The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com

The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com (http://www.disboards.com/index.php)
-   Disney Trip Reports (http://www.disboards.com/forumdisplay.php?f=18)
-   -   11/6-Loweschevy Trip Report 2013: Three resorts means 3 times the fun?! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3186084)

LowesChevy 10-14-2013 02:41 PM

11/6-Loweschevy Trip Report 2013: Three resorts means 3 times the fun?!
 
The basics:
September 26-October 7th
Beach Club Review: Post #3
Bay Lake Tower
The Polynesian

Epcot: Post #4, #9, #13
Disney Hollywood Studios Post #5, #14
Magic Kingdom Post #6
Animal Kingdom Post #7

Pre Trip Report

Starring Erika (Loweschevy), Deb (Mom) & Steve (dad)

On Thursday afternoon we left Fairview, PA and hopped on I-90 West. The weather was beautiful and the traffic was light.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...psf72c575e.jpg

We made good time and parked at Beachwood Place to walk around and shop. I found some goodies at Dillards and treated myself to a new pair of jeans, a couple tops and a pair of shorts that were on sale. Our mall in Erie is pretty limited to teenagers and skinny mini women and of course endless amounts of clothing for men, that most of them never wear ha ha. So whenever we are out of town, I love to shop--especially when we visit my brother and sister in law in Minneapolis. A latte from Starbucks and a stroll through the mall and it was time to have some dinner at Cheesecake Factory down the street at Legacy Village.

After dinner it was back onto the thruway to 480. We hit a bit of a jam near the split off to the south and west, but after 10-12 minutes we were on our way again. We arrived at the Sheraton and got settled into the room. I got on the iPad and Tweeted my Follow Fridays because I knew I wouldnt have a chance to do it the next day. Then my dad and I went down to the lobby bar for a drink. My only problem with staying overnight is that I never sleep well that evening! I think my brain wont relax enough because subconsciously you are worried about sleeping in too late. Five o clock came pretty early, but after 50 minutes the 3 of us were dressed, packed up and ready to get on the airport shuttle.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...psc59db828.jpg

United has totally redone the check in lines at CLE and it seems like more of a free for all, but I think it works better than dragging your bags through a queue to be honest. Stickered and tagged, its time for the security line. Dunkin Donuts was the next stop for a coffee and a donut. Our gate was the furthest away from the security check, with the exception of the D gates. Thats okay, we are poised for walking this trip.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps15753c7b.jpg

The flight from Cleveland was pleasant, but not for a few customers. A woman passed out before the plane was set to push off from the gate and paramedics had to be called in to check her out. They ended up pulling her off the flight as her vitals were okay, but they didnt want to take any chances. The woman must have been fine because we saw her at Epcot a few days afterwards. What are the chances of that right?! Its scary, but it happens. I know of a couple of cases where they landed the plane in a different airport because guests had consciousness from illness. Luckily she was okay and we got our flight underway.

I charged my credit card and watched the Golden Girls till we landed. After a smooth flight, we waited forever for the luggage! Continental never had a problem with baggage, but when they merged with United the wait time surged. :crazy2:

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps8abbb715.jpg

Walked across the street to Alamo and picked out a red Impala. We went with something other than white or silver because some people tend to forget which color or make the car was in large, hot, sun parched parking lots. Red just made sense. We packed up the bags and were on our way.

Our first stop was lunch! I suggested House of Blues because the menu was rather large and had plenty of fan favorites. My dad opted for the pulled pork, I went with shrimp tacos and my mother had kiddy grilled cheese. The cornbread is a must have and the other dishes very good. Our server was very attentive and friendly as well. This will definitely be a stop next year!

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...1ce9dc717d.jpg

Afterwards we moved the car around the big dig at DTD to get to Guest Relations. I figured this would be easier than going to the resort, parking and walking over to Epcot. Cory helped us purchase our Annual Passes and Tables in Wonderland card with ease. Unfortunately the computers there were not functioning properly, but I figured concierge could assist us.

