Walt Disney World & Disney Wonder Cruise ‘Trip Report’ 2009

September 21st, 2009 through October 1st, 2009

Attendees: Me, DW, DD 11yoa, DD’s BFF (11yoa) and DS (17yoa)

Accommodations: All Star Movies, Fantasia Building #5, Disney Wonder, Ocean view Staterooms, deck #2

September 21st, 2009, DW, DD, DDBFF and I left straight from the girls’ school at approximately 1230 EST. DS did not make the drive for work / school reasons and would fly down to join us on the 25th just before the cruise portion of the trip.

We arrived at the ASMovies Resort at approximately 730pm EST, checked into room #5741, which was not as kept up as expected from WDW. We ate dinner in the food court which was mediocre at best. I actually saw a cobb web above the drink station. Unbelievable! The girls and I went for a swim afterwards. In retrospect, I should have raised ‘Holy Heck’ with management about the uncleanliness beneath the beds which looked like they had never been vacuumed despite a card being left in the room explaining that the carpet in the room had just been steam cleaned, but I was too exhausted from the drive. A bulb was also burned out in the bathroom light fixture leaving it pretty dim in the bathroom. This bulb was not changed during our stay.

September 22nd, 2009, It was great to be back in WDW. We woke up early and headed out to MK and the Crystal Palace for Breakfast. The wait for the bus was very long. I counted FIVE AK busses for every MK bus. It seemed ridiculously backward. We finally arrived at MK. Breakfast was fantastic as it always is at the Crystal Palace.

The lines on all the rides were short and we got in most of the things that we wanted to see except SM as it was down for refurb. We had lunch at Pecos Bill which was not as good as I remembered the last time we had it. DW agrees. We were heading toward Mickey’s house when we realized the park was switching over to MNSSHP. It seemed we were the only ones without the MNSSHP wristbands.

We headed out of the park to the Monorail and rode to the Contemporary Resort to make our ADR at The Wave. Once inside the Wave we observed appropriate décor that matched the resort. Our server, Jimmy from Illinois was fantastic. DW, a vegetarian, was having trouble locating a meal to suit her palate. Jimmy promptly went back to the kitchen and summoned Thomas, the Chef. The Chef made a vegetarian adaptation to one of the meals which DW loved. The food and desserts were excellent! Headed back to MK via the Monorail and then on to ASmov.

September 23rd, 2009, we woke up and headed out to AK. We arrived and headed straight for EE. We then got fastpasses for K Safari and went to Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Then we used our fastpasses. Didn’t get to see elephants or lions but the others were visible. We headed to Tusker House for a lunch ADR. The atmosphere at Tusker House was fantastic as well as the food. Neil from Long Island, NY was our server and he was friendly, funny and an excellent server. DW loved the Samosas, cous cous…..well everything. We highly recommend Tusker House.

We then hit Kali River Rapids, Jungle Trek and EE again. We bought the girls dresses they saw in Asia as well as new flip-flops. The girls and I rode Dinosaur and then we all headed to the Festival of the Lion King which was great as always. DW loves the vocals. It was time for the park to close. We boarded the bus to AKL to make our ADR for Boma that night. We had never been to Boma or the AKL for that matter. The AKL grounds did not disappoint. The lobby is incredible. DW and the girls headed down to Boma while I snapped a few photos. I walked down to Boma and was again in aw of the décor. The atmosphere at Boma was fantastic, as was our server, Gilbert (Gilberto) from Puerto Rico. The food was wonderfully amazing and we HIGHLY recommend giving Boma a try. We headed back to ASMovies via Epcot.

September 24th, 2009, we woke up late and headed to DTD. The bus stops at the Marketplace were not in service so we had to get off near PH. We noticed that Planet Hollywood’s refurb was done and it actually looked presentable. We talked about taking the balloon ride but opted for lunch at Earl of Sandwich instead. The food was great. After some shopping we decided to head to MK as Spectro and Wishes would be seen that night, the only showing that week that worked for our schedule since Wishes, Spectro and Fantasmic at DHS are only shown on a limited basis now. Once there our fears were realized, it was quite apparent that EVERYONE else on WDW property planned for MK that day as well for the same reasons.

The park was packed when we arrived and got worse as the evening approached. We hit the highpoints and went to the Crystal Palace for dinner. The food was great. I loved the mashed potatoes and the cornbread was awesome! We left to try and catch Spectromagic. Later we would realize that something sinister had happened while at the Crystal Palace.

