Mickey’s Hand is in my Pocket w/Pics. Ending Edited in 10/16-#84
This is my first attempt at a trip report, so I hope everyone will bear with me. I’ve read some of the greats – Twinkie Mama, VetteChick, tiggerbell, and ZZUB to name a few – so I hope some of their greatness has had some influence on me. Oh - and thanks to Mike at DH's work for coming up with the title for this...afterall, how true is that!!
First, let's introduce the cast in the beginning for my fourth trip to the World:
Myself (36) - OBSESSED with DW and all that is DW.
DH (38) - Not obsessed and tired of hearing about all things Disney. Thinks WDW should be a relaxing vacation (yeah right - does he not remember who he married?!)
We headed down for 12 wonderful nights 9/22-10/4.
I’m a planner – I’ll admit it upfront. Hello, my name is Ty and I’m an obsessive compulsive WDW planner. I started planning a year and a half ago, just a mere six months after we got back from our 2004 trip. I’m still trying to figure out how I got DH to agree to go back so quickly…yes, unfortunately going back in under two years was quick for us. If anyone has any tips to change that, please feel free to PM me :bitelip:. I now have to ask, does anyone else have Disney Dreams, where you’ve managed to forget everything you know or what you were supposed to bring? I had dreams where a restaurant changed and I thought…hmmm gotta post that on the disboards! Now not only am I dreaming about things forgotten or changed once we got there, but I’m dreaming that I must post to the disboards. Wonder if that’s a sign that I spend too much time on the disboards…NAHHHH :rolleyes1
I also have to mention that I started what became know as my Disney “Bible” (a binder I had.) It grew from ½ inch to 1 inch to 2 inches and could have easily gone into a 3 inch. My back won’t know what to do not having to haul it around with me everyday. I had copies of everything you could think if in there, except one minor detail, a map of the property – that will come back to haunt me later!
Since I seem to live on the disboards, I knew early on about the change from 90 to 180 days for ADR’s. I called exactly at 180 days to get all my ADR’s which I did. Then at 30 days and 14 days, DH FINALLY looks at what I’ve been e-mailing him for SIX months and says where is this restaurant or where is this? WHAT??? :furious: Do you not know that it is free dining and these ADR’s were made months and months ago. I told him I’d try and miracle upon miracles I was able to do a little rearranging and get his requests in.
We also decided that we would drive down. I’m afraid of flying, but have flown in the past and as recently (we do not travel much) as 2004 to see the sticky fingered mouse. I somehow talked DH into driving and thought we were set. Then the more I thought about it and wasn’t sure how many vacation days DH would get, I started to think, maybe we should fly. I even sent DH fares to book for us, but he never did. I finally asked him and he said he wanted to drive as we had not been on a road trip since our honeymoon a few years ago. OK – cool – we are driving. We’ll leave the evening of 9/21, get as far as Southern Illinois and finish up the next day. Good we are set….
Ummmm not really – now my ten thousand posts on I-65 through Alabama vs I-75 through Atlanta began. I even ordered Dave Hunter’s along I-75 which he graciously rushed to me so I could use the hot off the press book on our trip. All we knew for sure was we would take 57 through Illinois and decide what to do when we hit Nashville.
OK – it’s now the Tuesday before we leave, and DH decides: a) we should be flying – ummmm not happening we leave in TWO days!!!! Then b) we’ll drive straight thru as he does not want to leave on Thursday night. OK – HOLD ON! We’ve had plans for months and now they are all going out the window, I guess I should have seen this as a precursor for what would happen on the rest of the trip!
Up next...UMMMM - Since when is AL Tornado Alley?????????
Mickey's Hand is in My Pocket - Travel Day
This is now our one and only travel day. Remember we were supposed to leave the 21st to make it to So. Illinois and have an easy 12 hour drive down on Friday and check into Pop for the night. NOPE – DH changed his mind a couple days before leaving that we would leave Friday am. OK – so we’ll leave at like 4 am? Yeah right – we left about 7:30am. Right into the heart of a good old Chicago rush hour. Late as usual – would also become a theme throughout the trip. Surprisingly traffic was not too bad getting from the near western burbs to I-57, so we were off. The rule this trip, was eat in car, make very few stops and just get there. I asked if I could drive the beginning as I hate driving at night. DH said we could switch, but somehow it was suddenly 8 hours later and he was still driving. GREAAATTTT – now I get to drive all night. I usually don’t sleep well in the car, plus I could hear Mickey calling my name, so there was no napping.
