGM Studios last year with my mom and dad. Dad video’d the whole thing; boy did I look like a dork!

Everyone comes into the park, heads down the street toward the BAH and then turns right down Sunset. Sally and I go left. First thing we do, Star Tours! The wait was minimal, less than the 15 minutes posted. We had a fun ride, even though I hate being the first people in the line, you can’t see as much. We breezed through the gift shop and headed to the Muppets. Unfortunately, we walked right into the show. Unfortunately you may ask? Yeah, we missed the entire pre-show, which I think is one of the funnest parts of this show. Rizzo the rat just kills me.

After leaving the Muppets (cute little girl next to me tried to grab for everything, it was so cute!), we cut around down NY Street. We then had to bypass some crowd that was there watching something, I still do not know what they were doing. We then got to do something I didn’t get to do last year, The Backlot Tour. Well, they were not doing the whole show at the beginning, the part with the volunteers, as the water was so cold, they couldn’t do that to someone. So they ran through the things that they do, the flooding, the explosions, and the fire on the water – so cool, can you do that again? The heat feels good. Onto the trams and Catastrophe Canyon. This was pretty cool…we moved on.

I really wanted to do the Millionaire show, but the next show wasn’t for 40 minutes. We went by the Little Mermaid show and grabbed a fast pass for 1 something. Then we grabbed some ice cream as Sally’s throat was bothering her. I finally got my Mickey Premium! I LOVED IT!! Had to shovel it down though, as the queue for Millionaire was getting crowded. Sally decided she didn’t want to do it, so I went in alone. I ended up sitting at the end of a row next to an older woman. Our host was a funny guy; he kept making some funny faces for the camera. The first lady in the hot seat was a teacher. She was really nervous. She used up her lifelines pretty quickly. She lost before the 32,000-point question, but she got her hat and pins. What is the secret to this game anyways? I answered everything correctly and hit the buttons as fast as I could – I had my fingers on them before they lit up. However, I was never on the top ten board. Oh well, it was fun anyways. I left the theatre and went to look for Sally. She was not where she said she would be. I checked my voicemail on my cell and she had noticed that I wouldn’t be out in time for our Little Mermaid fastpass, so she went ahead without me. Um, ok. So, I walked that direction, stopping in some stores to press some pennies. Did I mention that I brought a whole roll of quarters and “shiny” pennies to get pressed wherever I went? I also had to get a new book for Kaitlin to put them in – it was on my list of things to do and to get. So, I went and stood by the exit to the theatre to wait for Sally. She mentioned to me earlier that she might just go back to the resort to rest, she was not feeling well at all. Well, I saw her on her way out and we decided to go over to Sunset and grab some lunch. According to the map you could get a salad or fruit at Rosie’s. We both got in line and it was the longest line EVER! We both ended up getting cheeseburgers. Tons of cheerleaders around making the place very crowded. They each had coupons of some sort to get their food there. Boy was this a mistake on our part. I got my burger (cheeseburger and fries, $6.17) and found a place to sit. It seemed to take Sally forever to get hers. After we ate, we then crossed the street right at 2:30 to catch Beauty and the Beast, it was listed as starting at 2:30, but we obviously missed the entire first part of the show as Gaston was already gathering his troops to kill the Beast. At one point during the day, we got in line for the Great Movie Ride, once inside the building, the lines split into 2 lines and then stopped, as in they were not moving at all. As soon as we got close to the exit door, we made our escape. We then headed to Tower of Terror, we had a Fast pass – I don’t remember when we got it – but we had to wait 5 or 10 minutes for our time to start, the CM was a stickler that the time on the clock had to match the time on our tickets. Our time was up and we were headed into the Twilight Zone. I almost hate to fastpass this ride as you miss so much of the theming. We were into the right room and then into the left side of the line to the elevators. Everyone goes to the right and that line was looping around. We were in our row in no time and were soon heading into ghost territory. I think this dropped us more times than when I rode with Kaitlin in October. Sally loved it!

I am getting a little confused on the order we did things this day. I know that we did get to see the parade from the main street area in front of the BAH. I think this is when we decided to head to the Animation Tour. It was cute, and they changed the end to a lot of interactive machines and a meet and greet for the Incredibles. But I had lost my sharpie, so I was no longer trying to get signatures for Kaitlin – sorry. I did have my picture taken, however. I wish they still had that drawing lesson on how to draw Disney characters.

After that, I went to Little Mermaid by myself. It was ok, but not really anything to be excited about. The girl playing Ariel wasn’t that great.

Sometime after that, I got a fastpass for Rockin’ Roller Coaster. I still had to wait to get on, but sat with Sally for a little while and then I went for a fast trip to LA. What I want to know is this – if Aerosmith really cared so much for their fans – why does it cost so darn much to go see one of their shows?! Anyhoo, I LOVE this ride, I rode in the back seat this time, by myself (a preview of the day to come) and had a great ride.

