Trip Report - Walt Disney World

June 2010

Submitted by The Cleavenger Family

As many people sit down with the family and decide where the next vacation is going to take place, the Cleavenger household always comes up with Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It has been a tradition that has started with Sherry and I since we go married back in 1991 and took our first trip together in May of 1992. From then on we were hooked on the magic that this place exhumes. From this moment on we would visit pretty consistent every two years with a trip to enjoy the magic. Here is just a breakdown of the trips that we have had.


Gary 1986 @ off site

Gary & Sherry 1992 @ Days Inn

Gary, Sherry and Jordyn 1995 @ Royal Plaza

Gary, Sherry, Jordyn and Kylie 1997 @ Holiday Inn Sunspree

Gary, Sherry, Jordyn and Kylie 2000 @ Quality Inn

Gary, Sherry, Jordyn and Kylie 2002 @ Hilton

Gary, Sherry, Jordyn and Kylie 2005 @ Port Orleans

Gary February of 2006 @ Marriott Village

Gary and Sherry February 2007 @ Marriott Village

Gary, Sherry, Jordyn and Kylie 2007 @ Animal Kingdom Lodge

Gary, Sherry February 2008 @ Marriott Village

Gary, Sherry February 2009 @ Marriott Village

Gary, Sherry, Jordyn, Kylie 2009 @ Wilderness Lodge

Gary, Sherry February 2010 @ Marriott Village

Gary, Sherry, Jordyn, Kylie 2010 @ Beach Club


With all of this being said on past trips, you can tell that we had a few additions along the way. I will tell anyone that asks me “is it better to wait till they are older?” I say absolutely not. If you are patient with the children, they are much better to deal with than a 17 and 14 year old as I have now. All of our trips have been memorable in their own rights. Now on to this past trip at the wonderful Beach Club Resort.


Every trip we take as a family, we load up the Suburban and make the 1200-mile drive to our magical place. As I have gotten older, I do not drive all the way through now as it takes us right at 17 hours. We always stop on the way down after around 12 hour drive and leave the short 5 hour drive for the following day so as soon as we get checked in we can hit the parks running. Arriving the afternoon of June 22nd for our 8-night stay, we found our way to a beautiful and very classy looking resort, The Beach Club. As soon as we stepped foot on the grounds you could feel the relaxed atmosphere of the resort area. My wife and children checked us in, as I had to start shoot photos immediately after walking in the door. Upon checking into the room, we noticed the beautiful décor of the room and the very spacious size of the room. There were two queen beds, daybed, desk with chair and a flat screen TV. The bathroom was plenty big for the family to get around in the morning to prepare for the day ahead. After getting settled in, we took of for our first journey walking over to the back of Epcot Center.


Day 1 - EPCOT


We started the afternoon off with getting over to Soaring, the must to do in this park according to the Cleavenger family. Upon arriving, we saw the sign of 80-minute wait, well worth the wait. We rode many of the other attractions in the area of the park and then headed back to the countries as we had dining reservations at Biergarten in Germany. This experience to us was all about the entertainment as the girls did not eat much of the food, but did enjoy the show and the atmosphere. This was a bit expensive at $30.99 a piece with the youngest just eating Mac and cheese. I really enjoyed the food and the whole experience here. After dinner we roamed around and looked at some of the things that we have not really paid much attention to. After listening to certain podcast I have learned that you must stop and look around and not just fly through the parks. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am very Type A and always work a plan and then work the plan. That evening happened to be the magic hours for Epcot so we went and did all of the favorites that we enjoy so much. Mission Space, Spaceship Earth, and of course my favorite, Figment, to finish out the evening after watching the Illuminations. After closing down the park that evening, a quiet walk back to the resort to finish out the first day of our trip.


