Sunday, January 17, 2010

Walt Disney World Trip Report!

If you have read my other postings, you would know that I was going to Disney World January 6-13. I'm back & I have decided to write a trip report. Oh yeah, I've also decided that 4 months is way too long to wait to be back down there full time.

My flight left Milwaukee at 7:35am on January 6th. My mom & I both thought security was going to be kinda bad, so we left my house at about 4:45am. I was to the airport by 5am & after checking my bag, through security by ten after five! I was going down with one of my friends from school, Nichole, who had also been a CP last year. She got to the gate about 20 minutes before the flight started to board. We didn't sit together on the plane, but that was ok, we both wanted to sleep. The person I ended up sitting next to had also been a CP and was on her way down to work for a week as seasonal. We got to Orlando International Airport about half an hour early & had to circle for a while before we could land. I saw the Dolphin hotel, the Contemporary, and Spaceship Earth from the plane. I had never seen Disney from the plane before.

We took Magical Express to Pop Century, where we stayed in the 70's section. We had to go to Magic Kingdom first so my friend could go to Access Control to get her seasonal id. I used the free ticket I got with my Holiday packet to get her in. We got fastpasses for Space Mountain right away when we got there. We had to go to Pinocchio's Village Haus so Nichole could talk to her manager about getting her seasonal ID & possibly getting scheduled to work while we were there. I really wanted to watch the 3 o'clock parade, so we watched it on Main Street. After the parade was over, we headed back to Disney University so Nichole could get her ID. Her manager hadn't emailed them yet, so we ended up sitting there for almost an hour before she finally got an ID. We went back to MK, rode Space Mountain with our fastpasses & got another fastpass for it for right before the park closed. Before heading back to the hotel, we also rode the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, got Dole Whip for dinner, and watched Wishes.

Thursday was the day that I had planned ahead of time with several of my friends from during my CP. Nichole & I slept in & didn't leave the hotel until almost 11. We went to Epcot, where we started "character hunting," in other words, meeting the characters. We met Daisy & Stitch right inside the main entrance. We met Goofy & Minnie at the Disney Visa card meet & greet. We fastpassed Test Track & started around the world for characters. We found Donald in Mexico, Belle & Beast in France, and Pooh in England. We picked up our free photopass picture from the Visa meet & greet before heading to Hollywood Studios to meet my friends for Fantasmic. We saw Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast & went to get in line for the second Fant show. Meanwhile, one of Nichole's friends had met up with her & was going to join us for the show. Including myself, Nichole, and her friend, 11 of watched Fantasmic from the 2nd row. It was so good to see many of my friends from last spring. We went to TGI Friday's with Nichole's friend for dinner. It was so fun, but also made miss everyone from last spring who couldn't see Fant with us cuz we all went to Friday's for dinner on our last night of the program.

Friday was another late start for us. We spent the entire day at Hollywood Studios, character hunting. By the end of the day, we had met 27 characters, & gotten autographs from 25 of them. After watching Block Party, which was a rain parade, which means that they didn't do the show stops and just went right through, like a regular parade would, we went back to Art of Disney Animation building because I knew that several characters would be out there starting at about 5 o'clock since there wasn't a Fantasmic that night. We met several characters that only really do meet & greets there. I had worked with several of the characters at both Block Party & Fantasmic during my CP and they recognized me. I got an extra hug from Goofy & Dale. We were supposed to go to Ohana's for dinner that night, but not only was I exhausted, I felt kind of sick, which I think was from TGI Friday's the night before. We went back to the hotel & called it an early night, which was good because I was able to pick up a shift at Epcot Character Room for 10-6 on Saturday.

