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  1. #1

    • xmanmom
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    My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    It's going to be a long one folks because I took a ton of pictures. Plus, this report will include dining reviews, a MiceChat Meet, Micky's Not So Scary Halloween Party and more! It was a fabulous trip and I wish I could live at WDW!

    Even though my WDW trip ended a week ago, we were in Indiana until Monday and then I have been trying to catch up with work, celebrating my birthday and just generally missing WDW so it has taken me a bit to get around to posting this report. Sorry!

    Day 1

    We arrive in Orlando, after a red eye flight, at about 10:30 am. We didn't sleep very well on the plane as this picture of my fiance looking entirely wiped out on the airport monorail will attest.



    My first glimpse of Orlando out the airport monorail window.



    None of the preparations for this trip made it real to me that I was actually going to DisneyWorld for the very first time in my 32 (almost 33 years) until I walked up to the Disney Magical Express counter. (Odd, I know, but that's what finally made it real.)



    Sadly, we ended up on a MEARS bus and not a DME bus and the driver was completely out of it. He ran the Goodbye video instead of the Welcome video and then proceeded to give all sorts of misinformation, like that the refillable mugs were $8.99 and you could get refills anywhere. I was too tired otherwise I would have shouted "Uh, try $11.99 and only refillable at your resort!" But all was fine once we stepped into our resort.







    Check in was quick and friendly, although our room was not quite ready so we headed over to The Mara (the counter service in the resort) for an early lunch hoping that our room would be ready after we ate. We were on the dining plan so on this meal we split our first counter service credit. We also bought one of those $11.99 refillable mugs! The best part of the meal was that they had Boma desserts available. We had the double bacon cheeseburger with fries, a large soda and chocolate mousse crunch and zebra domes for dessert. More than enough food, even with splitting the meal. The burger was good, if nothing special and the desserts were to die for, of course.



    As luck would have it, our room WAS ready after we finished lunch! We originally had a standard room but they upgraded us slightly to a pool view, not the upgrade to savannah view as I had hoped, but I wasn't complaining. The detailing of the lodge was fabulous and was included even on our door.



    When you walked out of our room, this was the view of the lobby.





    We had a king non-smoking room with a couch, table and chairs, a mini-fridge, coffee maker and double sinks in the bathroom. We loved every aspect of our room. It was very tastefully themed and decorated, comfortable, clean and spacious. We stayed at an Omni in Indianapolis and that four-star hotel vastly paled in comparison to The Animal Kingdom Lodge. My only complaint about the room or the hotel in general was that the light in the shower/toliet area was a bit dim. Otherwise, this place was worth every penny.













    After showers and a brief rest we pushed ourselves to head over to Disney MGM Studios. We were pretty exhausted but we knew that if we went to sleep in the middle of the day we would never get on Florida time. On our way to get fastpasses for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster we passed the 3 o'clock parade.











    Then we headed over to Tower of Terror with the hopes that dropping 13 stories would wake us up.



    Little did we know that we were in for a little more than we bargained for. It may have been the highlight of the whole trip! As we were walking up to the Standby entrance a Cast Member in full Hollywood Tower Hotel bellhop uniform, holding a suitcase asked us "Checking in?" We decided to play along and we said that we were. To our surprise he then said "We have been waiting for you, follow me." He then walked us through the fastpass line telling the other Cast Members along the way; "These are the VIPs we have been waiting for." "Mums the word.", etc. He was awesome and stayed in character the whole time so we got into it as well, my fiance asked if our usual 13th floor Penthouse was ready and I asked him how long he had worked at the hotel to which he replied "Since 1927"! As we approched loading he asked us if we wanted him to accompany us to our room and of course, I jumped at the chance to a get picture with him on the ride. (We are in the bottom right corner.)



    After we got off the ride he told us to wait at unload as he had something for us. Seconds after he walked away another Cast Member approached us and told us to follow him and he took us backstage. Sadly, I did not have my camera ready so I didn't get shots, plus I wouldn't have wanted to abuse their hospitality. It wasn't anything all that fabulous looking, it was just exciting being back there. He then took us through another door and put us RIGHT BACK ON THE RIDE!! Ahhh! I was already shaking like a leaf from the first ride and then I had to go again. It was awesome. When we got off the second time our original Cast Member was waiting for us and gave us these really cool certificates saying that we were VIP guests of the Hollywood Tower Hotel and a bunch of fastpasses for the Coaster and TOT.



    This is us with Cast Member Chris, he was fabulous and I absolutely have to send off a commendation letter as soon as possible.



    What a way to start a trip, eh? We were completey giddy for hours afterwards and I couldn't stop smiling.

    The rest of the day we toured the Studios and went on all of the rides. We ended up being able to do everything except a couple of shows in just six hours. This is the outside of the Great Movie Ride which looks like Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.



    The streets of San Francisco. It's funny, we kept feeling odd about flying to Florida just to return to California.



    AT-AT time!



    We had our first table service ressies at Hollywood and Vine that evening because we were able to book the Fantasmic! dinner package with them. The food was decent, my favorite thing on the buffet was the tomato, mozerella salad, but I have a bit of a fixation on that particular food item anyway. The service was a bit lacking and the ambiance wasn't all that great. I am not sure that I would go out of my way to eat here again, but it was fine overall.



    Fantasmic! was fun, it was nice being able to have seats, but I could see people's criticisms with it versus Disneyland's version. It was a lovely end to our first, fabulous day and we then stumbled back to the hotel and crashed for a well deserved night's rest.

    Next up: Day 2 and Epcot

  2. #2

    • World Traveler
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    Great pics so far ... post more please!!!

