Thursday, September 08, 2011

Disney World without Kids

Well Disney world without kids is a wonderful thing. We went to the world to celebrate my 30th birthday and our 9th anniversary. It depended on what mood we were in as to which we wanted to claim. Bright and early on the 26th we headed to the airport, after dumping the kids of at Doug's parents the night before!
We flew Southwest Airlines from OMA to MCO with a short stop at STL.
Flying without kids is magical!

Here's a great picture of me on the Magical express.

Doug on the Magical Express.

This was the first time we have used Disney's free transportation from the airport to the resorts, it is called Magical Express. In Doug's words "Its magical if you think standing in line is magical!" There is a crazy maze of lines you weave through before you get to your bus. We were there at one of the slow times of year, and I could not imagine it at a peak time of year. We have always rented a car, and it is much faster to get your car and get to the hotel with a rental car! Next time, we will rent a car!

We stayed at the Beach Club Resort. It was great. We wanted to stay there for its location and pool, both were as advertised. I did some research on and requested an odd numbered room, on an upper floor, close to Epcot. They met all our requests and we had a great view, too!

This is a standard view room, because it is obstructed from seeing the water or pool clearly. But because of my research, we had a view! If we had an even numbered room, which most standard views are even numbered, we would have been looking at parking lots.

It was a nice room and an odd shape because it was a corner unit. We had a stairwell right out our door so it was like our own private entrance in and out of the building. We never heard any noise from the stairs because most people think 3 flights of stairs is nuts, so they walk 200 feet to and from an elevator.

This is the view of our vanity/sink area. It is separate from the toilet and shower area.

We also had 2 windows!

View straight off the balcony. You can see the Board Walk Inn across Crescent Lake.

View to the right on the balcony. The Yacht Club Resort is in the distance and the pool is in between.

View out the window looking toward the pool and the rest of the Beach Club. We were almost all the way to the far end of the hotel-closest to Epcot, like we requested.

A view of our room from the ground we have the little balcony on the 3rd floor.

This is the view from the beach straight out from our room. A tree is blocking the full view from our window. You can see the rest of the Board Walk, and The Swan and Dolphin Hotels in the distance.

It was late lunch time by now and having a buffet dinner planned we did not want too much to eat as we had a few snacks on the plane. We headed into Epcot to check out an OMGS and a crepe. This is the drink that Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel calls her favorite drink in the world. It was tasty and so was the strawberry crepe that I had and Doug agreed about his chocolate crepe. It took us 7 min from our room to get to the drink cart in France.

We then started strolling around Epcot's World show case. We caught some of the street performers and music acts along the way.

Checked some history of animation in the Japan pavilion. There was also Hello Kitty here as it originated in Japan.

This is a spot near Italy that we always take a picture of! (I refused to pretend to hold up Spaceship Earth (the big ball in the background.)

This guy was working way to hard to get a shot of both of them, he obviously didn't know that Photo Pass Photographers are nearby.

I would not allow Doug to pretend to hold it up either, so he was slightly more embarrassing.

Still embarrassing the me.

After Doug was done monkeying around we asked the Photo Pass Photographer nearby to take our picture.

Random, scary things from China. Doug had nightmares from these things.

We finally went on a ride. It said 10 min but it was more like 5. This was also our first chance to report a wait time on our LINES application on our phones.

After the ride, I was feeling very Norwegian and posed the same way I did on our honeymoon. Some day I'm sure Doug will do a side by side picture post for you.

Another Japan picture.

This was in the shop at the start of the World Showcase. Doug randomly tried on some hats. Not sure he can pull this one off.

So we then darted through future world to the monorails and hopped a ride to the Magic Kingdom. Those of you that have read our blogs about other Disney trips, know we are " park hoppers" (even with 3 kids in tow), so no surprise we hopped alot without them.

We asked the kids if there was anything that we had to do for them while at Disney World. Alden demanded we ride Dumbo for him. We're not real sure how much he enjoyed the pictures of us riding for him.

