Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tips and Tricks

I want to write down the tips and tricks I used so I will remember next time we go.

#1. Read some books on the Parks. This will help you determine what your must dos are at the park. There is so much to see and do. I like Passports - had the best maps and the one for people with disabilities listed what each ride had, dark, scary etc etc. Another good one is the unofficial Guide to Disney World.

#2. Get a budget and stick to it. You could spend, spend, spend at Disney. Staying off Disney property is cheaper but then you have to drive everyday and it is $14.00 per day to park.

#3. Buy your Disney tickets before you go. Do not buy park hopper until after you have been at the parks. It costs the same to buy before or after you arrive. If you don't use it then you just wasted about $35.00 per ticket. I got my tickets at Undercover Tourist but CAA is good as well.

#4. Use the crowd control calender at The unofficial Guide to Disney World. This tells you what parks to go to for what day based on crowd levels over the last couple of years. It does make a difference.

#5. Make a plan for the day. Either get a touring plan from one of the books or make your own. I made my own as we did not need fast passes as Isaac had his special pass. You can be flexible but you don't want to be walking all over the parks if you don't have to.

#6. Know the people in your party. Can they go all day, do they need breaks, do they like scary rides etc etc. Cameron is our scared kid so we did had a different thing for him to do when the big kids did scary rides.

#7. Take a break in the afternoon. All the books stress this but they are right. Even if it just sitting on a bench for 10 minutes. As we had 10 day passes we did 1/2 days. Cameron is only 4 and still had a nap.

#8. You need to make your reservations ahead of time. Even though we went on a less busy time I still did not get some of the restaurants that I wanted. I could not get one at the Canadian one at Epcot for any time we where there. It sucks as you have to plan what day you are gong where in order to make those reservations. This is only for table serve meals. The counter service ones do not need reservations.

#9. Go early to the parks. This does help with crowd control. All the books tell you to do it. We tired to get there by 9 am. However we where going at a non busy time.

#10. Take a picture of your parking spot if you drive. We did and we had to view it everyday. It saves trying to find your car in a parking lot with 1000 of grey van's. Another hint is buy something to put on your car to make it stand out. We purchased a rainbow Mickey Head. It paid for itself the first day.

#11. Use the resort you are staying at. Relax, swim, go to the play area.

#12. If you eat lunch at the parks instead of supper you can save some money.
Also bring your own water with you.

Tips to Rememeber

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 13 gong home

Now it is time to head back to the cold. Have to say I am looking forward to going home. It was nice being away but I was starting to get home sick. I want to sleep in my own bed.

Bob got the boys their breakfast and I went thru all the cabinets and drawers upstairs to make sure we did not forget anything. When I came down Bob got the boys ready to go swimming in the pool. It was raining but who cares you are wet anyway.
I had my breakfast and then got Hailey up. She had her breakfast and then went to swim with the boys so we could finish packing everything.

We had to be out of there by 10 am so we had a deadline. I don't know how we did it but we had way more stuff to come home with us then we took there. We had to take the car seat and carry it instead of packing it like we did on the way there. We also had to leave 1/2 package of diapers, 1 1/2 packages of swimmers and 1/2 package of pull ups. Can you say $$ but it would have cost us double the cost to try and pack them.

At 10 am we where just taking our suitcases to the van. The management company was there. They where nice and answered all our questions when I phoned. So we had to put in time so we went to the Big Target and did some looking around and window shopping. The boys where looking at the toys and getting their list for Santa ready. Yes Santa list in Feb lol.

After all this excitement it was still only 11 am so we went to Bob Evans for lunch. The food was good and it was cheap $23.00 for all of us. Bob double checked the bill as he thought they forgot to charge us for something. Nope that was the bill.

Now we headed to the airport about a 30 minute drive. The traffic was busy but moving. We found the Rental Car drop off. They have that done to a science. You drive up, they scan the VIN number leave the keys in the vehicle and get your luggage out and that is it. It was a bit difficult trying to move, 4 suitcases, 4 carry ones and car seat and 3 kids. But Hailey was a big help and the boys where cooperating. We wanted to use the luggage cart but it cost $4.00 and the hertz office did not have change for the $10.00 he had.

