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A Disney 11 Year Journey...Ending with July 12-18, 2010

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Reports' started by jhoff3405, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. jhoff3405

    jhoff3405 Active Member

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    So, here we are back from our 7th trip to the World in 11 years.....and most likely our last as a family. Bittersweet, yet a new chapter will be unfolding.
    This trip report is in all reality written for my sole benefit and preserving the memories, I hope if you read you enjoy the ride!

    The characters:
    Me, mom, 37, Disney fan oddly addicted with the castle.
    DH, 39, Not so much a Disney fan but loves me and is along for the ride.
    DS, 17, Reaction....Disney, again, really?? But smiles for every picture I take!
    DS, 15, Likes Disney, and is the total goof ball in the family!
    DS, 12, Likes Disney, and very much enjoyed the trip.

    Here's the plan for the report~
    Give lots of details regarding this trip with some of my favorite pictures thrown in from previous trips. It will be one great big "travel-log" by the time it's done.

    We are an RV'ing family and love Fort Wilderness Campground. Attached are our various "home on wheels" throughout the years:
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    Our first "Home on Wheels" Disney June 2000---good thing the kids were little! [​IMG]

    Our Second "Home on Wheels" Disney January 2002
    [​IMG]Our

    Last "Home on Wheels" Disney 2004, 2006, 2010. Most likely it will also have a for sale sign in it soon. Kids are so busy with sports/activities we just can't use it as we used to. Time for DH & I to trade up to a big ol' motorhome!

    [​IMG]

    For those of you counting trips...the above represents only 5. Our very first trip was in April 1999 and we stayed at Port Orleans Riverside (which was then Dixie Landings). Here is our very first family picture in front of the castle that correlates with that trip:
    [​IMG]
    Our 7th trip was June 2007 compliments of my parents and their 40th wedding anniversary. My whole family went and we stayed at Port Orleans Riverside. This shot is the whole family waiting for Fantasmic---my family is at the very end of the row. Great time....our group got the "wave" started in the crowd!
    [​IMG]

    Okay, okay time to get moving with details!

    Day 1, Sunday July 11
    Hitched up the ol' trailer and headed out at 6am. Plan to drive from Chicago to just past Atlanta and stop for night. DH has a fancy new Garmin (named Clyde) that he is uber excited to use. But for you Clyde users out there....do you find that you are constantly trying to beat the time Clyde puts up????

    Turned around in the front seat and got this shot that never would happen if the boys were awake...
    [​IMG]

    Had some good laughs with the boys on the drive down. It sure is interesting the more adult things we talk about now versus when they were younger...:zipit:

    Making great time (did I dare say it?) and then....we get stopped in the road by a truck fire. Noone was injured. Middle son wanted me to take a picture of his fantastic abilities to shut down a highway~
    [​IMG]

    Otherwise uneventful remainder of the day. Stopped at a Campground in Forsyth, GA at about 8:30, turned the A/C on, showered, and hit the hay.

    Day 2, Monday, July 12

    Hit the road by 8am and pulling into Disney property by 2:30 pm. We were running on fumes! More math fun: Big trailer + big truck = Lots of gas. Compounded by poor vehicle turning radius due to big trailer + big truck = not all gas stations are conducive to our size. This was the case our last few miles to the World....gas stations were not liking our size.

    Now, if we wanted to pull in and take over a station we could go anywhere we wanted...but I don't think people would appreciate waiting while we wiggled back & forth to fit in a spot to get gas. So since we are apparently the utimate "caring" family unit, we sacrificed our need for gas and prayed to Mickey that he would get us to the Hess station right by the Magic Kingdom. Mickey did us well....we pulled in with 10 miles left in the tank!

    Headed over to FW and only had to wait about 5 minutes for check in. Here is middle son, showing yet more amazing abilities~did I mention already that he is the knucklehead of the family?
    [​IMG]
    Now begins the "Parking of the Unit" fun at Fort Wilderness. Sites are tight and our last adventure in 2006 took about 20 minutes of wiggling to get us situated. Mickey answered our prayers again as the sites have been made larger since our last visit....total time for parking (drum roll please) 2 minutes!!!

    Set up our house (goes so much faster since kids are older and help) and moseyed on over to Downtown Disney via Disney buses. Ate at Planet Hollywood and did a quick walk through of the shops. Used Disney buses to get back.....it took a looong time. I love being efficient, and Disney transportation was not living up to my "efficiency" standards!

    Up next, The actual parks and what the heck we did in them.....
     
