PDA

View Full Version : We're baaack!


MikeJ
12-29-2004, 09:36 AM
Actually, we've been back for a week but with Christmas falling a day after our return home we've been a little busy since we got back so I thought I'd take an opportunity to post a little trip report.

We are DVC owners at OKW but stayed at the BCV (for the first time) from December 15-23. We were in unit 542 overlooking The Land and Spaceship Earth at Epcot. The unit was a little "tired" (fraying carpets, chunks out of the tables) but on the whole was in good shape. Although DW had hoped for a unit with the large balcony, we had a great vantage point to see Illuminations from our room. We also were treated to a test of Epcot's NYE fireworks which went off on the night of the 16th or 17th around 12:30am.

Weather was pretty good. We had no rain until the day we were leaving for the airport. Highs were anywhere from the low 60s to mid-70s and although there were a couple of nights where the lows dropped into the 30s by the time noon rolled around we were out of our windbreakers and back into T-shirts. The biggest weather factor was the wind which didn't cause us any real problems other than adding to our "uncomfortable" factor on overcast days.

Here's a few highlights of the trip:

The Good:

- The "Around the World" Segway tour at Epcot. We did this on a Friday morning and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Zipping around World Showcase on those things was a blast.

- "Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It!" I actually got on the board twice this time - once I was first after 5 questions (but missed the next two) and at the end of the game I was ranked third. It was my best performance ever there although I wasn't able to replicate it later in the week.

- Mission:Space. Coolest ride in Orlando. Enough said.

- It's a Small World was closed for rehab. (Oh, did I say that out loud? Bad Mike. Baaaaad Mike!)

- Fantasia Gardens. For some reason our 15yo DS really enjoyed the mini-golfing (we did both courses). Sometimes it's the strangest things that amuse the kids.

- Backlot Tour (MGM). Our kids were chosen as two of the cast members for the simulator adventure at the start of the Backlot Tour (DD was the captain and DS was the poor schlep of an engineer). Fortunately I had the video camera with me.

- Candlelight Processional. Edward James Olmos was our celebrity narrator on Dec 22. There's nothing like hearing the Hallelujah Chorus sung by a 300-member choir to get you to your feet.


The Bad:

- Spirit Airlines lost, er, misplaced one of our bags on the return flight to Detroit. They did, however, deliver it to our home in London (some 2.5 hrs from DTW) but I felt very sorry for the guy who brought it to the door. it arrived at 3:30am Christmas morning. Try getting that kind of service out of Air Canada.


The Ugly:

- MuppetVision 3D at Epcot is getting verrrrrry tired. I had a nice nap in the theatre. Time for a refurb/replacement?

- Ride breakdowns. At various points in time during the week we had Winnie the Pooh, Dinosaur, Test Track, and Universe of Energy break down while we were on the attraction. And on Pooh and UoE they never did get them going again until the next day. I'm hoping it was just bad luck on our part and not an indication of the general level of maintenance in the parks.

- No Beavertails in Epcot. Although the cheese soup at Le Cellier almost makes up for the loss.


The New:

- Stitch's Great Escape. Personally, I preferred the old Alien Encounter. Not much difference between the two attractions except for the "cuteness" factor of the new alien.

- Turtle Talk with Crush. This is part of the new Finding Nemo-themed area in the Living Seas at Epcot. We went in just to sit down for 10-15 minutes and were pleasantly surprised by the attraction. It is actually very well done. (But for those of you who haven't seen it yet I won't say any more.)

- Mickey's Philharmagic. Cute, but not exactly on my must-see list for the future.


For our anticipated next visit Soaring (Epcot), Expedition Everest (AK), and Lights, Motors, Action (MGM) should all be open. You can see the framework for Everest from anywhere in AK and it looks massive.

Those were the highlights (and lowlights) of our trip. If you have any questions, ask away.

- Mike

hockey mom
12-29-2004, 09:46 AM
Welcome home Mike. Wish the weather could have been a little better for you. We are on a waitlist for BCV and are at SSR instead- do you think we should just stick with SSR?

MikeJ
12-29-2004, 09:57 AM
Actually, the weather was fine (at least compared to what we came back to!). As far as resorts are concerned it won't hurt to remain on the BCV waiting list. The convenience factor of that resort can't be beat. We were able to walk from the Canadian pavilion to our room in less than 10 minutes. We spent a lot of time at Epcot this trip in large part to our location (and Epcot is my personal favourite anyway). The opportunity to swim in SAB was also an added plus.

We didn't have a chance to take a tour at SSR (we were at DD one day and Diane went to take the boat over but gave up after waiting almost 30 minutes) but it looks absolutely gorgeous. There's something to be said for staying in a (virtually) brand new resort. Given its location, though, I would want to have a rental car if I was staying there. We had one at the BCV (CA$170 for 8 days from Alamo) and it was very convenient for a variety of things. I hate relying on Disney transportation for everything.

Either way, you can't lose. Have fun.

- Mike

Canadave
12-29-2004, 11:05 AM
Welcome back Mike, sounds like a good time....some interesting observations

pkitty
12-29-2004, 12:04 PM
Hi. I'm glad you had a great trip. I was wondering if you know when those rides are due to open and if not I think its a great question to ask. Is Everest the new ride at AK ? And what are the rest of them like? some I have never heard of before. Just so you know We are DVC members as well and are heading down for the 1st of march.