  3. #3

    • xmanmom
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    Quote Originally Posted by mikelan6 View Post
    Great pics so far ... post more please!!!
    There will definitely be more. It just take a while and I actually have to work sometimes. Heh!

    Thanks for the compliment.

  4. #4

    • Irrational Mr. Toad Fan
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    I love the shirt in the first picture!

  5. #5

    • xmanmom
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    Quote Originally Posted by ecdlanddude View Post
    I love the shirt in the first picture!
    Ha ha, my fiance travels to Seattle about twice a month for work, hence the shirt.

  6. #6

    • itty bitty
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    I love the photos. Ive never been to WDW but these are awesome!
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it. "Groucho Marx

  7. #7

    • Minion
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    Special guests of the Tower Hotel?!?! How awesome it that! Great photos and report...looking forward to more!
    "Happiness is a state of mind...." Walt Disney


    "You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." Walt Disney



    thmar

  8. #8

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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    I've heard of a couple of people saying that happened to them at Tower although yours is the first time I've heard of the bell hop riding with you on the ride and I have to say that it is a wonderful touch for the ride and has to be so much fun for the guests who it happens to.

  9. #9

    • Shablagoo!
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    I am enjoyign it so far. Thanks especially for the pictures from the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The whole ToT experience was great to read about too.

  10. #10

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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    Great trip report! Can't wait to hear more.

    It was a pleasure meeting you and your honey. From the sounds of it you had a great time! It was nice seeing WDW through other peoples eyes.

  11. #11

    • xmanmom
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    Okay, I am back with the next part of the report.

    Day 2



    Even though we turned in early the night before we were exhausted from the red eye and slept until almost noon, which meant that we didn't get to Epcot until nearly 2. I wasn't too happy about that and we were starving by the time we got there so I didn't get pictures of the food we ate. First we used a snack credit at the "Florida Shrimp" booth that was a part of the Food & Wine Festival. It was okay but the portions were so tiny and we were SO hungry that we soon realized that we were going to need to use a counter service meal. So we went to Kingala Og Bakeri in Norway and split an open-face ham & jarlesburg sandwich, some sort of cheese soup and lefse bread for dessert. Then Geoff went back to the Argentina booth for some beef with chimmichurri sauce. Those were actually the only two Food and Wine Festival Booths we ended up trying and we weren't too impressed with either one (Argentina was better than Florida though). I thought I would be all over the Festival but it was very hot in World Showcase during the day and in the evening we always had reservations at table service restaurants. Oh well.

    We walked right on to El Rio del Tiempo in Mexico. Cheesy as reported, but the pavilion is beautiful.



    We spent a good amount of time in Norway, between eating at the bakery, the cute shops and Maelstrom (really neat ride), I really liked this pavilion. I think it is one of the best in WS.







    If you look closely you can see the boat from Maelstrom at one of the turnaround points (you are beset by trolls at one point and sent backwards through a portion of the ride, it's fab)!





    Cute little bird in Norway eating popcorn. I took a bunch of pictures of this little guy. Heh, simple pleasures for simple minds.



    Geoff besting the shark in Living Seas, where we took refuge from the heat and humidity. I can't imagine how unbearable the heat must be in mid-summer for as hot as it was in late September/early October.



    We took a ride on Test Track and the ride stopped. Where, you ask? Why in the heat chamber, of course! Lucky us!



    Me in front of the reverse waterfall.



    Canada Pavilion, which is also quite beautiful and also where our table service reservations were for the evening. It was packed. While we were waiting to be seated I saw at least ten groups turned away because there was not an opening for DAYS.







    Le Cellier was very nice and I was greatful to have had the forethought to have made ressies about six months in advance. This was also the part of the trip where I really started to embarrass Geoff with my taking pictures of the food, as you can see in the background of the bread picture. (The pretzel bread didn't last long enough for me to take a picture of it. Yum!)



    I had the salmon and crab appetizer, which was quite good.



    However, I ended up eating most of Geoff's shrimp cocktail as it was fabulous.



    I had the mushroom filet mignon for my entree and it was also very good. I had a nice glass of pinot noir to accompany it but neglected to take a picture.



    Geoff had the pork loin. I only tried a small bite and it seemed dry to me but Geoff loved it. Of course, he likes his meat well-done and I am more of a medium rare kind of girl.



    At this point my picture taking was starting to attract the attention of the other diners. The family sitting next to us started good-naturedly razzing us about it and when I explained about the trip report the husband asked if I would put him in the report. I told him to come look for it. I am true to my word.



    For dessert Geoff had the creme brulee duo (maple and vanilla), which were both very good.



    I had the chocolate whiskey cake with creme angliase. It was heavenly, although it didn't really taste at all like whiskey.



    We got out of dinner just in time to watch Illuminations from the steps in Canada (very nice) and then wandered around the pavilions until about 11pm (Extra Magic Hour Evening) and then headed home to crash out again.

    Next: Day 3, Magic Kingdom, 'Ohana and a Meet!

  12. #12

    • been away for a while
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    best trip report ever

    My Maleficent tattoo



  13. #13

    • Waiting for my E-Ticket
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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    Those Epcot pics got me excited about my trip next week!

  14. #14

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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    Quote Originally Posted by lisaboo View Post
    We spent a good amount of time in Norway, between eating at the bakery, the cute shops and Maelstrom (really neat ride), I really liked this pavilion.
    I knew if they kept Maelstrom open enough years, eventually SOMEONE would come along and like it!

  15. #15

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    Re: My First WDW Trip (Sept. 28-Oct. 5) *Pictures*

    it was so much fun meeting you and I can't wait to here how ohana was. the next time I go to california you two will have to come down and spend the day at DLR. that would be so much fun!!!!

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