Anyway we got our boarding passes printed. I was worried about this on the way there I printed them at home. But Southwest has an area for you to do that. We got rid of our luggage. Two of them where like 49 something pounds so we where not over the weight allowed. I have to say I do not like Orlando Airport. There is not enough room at the counters and too many stores. You would think they could have made the check in a bit bigger. Now we had to go thru security. There was lots and lots of people. We went to the left. I have heard this is the way to go so we did it. The security officer was really nice and friendly. Some people where tyring to get in between Bob, the kids and me but the security officer just told them to wait as this family has to stay together. Do I mentioned I really liked this security officer. As we went to the left we where surround by veteran travellers so no one was pushy or in a hurry. One guy even let us go ahead of him and this is after I offered to let him go in front of us as we where going to be a while. We went thru security with no issue and put our shoes on out of the way.

No we had to find our gate. It was 1 pm and our flight was supposed to leave at 3:40. We had to hurry up and wait. The kids where very good. Bob took the boys for a walk around the airport this time and that put in some time. No tummy issues this time for me Thank God. Our flight was delayed till 3:55. We got Isaac a blue pass again and he and Bob where like the 5th people on the plane this time. There where 4 or 5 seniors in wheelchairs on this flight. There was also a Mom, who looked very sick. Her son had a black eye and was talking with Bob. He caught a baseball with his eye. He liked Bob and Isaac's hat. Makes you really appreciate what you have. I would say this lady had cancer and was taking her kids on a fun filled trip. Made me will hug my kids just a little big tighter. Anyway this time we sat behind Bob in the back seat. The plane was not full so Bob and Isaac got to sit by themseves. Cameron joined Bob mid flight but came back to sit with me as Daddy didn't help him with his stuff he had. The flight was very bumpy and rough. However we made it to Buffalo early. Not sure how that works as we left later but Bob said it has something to do with the wind. Our flight crew this time did their job but they where not as friendly and out going as the flight crew down there.
After we got of the plane we did bathroom breaks and then went and got our luggage. Bob and Hailey went to find the van and I stayed with the boys. Cameron was so cold he was shaking. Found his coat and put in on. It was cold in Buffalo. Our van was not too covered in snow and Bob found it no problem. The roads where great so we headed home, the boarder crossing was easy and we had no issues. We stopped off at Tim Hortons as Hailey as hungry she did not eat her PB & J sandwich on the plane. The boys where asleep by this time. We arrived home around 9:30 and could not believe how much snow was on Bob's car. We got a lot of snow when we where in Florida.

It is so nice to Home. Home Sweet Home. Even the cat came and said hello to us. I think she might have missed us.

Day 12 Feb 9, 2011

Wow this is our last day at the parks. This has been an awesome trip. The kids are having so much fun. Not looking forwarded to going back to the cold and the snow.

We are planning on going to Magic Kingdom for our last day and we are going later in the morning and then going back after supper to see the fireworks.

We took the monorail to the park this time. Our first stop was the Walt Disney railroad. We got off at Frontierland. Bob, Hailey, Isaac and Cameron went on Big Thunder railroad. After this we where headed for Pirates of Caribbean. We took a wrong turn and ended up dancing and singing at the Country Bear Jamree. We did get back on track in the right direction and ended up at Pirates of the Caribbean. There was no line for this ride at all. This ride was very disappointing for all us. There was so much hype about this ride from other people and all the books I had read. We where not impressed at all. It was boat ride with scenes from the movie along the way. I have never seen the movies so maybe that is why I was disappointed. On the way out we say Pirate Goofy. As Cameron had worn his pirate hat and shirt he wanted to see Goofy. So we went and had his picture taken with him. Goofy then had to have his picture taken with Bob as Bob was wearing his goofy hat. Next stop Jungle Cruise there was about a 30 minute wait for this ride but with Isaac pass we got right into the fast pass lane and passed everyone. Everyone loved this ride and our tour guide was great. Bob talked me into going on the next ride with the kids. It was The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Basically the same ride as Dumbo but with carpets instead of an elephant. The kids like the ride. Last but not least Isaac and I went on Splash Mountain. No one else wanted to get wet. Most of the people coming off the ride where pretty dry so I was not worried. They turn down the water in the colder months. This was a cool ride, I thought it was just the big drop but they have scene from the Briar Rabbit story and you go down about 2 or 3 drops to get you ready for the big one. Needless to say Isaac and I sat at the front of the boat and we got soaked. I mean really soaked. Thank Gosh it was not too cold.

