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Old 07-04-2010, 03:17 PM   #586
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I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt. It sounds like she was an amazing woman. My thoughts are with your family.
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:34 PM   #587
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Sorry to hear about Heather. It's so wonderful that she has left fond memories, to be remembered as a welcoming, friendly person is a real honour.
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:07 PM   #588
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BippityBoo View Post
OH my goodness What a sad day for your family. Such a talented woman and mother....my prayers go to her girls and your family.
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Originally Posted by swwake View Post
Heather sounds like she was a wonderful woman! I'm glad she lived a full life. Glad to hear you're hanging in there. Take some time for family.
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Originally Posted by Twingle View Post
She sounds like an amazing person that enjoyed her life and her family very much. I'm so glad you and her loved ones have such fond memories of her.
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Originally Posted by chrisw127 View Post
I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt. It sounds like she was an amazing woman. My thoughts are with your family.
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Sorry to hear about Heather. It's so wonderful that she has left fond memories, to be remembered as a welcoming, friendly person is a real honour.
Thank you all so much!
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:01 PM   #589
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Checking In...again...at the Beach Club Villas

Following our morning at Animal Kingdom, we drove back to the Beach Club Villas and called the front desk to see if our room was ready. It was, but unfortunately we had been assigned to a room on another floor.

When our reservations were placed, I had requested a room as close as possible to my MIL's Studio Unit. When I found out our room assignment, I asked if it was possible for us to be given another room. We were in luck! If we were agreeable to waiting a bit longer we were told we could be given the 1 Bedroom Unit right next door to my Mother-in-Law's Studio. Absolutely we would wait!

Just as an aside, I find it ironic that in our 3 check-ins at WDW during our 11 day trip, the only one where our room assignment was NOT initially honored was the one reservation where we DID NOT do online check-in. (Many people have questioned whether they should do online check-in for fear their location requests would not be honored. We are solid proof that this fear is entirely misplaced! Our very exact and precise room location requests were honored on both of our online check-in reservations.)

As we had some time to kill before our room would be ready, we got changed into our swimsuits and set off for Stormalong Bay.

By our second afternoon at Stormalong Bay it was becoming quite clear that Chris was developing into a huge fan. In our day-to-day life he doesn't take too much time to sit back and relax. He is away a lot for work, and when he is home, he doesn't rest. He cooks, cleans, takes care of the kids, landscapes, and is always doing some sort of home improvement project or another. It was so great to see him just relax.

Once again, we made sure to get a good fill of the slide as it would be going down for rehab the next day for the rest of our trip. While a bit disappointing, I am so glad we were able to enjoy it so much our first 2 days at Stormalong Bay. It is an absolutely fantastic waterslide.

Low and behold, as we were splashing around in the pool, the same great Photopass photographer who had snapped our picture the day before was taking candid shots of people in the pool. So of course we posed for a shot. All except for one family member. Do I really have to tell you who was missing??






After a couple of hours at the pool, we made our way back to the room. By this point our 1 Bedroom Unit right next door to my Mother-in-Law's Studio unit was all ready. Not only would this be convenient for the rest of the 6 days my MIL would be staying with us, it also made our baggage transfer incredibly easy!

While the Studio unit was very nice, the 1 Bedroom Unit was incredible! The space in there was fantastic! I was impressed with the size of the Kitchen, which included a full-sized fridge, oven, microwave, and dishwasher. And best of all - TWO bathrooms!!!

The only somewhat negative aspect was that the kids would have to sleep on a pull-out sofa in the living room. However, the mattress was quite comfortable and it ended up being no hassle at all in the end. Most mornings Chris had the bed already put away back into a sofa again before I got out of the shower.

There was a whole lobby area where you first come into the room with a table and mirror which I don't have a picture of. Then you come around the corner, and here is the view into the main living room area with the eating nook:





A partial view of the kitchen and living area:





The Bedroom:





Master Bath:





And the second bath, which itself had a whole separate room for the toilet:





There was also a full walk-in closet which was huge located just off the Master Bath.l We also had another closet located in the hallway outside the second bathroom with a stackable washer and dryer unit, which was really convenient!

