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Old 01-04-2011, 08:45 AM   #1
amazingact21
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From Deployments to Disney and Textbooks to Trams here's a Dec 2010 TR. Completed!

Introductions


Welcome and thanks for reading my Trip report! Before I begin, let me familiarize you with the cast.

This is me:


I'm Alicia, the writer of this TR and the one who chose, planned, and guided this vacation. I'm a 20 year old student in my third year of college, and I have been a Disney lover my whole life. My first trip to the world was back in 1997, when I was only 7 years old. Since then, I visited four more times until I was 15 years old. Before the trip I was curious to see how the experience would differ now that I am an adult. If you'd like to know my final answer, you'll just have to follow along and see.


The other cast member on this report is my sweet and wonderful DBF, Alex:

He is in the Air Force and is the reason why I was able to go WDW. He promised me a vacation last February before he deployed, and when he returned this past July I was able to start planning the trip.
He used to be reluctant about all things Disney, but after this trip, he is a Disney-fanatic!


Our trip was from Dec. 16-Dec. 21. The worst time to go to the parks.
The crowds are astronomical.
The weather is biting.
The prices are mindboggling.

So, why choose such a difficult time?

We had no other choice, unfortunately. Since I am a full time student, we had to work around my school schedule. December 16th was my last day of finals and the earliest I could break away. Unless we wanted to wait until next March when I had Spring Break, there was no other alternative date.

In addition, I wanted to see the Christmas decorations. My family can be a bit, uhh, nuts about the holiday season.
I'm not talking about a few strands of lights on the gutters.
Or some holiday ornaments on a fake tree.

I am talking about arches along the driveway and lighted candycanes showcasing the sidewalk.
I am talking about an entire room dedicated to a village.
I am talking about a dozen different batches of holiday goodies.

My family doesn't just love the holiday season, we are the holiday season. We are that house on the street that people take their children to see in the car. Our breathe smells like peppermint for months and we have tinsel stuck to our shirts and shoes the day after Thanksgiving.

Needless to say, I was excited to see Disney during the holiday season. For our first trip together, December was the only month I wanted.


A short sidenote before I finish up this intro:
DBF and I have known each other for five years now. We began dating in 2008 and have spent most of it apart. When we began dating, I was away at another college, and after I moved closer he deployed.
So, you could say this trip was a test for us. We had never been around each other for more than three days at a time, and this vacation put us around each other constantly for a total of 8 days. (We visited his family after WDW).


Did we manage to go the whole trip without killing each other?
Did I love all the holiday decorations?
Was the trip a huge success?



Follow along to find out!
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Last edited by amazingact21; 05-18-2011 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:25 AM   #2
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:01 PM   #3
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Departure

Finally, the morning of the 16th. My bags were gathered in the corner of the room, waiting to be packed. My clothes were laid out on the dresser, and my shoes tucked neatly beside my purse.

Everything was ready to go, including myself.

I woke up around 7 a.m. anxious to hit the road. DBF and I live in Northwest Florida, and it's about an eight hour drive to our destination. Unfortunately, that was not Disney.
DBF has a puppy that we needed his parents to watch while we ran away. They offered to let us stop at their place, which is an hour away from Disney, and head out the next morning.

They persuaded us by saying things like:
"We never get to see our baby boy."
"We'd love to get you know you better, Alicia. You seem so sweet."

Grumbling, I agreed. I mean, how can you deny a mother from seeing her son, especially when she's complimenting you?

Even though I wasn't going to Disney World that day, I knew I'd be going by the place, and I knew today was going to be the push that got our vacation wheel turning.

Therefore, I eagerly woke up bright and early. My eyes popped open, a huge smile appeared on my face, and I was singing in my head. Wait, what?
I was singing?! It sounds too cheery to be true, but I did indeed wake up with "Ever After" from the movie Enchanted playing in my head.

I hadn't even left my driveway and already the Disney magic had hit me.

It took me about an hour to get dressed, eat some breakfast, triple check that I hadn't forgotten to pack anything. There was nothing left to do. I was 100% ready. I had even mentally prepared myself for the long car ride by bringing various puzzles and books.

So what was I waiting for? The sun was peeking through the clouds, it was the first warm day in weeks, and I had emptied my tiny bladder enough to make it a couple hours on the road.

Only, I was missing one very important variable in my equation.

DBF


Hmmpf. Unfortunately, DBF had to work the night before until 11 and being the compassionate person I am, I had a lapse in judgement and instructed him to sleep until he felt rested.
He was able to get home and fall asleep by midnight, so I sat around my house hoping he'd wake up relatively early.

