Veri's Trip Reports Days 3 & 4
Magic Kingdom Bound! We got up grab a quick bite at the food court in POR and hit MK. Crowds were so much smaller than on Saturday. We headed straight for Haunted Mansion. The refurbs were great! They really plussed HM up and did it right! Finished HM, wandered right back around for another go and then made our way over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Switched over to Splash Mountain after and then Pirates. Made our way to Tomorrow land and Laugh Floor. A very good show! I think the interactive is a winner and it does keep everyone engaged. Grabbbed a spur of the moment walkin Lunch at Toney’s Town Square, no wait. Both had the Flatbread. For dessert the icecream bomb and the chocolate cake. A nice quiet lunch. Dropped back to the resort for a nap and then made our way to Wilderness Lodge for dinner at Artists Point. We both had the Buffalo. If you like red meat this is the meal for you. I think it’s better than filet or Kobe beef. Tender, sweet, a very nice cut of meat. For dessert, artisan cheeses and chocolate cake. (My wife really likes chocolate cake). My wife had a glass of Pinot Grigio she says it was good (all wines are kind of the same to me), I had a Widmer Hefe Weizen, very good.
Headed back to MK for evening extra magic hours. Hit HM and BTMRR again and then did a little Christmas Shopping. Then back to POR for some sleep.
Another quick B-fast at the food court and then to EPCOT to meet up for the Backstage Magic Tour. A very good tour, saw costuming departments at EPCOt & MGM< the Fabrication shops at MK, the florists at Disney Events, a Christmas warehouse and finally the Utilidors. It was 7 hours long, They fed us a family style lunch as Mama Melroses. A great tour, but be ready for a lot of walking and a full day. If you’ve never taken a tour before I recommend try Keys to the Kingdom or another shorter 4 hour tour before taking this one.
For Dinner we went to the Concourse Steak House a first for us. We had New York State Strip Steak and Chipotle ribeye. Great meals but the portions were huge! Way too full for dessert again! Then off again to POR to get some sleep.
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Veri's trip Report Days 5 & 6
Up and at em, for breakfast at Spoodles. My wife has the Mickey Waffle 9of course) and I have a concoction called the Italian 9 a skillet type of thing). Both of us went for some hot chocolate. A nice breakfast. We decided to walk up to MGM (I’ll eventually break myself from calling it that). The walking path along the riverway is quite nice, a great walk if you are not in any particular hurry and want a stroll. We wandered MGM with no particular plan, grabbed Fast passes for T of T, then did a walk on right after the first go round. Wandered Streets of America, took some pics with characters and then did a run on the Great Movie Ride.. From there we took the boat to EPCOT, grabbed a quick snack and then hot the monorail to Magic Kingdom to meet up with some ne’er do wells from DWT . 2PM we’re sitting over by the purveyors of Dole Whips, and who should appear but a fine defender of the Constitution (Conceited Ape) and some floppy headed Canadian (Tinker bell). A few Dole Whips (Pineapple would be great with some adult beverage additions BTW), a pic and then we were on our way back to EPCOT for dinner at Teppan Edo and the Candle Light Processional. Teppan Edo is a great experience, we had dinner there are part of a Candle Light Processional Dinner package, great fun. I had the scallops, the better half had the beef and chicken. The food is good and the chef put on a great show. Following dinner we wandered and then lined up for the Processional. I recommend it to anyone with any interest in Christmas activities. The choir was great! One of the cast from High School musical did the narrating. This is definitely worth doing. After the processional we beat feet back to POR for some sleep.
