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WDW trip report from a First Timer


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  • WDW trip report from a First Timer

    Hi All! I am so happy to share my trip report with you and I hope you find it useful and enjoyable!!

    We began planning this trip back in February or March of this year. It was going to be a fairly big trip for our family of 4 and we were excited to go to the Disney of the East. Being from California we've been to Disneyland numerous times and were excited to be going to an even bigger land to enjoy all things magical.

    We shared with friends that we were going to WDW in November and they decided to come down from Ohio and meet us there. Oooh, even more to be excited about! Yippie! Let the countdown begin. It was a long wait....but we finally arrived....

    on November 15th! Our flight (Frontier Airlines, which I highly recommend) left Sacramento at 6:15 am and we arrived in Orlando at 4:05 pm, right on time. We were so thankful to not have to get our luggage and we headed straight for the Magical Express. I admit that I expected to see more signs pointing us in the right direction, but we eventually found it.

    We waited about 5 minutes to load the bus and about 15-20 more before it finally departed. We were staying at Port Orleans Riverside so we were stop 4 on the bus. It was fun to see Key West, Saratoga Springs, PO French Quarter on the way to POR.

    Once we arrived at POR we checked in with no wait. I had wanted to be in Alligator Bayou, but instead we were in the mansion. It was fine, but the rooms in the bayou looked more our style. Since we were meeting friends and had asked to be located near one another I didn't want to insist on being in the Bayou. Truth was it wasn't all that important, I was just happy to be here!

    We chose the POR because it really seemed suited to our personalities. We love camping and the outdoors and the Sasagoula River setting really appealed to me. Plus it was in our price range. I was not the least bit disappointed in this resort. I thought it was gorgeous and we had a great stay. My only disappointment was that not once did we get a towel animal during our 8 night stay. We left several tips for the mousecleaners and not once did we get any towel animals or anything.

    After checking in and checking out the room we headed to Downtown Disney. We were wanting to eat at Bongo's Walk-Up cafe. We headed down to the boat dock and waited about 5 minutes for the next boat. It took about 20 minutes total to get over to DD and it was fairly cold that evening. We decided we'd take the bus home!

    We got to DD and headed over to Bongo's. We didn't have reservations and had just planned to hit the walk up window. We figured it would be fast and delicious. We were wrong. The service was absolutely horrendous. We hoped that every night wouldn't be the same. It was also quite slow. They just did not seem to have their act together. The sandwiches were very mediocre. We have had better.

    We walked around and did some shopping but the kids were fading fast so we headed for the bus stop to head to our new home.

    Once back in the room we plotted out day 2 and watched The Top Seven Must Sees at Walt Disney World on tv. Little did I know that I would be watching this show daily for the next several days. We ended up quoting Stacy quite frequently on this trip. It became quite the joke and I think I'll have to send the youtube video of her to our friends in a few days just to remind them. Haha!

    Stay tuned for Day 2!

  • #2
    Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

    Great TR I love that Stitch figure


    • #3
      Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

      Day 2 Friday at Epcot

      Since we had been to Disneyland so many times before we wanted to see something new and save the Magic Kingdom for later. We were looking forward to seeing Epcot and the kids were looking forward to Test Track and Soarin'. Soarin' is one of our favorite rides.

      We knew we were going to go on Test Track first so the kids and I headed over there while hubby went to get Soarin' fast passes. I was really pleased with the crowds so far. It didn't seem too busy at all.

      Little did I know that the first hour to hour and half in the park is very misleading. You think that the crowds are low, you go on a ride or two, and suddenly you come out and the place is jam packed! Oy!

      The Unofficial Guide to WDW had mentioned that Test Track breaks down a lot. Sure enough it broke down while we were on it the first time and again right before we got on the second time. I joked with hubby that if Toyota or Honda sponsered the ride it would break down less. Nevertheless the kids absolutely loved this ride and we spent the better part of the morning going back and forth between Soarin' and Test Track.

      While standing around looking at the map trying to figure out where to have lunch a cast member walked up to us and asked if we needed help finding anything. We asked him where to go for lunch and he suggested the Sunshine Seasons in the Land. He did mention it was great food but nothing really for the kids. We foolishly didn't listen to him and we went to the Electric Umbrella for lunch--gag! Very boring! Anyway, the cast member coming to help out of the blue is true Disney! It's the kind of service that sets Disney apart from other theme parks, in our opinion!

