S: 2 0 1 1 J u n e ~ W a l t D i s n e y W o r l d & C l e a r w a t e r B e a c h , F l o r i d a
BC: The End!
2: Day 1: June 9 We took Hutch to Puppywood the night before, parked at long-term parking, went through security and got to our gate at CVG with plenty of time to spare before our departure. The flight to Orlando was good!
4: We got off the plane and headed to the Disney Magical Express that would take us to our resort. When Mom & Dad were checking voice messages, Dad got good news that Aunt Nina's treatments had gone very well. Mom got offered the job transfer she wanted to Summerside Elementary. Magical place indeed!
6: This was really the only rain we saw the whole trip. However it did get hotter day by day. The Pop Century Resort lobby had all sorts of memorabilia from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. Quite a trip down memory lane!
7: 60s 1 221
8: We checked in, got our "First Visit" Celebration buttons & individual room cards (Adam was disappointed that he could not charge on his!), The first mouse we saw was not Mickey, but his wilderness cousin...
9: We checked out our room and pool in the 60s, grabbed dinner in the food court, (where the Big Bopper's Chantilly Lace was playing) then hopped a bus to Downtown Disney!
10: Did a little shopping, walking, Lego racing, & Mom had a rum runner. Kids had Mickey ice cream treats, played in 2 fountains, and we all watched street performers. Then back to our place for a swim, and we were done!
12: Day 2: June 10 We caught the bus bright and early, and got to the entrance in time to see the Storm Troopers posted & taking control of the entrance gate of Disney Hollywood Studios! | We were there for the last Star Wars weekend of the summer!
14: Flying on Star Tours 3D was awesome! Only mom had to close her eyes a little bit.
16: Toy Story Mania in 3D was really cool! We got a Fast Pass and went again. According to Adam, Mom had "Toy Story Arms" since hers was the winning score in the game.
17: Adam & Mom went on the Tower of Terror! Man, that was crazy! It pulled you down and up and down and up sooooo fast! Mom's purse was hovering up in the air! Could definitely feel the G forces! We were both screaming! You should have seen our faces on our faces on the ride camera! Emily & Dad had a scary enough time exiting the line to the regular elevator!
18: We then went to the Little Mermaid show to cool off, but it was cool. It was a show but it looked and felt like we were under water! Lunch was at the 50's Prime Time Cafe where our waiter, Mason, tried to teach our kids some manners. No elbows on the table!
19: We came back to the resort to swim and then have dinner. After dinner we went to the arcade! We were supposed to get a free card with 150 points to share on games, but instead this wonderful Disney employee (our favorite of the whole trip!) gave Adam and Emily cards with 250 points each! She then told the kids that Mickey had a present for each of them...more than 4000 tickets each! Wow! They got so to play so many games and won even many more tickets & prizes.
20: Day 3: June 11 Mom got the family up in time for a quick bowl of cereal and then hopped on the bus to get to the Magic Kingdom at opening time.
22: The kids were not crazy about getting there so early, but it made so much more sense to get out there early before it got so hot! We had a great bus driver named Sol who had us sing the original Mickey Mouse Club theme & other songs. He had some funny jokes for us too (MGM Studios = Mickey's Got your Money. EPCOT = Every Pocketbook Comes Out Thinner). First thing, Mom & Emily got on the Dumbo ride. Next was the Carrousel then we all tried to remove Excalibur. on to Peter Pan's Adventure and It's a Small World. | After months of planning, We're Finally Here!
23: When we first walked in, the Mayor of Disney noticed Adam's Reds shirt and asked us about Cincinnati's famous Skyline Chili! | Who took all of these pictures from behind?
24: We all tried to remove Excalibur. Only Adam was strong enough to make it move a smidgen!
25: Onward and indoors to Peter Pan's Flight where we flew over London then to It's a Small World where we toured the world by boat.
26: Disney has a great talent for making you not realize you are waiting in line. The queue into The Haunted Mansion had books moving on shelves, bubbling coffins, and musical crypts! | Ems was a little spooked by the ride. The best part was seeing the ghost in the mirror instead of the person sitting next to you!
