Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our Dream Disney Vacation - Day One Pictures!

On Disney's Magical Express

They're so funny

Arrival at the Polynesian

Checking in

I regret not being in this picture... oh well

I told Matt to pose and he did this...

Our view to the left

A zoomed in few of the castle from our balcony

Vegetarian Chili

Grilled Cheese & chips

Volcano pool

The new cabanas - unopened that day

The gang (minus me)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad as seen from the steamboat

One of my favorite shots.  Purely by accident.

That's the face of someone who just rode their first coaster!

My mom and Diane

Me on the carousel

You can't see it but the Wishes is going on behind us

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Dream Disney Vacation - Day One

Stacey - That's me!
Matt - My cute husband!
Nancy - My mom!
Diane - Matt's mom!

October 9
Note:  Pictures for Day One will follow soon.  I decided to break it up for this trip report so I can keep my posts as short as possible. 

The day had finally come and of course I didn't get to bed as early as I would have liked.  I aimed for 9:00 p.m. but climbed into bed to watch Flipper at around 10:00 p.m.  The alarm went off at 3:30 a.m. and I had felt like I only slept 15 minutes.  No matter.  Matt and I finished our packing up pretty quickly and we were out the door and loaded into Matt's parents car by 4:45 a.m.  Only 15 minutes behind schedule!  That's pretty typical for us. 

When we were 15 minutes away from the airport we decided to stop for a potty break at Mickey D's.  I decided to occupy the handicap stall.  When I finished my business I looked down to realize that there was no toilet paper.  Of course the toilet was tucked WAY far away from the door so having my mother-in-law pass me toilet paper over the stall proved to be difficult.  I had to do the classy pants-around-your-knees walk. 

Security at the airport seemed pretty hectic at first but it moved very quickly.  The rest of the gang used the restroom and my mother-in-law got coffee then we waited only ten minutes before we boarded our plane.  There were crumbs on my lap tray.  Gross.  In case you're wondering... I chose peanuts and my usual ginger ale. 

Once in Florida we made our way down to Disney's Magical Express check-in.  Only this time, no check-in!  We walked straight to the podium and got in our line that would take us to the Polynesian Resort.  While we were talking about what time we woke up that morning a family of three behind us told us that they woke up at 1:30 a.m.  The conversations went something like this.

Us:  "Oh, where are you from?"
Them:  "Michigan"
Us:  "No way!  Where abouts?"
Them:  "Sturgis"
Us:  "Sturgis, Michigan?  You're kidding!  Us too!"

How often does that happen?!  Not very often let me tell you!  My mother-in-law knew one of the women looked familiar and that she'd seen her at the gym before.  Their family was staying at Bay Lake Tower.  For some reason we didn't exchange names but.. more on that later in my trip report.  :)

Magical Express was wonderful as usual and we were the first stop.  Our moms enjoyed taking pictures of themselves while Matt and I watched the welcome video that plays.  Walking off of the bus at the Polynesian was a "pinch me" moment.  I couldn't stop smiling!  The check-in desk seemed a bit busy.  Standing in the lobby I started to look around and a flood of emotions came over me.  This was what I'd waited so long for.  The trip I never thought would really happen.  I started sobbing.  Right there in the line to check-in.  This was a prime time for our moms to take pictures of course.  "Oh look at Stacey crying!  Awww."  *click*

Our packet was waiting for us but not everything was inside.  The gift card seemed to be missing and the desk couldn't find it.  Also, our Garden Grocer order couldn't be found right away despite the fact that I got the call from Garden Grocer saying that it was delivered.  The cast member at the desk assured us that they would track down both the groceries and the gift card and call me when they did. 

We headed up to our room... only a short two or three minute walk from the Great Ceremonial House.  Third floor lagoon view room in Aotearoa.  I have to be honest that when we were walking to the room I was nervous that the view wouldn't be as good since the longhouse sits further back than the rest.  Of course it all ended up well and we could even see the castle if we stood on the left side of the balcony.  The room was pretty much spotless.  I know there have been reports of unemptied trash cans or bed bugs but we saw none of that.  The desk must have found the groceries quickly because they were delivered as soon as we got up there. 

