Advil & Enthusiasm: A Disney Trip Report
Chapter One: Part One - "I will NEVER get on that thing again!"
Chapter One: Part Two - "I need a nap and I need it now!"
Chapter Two: Part One - "You can find it between the firetruck and the pig."
Chapter Two: Part Two - "I'll have the flaming cheese!"
Chapter Three: Part One - "Don't tell Pooh but you're my favorite."
Chapter Three: Part Two - "Boo to you!"
Chapter Four: Part One - "BATS!"
Chapter Four: Part Two - "You look like you peed your pants."
Chapter Four: Part Three - "Birthday girls in the house!"
Chapter Five: Part One - "You must be a Weasley."
Chapter Five: Part Two - "Look at that!!!"
Chapter Five: Part Three - "I need a Minion!"
Chapter Six: Part One - "Can we do it? Yes we can!"
Chapter Six: Part Two - "He ripped my head off! Now that is just rude!"
Chapter Seven - "My toes are in first class!"
Final Thoughts - "Less Advil and more enthusiasm!"
My first trip report ... yikes! I'm not entirely sure I know what I'm doing but that never stopped me before. :) So here goes nothing:
Advil & Enthusiasm: A Disney Trip Report
Who: Tena and Peggy (aka me) two Disney fanatics whove been best friends since meeting in the 7th grade
What: A fun-filled vacation at WDW with a side trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
When: September 19-25, 2012
Where: Comfort Suites Maingate East
Why: We both turned 50 this year and what better way to celebrate than a trip to Disney with your best pal?
As previously mentioned, we met in the 7th grade and bonded over our mutual love of the Bee Gees and the fact that we were both giggly dorks. A life long friendship was born and for the past 38 years (38 years!? Yikes!) weve been through thick and thin together.
We live in rural PA where there are as many dairy cows as there are people. But most of you have probably heard of our little corner of the world because the nearby town of Williamsport is home to the Little League World Series.
Beautiful Lycoming County, PA:
Howard J. Lamade Stadium, home of the Little League World Series:
We both work in healthcare; Im an x-ray tech and Tenas a nurse. And Im happy to say were still giggly dorks! Tena is happily married and devoted mom to a hyperactive dog and six cats! Im happily single (which will change if Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs ever pops the question!) and mom to one very spoiled, anti-social cat. [Note from Tena: That cat is pure evil!] Yes, you guessed it & were also cat ladies!
Tena and Adam celebrating their 10th Anniversary last year:
And heres yours truly:
Weve made eight previous trips to WDW together, some on our own and some accompanied by my sister Susan and various friends. After our last trip together in 1998, I decided to take a short break from Disney, which somehow ended up being 14 years long! Meanwhile, Tena got married and introduced her hubby to the joys of WDW and theyve made several trips together.
Tena and I enjoying our one and only ride on Dumbo:
Tena, Susan and I spending a rainy afternoon at Disney. Im the one in the yellow poncho!
The Three Mousketeers lost and confused in EPCOT:
Susan and Tena at MVMCP:
Fast forward to a year or so ago. Fifty was looming on the horizon and Disney seemed like the perfect way to celebrate. We set a tentative date of Fall 2012 but held off making any official plans for a while because we hoped my sister Susan would be able to come along Sadly, she just couldnt afford it this year. We were disappointed but shell be turning 50 in 2015 and WDW will still be there! Keep saving those pennies, Suz!!! Anyway, once we knew it was just going to be the two of us, Tena and I put our heads together and came up with an official date for our trip, September 19th through the 25th. I dusted off my handy dandy AAA membership and started researching flights and hotels and a vacation was born! We made our reservations on February 26, 2012 and the countdown to Disney began!
Tena and I are Pooh sized gals and neither of us had been especially diligent about exercising the last couple of years. Someday well probably tour the parks in matching Hover-rounds but not quite yet, thank you very much! So we set out to get our Disney legs. Tena went for walks and put in lots of time on the treadmill . I set out to conquer the elliptical machine and did some weight training. The result: Achilles tendonitis for Tena and tennis elbow for me ! Exercise (and turning 50) is NOT for sissies! But we hung in there, got cortisone shots & owww!!! & and discovered the joys of Aqua Zumba! We are not coordinated so mostly we hopped around in the pool waving our arms like idiots but it was fun, easy on our aching joints, and great exercise. As of departure day, Tenas ankle and my elbow were still giving us some grief but we were generally in better shape than we were back when we booked the trip.
