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Disney World Spring Break PTR


KIfan1980
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I hope you have a comfortable seat and plenty of time because this will be long :)

Disney World, Spring Break – four words that strike fear in the hearts of many, but since we didn't want to take Kyle out of school and really wanted another family Disney trip while the boys were in that prime age (5, 7, and 40), we decided to venture to Disney World last week. To make the most of the trip, I gathered advice from many (thanks Jesse, Dave, and others here on KIC who gave advice) and even invested in knowledge from tourguidemike.com ($20 well spent in my opinion) before setting out. What follows is an accounting of a truly spectacular family vacation!

With airfares through the roof, we decided to drive this year. Santa helped with the Nintendo DS in both boys stockings and we made a good choice to include the third row of seats and DVD Entertainment system when we purchased a new car recently. My iPod on shuffle also reunited me with some good music I'd forgotten I had!

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We stopped on the way down just south of Atlanta where we were greeted by a Tornado Warning as we checked into the hotel (this was only the beginning of weather playing a big factor in our trip).

Upon Arrival at Disney, we checked into our room at Boardwalk (my inlaws are Disney Vacation Club members and the stay was our Christmas present – best gift ever!) where we went Swimming at the Luna Park pool.

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Boardwalk also has this miniature carousel located in the lobby – according to the Disney website, it was hand-crafted in the 1920s at Coney Island by M.C. Illions, a master designer and manufacturer of merry-go-rounds. It is really neat to watch it in action.

After a nice meal in Downtown Disney and a good night sleep, we ventured to Hollywood Studios for Rope Drop on Day 1 (Monday) despite the driving rain (although we got wet, we had a fantastic time and I know this significantly reduced the crowds we encountered). I secured the first set of Fastpasses of the day for Toy Story Midway Mania (yay me!) before we rode it standby – like many Disney rides, the queue for this is amazing, you feel like you are part of the toys in Andy's room! The ride is also an awesome interactive 3D experience. Following this, we rode the Tower of Terror, Rock-n-Roller Coaster and saw a few shows. I thoroughly enjoyed Walt-One Man's Dream - both the incredible items on display like an early diorama of the Peter Pan ride and the movie on his life – while the boys enjoyed Disney Jr. Live. We were all in awe at the Lights, Motor, Action Stunt Show – where despite the wet track, the show continued at high speed.

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After an afternoon break we headed to Epcot for dinner at Coral Reef – I've got to give huge thanks to Disney for making it so easy to vacation for families with dietary restrictions. We had a chef come to our table at every table service meal, and every cast member at the counter service restaurants knew what to do! We also hit a few rides (Soarin', Mission Space, Maelstrom – Test Track was down due to rain) before watching Illuminations, which I considered to be the best show at Disney (at least until Day 2)

Day 2 (Tuesday) began with a risk of rain (although none came) and an early start at the Magic Kingdom. With touring plan in hand, we quickly worked our way through many rides in Tomorrowland (never waiting more than 10 minutes) Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, Astro Orbiter before crossing over to ride Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. We also watched the Move It-Shake It Party, and enjoyed the atmosphere at the park – I love the topiaries, the band, and the character meet and greets.

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Following another afternoon break, we returned to the park for a few rides, dinner at Tony's, and then the shows: Main Street Electrical Parade – Magic, Memories, and You – Wishes. While technically not one show, MM&Y followed by Wishes is a truly magical and a memory from my day at Disney with the family that will stay with me. I'm also pretty much in awe of the technology that enables them to make the castle come alive in the MM&Y show (sorry, I was so busy watching that I didn't snap any decent pictures :angry:)

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Day 3 and 4 to be added tomorrow

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Continuing – Day 3 was our rest or no park day. It began with sleeping in as much as our boys allowed followed by a visit to Chef Mickey's for a Character brunch. While meeting Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald was special for the kids the fact that we took a monorail to get there was equally thrilling for my 5 year old! After lunch, we hung out around the hotel – spent a few hours at the pool, played in the arcade, wandered the boardwalk, and generally relaxed a little while on vacation :D

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The relaxation day gave us a perfect opportunity to hit it hard on our final day at the parks (Day 4). Unfortunately, the weather wasn't cooperating as it began with severe thunderstorms and tornado watches. Despite this we ventured to Animal Kingdom – where we were able to ride the Kilamanjaro Safari's and Dinosaur, but not Everest (I guess we have a good reason to go back). We took the opportunity to enjoy a couple of shows – Bug's Life, which is always fun, and Festival of the Lion King. We hadn't been to this before and absolutely loved the show – the music, singing, dancing, floats and entire theater environment was incredible; the boys also got to participate "on stage" at one point which made their day.

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As it was still wet and not the best day to be at AK, we left after a great lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and after a quick stop at the hotel, park hopped to Epcot to catch a ride on Test Track and Mission Space before taking the longer monorail ride to Magic Kingdom. We also strolled past some of the Flower and Garden show displays – the topiaries of Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Woody, and Lightning were cool and the floral displays were interesting (although not as much fun in the rain).

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Back at the Magic Kingdom, we finished rides/shows we'd not done on Tuesday, which included Mickey's PhilharMagic (very entertaining), Haunted Mansion (which has some cool new theme in the queue) and most of Fantasyland (including some serious spinning on the Tea-Cups). We also rode the Magic Carpets of Aladdin in a driving rainstorm (oh what fun!) – following this I ran into and got to say hi to KIC's own Disney College Program participant Colonel SoB fan who was out in the rain keeping the park clean! In addition, we re-rode some favorites (Buzz, Space, Speedway, Pirates, and even the People Mover), and finished up with another showing of Wishes after the rain had stopped. This was the perfect ending that led to us saying see you later to the park - for me Disney World is just a magical place that I know I'll be returning to again and again.

