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Old 09-18-2013, 06:36 PM   #1
UGAFan0829
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The BEST Birthday Everrrr!!!! An August 2013 TR! COMPLETE 01/06!

Hello, and welcome to my trip report!! I'm so glad you're here, and I hope you enjoy reading about my trip as much as I enjoyed living it!

I'm a little late getting this thing started, so I won't waste any time in getting right to it!

First up, the who, when and where...

The Who consisted of myself, Missy and my darling hubby, Mike.

Mike and I just celebrated our 14th year of marriage, and I'm pretty lucky that he loves Disney *almost* as much as I do! This was our 5th real "vacation" to the World, and probably our 8th or 9th stay on property (that includes the times that we've visited for RunDisney events and pre-DCL stays). I have written several other TR's here on this DIS, but for anyone who may not know me, I'll give you a little more detailed introductions, because after all, part of the fun of following the story is getting to know the cast of characters, right?

I'll start with Mike..

Mike is 36 and works for an industrial tire company. As I said before, I'm very lucky that he loves Disney so much and always goes along with anything that gets us back to our favorite place as often as possible! His fave characters are Donald, Pumba, Rafiki and Stitch. I love the fact that Mike can be pretty shy around people he doesn't know, but the moment that anything Disney is mentioned he instantly becomes so outgoing!

Then there's me, Missy...

I turned 34 during this trip, and can now say that I am employed by the government! My fave character is Pooh followed by Tiana and Stitch, and after this trip I've added a new princess to the list...so you'll have to read on find out who!

And now for the When and Where...We arrived in the World on Tuesday, August 27th, and stayed the first night in a Studio at OKW. The other 3 nights were spent in a 1 bedroom Lake View at Bay Lake.

To kind of summarize the rest of the details, this trip originally came to be as a birthday celebration, but also turned into a trip of new beginnings. We had booked this trip months, and months in advance, but about a month and a half before we were set to leave I found out that I was losing my job. In a way, I was devastated, yet also relieved at the same time. I had been in banking (with the same company) for 13 years. I was mostly freaked out about finding a new job, but was really excited about the possibility of hopefully finding something outside of banking. To make a long story short, my last day of work was scheduled for August 31st, which is when we would be in Disney. Thankfully I was able to use the vacation time that I had already accrued, so my last official day at work was Monday, August 26th. I know a lot of people probably would have cancelled knowing that they had just lost their job, but for us, it was just the opposite. All the stress and worry made me want to be in my happy place even more, and I knew that we would do whatever we had to in order to make it happen. And on the Friday before my last day I got a call that I had been offered the job that I was really, really hoping for! I don't think it could have come at a better time! Not only were we still going to Disney, but now we had even more reason to celebrate! Plus, I also knew that I had to take advantage of the time off while I could as starting a new job meant that it would be a while before I would receive vacation time! And lastly, we also made a decision about a big, but really exciting purchase during our trip, so I hope you'll stay tuned for that as well! So now that you know a little about all the emotions that went on with planning this trip I think you'll see just why it turned out to be such a meaningful trip for us!

Next up...the good stuff--the official start of the celebration!

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Old 09-22-2013, 08:02 PM   #3
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Arrival Day

When it comes to traveling to Disney, our goal is always to leave home as early as possible. And though we haven't always been so successful in the past, this time we didn't do so bad. This year our goal was to be on the road by 4. As you can see, we didn't do too bad, especially considering that we didn't make it to bed until 11 and the alarm went off at 1...

We sailed through Atlanta with no problem and were starting into Perry, GA when we stopped for breakfast at a McD's somewhere along the way. It was still early morning when we made our traditional stop at the Florida welcome center for a shot of OJ and a quick restroom break.





Finally being in the same state is so exciting, but it seems like such a long ride at the same time! You know you're getting close when you start to see those beautiful signs though!



And then came the most beautiful of all!

Finally, we'd made it!

We made our way in to the resort where we were able to find a parking spot for check-in. As we made our way across, I snapped this shot that I later posted on Instagram...

