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It's Christmas Time in Disney - A November Trip Report


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Original Poster
Well it’s been a month since I returned from my trip and it’s about time I started writing my trip report! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! We have certainly had a busy holiday season. The craziness started with our annual 3-day celebration of Thanksgiving before we left for 5 nights at Walt Disney World. Upon returning home from our trip, it was Christmas party after Christmas party up until the actual day. Whew. I’m exhausted just remembering all of the events. :D So now that I am finally getting some free time again, let’s get going.

The Details

Who: Me (Ashley) and my husband (Wes)

My Mom and Dad - My parents last trip was in 2009.

My Aunt (Val) and Uncle (Tom) - Their last trip was in 2008 with their daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Apparently they never left Toontown so they were very happy to learn that it was no more. :p

My cousin (Kevin) and his wife (Allyson) - This was their first trip to WDW since they were kids.

Wes’ Mom and Dad - They are DVC members and have been going just about once a year since '91 so they take a much more relaxed approach to their trips.

When: Sunday November 25th – Friday November 30th

Where: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

A Little Background Info
This trip started off with only 6 of us going; my parents, aunt and uncle and me and Wes. One weekend at the beach, we were talking to my cousin and his wife about our trip and my aunt talked them into going on our trip. We were around the 81-day mark when we added an additional 2 to our party. We had made all of our reservations at 180 days out so now we were on a mission to try to add 2 more to each reservation. Tammy was able to work her magic and get half of our reservations switched from 6 to 8 and I booked some backups for Kevin and Allyson, just in case they couldn’t eat with us. Then around the 45-day mark, Wes’ parents decided that they were also going to WDW the same time we were. Oh boy. Our party had gone from 6 to 8 to 10! My head was exploding. Hahaha I told Wes there was no way I was changing reservations again. Luckily, Wes’ parents didn’t plan on spending the entire trip with us since they don’t go to the parks every day so they were only going to join us a couple days and for one meal. After many revisions, our plans were finalized and we were ready for our trip! :D

Sunday November 25th – Disney World Here We Come!
When we planned our trip, it slipped my mind that today would be one of the busiest travel days of the year; The Sunday after Thanksgiving. Oops. We were hoping for the best but we decided we better get to the airport with some extra time just in case.

Our flight was at 9am so the plan was to leave for the airport at 6:45am. We drove to my parent’s house to meet everybody, drop off the dog with the dog sitter, and left their house a little after 7 to head to the airport. My Dad and cousin dropped the rest of us off with all of the luggage and went to park the cars in long-term parking. We checked all of our bags at curbside check in and the baggage handler couldn’t have been better. He told us all we could wait inside, since it was so cold, and brought us our boarding passes. We made our way to security and the line was the longest I have ever seen it. We got in line and slowly made our way to through security.

The line moved quicker than we thought and by the time we were through, my Dad and Kevin were almost to the front of the line. We made it to the gate by 7:49. Not too shabby. The Southwest terminal at RDU is amazing. The security line was the longest I had ever seen it and still, from the time we left our house to the time we were at the gate was only about 49 minutes. Amazing.

Our flight was easy and uneventful. We landed about 10 minutes early and I was really excited to be ahead of schedule. Then we waited on the tarmac for an additional 15 minutes and ended up getting off the plane later than our original arrival time. Not so great. We made our way to Disney’s Magical Express and there were more complications. We all went through with our booklets and then Kevin and Allyson realized that their booklet didn’t have the same barcode as ours. The cast member told them they would have to wait in the line at the counter to get one. Ugh. The trip had barely started and I was already stressed. As Kevin and Allyson were waiting in line, they realized that they had a separate DME booklet with their barcode. So after only a 5-minute delay, they were joining us in line. I asked if they had another booklet but they didn’t think they did. I should have looked at all of their paperwork beforehand but I just assumed their barcode would be in the same spot as ours. After a few minor delays, we were on the bus on our way to the Yacht Club!

Woo hoo!

With the way our morning was going, of course, the Yacht Club was the very last stop. Hahaha Isn’t that always how it is?! :) We arrived at 12:15, an hour after boarding DME. It had been a long, somewhat stressful morning but I was instantly relaxed once we entered the Yacht Club lobby! I had to pick up some MVMCP tickets for Wes’ parents and pick up Wes’ park ticket so I went to the concierge while everyone else went to check in.