  2. KnK

    KnK New Member

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    Love the retro pictures mixed in. Can't wait to read more.
     
  3. disneygirl1

    disneygirl1 Well-Known Member

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    Oh sounds fun!!! Can't wait to ready more!
     
  4. Rach&Eric

    Rach&Eric Active Member

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    Loving the TR so far, can't wait to read more :)
     
  5. jhoff3405

    jhoff3405 Active Member Original Poster

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    Tuesday July 13 AM

    Kids voted for EPCOT to be the first park they saw---they apparently forgot that their mother is a huge castle addict and would have preferred MK!!
    Here are some "then/now" pictures
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    Jan 2002 in front of Norway....Ages 8, 6, 4
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    December 2004....Ages 11, 9, 7
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    With my parents on their 40th Anniversary trip...Boys ages 14, 12, 10
    [​IMG]
    Present day....Ages 17, 15, 12

    Got to EPCOT for the park opening and would have been about #50 in line for Test Track when hubby decides he needed a bathroom break! #50 in line quickly becomes #500 in line as a few tour groups from South America get ahead of us.
    Rode Test Track (15 min wait) , got FP for Soarin, did Living with the land, Nemo, watched the fish being fed, tasted coke (always missed this previously)
    [​IMG]
    The Cokes got the standard response...some good, some bad.
    Headed back to Soarin, what a beautiful ride.
    Kids wanted Spaceship Earth. Waited a 1/2 hour??!! I can't believe me, self proclaimed Ms. Efficiency let that one get by! Family had a good laugh at the end of the ride.
    Over to Mission Space (15 min wait) for Dad and oldest two to ride.

    By now its about 11:30. Novel idea brews...instead of eating at sunshine food court lets walk the world and get some grub. Fabulous idea!

    Being ever so efficient, we walked from Mission Space over to the UK to start our tour. Majority of family was scoping out France and Germany for main food, oldest son wanted Norway. Hit France, "nah, don't want anything." Walked by Japan, "hey, I want to see the gardens....we'll come back after food." Hit Germany, "nah, don't want anything...after food can we come back and look at the train?" Finally get to Norway and guess what, everyone eats there.
    [​IMG]
    Good food. Heat index at about 102...can you tell the youngest isn't feeling the magic right now?

    Bellies full, back to Germany for a gander at the train and then the Japanese gardens & snow cones.
    [​IMG]
    It's so hot, our shoes are almost melting as we are walking. After the gardens, family is ready to head back to the RV.

    So, continuing on our theme of efficiency, we walked out of the world back through Italy, Germany, Norway. I think the heat had raddled our brains! Stopped for a few pictures along the way.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Get to the bus stop to see a bus pulling away...ugh. Here we are waiting 20 min for another one.
    [​IMG]

    Finally, we see a bus (YEAH!!) but it has to stop at Wilderness Lodge first (bummer). This is where we decided people watching needed to be done to prevent hysteria. Got some good people watching at the lodge as a ECV person needed to get on. The woman was a novice ECV rider and had just rented it for the trip so she could save her feet. I completely understand the need for them, it just adds so much time on to load them onto the bus.

    So, internal laughing starts here....the bus driver asks this poor novice ECV woman to maneuver the ECV into the spot on the bus. Anyone ever see the "Austin Powers" movies where he is in a golf cart in a very small hallway and has to keep putting the cart in forward/ reverse to try to turn around? Well, that was this poor lady! All while the bus drivers waits patiently....I figure he could have asked her to move and parked it himself in 3 seconds flat.
    After the 5 minutes of my family doing lots of "internal laughing" eye contact the poor woman finally gets parked and we are on our way.

    Bottom line, a 7 minute car ride turned into about an hour bus ride. I feel a Disney transportation revolt coming up.....
     
  6. erstwo

    erstwo Well-Known Member

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    Love it! Can't wait for the rest!
     
  7. blackthidot

    blackthidot Well-Known Member

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    Love the retro pics!!!
     
  8. blackthidot

    blackthidot Well-Known Member

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    AWESOME avatar!
     
  9. erstwo

    erstwo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much! I'll be sure to tell my husband you said so, since he took the pic!

