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Old 06-06-2010, 07:29 PM   #136
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Great report! And I'm here just in time to see the Grand Villa pics!
Thank you! I'll try not to take too long getting those GV picctures up!
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:35 PM   #137
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Universal has changed so much since I have been there. The only thing that I remember is the animal actor show which I loved. I need to go back.

Great pictures. Looks like they have so many kids things now which is always a good thing. I don't remember all the characters either but then again it has been years.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:49 AM   #138
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lot's of wonderful pics until I spit out breakfast on my monitor. Barney? You have got to be kidding me.

Just wondering, for your kids point of view, where did they enjoy more time at? WDW or Universal? So far from the looks on their faces, it seems to be a wonderful trip so far. Can't wait to see BLT
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:51 AM   #139
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Great updates!! Your pics of Universal make me want to go!
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:49 AM   #140
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Just read through your whole report so far. I'm loving it, your boys and little princess are adorable!!! That's really nice that they got to take this trip with their cousins. My SILs and I have mentioned that it would be fun before but we never seem to be ready to go at the same time. Maybe one day!

Can't wait for the rest!!
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:21 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by dd50 View Post
Universal has changed so much since I have been there. The only thing that I remember is the animal actor show which I loved. I need to go back.

Great pictures. Looks like they have so many kids things now which is always a good thing. I don't remember all the characters either but then again it has been years.
There's definately a lot for the kids...and for the grown-ups, so it's nice for all of us!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KYCruiseCrazy View Post
lot's of wonderful pics until I spit out breakfast on my monitor. Barney? You have got to be kidding me.

Just wondering, for your kids point of view, where did they enjoy more time at? WDW or Universal? So far from the looks on their faces, it seems to be a wonderful trip so far. Can't wait to see BLT
I know! My kids had never seen Barney before and I hope they don't get attached! The show is pretty cute though (although a bit annoying for grown-ups) and they play area is awesome!

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Great updates!! Your pics of Universal make me want to go!
Go, go, go! It's so fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3princesses+aprince View Post
Just read through your whole report so far. I'm loving it, your boys and little princess are adorable!!! That's really nice that they got to take this trip with their cousins. My SILs and I have mentioned that it would be fun before but we never seem to be ready to go at the same time. Maybe one day!

Can't wait for the rest!!
Thanks! Traveling with extended is family is harder but more enjoyable too. I'm always surprised at how well we actually get along! This is our second big Disney World trip with them. I'm not sure there will be more, but I hope so!
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:35 PM   #142
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[FONT="Arial"][SIZE="3"][COLOR="Indigo"]
Ahhh, it was nice and cool inside. Somehow, I didn't get a picture of the decor inside and it's beyond what I can describe. DH ordered a pint of beer

ahh that brings back memories of living in England! I miss those proper pint glasses!



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For Jacob, I ordered cheese pizza which came with vegetables and fruit salad. Max wanted "sausage", so I ordered the Bangers and Mash for him. It came with potato leek soup and fruit salad. It was too sophisticated for his palate.
This made me chuckle! First time I have ever heard anyone refer to English cuisine as "too sophisticated"
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:51 PM   #143
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This made me chuckle! First time I have ever heard anyone refer to English cuisine as "too sophisticated"
Well, it is for a three year old!
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:49 AM   #144
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Halfway Point

I'd like to mark this as the official halfway point of my trip and therefore my TR! I'm preparing to post pictures of our Bay Lake Tower grand villa in a few minutes...or so. (3 kids, you know?)
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:10 AM   #145
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MIL had arranged for a big van to pick us up at Royal Pacific Resort and take us to the Contemporary. We were a little early so decided to let the boys give MIL and SIL the cards and gift they had made for Mothers Day.

MIL really loved the t-shirt! Avery's character had Hannah Montana mouseears on. MIL wondered if there really was such a thing and was searching for them for the rest of the trip!

The van was early and we all piled in along with tons of luggage and had a nice drive to WDW! By the way, the Disney resorts were kind enough to transfer our suitcases from the Beach Club Villas (where we stayed earlier in the trip) to Bay Lake Tower for us. I packed one suitcase for the BCV part of the trip, one for the Universal part, and 2 for the BLT part, so we could stay semi-organized and not have to haul everything around all the time!

The check-in process took a little longer than normal, because we wanted to pay for our dining plan on three separate credit cards. I'm not sure why that's so difficult, but it was. All the CMs were very nice though, they just apparently don't have a great system for that. We knew from our previous trips that all the dining credits would be lumped together for all 10 people in our room. That's fine when it's one immediate family, but when three families share "1" really huge room, it doesn't work so well. Imagine keeping track of 30 Adult TS credits, 20 kids TS credits, 30 adult CS credits, 20 kids CS credits, and 50 snack credits for 5 days.

I made "punchcards" for each family's alottment so we could keep track individually. It worked just fine.

Here's everyone waiting patiently to check-in.





The Grand Villa is a 2-story, 3 bedroom, 4, bathroom unit. It has a full kitchen, a diing room, a living room, a laundry room, and this one has a loft. It could sleep at least 12 people easily.

There is a bridge that connects the Contemporary Resort with Bay Lake Tower. We entered the villa on the main level and saw this. Sorry the pictures are dark, the sunlight was pouring in. Pictures can't do it justice anyway. The windows are two stories high. They do have automatic shades that you can lower if desired (they are halfway lowered in the picture.)