Day 2 - Magic Kingdom


This day started off with a little breakfast at the gift shop / quick service area. Now this resort does not have a counter type service as many of you know and have complained about on boards, reviews, ECT. This is not a bad deal unless you are all about the food when you come down here. Now our favorite places for that is Port Orleans food court and also the Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Ok, back to the day at hand. After walking out of the shop, I am the type that just speaks to all and says good morning. I walked up to a few cast members at the front and said good morning to them and the lady responded with; “ Good morning, where are you guys headed off for today?” I responded with, “Disney World”. The cast member then responded with, “You are already in Disney World, what park are you going to today?” I told her with an embarrassed look on my face, “Magic Kingdom”. She then responded with, “Today is your magical day, I am going to take you to the park in the company suburban and drop your off right up front.” I was just in awe of this and they call this the Magic Carpet Ride. I asked the lady how many she does of these a day and she told me that she takes two families a day. I really felt like this was a magical thing for my family and I to enjoy. The ride was very nice with great conversation with the cast member. Now I did ask what time she would be back, and she said that she gets that a lot. You know that I had to ask?


We started off the day in the park with the opening show and then to the gate and go meat up with the mayor. After that we headed back to the back to get with Mickey and Minnie to get the family photo. Now please remember, we have been here several trips and this is not my normal routine as I am just trying to let this trip unfold and not be so “Type A”. Going into the room to see Mickey and Minnie is always a favorite of the family. When you go in there, they always spend a lot of time with your family and not really ever been rushed or felt rushed. This trip, Minnie even started kissing me and Mickey was turning his head away and really acting it up. I did not know what to do or say and finally he came over and shook my hand. Pretty good stuff for photos as well. After this we were off to ride the cups, do a little racing on the speedway, ride the TTA. Buzz was next on our list, then back over to Pooh, Small World, and Peter Pan and then off to lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus to try and overlook Small World. This area was full and we just had to find another seat in main dining. We like this place for quick service as the salads are excellent and the kids like the pizza. Time to move on to Hall of Presidents, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and Peter Pan again for the wife, and then to Haunted Mansion. After the Mansion, we had to get a Dole Whip and have course my Churro. We started a new addiction the past trip and had to go over to the shop in Frontier Land and go to the Pin Traders and build up some pins. All four of us do this now and it is very addicting, although we all have certain things that we look for in pins to purchase and to trade.


Our next stop was off to dinner at Crystal Palace. I am ashamed to say this, but this was our first character dining that we have ever done and now Jordyn is 17 and Kylie is 14. This was a great place to have some fun, relax and have some great food. The price for this meal was $32.99 per person and to was well worth it. We got to see all of the characters from Pooh. They spent ample time with us and all of the tables that I was watching and could tell that this was all about the experience. Now our dinner was at 8:05 and after our dinner we went back and did our favorites. Pirates, Haunted, Peter Pan, Buzz, and Laugh Floor were just a few of the victims of our evening. We spent the evening just roaming around and then off to the Emporium, which is our favorite place to shop. This store has it all for all ages, occasions and taste. We casually made our way out of the park and turned around to look at the castle and new that we would see it soon, in fact the next day.


Day 3 - Magic Kingdom


When we started this morning, we had no idea of the surprises and events that would take place. We started the morning with a small breakfast at the Beach Club hotel and then headed off to the Magic Kingdom. When we arrived on this day, we opened the park and then spent some time with the mayor as we did the day before and got to see the barbershop quartet. Immediately we had to stop and take a look at Main Street Confectionary on Main Street. This is a family tradition starting when Sherry and I first got married and went down there and purchased a candy that was $7.00 and we agreed that we would never tell anyone of this as we did not have the money to spend on candy like this. Times have changed and now this is a must for our family to enjoy. We spent this day roaming around and really taking time to look, touch, smell and actually see why we come to this magical place. We spent a lot of time in Tomorrow Land and as we have had luck all this trip, people where giving us fast passes for Space Mountain and then we had a cast member give us some for Buzz Light Year Space Ranger Spin. So with this being said, as we were walking back over the small bridge going back towards the castle, we saw a friend of my daughters that she knows from school. So here we are, 1230 miles from home and here is one of her friends. We stopped and talked a bit, took some photos and gave them some hints and tips for the day. After a stop in front of the castle, we took some photos and decided to head over the Liberty Square area. As we were crossing the bridge, I asked my wife if I saw another girl from our hometown. She looked up and noticed that is was a girl that plays volleyball with my youngest daughter, Kylie. So here we are again, all this way and find some people to talk with and share our magic.


