My 2 cent review of Oct. at WDW. Lots of pics!
My husband and I drove up from the Miami area bright and early on Sat. Oct 13th to spend 5 wonderful (dare I say magical?) days at WDW. :car: This was our third trip to WDW (our first trip together was a year ago for a much shorter visit.) Having grown up in So. California, I was fortunate to make many visits to DL, so it is so much fun for me to go to WDW and compare and contrast.
We decided to go in October, due to it being last crowded than our last visit (7/06) and to experience all the halloween decorations etc. If you have any questions about the things we did etc.., please feel free to ask away! So for now, let's start the trip report! popcorn::
Where we stayed -- Coronado Springs Resort
I changed resorts from POP to POR and finally to CSR just days before check in! I knew I wanted CSR, but it was difficult to get the FL resident discount until just days before we arrived. CSR is a gorgeous resort. We were so impressed with the grounds and amenities. Check in was super smooth. We even got our requested area in the Cabanas (8B). :wizard: Here is a pic:
This area is close to the main lobby and the dig site. I think we even lucked out with our standard room, check out the view we got:
We lucked out in not getting a parking lot view! Only "ehhh" experience was it looked like who ever left before us had gone back to the room after mousekeeping had cleaned. No problem though because one quick phone call and the room was brought back up to snuff. :thumbsup2 While we did not get any towel animals, we did come back to some cute things such as this:
We ate breakfast at the Pepper Market. I had read about a lot of people feeling confused by the layout. I have to say, I must agree because during breakfast they do not list the menu items above each section. You have to refer to a menu. I would imagine this is not the case at lunch or dinner, where the food items are clearly written above each section. The food was good, but not the best we had has at the World. However, I do think it was better than the Food Court at POFQ (where we stayed last year.)
The Dig Site was just gorgeous. My only regret was not using the nice sized hot tub after a long day at that park. The slide was also a lot of fun. I was surprised that there were so many lifeguards on duty. I felt very protected!
Overall, we found the resort to be a wonderful experience. It never felt crowded, the bus service was superb (just like most of you have said--never had to wait for a bus and it was always almost empty). The cast members were friendly, and the resort was clean and well maintained. We definitely liked it more than POFQ and would not hesitate to stay here again in the future. CSR will be our mod of choice.
Here are some other pictures of CSR that I took while there:
If any of you are considering at stay at CSR, please refer to this amazing thread!
All the posts were so helpful for planning our stay at CSR. We felt like experts before even stepping on the property. :disrocks:
:yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay:
Ok, so that is where we stayed...now on to where we ate!
Where we stuffed our faces, I mean dined...
I made the ADRs back when we booked our trip in late May, so we had all of the dining choices we wanted for this trip. We were not on the dining plan. I just don't see it as all that cost effective as we are FL residents and can take advantage of other deals outside of the package rates. Anyway, here is a review of the places we ate!
Chef Mickey's (breakfast)
I am still in between about this meal. On one hand, it was fun to see the character and the food was pretty decent, but I am not sure if it was worth
the price for us. At one point all of the characters were in the other rooms, and so for a good 40 minutes not one character came over to our section. As an adult, I did not really care that much, but I did feel sorry for some of the kids who did not get to see all the characters etc. When the characters did come through, they were pretty rushed due to the backlog. Not sure what created the backlog, but as I said, I felt sorry for the kids. The food was decent, but not the best breakfast ever. I was impressed that they did have veggie sausages! If I were to do another character breakfast, I would go back to Chrystal Palace and book an early ADR.
Here are some pics:
And us with THE CHEF of course:
Chrystal Palace (dinner)
We did the character dinner. We were very impressed with the buffet items as they were not run of the mill menu choices. I was so impressed to see cous-cous and edamame as some of the food choices. DH enjoyed the carving station, and I rather liked the two fish options as well. Our service was great, and we got to see all of the characters in a relative short time. Only suggestion for those going now till it starts to really heat up again, you might want to bring a sweater as they keep the a/c cranking in there. We would certainly do this meal again!
