Trip Report

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Sorry it took so long to share my thoughts on my latest trip to Disney World, but it takes a while to get back into the swing of things after a trip!  I think I’m back in the saddle again and ready to write some great blogs for the next few weeks.  And now without further ado…

My latest Walt Disney World adventures took to my favorite place during the first weekend of March.  You can read about my preparations for the trip and get some background for my plans here.  It was probably one of my best trips I’ve ever taken!  I’m positive the success of the trip was all in the company I kept.  While I missed some of my Disney friends this time around, I met lots of new ones, and enjoyed my time with the old ones who could make it.  I don’t think I’ve laughed that much in a very, very long time (and I laugh plenty).

So aside from all of the side splitting laughter what was I up to?  I had a smooth flight from Newark to Orlando and arrived at Pop Century just in time for my friends Tom and John to arrive back from the parks.  They texted me to meet them at Petals, the pool bar at this resort, to start the trip off with a drink.  We toasted to John’s birthday and enjoyed a few drinks and waited for our buddy Neil to arrive (it was me and the boys a lot on this trip).  Shortly thereafter we head to Animal Kingdom Lodge to for a great meal at Jiko.  This was my first time here and I’m hoping it won’t be my last.  I will write a full entry about this great eatery in the near future.

The next day it was quite brisk when we woke up, but we braved the elements and headed to the Animal Kingdom for rope drop.  We hit all of our favorite attractions and had some lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue before heading back to Pop to grab my camping gear.  As you may recall a big part of this trip was the Tent Fest activities put on by the guys at wdwtoday.  I was convinced that I should participate in the evening of camping at Fort Wilderness.  However, when I signed up I didn’t know that the low temperature would be about 38 degrees!  Neil camped the night before as well and his shampoo and body wash were partially frozen in the morning!  Needless to say I was a bit apprehensive about the evening with nature.  A little reassurance from my resident camping expert, Neil, and a stolen comforter from Pop (don’t worry I returned it) helped keep me comfortable and I might even do it again some day!  I’m sure I will write more about my experience another time.

Before our time sleeping on the ground the guys at wdwtoday thought it would be fun to have their listeners over to the campsite for a barbecue and to tape a live show.  We hung out here for hours chatting with old and new friends, munching on lots of goodies, and just having a great time.  After several hours at the campsite, most of us headed to Epcot for extra magic hours.  We took in Illuminations: Reflections of Earth from the Canadian Pavilion; its always nice to watch it with people who love it as much as I do.  Most of the group stuck around to ride a few attractions together.  I lasted through several, but as soon as we sat down and took a break in the Land I hit a wall and it was back to the tent for me.

I awoke the next morning in one piece in my sleeping bag.  Since I was moving back to pop I gathered up my stuff before heading to breakfast at Trail’s End at the camp ground.  This buffet eatery is popular among Disney enthusiasts for a cheap and off the beaten path place to grab a meal.  It was a good spot for breakfast and I’ll be sure to write more about it soon.   We made our way to Epcot for the day to hang out with the group and attend a live taping of the wdwtoday podcast.  Later in the evening a big group of us went to Biergarten and then I headed to Kouzzina to meet up with the Unofficial Guide and touringplans crew.  Some of the touringplans group and I met up with some folks for Illuminations and a drink in France and then headed to the Boardwalk for the rest of the evening.  A big group at Atlantic Dance Hall is a lot of fun, even if the general crowd is a bit lacking.  We decided to head to the Bellevue Lounge in the Boardwalk Inn to close the night.

All of this fun had caught up with me on Sunday!  I was feeling a bit worse for wear when Tom and I head headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  We did a few attractions, but then I decided to go back to the room for a nap.   When I woke up and felt a bit better I headed to Epcot to meet with my local friend, Don, and discuss our weekends at WDW a bit before heading to Tent Fest tequila meet at La Cave del Tequila.  Although I wasn’t up doing shots with the gang, it was still fun to hang out and be goofy with everyone.  The party broke up and some people headed for the airport so it was time to say goodbye to them.  My bunch did a few attractions and then went to dinner at Tokyo Dining.  I still wasn’t feeling so hot so I didn’t eat very much, but what I had was good and guys seemed to like their dishes.  We met up with several folks later for extra magic hours at the Magic Kingdom.  This was the only time I spent in this park!  It was a lot of fun and it was time to head home before we knew it.

On Monday morning it was time for some more goodbyes since the weekend was really coming to a close now.  A group of us met up for lunch at Canada’s Le Cellier.  It was the first time I had the infamous cheddar cheese soup!  Let me tell you, it lived up to the hype.  At our lunch at Le Cellier started Tom and fellow touringplanners, Henry and Fred, on a drinking around the world mission.  They each had a beer here and then continued around World Showcase stopping for a drink in each country.  I was along for the ride and documented the affair.  We picked up some other folks along the way and had a lot of fun.  When their mission was accomplished we headed over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and dropped in to the Tower of Terror.  Then, it was time for me to head back to the resort and pack up and head to bed since I was taking the first flight back to Newark in the morning.

Taking the first flight was a terrible idea!  I thought I’d try it to see if I could squeeze out extra time in WDW, but it was a failed experiment.  I slept a little on the plane, but not very much and going right to the office was torture.  I was so exhausted I wound up going home early anyway to take a nap.  I’ll never do that again.

Like I said, this was probably one of my best trips to date.  Although I didn’t ride very many attractions, I had an amazing time.  Thanks so much to all of those who made it so much fun!  I can’t wait to see you all again at WDW soon!

Next week I’ll discuss Disney fan gatherings…

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Posted on March 23, 2010

9 Responses to “Trip Report”

  • Great Blog Kristen! That has to be one of the best WDW I have ever had! Not going to forget that one!

  • by Caroline Baggerly on March 23, 2010, at 6:53 pm EDT

    Kristen,
    That was a great report. Next trip we are all going to Enjoy Epcot!! I agree, it was one of the best trips ever.

  • Thanks guys! I can’t wait for the next trip and to see you again!

  • It was great to meet you at Tent Fest! Enjoyed the report, looking forward to your entry about Jiko.

    • by Kristen Helmstetter on March 24, 2010, at 8:09 am EDT

      It was nice to meet you too, Jon! Thanks for coming to breakfast with us. Hopefully I’ll see you in December.

  • by Katie Siloac on March 24, 2010, at 9:59 am EDT

    Loved this blog! What a fantastic time. I absolutely can’t wait for Reunion. No Camping required. :)

  • by DISPrincessMom on March 24, 2010, at 12:27 pm EDT

    Hey, Kristen! Great blog, as usual. Sorry I missed you at Tokyo Dining.
    I can’t believe you (and all the others) camped that weekend!
    We watched Wishes from the CA Grill observation deck Saturday night and, with the addition of a freezing cold stiff breeze, barely made it through without running inside to warm up. It was warmer when I was there the 2nd week of December! Oh, well, weather is unpredictable and it least it was gorgeous and sunny every day :) Cold AND pouring rain would have been much worse…
    Best,
    Missy

    • by Kristen Helmstetter on March 24, 2010, at 1:35 pm EDT

      Oh if it was raining it would have been game over for me. I am not exactly the camping type of gal so getting me to do it in the first place took a bit of convincing. But at the very least I can check it off of my list of resorts to stay in. It was a lot of fun to hang out with everyone for sure. I’m glad you had a good trip too!

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