      We went on the Living with the Land Boat ride and bored the kids to tears, well almost to tears. I loved going in the greenhouse and thought it was quite fascinating.

      After wandering around a bit longer it was time for our dinner reservation at Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada.

      We were doing the Disney Dining Plan and knew we wanted to try this restaurant. It was fantastic. My 11 year old daughter, unfortunatley was considered an adult, so she got to try lots of new things. I wish Disney had a Tween dining menu or dining plan. If you think YOU get a lot of food on the dining plan, just imagine how much it is for an 11 year old girl!
      Hubby and she had the Filet Mignon and it was delicious. I had the squash raviolis which would have been good had they not been swimming in truffle oil. I thought it would be a light drizzling of truffle oil, but it was just too much. I couldn't eat it and ended up eating some of dd's Filet. Our 8 year old daughter had the chicken nuggets. That's pretty much what she ate the whole trip, so we won't really discuss her meals in future dining reviews. For dessert hubby had the Apple Crumble, daughter had the Smores and I had the Creme Brulee. The food here was very good, as was the service.

      After dinner we ran into some friends from home---how weird is that? Go all the way across the country and run into one of the teachers from school as well as a parent from school. Cue the "It's a Small World" music.

      It was getting dark, it was cold, and we were tired so it was just about time to call it a night.

      We headed back to POR to plan for the next day and get some rest.


      • #4
        Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

        Great Second day


        • #5
          Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

          Day 3 Saturday at MGM Studios

          Today was the day our friends from Ohio were flying in. We were going to MGM studios and they were going to Epcot in the afternoon.

          The kids had been looking forward to MGM Studios because our 11 year old really wanted to ride the Rock'n Rollercoaster. I had absolutely no faith that she would go on it! This is the same girl who kicked and screamed her way onto Splash Mountain only to find out she loved it on the last evening of our trip to Disneyland. She is such a chicken that I absolutely did not believe she would actually go on an upside down roller coaster.

          Imagine my surprise when not only did she go on it, but she loved it and followed it up with a ride on the Tower of Terror! WOOHOO!

          TofT is my favorite ride! I keep telling my kids that it's not scary and they will just laugh and scream the whole time. The ride just gives me an absolute kick! I love it! I was so happy when the whole family got to ride together. It was the 1st time we've all 4 been on it together, what a thrill!

          It's quite different from TofT in California. I think I like the one in California better. But once was enough for my kids and they didn't really care for it at all so we didn't go again. We did, however, go on Rock'n Roller Coaster, well the older daughter and I did. We went on it a few times and we just love that ride!

          There wasn't a lot to do at MGM. We did the Backlot Tour, not all that exciting, and the Stunt Show. Actually hubby went to the Stunt Show while the girls and I went to Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

          While we were waiting for hubby to come out of the Lights, Motors, Action show we saw our first Dreamers! We were sitting on a bench and we knew instantly that they were Dreamers. We put on our happiest faces and hoped we were about to be dreamed. Sure enough they stopped and started chatting with us. Whoohoo, just play along and we're sure to get dreamed was what we were thinking.

          They commented about us sitting on the bench and smelling the roasted nuts that the vendor was selling, they commented about our 1st Timer buttons, and then they said they had something for us. One of the dreamers reached into his pouch and pulled out.....

          some stickers! Okay, that's cool! We'll play along. We put the stickers on our shirts, then came more stickers, and more stickers, and more stickers. We kept on our happiest faces as we put more and more stickers on our shirts. My daughter had hers in a pattern that looked like the Pentagon, the Dreamer commented. He asked if she worked for the Government and could she get him a job. I said it couldn't be better than working for Disney . Dreamer number one said..."ya know there's just one more thing they need" and Dreamer number 2 said "you're right!" and handed us..............

          more stickers! We really thought we were going to be dreamed.

          We had lunch at the ABC Commissary...nothing great to report. Did a little more sight seeing, riding and walking around.

          Later in the afternoon daughter and I decide to go on Rock'n Rollercoaster again and while we are in line we see the Dreamers again! YAH! Put that happy face back on and maybe they'll recognize us and give us a dream. They were walking through the empty que lines and sure enough they recognized us. They seemed happy to see us again and noticed that we no longer had our they gave us a bunch more! But still no dream!

