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  • Trip Report Dan does the World

    or "How I Survived Illness and Delay to Experience the Flower & Garden Festival!"

    The Players - ME, just Dan, 53 year old single guy from Dallas who loves to storm the Disney parks in the U.S. when not visiting family in SoCal and Idaho. I had this trip all planned for mid-March - had my ADRs in at 180 days out, had the perfect itinerary, everything ready to go. And then 2 days before my flight from Dallas, I got the COLD OF THE CENTURY (Century, century....). It really sucked to have to reschedule everything, but as the days went by and I got sicker, I was really glad that I was in my own home and NOT trying to storm Epcot or the MK! I was able to reschedule everything with little extra money, but I had to lose a couple of my dining reservations. Ah well, the California Grill will still be there next trip! And the weather in mid-April was much nicer than in mid-March, so overall it was a pretty decent delay.

    I left Dallas on Monday, April 12th for a 5 night visit. Flight was on Airtran, direct to Orlando - love that Sirius Satellite Radio in every seat! A quick stop at Thrifty to get my rental car and I was headed for the World! I was on a tight budget this trip, so it was the Pop Century for lodging. Not a bad option - not quite a moderate, but pretty danged close. A quick checkin and it's on to my traditional first stop - Epcot.

    For whatever reason, my first ride is always on Spaceship Earth, where I encountered my first problem of the trip. You know the scene with the two giant steam engines printing the newspaper? On the floor next to the green machine on the left, in plain sight, was an orange and aluminum Home Depot ladder!!! I'm sure a worker used it there and left it, but it was so out of place in that scene that it really was very bad show. I told a CM about it at the end of the ride, who assured me that it would be taken care of. I didn't give it another thought until my next ride 5 days later - WHEN THE LADDER WAS STILL THERE!!! Simply intolerable! You might just as well put a wristwatch and Reeboks on the cavemen. This time I really put up a stink to about 4 guys at the end. They seemed to take me seriously, and again promised that they'd fix the problem. Anybody know if it's been fixed yet?

    On the way to dinner I stopped to check out a set from my boys, Off Kilter. Jaime, the bagpipe player, was there, but the rest of the band was totally different. They sounded OK, but it wasn't the same fun show that I've been enjoying for years. I'm hoping the rest of the guys were just on vacation. Dinner that night was at the Bistro de Paris - a delicious meal with great service. Then it was on to the Rose & Crown for a martini or 3, where I met Stu, a bartender who was just finishing up his stay in America. He'd met and become engaged to a young lady who also worked at Disney, but still he had to go back to Scotland and wait a year before applying for another visa. I wish them both well. I usually watch IllumiNations from in front of the Canada pavilion, but I noticed that the prime "islands" in the France area didn't have any private parties that night, so I enjoyed the show right down at water level. Great show, as always, after which it was time for my traditional stroll in the opposite direction from the crowd, up and around the World Showcase Lagoon, enjoying the thinning crowds as I made my way around. A very pooped Dan headed back to the Pop for a very solid sleep.

    This is a good time to mention that my major problem all week was my own energy level. I had really been sick in the past month, and never did any exercise to recover from it. So I found myself really tired, sometimes even at the start of the day. I was just getting my second wind by the end of the week, when it was time to go home (go figger!).

    Day 2 started at the MK and park opening, with some great ride storming of the Fantasyland and Tomorrowland areas till lunch at Cosmic Ray's (love that Sonny Eclipse!). Then it was back to the hotel for a nap (a daily routine when visiting the World!). I finished the day at DAK and my first ever dinner at the Yak & Yeti. Great food - I had what was basically a big bowl of seafood, including shrimp tails and mussel shells. Very tasty, but a bit hard to dig out those shells & tails. Great waiter and really good food - I will be back! Early night tonight, trying to catch up on a little sleep.