We made our way inside and were immediately welcomed to the check-in desk. I don't remember our CM's name, but I do remember her saying that she was filling in and normally worked at the Grand.

I'm sure it was because I was so excited to get the trip started, but the process seemed to take forever! Finally, we were out of there and on our way to our room, which happened to be right across the street--literally! I was so excited to make it to our room and check it out. So, we found a parking spot right in front of our building, grabbed a few of our bags and made a beeline for building 14.



We made our way up the stairs to the second floor where we found our room waiting at the end...


.
We made our way inside and I immediately started snapping away!
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:51 AM   #4
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:38 PM   #6
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Getting Settled In!

My favorite thing to do when we arrive at a resort for the first time is take lots and lots of room pics. Okay, who I am kidding, I don't just do it for the first time--I do it EVERY time...cause you know, something could have changed!

So now I'll take you on a short tour of our room...
















Once I'd managed to document every detail of the room, we headed back down to grab the rest of our bags before we decided to head back across the street for a quick bite of lunch. Of course I was still snapping along the way...







We found Goods to Go and made our choices. I found a table while Mike placed our order and grabbed our refillable mugs. It was then that he realized that we were never set up with a pin at check-in, but thankfully he was able to purchase our lunch without too much of a problem.




The wait for the food was pretty minimal and my stomach was very thankful!
Mike had a sandwich, though I can't remember what kind while I went with pizza, and we both had the Key Lime Pie for dessert. I mean what else would you have while dining at Old Key West?


It was while we were eating that Mike mentioned that he wasn't feeling very well. It sounded like his sinuses were acting up, which wasn't surprising as they've bothered him on previous trips, too, but this time they seemed to be a little worse. I'm sure that going on little sleep didn't help any either.

We finished our lunch then decided to take a short stroll through the pool area as we were thinking about taking a dip later on.






We finished our brief tour then decided to head back to the check-in desk to fix the pin issue, then head into Conch Flats to see what kind of meds they had as Mike wasn't feeling any better.

Thankfully we were able to get the pins set up without a problem and we found that Conch Flats had Claritin. We also picked up a resort pin and a new wash cloth while we were there.



With meds in hand, we decided to head back across the street so that Mike could take the meds and then get a little rest before dinner. We were both pretty tired by this point and figured that a nap was just what we needed.

At this point, I was really loving all the beautiful details and couldn't help but take more pics of our surroundings.








Back in the room, Mike took the meds, I set the alarm on my phone and we were both out in no time.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:18 PM   #7
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Dinner and an Evening Stroll

When I last left off, Mike and I had just settled in for a quick nap before dinner. And I have to tell you, this is highly unusual for us. But with Mike not feeling well, and neither of us having gotten very much sleep the night before, I knew it was what we really needed. Normally I have a hard time just napping...it seems like it takes forever for me to go to sleep since my body is only use to sleeping at night, but this time it didn't take long before I was out. I have to say it was one of the best naps ever!

When the alarm went off I felt much more energized and went to getting ready dinner at Olivia's. I tried waking Mike a couple times, but he was still out of it and still wasn't feeling good, and since we had plenty of time, I let him sleep a little longer while I organized a few things. Finally, he awoke and freshened himself up before we headed over around 4:30.

I knew we were early since our ADR wasn’t until 5:00, but I didn’t expect the place to be completely empty! We checked in with the CM and told them that we were scheduled for 5, and she asked if would like to be seated then. We agreed that it was fine with us and she then let us know that the lunch and dinner menus are exactly the same with the only difference being that the Prime Rib wouldn’t be available until 5. We were okay with that since neither of us planned to order that anyway.

Our server came over and took our drink orders, and since we were still the only people there, I took a few pictures of all the different decorations, which I thought were kind of cool.



Mike still wasn’t feeling well, but he was trying so hard to keep a happy face. I felt so bad for him because he was so worried about being sick and ruining the week.
Our server returned with our drinks and I took a moment to ask her some questions about the menu. I really wanted to try the shrimp and grits, but since it came with onions and other stuff I don’t care for I decided against it and went with the Shrimp Po Boy, while Mike had the Catch of the Day. I should also mention the bread that our server brought that I LOVED!! In a way it reminded me of the bread at ‘Ohana though it was a little different, it was SO good!





