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Old 08-14-2014, 11:44 AM   #1
Snow White
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Keepin' the Magic, Keepin' the Magic...A week at the Laughin' Place in August 2014

Welcome Foolish Mortals...to the happiest cruise that ever sailed around the world to meet the Yeti in Tattooine...or something like that.

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my FIRST EVER trip report on the DIS!

My family has just returned from an amazing week at Walt Disney World, and our home base was my favorite place in the world, The Wilderness Lodge! We stayed from August 5 thru August 12, 2014, and had a wonderful time.

So step away from the walls, keep your hands and arms inside the carpet, because the Yeti is on our tail, and we have so much to see and do

We'll begin with Intros. Our cast of characters include me, the "S" in xlsm:

I'm a lifelong Disney Kid. I was raised on the movies, the shows...you know, way back when the Disney Channel was a premium cable channel that you had to pay extra for, like HBO, and the best part of your life was the free preview weekends when you could binge on Mickey Mouse Club and Kids, Incorporated. I was down with Justin, Ryan, Britney, Christina, JC, Tony, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Keri Russell before their pop radio, movie, television, and The Voice careers. Rescue Rangers and Duck Tales were my afternoon snack entertainment.

I had a Little Mermaid lunchbox...and pants. Yes, pants. Beautiful late 80s/early 90s "jam" pants covered in pictures of Ariel and the gang. God,I loved those pants.

My favorites:
Princess - Snow White, Tiana, Rapunzel, Anna
Non-Princess Character - Don't make me choose, please
Movie - Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Lilo and Stitch, Beauty and the Beast
(Ugh...choosing is HARD folks. This is torturous and unfair!!)
Park - I used to say Epcot, but after this trip it's Magic Kingdom
Ride - Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror, Everest, Star Tours

My co-stars, the X, L, and M of xlsm, my DH (M) and my two sons (oldest DS = X, youngest = L):

Aww...I love those three!!

They have some favorites, too!

X's faves -
Character - Stitch, Pluto(ast) Yes, he calls him Plutoast for fun. Why?? Because he's 11, and 11 year old boys are weird.
Movie - Dinosaur
Park - Epcot
Ride - Spaceship Earth

L's faves -
Character(s) - Chip and Dale
Show - Rescue Rangers (woohoo for the series on DVD)
Park - Animal Kingdom
Ride - Space Mountain

DH's favorites -
Park - Epcot, Magic Kingdom
Ride - Star Tours

Ok, there you go. That's us in a nutshell!

I hope you make like a hitchhiking ghost and ride along with us as I tell you about our truly magical trip to Walt Disney World. I'll try to be funny, and engaging and incredibly charming, but no promises!!

Stay tuned!!
X= DS1(11) L= DS2(9) S= Me! M= DH

My first trip report! Please join me! - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3317206

Last edited by xlsm; 09-01-2014 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:45 AM   #2
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Chapter One: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...82&postcount=3

Chapter Two, part one: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...76&postcount=9
Chapter Two, part two: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...1&postcount=10
Chapter Three, part one http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=15
Chapter Three, part two: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=16
Chapter Three, part three: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...3&postcount=20
Chapter Four: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=23
Chapter Five, part one: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...0&postcount=27
Chapter Five, part two: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...0&postcount=35
Chapter Six, part one: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...9&postcount=36
Chapter Six, part two: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...4&postcount=37
Chapter Seven, part one: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...2&postcount=45
Chapter Seven, part two: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...6&postcount=49
Chapter Eight, part one: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...8&postcount=60
Chapter Eight, part two: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...9&postcount=63
X= DS1(11) L= DS2(9) S= Me! M= DH

My first trip report! Please join me! - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3317206

Last edited by xlsm; 09-16-2014 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:47 PM   #3
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Chapter One...In which we prepare for travel, and then start traveling

Our travel is split across two days. On travel day one we drive to Memphis and on travel day two/arrival day, we fly to Orlando.