    Drives me nuts: I'm the one who lugs the camera, buys the equipment, reads all the photography forums, labors over getting just the right angle and light And Then my husband is just messing around before our dinner at Crystal Palace and takes what turns out to be my favorite shot of the whole trip! :confused: So annoying! :D
     
  10. mtomkins

    mtomkins New Member

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    Hoping this will make you feel better - I am almost 25 years old and though my family drives me nuts (in a good way!) my favorite part of the year is our family vacations! We mat fuss, fight, and want to kill each other at times, but the second we start talking vacation - we are best friends! Hehe. So even though everyone is getting older and you might feel like its the last if not one of the last family vacations - they always seem to bring everyone back together! ESP if you offer to pay lol. We've been to Disney 9 times I'm going for my 10th in two weeks just sister and I but something about Disney (or any family vacay for that matter) always bring out the kids in us so we always jump on board and do whatever we can do to fix our schedules (school work wise) to ensure us all going together. We just got back from our yearly family vacation (and we've since added close friends, grandmother, aunt & uncle!) and am already looking forward to next year. Though I do sometimes feel like I need a vacation after a family vacation (thanks disney world for being my vacay from a vacay! Hehe) its still something no matter how much older I get, I don't ever want to miss out on!

    And we've been referred to the griswolds multiple times on multiple vacations by complete strangers! I still go & look forward to it! So don't be sad - you just might br surprised!
     
  11. polynesiangirl

    polynesiangirl Well-Known Member

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    I loved reading this! Looks like you guys had fun. :)

    And I'll echo a previous poster -- I'm in my mid 20s and my husband and I have gone with family TONS of times since our college/dating days, and we don't intend to stop any time soon. We'll likely have trips "just" for "our" family from time to time (to make our own memories of taking our kids!) but I'm sure we'll be going on trips with our siblings/parents as well. :wave:
     
  12. jhoff3405

    jhoff3405 Active Member Original Poster

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    That does make me fell better. I am living through my own childhood experience where our family vacay's ended when I was in HS......until the 40th anniversary trip that you saw in some posted pictures!
     
  13. jhoff3405

    jhoff3405 Active Member Original Poster

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    Thanks for the kind words all. Hoping to post more tonight thru this weekend....a few of my favorite times are coming up!

    Went back to work Monday (Asst. Principal at a large suburban high school near Chicago) and getting the school ready for the kids has become the #1 priority....instead of working on my trip report!:)
     
  14. mickeysshoes

    mickeysshoes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all your time and hard work with our young ones!! I know you have a very hard job and I am sure it has to seem like most parents dont care....so again Thank You for helping raise our kids!!! :sohappy: My DD high school has a AWESOME principal and I know it makes all the difference in their education. She looks at each student has her child and she truley cares for the kids. Its not just a job for her we are family.
     
  15. minnie2000

    minnie2000 Active Member

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    Great report so far!
     
  16. jhoff3405

    jhoff3405 Active Member Original Poster

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    Tuesday July 13 PM

    Tuesday July 13 PM

    After a rest from our morning at EPCOT, we headed over to MK. On our way out of the RV...."Hey hon, should we carry around the big bag that has the ponchos in it?"...."Nah its not gonna rain."

    Took the Disney boat over to the MK and entered onto one of my favorite sights....main street! Can't describe it, somehow the castle calls to me. Moseyed on down main street and looked through the shops.

    Youngest son wanted to ride Pirates (10 min wait) and then we looked through the shops in Frontierland. Haunted Mansion (25 min wait!!!) and yes, we actually waited in the line. ("The Unofficial Guide to Disney" would be tsk,tsking me right now.) Anyway, waited in a hot line full of sweaty people. I can feel the family cranky meter rising.....

    Walked back in front of the castle (ahhhh) to ride TTA (always a favorite) and rode Buzz (25 min wait). Took some shots while waiting in line to gauge the mood......
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Riding Buzz improved the mood....

    [​IMG]

    Started pouring rain when we got out of Buzz. We thought to wait it out....it was not stopping----and no ponchos. Family cranky meter climbing again. We decided to get the heck out of dodge.

    Family looked to me since I am the Disney dork to get us out of the park without getting soaked.....I love a challenge! So under the covered walkway thru tomorrowland and into the Tomorrowland Noodle station we went. My plan was then to get to main street shops and walk out through them.....unfortunately everyone else had the same plan.

    Here is where Disney CM's start flagging people out through the back side of main street---GREAT, forget the rain, I didn't realize our admission included a backstage tour!! Through the pouring rain down the backside of main street (saw where Tinkerbell lands) and re-entry by Tony's restaurant where we find a European tour dancing and chanting in the rain. I offered my family a dance/chant in the rain as well.....it was not received very well. Cranky meter at about a 8.

