amw's 2011 March Break Trip Report

Discussion in 'Disney Vacation Planning & Transportation' started by amw, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. amw

    amw Member

    So we're back from a 2-week vacation to the house of mouse. ; :-\ ..but before we have to face reality, I'll do one of my trip reports.

    We went down March 5 - March 19. The plan was to do all the rides at the parks during the first week before the March Breakers came down from Ontario. The second week was for doing repeats, and off-beaten path activities. We had a 7-day pass for the parks. For the 2 weeks, we had beautiful hot weather (temps consistently at 83F) with only one rain day.

    So here we go...

    Day 1 - Saturday, March 5 - travel day
    In my constant Disney planning mode, I came across a great deal for condos at the Marriott Sabal Palms (beside the Marriott World Center Hotel) last August. I was able to get 2 weeks in a 2-bedroom condo at March Break for $500 a week! AND, that included 2 rounds of free golf at the hotel. Couldn't pass that up! ; ;) The location was perfect (536 at the 535), which becomes Epcot Drive. We booked flights out of Buffalo. As our flight was only at 3 pm, we decided to forego staying overnight at a hotel, and parked at the airport. The cost of parking at the airport was $50/week.

    Next up ... Harry Potter World for my muggle daughters!
  2. amw

    amw Member

    Re: amw's 2011 March Break Trip Report - Day 2

    Day 2 - Sunday, March 6 - Universal Islands of Adventure

    My daughters love Harry Potter. The DD11 has read all the books, and I managed to finish book 4 for my DD8 just before the trip. They had to see Universal. Now, I had no desire to see any other part of Universal so I used my airmiles to get free one-day passes to the park. I heard Sunday mornings were quiet at the parks and traffic is lighter on the I-4, so we chose to go to Universal first. Also, my girls had birthday money that was burning holes in their pocket! ;::)

    We went straight to the World of Harry Potter.


    The castle:

    The DDs didn't like the ride, but DH and I loved it. They were a little frightened of the unknown, and would rather take a roller coaster than a dark ride!

    We did the Hippogriff mini-coaster, and the eldest went with DH on the dueling dragons. We saw the little wand show, and each girl bought their own wand. We were disappointed with the stores. The younger DD had wanted to spend money in the candy shop & joke shop, but the reality of items didn't match what she imagined. ;:) She didn't buy anything. We had visited the Harry Potter exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre last year and the gift shop had better items there.

    The Harry Potter portion of the park is small, and we were done by noon. The rest of the park doesn't impress me as I don't like roller coasters. I wouldn't go back, but being in Hogsmead was a worthwhile experience ONCE.

    Next up ... the flowers are a-bloom.
  3. amw

    amw Member

    Re: amw's 2011 March Break Trip Report - Day 3

    Day 3 - Monday, March 7 - Epcot

    My DH loves to golf ... visiting Disney, not so much. SO, most of this trip is me and the girls at the park while the hubby "relaxed." It worked out quite well. He would drop us off at the parks for opening (did you know you can just drop off without paying for parking at all the parks?), and he would pick us up at dinnertime. We're not opening-to-closing commando types.

    My girls and I really like Epcot. We always find a tonne of stuff to do, so I never understand why people avoid the park with children.

    It was the the flower festival at Epcot, so here are a couple token spring pics:

    We did all the main rides in Futureworld (avoiding Innoventions this day) and then headed to World Showcase in the early afternoon. The DDs met with Duffy who is the new Bear mascot - and got a Duffy Bear puppet for country stamps (replacing the old mask they used to have at Epcot Kidcots). It makes a good souvin"ear" for the youngest to show her class, especially when the countries write her name in different languages.

    One special thing I wanted to try with them this year was the pick-a-pearl in Japan. For $15 you pick an oyster, which they will open in a little show and give you what's inside. For a fee, you can have your pearl put in a charm or other jewellery.
    Here is the show:

    I got 3 oysters. One for each girl and myself. I had heard that the best pearls are found in the ugliest, hairiest oysters. We put that to the test. DD8's was opened first, and a huge production was made because she had twins in hers! DD11 picked a good-size pure white pearl. Then mine ... I got twins ... that were silver! 5 pearls in all. So of course, I had to get mine made into earrings, and the girls got charms.

    Our pearls:

    Next up ... the big castle awaits!
  4. amw

    amw Member

    Re: amw's 2011 March Break Trip Report - Day 4 & 5 & 6

    Day 4 - Tuesday, March 8 - rest day

    We spent the whole day at the pool, playing games, kid activities, etc. Don't remember anything else but it felt good. ;;)

    Day 5 - Wednesday, March 9 - Magic Kingdom

    This was the shortest day at the parks - 9 am to 9 pm - so I thought we would make this our commando day and stay to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade which I haven't seen since I was 8 myself. The following week would have closures at midnight so I knew this was our only chance. Daddy came along today.

