Monday, July 26, 2010

Disney Diary

It’s been a busy summer so I’m just now getting around to my much awaited Disney post (if your name is Teresa, she’s the only one who has been waiting). In the next few days I will do a shorter post with my best tips and ideas for a Disney trip and hopefully my first give away. I’ve got to find out from the giveaway Queen Teresa how to do it and come up with a super prize. So look for the next post with tips and a giveaway.

First let me say, the trip was a success largely because of our very knowledgeable Disney travel planner, Tammy Ewert. I love what Teresa had to say about her – all very true – so check it out. Tammy sent us a 30 page itinerary of what we were doing each day, which park to visit, all of our meal reservations and numbers. She gave us hints on things to avoid, things to do, and suggestions for things you cannot find in a travel book. A big thank you to Tammy!

I couldn’t imagine trying to keep up with all the info Tammy sent to us so I decided to make a handy little travel flip book. I bought an Oxford flip binder at Target. Oxford flip binderI had to get two so I would have enough cards and I also found bigger ring holders to hold more cards. It was the perfect size (4 X 6) to carry in my fanny pack every day for reference. All I did was cut out and paste the info from Tammy’s itinerary into my little flip book. Magic!

There was a tabbed section for each day with ALL our important details. P1050293So handy I will probably do this for other trips. Since it was a Disney trip I found some cute stickers to dress it up just for fun.

On the back I wrote down our Schedule at a Glance – so glad I did this because it was handy to reference for the many, many, and did I say many times the boys asked me where we were going tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.P1050285 The flip book had this little plastic pocket pouch which was an added bonus.

Complete Walt Disney World 2010

I also bought The Complete Walt Disney World 2010 book – great reference and it was easy to take every day.

Day 1 – Saturday

P1040978We had VERY EARLY flights – like 6:00 am that morning. The plan was to have at least a partial day at WDW. No problems getting there on time because who can sleep when you’re leaving to go see the Mouse? My youngest grandson Alex had never flown before so he couldn’t wait – so anxious, so very curious. I loved seeing the anticipation in his eyes. He didn’t want to miss getting on board so he stood by the stairs ready to beat the crowd. P1040984Then we must talk to the backup pilot to make sure he knows the way to Disney. And he did.

P1040986Alex before take off – can barely stand it. After take off, this must be what heaven looks and feels like. (I love the cow lick!)P1040991






Me and WoodyShhhhh, the early morning flight finally took it’s toll. Woody needs his rest to play with Mickey later.

After we arrived at the airport, my husband decided to pull out his Disney surprise – yes, walking down the terminal with his vintage Donald Duck hat. P1040995That’s hubby and our son Jared.Disney006We kept this hat from a trip to Disney when my youngest son was 4 yrs. old. (That’s Colin almost 20 yrs. ago hiding under his duck hat at the airport.) Same airport, same hat, same childlike pose. Still had it and guess who packed it in his carry own luggage to share with the world. My hubby makes me laugh and this is just one example of how he does it.

Our first day was at Magic Kingdom. We ate at the Crystal Palace with many of the characters.P1040999 Here’s Chance, Will and Alex enjoying food and Pooh! (ew, that sounds kinda yucky at the moment).

P1050006Favorites at Magic Kingdom

  • Jungle Cruise (Alex was an excellent driver) P1050026
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (I even did this one.)
  • It’s a Small World, Dumbo, Mad Tea Party
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (LOVE LOVE LOVE)
  • Older kids loved Splash Mountain and Space Mountain
  • SpectroMagic Parade a must see
  • Wishes Fireworks

AVOID – DON’T DO IT – Stitch’s Great Escape (trust me)

We had a magical first day and ended with the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party – yummy desserts and special reserved seating for the fireworks show. No one had trouble falling asleep the first night – even if we weren’t in our own beds.

Day 2 – Sunday

Today was Hollywood Studios. Alex and toy soldier Lunch was at Mama Melrose’s where we got fast-pass seating for the Fantasmic light show for later. Great food, plenty of it, and the boys all loved it there.

Favorites at Hollywood Studios

  • Toy Story Mania (make this first on your list)
  • Star Tours
  • Indiana Jones
  • Older kids loved Tower of Terror (not for me and hubby), Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (again not me and hubby)
  • Fantasmic – wonderful musical light show

AVOID – Journey into Narnia which is just a glorified movie trailer.