Animal Kingdom time. We bussed it to DAK, got a Fast pass for Expedition Everest, rode Dinosaur and Primeval Whirl (a very under rated ride if you ask me) and then to EE, followed by lunch at the Yak and Yeti. This place is a winner. We split he Dim Sung basket, I had Maple tamarind Chicken the better half had Honey Chicken, and we split a nice brownie sundae for dessert. With out a doubt one of the best lunches we had! Following lunch we wandered, hit the Dinosaur again, did a little shopping and then hit the bus to Contemporary for dinner at California Grill. Another great dining choice. The view is as good as it gets. We watched wishes from our table. My wife had another Pinot Grigio that she said was good, I stuck to ice tea. She has braised chicken, I had pork tenderloin. Great choices. No dessert though. After we went out to the view deck and took pics. Following a very good dinner it was off the MK for Mickey’s very merry Christmas party. This is a great event. Sugar Cookies, hot chocolate, caroling and snow on Main Street. We caught a great pirate Christmas show outside POTC. One nice feature is that with the reduced crowds it is easier to take in the smaller wandering shows like that. We hit the Haunted mansion (twice) POTC, Laugh Floor, and then finished it all off the BTMRR. After that we wandered to the castle for fireworks. This was a good event and I think worth the hard ticket price.
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Veri's Trip Report Day 7 - 9
This was “finish the Christmas Shopping day”. We slept in and wandered over to Downtown Disney. Did all the usual things, Christmas Store, World of Disney, etc. After a mad cap session of Pin Trading (found some great ones) we grabbed lunch at Earl of Sandwich (a really great option for a quick lunch) and then finished our shopping. Headed back to POR for a swim and a nap and then hit went to MK and took the Monorail Trail to see the Christmas Decorations at the MK Resorts. They were pretty spectacular. With iron resolve we did manage to resist getting a gingerbread shingle at the Grand Floridian. For dinner we went to Narcoosie’s. I had scallops the better half had the surf and turf (Filet Mignon and Lobster tail) The good news is that she is a light eater and I got a pretty good share of her turf. Both were quite good. While at Narcoosie’s we were able to view Wishes again (all timing was strictly coincidental BTW,) and got observe some Disney Magic when a fella asked his best girl to marry him, ring the glass slipper and all! After that we wander back to POR for an early night
Our last full day at Mickey’s House. Decided to do some re-dos at MGM (Tower of terror twice) and then took the boat to EPCOT. Did the usual things, Test Track, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and then wandered about World showcase and took in More Christmas Traditions at the Country Pavilions. Had lunch at beaches and Cream at the Yacht and beach Club, With out a doubt one of the best burgers I’ve had on property and the desert ( a chocolate and peanut butter concoction called the No Way Jose was great), The décor is 50’s soda shop. We got to see two kitchen sinks prepared, I have no idea how anyone eats those things, they simply put, are enormous! Monorailed over to MK, took in Philharmagic and Haunted Mansion. For dinner we went to Citricos. I had the Italian Filet (a spiced up steak) and the better half had a chicken dish I can’t even begin to pronounce. On a side note on this trip we decided to eat dinners at places we usually don’t, so we had dinner at several of the sit downs in the deluxe resorts. Each was very good and with the exception of Artist Point and Narcoosie’s each had a pretty standard variation of a red meat, fish, chicken, and pork selection. Artist Point was a stand out for the Buffalo Steak and is a must do each visit as far as we are concerned.
Out last day (always a bummer). We decided to spend the last few hour before the Magical Express picked us up at EPCOT. We browsed in Mouse Gear (love that store), watched the fountain, wandered through Innoventions West and then headed through the World Showcase for lunch at the Lotus Blosson Café. We then took in some scenery and then back to the r4sort to go home.
Summing it All Up
As always it was a great trip. While I enjoyed all of our dining choices the real do overs are Artist Point, Yak and yeti, and Beaches and Cream. I do recommend California Grill if you can time it for the MK Fireworks, same for Narcoosies. The Haunted mansion renovation was a home run! Really a great job. Enjoyed Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor. Mickey’s very Merry Christmas party was great, on par with the Not So Scary Halloween party. Hard ticket events though pricey are a good value when it comes to smaller crowds special events and the ability to take it slow and enjoy the little things you skip[ when it is more crowded.