We went back to the townhouse and had lunch, naps, and a swim. Then we had supper. After supper we headed back to the park. First stop was the show Laugh Floor, thank Gosh we got there when we did as we saw the last show of the day. We then went on the People Mover. This ride takes you about tommorrowland and gives you a great view. It was cool to see everything at night. Bob, Cameron and Isaac then went on Buzz Lightyears' Space Ranger spin. They let Cameron drive and he is a crazy driver.

After all this we thought we had better go and claim a spot for the fireworks. I wanted to sit far away as I was worried about Cameron with the noise and Isaac with all the people. Bob convinced me to sit along the path. We had good view and there was not a lot of people. First we saw The Magic, the Memories and you. They basically show a film on the castle so cool. However they turn the lights down for this and Bob had taken Isaac to the bathroom and Hailey had went to get me some popcorn and a ice cream for herself, so I was starting to get worried that no one would get to us. They all made it fine. Then we saw the fireworks. No one does it better than Disney. It was not too loud for Cameron but the baby standing beside us started to cry. The Mom was so worried he was bothering us. No problem is what I said, been there and done that, as soon as she could move their family they went a bit further away. After the fireworks we stayed where we where for a while to avoid the crowds and then went towards the castle as everyone else was gong away. To put in more time we did a little bit of window shopping. We took the ferry back to the TTC. Cameron waved goodbye to Mickey Mouse. It was so sad our vacation is over. But then the boys where all excited that they get to go on a plane again.

Day 11 Feb 8, 2011

Another cool morning today. We are off to Animal Kingdom. Hopefully it is not as crowded as the other day we went.

The first thing we did was go to Dino land USA and went on the ride Dinosaur. I was worried Cameron might get to scared but Bob thought he would be fine. You ride in a vehicle and supposedly you go back in time to try and bring a dinosaur back with you. It was a very rough ride. My back was sore after this one. Cameron was a bit scared as there was some dark areas and the dinosaurs where big and loud. Next we rode Triceratops spin twice. There was no line for this ride at all. It is the same as the Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom. You are riding dinosaurs instead of a elephant. The Primeval Whirl was being worked on so we could not go on that ride.

Now we had to rush to go and see Lion King it was clear across the park. We made it and got to go in the wheel chair lane because of Isaac's pass. We could have picked a seat anywhere. We decided not to pick the seat right in front as the cast member said that you would be up close and I thought the boys might not like that. It was just as good as last time. I was singing and clapping along. The two ladies in front of us where so nice and make sure they moved apart so Cameron could see. Bob thinks the monkeys stole the show. We got to sit in the giraffe secion and learned that giraffee's baa like sheep.

Now we where off to lunch at Rain forest cafe. I wanted to make reservations somewhere else but all the choices where something I didn't think my kids would like. This is considered outside the park so you had to go thru the turn styles and use your pass to get back in. The themeing for this restaurant was awesome. Our reservation was for 11am but we got there at noon. No problem we got in right away. They must pay the waiters commission or something like that as our waitress tried to get us to pay extra for a kids cup, tired her best to get us to order appetizers and was disappointed we did not order dessert for the kids. Even without all the it still cost almost $75.00. This was our last big treat for the kids.

So after lunch we walked back to Dino Land and let the kids play in The Bone yard. Bob went with Isaac and Hailey took Cameron and I had to stayed and watch all our bags. The kids loved it, they have slides and things for your to climb on and they have a bone yard the kids can dig in as well. There is only one exit so you can let your kids run wild if you would like. Some people did, with Isaac we can't do that so Bob kept a good watch on him. Isaac has improved so much, he didn't melt down when someone budded in front of him or pushed him it was nice not to have to worry so much.

After all the fun we headed back to the townhouse and the kids went swimming again. They just love that pool. I purchased water wings and a float and some pucks from the dollar store. The kids used them every day. Sometimes the stuff at the dollar store is worth it.

Can't believe that tommorrow is our last day at the parks. Where did the time go.

Day 10 February 7, 2011

We had to decide if we where going to go to Hollywood Studio's today or Epcot. Hollywood Studio's won the vote. We are planning on 1/2 a day as yesterday was a long day.

