"You need superglue for WHAT?" A Bloody Magical FIRST TIME Trip Report *6/15 Update*
Nope, I'm not British. I'm talking actual blood here people. You'll have to hang around until the last day report to hear that lovely story.
Anyways, it's been almost a month since we left the World. I want to go back like.....yesterday. So to appease my longing, let's get this trip report under way!
First to introduce you to our group.
That's us, the day my husband returned from Afghanistan December 2012. This Disney trip was our post deployment family vacation. Our family consists of Daniel (DH), Deanna (Me!), Audrey (age 5), and Ezra ( age 1 :scared: )
I'll be honest, I was terrified of taking a one year old to Disney. The weeks before the trip I was loosing sleep over visions of his impending epic meltdowns. You know something like this....
Another worry of mine was the husband. God love him, he just isn't a big fan of crowds, lines, and basically public in general. We had originally planned on going to Vegas just the two of us, but about halfway through his deployment he decided he didn't want to leave the kids for a week. Even though he won't admit it, he was the one who suggested Disney World. I of course ran with that idea and had the whole thing planned before he could change his mind. :rotfl2: So will he enjoy the trip or will he be longing for that original Vegas trip? Stay tuned
Coming up...driving from NE Kansas to SE Texas to Central Florida :drive: and the what we saw right after we drove on Disney property :scared:.
Looking forward to sharing!
Getting there March 9-March 17
See Ya Great Plains, Hello Lone Star State
Don't Stay in Chipley, FL and We're at Disney
Disney Day 1 March 18thA Bright and Early AK Morning
Where are the Lions?
Black Widows, Triceratops, and Tigers...Oh My!
My GPS does not comply with Disney protocol and Fantasmic!
Disney Day 2 March 19th
Disney Day 3 March 20th
Day 4: Islands of Adventure March 21st
See Ya Great Plains, Hello Lone Star State
My husband had a full 30 days of leave to take advantage of, so we left Kansas March 9th and headed toward Texas to stay at my parent's for a week and leave the dog there while we headed to Disney the following week.
Has anyone tried to fit a backed booster, convertible car seat, 70 pound Boxer, and a months worth of luggage into a Nissan Altima? I only spent like three hours arranging and rearranging to make it all work.
The back seat ends up looking something like this....
Just picture a large dog on the other side of the baby and a plethora of diaper bags, backpacks, snacks along the floorboard.
This was my son's first big trip since he was 8 months old. Let me tell you, the difference between an 8 month old on a road trip and a 14 month old is night and day. He was.... horrible. I mean the kid basically screamed from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. Yeah, that's about 3 hours of pure torture. That kid just wanted out of the car seat. His screaming upset my daughter, so she started whining. All I could think about was "we have to drive 16 hours from Texas to Disney and back, God help us all".
Then, LIGHTBULB! A DVD player, we need a DVD player. I have a built in one on my Tahoe, but we decided to take my husband's Altima to save gas. Because really, a Tahoe from KS to TX to FL to TX to KS? Do you know how many Disney souvenirs we could buy with that gas money? Anywho, once we made it to my parent's house in the Beaumont, TX area ( a mere 12 hour drive from our house in Kansas), I sent my husband on a mission for a DVD player for his car. Easily, one of the best $100 we've ever spent. My kids are car riding angels now. It only took 12 hours of torture to get us to wise up to the importance of "in car entertainment".
We spent a lovely week visiting family and making final preparations for our Disney trip. Here are some pictures from our time in Texas.
The Houston Zoo
Nana and Ampa's House
Farkle game with my sister and her boyfriend, apparently Farkle is quite popular with the soldiers in Afghanistan
Up next, the trip to Florida and Downtown Disney pixiedust:
Don't stay in Chipley, FL and We're at Disney!!!
We left TX bright and early March 16th and headed east on Interstate 10 towards Florida. I had made reservations at a Comfort Suites in Chipley, FL, about 8 1/2 hours from my parent's house in TX. When booking a hotel I was basically just looking for something inexpensive and right off the interstate. I got a military discount on this hotel and ended up paying $76 including taxes and fees.
Well uhh, you get what you pay for people. Chipley, FL Comfort Suites is just no. I had reserved a pack and play when I made the reservations, apparently this hotel does not offer pack and plays. That would have been nice to tell me when I made the reservations, right? Oh well, luckily I packed our pack and play in case of situations like this.
These are the only pictures I took in Chipley, FL.
