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Rajah
01-10-2001, 03:05 PM
WDW Trip Report -- December 14th through the 19th

Cast:
Tammi, "Rajah", primary trip planner and trip report writer. 4th trip to the World
Michael, "VonDrake", once again seriously in need of a vacation. Finals are rough on the instructors too ;) 3rd trip to the World

Supporting Cast:
Becky, long time friend of Tammi and Michael, CM at outdoor foods at MGM
Art, new friend (this year), CM at Innoventions

Trip dates:
Thursday December 14, 2000 through Tuesday December 19th, 2000

Stayed at:
Caribbean Beach Resort Thursday through Sunday, transferring to Wilderness Lodge on Sunday


This was the first trip we've made where we actually began to feel like Annual Passholders, and it was a nice feeling. Other than on Saturday (when we hit all 4 parks plus some) and Sunday (when we were trying to get to MGM in time for good seats for Fantasmic) we took this entire trip easy. Very little rushing, no complaints about going back to the resort, and even took time to explore the Wilderness Lodge a bit before we left. I liked it.

Of the two Christmas events that cost more than general park admission (namely MVMCP and the CP), we enjoyed Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) the most. Even though it was sold out (meaning about 20,000 people), we didn't think the crowds were that bad and we really enjoyed the extra-festive atmosphere of the park. Seeing the shows and parades at night were a nice touch and felt more festive than the opportunity we had later to see the parade during the day. The special version of Fantasy in the Sky fireworks was phenomenal, and all the extra touches made the night special. We'd *definitely* pay for this again and gladly. Candlelight Processional was nice, but MVMCP was magical.

If you do go to MVMCP, try to stay for the *second* parade. The first parade was packed several people deep from Main Street to Frontierland, but the second parade was all but deserted.

Another tip for MVMCP: take the time to run back to Fantasyland... they've done some nice touches back there for Christmas, including bringing out Cinderella's coach in all its finery.

If you're visiting MVMCP, try to get dinner PS for one of the restaurants inside the park for the final seating or as late a seating as possible. You'll be allowed to stay in the lobby of the restaurant until the park doors open and you'll have a head start on everyone else. I highly recommend Liberty Tree Tavern if you can get it.

At MVMCP, get your picture taken first thing if you're going to do it. We had essentially no wait, but saw waits several people deep for the remainder of the evening.

During the Christmas season, the train station is not a good place to watch the fireworks from. The tree gets in your way. When the tree's not there, it's a great spot for fireworks. The hub is also a great spot, right at the end of Main Street.

In November, we were there for 2.5 days. This time, we had 4.5 and felt like we really had a good trip. 2.5 is too short, 4.5 was just right, more would be even better. Furthermore, having two trips so close to each other made it feel more like we had one 7 day trip than 2 shorter ones.

We really enjoyed both the Caribbean Beach (CBR) and the Wilderness Lodge (WL), despite misgivings due to poor reviews of the rooms in each (quality in CBR, size in WL). Don't let poor reviews scare you away from a place you're interested in trying.

At the Wilderness Lodge, ask about the Hidden Mickey hunt sheet when you check in. Then plan to spend a few hours doing the hidden Mickey hunt if you decide to try it. It's a lot of fun and you'll really find some neat things about the Wilderness Lodge in the process. Also, don't be afraid of asking at either Whispering Canyon or Artist Point if you can come in and hunt for Hidden Mickey's, especially if the place isn't crowded. We searched in Artist Point before it officially opened for lunch and the CMs had no problems with us being there (we asked first).

If you're looking for those dining guides the resorts used to hand out, good luck. They've apparently been discontinued. I did finally find one at the Grand Floridian when we had breakfast there, but neither Caribbean Beach nor the Wilderness Lodge had them upon check-in.

If you're going to pick up tickets for an event, establish ahead of time which party member should pick them up so you don't both try to pick them up at different times.

If you're going at Christmas, don't forget to stop and actually look at the Christmas decorations, and plan to spend a bit of time in Epcot's World Showcase, preferably not at the end of your trip when you're too tired to enjoy them.

If you're a shutterbug like me, don't underestimate how many pictures you'll take in a day. Take more film/storage media (ie: digital cards) than you expect to use and that way you won't run out.

After experiencing the parks using a digital camera, I have a hard time going back to 35mm. I highly recommend digitals for the parks...being able to view your picture ahead of time and clean them out for more space was great! But don't get delete-happy either and end up deleting pictures you really would rather keep.