When it came time to book our flights, we discovered it would be cheaper and faster to drive the 5 hours to Memphis, stay overnight, and take the direct 2 hour flight to Orlando than it would be to fly out of here, Kansas City, or Tulsa. The flight times were also better, giving us much more time actually in the parks and the resort.

Ok everyone...grab a snack, a cuddly blanket, and snuggle in. Here we go...

Our story begins on Sunday, August 3. What do normal people do the night before they leave for vacation? Relax? Finish packing? Clean house in preparation for an easier return?

That's cool.

We decide to install chair rail in the dining room. No stress there. Nope, none at all.

You see, about three weeks before our trip, we bought and moved into a new house. We moved from the 1200 sqft rental we found when we first moved to the area two years ago (having no idea about the area at all...we had two weeks to get here for DH's new job) into a 2800 sqft two story house. Talk about stress before a trip. I do not recommend moving so close to a huge vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (excessive exclamation points totally necessary here.)

After the chair rail, normal pre-vacation activity kicked in, packing and such. Then around 9:00pm, just before heading to bed, I decided I wanted to paint my magic band. What is up with my timing??

So I got out the nail polish and turned my pink band into this glorious purple, sparkly little gem:

One coat of a purple color by Sinful Colors, followed by purple glitter by ICE. No top or base coat. Yep, I like playing with fire and walking on dangerous ground.

(By the way...it held up great during the week. Minimal cracking. And the CMs LOVED it. I had so many exclaim over it and stop me or come up to me asking about it. I didn't see any other decorated bands while I was there...and I was totally a creeper, staring at everyone's wrists during the trip. So if you saw a weirdo wrist starer-ater on your trip, that was ME.)

Finally I managed to go to bed. We were up early. I grabbed up my phone and saw this:

I zoomed in on that little owl and instagrammed that sucker. One day 'til Disney, baby!!!

We loaded the car and hit the road...after a stop at McD's for road fuel. We were headed toward our first stop of the day: Little Rock, AR for the Clinton Presidential Library and The Purple Cow for lunch.

Along the way this happened:


Ok, ok...here we are:

It's a beautiful place and we really enjoyed it...but we were also HUNGRY. It was time for food!! So off to The Purple Cow we trekked. They are known for their milkshakes, which are delicious. We got the purple vanilla. They are very large, so we ordered two and had them split between us.

Had to instagram it:

After this we headed on toward Memphis. We had booked our room on Hotwire waaaayyy back in December when we booked our flights. We always book mystery rooms on there and generally have good luck. The hotel we were put in was the Travelers Inn and Suites. The reviews on Trip Advisor seemed pretty good, so I sort of forgot about it until arrival day.

We pull up and it looks pretty cute! Pretty flowers, nicely upkept building, pristine swimming pool.

And that's where the good ends and the horrible begins.

DH went to check in. He comes out quickly and says, "Bad news. They have us booked in a smoking King room". Nope. Uh uh. Unacceptable. Our confirmation from Hotwire clearly says two queen, non-smoking. Well you see, this room was booked in December. It is now August. The hotel is now under new management. Every room is a smoking room except for four. Um, ok?? We call Hotwire, Hotwire calls the hotel, Hotwire tells us that the hotel will move us to a double queen room, but want to upcharge us $25. Hotwire will credit us that money to our account on a future booking. Ok, great. Sounds good.

We get our room assignment. We walk in. We look around. We walk out. Oh. My. Lord.

The room REEKED of smoke. I've never experienced anything like it. The room was disgusting and dirty. The light over the sink did not work. The air conditioner did not work. I wanted to cry.

We went back, had our $25 "upcharge" (upcharge for what? communicable diseases??) refunded, and called Hotwire back to help us find a room. Their customer service is top notch. They gave us another credit and booked us a new room at a La Quinta about 15 minutes away. It wasn't the nicest hotel I've ever been in, but at the moment we checked in, it looked like a palace.

DH ran to McD's for a desperate-too-tired-for-anything-more-complicated dinner, and we hit the pool.