I got the tickets with a minor wait and met everyone else at check in. We had requested adjoining rooms and were pleased to learn that we would get rooms right next to each other! Two of the rooms were ready, our room and Val and Tom’s. We were on the 2nd floor so we made our way to the elevators so everyone could drop off their luggage in our rooms. I was too busy with getting the tickets and checking in to take any pictures of the lobby but there would be many more later. Wes’ parents had arrived the day before so they went over to Beaches and Cream to put our name on the list for a table for 10. They were already there and waiting so after checking in, Wes went to join them while we dropped off our bags.

I was really excited because our room was really close to the elevators and later we realized that we were super close to the stairs in the lobby so waiting for elevators wasn’t necessary.

My parents dropped off their bags in our room so I needed to wait until after their room was ready to take pictures of the room. There were just too many bags and people in the way to take pictures now. :) We were also in a hurry to get to lunch at Beaches and Cream! We went next door to Val and Tom’s room to gather everyone for lunch. Wes and I had bought a little gift to give Tom for our trip. When we first started talking about this trip and staying at the Yacht Club, Wes and I decided that we should start calling Tom the Captain. The idea initially started from the How I Met Your Mother episode with the Captain. Now Tom doesn’t remind us of the Captain on the show but we just thought it would be funny for him to wear a Captain’s hat at the Yacht Club.

Tom really enjoyed his hat!

Wes texted me to let me know that our table at Beaches and Cream was ready so we all made our way to the restaurant.

Instagram love.

We were initially all seated around 2 of the round tables in the middle of the restaurant. Now, remember, there were 10 of us seated around those 2 small tables. As soon as our drinks were delivered it confirmed that there was no way that food for 10 people would fit on the table. We asked if we could pull up another round table but they said it was in another section so we couldn’t. Luckily there was a booth open that they said we could use so 4 of us moved there so we could eat our lunch without being so cramped.

We were on the Deluxe Dining Plan for this trip so there are a lot of food pictures for this trip report! :D We ordered appetizers and I was so upset because my Dad, Tom and Kevin didn’t order appetizers! :eek: How can you not order an appetizer when you are on the DDP?! Hahaha I let it slide since it was just the first meal of the trip but I still didn’t like it. My Mom, Val and I ordered onion rings, and Wes and Allyson ordered Caesar salads. Unfortunately since Allyson was sitting at the other table, I wasn’t able to get a picture of her salad before she started eating it and Wes gave his salad to his Mom so I didn’t get a picture of it either.

Mmmm delicious!

My Mom made a Mickey out of onion rings.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Now for entrees, I made sure to get pictures of everyone’s food. Val got a burger, Tom got the chicken Caesar sandwich, Allyson got the Beaches Rachel sandwich (aka a Reuben), Kevin and my Dad got the grilled cheese and tomato bisque and my Mom, Wes and I got the hot dog.

Everyone liked their entrees and then it was on to dessert! Val and Tom and Kevin and Allyson decided to split desserts and the rest of us ordered individual desserts. I figure on the DDP you gotta go big or go home! :D Val and Tom split a sundae and Kevin and Allyson got the brownie sundae.

I was able to get this picture right before Kevin started digging in. :)

I got the Milky Way sundae, Wes got the No Way Jose and split it with his parents, my Dad got the apple cranberry pie and my Mom got a scoop of chocolate and coffee ice cream.

I barely scratched the surface of my sundae but the little bit I ate was really good. Everyone was very pleased with our first meal of the trip. With very full bellies it was time to go to the parks! We said goodbye to Wes’ parents, as they wouldn’t be joining us today, and we began the very short walk over to Epcot.

We walked through the International Gateway and made our way to Future World. I had preordered the PhotoPass+ CD so I needed to go to the photo center to turn in my voucher to get our card. So we made the somewhat long journey up to the front of Epcot.

I love Epcot’s tree. The country ornaments are so cool.

There she is! What a beauty!



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Original Poster
I decided to run ahead to the photo center and told everyone else to wait by the entrance to SSE. It only took me a couple minutes and then we rode SSE. I love this attraction. The whole time I was riding this time, I kept laughing because M was our narrator. Hahaha We had seen Skyfall a couple weeks before so her voice was fresh in my mind as M.