So, here we are: 50 years old, slightly worse for wear, and Disney bound!!!! With the help of lots of Advil and enthusiasm its sure to be a blast!
Y'all sound like a fun group! I'm in! :)
BTW, great photos!
:wave2: Aw thanks!
Sound like fun, I'm in!
Chapter One: Part One "I will NEVER get on that thing again!"
Chapter One: Part One
"I will NEVER get on that thing again!"
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Disney World, here we come! We’re sleep deprived and a little groggy but we’re on our way! Tena’s husband Adam drove us to the airport to catch our 5:50 am flight. He had to work later in the day and wanted to go back to bed. He’s too much of a gentleman to just slow down and push us out, but I suspect a tiny part of him was tempted. We got our boarding passes and got through security without incident and soon we were climbing aboard one of the teeny tiny planes that service our teeny tiny local airport and beginning the first leg of our trip to Walt Disney World.
Just how small is our teeny tiny airport? Here it is, in all it’s glory. And yes, this is the entire Williamsport Regional Airport:
And here's the kind of teeny tiny planes that fly in and out of our teeny tiny airport:
Sunrise somewhere over PA:
When it came time to board our connecting flight in Philly, we realized we weren’t sitting together. Not sure how that happened because we booked seats together way back in February. I suppose because of our different last names they assumed we were two single travelers. The flight was overbooked so we didn’t bother asking to have our seats changed. I ended up sitting next to a boy of 8 or 9 who was a nervous first-time flyer. About 15 minutes into the flight he told his dad, “I don’t feel good. We need to land right now!“ I felt bad for the little guy but didn’t want to be in the splash zone if he started puking. Luckily, after a couple trips to the bathroom, some ginger ale and TLC from his dad, he settled down and went to sleep. Meanwhile, Tena was being subjected to a never ending refrain of “Moooooommmmmmyyyyyyy, my earrrrrrr hurrrrrtttttsssssss!” Yes, we were on board the screaming baby express!
En route to Orlando:
Luckily, it was only a two hour flight and by 10:30 we were on the ground in sunny, blazing hot Orlando. Most of our past trips to Disney have been in the cooler months and we knew September was going to be hot. But yikes! It was already 90 degrees and you could’ve cut the humidity with a knife. We grabbed our bags and our rental car (a cute little light blue Nissan Versa), and headed for Kissimmee with the AC cranked up to ‘arctic’.
Totally forgot to take a picture of our rental car but here’s what it looked like:
We’d booked a room at a Comfort Suites on Route 192 next door to Old Town. In fact, our view was of their Sky Coaster. Why anyone in their right mind would go on the thing is beyond me! But people did and we just watched in horrified fascination!
Anyway, the hotel wasn’t fancy but it was clean, affordable, the beds were comfy and it was less than 10 minutes from Disney. We’d definitely stay there again. I totally forgot to take pictures of our room so I stole a couple from their website to give you a general idea of what it looked like. Our room wasn’t this neat once we’d settled in!
By then it was past noon and we were starving so we decided to stop at a nearby Burger King to grab a ‘quick’ bite to eat. Little did we know, we’d found the world’s slowest Burger King. How long does it take to box up a couple of Happy Meals (or whatever they call the BK version of the Happy Meal) anyway? But we eventually got our food, wolfed it down and then … finally … we were Disney bound!
We've stayed on property a couple of times and loved it. But there's just something about staying off property and making the drive into Disney that I love. I get more and more excited with every roadsign we see!
And of course I LOVE seeing this baby looming on the horizon!
And here we are!
We decided to give PhotoPass a try this time around and we loved it! You'll probably be seeing a lot of PhotoPass shots in this trip report. And as you'll soon see, we're not shy about having our pictures taken!