Of course, here are some pics:
Primetime 50's Café (dinner)
What a fun restaurant! The theme-ing inside is just a delight, and the food and service were wonderful. Our server Marie was our mom during the dinner! DH had the pot roast, and I had the salmon over mashed potatoes. I was actually quite surprised with the presentation. It was very gourmet! I was thinking it would look more like what you would have at home. The food was terrific. Also highly recommend the apple cobbler! Make sure to keep those elbows off the table and eat your veggies!
Earl of Sandwich (breakfast, lunch and dinner!)
I know it is a chain, but it is such a great little cheap (for WDW) eatery! Tuna melt and ice cream brownie sandwich is a nice taste of indulgence! We enjoyed it for all 3 meals, on separate days of course! The breakfast sandwiches are quite delicious too! I definitely recommend stopping here when at DTD!
Pepper Market at CSR (breakfast)
See the review above within the CSR report. Breakfast was alright, not the worst, not the best!
Le Cellier (dinner)
Yes, I have saved the best for last! All the hype was with due reason. Had i not ever read the reviews, I wouldn't have thought to eat at Canada at EPCOT (sorry friendly neighbors up north!). Our meal at Le Cellier was fantastic. We were promptly seated when we checked in. I was surprise with the small size of the dining room, making it even more understandable why it is so difficult to get an ADR here. Now on to the food…. Yes, you must have the cheddar soup and the pretzel bread. DH has the signature mushroom filet and said it was "one heck of a filet." I had a new item on the menu, the salmon over risotto. It was fantastic, and cooked just right. We were a little sad to see the crème brullet sampler was no longer on the menu, but the vanilla crème brullet was superb. Plenty for two people who want to share a dessert. Our server, Patrick, was very friendly and attentive. What made the meal even more fun was two women sitting next to us were from another Disney message board. One is even a dining board moderator. They were super friendly and my DH got to see that I am not the only person who obsesses over Disney trip planning and "useless trivia." Hehe. Le Cellier was much better than our dinner at Chefs de France last year, and gets an A+ in our book.
Dining odds and ends
We ate some CS meals at Typhoon Lagoon (ok...) and Animal Kingdom (great.) DH loved the bbq ribs at AK. I enjoyed the fruit and yogurt plate. The corn muffin was rather good too. I do wish that the CS offered a veggie burger at this particular place. I love how near this CS at AK there are all these lovely areas you can sit to eat. While chowing down, we enjoyed some nice views:
And even a fun surprise:
Of course, we ate at the Food and Wine Fest, but I will post about that shortly. Over all, it is so nice to see the variety of food choices at WDW. Who would think I could enjoy a samosa (indian yummy!) after taking a trip on the Jungle Cruise at MK. You can choose to eat as healthy or as naughty...as you wish. I am happy for the choices and options.
I end my dining review with one last picture. Here I am at my first character meal with Mickey at DL back in 1983. How retro of me!
Ok, up next, a report park by park and more! :dance3: :dance3:
Great start and piccies. Looking forward to the rest.
Let's chat about the Parks!
Animal Kingdom (first park of the trip!)
This was our first park. We were pretty nutty because we left S. FL around 5am, checked in around 8:30 to get our resort IDS, and were at AK shortly after its opening. We had been to AK for the first time last trip. We only spent 1/2 a day there at that time, so it was nice to actually "see" the park! It was not that crowded on Saturday morning. No problem getting repeat fast passes for the big attractions. In fact, we had no wait for most. Went on Everest a few times as this is my absolute favorite ride at the park (as I am sure it is for many.) Here is a nice shot I was able to catch:
For those who have never been, AK is such a gorgeous park. Disney really outdid itself with the theming. Asia and Africa are just so realistic in its details. (I imagine it is kind of like the amazing theming at DisneySea which I hope to go to one day!). Everywhere you go, there are pretty sceneries to stop and take pics of:
We rode the safaris for the first time. Even though it was afternoon, we saw plenty of animals. I thought the story line was a bit cheesy though. Honestly, I would rather the safari just be a simple tour without that element added to it. It just is not necessary IMO. :rolleyes:
We also enjoyed all the little nature walks etc.