    Boat line back to Fort Wilderness was huge. I decided to walk to Contemporary (we were already soaked) and grab a boat from there to FW. The 7 minute rain soaked walk to Contemporary included sentences like "Why did we leave the bag of ponchos?", " Mom, this really sucks.", "I smell.", "Mom, my shoes were not made to be this wet."...you get the idea.

    Get to the Contemporary and it had stopped raining. Some people in the Contemporary were apparently unaware that it had been raining at all as we got many looks for our drowned rat appearance. One small child told his dad, “ boy dad, that family is soaked!” My husband told the little guy “stay away from splash mountain!” To which the dad laughed . I’m sure at that moment the little guy was thinking one of two things: 1) I’m never going on splash mountain OR 2) Howcome I never got that wet riding splash mountain?

    We saw a boat...and literally ran to just miss it. Cranky meter now officially equals 10.
    [​IMG]
    But wait, my day is made as the fireworks start! (rest of the family did not share the excitement) A boat comes and we get our own personalized ride for the fireworks show! It was fantastic!!
    [​IMG]
    You can tell the family thought it was great as well.....
    [​IMG]
    (see the oldest in above pic? He is the least Disney fan but always manages a smile for me!)

    Hubby wanted a picture of me....notice I am sitting on the opposite side of the boat from the family giving myself the optimum distance.
    [​IMG]

    At the campground the internal bus was almost nonexistent...so we walked another 10 minutes back to our RV. It was, of course, a most wonderful experience.....meaning I continued to keep my distance and let them walk very far ahead of me!

    For those of you that have not been to FW campground, it is a great place. Many people decorate their campsites. Here is part of a super Disney fan's site:
    [​IMG]

    Back to the RV and showers/bed. We decided to hit Blizzard beach the next day.
     
  17. jhoff3405

    jhoff3405 Active Member Original Poster

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    Wed July 14

    Wednesday, July 14

    Blizzard Beach day! We had never been before, so I was hoping we could recoup some of the "magic" that had been lost the previous night.
    Boycotting Disney transportation, we drove 7 minutes to BB and got a front row parking spot. All 4 boys rode Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher a few times....I did not ride as I like to keep my bathing suit on my body.

    Here is the oldest son....
    [​IMG]

    The middle son...
    [​IMG]

    The youngest son (who won't ride roller coasters but has no qualms about water rides) :shrug:
    [​IMG]

    And last but definitely not least....my "4th boy" :animwink:
    [​IMG]

    Smiles abound for the family! After the 2nd time down Summit Plummet hubby states that he wants to take the chairlift....which is already a 15 minute wait?! Cardio is definitely the way to go!!

    We regrouped as a family and proceeded to ride everything in the park. The family tube ride was great! We ended up doing that one about 5 times.

    European tour groups had a new look to themselves today. Instead of matching T-shirts, there wore almost non-existent bikinis. My youngest let me know he appreciated them...ugh, I definitely live with a bunch of men!

    By about 2:30 the family wanted to wrap it up. We headed back to the RV, cleaned up and went to Whispering Canyon Cafe. This was also a new experience for us. I am not a red meat-eater, so this meal was definitely meaty. The remaining carnivores in my family thought it was great.

    Walked the Lodge---I really like this hotel and if we weren't RV'ers I would like to stay here.

    Whenever in Disney we try to walk through the different hotels. Here are a few retro pictures from previous trips--

    2004 Grand Floridian
    [​IMG]
    Winter 2006/07 Contemporary

    [​IMG]
    Parents 40th anniversary trip June 2007 Beach Club. This trip also included our 15th anniversary...this picture to me is priceless!

    [​IMG]

    Up next, Thursday July 15, Day Off.
     
  18. minnie2000

    minnie2000 Active Member

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    Great photos, especially the last one! DH and I will celebrate our 15th anniversary next Wednesday - unfortunately we won't be at WDW. :(
     
  19. corey154

    corey154 Member

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    This is one of my favorite trip reports ever...I love love love the retro pics, but your trip report made me tear up a little, I have a two year old son and an eleven year old daughter and the pictures of your family when the boys are little and now all grown up reminded me how fast time goes. My sweet little two year old has the blonde hair like your boys and will be grown before I know it, my daughter is 11, those years have already gone too quick. Thanks for sharing your family's vacation with us, and reminding us how precious the time with our kids is!! :)
     
  20. mouselvrmom

    mouselvrmom Well-Known Member

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    Loving your trip report! My oldest is almost 16 and she is definitely not in love with Disney. She wonders why we don't go anywhere else? :lol: But she will usually give me the smiles too, unless she gets grumpy! :lookaroun:lol:
     

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