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!
 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
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I'm trying to figure out what Toni is sitting on -- is that a bed or a sofa, and why is it up so high? Is that storage area underneath?
I'm guessing it's a lofted bed. They are really common for dorm rooms because you can put stuff under the bed that wouldn't fit otherwise. Some people do bunk beds if they have a roommate so they can put stuff on the other wall, but some do the lofts so they can keep their stuff on their own side if they have roommates. My roommate and I had bunkbeds my freshman year and we put the mini fridge and some shelving things on the other wall where the one bed was. But a friend of mine had a single room and she lofted her bed so she could have a bit more storage space.
 

cfry06

Well-Known Member
Toni all moved in. Then went to Nashville to meet up with Alex.View attachment 497887View attachment 497888
Yay for Toni!! Hope she has the best year! I‘ve never been, but Clemson looks like an awesome atmosphere!

...and we LOVED Nashville, were just there in December. Hope you had the best time - hard not to! Although I’m sure different this year. Always the most photogenic family!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
Just got back home after a long day of driving.

Alex and Val however are now in Kansas City Missouri. Alex's next assignment as a traveling nurse is in San Diego so they are driving cross-country there with additional stops in Denver, Salt Lake City and possibly San Fran depending on the fires.

Will catch up with the comments tomorrow and the report. Also have a lot of catching up with other reports!

Nashville is a neat city that seems to be growing quickly! I lost count of the cranes and new office buildings going up. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Some pics from a short stay...

















 

Ghostdog

Well-Known Member
I'm guessing it's a lofted bed. They are really common for dorm rooms because you can put stuff under the bed that wouldn't fit otherwise. Some people do bunk beds if they have a roommate so they can put stuff on the other wall, but some do the lofts so they can keep their stuff on their own side if they have roommates. My roommate and I had bunkbeds my freshman year and we put the mini fridge and some shelving things on the other wall where the one bed was. But a friend of mine had a single room and she lofted her bed so she could have a bit more storage space.
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It’s definitely a lofted bed; we recently moved our daughter into her dorm room too and she did the same setup. Lofting the bed makes for lots of underneath storage; our daughter has a small refrigerator, a 4 drawer storage bin and her dresser under her bed.
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
The palm tree photos❤🌴
How can I get my hands on one of those?
Ask nicely. 🙂
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?

That's a good question. I was there in 2012 and some of it was still around, but in a tough neighborhood that seems to be imposing more and more.


I agree. I'd love that framed on my wall when the snow flies in January here in the frozen tundra. Your pictures alone make me smile , the stories make me laugh. Thank you!

👍 thanks for following @BuckyMom !
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! :)

Hi Darolyn! For the record @PolynesianPrincess has been following and commenting on my Trip Reports from the beginning!

Thanks for coming aboard and posting! Looks like Houston was a great move for you. 🙂

Making you feel old? How about me! 😄

So happy you are going back soon! Yes, someday are paths shall meet inside a Disney Park!


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.

thanks!

That is really interesting!
 

Tiggerish

Resident Redhead
Premium Member
It’s definitely a lofted bed; we recently moved our daughter into her dorm room too and she did the same setup. Lofting the bed makes for lots of underneath storage; our daughter has a small refrigerator, a 4 drawer storage bin and her dresser under her bed.

I'm just curious--what do short people do? I'm 5'3", I can't imagine getting into one of those beds!!!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
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.

Sterg would argue that his tricks are revenge on all the mistreatment he received over the years. That's when I play the tiny "air violin" and pretend I'm crying.

Awesome that you book a trip! You'll have a great time, especially if you can "go with the flow" more so than a typical trip!
Love the details you were able to get on the palm trees!

Baseline is on my list for our next trip. I don’t care for beer (I do like cider), but it might be a nice break for my IPA-loving, Disney-hating father.

Yes - perfect break for your Father!

Thanks @newhorizons1 We all need to see some new photos from you! Congrats on your beautiful young and growing family! :)

“Was there a zombie apocalypse”; when I read that I laughed out loud because that’s exactly what I was thinking. Was it eery at times being so empty?

Yes - very eery!
Hope the trip goes well. Good luck to Toni!

