It's our Date-A-Versary with Deluxe Dining, DVC and MNSSHP!! 11/13 UPDATE!
Sadly, we are home from another fun-filled, gut-bustin’ laughing, amazing trip from Walt Disney World. This was our second trip together, the first being our Honeymoon. It was as magical and amazing as we had remembered it and we created even more memories that remind us constantly of why we will always return. For those of you who did not follow along with the Pre-trip report here is a quick background and introduction so you can feel like you “know” us
My name is Shannon and I am a 27-year old Accounting student who works full-time at a privatized Motor Vehicle Department in my wonderful hometown of Albuquerque, NM.
Although, I am currently a student and a full-time worker, it is my dream to be a stay at home Mom (we don’t have kids yet, but hopefully someday soon). If there are any of you out there reading, I would love to hear your idea of the pros and cons to this . Anyway, back on track, I have loved Disney for as long as I can remember and always choose a Disney movie when it is my turn to choose for movie night. I grew up watching Disney movies and am thankful that my Mom showed me all of the old movies along with the new. There is something that is so magical to me about the “old” animation style and, sometimes, I miss it! My favorite movies include “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.” I also enjoy the non-animated movies with my favorite being “Angels in the Outfield.” Besides planning for, dreaming about and visiting Disney I also love to listen to music (I am definitely a Country girl), taking pictures, swing dancing and having “Lazy Sundays” with my Husband.
Speaking of my Husband, he was my partner in crime on this trip. His name is Candido, but we call him Candi for short and he is also 27 years old.
He is currently taking a break from school and works at the same company I work for – only he is about 15 steps higher up in the company. He, like myself, loves Disney but won’t always admit it. Sometimes, he can get frustrated with my over-planning but knows that I won’t usually hold him to any type of schedule when we actually get there . His major loves in life, well besides me of course LOL, are the Atlanta Braves, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chicago Bulls and the New Mexico Lobos. In case you can’t tell, he is a MAJOR sports fanatic. He also enjoys music, video games and swing dancing.
Background – How this all came about – the shortened edition ;-)
We have been married for just over a year, we celebrated our one-year Anniversary in Disneyland over Memorial weekend. However, we have been together for 8 years so we decided it was necessary to do something to celebrate that too. Well, what better way than to spend it in Disney World for the “What Will You Celebrate?” campaign. While on the trip we nicknamed this our “Date-a-versary” and I have made it my goal to consider this a yearly thing … the “Dateaversary” not the Disney trip … really that’s what I meant ;-)
Just to fill you in – The Where & The When
We were in Disney World from September 4 – September 12. Our trip was broken into two “trips” because we were too indecisive to decide where to stay. Oh, and just so that it makes more sense, we became Disney Vacation Club (DVC) owners shortly after our honeymoon.
We stayed at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge from September 4 – September 8. We really wanted to stay at this resort because we spent our Honeymoon in the main lodge and thought it would be special and sentimental to start our vacation here. The second portion of our trip was spent at the Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village. We also really wanted to stay here because it is our “home resort” through DVC and had just opened back in May.
We were on the Deluxe dining plan and had reservations planned for breakfast most days, lunch some days and dinner every night. I will include small recaps and pictures on the dining, but will not go into major detail here as I am doing a dining report on the dining board. I am also going to be completely and totally honest with all aspects of the trip – the experience, the food, the customer service, the rides and a break-down of the costs. I don’t do this to brag (we do not have tons of money – we saved our booties off to afford this trip ;)), but I think it is helpful for those who are planning their own trips to get a “real” feel for what things cost.
Alrighty, there you have it with the background information. I hope you all stick around, I promise there will be lots of laughs, maybe a few tears, tons of pictures, several repeated outfits - don’t worry we had a washer in our Villa LOL and an overall amazing time that I can’t wait to share with you.
So, buckle up your seatbelt folks, this trip report is fueling up (aka loading pictures into photobucket) and preparing for take-off …..