My Po Boy was really good. It was the first time I’ve ever had anything with remoulade and it was better than I expected. Before the end though, I ended up just eating the shrimp by themselves as the bread was just too much. Mike said his fish was decent as well.
Next came dessert, which was the Bananas Bread Pudding Sundae for Mike and the Flourless Chocolate Cake for me. I have to say I was pretty disappointed with my choice as it was pretty terrible. I’ve never had a flourless cake before, so maybe I shouldn’t have ordered it, but it wasn’t sweet at all. It was a lot like eating dark chocolate which I really don’t care for. I’m not sure if all flourless cakes are like this, or if this one is just bad.




Overall the meal was just okay. I had talked to a couple people before the trip who had eaten there and didn't care for it either. But, we decided to try it anyway since it was the only way we'd know for ourselves. It certainly wasn't terrible, but just not typical Disney food, in my opinion, but I am glad that we tried it.

After we finished up and paid with the dining plan, we decided to head back to Conch Flats to see if they had any Nyquil for Mike. I’d talked to my sister (who is in the medical field) and asked her about it and she said that taking Nyquil and Claritin was okay for Mike and that the Nyquil would probably help more than anything. Thankfully, they did have a box of the tablets so I grabbed those.
We moseyed around a little more and I took a few more pictures before we headed back to the room.





Once we made it back to the room, we were both pretty stuffed and miserable from eating way too much at dinner. I had really wanted to spend the evening in the pool, but I wasn’t sure that was what Mike needed, so we decided against that. Instead, we decided to take a stroll around the resort to check it out and to walk off some of our dinner. So, we once again headed back across the street and made our way through the pool area and started on the path that is also used as the running trail.



It was a really nice and peaceful walk and we really enjoyed taking in our surroundings. The landscaping was just beautiful and it was the perfect evening for it. We made a loop around the quiet pool and continued on the path which was basically just a big loop.



We made it back around to the Hospitality House area where we found a bench to just sit and take in the scenery.

I think the walk helped a little as Mike said he was feeling a little better and at least we weren’t still miserable from dinner. At that point, even though it was still early, we decided to make the last trip back to the room for the night.
Mike took his Nyquil and we were in bed by 8:00, which is unheard of for us, even at home. I knew we both could use the rest, especially Mike. I was hoping that he felt better in the morning and that we would both be well rested and ready for our second day in Disney, as we were both really excited about checking in at Bay Lake!
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:50 PM   #8
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I'm here!

I totally take pictures of every room we stay in, even if its the same resort!

Oh man, poor Mike! Hopefully the Nyquil worked for him!
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer48 View Post
I'm here!

I totally take pictures of every room we stay in, even if its the same resort!

Oh man, poor Mike! Hopefully the Nyquil worked for him!
Hello, Jennifer! Thanks so much for joining in!!!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves taking room pics!
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:22 PM   #10
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I haven't been on the DIS in forever and needed a pick me up today! I came across your trip report and yay! it worked. hooray for the new job. did you get furloughed? Thanks for putting me in a better mood though! Can't wait for another update!
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:15 PM   #11
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Love at first sight!

On Wednesday morning, the alarm went off at 6:30 sharp. I went about my normal morning routine and was completely ready before I woke Mike up. The Nyquil had really knocked him out so he had been sleeping so good and I really hated to wake him up, but I knew we had to get moving sooner or later!
We were all packed up and ready to roll at 9:45. We made the short walk across the street to the Hospitality House to check out where we got the same CM who had checked us in the day before. When we told her we were checking out, she frowned and said, but you just got here yesterday! When I told her we were heading over to Bay Lake for the next 3 nights she smiled again, and I loved being able to say that!

It was around 10:45 when we arrived at Bay Lake and being so close made me SUPER excited!