    Day 3 started with a trip to Coronado Springs Resort and breakfast in the food court. They no longer have the breakfast scramble that they used to have, but the omelette was mighty fine. Then it was on to DHS and park opening (I think I did park opening every day of this trip!). I discovered an important dining fact here. I've had the turkey legs before in the MK, but it's always been sloppy sitting on a park bench and trying to work around the bones and grease and general mess of the leg. But this time I got a leg from the Toluca Leg Turkey Co. on Sunset Blvd., and enjoyed it sitting at a picnic table - far superior! Add on a chili dog and I was stuffed. Nap time, then over to the MK for some more riding. I took a break to enjoy some drinks at Mizner's in the GF. This has become one of my favorite stops, with the big band that plays just outside the bar. After an hour or so of judicious drinking I went back into the MK for Spectro Magic and Wishes, stopping to get a funnel cake in Liberty Square - yum! I was sitting in one of the circular stone seats on the bridge from Tomorrowland to the central hub when the fireworks started. My view was a little bit blocked by a big tree, but I was so tired that I just remained there and enjoyed what I could see. Sitting is good!

    Day 4 it was back to the MK, going through Adventureland and Frontierland and hitting all the majors that just have to be ridden every trip! Pirates had that situation where both entry sides are open, but for whatever reason everybody was just going in the right side. I of course went left, and when I came up to the boat dock I was rewarded with a boat of my own - very cool! Lunch was at Harbour House, sitting upstairs and people watching everyone walking by underneath. Some people have lamented the change here from chicken planks to chicken nuggets. I don't agree - the nuggets were very tasty, and the fixin's bar has a wide variety of dipping stuff. I left here and went to the Contemporary to rent a Sea Rayder. I was only out on it about 10 minutes when the engine started cutting out. I limped back to the dock, and when I decided not to take another boat out they refunded my payment - very cool of them. I rent these all the time, and this had never happened before.

    I really had nothing on my schedule for the evening, so I ended up in Downtown Disney. Since I was a proud holder of a Signature Pass, the new AP for both DL and WDW, I went in to DisneyQuest, a place that I normally don't pay extra for. I enjoyed my couple hours there, especially playing the old games (Donkey Kong and Space Invaders, anyone?), but I don't think I'd pay to go back on every visit. I walked in to Fulton's (the big sternwheeler ship) just on the off-chance that they could fit me in, and with about a 10 minute wait they seated me! This was the best meal of the trip - delicious stuffed salmon, oysters for appetizer, some fine wine and a great waitress. A terrific way to end the day.

    Day 5 started at DAK. Right by the Bug entrance I saw something new - FastPass machines for the shows! I picked up one for Nemo, and got one for the Lion King without asking. Since I did the Safari a couple days previous, I broke with my normal routine and went right to Everest, where I rode 3 times in a row with less than a 5 minute wait each time. I could have kept going, but 3 times is usually my limit! Time for Nemo, where I queued up for FastPass seating about 30 minutes before showtime. They let us into the arena, and about 50 of us could go anywhere, any seat in the theater - not bad at all! But then since it was kind of a quiet day the theater didn't come close to filling up, so I could have had pretty nice seating about 5 minutes before showtime. Ah well, sitting is good! I'm still kinda mixed on this show. There are some really touching moments, and I love the music. But I can't quite get used to the puppets with the real operator's faces right there together. I keep getting confused - do I look at the fish, do I look at the actor? I know that that's kinda the idea, but for some reason it still seems somewhat distracting to me. But I do enjoy the show. Lunch was at the Flame Tree, where I enjoyed an excellent rack of ribs while seated down by the water with a wonderful view of Everest across the way.

    My last evening for this trip took me back to Epcot, where I was surprised to see a 15 minute wait at Spaceship Earth, even late in the afternoon. There is usually NO wait at this time, so I guess things were picking up for the weekend. I made it up to the American Adventure in time to see the incredible Voices of Liberty. And I was really overjoyed to see my favorite singer with them. I don't know her name, but she's a large blond lady, and is the most amazing soprano you've ever heard! Dinner was at Le Chefs de France, where again I had an excellent meal and a great waiter. In fact, I don't think I had a bad meal all week. Love that fine dining! Remmy from Rattatouie was there in AA form. I saw him through the window, but I guess my timing was bad, as he never came back around while I was there. Back to the Rose & Crown, where I discovered my favorite bartender Lynda was back on nights - it's been about a year & 1/2 since I'd seen her, but she still remembered me and came out from behind the bar for a big hug (why are the only bartenders I know in Orlando and Anaheim, but none in Dallas?) She's a sweetie who always takes excellent care of me. She makes up what I call a double boiler glass for my last drink of the night - ice in the bottom section, lots of martini in the top section, and a little napkin seal to keep the melting ice from dribbling down your shirt. It's so nice to finish the night watching IllumiNations while still holding a cold drink in your hand!