OH – which way did we go? We figured we would be caught in Friday night Atlanta traffic and also I had been warned that there was construction all through Georgia. So we decided that we will do 57-24-65-231-10-75 (thanks SpiceyCat for the absolutely awesome directions.) Wow – looking at those numbers, maybe I should have played the lottery with them. Sorry, to get back on track, that’s how we went. It was great. We closed in around Birmingham around 5:30 that day – we were making pretty good time. It was then that my satellite radio decided to die out on the station I had it running through (I use an FM transmitter). OK – sounds like traffic, I’ll listen for a minute. DH was starting to snooze when all of the sudden he heard me yell “WHAT?!” Turns out 65 was closed both directions due to a 15 car pileup about 10 miles ahead of us due to weather. Weather? What weather? It was a little cloudy but that was it. DH says not to panic, we’ll hop off at the next exit, grab gas, and figure a way around it. Well the next exit was quite a few miles up the road and I kept wondering where the backup was. If any of the highways were closed down in Chicago around rush hours there would be miles upon miles of backups. Not so in Alabama I guess.
So off to the gas station we go, and while we are sitting there trying to figure out a way around (had our big AAA map), we start hearing about tornadoes. Ummmm – it’s hurricane season and I don’t recall AL being in tornado alley so what the heck are tornadoes doing here? The reports are coming fast and furious and DH is trying to circle each town where there is a warning and drawing little tornadoes when one is confirmed. He’s also now trying to figure out a way around the storms and I’m starting to panic. I’m from Chicago, but went to school in Southern Illinois where we had our share of tornadic storms. I really really hate bad storms now. At this point all these storms will be crossing 65 right in our path if we keep going. I think the map is now showing that we’ll have to go into Mississippi if we want to drive around them. DH is still being the sensible one, and suggests something to eat to see if the storms let up. He eats, I panic. We’ve now been pulled off 65 for more than an hour when he declares that it seems most of the warnings are now on the east side of 65 and it has been reopened, so we should be good to go. He’s still too tired to drive, so I know we’ll hit bad weather again – it’s law with us. If he drives, pretty sunshine. If I drive, hail, wind, blizzards and any other nasty weather Mother Nature has will be thrown at us. We keep listening to the same radio station and the weather guy is great with still giving us updates so I can keep asking if I should drive slower or faster while DH looks and continues to draw on the map. He also has the video camera ready as he wants to see a tornado...something I am proud to say I am the only one of my friends from college who has never seen or been chased by one driving back and forth between home and school. I’m trying to keep my streak alive!
The great weather guy finally announces “This is one for the record books, it’s the 2nd worst outbreak Alabama has ever had” – wonderful! I’m so happy I could be here for that. Now I must mention that they also said, that people were reporting little or no damage from the twisters so that was a good thing. The pileup was due to heavy rains and lightning we found out, not a tornado. BUT - I’m still busy stating that we’ll be going thru Georgia on the way home as there is no way I am setting foot in Alabama ever again (yeah right)
About 11pm we pull over for gas again, and I grab a Mountain Dew to help stave off a little sleepiness. I’m also allergic to caffeine as it does weird things to me, but hey – what would one little can do? Well – let’s just say I managed to get us all the way to 75 before DH got us the last couple of hours. I also had a leg that was shaking uncontrollably from the caffeine. I almost bought another one, but finally came to my senses and decided against that. DH did drive us the last two or three hours. I’m still not sleeping due to the caffeine, so I became a two year old and kept asking how far it was to Orlando as I was sure we missed it and would be in Key West at any moment.
FINALLY – there it is – the road known as the Western Way (thanks KINGBOBOFTHENORTH & Ducklite for the excellent directions on the Western Way.) YEAH we did it…we drove straight through. I had called Pop a number of times to let them know we were still coming and not to give away our room – something I learned on the Disboards is that they recycle the rooms about 2am and I was afraid I’d lose ours. Afterall, we now had all of five and a half hours before I wanted to check into the WL the next day. And so what if it’s 5am – we are here – let’s take pictures! And that is exactly what DH did while I checked us in. (an example)
Yeah – sleep, finally.
Up next – we’re off to the WL and free dining!
That was some scary reading to see if you encountered the tornado's. I think I would have just gone over to the Wilderness Lodge to see if my room was ready. But then again, you guys were probably exhausted from driving.
Dont you hate the fact that once you enter Florida you still have 2 or so hours to go? It drives me insane!!! But I plan to do it again!
