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ADP
07-13-2008, 04:48 PM
Sunday, July 13th
Pre Trip Report

The Cast -
Me - Aaron - ADP
Kim - DW
Anna - DD (8)

Hi Everyone,

I'm back for another live report from Disney World. I hope you can read along as I try and bring you what is happening at Walt Disney World and our adventures as they happen day by day. I'm doing this trip report on the DIS Unplugged board because I feel like I know so many of you. It's been great getting to know all of you over the past year plus.

This trip report starts with a little twist. We are breaking tradition by visiting my in-laws in Northeast Ohio. Normally, we would have a countdown calendar and finish our packing today, but since we are in Ohio at a family reunion, well, tradition will have to take a back seat for now.

Also, we would normally fly out of the Indianapolis airport, but because of our visiit in Ohio we will be departing from the Akron/Canton airport instead of driving all the way back to Indianapolis and flying out from there. You know, gas is $4.00 a gallon...:scared1: so flying out of Akron/Canton instead of Indy will save us gas money. Airtran has non-stop flights out of Akron/Canton too, an absolute bonus! :goodvibes. I was able to rent a car from Indy and will drop it off at the Akron/Canton airport. We got a great deal on the one-way car rental from Indy to NE Ohio, or we might have scrapped our plans of flying out of Akron/Canton.

We've packed a small suitcase for our trip to Ohio and a larger suitcase for our trip to Orlando. So our packing is complete and we are ready to go.

We leave for Orlando tomorrow morning. Our flight departs at Noon. Our anticipation is building. Today at the family reunion Anna was busy surfing the DIS looking for ways to beat the heat in Orlando.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture020-2-1.jpg

We will be moving from resort to resort; which I prefer; however DW (Kim) isn't a huge fan of it, but will do it for me. :) We will be spending our first 4 nights on DVC points at the Wilderness Lodge Villas in a 1 bedroom villa, then 3 nights at the Polynesian in a garden view room, and finially one night at Old Key West in a 1 bedroom villa. I had some DVC points I needed to use or they would have expired and OKW fit the bill just right.

Some of the events I'm looking forward to on this trip will be:
- Staying at the Polynesian
- Eating at Trails End for the first time
- Riding Toy Story Midway Mania and checking out Pixar Place for the first time
- Dining at The Wave for Breakfast
- Having ice cream at Beaches N Cream
- Welcome Home Wednesday's DVC event

Some of the things I'm not looking forward to on this trip:
- The heat
- Larger than usual crowds

Our plan is to take afternoon breaks between 1:00 and 5:00PM on most days to avoid the peak of heat and crowds. We will be going to one park in the morning and then a different park in the evening. During our afternoon breaks we will be either dining, swimming, sleeping, or just relaxing back at the resort. Since we are staying at some nice resorts we want a chance to enjoy them and the amenities they offer.

Our transportation plan is to use Magical Express and Disney transportation during our visit. I will give you a current view of how our transporation experiences are at the parks and resorts. I'm hopeful it will work out, but I understand it can be a "hit or miss" experience.

Oh! Before I forget to mention it. As per my last live trip report I am no longer on a diet during this 8 day trip. When I get on the plane the diet, or my life changing food attitude is no longer in effect. :laughing: I've been able to maintain my weight since April; in fact, even a few pounds lighter. I will get back to the routine when we returne on July 22nd.

So, we are off. Anna (DD 8) is standing right next to me. Earlier, she was so excited to leave she was doing cartwheels in the front of the in-laws house.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture023-1.jpg

And just so you know who I am here's a picture of me last April at EPCOT (sorry, it's a bit fuzzy). I'm usually taking the pictures so its not often I get one of myself.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture072-1-1.jpg

I hope you enjoy this trip report as much as we enjoy bringing it to you. I've found the next best thing to going to Disney World is readking a live trip report. They really are fun to read and write, and provide a history and journal of our events. They are fun to revisit and remember what we did during our visit. It's cool hearing and seeing what happened at WDW up to the hour on the specific day.

I'll provide another report tomorrow night for sure, maybe sooner.

Up Next:
Arriving in Orlando
Magical Express to the Wilderness Lodge Villas
Dining at Rain Forest Cafe (AK) with Family
Animal Kingdom Evening EMH

DLBDS
07-13-2008, 05:12 PM
popcorn::

jennz
07-13-2008, 05:18 PM
Awesome! I'll be following along (in the air conditioning.):cool1:

cocowum
07-13-2008, 05:33 PM
Yay! :cool1: I love live trippies!!!!:banana: :banana: :banana:


I'm really curious about the crowds. Supposedly, they are lower than usual. Can't wait to hear your report. :thumbsup2

popcorn:: popcorn:: popcorn::

simonkodousek
07-13-2008, 05:36 PM
Keep the report coming! I love live TR's. :)

PolyAddict
07-13-2008, 05:39 PM
How can I not subscribe when I have a DD named Anna who is one month away from being 8?;)

Plus I have a morbid curiosity for how people survive July trips!!!:rotfl: :rotfl:

WDWBetsy
07-13-2008, 05:45 PM
Hope you have a wonderful time! Looking forward to reading your TR and seeing all the pics! :goodvibes

UrsulasShadow
07-13-2008, 06:37 PM
So, it's Aaron/Kim, Kim/Kim, and Anna/Kimkin...off to WDW! Looking forward to the report, pre-sympathizing about the heat and crowds, admiring your plan to take long NAPS midday!

ADP
07-13-2008, 06:58 PM
Awesome! I'll be following along (in the air conditioning.):cool1:

:rotfl: Sure, rubb it in. :)

Yay! :cool1: I love live trippies!!!!:banana: :banana: :banana:


I'm really curious about the crowds. Supposedly, they are lower than usual. Can't wait to hear your report. :thumbsup2

popcorn:: popcorn:: popcorn::

I'll be sure to let you know about crowds. We're bracing for the worst, but hopefully we'll be pleasantly surprised.

How can I not subscribe when I have a DD named Anna who is one month away from being 8?;)

Plus I have a morbid curiosity for how people survive July trips!!!:rotfl: :rotfl:

I'll be sure to stay hydrated. Our plan is to drink pleanty of Grey Goose slushies. Oh! Never mind...That will never work. :laughing:

Hope you have a wonderful time! Looking forward to reading your TR and seeing all the pics! :goodvibes

Thanks Betsy!

So, it's Aaron/Kim, Kim/Kim, and Anna/Kimkin...off to WDW! Looking forward to the report, pre-sympathizing about the heat and crowds, admiring your plan to take long NAPS midday!

Oh yes, Kim's everywhere. We all have a little Kim in all of us, don't we. :lmao:
NAPS...definately not in the parks. Maybe back at the resort lobby though in honor of our good friend. :)

alaskanmommy
07-13-2008, 07:05 PM
Yeah!! It's another live report from ADP!! :cheer2: I'm vehemently subscribing. :woohoo: I wish I could go to WDW as often as your incredibly lucky family! Sorry about the heat, or am I? ;)

LMO429
07-13-2008, 07:16 PM
subscribing! hope u have afantastic trip! :goodvibes

DVCsince02
07-13-2008, 08:04 PM
Yeah! Love the trip reports!

Don't forget your Dole Whip. ;)

simzac
07-13-2008, 08:11 PM
Sounds like you're going to have a great trip there Aaron. Just think about all the great things you have to look forward to like the heat and humidity, the rain, and the wonderful crowds.:lmao: Just kidding of course old friend. See you in August:goodvibes

EnchantedPiglet
07-13-2008, 08:12 PM
This is so amazing and nice of you ADP! I can't wait to read more. However, I have a strange feeling that because you mentioned my most favorite hotel (the poly) I will begin crying because I miss it so much.

Hope you have a wonderful time.
Soo beyond jealous of you.

IWISHFORDISNEY
07-13-2008, 08:14 PM
I loved your last trip report I cant wait to hear more. We are leaving in 1 week. Whoo hoo. I am dying to hear how the crowds are this time of year. We have only been once in July and it didnt seem that bad to me.

kab407
07-13-2008, 08:17 PM
Thanks for being my dealer Aaron. I need a Disney fix to hold me over till September. You're trippie is just the thing I need.

tinkbutt
07-13-2008, 08:36 PM
Awesome! I'll be following along (in the air conditioning.):cool1:

hopefully tomorrow I'll have air conditioning too so I can be comfortable following this trip!!!;)

hope you guys have fun!!

calypso*a*go-go
07-13-2008, 10:01 PM
Aaron - Have a safe flight and hurry up with the next installment! I can definitely relate to your modified diet...my vacation officially starts when I order a regular (as in drippin' with sugar) Coke! ;)

Tonya2426
07-13-2008, 10:35 PM
I'll have to keep my eyes open for you in the parks - I arrive in the World on Wednesday. :woohoo: (And no diet for me this week. We already have plans for eating Tonga Toast.) ::yes::

hannah's dad
07-13-2008, 10:42 PM
I'm looking forward to the trip report...I also love live reports. Of course, since I live 30 minutes from the Akron airport, and love the Poly and Wilderness Lodge, I can live vicariously through you!

Have a great trip!!

mouseaddicts
07-13-2008, 10:45 PM
Hi - We just returned (about 1 hour ago) from 10 days @ WDW! :goodvibes I plan to follow along with your live report ....... as I prepare to write my FIRST trip report - ever! :scared: I took LOTS of notes every day ...... I can't imagine trying to do it LIVE!!! :faint:

Okay - off to bed (as soon as the photos save to the computer) ...... I'm exhausted .... and I'm sure work tomorrow will be a killer! :eek:

I'll be checking back for more ADR adventures ...... :surfweb:

DLBDS
07-13-2008, 10:51 PM
Hi - We just returned (about 1 hour ago) from 10 days @ WDW! :goodvibes I plan to follow along with your live report ....... as I prepare to write my FIRST trip report - ever! :scared: I took LOTS of notes every day ...... I can't imagine trying to do it LIVE!!! :faint:

Okay - off to bed (as soon as the photos save to the computer) ...... I'm exhausted .... and I'm sure work tomorrow will be a killer! :eek:

I'll be checking back for more ADR adventures ...... :surfweb:

Still has Disney (dining) planning on the brain. (ADR = ADP) ;)

Verandah Man
07-14-2008, 04:13 AM
I know I don't need to say it, but have a :wizard: MAGICAL :wizard: time!!!

carol1231
07-14-2008, 05:47 AM
Have a great time! I am interested to hear about Welcome Home Wednesday. I almost went when we were there a few weeks ago, but was staying at SSR and just didn't have the energy to get over to BWV, wasn't sure if it would be worth it. I hope it is, and am looking forward to hearing about it from you.

I love staying at different resorts during our stay too. Everytime we check in to a different place, it feels like the vacation is starting all over again!

Have fun!!

Rob&Jan
07-14-2008, 07:02 AM
Hey ADP enjoy your trip, looking forward to the "live" reports.

pta-mom
07-14-2008, 07:24 AM
OK, sign me up! :lovestruc

BriarRosie
07-14-2008, 07:56 AM
Woohoo! Live trip report! :banana:

I've been there with the split stays. I've done everything from the Allstar/Dixie Landings/Beach Club splits (pre-DVC) to Pop/BCV/Pop (gotta stretch those weekend points, you know!). Last year was the first time I stayed DVC without any moving. :eek: So yeah, I've been there.

I think you'll love the Polynesian, especially at night when the tiki torches are lit.

I hope you talk about the food, too. :rolleyes1

Oh, and your touring plan sounds great! I would want that time away from the heat, too. And I've never been to the Welcome Home Wednesday, and I think I'll actually be able to go for once, since I arrive on a Wednesday. I don't know what time it is, though. Somewhere around 4 or 4:30pm?

ADP
07-14-2008, 10:08 AM
Woohoo! Live trip report! :banana:

I hope you talk about the food, too. :rolleyes1

And I've never been to the Welcome Home Wednesday, and I think I'll actually be able to go for once, since I arrive on a Wednesday. I don't know what time it is, though. Somewhere around 4 or 4:30pm?

I will most certainly be discussing the food and dining. You can count on it. :thumbsup2 Also, Welcome Home Wednesday is at 4:00PM over at the Atlantic Dance Hall on Disney's Boardwalk. I think it will be a nice place to go for a mid-day break. Hope to see you there. :)

Thanks for all the kind words everyone. We are sitting at the Akron/Canton airport waiting for our flight. Everything looks ok; sunny, blue skies and our flight to Orlando is on time. :yay: You can never tell these days. We should be landing in Orlando around 2:15Pm or so. Then it's straight to Magical Express on the 1st floor of the B terminal for our ride to the Wilderness Lodge Villas.

We'll be at the Rain Forest Cafe at 6:30PM tonight with my brother and his family who are leaving WDW tomorrow. Our trips overlapped by one day so we decided to dine together tonight. Afterwards we will use the "secret" entrance in the back of the Rain Forest Cafe to enter the Animal Kingdom. We may have some time before our ADR to enter the park and experience a few attractions. It will depend on our travel time to the Lodge.

We'll be back online later with an update and some pics.

In the meantime here is a pic of the terminal at the Akron/Canton airport. Pretty boring I know, but its up to the minute.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture026-1.jpg

And a shot of Anna waiting patiently for our flight time.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture025-1.jpg

ericafny
07-14-2008, 02:00 PM
OK I'm hooked...this should hold me over until my trip in just over 3 weeks!:cool1:

kab407
07-14-2008, 02:53 PM
I am lime green with envy.

Have a great time!

EnchantedPiglet
07-14-2008, 02:55 PM
Have a great time!!

ShesAPirate
07-14-2008, 03:03 PM
Yay, another live trip report! Loved your last one, ADP! Have a fantastic time. Can't wait to read it all! :thumbsup2

crazydisneyman
07-14-2008, 03:18 PM
ADP,

As you know we are staying at the Poly in Sept.

Could you take some pics and post them?

How about pics of the fireworks from the Poly beach?

Thanks and have a wonderful time. We are going in 68 days! Woo Hoo!

