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!
 

mickey.mac

New Member
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Late to the trip report. Thank you for a wonderful trip report. Thank you for risking your camera to share ride pictures! You made a lot of First Order lemonade from the lemons! Belated condolences to your family member. How was the meet up with the other online community members? I hope they bring back the holiday celebrations and fireworks. It appears that we are in a new normal. Do you like Universal Orlando? Our family loves Disney cruises. The details and thoughts you share are truly a wonderful gift. I love the nostalgic photos of past trips when your children were small. What storage or cloud site do you use to store your photos? There normally is a limitation of photos uploaded to these trip reports. What is your favorite DVC hotel?
 

mickey.mac

New Member
Late to the trip report. Thank you for a wonderful trip report. Thank you for risking your camera to share ride pictures! You made a lot of First Order lemonade from the lemons! Belated condolences to your family member. How was the meet up with the other online community members? I hope they bring back the holiday celebrations and fireworks. It appears that we are in a new normal. Do you like Universal Orlando? Our family loves Disney cruises. The details and thoughts you share are truly a wonderful gift. I love the nostalgic photos of past trips when your children were small. What storage or cloud site do you use to store your photos? There normally is a limitation of photos uploaded to these trip reports. What is your favorite DVC hotel?
Happy Birthday to you!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
One more chance to shoot Haunted Mansion. The 24mm was my lens for the day so off we go!





Escher stairs - so dark! Shot this at ISO 6400 but increased exposure by 4 stops in post processing so it's equivalent to ISO 51,200! Definitely more in the photo that I saw with my eyes. Very cool scene!



This is a shot, for some reason I could never get - until now.



Cool wallpaper.



Let's dance!



Not an entirely horrible way to spend eternity.



I can see where this marriage is headed.



:eek:

 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
Happy Birthday!!

Thank you sir!

Happy Birthday! 🥳
Hope you enjoyed your special day.
View attachment 505696

Thanks!

View attachment 505704

(Oops, I'm behind on reading my favorite trip reports. 🤦‍♀️)

Happy belated birthday to you, Fractal, and many more to come! :)

Thank you @MinnieM123 !
Happy Birthday!! I hope you had a great day!!

Thank you!


I know you get a lot of accolades about your pictures BUT...the Haunted Mansion pictures are above and beyond, hands down the best you've ever taken. The detail you captured in the scenes is incredible, especially the one with the ghost and the coffin and the dance scene. Amazing! Also throwing in belated birthday wishes.

Thanks @BigDis ! I was happy how they came out!
View attachment 505734HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!! Hope your day was a magical one!!!

Thanks @lindawdw ! It was!



Wow!! Those HM photos! Soooo fun and yup, I was humming along!

Lol! Thanks @cgersic !

Ditto everyone else’s comments about the HM - I try every time but with a point and shoot what do I expect but black photos with nothing in - that constant jolting makes it difficult to get anything anyway but you managed it - Amazing.

Thank you @Longers!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
I had a crazy busy weekend. I was Chairman (again) for our 50th annual Greek Food Festival at our Church. Ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As you can imagine we had to do things very different this year. Orders were either fulfilled through a drive-thru system or online order and pick up. My trip to WDW gave me some good ideas on how to proceed. It turned out to be incredibly successful and exceeded our most optimistic expectations - but man was it insane and not without a few mishaps! Pretty tired today but wanted to wrap up this report over the next day or two.

After Haunted Mansion, we had a date with an adventurous rabbit.



A little easier lighting for the camera.



Sterg loves to tease Alex about her height and because of Alex's good nature, has become a another funny inside joke. "Better make sure Alex!".



Zippidy walking through the queue line. Love this birdhouse!



Absolutely Zero Wait. I'm starting to realize as I look back on this trip more and seeing how the crowds are now higher, how rare this opportunity was for us.





In a flash we were ready to board!





Splash Mountain Selfie.



First drop!





Still sticking with the 24mm lens.



Didn't take nearly as many photos as I did first time in SM. I mostly sat back and enjoyed the ride along with my rare time with Alex and Sterg.



It was a wonderful last day.



Not sure I'll ever see this again.



Splash has always been one of my favorites. I know I'll miss it when they replace but I'm sure WDW will do a great job with Princess and the Frog! (did I say that already?)
 
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