I left Pop Century at 7:30 on Saturday morning because of the marathon, I knew it was going to take longer than usual to get to Epcot. The buses couldn't get directly to Epcot, so they were going to the Ticket & Transportation Center at the Magic Kingdom where I had to take the monorail to Epcot. I got to Epcot a few minutes before 9am, right as they were starting to let everyone through the gates. Marathon runners were still running through Epcot, so we were able to get as far as the Fountain of Nations, directly behind Spaceship Earth. When there was a break between groups of runners, everyone was able to run across the path to get to the side by Test Track. To get backstage to go to the character room, I had to head towards World Showcase & head through a gate near the Odyssey. Overall, my day at work was rather uneventful. I was supposed to be on laundry for most of the day, but ended up doing builds because the coordinator knew I was a fast worker & I would put together everything I could before I stopped. After getting off work, I met up with my friend Deirdre, who I had met during my CP & became one of my best friends. We were going to go to Magic Kingdom to watch Spectro & have dinner at Tony's Town Square to use up the rest of her dining plan meals. We got to Magic Kingdom a few minutes before Spectro started. Once the parade was over, we decided to see if we could get in for our reservation early. The reservation was for 8:05, but were seated around 7:40. I had never eaten there before, but I'll probably go back at some point because I enjoyed it so much. Deirdre was going to stay for a few more days with another friend, but had no way to get to her apartment right away, so she came back to Pop Century with me until almost midnight.

I was working at Epcot 10-6 on Sunday again, except at ops instead of the character room. It wasn't too bad until I was at check out the last 4 hours of my shift. Earlier in the week, had I given myself blisters and standing in one spot for so long made them hurt so much. I called my mom, practically in tears because they hurt so bad. I ended up buying really soft socks from Mouse Gear, hoping that would help to cushion the blisters. After buying them, I decided to ride Spaceship Earth so I could sit for a few minutes before heading down to the bus, because Pop Century was the very last bus stop. When I got back to the hotel, I got some dinner & headed back to the room to watch some TV with Nichole for the night.

On Monday, I was still really tired & sore from work and I didn't really want to go to one of the parks for the entire day. We started out going to Downtown Disney. Once we started walking around, I started feeling a lot better. Nichole wanted to go to Company D, so I thought the one at Holleywood Studios would be open. I got there right before Block Party started & decided to watch it since it had been a rain parade earlier in the week. Nichole met up with me right after Block Party. She had to go back to the hotel to get something, so I told her I'd meet up with her there. Company D ended up being closed. From Studios, we caught a bus to the Contemporary & took the monorail to Magic Kingdom. We met Tinker Bell, Fawn, & Terance to add to the list of characters we had met. There was Spectro that night, even though I hadn't thought there was. We watched it from across from the Diamond Horseshoe in Frontierland. It was another early night for us and we left before Wishes even.

I told Nichole that I was able to get another shift on Tuesday. I met up with Deirdre instead of going to work. I wanted to spend my last full day & her last day there with her. We went to Property Control & then to Magic Kingdom to meet characters. We met Alice & the White Rabbit by the Teacups on the way to meet the Princesses in Toontown. We also met the fairies, Princess Tiana & Prince Naveen, Lilo & Stitch, and Aladdin & Jasmine. We went to the Studios so we could have lunch, watch Block Party one last time, and visit one of our friends who is working at Creative Costuming now. We went to the learning center to try to print our boarding passes. After printing them, we said our good byes and promised to be back this summer. I went back to Magic Kingdom to meet up with Nichole so she could meet Ariel. I went back to the hotel so I could finish packing while Nichole tried meeting up with one of her friends to go see Illuminations. They ended up not going to Epcot, but came back to the hotel & we all watched the American Idol premiere.

Wednesday was a sad day when I had to leave. My bus was supposed to leave Pop Century at 11:15am because my flight was scheduled to leave at 2:27pm. I was at the bus stop when the 11 o'clock bus got there. The driver said it was practically an empty bus & asked if I wanted to go early. As soon as he put the bus into gear & pulled away from the front of the hotel, I started to cry. I cried most of the way to the airport. Once again, I breezed right through security & ended up sitting at the gate for almost 3 hours. My flight got into Milwaukee a few minutes early. After stopping to get some Starbucks and getting to baggage claim, my bag was just coming up the conveyor belt.

Overall, it was a fun trip, cold, but fun. I can't wait to go back. I'm planning on doing the Fall Advantage program, but I'm not going to pick the first arrival date. By picking one of the later dates, I have a better chance of being able to extend and stay for up to a full year. If my original arrival date & extension departure date overlap by even a day or two, I won't be able to extend.

Hopefully the applications will be up in a few days. I just realized that this has taken me almost an hour & a half to type.

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