Captain Cook's fed us a very good lunch.  I like the touch screen ordering very much though my mom seemed to have none of it.  Every time we used it she made us order for her.  She ordered the pork sandwich.  Diane and Matt both got the adult grilled cheese.  I ordered the soup of the day... vegetarian chili!  Everything was really really delicious.  We found that the "chips" were actually more like crunchy flatbread.  Most chips didn't seem cooked enough so they were chewy instead of crunchy.  Weird.  I finished my chili before anyone else so I walked around and took pictures nearby.  The new cabanas were really nice but it looked like no one was using them.

After lunch we took the monorail to Magic Kingdom and got our park tickets from Guest Relations.  The park seemed really busy right away.  We made our way up Main Street and took in all the sights and smells.  The Confectionary.  The Bakery.  And finally... Cinderella Castle.  I could tell Diane was really enjoying herself already and was in awe of finally seeing the castle in person. 

We made it to Tomorrowland and met up with a new friend of mine that works at Space Mountain.  Ashley and I met back when she worked for American Idol Experience.  She said that Space was actually down at the moment but people were still waiting in the very long line with hopes that they would start running very soon.  Ashley took us through the FastPass line and past what seemed like a million people.  I thought maybe she'd have us join in the line at some point but nope!  She literally walked us right up to the loading platform and let us ride in the first car.  By the time we got up there the ride was operating again so we were off!  I really like the new music because something is better than nothing.  The ride was MUCH smoother than the last time I rode but the vehicles are still terribly uncomfortable. 

Ashley walked us out of Space Mountain and then we said our goodbyes.  She was off work and we were off to play in the Magic Kingdom!  The crowds were really intense on this day.  Buzz Lightyear was even a 40 minute wait!  But thanks to some awesome FastPasses that a wonderful cast member gave us ;) we waited only five minutes!  We hit up Peter Pan and the steamboat and then got FastPasses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  While we were waiting for our ride time we rode Splash Mountain, Enchanted Tiki Room, and Hall Of Presidents.  My mother-in-law was really nervous about her first ever roller coaster ride.  My mom decided to sit out and wait for us so Matt and I walked the brave Diane into the queue.  I am happy to report that Diane LOVED Big Thunder and even asked to do it again before we went back home!  Hearing her laugh through the entire ride was music to this coaster lovers ears!

Now that our tum tums were all wound up we decided to eat dinner at Pecos Bills.  The line was long which seemed to be the trend of the day.  When Matt and I were ordering I turned back to look at the ordering computer and noticed that there were two vegetarian options that are not listed on the menu.  A veggie taco and a veggie wrap.  I didn't ask what they entailed but at least I know now that they modify the taco and wrap for us veggies!

Anyone else ever get truly wet on Pirates Of The Caribbean?!  We did in the front row!  Maybe we were top heavy since they crammed all four of us in the front of the boat.  I think I got more wet then than on Splash Mountain!  After Pirates we went back to Fantasyland and finished off with Mickey's Philharmagic and the carousel.  We originally planned on staying for Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes but the majority of us were too tired to stay in the parks so we left and went back to the Polynesian. 

My mother-in-law and I inquired about getting a microwave and got one sent up to our room right away.  We all tiredly unpacked our clothes (except Matt who lives out of the suitcase) and I watched Wishes from our balcony.  I did notice a little noise from the luau but nothing annoying.  I found it quite pleasant actually.  While everyone else got tucked into bed I took my shower.  Can I just say that I could have stayed in that shower all night?!  It was heavenly!  Finally, it was my turn to get some shut eye and be ready for a full day at Hollywood Studios.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

All My Faithful Followers

Just wanted to pop in and say that I'm sorry for not updating yet!  I have to write for Orbitz's blog and Steve Seifert's Polynesian website as well and they are my top priorities.  I've just gotten back into the swing of things at work.  Truthfully, I haven't even fully unpacked my bags after coming home.  I think I am just hoping someone will tell me that they are gonna send me back to Walt Disney World any day now.  :)

Keep your pants on folks and I will give you my first trip report entry very soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back To Reality

I'm back my wonderful listeners!  I will say though, I wish I were still in Walt Disney World enjoying the parks.  It was the fastest week of my life, I swear.  The first few days were so slow and nice.  But by the time Tuesday hit everything went at a rapid pace.  I don't feel like writing a whole lot right now since I don't have my notes with me and my photos have not been sorted and edited.  I got my Disney Photopass pictures edited and saved though! 