Met back up with Sally and we decided to try to see Beauty and the Beast one more time. This time we made it in just as it was starting and we headed down to the front. I got some good pictures from this view.

After the show, we went straight into the theatre for Fantasmic. It was about an hour before the show, so we were just gonna sit and take it easy. We asked if we could sit in the back in the handicapped section, of course saying we would move if anyone needed those seats. We were not the only ones sitting there, and the other people never did ask. I got a bottle of diet coke and a pretzel to munch on while we were waiting for the show to start ($5.98). I wish I had remembered how completely salty these pretzels were, I ended up scraping most of the salt onto the ground. Sally was really not feeling well by this time, but wanted to see the show. It was getting cooler, and we just sat there not speaking much until the show started. Oh how I love Fantasmic, it gives me goose bumps every time I get to see it.

As soon as the steamboat passes, Sally and I get up to hi-tail it to the front of the park. We wanted to get to the Animal Kingdom Lodge in time to check it out some and perhaps even check in early for our PS at Boma. We were the first in line for a bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Pretty soon the bus showed and we all piled on. Then as we were pulling off, I noticed this car trying to pull around the end of an aisle into the bus lane. I remember thinking to myself, what an idiot! Well, if your little car tries to compete with a big Disney bus, guess what, the bus is going to win. Crunch, and the two vehicles collide. Everyone on the bus is looking out the window at the guy. Managers and Directors are called over. We are asked to fill out statements – no problem what so ever. They were calling for a new bus for us, but we ended up getting to leave on that one – 1 hour later! Everyone on there was going stir crazy. I was texting my friend Carol at home to tell her what had happened. Sally wasn’t well, so she just sat there. We were on our way, but caught up in all the traffic leaving MGM Studios by then. We finally made it to the Animal Kingdom Lodge about 1 and ½ hours after we left Fantasmic. We went straight to Boma – had a difficult time finding it – and checked in. We were early, but only had to wait a few minutes.

I promised myself I was going to be adventurous and try some new things. I did, but ended up eating stuff off the kid’s bar. I did plan to hit the deserts hard, and making sure to get one of those Zebra Domes that I keep hearing about. I did not like them. Not sure what the filling is inside of these things, but there are so many other things I would rather try. The pineapple cheesecake was awesome. We were tired, we paid using 2 more wishes (the bill lists the price at $0.00 again) and we walked around the lodge, went to the store to get some things. Sally was looking for some cold medicine. I wanted to look outside, but didn’t want to get separated. She didn’t find what she was looking for. I got my resort pin, and an elephant carving for my mom ($71.52) and we headed to the front of the lodge.

Sally decided she didn’t want to do the bus transfer thing again and had them call a cab for us - she was paying. It took about 20 minutes for the cab to arrive. There was a lot of activity at the front of this place, people coming and going…we got into our cab and I swear this lodge and our resort must be at opposite ends of Disney property.

We got back to our room and Sally just crashed into bed. I knew with the way she was feeling, that she was not going to be up for the Magic Kingdom the next day. I called for a wakeup call, and then called the front desk to make sure of when the buses would start picking up to go to the Magic Kingdom, and went to sleep.

Sunday, February 13 – “Make sure to fix your hair, princess.”
Planned: Get up early and head to the Magic Kingdom for our Keys to the Kingdom Tour. Must check in 20 minutes early – our tour time is 8:30 (the park opens at 9am). Get a locker for my camera, as you cannot take them on the tour. After the tour is over, hang out in the Magic Kingdom; perhaps go back to the resort for a rest as the MK has extra magi hours tonight. Preferred viewing for Wishes.

What actually happened: Stitch woke me up again, don’t they have some other recording, he is so annoying at 6:30am. I shower and get ready to go, Sally hasn’t moved. I am pretty sure that she is not going, so I don’t even attempt to wake her. As I am going out the door, she sits up and says she feels horrible and just can’t make it. I know, I can tell. I told her to just take it easy, rest and I would call her when the tour was done. Out the door to the main lobby to grab a refill of cherry coke and then I head to the bus stop. A bus is pulling off as I run up. Oh well, I have given myself an hour to get there; hopefully another bus will be by soon. I was told that there would be buses taking people to their character meals at the Contemporary and Cinderella’s castle. Well, another bus came up right away. The driver said he saw me coming up to the stop and he circled back around to get me. How nice was that?!