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Wife and I just spent 5 days in WDW. We stayed at the Caribben Resort. This was the first moderate resort we stayed at and as whole in itself as a resort and bus transportation it was great. The only Major and I mean MAJOR mess up on Disney part was transportation from the Luau at the Polynesian on Tuesday night. If you use the monorails to leave. you must be the first or second monorail to get back to your resort via bus transportation. The Epcot monorail shut down stopped at 10:15 with no way of us transferring to catch a bus. We arrived at the Magic Kingdom monorail station and was told after a 30 minute wait to ride this SPECIAL bus to take us to Wilderness Lodge then catch a bus to Downtown Disney then to Caribbean resort. We took this bus as told and 45 minutes later the same bus came back and after MUCH TOO MUCH PRODDLING AND PLEADING ON THE DRIVERS PART TO GET PERMISSION TO HELP US!!!!!!!, they finally gave in. We could hear on the radio the conversation and it was nothing Magic about it at all. Thanks Gilbert a driver from Puerto Rico for getting us home!!!
Secondly, I find that if you have a Premium pass with a DDE card its like you have the plague because No One knows if they honor anything but quick to tell you no, then after pointing out to them on the accompanying paperwork that they do...they really didn't need to see it anyway. Go figure.
Third, maybe everyone was tired from the Christmas season just being over...but just about everyone with exception of Guest relation, we're complaining amonst themselves about they were shorthanded or wasn't going to do this or that. Make you wonder if they need to remind Cast Members what Walt Disney meant on behavior in front of the public. I would say this though, that the MAJORITY of CMs complaining or downright ignoring guests were above the age of 55. i.e. Senior Citizens. ESPECIALLY bus drivers in and outside the resort.
We looked pass all this and had a good time anyway. We are going again in May before the passes we have expire. BUT we won't be renewing them again.
Last edited by Tmntrans; 01-14-2008 at 08:54 PM. Reason: spelling
Well I just came back from WDW today, Ill get a trip Report w/ pics as soon as possible
If you can dream it, you can do it!
Just got back from my trip to Disney World in some 27+ years and, despite a few hiccups, we all had a great time!
The trip was to last 6 days, with 4 of them devoted to the Disney World parks. We didn't arrive at the hotel in Florida until ~ 4:00 a.m. early Monday morning thanks to a layover in Chicago we had to take, and a problem with lost luggage when we had finally reached the Orlando airport. Thankfully, it was my bag that was lost (as mine was the most recently replaced) and I only received word today that it was finally found and on its way to my home. Of course, that meant that I had to spend precious time on Monday buying clothes and supplies for the remainder of the trip as I only had what was on my back at that point. But once we reached the Magic Kingdom early Tuesday morning all was pretty much forgotten there and my parents, nieces, girlfriend and I had a great time wondering through the park awing at all the sites we could get in between rides. It really was a spectacular sight to see Cinderella's castle off in the distance as we took the ferry boats across the river to the park and I really have to thank "Uncle Walt" again for his distinct vision for the park. It really is a beautiful, well conceived, place of wonder and I can only imagine what was going through the girls heads at that point.
At the Magic Kingdom park, I believe Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain were the big hits of the day, especially with the girls as their "Pops" has long been telling them stories about Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox & the gang. I even picked up a really nice (large) Brer frame there as you just don't see these colorful characters everyday and I wanted something distinct to remember the entertaining ride and everyone's enthusiasm.
The following days were spent at Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and finally, the Animal Kingdom & Downtown Disney. My favorites rides and shows throughout each of the parks were: Splash Mountain, The Monsters Inc. Laugh Factory (where they picked on me and my family to hilarity), Turtle Talk with Crush, World Showcase, Beauty and the Beast, Festival of the Lion King (where they also got to participate heavily) and a few other distinct rides. But in the end, 4 days just isn't enough time to enjoy everything and I really had no idea just how big the place was going to be. Now that I have a little more experience, I think I probably would have liked to have spent at least 2 days at the Magic Kingdom alone and I probably would have forgone the trip to Disney's Hollywood Studios completely for more time at one of the other parks, particularly the one we missed out on completely -- Typhoon Lagoon. There's nothing really bad about Hollywood Studios but I enjoyed the other parks much more and we just ran out of time to do even half the stuff that we wanted to. But we live and learn so I'll keep that in mind for the next trip. Being a major animation nut, I was like a kid in a candy shop when I'd go into shops like The Art of Disney, or a couple of the other of the Animation-centric areas and it was at times like this where I really wished there was more of this around the parks, and that it was a much bigger deal among Disney fans. Unfortunately, I'm not yet independently wealthy and there wasn't a lot of this kind of thing that I could take home with me. BUT, hey, the dream remains.