Great start! Looking forward to reading more.:thumbsup2
I am a stay at home Mom and it is great! Though sometimes I wish I had a nice part time job to go to just to change things up a bit. My DH loves me to be at his beck and call so to speak. He works shifts and it makes things easier to only have to plan around one schedule. However, my kids are now in JK and grade 1 so that part time job is probably looming on the horizon some where soon. That's ok ...more $$ for disney trips!!
Looking forward to your report! We were at the world the same time- Sept 5th-12th and also did a split stay, 3 nights at POR, 4 nights at Poly..... it was magical and i miss it already!!
Can't wait to hear more!
Arrrgghhh ... slow internet = BIG problems!!
First, I just want to say "WELCOME" to everyone that has responded. I promise I normally reply to everyone individually, as I love to get comments and feedback. However, I am currently stuck with the slowest internet known to man ... think dial up and then slow it times 10 HA HA! This seems to be causing me all sorts of problems ... other than the obvious. For some reason, it is not letting me click on several parts of the internet including the quote button and the super fun "smilies."
I am super excited to have you all join along and I look forward to speaking to you when our fast cable internet is installed next week.
Hoping to start this thing soon ... hopefully tonight!!
"We're finally home"
Thursday, September 3, 2009
The day before leaving was the longest and most hectic day I think I have encountered since the night before our wedding. It started, as usual, with us waking up at 6:30 am to get ready for work. You see, the only downfall to our new house is that it is 45 minutes away from where we work. That’s a lot of gas money and a whole lot of lost minutes of sleep :coffee:.
Work actually went by relatively fast. Since it was Thursday, it was our “short shift.” All this really means is that we were at work until 2:00 pm but then we had to go directly to our Supervisor Academy class and this lasted until 6:00 pm. Now, I normally enjoy this class – it is a requirement for our business to be in Management and it is usually very interesting and very informative. However, all I could think about during this class was how hungry I was and how much I had left to do before our flight in the morning. You see, I tend to be a procrastinator and I had not packed – it gets worse – I also hadn’t done ANY of our laundry and I still needed to go buy a couple of shirts for the trip. But, there are more important things to do – like get a manicure and pedicure so that I can feel all pretty for the trip :thumbsup2. So, that is exactly where I headed after work with my best friend, Erin.
After our spa time we went to Target so I could get the last minute essentials and then attempted to go to Kohls, but sadly, they had already closed. This is why you will see so many repeated outfits on this trip!!
Erin brought me home at around 10:00 and, needless to say, I was slightly stressing. We had 8 hours until we needed to be at the airport, which meant we needed to leave the house in 7. I still needed to do at least 3 loads of laundry and pack EVERYTHING!! Imagine my relief (and surprise) when I walked in the house to see my AWESOME Hubby folding clothes and placing them in piles on our bed. He had already washed all the whites (only 2 loads to go) and was laying everything out so I could go through and decide what needed to be packed. Do I really need to point out why I married this man???
This is where the real chaos began ….
Since we have just recently moved, several things are still packed in boxes and sitting in our garage. This includes things like – ponchos, suitcases, lanyards, pins, travel items etc. I had my trusty packing list ready as we attempted to conquer the “black hole” which is really meant to house our cars LOL. In the midst of trying to find everything, Candi accidentally knocked over a model car my Dad bought me for Christmas. Now, I know I sound like a little kid but this car means A LOT to me and I freaked out a little bit. I didn’t want to yell at him because I knew it was an accident so I just sat on the garage floor and started crying. This is not the way our trip was supposed to be starting out and I felt awful – both now and in the moment. Candi felt horrible and kept apologizing and I kept telling him it was ok, but he knew it wasn’t. Eventually, I made a joke over the whole thing telling him he now had to by me the real deal – a 1957 Corvette :car: – and we continued with the travel item search. By the time we got everything from the garage, finished laundry and finished packing it was 3:30 AM!! Or at least that’s what Candi tells me. I must admit, I was somewhat of an awful wife and crashed out somewhere around 1:15. Apparently, I was lying in the middle of all the piles of clothes on the floor, with a pair of socks in my hand and just fell asleep – yes, I was THAT tired!!!
Friday, September 4, 2009
The alarm clock went off at 5:00 am and Erin was ringing our doorbell about 15 minutes later. IT WAS TIME TO GO TO THE AIRPORT!!!!!!!!