After SSE, we made our way over to see Captain EO. On the way we got sidetracked and had to stop for some soda at Club Cool.

I didn’t get a chance to warn my family about Beverly before they tried it. They were not impressed. After we had our fill of free soda, we left Club Cool and saw that Joyful was getting ready to come out to sing. My Mom loves Gospel music so we stopped for a minute to listen to their songs. It was also a good time to take our first PhotoPass picture of the trip!

It was then time to see Captain EO!

I asked the cast member how long until the next show and he said 18 minutes. Darn. We had just missed the show. We didn’t mind waiting though so we slowly made our way into the building.

As soon as we walked in the cast member inside told us that the show was about to start. Sweet! We made it in to the theater but I was a little sad that we missed the awesomely 80s preshow. I LOVE Captain EO! It makes me laugh every time. The whips and the sneezing effects weren’t working for us which was a little bummer but I still enjoyed the show. My family thought it was good but I don’t think they loved it as much as I did. :)

After EO, it was over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends.

Nemo was as cute as always and then my Mom wanted everyone to see Turtle Talk with Crush. Val, Tom, Kevin and Allyson had never seen it before so we made our way in to see it. They all thought it was cute but I don’t think they thought it was as much of a must see as my Mom made it out to be. It was now a little after 4 so we made our way back to the Yacht Club.

One of my favorite pictures that I took of the Yacht Club

My parents and Kevin and Allyson had all received texts earlier in the day with their room numbers and my parents room was connected to Val and Tom’s room and Kevin and Allyson’s room was right across the hall. My parents moved their luggage to their room so I could now take some pictures of our room.

I was so excited about the RFID doors! My family made fun of me because I was so excited when I saw it. Hahaha

I wonder how many pictures I have just like this?

Cute shower curtain



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Original Poster
I decided to go take some pictures around the resort before dinner.

This area became our meeting spot every day before going to the parks. It was so nice to have this area so close to our room.

I love all of the signs from the Beach and Yacht Club on this display



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Original Poster
It was time for us all to meet at our spot and to head to the Yachtsman Steakhouse for our 5:10 dinner reservations. Wes and I were the first to our spot.

These chairs were so low to the ground but they were comfy

It was now 5:05 and our entire party wasn’t out of their rooms yet so some of us went ahead to check us in. We checked in right at 5:10 and weren’t seated until 5:25.

We ordered drinks and were brought some bread.

Darn this dark restaurant!

Wes’ first soda in over a year! Such a rebel.

We ordered 4 different appetizers; my Mom, Val, Kevin and I all got the lobster bisque, Allyson and Tom got the wedge salad, Wes got the assortment of artisanal cheeses, and my Dad got the pappardelle. I apologize for the super dark pictures. My little point and shoot camera can only do so much in such a dark restaurant.

The pappardelle appetizer

The lobster bisque with some auto correction on the darkness

Assortment of artisanal cheeses

Wedge Salad

At some point during our meal, we recognized Stephen Fanuka from HGTV’s Million Dollar Contractor was also eating at the restaurant. In case there are any Bravo fans out there, he was the contractor for Bethenny Frankel on her show, Bethenny Ever After, too and that is where I knew him from. He was seated a few tables away from us. It’s always neat to see a celebrity at WDW.

For dinner it was steaks all around! Wes, my Mom, Val, Allyson and I all got the filet, my Dad got the short ribs, Tom got the rib eye, and Kevin got the strip.

Filet Mignon

Filet with Brussels sprouts as a side

Rib eye

NY Strip

Short ribs

Everyone really enjoyed their entrees and it was now time for desserts. For desserts, there was a Yachtsman sundae, crème brulee, peanut butter and pretzel thing, sorbet trio and lemon pudding.

Lemon pudding

Crème brulee

Yachtsman sundae

Peanut butter and pretzel thing. My Mom and Kevin both liked it.