    Token castle pic:

    We went directly to Fantasyland and got all the rides done without lines. We even rode Snow White (not the kids' favourite) one last time before it shuts for good. We had an ADR for the Crystal Palace for 10:20. The DD8 had wanted it as her only character meal request.

    Chocolate Mickey waffles!:

    My older daughter's birthday was 2 weeks before the trip, and the younger's birthday is this week so I added "Birthday celebrations" to all our reservations. The Crystal Palace put Mickey confetti on the tables, gave the girls birthday cupcakes, and birthday cards signed by all the characters.

    In the afternoon, we were in Frontierland 20 minutes before the parade and so decided to wait and watch it. Big mistake - it starts at the other end (why do they keep changing that back and forth?!) and we ended up waiting 45 minutes for the parade. It seems to me that they keep editing it down every year. It was only 10 minutes long with 4 floats. The girls were not impressed. The only good thing was that they were right up front and the characters interacted well with them.




    We managed to do all the rides by 6:30, and then it started to rain. ;:mad: I knew the weather called for rain all day Thursday, but the sprinkles came a few hours early. We took refuge in the Princess meet-and-greet line which is now in Adventureland. An hour later, the rain had stopped and we were ready for the Electrical parade. Nope. Disney cancelled due to inclement weather. We never got back to see the parade or fireworks. I guess I'll have to youtube them. ;:p

    Day 6 - Thursday, March 10 - rain day

    I had already scheduled this as a rest day, so the rain didn't bother us. We went outlet shopping, and played board games at the condo.

    Next... Toy Story "Mania"
  5. amw

    amw Member

    Re: amw's 2011 March Break Trip Report - Day 7

    Day 7 - Friday, March 11 - Disney Hollywood Studios

    I decided on DHS today because there was no Fantasmic show, and I wanted to avoid crowds at dinner (more about that below). We got here for opening, and walked with the lemmings to Toy Story Mania. I refuse to run for any ride! If anyone knows the street to Pixar place, the line up for the fastpass machine was up to Walt: One Man's Dream. That's like a 40-minute wait just for a fastpass! No thank you. We turned instead to the Narnia attraction, then Walt, and then lined up for Disney Animation which is my DD8's favourite as she likes to draw. My Mickey:


    At 11 am, we went back to Toy Story for a fastpass and they were already gone for the day. We've been on this ride for the last few trips. It's ok, but not worth all that! Instead, we headed over to Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Due to a problem reading my cards in one fastpass machine, I was able to get passes for both attractions at the same time. Don't tell Disney! ; ;D This was good, because Mommy don't do those rides and Daddy was due to join us mid-afternoon.

    We managed to make it to the Disney Channel Rocks show:
    This wasn't as enjoyable for me, because in past years my elder DD would join in and dance when they called for volunteers. This time she pulled a tween moment and refuse to draw attention to herself. We moved on before the show was done. ; :-\

    During the afternoon parade, we finally lined up for Toy Story Mania. 60 minutes - best line all day! There's something wrong with that.

    For dinner, I had planned a surprise for my daughters at Mama Melrose restaurant. I pre-ordered a birthday cake a couple weeks before. They did a photo screen on a large chocolate cake ... yummy.

    Next ... pirates and princesses. oh my!
  6. amw

    amw Member

    Re: amw's 2011 March Break Trip Report - Day 8 & 9

    Day 8 - Saturday, March 12 - Rest day

    I try to avoid parks on Saturdays if I can - especially since this is the start of the official March Break. Instead I took the girls to mini-put at the Winter Wonderland or whatever it's called at Blizzard Beach. It was a good morning and enjoyable because it wasn't busy. We followed that up with lunch at Beaches & Cream and a walk around the Boardwalk.

    Day 9 - Sunday, March 13 - Magic Kingdom for the second time

    Today hours changed to an 8 am entry. It was also the day clocks moved ahead an hour. What that meant was that crowds were non-existent in the morning!

    We saw the trolley show without any other viewers as we walked to Frontierland.



    We rode Thunder Mountain 4 times in a row with only a handful of other people. At 9:00, we headed over to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. I had never done this, and offered my DDs the experience this trip. The younger went for it. The older wanted the Pirates League. I managed to book both a month out on this day. DD8s appointment was for 9:20. They took her right away and got to work. She wanted the bun do. It was a very quick process (maybe 20 minutes total) and she was pretty quiet throughout. She didn't even change expression during the whole "reveal". ;But as soon as we left, she was all a-chatter and she wore that crown for the rest of the week ... she was still wearing it today ... the bun fell out after day 2 when she couldn't resist the pool any longer. ;;)

    Back of hairdo:

    We did the Fantasyland rides with the "princess" and then we headed to the Pirate's League for a 11:40 appointement. I highly recommend this for anyone looking for an alternate to BBB. It was half the price, and you got way more out of the package. First DD11 got a new pirate name ... Esmeralda Badbones. Her pirate person (I don't know what you call them but they are more of make-up artists and actors than the BBB's Fairy Godmothers) was amazing, and my daughter played right along. They played silly with the other workers, kept sticking their tongues out at the "stinky" princess who smells like flowers. YUCK! And, he played up for my video camera and made sure my DD was angled towards me for important parts of the act. She was done up as an Empress pirate (the girly version). She got full make-up, black nailpolish, bandana, earing, eyepatch, sash and sword, treasure necklace, certificate, etc. The whole process was about an hour of full entertainment. I know it would have been different with a different pirate, or a different child, but this was well worth it for my DD.