We then trekked our way over to Frontier Land and we rode Big Thunder Mountain over and over and over till we finally decided that Sherry was probably getting tired of waiting on us. Jordyn, Kylie and I just laughed till we were crying and of course I had to film with the Iphone and all you can hear are my kids saying, “Dad, you are going to drop and loose your phone”. This was about time to grab out lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern that we had reservations for. We have eaten here a few times and this is one of the places that we really enjoy going to and just love the atmosphere. The only thing that I do not like about this place is that the restrooms are upstairs. To me, this is really a strange layout for the restaurant. Sherry had her usual Pilgrims’ Fest, I had the Pot Roast, Jordyn had the Pilgrims’ Feast and Kylie had Tavern Fried Cheese. This is a place that we always seem to come to, as we are comfortable with getting everyone with us what he or she wants to eat.


After lunch we made our way back to the Haunted Mansion, Liberty Square Riverboat, and the Hall of Presidents. This was the first time that girls had seen the new version as Sherry and I had seen it in February. I still say that this is a place to come in, rest your feet and let the children take a power nap and everyone recharge they batteries. We then made our way over to Fantasy Land and did all of our favorites. We then made our way back to Tomorrow Land and had to stop and get a few Mickey Bars and get ready for Space Mountain one more time. We spent a little time here as we rode the Tomorrow Land Speedway, TTA, Stitch and back to Space Mountain for the last time for the day. We then decided to go to the front of the park and spend some time in Adventure Land and spend some time with Jack. That is correct, we saw Captain Jack Sparrow out front doing a sword training show with the children. This is a very good show and the cast members do an excellent job with all of the characters mannerisms.


After the Pirates ride we went to watch some of the show-taking place at the castle and then I was on my way to get us checked in for Wishes Desert Party as the ladies went off to shop. I got us all checked in and went to the Noodle Station to get a soft drink and then it was time to get in line and experience something that I will never forget. This private party was fantastic. There was not a fuss on where you sit, or if you lost your place or anything. The tables had your name on them and the number in your party. My wife said, “This is the only way to watch the fireworks!” The desserts that were served where very good and fresh and even with the high temps, all of the desserts looked great and tasted even better. This is something that I would recommend to anyone of any age to do and try. I did have a slight problem with over eating some of this stuff, but it was just that good. This is a something that you have to book with your travel agent or with WDW Dinning. This particular evening they had two Electric Light Parades going. So after we watched the first one from the dessert party with somewhat of a limited view, we then saw the fireworks with a fantastic view of the entire place and also go to watch Tinker Bell fly right to us. At this dessert party you may come and go as you wish and all you have to do is show your armband that they put on you as you entered the area. After the fireworks, we decided we had stuffed ourselves enough and the just walked out and found a place right in the hub up front to watch the parade and for me to click off another 400 or so shots on the camera. With seeing friends from our hometown, the fast passes given to us, and the great time at the dessert party, this day was a magical day all the way around. Now we headed back to the Beach Club for a relaxing night of sleep.


Day 4 - Downtown Disney, Lunch at T-Rex and Beach Club Pool


On our 4th day, we decided to take a break from the hectic “park pace”. We slept in a little and then headed over to Down Town Disney. We were really not impressed with Rainforest Café the last few times we had been there so we decided to try something different. With two teenage daughters, it is sometimes tough to please everyone, but luckily enough everyone was so hungry we all quickly agreed on T-Rex. It was the closest restaurant to where we parked our car, and we had never been there, so we were ready to try something new. We must have arrived at just the perfect time because we were seated immediately. Friends of ours had recommended that we sit in the ice cave area if we went there, and the staff easily accommodated our request. Although if is very similar to Rainforest Café, in that the “animals come alive” at certain times, we really enjoyed the light show in the cave room (even the girls thought it was “kind of cool!”) The food was also very good. Our waitress was great and there was a huge amount of food that came with each order. You definitely won’t leave there hungry.