Coming up the Beach Club!! :beach:

wiigirl 10-14-2013 06:31 PM

Following along! :)

LowesChevy 10-15-2013 03:11 PM

The Beach Club


We arrived at the Beach Club about the time I noted in the reservation and a lovely young lady, also from Pennsylvania, was there to greet us at the front door. She led us to the concierge check in desks on the 5th to check into the room. Check in went pretty smooth-due to the Magic Bands I needed some guidance on how to pick the times for the Fastpass + selections. After a few minutes, our CM had me cruising through the My Disney Experience like a pro. Once I figured out that you could adjust the times for fine tuning, it was a breeze.

After completing the check in, she walked us down to our room on the 4th floor. It was all of the way at the end of a long, winding hall, but the only request I made with concierge was to have a large balcony because my dad loves to sit outside. It had an amazing balcony and a fabulous view of the quiet pool.

The Beach Club
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8691.jpg
We arrived at the Beach Club about the time I noted in the reservation and a lovely young lady, also from Pennsylvania, was there to greet us at the front door. She led us to the concierge check in desks on the 5th to check into the room. Check in went pretty smooth-due to the Magic Bands I needed some guidance on how to pick the times for the Fastpass + selections. After a few minutes, our CM had me cruising through the My Disney Experience like a pro. Once I figured out that you could adjust the times for fine tuning, it was a breeze.

After completing the check in, she walked us down to our room on the 4th floor. It was all of the way at the end of a long, winding hall, but the only request I made with concierge was to have a large balcony because my dad loves to sit outside. It had an amazing balcony and a fabulous view of the quiet pool.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8532.jpg

Mom enjoying the patio
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8530.jpg

The room itself was spacious with a seating area and two comfortable beds. There was plenty of room for our clothing in the closet and drawer wise. Room was adorned with a ceiling fan, couch, coffee table, cabinet with mini fridge, writing desk with lamps, small dresser below television with 4 drawers, taller dresser with 4 more drawers, night stand between beds, iHome alarm clock, a wall mounted shelf next to 1 bed (nice touch for those of us with glasses!) DVD player and of course a medium sized flat panel television.

Beach Club: Deluxe concierge room

Its a good thing I took pictures before we totally unpacked because after we started buying things, the couch was covered with stuff!
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8526.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8525.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8528.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8527.jpg

We phoned housekeeping each morning to let them know we were leaving the room so they could come clean. Each time we came back the room it was made up and nap ready for my mother. A mid day break is most enjoyable to us, especially since you feel like you are spending more time in the room aside from sleeping and using the rest room.

Although quiet pool may not be the best way to describe the folks that swim there because there were a few times when people needed to use their inside voice! It was a refreshing cool down for those mid day breaks and the hot tub was a nice way to unwind after walking at night.

The Stone Harbor Club was great. Tasty snacks available throughout the day with more hearty appetizers and beer available in the late afternoon. It kept hungry stomachs satisfied till dinner. I do not think we will get the concierge next time, even though the service is extra special and the SHC is well stocked, we just do not need the extra food and expense. We generally eat three squares a day, although the beer and water were great because we had not visited the grocery store. I think we will be able to save some money next year opting out of the concierge service. I did love the deluxe room size though!
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...psb6787152.jpg


My only complaints would be the size of the bathroom. It was very tiny in relation to the size of the room, but the vanity had a shelf beneath and two sinks to speed up the morning beautification process. The television cable hanging down was rather tacky, but not going to split hairs over it.

Beach Club Hallway near Cape May Cafť
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8689.jpg

I am already angling to coming back to the Beach Club next year. Since we spend so much time at Epcot it is so nice to be able to walk a short distance to the International Gateway and be on your merry way. I also enjoyed being close to DHS because normally we drive there, but being able to take the boat at least once was a relief. I think we will be staying there at the end of the trip next year!

Besides, how do you not love Stormalong Bay?
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8687.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8688.jpg

Up next-fun at Epcot!!

LowesChevy 10-17-2013 02:04 PM

First day at Epcot

The next day, we got up, had some breakfast at the Captainís Grille and were on our way to the International Gateway. By the time we got through bag check and the gates the park was officially open for business. It has been a long time since I have seen the World Showcase so empty! There were still a decent amount of folks trekking towards the Land pavilion. We figured we could hop right in the standby line and then use our FP+ when we had finished riding.

