Adults Only Trip!

Yeah…Mark and I are going to have our first Disney trip w/out Gage this Oct/Nov since he was born. It’s gonna be so strange, not having him around with us though. No arguing on if he’ll go on a ride or not, having to scan each menu for something he’ll eat before going in, stopping at every restroom as we pass them, being difficult about not wanting to meet certain Characters…yeah, gonna be so hard on us :(

Nah we will definitely miss his presence this trip. We’re having a few days in WDW Parks before boarding the lovely and luxurious Disney Dream Cruise Ship with Lou Mongello & Gang along with several hundred WDW Radio friends for four days. We are so excited about this trip and I hope it goes better than our WDW cruise we did over Christmas holidays 2010. Nothing wrong with the cruise itself mind but our trip to Florida was delayed by 2days due to snow in England which emotionally drained us…we were meant to leave on Saturday and after being at the airport for a good 3hrs (wait time for international flights) we heard our flight had been cancelled…we finally arrived back home 12hrs after leaving for the airport. Booked a flight for Monday and as we woke Mark got a text saying that one was cancelled too and he just broke down into tears. It was to be the first Christmas we’d all have without his Dad who passed a few months earlier, the main reason for doing a Disney Christmas/New Year, and it was just too much. Anyway, to make an already long story shorter, we did manage to fly out on Monday and finally arrived at our Pirate Themed room at Carribean Beach around 2am FL time…meaning we’d been up 26hrs as we just could not sleep on the plane for some obserd reason. So we went into this trip exhausted and drained and I for one never got my rest and energy caught up, I was tired nearly all the time. Then once on the ship where we met up with Mark’s family, our niece came down with a tummy bug which was lovingly passed on to her father and myself. Our day on Castaway Cay was a let down because I felt so bad I just lied on a sunbed keeping the restroom within eye sight. Because I was still so exhausted from the travel and the parks, I just did not have it in me to enjoy the nightlife on the ship which I really did hate but my body just could not do it. I’d have fell asleep at the bar for sure.

So…hoping this cruise will be a much better and much healthier experience. I know it will be filled with loads of laughs, new friendships, wonderful memories and thousands and thousands of photos!

We will make it up to Gage by taking him to DLRP after April once all the 20th Anniversary celebrations kick off (parades, etc) and new attractions are open. Although he’s so spoilt by our many Disney trips, he’s nothing like the kids you see in the commercials who yell, scream and cry with excitement when told they’re going to Disney World/Land. His reply is a sarcastic “again??”

Disney Meet Ups

So yesterday we attended another London Pin Meet/Trade event. I guess there was a good ten of us that met up in front of the Disney Store in Westfield Mall in London (Shepards Bush) and after buying up all their pins that were realsed that morning, we headed to a little cafe set up in the centre of the mall. We sat out all of our pins and Vinyls along a table and began to Ooh & Aah at each others collections.

It was nice to see the pin gang again and do some swaps, Mark more so than I, although I did trade for a pin for one of his Christmas presents and Gage a big Stitch with a glittery American Flag. :)

After this event went to Oxford Circus area for a meet with the London WDW Radio group. We had the downstairs floor of Candy Cakes all to ourselves and had some cake, a raffle and skyped with Lou Mongello of WDW Radio of course! From the raffle Mark won a lovely framed pin set, I got a 2004 Not So Scary pin and Gage won a £10 gift voucher for the Disney Store. It was lovely to meet new people and swap stories and holiday plans. From there we all headed to the Oxford Street Disney Store, to which I was the ‘tour guide’ holding up the D23 Expo fan to be sure everyone could see where we were heading. Emma, the events coordinator, had organised a group tour of the store which was fab. We were all given paper Mickey & Minnie ears, had a lovely group photo in front of the new Lion King display and were taken all around the store with lots of nifty interactive things pointed out to us as we went along. We played with the enchanted mirror which shows you your favorite Princess when you wave her wand in front of it and learned how to draw Simba.

It really was a lovely but tiring day out and I look forward to next time.

Food & Wine? Don’ mind if I do.

Soooo…we were told we ‘are’ going to be on the and have paid a deposit to our wonderful Mouse Fan Travel Agent Vicki to reserve our stateroom. Mark had the idea to make travelling easier by going to the resort/park first for a few days and get the Magical Express to the ship’s port from the resort (rather than flying in, staying somewhere for one night and making our own way to the port). Once we knew this was the plan it occured to him that we could be there ON Halloween! Which of course would be heaven for me as I LOVE Halloween, especially Halloween at Disney! Looking AGAIN at the dates, we could ALSO do EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival!