We packed up Erin’s car with all our luggage and started to pull away when Candi realized his second pair of shoes were in the car. One quick detour and we were ready to go.
Of course, we were at the airport, checked in and through security with more than enough time remaining – better early than late right? So, we grabbed some seats in the terminal that were somewhat secluded and started talking about how excited we were. Candi had one thing and one thing only on his mind – Fultons. Yes, it was 5:30 in the morning and this man was craving him some crab legs :lmao:!!
Then it happened, you know how no matter how big a room is it always seems like you are the one who gets stuck by the “extreme” people. The ones who are super loud or who are fighting or can’t sit still or in this case don’t know how to separate their faces from each other. Yep, two people who were at least my parents’ age plop down right next to us and start making out!! Now, it bothers me when anybody does this in public – in my opinion there is a time and a place (and that place is not next to me in the airport terminal) – but these people were loud and obnoxious about it too. I hate to sound mean, but all I kept thinking was that I hope they didn’t do this the entire flight.
Soon enough our boarding number was called – we always fly Southwest so it was open seating and we were boarding group B. Luckily, we were able to sit next to each other and right over the wing of the plane. I can’t explain it, but this is where I always sit when I have the option. As we were walking back to our seats we saw the two sucky faces and they were still at it puckerup:– next to this poor business man who was already asking the stewardess for a drink – and I don’t mean water folks :rotfl:.
Our flight was smooth with a quick layover in Houston and then the longest flight known to man as I sat looking out the window waiting to land in Orlando. The Disney tunes on the Ipod helped pass the time and then I let out a small scream as I saw WDW underneath us – sorry for any passengers I may have scared … or annoyed!!
I practically ran off the plane and kissed the ground in the Orlando airport because I was so happy. Ok, I wouldn’t really kiss the ground – I don’t want any diseases to interfere with my Disney World plans ya know! I told Candi I would follow him as he navigated the way to the Magical Express check-in – if you read my honeymoon report you know that we got a little bit lost and that made for a not so pleasant start to the trip. We boarded the little moving walkways and reminisced about how we were stuck in this airport for EIGHT HOURS last year after our cruise!! This was a very happy conversation filled with wonderful memories ….
Can’t ya tell??? ;)
We took the escalator down a floor which was baggage claim and then Candi decided that we were headed the wrong way. I kept saying that we were going the right way and that we just needed to go down one more floor. He, however, insisted that I was crazy (which very well could be true) and back up the escalator we went.
Twenty minutes later and two floors down and we saw this
yes, my navigation skills were correct this time!
I went to go sit with the luggage and sent Candi to the counter. He came back about 30 seconds later and said we both had to go up together. Woops, last year we both went up and we were told that only one of us could go through the line?!? We had to explain to them that we never received our luggage claim tag things – they said it was not a big deal – they just needed to see our baggage claim tickets from the airport and they could still retrieve and deliver our luggage to our hotel for us. That’s when I knew FOR SURE we were truly back!! Ya’all know what I mean right? Just knowing how the folks at Disney always go out of their way to lend an extra hand to make things extra magical for you. And that’s the exact conversation we had as we skipped, yes there was even a hop to Candi’s step, as we made our way to the line for the buses.
We only waited about five minutes before they lead us to our bus. I was secretly hoping to sit up front so that I could get a really good picture of the “welcome” arch, but the bus was already really full. Not to worry, this was the magical bus and nothing was going to bring me down. We had to wait another 10 minutes or so before the bus was ready to leave, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to take the first picture of us of the trip
Not the greatest of pictures, but hey, what do you expect when we’ve only slept 3 hours, been in a plane all morning and I didn’t put on any make-up LOL. Candi, made a comment about how he was glad I would find things to take pictures of other than him when we got there. “Ummm, would now be a bad time to bring up the fact that I planned on ordering the photopass CD babe? :rolleyes1”
The drive went by fairly quickly and yes, I did watch AND enjoy the video they play on board. Before long I saw the most beautiful thing of all
Hey, it might not be the whole arch, but it still meant we were really and truly here!!! I let out shrieks of excitement and Candi joined me – everyone else looked at us like we were nuts :rotfl2:.