Riding to the Magic Kingdom on my own, I was excited to take the Keys to the Kingdom Tour, but a little apprehensive about going solo. Once we arrived at the park, all of us from the bus walked to the gates, they were not letting people in until 8am; it was about 7:50 then. I got in line behind a nice family, the little girl was dressed like Belle and the little boy was dressed like a knight – they were so cute! We spoke a little and pretty soon they were letting us through the turnstiles. I walked over to the statue of Roy and Minnie to take some pictures of the castle with a pretty clear street. I love this being in the park with hardly anyone else there! I walk over to the lockers under the train station but there is no one there to help. I asked a CM who was walking by and they said that the locker station doesn’t open until the park opens. Oh no, what to do with my camera, they wont let you take it on the tour. I just head over to the building to the left (I don’t know the name) and I check in for my tour, letting them know that Sally was not going to make it, she was very ill, and that I was using a wish to pay for this tour. They gave me a nametag, a guest badge and took my lunch order – we were having lunch at the Columbia Harbor House. Luckily, they checked my stuff for me; I didn’t have to get a locker after all.

I grabbed a bottle of water, they had that and coffee for the folks on the tour. I ran to the restroom and then looked around, we didn’t have to be by the gardens until 8:30 and it was only 10 after at the time. I went to check out Main Street and what do you know, there was NO ONE THERE! Ok, I had to use this opportunity to get my picture made. I asked one of the ladies there if they would take my picture and of course they would, it is what they are paid to do. When I put my stuff on the ground so that I was not holding it in the picture, I stood back up and all my hair was in my face (I have a lot of long curly hair), so the lady taking my picture says “Make sure to fix your hair, princess”. Was that sarcasm? I tried to fix my hair; I say tried since when I checked out the pictures later I had this big boof on the top of my head like I had a bouffant hair don’t. I even got my picture holding my hands together and they superimpose Tinkerbelle standing in your hands.

Then I had to run back over to join my group, the tour was about to begin.

Attention: Spoilers Ahead

I noticed that everyone else had a headphone thing on, where was mine? Well, they didn’t have them ready when I checked in, so they brought one out to me. This was so we could listen to our tour guide in crowded areas and still hear her. We all introduced ourselves; I think there were about 13 folks in this group – uneven number because of me. We had to say where we were from and what our favorite Disney character is, since that would say so much about us. A turn out our guide, Cheryl, is from Columbus, GA. I am from Atlanta, GA, so we bonded. Everyone else was from up north somewhere, Michigan or Pennsylvania….

So, gathered together, we tested our headphones and headed down Main Street following Cheryl as she held a riding crop in the air so that we could see her. We stopped in a little alcove along the right of Main Street. I think I rush down this way too fast most often and don’t take in all there is to see here. Cheryl started with the Disney history and even asked some trivia questions – it was usually me or this one other guy that would always answer them. I know about the forced perspective, the movie theatre style set up of the entrance to the park and the credits on the windows. She did point out Walt’s credit, one I had not seen before, so that was nice. As we were sitting there, you could tell the park had officially opened as people were streaming down Main Street towards the castle. We then headed to Adventureland; I think this is where we had our first break. As all the ladies went to the restrooms, I think their husbands went for coffee, as it was a little cool that morning. I saw a pressed penny machine and had a little girl press a couple of pennies for Kaitlin’s collection. We gathered back together and headed to Pirate’s of the Caribbean. We gathered in a small section near the entrance to the ride and discussed a little more about the history of Disney. Did y’all know that Walt bought a parrot that was the first audio-animatronic in a shop and basically had the Imagineers recreate it for everything else like the characters you see in the Pirate’s ride? Did you also know that the pirate with his leg hanging over the edge of the bridge you go under has human hair on his leg – to make it more realistic? Cool. We got to go in a back entrance to this ride to get straight on without a wait, not that there really was one. What a nice cool ride, and I just love it! I think our whole tour group fit into one boat. There was quite a back up traffic jam at the end where you unload. We got out, made it through the shop and headed on to our next stop, Frontierland.

Oh how exciting, this is where we got to go backstage. We went through a gate near Splash Mountain. We got to see where all the trash in the park ends up, yup, it was kinda smelly, but not as much as you think it would be. They recycle over 75% of the trash in the park – I forgot the exact #. There were places on the ground where they were testing new types of walkways…. we saw the back of splash mountain and then headed back to on stage. We had to stop for the train coming by and we got to wave to all the passengers.

We continued on and it was about lunchtime, so we headed to Liberty Square – lunch was at the Columbia Harbor House. I don’t think that I had ever been in this building, much less eaten here before. Our lunch was set up for us in one of the up stairs rooms, we were so special, we had a roped off area. Our meals were set up and we had nameplates where we were to sit. At each place setting you had your special gift – a Keys to the Kingdom pin. This is definitely a collectable, we were warned to not trade it and they better not see it on EBay.