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Our trip home also gave us an opportunity to stop in Chattanooga at the Tennessee Aquarium - another highly recommended attraction in an interesting city. We'll definitely stop here again to see some of the other sites.

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All in all, we had a fabulous vacation building great family memories despite the weather. I'll leave you with a few of my thoughts about things that make Walt Disney World special.

  • Cast Members. Every single employee we interacted with had a great attitude – they were friendly, helpful, and seemed intent on making our days special and our lives easier. Kudos to the bus driver who gave our boys swords, the attendant at Mickey's PhilharMagic who spent 5 minutes playing with them before the show, the ride ops and bellboys who did everything with a smile, the parade attendants who try to keep the path clear so patiently, and everyone involved in keeping the park in such a clean state.
  • Theme. I don't expect it to this level in a seasonal park, but the queue's, uniforms, buildings, and rides all bring together the theme of an area and a park. As an Engineer I think it would be really, really cool to be an Imagineer.
  • Attention to Detail. The efficiency with which the whole place is run and the attention to detail is amazing, even bad weather days didn't cause the slightest hiccup.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed. Also, if anyone can help me add a video, I could add a couple of items - video's are on my photobucket account, but I'm not sure how to add them to KIC.

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Great TPR

while the boys were in that prime age (5, 7, and 40)

I haven't laughed so hard in quite a while. Of course this is because I know how true this statement is.

Did you do the dining plan? I loved the simplicity of it and would never dream of going to Disney without staying onsite and getting the DDP.

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One of the nicest trip reports that I have read in quite a while...mostly because it's so personable. :) Just as Dave mentioned, I laughed out loud when I read the 5, 7 & 40 line! You took some great photos...your kids (and you) look like you are having a great time.

It's too bad you had some rain...but like you said it probably kept some of the crowds away. (Every cloud...) I always thought the stunt show was shut down if it rained...so your pictures are interesting.

I am jealous of your Chef Mickey dining. My family has now been there 4 times and we have NEVER been able to sit in the "main" room...we always get put in what appears to me as the spillover area.

I do have a Boardwalk question for you...my family and I stayed there in late January...we wanted to avoid Spring break! :P

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We were lucky enough to get this room...although it was a l-o-n-n-n-g walk back and forth to get to it!

Anyway, did you get any impression that a majority of the guests seemed to have more of an "entitlement" issue? We have stayed at a few other resorts at Disney and it always seems like everyone was "equall"...at the Boardwalk it seemed different. Here is the main difference that I saw...and I saw it several times during our recent trip...a majority of the guests riding the bus to the parks only seemed to think of themselves. I can't tell you how many young able bodied men took a seat while a mother with kids or an elderly person was standing up. There was also quite a few times when the parents allowed their 1-3 year old children to have a seat of their own. (Instead of holding them on their laps.) Once again, while elderly people had to stand. Also on the buses lots of people seemed to grumble if they had to squeeze in too much. I am used to the friendly "Come on, we can get everyone on" mentality.

Had I experienced this once I could have overlooked it...but after several incidents like this during our trip I started to really dislike our fellow resort guests.

Once again, thanks for the truly GREAT trip report! :)

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I'm glad you all enjoyed the report. I always enjoy reading others, so I try to share some of mine as well, but it is always nice to get feedback that they are appreciated.

(BTW, nice job sporting the Voyage T-shirt!).

My Voyage shirt was mentioned by about 4-5 cast members. The next day my Diamondback shirt was less recognized.

while the boys were in that prime age (5, 7, and 40)

I haven't laughed so hard in quite a while. Of course this is because I know how true this statement is.

Did you do the dining plan? I loved the simplicity of it and would never dream of going to Disney without staying onsite and getting the DDP.

Yes, we did the dining plan. Agree, there is no way I'd go without it - and I hear they have changed it so that you can opt to include your departure day or not depending upon your circumstances which would be a great change.

Just as Dave mentioned, I laughed out loud when I read the 5, 7 & 40 line! You took some great photos...your kids (and you) look like you are having a great time.

I always thought the stunt show was shut down if it rained...so your pictures are interesting.

I am jealous of your Chef Mickey dining. My family has now been there 4 times and we have NEVER been able to sit in the "main" room...we always get put in what appears to me as the spillover area.

We were lucky enough to get this room...although it was a l-o-n-n-n-g walk back and forth to get to it!

Anyway, did you get any impression that a majority of the guests seemed to have more of an "entitlement" issue?

To you and Dave - my wife accuses me of being her third excited little boy at amusement parks, and it is true :D

Stunt show - I did not expect it to be operating, but it was and was quite impressive as the timing is especially tricky with the wheel spins on the wet pavement.

Room - Nice room, although I can imagine the walk from the elevators (Energizer Bunny comes to mind)

Entitlement Issue - Some DVC guests (I've seen it before at several resorts, not just Boardwalk) do have the I'm more important than you attitude, but we didn't really see that this time. The buses for Boardwalk are interesting as they are shared with Swan and Dolphin which sometimes leads to issues with it being full by the time it gets to the second/third stop.

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