As we were parking the car and riding the tram, we noticed the dark clouds piling up on the horizon. The weather report called for a chance of afternoon showers so we weren’t surprised; we just crossed our fingers the rain would hold off a bit. No such luck! We bought our tickets and literally took one step inside the park when the rain started to fall. Are you kidding me?! Oh well, it was just a drizzle … for about 3 seconds … and then it was a downpour! We ducked into the closest gift shop and browsed until the rain had let up a bit, then made our way to our first attraction of the trip:
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! I’d forgotten how amazing the detail of this place really is. I would LOVE to spend an hour just exploring the lobby! We barely got a glimpse at it this time because the standby line was basically non-existent. We more or less walked right on. Now would be a good time to mention that Tena really hasn’t been on any of the thrill rides since her last trip with me back in 1998. Her husband Adam is prone to motion sickness … even Splash Mt made him queasy! … so rather than make him wait while she rode, she’s been skipping the thrill rides too. So while we’ve both ridden the Tower of Terror many times before, it’s been 14 years since our last trip in that elevator. As we were lining up to take our seats, Tena was praying we wouldn’t get the front row and I was praying we would! One of us was about to be sorely disappointed!
And it was Tena because we ended up right smack in the front row. I loved it! I think they dropped us four times and as we were staggering off, Tena announced, “I think I might be too old for this stuff!” Only she didn't say 'stuff'! And yet, she was the one who suggested our next stop:
The Rock 'n Roller Coaster! Neither of us had ever been on this so I was excited and Tena was a bit anxious about the flipping upside down aspect. I think the stand-by wait was listed as 20 minutes but I doubt it was more than ten. As we got close to the head of the line and saw the way the cars were literally launched at top speed, Tena started looking around for the chicken exit and I decided I’d better put my glasses in the backpack for safe keeping. Which meant the ride was a giant blur for me but we were flipping up, down and all around so fast I doubt I’d have been able to see much anyway! Holy crap, what a ride! I think it was the most intense roller coaster I’ve ever been on! I loved it and will definitely ride it again! Tena? Not so much. In fact, her exact words were, “I will NEVER get on that thing again!”. She said the second we flipped upside down she slammed her eyes shut and held her breath until the ride was over for fear that she'd puke! She’s glad she tried it once just to see what it was like but reached the conclusion that being turned upside down messed with her equilibrium too much.
Of course, the exit to the ride is through the gift shop and after that comes a long downward sloping hallway that takes you outside. As we made our way out, we noticed a lot of people clustered in the hallway and a cast member desperately shouting, “This is a fire exit! You can not stay here! Go back to the gift shop or go out!” over and over again. What the heck was going on? When we made it to the end of the hall, we found out!
Yep, it was pouring! And not just pouring, there was a rip roaring thunderstorm going on! We were only a few hours into our vacation and Mother Nature was NOT smiling on us!
And on that somewhat soggy note, I'm off to a family birthday party. We're having a surprise party for my cousin Lori's 41st birthday. Yeah, I know, it's a little odd to have a big bash for a 41st birthday. But when she turned 40 she was in the midst of treatment for breast cancer and not really up for partying. But now she's healthy and happy and we've got a lot to celebrate! Lori would kill me if I posted her picture so in her honor, here's Tena and I and a group of friends at last year's Breast Cancer Walk:
Hopefully, I'll be back tomorrow with Chapter One, Part Two. And I have to figure out how to add chapter links to my first post! So much to do!!! Thanks for reading.
"...screaming baby express..." :rotfl2:
I've flown those regional jets many times - as well as the old turbo prop ones that were used previously! They can be a thrill ride all their own!
Chapter One: Part Two
Ugh, had this update almost done and my laptop froze. :badpc:
Chapter One: Part Two
"I need a nap and I need it now!"
