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Old 01-06-2010, 11:36 AM   #1
Broncobilly83
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Pre-Wedding Honeymoon for 2 DIS newbies 12/26/09-01/02/10

Figured I would start my day by day recap for our trip, as we got a lot of help by reading previous threads posted here to know what to expect and changed our plans at times based on suggestions here, so I thought by recapping our trip, it might help others in the future

Our background to Disney is relative newbies. The last time she was there was in 1986, and the last time I was there was at the turn of the millennium, Feb 2000. I proposed to her on 12/22, so we could "bask" in the engaged glow with family and friends before heading out on 12/26. As part of my surprise, my Christmas gift to her was this trip:
  • 7 day park hopper tickets
  • 7 night stay at Port Orleans French Quarter
  • Disney Dining Plan (1 Snack, 1 Quick Service, and 1 Table Service), with reservations made throughout already
  • Plane tickets from Dulles, VA to Orlando
  • $1000 Merchandise Credit (special promo for $695)
  • And of course Disney knew that this was 1st visit (basically true) and engagement, which does play into the report at times

Sat, 12/26:
Originally we were not going to leave until later in the day, but once we got a list of who was doing what Candlelight Processional, I upgraded our tickets to get an earlier flight and added an additional park day, as we both like Edward James Olmos, so the first day, though short was slated for Epcot.

My father took us to the airport at 6AM so we could catch the 7:50 out of Dulles. We were using Magical Express, so once landing at MCO, a smooth and perfect bus ride with almost no wait later, we were at POFQ. Check-in took maybe 5-10 minutes, as we did online check-in, and the longest part was double checking our ADRs and explaining the merchandise credit rules. Our room was not ready, so after using the restrooms to freshen up, we checked our carry-ons with Bell Services, and caught the bus to Epcot.

A very short ride later, we were in Epcot, and for 12/26, it was packed, but was to be expected due to the boards. Almost 2 hour waits for the real biggies, and things like Spaceship Earth had a 50 min wait. We did Spaceship Earth, which she did not know was even a ride, and then did some shopping, Photopass pics, and sightseeing until our CP ADR at Rose and Crown at 3:30PM

We were seated almost immediately, and the food and service was above excellent. The server was friendly and talkative about England and about the parks so it was a great experience overall. She gave us our CP stickers, and we walked around for a while to help burn off some of that dinner. We stopped and watched the French street jugglers for a while and then off to CP.

Originally, like many here, I questioned using part of the DDP for a CP ADR, since it kills 2 units per person, but after seeing the packed 1st show and then the line for the Stand-By seating for our show, I was thankful I had the passes. We got very good seats, 5th row, almost dead center. My fiance is in the church choir where I manage, so we were just done with our Christmas services, but man, between EJO, the choir and the orchestra, we were both blown away by the service. It was amazing, and while I wish I could have a DVD of that performance, I settled on the CD they were selling afterwards from 2000.

At this point, we were bushed, so we skipped Illuminations, knowing we were coming back to Epcot later in the week, so we skedaddled out back to the bus, which did not have a long wait or a long line at that point since the park was still open, and we headed back. Our room was ready, and our luggage was there, so we unpacked, headed to the cafeteria for a quick snack, and then drifted off to sweet dreams til the next morning. We were in room #7148, first floor, back of the hotel overlooking the canal to Downtown Disney, so it was very quiet and a 2 min walk to the lobby/buses

Coming Next: Sunday at Hollywood Studios
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Trip History:
12/26/09-01/02/10 Trip Report, POFQ - http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2365147
10/11/10-10/17/10 - Honeymoon, Wilderness Lodge
11/07/12-11/13/12 - Anniversary/Birthday, Wilderness Lodge Club Level
11/12/14-11/18/12 - Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas, Wilderness Lodge

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Old 01-06-2010, 12:02 PM   #2
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Can't wait to read more of your Trip Report. Already sounds like you guys are having an awesome time. Congrats on your engagement! My husband and I took our honeymoon(disneymoon) there and had an amzing time. Everyone at Disney and all the CM made our stay there very memorable!
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:05 PM   #3
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By the way, Saw your from Braddock Heights, Maryland. My Family is from Maryland. One of my Aunts lives in Waldorf and my other Aunt lives in Olney. Very Cool! I am so jealsous of all the snow you guys are getting up there. I love it! Although I will say for the record Florida has been getting some very cold weather. low Twentys to low teens. Coldest it has been since we got snow in '89.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:22 PM   #4
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Sun, 12/27:

Now both of us are early risers for our jobs, so getting up around 6AM for a 8AM seemed like sleeping in for both of us. We had a spreadsheet I made with all the park hours and short of what park what day and the ADRs, the trip was a total "Come What May" attitude. In this case, I knew we would be there almost all day since my only caveat to no planning was doing Fantasmic! that evening. So off we went, off to Hollywood Studios for the day, in time for the rope drop by the hat at 8AM.

Today, I had my pin bag with me, so I had to go through bag check for this (while mine was look and done, others took a long time, IMHO they need a better system for this), so throughout the day, I stopped with cast members to trade and the bag was a sign for other guests to come up and chat, which I think adds to the overall trip experience, meeting new people, etc.