Chris

MenashaCorp
07-14-2008, 03:32 PM
I am lime green with envy.

Have a great time!

What she said. We were there over July 4th weekend and were very pleasantly surprised at the lack of insane crowd levels. Hope you guys have the same luck!!

A tip on Toy Story Mania that helped me CRUSH my DGf (Girlfriend, not Grandfather ;) ) -- Lock in on the COLORS.

You'll see... ;) :banana:

ADP
07-14-2008, 04:06 PM
Yeah!! It's another live report from ADP!! :cheer2: I'm vehemently subscribing. :woohoo: I wish I could go to WDW as often as your incredibly lucky family! Sorry about the heat, or am I? ;)

We are fortunate because of our DVC membership. It gives us the ability to travel to WDW more often without it. It's a great program!

ADP,

As you know we are staying at the Poly in Sept.

Could you take some pics and post them?

How about pics of the fireworks from the Poly beach?

Thanks and have a wonderful time. We are going in 68 days! Woo Hoo!

Chris

Hi Chris,

I will sure try. Love pictures from the Polynesian.

What she said. We were there over July 4th weekend and were very pleasantly surprised at the lack of insane crowd levels. Hope you guys have the same luck!!

A tip on Toy Story Mania that helped me CRUSH my DGf (Girlfriend, not Grandfather ;) ) -- Lock in on the COLORS.

You'll see... ;) :banana:

Thanks for the tip!

ADP
07-14-2008, 04:12 PM
Hey Everyone,

We are here at the Wilderness Lodge Villas. We are running out to AK to get to the Rain Forest Cafe. I will give you a full report of our ME experience, check-in, etc tonight or first thing tomorrow.

Here are some quick pictures of our arrival.

Orlando airport. We are here! Hey you guys! Wait for me!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture027-1.jpg

Walking into the Wilderness Lodge. Nothing like it. Jaw dropping!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture030-1-1.jpg

DVC Logo walking into the Widerness Lodge Villas about 20 minutes ago.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture031-1.jpg

See ya later! :)

annie1995
07-14-2008, 04:18 PM
Yay, I love live trip reports!!! Have a fantastic time tonight!!! Can't wait to hear all about it!!

calypso*a*go-go
07-14-2008, 04:52 PM
I am lime green with envy.

Have a great time!

Oh yeah...well I'm lime green and/or orange and/or purple and/or any combination thereof with envy!!! :thumbsup2

Verandah Man
07-14-2008, 05:28 PM
Loving the up to the minute live reports and pics!!!!! :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

tammydel
07-14-2008, 05:54 PM
There is a special place in heaven for people who do live trip reports!:angel:
Or at least a special place in my heart:love: .
VWL and Poly wow...I think I'm going to swoon just thinking of it:cloud9: .
Tammy

hannah's dad
07-14-2008, 06:21 PM
There is something special about that arrival day...especially the inevitable blast of humidity when getting off the plane in Orlando and then walking into the lobby of where ever you stay. Thanks for the picture of the WL lobby...that is our favorite resort and the first steps in the lobby are always special.

DLBDS
07-14-2008, 06:30 PM
*sigh*

I just love the WL. :love:

alebisi
07-14-2008, 06:40 PM
popcorn::

simzac
07-14-2008, 07:46 PM
Hey Everyone,

We are here at the Wilderness Lodge Villas. We are running out to AK to get to the Rain Forest Cafe. I will give you a full report of our ME experience, check-in, etc tonight or first thing tomorrow.

Here are some quick pictures of our arrival.

Orlando airport. We are here! Hey you guys! Wait for me!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture027-1.jpg

Walking into the Wilderness Lodge. Nothing like it. Jaw dropping!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture030-1-1.jpg

DVC Logo walking into the Widerness Lodge Villas about 20 minutes ago.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture031-1.jpg

See ya later! :)

Now I'm jealous.;) Have a great time down there. I'll keep everything in line here in Indy while your gone.:rotfl:

2xcited2sleep
07-14-2008, 08:04 PM
I loved your last live trip report and am thrilled you are doing another. Let's see... it's 9:05pm. You've finished your dinner at RFC and you are where? What time does AK close? Probably closed already. Travel day so maybe you are back relaxing at that beautiful resort! Can't wait to hear about all the details. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your trip to post this live. It's so much fun to follow along with you!

MenashaCorp
07-14-2008, 08:17 PM
Can't wait to hear about all the details. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your trip to post this live. It's so much fun to follow along with you!

DITTO!! (Just call me) ADP (:cool2:) ROCKS!!!

popcorn:: popcorn:: popcorn::

ADP
07-15-2008, 12:20 AM
Monday, July 14th

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our evening at the Animal Kingdom. We had a nice time. We arrived at around 5:45PM and instead of heading into the park we met our Sister-in-Law at the front and talked to her about their week at Disney World. We then headed into the Rain Forest Cafe for our 6:30 ADR. My Sister-in-Law decided she had enough and went back to their resort. My brother, Niece, and friend joined us for dinner. More about our Rain Forest Cafe experience a little later.

I wanted to let you know about our Magical Express experience today. It went pretty smoothly, but there were some waits we could have done without. When we arrived at the Magical Express check-in desk we were greeted to a pretty long line. We ended up waiting about 20 minutes.

Here is a picture of a segment of the line.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture028-1.jpg

After checking in at the desk we stepped over to the red carpet where we only waited about 5 minutes for our ME bus to arrive. Once we boarded it took about 20 minutes for the bus to finally pull away. I didn't think we would ever leave. I guess they were waiting for more guests to board as there were only 6 of us on the bus.

I was happy to see our driver went a bit faster than our last ME experience back in April. He was going just over 70 MPH on the 417 or Greenway. I was in the front and could see the speedometer. We got to the Wilderness lodge in a timely fashion. By the way, the order in which the bus dropped off at the resorts was the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, and the Contemporary. We were the 3rd stop.

Another note, the folks working at Magical Express are allowed to accept Tips.
I noticed this sign on our way to the Wilderness Lodge in the front of the bus.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture034-1.jpg

All-in-all ME did the job. There were just a few annoying waits. Otherwise it worked well. Our bags were waiting for us in our room when we returned tonight from the AK.

Our arrival at the Wilderness Lodge was very nice. No wait at the check-in desk. We walked right up and were greeted by a smile. After a nice conversation with Sofia she checked us in and assigned us our room. A 1 bedroom villa on the 4th floor. .

The room was very clean and nothing wrong with it at all. We even had some towel animals waiting for us when we arrived.

As for the rest of the resort it is truly beautiful. The lobby is stunning and the rest of the resort is so peaceful.

Here's a picture of the view from our balcony.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture035-1.jpg

Now it's time for something not so peaceful. Our ADR at the Rain Forest Cafe. If you've ever dined at one of the Disney World Rain Forest Cafe's you probably already know they are noisy with audio AAs and sound effects.

We checked in and after waiting about 15 minutes for my brother to arrive we were seated. Our servers name was Pedro and he kindly informed me he had been up since 3:00AM this morning and was a little frantic. Needless to say I could tell where this meal was going. I probably should have just hugged the gorilla in front of our table and called it a day. :laughing:

The service was slow. In fact, there were a few points during our meal I told my brother "has our server quit his job?" :confused: Well, he finally came back around and refilled our drinks and took our orders.

I ordered the Rain Forest Cobb Salad. Kim ordered the Chicken Fried Chicken. Both of our entrees were well prepared. I must say the portions at the Rain Forest are very, very large and pricey. My Cobb Salad was $15.99 and Kim's entree was $18.99. Ouch! But hey, we are on vacation, right. The food at this restaurant is average in our opinion. It is also a noisy dining experience. During this visit our service was below average. Not the best experience in the world, but we ate our way through it I guess. When we come to Disney World I'm not big on dining at chain restaurants, but once in a while; I guess its ok.

Total cost of our meal was $52 including tip for the 3 of us and a 10% DVC discount. The Rain Forest Cafe does not accept the DDE.

Here are some photos from our meal.

Signage out front.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture036-1-1.jpg

Our table. The Motley Crew.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture037-1.jpg

My Cobb Salad. Very large, but I did manage to eat it all. I was very hungry this evening.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture038-2.jpg

After dinner we decided to enter the Animal Kingdom and participate in the evening Extra Magic Hours. We used the Rain Forest Cafe entrance in the back of the restaurant.

Here's a photo of the entrance (sorry, it’s a bit dark, but you get the idea).

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture039-1-1.jpg

The park was open until 11:00PM. Evening EMH at the Animal Kingdom can be in "iffy" proposition. There are limited attractions open, and because of that wait times can be rather significant.

Here is the times tip board in Discovery Island. Wait times at 8:40 were about 25 to 30 minutes for most major attractions. They stayed pretty steady at least until 10:30PM.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture041-2.jpg

Attractions we experienced tonight were only Dinosaur and Expedition Everest. We tried to get on Primeval Whirl, but the wait times would not allow it. 30 minutes to get spun into oblivion won't work; especially, just after eating at the Rain Forest.

The park was somewhat crowded this evening. Dinosaur had a 30 minute wait, Expedition Everest had a 30 minute wait, but I felt it was longer, maybe 40 minutes. I really didn't think the temps were that bad tonight. It was a bit sticky, but it could have been a lot worse.

At 10:30 we decided to leave the park. Believe it or not our bus just arrived as we walked up to the bus depot. Great!!! Our return trip to the Lodge was very efficient. I spent some time in the lobby and gift shop before coming back to the room. All-in-all a great day!

I'll leave you with more photos from the Animal Kingdom and the Wilderness Lodge.

The Dino in Dinosaur! "This picture brought to you by a generous grant from the McDonalds Corporation." :laughing:

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture042-1.jpg

Yeti Time!! Photo from the queue of Expedition Everest.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture043-1.jpg

Wilderness Lodge Mercantile.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture040-1.jpg

Photo inside the "Iron Spike Room" at the Wilderness Lodge Villas. It's a little warm for a fire, isn't it? :confused:

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture044-1.jpg

Up Next:
Back to the Animal Kingdom (I'll tell you why tomorrow)
Lunch at Whispering Canyon
Photos of our Villa
EPCOT or Magic Kingdom in the evening

simonkodousek
07-15-2008, 07:57 AM
Great installment ADP! We had roughly the same experience at RFC, only the sub-par food was much more apparent than our less than attentive server... :sad2:

Love the live trip report; keep it coming! :wizard:

Dodie
07-15-2008, 08:16 AM
Thanks so much for the live report, ADP! I'm living vicariously through you guys, waiting until our own VWL trip in September! Keep those great pictures coming! I'm especially looking forward to the photos of the VWL 1 BR - as that's what we have booked for September for our first trip "home" as DVC members and we've only stayed in a studio previously!

annie1995
07-15-2008, 08:53 AM
I can't thank you enough for this live report!!! Its helping to pass our time till our trip:goodvibes . Great installment, can't wait for more!!!

BriarRosie
07-15-2008, 12:13 PM
I feel like I'm "right there" in the moment!

And to clarify, I won't be at the Welcome Home Wednesday tomorrow. I meant that I will arrive on a Wednesday in October. At least I know where to go now. ;)

ADP
07-15-2008, 12:54 PM
Tuesday, July 15th

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our morning at the Animal Kingdom. I mentioned before I would let you know why we went back this morning after spending the evening there last night. One of the touring strategies we like to use is visiting the park which had evening Extra Magic Hours the night before. The theory is that many guests have visited that park the night before and will not be back the next day. They will go to a different park. In theory, this should make wait times and crowd levels smaller than usual. I believe this strategy worked well today as the AK was not very busy at all this morning. The crowds did pick-up at around 12:40 as we left the park to head back to the Wilderness Lodge Villas.

We started our morning at Roaring Forks counter service at the Wilderness Lodge.

Here are a few shots of the counter service restaurant. It was recently refurbished a few years ago.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture047-1.jpg

Seating area.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture046-1-1.jpg

Here is the tip board on Discovery Island when we arrived at 9:20AM and when we left at around 12:40PM.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture050-1.jpg

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture065-1-1.jpg

We did the usual attractions this morning. This is the order in which we experienced attractions this morning; Triceratops Spin, Primeval Whirl, Dinosaur, Character Landing, Festival of the Lion King, Camp Minnie/Mickey characters, and Expedition Everest with a Fastpass.

Here is a picture showing only a 5 minute wait for Dinosaur this morning at around 10:30AM.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture051-1.jpg

A couple notes about the Festival of the Lion King. Timon's face is now animated which means the eyes blink and the mouth moves to the lyrics of the show. It really makes the show much better. Also, the Tumble Monkies have added some different show elements to their segment. It really made the show much more enjoyable from our perspective.

Here are a couple shots from the Festival of the Lion King. Anna was in the parade. "No flash pictures please."

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture058-1.jpg

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture060-2.jpg

On Expedition Everest the Yeti was not fully functional today. He was in what is called "B Mode". They only had strobe lighting on him. I've seen him this way before, but I've also seen him fully lit and very visable. He is much better when he is fully visiable during the approach.

In a few minutes we will be heading down to Whispering Canyon for lunch. At around 6:30PM we are heading over to the Magic Kingdom for Spectromagic and Wishes. I'll have a report on our meal and our evening at the Magic Kingdom this evening.

Here are a few more pictures from this morning.

Tree of Life in all its glory!

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture049-1.jpg

My Wife discovered this. A carved water creature in the river crossing over into Camp Minnie Mickey. Pretty Cool!

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture056-1.jpg

Talk to you later. :)

TSWJan78
07-15-2008, 01:35 PM
Thanks for the report.. glad to know the crowds are not super crazy as we arrive in 9 days!!!

Verandah Man
07-15-2008, 03:00 PM
Still lovin' the report and pics!!! :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

DLBDS
07-15-2008, 03:12 PM
I'm lovin' this trip report. Did I mention that I :love: the WL?

calypso*a*go-go
07-15-2008, 04:35 PM
Isn't great that after so many visits to WDW a person can still find something new that they never noticed before? :thumbsup2

MenashaCorp
07-15-2008, 05:31 PM
Loving the report. VWL will be my next points in DVC. Boardwalk for convenience, WL for unmatched beauty!!