No such luck.

I paced my house a few hundred times waiting for the text that told me DBF was up and moving.
I opened my book and closed it, unable to concentrate.
I tried to play with my cat, but she knew I was leaving her and was very upset.

Then, finally, I felt my phone go off. It was 9:08am. DBF was wrangling Buster, the puppy, into his cage and hitting the road.
Sounded excellent, but I still had another hour to wait before DBF pulled up.


10:04am:

"I don't think it's all going to fit."

"It'll fit. We might have to squish some stuff, but it'll fit."

I looked at the pile of luggage DBF and I had and then looked at the trunk of DBF's tiny two-door Colbalt. No, this all wouldn't fit.

I twisted and turned and crushed my makeup bag and smothered DBF's pillow, and eventually it was all crammed into the trunk and backseats of the car.

DBF let Buster use the bathroom one more time and told me to do the same. I said my goodbyes to my family and hopped into the passenger seat.

We managed to pull out of the driveway at 10:14a.m.


For the next eight hours DBF drove and I read, slept, sang too loud, and munched too much snack food. We reached his parent's house around 7:30 (we hit a time change along the way) and only had to stop twice the whole ride.

With such good timing and an uneventful day before us, I looked forward to waking up the following morning and actually entering Disney World.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PRmamiDEdos View Post
Subscribing!



Thanks for subbing!!
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:10 PM   #5
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That's cool that you got a time change! Too bad that doesn't happen every time you cross Disney's gates. LOL I would love that extra hour of sleep on vacation.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:15 PM   #6
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Subscribing! I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip!
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:44 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ChildAtHeart82 View Post
Subscribing! I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip!
Welcome!!! Thanks for subsribing. Hope you enjoy the TR, it's my first so I'm sort of plunging head-first into the task!
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:24 PM   #8
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Our Second Departure

*A quick note* This is going to be the last post with a lack of pictures. The rest will be chock full!

December 17:

Due to the excitement of meeting DBF's family and being in a new place, I did not sleep very well the night before. It didn't help that the air mattress I was sleeping on was freezing cold. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and grabbing my jacket to throw over my legs.

I was the first to wake up in a house of six people, so I crept across the room to let Buster out of his cage and take him outside for a bit.

I also needed some coffee. Really bad.

Every morning, I brew some mild coffee and dump about an entire cow's worth of creamer in my cup. I never have more than two cups a day, but I have to have at least one cup. Me without coffee is like Scar with Mufasa still alive. Pretty ugly and viscious.

So I ambled down the stairs with the little puppy at my heels, imagining that first cup of cherished caffeine. The night before, I asked DBF's sister to show me how to work their machine, that way I could make myself a cup no problems.

HA!

And thus begins my fight with coffee machines.

The machine was the kind that you put individual cups in and it only brewed one serving at a time. Very new and fancy for my poor outdated soul. I use a 6 cup maker that my parents handed down to me from probably six years ago.

I gave it a shot, though.
Feeling confident, I opened a cabinet door, pulled one of the coffee containers out, shoved it in the designated area, hit power, and closed the container slot.

Then I waited for the blue lights to appear around the buttons signaling to me that I could start brewing.

And I waited.

Hmmmm

I hit the power button again. The machine turned off. I hit the button once more.

No blue lights.

What the heck?! I thought newer machines were supposed to be user friendly?

By that point the puppy was whining to be let back upstairs to wake up DBF, and there was some strange cat bapping me with his paws, trying to get me to feed him.

Calling on my three year's of college education and higher order thinking skills, I decided on a plan.

I turned the machine off and waited until someone else could come downstairs and help me.


Thankfully, DBF and his mother heard Buster playing and the dog that lived there wanted to go out, so I agonized over caffeine withdrawl for only a couple minutes.
When I told them my predicament, their answer was, "Oh, that's right, we forgot to tell you that sometimes you have to open the container slot one more time and close it."

Hmmpf.

Glad that it was not something I would have figured out on my own, I filed that detail in my brain for later use and gratefully made my coffee.
I opened the fridge, saw that it was stocked with my favorite creamer, and poured my daily allotment in my coffee.

Took a sip.
Mmmm. Coffee. It makes the world go round.

Then I practically choked. As I mentioned before, I drink very mild coffee, and the individual container I used was extra bold. Trying to be as polite as I could, I pulled the creamer back out and dumped half the container in the coffee, along with some water for good measure.