Of course we had to check out the gift shop as we were leaving. (Just to buy my nephew a dinosaur souvenir.) To our amazement, they had a Build-A- Dinosaur store inside. And even though we were really much to adult, we couldn’t resist choosing a new friend to take home with us. Even our 17 year old had a ball building and dressing a Stegosaurus to take home to her boyfriend. (We know it was just what he wanted!) T-Rex really turned out to be an enjoyable family experience for all.


After leaving there, we moved on to what was really our main purpose of going to Downtown Disney – THE PIN TRADERS STATION. Since we started pin trading last year, our family collection has quickly grown. (If you are trying to stay in a budget – this is not the activity for you.) It is very fun shopping and trading for pins and sets you love and want to collect, but it is an addiction that is hard to control. There is always just one more pin that someone needs or wants. We have learned to buy off of e-bay and bring some pins from home that we have multiples or of the ones that we don’t like, to trade with us. That does seem to save us some money. After giving them probably one of their best sales of the day, we moved on to Goofy's Candy Company. I, of course, had to have my Snicker doodle cookie, which simply cant be beat. But really, you can’t go wrong with the treats there, there are no bad choices. Everything is always wonderful. As we walked through the area, we visited many shops. We had to buy gifts to take home to our adorable puppy. We were also able to find great gifts for our niece and nephew.


Since it was getting hot, the girls decided we needed to go back to our resort and enjoy the beautiful pool area there. The Beach and Yacht Club pool area is unbelievably awesome! It is a 100% must do for pool lovers. We especially appreciated the fact that you must show your resort ID to be able to use their pool facilities. There were so many areas to choose from: the lazy river area, the waterfall area, the shipwrecked slide area, and the sandy bottom beach area. They all have something very unique to offer the quests, depending on what you want to enjoy. You can exercise, relax or just have some good family fun singing karaoke. We loved that the pools all had white sand bottoms; it felt so good on the tired feet. Our 14 year old loved lying out around the top of the Lighthouse. She had an excellent view of the resort pool areas on one side, and the Crescent Lake and boats on the other side.


After a relaxing few hours there, we decided to walk over to The Boardwalk for dinner. On the way, we could not pass up the wonderful photo-ops there. There are so many beautiful locations for pictures around the EPCOT Resort areas. As we made it around to the Boardwalk, we intended to eat at ESPN Zone, but it had a huge wait time. As we ventured along, we saw Big River Grille and Brewery and decided to give it a try. It was excellent! The food was great, as was the Sangria! When our 14-year-old daughter likes it, you know it must be really good. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to all.


Of course as we walked back to our resort, we had to end our night with our traditional stop at the bakery for some midnight snacks. As we sat at the outdoor tables along the lakefront, we took the time to stop and admire the beautiful nighttime view around the lake. All the lights sparkling off the water is a sight you can’t miss.


Day 5 - Disney Animal Kingdom


For our 5th day at Disney World, we decided to go to Animal Kingdom. Since we know that you have to go on the Safari early to have the best opportunity of animal sightings and getting the best photo shots, we chose to use the Disney Resort Guest early hours for this park. We arrived at our resorts shuttle bus area more than an hour early. We had our only bad shuttle experience on this day. We waited for about 40 minutes before a bus headed to Magic Kingdom arrived. But the time we actually got to the park, we only had 20 minutes of early hours left. We quickly hustled to the back of the park to do the Safari. We were able to get on the truck almost immediately. The Safari was terrific! Since it was early and the temperature was cooler this day, there were a while lot of animals out on this day. Even the lions were out on their rock on this morning. Our Safari guide was also very knowledgeable and very funny; he made this excursion especially memorable.


