Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Trip Report Part 1

As with all of our Disney trips, we planned this one also to a "T". Doing all research ahead of time including websites, vacation DVDs, etc and booking well in advance for both a cheaper rate and more time to pay for a nice time there. To begin this tale, first let me give you a little insight on the 2 weeks prior to this trip. King Papa Bear works alot. He works his normal job at Weber as well as overtime there plus painting for our brother-in-law. So needless to say a normal week for him is very busy. Well on Thursday - one week and one day before V-Day (Vacation Day) - the server at the office crashed and King Papa Bear being the CAD Manager was responsible for getting things up and running. This turned out to be many LONG days of countless hours due to the entire server needing to be revamped and reinstalled. So for days I saw Papa Bear for about 5 minutes in the morning before he left for work and about 10-15minutes at night (or early a.m. since we are talking 2 in the morning) when he came home before we went to bed. This continued until into the days before we had to leave before it was finally up and running again. Add in his regular work and painting, Papa Bear was a zombie from lack of sleep and I wasn't very pleasant from not having him around to help me with the kids, etc as I do rely on him for my sanity breaks as well! :) Then of course as our luck would have it, Wednesday the 20th - two days before V-Day our minivan starts to make this crazy jumping when I was out with the kids every time I tried to accelerate. I have owned enough older cars before to have felt this in other cars and knew I needed to stop driving because it was a transmission issue. I was right and we had to have the van towed to Aamco to have the transmission re-done. The minivan is a 1999 Ford windstar that always runs beautifully so worth the money to have it fixed.....all $2000. Yikes!!! This certainly would put a damper on the vacation now that we didn't have a vehicle to drive there (hubby drives a Supra that would not fit our family of 5 and our luggage for this trip) not to mention the added expense we had not budgeted for. But we were lucky that Papa Bear works for such a great family man who is definitely grateful for his hard working employees and offered both the company account for a rental for us as well as footed the bill for the rental for the week as a thank you to Papa Bear for all the work getting the server up and running again that he did. Luckily Dozer Dog was easily coaxed into going away with Grandma Yvette and Papa Jay (THANK YOU AGAIN!!!) and that is one thing that went smoothly. So with the free rented Durango keys in hand and little tweaking on the vacation budget and the minivan being worked on while we were away, we were ready to rock and roll on a much needed family vacation to our favorite place.....a trip to see the Mouse!

FRIDAY JULY 22, 2005:
We woke up on Friday for about 6:30am. Papa Bear thought he would be funny trying out our new camera by getting sleeping shots of everyone before waking them up. We wanted to be on the road at 8am so that we could hit our normal road trip breakfast stop - Cracker Barrel. I already had everything packed so we only needed to add last minute items to the bags like toothbrushes, etc. The Professor was the only one out of the three boys that understood where we were going but his excitement poured over onto the other two so they were in a good mood to be going somewhere too....anywhere I guess! We got all ready to go, donning the clothes laid out by dear old mom and out the door we went! We generally drive the dreaded highway drive taking both I75 and I4 to Orlando, but this time we decided to try some back roads after a yummy and filling breakfast at Cracker Barrel and took Rt 17, Rt 64, and Rt 27 before hitting 10 minutes worth of I4 and hardly any traffic since the next exit was ours into Disney. The kids know the drill once we see the Mickey Head Shaped Transformer that we are close. When we turned down our exit for the Magic Kingdom, the boys really started to notice where we were. Bam-Bam especially started perking up. Must have been the hours of the vacation videos we had him watching to prep him! He saw the MGM Mickey Ears and shouted "LOOK!!!!" while pointing out the window. Lil' Michaelangelo too was saying "See! See!" as we passed more and more signs. Once we passed through the parking toll booths for Magic Kingdom we made our way to Timberline Drive and arrived out front of the beautiful Wilderness Lodge! To say it was breathtaking sounds melodramatic but it really has that feel of old fashioned mountain lodge with that beautiful Disney feel. We decided to park and check in then deal with the luggage with bell services. We generally deal with it ourselves, but the lodge is up on a hill and you park at the bottom of that hill so dragging 3 kids and lots 'o luggage up this hill was not how we would start our vacation. RELAXING is the key word here with as little effort exerted as possible!!! So paying the little men to run our bags for us was worth every penny. We stepped into the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge and for my lack of words....Lil' Mikey came out with "WOW". The inside of the lobby is beautiful - all wood lodge decor feel including a huge fireplace with rocking chairs, totems, etc and fabulous cast members to boot! We were welcomed as soon as we stepped onto line to check in. Check in time for Disney resorts is at 3pm but we have always generally had luck getting rooms well before that time. Only once in all of our trips have we had to wait until 3pm. It was around 1pm when we arrived and while we waited in line to be checked in, a very nice Cast Member talked to the kids and gave them stickers to keep them busy. She also had a free concierge person check us in since he wasn't with a guest that way we could get the kids on their way. We booked a courtyard view room with a request for bunkbeds. Luckily our room was ready and we went down to check it out. We got room #1149. This was a first floor room close to the lobby, pool, and everything. We were able to get bunkbeds for The Professor and Bam-Bam, a Pack and Play for Lil' Mikey and Queen bed for Papa Bear and me. The room was more spacious than the ones at the moderate Disney resorts where we normally stay. We also had a nice little porch area overlooking the courtyard with the pool to the immediate right. We would come to find that we had a family of ducks that liked to visit our porch and knocked on the sliders with their beaks!!! Papa Bear and The Professor went to take care of the luggage with the Bell Serviceman while Lil' mikey, Bam-Bam and I waited in the room. After they arrived with the luggage and it was all brought into the room, I unpacked everything fast. We got ready to go to the first park so down to the buses we went - Resort Transportation is always great. We decided to go to MGM first for some food, play time and Playhouse Disney show. We jumped on that bus and sat in the far back - either the bus had just been sitting and came into use or the a/c wasn't working because it was like a sauna on there! The poor kids were so red from the heat by the time we got into MGM they just wanted to go cool down so we headed for Pizza Planet (from Toy Story) and had some pizza and drinks and then played a bit in the arcade. After that we headed over to the Playhouse Disney Live Show, which our kids love. Bam-Bam was a little nervous with the crowd noise but settled in enough to watch the show. Lil' Mikey was thrilled to see Bear and JoJo from JoJo's Circus that has been added. The Professor humored his brothers by enjoying it as well even though I could have sworn I caught him doing the Bear Cha Cha Cha!!!! After the show we walked around the park and saw the sites - we don't stay in the parks for long which is our main reasoning for always staying on-site since we take frequent breaks throughout the day. The kids were hot and tired, so we headed back to the resort to check out the resort and the kids’ favorite part - the pool! The bus back was so much better!!! Ahhh...spoiled by a/c in this heat here in FL!!! It was an early night in bed for all of us ending with Papa Bear and I reading our latest novels - he needed to get through Harry Potter!!!

Posted By Melanie @ 8:41 AM |

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    Location: New Jersey, United States

    Mom of 4 - Nick, Jake, Alex, and Matt, Married to my best friend and other half that makes me whole, Adam. Liberal. Jersey Girl always....

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