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Trip Report I Couldn't Love You, but Here's $0.25 in Souvenirs- Celebrating 10 Years of Kid Trips to Disney

We began our adventures early on the morning of February 5th. Just before 7am CT, we had my vehicle loaded up and ready to go. I’m not sure how we did it, but we managed some room for the dog so we could drop her off for boarding (aka Camp!) on our way out of town. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. She gets comfortable in the strangest positions...

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I haven’t set foot in my office since March 16, 2020, so I have no idea what rush hour really looks like these days or if Fridays are still lighter traffic days...but it was a breeze getting out of Houston.

I have no pictures for you until shortly after Lafayette, LA. I was driving up until this point, but after a series of urgent texts from my boss, we decided to stop and switch drivers. I’m not a big fan of critical conference calls at the start of my vacation, but these days, I’m thankful to be gainfully employed. After I got off the phone, I took a few pics as we were driving through the Atchafalaya.

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It’s probably for the best that I wasn’t taking pics prior to this. Everything around Lake Charles, not too far west of this area, is still showing a lot of damage and tarps from the 2020 hurricane season, so it's pretty depressing. I also hate driving over the Mississippi in Baton Rouge, so I was pretty happy to have David at the wheel.

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Speaking of David (and everyone else), if you want all of the details, please take a look at my PTR. https://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/family-return-to-wdw-take-2.971452/

Now, if it looks rainy and gloomy...it’s because it was. We were at the leading edge of a front that was moving east. The rain stayed with us for a good portion of the drive.

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In light of everything Covid, we didn’t stop at any of our usual lunch spots. I packed a small cooler full of lunch stuff and we stopped at the Mississippi welcome center to eat. Unfortunately, it was really chilly, so we ate in the car. That didn’t stop a ton of pigeons from surrounding us in hopes that we’d drop some crumbs on the way to the trash.

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I was aiming for Tallahassee for the night. That’s usually where we wind up when we make good time, but we’d left so early that we were in Tallahassee by dinner time...even with losing an hour when crossing into the Eastern time zone. We didn't even have traffic with the tunnel in Mobile! Not sure why we decided on Whataburger when we have tons of them at home and this one was way off the highway, but we went a bit out of our way to eat at this one for who knows what reason. At least it had a nice little drive-in area to park and eat.

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Somewhere in between Pensacola and Tallahassee, we also developed a bit of a car problem…

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Somehow, my front sensor got blocked, which in turn disabled all of my front end safety features...as well as my cruise control. I’d had this happen once before, but it quickly corrected itself. This time, it wasn’t going away. The rest of the trip both to Disney and back would be done without cruise control. I felt like I’d jumped back in time to my first car!

We could have stopped for the night at this point. It was late enough that it wouldn’t have been crazy, but it was early enough that we felt the need to push on. So, I booked a hotel in Gainesville and we kept driving. I lived in Gainesville for several years in the early to mid 90s, so it always feels a bit strange to go back, but it was the best option for the night. It took a little bit of time to get all of our stuff upstairs, but by driving a bit farther this evening, we could all relax a bit and sleep in a little the next morning. And silly...we could be silly.

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We slept in a little on February 6th. I think it was around 9am when we went downstairs to grab some breakfast to bring back to the room. It was mainly just some cereal, fruit and hard boiled eggs. We couldn’t sit around too long, because we remembered that I forgot to get cash. I couldn’t remember if the toll plazas had switched to toll by plate (they had) and I’d need some cash for tips upon arrival at WDW. So, we waved good-bye to the LaQuinta…

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And headed to Publix…

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I didn’t spend a lot of time in there, but it was really strange, because this was the Publix we’d shop at when we lived in Gainesville. It just happened to be the closest to the hotel. It also was in the same shopping center as a restaurant I used to work at for a couple of years...so a real trip down memory lane.

With cash in hand (and an extra stick of deodorant purchased so I could get cash back), we were on our way to WDW. I also got some time to call and set up an appointment to get my vehicle in the shop when we got home (more on that later).

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David was driving, so I was actually able to take a few pics on my phone when we arrived.

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This was also his choice of arrival music. I still don’t get it, but he’s got a pretty fun Idina Menzel impersonation. I regret not taking video, but I was taking pictures.

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I’m sure most of us have experienced this, but between my phone, the MDE app, and our magic bands, they knew that we were on property. I immediately got notification that our room wasn’t ready, so I wasn’t expecting much upon arrival.

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After getting a multitude of welcome homes from the security booth attendant (Kendall had all kinds of questions about this practice), a very nice guy with bell services helped with our luggage (who looked kind of funny at the big air mattress I had in the mix) and a woman, who magically knew it was me, told me she’d messaged housekeeping to put a rush on our room. So, all there was left to do at this point was park and figure out what to do with ourselves while we waited. Since I’d canceled our B&C ADR, we didn’t have any place to be until 5pm...and it was 11:48am. Hey, I told Disney we’d be showing up around noon.

Coming up...managing the wait, first impressions on our room, and an evening in Disney Springs.
 

ferbtones

Active Member
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So excited to see a new trip report from you.
Have followed you through family trips and running trips, and I always love you photos and write ups.
And your choice of bags..... fellow Dooney nut.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Yay!!! So glad to see so many people joining in. I will try my best to keep things interesting.

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I could tell David was getting a bit hangry, and even though I’m pretty good about sharing trip details, not everyone listens. So, he was having a bit of panic about when to eat and where to eat. I had previously said we could just grab a bite at the BW Bakery if we had to wait and then just move on to DS to snack some more before our ADRs, but I think I was the only one that remembered that detail.