Afterwards we rode the Land then made our way across the park for Test Track. We stopped first at the Festival Center in the old WoL building to check out what classes were being offered and peruse the large selection of wine and spirits for sale. Saw some great bottles of wine and liquor, but most of them I can purchase at home.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8554.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8551.jpg

Test Track reopened last year about a month after we left, so it was a new experience for us. I liked the process of designing my own car, but like the old pre show, I think it will get old after a while. Hopefully Bill McKim found another position too by the way. The flow of people is smoother now and you do not have to deal with an entire room of folks dumping into a line. I really dislike being in a situation where you have to merge from 6 people wide to a single line. The overall ride was the same as always, but it was stripped of the individual elements like the block tests and the anti lock brake sections. The rooms are generic in nature, but follow the same course as before. The handling test is still the best part!

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8558.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8907.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8908.jpg

We browsed through Mouse Gear and picked up a few souvenirs right away. If I see something I really want, I buy it right away. There have been several times that I canít find the item again or the correct size. I bought a new car in July and actually was really excited it had an antenna because my 2004 4Runner didnít and I was extremely jelly of my mother for having all of the holiday ones. I also picked up a few of the vintage attraction poster magnets and one with Jiminy Cricket. I see what people were talking about with Club Cool because they were down to basically Kresta Ginger Ale, Beverly and Vegabeta I think. It was a fun concept, but perhaps it is time to change it up a bit.

Lunch was at the Rose & Crown, so we moseyed on up to Canada. We checked out the Tea Caddy and Sportsman Shop in the United Kingdom before we check in at the Rose & Crown. We didnít wait long and within 5 minutes we were led to our table on the patio. It was a beautiful day with a light breeze, so I wasnít opposed to being seated outside, plus it is covered. Lunch at the Rose & Crown was good, would have been better if the other guests had not been so disruptive! I canít believe a table of adults was letting a child run around and make excessive noise during a meal. Of course the other table was a large group of adults being loud and obnoxious and it was only 12:30 PM lol. I must be getting old, but I think some folks need to remember to use their inside voices more often.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_9199.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_9201.jpg

After lunch, we went back to the Beach Club for a rest. Dinner was at Tutto Italia, so we would come back later on in the afternoon. I made more FastPass + selections and planned our day by day for the next few days. This was also time necessary to charge my iPhone because the new update and use of MDE are killing the battery! A few snacks from the Stone Harbor Club were enjoyed as well. The light snacks they have during the day consist of yogurt pretzels, trail mix and Swedish fish.

Around 5 we went back over to Epcot and crawled over to Italy for our reservation at Tutto Italia. Dinner was great in general, but the food came out way too fast! We didnít order any appetizers because we had snacks at the SHC, but within 10 minutes of ordering the entrees were at the table.
We were beat from it being our first full day so we planned on doing Illuminations the following night and went back to get a good nightsí rest.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8716.jpg



Disney Hollywood Studios is up next!

LowesChevy 10-18-2013 02:33 PM

Disney Hollywood Studios

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8605.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8617.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...IMG_8616-1.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8619.jpg

After breakfast at Captains Grille, we walked down to the marina to catch the Friendship. It only has to make a stop at the Swan & Dolphin before setting course to Disney Hollywood Studios. Typically we drive to DHS rather than take the bus from the Polynesian or Bay Lake Tower, but taking the boat was a great alternative. The boat docked about 10 minutes before the official opening, which gave us plenty of time to get through bag check. The queues were already long and backed all the way to the ticket booths.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8669.jpg

We immediately made way for TSMM to ride standby. The line wasnt too bad and we only waited about 15 minutes. One of the games malfunctioned at the end-what a drag! Oh well, we still had a FP to use for another try next. I am forever a kitty. I need to sharpen up my skills lol!

Tower of Terror is probably my second favorite ride behind the Haunted Mansion, so Sunset Boulevard was our next stop. My mom is not a fan of either ToT or Rock n Roller Coaster, so she took a pass on them both. Luckily dad and I managed to ride both attractions within 40 minutes in the stand by line. Of the two, ToT has the more interesting queue if you have to wait a while to ride.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps128700c4.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8641.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8646.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8648.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8649.jpg

We explored the back lot area for a while and headed back up the streets of New York to look at the Christmas lights being hung. We will have to come back sometime for the Osborne lights again because it is beautiful. Although the last thing I want to think about is Christmas at this time! It hasnt even been Halloween nor Thanksgiving lol. There are never a lot of folks back here this early, so its kind of fun to walk around by yourselves just about.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8621.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8625.jpg

Next, it was time to ride Star Tours. Standby time was only around 10 minutes and the FP basically walked right into the boarding zones. For whatever reason our boarding zone waited a really long time before boarding, but the ride was great and the merchandise is always fun to look at in the gift shop as well.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8654.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8655.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...pse183dc7e.jpg

Still needed to kill a little time before lunch, so we walked up front and did some shopping at Keystone Clothiers and the Hollywood 5 & 10. Then we trekked back to Mama Melrose to wait for lunch.

