Thursday, June 25, 2009


(written by J)

EDITOR’S NOTE – To get maximum enjoyment from reading the 2009 trip portion of the blog, please click on the 2009 link on the right-hand side of the page. Then read from the bottom starting with Savannah, GA up concluding with the epilogue.

Well, it was another excellent trip. It was nice to not bounce around from city to city and hotel to hotel like we did last year on the Montreal/New England journey. But we still logged over 1650 miles driving over the course of the vacation.

The purpose of the epilogue is to kind of sum up the vacation talking about the things that we really enjoyed and the moments that stuck in our memory banks for one reason or another.

Let’s start with the things that we really enjoyed about Disney World that have not been previously mentioned in the blog. The first one was the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan that we purchased as part of our vacation package. We purchased the hotel, park tickets, and dining plan as a bundle and it was an incredible deal. We got a total of 32 lunches or dinners (2 a day for the 4 of us) which included an entrée, dessert, and drink or an entrée and 2 drinks. Plus we also got 32 snacks which we could use on food items such as ice cream and bottled water. Not every restaurant was included on the plan but there were plenty to choose from and the portions were plentiful. We don’t exactly know how much we paid for the dining plan but we are sure that we more than covered the cost because every meal was over $40. Plus the best meal we had, at Wolfgang Puck Express, was over $60 and it was on the plan. You are a fool if you don’t use the dining plan. The next thing that we really enjoyed was how every time a Disney employee saw B, they would say to her “Hi, princess.” It’s just something little but it made B feel so special. One more highlight of Disney World had to be their extensive network of squished penny machines. Every time we travel, Z and B see the penny machines that turn a penny into a souvenir from wherever you are at that particular point in time. The kids have pennies from up and down the East Coast and as far west as Minnesota. Disney World had penny machines everywhere – in the theme parks, in shops at Downtown Disney, even in our hotel. Z and B added 12 new pennies and also a squished quarter.

What rides and attractions did we really like best? Here’s the rundown.
Z – Mission Space, Expedition Everest
B – Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
H – The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Toy Story Midway Mania
J – Expedition Everest, Toy Story Midway Mania

Now it is time to conclude this post with some fun facts and awards.

Fun Fact Savannah – On our trolley tour, our tour guide pointed out the bench that Tom Hanks sat on in the movie “Forrest Gump” where he would incessantly talk about Jenny. Doesn’t that make you want to eat a box of chocolates?

Fun Fact St. Augustine – One of the major streets in the town is Avenida Menendez which is named for Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles who founded the town – not for the infamous Menendez brothers, Lyle and Erik.

Fun Fact Charleston – Charleston probably leads the nation in art galleries per capita. While walking around the downtown area, it seemed like every other building was an art gallery.

The Most Entertaining Moment on the Road Award – This goes to the gentleman at the gas station in South Newport, GA who was at the gas pump in front of us. We watched him open the hatch of his car and see everything in the back of the car fall out onto the pavement. J really had to restrain himself from laughing out loud while pumping gas.

The Disney Character Who Most Needs an Attitude Adjustment Award – This goes to Alice of Alice in Wonderland fame at the Magic Kingdom. B was melting down while walking with H to the restroom when H spotted Alice out of the corner of her eye. Hoping B would stop screaming, H said, “Look, its Cinderella.” Alice shot back “Oh, no, I’m Alice” in a tone that implied that H was an intellectual lightweight. You try to recognize similar looking Disney characters at a glance while dealing with a screaming child sometime, Alice!

The Best Game in the Hotel Arcade Award – This goes to the huge spinning wheel (a la the Price is Right) that gave out tickets based on where the wheel stopped. Both Z and B won 80 tickets on 1 spin. It was quite impressive seeing the game just shoot out ticket after ticket. You would think that winning 80 tickets would earn quality prizes but in the end, the kids just ended up with candy. The conversion rate of tickets to prizes is comparable to the conversion rate of the Japanese yen with the dollar, Euro, or British pound.

The No Soup for You Award – This goes to the strict employee at the Fastpass area of Kilimanjaro Safaris at the Animal Kingdom. We arrived 2 minutes before our scheduled Fastpass reservation time and she turned us away. Without rules, there’s chaos.

The Welcome to Our Town Award – This goes to Charleston, SC. Interstate 26 ends inside of the city limits and deposits you onto the mean streets of town before you get to the historic picturesque downtown area. There was a Church’s Fried Chicken in the blighted area which prompted H to say “You know that you are in a bad area if there’s a Church’s Fried Chicken around” (Just like Richmond International Raceway).

The Most Ridiculous Catch Phrase Award – This goes to “Have a Magical Day.” This award is a no-brainer. Disney World is obsessed with magic and their employees, it appears, are forced to conclude every conversation with the tourists saying this phrase. It is fine, we guess, for the cashier to tell you “Have a Magical Day” after you fork over cash for food or souvenirs or as you are exiting a ride. It loses its impact though after midnight during a phone conversation when you are calling to complain about raucous hotel neighbors as mentioned earlier in the Day 1 post.

That’s it for this vacation. We hope you enjoyed reading the blog as much as we enjoyed going on the Disney vacation. Have a magical day!

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