My DH caught this cool photo while touring around:
Besides the animals, flaura/fauna, and rides, there are also some great character meet-up spots. Near dinosaur world, there is a little trail you can take down to a spot, where we caught up with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet!
Over at Camp Minnie, there are also some spots where you can line up to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald. Donald was happy to hear we thought he was the leader of the club!
After the day at AK, we cleaned up and then headed to DTD. It was BUSY! We ate at Earl's and walked around. Decided to have a sundae from Ghiradelli and that took forever! While at DTD, I highly recommend going to the holiday shop. There are so many pretty ornaments there, and there was even some fun halloween stuff.
I made DH get some Mickey ears like I got last year. For those wanting to have their names put on their ears, you have two options while at WDW. 1) You can get your ears embroidered at the hat shop on Main St. at MK. There they do the "traditional" embroidery. It looks like this:
2) The other choice is to get it embroidered at the holiday shop at DTD. It costs about $8 I think to get it done, but it is the thicker embroidery and you can pick a font style. Just thought I would let you know your options, as we were asked many times throughout our trip.
After a little window shopping (the stores were really too mobbed to go in), we then wandered over to...
We got a free pass to Quest via a AAA promotion when we bought our tickets. If I had paid for the tickets to enter, I would have been disappointed. I think most of it has to do with it not really being all that interesting to us. It was also fairly crowded on a Sat. night, and we did not feel like waiting to do each activity. DH and I did have a blast trying to create the scariest virtual space mtn. ride we could make and then jumping in the simulator to give it a whirl! Don't let our review deter you from going, it just wasn't really "our thing."
Next..... more parks!
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Typhoon Lagoon (day two)
Let me start, I have never been to a water park. "You grew up in S. California and never went to a water park?" Yep! I was excited to experience one, and a great one, for the first time. We got there close to opening, and had no trouble finding a chair etc.. There was a slight "chill" in the air, which may have shy'ed away some people. Fine by us. (Trust me it wasn't cold.) We barely had to wait for Crush N Gusher, and went on it a few times. Advice, lift your butt up while in the raft. It can hurt a bit if you don't! hehe. Don't let this scare you away though, the slide is the best at the park. Here is the one photo I allowed:
And yes I cropped it! Haha.. My trip report, I can crop all I want! :rotfl2:
The wave pool was pretty strong. My favorites was the lazy river. Went around it a few times and actually relaxed! Isn't that what a true vacation is about? One last note, I really enjoyed the snorkeling (which I have done in the ocean before.) While it is very brief, it was fun as it was the first time I swam with sharks (knowingly). The water is cold...68 degrees...but it is a great experience. Do it!
MGM...or should I think ahead and just say Disney Hollywood Studios?
After a little siesta, we headed over to the Studios in the late afternoon.
As it was an EMH evening, the park was busy. Next time I plan, I am going to take the advice of avoiding the parks with EMH. However, we still were able to enjoy Tower of Terror a few times, and Rock N Roller coaster once. And since I love this pic so much (yes, our friends and us posed) I thought I would share it from last year:
When you leave the ride, you end up in a shop...of course! Be sure to have fun with some of the hats and wigs while at the store. Here we are being silly...because that is who we are!
This trip to the Studios, we checked out the animation building. It was extremely uncrowded. After the fun movie, you get to see a few Pixar buddies!
We also got this fun shot on the main drag of the park:
After dinner and a few more rides on Tower, we closed the night with the late showing of Fantasia. :smickey: While I love the seating etc... I think the version at DL is WAY better IMO. Nothing like seeing the characters on the Mark Twain and Columbia ship. Though, yes, it is nice having a real seat!