So we emerged from Rock 'n Roller Coaster to find a raging thunderstorm. We didn’t want to go back inside with the crowd so we made a mad dash for it and took shelter under the awning of a nearby kiosk. The thunder and lightening were pretty intense but didn’t last too long. The rain slowed down but showed no sign of stopping so finally we decided, to heck with it! Let’s just get wet. We dashed from awning to awning and eventually made our way to our next destination. By then we were soaked to the skin but it actually felt pretty good given how hot it was. So where did we end up:
The Great Movie Ride! I love love love the Chinese Theater and normally we spend a few minutes checking out the stars on the walk of fame out front. But it was raining too hard for that so we beat a hasty retreat inside for a visit with Indiana Jones and the rest of the gang. We had to laugh when we passed Gene Kelly cheerfully ‘Singing in the Rain’ because we were definitely a lot wetter than he was!
We’re both very fond of the Great Movie Ride but agree that it’s in desperate need of an update. I sort of wish they’d redo it and limit it to all old movies … nothing that was released after 1960 maybe. It wouldn’t seem so dated if it were all vintage, if that makes any sense.
Anyway, by this point, our energy was seriously flagging and we needed something to give us a boost. What’s better than a sugar and chocolate infusion by way of a Mickey Bar?! Love those things!
And yes, that's Animal Kingdom you see in the background. I was sure we had a picture of the DHS Mickey Bar but I couldn't find it. So ... spoiler alert! ... we eat more than one!
Feeling somewhat rejuvenated, we decided to check out the wait time for Toy Story Mania. The fast passes were all gone and the standby line was 75 minutes. No thank you! Instead, we headed around the corner to another old favorite, Muppet Vision 3D.
The temporary sugar high from the Mickey Bar was starting to wear off and Tena, who’d only had two hours of sleep, declared "I need a nap and I need it now!" Which didn’t sound like a bad idea to me. So around 4:30, we bid DHS farewell and headed back to the hotel for some dry clothes and a nap. We came to the conclusion that we’d probably be better off not trying to go the parks on arrival day. It’s just too tiring. Live and learn! We were pooped because the second our heads hit the pillows, we were out! When we woke up, we debated a bit about what to do. It was after 6:30 by then so was it worth going back to the parks or not? Finally, we decided that since we had to go out to get dinner anyway, so why not eat at :
The Magic Kingdom! We arrived around 7:00 pm just as the sun was setting and the lights were coming up on Main St. Our favorite park at our favorite time of day! Love it!
The fall décor was gorgeous. (And we're looking pretty cute too!)
Our first stop was Guest Services to get Happy Birthday buttons. A cast member had actually suggested this when Tena called for a brunch reservation a few weeks earlier. Of course it really wasn’t either of our birthdays, but turning 50 was the reason for our trip so … why not?! We didn’t expect to get anything from it, just thought it would be fun to see what kind of response we got. Little did we know!
We were starving so our first order of business was dinner. It took a while to work our way down Main St because it was mobbed with people staking out spots for Wishes. As we were passing Casey’s Corner we realized that neither of us had ever eaten there.
I can't remember what this was called ... besides deliciousness in a bun! ... but it was a hot dog topped with pulled pork and coleslaw and we both loved it. (I'm not a fan so I skipped the slaw)
And yes, my tray is sitting on the ground. There was absolutely nowhere to sit so we found an empty piece of curb around the corner from Main St and parked ourselves there to eat. There were lots of ducks hovering around looking for handouts and I’ve been known to feed a duck or two in my day but I know Disney discourages it so I resisted.
When we were done eating, we headed for Fantasyland, which was practically empty. Our first Magic Kingdom attraction:
It’s A Small World! I know this is one of those love it or hate it rides but we love it in all it’s hokey glory. Our record for most rides in one vacation is five. We’ve tried to break the record a couple of times but hadn’t managed it so far. This time we were determined to do it. Will we succeed? You’ll have to keep reading to find out. In the meantime, you can never look at too many pictures of Small World:
Our next stop was Peter Pan’s Flight. And for some reason we only took one picture and it was crappy. So use your imagination! I really enjoy this ride but don’t always take the time to do it because the standby lines are always so long. But this time we practically walked on. I don’t think we waited more than 5 or 10 minutes.