I like your park strategy, ADP. I have done the same in the past with good results. I also use the morning EMH, then leave by 10...
I'm jealous you've seen the Yeti in other than "B" mode - I've only seen the Disco Yeti (Strobe mode)!!

LOVING THE LIVE REPORTS!! Almost makes me want an iPhone...

popcorn::

lttlmc3
07-15-2008, 05:43 PM
I just love all of these trip reports. It's so nice to feel like I'm right there too! Thanks so much!

ADP
07-15-2008, 11:19 PM
Hi Everyone,

We just returned from the Magic Kingdom. Fortunately, we took our afternoon break today because it rained for a while this afternoon during our ADR at Whispering Canyon and our break in the room. It worked out well. We headed to the Magic Kingdom around 6:30PM. The rain had pretty much stopped. I wasn't sure what the crowds would be like since it rained for a few hours. It wasn't too crowded, but wait times where still somewhat lengthy.

Our ADR for Whispering Canyon was at 2:00PM. We checked in right at 2:00 and were seated immediately. There was not much of a crowd inside the restaurant. We probably could have walked up and got seated write away without an ADR.

The restaurant is themed to the old west and fits into the theme of the resort very well. The servers add to the theme by speaking in old west lingo; although they didn't seem in the mood to do many antics during our meal.

Restaurant signage.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture068-1.jpg

Here's a photo of inside the restaurant

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture079-1.jpg

Also, in the waiting area there is a table with Lincoln Logs which kids can play with while they are waiting.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture067-1.jpg

The menu does have a decent variety of choices. The most popular item appears to be the All-You-Can-Eat Canyon Skillet. The other items on the menu are chicken, cheeseburgers, ribs, etc. The one benefit of eating at 2:00PM is we are eating lunch and are getting lunch prices. The entrees; especially the Canyon Skillet is pretty much the same, but there is $9 per person price difference between lunch and dinner.

Our servers name was Diane. She seemed overwhelmed at first; like she had too many tables to handle, but fortunately for us many of the folks in her area left and our service got better during the meal. At first it was very, very slow.

Kim and I ordered the all-you-can-eat Canyon Skillet. It included pork ribs, sausage, baked chicken, corn on the cob, mashed potatos, baked beans, cole slaw and corn bread. Here's the scoop on the food in the skillet. The chicken was very dry; like it had been baked on a rock. The ribs were pretty good, the sausage was unimpressive. About the best part of the skillet were the mashed potatos and corn bread. Everything else was pretty sub par in my opinion. I did eat mostly ribs and corn bread while Kim enjoyed the mashed potatos, corn and corn bread. If you wanted more of anything in the skillet just let your server know and they will bring you more.

Here is a picture of the Canyon Skillet.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture066-1-1.jpg

One of the highlights of the meal (there weren't many) were the bottomless milkshakes Kim and Anna ordered. They looked and tasted delicious. Anna ordered the chocolate while Kim ordered the strawberry. I believe they are made with real ice cream with whipped cream and sprinkles on top. Pretty awesome! If you ever dine here do yourself a favor and order them. You can continue to have your server bring you more as long as you can drink them. They do cost $5.99, but I believe they are so good it's worth the price.

Our bill came to $49.00 including the tip and the 20% DDE discount. The 18% gratuity was automatically added. My personal feeling is if you are staying at Fort Wilderness or Wilderness Lodge go ahead and dine here. Don't go out of your way from a park or another resort and make a special trip. You maybe disappointed if you do so.

After lunch we headed back to our room. Kim decided to sleep and Anna relaxed by watching some TV while the rain continued. I decided to take a walk down to the lobby and check out the Territory Lounge (Wilderness Lodge bar). Although I didn't order anything I was impressed by the setup. I may stop there on Thursday for a drink. I sat in the lobby and soaked up some atmosphere for about an hour and came back to the room.

At 6:30 we headed for the boat dock and took the boat over to the Magic Kingdom. Attractions we experienced this evening were Small World, Mickey's Phillharmagic, Spectromagic Parade, Buzz Lightyear, and Laugh Floor.

We love the Spectromagic parade.
Here are a few shots from tonight's 9:00PM parade. These are some of our favorite parts of the parade.

The sign with the Spectromagic Spectromen.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture075-1.jpg

Mickey leading the way.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture076-1.jpg

Chip & Dale tickling the ivory.

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture077-1.jpg

At 10:30 we decided to head back to our room and call it a night. We took the boat back to the Wilderness Lodge.

I also promised some photos of our 1 bedroom villa. Here they are.

Living room area
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture069-1.jpg

Kitchen with entry way
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture070-1-1.jpg

The bedroom
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture071-1-1.jpg

The bathroom. It is split with another sink next door.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture072-2-1.jpg

Here are a few photos from the Small World attraction

Indoor view from the queue line
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture073-1-1.jpg

7:45PM. A shot from underneath the clock on the boat waiting to exit. Tick Tock, Tick Tock
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture074-2-1.jpg

And finally, a couple more photos from the Animal Kingdom this morning.

Anna, Daisy, and me at Camp Minnie Mickey
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture080-1.jpg

Just hanging around.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture064-2-1.jpg

My next update may not come until tomorrow night as we may not come back to the villa until then.

Up Next:
EPCOT
Beaches N Cream
Welcome Home Wednesday (DVC Event)
Hollywood Studios

hannah's dad
07-16-2008, 06:46 AM
Thanks for the pictures and update!

We feel pretty much the same way about Whispering Canyon. We always make a point of dining there when we stay at Wilderness Lodge, but I don't think we'd make a trip there otherwise. The food ranges between average and a bit above average. The atmosphere and fun varies greatly, depending on the crowd that night as well as the server we have - it could go either way. But the restaurant does get major points for simply being able to view the loddy while dining!

Mmmm..Beaches and Cream...will you be getting the Kitchen Sink?

jennz
07-16-2008, 06:49 AM
Too bad about Whispering Canyon - that's disappointing. Thanks for the shots of Small World - Sarah's gonna love seeing that, SW freak that she is! :) That's a great pic of you and Anna.:thumbsup2

ADP
07-16-2008, 07:14 AM
Hi Everyone,

We are headed out this morning to EPCOT. We will have our rain ponchos with us today as it appears there is a decent chance for some rain this afternoon. So far no change of plans.

We'll be back later this evening with another report.

kab407
07-16-2008, 07:25 AM
Thanks for the update and the pictures Aaron.

I so want to stay at VWL. Everytime I try I can't get all of the days I needs. I love the decor and the whole vibe of the place.

tammydel
07-16-2008, 07:30 AM
The live report is great!
I am staying at VWL this Thanksgiving with my extended family so the resort details remind me of all that I love about VWL.
My home resort is BCV so I'll be thinking of you going over there to enjoy some ice cream at Beaches and Cream. My favorite is the frozen sunshine. I can just taste it now.....
Have a great day in Epcot, it is probably the most doable park in the rain (although I hope you don't get too much rain.) We will be awaiting your return tonight!
Tammy

cocowum
07-16-2008, 08:06 AM
Anna, Daisy, and me at Camp Minnie Mickey
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture080-1.jpg




Awesome picture!!!! Thanks for sharing you guys look like you are having a blast!

tinkbutt
07-16-2008, 09:22 AM
man look at all the fun I've missed while I was working!! your trip looks so fun! I too am lime green with envy!

disneyjunkie99
07-16-2008, 09:38 AM
Lovin it! Thanks for sharing! popcorn:: popcorn:: popcorn::

ADP
07-16-2008, 09:34 PM
Wednesday, July 16th

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our day. We accomplished quite a bit; although I was a bit disappointed not to be able to ride Toy Story Mania. We are headed back to the Studios tomorrow morning so we will be able to get on then. More on this in a bit.

We started our day at EPCOT. We had about a 20 minute wait at the bus depot this morning for an EPCOT bus. Also, anyone who stays at the Wilderness Lodge needs to know you will stop at Ft. Wilderness on your way to EPCOT to pick up guests there. That adds about 10 minutes to your bus commute.

EPCOT was not very crowded this morning or even into the early afternoon. Last night was EPCOT Extra Magic Hours so I figured crowd levels would be smaller. It seemed to work out that way today. Attractions we experienced at EPCOT were Test Track (fastpass), Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, Journey into your Imagination, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, and World Showcase.

Here are some photos from our morning and afternoon at EPCOT.

News Flash! It's July and the Brazillian tour groups are out in full force.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture081-1-1.jpg

A glorious good morning to Spaceship Earth.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture082-1-1.jpg

The tip board at Innoventions plaza showing the various wait times.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture083-1-1.jpg

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture084-1.jpg

Mission: Space with the wait time at at 10:30 this morning.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture085-1.jpg

The trash musicians. (I forget their name)
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture086-1.jpg

Here are some shots from our tour around World Showcase this afternoon.

The crowds at EPCOT; espcially World Showcase were pretty thin. Here's a look at the main pathway. Not crowded at all.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture087-2.jpg

America Pavillion, the Fife & Drum band.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture088-2.jpg

We stopped in Japan to watch the candy lady making candy art.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture089-1.jpg

We stopped in france and spent some time eating and drinking.

The fountain in France
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture090-1.jpg

Ham & Cheese Croissant and a Napoleon from the Chef's de France Bakery. Very yummy!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture091-1.jpg

A Grey Goose slush. Very refreshing.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture092-1.jpg

After we finished our tour of World Showcase we walked out the International Gateway (aka EPCOT's back entrance) and walked to the Beach Club for some Ice Cream at Beaches and Cream. The restaurant is on the backside of the resort. It is a small restaurant, but since it was about 2:30 there was not much of a crowd. We decided to sit at the bar. Kim and I decided to split a No Way Jose; which is 3 scoops of ice cream, peanut butter and chocolate syrup with whipped cream, chocolate and peanut butter chips on top. Now, I've had many desserts at WDW and to me this is the best of the best. Anna had a Mickey Mouse sundae. A scoop of vanilla ice cream with two Oreo cookies on top. Total cost was $14.22 with our 20% DDE discount.

The No Way Jose. NO WAY!!!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture093-1.jpg

As we left we caught the kitchen staff creating a Kitchen Sink. Absolutely HUGE!!!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture094-1.jpg

After we left Beaches and Cream we walked around to the Atlantic Dance Hall near the Boardwalk Resort. The Disney Vacation Club holds a free event there every Wednesday at 4:00PM called Welcome Home Wednesday for DVC members. This was the first time we ever attended. At 4:00PM the doors opened and we were greeted with many welcome homes. We were given 2 cards to fill out with our name for prize drawings later. When we entered the hall the atmosphere was festive. The main stage had a game show setup with a very large TV screen behind it. DVC promotional videos were shown prior to the start of the game show. Complimentary snacks and lemonade were provided. The snacks included bags of chips, popcorn, pretzels and Cracker Jacks. I was surprised by the turn-out. There were easily 150 plus in attendance. After about 15 minutes of socializing and eating some snacks the hostess of the game show was introduced. Her name is Miss Dee Vee Cee. She is the first lady of the Disney Vacation Club. She ran the game show and later would draw for the prizes for the event.

I thought this event was nice and I'm glad we did it. It's not something I will run back to; however, I'm very glad we did it once. It was well worth it since it rained the entire hour we were in the Atlantic Dance Hall. It was our way of staying dry.

Here are some photos of the event.

The setup of the stage.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture095-1.jpg

The snack table.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture096-1.jpg

Miss Dee Veecee was introduced as the host of the game show. Volunteers for the game were picked by Miss Dee Vee Cee.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture097-1.jpg

The DVC game show in action. The format of the game is very similar to Jeopardy with DVC questions and answers.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture098-1-1.jpg

After we left the Atlantic Dance Hall the rain had stopped. We walked over to the Swan/Dolphin boat dock and hopped on the boat to Hollywood Studios. When we arrived there was a light sprinkle, but nothing bad at all. The crowd on Hollywood Blvd was not heavy; however, the crowd inside the rest of the park was much worse. Waits at Toy Story Mania were 80 minutes. Later they would increase to 120 minutes (2 hours). Fastpasses were gone for the day and the single rider line was closed. Instead of spending all that time in line we decided to wait until our visit tomorrow morning to ride. Attractions we experienced at DHS tonight were Star Tours, Muppet Vision 3-D, The Art of Disney Animation where Anna drew a great Winnie the Pooh, and the Great Movie Ride.

Here are some photos from our evening at DHS.

The crowd on Hollywood Blvd at around 5:30PM.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture099-1.jpg

The tip board on Hollywood Blvd showing the wait times.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture100-1.jpg

The crowd at Pixar Place was thick. No chance to ride TSM.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture101-1.jpg

A Toy Story meet and greet across from TSM. It is indoors now. Woody and Buzz were inside. Quite a long line.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture102-1.jpg

Anna, me and a Green Army guy!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture104-1.jpg

TSM front entry signage showing a 120 minute wait. Quite the crowd.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture105-1.jpg

Finally, the wagging Pluto on Hollywood Blvd. See you tomorrow Pluto.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture106-1.jpg

That was our day. We left DHS at around 9:15PM. We hope to get more accomplished there tomorrow morning and afternoon. The streetmosphere characters were in for the night after we arrived this evening. I'm hopeful to catch some of them when we arrive tomorrow.

Up Next:
Cape May Character Breakfast (8:00AM ADR)
Hollywood Studios
Downtown Disney or Wilderness Lodge swimming pool
A visit to the Territory Lounge and Trout Pass Pool bar

PolyAddict
07-16-2008, 09:47 PM
Looks like a great day...

I know how you feel about TSM...

We were there before the official opening and everytime we showed up it was 60 minutes +. Our official DHS day came up and we were there 20 minutes before opening.