I sat at a table with a single woman, I think her friend had left earlier in the tour or something, and an older couple that was so cute, they had been holding hands the entire time on our tour. They had been having the trip of their lives, they had been parasailing, they had taken a behind the scenes tour at the Animal Kingdom and I do believe she had set up a massage for her husband for that afternoon. We all enjoyed our meals and the quietness of this upstairs area, I am gonna have to remember this secret place.

After lunch, we headed to the Haunted Mansion. The Imagineers involved in designing this place are actually listed on a Tombstone looking thing at the exit of the ride. Cheryl shared the story of the master of Gracy Mansion and how on his wedding night, he and his bride had played hide and seek. She hid in a trunk in the attic, unfortunately, the lid slammed shut on her and she suffocated and died in the trunk in her wedding dress on her wedding night. Master Gracy, when he finally found her, went into a fit of rage, throwing their wedding rings out the window – if you look real hard, you can see where they are in the pavement as you leave the ride. I asked Cheryl to point these out to me, as I haven’t been able to find them on my own. We entered the ride through a “secret passageway”. Since I was odd woman out, I asked Cheryl if she would ride with me. It was cool to be on the ride with someone who could point out everything to me – we had a discussion about Hidden Mickey’s before everyone got on the ride. I also got to ask her about working at Disney and how she got to her position and stuff like that. She actually met her fiancé on Main Street – he works at the Train Station. We met up at the exit and discussed the Hidden Mickey’s that we were all able to find – of course I found them all, Cheryl pointed them out to me. When we were leaving the Haunted Mansion, there was a group of people gathered taking pictures, some screaming girls and some special tour guides from Disney with a couple of guys that were teenagers. One of them looked familiar – I think he used to be the kid on the Jamie Kennedy Experiment. I was told the other guy was in some Disney movie that was coming out soon, but I didn’t recognize him.

We went over to the Liberty Tree to talk about that and some of the things in Liberty Square you might not notice on your own. Like why are the shutters on the windows crooked? Well, back in colonial days, they needed all the metal they had to make bullets, so they replaced the screws with leather ropes and of course these stretched out, making the shutters hang crooked. I never even noticed that before.

From here we headed over to Casey’s Corner, man the park was getting crowded by this time. We had another break here, and I returned some calls to home. We gathered back up and headed to a shop on Main Street, shhhh, quiet, as we walk through the CM door to the backstage area. From here we were able to go in to a little room to check out some pictures and some of the rules that the CM’s must go by with their appearance. We were able to ask “Backstage type questions” now, but I don’t remember what all was asked. I did ask why they spend so much time and money on the girl wigs and not so much on the guys – Tarzan’s wig in Tarzan Rocks at the Animal Kingdom; it is so tired and looks really bad. We next took some stairs down to the first level of the Magic Kingdom – what, you didn’t know that when you stand on Main Street you are actually on floor 2 of the park? Where are we now? The UTILIDOORS!!! This is how all the CM’s get from one area of the park to another. It really is pretty cool down here, the systems that they have for everything. And believe it or not, it really doesn’t take away from the magic of it all for me at least.

We got to also go outside, ask some more questions and see where Tinkerbelle lands each night. That was really cool. Unfortunately, this was the end of our tour. It actually took about 5 hours and we walked and talked and walked some more. I loved it and would recommend the tour to anyone. We turned in our headphones and I asked someone to take a picture of me with Cheryl - man, I am at least a foot and a half taller than she is.

Now that the tour is over, I am all on my own – what to do? What to do? Since I had never ridden the trains around the park, I promised Cheryl that I would. So I ran up the stairs to the train station and catch the train right before it takes off. Sitting next to 2 guys who didn’t say one word to me – they got off at the Frontierland stop. I continued on to Toontown.

When I got off, you could see just how crowded this park is now. I went into Mickey’s house to see if I could get my picture with The Man – but the line was 45 minutes – NO WAY! I continued on. I walked past the Barnstormer, wait was about 30 minutes, nope, just can’t do it. I continued on to Futureland. Once I got there, I got a fastpass for Buzz, which was about 30 minutes away. To waste time, I rode the TTA, always a nice trip; remember to keep all tentacles facing forward. Then, I ran up to the Carousel of Progress. The kids on here at first thought the fact that we moved around was kinda cool. It was a nice rest, but I think I will skip this the next time I make it to the Magic Kingdom.