We did the F&W back in 2009 and loved it! We tossed Gage into a double sized stroller so he could relax, it was our last day at the parks and it’d be a lot of walking around EPCOT, and just walked from country to country trying some of their featured foods. Not so much the wine though as neither of us really do wine, so we just had water to ‘cleanse our pallets’ between each sampler.

This time however we WON’T have Gage with us (our chance for an adult only Disney trip) which means we can have some alcohol as its not all wine. It’s gonna be so strange not having Gage with us at Disney though. But it’ll have its benefits like not having to argue because he doesn’t want to go on a ride with us or eatting where we what not just where has something he’d eat or being embarrassed because he refuses to meet a character when we’re meeting them (usually a Princess…only female he’ll go near is Marie because she’s a cat).

 

Disabled at Disneyland

Ok firstly I want to say that yes this post will probably offend some people, which is not my intent but I know it will. This post is just to voice my thoughts and opinion on something I’m always noticing at the Disney Parks which is that some people, not all, but some DO indeed abuse the disability services the park provide.

I have pain in my foot

At WDW we’ve seen SO many people on the ECVs, some (visably) clearly need them, some probably need them but its not visable and some you can tell rent them so they don’t have to walk and stand in line all day. A lot of people also do not ‘drive’ them responsibily. When my son was 3yrs old he nearly got ran over by a woman on an ECV who believed she was the only person in the park and was going full speed. My husband literally grabbed Gage’s arm and YANKED him out of the way as the woman sped past him, no appology or anything. Gage was in front of her so couldn’t see her coming to move. Then you have people who let their kids play and ride on them while they’re doing something else that doesn’t require being in the ECV. I’ve never rented a wheelchair or ECV as I’ve never needed one…if you have, can you tell me if they require proof of a disability to rent it? The website does not say anything other than the fee and where to get them.

A couple of years ago, my father in-law went to WDW with some of the family while he was terminally ill with prostate cancer and could only do a few hours at a time and such but did not rent a wheelchair or ECV, probably due to pride knowing him, but he did what he could then he’d go for a rest. I wasn’t with them on this trip but I’d have told him to get one just so he wouldn’t be straining himself so much.

Anyway…so then at Disneyland what we saw the most of was people with these blue disbaled cards which got people into the wheelchair queue for rides. It was like “oh Sally broke her leg, lets take the whole family to Disneyland!” Seriously, we saw a group of 20 people queue through the wheelchair line with one person holding a disability card. We watched so many people whip out a blue disability card to go through the wheelchair line who were not in a wheelchair or ECV, some were even kids who were running and jumping around and the kicker to this was it was all for It’s A Small World which at the time was a walk on! There was no regular queue to wait in! The disbaility line was longer than the stand-by line!

My husband and I were watching these people pull out these cards to go through the wheelchair line and yes I know there are many disabilities that are not visable, but surely if you’re running around and jumping about you can stand for 5mins to go onto a ride. So we started joking about us going in and asking for a disability card and what we’d say our concern was. As I honestly have a Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot which does cause me a good deal of pain (the reason I cut short my 10k Race for Life to just 5k), I decided that in the morning I’d ask for a disability card, just to see if I could get one. Although I’d walked around Alabama and PC Beach for 2wks without it bothering me but from all the walking and standing in line at WDW and DLR did cause it to hurt, somedays a lot! But I took some antiflamitory meds and carried on. I went to guest services and said “I’ve heard that people with conditions can get a disability card…what is it and what do you have to do to get one?” The lady informed me that I did not have to disclose what my condition was just tell her what my concern was for queuing up and boarding rides (Due to some law or bill, they can not ask you to disclose any medical conditions) I told her that I had a lot of pain in my left food…and I got one! Didn’t say I’d sprained it or anything, it just hurt…if you’ve been to Disney parks I know you’re feet hurt you too. She also asked if I need to use a wheelchair and I said no but that I have used crutches which is true.

Now I want you to know that I did not use my card, I did not aquire it in order to use it and cut queues. I just wanted to see how easy it was to get one and there you have it. Basically anyone can get a disabled card and queue through the disabled access line for rides. It’s a great service for those who truly need it but its a shame that so many people abuse it as well. I just think of those people who really need a wheelchair or ECV but can not get one because people have rented them for no reason and they’ve run out. Shame. Please think of those who really need one of these devices before you rent one because you want to be lazy or something to carry your shopping in…they can send your shopping to your resort room!