          Reservations tonight were for The 50's Prime Time Cafe. The food here was fantastic. I had the Pot Roast which I cannot recommend enough. It was great! The theming was great and we even got a pre-dinner show when a family with no reservations seated themselves at the table next to us and then insisted the hostess had seated them. It was so funny, at first, until they were refusing to leave and finally had to be kicked out. Some people just don't get it!

          We had such a good time at dinner. You really have to play along here and you'll have fun. I don't think the people who ended up sitting next to us really knew how to do that. They just weren't playing along with Cousin Monica and the gang. Maybe they didn't know it was that kind of a restaurant. We got in trouble for having elbows on the table, the cell phone rang at the table, and cousin Monica fed my daughter when she didn't eat all of her chicken. It was such a great time!
          Anyway, the food was great and we had a really great time.

          After dinner we went to see Fantasmic. Get their early to get a good seat. It is so worth it!

          After Fantasmic we headed home to let the kids swim awhile. It was dark but they didn't care. Our friends from Ohio were about done at Epcot and were going to meet us at the pool.


          • #6
            Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

            Day 4 Sunday at the Magic Kingdom

            Our friends from Ohio were joining us at the Magic Kingdom today. YAY!

            Having been to Disneyland before and having heard that the Magic Kingdom was very similar we were excited to be here. The crowds were out in full force today and before we were even on Main Street some jerk of a dad ran my daughter over with his stroller! He totally saw what he was doing as he was squeezing between us and slamming her into the wall that is the tunnel under the railroad. She was screaming for me to help her and he kept pushing. It did not get the day off to a good start and I was absolutely appalled that another parent would be such a jerk!

            But, I got passed it and she was fine so why dwell on the rudeness of others! We were, after all, at the Happiest Place on Earth!

            First things first we must ride Space Mountain! We head straight for Space Mountain to ride and get fast passes for later! Ya know, the fast pass was the greatest thing ever invented! It makes everything more efficient. We hardly waited in any lines, just kept getting fast passes and doing other things during our wait.

            Anyway, our youngest didn't want to ride Space Mountain so she and I went on Stitch's Great Escape. Do they actually call this a ride? We thought it was really dumb! Very disappointing and kind of boring. They could have done so much more with this ride.

            After Stitch we met up with everyone else and did some other rides. Now, this is where I may get slammed by everyone but I am just going to take my chances and say it....The Magic Kingdom has nothing on Disneyland. In my opinion Disneyland is so much better!

            For instance...on Buzz Light Years Space Ranger Spin the laser guns actually come out of their holsters so you have a better range of motion and you can actually aim at the targets better. At MK they stay in their holsters and are next to impossible to aim. Admittedly I am not a gaming expert but I just found that it was much easier in the California version and way more fun!

            It's a Small World...what is up with this ride? I know it's not the most thrilling ride in the world but half of the beauty of this ride is the exterior. It pales in comparison to Disneyland.

            In fact the whole Fantasy Land area is not as good. Disneyland has more rides, like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and Alice in Wonderland, that really are missing at the MK. The whole area has a completely different feel, and while it's beautiful at the MK, it is more open and allows for less congestion at Disneyland.

            The one ride that is better at MK is Splash Mountain. You barely get wet at Disneyland...I got soaked at MK. I was dripping when I got off this ride and there are a couple more little hills than at Disneyland. However, once was enough since it took me hours to dry off. The kids went multiple times. It's a lot easier to walk around in wet jeans when you're 8 as opposed to...well, you get the need to divulge the real age.

            Thunder Mountain is another fave of the kids so we rode and fast passed that one a few times.

            And of course we had to go visit Captain Jack Sparrow---Disneyland is a little better at this ride as well, but the que line at MK is better and has more to look at while you wait. The sign said our wait was only 10 minutes, it was more like 45.

            Did I mention that Space Mountain isn't as good at MK as Disneyland? I realize DL just had an update to this ride and I am hoping that MK has an update planned because you are really missing out. It's so much smoother, faster, and more fun at DL.

            And where is the Matterhorn....Okay, now I'm just complaining!