Thanks Bill! Went great!
I can't believe the photos comparing now to 2017! It's probably why I had such a good time recently - no bumping elbows!

Yes, really hard to believe.

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!

Yes, very telling. Thanks @DouglasE !
Hey you're in my neck of the woods! Does Alex live in Nashville or is she just on vacation there right now?

Hi @sheriffwoody ! If you haven't read, it was a place we could meet up with Alex before her big trip West!


I'm trying to figure out what Toni is sitting on -- is that a bed or a sofa, and why is it up so high? Is that storage area underneath?

Indeed it is a lofted bed with lots of storage space underneath. It's higher than she wanted but it was required in order to fit the combination frig/microwave that she rented. Clemson did not "allow" you to bring your own frig but I saw quite a few being moving in by others.


I'm guessing it's a lofted bed. They are really common for dorm rooms because you can put stuff under the bed that wouldn't fit otherwise. Some people do bunk beds if they have a roommate so they can put stuff on the other wall, but some do the lofts so they can keep their stuff on their own side if they have roommates. My roommate and I had bunkbeds my freshman year and we put the mini fridge and some shelving things on the other wall where the one bed was. But a friend of mine had a single room and she lofted her bed so she could have a bit more storage space.

Exactly correct.
Yay for Toni!! Hope she has the best year! I‘ve never been, but Clemson looks like an awesome atmosphere!

...and we LOVED Nashville, were just there in December. Hope you had the best time - hard not to! Although I’m sure different this year. Always the most photogenic family!

Clemson has a beautiful campus! Nashville was great even with all the restrictions!

Thanks @cfry06 !


It’s definitely a lofted bed; we recently moved our daughter into her dorm room too and she did the same setup. Lofting the bed makes for lots of underneath storage; our daughter has a small refrigerator, a 4 drawer storage bin and her dresser under her bed.

Yep!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
OK, so where did we leave off?

Oh yeah - I was now back at the Contemporary after a morning alone in DHS. The rest of my crew was at the pool enjoying the amazing weather and the refreshing (not warm) pool water. I raided the Covid relief/distress section of our room and made myself a stiff drink. Making my way to the poolside without any (major) incident I posed for a picture by Toni.



And returned the favor.



After rubbing in dubious amounts of sun tan lotion I sunned myself for about 3 1/2 minutes then decided to go in the water.

"You're ridiculous!" Val protested. "You just put suntan lotion on and now you're going in the pool?"

"Yep."
was the only response I could come up with. Simply, honest and yet a weak defense to Val's valid cross examination.

My port of entry into the swimming pool was via the tall twisty water slide. Just as with the slide at Beach/Yacht club, I found the seams in the chute to be very hard on my back.

I asked Toni to bring me my Pixel 2 as I decided to take advantage of it's waterproof capabilities.

For those that read my last trip report, you can see that I did NOT shave my chest hair.



Val was having a great time; enjoying all the family interaction. The pool CM was playing a Disney trivial game over her mic and I was chiming in getting most of the questions correct. At first the kids (and Val) thought it was embarrassing. But after a string of right answers the kids (NOT Val) started cheering me on.



Somewhere in the midst of all of this we got someone to take a family picture of us.



I then started doing selfies with Val and Toni.





Sterg, of course, couldn't be left out.



Before long it became an entire family thing.



We were genuinely having a great time just taking picture in the Contemporary pool!






We spent another few hours there, swimming, joking, taking pictures, playing Disney trivia - maybe had another drink or two. Terrific family time in the Disney bubble but not in a Disney Park. The fact that the entire pool section was "mask optional" made it even more enjoyable.

Contemporary was far from the best Disney pool we've been in (Beach Club) but on this day - it was the most fun we had in any Disney pool.
 
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Sillysidewalker

Well-Known Member
OK, so where did we leave off?

Oh yeah - I was now back at the Contemporary after a morning alone in DHS. The rest of my crew was at the pool enjoying the amazing weather and the refreshing (not warm) pool water. I raided the Covid relief/destress section of our room and made myself a stiff drink. Making my way to the poolside without any (major) incident I posed for a picture by Toni.



And returned the favor.



