Trip Report Making Lemonade out of Lemons Fractal Family Trip Report

I think we can all agree that so far 2020 has been one big sour lemon.

For those that did not read my Pre-Trip report; my entire family (Val-wife, Alex - oldest daughter, Sterg - son, Toni - youngest daughter) has recovered from the Covid-19 virus. Myself, Val, Sterg and Toni got it in March and Alex in April while working as a nurse. Val had it worse with a fever for a couple days and flu like symptoms for about a week. The rest of us were either asymptomatic or had minor symptoms.

Add to that the mental stress of living in a society dealing with this pandemic, Toni missing out on a big chunk of her High School Senior Year and her last dance recital (where she was going to take on a major role as Jasmine), work reductions for Sterg and high stress work conditions for Alex on the front line. Yes, 2020 has sure been one big sourpuss.

But, as the saying goes; "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!"

It just so happened that last year I made a reservation to attend the annual AHEPA convention in Walt Disney World, just as I did in 2017. We were going to stay at the Grand Destino Towers but that seemed very much in jeopardy when AHEPA (which is a charitable organization I'm involved with. Like a Greek version of the Knights of Columbus or Lions Club.) cancelled their convention. Soon after however, I received an email that Disney would honor our reservation in July. This was pretty tempting since we had convention rates and discounts on tickets. Long story short, we decided to go. We felt that having already had the virus gave us an extra level of protection and we knew that Disney would handle the health risks properly. In addition, we later found out that our rooms were moved from Grand Destino to the Contemporary in order to accommodate the LA Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks. Sterg's and my dream of playing Marco Polo with the Greek Freak and LeBron James in the pool were quickly dashed. But who could say no to staying at The Contemporary for $175 a night?

We were a go! It was frustrating however because although we had a resort reservation we did not have park tickets. We also didn't have a "park pass" which was needed during this reopening of WDW. We had to wait for all that to open and I had serious doubts it would by the time our first day at the resort (July 20th) rolled around. I decided to book flights without tickets or park passes. Southwest had roundtrip flights from Philly to Orlando for $90 plus if you had to cancel you got that credit for a future flight. No brainer. This was turning out to be the cheapest Disney trip we have taken as a family! Soon after I was open to buy tickets and book Park Passes. We had started to squeeze that lemon and add it's juice to our pitcher of cold water.

Now for the Cast of our adventure.

Myself - Chris/Fractal. A lover of Disney Parks for the many memories it has given me over the years with my family, the way it helps me completely unwind from my job, and how it taps into my creative side and challenges my skills as a photographer.

Here I am with my crazy kids at Christmas.



Val - my beautiful wife. Not the biggest fan of Disney but in the end she was on board. I think secretly she likes it more than she lets on. I will make it up to her with a trip more to her liking.

Here she is with Alex.



Alex - our oldest. Now a traveling nurse. Alex is like me in many ways but as she's getting older and more responsible I'm starting to see her take on a number of Val's traits. She's a good mix and always a delight to be with.

From a trip to Colorado we took last year;



Sterg, aka Fractal Jr. One word to describe Sterg - catalyst - he just makes things happen. He creates reactions both good and bad. He graduated last year from Penn State. He was a captain on the Swim Team but not without drama. He had to miss his promising senior year of swimming when a series of concussions (all outside the water) forced him to medically retire. PSU handled it very well as he helped the team from the sidelines. He now works as a digital marketing consultant as well as helping his cousin get his music career off the ground. Never a dull moment when Sterg is around!

with our dog Prince (Charming).



Toni - For long time readers of my reports you know that Toni and I have a special Disney connection. Many times she would be the only one up early with me to tackle the parks at opening. We have had many great adventures together in the Disney bubble. She's now technically an adult (how did that happen?) so I was going to find out this trip if the magic was still there. She's going to attend Clemson University starting next month and I couldn't be prouder.

Toni in front of the Theater her Recital was supposed to perform at.



So Covid-19 made our family suffer in many ways, but we took that lemon, squeezed it's juice out into our water pitcher, now we just needed a little Disney sugar to make our Lemonade complete.

Coming up - Our trip begins with a WDW meet-up before our flight even leaves the ground!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
Friday July 24th 2020 was a glorious day in Walt Disney World. It was barely 80 degrees, little humidity, blue skies and even a nice gentle breeze as I returned from another galaxy. My new destination was Baseline taproom.

Some storefronts along the way.





Whether you think Disney's introduction of more alcoholic opportunities in the parks is a cheap cash grab or not, I appreciated the fact I could walk in here and pick out a nice craft beer.

I was looking for something on the lighter side and chose the Golden Road Hefeweizen along with the Bavarian pretzel.



Finding a nice spot outside I relaxed, enjoyed my beer and pretzel, reviewed the photos I had taken earlier and just appreciated the fact that I was back in WDW with my family. This trip was deemed highly unlikely only weeks before but we made it down and despite all the weirdness and COVID mandates we were having a great time.



Thank you Baseline for the break, the beer and the time to reflex!



With the 24mm lens on I went on a mission to capture more of Hollywood Studios on this near perfect day.







Another of the many eateries closed during our stay.





Reflection shot.



And a "sort of" selfie.