            All in all we had a great day at MK but we called it a day after our dinner at Tony's Town Square restaurant. The food was so-so here. We had been told that the steak was so tender you could cut it with a fork, so 4 of us ordered the steak. We couldn't cut it easily with the butter knives we were given. The folks on the patio seemed to be having a good time and their waiters were a little more lively. All in all a fairly disappointing dinner. But that's okay.

            We head home to let the kids swim again. They love that the resort pool is open so late...oh and that it's November and their swimming!


            • #7
              Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

              Day 5 Monday at---can you guess?

              Yep, that was an easy one. We're at the Animal Kingdom today!

              We arrive early and just start wandering around. We find Dino Land and the kids all want to go on the Primeval Whirl. They dad's head over to Everest for some fast passes and then as soon as we can get more fast passes they get some for Kali River rapids. With as wet as I got the day before on Splash Mountain I opt out. Actually both mom's opt out and since we can now get more fast passes we head over to the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride to get a fast pass.

              It's only about 10 and they are all out of fast passes and the last safari is at 4:30. We've got awhile before we can ride Expedition Everest so we decide we'll wait in line (50 minutes) for the Safari! We call the guys and tell them to hightail it over there after the rapids! We get some coffee and wait.

              Did I mention that I hate they way they que at WDW? I just think that single lines are better than the big que areas they cram everyone into. It's too easy to lose your party and for people to cut in front of you.

              The safari ride was great! We had done the Safari at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego and it was nowhere near as good! Disney really made this one fantastic and the WAP in San Diego should visit here and take some notes!

              Our friends made reservations for us at Tusker House for lunch today. What great theming here! I really felt like I was at an African shop/restaurant.

              It was really something! The food was pretty good too. There were lots of choices but still plenty of things for the kids to choose from.

              As we exited their was a show going on in the outside waiting area. These guys were amazing to watch and so full of energy. They really had the crowd engaged and amazed! You must go watch these guys!

              Finally, the fast passes have come up and it's time to ride Everest! Woohoo!
              What a great ride! However, where is the Yeti? There's so much talk about the Yeti, and Stacy really plays that up in her little revolving hotel room tv show...but the Yeti was a big letdown. However, the ride is still fantastic, fun, and full of surprises. My little chickens stayed off...but our friends kids rode it over and over and even stood in the 70 minute line to ride after all the fast passes had been distributed for the day. That's the true test of a ride!

              We spent the better part of the day here and I was shocked at how much their was for the kids to do. I wasn't expecting that. We ran out of things to do at MGM and Epcot (the first day) so I was pleasantly surprised when the kids interest was held all day at AK. I would so go back here again!


              • #8
                Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

                Day 6--Tuesday at Epcot.

                Today we're heading back to Epcot and we're going to focus on the World Showcase. First we have to wear the kids out so we let them do Test Track and Soarin' a few times and then we do Mission Space---Orange Team! My youngest opted out of Mission Space even though I promised we'd do the Green team and that it's actually a little on the boring side.

                The guys LOVED LOVED LOVED the orange team. My hubby swears I could have handled it without vomiting but I think I'll still pass.

                We decide to listen to the cast member who suggested Sunshine Seasons a few days ago and we head their for lunch. Yummy! Great sandwiches and salads. Definitely have lunch here!

                Finally, we get to go enjoy World Showcase!

                While the guys enjoy beer in Germany I sneak off to the clock shop. I've always wanted a cuckoo clock and guess what.............

                I still do!

                We had such a blast touring the different countries...having an Grand Marnier Orange Slush in France, Beer in Germany and Norway, we hardly even noticed the crowds.

                When we were done touring the different countries it was time to head to dinner at the Coral Reef restaurant where we had a terrific table right up front. The kids loved watching the sea turtles. The food here was superb. I had the Pumpkin Rissoto and the Bailey's and Jack Daniels Mousse for dessert. Yummy! I need these recipes!

                Ahh, what a great day! Time to head back to the resort!


                • #9
                  Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

                  Day 6--- Wednesday- Relaxing at the Resort!

                  We spent the day relaxing at the resort today. The kids needed a day to sleep in a little bit and swim and so did we.

                  We had breakfast at Boatwrights and it was delicious. I had the Sweet Potato Pancakes...yumm-o while hubby had the Banana Stuffed French Toast.