After leaving the Safari we headed over to Everest! Everest is a family favorite. Well, all the family except for me. I am the official picture taker and bag holder while everyone else goes off for the thrilling coaster ride. Everest is a great place to get photos. You are able to take pictures as the ride drops out of the mountain. I was able to get great shots with our Canon 1D Mark III, professions sports camera with our Canon 70-200 IS 2.8 L glass lens. I was able to get excellent shots of my family’s facial expressions on the drop. (All three times in a row that they rode it). If you work the fast pass system well and know your park well, you can make things like this happen.


As we left Everest we moved on to Dinosaur. This ride is very jerky, but we enjoy it. IT is especially fun to do crazy family poses for the photo that they snap while riding this attraction. One time we look very scared, the next time we will all just do something crazy and for the finale ride we will look extremely board. It may sound silly but we think its fun tradition. It is also easy to do in succession if you time your fast passes correctly.


As we left Dinosaur, we headed to Pizzafari to eat, but as we passed It’s Tough to be a Bug, a show was ready to start so we quickly went in with no wait time. Yes, we love It’s Tough to be a Bug! IT is still quit funny even though we have seen it many times. And we love looking at the intricate animal “carvings” on the tree. That Tree is a very beautiful sight. You must take the time to view it from each side of the park. We still notice something different each time we go.

It was definitely time for lunch after that. We had decided on Pizzafari because our youngest daughter Kylie, did not want Flame Tree Barbeque, (while the rest of the family love this place and is a favorite for us to eat at Animal Kingdom.) We had our pizza and some bread sticks that were just awesome. After we finished eating, we moved on to the Festival of the Lion King.


The Festival of the Lion King is a must see show. It is breathtaking beautiful. The colors, the costumes and the showmanship are all amazing. The singing, dancing, tumblers, fire twirler, and aerialists were all so talented. We really believe that if you only can do one of the shows, this is the one you must choose while at Animal Kingdom.


We then headed back to the shops in Africa after the show. Both of the girls love the African themed shops to look at. After making a few more purchases, we were able to catch a nice view of the parade. We usually don’t watch the parade at Animal Kingdom, but it was a pleasant experience for us. We also just had to eat some of that delicious Disney popcorn as we watched the parade pass.

We had had a very successful pin-trading day as well at this park. Everyone managed to find pins to add to their collections. But of course there is never enough, so here we go again to go to all of the pin trading stations to find some more pins to purchase. We then decided to head back to the resort after this. This was the day that we by far the most unbearable and the crankiness was begging to sit in with everyone as we hade been going strong for days. We felt like this would be a great time to head back to our resort and think of what we could do next.


We had heard about the famous Kitchen Sink desert treat at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop and decided we would give this the ole family try. It included 8 scoops of ice cream served with a whole can of whip topping and all of the toppings in the house. Well needless to say, we did not set the record for the fasted tine of eating it, actually we couldn’t even completely finish it, but we gave it our best attempt. It was fantastic, and I highly recommended you to go try it out. Hot fudge heaven and caramel delight all in one huge kitchen sink looking bowl. The rest of the night was spent recuperating from the sugar overdose and resting up for upcoming adventures that would come the Cleavenger family way the next day.


Day 6 - Disney Hollywood Studios


So here is a riddle to test your Disney knowledge. What is faster than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and pushier and more aggressive than people in Wal-Mart on Black Friday? You’ve got it if you were thinking about Hollywood Studios race for Toy Story Mania fast passes as the park opens. Since we have had to stand in line for up to 2 hours to do Toy Story Mania because we did not get to the park before they ran out of fast passes; we now go to this park on early hour days. We rode the boar over from The Beach Club, and made it into the gates, but then had to wait with the hundreds of others with the same idea – racing to the fast pass stations. The goal of course is for the wiliest member of your family to race walk the fastest to the fast past booth while the others in your party make their way in to the line. If you time this just right you can get two turns on the awesome gaming ride before people even make it into the park.