We collapsed in our beds that night!
Next up... the Kingdom..the Magical one!
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Hi from fellow South Floridians...we are in Plantation...we really liked CSR but or fave is POFQ because so much smaller.
You got some great pics of CSR...it is very pretty.
Your report is great..cannot wait to read more.
I am on a roll. I figure if I don't finish it all now, I may never! So here I go on...
Magic Kingdom (day three)
Last year was my first time at MK. And when were there, it was night time. So of course I just had to see the park during the day! (Just a back note...my first trip to WDW in 1990 was only to EPCOT Center).
We started the day at Chef Mickey's over at the CR. After dining with the characters, we walked over to the MK entrance. Figured it was good to work off some of that meal (as if we wouldn't be walking enough while inside the park!)
As we entered, we were greeted with the beautiful halloween overlay.
While perusing people's posted photos on the Dis, I remember seeing one of a honeymoon couple. I loved their picture so much, we just had to copy it. Here it is:
We also got a visit by a special fairy:
We were able to enjoy many of the rides with not too long of a wait, and of course the fast passes helped too. I even went on some of the Fantasyland classics I haven't been on in years (well at DL at least.) While there, DH tried with all his might to pull the sword...
but with no luck. Oh well, I still love him. :love:
Here come my comparison talk again with DL. While the ride is quite similar inside, you can't beat the outside of IASW at DL. A true classic. Here is my mom (on far right) with my grandma at DL in the early 70's...just for fun!
The park was certainly more crowded as it was an EMH night too. People told us that the park was way more busy then the days before. Oh well..not like it was insanely crowded though!
Besides enjoying the rides, I tried to just get swallowed up by all the beauty and "magic." MK, and WDW as a whole, are now my home park...so I have to get more acquainted with it! Got a nice overview shot from the train station on Main Street:
While wandering around Main St., I bumped into Snow White and Dopey in a store. They were getting ready to go pose for photos.
I chatted with Snow White, and she invited me to take a pic with her:
We spent the entire night till nearly closing at the park. Even in crocs, my feet were tired! Tried to get some pics of "Wishes", but my camera would not cooperate! I recommend standing on the bridge that leads to Tomorrowland. Nice view! We did get a few nice pics of the castle before retiring for the night.
And from photo pass:
Some more ride talk before I end this post:
The new Haunted Mansion is AWESOME. Hats off to Disney Imagineering for not doing a quick fix, but actually giving this attraction the TLC it needed and deserved. Very well done!!
Rides I feel are better at MK:
Splash Mtn, People Mover (because it still is at MK!), Peter Pan, Jungle Cruise. And the Castle is so much more outstanding looking. And while I know DCA is going to get PhilharMAGIC in it's redo soon, I thought this show was just incredible!
Rides I like better at DL:
PotC (by far), Big Thunder (though would have been fun to compare again but ride was being refurbed while we were there this trip), Space Mtn (happy to hear a major refurb is planned though!), Disney railroad, and Tom Sawyer Island (yes, I know it isn't a ride!)
Like I said, it was so much fun getting to ride the people mover again! Felt so old school. And I also got to finally experience the Carousel of Progress. I loved it. They better NEVER tear this classic down. It just has true Disney written all over it. And of course, I had "There's a great big beautiful tomorrow" stuck in my head for days.
Speaking of tomorrow....our next day was at a place celebrating it's 25th anniversary! Hmmm...what park could that be?
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The pic of the castle is just gorgeous...looks like it was lots of fun. Never been in October.
Keep goimg, this is fun to read!
Thanks for the nice comments so far! :thumbsup2
EPCOT Center (day four)
This was my third time to EPCOT. The first time I went there, there was no wand. (yeah). And this time, there was no wand, bigger yeah! :dancer:
I was so excited to be at the park during the month of it's 25th anniversary.
Happy Birthday EPCOT!