After rubbing in dubious amounts of sun tan lotion I sunned myself for about 3 1/2 minutes then decided to go in the water.

"You're ridiculous!" Val protested. "You just put suntan lotion on and now you're going in the pool?"

"Yep."
was the only response I could come up with. Simply, honest and yet a weak defense to Val's valid cross examination.

My port of entry into the swimming pool was via the tall twisty water slide. Just as with the slide at Beach/Yacht club, I found the seams in the chute to be very hard on my back.

I asked Toni to bring me my Pixel 2 as I decided to take advantage of it's waterproof capabilities.

For those that read my last trip report, you can see that I did NOT shave my chest hair.



Val was having a great time; enjoying all the family interaction. The pool CM was playing a Disney trivial game over her mic and I was chiming in getting most of the questions correct. At first the kids (and Val) thought it was embarrassing. But after a string of right answers the kids (NOT Val) started cheering me on.



Somewhere in the midst of all of this we got someone to take a family picture of us.



I then started doing selfies with Val and Toni.





Sterg, of course, couldn't be left out.



Before long it became an entire family thing.



We were genuinely having a great time just taking picture in the Contemporary pool!






We spent another few hours there, swimming, joking, taking pictures, playing Disney trivia - maybe had another drink or two. Terrific family time in the Disney bubble but not in a Disney Park. The fact that the entire pool section was "mask optional" made it even more enjoyable.

Contemporary was far from the best Disney pool we've been in (Beach Club) but on this day - it was the most fun we had in any Disney pool.

These pool pictures are parenting dreams!!! When your adult kids chose to spend time with you and are having the time of their lives! So fun!
 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
OK, so where did we leave off?

Oh yeah - I was now back at the Contemporary after a morning alone in DHS. The rest of my crew was at the pool enjoying the amazing weather and the refreshing (not warm) pool water. I raided the Covid relief/destress section of our room and made myself a stiff drink. Making my way to the poolside without any (major) incident I posed for a picture by Toni.



And returned the favor.



After rubbing in dubious amounts of sun tan lotion I sunned myself for about 3 1/2 minutes then decided to go in the water.

"You're ridiculous!" Val protested. "You just put suntan lotion on and now you're going in the pool?"

"Yep."
was the only response I could come up with. Simply, honest and yet a weak defense to Val's valid cross examination.

My port of entry into the swimming pool was via the tall twisty water slide. Just as with the slide at Beach/Yacht club, I found the seams in the chute to be very hard on my back.

I asked Toni to bring me my Pixel 2 as I decided to take advantage of it's waterproof capabilities.

For those that read my last trip report, you can see that I did NOT shave my chest hair.



Val was having a great time; enjoying all the family interaction. The pool CM was playing a Disney trivial game over her mic and I was chiming in getting most of the questions correct. At first the kids (and Val) thought it was embarrassing. But after a string of right answers the kids (NOT Val) started cheering me on.



Somewhere in the midst of all of this we got someone to take a family picture of us.



I then started doing selfies with Val and Toni.





Sterg, of course, couldn't be left out.



Before long it became an entire family thing.



We were genuinely having a great time just taking picture in the Contemporary pool!






We spent another few hours there, swimming, joking, taking pictures, playing Disney trivia - maybe had another drink or two. Terrific family time in the Disney bubble but not in a Disney Park. The fact that the entire pool section was "mask optional" made it even more enjoyable.

Contemporary was far from the best Disney pool we've been in (Beach Club) but on this day - it was the most fun we had in any Disney pool.
All those perfect smiles....you all look like a toothpaste advertisement!
 

Minnesota disney fan

Well-Known Member
Just got back home after a long day of driving.

Alex and Val however are now in Kansas City Missouri. Alex's next assignment as a traveling nurse is in San Diego so they are driving cross-country there with additional stops in Denver, Salt Lake City and possibly San Fran depending on the fires.

Will catch up with the comments tomorrow and the report. Also have a lot of catching up with other reports!

Nashville is a neat city that seems to be growing quickly! I lost count of the cranes and new office buildings going up. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Some pics from a short stay...



