Sorbet trio

Dinner was really good but we had incredibly slow service. We were seated at 5:25 and didn’t leave the restaurant until 8. The meal just took forever! By the end of dinner, we were so anxious to get out of there. Before we got the checks, Wes, Allyson, my Mom and Tom all went back to the rooms to use the bathroom and get some warmer clothes for the parks. The waiter brought us our check but he didn’t split the bill even though we told him that we were all on the DDP in separate rooms. So he had to go back and separate everything so we could pay, since some people ordered wine with their meal. We were still sitting at the table when everybody returned from their rooms. Finally, we paid and left dinner to head to Epcot.

Tom decided to grab his Captain’s hat when he went back to the room.


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Love your report so far, Ashley! You are killing me with those Beaches & Cream pictures. Everything looks soooo good. Love your pretty Yacht Club pictures. :)


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Original Poster
The original plan was to see the American Adventure but we weren’t going to make the 8:15 show now since dinner took so long. At dinner we thought that we could probably wait in line for Soarin before we saw IllumiNations but again, since dinner took so long, we now wouldn’t have time. I wasn’t sure what to do with so little time before we needed to find a spot for IllumiNations so my Mom suggested we go see O’Canada. She loves this attraction and Val, Tom, Kevin and Allyson had never seen it. But before we went to O’Canada, we decided to stop on the bridge to get some PhotoPass pictures.

I love that Tom is wearing his Captain’s hat in this picture!

We saw O’Canada and everybody liked it. My Mom really likes Martin Short so she always enjoys it.

A little fun in Canada

It was close to 9 so we decided that we should start looking for a spot to watch IllumiNations. Everyone asked where I thought we should watch from and I suggested watching from the bridge between the UK and France. I like this spot and it’s really nice to be able to leave Epcot so quickly after IllumiNations. My Dad thought we should keep moving and try to find a spot where we could see SSE. So we kept moving across the bridge. Wes and I stopped to get a picture of the two of us from the same PhotoPass guy we saw earlier.

We saw another PhotoPass guy in France so we stopped there for some pictures. We decided to split up 4 and 4 and then take a group picture.

Taking this group picture was quite the ordeal. Everybody got into the picture and the guys were standing behind the girls. The PhotoPass photographer kept telling everyone to stand right behind each other, and we thought we were but he kept telling us to move. We were really confused and he said line up like cars in a lot and stand diagonal so you all will fit. We kept telling him that we wouldn’t fit and he finally came over and literally moved us into space. It was ridiculous how close we were standing together. My Mom and I’s ***** were touching, we were so close. Hahaha The picture ended up being a funny experience but it was so strange that he wanted us to be in that position so bad.

A funny picture to match the awkward pose we were in! :p

After our photo session in France, we continued trying to find a spot for IllumiNations. My Mom kept asking me where a good spot to view them was and I said that I liked the spot on the bridge but my Dad wanted to keep going. So we kept walking and my Mom kept asking me where we should stop. I told her that it didn’t matter to me and she said “Well, you are leading us”. Oh families. You gotta love them. Hahaha It was a long first day and my family was already driving me crazy. One minute they ask me my opinion, don’t take my advice and then when they don’t know where to go, they make me the leader again. So we continued walking and testing out different spots. When we got to Japan, you could finally see SSE which is what my Dad had wanted. So we grabbed a spot right behind the arch thingy. As we were standing there, everyone kept asking if this was a good spot or if we should go stand up by the restaurant. I said it didn’t matter to me but they all kept going back and forth. Finally I said we were moving to the balcony of the restaurant and we all moved. I couldn’t stand the back and forth anymore so I just needed to make a decision for everyone. :D We have stood up there before so I knew it would be a good spot.

We had a little bit of time left before IllumiNations, so Kevin and Allyson decided to go look in the shops. Then my Mom asked me if I wanted to go in the shops with her. I think she could tell that I was getting a little annoyed with everyone so it was nice to get away for a few minutes.

The view from our spot before the fireworks

The only decent picture I had. Hahaha

IllumiNations was great! It was also really nice to see the Peace on Earth ending for the holidays. It was like getting bonus IllumiNations! And I love the song “We Go On”. Such a great song. I wish it was longer because I love it so much and it just seems so short.

After IllumiNations, we made our way back to the resort and stopped at Beaches and Cream to refill our mugs. We were in our room around 10:30 and in bed by 11:30. It was a long first day but the trip had just begun!

