Mickey, ducks & snakes-oh my!! DDP $$ recap, OKW 5/24-5/30/10
This is my first trip report so be gentle! ;)
Here's the background - DH (54), DW (46), DS (25), DD (22) & DD boyfriend (22).
This is our first trip to WDW in nearly 3 years. We purchased a small DVC contract at OKW in Nov, 2009 so this was our first "trip home". We live in south Mississippi and it is a 600 mile drive each way to WDW. Our DS recently moved to north Alabama so he flew in to meet us while the rest of us drove down. Since it is a 10 hour drive, we knew we would be arriving late. We purchased the dining plan and if we had stayed at OKW that first night, we would have had to purchase that extra day on the plan for all 5 of us and not been able to use it. Therefore, we stayed at the Buena Vista Suites on a deal found here on the DISboards. A 2 room suite for only $99/night (tax included). Hard to beat that deal!
We made it to the hotel, checked in and decided to eat at the Cheesecake Factory in Orlando. DS's twin brother lives out on the west coast and works at one while attending school. This was our first visit and it was very good. The menu is more like a booklet with so many items. Needless to say, the desserts are fantastic too. I would compare it to many of the better restaurants at WDW for the food but it is hard to beat the atmosphere at Mickey's place!
DS's flight arrived at 11:20 at MCO so we checked out and picked him up at the airport. No problems there except I suspect my Garmin GPS and the FL DOT are in collusion to send me through every toll booth around to collect those fares! :headache: We arrived at OKW after MORE tolls around 12:30.
Check-in is not until 4:00. We did the online check-in and I do not know if it made any difference, but our room was ready! :banana: DW and I are going to purchase AP's but we had purchased park tickets for the 3 "kids" through UndercoverTourist. The CM added them directly to the room key without a problem. As previously mentioned, we had purchased the DP (TS meal, CS meal and a snack) for our stay and those were added to each of our room keys as well. It took less than 10 minutes from arrival until we were headed to our room! I don't know about you but that is scary for me! That guy in Murphy's Law is a relative of mine so for something to go so easy is not the norm for me!!! :lmao:
For those of you not familiar with OKW, there is some construction going on at the entrance and at the Hospitality House.
They are enlarging the area at the HH to make more room for DME storage and also doing some work on the entrance. This is scheduled to be completed by the end of June. They are also refurbishing all the rooms at OKW but that will take a while longer to complete. Buildings 30, 31, 32, 33, 40 and 43 have been completed. Only 43 more to go!
I just stayed at OKW from 5/31 to 6/4 and loved it! I used to visit Key West all the time when I lived in Florida and they have the theming down!! I stayed in a studio in building 33, first floor. It was newly refurbished and I think I may have been one of the first guests in there because everything was brand new, the shower curtain, etc. I loved it and the little porch was great. I asked to be by a bus stop because I was traveling alone and she put me there. I was soooo happy. I really enjoyed OKW and thought the busses were very good. I only waited once for more than 5 minutes for a bus. I have previously stayed at SSR (loved it) and AKW. I like the spread out, quite resorts the best.
I can't wait to hear how the rest of your trip went and your thoughts on OKW.
On to our room. We are in room 6212 on the first floor. This is across Peninsular Road from the HH. We had a 2br villa and it was huge! The WDW website says 1,395 sq ft but it seemed even larger. Needless to say, it was plenty of room for the 5 of us. This building has not been refurbished yet. Here are a few pics..
Lake view from the balcony
Golf course view from the balcony - 6th hole green at Lake Buena Vista Golf Course
Here are some familiar pics for those that have stayed at OKW...
This is the walkway at the back of the HH near the boat dock. That's the Gurgling Suitcase on the left for those seeking adult beverages. Next down the walkway is Goods To Go (counter service meals), game room and an exercise room. At the end of this walkway is one of the 4 pools at OKW.
Also down this walkway is Hank's where you can rent watercraft, bikes, etc.
Peninsular Road bridge view from the boat dock
Canal from the boat dock that leads to Downtown Disney
The iconic lighthouse at OKW
More pics of OKW...
Night view of boat dock at the back of the HH
Some of the buildings at OKW
OKW is spread out with lots of green space so naturally there is wildlife. Well, some are not all that wild as seen below...
Outside our room from the balcony
As soon as you walk out on your balcony, here come the beggars
See, I told you they weren't that wild
Hand feeding was fine until this fellow shows up with that LONG beak
And where there are small animals, there are also nature's predators. This one was about 4 ft long and was in the bushes the next morning just outside our balcony after feeding the ducks & birds the day before. DW and DD decided to stay inside and not feed the fowl anymore!
Since we were able to check-in so early we used our DP and ate at Olivia's at OKW. As we have experienced before, the food there was really good.
A note for those thinking about using the DP for your meals. There were 5 adults on this trip and we chose the DP that included a CS-Counter Service meal, TS-Table Service meal and a snack each day. We had already made ADR's at Mama Melrose's @ DH (Included the Fantasmic Dinner Package), Le Cellier @ EP-Canada, Biergarten @ EP-Germany and the Grand Floridian Cafe at the GF resort. I wasn't sure if it would be worth it but here are the final results. I took our receipts from each TS meal, CS meal and snack and compared the cash cost vs the DP cost. The DP cost for 5 adults for 5 nights was $1,049.75 ($41.99ea x 5 nights x 5 adults). The cash price if we would have ordered the exact same items would have been $1,341.39.