For fun, let's get a little retro in honor of the big event! Remember the golfball without the Legacy stones?
And remember when Journey Into Imagination looked like this?
Make fun of me in my teenage years, and I will be very sad! :sad1:
And since Alfredo's is no longer there, let's remember some of the entertainers back in the early 90's:
Alright, time to flash forward to modern day. The park was fairly busy, but mostly over at Soarin'. Got a couple of fast passes and enjoyed it twice. We love that ride, and it holds a special place for me as a former California girl! Mission Space had no line for those of us doing the spinning version. For Test Track, we did single line. This ride is just ok to us, as evident by our faces ;) :
Before finished with Future World, I urge you to all go to the small exhibit honoring EPCOT's 25th. There are some nice things to view and read, and you can't beat the opening preparation video. Though you will have "We're getting ready for you..." stuck in your heads!
I didn't shoot this, but check it out:
Now onto World Showcase...
We got swept up by France and got a little romantic:
Met up with an interesting couple while in Morocco:
Enjoyed a margarita while watching the amazing Mariachis in Mexico:
and later had a pint while watching British Invasion. We saw them at night, but here is a picture from last year:
And shall we now pay tribute to some of the countries by their hats?
DH in a Fez:
Us as Bobbies in the UK:
And although this is from last year, I just love my viking DH in Norway:
So besides all the usual fun, we were there for something BIG......
The EPCOT Center Food & Wine Festival
It was absolutely wonderful!! I am so happy we went to EPCOT on Tuesday, so we did not have the local weekend traffic to content with. While I love World Showcase, it was nice to have a few extra countries thrown in for the Festival. The food booths were great and nicely themed. My fave item was the seafood/squid stew from Spain. I also am glad I finally got to try that ice wine you all talk about. It would be a perfect dessert wine. Here we are enjoying the stand in Peru:
I highly recommend making lunch or dinner out of the festival. Check out the menu list before you wander around, so you can pace yourself and not overeat or spend! hehe. We cannot await to attend the F&W again in the future. It sure is nice to only be a few hours away! And as I wrote above in the dining portion of this report, we loved Le Cellier. Yum Yum and Yum again!
As I said before, it was so nice to see SSE without that gaudy wand. It's beautiful simplicity is back and what a stunning view at night! Here is a photo I took as we exited the park:
It was sad to leave, but my feet were about to fall off. DH and I slept like babies as soon as our heads hit the pillow back at CSR.
Check out (day four)
We woke up exhausted, but still had some time to finally enjoy the grounds at the CSR. Almost felt sad that we were staying at a gorgeous hotel, and barely spend time at it. We went to the pool and relaxed in the huge jacuzzi.
While relaxing my sore body, I made a vow to myself. I promise next visit to WDW will not be commando style, and we will take more breaks during the day. I want to be able to enjoy the resorts more and soak it all in. I just have to remember this vow when we plan that next trip to WDW.
I guess I also need to keep this vow in mind as I prepare for our trip to DLR this summer. Touring plans will be essential as we will be there during peak season. So the fun trip planning starts all over again. For now, I have my books and the Dis to keep my on track.
Thanks so much to all who stopped by to read my trip report. If you have any questions etc... feel free to send me a PM.
What a BEAUTIFUL trip report!
Hi Great TP. Love your CSR Pics, we are thinking of staying there on our next trip.Also love your retro pics. How cute...midnight oil shirt....:lmao:
This was so great to read popcorn:: . I have so many things to say I don't know where to start. :)
I'll start with that you take beautiful pictures :) Especially of the Resort, that doesn't even look like FL. you make it look like paradise :laughing:
Love the Retro Mickey pic!! ::MickeyMo
And us women do have the right to crop all me want :rotfl: :thumbsup2
I love how Disneyland's IASW looks out side compared to WDW.
It was great to read and look at the pictures. Thanks for posting them :) It made me feel like I was in the nice warm wearther there with you :cloud9:
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