There's a lot more that I'd like to mention, and hopefully I'll do that over time, but it was a great time and I can't wait to go back with a little more experience under my belt and an even better plan in mind. Take your family, especially those yung-uns, and spend a great week or two with them there -- you won't soon forget it.
Oh, and Disney -- seriously -- much more Donald & Co. please!
Last edited by Texcap; 03-26-2008 at 02:00 PM. Reason: code correction
I am on a 20 day trip to orlando. Should I post my trip report here, or start a new threat. I don't want to monopolize the board!!!
Just got back from my Disney vacation I want to go back!
Walt Disney World Trip Report, July 2009
My family and I (myself, my wife, and my two daughters ages 8 &10) just returned from a week in Walt Disney World (Wednesday July 8th to Wednesday July 13th) and we had a wonderful time. Instead of doing a step-by-step trip report everything my family and I did in Walt Disney World, which would create an immensely long article, I decided to break the experience down into manageable chunks. I hope it gives you a sense of how much we enjoyed our trip.
Highlights: Let’s start with the best things first. We had three wonderful experiences while there that stood out. The first happened the first full day of our vacation. Because I was following the touring plan recommendations outlined in the Unofficial Guide, we showed up 70 minutes early to the Magic Kingdom (6:50 am) on our first day and were the first and only patrons waiting to be allowed through the entrance to the park. After taking photos and having some pleasant conversations with some cast members, we were chosen to open the park that day! We were ushered in early and got some wonderful photos of the empty park, a sight I doubt I will ever see again. After visiting with cast members and characters, we went onto the train platform and with the characters, threw pixie dust and waved to the crowd to welcome them all inside. It was truly a magical and unique experience. See the video HERE. The second experience was dinner for my wife’s birthday at the California Grill, where we were lucky enough to land a table by the window and watched the Wishes fireworks in the Magic Kingdom. Doing this gave us an unparalleled and beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom and all of Seven Seas Lagoon. My last favorite experience was attending the drawing class at the Animation pavilion in Hollywood Studios. This is an opportunity (free with park admission, most people walk right by it) to receive instruction from a Disney animator on drawing a Disney character. My family and I were lucky enough to draw Mickey Mouse, and our four drawings will soon be framed and hung on our wall. These three experiences are my favorites of the trip.
Attractions: The Unofficial Guide is correct, show up early and follow the plan for maximum efficiency! By doing this in addition to using Fastpasses, we were able to do a great deal in the parks despite the crowds. We rode all the major attractions we wanted to at least once (which was most of them), and rode Soarin’ twice, Spaceship Earth twice, Splash Mountain twice, Big Thunder Mountain twice, Toy Story Mania twice, and Kilimanjaro Safaris twice.
Weather: The weather was hot! But even being northerners trapped in the southern heat, we found it manageable. Between the misters and air conditioned buildings, we didn’t actually spend a great deal of time overheated. But, we made it a point to stay hydrated and refilled our water bottles frequently. Had we not been diligent about this we easily could have been. It rained almost daily, but usually only for a short period of time. We never even needed to buy ponchos!
Crowd Levels: While un-crowded at times, for the most part all the parks were nearly impassable before 11:00 am and were twice as insanely mobbed after lunch. We got to do what we wanted, but it is clear that the key is to show up early and to plan your first two hours. With two young children we chose to do a few late afternoon and evening forays, but very few. My working assumption, which turned out to be correct, was that you could choose to get up early or to stay late, but not both without completely exhausting yourself and ruining the overall experience. I think the choice to attend immediately following a major holiday was a good one. There appeared to be smaller crowd levels the first few days of our trip, I’m guessing because July 4th vacationers had returned home and there was a lull before the hotels and parks filled up again.