Mama Melrose was busy as usual. Lots of folks were trying to score a walk in, but were turned away. Our pager went off after a few minutes and we were seated in the back. The food and service was fabulous, although we had to complain about the music not playing! Triple threat! Flatbreads-mushroom with balsamic drizzle, margherita and Italian meats to feast upon after our salads. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach because we definitely had two to split, but they did pack up to go nicely.

We still had a FP for Lights, Action Motors, but not to use till 4:20 PM. There was still another day of DHS left on the schedule, so we decided to hit the remaining shops on the main drag and head to the boat. Now felt like the perfect time for a cool down at the quiet pool.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8675.jpg

Coming up next: moving day to Bay Lake Tower and the Magic Kingdom

LowesChevy 10-21-2013 09:10 AM

Magic Kingdom
 
We woke up got ready and went to breakfast at the Captainís Grill again. Today I opted for the buffet-itís not like I was going to ride Tower of Terror or anything. Having already been to Epcot a few times and DHS, I was itching to get the Magic Kingdom!! After we packed up the car, it was time to head over to our home base Bay Lake Tower.

They have greatly improved the check in process at Bay Lake Tower over the years. At first, you had to go to the lobby at the Contemporary. then check in, then call for a bellman to pack everything up and walk over to Bay Lake Tower, then go park the car. A few years ago they added a check in desk at BLT, which helped and now there is a larger check in desk these days. There were ton of CMs in the lobby interacting with guests and helping them get what they need. Check in didnít take too long, even after we tried online on the iPad, but it didnít go through completely. We were issued 3 more gray bands that were created for us, but we were fine to use the ones we already had. You just need to keep them safe and you can deactivate them on the website. Our CM also gave us some band bling for 2013! I gave my phone number to text me when the room was ready and off to the Magic Kingdom we went.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...psc4f82cc4.jpg

The walk to the MK seemed longer than usual, but I think it was because it was extra hot today! Cleared the bag check and through the gates with no band problems and we were off. Iím a classic kind of girl, so I want to hit all of the classic Disney rides first time at the park. We veered left after we passed Main Street U.S.A. and crossed the stroller bridge as we call it. One of my fondest memories is the sound that strollers make crossing the bridge to the entrance of Adventureland near the Crystal Palace. Our first stop was Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road. Last year we tried to ride it and it was down one morning and we just never were able to get back over there to ride. Our seats were right up front and boy was it rough

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8982.jpg

We bounced back over to Liberty Square and rode my all time favorite the Haunted Mansion. The addition of digital sound a few years back really add to the experience.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...pse6cdf856.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...8/IMG_1811.jpg

My mother loves Buzz Lightyear, so it was off to Tomorrowland we went. The line was only about a minute wait if that. Afterwards we rode the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, which I still refer to as the WEDWAY People Mover. It was malfunctioning slightly as if it kept losing power. Guests ended up walking of the non moving ramp to board. Oh well, itís a nice cool ride and great way to crowd watch. I donít know if itís me or what, but when you are in Space Mountain it seems brighter than it used to.

The Space Mountain stand by line was about 20 minutes, so we decided to head to Fantasyland. Along the way we stopped by Sir Mickeyís, which they appeared to have taken out most of the adult clothing and put in tons of girly items. Castle Couture is still full of dressed and things of that nature as well.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_9025.jpg

Itís a Small World was kind of jammed, but we boarded within 10 minutes or so. It is usually always a steady stream of folks because there are not any restrictions on riding. A timeless classic to me.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps7af74776.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps320e174c.jpg

After that it was time to ride Journey of the Little Mermaid. This would be the first time we are able to ride since it opened in November last year. The new Fantasyland in general is awesome and this was no exception. The queue was creatively designed with water features and lots of inside waiting space. It was really cute and we enjoyed it. We wandered around the new Fantasyland and check out the new gift shop and peeked in Gastonís Tavern as well.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8743.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8746.jpg

Our tummies were rumbling so we walked down to Columbia Harbor House for lunch. Busy is normal this time of day, but navigating through the line didnít take long.