A view of the Little Mermaid attraction under construction for the new Fantasyland Expansion.

A view of Beast's Castle and Belle's Village.

Picture from the "hub" in Magic Kingdom.

In December (when we were there with the kids) Mickey and Minnie still had their houses, but they were evicted for the new constrution that you just saw in the photos above. Now they are found on Main Street USA (right inside the park entrance). They made it look like you go backstage to meet Mickey after his magic show. It was neat, but we still prefer Mickey's old house.

We got a ride in on Buzz Lightyear Star Commander, with our first Fast Pass of the trip. Doug scored 425,100. I'm not sure he had ever broken 100,00 before. He did a little research in between trips and found some good targets.

From the Magic Kingdom, we went to the bus stop for our first experience using the Disney bus system. We have been told we are crazy for renting a car and leaving the "Disney bubble" and that the buses were great and kids think they are fun. Well, by fun you mean waiting 20 min for a bus and then getting on with a bunch of sweaty, smelly people in the Florida heat, then that's great for you. We learned very quickly (or slowly) that we would much rather walk to the far end of a Disney parking lot to our car than wait for a bus. Anyway we went to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to eat at Boma for dinner.

We took in the Savanna before dinner. Those are hotel rooms in the background. We have heard we were lucky to see so many animals that day.

So, Boma is an African buffet. Doug was looking forward to trying some different foods. We dined on bubuty, fufu, and watermelon rinde salad. Let's just say we tried it. It is a good thing we do not live in Africa! They gave us a special dessert plate for our anniversary. Once again we tried it.

Michelle got a cupcake for her birthday at Boma, too. Not really sure why she need a cupcake when there was a whole buffet full of desserts. Doug basicly ate just desserts, he was limited from lots of things on the buffet as Africa thinks it needs Mangos in just about every thing.

Meanwhile, back home, Samantha's teacher emailed us this picture of her playing at school.

After Boma, we went back over to the Magic Kingdom for evening extra magic hours (EMH). This year they started a pre show to the fireworks that uses pictures from that day and lights up the castle. It was much neater then we expected but you definitely have to be right up front for any hope of seeing if you are in one of the pictures.

More of the lights on the castle, it completely transformed it.

We then checked out one of our new favorites at the MK - the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. It is funny and you don't need to have kids to enjoy this one. Doug's goal next time is to be "that guy." We then toured the Disney mountain range-Splash, Thunder, and Space Mountain. We also saw the Scary Adventures of Snow White (because it will be gone soon due to the Fantasyland Expansion project). Then we walked to the Jungle Cruise, because every trip requires a look at the back side of water. Doug ate a Dole Whip some where in there and we closed down the MK by stopping in the Main Street Bakery to have a cinnamon roll.

Day 2
The day began early, considering we got back to our room around 2:30am. Hollywood Studios had Morning EMH and we wanted to be up front for rope drop and the dash to Toy Story Midway Mania. Doug was annoyed by the "expert" behind him giving bad advice and some how bummping him yet no one moved for ten min. So, what else would Doug do but take a picture. You can see from the picture, that it is important to be at the gate at least 30 min before it opens, because you can't even see where the crowd ends. We heard people talk about how crazy it is to wait 20 min to get a fastpass to TSM. Well the easier plan is to be one of the first ones to get one. Much simpler. This picture of grumpiness also inspired Doug to SMILE when in the background of everyone else's pictures.

We grabbed our Fast Passes and then jumped in line. We waited about 10 minutes to ride. Then headed over to Star Tours 2. It's was amazing. I needed all the scenes explained to me, once Doug could walk again. Then we walked across the park to Rockin' Roller Coster. After RRC, Doug stood in front of the Fast Pass machines for TSM for the exact second he could get our next one. Then we rode again. Doug was the high score every trip.

Meet some Cars next. We wanted to meet Phineas and Ferb, but the line was crazy. We will have to fight that battle when we are there with the kids. Then it was back to the Fast Pass Machines to watch the clock and get our 3rd Fast Pass for the day for TSM.

I posed on the steets of America.