The entire week the weather was totally perfect.  Hot but not to the point where you are sweating.  The evening were cool but not cold.  I loved it.  The crowds on the other hand were totally nuts compared to last year.  Often time the wait for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad would get up to 80 minutes.  Last year at this time I remember it peaking at about 30 minutes.  Big difference.  Fastpasses disappeared quickly for almost all attractions and if you weren't on the ball in the morning, you weren't getting on the popular rides without waiting at least 40 minutes.  Apparently Disney didn't expect the significant crowd increase as well.  They added extended park hours many nights as well as adding extra show times in the evenings. 

Being back to work totally stinks.  I confess that I asked Matt if we could just send for the dog and cat and stay in Florida.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Disney World... Here We Come!

Finally!!  It's almost here!  It's almost here!  In less than 24 hours I will be on my way to Walt Disney World! 

Hard to believe that it was almost 7 months ago that I won this trip by entering a little Twitter contest.  I was sitting at work just chatting with my co-worker when I got on Twitter.  After looking through my feed for a few seconds I see my Twitter screenname next to Orbitz's Twitter and then read the tweet.  I started having a mini panic attack in my head.  I won.  I had really really won.  Because my co-worker was talking I couldn't interrupt her... that would be rude.  I just stood there nodding along to her story until I couldn't hold it in anymore and I said out loud, "I think I won a trip to Disney World." 

Telling my husband and my mom was so crazy.  They both didn't quite believe me at first.  It was sort of a "wait, what?!" kind of reaction.  When I went home on my lunch and called the woman from Orbitz I got really emotional.  After I hung up the phone I just sat on the bed with my husband and cried.  To say that he and I have needed this trip together is an understatement.  Just a week before I had found out I won I was busy trying to budget a trip to WDW for just him and I.  We wanted some time in WDW so badly but we have been strapped for cash.  To be able to STOP budgeting and just know it was all taken care of has been such a blessing. 

We're taking a vacation that we never thought would be possible.  Or, at least not for many years.  We don't have high paying jobs or anything so we just can't afford something so over the top.  We dream of it, sure.  But never did we think it would be reality so soon. 

After talking with Diane, my mother-in-law, we decided it would be best to leave at 4:30 a.m. instead of 5:00.  There is construction on I-94 and in case they are working I won't want to run into problems.  That will leave us with plenty enough time to give the airline our bags and get through security.

Matt just took Ellie to the groomers to be boarded for the week.  Saying goodbye to her was harder than I thought it would be.  Even though she is sort of a pain sometimes, she is such a loving dog and has the cutest face.  I know she will be safe but I just worry about if she is going to be happy or not.  We made sure to give the groomers her leash, coat, treats, food, raw hides, toys, and her favorite blanket.  Leaving Vinnie tomorrow morning I have no doubt will make me cry.  I love him SO much that sometimes I absolutely cannot wait to get home and hold him.  If I keep talking about him I might start crying.... Haha!

Matt and I got our flu shots today on my lunch and my arm is throbbing like a mother.  Seriously can't lift my arm past shoulder level.  Most everything is out and ready to be put in the bags.  When I get home at 6 we will eat dinner and finish packing.  Hoping to take some cold medicine to knock my butt out by 9:00 p.m.  We wake up at 3:30 a.m. and will be on the road (hopefully) an hour later. 

Talk to you all when we get back!  I'll tell Mickey Mouse you said hello!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hump Hump Hump Day!

Waiting for something that you are really excited about is one of the hardest things in the whole world.  It's all that is on my mind and is distracting me from doing almost anything.  Only three more sleeps... I just keep telling myself that.  Just get through the rest of this week and then you get the best reward ever... Disney World.

All of the laundry is done so tonight I am going to start packing and hopefully get the majority of it all done after Zumba and dinner.  We were all planning on buying Disney gift cards before we leave but we can't find any around us except for the $25 ones.  We plan on putting a couple of hundred dollars on them so we are going to wait until we get to WDW to buy them.  I only have to do a few other minor things before we leave like get new chapstik and wash my makeup brushes.  Everything else is bought and ready to be packed up.

I don't think I've mentioned the songs that I might do for American Idol Experience.  And I don't think I'm going to!  I like the idea of leaving a little mystery.  Guess you will have to wait and see!