When they let us in we RAN to TSM and were the second people on because I also stopped for a fast pass. We rode it again after we got off and kind of kept this up until lunch, I ended up giving our passes away as we didn't need them.:rotfl:

I felt soo victorious!!!:cool1: You will love it!!!:3dglasses

alaskanmommy
07-16-2008, 11:47 PM
Great report Aaron! You guys look like you're having a blast even though it's quite crowded. We've never gone in the summer. I don't think I could handle some of those wait times. Keep up the awesome work!!
--Megan

disneyholic family
07-17-2008, 12:31 AM
GREAT report Aaron !!! (DH is also Aaron - you two related?)

i just read from the beginning to here and am looking forward to the next installment!!

the pictures are fabulous....it's so much fun to see them 'as you're there' so to speak...really like being there with you...

your report is also reminding me of things i haven't done yet for DD's september trip (i'm the happy planner for her)..
i have to sign her up for the magical express...
anyone know how to do that?
we've never used ME, so i'm clueless what you're supposed to do in advance..

as for Toy Story Mania - a friend was there in june and said that all the FPs were gone for the day by 10 am during their stay...they managed to ride it twice though....and said it was an 'awesome' ride...

sorry about the rain forest...i've never had a good experience at any of them (including the one in detroit)...and it's not on the dining plan either, so it's in general a pain...

i hope DD has a better time at Whispering Canyon - she's taking her best friend to WDW - her friends first time (first time at WDW and in america for that matter)...so DD is really hoping everything will be GREAT....
i think i have a dinner reservation for her at WCC...it will probably be a zoo at dinner...
i hadn't thought of making her lunch reservations...maybe that would be a better idea...early afternoon like yours...

by the way, i noticed you skipped Finding Nemo the musical....that was our favorite thing at AK when we were there in November....we saw it 4 times...

can't wait to hear about the poly....

tammydel
07-17-2008, 06:09 AM
Great report! Your descriptions along with your pictures really are giving a feeling of what its like there right now. Thanks for taking the time to post each night. Although your food descriptions and photos (which are great) are rather torturous to those of us back home watching what we eat:rotfl:
I like your plan of CMC for breakfast then off to HS. Hope the slow boat catches a good wind!
Tammy

wildeoscar
07-17-2008, 07:22 AM
the only way I can possibly top this is with live video and sock puppets... wow. Great live trip report. Thanks for all the pics.

Dodie
07-17-2008, 08:10 AM
Hey Aaron? Did you get any "loot" at the Welcome Home Wednesday event? Hats? Lanyards? DH and I are new DVC members and, since it's our plan to be at Epcot on Wednesday anyway during our September trip, I think we'll pop over.

alebisi
07-17-2008, 08:25 AM
after those pictures i'm definately hitting beaches and cream....ummmmmm... ice cream:goodvibes :goodvibes thanks aron for the trip report and the pictures, after reading you trip report I dream of Disney.. anyway, it was a nightmare because Disney was closed :confused3

PEANUT1
07-17-2008, 08:41 AM
sounds like a great trip...120 minute wait for TSM wow!! I don't think I have ever experienced waits like that.

We love the WL....and the poly is amazing. Have a wonderful rest of your trip.

78 days 14 hrs 15 min 39 sec til our BWV child free anniversary trip:banana:

aspen37
07-17-2008, 09:08 AM
Wow great trip report!:thumbsup2 We will be staying at WL in September. I live in the roaring fork valley, so when I saw the name of the snack location I thought that was cool. A little bit of home so far away.:goodvibes Can't wait to here more.popcorn:: Oh by the way me name is Anna also.:) Have a good time on the rest of your trip.

DVCsince02
07-17-2008, 10:07 AM
Aaron - Pete is at the Poly doing a review til Sunday. Keep your eyes open!

stitchlover
07-17-2008, 10:42 AM
Great report so far. Can't believe it has only been 4 months since I was there last. Seems like forever!

prettypixie
07-17-2008, 11:40 AM
Wednesday, July 16th
The Disney Vacation Club holds a free event there every Wednesday at 4:00PM called Welcome Home Wednesday for DVC members. [/B]

I thought I read somewhere this had stopped. Here's looking forward to Doing it in Sept!

ADP
07-17-2008, 12:30 PM
Hey Aaron? Did you get any "loot" at the Welcome Home Wednesday event? Hats? Lanyards? DH and I are new DVC members and, since it's our plan to be at Epcot on Wednesday anyway during our September trip, I think we'll pop over.

Yes...Everyone in the audience recieved a free Animal Kingdom Villas bucket hat. I'll try and post a picture of one during my next report.

Aaron - Pete is at the Poly doing a review til Sunday. Keep your eyes open!
Thanks...Hopefully I'll get a chance to see him.

annie1995
07-17-2008, 01:25 PM
I can't wait for your next installment!!! I also need to remember your trick about going to the park the next day that had the EMH the night before:thumbsup2

ADP
07-17-2008, 01:26 PM
Thursday, July 17th

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our morning at Cape May at the Beach Club resort and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

We had a very good breakfast. I must say Cape May provides a delicous breakfast. The food is top notch. I know its not hard to mess up breakfast, but the eggs, sausage, bacon, and everything else for that matter was absolutely delicous. The food was the best part of the meal. The service and character interaction was not bad either. Everything I tasted was prepared very, very well. There is a salmon and capers bar located near the entrance to the restaurant. A nice touch for those who like salmon.

We checked in at 7:45 and were seated immediately. The format for the breakfast is all you can eat buffet. The characters at the breakfast this morning were Goofy, Minnie, Chip & Dale. They are dressed up in their beach attire. Goofy is the headliner for this breakfast as him name is on the title.

I highly recommend this breakfast if you have little ones who need a character fix. Adults can revel in the delicious food and the kids will love the character interaction. It is also nice to be at the boardwalk area before the parks open. You are very close to EPCOT and just a boat ride away from DHS.

Our total bill was $51 with the 20% DDE discount and 18% automatic gratuity. I thought it was worth it.

Here are some photos from our breakfast this morning.

My plate of food.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture112-1.jpg

The pastry bar in the buffet area.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture107-1.jpg

Anna and Goofy in his beach attire.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture111-1.jpg

After our breakfast we jumped on the boat at the Yacht & Beach boat dock and headed for Hollywood Studios. We arrived just before 9:00AM and waited for the park to open. Once the gates opened we headed right for Toy Story Midway Mania. I wanted to get a fastpass immediately. Can you believe the fastpass time was already at 10:40AM. I got a fastpass and we jumped right in line. The wait time posted was 25 minutes. Very accurate in my opinion.

This is a great attraction; especially for the Studios. It fits very well. As of right now there are capacity problems. I'm hopeful it will get worked out over the next few months, but when wait times are 80 plus minutes in the AM and fastpasses are goine by 11:30AM something is a miss.

We rode the attraction twice this morning. My first score was 128,000 and my second was 165,000. Not bad. I wished we could have jumped back on, but the wait time was already 80 minutes at 11:00AM. This attraction is wildly popular. If you really want to ride it get to the park when it opens and make it your first stop. If you arrive to the Studios in the afternoon you may very easily be out of luck.

Here are some photos from Toy Story Mania this morning.
Sign outside of the gates at Hollywood Studios
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture117-1.jpg

The fastpass return time was already at 10:40AM at 9:10AM in the morning. Is that possible?
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture118-1.jpg

Mr. Potato Head. The 1 million dollar audio animatronic. He's amazing and entertaining. The voice of Mr Potato Head is none other than Mr. Don Rickles.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture120-1-1.jpg

The Studios wasn't overly crowded this morning. Wait times for the other attractions were 30 to 40 minutes including Tower of Terror and Rockin Rollercoaster. Attractions we experienced this morning/afternoon were Muppets 3-D, Star Tours, Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror and we also caught a few shows from the Citizens of Hollywood. Oh! And Anna also got her hair wrapped.

Here are some photos from our morning/afternoon inside Hollywood Studios.

In The Can productions. Francis Floot was as funny as ever. Had the whole audience splitting sides over some of his jokes.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture125-1.jpg

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture127-1-1.jpg

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture128-1.jpg

Anna and Francis shared some nice times together this afternoon.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture129-1-1.jpg

Alberto Dante...Show Director.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture130-1.jpg

The fastpass machines were actually being used at Indiana Jones today.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture126-1.jpg

Construction walls on the Streets of America. You could here hammering and electrical saws behind them.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture122-1-1.jpg

It was a very nice morning. We are headed down to the pool right now. I plan on taking in some time at the Trout Pass pool bar and/or maybe the Territory Lounge a little later. I'll be back tonight with a picture update of both.

annie1995
07-17-2008, 01:35 PM
Looks like you had a pretty productive morning. We are really looking forward to riding toy story midway next month!!! We will need to get there early I guess:rolleyes1 . Loving all your pics!!!

simonkodousek
07-17-2008, 01:52 PM
I'm loving the restaurant reviews/reports! Although I'm not shocked that Toy Story Mania is a huge event/attraction, it is surprising that the FastPass time was for 10:40 AM at only 9:10 AM... this is something that Disney needs to address or they are going to be dealing with many unhappy customers.

Keep the live trip report coming! :)

JCandKT
07-17-2008, 02:11 PM
LOVIN this trip report --- how awesome are you to take time to do this while ON your trip.

aprince&princess
07-17-2008, 02:48 PM
Great trip report. I feel like we are right there with you and can not wait until our trip in Oct. I can't wait to hear more! And thank you for keeping us posted while you are there.

ericafny
07-17-2008, 02:52 PM
Aaron - I am loving your report! We will be down there in 3 weeks and I can't wait! Would you say the parks are not as crowded as normal for this time of year? I am hoping we don't run into massive crowds like we usually do when we go in August.

Also, regarding Toy Story Mania, would you say to grab an FP for that first before heading over to ToT and RnRC?!? Which way are the crowds going at rope drop??

ADP
07-17-2008, 08:29 PM
Aaron - I am loving your report! We will be down there in 3 weeks and I can't wait! Would you say the parks are not as crowded as normal for this time of year? I am hoping we don't run into massive crowds like we usually do when we go in August.

Also, regarding Toy Story Mania, would you say to grab an FP for that first before heading over to ToT and RnRC?!? Which way are the crowds going at rope drop??

Crowds haven't been terrible. To us the only real crowd issues were at Toy Story Mania and Pixar Place. Its become an instant success with many folks who go to the Studios. It's a family friendly ride attraction making it very popular. The Studios doesn't really have an attraction for this demographic. Tower, Rockin Rollercoaster and Star Tours can't match it.

I witnessed about half the crowds going down Sunset Blvd for Tower and Coaster and then the other half heading for Pixar Place. I'd suggest going to Pixar Place first thing, grabbing a fastpass immediately, then jumping in the standby line. Once you've done TSM twice head over to Sunset Blvd. It really is a matter of priority and what you want to ride.

ADP
07-17-2008, 09:28 PM
Hi Everyone,

We are back from our afternoon/evening. We changed our plans a bit and headed over to Downtown Disney this afternoon/evening. I also stopped in the Territory Lounge for a quick drink.

We took the bus to Downtown Disney from the Wilderness Lodge. Once we arrived at the Marketplace I left Kim and Anna and took the walking trail to Saratoga Springs preview center to meet our vacation guide. I enjoy speaking with him whenever I get the chance. Today, I had somewhat of a specific purpose in mind. On August 30th we have 85 DISers who will be attending a DIS and DIS Unplugged meet in the indianapolis area. Quite a large group. I spoke to our guide about the meet. He was amazed at the turnout. We discussed the possibility of DVC supplying some small trinkets to hand out at the meet. I won't discuss much more, but I'm hopeful our discussion will help enhance the meet. :)

After I left our guide I headed back to Downtown Disney where I met up with Kim and Anna at the World of Disney. We purchased some souveniers and gifts for family back home.

While Kim and Anna continued shopping I stepped out the back entrance and snapped some photos of construction progress going on in the Marketplace.

Construction walls around the Marketplace stage.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture132-1.jpg

Here are a couple shots of the new T-Rex Cafe set to open this Fall. I've heard November 1st, but that is not official. It is going to be a large restaurant.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture133-1-1.jpg

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture134-1.jpg

After we left the World of Disney we took a trip over to Goofy's Candy Company. A trip to Downtown Disney just doesn't seem right without a visit to Goofy's.

Here are a couple shots of what we purchased.

Anna had a pink cupcake.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture137-1.jpg

Kim and I chose a Peanut Butter Heaven and a piece of peanut butter fudge.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture138-1.jpg

After our desserts we decided to head back to the Wilderness Lodge. When we arrived I headed over to the lobby and stopped in the Territory Lounge for a quick drink. The lounge is somewhat small. It is warm and relaxing. There is a flat panel TV on the wall. I ordered a frozen margharita and had a nice conversation with the bar tender. The lounge is located off the fine dining establishment in the lodge called Artist's Point in the back left corner of the lobby. It is a nice spot to go if you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of WDW.

Here is a photo of my frozen margharita.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture140-1.jpg

Tomorrow we check out of the Wilderness Lodge Villas and check into the Polynesian Resort. We are looking forward to our stay there. Before we check into the Polynesian we have a breakfast reservation at 9:45AM at The Wave. I wanted to try this restaurant since it just opened. I'll let you know about our experience tomorrow afternoon.

Here's one more shot from the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge. The lobby Spring which leads to the main pool in the back of the resort.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture131-1.jpg

Here's a shot of a Lego family at Downtown Disney.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture135-1.jpg

Here's another shot from afar at the Marketplace at Downtown Disney.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture139-1.jpg

Up Next:
Breakfast at The Wave
Checking-In to the Polynesian
Polynesian Pool
The Magic Kingdom

LMO429
07-17-2008, 11:22 PM
that cupcake looks so delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :thumbsup2

disneyholic family
07-18-2008, 01:30 AM
great new installments!!!

thanks for taking the time to include us in your fun!!!

and thanks for the toy story mania tip - DD will be there in sept and i'll let her know..

