Time for a trip post. :) I'll do my best to remember everything... or at least most. It was jam-packed with lots of goodness, as this post will be!
S u n d a y : We had to get up before the butt-crack of dawn to get to the airport. We flew to DC, and had a layover there... which was longer than we initially planned, since they changed our flight after we booked it. We arrived in Orlando at 1ish and got in the first of many queues... to get on the bus. We'd taken up Disney on the option of the "Magical Express" - they will take you to your resort and then deliver your baggage later that day. Very convenient! We were a bit sad that we didn't get one of the cute Disney motorcoaches, but at least they got us there!
We stayed at Port Orleans - French Quarter. When we booked our trip through AAA, this is the option they gave us. It was a really nice place... they make it so believable. We actually had a corner room that overlooked the little river - very picturesque!
We right away hopped on a bus to Hollywood Studios - enough time had already been wasted! ;) We wandered a bunch and did a few things - Tower of Terror, Muppet Vision 3D... and dinner at the 50's Primetime Cafe! We'd bought the Disney Dining plan, and it was worth the money!! I highly suggest it if you are considering it. You won't go hungry and have a ton of choices. The place is hilarious - they had us wait in the "living room" and then when we were seated we were told some of the "house rules" - no tattle-taling, no spitballs, no elbows on the table, etc. We were chastised for using hand sanitizer and praised for cleaning our plates... and their dessert menu is on a Viewmaster! How fun is that??
M o n d a y : We woke up wicked early (especially after the early morning the day before!) to catch the early extended hour at Animal Kingdom. We mainly went early due to Expedition Everest - the new coaster. We got to ride in the front car, then got back on line to do it again - and rode in the back! The coaster travels in both directions... and if you have to wait in the queue you will have a TON to look at while you wait! :) We also visited the Kilimanjaro Safari and went to It's Tough To Be A Bug before we had breakfast and then hopped... (gotta love the park-hopper tickets for ADD people like us!) Next stop was EPCOT! Our first stop was Soarin' - a new ride that is like hang gliding over scenes in California. When we were there two years ago, the waits were just too long for us to handle... this time was no different. We were debating fast-passing the ride when a cast member (Nicki Rose!) came up to us and questioned if we were thinking about the ride... we said yes, and she told us to follow her.... into a side door. We ended up getting to be "VIP - First Class" riders!!! We were taken through the VIP entrance (supposedly the Travolta family had been in the same place a few weeks before!) and got walked on to the prime seats. SO COOL!! We also got an open ended fast-pass for the ride so that we could come ride again on our trip. It was cool to get a little piece of The Year of A Million Dreams! :)
The one partially gray cloud of the day was that Matt was suffering with a neck-muscle spasm due to the teeny airplane/seats... so he really needed to get some help and called to make an appointment for a massage. Luckily, they were able to get him an appointment the same day. So we hopped on the monorail to the Grand Floridian Hotel and Spa - so amazingly beautiful! On both of my "nanny-ing" trips to Disney a few years ago we ate there, and I can tell you it is luxurious! So I walked him over to the spa and planned to poke around the hotel while he was there... but he surprised me with a massage for myself as well! Oh, happiness! The therapist, Rachel, was amazing... and the spa is unbelievable. If we had time, I could have spent the day there!!! Needless to say we were both super mellow after that... but still ready to hop again!
Our next part of the day was spent in the Magic Kingdom (told you we hopped and hopped!) where we visited the Pirates (yay!), rode the Teacups (so dizzy!), went to the Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor, Philharmagic (one of our favorites!) and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin... to which someone gave us their fast-passes! Yay! We also had snacks at the Main Street bakery... which I HIGHLY recommend. If nothing else, imagine this: two large cookies (4+ inches) with three scoops of vanilla bean ice cream between them. Mmmmmmmmmmm......
But the day wasn't over. We went back to EPCOT for dinner at our favorite Morocco.... it was still as amazing as we remembered. :) The day finished with the EPCOT fireworks, which are beautiful. I am quite a fan of fireworks!
