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Howellsy
09-17-2009, 05:59 PM
Landed into Gatwick this morning at 8.20am from MCO and I'm very sad! Just wanted to write a quick report on my trip, I might a few photos if I can get them up on Photobucket tonight.

I'll start by saying we had an amazing time! :goodvibes I went with just my girlfriend, who's never been before - we're both 18 so it was our first trip abroad without parents, and we're both off to university this weekend, so it was a last bit of fun before we work hard again!

We went from the 2nd to the 16th and stayed at the Pop, with the DDP, flying with Virgin. We'd booked a room at the Mercure in Gatwick for £45 but when we got there they told us it was fully booked, and that we would be staying in the Sofitel instead which was really nice and more expensive had we booked it before. We wandered the North Terminal a bit in the evening, and watched the planes flying in, so it was a really nice way to spend the beginning of the holiday.

The plane going out was half empty so we could stretch out and it felt a lot more relaxed, although there was a fair bit of turbulence over Florida as we landed in the pouring rain. The return flight was not as good - it was completely full - we had a window and middle seat, which meant feeling really awkward whenever we wanted to get up as we were sat next to a man who didn't seem very happy about the situation. My headphones wouldn't go into the socket because it was jammed so I had no sound, and my MP3 player had broken in the US, so I was incredibly bored for a large percentage of the flight! Very smooth flight though with good service and no turbulence at all, and would probably use Virgin again.

The Pop Century was great, I stayed there in 2006 and really enjoyed it then. We were in the 70s building, top floor, so it was really quiet with a short walk to the main building. The food court was never too busy, and we went at various times throught the trip. Mousekeeping was great and the room was always kept really tidy. We spent afternoons in the room, but didn't spend any time in the hotel buildings really, so not much to report there.

Bus service was mostly excellent, except for Monday after Wishes where we waited 20 minutes for a bus then 15 minutes for it to load two scooters and a wheelchair, all of which pulled up just as the bus came in. I know this is a controversial topic on the boards, so all I'll say is that this was incredibly irritating to many people in the queue. Also that night, one bus pulled off with only a few people stood up when there was clearly room for at least 15 more - I'm sure there were 500 people there waiting for buses, and for them to only load a few standing seemed slightly ridiculous at the time. Especially considering one driver let about 30 standing on a bus going to MK one day. There seems to be a lack of consistency when it comes to buses. But other than that one night, buses were always there in 10 minutes or less.

The crowd levels were somewhat strange. We went straight to MK on the Wednesday night and walked on Dumbo, the Carousel, the Teacups, BTMR, PotC and IASW, and possibly a few more. The next day was a similar situation at Epcot, with 10 minute queues for Soarin', TT and Mission Space all day.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v205/howellsy/DSCF0109.jpg
Labor Day weekend then pushed crowds up, with 35 minutes for Everest on Saturday. Hollywood Studios on a Fantasmic day is really not worth it. If you're not seeing the show DO NOT GO. For a quiet time of year, there were summer crowds - 50 minutes for ToT, 70 minutes for RnR and 100 minutes for TSM. We queued for the 10pm show at 9.15pm and they didn't open the gates til 9.40pm. Although this is my favourite show, we came very close to missing it because it was so irritating to stand in a crowd with thousands of other people with no idea when we would be moving. I really hope Disney does something about this! :wizard:
The crowds seem to stay pretty busy throughout last week and the weekend, and the food court seem slightly busier as we were leaving. I'm guessing Free Dining has had a bad effect on crowds (or good effect in Disney's opinion I guess!) in September. All in all though, as long as you got to the parks early and used FPs there was never too much trouble getting on what we wanted.

We ate at the following places, so if you want any more info then just ask: Hollywood & Vine dinner, Tutto Italia dinner, Donald’s Breakfast at Tusker House,
Whispering Canyon dinner, Crystal Palace dinner, Chef Mickey’s breakfast,
Le Cellier dinner, Sci-Fi Dine-In dinner, Rose and Crown dinner, Cinderella’s Royal Table breakfast, Planet Hollywood dinner, Tony’s Town Square dinner and 1900 Park Fare dinner.

We also visited Universal/IoA one day and the crowds were incredibly low in IoA. Walk-ons for all the rides there throughout the morning. US was slightly busier, with 20 mins for Revenge of the Mummy and Simpsons. There was a 30 minutes wait for HRRR, but my girlfriend really wasn't keen on the launch and I didn't fancy waiting on my own in the heat, especially considering it shut several times so I was sceptical of the 30 minute posted time.

I apologise for the essay, I didn't realise I had so much to say! But then again I could talk about Disney for weeks - it's a good job I have parents who share this view (they went in July without me). I just applied this evening to the Internation College Program too so hopefully I'll be out there for two months next summer! I really hope I get in, though I think it's pretty competitive so I'll have to sit tight and see!

If there's anything you wanted to know about the restaurants or rides, then ask and I'll try my best to give answers. If you've managed to read it all, then I'm very impressed and hopefully I'll see you there next summer as a Cast Member!! :lovestruc

wayneg
09-17-2009, 07:15 PM
Sounds like a great trip. :goodvibes

Good luck getting on the International College Program, something we will have to look into for DS in a few years, still only 15 yet but something he wants to do if poss.