After that, it was bedtime...we had big plans the next day. We were headed to Disney World!!
X= DS1(11) L= DS2(9) S= Me! M= DH

My first trip report! Please join me! - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3317206

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Old 08-14-2014, 02:13 PM   #4
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Hello from the August group! Subbing to your trip report, as I have to run now and I don't want to forget it! :D
Me (Clare) DH Seymour George Eve Audrey
Our Trips Together: June 2009: Sicily * Honeymoon - August 2010: Lundy Island * August 2011: Lundy Island *
August 2012: North Wales * August 2013: New York * February 2014: Iceland * August 2014: WDW (first visit!)
Upcoming: October 2014: Yorkshire/Blackpool * February 2015: Iceland
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Old 08-14-2014, 04:51 PM   #5
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Came over from the August group, too We leave in 12 days so reading about your trip will get me in the Disney mood!!!

Many trips as a kid with DM, DD, Dsis and Grams** July 1990(off-site)** Oct. 2000(off-site),1st trip with DH** Oct. 2006 (off-site) 1st trip with the boys!**Jan. 2007 (off-site), trip w/ extended family** Nov. 2007 OKW, first time on-site!**Oct. 2010 BWV** Oct. 2011 offsite/SSR** Nov. 2012 BWV** May 2013 POFQ** Feb. 2014 POFQ/AOA LM** Aug. 2014 CSR
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Old 08-14-2014, 07:19 PM   #6
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Woohoo!! I hope the two of you enjoy it! We had an awesome trip!!
X= DS1(11) L= DS2(9) S= Me! M= DH

My first trip report! Please join me! - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3317206

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Old 08-14-2014, 08:37 PM   #7
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Hello following you from august group! We leave in 8 days! Looking forward to reading about your trip
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:49 PM   #8
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Following along! So sorry about your first hotel; I'm a reformed smoker and even to me the idea of a smoking room at a hotel is super yuck, so I can't imagine how grossed out you were with the kids and all! But I'm glad it all turned out ok.

Can't wait to see how the rest of your trip goes, amazingly I hope!
ME(30) SO(31) mama(57) sis(27) DD(Born 9/2/14!)
"Big Girls Only" Sept 2015 PTR

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Old 08-14-2014, 08:51 PM   #9
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Chapter Two...in which we fly on a plane and arrive at Walt Disney World

...oh. You're still here. Hmm...Ok.

So I should keep writing then, huh? Sure.

When I left you last, we were headed to bed after a long travel day, a terrifying hotel that rivals any ride Disney could think up and a swim.

We'll pick up the next morning at the airport!!

Magic bands on and Starbucks in hand!! (one kid had a strawberry frap, the other had some orange thing that tasted like medicine. DH got one too. Both were tossed in the trash.)

Soon we boarded our flight and we were off!
Kid one:

Kid two:

And a bonus shot of Kid two, b/c he's cute, playing Super Digestive Moose on my Nook (what is super digestive moose you ask?? LOL. Download it and find out. Life changing.):

Bonus shot of Kid one, b/c he's also cute...chowing on free in-flight pretzels:


I love flying. After my customary take-off prayer, I can totally relax. It's the one place where I feel zero stress, b/c I know that I have absolutely no control over the situation, and I have to let go (Let it gooooo...oh yeah. I went there. It's like a law or something now). Normally I am uptight and high strung, so I like being able to hand it over and chill out for once!

The flight was uneventful, and we landed in about an hour and a half after takeoff...With our time travel complete (time zone change!), we left the plane, had some nervousness about not having control over the luggage (see?? uptight! high strung! control freak!!), boarded the fake-o-rail

and went downstairs to find the Magical Express. Luckily our Delta terminal is on side B, so we didn't have to look far, since we were already on the correct side.
We were already wearing our Magic Bands, which made the attendants happy! We were able to buzz right through with all green lights and were the first family on the bus (because we're WINNERS!)

In a short while we were HERE:

Our ME bus made three stops: Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Wilderness Lodge (Our home away from home!!).

We booked a woods view room with the summer discount that came out in late March/early April-ish. I had done online check-in 60 days out, with my only request being a high floor. I was PRAYING for a north facing room.