So we had 4 hours of sleep – it’s Disney who needs sleep??? (well DH did as you will see later!) After taking a few more pictures around Pop Century...
we head over to the WL. I wanted to check in early to try and get my Woods View Room Choice. We pull up
and let the guard know we are checking in – and they handed up a parking pass pre-printed with my name on it- yeah! Then we leave and they say “Welcome Home.” Now I’m guessing they may say this at all the resorts where there is DVC, but since I have only stayed at POFQ I had never heard this. My DH knew he was in trouble and I made him pull up to the guard each time after that to be let in instead of using the bypass with our keys. I just wanted to hear “Welcome Home” – is that so wrong?
It’s about 10:30am – later than I had originally planned on checking in, so DH drops me off and I bolt into the Lodge – guess everyone else had the same idea I did. Oh well. Wait about 10 minutes in line and end up with a great cast member. She notes our requests – non-smoking, north wing overlooking otter pond, high floor. I also had the layout of rooms with me and knew just where I wanted to be and pointed that out to her. She kind of makes a face, uh-oh – are we on the villas side? But she then says lets see what we can do. Well 20 minutes later she goes, I found one – we’ll just have to kick the other people out. I’m guessing this could have happened to us as well since we were not there at the crack of dawn, so I’m not feeling really bad. I think I was only with her about 20 minutes – DH will say is was an hour, but I think he was sleep deprived and could not judge time ;) . Our room is not ready, so off we go to the outlet malls. I wanted to hit the Disney outlet before Mickey’s hand was fully back in our pockets. Beware that if you go looking for the Belz outlet, it is now a Prime outlet. Glad you could still see the shadow of Belz or we might not have known where we were. Didn’t find as much good stuff as we did last time, but still managed to get a number of things for myself and family. We hit a couple more stores and then head back. It’s 2:50 and I call – nope room is not ready. Fine, ten minutes later I call back – room is ready. Room 5010. UH OH – I couldn’t remember how many floors were at the WL and I knew the one right below Club Level was Smoking Optional. Not something I wanted to deal with having just gone through some things with my lungs. DH is somewhat laughing at me as he could tell I was nervous and just wanted to get back to the WL to check. PHEW – no need to worry, as soon as we got in the elevator I knew we were ok – we were on 5, which meant 6 was the smoking optional floor and I was safe.
Well we finally find our room – definitely a walk from the front of the lodge, but here’s what we came upon
Yeah – what a great surprise. Upon entering the room we also found this:
More yeah – we have had pixie dust sprinkled already. And what’s this I see outside our room?
My time was well spent. While we were about one room too far over for a perfect view of the castle, I could see the top spire, monorail and the Mainstreet Train Station. We also discovered that we could see the fireworks at night. More yeah for us! DH liked it cause we could also see Bay Lake.
Dinner that night was at the Concourse Steakhouse. I’ve got everything posted in Dining Reviews, so I won’t bore you with that. Let’s just say free glow cubes for our anniversary!
It takes so little to make me happy. Food was good, service was great, and I have nothing to complain about. People have to remember that you go to the Concourse Steakhouse for the atmosphere, not the food really – but I like it anyway. There were a bunch of people sitting around waiting for tables, and I thought we might be for one of those long waits I’d heard about. NOPE – 5 minutes later we are sitting down and others are still waiting…I’m guessing bigger parties or walk-ups? Overall a good dinner and our first experience with the dining plan.
Back to the Lodge for a good nights sleep so we can get up bright and early for Epcot.
Up next….I see a pattern of lateness!
TyRy - very good read!
I'm really enjoying your TR.
Let me know if you get any good tips!
Love the pics too.
I am enjoying your trip report and pictures.
Hi, just wanted to say I enjoyed your report so far. I love all those details and feeling like being along.
Great job, keep going!
Enjoying your TR -- you're doing a great job! Can't wait for more! popcorn::
Love the pics, keep them coming! ;)
Great! It's like watching a movie in my head. Love it! :thumbsup2
I know exactly how you feel with the late running DH. I always thought I was the slow late one, until I met and married him. He says I am always trying to rush him.