If you're going to try to get tickets for the Candlelight Processional dinner package, make your reservations early. A month ahead of time, LeCellier was sold out and there weren't many spots left at Chefs de France.

Make sure you take a lot of $1 bills on your trip for tips. We took $40 worth for roughly 5 days and still had to get some more before we left.

At those resorts that have items available for purchase in the room (like the ponchos, refillable mugs, and coffee packets at CBR) expect to have an extra resort-tax added to the price. So they aren't really less expensive than their counterparts elsewhere at the resort, even though they look it at first glance.

If you want a coffee maker in your room, try asking housekeeping about one. They came in the room standard at CBR, but we did have to request one at WL. There wasn't any extra charge at WL, though.

When videotaping a parade or fireworks show at night, if your camera has electronic stabilization...turn that off during the parade. We didn't and the flashes from cameras would always make the image jump a little.

Don't plan early mornings after late nights, and furthermore if you're an early-bird at home plan early things but if you're a night-owl don't expect to be able to get up early every morning.

If you're going to Fantasmic, please, please, PLEASE don't get up until the lights actually come on in the stadium. There's not enough lighting to safely move around, it's dangerous, you could end up hurting someone (either yourself or someone you're trying to get around), you could end up damaging others' personal belongings, it's inconsiderate to all those performing, and you're ruining the rest of the show for everyone else. If you do HAVE to leave before the show ends and know this before the beginning, please TRY to find a seat near the back and/or right on an aisle or wait for standing-room-only at the back. If you only want to avoid crowds, please do this instead... wait until the show is over, then once a nearby aisle clears out, walk back to the center and stay there until the crowds have died down. It only takes about 5 minutes, is much safer, and much more considerate to those around you.

-Rajah
http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/rajah/tigerbow.gif

http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/rajah/mickeymoonsm.jpg

cdrtrisal@aol.com

Rajah and VonDrake's Honeymoon (http://www.crosswinds.net/~rapp/membook/index.html)

Rajah's Disneyland Crossword Puzzle (http://www.crosswinds.net/~rapp/dis/rajah1.html)

Mackey Mouse
01-10-2001, 03:35 PM
Rajah, you had some great tips here for everyone..I especially thought your ideas on viewing the Christmas lights early in your vacation, not when you are tired towards the end.. Another Good Hint and one I will use is to make sure I take my digital on my next vacation on your recommendation. Thanks for the hints.

Mac-key Mouse QOBGOC http://www.marshantiques.com/clipart/dancecindy.gif
<font color=red>Coordinator of the First Annual Official Dis Convention </font>

Aerobics
01-10-2001, 07:40 PM
Rajah,

Loved your tips! I'm looking forward to reading your trip report (just hope I can find the time to read all of the wonderful reports and still finish up the NASTEE :) )

Somebody call I-X-I-I!!!

Rajah
01-11-2001, 07:14 AM
You gotta finish up the NASTEE Nate!! :D

Mac-Kay -- if we had one thing to do over, I would go to Epcot earlier in the trip so we wouldn't be so tired and would have the time and energy to actually *enjoy* all of the extra things World Showcase has to offer at Christmas

-Rajah
http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/rajah/tigerbow.gif

http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/rajah/mickeymoonsm.jpg

cdrtrisal@aol.com

Rajah and VonDrake's Honeymoon (http://www.crosswinds.net/~rapp/membook/index.html)

Rajah's Disneyland Crossword Puzzle (http://www.crosswinds.net/~rapp/dis/rajah1.html)

Beanie
01-11-2001, 05:41 PM
Thanks for the tips Rajah!! I agree about the digital camera...I always take mine everywhere I go..I love being able to take the picture and then delete it if I don't like it!! :)

<font color=purple>Tricia</font>
http://www.geocities.com/lisatxdis/tarzanjane3.GIF
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Marla Hellwig
02-09-2001, 09:58 AM
Thanks for the tips and for posting!

Annie'sMom
02-11-2001, 02:43 PM
Great trip report, Rajah! I don't know how I missed it the first time it was posted. Gotta love those APs!

Mamu
03-09-2001, 03:51 AM
Rajah, Thanks for all the great tips. Our family will be visiting during the 2001 Christmas season and I'm sure they will come in handy. :)

Mamu http://www.wdwinfo.com/sites/family/wavey.GIF

<center><img width="174"height="184"src="http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/vltdisney/ladytramp02.gif"><center><font color=666600>L'amore e: WDW nella molla!</font></center>