Left overs from lunch at the ABC Commissary. The disney dinning plan is nuts! Who needs desert with every meal? Yes, Doug ate dessert first, but we didn't need it because we couldn't finish all of our food! It wasn't time to ride TSM yet so we headed back to the Beach Club to go swimming, but it rained for about 2 hours so we napped instead. We needed a break, as we had gotten up so early on each of the last few days! It was a vacation after all, so I gave Doug a break.

A picture of the pool- Stormalong Bay. It is massive - sand bottom, lazy river, and the longest slide on Disney property (outside of the water parks).
The rain cleared up and we headed to France for our dinner reservation (ADR).

We had a reservation at Le Chefs de France. It was delicious.

Doug had the Canard a l'orange (that's duck for those non-french speakers). I had a 3 course meal with Soupe a l'oignon gratinee ("french" onion soup), Gratin de Macaroni (mac and cheese) and Gauteau au chocola (chocolate mousse cake) I overly enjoyed it all! Doug had Creme brulee for deseert.

My chocolate mousse cake!

We were also greeted by the chef...well an anamatronic one. He responed when you asked him questions. It was very weird and life like. Best part of the picture is the guy in the back ground having a way too good of time reading the menu. This was our best table service meal of the trip!

We took the boat from Epcot back to Hollywood Studios (HS). We had heard that the boats are slow, but that might be an understatement! We were not in a hurry so we thought we would try it and rest our feet. We had walked from the Beach Club to HS in the morning and back again after lunch. It is about a mile and takes around 20 -25min depending on your pace, which is how long the boat takes if you are lucky and time it right.

Ride numbers 3 and 4 on TSM were fun, but I became better so I hit more targets, which left Doug with less targets to aim for! :) He has no clue how people get those best scores of the day! After another round on Star Tours with completely different ride scenes, and the same result of Doug getting sick, we went to Fantasmic! This was our first time to see Fantasmic! We missed it on our honeymoon, and did not want to fight the crowds with the kids. Afterwards we walked back to the boardwalk and both realized that we weren't all that impressed with it. We had built it up, then it kind of let us down. Oh well...I guess we are hard to immpress.

We backed at the boardwalk and we checked out Jelly Roll's- a piano bar.

Somehow we stayed until last call, then wondered out into the night. We had a blast!

The walked around the boardwalk to the Beach Club. The picture is of the Beach Club with Spaceship Earth in the background. (You might need to click on it to make it large to really see it.)

Day 3

We started the day with rope drop at Epcot. Once again we got to enjoy our 5 min walk to the gate. We were about 3rd in line at the gate and got right up to the rope. We went to Sorin' and then Test track. I rode Mission Space Green to see if it was something Sam and Alden could do on our next trip, and because the "Orange" side I did last trip left me feeling queasy. This time it wasn't queasy at all, so I think I will do Orange next time, but maybe take Samantha on Green. There are no pictures of epcot this day because the Photographer (Doug) had one too many drinks the night before! After dashing through Future World we debated what to do, so we went to the Beach Club bus stop for Downtown Disney. (My favorite place in the whole WORLD). We waited for 25 min for the bus then it stopped at 3 more hotels, and then drove the most backwards route possible to Downtown Disney. Once again we really wished we had rented a car. By the time we got there, it was lunch time, so we ate at Wolfgang Puck Express. We both got a pizza and it was great! Definitely a good place to eat! We then headed for the shops. This was Doug's favorite shirt he saw, but I would not let him get it because I belived it to be true.

Meanwhile back home, the kids were having fun with the grandparents. Ballon animals came from a trip to Downtown Omaha with Grandma Sandy.

Really... who buys this stuff?

He is Mad. And a little creepy!

Doug was overly excited to check out the newly remodled Lego store. They expaned it and added many new displays! Alden will have a great time here next October when we plan to return again with kids!

The detail of these is crazy.

After shopping with me, you will litterly drop. Or maybe it was the midday Florida heat and waiting for another bus. We went back and headed to the pool. It was really fun! We went down the slide many times. Then another storm came by and lighting made them clear the pool.