Slight rain but that lasted maybe 20 minutes if that. At open, instead of heading with the masses towards Toy Story Midway Mania, we headed to the left towards Star Tours and did that first, and then walked around a lot, taking pictures, shopping, stopped and watched Jedi Training (very cool). Had lunch at Backlot Express and for a counter service meal, it was pretty decent. Did the Indiana Jones Show and then the Great Movie Ride, walking over to the other side of the park, looking at the animation area, etc. We also stood in line for pictures with Buzz and Woody.

Then came one of the few hiccups of our trip. We had ADR at Hollywood & Vine at 3:45 for the Fantasmic package. While we were thankful we had that special pass and seating, it was not worth the headache, IMHO. H&V reopens at 3:30 for a dinner buffet (non-character) and we were seated fairly quickly, and that was when the good ended. The waitress had a relatively small area to manage, and instead seemed off in Never Never Land, plus the mgmt seemed out of whack, closing one line while serving people, only to close the other line as soon as the first reopened. People were shuffling back and forth between the two lines trying to get food. It was just unprofessional, especially for $34.99 per person

Then came Fantasmic! and for me, it was worth the wait, and for her, she was floored at the show and how cool it was. The seating was great, far left area of the reserved seating, and just as cool of a show as I remember in 2000. The only thing was the wind was a little strong so the mist was blown through the entire audience quite a bit, to the point where the first row left soaked. Also, they need more drink/snack vendors through the area, as there was one active drink line before the show and it was slammed (I felt I was waiting for a ride, LOL)

Afterwards, we walked over to Main Street to take in the Osborne Lights and they were amazing. Got some photopass pics and the photog showed me where the black cat was! Left a little before the park closed, short bus ride and wait again, and jiggaty jigg, we were back at POFQ for a quick nap and sleep till the next morning

Coming Next: Monday at the Magic Kingdom
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Trip History:
12/26/09-01/02/10 Trip Report, POFQ - http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2365147
10/11/10-10/17/10 - Honeymoon, Wilderness Lodge
11/07/12-11/13/12 - Anniversary/Birthday, Wilderness Lodge Club Level
11/12/14-11/18/12 - Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas, Wilderness Lodge

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Old 01-06-2010, 12:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilpapsgirl View Post
By the way, Saw your from Braddock Heights, Maryland. My Family is from Maryland. One of my Aunts lives in Waldorf and my other Aunt lives in Olney. Very Cool! I am so jealsous of all the snow you guys are getting up there. I love it! Although I will say for the record Florida has been getting some very cold weather. low Twentys to low teens. Coldest it has been since we got snow in '89.
I would trade with you in Florida in a heartbeat.
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Trip History:
12/26/09-01/02/10 Trip Report, POFQ - http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2365147
10/11/10-10/17/10 - Honeymoon, Wilderness Lodge
11/07/12-11/13/12 - Anniversary/Birthday, Wilderness Lodge Club Level
11/12/14-11/18/12 - Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas, Wilderness Lodge

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Old 01-06-2010, 12:36 PM   #6
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:01 PM   #7
Broncobilly83
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Mon, 12/28:

Here we go with another early morning, and this time with the granddaddy of all theme parks, the Magic Kingdom. We got there around 7:30AM or so, as the park opened at 7AM with EMH, so it was amazing to see it without a lot of crowds, that early in the morning. Got some pictures out of the way really fast, without the crowds around, and then proceeded to do some rides before the waits got really bad. Before 9AM, we rode the following rides with little to no wait:
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion
  • It's a Small World

By the time we got out of Small World, the park was getting pretty crowded, so we decided to forgo more rides in lieu of just sightseeing and shopping. For lunch we stopped at the Columbia Harbour House for a quick seafood lunch, and once again, were pleasantly surprised by the quality of a "Quick Service Meal".

After more sightseeing, we made our way to Toontown Disney, which really did not impress me, but there was a 100 minute wait for pictures with the princesses, which just floored me. Now, had I known, as I made mention of this in another thread, my favorite character is Uncle Scrooge. I spent 3 days asking Guest Relations and CMs if he did character showings at which everyone said no, but someone posted in the thread that he would show at Donald's Tree Lot in Toontown.

Had I known that in advance I might have hung around more to see if he would show, or asked someone there. IMHO, Disney really needs to have a better schedule for park guests to see if and where a character would appear, even if all they do is post it in guest relations.

So now it is about 2 PM, and we have to kill time til 5:30 for our ADR, so we go to Tomorrowland, which was probably the most packed out of all the areas, however, we still did the TTA with no wait time, and Stitch's Great Escape, just cause we were curious. Nothing like the Alien one from last time, but still kind of cool camp since Stitch is one of my favorites.

Afterwards we made our way to Main Street for one of the hourly holiday parades, and wouldn't you know it, UNCLE SCROOGE, on one of the first floats. Luckily we got a pic, but it is not the same as a character pic. By this time, it was a little after 5PM so we made our way through the crowd to the Crystal Palace for the Evening Character Buffet.