    Last day - I hit Epcot at opening and did my new routine. Rode Soarin' first thing, got a FP for Soarin', then enjoyed a nice simple breakfast at the Sunshine Seasons Food Fair in the Land pavilion. I even had time to ride the Living With the Land and see the movie before my FP became available. I asked for and got a top row seat in the center section - perfection! With the last minute change of my vacation dates, the only time I could get at the Coral Reef was for lunch, so I scheduled this for my last day. I was surprised that this restaurant, while booked solidly every evening, wasn't even half full for lunch. I made it through about 1/2 of my delicious lunch in peace before all hell broke loose. A wailing child was heard in the entryway, and of course she and her parents made their way down to the table right next to mine. This poor little 3 year old was just miserable, and proceeded to scream at the top of her very capable lungs for the entire remainder of my lunch. I didn't really have any anger towards her so much as the idiot parents, who just ignored her and kept chatting as if she wasn't there. She ended up on the floor, sitting under the table, screaming non-stop. Needless to say I don't remember much about the rest of the meal. Some parents need to be shot at sunrise, IMO.

    Flight back home, this time routing through Atlanta with a couple hours layover time, which was just enough to have a nice meal at the airport. Then home at last, with a lazy Sunday ahead of me for recovery time before going back to work. I always have fun on my Disney trips, and this was no exception. But that whole lack of energy thing really sucked, and I need to do some serious working out and getting in shape before my next adventure. Overall crowds were very low and temps were perfect - in the low to mid '80's. Just a great time to see the Flower & Garden Festival!

  • #2
    Re: Dan does the World

    Terrific TR Dan. Sounds like all in all it was a good trip, even if you were felling kind of sluggish. Glad you had a good time!
    Fratsor Sister - Delta Mu Chi Alpha

    ΔΜΧΑ

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    • #3
      Re: Dan does the World

      Yeah, I don't want to sound like a sourpuss by saying that it wasn't the best trip ever. Even a bad WDW trip is still pretty cool, and this was a pretty cool week!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Dan does the World

        Thanks for the trip report. I know how it is being under the weather on a Disney Trip. My 2008 Disneyland vacation came complete with a case of laryngitis that left me a bit sluggish. I was going to ask how you got over to Coronado Springs so fast for breakfast from Pop Century, but then I remembered that you rented a car. It certainly makes getting around a lot less stressful.

        Hopefully your next trip will find you in better health.
        BarbaraAnn

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        • #5
          Re: Dan does the World

          Thanks, Barbaraann. I've been on WDW trips a couple of times when I've gotten sick after I got there. It really sucks to be stuck up in the Contemporary Hotel, too sick to go out, and just watching all the boats and monorails and all the people having fun! At least this time I got sick BEFORE leaving, which in the end worked out much better.

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          • #6
            Re: Dan does the World

            Great TR, was very fun to read. It kind of upsets me that the ladder was not moved from Spaceship Earth, as that is one of my favorite EPCOT attractions. =(
            I have worked:
            T-Land Attractions - Speedway, Space Mountain, Training Facilitator May 08- April 09
            Fantasyland Attractions - Teacups, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White's Scary Adventures April 09- May09
            Icon Attractions (studios) - Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Fantasmic May10- Aug10

            Have lived in Chatham and Patterson.

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            • #7
              Re: Dan does the World

              Nice report Dan!

              Originally posted by danyoung View Post
              You might just as well put a wristwatch and Reeboks on the cavemen.
              Um no that would be Geico... :ap:

              Dan, For future reference if your feeling under the weather while at WDW the Kona Cafe at the polly has the best chicken noodle soup I've ever had, picks me right up every time.
              Hi I'm Jerren and I'm a Disneyholic...