At least the baby is cute right? :lmao:
We ordered Pizza Hut to our room and called it a night pretty early. The Pizza Hut delivery guy for some reason did not want to let me sign my credit card receipt. I had no cash on me, so I needed to sign the receipt to add a tip. I literally argued with him for a few minutes about signing the receipt. It was bizarre. Finally once I told him about the tip situation, he let me sign the receipt. I have no idea what that was about. :scratchin
So we left early the next morning on our 5 1/2 hour drive from Chipley to The House of Mouse. I could not contain my excitement. :cheer2: Everything about that drive was just ... yes, so much yes. The billboards, the trees, I was in love with Florida :beach: You know except for Chipley :scared:
Our only issue on this section of the trip were the tolls. Like I said earlier, I hadn't pulsed out any cash. Army direct deposits the money and we rarely ever take cash out. It's just become a habit to pay everything by debit card. The toll roads in KS allow you to pay by card, so I was not expecting cash only tolls in FL. After a good scolding by our ever so friendly toll lady, she gave a card to pay by mail and said we had 10 days to pay it or we'd be in violation. I'm not sure what was going to happen if we took longer than 10 days to pay our $3, but I wasn't taking any chances. We're all squared away with the law again, so don't worry. :p
Within no time we were there!
The sight I'd waited 25 years to see. My husband kept poking fun at my plastered on smile. I was probably more excited than the 5 year old. Look how composed she is....
So we were on Disney property, what magical thing would we see first?!!??!
Buzzards.... scores and scores of buzzards. It looked like a tornado made out of buzzards (or vultures? what's the difference, haha) IDK what died over there, but hopefully it was large enough to feed all those dang unidentified carnivorous birds. We even had to slow down and honk at a stray gaggle( group, troup, herd?) of them on the road fighting over a armadillo carcass. Not exactly what you think of at Disney but hey, I'll just add it to our "animal kingdom" experience.
Can you see the buzzards in this picture? Best I could do while on the move.
Next we were navigating ourselves towards the Magic Kingdom resort area to check into our hotel.
We pulled up to Shades of Green and were very impressed with the look of the hotel. Let me tell ya, it beat the heck out of Chipley, FL :rotfl2:
I know I took pictures of the hotel, but can't seem to find them at the moment. I had heard not so great things about SOG, but we were very pleased with our stay. Since Daniel had recently returned from a combat zone, we got a 20% discount and ended up paying $76/night. For a MK resort within walking distance of the monorail, can you really beat that? Sure it wasn't technically a Disney resort, but we would have payed more for a value resort with less amenities and far, far away from the MK. In conclusion, I was very happy with my hotel choice and would stay there again. Well unless we could somehow magically afford a room in the Contemporary with a MK view. My bank account is gonna need some pixie dust for that to happen though. pixiedust:
We got all checked in and settled in the hotel, then headed to Downtown Disney to activate our military salute tickets and find some dinner. Somehow these were the only pictures I took in DTD.
In my defense, it was St. Patty's Day and there were people EVERYWHERE. I was worried about the crowd levels we would see later in the week after that experience.
After we found our way to Guest Relations to activate our tickets, we decided to head off property for dinner. The crowds were killing us. We hopped on some highway and headed toward Orlando. My husband saw a Golden Corral and was all over it. I'm not the biggest fan of the Corral lol, but my kids love it. Audrey can get whatever she wants PLUS she gets cotton candy. I mean what's not to love. This GC was sooo busy. I now have mad respect for GC workers. That was just nuts, but we managed to get our bellies full and headed back to Shades of Green for a good night's rest, because tomorrow we were getting up bright and early for EMH at Animal Kingdom!!!! :cheer2:
A bright and early AK Morning
My alarm went off at 6AM :crazy2: We had purchased some cereal and milk from the hotel gift shop so I fed the kids and myself and got everyone dressed and ready. Then at about 6:45 I woke the sleeping bear, AKA my husband. The man gets up at 4-5 AM on a regular basis, but waking him up on his "off days" is the worst. Luckily, he wasn't too grumpy and quickly got dressed and fed.
We were off! We had decided to drive to AK and DHS since Shades of Green doesn't have the best bus transportation. We pulled into the AK lot around 7:15 for an 8 AM opening. I was adamant about this rope drop thing, haha. The attendants weren't even working yet, so we "proceeded to our destination" per the sign on the booth.
We were the 2nd car in the parking lot :cool1: As we headed toward the gates we saw more people arriving by Disney transportation. We ended up being about 10 people back in the line to get in....not too shabby.