We couldn’t find a good spot for Spectro as it was about to begin by the time dinner was over. We did some shopping; I bought a WDW ‘safari/recon’ looking hat that I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years. We headed to Mickey and Minnie’s Houses and then took in Wishes from a tree obstructed spot on a bridge near ‘Story Time with Belle’. The area in front of the Castle was nearly IMPASSABLE as we came to find out earlier after Spectro so we didn’t even attempt to head towards the ‘castle forecourt’.

We decided to wait a good while before heading to the bus which turned out not to make a difference. We waited an hour and 15 minutes to get onto a bus. It was so hot and humid that people were actually getting sick in the line and someone even vomited. This was very poor planning by WDW transportation. Resorts with very small lines at that point were still receiving just as many busses as the values. I guess you get what you pay for. We finally made it to the room at nearly midnight. DW was furious.

September 25th, 2009, we woke up late once again and there girls could not find their lanyards. DD had her room key but DDBFF’s was in her lanyard. They both insisted that they had them when they got back to the room but did not remember where they put them. We had to get a new key for DDBFF at the front desk. We headed to Hollywood Studios. The weather was hot but beautiful. The park was crowded as Fantasmic could only be seen that night for the entire week we were there. We also learned that they’d scheduled a second showing of Fantasmic for that day (8pm & 930pm). I believe it was due to the unexpected size of the crowd that day or week.

Once inside the park we headed straight for the TT. DW opted out, citing back pain. DD and DDBFF were willing to go but DD insisted that we not get the front seating this time. We waited approximately 20 min. and we ended up in row one up front. The ride was great for me, nearly lost my hat, but the girls were both crying when it was all over. We headed to RR for fast passes. We headed to Pixar Place for Toy Story Mania. A 70 min wait was posted and ALL fast passes had been distributed already!! I got into line but DW and the girls complained about the wait and decided to head to the Little Mermaid and Narnia. I didn’t care about the wait after all of the talk about this ride on the forums. The wait ended up being only 50 min. I enjoyed the ride but it was not as good as the talk on the forums claims it to be.

We went to GMR and headed to the Friendship Boat that took us to The Boardwalk. We had an ADR for ‘Kouzzina’ by Cat Cora. We bought some fudge next door at the candy shop while we waited to be seated. The décor was beautiful but the staff was not particularly friendly or enthusiastic. Our server was Onsy from Egypt. The food was good however the girls, who are considered adults on the DDP, couldn’t find anything on the menu that they liked so we asked if they could order off of the children’s menu. This apparently did not sit well with our server, possibly because his tip would be lower (IMHO). When the girls’ food arrived their sides were not with the order. I got the filet mignon which was great. DW was disappointed overall with the experience.

It got worse when we received our bill and were told that we only had 3 table service coupons left instead of 6. We insisted that this was wrong but there was nothing we could do until we spoke to guest services. We had to pay out of pocket for one of the meals. We told our server that we’d pay for one of the kids meals out of pocket which he didn’t do, he charged DW’s meal, the most expensive, to our visa. I suspected at this point that someone may very well have gotten a hold of DDBFF’s Key card, which was missing, and used some of our TS coupons. We remained optimistic that it was probably just a mistake and would work it out with Guest services.

We went to the concierge at the Boardwalk for assistance. At that time we learned via a DDP print out that, 20 mins after we left the Crystal Palace the night before, our DDP was charged for 3 TS coupons again by someone at the Crystal Palace!!! It was clear at that time someone had stolen the girls’ lanyards at the Crystal Palace, most likely while we were at the buffet. We were shocked. Talk about tarnishing the ‘Magic’ of WDW.

We went back to Kouzzina and spoke to Amber, the manager, and explained the situation. Amber credited back our Visa, and charged the bill to our room and explained that the problem would have to be resolved at Guest Services at ASMovies.

Due to the time spent dealing with this mess; we were running late for the first showing of Fantasmic. We were informed by the Friendship boat pilot, that we would not make it in time. To add to the stress of the day, DS called and informed us that his flight was running late and that he was going to miss his connecting flight in Atlanta, GA. DW was distraught to say the least. She decided that she could not deal with the lines for Fantasmic and the bus while worrying about DS. We decided to head back to ASMovies.

We went to Guest services at Movies. After an additional 45 min. the issue was resolved by a rude concierge, who didn’t want to listen to our entire problem before he started to work on it. I wouldn’t say we were quite satisfied with the resolution but were preoccupied, dealing with the Airline. DS, 17yoa, would have to sleep in the Atlanta airport if he could not make his flight from ATL to Orlando. The airline, AirTran, said that he was on ‘standby’ for their last flight of the night from Atlanta to Orlando. At the last minute, we learned from Ozzy, an AirTran employee who had given us his cell phone number, that they were putting DS on the plane to Orlando. I picked DS up from KMCO at 1123pm and drove back to movies.