Right when I was getting adjusted and believed the coffee crisis over, I took too big of a gulp and decided to wear some of the drink on my pj pants.

Half an hour into the day and I wasn't feeling too hot.

Letting all of that slide, DBF and I sat around, ate breakfast (nothing like having DBF's father be a retired restaurant owner. I spent more time eating there than sleeping.) and got ready to leave.

I had packed an overnight bag beforehand, so I didn't have a lot of things to carry in, plus, it saved me time trying to choose an outfit and find items of clothing.

The goal was to arrive at Downtown Disney around twelve o'clock and take our time strolling around. Neither of us had ever been there, and I figured it be a great place to buy our first pins and wait until we could check in at our hotel.
To arrive by twelve meant we had to be out of the house by eleven, plus we wanted to stop by a grocery store and buy some cold groceries for the hotel room.

Well, I was rearing and ready to go around ten. Earlier that morning, I had reminded DBF he needed to hop in the shower early, because he tends to procrastinate.

I can't say I blame him. He hadn't seen his family in months, he was full from breakfast, and he was reluctant to get on the road again.

And thank goodness I didn't have the time on me, because I probably would've gone postal on him if I'd seen how late we were.

We said our goodbyes and promised we'd tell them all about it when we returned late the 21st. I hopped in the passenger seat once again and stared happily out the window as DBF headed to a local Target to pick up our groceries.

I glanced at the car clock and sighed with relief. Ahhh. 10:30a.m. We were doing great.

Wait a minute....

I started to get a sinking feeling in my gut.

10:30 didn't sound right at all.

I wasn't even ready to go until 10, and DBF hadn't even gotten his shower yet.

And that's when I remembered that DBF didn't change his car's clock to the new time zone.



It wasn't 10:30...it was 11:30.

To add to that, I knew it'd take us at least half an hour to get to Target, shop, check out, and then get back on the road.

We were an hour behind schedule.

The very first Disney thing we do and we were already behind.
I saw all my beautiful Disney planning go out the window.
I saw all the pin shopping vanish before my eyes.

Naturally, I did not let the stress eat me up inside. Rather, I turned my full attention to DBF.

And so began Meltdown #1

I am happy to say that this is only the first of two meltdowns that occurred on the trip, but oh boy, it was the worst.
I admit, I can be a real brat at times, and poor DBF puts up with it, although I don't know why.

I started ranting about him never being on time and how he can't do that park days and blah blah blah.

Then I went to teenage bratty mode for about half an hour while DBF drove like the wind. I'm not sure if he was trying to get us to DD faster and make up lost time, or if he was imagining my face on the accelerator and he was mentally shutting it up. Either way, halfway to our destination I stopped acting like someone had peed in my cheerios and reminded myself of the promise I had made a few weeks earlier.

Being the orderly, scheduled person I am, I made myself swear that I wouldn't take things seriously at Disney. I'd leave things to whim and not care if we missed rope drop or slept in a little late.

This is me all cheery again:


On top of that rushing through my mind, I was begining to see advertisements for Disney World, and who could be mad while seeing those?!




Following DBF's GPS we wound our way through traffic and found the entrance to Downtown Disney. We even managed to pass the hotel I stayed in during my very first trip to Disney as a child.

Up Next: Downtown Disney (with lots of pictures!)
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingact21 View Post

...Me without coffee is like Scar with Mufasa still alive. Pretty ugly and viscious...
This comment had me rolling! I can understand the meltdown. I managed to have only one on our trip. It was a combination of crowds and being tired and the fact that I'm a huge type A. I felt bad after, but moved on. Looking forward to pictures!
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:39 AM   #10
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This comment had me rolling! I can understand the meltdown. I managed to have only one on our trip. It was a combination of crowds and being tired and the fact that I'm a huge type A. I felt bad after, but moved on. Looking forward to pictures!
Only one?! I don't think I could've handled that. I'd have been biting my nails all day.

Pictures will arrive in the next post!
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:45 AM   #11
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Only one?! I don't think I could've handled that. I'd have been biting my nails all day.

Pictures will arrive in the next post!
Only one, but it was a pretty big one. I did manage to hide the bulk of it from my family. I avoided some other close calls because I really didn't want to ruin anyone else's trip (or mine).
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:10 PM   #12
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I'm in for your TR.
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:08 AM   #13
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I'm in for your TR.