Day 3 – Monday

Today was Epcot.P1050063 The older boys were not so thrilled about the Epcot day until they discovered it had some pretty cool things to do. Walking through the countries would have to wait until another day. We started off with Test Track, enjoyed Soarin’ and had a wonderful lunch at the Coral Reef. Here’s Alex cooling off at the Test Track entrance. It was so unbearably hot while we were there, and rainy most days at some point. So getting wet was not a problem – whether from Disney or Mother Nature.

Favorites at Epcot

  • Soarin’ (you have to do this one maybe more than once)
  • Test Track
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Turtle Talk with Crush – this was so much fun!
  • Older kids loved Mission Space and wanted to do it over and over (not me).
  • Illuminations Fireworks show – a must see!

AVOID – Not much to avoid here but I do recommend two days at Epcot. It takes an entire day to walk through the countries.

Day 4 – Tuesday

Today was Animal Kingdom. Okay, I’m admitting something – we DID NOT DO ANIMAL KINGDOM VERY WELL! We weren’t the family you see early at the parks for rope drop. We were all still “dropping” from the day before so we got there when we got there. There was some time to wait for the thrill rides like Expedition Everest. So we missed a lot of the attractions, shows, exhibits, but it was a fun day. P1050068

The three boys, Chance, Will and Alex drumming it up at Animal Kingdom.


Got wet on the Kali River Rapids – but I was prepared with rain gear for those who needed it. Here’s (left to right) Alex, Will, Chance, Jared and Chasta – all wet from the ride and loving it!


The animals we saw were beautiful. Some scary and I was glad they were behind glass.P1050091 Animal Kingdom paradeMickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade was so much fun!

Favorites at Animal Kingdom

  • Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris Ride
  • Kali River Rapids (take rain gear)
  • Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade
  • Older kids loved Expedition Everest (long wait)

AVOID – The only thing I say to avoid here is AVOID GETTING HERE LATE. We had a short day because of an early dinner reservation at the Polynesian Resort, but it was so worth it. The food at the Polynesian Resort was to die for – as in it could have been my last meal ever! P1050118Will’s not sure where the flowers go. All three boys, Alex, Chance, Will enjoying their dinner. P1050119

Day 5 – Wednesday

P1050133Today was our second Magic Kingdom day. On our way to the shuttle, we saw an airplane spelling out “JESUS” in the sky. A great reminder the name above all names is “J-E-S-U-S” and not “M-I-C-K-E-Y”. P1050131

So today we were able to do things we didn’t get done the first day – Dumbo’s Flying Elephant, of course.P1050135 The older boys weren’t thrilled about this one.

One of the few pictures I have of me on the trip since I was the one with the camera. Me and Alex on the Dumbo ride. It was worth the 30 minute wait for this picture.

P1050138Our evening meal was at Whispering Canyon Cafe in the Wilderness Lodge. This was a crazy meal – good food and some seriously nutty antics from the wait staff. Hint: Please do not ask for ketchup. The kids had fun with their wooden horse stick race.

Day 6 – Thursday

Today we went back to Hollywood Studios. More of the same for the older guys: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, thrill city, you get the picture. But we weren’t able to stay long – again, not a “rope drop” kinda family. Short day and dinner plans at Downtown Disney at Wolfgang Puck’s.P1050147







Atmosphere was good, food okay, but the wait staff there was not too happy about being in the Disney meal plan. Downtown Disney was fun, but we were all pretty tired so there was not much shopping.

Day 7 – Friday

P1050122Today we went back to Epcot to walk through the countries. Again, older boys not too happy. But in spite of postponing their thrill ride plans, we enjoyed our time there. Glass blowing, Chinese acrobats, lots to look at and take in. P1050178


A visit to Mexico, China and Italy all in one day.

Epcot CollageDinner was at the Garden Grill at Epcot. Again, yummy food in a rotating restaurant with some of our favorite characters.P1050185 P1050190 P1050194 Poppy and his friends.WDW150

Day 8 – Saturday

Today Jared, Chasta and the three boys traveled back home. David and I arranged to stay a couple of extra days to rest from the demanding park schedules. After we sent the kids on their way, we ventured out and took our time prowling around Magic Kingdom. No agenda, no plans, no one but me and my love. Our dinner was at the California Grill on top of the Contemporary Resort. This was another memorable meal – delicious food, high-end atmosphere, and we had a window table view for the Wishes Fireworks display.

The restaurant plays the music in the restaurant for the fireworks show so it feels like you’re right there – only you’re sitting at a beautiful table with Mickey glitter sprinkles, white table cloths, and a wait staff serving you divine food.WDW161

A topiary Mickey welcomed us to the Contemporary Resort. One of my all-time favorite days.