The gang and I have decided to leave at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday.  It should take just under 2 hours to get the airport near Detroit.  Checking our bags and moving through security shouldn't take very long since we're going to be there pretty early.  Our flight leaves at 8:20.  I really hate sitting around in airports.  They make me nervous.  Therefore, I don't abide by the "2 hour" rule.  No way in hell am I going to sit around for that long. 

Anyone have a magic wand that can speed up this week?  Anyone?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Longest Week Ever

I go to Walt Disney World this week.  HOLY COW!  How time flies... in the best way.  Now I just have to make it through 5 long days of work and I will be good to go.  When I say I need a vacation, trust me.  I NEED a vacation.

This weekend I got most of the cleaning done.  My mom came over and helped me get some stuff done faster while Matt slept.  The kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom are totally clean.  The dining room will be the last to get done since we use the dining room to basically lay our vacation stuff out.  While we have our suitcases ready we don't have anything in them just yet.  All of the laundry will be done tomorrow which means I can be almost totally packed up by Wednesday night. 

We made arrangements to take Ellie to our groomers that also do boarding.  It will cost us $120 or so for the week.  They don't just leave them in a crate which is the big reason we chose to go with them over our vet.  Each dog gets at least 3 walks a day and they have a play pen that they get to romp in.  Ellie isn't totally housebroken yet but she is doing really well.  She never goes in her crate but if you don't take her out in a timely manner when she is out playing then she will go on the floor.  She is only about 4 months old now so I would say she's doing pretty well.  Her breed is apparently harder to housebreak.

Today I placed our order with Garden Grocer.  The total came out to be almost $80.  But the food portion was only $54.  The rest was delivery, sales tax, and gratuity.  I had to bite my tongue a little bit when I hit "submit."  Hopefully there are no problems with them and we will feel like we got our monies worth.

When I get back from vacation I'm going to be a busy lady.  I will be writing a review on the Polynesian Resort for Steve Seifert's website that is dedicated to the Polynesian.  I'll also be writing a mini trip report for Orbitz's blog.  All of that on top of my own trip report for my blog.  Phew!  It's a lot of work but I'm really excited about it.  I am well prepared with a tiny "detective" notebook that I got this weekend.  That's what my husband calls it.  A "detective" notebook.  He cracks me up. 

Here's to the shortest week ever (hopefully)!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Remember The Magic

Back in 1997, I took my very first trip to Walt Disney World with my family.  I was in the 4th grade.  Who would have known that that one trip started would ignite a fire inside of me?  The beginning of a passion that can last a lifetime.  Here are some photos of the vacation that forever changed my life. 

Above:  My family in front of the Cinderella Castle decked out for the 25th anniversary.  From left to right, my brother, Scott; my niece, Brooke; my sister-in-law, Tammi; My mom; young me; and my other brother, Chris.

Above:  Brooke being adorable as usual
Below:  Another adorable shot of Brooke with Pluto

Below:  I love Genie :)

Below:  Inside of Minnie's house!  Yes, I realize with my hair back I look like a boy.

Below:  The Goofster and I hanging out at Magic Kingdom

Above:  Brooke and I played in the sand after a long day at Disney MGM-Studios
Below:  Posing with our new ears!

Below:  After I got home I posed with my souvenirs.  Guess where the drum is from!

Below:  Bonus picture!  From my second trip to WDW in 2001

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Planning Binder

Since 2007 I have kept a Disney planning binder.  As my trip gets closer I add and edit things inside.  I use sheet protectors so everything stays nice and neat.  This binder stays by my side until we get into our room at the resort.  I wrote a blog about my binder a while back.  This is what my binder right now contains. 

I have my Garden Grocery list and packing list in the binder right now but those will be taken out when I'm done with them.  I include my day itinerary that includes our chosen parks and dining reservation confirmation numbers.  You'll notice that the page protector is all crinkled. That's because when we are in the parks, I take that page out, fold it up, and put it in my bag.  It's gotten a few years of use.  Haha.

On top of this, I keep a schedule of the park hours, extra magic hours, and parade/show times.  No picture necessary because it's too fine of print and you won't be able to read it anyway.  In the back of my binder I keep a letter Matt wrote me back in 2008 before my first mother/daughter trip with my mom.  I was nervous about having to be in charge and having to go somewhere without Matt.  He called me "Rudy" because of the movie character.  Which happens to be one of my favorite movies.  :)  I love carrying that letter because he says some very sweet things in it.