It was now time for BUZZ LIGHTYEAR! I walk through the fastpass line and was on the ride in about 1 minute. The car I was supposed to get in didn’t look like it was working – a foretell of the ride to come. I get in my car and decide, I am only shooting with one laser, I learned my lesson in October. So off we go and I am spinning, I am shooting, I am…. stopping? Yup, the ride stopped for about 3 minutes and I just sat there shooting as many things as I possibly could. The alien in front of me was worth about 200 points or so, so I shot that over and over and over again until the ride started up. Going from room to room, battling against Zurg and his cohorts, we stop again. This time I am between rooms – don’t they know they are messing with my hi score?! I attempt to shoot things I can see in the room ahead of me. The ride starts up again and we are almost done – I got my best score ever, 189,800, I was a planetary pilot according to the ranking list at the end of the ride. And then the ride stops again. There were a lot of announcements over the speakers about staying in your spacecraft. A ride that should have last no more than 5 minutes took us about 15 to ride. That’s ok, I had fun. I had called Sally back at the room before I got onto the ride to let her know what was up, she still wasn’t feeling well.

Outside Buzz Lightyear, I see Chip, Dale and Pluto all dressed up in their Space Outfits – they wore these as Halloween Costumes when we saw them in October. No one was waiting in line, so I walked up and asked the CM’s there if they would take my picture for me – I had a picture with each of them. By the time I was done, Chip, or was it Dale, was acting silly and had jumped onto another CM’s cart full of drinks or something – it was so cute. I was glad my camera was still on and I caught a picture of his silly antics.

At this point I was really thirsty and craving a Dole Whip, I headed to the hub to cross over to Adventureland. Um, big mistake, the parade was going by, there was no way I was getting through there. So I cut back through the castle. I was glad I did this; I was able to get pictures of the storyline montages in the walkway of the castle. I also took a picture of a pretty fountain behind the castle – again, more things I had not noticed before because I was in too much of a hurry before.

I cut through Fantasyland and past the Country Bears over to Adventureland. The line for Dole whips was long, as the day was really warming up. That gave me time to decide what I really wanted. When it was my turn, I ordered a pineapple, vanilla swirl float (I didn’t get a receipt for this, so I don’t remember how much it cost). Oh, that thing was so good. I walked towards Main Street enjoying my dole whip float and was stopped at least 3 times by people asking where I got that thing. When we had been here in October, the Dole stand wasn’t open when we were in Adventureland, and we never made it back over for one. I was glad I did this time.

Walking down Main Street, you can really see all the crowds of people. I stop in the candy shop on my way out to pick up a rice krispy Mickey ears for me and one for Sally – hoping this would make her feel better. I also stopped at Town Hall to take a look at my pictures from that morning. What was going on with my hair – is that a bouffant?! I passed on purchasing the pictures, but they are on my photopass, so when I get home I can look more and decide if I want to get them. (I have been home for a little over 2 weeks now and I still haven’t decided if I am gonna buy them, but after a month and a “spring special”, I decided on some).

I call Sally and tell her that I am on my way back to the resort. A bus for Port Orleans takes forever, but I finally get on and get a seat. I got off at the main stop so that I could fill up my mug. While I was walking back to the room, I noticed a little girl; she could not have been more than 5 years old. She was walking around by herself, looking very scared and crying some. I walked up to her slowly and asked her if she was lost, where was her family? I stopped everyone around and no one knew her. She wouldn’t speak to me and I thought it was because I was a stranger and she was not supposed to talk to strangers. She started walking off from me, but I couldn’t just leave her. I saw a CM in a cart and waved her down. She thought I was just telling her to watch out for the girl, but I explained to her that I thought she was lost. She went up to the girl and I tried to explain to her that she worked here and would help her. Turned out she didn’t speak English, she only spoke Spanish. I immediately called my cousin, Brittany, who is fluent in Spanish. She didn’t answer. I called my mom, she knows some Spanish. I was able to ask her name and she told me. Then my mom told me how to ask where her family was and the girl just started talking at full speed. The only problem was, we had no idea what she was saying. The CM called the front desk and it turns out her mom was there, her family had been at the main pool and she walked off and they couldn’t find her. The nice CM took her in her cart back to the lobby and she was reunited with her family. I ran into this CM later and she told me how her mother came running up to the cart to grab the little girl and started hugging her and crying. I am just glad she was ok and found her family.

Once back at the room, I take off my shoes to rest for a little while. She is still not feeling well, so I suggest an idea. I think I will take one of the boats to Downtown Disney – just because I can – and then I will come back. Maybe by then she will want to have some dinner and we can eat at the cafeteria at the resort. So I head out.