As luck was with us, we were able to get our passes, do Toy Story Mania, and do the Great Movie Ride, which is also a family favorite all within the first 15 minutes of the park opening. It was great; we were so excited about our great success with time as moved back to Toy Story only to be told that it was down and that we would have to return later to use our fast passes. Since we didn’t want to have to trek back and forth across the park we decided to enjoy that same area. We moved next to The Voyage of the Little Mermaid (one of my personal favorites). The allusion of being underwater is a very creative and fun idea. The show still brings me joy each time I am able to see it. When the show got out, Toy Story was back in business. We fast passed the 100 min line, and were quickly battling it out again. I, of course being the wonderful person that I am, allowed all of my family to our score me so that would not feel like a big loser. No, really, I don’t get it, I know that I am hitting those targets, but somehow my true score never makes it on my shooting thingy. I don’t understand where all my points go. But truthfully scores don’t really matter; it is a great time playing the games.


After Toy Story Mania, we moved on to the thrill rides. As my family walked onto the single rider line of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, I got the fast passes to ride it again. Some how there were about to ride 4 times in a row in quick success. I had gotten their fast passes for the Tower of Terror next and what I got them some wonderful cast member handed me another set. The magic continued on all of the perks we were receiving this trip. Somehow luck was following us on this day as it had others, as they were able to ride this 5 times over the next hour and a half. It was truly unbelievable. By this time, it was getting close to our lunch reservations at the 50’s Prime Time Café over by Echo Lake.


The 50’s Prime Time Café is an excellent place to eat. Great Food! Great Atmosphere! Wonderful, funny stuff. Pot roast, fried chicken, chicken potpie, it doesn’t really matter, it is all delicious. We have made this our tradition lunch stop each time we visit this park. Even our picky eater can find something that she enjoys at this restaurant.


Next, we rode Star Tours, it is fun, but I am glad it is getting a much-needed make over. It was looking a little aged. It was also much too hot inside the ride capsule for some reason this time. We are looking forward to seeing the new improved Star Tours when we return to the park next year. Muppet Vision was next on the agenda. It is a cute 3-D show. The improvements were nice, although we were expecting more, but the show was basically left the same. They just really enhanced the quality of the movie and rumors where they were going to work on the queue.


As we left the attraction, we were on a mission, a mission to find this #1 dessert that can only be found at WDW, The Writers Shop. We had never been in this shop before and we had never had the Carrot Cake Cookie that we had heard so much about. We were looking forward to a new adventure. We had heard about it on a podcast WDW Radio with Lou Mongello about the Best of the Best of snack foods, so we had to check this out for ourselves to confirm. It certainly lived up to the hype. It was awesome and it was huge in size. It was actually much lower in price than you pay for a lot of the Disney treats, so it is also a great buy. We were able to relax and enjoy our treats and recharge our phones in the comfort of the little shop tucked into the middle of the park away from most of the traffic.


We next headed over to Indiana Jones Stunt Show. We had not done this the past few years, so we really enjoyed watching it again. After this, we walked over to American Idol and walked right in for the next show. Not only are you able to see some very talented people sing, you are able to participate in the show by voting for the winner. We finished up the day with this show and then headed back to The Beach Club and enjoyed the evening at the pool.