Dodie
07-18-2008, 08:22 AM
Woo hoo! Aaron is "schmoozing for loot" for our Indy DIS Meet! :rotfl:

Thanks again for the great report. I'm looking forward to hearing about your Poly stay.

IWISHFORDISNEY
07-18-2008, 09:08 AM
Just catching up. What a fantastic trip you are having. That pic with Daisy is great!!!! I cant wait to hear the rest. Thanks for reporting the crowd levels we leave on Sunday!!

annie1995
07-18-2008, 10:02 AM
Can't wait to hear about the Wave and see your poly pics!!!

chickie
07-18-2008, 12:38 PM
This has been a great trip report! I am enjoying all the pictures, too! Thanks for all the hard work for us during your vacation. Looking forward to hearing about the Wave Restaurant.

tinkbutt
07-18-2008, 01:15 PM
MAN!!! your trip sounds Awesome!!!

it's making me home sick! but I am glad you guys are having fun!!! the food looks soooooo yummy!!!!

ShesAPirate
07-18-2008, 01:39 PM
Fantastic report so far! I can't wait to see your Poly photos. I miss that place so much!

ADP
07-18-2008, 02:16 PM
Friday, July 18th

Hi everyone,

We are back from our morning and afternoon activiites. We visited The Wave this morning, checked into the Polynesian, and spent some time at the pool while our room was getting cleaned and ready.

We checked out of the Wilderness Lodge Villas and began the next segment of our trip at the Polynesian. Before we checked into the Polynesian we took the boat from the Wilderness Lodge dock to the Contemporary. We had a 9:45AM ADR at The Wave.

The restaurant is on the 1st floor and it replaced the Food & Fun Center. My
1st impression of this restaurant is adult oriented and somewhat upscale with a relaxed atmosphere. The bar area is very nice; however, the seating off the bar is unusual. It has a round sofa type seating. I took a walk through the bar and was surprised to see it was open at 10:00AM in the morning. I spoke to the bar tender who confirmed "Yes, the bar is open, can I help you?" LOL!

The staff at the restaurant went out of there way to be friendly. They even gave Anna a couple pins and a tinker bell light up figurine for her drink.

The menu has a healthy food type of appeal to it. There are several multigrain breads and cheeses which give you that impression. The prices are above average for breakfast; however, I will say the food is delicious and worth it in my opinion. If you order a multigrain or organic item from the menu it will cost you slightly more.

I had the fetta and spinach scrambled eggs with breakfast potatos and a biscuit. Kim had a ham and cheese omlette with breakfast potatos and a biscuit. As I mentioned earlier the food was prepared very well. My spinach was served on the side and not prepared in the omlette; which was probably a smart decision by the chef. I also ordered coffee. One thing you should know about the coffee at The Wave. It is not your typical Disney/Nescafe coffee. It is one of the few places on property that serve something other than Nescafe. It is an organic coffee from Columbia. I believe our server called it Joffers coffee. I noticed it right away when I took my first sipp it was something different. It was very good.

Our total bill came to $32.25 with our 20% DDE discount and automatic 18% gratuity. If you enjoy a nice quiet breakfast and ordering off a menu is your thing then you should try this restaurant. It is a different Disney dining experience. My impression is that this restaurant was built to appeal to convention goers at the Contemporary.

Here are some photos from our breakfast at the Wave.

Restaurant entrance located on the 1st floor in the back of the lobby.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture145-1-1.jpg

A shot of inside the restaurant.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture147-1-1.jpg

My breakfast; fetta and spinach scrambled eggs. Very tasty.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture150-1.jpg

Here's a very new hidden mickey inside the bar's wine display. The bar has a very large south of the equator wine selection.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture148-1-1.jpg

We left the restaurant and took the escalators up to the 4th floor to catch the monorail to the Polynesian.

While we were waiting for the monorail I snapped this picture of what used to be the Concourse Steakhouse. It will soon be a new counter service option on the Grand Canyon Concourse.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture151-1.jpg

We rode the resort monorail around to the Polynesian and went down to the front desk to check-in. Before I officially checked in I asked the front desk to locate a friend of ours who had been helping us plan our trip. Her name was Allison and she works in the Itinerary Planning Office. She said to look her up when we arrived, so we did.

Here is a photo Anna and I took with her. If you are reading this Allison; Thank You Very Much for your kindness and hospitality.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture153-2.jpg

After we checked in (our room was not ready yet) we decided to head out to the pool. Anna and Kim came to the Poly with their bathing suits on underneath their clothes. I had other ideas. I spent the time at the Barefoot pool bar. After a few drinks and a conversation with a nice gentleman from Scottland I walked around the pool and resort and snapped a few photos. The Polynesian is a beautiful resort with plenty of nice views.

The volcano at the Volcano pool. The pool slide winds through the inside.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture155-1-1.jpg

Lobby beauty in the Great Ceremonial House.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture152-1.jpg

Volcano Spring which heads towards the volcano pool.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture154-1.jpg

A shot of the Volcano pool this afternoon.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture157-1-1.jpg

Construction at the back of the Great Ceremonial House. Cast Members told me they were replacing windows. Not sure why.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture156-1.jpg

After we left the pool we discovered our room was ready. We have a garden view room on the 3rd floor of Tokelau with a partial lagoon view. A great view of the Grand Floridian. Since we are on the 3rd floor we have a balcony. Rooms on the second floor do not have a balcony. I believe that is the case in most, if not all the longhouses here at the Polynesian.

Here is the view from our balcony. Sunset Point is just to the right out of view.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture158-1.jpg

Earlier, when we were on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House I stopped at the coffee/sushi bar. They were currently selling coffee and pastry. I asked the Cast Member about the sushi and she said the sushi bar would open at 5:00PM and close at 10:00PM. So, for those who wish to try it out those are the hours. I will grab a photo of the sushi bar sometime this weekend.

Later this afternoon we will be headed to the Magic Kingdom via the monorail. The Magic Kingdom is open until 11:00PM this evening with Extra Magic Hours until 2:00AM. We plan on stopping at Casey's Corner for dinner.

Before I sign off for now here are some photos I snapped this morning of the construciton at the Contemporary Villas or Bay Lake Tower.

Side view of the tower showing windows and other exterior going up.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture142-1-1-1.jpg

Here is a shot showing some sort of observation tower being constructed at the top of the tower. Maybe for firework viewing, maybe not.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture144-1.jpg

Here's a shot of the new pathway leading from the new tower to the current Contemporary tower.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture143-1.jpg

UrsulasShadow
07-18-2008, 02:30 PM
Whoa, great pics of what's coming at the Contemporary! And I love the Poly shots...really shows the beauty of the resort.

ShesAPirate
07-18-2008, 02:38 PM
*sigh* I wanna be there!!! I can almost smell the Poly, looking at those pics. The Poly has the best smelling lobby in tht world! :D

annie1995
07-18-2008, 02:53 PM
Ohhhhh how pretty the Poly is!!! Someday I'll stay there:cloud9: . I definately have to add the Wave to our ADR's for next years trip:goodvibes .

crazydisneyman
07-18-2008, 03:23 PM
Thanks for the Poly picks. We are literally, "Too excited to sleep." I know it is still some time away, but I am so looking forward to our trip in Sept.

Have a wonderful time!

JCandKT
07-18-2008, 04:21 PM
These trip reports are what get me through the day.

September can't come soon enough.

WDWBetsy
07-18-2008, 04:28 PM
Love all the Polynesian pics! Thanks for sharing those and the others. Your commentary is great too. :banana: Looks like you're all having a wonderful time.

tinkbutt
07-18-2008, 09:44 PM
love that hidden Mickey too funny!!

you guys really cover some ground!!!

ADP
07-18-2008, 11:42 PM
Hi Everyone,

We are back from our evening at the Magic Kingdom. Today was one of those days I won't soon forget. As I was strolling through the Great Ceremonial House this afternoon I overheard a voice I knew I recognized right away. After a turn of my head I realized it was Pete. And Walter was with him. What a surprise. The three of us had a great conversation. Later on during our conversation Kim and Anna showed up. It was truly a pleasure speaking with them. Pete and/or Walter if you are reading this thanks for taking the time out of your day to spend it with us. You guys rock! :)

After we left Pete and Walter we jumped on the monorail and headed for the Magic Kingdom. Tonight was Extra Magic Hours so the park was open until 2:00AM; however, we only made it until 11:30. The park wasn't as crowded as I expected. Wait times ranged anywhere from 10 minutes on Pirates to 50 minutes on Peter Pan. The best time to ride attractions was during the parade and fireworks. We took full advantage of that.

Here are a couple of photos as we entered the Magic Kingdom this evening.

The roof tarp of the boat launch has been removed probably just for a quick refurbishment.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture159-1.jpg

Landscape Mickey Mouse with the Main St. Train Station above.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture160-1.jpg

The first thing we did when we entered the Magic Kingdom was head to Casey's Corner for a hot dog. For some reason I had a craving this afternoon for one of those hot dogs. We all had a hot dog with french fries and a drink. We also got a cup of the cheese sauce for our fries.

Here are a couple shots of our meal at Casey's

Restaurant signage out front...Casey's jersey
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture161-1.jpg

My hot dog platter. Craving satisfied!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture162-1-1.jpg

After our meal at Casey's we headed for the attractions. Attractions we experienced this evening were Big Thunder (fastpass), Jungle Cruise (fastpass), Peter Pan, Mad Tea Party, Haunted Mansion, Laugh Floor, and TTA.

One note, we saw several Dream Squad members walking around the park interacting with guests this evening. They were not handing out any prizes, but just conversing and interacting with guests.

As we were walking out of Tomorrowland I snapped this photo of Cinderella Castle. The weather was beautiful this evening.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture165-1.jpg

Before we left the Magic Kingdom this evening we made one more stop at the Main St. Ice Cream Parlor. We all had a single scoop of ice cream in a cup. It was an end to a terrific day.

Up Next:
Magic Kingdom
Polynesian Fun & Games
Dinner at Ohana

2xcited2sleep
07-19-2008, 06:40 AM
You got to meet Pete & Walter!! A celebrity sighting! ;) That's awesome -- what a bonus on top of what sounds like an already great day. Loving the live report. You keep having fun and the rest of us will too! :thumbsup2

TSWJan78
07-19-2008, 08:28 AM
Thanks for the up to date info.. we are there on Friday and you wait times and park expierences are giving me hope we are not doomed for a week of waiting in line!!

Thanks again

kab407
07-19-2008, 08:52 AM
Thanks for the update and photos Aaron. I love the Poly! Glad that you were able to meet up with Pete and Walter. Enjoy the rest of your vacation.

disneyholic family
07-19-2008, 08:53 AM
what wonderful pictures - i especially love the ones of the poly and the construction at the contemporary..

ADP
07-19-2008, 03:40 PM
Saturday, July 19th

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our morning/afternoon at the Magic Kingdom. We had breakfast in the room this morning so we could get to the park when it opened at 9:00AM.

When we arrived the park had just opened and we headed straight for Fantasyland as we had not had the opportunity to do some of the attractions there yet. All Fantasyland attractions were pretty much a walk on until 10:15AM except for Dumbo. When is it ever? The park was not very crowded this morning or even the early afternoon. We found wait times to be anwhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes from 10:30 until 12:30. We noticed a big spike in wait times as we were leaving the park at 1:30. For instance Splash Mountain went from 30 minutes to 70 minutes in about 30 minutes time. A huge difference.

Here are a few wait time photos from this morning.

Pirates of the Caribbean was a 10 minute wait most of the morning and into the early afternoon.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture175-1-1.jpg

Big Thunder Mountain was 30 minutes most of the morning until around 12:30.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture172-1.jpg

Here's a photo of the crowds from Frontierland looking towards Liberty Square. Pretty thin crowds.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture178-1.jpg

Attractions we experienced this morning were Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, Dumbo, Mad Tea Party, Goofy's Barnstormer, Buzz Lightyear, TTA, The Laugh Floor, Big Thunder Mountain (Fastpass) Splash Mountain (Fastpass), Hall of Presidents, and Pirates of the Caribbean. We were going to ride Stitch's Great Escape, but it was broken down.

Here is a photo of Anna and I getting ready to ride Dumbo.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture167-1.jpg

Here's a shot of Anna and I going down the big hill of Splash Mountain. DOWN THE CHUTE!!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture177-1.jpg

The Liberty Bell riverboat.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture174-1.jpg

Buzz Lightyear Anamatronic. "Attention Space Rangers....Standby!"
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture170-1-1.jpg

Lollipop trees in Tomorrowland.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture168-1.jpg

We left the Magic Kingdom around 1:30PM. On our way out we saw the Mayor of Main St. He's a heck of a nice guy.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture179-1.jpg

We took the monorail back to the Polynesian. We strolled around the Great Ceremonial House. I took a few photos.

Here's a few shots of Captain Cooks; the counter service restaurant at the Polynesian. You can order your food at the video kiosks. They also serve Dole Whip.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture180-1.jpg

Seating area. Additional seating is next door and outside.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture181-1-1.jpg

Captain Cooks baked goods
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture182-1.jpg

Here's a shot of the coffee bar. Later in the day it turns into a Sushi bar.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture166-1-1.jpg

We are planning on taking it easy the rest of the afternoon. Kim went out to the quiet pool to catch some sun. Anna and I may head to the arcade. We have a 6:30 ADR at Ohana tonight. I'll let you know how our experience goes there. I may also leave Kim and Anna this evening, take the monorail over to EPCOT, catch Illuminations and walk around World Showcase to work off the food we will eat at Ohana.

On a final note, before we left the Magic Kingdom today we stopped at Aloha Isle for a Dole Whip float in honor of our good friend Bawb.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture176-1.jpg

More to come!

MenashaCorp
07-19-2008, 03:46 PM
The wonder of seeing your fun in real time continues, topped off with a Dole Whip For Bawb. Nice.