When I checked in, they asked what we were celebrating (first ones who did that) and when we got to our table, it was nicely decorated to celebrate our engagement. The food was excellent (Hollywood & Vine should take pointers from them) and the service was spot on. To enhance the experience, the characters from Winnie the Pooh were walking around to each table which gave us some great memories. Eeyore was probably the best for both of us, since he is Betsy's favorite character, and I happen to have met the actor who has done his voice since 1990, Peter Cullen, at a Transformers Convention years earlier, since he is the voice of Optimus Prime, but I digress.
This was definitely an A+ experience, and made up for the previous night's buffet misfire.

Afterwards, we left the restaurant to see the castle all lit up, so we did a bunch more photos of course, stopped by the shops on Main Street to pick up some art prints that had caught our eye earlier, and headed back, choosing to skip the fireworks, since we knew we had something special planned for MK fireworks on 12/30, but little did we know how special it would be.

At this point we were finally feeling the exhaustion of the trip, so we just crashed until the next morning.

Next up: A Return to Epcot
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Trip History:
12/26/09-01/02/10 Trip Report, POFQ - http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2365147
10/11/10-10/17/10 - Honeymoon, Wilderness Lodge
11/07/12-11/13/12 - Anniversary/Birthday, Wilderness Lodge Club Level
11/12/14-11/18/12 - Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas, Wilderness Lodge

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Old 01-07-2010, 02:02 PM   #8
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Tues, 12/29:

For the first time since this trip, we decided to take a slower morning. Since we were doing Epcot, and there were no morning EMH, we decided to sleep in a little, and got to the park around 8:30-9AM.

Once there we got fast passes for Test Track and took some time to walk around, do some more shopping, and now that I had my pin bag, did some trading at the Pin Station in Future World. Of course Betsy decided to take pictures throughout, and seriously, I can see why this is an addictive hobby, especially looking at some of these monstrous collections people amass.

We hopped on Test Track around 11AM, and the lines were so bad, CMs were kicking out FPs that were not exactly within the times printed on the ticket. Like it was 11:10 and they were kicking people out of line who had tickets starting at 11:15 or 11:20. It is just as great an experience as I remember, but something that bugs me, the guy doing the video before the ride itself, who is that? I think it is an actor but can not place where else I have seen him before.

After Test Track, we grabbed a quick service meal at Electric Umbrella Restaurant, and again, pleasantly surprised at the quality. Afterwards, we set out to the World Showcase, this time starting on the Mexico side compared the Canada side from last time, and we grabbed FPs for Maelstrom in Norway, went back to Mexico and did the 3 Caballeros boat ride with some really annoying guests who did not understand "Ma'am, line up in lane 2" over and over and then proceeded to go Flash Happy with the cameras. Not as bad as that pennies on Small World video I saw, but almost as bad IMO.

After that, it was time for Maelstrom, which I did not remember riding last time, but it was pretty cool, kind of like a Norwegian Splash Mountain. After that, we leisurely took our time through the showcase, as our last goal for the day was an ADR at Le Cellier at 4:50 PM. Took a lot of pictures of different Christmas traditions along the way, and was just floored by the Canadian Rock band wearing kilts (that seemed a little out of place to me). By this time, the Kim Possible ring tone was going off everywhere as kids had many of them.

We arrived at La Cellier around 4:20 and checked in and just waited as our table was ready at 4:50 on the dot (an amazing system they have throughout the parks as not a single late seating was had). I had the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup and boy did that live up to its rep. It was amazing. Something I did notice is the menus on WDWInfo are slightly out of date on some of these, both with Entree and pricing, but the NY Strip was still there, and was delicious. They know how to do a steak and well!

After dinner, we decided to head back to the hotel since it was still a while away for Illuminations, and instead of doing Illuminations after resting a little while, we took the Port Orleans ferry to Downtown Disney, which is the only way to do this I think, as the buses were packed from other resorts!

At DTD, we did a lot of window browsing, as a lot of what was there was the same stuff seen throughout the parks and nothing new, though I stopped at Art of Disney looking for an older piece (they will call if they can find one). Then I hit the Pin Shop at DTD. I was there for almost 2 hours, as I was shopping all the different pins, and some people noticed I had a Pin Bag, so they were keen to look and trade with me. Something I will have to say, they really should have tables like Epcot has for trading, whether in the shop itself or right outside, but supposedly the store said they did at one time, but not anymore.

After we got done looking around and out of the pin shop, we took the ferry back home for a nice night's rest, and even saw some of the Illuminations fireworks along the boat route.

Next up: A return trip to the Magic Kingdom for a great experience
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Trip History:
12/26/09-01/02/10 Trip Report, POFQ - http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2365147
10/11/10-10/17/10 - Honeymoon, Wilderness Lodge
11/07/12-11/13/12 - Anniversary/Birthday, Wilderness Lodge Club Level
11/12/14-11/18/12 - Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas, Wilderness Lodge

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Old 01-30-2010, 09:09 PM   #9
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Hope you return, love to read engagement stories.
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