I go by the store and pick up the items I had shipped back from Epcot – I love this. I also go ahead and get Kaitlin’s penny press book so that I don’t forget to get it, along with some other things to snack on, some more batteries and my Port Orleans pin ($23.74). Then I head to the boat dock. I really should have come by here first. The line at the boat dock was forever long. We saw 2 boats fill up and leave and I still was not close to the front of the line. The folks around me were very nice and we all started talking about our trips and the things we had done. One lady in front of me was going to Downtown Disney just to get an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli. I wish I had that much time here that I felt like I could do that. We waited and waited and waited; it was another 30 minutes before another boat came along. Then there was one right behind that one too. I got on the first boat, and it was dark outside by now. There goes the idea of taking pictures along the way. I started thinking, we are going home tomorrow. I think Sally is happy about that, being sick on vacation can’t be fun. But I also thought about something else. We had switched resorts and our Mears tickets said Pop Century – I had not called to schedule a pick up at the right resort at the right time! I was panicking. I got off the boat at downtown and took no time to look around or shop, I headed to the bus stop, thinking that would be faster than those boats. There was a bus waiting there, but all it said was Port Orleans. I confirmed with the smart alec driver that he was going to Riverside and I hopped on the bus. Back at the resort, I get to our room and call Mears. No problem, our pick up is 5:45 the next day at Port Orleans.

By this time, Sally is dressed and plans to go get some dinner with me and then come back to the room. Tonight is extra magic hours at the magic kingdom. We head to the dining hall (I can never remember what they call this place) and get in line for pizza – it takes FOREVER! I woof down my pizza (with bottle of water, $8.17), hand her my bags to take to the room and I go to grab a bus for the magic kingdom.

By the time I get there, SpectroMagic is already on Main Street. I called my mom before I entered the park; by this time I was a little depressed about being at the happiest place on earth by myself. I know it is not Sally’s fault. I am sure she would much rather be here than in bed feeling as crummy as she was. But I was bummed nonetheless.

I head into the park and tried to make my way around the parade, going to the left – nope, can’t get through that way. Finally made it around people in front of town hall, and headed for the candy store. All the stores along the street are connected – you knew that, right? – so I followed these 2 couples through. Made it to Futureland and went over to Space Mountain and got in line. Ok, so the time posted was 15 minutes, I think we waited longer than that. But I finally got on with a dad and his 2 sons. They were so quiet on this ride, no yelling or screaming or anything.

I got off Space Mountain and headed to the Plaza – this was the meeting place for the preferred seating for Wishes. I couldn’t find it – and you know why? There were crowds of people lined along the entrance and I couldn’t see a CM anywhere. I finally found my way in – this is a little picnic type area near the Plaza landing. I grabbed a seat behind a family that had obviously staked out their spot early. This is a good place to watch wishes, you get a seat and you can see. However, there are some trees in the way of your view of the castle if you don’t sit in the right spots. My camera batteries were dieing on me again – this is the 3rd set I have gone through and unfortunately, the others I had bought were in the bag I sent back to the room with Sally. I didn’t take many pictures.

After wishes – loved it by the way, we were right under Tinkerbelle’s flight – I decided I needed to see Mickey’s Philharmagic before leaving Walt Disney World. I love this 3d film. Boy it was crowded. Oh yeah, I had stopped before Wishes to get my wristband for Extra Magic Hour. It was a good thing too as they were turning folks away who did not have the wristbands. I love Mickey’s Philharmagic, did I mention that yet? After this, I was thinking of heading to Big Thunder Mountain, but I was way tired and I knew we had to be up early the next day. Instead I headed to Main Street. I stopped at the Emporium to buy some souvenirs, including the glass I had promised Carol ($74.02). The CM wrapped it up really well for me when I told him I was flying home. Then, I was off to the buses. Once again, it took FOREVER to get a bus for Port Orleans. I swear we saw buses for every other place 3 times before our bus. Also noticed a lady walking by with 4-inch heels – no, I am not kidding. I am not sure what she was thinking, but she was walking like she was in pain, well, DUH! Our bus finally came and once I got off at my stop it was close to midnight. I had a hard time finding our building; they really need some better signs around here, especially at night.

Back at the room, I tried to pack up some stuff, so I wouldn’t have as much to do in the morning. Sally was already in bed and I was trying not to wake her. I set a wake up call for early the next morning and then I tried to sleep.

Monday, February 14 - “Maybe it’s from talking too much”
Planned: Check out of Port Orleans, Riverside, check baggage, head to Animal Kingdom, Donald’s Breakfastosaurus. Mears to airport and head home to Atlanta.