T u e s d a y : We were going to start the day at EPCOT, but the bus never seemed to come to our stop... so instead we got on one to Hollywood Studios again, and were there when it opened! This gave us the opportunity to be in the front car on the second train of the day at the Rockin' Roller Coaster... woo hoo! We fast-passed it again for later, and opted for the last car on that ride, being the coaster-heads that we are. We also did the Star Tours and the Great Movie Ride, rocked to a bit of the High School Musical street show (yes, I sang along!), and then left to go over to our original destination of the morning, EPCOT. We decided to country-hop... and so visited each country, spending time and riding the boats in Norway (I even spoke my teeny bit of Norwegian with a friendly guy named Kim!), viewing the Canada 360 movie, browsing in a ton of cultural shops, and eating lunch in Morocco (we had wanted to actually do a counter-service in Norway, but the line was too crazy... luckily we were happy to eat Moroccan again!). We used our Soarin' fast-passes while we were there and walked on to Living With the Land, which takes you on a boat through their greenhouses. Matt was fascinated with this (I was too, but his was a Science-nerd fascination!) and we discovered that there was a "Behind the Seeds" tour of the greenhouses we could take, so we booked a tour for the next day!
Tuesday night was a dinner we were really looking forward to - the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show/Luau at the Polynesian Resort!!!!! I've done it before (whilst nanny-ing) but it was even more amazing this time - first of all, we traded two "dinners" on our plan for it, and then were lucky to catch someone's cancellation table, so we went from "tier 3" diners (the back) to "tier 1" (second table from stage!!!) for a grand total of $18!!!!!! AHHH! So amazing, and such great food!
We were crazy enough to take one more stop before putting weary bones to bed... back to the Magic Kingdom! I actually got Matt to ride Small World(!!), we had a "hunny" pot to ourselves on the Winnie the Pooh ride (where a cast member originally from Hoboken gave us "princess and prince-for-a-day" stickers!) hit up the front car of Space Mountain, and played some more on Buzz Lightyear again.
W e d n e s d a y : Our last day began at EPCOT, where we finally were able to ride Matt's favorite ride - Spaceship Earth, which is new and improved! The exploration area at the exit of the ride was very interesting as well - we played a bit there before heading on. After a very quick breakfast it was time for our "Behind the Seeds" tour. Matt came prepared with a notebook (my cute scholarly nerd!) and I had directions to photograph everything in sight, which I did - well over 100 pictures were taken in that hour-plus! The tour guide, who is a senior scientist at the project, was very interesting and knowledgeable, answering questions from everyone, from the young kids to the very specific ones from Matt. He let us taste cucumbers grown hydroponically in the greenhouse, the kids released ladybugs into one greenhouse as a means of "bad" bug control, and we fed the tilapia, too. There was a lot to see and do! We wandered through part of the Innoventions exhibit and visited a "house" within that was very technological and efficient!
It was then time to go back to the Magic Kingdom, where we did a lot... (in no particular order) Philharmagic (2 times!), Small World again, Haunted Mansion, lunch at Columbia House in Liberty Square, Cinderella Carousel, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management), Swiss Family Treehouse, Indy Speedway, Buzz Lightyear (2 more times - it's fun to shoot the targets!), and managed to also do some research for a friend... the one thing we sadly didn't get to was our dinner reservation over at Hollywood Studios at the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater... we canceled it due to fatigue and the fact that we didn't have another dinner service left on the dining plan! We will save it for next time, since it looks so cool!
After a little shopping, we had one final "snack" and watched the "Wishes" fireworks display from Main Street. Beautiful!!! We rounded off the evening by staying for the "SpectroMagic" parade... by chance. It was the late parade and there were so few people on Main Street that we were just behind the people sitting on the curb!
The funny thing is... I can't report on the parade. I saw the beginning and then DOZED OFF. In the midst of the loudest and brightest nighttime parade possible. How I did it, I still don't know! It's kind of funny, really!!
T h u r s d a y : Since our bus to the airport was going to pick us up pretty early in the day (1:40pm), we decided to not go to the parks... and instead went on a quick trip to Downtown Disney. We did a bit of quick shopping/browsing and had a VERY fast lunch at their branch of Planet Hollywood (thanks to a AAA coupon!) before we caught the bus back to the resort, getting there just in the nick of time for the airport bus!! (This time we did get a "Mickey" bus!)
The airport in Orlando was an adventure, to say the least. The security checkpoint is poorly managed, but we made it in time for our flight... just. We had a three hour layover in DC, so we went over to the main terminal for some food and wandering to pass the time. It started to snow when we were getting ready to leave... luckily we were still able to leave just fine, and had the beginning flakes escort us home in NJ as well. The kicker was the next morning when we woke up to EIGHT INCHES OF SNOW at home! What a switch!
It was a tremendously fun trip. There are a ton of pictures in the photo gallery if you're interested (and it's easier than posting them all on here!)... Part 1 and Part 2.
(I'd reccomend the slideshow option, but that's just me!) Enjoy!