Disney Dining Plan: We were on the regular plan, with one table service meal, one counter-service meal, and one snack a day. Despite the fact that we used some of our table service meals to purchase lunches (which is contrary to most advice) we still saved money, though less than what we would have of we had done table service dinners exclusively. Most vendors seem to know how to process the dining plan now so it’s more user friendly than it was two years ago, but it also isn’t as good a plan. There were many times I didn’t want the dessert and would have preferred an appetizer, which is no longer included. I learned late in the game that some counter service vendors will allow you a fruit instead of a dessert if you request it, which I would have taken advantage of. I simply skipped dessert many times and lost the opportunity to take advantage of this. My oldest daughter was considered an adult for plan purposes (age 10 and up) and could order anything she wanted but my youngest daughter was on forced to use child menus and very quickly became bored with chicken nuggets and hamburgers A third to half of the restaurants, understanding this, seemed to be offering at least one interesting choice that is unique to the restaurant for younger children (for example macaroni and cheese was occasionally offered on kids menus, and my daughter was able to order a small steak or salmon at the California Grill). We took aluminum water bottles and refilled them frequently, rather than choosing to buy soda or bottled water at exorbitant prices.
Food: Overall the food was quite good. The occasional overdone hamburger is to be expected and I didn’t always care for the dessert options, but most of the food was well-prepared and flavorful and was not the bland “we’re trying to cheaply please everybody even though this pleases nobody” food you might expect at theme parks. The food at California Grill, the Ohana breakfast, Les Chefs de France, the Sassagoula food court, Whispering Canyon, the Main Street Bakery, Raglan Road, the 50’s Prime Time Café, and Liberty Tree tavern really stand out as restaurants we enjoyed.
Lodging: We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. We love it there, and this was our second time staying in this resort. The resort is quiet and beautiful, and worth wandering through. It‘s full of hidden pools and fountains, and is impeccably themed and landscaped. Jazz music is piped into the background both inside and outside, and the pool is one of the best on WDW property. My kids wanted to swim daily. The food court happens to serve quite good food. The cast members really made it a point to be friendly and welcoming, and I recognized several from our previous visit 2+ years ago Every morning cast member Chris (bellhop) asked us what park we were attending and offered advice. Another highlight was a gift shop cast member who threw Mardi Gras beads around my daughters’ heads like a ring toss, which they loved. I particularly liked having two sinks, a gradually brightening light in the bathroom (so you aren’t blinded in the middle of the night), and a bathroom fan that is hooked up to a motion detector (so the fan doesn’t run all night if the kids need the light on). Most experiences with cast members were nothing short of excellent, and my one of my favorite interactions occurred at 5:00 am the day of our return flight. A cast member who was doing landscaping smiled and made it a point to go out of his way to open a door for us so we could easily get our bags into the lobby.
Transportation: We used the monorail and boats occasionally, but mostly buses to and from Port Orleans. Bus service between our resort and the parks seemed to be especially efficient this trip and our wait times were short. This was an especially pleasant surprise for us. In addition, Magical Express (and baggage delivery) was efficient at the beginning of our trip and on-time at the end, making getting to and from the airport very easy.