After lunch we browsed through the Christmas Shop and eventually wandered back over to Adventureland. It had been many years since we watched the Enchanted Tiki Room, but I wanted to give it a try again. I do not have any recollection of this attraction other than hearing the music and knowing the plot. It is just funny all of the times we came to WDW since I was little, I do not remember this at all. I enjoyed the show and though all the effect were cool and of course classic.

The queue for Pirates of the Caribbean stand-by was manageable. It only took about 10 minutes before we boarded. So they took out the fog with Barbossa and put in mermaid? SighÖ At least they didnít remove ďDead men tell no tales.Ē By then I had received a text that our room at BLT was ready! Back to Main Street U.S.A. we went and hopped on the monorail to the Contemporary.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8752.jpg

Next up getting settled at BLT
Then Animal Kingdom

LowesChevy 10-23-2013 08:44 AM

Animal Kingdom

After breakfast at the Wave, we made the drive over to the AK. Fortunately our parking spot was right near the tram spot, so we could find it easily. I remember looking for the car for a long time a few years ago..uhhgg.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8809.jpg

It was only a few minutes past park opening and there was not much in terms of crowds yet. Kilmanjaro Safaris was the first stop. The stand by line was already quite long, but it is probably the most popular ride in the park. The FP line moved swiftly and pretty soon we were boarding for our two week safari. Last year we saw and heard the lions roar, which was awesome, but I wasnít expecting that type of activity this time.
The hippos were chilling in the water, not much movement there!
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8777.jpg
Simba taking a nap
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8797.jpg
Zebras
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8803.jpg
The baby rhino-ainít he cute?
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8799.jpg

There was a mass giraffe crossing right before the vehicle, so I got a few great photos of them right in front of the Jeep.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8784.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8788.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8783.jpg
Elephant munching down
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8772.jpg
Great safari overall.

We walked through Kiwani Traders and Mombasa Marketplace at the merchandise. Then we walked around Africa a bit longer and we spotted this guy.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8805.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8772.jpg

It was time to cross over into Asia and make way for Expedition Everest! This time of day the lines are not long. In fact you can generally ride it a few times in a row with a negligible wait-maybe 5-10 minutes. We didnít even really need to use our FP, but since we had it oh well. Afterwards, we wandered toward Dinoland and decided to catch the early showing of Finding Nemo, the musical. By doing so, I logged onto MDE and switched out our FP for the next showing of Festival of the Lion King! Finding Nemo was a cool show and we all enjoyed it.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8808.jpg

On the way over to Camp Minnie Mickey, we stopped by Creature Comforts and Island Mercantile to look at goodies.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8770.jpg

Now, we are not big on stage shows and we had never seen FOTLK, so it was a treat. I was really surprised how the theatre filled up, but also annoyed that people were let in the show so lateÖwhy bother if you are arriving 15 minutes late, just catch the next show! We were seated in the warthog section and I am not really sure anyone know what sound they make ha ha. Awesome show, be interesting to see the new theatre coming soon to Africa.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...IMG_8811-1.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8828.jpg

I managed to add a couple of new things to the visit to make it fun. Like I said, we do not normally watch the shows and stage plays, but it really made the day fun and exciting rather than just riding the same old attractions! Back to the car and on the way to Downtown Disney for lunch at Planet Hollywood and shopping.

Up nextÖback to Epcot

LowesChevy 10-25-2013 03:23 PM

A conglomeration of everything else we did at Epcot over the next several daysÖ :goodvibes and some of my favorite photographs.