Welcome and thanks for joining! The boring pre-Disney junk is over with and I'm actually getting to the good stuff!
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:51 AM   #14
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Downtown Disney

With DBF's driving, we pulled into the DD parking lot around 12:45 and found a relatively close parking spot. Seeing this beautiful sign made me all excited and bouncy.



We unloaded ourselves from DBF's car and walked into the marketplace.

Holy cow!

There were people everywhere we looked! Directly in front of us was the Lego exhibit, and we watched in amazement as families upon families appeared out of nowhere to take their pictures with the models.

Now, don't get me wrong. I was not naive enough to think we'd not hit crowds. I guess what shocked me the most was that I wasn't expecting them to be at DD. I imagined we'd see the mayhem once we got to the parks.

I was mistaken.

I gave DBF a look that asked "Head down? Arms in? Knees apart?" He didn't go running in the oposite direction, so I took that as a go ahead, and I plunged into the crowd.

We had one specific store in mind, and I wasn't going to be distracted by all the other cool shops and decor.



After making a brief pit stop at a restroom, DBF and I found Disney's Pin Traders; the store I'd been looking forward to for months.

I figured a sure fire way to convince DBF to return to WDW someday would be to begin a trading pin collection and force him to add on to it over the years. I never really explained thoroughly what the pin sets were, so he was flying into this adventure blind.

We walked under the awning that's the store's covering and my eyes film over with Disney. There were rows of just released pins and another row of sports pins and yet another row of Disney film pins.

Without missing a beat, I grab a laynard and ran to the movie section in search of my favorite story, The Lion King. I looked and found a pin that had Simba and Nala and the famous "Pinned ya again" quote on it.

One pin chosen.

I managed to grab Rapunzel, Pocahantos, and a giraffe themed Mickey head and decided to call it a day on pins.
Excited and ready to pay for my purchases, I hunted DBF down to steer him to the check out. What do I find when I get there?

DBF staring very intently at a display of Star Wars and Tron Mickeys.
"I can't decided if I like these enough. I mean, the Tron Mickeys are cool, but they're really heavy, and I'm not a fan of the heavy ones."

Whoa!

I glanced down at DBF's hands and realized he only had one pin so far, and that was a Genie I'd picked out for him earlier. What was happening?
First off, DBF does not shop.
Second off, he never showed interest in pins before now.
Third off, I'm the indecisive one. I've never seen him take this long picking something.

Still in shock, I waited around another fifteen minutes while he compared Mickey head pins and debated which version of Stitch to buy.

I was getting a little bored.

Which is saying a lot considering my love of all things shopping and Disney.

Eventually, I put my foot down and we went to check out. There was a special going on that if you spent 30 or more dollars, you could buy a mystery key pin for a dollar. My total rang up around 36 bucks, so I said sure, throw in the key.

When it was DBF's turn his purchase only came out to 28 dollars. The look on his face told both me and the CM that he was very bummed. Another surprise for me.

The CM was so nice. She looked at us and went, "Well, you're with her, and she had over 30 dollars, so I'll throw one in for you."

Our First Taste of Pixie Dust!!

We thanked her several times for being so nice and exited the store. Before we left, DBF snapped this pic of me:



I was holding on to my shopping bag for dear life, because I was not about to lose my first Disney purchase!

Glancing at my phone, I saw we had plenty of time left to kill, so DBF and I headed over to the World of Disney store. I look back on it now and it still shocks me.

The second I stepped foot inside that door, it was like entering a different world. There was so much to look at and admire, DBF and I didn't even break the surface on this trip.

"Look at the ceiling! Peter Pan is ON THE CEILING!"



Everywhere I looked there was some piece of Disney and something to ooh and aah over.
Unfortunately, the crowds were wall to wall in here, so DBF and I did not stay too long. We entered on the side that had the pirates guarding the door and left through the princess section.


Outside, I saw the Aurora statue and had to get my pic.


The reason why I'm leaning into this statue is because there was a woman standing behind me and DBF was trying to crop her out. I didn't care, but he insisted, so now it looks like I'm the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

By that point it was only around 1:50, but DBF and I were ready to head to our resort and check in. The day was still young and we had a lot of sights left to see.



As you can see, the only time we decided to take a picture together was when the sun was shining in our eyes.



So, what resort were we headed to? It's certainly not a popular one and not everyone can get into it? Do you know the name????
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:36 AM   #15
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Arrival days are always so exciting! It looks like you all had a good start at DTD. Every time we've been there it's been so crowded. Were you guys staying at Shades of Green?
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