This was the first time that any of us had stayed at any Disney DVC property, and we were all terribly impressed with it! We were all so thrilled to be staying at the Beach Club Villas.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that we spent 8 whole days here, I have very little pictures of it. There were so many little areas that became "ours" during our stay. There are unbelievably nice and comfortable sitting areas throughout the Beach Club and the Beach Club Villas, including the Solarium, which became our home away from home during our stay.

We felt incredibly lucky to be staying at such a Fantastic resort for 8 days of our trip. We live on the sea in a Nantucket style house and this resort truly felt for us like a home away from home.

The Beach Club was by far Chris' favourite part of the whole trip.


UP NEXT: Mickey's Backyard BBQ


Last edited by cdotla; 07-04-2010 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:37 PM   #590
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You're unit looked so nice and spacious!!! We've only stayed in regular rooms, because we are rarely there, but that looks so nice! I have never done the photopass and wondered if it would be worth it. It's looking better all the time. Do you need to have your photopass card with you all the time???
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:47 PM   #591
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You're unit looked so nice and spacious!!! We've only stayed in regular rooms, because we are rarely there, but that looks so nice! I have never done the photopass and wondered if it would be worth it. It's looking better all the time. Do you need to have your photopass card with you all the time???
Photopass is great! I have done it every trip and haven't regretted it once. Ironically, this was our longest trip at WDW by far, and the trip that I ended up with the least photopass pictures!

While it is much easier (and more environmentally friendly!) to keep using just one photopass card during your whole trip, if you don't have it with you, they will just give you another one. (Given that we were in the pool swimming for this last one, I obviously didn't have my card with me!)
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:04 PM   #592
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When I read that the 1 bedrooms had 2 bathrooms I was so puzzled. We stay in two bedrooms and there are two bathrooms in those. However I figured it out with your pictures. There is ONE toilet but yes there are two sinks. When we stay there I use the sink by the soaking tub and dh uses the sink next to the shower. Now AKV Kidani one bedrooms truly have two full baths and the 2 brs. have 3. So if you stay there your kiddos can have a full bath in a one bedroom just for them.
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:21 PM   #593
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When I read that the 1 bedrooms had 2 bathrooms I was so puzzled. We stay in two bedrooms and there are two bathrooms in those. However I figured it out with your pictures. There is ONE toilet but yes there are two sinks. When we stay there I use the sink by the soaking tub and dh uses the sink next to the shower. Now AKV Kidani one bedrooms truly have two full baths and the 2 brs. have 3. So if you stay there your kiddos can have a full bath in a one bedroom just for them.
You know I never realized it until I read your post, but you are right - there is only one toilet.

However, there are more than just 2 separate sinks. There are 2 completely separate and private washrooms. The master bathroom has a whirlpool tub and sink, and there is a completely separate 2nd bathroom with a walk in shower and sink.

But you are right - there is only one toilet in a separate room off the main bath.
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:22 PM   #594
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OH I am so happy that you cleared up that online check in rumor!! Your pool Photopass picture is ADORABLE!! I love Katie--she looks like she is really holding the balloons What a spacious room---I would love that with the kids!! I can not wait to hear all about Mickey's BBQ!!
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:22 PM   #595
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Mickey's Backyard BBQ

After cleaning ourselves up after another great afternoon at Stormalong Bay, we headed over to Fort Wilderness for Mickey's Backyard BBQ.

While I had been to Fort Wilderness as a child for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Review, I had not been back in ages, and it was the first visit for the rest of my family.

We drove over and parked our car at the WL's internal bus stop. What a beautiful place! We spotted a stable with some horses right behind the bus stop, but didn't have time to stop as we were running a bit late and our bus just pulled in as we arrived.

I really enjoyed the bus ride through the resort. It was interesting to look at all of the campsites (even though I am most certainly not a camper myself).