27: Brunch at the Crystal Palace was great! We got to see Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger! | The kids got to parade around with them. Smiles were all around. It was definitely one of the best meals of the week.
30: Watching Mickey and Friends dance at Cinderella's Castle.
31: The Jungle Cruise was a silly safari boat tour. Our guide was funny. The wait in line was funny too: "May I have your attention please? (pause) Thank you. That's all!" | Mom ran into SUA friend Myse Homan Heinechen at the gift shop after the ride!
32: Next we set sail in the dark with the Pirates of the Caribbean (Emily liked the little jailhouse dog & Adam liked the waterfall). | We then took a ride on Aladdin's Magic Carpets.
33: It was a hot day! Mom's Dole frozen pineapple treat helped beat the heat as we walked to the railroad station at the entrance to the park.
34: One ride around the park on the WDW Railroad and then a bus ride back to our resort. We'll be back for more fun later!
35: After a nap and some dinner, we went back to the Magic Kingdom to ride cars on the speedway, let Adam & Emily ride the Mad Hatter's Tea Party with new friends, and to explore the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
36: Em loved that Disney World had sinks that were just her size!
37: We stayed late for the parade and Tinkerbell's arrival & the light show on the castle. The photo on the front cover shows our favorite & the newest & most amazing part of the light show.
38: Day 4: June 12 Adam & Dad stayed up late the night before watching the Cincinnati Reds game at Petals, the pool bar, so we got a late start to this day. We got breakfast and caught the bus to the Animal Kingdom!
40: The Tree of Life was very huge and very cool to see. Inside the trunk is where we later watched the show "It's Tough to be a Bug!"
41: There were all sorts of amazing animal carvings all over the trunk of the tree that you could not see until you were up close. Our first stop was the awesome Kilimanjaro Safari!
42: Crocodiles | Teeny tiny bug on a leaf.
43: "Upside Down" trees Hardened ant hills that elephants rub against after taking dirt baths | Rhino
45: Ostrich Eggs Elephants taking a bath Elephants, Elephants, Elephants! (Baby ones too!)
46: Cute baby elephant Rhinos Flamingos The King of Beasts takes a nap.
47: After the safari, we took the train ride out to the Conservation Station & back. Lunch was at Pizzafari where we had pizzas and salads. Adam was happy that they had nut-safe chocolate chip cookies for dessert! Next stop was the Tree of Life for "It's Tough to be a Bug!" Mike could actually see a lot of the amazing 3D flying bugs. The part where the bugs came out from under our seats was a surprise for everyone!
48: Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade!
51: The Legend of the Lion King (Go Team Pumbaa!)
52: Afterwards Dad took Adam & Emily to DinoLand to ride the TriceraTop Spin & play the water shooting arcade game while Mom went to ride Expedition Everest & faced the Yeti! What a thrill! One part even went backwards! I hadn't ridden a rollercoaster like that in 20 years. It was so smooth, too. The single rider line was open, & there were only three people in front of me, so there was hardly any wait!
53: Dinner at Boma - Taste of Africa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge | Good food here! The chef walked Adam through the buffet and made Adam his own personal dessert!
54: Day 5: June 13 On the bus on our way to Epcot, Adam realized he did not have his key card which gets him into the parks. We got a replacement at customer service and then went into the park. First we went to The Seas with Nemo and Friends (Mike just loves the dark rides that have moving sidewalks!) and Turtle Talk with Crush. That was really fun. Crush (Nemo's friend) talked to the kids in the audience and answered their questions. | In the morning after sleeping in, Mom & Emily went for a walk to explore a little. It was already so hot, ducks were looking for shade next to the plants!
56: We got evening Fast Passes for Soarin' then rode Living with the Land, It is a slow-moving boat ride, which is part dark ride and part greenhouse tour. The focus of the ride is on agriculture, especially new technology like water farming & string farming. We thought it might be dull but it was pretty interesting!