The first thing we did was go and see Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Cameron got picked to Welcome everyone to the show. We had Isaac as the back up as he did not know if Cameron would be able to do it or not. They both did great. This was an awesome show. Some of it was a movie, some of it was like the Little People Theatre and some of it was live actors. I really enjoyed it and so did the kids. Next we went and did the Studio Back Lot tour. This was really cool, you got to see a sort of stunt show first where they showed you how they did some shooting scenes and such for a movie about Pearl Harbour. Then we got to go on a tram and see some props for old movies, then we got to go on a stage that had a fire and rain storm really cool. Next Bob, Hailey and Isaac went and saw Sounds Dangerous. Cameron does not like loud noises so he and I sat on a bench and people watched. The kids wanted to do the Toy Story ride again. So Bob took them and I sat with all their stuff. Last not not least we went and saw the Beauty and the Beast show. The kids loved it. I was unsure how they would react but they sat still and really enjoyed the show.

We went back to the townhouse and had pizza for lunch. I took the kids swimming in the townhouse pool while Bob made a trip to Wal Mart to get Isaac's glasses fixed. The screw fell out of it. I phoned Wal Mart and they said they would fix it for us. They didn't even charge us. After Bob came back everyone had a nap.
The boys had PB & J for supper and Hailey, Bob and I had my homemade potato soup and garlic bread.

After supper I took Hailey to the resort pool and Bob did some homework with the boys. We meet a family for New Found Land at the pool. They where around Hailey's age so she played with them for a bit.

Day 9 Feb 6, 2011

Well Grandma and Papa left very very early this morning. I think I heard them around 6 am. Sad to see them go it was nice having extra help. Hope they have fun on the rest of their journey.

The weather was cold and raining. We made sure we had our umbrellas and rain coats. It was just sprinkling when we left so we just put the kids in their coats. We did Epcot today. This is our second day there and are planning on doing the world showcase. Don't know how long the boys will last but we will see.

The first ride we did was Universe of Energy with Ellen Degenegers. A very cool ride. The whole audience goes on the ride thru the beginning of earth. Next Cameron and I went and did a few things in Innoventions East and Bob, Hailey and Isaac went and did Test Track and Mission Space. Hailey was so disappointed in Test Track. Last time we where at Disney she was on in the car and it broke down. I made her get out as it was 9:30 at night and I was worried my Mother would be so worried as she had gone back to our hotel room at 4:30 as soon as Hailey and I where walking down the ramp the ride started again. Anyway Hailey said the ride just goes around the track she was very very disappointed. In the Mission Space ride Isaac was the pilot, Hailey was the navigator.

We had lunch at the Electric Umbrella. Nuggets for the kids and hamburgers and fries for Bob and me. It was good food and they had colouring pages for the kids so they liked that. The sun started to come out and it had stopped raining.

Now we where gearing up for a around the world tour. The First stop was Mexico. The kids got their card board bear that you can colour and you get a stamp at each country. We did the ride there Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros. It is a cute boat ride and the kids loved it. Norway was next and Isaac wanted to do the Kim Possible adventure. You get a cell phone and it has you do a few things to try and save the country. It was not what we expected at all. Poor Bob and the boys where all over Norway. It had no logic you went here there and everywhere. Needless to say we only did one adventure. We all went on the ride at Norway which was Maelstrom. This is all the rides they have at the world showcase so Bob and I decided we would go to every country but just let the kids get their stamp and not try and see everything at each country because it really is just a bunch of gift shops with stuff for that country. China was next and the art work on the ceiling of the building was breath taking. Germany has a miniature village next to it. The boys like it and wanted to watch the trains go around. The next countries where Italy where they had a guy doing tricks with a soccer ball, The American Adventure, have to say very disappointed that they did not have much to show for USA, Japan and then Morocco. Next was France and Hailey had to complete a homework assignment by talking to someone in French for 5 minutes with proper grammar. She only lasted about 2 minutes but the lady said Hailey spoke very well. Next on the world tour was United Kingdom. Isaac was thrilled that they had a maze and he had to go thru it. At this point Cameron was getting tired and just wanted to sit and play on my blackberry. I sat with him while Bob took the big kids and got their bears stamped. Pooh and Tiger where in the United Kingdom with no line up and no kids but our kids where not interested so Bob just got a picture of them. We where all excited now to head off to Canada. The best country of course. The band was playing so we sat on the ground and listened for a little bit. We just got the end of the show. All of us did the gift shop and then I sat with Cameron while he played cars. We sat right outside the gift shop beside a totem poll. It had a hidden Mickey on it and I got to help about 10 people find it. Bob took the big kids to see the Canadian film. It starred Martin Short. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

This was a very long day at the park. We picked up Wendy's for supper. It was cold outside so the kids did not want to go swimming. So they did some more homework and off to bed they went.