                  We went over to French Quarter to swim since the kids really wanted to see that dragon water slide. We spent a few hours over there and then headed home to shower and get ready to go to Downtown Disney.

                  We did a little more shopping and had dinner at Planet Hollywood. Definitely a different experience there. While at Disney we've had nice leisurely dinners where we haven't felt like we were being herded in and out like cattle. At Planet Hollywood we felt like we were being rushed. She took our cards immediately and held onto them throughout our dinner. It was very odd and very unlike what we were experiencing at other dining places at Disney.

                  It was a very relaxing day and just what we needed!


                  • #10
                    Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

                    Day 7--Thanksgiving at the Magic Kingdom!

                    This is the first time we've been away from family on Thanksgiving but what a great place to spend it!

                    This is our last day at the parks before heading home so we have to make sure we hit everything!

                    Today we hit the Haunted Mansion (and notice that it's not the Haunted Mansion Holiday---wow WDW is missing out on another great ride), Monsters Inc Laugh Floor (bring this one to California because it was a fun way to have a little down time. ), the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain Again, the Country Bear Jamboree (which needs a major overhaul), The Tiki Room, The Magic Carpet Ride and all the other things we missed our first visit to the MK.

                    We also hit Toon Town, another one that is better at DL. Forgive me for my criticisms of MK but I really did feel that DL is superior. No Toon Town Trolley or Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. Did I mention no Indian Jones Ride in Adventure Land?

                    It rained a little and we called it a day about 3:30. Our friend had been bit by a bug 2 days before and her ankle was becoming quite swollen! We have an early Thanksgiving reservation at Park Fare 1900 and we decided to head over to the Grand Floridian!

                    This hotel is beyond gorgeous! I head into Basin White and stock up on some of their fabulous bath bombs while the kids and everyone else relax before our reservation.

                    This guy knows how to vacation:

                    It was Cinderella and Prince Charming's First Anniversary and dinner was in their honor. Lady Germaine and the wicked step-sisters were there as well. What a hoot those sisters are. Prince Charming asked my daughter to dance, which embarrassed her tremendously, but made for great pictures! The food was good, a nice buffet with good desserts, and we had a very nice time.

                    When we were done our friends headed back to the hotel and we headed back to MK to ride Space and Thunder again and catch the parade and fireworks. There is nothing like ending a Disney vacation with some fireworkds.


                    • #11
                      Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

                      Friday and it's time to head home!

                      We have breakfast at the quick service counter at the hotel and then head back to our room to pack up.

                      The kids don't feel like swimming so they play in the arcade for awhile and we rent a Surrey Bike and go around the property a few times. Man, that was harder work than it looked like.

                      We had a really wonderful vacation here. There are some differences between the Florida parks and the California parks but we're glad we came.

                      We didn't experience any problems with the Disney transportation systems. Rides to and from the airport were smooth and quick. Most times we didn't wait more than 5-10 minutes for a shuttle to the parks or back home. It was somewhat shocking how many people they cram onto those shuttle busses. Most shocking was how many people sit while small children stand---shame on them!

                      Anyway, I hope you found my trip report helpful. Feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them!


                      • #12
                        Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

                        Nice trip report. Just curious why you thought TOT was better at DCA? I've read that opinion before, and I've never been to DCA. I know DCA's has the added mirror scene. And when you load into the elevator, isn't there a gap of space between the elevator doors and the actual ride vehicle? Anyway, would be curious to know why you ranked DCA's higher. Thanks!


                        • #13
                          Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

                          Thank you for sharing! Did you feel you had enough time there to see/do all that you wanted? And your impression of MK, it's EXACTLY what I fear mine will be, so that being known, are WDW's other parks worth seeing say if MK didn't exist?
                          Just countin' the days til the next visit!


                          • #14
                            Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

                            This has been a great trip report. Nice commentary, great quality photos, and very fair opinions about your Disney experience in Orlando, and most importantly, I enjoy how you gave us honest views of the MK park in particular which to this day, pales horribly when compared to DL in Anaheim.
                            Thanks for a great read.


                            • #15
                              Re: WDW trip report from a First Timer

                              Great trip report! Glad you tried Le Celier... i really wanted to go there myself!

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