It is very homey, and a lovely campsite. However, I was absolutely amazed at the swamps which surrounded several of the campsites! Tents were pitched literally feet away from deep, swampy waters with goodness knows what lurking beneath. I was absolutely shocked to see that people would agree to camp beside those waters!

I didn't take any pictures, but I found this one on Trip Advisor:





Apart from the swampy areas, Fort Wilderness was very impressive.

After a short bus ride, we were arriving at the Main Check-in area where we picked up our tickets and then took about a 10 minute walk from there to the check-in area for Mickey's Backyard BBQ.








Although it was almost 6pm, it was still VERY hot. When we arrived we saw that we were behind a very long line of people waiting for the place to open. Except the line hadn't yet started to move. With no where to sit, we were forced to stand for at least 20-30 minutes before the doors finally opened and everyone ran in to grab tables.

This is when Chris started to become impatient. While I was just happy to be there, and looking forward to the food and entertainment in store for us that evening, he was just focussed on the fact that once again we were standing outside in the heat at the back of a long line. And one that wasn't even moving.

Although Chip and Dale were out doing meet and greets when we arrived, there were about 25 people ahead of us lined up to meet them, and they only got through about 10 of them before they walked off not to return. Apparently this is what happens...you either arrive very early for this event or miss the character interactions altogether.

If you arrive early, you are also lucky enough to be standing at the front of the line, where there are a great deal of activities to entertain the kids, such as drums, I believe a giant tic tac toe board, and other such games. But, if you are anywhere from half-way back (where we were) or further behind in the line, there is nothing whatsoever to assist in passing the time as you are waiting.

While I didn't have as much problem with the line or the wait as Chris did, I do have to admit that it was pretty tiring standing in line for a half hour not moving and with no entertainment. Admittedly, the kids were also growing restless.

I have no idea why they could not allow people to enter the venue and sit at the picnic tables inside while waiting for the buffet to be opened and the entertainment to start.

Instead, what finally happened is once they opened up the event (which is a large open-air concrete area with picnic tables surrounding a stage and dance floor with a tent over top), people literally swarmed the picnic tables and beelined for the buffet. By the time we got into the arena, the buffet looked like a madhouse. It was definitely rather chaotic.

However, we managed to quickly snag a fairly decent table, left the kids with Chris' mom, and each ran up to the buffet to load up our plates.

Draft beer and wine was free, and the food was tasty and plentiful.





We all enjoyed the meal and it was easy to relax once the initial stampede into the venue subsided.








For dessert, there were ice cream Mickey bars and popsicles.








Shortly after the meal, the entertainment started. First the hosts came out to explain what was in store for the evening and sing a few songs.





Then the characters came out for some dancing fun. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of this part of the night as I was too busy with the camcorder. However, once I get my videos downloaded and edited I will post them.

The character dancing was one of the main reasons I wanted to attend this event. It was really a lot of fun. Admittedly, it is a little chaotic when the characters first come out and everyone literally rushes the dance floor, with a lot of moms and dads pushing and shoving their kids forward to dance with Mickey or Minnie. However, the characters stay out on the dance floor for at least 3-4 songs, so after awhile it is easier to get a turn. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Chip and Dale are all there.

After the characters came off the stage, and I returned to my seat after videotaping the dancing, Chris advises me that he has had enough and wants to leave. WHAT???!! We are only 20 minutes into the evening's entertainment and just spent 8 Table Service Credits to be here! And the cowboy with the whip was just coming out for what would surely be an impressive performance.

While I protested a bit, I soon realized that I wasn't going to convince the family to stay. Chris had made up his mind that he was leaving, the kids did not seem particularly committed to staying now that the characters were gone, and my MIL also seemed tired and ready to go.

So with great reluctance, and just as the first crack of the whip could be heard from the cowboy as he was entering onto the stage, we all got up to leave.

As we were exiting I did a quick glance around and realized that literally no one else had left or had any plans to leave anytime soon. I could not believe that my family seemed to want to leave after just 20 minutes and miss all of the evening's entertainment.

