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Old 03-03-2013, 09:48 AM   #166
wdwgirl03
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Originally Posted by shalom View Post
Ive read the Hidden Magic book, and as a matter of fact I was frustrated a time or two that it didn't have pictures of some stuff, but it never occurred to me to take the pics myself. Duh! Thanks so much for sharing the shot I most wanted!

My two younger girls met Merida and my two older girls met Phineas and Ferb -- there are photos and write ups in my trip report if you're interested, but basically they were all great. There was no line when we saw Phineas and Ferb, and I suspect they would have been happy to mess around with us longer, however my youngest doesn't like them so we decided it was time to move on. There was a line for Merida and she still chatted the girls up a bit, and then of course there's the opportunity to take bow and arrow in hand, which is fun.

I don't get why Animal Kingdom gets so little love, either. It's my youngest's favorite park, and I really like it, but everybody else likes Hollywood Studios better. I most want to stay in Bay Lake Towers, but I know some of that is just because I've been dreaming about staying in the Contemporary literally since it opened, and AKL looks way cool, plus I owe my youngest, so it's at the top of our list for next time.

But, really, I'd be happy with Saratoga Springs. Overall, that's the resort we all like best. I don't think it's anyone's favorite, but everyone who has visited there likes it a lot. I just wish it had bigger units! *sigh* That's the only thing I have against it, and really we'd be fine there, but their two bedrooms are really small, IMHO. That's my main gripe with DVC. That and the fact that none of the dining room tables have enough chairs for my crew. And the ridiculous small balconies.

Okay, that's one of my main gripes about DVC. Love, love, love the resorts -- the units, not so much, some of them. I need to tell my two oldest children to fend for themselves, then the 2 BRs would be a better size for us.
Aww, you're welcome!

Oh, I will have to check out your report then! I am very interested to hear about the different meet and greets.

I am so excited about Bay Lake Tower. In all honesty I was never really that interested in staying at the Contemporary (it just seemed "boring" to me compared to some of the other resorts). But the fact that it is on the monorail loop is so awesome. It's been YEARS since we've stayed at a monorail hotel!

Yeah, it would be nice if some of the units were bigger but for us it works out alright. Out of all the DVC resorts, I think OKW has the biggest.

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Dancing the "less than a month" dance with ya!!
YAY!! So exciting!
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:16 PM   #167
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In all honesty I was never really that interested in staying at the Contemporary (it just seemed "boring" to me compared to some of the other resorts).


Actually, seems to me that most people who weren't around when WDW opened feel that way. Fortunately my middle daughter is with me in thinking that having a hotel the monorail goes through is the coolest thing ever.

I never go to the Simple Things blog because I know I'd spend all day there, so I'm happy with your short non-update post.

Less than a month, woot!
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:10 AM   #168
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Less than a month, so exciting! Loving all of the re-caps. What a fun way to pass the time. And before you know it, your trip will be here!
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:02 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by shalom View Post


Actually, seems to me that most people who weren't around when WDW opened feel that way. Fortunately my middle daughter is with me in thinking that having a hotel the monorail goes through is the coolest thing ever.

I never go to the Simple Things blog because I know I'd spend all day there, so I'm happy with your short non-update post.

Less than a month, woot!
I agree about that! I am so excited about having that monorail gliding right past Bay Lake Tower and being able to walk over to the Contemporary to ride it.

Glad you enjoyed the Simple Disney Things pictures! I love that site.

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Less than a month, so exciting! Loving all of the re-caps. What a fun way to pass the time. And before you know it, your trip will be here!
Yes, I can hardly wait any longer! 27 days to go!
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:16 AM   #170
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STEAMBOAT209 posted this to the pic o' the day thread in the Theme Parks Community board, and I thought of you. Course your view won't have the Christmas lights...:

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Old 03-06-2013, 04:40 PM   #171
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STEAMBOAT209 posted this to the pic o' the day thread in the Theme Parks Community board, and I thought of you. Course your view won't have the Christmas lights...:

Awesome picture! I subscribed to the BLT photo thread and have really enjoyed looking at everything on there. I am so excited about staying here!
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:01 PM   #172
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Happy first day of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! Now that that has started, I know our trip is getting close! Have I mentioned how much I love being there during F&GF time?! It is AMAZING and if you've never gone then, you MUST! I cannot wait to see it in person and hopefully I'll have a lot of pictures.

Also, today we are 26 days away from our trip! AHHHH!!! Like I said, I still have a couple more DVC flashbacks to finish up so here is a quick recap of my 2011 spring break trip!

