Trip Report Oh, the Places We go, The People We See

Welcome to my newest Trip Report. For those who don’t know me, I am Jen.


That’s my Daughter Claire with me.

We just got back from an amazing vacation with several family members.

We traveled Nov. 1st thru the 15th, 2012. We rested our headed at 6 different places on this trip, and though it wasn’t always easy to keep moving from place to place, I am happy to have tried some new resorts out and stayed at some familiar ones as well.

This trip came about over a year ago. My Mom’s cousin Vicki wanted to take a trip with her and my Aunt Mary. Her Daughter Katie also wanted to come along.

After some talking and planning it became a group of 16 traveling. I was elected ring leader since I have quite a bit of Disney experience.

Plans were made, some were changed, and some were a little slower at making decisions than others.

My husband Skip is what is known in the Disney groups as a resistor and he decided NOT to come along. He was not so happy about the amount of time I was going to be gone.

The dates for the cruise were set first, Nov 4 through the 8th on the Disney Dream. We all planned to arrive a day early and stay at the Residence Inn near the port. Soon I decided that I must add a few Disney days, and so did everyone else eventually. I thin decide…heck lets add some more, and Claire and I ended up staying 3 more days after the rest left.

Then after doing some research and with a heads up from my good Dis-friend Carey, I was alerted to the fact that the last Halloween party was on Nov. 2nd. How could I pass that chance up? So Claire and I decided to fly in a day earlier than everyone else to hit that party. Claire and I also decided to fly out of Columbus. My family lives near the Toledo, OH area, and the best direct flights are out of Detroit. My youngest sister, who was not going on the cruise, lives in Columbus, and I was able to get a decent priced direct flight from there, so Claire and I drove down Nov. 1 and spent the night before our early flight.

Plans were finally all set in stone and we just had to wait for our time to arrive. Not an easy task, but we all managed.

Let me introduce you to the crew. This is a picture of a picture. My sister has the CD with the actual digital copy, but hasn’t yet loaded it to the computer, so I had to go with this for now till I can get a copy.


In the back row, left to right, we have my parents, Joe and Paula, next to them is my Uncle Geoff. Next to Geoff is cousin Vicki and her son in law Thad. Next to Thad is Pete, Vicki’s husband and then me. Aunt Mary is on the end, she is married to Uncle Geoff and my Mother’s sister.

Down towards the front, left to right, is my nieces Alexis and Abby with their parents Rob and Gail. Gail is my sister. Front and center is Claire. Behind Claire are Jude, and Katie. Katie is married to Thad and is Pete and Vicki’s Daughter. And then we have baby Luke in the stroller. He is only about 9 months old and what a cutie he is.

This trip had the usual ups and downs that most every family will have, but I have to admit things went much smoother than I planned. We never felt the need to kill each other for the most part. LOL

We had several cruise newbies and several Disney World newbies as well.

Please join me in reliving a very magical trip with all the places we traveled and all the people we met along the way!


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Original Poster
hey jenseib! i am ready. did you save up from simple?

Hey there! I haven't seen you in so long. You should PM me your email so we can chat. Or if you are on facebook, we can get together there.
I haven't been to that site for quite some time, at least regularly. I have just been too busy!


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Original Poster
Nov. 1, 2012, Thursday

Today was the day….the day we had been looking forward to for so long. But it was a busy day too.
Claire had to go to school today. Of course she tried to figure ways to be able to stay home and help, but I wasn’t going to fall for it. I had a lot to do, actually the whole week had been busy, so it was more helpful for me for her to be away from the action.

The night before had been Halloween. I worked hard that day to get as much ready as possible before we left for the big trick or treating extravaganza.
Claire was a “nice” vampire. So nice that she refused to put in her teeth. Even for pictures. We went with some friends and here is a picture of the kids.


So with a sugar and Disney high, I sent her off to school. That poor teacher.

I had a project I had to finish and deliver before I could leave, so I spent my morning on that and then loaded my car up with luggage.

Before I knew it, it was 2:30 and time to pick Claire up. She was beyond excited…and so was I.

We went home and changed her clothes and had a little time to waste before leaving. We couldn’t leave too early or we would get to my sister’s house before she was home from work.
I told Claire to be sure she put on her white tennis shoes, as those were going to be her main park shoes for the trip.

We said our good byes to Skip and lots of hugs and kisses were given. He acts like he is Mr. Cool, but I know he was going to miss us.