As we made our way inside, we were greeted by a CM who called us by name then led us to the check-in counter, which felt really cool since weve never had that happen before! As we walked up to the desk I was in total awe of the place! Wed been over to the Contemporary before, and had attempted to see Bay Lake before, so this was the first time walking into the lobby and I was totally blown away. I almost had to pinch myself! Between the amazing smell and the beautiful décor I almost couldnt believe that we were getting to stay at such a beautiful place!
Check-in went smoothly, but it seemed to take a while again. I cant remember our CMs name, but he was very nice! He gave me my first Birthday button and even gave Mike an Im Celebrating button so that he wouldnt be left out! Since we had arrived so early, I knew that more than likely our room wasnt going to be ready, but I was still slightly disappointed when he confirmed that it was in fact, not ready.
We decided to go ahead and leave our luggage with bell services so that we didnt have to leave everything in the hot car. As Mike and the bell man were unloading, he told Mike that he thought our room had just become available!!! So, we quickly parked the car then made our way back inside where we were assigned to 3242!! I was so excited to be able to get to the room so early!!!
Of course we immediately made our way up to the 8th floor and were once again awed at what was before us!



























I was in LOVE with this room! Between being able to look out and see the monorail glide into the Contemporary and the art and all the other little touches, I was in heaven!!!

I was SO in love with the art&I spent the rest of the week taking pictures of all the different pieces around the resort&it seemed like I found something new every day! And the ones in the room were pretty amazing themselves!







To say that I was completely happy with our choice to say here was truly an understatement!!!

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Old 10-03-2013, 01:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkaDotLuggage View Post
I haven't been on the DIS in forever and needed a pick me up today! I came across your trip report and yay! it worked. hooray for the new job. did you get furloughed? Thanks for putting me in a better mood though! Can't wait for another update!
Thank you SO much--that really means a lot to me! The DIS is one of my favorite places to come when I need a pick me up, too!

Thankfully we haven't been affected by the shutdown, but it does make me nervous!

Thanks again for being here!
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:13 PM   #13
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Beaches and Cream

Once we’d familiarized ourselves with the room, we called Bell Services to see if they would bring our luggage up. When they said they’d be right up, they weren’t kidding. I’ve read a lot of reports where people have had to wait a while, but they were at our door in no time. I’m thinking that it may have been because we were there way before normal check in time, so maybe they weren’t so busy?
By this time, we both were pretty hungry since we’d skipped breakfast. And since Mike was feeling a good bit better, we decided to head out to find some lunch. Before the trip, we’d talked about how much we really wanted to go back to Beaches and Cream. We’d tried it for the first time during our trip last September and really loved it, so we figured that now would be the perfect time to go again! So, we decided to catch the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom, then take a bus to the Beach/Yacht Club. And as you can imagine, I found lots of photo ops along the way—first thing being the lovely carpet that I noticed as soon as we walked out of the room!

Followed by more awesome art at the elevators!

And then some random shots out the windows as we waited for the elevator!





I actually took this one with my phone and posted it on Instagram…it turned out to be one of my favorites from the whole trip and I now have it saved as the wallpaper on my phone.

Finally, we made it to the monorail for our first ride of the trip!

Anytime that we have “downtime” in Disney, one of our favorite things to do is ride the monorail. It’s views like this that make it so special:

After transferring to a bus at MK, we arrived at Beaches and Cream right around lunch time which made me a little nervous about how long the wait would be. But we lucked out and only had a short 10 minute wait before we were seated at the counter, which is the same place that we were at last time!
It didn’t take us long to decide that we both wanted a cheeseburger and fries!

I had plain ol’ water to drink while Mike decided to be fun and have a Cherry Coke! Only in Disney, can a drink be this pretty…

We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and the awesome atmosphere of the restaurant!

We both really wanted something yummy for dessert, but our burgers had really filled us up, so instead of going with a No Way Jose, we decided on a Mint Chocolate Chip shake- -for me- and a Chocolate Malt--for Mike.

We had settled our bill, but were still working on our shakes. And since we didn’t want to keep occupying seats that someone else could use, we asked our CM for to-go cups so that we could take them with us since I couldn’t bear to throw away such goodness just yet!
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:54 AM   #14
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The BoardWalk, Swimming and Wishes!