DVC Flashback #8: March/April 2011

Once again, I was going to be going to Disney World over my spring break. Due to my family members' different schedules (Emma was still in college and her spring break was earlier), this trip was another kind of "sisters only" trip, except it was just me and Claire. Our resort for this trip? Old Key West!

While this was another good trip, it was definitely defined by the weather. When I wrote my trip report, I called it "That's the first time we had to wear a poncho in Disney!" You'll see why in a little bit...

Anyway, our trip started off great. We left Milwaukee on a Saturday afternoon (where it had been snowing a little bit in the morning, which of course made me nervous that something was going to happen with our flight) but we arrived in Orlando without any problem. As some of you know, my family's arrival tradition is to get lunch from Chick-Fil-A. We always get our lunch and take it with us to eat on the Magical Express!



It was pretty exciting driving on Disney Vacation Club Way again, since that's also where Saratoga Springs is located. But this time we got off at OKW! We checked in at the Hospitality House, which was so cute. I loved how they had the balloons that spelled out, "Welcome Home."



When we made the reservation, Dad put in a request for us to be in a building near the Hospitality House. Thankfully, we got our request and ended up RIGHT across the street from the Hospitality House. It made it so easy for us to get to the bus stop. I know some people complain about the size of OKW, so if you are considering staying there, definitely request staying near the HH. Like I said, the bus stop is close, and the one near there is also the last one on the way to the parks so you don't have to circle all the way around the resort (which can take 10 minutes or so).

Old Key West is another beautiful resort. The colors are so pretty and calming.



Because we didn't arrive at the resort until later, we didn't end up going to a park that night. But instead we explored the resort a little bit. As we were walking past the pool, we noticed a campfire where they were roasting marshmallows for smores! Of course we joined in on that!



We also let everyone know we arrived when we stopped in the Community Hall.



I should mention another nice thing about OKW is that it has the biggest units out of all of the DVC resorts. I also LOVED the beds there. They were so comfortable!

On our first full day, we started off at the Magic Kingdom (where else?!) where we breezed through all of our favorite attractions. I have to post this picture because it's funny looking back at our previous trips, seeing all the signs and construction walls for New Fantasyland, and now it's open! AHHH I can't wait to finally see it soon!


We also had fun meeting characters on this trip. Claire and I saw Pirate Goofy.


From the MK we took the monorail over to our all-time favorite resort, the Polynesian!


Because we stayed there several times when we were younger, we always enjoy going back to visit and reminisce about those past trips. The only bad thing about going there is I get jealous of the people who are actually staying there...

That afternoon, we went to the Animal Kingdom where we had one of the best safaris EVER. That's because we got to see this beauty:



I could not believe she was just sitting out on the rocks like that!

Because DAK closes early, we were there a little bit later than most people so I remember it was sort of strange eating our dinner at Pizzafari and we were pretty much the only ones in there.

To end our first day, we went back to the MK for the Magic, the Memories, and You and Wishes. Of course I cried during both. I don't think it helped during the MMY show when this older man, who was there with his wife and grandkids, said how the wife got emotional about things. Aww it was so cute.



The next day is when the weather started getting crazy. Before our trip, the forecast was showing rain pretty much all week. Well, you never know how accurate the forecast can be (it seems to change daily) so I was hoping rain wouldn't be an issue. Boy was I wrong.

We started off that morning at DHS. As we were waiting for the park to officially open, we felt the first drops of rain. At that point it was only drizzling, so it wasn't really a big deal. I just put up my hood on my sweatshirt and that was fine. Unfortunately, after a couple of rides, it started POURING.



And by pouring, I mean people were cramming into any covered area they could find. After a few minutes (and finally having to bust out the ponchos...), Claire and I decided to run for it. That turned out to be a bad idea because it was raining so hard puddles were starting to form, the ponchos weren't really helping at all, not to mention we were literally squishing around because our shoes were so soaked. We didn't last too long at DHS before heading back to Old Key West.

But because the rain wasn't letting up, we figured we might as well go back out. It was better than just sitting around in our room! So this time we got out our heavier ponchos (thank god we had those!) and went to Epcot.

As much as I love the F&GF, it isn't quite as spectacular when it's pouring rain.


The other thing that is annoying about the rain/having to wear ponchos is that they make you take them off on the rides. I understand why they do it but it was just a hassle.

So we made it through one day of nonstop rain and thankfully the next couple of days were somewhat decent. But I remember having my eyes on the sky a lot, and we also called Dad (who became our personal weatherman) to have him check the forecast. On those couple of days, we had another awesome safari:



Even though I'm just posting the picture of the male lion, both the male and the lioness were out. It was SO COOL.