I think we hit the road around 3:30ish, give or take.
This was going to be boring. Within 10 minutes, Claire asked how much longer. LOL She had her ipod and played with that for most of the trip and I had “Mocking Jay” (the last book in the Hunger Game series) on CD, so that kept us both occupied.

Not too far out of the Toledo area we ran over something. It appeared to be just a piece of rubber road “stuff” sticking up. All the cars were running over it and when I saw it I quickly tried to avoid it by having it go down the middle of my car. It looked harmless, but you never know. Well my car made a horrible noise when we went over it. I was surprised because I didn’t appear to hit it with my tire. A few curse words “might” have escaped my mouth and I told Claire that I sure hope we don’t get a flat tire as we had a long ways to go yet. Things kept running smoothly after that and no flat tires appeared while driving. Thank goodness!

As we go closer, my sister Amanda called and said she was on her way home from work. I think we still had about 45 minutes to go, but we were assured she would be there when we got there.

As we got closer, we thought about using the bathroom, but we decided we could make it. Claire was more interested in finding a McDonalds anyways. I told her no, because we had a dinner date a little later that evening.

We arrived at Amanda’s and used the potty and sat and relaxed a little bit. Claire was talking a mile a minute with Amanda.


I pulled out my kindle to check out what was happening in the real world ….aka facebook. LOL

I was sitting in a chair and just looked up and my glance fell on Claire’s shoes sitting on the floor ……and it clicked. Claire had her school shoes with her, which meant the white tennis shoes were still sitting on the floor in my living room. UGH!
I quickly panicked. “Where are your tennis shoes?” She swears I never told her to put them on, yet I know I told her at least 3 times. Plus she had known for weeks that those shoes were what we planned to wear “on the plane”. So a quick trip to Target was in order before our dinner date.

We found the exact same shoes that she has at home and they were purchased and luckily didn’t break the bank. We also picked up some headphones for her ipod since I did leave those at home in another bag. I just never thought about it till we were on the road and I kept hearing the ipod noises.

Next stop was the Cheesecake Factory.


I visited one for the first time in Florida last year and I was hooked. Boy that food is darn good.

When I realized my sister lived right down the road from one I insisted we eat here tonight. We were also meeting a Dis/facebook friend, Carrie, here too. She said she likes any excuse to come there as well.
We arrived a little earlier than planned so I texted Carrie and let her know we had arrived and were seated and to just ask for the Jennifer table.


This actually worked out really well for me. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure exactly what Carrie looked like …..because she doesn’t post many pictures of herself online ……shame on you Carrie. I knew she would probably recognize me first, since I am kind of unusual, LOL, but this worked out great.
She was brought to our table soon after we arrived and we introduced her to Amanda and Claire and we all chatted. She was really easy to talk to and a big Disney fan as well.

We soon were brought bread, which was really good, and Claire devoured a lot of it.


Then we settled in to make our dinner choices.


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Original Poster
For dinner, Claire and I planned to share a pizza. I had had their pizza last year and really liked it and I knew Claire would like this choice as well.


Carrie got the Alfredo…I think with chicken in it.


And Amanda got some sort of club if I remember right.


The food was good, but I think we all ended up with to go boxes with leftovers.

Now for the real reason we came here ….the Cheesecake!

I got the reeses peanut butter one. Yum yum yum!!!


I couldn’t finish it so I brought that home with me as well.

Carrie got a pumpkin.


Amanda got hers to go, and I can’t remember which flavor she got, it might have been pumpkin as well.

Carrie also got one to go for her DH. She said he made her promise to bring home a slice. LOL.

All too soon it was time to say good bye. I was really happy to have the chance to get to meet up with Carrie. It was also amazing how many things she and Amanda had in common.
Before we left I did have Amanda take a picture of us.



We walked out together and then separated to head to our cars.

We headed down the road to Amanda’s house and once again I got on the kindle for a bit and we turned on some TV. Claire pulled out some homework to do too. We figured we wouldn’t have a lot of time to do it once we left, so we better at least put some effort into it now.

Well ….let’s just say …Amanda and I could fail the 2nd grade. We worked on phonics. Who invented such a horrid subject. Neither of us understood how to do her work, but she seemed to know what she was doing. It looked “wrong” to us, but what do we know. In the meantime, we pulled out the cheesecake and finished that off too. She only did a few pages and we gave up and I insisted on going to bed.
Amanda was packing her lunch for the next day at work. She also was driving to Toledo to visit a friend after work, so she was getting that all ready as well. She kept asking me if I was going to eat my pizza, then it dawned on me that she wanted it for her lunch and I told her to take it as I didn’t think I would eat it before we left in the early AM.