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              • #8
                Re: Dan does the World

                I'll keep that in mind, Jerren!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Dan does the World

                  For somebody with a low energy level, it sounds like to managed to cram in a lot of stuff. I was sick the last time I was there - it stinks - but you don't want to stay in the hotel like you're supposed to because of all the money you've paid. BTW - I stay at the value resorts all the time - I really like them. The higher levels always sound wonderful, but I'm only there long enough to sleep and bath so I never saw the point of upgrading.

                  Did you do the front section thing on your AirTran flight? How much are they charging for that these days?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Dan does the World

                    Originally posted by celticdar View Post
                    For somebody with a low energy level, it sounds like to managed to cram in a lot of stuff.
                    I wasn't about to let my tired ol' body beat me on this trip. But there were definitely times when I was arriving at a park in the morning and already wiped out. But I slogged on through, and still managed to have a good time. I took breaks a lot and enjoyed just sitting and watching people, which was kinda cool.

                    I stay at the value resorts all the time - I really like them. The higher levels always sound wonderful, but I'm only there long enough to sleep and bath so I never saw the point of upgrading.
                    I agree that the Pop is a pretty decent choice. But when I'm on vacation I like the feeling of pampering myself a bit. I'd LOVE to stay at the Contemporary most of the time, but I just can't justify 3 bills for a room for a night. The moderates, with an AP discount, usually are just about the right combination of comfort and budget for me.

                    Did you do the front section thing on your AirTran flight? How much are they charging for that these days?
                    It's either $45 or $75 to upgrade to first class. I've done it before, and it is nice to lounge in that big comfy chair. But here's the trick with Airtran - they book the standard cabin from the front left to the rear right. In other words, the seats in the rear right side are the last to be booked. I always get a seat back there, and it gave me a row to myself on 2 of the 3 legs (full up from Orlando to Atlanta, but that was only 50 minutes or so). Coach ain't nearly as bad without another body packed in against you!!!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Dan does the World

                      Yup the thing that drives me nuts with AirTran is the number of transfers you have to make... Your in the Dallas area did you consider flying Southwest out of Love Field vrs flying out of DFW? SouthWest usually beats Airtran on direct flight prices here out of BWI and has much more direct flights from BWI to MCO... I know Love Field is kinda out of the way when your coming from the north of the city and it's smaller and all but I was just curious if there's any other issues with it as I do fly into there occasionally.
                      Hi I'm Jerren and I'm a Disneyholic...

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                      • #12
                        Re: Dan does the World

                        First off, I'm not a big fan of Southwest. I'd much rather have an assigned seat than have to do the scramble (and I know they've improved it lately, but it's still a bit much). Second, due to something called the Wright Amendment, Southwest cannot fly direct to anywhere other than states that touch it (or some stupid rule like that). They have no direct flights from Dallas to Orlando - you have to fly to Houston and make a connection. I don't know about their rates, but Airtran does do some pretty great specials - usually around $79 one way from Dallas to Orlando. And they do offer direct flights. I usually get the direct flight from Dalls to Orlando, but then just for scheduling purposes I take the connection through Atlanta, even though they do offer a direct flight from Orlando back to Dallas. Plus, I love the Sirius satellite radio that Airtran offers - it really makes a difference on a flight!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Dan does the World

                          Originally posted by danyoung View Post
                          I really had nothing on my schedule for the evening, so I ended up in Downtown Disney. Since I was a proud holder of a Signature Pass, the new AP for both DL and WDW,
                          I hope you are feeling much better.

                          I know how much it sucks to be sick on your vacation/trip.

                          And--usually I am not a 'point out errors' kind of person...but do you actually mean the new "Premier Passport"?

                          I only ask/point out because I am a 'Premier Passport' holder myself--which allows entrance to Disneyland Resort parks and the WDW parks (and Disney Quest).
                          I didn't know if Disney had another one as well...
                          WDW-July 2010
                          **Tokyo~Tokyo Disney Resort**May 25-June 3, 2009**

                          Disneyland--all the time (we're Californians)
                          Disneyland Paris-2002
                          WDW-1999, 2000
                          DisneyCruise-2000

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                          • #14
                            Re: Dan does the World

                            yes, I did mean the Premier(e?) Passport. Thanks for catching that. And yes, I'm feeling much better. I've felt a lot worse on vacation, but I just could never quite get my energy going on this one. Ah well, Disneyland in July!

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