What actually happened: Man, I do not want to hear Stitch ever again! I get up with the wake up call and take a shower and pack up all my stuff. Sally slowly gets up and I head to the lobby to check out while she gets all her stuff together. I needed to make sure our park cards and wishes were still working even though we had checked out. By the time I was done, Sally arrived. We checked our bags and then grabbed a bus to the Animal Kingdom. We got there and headed over to the right turnstiles where they were letting people in who had PS’s for breakfast with Donald. We grabbed a map and headed over, checking in and skipping the picture line. My name was called after about a 10-minute wait and James, our waiter, lead us to our table. This place is really cute. We each got some orange juice and Sally headed to the buffet. I was hoping she would be feeling better by now, but she didn’t get much to eat. I just waited until the characters came by so that I could get my picture taken with them. Sally obligingly took my pictures; I actually got a picture of her with Donald, although she wasn’t happy about it. I finally got some breakfast; they have a good spread here. I think I still like Chef Mickey’s better as far as food and ambiance. Our waiter brought over our check, but I wanted to get some fruit before we left, he said not to rush, so I didn’t. We paid with 2 more wishes and left (again, the receipt said $0.00 as the amount charged), heading towards Dinosaur. I was not sure if Sally would like this or not. The ride was basically a walk on; the only wait was watching the opening film with Mrs. Cosby. Boy is this ride LOUD! I tried to smile when I knew the picture would be taken. Checked it out when we got off the ride and I looked silly, Sally looked irritated. After we got off, we started to walk through Hester and Chester’s. Sally said she really liked the ride.

Taking a look at the park map and the times guide, we decided to check the wait for It’s Tough to be a Bug – it was a 5 minute wait and we headed in. We didn’t even wait when we got inside the tree; however, Sally was leading at this time and didn’t know the set up of the theatre. We ended up in the front row. I really do not like sitting here for 3d movies and will make sure to not sit here in the future. I remember when to sit up in my seat and when to hold my nose.

After ITTBAB, we headed to Africa and picked up a fast pass for the safari. We had about an hour so we took Rafiki’s train to the Planet Watch area. Good timing as we walked right onto a train. Once we got there, we looked around some. They were supposed to be operating or something on the porcupine that is part of the Pocahontas show this morning, but it was delayed. Besides some annoying cheerleaders doing routines for the talking trashcan in here, there is not much going on. If you had kids, it would be great as there is interactive stuff and a little petting zoo. We caught the next train back to civilization and headed to the safari. We had a short wait as we walked through the turnstiles. Unfortunately, they sat us in the front seat next to a really large couple. Now, I am not a small girl by any means, but I was really squished in here, letting Sally sit on the side so that she could see the animals better. It was a good safari as the giraffe’s and gazelle’s were right by the path of the vehicle. We helped to save Little Red and we were back from our 2-week trip. Sally wanted to walk the trail. Even though I was not interested (we have a great gorilla habitat at Zoo Atlanta), we walked the trail. When we came out I had to grab a water as we decided what to do next.

We did not want to see the Birds of Flight or ride Kali River Rapids. So, we were going to see the next Lion King show, well, not the very next one because even if we ran, we couldn’t make it in the next 5-10 minutes. Since we had about an hour, we went over to the other walking trail in Asia. On our way we passed Devine. She had drawn quite a crowd and I got some good pictures of her. The cats were not too active today…. it was getting into the afternoon and it was warm. They were doing just like my cats do, sleeping and just laying around.

We then walked around Discovery Island over to Camp Minnie Mickey. Sally asked what was at Camp MM, and I explained that was where the Lion King show, the Pocahontas show and character trails were. We were going to see the Lion King show, and we had about a ten-minute wait before we entered the theatre. I wish I had one of my fans with me here today. We ended up in the Lion section – yeah, I had not sat in this section before. What a great show, I just love this one. I think Sally fell asleep, at least later she told me she had.

After this show, I said we could slow down, grab some lunch or we could hi-tail it over to Tarzan Rocks. She chose the later and off I went, knowing she would keep up with me. But by the time we got to the hill to the theatre, she was ahead of me and I was slowing down. I stopped to take a picture of the construction on the new roller coaster ride for Animal Kingdom (Expedition Everest) they had made a lot of progress since October. We found a couple of seats in the back and watched the show. Although I think that the guy who plays Tarzan has a very nice, ahem, figure – I really do not like this show. I think it is very cheesy and tasteless and for crying out loud, this is Tarzan Pops, not Rocks. Trust me, this is NOT rock music. Just because you have an electric guitar in your band does not mean you are rocking. I think Sally snoozed in this show too. As we were walking out, she told me she was through for the day. Um, good thing since I didn’t have anything else planned and we had basically done all there was to do at the Animal Kingdom.