Just be sure to stand up with your drink when they play Dixie!!!! First time on the strip, in an out of the way bar, they started playing Dixie and everyone stood up, but I didn't know all the words. Don't know what would happen if you didn't stand up, LOL.
Love Tennessee, we lived there about 13 years, west of Nashville. The freeway, I40, is pretty scary:jawdrop: with all those trucks!

Congratulations on Alex's traveling RN position:) I have considered it as an RN, but never did it. I think it's a great way to see the country or the world for a young person. Let us know how she is doing out in California with the wild fires, if you can:)
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
After pool time we all got ready and went our separate ways. The "girls" headed to Disney Springs for some shopping while the "boys" hopped on a bus to Hollywood Studios.



Bathroom selfie with the only thing in focus is my watch. You can still make out my new Mickey shirt however!



"DUDE - NICE SHIRT BUT WHERE ARE THE EARS? HA,HA,HA."




Trying to get on RotR. Were we going to be successful?






We decided on another way to get our StarWars fix.





Shout out to Comedian/TSA droid.



Like he's 10 years old again! But definitely not 14 years old again - that version of Sterg wanted nothing to do with photos.




Accidentally saving the Galaxy with 3PO never seems to get old!

We then went for a walk around Studios. Not rushing to a next ride just taking it all in and enjoying the scenery and delicious weather.





The Brown Derby was our choice for dinner that evening and also the spot we were to rendezvous with the girls.




My camera battery was getting low but I wasn't worried because I called Toni earlier and gave her VERY SPECIFIC instructions on where my charged camera batteries were in the room and she confirmed to me she had them as they left the hotel. Can you see where this is going?



Definitely not 14!

 
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ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
OK, so where did we leave off?

Oh yeah - I was now back at the Contemporary after a morning alone in DHS. The rest of my crew was at the pool enjoying the amazing weather and the refreshing (not warm) pool water. I raided the Covid relief/distress section of our room and made myself a stiff drink. Making my way to the poolside without any (major) incident I posed for a picture by Toni.



And returned the favor.



After rubbing in dubious amounts of sun tan lotion I sunned myself for about 3 1/2 minutes then decided to go in the water.

"You're ridiculous!" Val protested. "You just put suntan lotion on and now you're going in the pool?"

"Yep."
was the only response I could come up with. Simply, honest and yet a weak defense to Val's valid cross examination.

My port of entry into the swimming pool was via the tall twisty water slide. Just as with the slide at Beach/Yacht club, I found the seams in the chute to be very hard on my back.

I asked Toni to bring me my Pixel 2 as I decided to take advantage of it's waterproof capabilities.

For those that read my last trip report, you can see that I did NOT shave my chest hair.



Val was having a great time; enjoying all the family interaction. The pool CM was playing a Disney trivial game over her mic and I was chiming in getting most of the questions correct. At first the kids (and Val) thought it was embarrassing. But after a string of right answers the kids (NOT Val) started cheering me on.



Somewhere in the midst of all of this we got someone to take a family picture of us.



I then started doing selfies with Val and Toni.





Sterg, of course, couldn't be left out.



Before long it became an entire family thing.



We were genuinely having a great time just taking picture in the Contemporary pool!






We spent another few hours there, swimming, joking, taking pictures, playing Disney trivia - maybe had another drink or two. Terrific family time in the Disney bubble but not in a Disney Park. The fact that the entire pool section was "mask optional" made it even more enjoyable.

Contemporary was far from the best Disney pool we've been in (Beach Club) but on this day - it was the most fun we had in any Disney pool.

I love these pictures of your family having fun in the pool. So cool that you all really enjoy it other it really shows in these pics!
 

lindawdw

Well-Known Member
I am finally all caught up with your umpteen updates!!! 🤣 I can't even begin to tell you how much I am enjoying all of your photos on this TR! The angles and brilliant colors that you have been able to capture are like none other that I have seen at WDW! I have tried so often to get pictures inside Spaceship Earth and they all come out blurry. I only use my phone camera, and have no photography skills, but I can truly appreciate your skillset. Loved seeing how much fun you all had together back at the Contemporary pool on that fabulous weather day!! Hope you were able to get a BG for ROTR! :)
 
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