Our delicious lunch left both of us stuffed to the max, so we decided to walk it off by doing a little exploring. We decided to head over to the BoardWalk as it had been a while since we’d last visited there. The BoardWalk will always be a little special to us as it was the first place we ever stayed as DVC members.
It was a beautiful day, and though it was a little warm, it was perfect for a leisurely stroll.

One of my favorite memories from our stay at the BoardWalk, as well as one of my top Disney memories overall was the night that we had just finished swimming in Luna Park pool and were trying to decide what to do for dinner. On our way from the pool, we spotted a family with a delicious looking pizza and it was then that we decided to make a trip over to the pizza window. It had gotten dark by the time we were eating, but I remember how relaxing and awesome it felt to just sit there at a table on the boardwalk, enjoying our food, watching people go by and staring out at the water with all the reflections of light. It was a perfect night and one that we always bring up anytime we’re discussing our favorite Disney moments. Today, the BoardWalk looked different as it was pretty quiet with hardly anyone out.

I had to take a moment to stop and gaze across the water at Sea Breeze Point. Mike and I dream of having a Fairy Tale Vow Renewal one day, and this is the place where we wanna do it!

We wandered on around, making our way into the Bakery just to check out the selection. I was secretly hoping to find a treat there, but sadly I didn’t see anything. Not to mention, I was still pretty full from lunch.

Finally, we decided it was time to say goodbye to the BW and head back home to BLT. Before we made our way back to the tower, we stopped by the Contemp Café to use up the two snack credits we still had from our stay at OKW. I had no trouble deciding on the Mike W. Birthday cake cupcake! I mean, I do love Mike, and how fitting is it that it was also a birthday cake cupcake??

I think Mike also picked up a Powerade since there was nothing else that we really wanted.
Finally, we made our way over the bridge and back to the room.

Since Mike was feeling SO much better, we decided that it was the perfect night for a swim. And I was so excited as I’d been itching to try out the slide ever since we’d gotten there that morning! So, we threw on our suits and headed on down. I took my waterproof camera with me so that I could get some fun shots in the water.



We swam around a bit and enjoyed the water before we decided to head over to the slide!





Needless to say, we went down it SEVERAL times before we finally got tired of climbing the stairs!
We swam around and relaxed a little bit longer before the lifeguards evacuated everyone for “unexpected maintenance”, but I’m sure you all know what that the real reason was! So, we headed for the hot tub for just a few before we decided that it was time to head back to the room for a shower before heading for some dinner.
After cleaning up, we headed back over to the Contempo Café for a quick dinner. Thankfully we found a table without too much searching, so I held down the table while Mike placed our order.
Mike had a chicken sandwich, while I had pot roast with potatoes and veggies. We did both have the cheesecake for dessert.





We finished our dinner pretty quickly as we wanted to try and make it up to Top of the World to watch Wishes, but first we had to head back to the room to grab the tripod.
Once we’d ran back to the room, we then had to figure out how in the world to get to the top. Since we’d never been here before we had no idea that we needed to check in at the podium in the lobby! But thankfully, we finally figured it out, and within a couple of minutes, we were waiting for Wishes to start!
Unfortunately, since the edge of the wall there isn’t level, I didn’t have a place to set up my tripod. Of course I wasn’t able to hold it steady enough to get the pictures that I was really hoping for, and it seems like none of them turned out since I couldn’t figure out what settings I needed to use since I wasn’t able to hold it without camera shake. I thought I’d share just a couple anyway.









This was our first time ever watching Wishes from anywhere other than the Magic Kingdom, and I have to say it was a really cool view point. I loved hearing the music piped in! I think I’d much rather watch them from there than to fight the crowds on Main Street!
After the show, we headed for the room where we finally dug into the DELICIOUS Mike W. cupcake as our bedtime snack! We then tucked in as we had an early morning coming up!

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Old 10-10-2013, 03:22 PM   #15
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Glad to hear Mike is feeling better this day!

You went to Beaches 'n Cream and you didn't have the No Way Jose?! Just kidding.

BLT's pool looks like fun!
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