Not long after we passed under the “welcome” arch we reached the Magic Kingdom arch and I was seriously like a little kid that couldn’t sit still. Candi was super excited that the Halloween decorations were already out and insisted I try to get a picture of this
Now, jack o’lantern Mickey is VERY cute but I still think Candi was secretly plotting to keep the camera pointed away from him!!
Our first stop was the Polynesian
I think only two people got off here and we noticed how they were greeted with leis placed around their neck. We both thought this was a neat touch and don’t remember seeing this last year. Now, every time I think about or read about the Poly, I always think it seems so neat. But, when we actually pull up there it doesn’t “do it” for me. Please don’t hate me, it just doesn’t make me want to run out and book a reservation there. I remember, for our honeymoon this was one of our top choices and when we pulled up to drop people off we felt a sense of relief that we hadn’t chosen it. I’m not sure why this is?!?
Anyway, our next stop was the Grand Floridian
A LOT of people got off here – in fact I would say ¾ of the bus unloaded at the Grand. Including, two sets of people with bride ears on. I made sure to congratulate them both and, of course, Candi and I reminisced about our honeymoon for a minute. This was exactly why we had chosen the Wilderness Lodge as our hotel for the first half of our stay. We knew it would stir up so many memories and emotions from our honeymoon and that’s exactly what we wanted.
I love how the employees are dressed the part here
It makes the resort seem that much more magical and is the exact reason I love Disney World. Everywhere you go, it seems like you’ve walked into another place or time.
The final stop was our stop …
THE WILDERNESS LODGE!!
Candi went to go get our carry on for us
excellent tip for anyone using Magical Express – always bring a carry on with a change of clothes or whatever you think you may need - it can take up to 4 hours to receive your luggage at your hotel.
We were both overflowing with excitement and I’m sure we looked like total goofballs with our ear-to-ear grins as we made our way through the massive doors into the hotel. And then it hit us – “the smell” – I’m not sure what it is but the Lodge just has this wonderful smell that let's you know you are away from all your worries and truly on vacation. At that moment Candi turned to me and said “we’re finally home.”
Great updates. Love the pictures! Can't wait to read more!:goodvibes
Room Expectations and Reactions
When we last left off, Candi and I had just walked through the beautiful doors of The Wilderness Lodge
I’m pretty sure we stood there for a good ten minutes just taking everything in. Everything about it was exactly as we had remembered it – the smell, the feeling, the CMs, the décor – it truly was like we were coming home.
After we had soaked in the atmosphere for a bit we headed to the check in counter to get our room assignment.
I decided against doing the online check-in because I love the feeling you get while you are waiting your turn in line :cloud9:. There’s something about the excitement and anticipation I feel and I thought it would be lost if we checked in online. There was only one person ahead of us in line and before we knew it, it was our turn. If I remember right we were checked in by Zahnyoun from Australia. He was very nice and I LOVED his accent, but he was also incredibly forgetful and slightly rushed. He must have asked us 3 different times if we had a car with us :confused3. No big deal, but I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t receive our “Happy Anniversary” buttons at check-in. Now, I know that this wasn’t our actual Anniversary, but when we planned the trip it was planned to be our belated Anniversary trip – and then my incredible In-Laws got us a trip to Disneyland as our Anniversary gift – so that is how this trip became our Date-a-versary trip :hug:!!
We received our packet of information and headed out towards the Villas. I stopped to take one last look in the main lobby before we headed outside.
A part of me felt slightly sad that we wouldn’t be staying in the main lobby, but another part of me was incredibly excited to check out the Villas and our very first DVC room!!
We slowly made our towards the Villas – again, we were so lost in the atmosphere and the feeling of the resort – we were not in any rush to get anywhere. Now, in Zahnyoun’s check-in packet he gave us the wrong room number. It wasn’t actually somebody else’s room, but a room that didn’t even exist :lmao:. We decided that instead of going back into the lobby we would try the last room in the hall and we were in luck – it was our room!