57: Lunch at Coral Reef Restaurant
58: Ellen's Energy Adventure started with Ellen DeGeneres dreaming she was on Jeopardy but all questions were about energy. She then went with Bill Nye and took us throughout the uniiverse to see how energy is created. The "cars" in this ride were HUGE! Each one could have held 100+ people. There were about 4 in the big theater, then the screens opened up and the cars took us all the way from the times of dinosaurs to today. What's the only power that never goes away? Brain Power!
59: We got Fast Passes for Test Track and then went to the Mexico Pavillion to go on the Gran Fiesta Tour with Donald Duck as one of the Three Caballeros. We did not get to pavillions for any other countries because of the heat and our late start. We went back to the resort for a rest to return later to use our fast passes and to watch the fireworks. | Lightning McQueen and Mater topiaries. Cute big tortoise in an area near the lake.
61: Soarin' was AWESOME! Thank goodness we had gotten Fast Passes. We also had the last Fast Passes for the day for Test Track! Everyone LOVED this fast ride!
62: Adam found a few cars he might like to drive...
63: A little bit of Epcot"s Illuminations fireworks show... | ...and our walk around World Showcase Lagoon when everything was closed.
65: Day 6: June 14 The most valuable bit of information I learned from all of the planning books and websites was to avoid any park on an Extra Magic Hours day. We did this every day and had very tolerable, short enough waits on any ride. We did this every day, except our last! I scheduled our last day to be our second day at Magic Kingdom. It was an Extra Magic Hours day, but hey, it was our last day, so we went for it. How bad could it be? You would have thought it was free admission day, it was so crowded! We got on Big Thunder Mountain Railway, Splash Mountain, & one more ride on the steam-powered railroad before they closed it for lightning. That was it! Lines & crowds were everywhere. The 98 degree heat was calling us back to the pool.
66: Big Thunder Mountain Railway was exciting, but I wish there were seat belts! Maybe the kids should have ridden together. These big parents kept sliding and squishing the kids around the turns!
67: Splash Mountain had Emily a little worried, but she had almost as much fun as Adam & Mom did! Dad waited for us in the shade at the train station.
69: This was part of the mural you could see from the train where Mickey's Toontown Fair had been and they were building Storybook Circus Land. In the top left corner is Beast's Castle and in the center is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster.
70: Adam & Emily after some souvenir shopping | Housekeeping cleans & makes cute towel animals, too! | Emily & Mom were there to help wake up the pool & the flower sprayers!
71: These balloons lasted for the whole week! Our housekeeping lady had given us the purple one. Before we checked out, Adam & Emily each took one to give away to another unsuspecting child at the resort as a gift of their own. Emily and her pirate booty from the arcade & gift shop.
72: Day 7: June 15 Breakfast at Chef Mickey's and then off to Clearwater Beach!
73: A fun way to end our trip. We're all tired & Mom's a little sad to leave...
74: When the chef came out, music started playing and people starting twirling napkins with him! Chef Mickey's is at the Contemporary Resort, so we got to see the Monorail go through the atrium. Guess that is how the birds got in, too!
75: Our last bus ride!
76: Days 6-11 June 14-19 Beach Bound! ...and boy have we earned it!. Mom took a shuttle to pick up our rental car from the WDW Car Care Center & we headed to Clearwater Beach! (Mike "lost" his credit card...or did he leave it in his swimsuit pocket which is in his suitcase? Hmmm?))
77: When we arrived at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort we had wonderful valet service that even unpacked our car for us, parked it, and brought the key to us with a little tag showing where in the lot they parked it. We could get used to traveling like that!
78: There were games at the pool each afternoon. | They were finishing up re-walpapering our hall when we got there, so this was our wall sign for a few hours! | Emily's toy sharks (no worry about stingrays here!)
79: Breakfast! (The way it was meant to be!)
80: Ahhh... We earned this!
84: The resort had good restaurants and bars. We also spent a day at the water's edge in a cabana. (That made mom and Dad realize they hadn't had a grown-up getaway in a long time!) Poolside drinks in buckets. Seashells galore. Steel drum music. Fresh towels from the pool boys whenever we wanted. Perfect seats for sunset.
88: After 11 days of sun & fun it is time to say goodbye to Florida and fly home to our Hutchiepoo!