Prayer answered.

Check in was quick and easy and (BONUS TIME) our room was ready

Our room was 5030 and it was amazing!!
We were greeted by this:

Grazing freakin' deer. Right outside. What a welcome!! Disney magic strikes again!
Here's the view toward the lake:

Lounging lazy kids:

The straight ahead view through the trees featured the Contemporary, the tip top of the castle, and space mountain. We could see Wishes every night. I'm sure the higher floors would have an even better view, but we thought it was magnificent. The room was perfectly located, right beside the elevator...the laundry room and Roaring Forks was a 10 second elevator ride away. It doesn't get much better than that.

Day two continued in the next post...
X= DS1(11) L= DS2(9) S= Me! M= DH

My first trip report! Please join me! - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3317206

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Old 08-14-2014, 09:20 PM   #10
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Chapter Two Part 2

After drooling over our room, it was time to do some drooling of another sort...over some food. My male companions were hungry!! So downstairs to Roaring Forks we went for sustenance.

We ordered and went outside to wait for them to bring us our food.

Kid one got a bacon burger, kid two got nuggets and fries (i planned to share these with him...didn't think I was hungry. I was wrong. I binged on everyone's fries!)

DH got the Wilderness Chicken, which had ham and some kind of pinkish sauce on it. That sauce was good on my fries

This was not our best meal at Roaring Forks. We had some stellar food from there later in the week, and I don't think I have a single picture of any of it. But I will describe it when we get to that point!

After eating, we headed to the bus stop. It was time to torture my kids! They have never done any major thrill rides, and our first two Fast Passes were for Tower of Terror and Rockin' Rollercoaster. **Insert maniacal laugh here**

On an empty bus to DHS

We had ordered our Memory Maker about two or three weeks before our trip. I was afraid of cutting it too close on time if they mailed it, so I chose to pick it up at will call. That meant our first stop after getting off the bus was to the ticketing window. Turns out that was a huge waste of time, b/c it was already linked to our magic bands. Better safe than sorry though!! So I take back the comment about the waste of time. She did give us a card "just in case". We never needed it.

After four green lights, we were inside Hollywood Studios and THIS

was looming in the distance.

I have some fun photopass pictures that I'll share at the end of the full report!

I love Disney details:

We all survived our journey to the Twilight Zone.

After this we went to R'n'R. We were a touch early for our FP+ window, so we waited and then scanned on through. I believe my youngest son's words, as he hurtled through space were, "I am going. to. diiiieee!!"

He didn't.

Then we hit up Muppets and our final FP+ for the day, Star Tours. Then this happened:

Those ears though!! How cute are they? Chip on one side, Dale on the other. He had them sign them at Epcot a couple days later. Adorable.

We were tired, so back to the resort we went and hit the pool!

Speaking of being tired...this one was TIRED of me taking photos.

Ooooh buddy. It's only just begun...

Wait, hold up!
Geyser break!!

We had dinner at Roaring Forks after this. No pictures I guess we were too hungry and inhaled our food like neanderthals. Sorry.

But I remember what we had!

I had pasta of the day, a veggie filled, pesto dressed pasta. It was pretty good. Old kid had pepperoni flat bread, young kid had kids cheese pizza, DH had what was one of the best foods of the trip - The roast beef and blue cheese sandwich. It was so good! I had it the next time we ate there. It was on herbed focaccia (sp??) bread. Yum! We also shared a strawberry lemonade cupcake (double yum!) and old kid had a sugar cookie. I became obsessed with those sugar cookies during the trip. I'm craving one right now.

Back to the room we went...and on this note, we ended our day:
X= DS1(11) L= DS2(9) S= Me! M= DH

My first trip report! Please join me! - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3317206

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Old 08-15-2014, 12:09 AM   #11
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From the August 2014 group.