I was slightly nervous as I opened the doors – I had built this up in my head for a really long time. Here is what we saw when we walked in
The bed was too firm for my liking, but my Husband slept like a baby the entire time. The couch on the other side also stored a pull out bed, allowing the room to sleep four people.
Our first, and only, towel animal of our stay. For those that don’t know, when you stay DVC you do not get normal housekeeping every day. Instead you get what they call “trash and towel service” on your fourth day. This is exactly what it sounds like. They empty your trash and replace your towels and toiletries. If you are staying longer you get a full housekeeping on the eight day and then the cycle repeats itself. This was not something that bothered us, but if I hadn’t known beforehand I probably would have been upset.
This is the cabinet where the TV was held and there were dresser drawers on the bottom half. I have to say, we were both disappointed with the TV. It wasn’t a flat screen, which we didn’t care about, but it was SMALL – our laptop had a bigger screen :rotfl2:. We don’t go on vacation to watch TV, but we love to watch a movie each night before going to bed. Plus, Candi is lost without watching ESPN!!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the lantern style lamp above the table area though!!
The kitchenette area – it was really nice to have the fridge, and we used the sink to rinse out or refillable mugs, but we never did use the microwave or the toaster. There were also plastic utensils and paper plates available – we didn’t end up using those either, but I’m sure they are nice to have if you do a grocery order or anything like that.
I thought this set-up was super cute!
This was my favorite area of the room – I love the décor here. I also loved how the vanity/sink area was outside of the actual bathroom. This is very useful for us when we are both trying to shower and get ready. The wooden doors are to the closet area – it was a HUGE closet that stored the vacuum, ironing board and iron, a playpen/crib style thing and the safe. There was also plenty of room for hanging clothes. The safe actually required a key instead of sliding your room key and was built into the wall – it was pretty small, but not a big deal to us because we just used it to store credit cards.
The bathtub was a little on the small side, but the shower had amazing water pressure.
This was the picture hanging in the bathroom – I just had to post it because it is so adorable!
Lastly, we had to go explore our balcony area to see what kind of view we had ended up with. I had read several reports of people who had ended up with a view of the dumpsters or the bus stop, so once again, I was a little bit nervous.
I walked outside and saw instantly that we had a woods view. But before Candi made it outside I let out a scream. He thought it was because we had either a REALLY good view or a REALLY bad view – he couldn’t tell. In all actuality it was because I ran into the third member sharing our room
We named him Bob and he hung out with us until the next day.
Once we had introduced ourselves to Bob we took a look at our view.
Looking straight out and to the right from our balcony it was nothing but trees!
Looking to the left it was more trees and balconies from the other rooms. We were the last room in the hallway so there weren’t any rooms to our right.
Overall, we were happy with our room. We had booked a studio and got pretty much what we had expected. The biggest let down was the TV, but HELLO we were in Disney World so it wasn’t anything to cry over!!
After checking out the room we both decided that we were a little bit hungry and since our reservation still wasn’t for over 2 hours we decided to head to Roaring Forks to pick up our refillable mugs and a snack. We were on the deluxe dining plan so the refillable mugs were included in the meal plan and we each got 2 snacks per night of our stay.
I loved the look of the hallway with all the Mickey arches and light fixtures – it was honestly my favorite part of the Villas decor.
We really enjoyed the walk from the Villas to the Lodge – it was a really nice night that wasn’t too humid. Plus, we were still on our “we’re really here” high!!
Roaring Forks wasn’t at all crowded and we were back in our room with our snacks in no time.
I got carrots and celery with ranch dressing and Candi got a bowl of chili. The mugs in the background were the refillable mugs – they were somewhat small and we learned to just fill them with our beverages and get ice from the ice machine in the Villa.
I had been looking forward to the veggies & ranch because I ate them every night on our honeymoon. I was a little disappointed that they now used baby carrots instead of strips of "adult" carrots - they taste different to me :rotfl:. I still enjoyed them though. Candi thought the chili was too greasy but said it had great flavor.
Candi decided to take a quick nap and I went on a search for our Ethernet cable so I could get on the internet. I couldn’t find it so I called and had one delivered. They were very nice and brought it to me in less than 10 minutes!