Day 7 - EPCOT


This day is the one that was dreaded on our trip. This is the last day of our Walt Disney World Experience for this year. This day was going to be a nice relaxing day as we had no real plans and was going to do whatever we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. We went down and grabbed some breakfast at the Beach Club shop and then headed our way over the park. Once again we walked over to EPCOT, as it is so nice to stay at The Beach Club and have that morning walk to the park. With this being the last day of our vacation, we wanted to make the most of this day. We decided to go back and really DO EPCOT Center. As we have not done a full day in this park in years, this day turned out to be full of fun and exciting surprises. First off we made the mad rush over to The Land to get on Soarin’, as we just can never get enough of this attraction. To me, this is one of the reasons that have kept EPCOT in the running with the other parks. After Soarin’, we did Living With The Land, which is something that we had never done with the girls, so we thought now that this being an educational thing, they may appreciate it more at this age. We all really enjoyed this attraction and will be going back again to see this on our trip in February and also in June. Next off was to Journey Into Imagination with Figment. Now this is my favorite attraction, as I just love Figment. I have an extensive collection of Figment pins and I am looking to always add more. At this time, Captain EO was not open, as it was going to open the following weekend. Now Sherry and I have seen this back in the day, but our girls have not ever seen this show. We have seen Honey I Shrunk The Audience countless times and are looking forward to seeing Captain EO again just for old times sake. We then made our way over to Test Track as using an app on the iphone showed me waits times and we were off to grab us a ride. After our ride we went to Ellen’s Energy Adventure, as this is not an attraction that we have done in years. After we rode this, we then realized why we have not done this in years. This is just not a family favorite, not to say that others may enjoy it. We then moved on over to Spaceship Earth and there were just a small wait time to get in there and it was time to cool off a bit and relax. We enjoyed the new additions that have been made and enjoyed getting the photos taken while on the attraction. We decided it was time to grab a bite to eat and thought we would try some quick counter service over at the Electric Umbrella. We enjoyed the food and the atmosphere there while we were dining. We then saw that we were right across from Mouse Gear. Now this has been in a lot of top 10 lists and I do agree with this, although I am a bigger fan of the Emporium over at Magic Kingdom. So at Mouse Gear, here we go again with the pins, and the Vinylmations. Finally made it out of there and off to countries. We saw something that after many trips, we had not seen before as we go to see the bridge raise and let the firework boats into the lagoon. We walked and visited every country that is a part of Epcot and then I decided to do the Wine Tasting Tour. This is something that I always wanted to do and just never did when our girls were younger as I felt like Sherry and I needed to be at full attention with little ones in the parks. Now that they are 17 and 15, I felt better about letting loose a bit. Sherry and I shared the wine as she is not a big wine person and after the three countries that we tasted 2 samples of different wines of 2 ounce pours ea, I went back and purchased a few bottles to take home with us. The cost of this is $20.00 per person and I felt like this is a great value and a great time as well. The girls enjoyed snow cones from Japan as we enjoyed the wine and we moved our way over to America. The singers that were in the hall were just breathtaking. We really enjoyed the singing and after their show we went in the theater to watch the main show, The American Adventure. This was a fantastic show and I recommend everyone to watch this and take it in. We then moved back around over to Mexico and ate some dinner at La Cantina de San Angel. We love to have Mexican food and could not pass this up. After we had some food and walked around and just looked around at all of the sights, we were off to our room for the final evening. This is always a sad time when you walk out of the park and know that you may and may not make it back. We enjoyed the lit path back to the Beach Club as we started talking already about the 2011 trip to WDW.


In closing, we are Disney fans and always feel the magic when we get there. The biggest thing that I can tell anyone is that when you get there, relax and act like a kid. I leave the stress of the office back at home and all of the other worries. I do carry my phone and laptop as it really comes with my personality to take things with me although I have learned to relax and handle things as they may come up. All in all I am just unplugged so to speak. I have many people ask me over and over, “Why do you always go to WDW with all of the other places you could go to and see?” My response is this, just go one time and realize there will be lines, there will be fussy parents as well as kids, and just relax and have an open mind to go with the flow of the day. With that being said, I am one that plans the entire trip out day-by-day, and meal-by-meal, and also have learned to let go some times and let it go the way it flows.


My sister asked me all about our trips and asked the same questions that others ask about why we go there so often. She is now a grandmother and had a business trip planned to Orlando and the conference was at the Swan. She decided to take her husband, son, daughter in law and the two grandkids with her and she would work by day and meet them after her meetings in the parks wherever they were. She called me the first day as she was watching the afternoon parade at Magic Kingdom. Remember the afternoon parade, not the evening parade or fireworks. As I answered the phone, she was crying, she said, “Gary, I get it now!” She was telling me the looks in their eyes and expressions on their faces were worth everything in the world to her. She thanked me over and over by telling her hints and tricks around the park and go to see so many things as they were organized. So their first trip was a success with some planning and she is ready to go back again. I will always remember her voice as she stated “Gary, I get it now!”

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