Up next: Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom and Two Amazing Meals!


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Great start to your TR. I can't wait to read more. I'm so jealous that you ate at Beaches and Cream. I wanted to try it this trip and it just didn't happen! Oh well, next time!


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Yay! Love the TR so far! I really enjoyed your Disneymoon TR too. Can't wait for all the food pics...love the food **** ;) Beaches and Cream looks awesome and I am so bummed that we never made it there on our October trip...we were staying at BWV's and planned to go, but just couldn't fit it in.

Can't wait to read more! Oh, and I understand the stress of traveling with families and the whole "you're the leader, what are what we doing now?" thing! We love them, but they can drive us crazy!


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Original Poster
RDU!! Yay Raleigh/Durham - I'm from here too!
Woo hoo for a fellow North Carolinian! :D RDU is such a great airport. The Southwest terminal is never crowded, which I love. We will see what happens when they finally finish redoing that terminal.

Love the trip report so far!
Thanks! I'm glad you are liking it so far.

Love your report so far, Ashley! You are killing me with those Beaches & Cream pictures. Everything looks soooo good. Love your pretty Yacht Club pictures. :)
Thanks Shannon! Beaches and Cream is soooo good! :D Mmm...I wish I could eat there right now. My little point and shoot did an okay job with pictures this trip but I could tell that it was on its decline. Lucky for me, Wes' family gave me a Canon Rebel T4i for Christmas! I was not expecting that gift and I am so thankful! I can't wait to use it on our cruise in May.

Yea!!! I'm in.
Thanks for reading, Pooh'sBuddy!

Great start to your TR. I can't wait to read more. I'm so jealous that you ate at Beaches and Cream. I wanted to try it this trip and it just didn't happen! Oh well, next time!
Thanks! You need to try Beaches and Cream next time. It's such a great little restaurant. So much great food. And it's such an easy walk from Epcot through the International Gateway. The only downside is that you can't make reservations but if you get there when it opens, you shouldn't have any trouble getting a table.

Yay! Love the TR so far! I really enjoyed your Disneymoon TR too. Can't wait for all the food pics...love the food **** ;) Beaches and Cream looks awesome and I am so bummed that we never made it there on our October trip...we were staying at BWV's and planned to go, but just couldn't fit it in.

Can't wait to read more! Oh, and I understand the stress of traveling with families and the whole "you're the leader, what are what we doing now?" thing! We love them, but they can drive us crazy!
Thanks for reading! Food pictures are my favorite! Before we left for our trip, I told everyone that before they ate their food, I would need to take a picture. Hahaha They forgot at that first meal but by the end, they were pros. They even started asking me to take pictures of their food. :D There is always something on each trip that I plan to do and then don't end up having time to do. But that's what future trips are for, right? ;)

Traveling with your family is definitely more stressful when you are the one "in charge". Being a follower is a lot easier. Hahaha I love planning trips and I really don't mind being the designated leader. It's just when they ask you something and then disregard what you told them, that's when they drive me crazy. Thank God I love them or I would have gone nuts on this trip. :D


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Thanks for reading! Food pictures are my favorite! Before we left for our trip, I told everyone that before they ate their food, I would need to take a picture. Hahaha They forgot at that first meal but by the end, they were pros. They even started asking me to take pictures of their food. :D
That's grand! Love it!


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Great TR thus far! Can't imagine traveling with that large a group! Going from just my Hubs and I to Hubs + I + baby (whose name is Wes too :) ) was a challenge, haha. We were at WDW about two weeks after you - re-living my trip through your photos. Thank you for completing another report - always love following along!


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Your YC dinner looked soooooooooooooo Yummy! Now I'm wishing we'd had a chance to have dinner there when we stayed. It smelled so good when we walked by. That cheese plate looks AWESOME! Can't wait to read more!


Never let your fear decide your fate.
Premium Member
Ahhh...my dear friend we meet again...you were sooo delicious.

....This pic stopped me in my tracks. We had one of our best meals of all time at YS and this (and a cup of their ridiculous coffee blend) capped off that awesome meal.
My wife had to literally stop me from licking my plate...

ANYWAY................. Great TR.....Thanks for posting - You've got my attention and I'm following along :) .
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