There are 4 balconies for this unit. One off of the kitchen/dining area, and one off of each bedroom. We had a Lake View room, but when you stand on the balconies and look left you can see Cinderella's Castle and Space Mountain.





The Master Bedroom is on the main floor. It has a King-size bed.


This is another view of the Master. You can see into the bathroom, where there is a garden tub and a sliding door to open or close off the view into the bedroom.


Here's the main floor "extra" bathroom and the laundry room. The bathroom is a full bath too, not a half bath. We used it for baths for the kids some nights, because it was more fun for the girls to get a bath together, and the boys to take a bath together.


Next: Pictures of the upstairs!

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Old 06-09-2010, 12:46 PM   #146
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At the top of the stairs there is a loft. It has a loveseat that folds out into a bed, an ottoman, and a table with a flat screened T.V. There were 5 flat screened T.V.s altogether in this unit! Here's a really bad picture of the loft area, then a picture looking down into the living room.




There was a door that opened into the main hallway from the loft. This was the 16th floor and the hallway led directly to the Top of the World Lounge. Top of the World Lounge is an exclusive lounge with a full bar and some food service. There is also an outside area whre the fireworks can be viewed and the music is of course piped in. Only DVC members staying at BLT can access the lounge. Usually you have to go down to the desk and they walk you to a roped off elevator and swipe their card to access the 16th floor.

On either side of the loft were bedrooms. They were nearly identical and each had a private bath.




Here's the other room...


The rooms were pretty good size. We even put up a pack & play for the baby to sleep in and the room didn't feel cramped. The bathrooms had the toilets separated from the sink/mirror/bathtub and they were roomy too. There was a nice sized closet in each room also and plenty of storage everywhere!

I guess that's it for the Grand Villa pictures. I want to try to find a link to the article I read about this room (well, MK view room like this) renting out for up to $10K per night! Obviously I would never (could never) pay that, but it makes me feel like we got a great deal with our DVC!

After admiring our accomodations, we headed over to the quick service restaurant at the Contemporary.

I love how the cousins get along so well together! It's actually easier taking care of five kids than three. (At least when they're not all siblings.)


Grandma had packed tiaras for both princesses. Even though Avery swore she was "over" princesses, she popped that tiara on right away and wore it to dinner.








This was the first time I had used the electronic ordering. Using it was intuitive, but knowing to go to the check out to pay and get a buzzer was not. I liked the system overall, but we were all just confused for a few moments!

Apparently we had pizza and salad. Nothing memorable--just okay.


The brownie wasn't great, but I did like the black forest cupcake!



On our walk back to the room, I took a couple pictures. (Who, me?) This is the area where they show movies each night. We did watch one later in the trip.


And here is the pool at BLT. There is a nice waterslide. That's the part with the illuminated Mickeys.


Next up: Our first morning at Magic Kingdom!
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:53 PM   #147
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Then I stop and think, who else will willingly look at my 2400 vacation pics?
ME!!!!!!!
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:59 PM   #148
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Okay, I have my life all figured out now. I want to be like you when I grow up!!!



Now that really is a "Grand" Villa!
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:14 PM   #149
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Really small detail, but the rooms with 2 beds in them...I really like that they're similar, but each have their own color scheme. It would be a little boring if it was all the same.
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:34 PM   #150
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May 10th, 2010

Day 6

SIL had requested plenty of pooltime on this trip. While it's against my nature to not be at the parks 24/7, we planned for this day to mostly be a pool day. My family HAD to go to the Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours though! We got up and ready to arrive for rope drop. That still leaves plenty of time for the pool later! Grandma and Grandpa were with us.

Saying goodbye to their cousins before we left:


I loved the view from the elevators! It looked right over the Magic Kingdom, so you could never forget where you were! Here are the boys, all ready for their first taste of the Magic Kingdom (this trip.)




We walked to the Magic Kingdom. Yes, the Contemporary is on the monorail, but before it goes to the MK, it goes other places first. It's actually faster to walk. On the way back from MK, Contemporary is the first stop. Here are some sights we saw along the way. You can see the bridge connecting Bay Lake Tower to the Contemporary.








The typical photo ops and the opening ceremony:




...followed by the mad rush to Dumbo! As usual we weren't going anywhere fast though.




I knew when we saw the line for Dumbo that we should have bailed and done a few other rides instead of waiting, but it wasn't going to get shorter and we weren't going to be faster on another morning so we just waited, and waited, and waited.




It was about 40 minutes from rope drop to the time we got off of Dumbo. But the kids got quality time in line with their grandparents and who doesn't love Dumbo?! DH ran to get FP for both Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain. (3 of each or 4 and 2, I can't remember, because we didn't end up using them anyway. We just want to be prepared in case we do!) He arrived back just in time for me to pass my camera to him to snap some shots of us.

Note Grandpa video taping? I loved watching the videotape from the last trip and can't wait to see this one. You never know what he's got on there!




My next mistake this day was not sticking to my plan to arrive at Toontown at 9:45 for rope drop. I thought we could squeeze in the teacups really quickly since it was on the way and the line was really short.


Oops. The rope had definately dropped before we got there.




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