Pegasus928
09-18-2009, 01:09 AM
Thanks for the report.

I for one really enjoy reading what people have to say about their experiences at Disney. I always find it amazing how 2 visitors can do exactly the same thing and have 2 widely differing views. Fascinating to me.

Good luck with your application on the International College Program :thumbsup2

Pootle
09-18-2009, 02:52 AM
I enjoyed reading your report too :thumbsup2. If there's a strong written component to the College Program you are on your way ....... :)

Good luck with it.

Sweet Pea UK
09-18-2009, 05:17 AM
How was your weather? Was Labour Day weekend your first weekend there?

peajay18
09-18-2009, 05:43 AM
Good to hear you had a good time - we're staying at Pop for the 1st time next week, and I'm glad I can add another recent positive review of the resort to the list!

I'm interested to hear your opinion on the Tusker House Breakfast as it was still Breakfastosaurus the last time we visited.

As for Fantasmic, now that the dinner package doesn't include separate entrance I think we might just skip it altogether. It's a great show, but I don't know if I could stand the current waiting conditions... :scared1:

Are you plannig to do a full TR with more pics?

T16GEM
09-18-2009, 05:55 AM
Hi!
Glad you had a good trip, I would like to know what you thought of Chef Mickey's Breakfast please. :)

Gems

Howellsy
09-18-2009, 06:10 AM
Thanks for all the replies and the good luck messages, I would love to get on the ICP! :goodvibes

How was your weather? Was Labour Day weekend your first weekend there?
The weather was actually really good! It rained as we landed and for our first night in MK so I assumed we'd have bad weather all the way through in my rather optimistic way ;) but I think it rained on 4 days we were there, and they were mostly quick showers. It rained once from morning til late afternoon though, which was a bit anoying, but there's still plenty to do in the rain so we weren't too bothered :)
And yep, it was our first weekend there.

Good to hear you had a good time - we're staying at Pop for the 1st time next week, and I'm glad I can add another recent positive review of the resort to the list!

I'm interested to hear your opinion on the Tusker House Breakfast as it was still Breakfastosaurus the last time we visited.

As for Fantasmic, now that the dinner package doesn't include separate entrance I think we might just skip it altogether. It's a great show, but I don't know if I could stand the current waiting conditions... :scared1:

Are you plannig to do a full TR with more pics?
Ah you'll love Pop, it's a really fun resort and the bus service was much better there this year than I remember it being at CBR last year.

Tusker House was a really good breakfast, plenty of choice and the food tasted really good. The characters were good too, though I was a bit disappointed Minnie wasn't there! It was Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, Donald and Daisy.

Talking of the dinner package, I booked a meal at Hollywood and Vine with the dinner package only to be told when I got there that's it's only for reservations up until 5.30pm, when a CM on the phone told me it was included :confused3 So if anyone does want the package, make sure you book a meal before 5.30! I ended up eating at a place I didn't really want to go for non-exsistent entry to F!

I would love to do a TR but I'm moving out today/tomorrow so I imagine I'll be a bit busy over the next week or two at university! My girlfriend did write down exactly what we did for the first week but then forgot to keep it updated, so I'd probably have some trouble remembering anyway! I can certainly post some more pics on here though if there's anything you want to see. I've uploaded some to my Facebook, and I think it's a public album, so if I post the link, you may be able to see: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=317771&id=568355721

One more thing I forgot to mention, and I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but the Bag Check seems to be getting worse. The longest queues we had this trip were to check our bags I swear: One night at DHS we were stood there for nearly 10 minutes! And I only had a little bag too for our camera and my girlfriend's insulin so they would take about 5 seconds to look in it, then let us through. A lot of them (mostly the female guards I noticed :confused3) would take minutes looking through people's bags and only find ponchos and snacks. It all seemed a bit ridiculous :confused:

Howellsy
09-18-2009, 06:14 AM
Hi!
Glad you had a good trip, I would like to know what you thought of Chef Mickey's Breakfast please. :)

Gems

I really enjoyed Chef Mickey's, the characters were pretty interactive. The food was standard American breakfast buffet stuff, but they also do breakfast pizza which didn't look too bad, and more dessert-type food. I ate about 3 Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast that day! I found I enjoyed the three breakfasts more than the dinners for some reason in fact.

susie2
09-18-2009, 02:22 PM
hi, glad you had a great time, can i ask you what you thought of whispering canyon cafe, we have seen some mixed replys about this restaurant, thanks susie2

Howellsy
09-18-2009, 02:45 PM
hi, glad you had a great time, can i ask you what you thought of whispering canyon cafe, we have seen some mixed replys about this restaurant, thanks susie2
I thought Whispering Canyon was great - the steak I had there was better than Le Cellier (which I thought was much worse this year!). Georgia had the skillet and she thought it was all really good except the cowboy beans.

susie2
09-18-2009, 03:25 PM
thanks for you reply, thats good to hear we where looking forward to eating here, thanks again susie