Here I am on our balcony.

Back home the kids were pedaling around and Grandma Nancy came by to play.

That night we wondered back into Epcot to a "Liner's Meet." We met a group of other crazy Disney people that we know from using our LINES app. We met at La Cava del Tequila. It was a good time and met people from all over the country, and even Canada.

We got the Margarita Flight. The waiter seemed annoyed that he had to substiue one for a mango. He tried to tell us that you can only get the 5 that come with it, but aventuly he substituted one so Doug did not have to get out his Epi pen. They were strong! Michelle drank all but the pineapple one. She realized she is a fan of the plain old lime one! There is a reason it is a classic. We had dinner at La Hacienda De San Angel that night during Illuminations. The plan was to be able to watch from our seat, but we could hardly see anything. You have to be really close to the windows to enjoy it. There are even rooms with no windows, so we won't be doing that again. The food was not all that great either. Afterward, we headed back to the hotel, but along the way Doug called the pay phones in England until someone answered and then asked them random questions... this might be one of our new favorite things to do at Disney World.

The next morning Samantha was ready for school. Thanks to Jon and Lindsey Gross-Rhode for taking her to school Friday and Monday and to the Josh and Alison Moyer for picking her up from school those days.

Day 4
On the last day of our trip, we walked over to Hollywood Studios for another rope drop... determined to be first in line for TSM. We took a few pictures of the Beach Club on our way. You can see Spaceship Earth looming over our hotel.

A picture of Jelly Roll's from the path we walked down..

Yep we were first to our turn style and we even brought breakfast!

I just relaxed as we waited for them to open the gates.

Once we got into the park, we were right on the rope. Then we waited for it to drop and we were off! But they stopped us half way and said Toy Story Mania was broken, but they were working to get it going again. So we then stood outside the ride at the front of a "non-line" for an hour before we need to head to the Magic Kingdom for lunch and meet some prinncesses. They let us get Fast Passes, so we gave them to a friend we had made in all that waiting. He was also a LINES app user and I had actually chatted with him before online about Disney! So we headed to the bus stop to go to the TTC. I don't belive I have ever waited this long for a bus in my life. Still not sure why people love the bus system at Disney World, but my time is worth more the the cost of a rental car.

We wondered around the MK and we took this picture of Dumbo from the balcony of Pinocchio Village Haus. It is a neat view of Fantasyland from up there. Maybe someday, we will try to cary food for a family of five up there.

We posed in front of "rella's" castle as Clair calls Cinderella. We really went to MK to eat at Pecos Bills to enjoy a burger and their "fixin's bar."

I then met with the princesses to sign postcards for the girls back home.

Belle made Doug get in the picture! :)

I need a nap at this point.

Donald signed a postcard to Alden.

Michelle mailed them from the Magic Kingdom. The lady is wondering why michelle is putting mail in a prop, but its real! She didn't believe us...but they arrived back home about a week later!

Shot of the train station as we left MK to head back to Epcot.

The Halloween decorations were showing up as our trip ended. I was jealous because that was my favorite trip so far - October 2008! We will return in October 2012 with the kids!

This is what I looked like much of the trip. Reporting wait times on LINES or chating on LINES. I also did lots of facebooking and texting. We also managed to talk to each other via texts so that other people didn't know that we were talking about them!

Crazy crowds on the monorail - not so much!

We wondered through Epcot on our way back to the Beach Club to clean up for the trip home.

Waiting for the Un-Magical Express. I will say that their luggage service is great! You are able to check your bags and get boarding passes at the hotel. They also take your bags from the airport to your room, but it takes 3 -5 hours for your bags to find their way.

We had a great trip! We would like to thank, Grandma Sandy and "Pop Pop" for keeping the kids and entertaining them the whole time. And thanks to my mom - Grandma Nancy for coming down to help Sandy out! They had a great time and didn't even care that we were at Disney World without them.

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3 years old - Nov 2008

3 years old - Nov 2008