Epcot is my favorite park, so we end up here a lot! Even after a few days, there are a few things we missed, but have on the back burner for next year. First thing on the list this year was catching a performance of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Staying at either the Polynesian or Bay Lake Tower, the thought of watching the show and being a part of the mass of crowds exiting and trying to board the monorail was scary. I know people do it every night, but about that time of night at WDW, I am already in bed lol! Staying at the Beach Club was all part of the plan and Sunday night after dinner at Shulaís we caught the show near Morocco. I still am pretty partial to the original Illuminations show, if anyone remembers it with all of the classical music and lights on the countries. What about the announcements every five minutes ďThere are still many great places around the World Showcase lagoon for viewing?Ē

Future World Fun
Spaceship Earth
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_9064.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8900.jpg

Monorail red whizzing by Imagination
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8918.jpg

Fountain of Nations
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/DSCN0050.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps4adb9e7f.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8914.jpg

Food & Wine Festival Center
Whiskey offerinsí
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...ps48f0a2b7.jpg

It must have been close to the start of a seminar when we arrived because the center was packed with folks. The cafť line was backed way up into the store area and it made browsing rather tricky. There was some beautiful artwork available this year by many of the Disney artists. I would have loved to get a piece, but I havenít a wall to spare at home! Make sure you check it out if you have a chance. I wasnít thrilled overall with the merchandise this year. The pins are always cute, but other than that there was nothing unique or one of a kind.

We caught the Universe of Energy when Test Track was down the one morning. I did receive an email notification to pick any other ride, except for Soariní, for immediate FP line access after we rode UoE. That was really cool! It is kind of funny how dated you think the attraction is, but the arguments for and against the different sources of energy is still a hot topic when you think about it. The show is a little tired and could use a refresh though.

I didnít have the guts for Mission Space. I have to admit, I am getting be a bit wimpy as I get older. I can get rather anxious at times and start to panic if I cannot breathe, so itís best for me to just skip out on this one. :scared:

The Seas with Nemo & Friends has an incredibly long queue! Anyway itís pretty cute and I really do not miss the pre ride show from The Living Seas ďand it rained, and it rainedÖand it rained.Ē I do miss the abundance of tanks to view fish, but at least I got to check out the manatees.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...8/IMG_1776.jpg
Just in time for Halloween
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...8/IMG_1775.jpg

Up next: World Showcase in pictures...pixiedust:

LowesChevy 10-28-2013 04:24 PM

Mexico-great angle-beautiful blue sky

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8924.jpg

I still miss El Rio Del Tiempo, but luckily you can still listen to the music on many of the Disney stations. I like to new ride, but its not as good in my opinion. Cava de Tequila was jam packed each time we were there, so guest must love sippin on tequila!

We dined at Cantina De San Angel one day for lunch. The lines were short and there were tables available surprisingly. My dad had the tacos de carne, but I think the nachos win hands down. They are loaded with seasoned ground beef, cheese sauce, tomatoes and jalapenos topped with sour cream and guacamole. We split an order of churritos for desert to finish off the meal. The view and atmosphere are pleasant too.

I think moving the mariachi band was a great idea because now more people can enjoy the performance without clogging up the building entrance.


China
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_7407.jpg

Playing peek with the Chinese Hall of Prayer
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8933.jpg

The House of Good Fortune had cut back on their merchandise a couple of years ago, as did many other stores. Gone are the never ending beautiful jade sculptures of ships and landscapes. A more child friendly area with panda and plush animals has been added near the indoor Kidcot spot. There are still plenty of silk robes, animal zodiac items, Buddha figurines and accessories to choose from in the store. Missed China 360 this year, but well be sure to catch it next year.

Norway

Last year, we waited 20 minutes to ride Maelstrom and this year we hit is just right because we walked right in to board. I think the queue could use a bit of an update, but still a fun diversion in the WS. No need for a ski jacket or knit cap from the Puffins Roost, but seeing kids pick the trolls nose is worth the walk through. What I really want to be left out in after a ride is the bakery he he he.


Germany

Germany is a country we tend to linger in for quite some time. Probably has something to do with the great beer! Grab a pint and find a spot by the fountain and catch the clock tower at the top of the hour. A walk through the Christmas shop will get you in the spirit for the holidays. Steer clear if you are in no mood!

I bought myself a pair of Adidas shorts for soccer. There are Bayern kits for sale, soccer balls, shoes, sweat suits and bags. They have been adding more and more Puma items to the store including items for women.

I think the addition of the Werthers shop was a good move. It seems to be bustling and you can spot many guests carrying white paper bags with freshly dipped treats.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8937.jpg

Italy
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8944.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8942.jpg

I think Italy is my favorite pavilion to photograph besides Morocco. The Venetian architecture, where Il Bel Cristallo resides and the Doges tower, are the most fun to explore. The fountain with Neptune is a challenge to capture with the constant flow of people passing through. Most of the time people will let you snap a few if you wait patiently.