I'm surprised you didn't FastPass Hall of Presidents! :rotfl2:

Have fun and keep it coming as long as you can!! :goodvibes

jennz
07-19-2008, 04:17 PM
The weather looks great - I love those blue skies. That Dole whip looks great too...yummmmm!

Awesome score on Toy Story!! Did you love it? How about Anna and Kim?

Hey - dd wants to know "how could you forget Small World?!"

ADP
07-19-2008, 04:45 PM
The weather looks great - I love those blue skies. That Dole whip looks great too...yummmmm!

Awesome score on Toy Story!! Did you love it? How about Anna and Kim?

Hey - dd wants to know "how could you forget Small World?!"


Toy Story is a great ride. I could ride it for hours; however, I don't know if my arm would make it.

We were so worried about getting on attractions with usually long wait times like Dumbo and Snow White we went right past Small World and never got back around to it. I'll snap some photos for you Sarah the next time we ride. :)

jennz
07-19-2008, 04:52 PM
You'll have to do some arm exercises before your next trip so you can shoot more on Toy Story!:lmao: All is forgiven by Sarah since you've promised pictures. :)

She wants to know how Anna liked Toy Story.popcorn::

westjones
07-19-2008, 04:56 PM
Wednesday, July 16th


The Disney Vacation Club holds a free event there every Wednesday at 4:00PM called Welcome Home Wednesday for DVC members. This was the first time we ever attended. [/B]

Hi! We just joined your Indy DIS meet and I started reading your trip report and realized that DH and one of my DDs were at the Welcome Home meeting with you on Wednesday. It's a Small World After All isn't it! They brought back those bucket hats from AKL. I didn't go because I was tired and my other DD had too much energy and was running around the lake. We just returned last night. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. I don't think we will be returning in the summer (too hot, and too many tour groups).

Enjoy!
DJ

annie1995
07-19-2008, 05:08 PM
Oh that Dole whip looks sooooo yummy right now!!! Can't wait to hear about Ohanas tonight!!! We are eating there next month!! Have a great evening!!!

simonkodousek
07-19-2008, 10:39 PM
How I long for the Polynesian... and a Dole Whip!

Thanks for the great pics!! :)

DLBDS
07-19-2008, 10:58 PM
:thumbsup2

popcorn::

ADP
07-19-2008, 11:15 PM
Hi Everyone,

I just returned from EPCOT where I did a solo tour of World Showcase and saw Illuminations. Kim and Anna decided to go to Downtown Disney's West Side to catch a movie.

Before our evening events we headed over to the Great Cermenonial House for dinner at Ohana. The best way to sum up our experience tonight was hit and miss, but mostly miss. We checked in at 6:15 and were seated in about 10 minutes. The check-in area was very crowded and noisy which it usually is. I kind of like a festive atmosphere though so it was no big deal.

We had a great table next to the window with a view of the castle and the Grand Floridian. When we walked in our server brought us what he called Hawaiian bread. It was warm and had a little sweet taste to it. We all agreed it was very good.

Ohana has changed their menu since April. Sausage is no longer on the skewer. It's been replaced by shrimp. the other big change is the Maui scallop potatos have been replaced by Low Mein noodles. Losing the potatos was a disappointment. The Low Mein noodles are good; however, we liked the potatos better. Another minor change is filled dumplings replaced the chips.

I found all the preliminary food to be just ok. The salad is ok, but there's nothing in it except lettuce. The best part is the dressing. It's sweet and tangy. The highlight of the meal is when the skewers of meat arrive at your table. The skewers include shrimp, turkey, steak, and pork. The shrimp and pork were not good in my opinion. The pork was dry like it had been cooked directly in a fire. The shrimp was overcooked and almost impossible to peel successfully. The steak and turkey on the other hand were good. Both were tender and juicy.

The service was somewhat slow. Our servers name was Chris and I must say this is the longest meal we've ever had at Ohana. It's usually a rapid dining experience because the food comes at you quickly. Not the case tonight. It was a much slower pace. It was actually a bit too slow like it happened that way for a reason.

The usual enterainment was in the restaurant. The Hawaiian hula lady was there providing entertainment for the children. She was conducting limbo events and parades around the restaurant.

Our total bill was $76 with the 20% DDE discount and 18% automatic gratuity. Kim had an Island Sunset drink from the bar. I can't say this meal was worth the price. I would only tell you that most, if not all WDW restaurants are inconsistant. You need to try it for yourself to see if you like it. Tonight wasn't our best experience. If we went again tomorrow night would it be better? Maybe.

Here are some photos from our meal.

Salad and dipping sauces for the skewers of meat.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture190-1.jpg

Dumplings and honey chicken wings
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture191-1-1.jpg

Low mein noodles with broccoli and pea pods
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture192-1.jpg

Kim's Island Sunset from the bar
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture189-1-1.jpg

The fire pit. I think our pork was inside the flame
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture193-1-1.jpg

Before we checked in at Ohana I grabbed some photos of the new sushi bar on the 2nd floor of the Great Ceremonial House. I spoke to a Cast Member behind the counter because I was curious if the bar took the DDE or the DDP. The bar does in fact take the DDE. As far as the dining plan they also accept it; however, if you are on the regular dining plan it will cost you 1 table service credit. If you are on the deluxe dining plan it will only cost you 1 appetizer credit. Kind of a weird situation.

Here are the photos of the sushi bar.

Front of the bar. The sushi is prepared fresh to order. It is not pre rolled before you order it.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture183-1.jpg

Here is the seating at the bar
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture185-1.jpg

Here's a shot of additional seating next to the bar against the window.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture184-1-1.jpg

Here's the menu for the sushi bar
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture186-1.jpg

After our meal at Ohana I left Kim and Anna and headed for EPCOT. I took the walkway which leads from the Polynesian to the transportation and Ticket Center and caught the monorail to EPCOT. It was a quck trip and before I knew it I was walking through the entrance of EPCOT. The Polynesian provides the best transporation options of any resort in my opinion. Having the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT at your disposal is invaluable.

By the way, there is a new coffee and pastry quick service location at the Transporation and Ticket Center. I was told it has been open for a couple weeks. The Mouse doesn't miss a beat does he?
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture194-1.jpg

My first stop at EPCOT was Spaceship Earth. After Spaceship Earth I started my walk around World Showcase. It was a nice peaceful walk. EPCOT was not very crowded this evening. I practically walked onto Spaceship Earth. I walked all the way around to the Japan pavillion and stopped to watch Illuminations. It was a great show. I'd never seen it from that spot.

Here are a few shots from tonights show.

A close up of the globe
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture196-1.jpg

"We Go On!"
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture197-1.jpg

I spent another hour in EPCOT after Illuminations. I continued my stroll around World Showcase at a slow pace and stopped in at Mouse Gear for a while. It stays open for quite a while after Illuminations for those last minute shoppers.

I left EPCOT and took the monorail back to the Transporation and Ticket Center and walked back to our longhouse at the Polynesian. By the way, the ride to EPCOT on the monorail is a very nice ride. It provides a great view of the inside of EPCOT as you pass through it on your way to the EPCOT monrail station.

That's it for today. Another update coming tomorrow. :)

Up Next:
Hollywood Studios (Another shot at Toy Story Mania)
Dinner at Trails End
The Magic Kingdom

qanita92
07-20-2008, 02:42 AM
Hope you will have a great day, but the think MK will be crowded due to EMH.

disneyholic family
07-20-2008, 02:49 AM
what are the hours of captain cooks?

your pictures are great!!!
thanks so much for sharing your trip with us...

tammydel
07-20-2008, 07:07 AM
Love my kids.
Love my husband.
Love all the wonderful people I've brought to Disney over the years.
But the thought of wandering the World Showcase by myself. That must be what heaven is like.:cloud9:
Tammy

jennz
07-20-2008, 07:16 AM
Love my kids.
Love my husband.
Love all the wonderful people I've brought to Disney over the years.
But the thought of wandering the World Showcase by myself. That must be what heaven is like.:cloud9:
Tammy

:woohoo:

crazydisneyman
07-20-2008, 07:42 AM
what are the hours of captain cooks?

your pictures are great!!!
thanks so much for sharing your trip with us...

Not to steal ADP's thunder, but I do know that Captain Cooks is 24 hours with staff for most of that time. (I think it is staffed from 5am - 11pm) or something like that. I have been there before and the touch screen ordering systems are awesome!

ADP, thanks for all the reports!

bcvdreamer
07-20-2008, 08:03 AM
ADP, great report, love the pictures. Thank you.

I hope you make it on Toy Story Mania today.

IWISHFORDISNEY
07-20-2008, 08:06 AM
Love all the pics. That is so cool you got to meet up with Pete and Walter. The crowds dont look too bad thanks for reporting on that. The sushi bar is something I am gonna have to check out :thumbsup2 I cant wait to hear the rest.

pta-mom
07-20-2008, 08:25 AM
Thanks so much for your live report...it's awesome!!! One month from today, I'll be able to experience my very own "live" report!!!

disneyholic family
07-20-2008, 08:56 AM
Not to steal ADP's thunder, but I do know that Captain Cooks is 24 hours with staff for most of that time. (I think it is staffed from 5am - 11pm) or something like that. I have been there before and the touch screen ordering systems are awesome!

ADP, thanks for all the reports!

thanks! the one at the GF is also open 24 hours and i love that about it..

annie1995
07-20-2008, 10:31 AM
I have to admit, I've been kinda scared for Ohanas this year. Oh well, its Disney right? Have a great day today!!! Can't wait to hear about it!!!

trixiequilts
07-20-2008, 02:26 PM
Just wanted to pop in and say how much fun it is reading your live report! My DBIL, DSisIL, DNe, and DNi are there right now, too. I'm sure you've seen them. :lmao: It helps me imagine what they're doing. I have to wait for my first trip until January. :sad: Keep up the great work!

ADP
07-20-2008, 02:29 PM
Sunday, July 20th

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our morning in Hollywood Studios. I left the room at 8:25 this morning and got to the entrance just before the park opened. I wanted to catch a few more rides on Toy Story Mania. Anna and Kim decided to sleep in a bit this morning, so I ventured off without them, but would meet up with them later.

When I arrived at the park I went straight for Toy Story Mania. When I got to the attraction they were not letting anybody in. Cast Members were lining up guests outside the attraction. At 9:10 they let the line go into the attraction. Before I jumped in line I got a fastpass; which I never needed. The standby line already had a 30 minute wait in front of me when they let us into the attraction. That was ok though because I wanted to catch another glimpse of Mr. Potato Head. You will not see him if you use the fastpass or single rider line.

Believe it or not I was able to ride TSM 6 times in a row with little to no wait using the single rider line. My high score this morning after 7 rides was 188,000. The high score for the month is 340,000. I'm still trying to figure out how somebody can get a score like that.

When I met up with Kim and Anna I made a quick stop at Starring Rolls for a cup of coffee and a cheese danish. Kim and Anna had just come off of TSM. They jumped into the standby line while I was just getting onto the attraction from the single rider line. We left the park around 1:30PM and headed back to the Polynesian.

Here are some photos of our morning at Hollywood Studios.

Citizens of Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture199-1.jpg

40 minute wait posted as the line was entered into the attraction; however, it was a 30 minute wait.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture200-1.jpg

Photo inside the standby queue of TSM. Scrabble and Barrel of Monkies on the celieng.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture201-1-1.jpg

Mr. Potato Head. The funniest spud in town.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture202-1.jpg

A hidden mickey in the standby queue of TSM near the floor.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture203-1.jpg

The Studios wasn't very crowded at all this morning. Wait times were pretty low for a summer Sunday in July
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture207-1.jpg

A shot of Pixar Place showing a pretty small crowd at 10:30 this morning.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture208-1.jpg

The fastpass time for TSM at 11:00AM. Already at 5:00PM to 6:00PM.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture209-1.jpg

Singing in the Rain umbrella. It was a great morning to get wet.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture214-1.jpg

We took in The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectaculor.

As Marion would say...."INDY!!!"
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture218-1.jpg

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture219-1.jpg

Made it in the nick of time
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture220-1.jpg

Here's a shot of the board at Sid's. It's located just to the left as you enter DHS. Answer all 5 questions correctly and get a prize in the store.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture222-1.jpg

One note. Several folks were walking around the Animation Courtyard this morning with Dream Fastpasses. Apparently, they were handed out in the One Man's Dream attraction.

In just a few minutes we are heading to the Volcano Pool. We have a 5:30PM ADR over at Trails End at the Ft. Wilderness campground. Afterwards we are heading back to the Magic Kingdom.

That's it for now. I'll be back later with more. :)

MenashaCorp
07-20-2008, 02:52 PM
Sunday, July 20th
Believe it or not I was able to ride TSM 6 times in a row with little to no wait using the single rider line. My high score this morning after 7 rides was 188,000. The high score for the month is 340,000. I'm still trying to figure out how somebody can get a score like that.

That's it for now. I'll be back later with more. :)

One hint: Colors. The targets are different colors for different values. By focusing on the higher value ones first, bigger scores.

Second: Don't be polite. Shoot at your "seat mate's" targets as well.

ADP
07-20-2008, 02:55 PM
One hint: Colors. The targets are different colors for different values. By focusing on the higher value ones first, bigger scores.

Second: Don't be polite. Shoot at your "seat mate's" targets as well.

Great tips. I used the color tip, but started hitting my passengers targets as well after a couple times through. It definately does help.

stitchlover
07-20-2008, 03:05 PM
So what is your overall impression of the Poly? We are scheduled for there in March '09 and I'm a little hesitant. We stayed at WL this past March and LOVED it, I'm kind of sad not to be going back there. We were in Hawaii last month and I keep thinking do I really need to do the Poly? But the transportation options really call to me!

Also, loved the photos of the construction at the Contemporary. Does anyone know when the construction is projected to be done? I'm just wondering if it will be finished when we go back next spring?