We had the car packed with luggage and decided on a time to wake up and leave. I think it was something like 4:50 AM…or some awful time like that. I knew I really didn’t have to do much to myself that morning. So I wasn’t going to get up earlier than needed.
We hit the sack and Claire was anxious …and so was I. But soon she was asleep. Let me tell you sleeping with Claire is drawing the short straw. She is ALL over the bed. I did not sleep well that night at all. It was much too hot and I kept waking in a sweat. Claire kept shimmying over to my side and I kept pushing her back. One time I realized she had absolutely no blankets on her and I realized she was probably cold, so I pushed all the blankets back on her and things went a little better after that.


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Original Poster
Nov. 2, 2012 Friday

4:50 AM the alarm went off, but I think I was pretty much up at that point anyways. I got up and dressed and fixed myself up real pretty. LOL
I let Claire sleep as long as possible. Amanda was up in her room and getting herself ready as well. She was going to go to work early after dropping us off and then she could leave early to drive up to Toledo.

Our plan was to be on the road by 5:30. I finally woke Claire and she was so sleepy. She swore she would sleep the whole way down on the plane …news flash …she didn’t sleep a wink … and we packed up the remaining things. I left my overnight bag right at Amanda’s house. I had packed it so that there was nothing in there that we needed to take with us, there for not upsetting the balance of my big suitcases.
Amanda put 2 chocolate muffins in a baggy for us to take to the airport for breakfast. I also grabbed a banana before we left as well. I am one who needs to eat pretty much right away or I get a headache. Claire, on the other hand doesn’t need to eat for hours.
Soon it was time to leave and we made fabulous time. Amanda was worried about traffic, but I guess when you leave at Butt crack thirty, no one else is on the road. Amanda even made a wrong turn, going naturally towards her work and then made it a little longer route to the airport, and still we made great time.
She dropped us off at the Southwest curbside check in and we said our good byes and Claire and I dragged 3 big suitcases, one carryon, 2 back backs and another little bag she had over to the check in. It probably looked comical. We checked in the 3 big suitcases (and one of those had a rolling duffle for extra purchases for the way home) and went on in to go through security. Now when I had been here just 6 weeks prior, going through security was like a ghost town. Not a person in sight for the most part. So I knew we didn’t have to get here “too” early to make it through just to sit and wait.
This time it was much busier. Not bad, but still a lot busier and they had 2 or 3 lines going this time.
Since we were decked out in tie dye Mickey tees and Disney cruise sweatshirts, and our bags all had some sort of Disney thing on them, we were asked several times where we were going. The one security guard made friends with Claire and told her how lucky she was to miss school for Disney. Claire has such a cool Mom …don’t I know it.

We found our gate and picked some seats and I pulled out one of the muffins. Claire didn’t want anything yet, so I ate the whole thing myself. We played on our gadgets until it was boarding time.


We made one last potty break and bought a drink to take with us on the plane and soon it was time to go. The boarding was much more orderly this time. People did seem to look at the boarding numbers a little more carefully on this flight. On the 4 flights to and from Galveston, no one seemed to care at all.
We also had a better boarding number; I think something like 20 and 21. WE got on the plane fast and found a row not too far back at all. Claire jumped in her window seat, something she was worried about the whole time, and we settled in.

It appeared that the plane was not sold out and we kind of hoped no one would sit with us, but then towards the end, a lady did sit with us. She was very nice and we made a bit of chit chat here and there.
Things were going fast and soon the plane door was shut and we were on our way. The pilot said we would be arriving in Orlando early because we were going to have some good tail winds. YES! I love hearing that. I seem to start getting panic attacks on planes lately. After about an hour in I start feeling like I need to move and it plays with my mind. I did much better this trip. I have learned to take rescue remedy. I don’t know if it works or is all in your mind, but I seem to be a bit calmer with it. I am not afraid of flying; I just hate being cramped up for 2 hours. And for the record, I have been having this issue in car trips over the past year too. If I am the driver, it doesn’t seem to bother me so much.

Soon we were taking off and saw the beautiful lights below us.


We watched the sun come up.


I made Claire pull out some homework. She wasn’t too happy about that, but we did know there wouldn’t be much time to work on it later, so it was best to get through some of it. We did half of the math (the other subject sent with us) done. Technically she could’ve gotten it all done, but she really started grumbling, so we put it away. It was easy math too, with most being greater than and less than problems.