We also enjoy eating at both Tutto and Via Napoli. Tutto Gusto is on the list for next year as a lunch spot for certain. If you are in need a break consider grabbing a bench near the Doges Tower or by the fountain and people watch. A very pleasant atmosphere to soak up and enjoy.

Coming up next...the rest of World Showcase

starousse 10-28-2013 04:38 PM

What amazing pictures.

JB Meier 10-28-2013 05:03 PM

Nice!
 
Erika:

Getting a brightly colored rental car is a great idea! Love the report.

Did your Fastpass+ for LMA give you a good seat? Is it worth it?

-JB-

LowesChevy 10-29-2013 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starousse (Post 49945863)
What amazing pictures.

Thank you!

Quote:

Originally Posted by JB Meier (Post 49946039)
Erika:

Getting a brightly colored rental car is a great idea! Love the report.

Did your Fastpass+ for LMA give you a good seat? Is it worth it?

-JB-

We didn't end up staying till 4:00 to use the FP+. they were only offering two shows a day, so we ended up missing it. FOTLK let us is the back door and they were great seats. And thank you!

LowesChevy 10-31-2013 02:14 PM

American Adventure

We skipped out on the show this year, the Golden Dreams montage always brings tears to my eyes. I know, I am a dork! We did check out Heritage Manor Gifts and I treated myself to the American Adventure shirt that was on sale. A couple of times we watched the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps pounding away. I like how close you can actually get to the performers in the WS-you can be right in the middle of the magic.

[
B]Japan at dusk[/B]
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...DSCN0041-1.jpg

Mitsokushi I love Mitsokushi-they have a large variety of goodies to browse through. It is an actual department store based in Tokyo, but we have our own branch at Epcot! You could spend over and hour looking at the silk robes, anime, collectable figurines, stationary, bonsai trees, incense, accessories, candy, beverages, tea pots, knives and chop sticks to name a few. The food items seem to be popular among guests as they sample treats like gummies or shrimp flavored chips. Dont forget to check out the saki selection!

Dinner at Teppan Edo was wonderful as usual. The service was great, the chef put on a great show and the food was excellent.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/DSCN0040.jpg

Cooking a vegetarian meal
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_1790.jpg

Would you like some sweat?
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...psc17fe7f9.jpg


Morocco

Morocco-long shutter
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8713.jpg

Morocco is a fun place to wander around in if you have some free time. There are many nooks and crannies to explore and interesting architecture to admire. The shops send you meandering through the streets and back alley of the country. Way at the back of the pavilion is Restaurant Marrakesh.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...IMG_8591-1.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8590.jpg

France-at night

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_8701.jpg

After lunch at Chefs De France on Sunday we enjoyed Impressions De France. It had been a few years since we last caught it, but I really love it. The movie shots of the beautiful landscapes and buildings are stunning. Hopefully someday I will get back to France and explore more of the countryside. We were in Paris for a few days and that wasnt enough!

The new Boulangerie Patissie is great too. The expansion was long overdue! I think the large displays will all of the sandwiches on baguettes and croissants are very appealing. There are a lot of staff to help move people through the line, but there are always a few undecided guests overwhelmed by the sweet sugary goodness of bakeries.We grabbed a couple of sweets before Illuminations the previous Sunday and snacked on them by the fountain. I had chocolate mousse, which was good, but I prefer a less sweet, dark chocolate mousse. The mousse was dense, fluffy and richly decadent-perfect for you fellow chocoholics.

Sandwiches
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8710.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8708.jpg

Sweets
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8706.jpg


United Kingdom

Lots of Guinness items available now like hats, rugby jerseys, t-shirts and accessories in the Crown & Crest now. The Sportsman Shoppes merchandise has changed over slightly as they no longer sell Liverpool FC kits, but still have Manchester United & City, Arsenal and Chelsea gear. New this year are Celtic kits. You can also get your Rolling Stones, Beatles and U2 memorabilia in the Toy Store out back.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_9204.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_9201.jpg
The Rose & Crown was good for lunch this year. Enjoyed bangers and mash, a Scotch egg and a Boddingtonsperfect afternoon in my opinion.