Cons: In the parks and resorts, cast members appear to be distributed according to some internal algorithm that determines where they are needed, and this appears to be efficient and successful the majority of the time. But, there are hairline cracks in the normal Disney perfection, I suspect because of the personnel downsizing they have done due to the economy. The individual cleaning our room seemed to forget a different thing every day, and our room was just starting to show signs of wear. Also, despite the ever-present managers with trash-grabbers, there was some trash laying about at the resort and parks. Less so than I see in my daily life, but more so than I have ever seen at Disney. Patrons at Splash Mountain had disgustingly shoved paper and gum into the nooks and crannies of the ride queue and the slow parts of the ride itself, and bottles and paper was especially present in the brush on Tom Sawyer Island. Seeing this kind of unnecessary littering and vandalism being perpetrated by uncaring park patrons saddened me a great deal. Cast members have to contend with a mountain of trash daily and do an excellent job overall and I hate that they have to try to keep up with something patrons should do themselves. Also, some staff members were curt with us at times, I suspect due to stress related to job demands and perhaps less of an emphasis on customer service while trying to get all the necessary tasks done with fewer people. Despite this, our overall experience was just under excellent to the point that it was jarring to return to our daily lives where people aren’t as friendly. Being in the Washington airport on our return flight felt like being a stranger in a third world country compared to being in the WDW parks and resorts the day before. In terms of attractions, I sincerely disliked waiting in line with 8,000 other people for 30 minutes to get into the late show of Fantasmic. I don't like huge crowds and it was enough to convince me that WDW fireworks are best viewed from far, far away, or quite possible skipped altogether.
The Future of Park Technology: I believe I’ve seen some glimpses of the future of the parks in the interactive characters of the Monsters Incorporated Laugh Factory, and in the Living Character Initiative. We made it a point to see the Laugh Factory this visit, and we have seen Turtle Talk in the past. We also made it a point to visit Push the Trash can and Remy at Les Chefs de France this visit. These are very, very interesting attractions and characters, and I sincerely hope Disney continues to build on these technologies. I personally find them to be some of the most unique in Walt Disney World
My daughter’s favorite activities: Beyond the attractions, my daughters especially enjoyed three aspects of their trip. Collecting character autographs was and is always a big hit. Our Ohana character breakfast at the Polynesian resort was well-run and fun (even for the adults). My kids also loved the pressed coin machines, and immediately ran to any they saw to see what coins were being offered. Even by only getting their favorites, they ended up with well over 10 apiece. As a parent, I appreciated an inexpensive souvenir. Probably their favorite though was the Pin trading, which they started their first day in the parks and obsessed about the entire trip, asking countless cast member to trade pins with them. WDW offers “Hidden Mickey” pins, which are only available in the parks, and my kids loved searching out the ones they especially liked. This was NOT an inexpensive set of souvenirs, but was well-worth it in the end given how much they enjoyed it. My girls and I shared the costs (we had worked out souvenir budgets before our visit). However, next time we’ll be better prepared so we won’t be paying a premium for trading pins
My must-dos, with or without kids: Your favorite headliner attractions are no-brainers obviously, Toy Story Mania and Soarin’ are as good as their hype in my opinion, but I think it is important to explore more about Walt Disney and his legacy. I think everyone should spend some time in Hollywood Studios visiting Walt Disney, One Man’s Dream and taking the drawing class. Despite my daughters’ young ages, they loved the older attractions, including Small World, Spaceship Earth and Carousel of Progress. They also loved the educational components of Epcot, including the World Showcase Pavilions, Innoventions, and Living with the Land. Lastly, they listened intently to the attraction backstories and to the snippets of Disney history that I told them. It was all time well-invested. As much as I love the theme parks, what makes them more than just theme parks is the their history . Learning more about this legacy only makes the parks more interesting and meaningful.
Other favorite experiences: The Haunted Mansion, Small World, Searching for paintbrushes on Tom Sawyer Island, the spitting tikis in Adventureland, Pirates of the Caribbean, the mural in Cinderella Castle, the Lights, Motor, Action stunt show and just about all of Hollywood Studios, especially One Man’s Dream and the “Hollywood Has-beens”, Test Track, Living with the Land, drinking Chinese watermelon soda at Club Cool, playing with marionettes at the China Pavilion, looking for the 5-legged goat at the Contemporary Resort, and checking out the Polynesian theme and the Tikis at the Polynesian Resort.
I got lots of video (3 hours worth) that I'm just now sifting through and editing in watchable video, and will be putting more up on the youtube channel soon. I hope to have a new "how-to" or two up shortly after that. Our magical moment of opening the park, kindly filmed by a cast member, is already up.
What I want to do next time: FIND a paintbrush on Tom Sawyer island !
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