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time!

prettypixie
07-20-2008, 03:09 PM
Love my kids.
Love my husband.
Love all the wonderful people I've brought to Disney over the years.
But the thought of wandering the World Showcase by myself. That must be what heaven is like.:cloud9:
Tammy

Well said Tammy!!:rotfl: I long for that day!

ADP
07-20-2008, 03:39 PM
So what is your overall impression of the Poly? We are scheduled for there in March '09 and I'm a little hesitant. We stayed at WL this past March and LOVED it, I'm kind of sad not to be going back there. We were in Hawaii last month and I keep thinking do I really need to do the Poly? But the transportation options really call to me!

Also, loved the photos of the construction at the Contemporary. Does anyone know when the construction is projected to be done? I'm just wondering if it will be finished when we go back next spring?

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time!

We love the Poly. It's our favorite deluxe on property. The transporation is the best. The resort grounds are beautiful and peaceful. The look and feel of the resort is wonderful. The fact that its on the monorail doesn't hurt either.

Going to EPCOT was so much more relaxing just walking and riding the monorail. Plus, getting back last night was so easy. Fantastic!

If you stay here make sure to enjoy the resorts amenities. It would be a shame to visit parks all day and not enjoy what this resort has to offer.

The construction of the Contemporary is anyone's guess. Disney has been so "hush, hush" about it. The way its progressing it should be complete sometime in 2009.

Love my kids.
Love my husband.
Love all the wonderful people I've brought to Disney over the years.
But the thought of wandering the World Showcase by myself. That must be what heaven is like.:cloud9:
Tammy

You're right Tammy, it was a wonderful experience.

There's something very theraputic about walking around World Showcase by yourself. It was a beautiful and peaceful stroll. Illuminations was great!

Disneybridein2k3
07-20-2008, 04:03 PM
I spent another hour in EPCOT after Illuminations. I continued my stroll around World Showcase at a slow pace and stopped in at Mouse Gear for a while. It stays open for quite a while after Illuminations for those last minute shoppers.
Aaron -- Lovin' the report and pics!!! No one else except those with Disney OCD understand the beauty of a trip report with pictures, great details, and food porn! One question though - did you stay for the burn off after Illuminations? I thought it was more like an hr and a half afterwards but I could be wrong. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

~Stacy

disneyholic family
07-20-2008, 04:10 PM
wow!! 6 times in a row!!!!
that's amazing...
is the single riders line the same as the FP?
the sign indicates both through the same door..

pta-mom
07-20-2008, 05:14 PM
I'm really surprised by how little the crowds seem to be, especially in the morning. Are you using a specific guide to your park travelling days or just going where ever the feeling hits you?

Thanks again for your report! I'm getting so excited knowing we'll be there again in only a month!

crazydisneyman
07-20-2008, 06:25 PM
Aaron,

When I was down there in May I visited the Poly just to look around and visit the Concierge area to see what is was like for our trip in Sept. The one main impression that I got from the resort was the peacefulness of it. It is almost like life slows down and the Poly provides a relaxing feeling. I also was amazed by all the travel options: boat, monorail, and bus.

I do have a question: is it better to walk over to the TTC to catch a bus to the parks or water parks or Downtown Disney?

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks, Chris

DVCsince02
07-20-2008, 07:52 PM
As I was strolling through the Great Ceremonial House this afternoon I overheard a voice I knew I recognized right away. After a turn of my head I realized it was Pete. And Walter was with him. What a surprise. The three of us had a great conversation. Later on during our conversation Kim and Anna showed up. It was truly a pleasure speaking with them. Pete and/or Walter if you are reading this thanks for taking the time out of your day to spend it with us. You guys rock! :)

I knew you would find him!!!! AWESOME!:thumbsup2

drakethib
07-20-2008, 08:12 PM
Thanks for posting this.

Kind of fun to read throughout the day

PEANUT1
07-20-2008, 08:48 PM
We aren't impressed with Ohana anymore. The food from our last trip was terrible. The meat was very dry and no flavor. We used to love this place....I don't think we will dine there again.

calypso*a*go-go
07-20-2008, 09:03 PM
I've been gone a couple of days -- I need to get caught up!!! :thumbsup2

BriarRosie
07-20-2008, 09:25 PM
Aaron,

When I was down there in May I visited the Poly just to look around and visit the Concierge area to see what is was like for our trip in Sept. The one main impression that I got from the resort was the peacefulness of it. It is almost like life slows down and the Poly provides a relaxing feeling. I also was amazed by all the travel options: boat, monorail, and bus.

I do have a question: is it better to walk over to the TTC to catch a bus to the parks or water parks or Downtown Disney?

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks, Chris

The Polynesian has a dedicated bus stop to the other parks and water parks and Downtown Disney. IMHO, I think it's better to use the bus outside the lobby area.

ADP
07-20-2008, 11:47 PM
Aaron -- Lovin' the report and pics!!! No one else except those with Disney OCD understand the beauty of a trip report with pictures, great details, and food porn! One question though - did you stay for the burn off after Illuminations? I thought it was more like an hr and a half afterwards but I could be wrong. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

~Stacy

Unfortunately, I missed it. I was in the front of the park; probably Mouse Gear when the burn off happened.

wow!! 6 times in a row!!!!
that's amazing...
is the single riders line the same as the FP?
the sign indicates both through the same door..

Althoug single riders and fastpass enter through the same entrance they split later in the queue at the base of the steps. Fastpass guests eventually end up in the standby line while the single riders stay in their own dedicated line.

I'm really surprised by how little the crowds seem to be, especially in the morning. Are you using a specific guide to your park travelling days or just going where ever the feeling hits you?

Thanks again for your report! I'm getting so excited knowing we'll be there again in only a month!

We are using a strategy. We are going to the parks based on their evening EMH schedule. The park which has evening EMH is the park we will hit the next morning. In theory that park should have low crowds the following morning. It's seemed to work. Morning and early afternoon crowds have been light in most cases. After 1:30 we exit the park and visit a different park at around 6:00 or 7:00PM. This strategy has worked out great considering the weather. It's hotter in the afternoon and its rained at times while we've been at dinner, inside the room relaxing, or in the lobby shopping.

Aaron,

When I was down there in May I visited the Poly just to look around and visit the Concierge area to see what is was like for our trip in Sept. The one main impression that I got from the resort was the peacefulness of it. It is almost like life slows down and the Poly provides a relaxing feeling. I also was amazed by all the travel options: boat, monorail, and bus.

I do have a question: is it better to walk over to the TTC to catch a bus to the parks or water parks or Downtown Disney?

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks, Chris

I'd use the Poly busses and not walk over to the TTC. The Poly has busses for AK, DHS, and Downtown Disney. The only time I would walk to the TTC would be for the monorail to EPCOT. Having that option is invaluable. Just remember the busses from the Poly sometimes have to make additonal stops at the Contemporary or Grand Floridian. They are not dedicated to the Poly.

I knew you would find him!!!! AWESOME!:thumbsup2

Thanks for letting me know. It was wonderful meeting them.

ADP
07-21-2008, 12:28 AM
Hi Everyone,

We are back from a long evening. We visited the Volcano pool, had dinner at Trails End over at Ft. Wilderness campground, and visited the Magic Kingdom. We stayed at the Magic Kingdom until 12:30. It was evening EMH tonight so the park was open until 2:00AM.

We spent about and hour and a half at the pool this afternoon. I took the opporunity to snap a few more photos of the resort.

Here's the crowd at the pool today at around 4:00PM.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture234-1-1.jpg

The Barefoot pool bar.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture230-1-1.jpg

A shot of the marina located at the Polynesian
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture231-1-1.jpg

A photo of the Grand Floridian from the Polynesian boat dock.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture232-1-1.jpg

The beach at the Polynesian across from the pool.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture233-1-1.jpg

After our visit to the pool. We changed and headed for the Poly boat dock. We took the boat to the Magic Kingdom and transferred to the Ft. Wilderness boat. The Ft. Wilderness boat dropped us off near Pioneer Hall where the Trails End restaurant is located.

Trails End is a great value. They serve the same food you will find at the Hoop De Doo Review; in fact, they share the same kitchen. Trails End is a buffet. The menu included pork ribs, fried chicken, mashed potatos, rice, corn, baked salmon, and sausage. there is also a full salad bar and dessert bar with corn bread.

I must say the food was very good. I had my share of BBQ ribs and corn bread. Everything I had on the buffet was delicious. I'd suggest taking the boat ride over to Ft. Wilderness to give it a try. Not only will you enjoy the restaurant, but you can take in some other activities like petting the animals or taking in a pony ride.

Our servers name was Diane. She did a great job. In fact, she provided us with the best service of the trip. She made sure our glasses were full and our needs were met. She was very friendly, but not overly friendly. We didn't have service issues at all from the moment we checked in to the time we left.

The total cost of our meal was $49 including the 20% DDE discount and automatic 18% gratuity. Again, this was a great value in my opinion. If you want an even better value visit this restaurant during lunch. The price is much cheaper and the food is much the same.

Here are some photos from our meal.

My plate of food from the buffet
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture235-1-1.jpg

Here's a shot of the buffet line
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture223-1.jpg

And finally a shot of the inside of the restaurant.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture224-1-1.jpg

After our dinner Kim decided to head back to the Polynesian and rest. Anna and I had other ideas. We took the boat to the Contemporary and then walked over to the MK. Here's another photo of the new Contemporary tower.
Old versus New from the Bay Lake side.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture225-1.jpg

The Magic Kingdom was surprisingly not as busy as I expected. We were able to ride Splash Mountain 2 times in a row with 15 to 20 minute wait times despite the sign telling us it was 30 minutes. I got soaked by the way. Anna thought it was funny.

We also took in Small World. Here are some photos from the Small World attraction. For you Sarah! :)

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture226-1-1.jpg

http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture227-1-1.jpg

My favorite figure in the whole attraction, the native dancer. He makes me laugh everytime.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture228-1.jpg

Other attractions we experienced tonight were Laugh Floor, Mad Tea Party, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey's Philharmagic, Goofy's Barnstormer, and Big Thunder Mountain (fastpass).

Anna and I jumped the monorail back to the Polynesain and that was our evening. Unfortunately, we are checking out of the Polynesian tomorrow morning. We have one more full day left at WDW and it will be spent at Old Key West. We will miss the Polynesian. It was a great stay.

Until next time
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture229-2.jpg

Up Next:
EPCOT
Checking Into Old Key West
Rest and Relaxation

prettypixie
07-21-2008, 06:10 AM
Aaron, thanks for the info about Trails End Buffet. I think I might give it a try in Sept!

annie1995
07-21-2008, 09:31 AM
It can't be your last full day already. I hope its a good one, can't wait to hear about it!!

Tracy0729
07-21-2008, 10:05 AM
Can you take some pictures of the room at old key west. We will be staying there in 26 days. Great report

tammydel
07-21-2008, 12:31 PM
I've always heard good things about Trails End, I've never been but after your report it seems like it would be worth the trip - esp. from MK or MK resorts.
Tammy

UrsulasShadow
07-21-2008, 12:48 PM
The beach at the Polynesian across from the pool.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture233-1-1.jpg

[/B]

This isn't the first time I've seen people swimming in the lake there...isn't it posted not to swim in the lakes?

ShesAPirate
07-21-2008, 01:27 PM
This isn't the first time I've seen people swimming in the lake there...isn't it posted not to swim in the lakes?

Yup, all over the place. But when we were there in September, we saw the same thing... It was gross to watch, honestly. Nasty water! But the cast members didn't seems concerned, so people just kept on swimming :eek:

ericafny
07-21-2008, 02:47 PM
Yup, all over the place. But when we were there in September, we saw the same thing... It was gross to watch, honestly. Nasty water! But the cast members didn't seems concerned, so people just kept on swimming :eek:

All I have to say is EWWW...:scared1:

alaskanmommy
07-21-2008, 05:37 PM
I can't believe it's already your last day! :sad2: Well, great job on your live report and I'll patiently wait until another one! Thanks for letting me and others live vicariously through you Aaron until we can get our next Disney fix. :wizard:

ADP
07-21-2008, 07:24 PM
Monday, July 21st

Hi Everyone,

We are back from our day at EPCOT. We spent the morning and afternoon in the park. This is the first day of our trip we spent time in a park after 2:00PM and it showed. The heat and crowds were tough to deal with. We had to use fastpass and go into attractions and shops to cool off. The Magic Kingdom had evening extra magic hours last night, but instead of going to the Magic Kingdom this morning we went to EPCOT instead. The crowd levels at EPCOT this morning and afternoon were higher than I expected. Since we went against our touring strategy it showed with higher than usual wait times.

Attractions we experienced today were Living with the Land, Soarin (fastpass), Test Track (fastpass), Spaceship Earth, Grand Fiesta Tour, World Showcase, and Figment. Wait times were anywhere from no wait on Figment to 90 minutes on Test Track.

Here are some photos of our time at EPCOT this morning.

Good morning to Spaceship Earth
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture236-1.jpg

The entrance to Innoventions where we spent some time today.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture237-1.jpg

The crowd at Innoventions Plaza
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture239-1.jpg

Mexican band playing inside the Mexico pavillion
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture241-1.jpg

Fireworks barge being transported to the World Shocase lagoon
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture243-1.jpg

Sour apple Margharita from Mexico. Sorry, couldn't wait to try it.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture245-1.jpg

After we left EPCOT we jumped on the bus to Old Key West. We checked into the Hospitality House and received our room keys and had our luggage sent to our room. We have a great room located in the Hospitality House section of the resort; building 11. We have a great view of a fairway of the Lake Buena Vista golf course. We walked through the Hospitality House gift shop and grabbed some food at Goods to Go for dinner. That is the counter service location located at the back of the Hospitality House.

Here are some photos of Old Key West.

