Trip Report The 6 Parks, 4 Days, 26th Birthday Extravaganza- COMPLETED

Hello everyone! I’ve been back from Orlando for one week now, so I figured I might as well get this started (I miss it so much).

This is just the entry post, I’ll begin telling the tales of adventure later :)
 

RedNoseMickey

Well-Known Member
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Following along.:)
 

Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
(Stefon from SNL voice... because I miss my favorite Weekend Update guest and I'm in a weird mood lol)

This Trip Report has everything:

Glitter

Rides

Bad ride photos

Alcohol

Birthday hijinks

Desperately wanting to recreate some childhood memories despite being with three adults- two of whom you've never traveled with before

Walking so much that your feet start bleeding

Getting to Animal Kingdom at 6:30 in the morning.

That sense of entitlement that you feel after hearing 'Happy Birthday' from countless strangers all day.
 
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Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Alright, a bit of background on this trip in case you haven't read the pre-trip report (if you want to, it's here- Thanksgiving/Birthday 2017):

My best friend Katie and I have been planning this trip for about a year and a half. Initially we considered going in September, but decided on Thanksgiving weekend due to a) already taking time off work for Black Friday and b) my birthday! Joining us would be her then boyfriend, now fiance, Josh, and her former college roommate Erin. I'd asked my sister if she wanted to come, but unfortunately, it wasn't going to work with her work schedule. Also when we started planning this, we kept an 'open boyfriend space' for me up until like March, because we thought "Who knows, maybe Liz will find love again and her man friend can come too". Well, I did end up meeting someone... in late June, so it was a little late to ask someone to take a vacation to Florida with me. But he understands.

Katie and I began planning this trip a couple months after I lost my paternal grandfather, but at the time, my other three grandparents were alive and mostly well. My mom's parents were both struggling with different forms of dementia, but mostly okay, and my paternal grandmother was pretty great, all things considered.

In January, my remaining grandpa started receiving hospice care at home. Surprising all of us, he kept chugging along through February, March, April, and May. At the end of May, I left for my first trip to Alaska to visit some of my family. I received a call from my aunt when I arrived at the airport telling me that my grandmama (my paternal grandma) had broken her hip and had to go to the hospital. She was sent to a rehab nursing home, and since she always made full recoveries, I thought she would be okay. Flash forward another month, and my beloved dog Maci, who had been my constant companion for 14 years, was in failing health. The decision was made to put her down when I took her to the vet with my mom. So naturally, that made me think of my upcoming Disney trip more and more, because I thought "this is as bad it's going to get, right? Maci was 14, and I've been preparing for Grandpa since January. I will be okay."

Well, literally 4 days after I put my dog down, I was on the lake with some friends and found out that my grandmama was back in the hospital and needed more surgery. Less than one month later, I had to say goodbye to her. 6 weeks after she passed away, my grandpa took a turn for the worse, and 4 days later, I said goodbye to my grandpa (tomorrow actually marks 2 months without him).

So, in short, essentially since I began planning this trip seriously, I lost 3 grandparents and my dog. I gained about 12 pounds over 4 months from stress eating and general lack of wanting to do anything, and that's led to some serious body confidence issues. I wasn't crazy about a lot of the pictures taken of me, since I gained more weight than I wish I would have, but when I look at the pictures, I'm trying not to think of my weight gain, but instead, that I was having the time of my life.

Sorry for the downer post. Just puts things in perspective a little because I really had an amazing trip (hadn't been to Disney in 9 1/2 years and it really felt like I was coming home), and it's definitely lifted my mood just thinking about the memories I made in Orlando :)

So, who went? (from left to right)

Josh, Katie, me (Liz), and Erin

When? November 24th-29th

Where? WDW and Universal (We stayed at Pop Century)
 
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wdwfamilynh

Well-Known Member
Do not apologize for anything! You have been through so much, but the smile on your face in that picture says this trip is what you needed to turn your recent mood around! You look great :) Remember, weight is just a silly number and all that matters in the photos is how happy you look! Can't wait to read about your trip!
 

Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 1: Friday, November 24th- Arrival Day, Part 1

Unfortunately, a lot of my arrival pictures are not downloading, so this post is going to be light on pics for now.

After stuffing myself on Thanksgiving, I went to bed early- I had an 8:30 flight in the morning in Detroit, which is about 90 minutes away from me. I woke up after getting the last 'decent' amount of sleep that I would be getting for about a week, and off I went.