For at least the first few minutes of our 10 minute walk back to the Main Settlement Area, I was pretty bummed. But I tried to remain positive and suggested that we take a look around in the gift shop - the Trading Post. I figured it might have some interesting and unique items we would not be able to find anywhere else, and they did have some toy guns and rocks that we had not seen elsewhere. But overall, I was a little disappointed that it looked pretty much like every other gift shop in WDW.

After we left the Trading Post, we stopped to look at the beautiful horse who was waiting for people interested in taking a wagon ride and spoke with the CM who was with him. We weren't allowed to touch him, but he was a beautiful horse to look at all the same.

Before leaving Fort Wilderness I suggested that it would be fun to stop in at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch to see the horses. We had intended to get to Fort Wilderness to do this before the BBQ but ended up spending most of the afternoon instead at Stormalong Bay. Katie is completely head-over-heels fascinated with horses and counting the days until she turns 8 when she can start horseback riding lessons. She was dying to see the horses. We had watched videos of the Ranch on you tube for months leading up to the trip and she was very excited about it.





Once again though, Chris just wanted to get back to the resort. As I was pretty sure that the Ranch had already closed for the night, I didn't push back too much on this. I would have liked to take a walk over just to see for sure whether there was anything going on, but I also didn't want to be the one responsible for sidetracking us if it ended up being all for not. So we all just got on the bus, picked up our car and headed back to the Beach Club.

On the way out, I snapped some quick photos:















By the time we got home, got the kids in their pajamas, brushed teeth and washed up for bed, it was just about time for Illuminations.

We headed next door to my Mother-in-law's Studio and all sat out on the balcony to watch the show. I was very interested to see what kind of view we would have and was very pleasantly surprised with both how well we could see the fireworks and how well we could hear the music.























Wow! What a great way to end the evening!!!



UP NEXT: Interrupting This TR for a Big Announcement...This Won't be Our "Last" Trip!!!

NEXT UP: Arrival of 3 more family members, and Princess Breakfast at Akerhaus


Last edited by cdotla; 07-10-2010 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:25 PM   #596
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OH I am so happy that you cleared up that online check in rumor!! Your pool Photopass picture is ADORABLE!! I love Katie--she looks like she is really holding the balloons What a spacious room---I would love that with the kids!! I can not wait to hear all about Mickey's BBQ!!
Yes - I think that nasty check-in rumour is nothing more than that - rumour. Not reality. Or at least our reality.

I really like our pool photopass picture too! Sometimes it does seem fake if the hands aren't positioned in the right spot, but I think our picture came out pretty well - it really does look like Katie is holding those balloons!

Just posted the Mickey's BBQ update!
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:42 PM   #597
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BCV...I have always wanted to stay there!! It looks so beautiful!!

Love the PP in the pool, you look like you're having a ball!!!

Hoop Dee Do review....never done it, but I think we need to you can come with me and Jasmine one of these years!!!

Last edited by Queenofallthings; 07-04-2010 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:43 PM   #598
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Oh wow!!! The BBQ looks like lots of fun with good food! I am sorry that your family wanted to leave---I can not imagine how upset I would have gotten. You are so positive, I admire you for that At least the night ended in FIREWORKS! Great view! We love the princess breakfast--can't wait to read about your experience!
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:12 PM   #599
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Kudos to you Trish! I think if I had just spent 8 TS credits for a bit of food and only 20 minutes of entertainment, I would have cried! or had a fit

We never went to Mickey's Back Yard BBQ as DD is a huge fan of HDD (so that show always wins over trying something new) but the concept seems fun... Too bad you can't give a "full" review so I can try and convince DD to try it next time!

p.s. in my younger years, I use to teach horseback riding! Your DD will love it when she starts her lessons! Ironically enough, I have been offering DD (who is now 13) a pony since the day she turned 3... And her answer has always been... "Why would I want a pony???" Can you believe that!!!
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:26 PM   #600
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You need to vacation with me!! I would stick around Chef Mickey's for all the characters and I would definitely stay at Mickey's BBQ to see the show with you!
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