We were served snacks and drinks, which was a highlight for Claire and she watched a movie on her ipod and I did a little reading.
Soon we were landing ….25 minutes early. I was so happy.




I had to go to the bathroom, but figured I would wait since we landed early. I try to avoid the airplane bathroom if I can, plus I didn’t want to make our row mate have to move.
Sadly, with being so early, our gate was not open. So we sat and waited and waited and waited.




Finally we made it to our gate. We got off fairly fast and headed to the bathroom.
We were excited and ready. The weather was nice and we could hardly wait to feel it.

We went over to wait for the fake monorail.



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Original Poster
And soon it was there and we hopped on.
In our excitement, I took a picture of Claire on the monorail.


Look closely at the picture. You will see a lady staring at us in the background. I didn’t notice her in the picture till I got home.

Soon after that picture, as Claire and I were chatting away, I notice this lady walking towards me. My first thought was, “Wow, she looks just like Lynne”.
My words to her as she came forward were, “You look so familiar”. And she replied, “I should, I’m Lynne.”
So who is Lynne you may ask?
Lynne is a former coworker. My job is mostly online based and everyone who works for it lives basically all over the country, even one in Canada. We talk on facebook and via emails, but we haven’t met many of each other in real life. I have been lucky enough to meet 4 up to this point, Brook, who I have traveled twice with now, and Mindy and Patty, who traveled to WDW last year when I did too.
Lynne recently quit the company, so I had not talked to her for a few weeks. Originally, many months ago, Lynne was going to come down to WDW and go to the Halloween party and then sail on the same Dream sailing that I was, she ended up canceling that to go on a Princess cruise, which she ended up canceling because her Dad was having health issues. I had not talked to her much since then, and hadn’t realized that the WDW portion of her trip was back on.
I was totally shocked to see her there and what a small world to be on the same monorail car.
We chatted a bit and she introduced me to her niece. We walked and talked after getting off the monorail and then we stopped for a picture before going on our separate ways.



Lynne was renting a car, so she headed off in a different direction.
As we moved on, I saw this for the first time (I usually fly into Sanford), so we stopped for a blurry photo op.


Claire and I headed outside before hitting the Magical Express line. We just had to go and feel the weather before going on a bus.


Active Member
Ok i've just joined! I went to the cheesecake factory the first time in las vegas! I loved it ;-) Yum yum!

Can't wait for more!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I am in! Looks like a great start to your trip! Pumpkin cheescake.....drool....

Welcome. I need to get working on this one. I am also writing about my Sept cruise (which I am posting in the cruise forum as of now) and with the holidays coming up I just am going in slow motion


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Original Poster
After getting a quick breath of Florida air we headed back in to get in line for Magical Express. I was shocked to find no one in the Animal Kingdom Lodge line. The bad thing was that meant they probably had just sent a bus there since all the other lines seemed pretty full.

We got in line around 10 AM.


And we waited and waited and waited. We watched them call every other resort but ours. Some got called a couple of times. After a bit another couple joined us in line, than a 3rd a bit later. I figured that had to be good. Hopefully we would soon be called with more people in our line.

Finally we got on a bus. I think we waited at least 20 – 30 minutes before we were called. I kept watching the clock tick away our precious time and so did Claire.

Of course we had 3 other resorts on the bus with us and we were the last stop, but at least we were on our way.

Our driver was Rockland Steel.


Rock Steel to all his friends. Ok, I made that part up, but that’s all I kept thinking …his name is Rock Steel, what a strange name. And then being married to a man who can turn anything innocent into something dirty, my mind wandered a bit and I kept laughing to myself. Skip would definitely think this would be the perfect star name.

Claire and I were the first on the bus, so we got the very front seat. I really like that seat. You sure can see a lot and take some pictures a little better along the way.

Rockland told us it was brand new bus and the drivers all had bets on who would be the first to dent it. I swear he said it was $500,000.00, but that seems like an awfully high price for a bus, but what do I know. He also said the Magical Express got a whole new fleet of buses, so maybe that was the cost for all of them. One thing the new buses now have ….seatbelts. I guess enough people complained about the buses not having them, so they added them to the new ones.


Soon the movie started up. Rockland asked if it was playing and we said yes. He said all morning it had just run the audio, but the video hadn’t worked. So we were lucky and it did for us. Claire was entranced in it.


This was a nice sight to see.



And these guys are so cute.


I probably have taken this picture almost every trip I have been on to the World.


Soon we made our first stop, CBR. I took a couple quick pictures, but they are not very good.



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