I parked, and shout out to Delta for having a feature on the app for remembering where you parked your cars. The negative about parking- $23 a day to park. Yikes. :eek::jawdrop::arghh:

I got thru security without a hitch... until I noticed that my suitcase was being kept. I had packed 2 boxes of breakfast bars, and apparently they looked suspicious. I'm not mad, but I wasn't crazy about my suitcase being opened and searched. I had breakfast at a diner next to my gate (I've got a picture somewhere, can't find it now), and off I went!

I had upgraded my seat to Delta business, or whatever it's called. My seat ended up being right by the door, so while I was one of the first on, I got to watch the entirety of the plane walk by me to get to their seats... including Rude Man. Rude Man was actually seated in the window seat (I had the aisle). And when he saw that his window seat (that actually had like 8 inches more leg room than I did) did not have full leg room like the website showed it did, he threw a fit to our poor friendly flight attendant. She said that she would try to find someone to switch seats with him... which she couldn't find, because our flight was practically full. He eventually shrugged it off, but stewed for the rest of the flight. Luckily, he wasn't sitting next to me, so I could watch the new Pete's Dragon in peace (I really enjoyed it).


And that's the end of part 1 for now. I'm going to try to figure out why half of my Orlando photos aren't loading onto my laptop :rolleyes::arghh::cry:
 

Courtney6682

Well-Known Member
This Trip Report has everything:

Glitter
Rides
Bad ride photos
Alcohol
Birthday hijinks
Desperately wanting to recreate some childhood memories despite being with three adults- two of whom you've never traveled with before
Walking so much that your feet start bleeding
Getting to Animal Kingdom at 6:30 in the morning.
That sense of entitlement that you feel after hearing 'Happy Birthday' from countless strangers all day.

Dyinnnggggg lol!!! I freakin LOVE Bill Hader...I'm in!
 

Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Following along.:)
Hello and thank you!
I’m in!! Can’t wait to read your report!
Hi, sounds like you had quite the whirlwind trip.
Do not apologize for anything! You have been through so much, but the smile on your face in that picture says this trip is what you needed to turn your recent mood around! You look great :) Remember, weight is just a silly number and all that matters in the photos is how happy you look! Can't wait to read about your trip!
Thanks. I know I shouldn’t stress about that stuff, but I still do. I really had a great trip though.
Soooo excited you started this!! I'm here & following :D
I kept thinking I could start it the night I got home lololol
Dyinnnggggg lol!!! I freakin LOVE Bill Hader...I'm in!
The world needs more Bill Hader. :D
I am here and following along.
Loved the PTR and semi live posting

Max
Thanks Max! I’m glad I have the PTR to look back on for some of the live details.
 

Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 1: Friday, November 24th- Arrival Day, Part 2

I should probably give a little background on my flight situation, like the part about why I was flying solo-

Katie & Josh had two flights: one from Detroit that left the same time I did, and one from South Carolina (or maybe North Carolina). They wouldn’t be scheduled to arrive until about 1:00. Erin is from our area, but moved to her husband’s military base in Texas about a year ago. She surprised her family by coming home for Thanksgiving, so while she was also flying out of Detroit, her first flight didn’t leave until the afternoon, and the second one in the very early evening. More on that later.

I was greeted to Orlando by palm trees... and grey skies. Didn’t I just leave the grey skies of Ohio? At least it’s warmer in Florida.

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My mood lifted when I saw this at the terminal train:
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Yayyyyy :joyfull:

Texted my family and Han (not his real name, but some slightly embarrassing stuff comes up with him later and I don’t want to embarrass him online) that I arrived, which merited ‘hoorays’ from my family and Han finding out and feeling bad that I was in Orlando for my birthday weekend alone for a few hours.

Train arrives at the terminal, I get on, get off, and eventually see this:
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Sent it to the family and my dad replies “To infinity and beyond!”

Such a Dad thing :hilarious:

Oh, I should mention how big Harry Potter is at my house. I was the first one to start reading it in 2000, my mom followed shortly after, and then my dad started reading the books allowed to my sister. We would have lunchtime conversations about the plots and where the story would possibly go. None of us had ever gone to Universal, so they wanted to live thru me at the Wizarding World.

Eventually, I found the Magical Express, put on my Magic Band and got in line. The man scanning me in asked if there was anyone else in my party, as there were three other names on the screen. Nope, just me.
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After waiting a few minutes, I was on a bus. It had just started raining, so I was pretty certain that they would pack it full of people... but they didn’t. The seat next to me only had my backpack.