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Once we were all on the same page...sort of...we grabbed some snacks at the bakery (and David got a meal). Thankfully, we found an open table to enjoy our goodies. Also pretty thankful there wasn't any line, because the mobile ordering return time wasn't pretty.

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The kids and I had some really nutritious snacks. Parent of the year right here!

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David got a cupcake just like the girls’, but it was too much for him with his meal. That cupcake wasn’t eaten until our last morning...mainly because he didn’t want to travel with it! I mean, it’s really just a muffin with frosting...right? For now, though, he had a chicken Caesar salad.

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The kids were getting bored, so they decided to take a walk around the lake. I think it’s so bizarre how the different phones register on these tracking apps. Sometimes it’s super specific and sometimes it’s moving near Texas...or in this case, Florida. That’s kind of a broad description of her location!

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They wound up taking two laps because they had nothing else to do. I asked if they walked over to the IG to see the Skyliner up close and Kendall acted like she’d never been to WDW...like the IG was some foreign land. I told her she had the WDW app with a smart map, but she flipped out. Confidence really not high for them going off on their own!

Eventually, we moved up to the wicker furniture on the deck and they played on their phones. It was now David’s turn to walk.

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I know it was after 1pm...maybe even close to 2...when I decided to check with the front desk on our room status. I know check in technically isn’t until 4pm for a villa, but since online check in allows for an arrival time to be noted and we’re not staying as DVC guests, it’s really not unreasonable to ask when we’re approaching 2 hours past that noted arrival time. And it’s not like I’m going to throw a fit if they tell me I have to wait another hour...just trying to gauge scheduling. The guy that I spoke with at the front desk was really the only less than magical CM of this trip (OK...maybe 1 of 2). He seemed really annoyed by the whole thing and gave me a mini spiel on him having no way of knowing or impacting my room readiness...yet he supposedly put in another call to housekeeping while I was there. I wasn’t letting it get to me, so I thanked him for his time. So, I went back outside and we started to game plan if things got too close to 4pm. The plan was to hit up Disney Springs in our travel clothes we’d been in all day if our room wasn’t ready by that point. Hey, the sweatshirt I was wearing had two holes in the sleeve from the dog playing a wild game with my arm, but it said Disney on it...so it’s good, right?

All this time, I had also been trying the app to see if a room number would pop up, but it was always in vain. Although, I do like that feature on the app and the virtual room key functionality. Thankfully, I got our room notification before having to resort to hitting DS in our travel clothes…

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Of course David was still out walking, so I texted him the room info and then decided to take the kids up to start inspecting things before getting all of our stuff.

I’m not sure why, but I always seem to head to the balcony to check the view before anything else.

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It’s just a standard view, so I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular, but I was pretty pleased. Sure, I can’t see Spaceship Earth like some BW standard views, but the Skyliner view is pretty sweet. Funny, but my parents were upgraded to a pool view of Luna Park and they preferred our view.

Now that I’ve taken in the view, it was time to look over the room. @ferbtones You can see the Dooney I decided to bring along on this trip. It’s about 7 years old and I think it’s still my favorite of my Disney bags.

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Sort of an early spoiler alert, but I didn’t buy any bags this trip. I treated myself to a non-Disney Harveys satchel as well as a vintage Chloe bag before Christmas, so I was in purse jail for this trip. I got great deals on both, but two bags is plenty for a while. That Chloe was also something that was well out of the budget when it was in production back in 2005-2006, so it was very special to finally add it to my collection without breaking the bank. It’s probably for the best since I’m saving for a super telephoto for our summer trip.

Ok, back to touring the room…

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***Yes!!! Lots of H2O goodies in the room!!!

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HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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So, that’s the room. I was in love with the amount of space and pretty happy with the look of things. In fact, I was afraid of how spoiled this was going to make everyone...especially since all of the rooms I’ve booked for our summer trip are your basic hotel/motel kind of rooms. As the trip progressed, my opinions would shift here and there on the room and the present situation with things at WDW. Still, I was happy. The room also gave me some good perspective for some upcoming softball travel and why we need something like this vs. standard hotel rooms. See… it was worth the added cost! Ha!

David made his way up to the room and while I’m not sure if he used his band or the MDE app, he got in without a problem. That’s always a concern...getting to your room and you can’t get in. I remember it happening to us at the Contemporary one time. Memories! Somewhere around this time, I also did a reception check. I wanted to make sure I knew the best spots in the room for phone bars since we’d be hitting up DHS the next day and RotR was our #1 goal. Turns out, the best spot is on the balcony!

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We still had a decent amount of time, so we hiked to the car to get the rest of our stuff...which was mainly food and drinks. You don’t realize how long that walk is until you’re carrying a couple of cases of soda, a case of water, and breakfast stuff for a week. After that, we cleaned up a bit...I changed out of my old Disney sweatshirt...and we headed to Disney Springs. I tell ya, it’s been quite some time (maybe summer 2015) since I’ve driven to and parked in Disney Springs, but I really like the updates to the parking garages.

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Things were feeling a bit busy. It was a Saturday night, so I wasn’t shocked either. Still, I was sweating in my more dressy attire for the evening and suddenly became very aware that I was about to have my temperature checked. Thankfully, all was good, but I was nervous!

Time to head down and check things out!

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Coming up...exploring Disney Springs and the food!
 

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