The breezeway at the Hospitality House
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture247-1.jpg

The view of LBV golf course from our deck
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture248-1.jpg

So that's it. Tomorrow we have an early flight out of the Orlando airport. We will be checking into the airline check-in desk at the Hospitality House very early tomorrow so we can get our boarding passes and check our luggage. We will catch the Magical Express bus and be on our way to the airport. As they say "The Party is Over" for now. The dreaded departure day is upon us. We had a great time as we always do. I'll have another post tomorrow afternoon of our departure and then some final observations of our trip.

Thanks for following along. :)

Up Next:
Departure Day
Magical Express to the airport
Some Observations

MenashaCorp
07-21-2008, 07:34 PM
Fly safely and thanks again for the look-in!!

Enjoy the Gurgling Suitcase! ;)

ADP
07-21-2008, 07:42 PM
Can you take some pictures of the room at old key west. We will be staying there in 26 days. Great report

Sure Tracy. Here you go! This is a 1 bedroom villa.

The kitchen area
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture249-1.jpg

Dining room with deck area in the background. A little dark.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture250-1-1.jpg

Living area with a tired wife and daughter :)
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture251-1.jpg

The bedroom
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture252-1.jpg

The bathroom
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture253-1.jpg

Front entry
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture254-1.jpg

Hope they help.

DVCsince02
07-21-2008, 07:45 PM
Thanks for another great trip report and travel safely!

jennz
07-21-2008, 08:07 PM
From Sarah - thank you for the pictures of It's a Small World! :woohoo: They're very pretty.:thumbsup2 I'm honored.:cloud9: Did you have fun on the ride?

annie1995
07-21-2008, 08:49 PM
Thank you for taking us on your trip!! Its always sad to see them end. Have a safe flight home and I'm looking forward to your wrap up of everything:goodvibes

Verandah Man
07-21-2008, 09:19 PM
Safe travels home, thanks for taking us along on your vacation!!! :thumbsup2

alebisi
07-22-2008, 06:33 AM
[/B] Safe travels home, thanks for taking us along on your vacation!!! :thumbsup2

:offtopic: this is soooo off topic I've just entered on the B.O.B can I ask what is this about? can you PM me? maybe I'm at Disney by that date. Thanks so much.

ADP: I'm so sorry is your last day, is very hard to leave Disney, I just have to say congratulations! I L.O.V.E. your trip report, so far the best I've read. Thank you for bringing me the magic all over again (even if I'm not in Orlando).

Verandah Man
07-22-2008, 07:31 AM
[/B]

:offtopic: this is soooo off topic I've just entered on the B.O.B can I ask what is this about? can you PM me? maybe I'm at Disney by that date. Thanks so much.




ADP: I'm so sorry is your last day, is very hard to leave Disney, I just have to say congratulations! I L.O.V.E. your trip report, so far the best I've read. Thank you for bringing me the magic all over again (even if I'm not in Orlando).


Just sent you a PM about B.O.B......;)

calypso*a*go-go
07-22-2008, 09:01 AM
Aaron...you're probably home by now. Hope you made it safely and have already started planning the next one!!! :goodvibes

tammydel
07-22-2008, 11:58 AM
Hope you've had (or are having) a safe and smooth trip home. Thanks for sharing your family's trip with us.
Tammy

Tracy0729
07-22-2008, 03:56 PM
Thanks for the pictures of OKW. Have a safe trip home Tracy

ADP
07-22-2008, 04:49 PM
Tuesday, July 22nd

Hi Everyone,

We are back in Indiana. Everything went very well this morning with our departue. Magical Express worked out great, the resort flight check-in desk worked great, our flight was on time and went very well. Our luggage was waiting for us in the bag claim area in Indianapolis.

Bell Services at Old Key arrived at 6:15AM to take our luggage to the front. I went with it to the airline check-in desk while Kim and Anna finished breakfast in the room and double-checked everything. Checking in at the airline check-in is very convenient. I told the Cast Members my flight number and airline. They checked my ID and printed out our boarding passes. They tagged our luggage and I never saw it again until we arrived at our home airport.

The Magical Express bus was right on time at 6:50AM. We made one additional stop at Saratoga Springs and then headed for the Orlando airport. When we arrived we retrieved our carry-on items and headed straight for the security line. Looking at the size of the Airtran check-in line on level 3 it was a good thing we had already received our boarding passes and checked our luggage or else we may have been waiting a while. It was very long.

Bottom line, the Magical Express process worked very well. The resort check-in service worked like a charm as well.

While we waited for our Magical Express bus to arrive I snapped a few photos of the lobby area at Old Key West.

Sitting area
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture255-1.jpg

Front desk check-in/check-out
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture256-1.jpg

Our Magical Express motor coach was very comfortable. Here's the final photo I took of our trip. Our Magical Express motor coach as we walked away.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb190/cdpa4d/Picture257-1.jpg

Here are some of my thoughts about this trip:

Transportation:
Our transportation was excellent the entire trip. We had very good luck all the way through with wait times. I don't think we waited more than 25 minutes for a bus, boat, or monorail the entire trip. Most of the transportation Cast Members were very nice and courteous. One thing I did notice this trip is the air conditioning in all of the vehicles seems to have been turned down. It wasn't as cool in the vehicles as it usually is. We honestly didn't mind though. We always thought the transportation vehicles were too cold inside.

Our Magical Express experience was again positive. It was on time, efficient, and comfortable. If you plan on staying on Disney property your entire trip you should take advantage of it while its still a free service.

Theme Parks:
The parks remain crowded in my opinion. Even though crowds were less than we expected its still a crowded experience. Fastpass and a good park strategy did help; however, I still did see wait time of 90 to 120 minutes. It would be crazy to wait in line that long for an attraction.

One other observation was strollers. The number of Disney strollers has signicantly decreased. I believe due to the severe price increase There is more space in the walkways. If Disney's intent was to reduce their strollers in the parks it has worked. Although the walkways are still crowded it does help not to have to zig zag past those big plastic strollers. A number of guests are buying the $50 Kolcraft umbrella strollers as well. They are much smaller than the Disney strollers.

The parks were very clean. We didn't notice any places with trash or needing paint touch-ups. The bathrooms were clean as well. The attractions ran smoothly with no breakdowns while we were in line or on board.

Most park cast members were kind and polite. We did run into the occassional few who were a bit grouchy, but otherwise our experiences with them was terrific.

Resorts:
Our resort stays were very good. I was very happy with our accomodations; especially at the Wilderness Lodge Villas. The Polynesian grounds and room were wonderful. We spent the afternoons, in most cases, at the resorts. The grounds were very well taken care of. We saw maintenance teams trimming bushes, cutting shrubs, and painting exteriors. The rooms at the Polynesian are very big for a standard resort room. Of course, being in a 1 bedroom villa at the Wilderness Lodge and Old Key West does kind of spoil you.

Dining:
I can't really put my finger on it, but the food during this trip was probably the worst we've experienced in a while. I'm not trying to put a damper on anybody else's upcoming trip, but what we experienced this past week was somewhat disappointing. Our best meal of the trip was breakfast at The Wave and then dinner at Trails End. The food at the other restaurants was disappointing, or at least not what we were used to. The counter service locations were not too bad. Pretty much what we've experienced in the past, but the table service locatiions were not up to par.

Service at the restaurants was hit and miss. Some servers were tough to find. Some even completely forgot a request like refilling a glass. Others were very good. They did what you would expect and even went out of their way to be kind. The server(s) at The Wave were simply the best. I can't explain why they just were very good. The Wave wasn't very crowded when we dined there, but it still was a nice change of pace to have great service.

Other Observations:
The prices of souveniers continue to rise. To me $40 for a Disney T-shirt is too high considering the quality of the T-shirt. Wind shirts, pullovers range anywhere from $60 to $90 depending on the logo style. I hope this is not a continual trend.

Avoid the parks in the afternoon during the summer months. I can't say it enough. I noticed a huge difference in our moods and park enjoyment when we stayed in EPCOT all afternoon yesterday. The previous 6 days we left the park around 1:30 and returned around 6:30. During the 5 hours in between we relaxed, enjoyed the resort, did some swimming, and had some lunch. It made all the difference in the world. During those 5 hours on most days it rained on and off. We pretty much avoided the rain and thunder during the afternoon when we were out of the parks. By the way, I took my pedometer with me on this trip and I walked a total of 37 miles. Although I'm pretty tired from a lack of sleep my body feels pretty good considering the amount of walking we did.

Thanks to all of you for your kind words during this live report. It's been fun! Until next time, see you right here on the DIS.

Next Trip Home:
October 18th - 21st - Walt Disney World - Food & Wine
October 21st - 25th - Universal Orlando - Hard Rock Hotel

hannah's dad
07-22-2008, 05:00 PM
Aaron - thanks for the thorough, informative, and fun reports...You've set a high standard for live trip reports and have inspired me to do one next March.

annie1995
07-22-2008, 05:08 PM
It was a pleasure reading your trip report!!! I honestly can't wait till you go again:) . Glad you had a nice trip!!!

UrsulasShadow
07-22-2008, 05:33 PM
Wonderful trip report! I think it's amazing that the whole time you're on your vacation, you're thinking about what you can report back on. I'd never be able to do it, I'm afraid...most times I'm so preoccupied with what I'm doing, I forget to notice the larger picture.

alaskanmommy
07-22-2008, 06:06 PM
Soooooooo bummed your live report is over, Aaron!:surfweb: Great job, I especially liked your last hurrah, about ME, transportation, airline check-in, etc. We thought the Disney transportation last time was great. Oh man, I hope the dining will improve before we get there in November! :confused: That's too bad, we always look forward to the dining on property. Sounds like everybody better start saving up mucho $$$$$$ for Disney clothing in the future. Will the increases ever end??!?
Anyway great report, and hope you and your family made it home safely, and aren't too sad you are no longer at Disney.

~Megan

MenashaCorp
07-22-2008, 06:14 PM
Well thought out, fun trip report. Made us all feel a bit like we were with you.

Glad you made it back safely to Circle City. :goodvibes

stitchlover
07-22-2008, 06:28 PM
Thank you so much for your live report. It was nice to revisit all the sites and attractions through you. It helps get me through the next 200 some odd days until I'm there again.

ShesAPirate
07-22-2008, 06:49 PM
Thanks for another great report, ADP! It really made not being there a tiny bit more tollerable :thumbsup2

alebisi
07-22-2008, 07:27 PM
great trip report Aaron! I'm looking forward for your next trip! (hope it includes another live trip report):goodvibes

ericafny
07-22-2008, 07:50 PM
Aaron - what a great report, I thouroughly enjoyed it! :thumbsup2

I was also able to pick up some tips for my upcoming trip. :goodvibes Too bad the food wasn't as great as you usually remember it to be. I notice the same thing year after year as well. We are having lunch at the Wave so I am looking forward to that after reading about your experience.

Tonya2426
07-22-2008, 08:22 PM
Thanks for doing the TR!! We just got back from our Disney adventure and I used your TR to adjust our evening plans one day. I got a chance to get online during one of our afternoon breaks and used your Toy Story Mania wait time info to readjust our evening plans - it was like having a personal assistant in the park. :cool1:

Jubilee
07-22-2008, 11:04 PM
Woohoo! Thanks for the report... I read every word :cool1:

Mrs. M. Mouse
07-22-2008, 11:58 PM
Loved your trip report! It sure brought back memories from our trip last year! can't wait to go home again in 2010!

disneyholic family
07-23-2008, 02:46 AM
GREAT GREAT GREAT report !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
thanks so very much for taking the time to share your trip with us!
definitely the next best thing to being there..

your pictures were fabulous - i adore old key west....those rooms are AMAZING!!!....and the CMs there are always soooooooooo nice...

by the way, it sounds from your description of the single riders line at toy story mania that it's faster than the fastpass line....

tammydel
07-23-2008, 06:01 AM
Thank you again for taking the time to post each day. I really enjoyed it!
Tammy

robind
07-23-2008, 07:22 AM
WOW, I've been reading with you along your trip and it's been a great report. I hope I can do as well when I go down in September.

pta-mom
07-23-2008, 07:34 AM
Tuesday, July 22nd

Bell Services at Old Key arrived at 6:15AM to take our luggage to the front. I went with it to the airline check-in desk while Kim and Anna finished breakfast in the room and double-checked everything. Checking in at the airline check-in is very convenient. I told the Cast Members my flight number and airline. They checked my ID and printed out our boarding passes. They tagged our luggage and I never saw it again until we arrived at our home airport.

The Magical Express bus was right on time at 6:50AM. We made one additional stop at Saratoga Springs and then headed for the Orlando airport. When we arrived we retrieved our carry-on items and headed straight for the security line. Looking at the size of the Airtran check-in line on level 3 it was a good thing we had already received our boarding passes and checked our luggage or else we may have been waiting a while. It was very long.

Bottom line, the Magical Express process worked very well. The resort check-in service worked like a charm as well.
[/B]

Thanks so much for you trip report!! That was truly awesome!!

Could you tell me, how long before your flight did ME pick you up? We have 1:30 flights home in August so I'm trying to see how much time we might have in the morning before we need to be ready to leave.

Thanks for the tip as well about doing the flight check in at the resort...I didn't know that was possible! I assume that would be available at ASM too?

Glad you & your family had a :wizard: magical time!

UrsulasShadow
07-23-2008, 07:49 AM
Thanks so much for you trip report!! That was truly awesome!!

Could you tell me, how long before your flight did ME pick you up? We have 1:30 flights home in August so I'm trying to see how much time we might have in the morning before we need to be ready to leave.

Thanks for the tip as well about doing the flight check in at the resort...I didn't know that was possible! I assume that would be available at ASM too?

Glad you & your family had a :wizard: magical time!
They usually schedule your pickup about 3 hours before your flight. You must be there and be ready for your pickup 15-20 minutes before your pickup time. The ME bus will LEAVE your resort at the pickup time! That would mean that you should expect to be at the resort ME bus terminal around 10 a.m. That doesn't give you too much morning time...maybe an early breakfast is all.

DVCsince02
07-23-2008, 08:59 AM
Aaron and family got a shout out on the Podcast!