Archive for July 2014

Day 4 - January 26, 2014 Part II

Monday, July 28, 2014


So there we were, the saddest family in all of Walt Disney World. We were feet from the entrance to the International Gateway at Epcot and I had literally emptied our bag onto the sidewalk searching every nook and cranny of our day pack for our missing tickets. I unzipped and zipped the "safe" travel folder I had placed them in. Panic began to set in and then settled securely in my throat.

When we collected ourselves and accepted the terrible reality that our tickets were missing and probably long gone, I approached the guest service booth outside the park to see how they might help. The first cast member I spoke to apologized for our inconvenience and shook his head because clearly, there was nothing we could do to replace them. A few minutes went by and I approached a second cast member and requested they call over to Hollywood Studios on the off chance that they might have been turned in to Lost and Found. She did and miraculously through some unknown force of Disney magic THEY HAD THE TICKETS.

We rejoiced. I cried tears of joy. Yes, real honest to goodness tears. Then I stopped and stood frozen and silent. They had the tickets...all the way back at Hollywood Studios. I abandoned Steve with our bag, the kids, the stroller and with that travel wallet and my phone in hand, I took off back to the Friendship Boat dock to head to Hollywood Studios.

I settled into my seat, took a deep breath and calculated that this slow leisurely trip had taken thirty minutes and this new round trip was going to cost us at minimum an hour, more likely ninety minutes if I allowed for time to collect the tickets and wait for a ride back. I briefly considered renting a boat somehow at the nearby Epcot resorts to garner a faster ride down the river, where I could leave it idling by the shore (obviously) while I raced to the entrance to get the tickets and then Miami Vice style it back to Epcot. If I am being transparent, I began a google search for Epcot area boat rentals, but then I had a moment of clarity and put my phone away. If the Friendship Boat had taken off as soon as I sat down, I wouldn't have had the time to jump up from my seat and literally and completely unnecessarily leap to the dock. This resulted in interesting looks from the crew as I jogged off towards the walking path. 

In my planning, I had come across information about the walking route between Hollywood Studios and Epcot. I planned for contingencies and because I had familiarized myself with the route and had a mental map of a shortcut through Boardwalk in my head, I knew I could run it faster. I hadn't run all winter (thanks you very much New England never ending winter), but today, today I was going to run.

I ran a 5K at Disney World, in denim, and I received no runDisney medal for my efforts.

I ran over the bridge near the Beach Club, cut through the pool area at the Boardwalk, and jogged along the water all the way to HS. I collected the tickets at Guest Services where they looked at me breathing rapidly, clearly disheveled and asked, "did you... run here???" I turned right around to start my run BACK to Epcot, passed the boat I should have taken still en route to Hollywood Studios, waved to the stunned crew who were now being lapped by a runner and tried to keep focus because DENIM.
By the time I arrived back at Epcot (approximately 30 minutes later), Steve and the kids were two shows deep on an iPhone and they had eaten all the snacks in the day pack, but I had the tickets. If you ever thought you were your kids hero when they cheer for you as you approach a finish line, I suggest you try it holding Disney tickets in your hand, waving them wildly and feeling like you just saved the universe... because you kind of did. Out of breath, sweaty, deeply in need of an adult beverage and a cronut we made our way into Epcot.
The cast members in the guest services booth outside MAY have applauded my efforts. As you can imagine, I am a big fan of linking park tickets to Magic Bands. I'll even spring for a Bit Belt to never have to go through that again.
We hit a kiosk to make our evening plan just before 3pm. This day was about to right itself and we were determined to finish strong.

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Day 4 - January 26, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This is the trip report that will never end. My subconscious goal must be to drag these out until the next trip to avoid the deep, post-Disney depression. Last I left you, we had taken in a full day at Animal Kingdom.

We planned a split day for Day 4 beginning at Hollywood Studios and ending with Illuminations at Epcot. To refresh your memory, we were using Kiosks to make day of reservations for FP+. Our strategy here was to save our FP+ selections for Epcot in hopes we could snag one for either Soarin' or Test Track for the second half of our day. We were stand-by only at Hollywood Studios. Reflecting on just how badly Expedition Everest had gone for Caroline, I had a feeling Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster were both going to be way too intense for her. The Great Movie Ride with the inclusion of the witch from Wizard of Oz and some scenes from Aliens ruled itself out as well. Our plan was characters, characters, characters all morning.

We started the day with what I noted as "the never ending bus ride." If I recall correctly, the ride seemed slow, we seemed to keep circling the lot, something was off and it definitely slowed us down. We headed straight for Toy Story Mania and the line was starting to get long. The kids were already spoiled with their Magic Bands and starting the day off with a longer than 45 minute wait, well, you would think we were punishing them the way they dragged themselves through that cue. The wait was unavoidable, we weren't going to use our FP+ options at this park and skipping the ride was not an option for Connor.
After Toy Story Mania, we went on a character streak that lasted almost until lunch with just one brief pause to see the Disney Junior Live show.

Remember the boy who was afraid of characters?? We split into pairs to meet Jake and Sofia. Steve had the autograph book, but came up with a brilliant solution to ask Jake to sign Connor's bandana that we just happened to bring along for the day. Kid was on CLOUD NINE, YO HO, Let's GO!!



Then deeper into the Animation Courtyard,


We snagged an outdoor spot at Backlot Express for lunch so the kids could watch Jedi Training while we ate. I opted for Buffalo Chicken Nuggets for lunch and there were more Power Packs for the kids. Steve again chose a burger and fries and again I asked him why? Connor liked watching Jedi Training so much, he asked to stay to watch the next show (12:40). Did he think he ever might want to learn how to fight Darth Vadar? "No."

The day was slipping by and we had dinner plans at Epcot for the Princess, not to mention FP+ experiences to schedule when we arrived.

We hit Muppets

 Phineas & Ferb

and got an up close view of Lightning and Mater

before bidding adieu to Hollywood Studios and hopping on a leisurely journey aboard a Friendship Boat to Epcot. I hoped the kids would rest and while there was no sleeping, there was quiet peace on our ride.

We disembarked, gathered our belongings, and headed toward the International Gateway. We didn't get too far before I realized that we had misplaced something very important, our entrance tickets!! Our park tickets were NOT connected to our Magic Bands. This was a moment of panic we all could have done without, but was entirely my fault.

What happened next? You simply won't believe how this unfolded.

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