ChisJo
12-29-2004, 01:11 PM
Thanks for the report....glad to see you had a great time. I was hoping to hear some reviews on the tours, as we are thinking of doing a couple on our upcoming trip in 2006.
Jo

alohamom
12-29-2004, 02:14 PM
We are toying with taking the kids to the Fantasia mini golf that your 15 year old enjoyed but we LOVE the Winter-Summerland mini golf and I am afraid we will be disapointed with the Fantasia Gardens. Have you been to both? If so, how do they compare. If not, what was it you enjoyed about Fantasia or what made it special? I suppose we could do both!Thanks Mike...

maryliz
12-29-2004, 02:36 PM
Welcome back Mike and family! I had to chuckle when I read your comment about IASW. It was closed for rehab on one of our trips a few years ago and there was just something "missing" from the trip! I guess you and I feel differently on that particular attraction :)

We're booked into SSR for October 2005, but we're trying for BCV for part of it, once the 7 month window hits. I'm very afraid that after next weeks trip where we're renting points at VWL, and the Oct trip where we're renting points, that we won't be able to go back to our old favourite of ASMu because we'll be too spoiled by the amenities of a Home-away-from-home resort. Good thing we can't afford to buy DVC right now ;)

Glad you're all back in London-town safe and sound!

Mary-Liz

MikeJ
12-29-2004, 03:08 PM
The stunt show at MGM is scheduled to open in May. Soaring is slated for some time in spring 2005, with the entire Land pavilion closing from January 2 - March 31 to make ready for the new attraction. Expedition Everest isn't scheduled to open until some time in 2006.

We've never done Winter-Summerland so I can't do a comparison, but I think the theming at W-S would beat that of Fantasia Gardens. The one difference at FG is the second course is designed more like a regular golf course with fairways, sandtraps, and a putting green. I think the primary reason our DS enjoyed it is because it was something different - we'd never done it before while we were down there. (We could also walk there from the BCV in about 15 minutes which was very handy.)

The only tour we did was the Segway tour. The tour consists of 10 people with two CMs who serve as trainers/guides. You start off indoors in a building in Future World (near Innoventions) where you spend about an hour learning to mount, dismount, move, and steer your Segway. They run you through a course with some pylons and once you've proven you can handle it you're out the door and off to World Showcase. Because WS doesn't open until 11:00 and our tour was from 8:30-10:30 we could move pretty easily with few pedestrians in the way. The guides take you through the gardens in some of the pavilions (notably China, America, Japan, and Morocco) where you can ride up- and downhill through narrow passageways while having to maneuver around corners. It actually becomes much easier once you're ridden the things for a bit. We got a 15% DVC discount and as I said earlier I would do it again in a flash. I even went to far as to price them out at Segway of Ontario (http://www.segwayofontario.com) - the I-series can be had for only CA$5995. I've put it on my Christmas list for next year. :)

- Mike

Timon
12-29-2004, 05:26 PM
Mike,

Glad you are home safe and had a good trip! We stayed next door to your room last year at BCV in the studio 542 and we loved it. We rented points from a DISer and we will probably be buying into DVC next year some time (crossing my fingers, I've wanted DVC for about 5 years now) and we'll be buying resale because I LOVE the BCV!

We were just in DL a couple of weeks ago and we rode Soarin' in DCV and it was awesome, can't wait to do it next year at Epcot!

Thanks for the report!

pkitty
01-01-2005, 02:37 PM
Mike,
We may have to fly (slight glich at work)...did you say that you flew out of Detroit? what was the pricing like? The depressing part about flying these days is the tax...it's more than the flight itself!

Snowwark
01-01-2005, 04:17 PM
The only tour we did was the Segway tour.

I even went to far as to price them out at Segway of Ontario (http://www.segwayofontario.com) - the I-series can be had for only CA$5995. I've put it on my Christmas list for next year. :)

- Mike

I guess you're going to be very very nice, all year long, right Mike?
:teeth:

Ho Ho Ho!! Hope Santa can fit that under your tree next year! ;) :)

MikeJ
01-03-2005, 12:29 PM
I guess you're going to be very very nice, all year long, right Mike?
:teeth:

Ho Ho Ho!! Hope Santa can fit that under your tree next year! ;) :)


The only problem is that I'm not sure that much goodness can be accumulated in a year. I'm hoping through borrowing and banking (like DVC) I can use three year's worth of goodness at once. That might at least get me close. ;)

Pkitty, to answer your question we flew discount airline Spirit (http://www.spiritair.com). They have daily direct non-stop flights DTW-MCO. Other options are Air Tran (http://www.airtran.com) which flies out of Flint, MI and Northwest (http://www.nwa.com), which flies from both Flint and DTW. We like flying out of the US for two reasons - it's cheaper (with far fewer taxes) and you don't have to clear Customs at the airport - you do it at the border. For us, the driving times to Flint and Detroit Metro are only 15-30 minutes longer than driving to Pearson. I'd suggest you check out their prices for your travel dates - you might find something cheap depending on when you're going.

We were actually up in your neck of the woods this past weekend - my in-laws live on a farm just outside Elmvale.

- Mike

BitsnBearsMom
01-03-2005, 01:56 PM
Welcome back!

Glad to hear we''ll have lots of new attractions to see when we go back.... sigh... still working on convincing dh that we need to go Dec 2005.... those DVC points will be eating a hole in my pocket by then I'm sure!!lol Don't think I can hold out till Oct 2006!!