Fantasyland was so empty we easily could’ve gone on every ride there before closing time. But we were hot and tired; our feet hurt and our bellies were full of pork products. It had been a really great day in spite of the heat and the rain but we were ready for bed.
Oh, and those birthday buttons? The number of times we were wished “Happy Birthday!” by a cast member was already too numerous to mention! It seemed like someone was calling out a greeting every third step we took. And we loved it! Anyway, we headed out of the park (stopping to browse in some of the shops on Main Street of course!) and then back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow was another day and there was lots to do!
One last picture of the castle ... because you can never have too many!
Hello.. I'm enjoying your TR. :goodvibes
Luckily everytime I've taken my kids on an airplane they've been angels. My DD was 6 months old and 4 years old when she flew. As a baby I was terrified that she was going to scream and cry the entire way. The first 20 minutes of the flight, that's exactly what she did. I was almost having a panic attack, because I was worried about everyone around me, and knowing they were cussing at me under their breath. She finally calmed down and was perfect the rest of the way. My son was 3 months old. Not one peep from him. When we were getting off of the plane i had several people look at me in confusion, and they all commented that they had no idea a baby was on the plane, and were in complete AWE. I feel so sorry for those poor mommies that have no choice but fly and have to deal with cranky kids and crying babies. That's one reason that I mostly drive to WDW then fly, because I don't want to ruin another persons flying experience.
Congratualtions on getting into better shape before your trip. I've been trying to loose some before mine. I'm hoping every oz. I take off will make a difference in how I feel and get around while I'm there.
I love that you've been friends for so long. My BFF and I also met in the 7th grade. We shared a locker and bonded over New Kids On the Block. :lmao: It's been a wonderful 22 years and I'm excited for the next 22. Maybe the two of us will get to go to WDW together someday. Disney isn't her thing, but maybe I can convince her somehow.:confused3
anyway, looking forward to more. :surfweb:
Thanks for reading!
Chapter Two: Part One
Chapter Two: Part One
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Day Two: “You can find it between the fire truck and the pig.”
7:30 am. The sun is up and so are we. But just barely on both counts. We slept okay (the beds are surprisingly comfy) and are feeling a little sluggish but not too bad. The hotel has a free continental breakfast so that was our first order or business. No pictures because the food was nothing special … just your typical cereal, donuts, waffles, eggs hotel breakfast buffet. The only thing noteworthy was that they had pork and beans. For breakfast. Every day. Is that a southern thing I’m not familiar with? Beans for breakfast? Weird.
Anyway, then it was time for a visit to:
EPCOT! We got there just a few minutes after rope drop and the place was practically deserted.
Our first stop was Soarin’. Tena says this is by far her favorite ride in EPCOT. I’d never been on it so I was excited to see what it was all about. The standby line was short and the fast pass return time was within the hour. So we grabbed fast passes (which turned out to be our one and only fast passes of the entire trip … we just didn’t need them) and then jumped in the standby line.
So, I LOVED Soarin’! LOVED! I was amazed at how much you really feel like you’re flying! It took all my self control not to pull my feet up as we passed low over trees and hills and such. And I admit I flinched a little when that golf ball came zipping at me! Not only is it officially my favorite attraction at EPCOT, I think it might be my favorite attraction at Disney period. Well, second to Small World, that is.
We had about 15 minutes to kill until our fast pass return time and the standby line for Living with the Land … ZERO minutes. Very little has changed about this attraction over the years but there’s just something about it that I like.
So we did that and then headed back to Soarin’ for our second ride in half an hour. Loved it even more the second time around, if that’s possible!
Next up was a visit to The Seas with Nemo & Friends. I totally get why they Nemo-ized this attraction and it’s very cute.
But I have to admit there’s a part of me that misses the old version. The hydrolaters that didn‘t actually go anywhere, the seacabs, and especially the introductory movie. “And they rained … and rained … and rained. The deluge.” Thank goodness Seabase Alpha hasn’t changed … although I don’t think they call it that anymore. We spent a long time exploring the beautiful aquariums. We found a couple hidden Mickeys! And played hide and seek with a sea turtle who just would not hold still for a picture! I swear I chased that thing around in circles two or three times and just couldn’t catch up!
