Saturday, May 16, 2009

DIS Podcast Cruise 2009- Day 1

We had a great time on our DIS Podcast Cruise last week. What is a "Podcast Cruise", you may ask? Well for over 10 years, I have been a patron of the website, which also hosts a number of forums for disney enthusiasts, okay, disney 'nuts', at They also started a weekly podcast where a hilarious team discusses everything regarding disney parks, merchandise, restaurants, business policies, movies and so on. I've been listening to the podcast for about a year now and they decided to hold their first ever cruise- where all listeners or visitors to the site/boards could gather on a disney cruise and share their passion. Originally we had hoped this would be a girls trip- with my sisters, mom, cousin and aunt sister Wendy listens to the podcast faithfully too. Unfortunately only my parents, my cousin and myself could go. So here is the tale of our crazy adventure! Since my sisters and Aunt Marion could not come, we made them into 'flatties', or 'flat Stanleys', so they could be there in spirit, or flat paper anyhow!

We knew this trip might be hard for my mom, who just underwent major brain surgery just 5 weeks ago. She was really tired sometimes, but seemed to hang in there the majority of the time, if we made sure she had a nap each day. The hardest and most frustrating for her was getting around, since she is virtually blind in one eye and has poor vision (no peripheral) in the other eye. We tried using a wheelchair when possible, but that turned out to be ineffective on the ship due to narrow doorways and large lips on the floor between halls and areas. Overall she did great!

We departed DFW on American at 7:10am after dropping the car off at a long term parking spot off site. We arrived in time to grab a quick McDonalds breakfast. We boarded on time on a full flight. Nancy had some lovely child behind here, kicking the seat and chatting the entire time. We arrived at 10:35am on time and proceeded to our car rental with Alamo, we upgraded on the spot and didn't wait in line thanks to online check in. I highly recommend you do this! I do it for business travel and it is so easy, just walk to the parking lot and get in a car and go (of course with check out at the booth on the way out of the garage which takes all of 2 minutes). I drove and we proceeded to Downtown Disney, our first stop. Warning- they are changing up the toll booths on 528, if you go that way, we drove through the 'tolltag' lane, since they have since changed the setup from my last trip- you almost had to 'exit' to get in a regular toll lane and we didn't see it since they are in transition to a new toll system. oh well! We arrived downtown disney within about 20 minutes or less and found parking immediately ( a miracle most days at DTD!). We headed in to find a wheelchair rental for my mom and then went straight to Earle of Sandwich, our favorite place to eat. inexpensive and yummy sandwiches! We also love the tomato soup here's a pic with Nancy above.
We strolled around DTD for a good few hours and did some shopping. I managed to buy a salt grinder to match my mickey pepper grinder, some christmas items and some things for Will, as well as a poster! Mom and everyone was pretty wiped after a bit, so we decided to head out. It was pretty hot and muggy. We didn't get a chance to visit the new T-rex, balloon or the new Trend-D store, that will have to wait until our December trip.
We headed to our home for the next 2 nights, the Dolphin Hotel on Disney property, in the Epcot resort area near the Boardwalk hotel. This is one of two hotels on disney that is not 'disney owned'. it is a long story of how it came to be, but it is a starwood/sheraton property and extremely nice, with all the benefits of disney (buses, early entry etc.). Nancy and I shared a room and it was very nice! While everyone else settled in, I went exploring.

Our view from our window! Not too shabby. These waterways run to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

After exploring this amazing property, I headed to the pool for some time in the sun. The pool is huge and includes a waterfall, slides and more. It is more of a lagoon complex. I could have spent days here. After some much needed sun time and a beer, I wandered around to take some pics of the flatties. while taking a pic, someone called out and asked if I was a 'dis-er'......I'd been spotted. Many of the dis board members were also staying at the hotel before the cruise and many also had made flatties of board members that couldn't come. So they figured out i was part of the group. It turned out to be Rick and Lori from New Orleans- so the flatties got a pic with them! When returning to the room, i ran into Todd and Anna in the hall for the first time- what a great surprise!

Aunt Marion enjoyed the waterfall!

Mandy enjoyed getting some sun too- we all know she likes to have a good tan in the summer!

Views of the Dolphin's sister property, the Swan.

Wendy enjoyed the view too!

After changing and returning from the pool, we got ready to head to Walmart for a few items and then to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for our dinner at Boma, an exotic buffet there. We had 8:20pm reservations and arrived early enough to explore a bit. We only waited about 10 minutes, it was pretty crowded. If you have never been to the AK lodge, it is worth a trip over to just explore, it is beautiful and Alan and I stayed there on a previous business trip.

Waiting for dinner at Boma- Flavors of Africa.

Of course we had to order a yummy drink to start the vacation off right! We all had a pina colava, a pina colada blended with raspberry- yum! Mother had some sort of fruity drink with a glow in the dark ice cube! she was 'glowing'!The buffet included roast beef, some delicious pork (our fav), a 'corn/spinach pudding' that was yummy and more exotic soups, flat breads and other dishes. I did try some new things, which is saying a lot since i am NOT an exotic eater. The corn chowder was great too. I tried the famous 'zebra domes', which are like a chocolate bon bon type dessert, but they just didn't wow me for some reason.

Mandy was really wanting a drink!

We finished up our great dinner, full and relaxed and TIRED! We were all tucked back in bed, after a quick stop at the gift shop, by 11pm. when returning to our room, we noticed a dirty diaper just sitting in the hall, not in a bag or anything......gross!! at least put it in a bag! come on people, if you don't want to smell it, surely we don't either!

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