Great trippie under way ... popcorn::
Epcot Chapter 4 - First Day at Parks
Day one at Parks: Epcot
Whoo hoo – we are finally off to a park. We got back to the WL in plenty of time to get a good nights sleep, so we should have no problem being at the park by 8:45…early enough to be able to ride and then FP Soarin and maybe hit Turtle Talk while we were at it. I knew we were in for a long day with no breaks, but hey – there’s a lot to see and do at Epcot. OK – that’s the plan. I should say the original plan, the newer plan went something like, what do you mean we have to leave to watch the Bears game – we are on vacation! :headache: Yep – first road block, now we have to leave the park for hours to go watch football. It was the beginning of the season and we were on VACATION – why do we have to watch the game (and yes I’m a football fan, but had my Epcot day planned around being there ALL day). OK – as long as we are there early, we can get the major rides out of the way and we’ll still be ok.
Well – this is where I learned EARLY means two very different things. To me it meant before a park opened. To DH it meant whenever he woke up – as he pointed out, he is on vacation. Again, I remind him we are at WDW and this is a different type of vacation! So what happened? My carefully planned out day did not begin until 11ish! We actually may have arrived earlier, but somehow we kept missing the entrance to Epcot. For those that have stayed at MK resorts you know how you have to always do the loop around, every time you want to leave to go somewhere. Well we had seen the entrance to Epcot while we were driving around the day before and noted that it was only about 5 minutes away. Somehow that 5 minutes turned into almost thirty as we just kept missing it. Oh – well, had we not been in a hurry I’m sure we would have found it right away – isn’t that always the way things go???? Thankfully when we arrived Epcot was empty – I think there were way more love bugs than people at the park.
Sorry for the blurry pic – but this was outside where you buy tickets – hardly anyone around!
We headed straight to Soarin and the FP would have been right in the middle of the game so we rode standby, which was only a 30 minute wait. I know at 11am – it was pretty empty. After Soarin we decided that we should probably head over to the WS as we had a 12:15 reservation at Chefs De France. We made that in plenty of time, and we once again forgot to take a lot of pictures for dining reviews. I will say, even though I was drenched again because I was so hot, I ordered the onion soup.
That was the best I had Disney – don’t know what the did differently, but it was really really good.
The game had already started while we were eating, and I’ll give DH credit here – he did not panic. Not even when I saw Belle and Aurora right outside and insisted I needed pictures with them. Again, I basically walked right up to them and had no wait to take a picture.
We then headed off to catch the boat between Epcot and the Boardwalk. It was at this point that I again reminder DH how nice it would be to stay at one of the Epcot DVC’s – only if we had the points. Hey – we could buy a small amount resale….I thought I had him for a while, but then he once again nixed the idea. Dang – I have to work faster and have the resale places on speed dial next time. Got some nice pics of Y&BC and the dolphin.
Finally arrived at ESPN and it was jammed. Found a couple of nice people who let us steal two of their bar stools at their table so we did not have to stand the entire game. Yeah – Bears win, now let’s get back to Epcot – we have 3 hours to make up for. It was about 5ish when we made it back to Test Track and grabbed a FP. Standby was 40 minutes, but the FP was only an hour away – no big decision there. At that point we hit club cool – please stay away from the Italian drink (and I’m Italian) It was the first one I grabbed and ick!
We then tried to do a few things we had not done on previous trips, so we figured now would be a good time to start. Headed back to the land and hit the attraction where they show you how they grow things – love the Mickey pumpkins!
After that went to Figment for the first time – it was cute and glad we finally went on it. We then tried forever to make the postcards you can send and got one after working on it for like 30 minutes.
We then hit test track – and hey – they have Photopass now for their pictures – good, slap it on the card and it’ll come on the CD I intend to buy at the end. I should mention that I have SUCKER written on my forehead – I have always bought all the pictures at the end of the day in parks, and now love the idea I can have a CD of a TON of pictures for the same amount of buying basically 5 pictures.
Next – I wanted to ride Maelstrom – yeah - no wait again. Uh-oh – we have an ADR in just a couple of minutes for Rose and Crown. We’ve eaten there every trip to get an easy way to watch Illuminations. But there was so much more to see in WS since we lost all that time in the afternoon. It was at this point I became a bad Diser – I blew off my ADR. I did actually try to call on my cell phone, but the wait was forever, so I just gave up. I know –bad Ty, bad bad Ty. But – now I’m over it as this just opened up two more hours to explore countries and just have fun.
We walked up to the water in front of the Italy Pavilion about 10 minutes before the start of Illuminations and had a great completely unobstructed view. This is when I knew we had come to DW at a great time of year.
After that it was back to the WL and grabbed dinner at Roaring Fork – nothing special. I really like the moderate CS better than the one at WL.
Tomorrow is a semi off day – we will try breakfast at Fort Wilderness, Typhoon Lagoon and then the MK for Spectro and Wishes.
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