Day 9 – Sunday

Just the two of us now – late getting up, slow to get started, precious time together. We went to Epcot to ride Soarin’ again. P1050202

We took the Behind the Seeds tour at The Land. It was an interesting look at the greenhouses and horticultural experiments done there on the property as part of the Epcot Science Project. I was able to release some lady bugs into the greenhouse and we tasted some of the veggies. Most of them grow very large in all shapes and in very strange ways. P1050205

One tomato plant was listed in the Guinness World Records for yielding the most tomatoes from a single plant weighing a total of 1,151.84 lbs.P1050209 Pumpkins hang from wire and some are even shaped like Mickey Mouse himself. They put the young pumpkin in this mold and let it conform to the final mouse ear shape. Very cool. P1050210


Our evening meal was at the Disney Boardwalk at a new Greek restaurant Kouzinna @ Cat Corra. I think we must have ordered the wrong things because neither of us really liked the food. But that’s okay – I’m at Disney and there’s not a whole lot to complain about when you’re at the happiest place in the world.

P1050225 Sunday night we had the ultimate experience. Our own PRIVATE – as we were the only ones on it – 24 ft. party barge for a fireworks cruise.

Our Captain Sue took us around the properties via the water canals and then ended up at Epcot for the Illuminations fireworks. Up close and personal. So close we could feel the heat from the flames. Sue had small children and worked part-time on the cruise. She graduated from Texas A&M like my hubby so they had lots to talk about. Her husband worked for as a horticulturalist for a company that supplies Disney with all their plants and landscaping. Now that’s a big job! The grounds are all breathtaking and well-groomed.

The fireworks cruise was the most amazing way to end the day. I will never forget it. Thanks to my wonderful husband he’s created another memory for us.

Day 10 – Monday

Our last Disney Day. We didn’t do much of anything early, but just a little packing, laundry, getting ready to leave the next day. We had seen and done most everything we wanted to or felt like doing. Our evening meal was at Narcoose’s at the Grand Floridian Resort. So we saved a little time before our reservation to explore the resort. I would love to stay at this resort. It is nothing like I’ve ever seen. P1050240

P1050244Beautiful ceilings, massive architecture, exquisite P1050243furnishings… it’s all there. We just sat in the lobby listening to a man playing the piano, soaking it all in.

Our dinner at Narcoose’s was perfect. Food was fantastic – atmosphere and view outstanding. And the dessert, well, I’ll let you decide for yourself.


We ended the day at Magic Kingdom, just one last walk through and a sweetheart ride on the Mad Tea Cup. WDW210WDW212

Day 11 – Tuesday

It’s over, the end, time to go home. We were ready to get back. I know this is the longest post I’ve ever done – probably will be one of the few I will do this long because it has taken me forever it seems. But it’s all here, as much as I can remember. Thanks Mickey for inviting us to play with you for a while and for showing our friend Tammy how to plan the perfect Disney experience. And thanks most of all to Jared, Chasta and the boys for the precious memories. And my bestest most sincere thanks and love to my husband for making this all possible. Just so you know, I’m available to travel anytime any place.


  1. What a great post! I will refer to this when we take our *littles.* Looks like yall had a great time!! Nothing like the magic at Disney!!!!

  2. Makes me want to head to Disney...then I remember how hot it is...and if there is one thing I hate it is hot weather..

  3. Ooooh, love, love , LOVE this!

    We head to Disney once every year - the week after Thanksgiving is my preferred time to go, because the "world" is all decorated for Christmas- and you can just imagine the details!

    I totally agree with your likes and dislikes. Stitch? Total waste of time! And yes, Epcot definitely takes two days. It's my favorite park. I always see something new.

    The Whispering Canyon Cafe is our favorite. Did you have the Canyon Skillet? My hubby had it and I took the leftovers back to the fridge in our room. Had breakfast off it the next three days!

    I love the Grand Floridian, though I've never stayed there. I can't make up my mind where I'd rather stay - either there or Wilderness Lodge - as different as night and day, but they somehow both suit me!

    Great report!

  4. I've never been to Disney so I got to go by viewing your pictures and Teresa's too when she makes the trip. I so enjoyed them.

    I have a brother-in-law who is a pilot for Jet Blue. When I saw your little one talking with the back-up pilot, it made me think of him immediately.

    Again, thanks for the trip. I'm glad you had such a wonderful time away.


  5. Great post. Glad you had such a great time. Blessings,