    Inside the League:

    Oath certificate, personalized with pirate name

    Up next ... computer stars and secret agents.
  7. amw

    amw Member

    Re: amw's 2011 March Break Trip Report - Day 10 & 11

    Day 10 - Monday, March 14 - Epcot for a repeat visit

    Originally, we were going to go to Epcot on Thursday and then I saw it was St. Patrick's Day. Hhhhmmm a park where beer is readily available all day. ;::) Yup, we switched to Monday.

    This was the off-beaten path week, so after a few rides and crowds starting to swell, we headed to Innoventions. I already mentioned that my DDs love Epcot, and this is one of the reasons. There's so much to do that the average "ride" person misses. At Innoventions, the girls were able to put their images on an IBM video game which they can play at home. They played Investments with a real piggy bank, did the house-fire game, and drove mini garbage trucks to the dumps. Fun, hands-on games - and away from the hot sun - BONUS.

    In the afternoon, the girls chose to partake in snacks around the world while playing the Kim Possible adventures. We've already done all of them previously so they wanted to do their favourites again. Each takes aprox. 20-30 minutes. 3 was enough for me.

    KP in Germany - ever see the clock do this? ... blame a child with a KP Communicator!

    KP in Japan - nothing says fun like a screaming baby robot in the department store:

    Day 11 - Tuesday, March 15th - rest day

    No idea what we did today but I'm sure it involves food, water, and shopping.

    Next ... MK take three.
  8. amw

    amw Member

    Re: amw's 2011 March Break Trip Report - Day 12

    Day 12 - Wednesday, March 16 - MK take 3

    We started in Tomorrowland today. Rode Space Mountain twice, and got a jump on those pesky cars that always have line-ups. I can never understand why adult males feel the need to go on autotopia! ::)

    Off-beaten path day again so when ride lines & crowds got too bad, we headed over to Tom Sawyer Island.

    We watched the castle show when everyone else was lining up in 80-minute cues. My attempt at catching the fireworks:

    Then we went on the Riverboat. Views of Frontierland from the waterside:

    Thunder Mountain & Splash Mountain:

    Backside of Thunder Mountain:

    Haunted Mansion:
    The new interactive line was open today, but we didn't feel like lining up for an hour just to see that. ; :D

    Next up ... smells like Soarin'
  9. amw

    amw Member

    Re: amw's 2011 March Break Trip Report - Day 13 & 14 & 15

    Day 13 - Thursday, March 17 - rest day

    Happy St. Patty's Day! Today, we went to "Showcase of Citrus" which is an orange picking farm about 30 minutes outside Disney. It smelled wonderful, and the fruit was super-sweet. The Honey Tangerines were in season. We should have gone earlier in our trip so we would have more time to enjoy the fruit.

    Funny sign there:

    Rest of day was spent at pool.

    Day 14 - Friday, March 18 - AK

    Animal Kingdom is our least favourite park. We have memberships to the Toronto Zoo, so AK is not a zoo to us. There are hardly any attractions, so it's not really a ride themepark. It's what we leave for the end when we have a short day to use.

    That being said, the girls tried "Dinosaur" for the first time this year and loved it. They had always avoided it because they have no interest in dinosaurs. When they discovered it was just a super-fast car ride ... well, we rode it 6 times! Hint: the park empties after the parade. We rode continuously 4 times after 4 pm.

    My DD8 is obsessed with hippos. Ever seen the "house hippo" commercial canada produced a few years back? (Wikipedia it) She collects them ... house hippos that is.

    Sign on Safari, focusing on hippo of course:

    Her love:

    A new addition to her house-hippo collection:

    One good thing about AK:

    Mickey birdhouse ... just because.

    Went back to the condo for dinner, and to pack ... because ...

    Day 15 - Saturday, March 19 - home James

    Flight was at 7:30 so we had to be out at 5 am !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;Enough said. We flew into Buffalo, had lunch, and then drove home. At least there wasn't any snow on the ground. ;::)

    And now we're all caught up.
  10. highland3

    highland3 Member

    Awesome report. ; Sounds like a great trip!!!!
  11. realfam

    realfam Member

    Fantastic trip report!!!!!! ; I really enjoyed reading it.. ; thanks for sharing your Disney vacation with us
  12. weemcp

    weemcp Global Moderator Staff Member

    awesome - and makes me want to go back....
  13. obo101

    obo101 Member

    That was a great report. ; I agree with your daughter on the "House Hippo". ; I absolutely loved that commercial.
  14. Northernmouse

    Northernmouse Member

    Great report sounded like an awesome time.

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