We were up at 5:30 to shower, pack up, and eat so we could check in at the All Star Sports Resort, get our parking pass and head to Animal Kingdom - or at least.....that was the plan....
I had done the online check in, like we have the past couple years and was thrilled that there was not one person in line when I walked in the lobby (it was only a little after 7 am after all).. The gentleman behind the counter called me over and went through the license, credit card stuff, I figured I'd be in and out of there in under 5. He kept looking at the computer and asking me questions, which I thought was odd, since I had done the online check-in - it had never been this difficult before. He said he just had to get a room assigned to our reservation and would I mind if he made a quick phone call. Of course, I didn't (and it wasn't like I had a choice lol). So he talked to someone and was put on hold - for a very long time!! He was rummaging through his desk drawers and asked me if my son liked matchbox cars - I said yes and he handed me a brand new Pluto Racecar, which I thought was very nice. Then he asked if they liked basketball and I told him they love it - so he handed me two wallets covered in basketballs. He felt so bad that it was taking so long.. I told him I wouldn't mind taking our parking pass and we could pick up our room keys later but didn't really get a response to that. Someone finally came back to him on the other end and he had a lot of uh-huhs and yeahs. Then he told me that there was not going to be a room for us there so would I mind if they upgraded us to the Beach Club!!!!!!!!!! I was literally in shock!! Actually, he asked if I would prefer the Beach Club or the Yacht Club and I was in such shock I told him that either would do just fine - after all, we were being upgraded from a value to a deluxe at no extra charge, beggars can't be choosers!! Bob had taken the boys into the gift shop - it had finally opened and they had to see that vinylmation trading box! I think they got one they really wanted too!! I went to them with a really sad face and told them they were booked and never assigned us a room. I thought they were going to start to cry so I quickly told them we had to go to the Beach Club instead - they were mad - they did not want to stay anyplace else!! I told them not to decide that until they saw where we were going.
I know the roads around Disney like the ones in my own town, so I knew exactly where we had to head. We did have to make a quick stop at the Hess station on the corner of EPCOT Resort Blvd., the Beach Club is an EPCOT Resort so it's very close. We headed over to the resort and heard the words I love so much, "Welcome Home" (Disney is home to me) Bob brought me up to the lobby doors and I was treated like a queen - was greeted and walked right up to the front desk. I told them my whole story and they told me they had been expecting me. I was still in shock at this point and when they asked me what set up I'd like, I told them I didn't care - I was honored to be there. She asked if 2 queens and a daybed would be okay. Okay?? They could have given me the floor and it would have been okay!!!
They gave me the whole low down on the place - told me EPCOT was a quick walk, and HS was the boat, and buses for MK, AK, and Downtown Disney. You have to show your room key to get bracelets for the pool, which has a sand bottom. I am not a big swimmer, but even I had to check that out :) Our room was ready so we parked the car, grabbed a few things and went to check it out. While we were at the car, we could hear the Nemo Seagulls saying, "Mine, Mine, Mine" (I love that). We fell in love with the room right away!! 2 queen beds instead of fulls, 2 sinks instead of 1, refrigerator, wifi, and a balcony. I loved the whole beachy feel to the room too - soothing colors, very relaxing. And a Mickey on the bed
Since it was almost time for the parks to open and we were right next door to EPCOT, we went there instead of AK. It was literally 3 minutes from our room to the back entrance. My mom used to have a trivet in our kitchen that said, "back door guests are always best" and that is exactly how it felt. Entering EPCOT from the International Gateway was special, for us at least. The boys immediately had to check out all the cast members pins. One of them was named Nessa - she was so sweet and I will mention her several times in my trip reports. She is from Central America and is just the sweetest girl!! I plan to write to Disney and tell them how great she is!!