I’m Out of the Box! (My Experience at the 2011 D23 Expo)

Wow!  I just got back to the hotel after Day 2 at the Anaheim Convention Centre for the 2011 D23 Expo and just, wow. Now you may be wondering, like many people at the expo, what do I mean by ‘out of the box’. Well, we listen to a Disney podcast each week called WDW Radio by the wonderful Lou Mongello and when he is at events such as this he takes along his laptop and cameras and runs a live video through UStream. On these streams there is also a live chat box for those who are unable to attend but want to be a part of it, they/we are called The Box People (because we are ‘in’ a chat box). Now that I’m actually AT the event I’ve escaped the box!! Mark did up some name badges for us box people who got out and gave them to Lou to hand out and he LOVED them as did his followers.

Well apart from Mark spending obscene amounts of money at the expo (and there is still Sunday to go), Gage has been playing upcoming video games and racing with the RideMakerz at their booth and I’ve been meeting people.

I’ll give a recap later but now Gage wants to hit the pool

Happy Easter Everyone!

I know its been a long time since I’ve posted anything, but there’s just not that much going on at the moment. Our summer vacation is all booked up thanks to Vicki at MouseFan Travel. Hotels and ADRs are all sorted out, my convertible is booked for the two weeks my son and I have in Alabama before hitting WDW. Now we’re just waiting to hear about any dessert parties and such going on.

At WDW we are  staying at Port Orleans Riverside this time as I loved the French Quarter trip before last. Being from Alabama I just love that real southern look of Port Orleans, makes me feel at home. And after having two weeks in Alabama, having a week at Riverside will be lovely! We’ve got tickets for La Nouba in DD which Mark has seen but Gage has never been to Cirque and I’ve not seen La Nouba so this will be a real treat. We’re planning on giving Earl of Sandwich a try that day as well. Have you eatten there? What did you think of it? So what all do we have ADRs for…

Finally going to have table service at Yak & Yetti! We love the counter service foods but have really been wanting to get inside to enjoy even more food and some lovely decor. I’m leaning towards the Crispy Honey Chicken or Stir-Fried Beef & Broccoli for my lunch and a Pork Egg Roll and for dessert, the Fried Wontons sound nice as well. :) We’ve also got Chef Mickey’s booked for dinner. Last year we had the character breakfast buffet and loved the service and atmosphere and the characters were all in matching chef outfits which was adorable. Really looking forward to this one! FINALLY got Beaches & Cream booked as well!! Ever since Lou’s Kitchen Sink Challenge during his 24hr vidcast we’ve been wanting to go and have a Kitchen Sink but just never got around to it. Now it’s booked!! I’ve not even looked at their menu, the KS is all I care about! I think the 3 of us will share a KS with a side of fries and that will be our lunch LOL. Another fave, 50s Prime Time is booked for a dinner and I’m looking forward to Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken again :) We’re finally gonna have a day at Blizzard Beach and have T-Rex booked for dinner that night. I know a lot of people say its tackey, etc. but I love tackey! Plus they have ‘prehistoric pizza’ so we know Gage will be sorted food wise! We’re taking Gage to Ohana’s for breakfast with Stitch as a late birthday treat/surprise and then that night its back to Gage’s favorite place, Whispering Canyon Cafe. Sure there’s nothing on the menu he’ll eat, they do him a PB&J or chicken nuggets specially for him, but he loves the whole “WE NEED KETCHUP!” thing and riding the stick horses. And finally, Le Cellier Steakhouse in EPCOT’s Cananada. Yes I know I mispelt that…for some reason I can’t SAY Canada, it always comes out Cananada, so…

As for Disneyland, we don’t really have anything booked. Things are gonna be so busy with the D23 Expo and we’re sure there will be group events and such so we’re trying to be as flexible as possible. We will be staying at the Grand Californian during the Expo with the other D23ers and then we’ll be at the Paradise Pier which has a rooftop pool.

I am SO looking forward to meeting a lot of friends I’ve made online at the Expo, especially all the WDW Radio peeps. Gage and I were listening to the latest episode of WDW Radio and he sang along with the little intro jingle and I told Gage that we’ll be meeting Lou when we’re at at the Expo and the look on his face was priceless! I’ve even got some ‘business’ cards to hand out to ppl I meet so we can keep in touch. They are very funky :)

We are already planning next year’s vacation as well. We’re looking at doing the Disney Alaskan cruise on the Wonder, which is what we were on over Christmas last year, that leaves out of Seattle, I believe its a 7night cruise. It goes to a few ports in Cananada so I better learn to say it properly!  And then we’ll fly across to NYC for a few days there and then board the Disney Magic for the Bahamian Cruise.

And finally, we are thinking of doing the Disney Half Marathon in 2013 and Gage will do the kids marathon which is 400m. Obviously this is something I need to start training for NOW as its 13.1miles. Looking forward to it though! Be so cool to be running around WDW during closed hours, with Characters cheering you on, etc. :) Sounds wonderful!