Love your writing style! Can hardly wait to hear more about your trip!
Aug/Sept PTR Aug/Sept TR

80s/90s various trips with family, never stayed at a resort hotel. 2001 - seasonal CM for a summer. 2007 - convinced DH to take the first trip. Stayed at CSR for 10 days. 3 toddlers 6 adults 2009 - second trip. ASMo for 5 days. 2 Adults 2 toddlers. 2010 - 4 adults 4.5 children. 7 days Pop. 2011 - We can't afford to go to Disney this year. So we're only staying at the Poly for 8 nights. If it's gonna be on credit, might as well make it worthwhile. 2012 - Back to the Poly for 10 days 2 adults 3 kids 2013 - First AKL stay only 5 night 2 adults 3.5 children2014 POR/AKL CL split stay 9 nights 2 adults 4 children plus guests
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:00 AM   #12
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I'm in! Your boys are adorable! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:49 AM   #13
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Joining in ! Great trip report so far

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Old 08-15-2014, 01:01 PM   #14
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hooray! More friends to drag along on our adventures! I'm happy to have you all here! Working on the next installment...our first full day at the Magic Kingdom!!
X= DS1(11) L= DS2(9) S= Me! M= DH

My first trip report! Please join me! - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3317206

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Old 08-15-2014, 02:26 PM   #15
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Chapter Three...in which the TR title comes into play at the Magic Kingdom

Hello again!! Welcome back!!

Chapter three might be a looooong one. I have 66 pictures ready for this update alone.

We rope drop, we use a lunch Fast Pass for Be Our Guest, leave, come back, etc...

8/6 was our first FULL park day. I used EasyWDW and the Wisdom of Josh to determine the best days for each park, but even if he'd said today was the worst day ever on the planet in the history of earth to visit the Magic Kingdom, I'd have gone anyway. You have to start the trip at the Magic Kingdom, right?? It's just what you do!

Our day started with some resort pics on the way to the bus...

Aw, look at him...doubled over with excitement.

That's a lie. The sun was in his face and he was probably silently cursing my existence for forcing him to smile.

Behold the beauty of the grounds at the Lodge:

We were hitting rope drop this morning. It ended up solidifying my husband's trust in my Disney planning prowess, as he was completely impressed by how much we got done in the first two hours. I will share the list in a moment. First, here's me and the old kid on the bus! This is what I instagrammed:

We got there a little after 8:00am, and I still had to get creative to get this people-less (kind of) shot:

One last picture with my hair down:

NOT the most flattering, but they get worse as the day goes on!

Soon, we were joined by this guy:

and some of his friends

Wait...I hear something...what's that coming around the corner??? What is it?? WHAT IS IT??????

Oh. It's a train. Woo. What's so great about a dumb ol' train? I mean, trains run through town all the time. I'm supposed to be excit- Wait. WHAT IS HAPPENING???

(This is the family of the day, the Johnson family. Do you know them? Are YOU them?)

And this is the part where I stopped holding it together and almost lost it in a fit of sobs. If you remember from the intros, L's favorite characters are Chip and Dale. He even has the hat. So when he sees them, and begins waving and cheering and holding up his hat hoping they'll notice, I start tearing up like you wouldn't believe. Or maybe you would, since you're all my people

After this, we were able to enter (all green! we had ZERO issues with MBs during our trip). This is what we did during our first hour:
Stopped for some photopass pictures (again,I'll share these later in a separate chapter), walked on Buzz, met Stitch with NO ONE else around. Seriously, empty streets

walked on Space Mountain, took the "secret path" to Storybook Circus and walked on Dumbo

(HAHA...looks like the water is pouring out of his nose!! We're soooo mature!)

met Ariel in her Grotto with minimal wait, used our Fast Pass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (return time of 9:30 -10:30am), rode it's a small world with minimal wait

and got to carry the red card of awesomeness

(Eh, this is out of order...this is when X carried the red card for the FP line at SDMT. DH carried the red card for Small World.)

and used our second Fast Pass for Peter Pan (return time of 10:40-11:40am)

After this, it was lunch time at the Beast's castle, which I will talk about in the next installment!!

Chapter three part two, coming right up!
X= DS1(11) L= DS2(9) S= Me! M= DH

My first trip report! Please join me! - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3317206

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