We stopped at a restroom on the way out, there was a guy smoking right there and it seemed no matter where I stood, his smoke would follow me, total ugh. I used this time to check out the pamphlet that explained the wishes – we still had 5 left. Guess what, the Rainforest Café at the Animal Kingdom is one of the places you can eat and use a wish. I suggested this to Sally as we were walking through the Oasis. She said that was fine with her. We had about a 10-minute wait and I used the time to press a few more pennies for Kaitlin’s collection. We sat down at a nice table and waited on our waitress. When we told her we were using wishes, we wanted to know the limits on the menu. There weren’t any. Oh my goodness, we went crazy. We each ordered an appetizer – I got cheese sticks and Sally got bruchetta. Our drinks came out in these drink containers that we got to keep. Each of us gave the animals in the bottom to the kids sitting at the table next to us – they loved them! So, continuing on with our wish meal, I ordered the filet and sally got the filet and lobster stuffed with crab. Can you believe this? Our meals came and they were ok, I have definitely had better steak. We then each were supposed to order desert, but we had no room, so we had them box up some key lime pie for each of us to go. We paid for this meal with a wish each, but could have easily have used 1 wish and shared. I looked at our bill total and it was $132.79!!!!! Oh my gawd, boy did we go all out for our last Disney meal!

We then went to the bus stop and grabbed a bus back to Port Orleans, Riverside.

Once back at the resort, Sally told me to just go to the store to pick up the poster that came with our package and to use the last wishes we had left on merchandise for myself. That was very nice of her and I went to the store and actually spent some money too. I got my mom an eyeore pin that was really cute and t-shirts for me and my dad ($39.41, the shirts were buy 1 get one half price). I asked if they had any special Valentines Day pins, and can you believe it, they didn’t! So, I get the Mickey clock and 2 Mickey boxes with the last 3 wishes that we had. One of these will make a nice b-day gift for Kaitlin I think. Shh, don’t tell her.

Getting all this stuff meant I had to rearrange my bags. We picked up our luggage, and I squeezed as much stuff as I could into my suitcase, including my backpack. I carried a large Disney bag and my purse onto the plane. I went to fill up my mug for the last time. Goodbye Disney…um, did I mention that by this time, my throat was killing me? It hurt to talk, it hurt to swallow. But I didn’t say anything to Sally about it; I could tell she still felt bad.

We joined the crowd of people waiting for the Mears bus to the airport and we got on. We didn’t know if we were making any more stops, so Sally and I sat next to each other. This family with 3 kids sat right behind us. The kid was awful the entire way to the airport, pulling the shade so it would shoot up, kicking my seat and basically screaming. I am glad Kaitlin never acted like that.

We arrived at Airtran and checked in at the counter, we were so early, our flight was 8:40 and it was only 10 after 6. We were offered an upgrade to first class, I passed, but Sally took them up on it. Plus, she didn’t check her luggage – she didn’t buy many souvenirs along our trip. I told her that my parents were picking me up at the airport and that they would drive her home so that she would not have to take MARTA. She said not to worry, she was fine.

We got to our gate 2 hours before our flight. Neither of us was hungry as we had that HUGE lunch. We just sat there, reading our books and not talking. Across the hall, a group of cheerleaders were doing routines. I had had enough of cheerleaders by this time, and I also thought it was very rude and inconsiderate of the other people in the airport. When I said something to Sally about it, she just shrugged me off. I mentioned how much my throat hurt, and she said “Maybe it’s from talking too much”. Not until we had been home for a week did she explain to me how mean she is when she is sick. No kidding. She really didn’t even remember saying this to me. I went off in search of water, or hot chocolate or something. I found a magazine stand, but their water was not cold. Wait, I think that is a Starbucks, nope a Seattle’s Best. I ran over and got some hot chocolate, yummy, and a colder (not that cold though) bottle of water ($4.37). I head back to our gate and Sally is eating her key lime pie – says it is pretty good. I just can’t eat right now.

Announcement comes over the intercom and our flight is delayed. There is major fog in Atlanta and the whole place is backed up. I call the folks to let them know and no one answers. Uh oh, what is going on back at the home front?

By the time we finally get to board, it is actually only 10-15 minutes after we were originally supposed to take off. Sally boards with the first class and that is the last time we spoke to each other. I head in with the grunts and she is already settled in the front row and reading her book. Not a bad flight home, and I was so glad to be home. Got on the little train to take me to baggage check. Up the elevator and I turn the wrong direction. Um, different airline than I normally take, so I was turned around. Get to the luggage place and wait. My parents soon join me, by this time I could barely speak. Mom takes my souvenir bag and dad grabs my luggage. Man, it really is foggy in Atlanta, and it makes for an interesting ride home.

So, that is the end of my trip. I didn’t go to work the next day, I went to the doctor. I had a respiratory infection. I ended up being out of work for the rest of the week. I couldn’t be around my boss; she could not afford to get sick since she had been in the hospital just a couple of weeks ago. I tried to tell her that if I had a laptop, I could be working from home. Home. I was glad to be home. I love Disney, but I wanted to be home in my bed…thinking of my next trip. Hopefully I can take my family back and we can all enjoy the bens of staying on Disney Property.

Thanks for hanging around and reading my report, man, it got a little long…

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me, and put trip report in your subject please.

Lara Thompson


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