|first ride of the year|
|Test Track BABY!!!|
|second time around|
The wait for SOARIN' was 25 minutes so we just got fastpasses for now. We headed outside into the warm Florida Sunshine. Chip and Dale had just come out and the Jaminators were getting ready to perform. I sent the boys over to get in line for C&D, and I watched the Jaminators with Bob for a few minutes. They are amazing!! They are dressed as janitors and they have a bunch of garbage cans - they tell some corny jokes and then start "jamming" on their cans - you would never think that garbage cans can sound that good :) I watched for the boys to get close and I headed over so I could get their picture with their favorite chipmunks. They always make it so fun - since they can't talk to you, you have to figure out what they are trying to say, luckily the CM's help translate sometimes ;) Austin spotted a CM across the way with a ton of pins on his lanyard and off he went - He came back so excited - HE FOUND PERRY!!! We had seen the Perry the Playtpus pin the night before and I told him if he didn't find it, he could buy it before we left. He was so cute, he said, "I prayed that I would find one, and I DID!!" I told him I might have to claim that one hehe...
At this point World Showcase was open so we headed back to Canada and the UK. Rumor was that there was a trader box in the UK so we had to go find it. It was also getting near lunchtime and Syracuse had a basketball game so we decided to walk over to the Boardwalk and catch the game at the ESPN Club. The game was being broadcast on the outdoor tv and it was nice and hot outside - I did not want to go inside and eat. We grabbed food at the Boardwalk Hot Dog Cart - Bob got pulled pork, I got a burger, and the boys each got the footlong all beef hot dog. The food was okay but would have been much better if it was hot - the poor kid running the place was alone and overwhelmed and the hot dogs especially were not at all hot. SU won the game so that is all that mattered really anyway :) We spent a little time at this point walking around our resort and relaxed in the room for a little bit. We decided we would go back to EPCOT instead of park hopping and knowing there is no travel time to the park made it easier to just be..
We went back to the International Gateway and Nessa was there - remembering Andrew's name, she shouted out to him that she had some new pins - of course, he had to go check them out :) We decided to make a right this time and head to France. The Serveur Amusant was getting ready to perform - they are both hilarious and amazing!! Check them out if you haven't, you won't be diappointed!!
|One of my favorite spots in Morocco|
On to Japan - another country that I love to just look at the architecture!! We walked through the store, watched people pick out their oysters to harvest the pearls, and of course, more pin trading. The boys were given Origami throwing stars by the Japanese CM's at the KIDCOT station. The Matsuriza drummers were performing so we stayed and watched for a few minutes.
We were finally at the American Adventure and the show was just about to start - it is my most favorite non-ride attraction. I cry every single time but it is an amazing history lesson, imo...We headed on from there to Italy and Germany - it was time for a snack and Bob needed coffee. I saw a picture of one of the cookies from Werther's Karamell Küche - it was a chocolate cookie drizzled with their fresh made caramel - so yummy but I wish I had a nice tall glass of cold milk to go with it!! (all 4 of us split one so the calories here were minimal :) I will post a picture of it below. We finally hung around this pavillion long enough to see the Giant Coo-Coo Clock go off - so cute!! The flowers were amazing, as always. And we can't forget the train - the boys could watch and explore that area for hours!!
We took a few minutes to play with the drums at the outpost
and when we got to China, it was almost time for the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats. I really wanted to watch them so we grabbed a seat on the ground and waited -the boys fought me on this one but they really enjoyed them. If you ever have the chance to see them, don't pass it by!! It was so amazing!!! See my photos but they don't do them justice!! At this point, we were getting hungry and wanted to use our Test Track & Soarin' fast passes so we headed back to future world. We had to stop and see Duffy (Andy is a huge teddy bear fan and he loves Duffy). So we hit those 3 attractions and headed back out of EPCOT to get some food at the hotel. We didn't realize that there wasn't a big food court at the resort and didn't feel like waiting for a sit down restaurant, so we headed over to Carribean Beach to eat, got back in time to see the fireworks from Illuminations, and settled down for the night. It was a very long and busy day and we had a whole week of them ahead of us!!
|Dragon - China|
|She is amazing!!|
|She never lost a glass|
|The Boys with Duffy!!|
|The Giant Coo-Coo Clock|
|My favorite flowers - how do they grow them so full???|
|Trying on the hats|
|Nice spot for a Coke :)|
|One last ride on Test Track for the night|
|Hidden Mickeys is another way we spend our time - have you ever seen this one on Test Track??|