I have always been a fan of the Old Hollywood motif present in DHS.

It seemed I was one of the few actually in the "Old Hollywood" area.

 
Last edited:

Darstarr

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
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Friday July 24th 2020 was a glorious day in Walt Disney World. It was barely 80 degrees, little humidity, blue skies and even a nice gentle breeze as I returned from another galaxy. My new destination was Baseline taproom.

Some storefronts along the way.





Whether you think Disney's introduction of more alcoholic opportunities in the parks is a cheap cash grab or not, I appreciated the fact I could walk in here and pick out a nice craft beer.

I was looking for something on the lighter side and chose the Golden Road Hefeweizen along with the Bavarian pretzel.



Finding a nice spot outside I relaxed, enjoyed my beer and pretzel, reviewed the photos I had taken earlier and just appreciated the fact that I was back in WDW with my family. This trip was deemed highly unlikely only weeks before but we made it down and despite all the weirdness and COVID mandates we were having a great time.



Thank you Baseline for the break, the beer and the time to reflex!



With the 24mm lens on I went on a mission to capture more of Hollywood Studios on this near perfect day.







Another of the many eateries closed during our stay.





Reflextion shot.



And a "sort of" selfie.





I have always been a fan of the Old Hollywood motif present in DHS.

It seemed I was one of the few actually in the "Old Hollywood" area.

The palm tree photos❤️🌴
How can I get my hands on one of those?
 

cgersic

Well-Known Member
I think I'm going to have to go through all of your trip reports from the beginning again! I completely agree with the Old Hollywood vibe and I just adore it. I've never been to new Hollywood so I wonder if any of this vibe is still there?
 

PolynesianPrincess

Well-Known Member
CHRIS!!! I'm totally here for this!!! I followed along on IG but I had to read this so I could hear more about your adventures and see more AWESOME photos!!!
Booo about your room not being ready til super late :( That would make me mad too!!
I can't believe how much the kids have grown up since your first TR!! Makes me feel old!! :cry:

I swear someday our trips will overlap and we will finally meet in real life!!

OK, back to reading! :)
 

MickeyCB

Well-Known Member
This looks like it is lit up from inside!!
Tiny bit of trivia, we did a short walking DVC tour in EPCOT one morning several years ago, and the guide said this mosaic wasn't signed by the artist by signature, but rather they put in a tiny (I think gold piece) sort of hidden as their signature. Each time we go in I try to find it again but have been unsuccessful so far. It is on the right near the entrance, somewhere.
 

imthewalrus79

Active Member
Just catching up on the trip report. Gotta say that when I was Sterg's age, I probably would have pulled a similar "joke." But, I would definitely be expecting revenge somewhere down the line if they haven't gotten it yet. ;)

I haven't gotten to see Galaxy's Edge yet. And your photos capturing all of those little details made me realize that I just couldn't wait any longer. I just booked a trip for the beginning of November! Although, granted, it really didn't take that much to make me decide to. LOL.

Looking forward to seeing what's next.
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
So long for now Studios, but I'll be back.





Sign of the times.



Making my way to the buses.



I never rode on the Skyliner - but Val, Alex and Toni did.



Was there a Zombie apocalypse while I was snapping pics on Hollywood Boulevard?





I stood by myself for 20 minutes without seeing another single human being. It was quite freaky. At some point I realized the stupidity of standing alone with literally no one else in sight while wearing a mask.

Where did everyone go?



Did I tell you I also didn't see a single bus pull up?

30 minutes in I couldn't take it anymore. I called for an Uber. As I headed towards the pick-up area I finally saw others. After making sure they were not indeed zombies, I warned them of the lack of transportation but they continued on the their bus area.

Leaving DHS through an empty parking lot in an Uber.



UP NEXT - Awesome pool time! / back at DHS / wonderful meal !
 

PolynesianPrincess

Well-Known Member
OK, I'm all caught up!! So nice you were able to have that morning in DHS to just soak it all in and take pictures. Your pics get better every trip! You always find the most creative angles!

Ohhhh I totally feel for Alex and her drinking around the world incident. I can't say any rides made me sick BUT after I had a mimosa, a margarita, a shot of tequila and beer, we decided to go to the Character Spot. I was PARANOID Mickey and the gang would know I was drunk 🤣 Luckily, they did not. We then rode Soarin, why we decided that was a good idea with the state I was In, we did. Thankfully, my drinks did not reappear lol

Back when the whole Sterg calling you on the phone for the Fractal party thing first happened, I told my Mom and sister about it and now every time we pass Japan I ask if Fractal is there.

So awesome you were able to meet up with so many cool WDWMagicer's!! I cannot count the number of friends I have made from this website. 10 years ago I met my best friend on here!! (@blackthidot) crazy to think I've been perusing this site for a decade now!!

Can't wait to read more! Good luck getting Toni all moved into school!
 

DouglasE

Well-Known Member
I was totally shocked by the ghost town that was the bus stops at Hollywood Studios. That was just crazy not to see a bus in 30 minutes. Glad to hear that Uber came to the rescue. It's a dramatic signal to demonstrate how much money Disney is loosing during this pandemic. Good luck to Toni at Clemson!
 

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