Canada

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...t/IMG_9199.jpg

We did not get a chance to explore Canada as much as I would have liked to, but then again something for next year to look forward to. At the Northwest Mercantile they have thinned down the hockey clothing line to a couple of t-shirts per team and more basic Canadian themed clothing. They still sell much of the animal print boxers, nightgowns and shirts that they have before.

Dont forget the excellent of plush animals-they are so cute. Of course you can still get your maple syrup whale blubber soap, and Smarties too! Outside below they offer leather engraving at a reasonable price-I had a Donald Duck tag personalized last year. It is a great gift idea.

Coming up..more fun at Disney Hollywood Studios

LowesChevy 11-06-2013 08:27 AM

DHS

Our second day at DHS was accompanied by gorgeous blue sky. We drove from the Polynesian and got stuck on the way far end of the parking lot. It was closer to walk across the bus area than walking down to the tram. We really had to hoof it to get to the front of the park, what a drag.
The Monsters University characters were out in the front of the park in the form of topiaries. They could easily be un-noticed from the tram and car parking stops, but if you arrive via boat you will see them. Or if you are parked on the extreme end of the parking lot.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8672.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8673.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8671.jpg


You stick out like a sore thumb Mr. Hat

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8668.jpg


Muppet Vision just had a short refurbishment and was looking pretty good. Everything appeared to be in working order during the show.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8626.jpg


The FP+ and MDE seemed to have cut back on the mad rush to TSMM in the morning. We still went right for the attraction both days we visited, but were able to get to the stand by line with a minimal wait. Each day they changed how they worked the queue: sometimes you were allowed on the steps, the next day they were holding people. The FP line was merged with the regular line both times we used it, so I donít know what the deal was there. The CMs were handing out 3D glasses and other times you were grabbing your own. It was inconsistent, but the ride is still a blast, except for the morning it malfunctioned!

Would you believe that we had the same experience on our two rides at Star Tours?

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8672.jpg


The Citizens of Hollywood were out in full force entertaining on Sunset Boulevard. They were out both days we visited interacting with brave guests. They add a delightful whimsy to the parkís atmosphere. Mulch, Sweat & Shears were also out playing a set in the Streets of America. This new group playing pop music covers seems to be attracting some fans. I think these acts are perfect for heavy crowds and also for times when you do not have an ADR or ride to rush to since you can just join in and listen.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...s/IMG_8651.jpg

There are many rumors swirling around about the park about expansion and rebuilding. I think DHS is due for a major expansion with a few new attractions, including a new E ticket and perhaps a restaurant. Believe it or not when DHS opened there was no TSMM, no Tot, nor was there the Rock Ďn Rollercoaster. This park has really developed and grown over the years and letís hope it keep growing. Perhaps Lights, Motors, Action! Is on the chopping block and we will see where the Backlot refurbishment goes. Fingers crossed.

Coming up more Magic Kingdom

LowesChevy 11-12-2013 09:37 AM

Magic Kingdom

Lodging at Bay Lake Tower and the Polynesian make it easy to head back to the Magic Kingdom over and over again. What a shame right?! A couple of nights the Magic Kingdom was open late and being so close make the trip much easier, especially exiting the park.

Really sweet photo, if that gentleman wasnít standing there!
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_1731.jpg

Here are some pics playing around with the panorama function on my phone. These are some neat pictures and I wish I had discovered this before the next to last day!
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_1851.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_1844.jpg


One night we arrived just in time to catch the Electrical Light Parade near Tonyís. It wasnít extremely crowded, so we had a good view. I pulled out my iPhone to capture some pictures and video.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_1741.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_1732.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_1745.jpg

Fantasyland-the expansion is great and hopefully will absorb more crowds than it used to.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_1866.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_9034.jpg


Splash Mountainógetting some much needed love this winter
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_8989.jpg


Jungle Cruise had opened back up from refurbishment. Our skipper was a good sport. I think they removed the shooting of the hippos from the script, but everything else was in working order.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_9128.jpg
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_9126.jpg


Yes, I bought my Vera! I am not a huge fan, but how do you pass these up?!

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_1804.jpg


Going bye byes

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p...m/IMG_1749.jpg

We tried to see as much as we could-even a few things we have never done, but you always leave a few things on the table so you have a reason to come back! See you real soon!


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:31 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.