It was cloudly and cool that morning. It did sprinkle on us a little while we waited for RD, but other than that the skies were pretty clear.
While waiting for the park to open, Ezra had a healthy helping of animal crackers, and we talked to a retired Army veteran and a Navy seaman about the joys (:rolleyes2) of military life.
The CM handed out a paper complete with a list of what would be open during the 8-9 EMH. Now, I had planned out a pretty detailed touring plan. Our first stop was Kilimanjaro Safaris, but uhhh it wasn't on the list. This completely threw me lol. My first day in a park and it was already off plan. NBD, I can handle this :lmao:
So they let us in the Oasis and we stopped to get a Photopass picture in front of the Tree of Life. Photopass CD hasn't come in yet, so this will have to do for now.
Then we headed towards the right to get ready to head to Expedition Everest when they made an announcement that the Safaris would be open, so we pushed through the crowds to head left towards Africa. By crowds I mean this....
Low crowds mid-March how lucky! pixiedust:
On to Kilimanjaro we went. When we got there a CM told us they wouldn't start up until 8:15. Well buddy, that is 15 precious EMH minutes that I didn't want to waste. I ran over and grabbed some fast passes for KS and then we trecked over to Asia to maybe ride on Expedition Everest.
On our treck we took this picture (or a kind lady did)
Can I just take a moment to praise the City Mini GT stroller we rented? :worship: I loved that thing. The kids were comfortable, it was easy to maneuver, and it had a ice chest on the bottom...SCORE! We rented through Kingdom Strollers and it was a great experience. I highly recommend them.
Heading toward EE
We made it EE and it was a 5 minute wait, so we grabbed a child swap ticket and DH went first. This is what the kids thought about that....
Ezra was like "where the heck are the kid rides?!?!?"
Daniel made his way back to us and guess what? A doctor he worked with in Afghanistan was in line for EE too. It's a small world after all......
So it was my turn to ride. I had been really looking forward to this ride. It just looked so awesome. A yeti??? Yes please! Unfortunately the yeti's alarm clock didn't go off or something. He was a no show. Wahhhhhh :sad: Oh well, the roller coaster was still pretty fun.
Stay tuned for our safari and an epic 5-year old freak out!
Loving the report so far. Being from Houston I love that your dad has an Astros hat and a Ranger shirt that's a Texas fan. The first time we drove to Disney we also stayed in Chipley.
Love your report so far! My DH is retired military and I love to hear the stories of other military families. Your daughter looks SO thrilled with the Animal Kingdom so far lol.
Hi! Thank you for your wonderful trip report and for sharing your story! I look forward to hearing more about your trip!
Many thanks to your DH--and to you!!--for your service to our country!
Best wishes to you and your family for health and happiness! Jennifer
I am in :) thanks to your husband for his service!
I didn't know SOG was walking distance to the monorail! That is cool and you definitely can't beat that price.
Where are the Lions?
After I was disappointed by the yeti no show, we headed over to Kilimanjaro Safaris. We walked up to the FP entrance and a CM jokingly said " oh these are for tomorrow!" We both laughed and my husband, still partially in deployed soldier mode, jokingly said "I was like you MFer". I mean yeah it was a joke and he said it friendly like and laughed, but I was like "honeeeeey you just dropped the F-bomb at DISNEY for pete's sake" :sad2:
So after that embarrassment we parked our stroller and got on our safari.
Waiting in line
Waiting for the safari to start
We were on the front row and had a great time. Are you ready for some animal pics?
I'm fairly certain this was my first time to ever see an African Elephant. The are soo big. I love them.
Not the greatest picture, but I was excited to see a cheetah.
We didn't get the greatest animal pictures, but we had a wonderful time. Our guide asked everyone if they had a good time and my husband said "hooah". I don't know it's an Army thing... lol. The poor CM thought he said no and started apologizing and I was like "No, no he just said hooah because that's apparently what they say in the Army...it means good, yes, acknowledged (or something like that)". The Army is weird.
We didn't see any lions and this is how Audrey felt about that
Up Next.... It's Tough to be Audrey
Reading. Trying to keep from too much lurking. Sounds fun so far!
And thank you to your husband (and you) for his service!!
We have contemplated staying at SOG, especially since friends have raved about it, but this year we are going to bring the RV to Ft. Wilderness. It's good to hear another positive report regarding Shades of Green! I'll file that away for future reference!
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