*** For those that end up staying here, the Ethernet cable is inside a fabric bag hanging on one of the hangers in the closet ***
There was a slight problem with the internet – it wasn’t allowing me to connect and kept giving me an error. Another call to the tech number listed and that was fixed extremely quickly as well. They also let me know that although it stated I would be charged every 24 hours for usage that it would be free for us since we were DVC owners. WAHOO – I love saving money :woohoo:!!!
After I did everything I need online I woke Candi up to start getting ready for dinner.
** Next up – Our night Downtown
MONEY SPENT SO FAR:
2 Refillable mugs – Included on the Deluxe Dining Plan - $27.67 with tax if paying in cash
Veggies & Ranch / Bowl of Chili – 2 snack credits - $7.23 with tax if paying in cash
Internet Usage – FREE for being a DVC owner – around $10 for 24 hours if a non-DVC owner
Total cash spent $0.00
Long Time Lurker
Gosh that sounds so creepy :rotfl2:
I absolutely adore your trip reports. I'm so glad you posted photo's of the villas at Wilderness Lodge, we're planning our next trip and were deciding between those villas and the Contemporary! I think I expected Wilderness Lodge to be more like the Grand Californian- so I'm glad I have a better understanding :)
Loving it so far- subscribing popcorn::
popcorn:: joining in popcorn::
Love all the pictures. great job:thumbsup2
Hi Everyone!! Sorry I’ve been away for a little while, but I promise it’s been for good reason. My parents came to see me this past week!! Since they live so far away – about 600 miles – we only see each other every 4-6 months. And, this trip was a much needed one, both for them and me. I was getting incredibly homesick and it was starting to affect me at work and home :sad1:
While they were here we went to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. If you’ve never seen or heard about this you are definitely missing out – it’s awesome! Unfortunately, I had to work on Saturday – I mean, they act like I just spent a week at Disney World or something :lmao:. Anyway, Candi got up and took my parents to the mass ascension and then they went to the casino for brunch and gambling. Tough life huh? :rotfl:
That night we went to the “balloon twilight twinkle glow.” For those who don’t know, this is where all the balloons are aired up but remain on the ground and then they all “twinkle” – blow their flames so that they light up. It’s super pretty, unfortunately, it was cancelled due to rain and wind :sad2:
They announced that they would still be doing the fireworks show so we decided to stick around and I headed to get some food. One hour and a philly cheesesteak later and I was back sitting with my family!
The fireworks got off to a late start and there were a lot of gaps in between them but they were still beautiful.
During one of the breaks in between fireworks launches the news channel came and interviewed my Mom about the cancellation
We still have this news airing saved on our DVR – she felt like such a celebrity!!
On Sunday I didn’t have to work so we all went to the mass ascension together. We had to get up super early (around 4am :scared1:) but it was definitely worth it.
Isn’t the moon beautiful? Yep, it was still out and shining when we got to balloon park :eek:
Getting there so early was definitely worth it because we got a great spot on top of the hill overlooking the entire balloon park. It wasn’t too long after we arrived that they started airing the balloons up and preparing them for launch.
There couldn’t be enough pictures to show how beautiful it really is – you just have to experience it. At any given time there are over 200 balloons in the air in front of you – truly spectacular!
Eventually, the sun made an appearance and you could really see all the colors of the balloons, it makes it a whole different experience when this happens.
After the launch they had a Fiesta Car Show and the boys couldn’t resist checking it out.
I think this might be my next car – who cares that it cost more than my house? ;)
Sadly, I had to take off and leave my parents to hang out with Candi again. I had made an appointment to take engagement pictures for a friend of a friend. We made the appointment before I knew my parents were coming and I felt awful cancelling on her – planning a wedding is stressful enough as it is!
I’m not a professional photographer, but I love to take pictures and I would really like to do it as a “side job.” Tell me what you guys think ….
Other than the above we spent the weekend just hanging out; watching movies, eating junk food, trading stories … all my favorite things :thumbsup2
Just like everything else great in life it went by way too fast!
I promise a Disney update is next ….
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