As you can see, that is a substantial savings BUT, I have to add a caveat. We are not big dessert eaters. Included in each TS and CS meal is a dessert. We felt "obligated" to get a dessert with each meal since it was included. In fact, when you told the CM that you had the DP, they reminded you that a dessert was included if you didn't order one! With that said, the cash value of the desserts would have been $121.53 (no cost for Biergarten dessert since this is a buffet). Even deducting that from the cash price of $1,341.39, there still is a savings of $170.11 by using the DP. Maybe I should have skipped some of those desserts anyway. Even with all the walking and sweating (low 90's each day), I still managed to gain 5 pounds on this trip! :scared1:
Another note - There were 3 males in our group that tend to be big red meat eaters so we tended to order the steak dishes which are normally more expensive. If you are lighter eaters then your savings might be less since you would be ordering entrees that are lighter and therefore less expensive.
Another 'nother note - If you want to see the Fantasmic show at DH (I would definately recommend it) and are on the DP, call and reserve the Dinner Package at Mama Melrose's. It is a regular TS meal credit and you also get an appetizer included for each person at no extra cost. In addition, you get reserved seat passes for the Fantasmic show so you don't have to wait an hour or more in line for the show. The Fantasmic venue houses almost 10,000 and is typically full for each show. You can also reserve the dinner package at DH's Hollywood and Vine or the Brown Derby, however, the Brown Derby will cost you 2 TS meal credits for each person.
Last another note - The DP does not include tips for the TS meals. Each receipt has a "suggested" 18% & 20% tip amount for your convenience. The service is usually very good and our total tips for the 5 TS meals alone was more in line with the 20% amount. For those that are AP holders, I also compared the TS meals cash price versus using the Tables In Wonderland (TIW) discount. The TIW discount gives you a 20% discount at most TS restaurants but automatically adds an 18% gratuity. The discount is for all items on the TS menu including adult beverages. The cash value of our 5 TS meals would have been $1,006.40 with tip included. If we had used the TIW card, the total price would have been $900.30. This one trip would have paid for the cost of the annual TIW discount card. When DW and I go back the week after Thanksgiving this year, we will probably use the TIW card instead of the DP. We like to split appetizers and have a drink once in a while (both not on the DP) and the TIW discount will apply.
Okay, so after eating at Olivia's, DW and I needed to get our AP's. We both volunteered earlier this year on the GAD program. To redeem the GAD voucher, you have to go to one of the parks so we headed out to MK. As usual, as we were walking to the bus stop, the bus going to the MK had just pulled off. (Remember my relative Murphy?) Not to worry though, OKW has an excellent bus service and within minutes another MK bus was pulling up. A short ride later and we were at the gate to MK. We went to the Will Call booth to the right of the entrance gates. This was about 2:30 that afternoon so there wasn't a line. We told the CM that we wanted to purchase two AP's, we were DVC members and had a GAD voucher. She knew exactly what we were talking about and asked for our blue DVC member card, the GAD voucher and a picture ID. In about 5 minutes we had our AP's! No trouble, no fuss (I guess Murphy was under the weather today! :banana:). We decided to go ahead and get a TIW card while we were there and again, no problems.
And for you bean counters, the cost for the TIW card was only $75 (no tax charged). The regular price is $100 but there is a $25 AP holder discount. The total price for the AP was $330.15 each! The regular (non-FL resident) price for an AP is $489. The DVC member discount is $100 and the value of the GAD voucher is $79 (one day park ticket). So for $330.15 each ($489-100-79=310 + 6.5% tax = $330.15) we have park hopper passes for a full year. That is cheaper than a 4 day non-expiring park hopper ticket! :cool1:
So with AP's in hand, we headed into the MK. Recognize this?
In prior visits, we have been in all the shops on Main Street. One that we have not spent much time in is Crystal Arts. They have hand blown glasswares and fine crystal items. This time we entered the side door near the back of the store and realized that they have a gaffer (the glass artisan) actually making the items on site!
Notice the temperature on the kiln at the upper right of the pic? That's over 2100 degrees!!
After blowing the molten glass in to shape, adding a piece here and there, and rolling each piece in the color crystals, here is the finished piece
If you get a chance to watch this process it is well worth it.
Here's a couple of tips that we found very useful on this trip. Go to a craft store and get a lanyard for each person in your group. We got ours at Hobby Lobby for less than $3 for 6 lanyards. Then get clear plastic name card holders that clip to the lanyards at an office supply store like Office Depot. These were less than $5 for 10. These work real well to keep your room key, park ticket (if not on your room key), driver's license and credit card all in the clear pouch. You can also put your Fastpass tickets in these as well. Just slip the lanyard beneath your shirt and it stays dry, out of sight and you don't have to fumble through a wallet or purse each time it is needed. I left my wallet in the room safe all week and did not have to worry about losing it or it getting wet on Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids.
Speaking of Kali River Rapids at AK, here is the other tip. Go to a dollar store and get some cheap rain ponchos. We got ours at Family Dollar Store for a dollar each. When riding Kali River Rapids, you WILL get wet! This is one of my favorite rides in all of WDW! :thumbsup2 Slip one of the ponchos on prior to getting in the raft and you will be glad you did. DS decided to be cool and not put his on. He got soaked!!! :lmao: Shake it dry when you finish, fold it up and put it back in your pocket or pass it on to someone in line without any gear as you are leaving the ride. They also came in handy the last day of our trip because it rained for about an hour Saturday night. DS was too cool again and left his in the room. He purchased one in a Main Street shop that cost him over $9. Go figure!! :confused3
Thanks so much! This is a GREAT TR....the detailed accounting of meal price options is especially helpful!!!! :flower3:
Excellent trip report!:thumbsup2 Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to read more...popcorn::
Love the trip report and the great inof on the dining plan. Looking forward to hearing more!
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