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Goofy, I’m home!
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It was about this time that the baby in the seat across from me wanted off this bus. Now. Like, right now. The poor mother tried about every trick in the book, but the little Minnie Mouse (she was wearing a lot of Minnie merch) was just not having it. Luckily, we had our first stop at Art of Animation, and that happened to be their stop too.

Hellloooooo Pop Century!
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kaitertot5249

Well-Known Member
I’ll post part 3 later, but Katie just asked me if I want to do a Best Friends trip to Disneyland over a holiday weekend next year :joyfull::inlove::geek:

Maybe Labor Day? Nothing concrete now, but we don’t really have to do much planning for this one (luckily).
I love Disneyland! Have you been before?

Also, great start to your Trip Report. Can't wait to read more!
 

Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 1: Friday, November 24th- Arrival Day, Part 3

I got off of the bus and waited for my luggage. And waited.... and waited some more. My suitcase was literally the second to last piece of luggage pulled from the bus. Luckily, I was in no hurry. I’d received a text from Katie saying that their plane had some issues and needed to be fixed, but they would meet me at Disney Springs later. Find by me, more time for me to explore :)

I thought the jumbo bowling pins looked pretty neat.

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I walked into Pop, luggage in hand, and checked the MDE app to see if I could check in. The answer was most definitely no, so I asked a CM where I could store my luggage, and if I could possibly have a birthday pin.

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This really put me in the Disney mood.

I walked out and waited for the bus to Disney Springs. It was getting close to 1 and I was starting to feel a bit hungry.
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On my way :)
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After walking around a bit in Disney Springs (trying not to get lost because holy flip this place is huge), I found myself near Raglan Road. It was about 1:30, and I looked at the app and saw there was a 1:45 reservation open for 1 (All by myyyyselllff). I asked a hostess if I could reserve it, and she said I could eat at the bar, reservation free, if I wanted to. As I was alone and didn’t exactly want to take up a whole table for myself, I decided that was a pretty great idea... if I could only find a seat.

Raglan Road was packed. Absolutely filled to the brim. I found the one open seat at the bar and made myself at home. The bartender brought out some soda bread, which was heavenly (I need to find the recipe for it and the dipping sauce).

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Michael was the head bartender, and he was phenomenal. He wished me a happy birthday like 5 times, was very attentive, and asked other guests if they “were here for Elizabeth’s birthday parade?” Major kudos to him.

As it was my birthday trip, I thought I should start off with a drink.
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Hello wonderful :hungry: This was the Iced Irish, and I enjoyed it very much.
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After a bit, my fish and chips arrived behind me.
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I wasn’t expecting one large strip of fish, but it was so incredibly flaky. The fish literally fell away from the breading too.
I tipped well, because the service was great, and I noticed that by the time I left, half the people who had been there had filed out. It was unbelievable to see the difference.

I was on my way, but to where?
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Princess Leia

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 1: Friday, November 24th- Arrival Day, Part 4

Considering how I hadn’t been to Orlando in almost 10 years, I was pretty impressed I was able to find this store without a map... although I’ll admit I was just wandering around when I found it again.

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Ah, the World of Disney, my second Disney home growing up. I have so many memories running around this place on all of my WDW trips with family. :joyfull:

I was on a mission though: find Mickey Mouse outfits for a coworker. My favorite colleague and his wife adopted a baby, and even though she’s only 7 months old, she is obsessed with Mickey Mouse. I kept finding the cutest things and was having a hard time deciding what to choose. I ended up picking out a pair of Mickey pajamas and this cute little outfit:
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They also had a Donald onesie that I would totally have bought if I had a baby. :inlove:
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I also spent way too much time searching for pins to bedazzle my backpack with. :oops::rolleyes: Ah well, when in Disney...

I took a quick look in the Princess room, and I swear I never would have left if I was a kid. There was a lot when I was growing up, but now there’s even more. Good luck to all you parents and grandparents with young daughters. Took a quick peek at the Star Wars area, and man, Disney is milking that property for everything it’s worth. I’m still a little worried about it being overdone, tbh.

After staring at a map trying to figure out where the heck the Dress Shop was, I ended up stumbling upon the Christmas tree trail.
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I want these in my house so badly.:cry: I didn’t plan on taking pictures of all of them at the start, so my photo collection is missing Mickey & Minnie and Pinocchio.

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More trees in the next post. And soon, a post with friends! I won’t be alone anymore!
 

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