And speaking of turtles! We also took in a showing of Turtle Talk with Crush, which was totally awesome, dude!
Then we walked over to the Imagination pavilion and there was no line so we walked right on. This newer version is cute but it’s not nearly as good as the old Dream Finder version that I loved in the past. I did get a chuckle out of the office door that said Dean Finder on it, though.
By then it was lunch time and we were starving. We headed back over to The Land to have lunch at Seasons.
We both ended up with the chicken Caesar salad and, of course, how can you pass up those yummy desserts? I had crème Brule and Tena had a coconut pineapple cupcake.
Both of us are Disney Visa Reward members and we knew they had a character meet & greet somewhere in EPCOT but we weren’t sure exactly where. So after lunch we headed for guest services to find out, but made a couple quick stops along the way:
Club Cool! This was my first visit and I know it’s basically a big old product placement ad but it was fun and very refreshing on a hot day. .
That face Tena’s making? It’s not over Beverly. We both tried the infamous Beverly and, while we didn’t care for it, we didn’t get what all the fuss was about. It was kind of bitter but I didn’t feel the need to shudder or make a face or anything. I just didn’t want any more of it. Tena’s making a ‘yucky’ face over one of the other sodas that she thought was way too sweet. Her favorite was the watermelon flavored soda … Can’t remember what it was called … and mine was the Fanta
Next stop: Spaceship Earth! Once again, absolutely no line. I love Dame Judi Dench and she does a fine job narrating but when I think of Spaceship Earth, I will always think of Walter Cronkite! Anyway, the interactive part at the end was all new since the last time I rode so that was fun. I chose a energy efficient house in the mountains for us but somehow we missed seeing our picture on the big screen, darn it!
Then it was on to Guest Services for directions to the Meet & Greet. It took us a while to track it down … those Innoventions buildings are like a maze! … but the guest services cast member said, “You can find it between the firetruck and the pig” and that’s exactly where we finally found it.
The fire truck:
And the pig!
We got there just after 1:30 when it started and there was already a long line. We probably waited 40 minutes or so for our turn, which turned out to be one of only two longish waits of the entire trip. For those of you who aren’t Disney Visa Rewards members, here’s how it works: you present your Rewards Card and your Photopass card and get a voucher for a free 5 x 7 print. Then you go through a curtain into a room where you’re greeted by two of the ‘big five’ characters. You don’t know who you’re going to get until you walk through the curtain. Who did we find?
Mickey and Pluto! When they saw our birthday buttons, they made a big production of dancing around while a cast member sang the most deliberately terrible screechy off key version of “Happy Birthday” you ever heard! It was completely adorable! After lots of hugs and kisses and a short photo session we were on our way, giggling like a couple of 5 year olds!
I'm almost at my pictures per post limit so that's it for now. Coming up in the next installment: flaming cheese and Illuminations!
Your trip title reeled me in. Very clever and so true of us advancing to the inevitable middle aged breakdown of our bodies. :rotfl2: Advil and and Enthusiasm are two key components for a sucessful Disney trip when you are over forty, I think.
How special that you got to celebrate such an important milestone with you dear friend.
Beans at breakfast ??? Not a southern thing, so I found that strange, too when I read it. But however mundane, you can't beat a free continental breakfast. And you really had a nice room. Seemed like a good amount of space.
YA for your first ride on Soarin !! That is my favorite ride, too !! I try to listen to the music often and every time I hear it, my heart lifts !!
Looking forward to reading more !!
Hi! Love your title.. What a great way to spend your birthdays...
Beans for breakfast are popular here in New England.. I always thought that was so bazaar too! Most people I see ordering them in the breakfast restaurants are in the over 80 crowd, oh and my husband, who ironically is southern (never heard of it before he moved here) and in his 40's lol...
I am enjoying your report!
What a fun report. Love all the pics. I am thinking of next September instead of October so thought I would read and am so glad I did.
Looking forward to more.
I'm enjoying your TR. Love the picture of the jellyfish.
Soarin' is pretty awesome :cloud9:
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