9 days to go!  C'mon!!!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So Close I Can Taste It


This morning I rolled out of bed at 6:30 a.m. and quickly grabbed my phone to check my family into the Polynesian Resort.  Let me just tell you... it felt SO good!  Tomorrow we will be doing the single digit dance!

I am compiling the list of items we need to order from Garden Grocer today.  My mother-in-law has her list made out already so I just have to get my mom to do the same.  Matt and I will be fairly easy I think. 

My packing list is already edited.  All I have to do is print it off and get started!  I remember when I would go to WDW before I was an adult... I would pack my stuff 2 weeks ahead of time.  I don't find the need to do that anymore.  Last year I stalled a bit too much though.  Like... the night before. Oops.  The hard part is getting my husband, Matt, to pack!  He says it will take all of 10 minutes but I know that once he starts he realizes it's actually much harder than he thought.  So, that short 10 minutes turns into 45 minutes.  Debating which sandles to take and which to leave at home.  How many pair of practically idential shorts to bring along?  What is absolutely necessary to be packed in the carry-on bag?  I think he actually manages to make it harder on himself. 

Recently I was told by a friend of mine about a really cool website called  It's basically a way to promote your blog or other Disney related website.  Everytime you post something new and would like to share it with people, you simply add it to DisMarks website and then registered members can see it.  If people like what they read they can "mark it" which is basically giving that entry a vote.  Once there are 5 votes you entry gets "promoted" to the main DisMarks page.  Four days ago I posted the video from our honeymoon and right now that entry is the number one most popular Dismark!  Yay! 

I'd like to thank Ned Brower from my favorite rock/pop band, Rooney for being a frequent reader of my Disney blog.  The other night on Facebook he told me he reads my blog and it definitely made my night.  I love how the common love for Disney can join so many people together in a way you never realized.  I've personally made and strengthened a lot of relationships in my life because of Disney.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The 12 Days Of Disney

Here we are folks!  Only 12 short days left until we take off on a Boeing 757 headed straight for Orlando International Airport.

Over the weekend I spent time getting mums and pumpkins with my mom and mother-in-law.  We kept talking about Disney World of course.  We're hoping that there will only be 4 checked bags and 3 carry-ons among us.  Not only do we not have the desire to spend $32 for a second checked bag on top of $23 for the first, but we have limited space in the car.  My husband's dad is going to drive the four of us up to Detroit and leave us off so we don't have to spend almost $100 to park the car at the airport for the week.  I admit that I doubt we will fit all of the bags in the car comfortably but, we will manage I'm sure.  As long as the moms don't overpack.  ;)

Matt and I are still unsure what we are going to do with Ellie for the week.  Yeah yeah yeah, it's 2 weeks away.  We know.  Our neighbor offered to watch Ellie anytime we needed her to so I think we are going ot try and ask her soon.  She has a miniature poodle that would be the only problem.  I'm not sure that Ellie and the poodle would get along so we'd have to find out before we commit to keep her there.  If we don't keep her at our neighbors then she will just get boarded somewhere here in town.

Last night, I was tuning into WDW Today's Live Show and when I entered the chat room I was pointed out by a fellow listener named Kathy.  She said she was a frequent reader of my blog!  I was so flattered that she "knew" me!  HI, KATHY!!

In keeping with the theme of my blog entry title, I'm going to list 12 great gifts/souvenirs to buy when at Walt Disney World!

On the first day of Disney my true love gave to me... A refillable mug!

On the second day of Disney my true love gave to me... A swirley lollipop!

On the third day of Disney my true love gave to me... A Hummel from Germany!

On the fourth day of Disney my true love gave to me... A Create-Your-Own Mr. Potato Head!

On the fifth day of Disney my true love gave to me... A Walt Disney "Vision" Poster!

On the sixth day of Disney my true love gave to me... A "Pick-A Pearl" from Japan!

On the seventh day of Disney my true love gave to me... A Disney Cookbook!

On the eighth day of Disney my true love gave to me... A Vintage Epcot T-Shirt!

On the ninth day of Disney my true love gave to me... A Monorail Playset!

On the tenth day of Disney my true love gave to me... Disney Ornaments!

On the eleventh day of Disney my true love gave to me... Trading Pins!

On the twelfth day of Disney my true love gave to me... Mickey Mouse Ears!