And we got to meet Rapunzel and Flynn Rider!


Because we knew that was a popular meet and greet, we pretty much went there first thing in the morning. We still waited about an hour for the two of them, but it was well worth it!

So that brings us to Thursday. That morning, Claire and I had a breakfast ADR at Chef Mickey's (our first time there!). That was another day that they were predicting a lot of rain. We made it to the Contemporary right before the downpour came.

Here's a picture so you can see how dark it was that morning. Our reservation was at 8:00 and this is what it looked like:


Crazy, right?!

The breakfast itself was fun. We enjoyed the buffet and meeting all the characters.


It pretty much rained all day again but atleast it wasn't as bad as it was that Monday. In fact, I didn't even bother with the poncho that day because I was still sick of it! LOL. We spent some more time at Epcot (a great place to go when it rains because of all the indoor attractions) and also hung out at the Community Hall back at OKW where we played foosball and maybe ping pong. There was supposed to be another campfire but that got called off because of the weather. Instead, they did a no-bake cookie decorating contest for the kids. Yep, we joined in on that little activity!



The rubber duck was my prize...

After having two days of nonstop rain, we were ready for some nice weather! Thankfully, we could not have asked for a better day to end our trip because it was absolutely perfect. We went to DHS in the morning, and you could tell that the park was a lot more crowded. I think everyone who had been there that week was sick of being cooped up inside!



We did our favorite attractions one more time and then took the boat over to the Boardwalk. Love it there!



We also went to Epcot, where again you could tell it was a lot more crowded. But it was so nice seeing the F&GF in the sunlight.



Even though the weather is what I remember most about this trip, we still had some great moments. Other highlights include:

Eating dinner at Via Napoli...I love any Italian food so this place was a must! SO GOOD.

My margherita pizza


The Flower and Garden Festival...so I guess we really did have two nice days to see the flowers. I just can't get enough of all of the displays.





As for Old Key West, I really enjoyed it. To me it's very similar to SSR and I like its proximity to Downtown Disney. The boat ride from OKW to DTD is amazing. And like I said, having a room right across from the Hospitality House was great.

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Old 03-06-2013, 06:14 PM   #173
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I read that TR of yours! This is a nice little refresher hahah. I remember you talking about all the rain... must have been so annoying!

I think of all the resorts, Old Key West is the one that feels the most 'mehhh' to me. That being said it does look very pretty, and it's nice that the rooms are big! I wish all the studios had two beds like that one!
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:48 PM   #174
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Love OKW, the beds are great. Hope your trip this year is not a wash out. Less than a month, I'm sure you are getting very excited.
BTW did you see the new Disney Vera? It's not coming out until Fall, and the picture in the story on the DIS looks like the Bayshore store, check it out! So cute I'm sure I will be adding a few pieces to my Vera collection, how about you?
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Old 03-06-2013, 07:39 PM   #175
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Rain at Disney definitely can be frustrating. If it's not thunderstorming, it can be a nice time to avoid crowds though. During our trip over New Year's, the parks were of course packed, but whenever it started to rain, everyone darted for cover, which left the paths empty.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:22 AM   #176
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Rain on vacation stinks! Looks like you made the best of it and still managed to have a great trip!
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:45 AM   #177
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I really miss Pirate Goofy!! I wish they still had him out for meet & greet.

Ugh, Disney rain is rough. It seems like it's really impossible to get dry, because like you said, you have to take that poncho on and off, so it keeps getting you wet!

That Flynn looks EXACTLY like the one from the movie! I would have waited in line for him, for sure.
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:14 PM   #178
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Wow! I can't believe how close you are getting!!!

Ugh on the rain! I remember reading about all the rain you got that trip! I was glad to hear that it cleared up for your last day though!!

You got an amazing picture of the lion and lioness that trip! We're still waiting to get that great picture! We've never seen either of them on our safari rides yet. Maybe next time!!
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:09 AM   #179
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Yup, we arrive on April 1! Our flight leaves Milwaukee at 2:15, so I'm guessing we'd be arriving at Bay Lake Tower by 7:00? It would be SO much fun to meet up! Do you have any plans for that evening? Depending on when we do arrive I was thinking about going over to the MK for a little bit. Let me know!
On April 1 we'll be over at POR, so we are having a slower morning (to experience the resort some), then hitting Epcot and maybe Hollywood Studios if we are feeling a need to get over there again. Our plans are REALLY loose though for that last day and I generally just say whatever we feel like we haven't done, we'll do. We will have to keep in touch via Facebook or text and see if it will work out! I'd love to meet you!

We leave at 11 AM (ME pick-up) on April 2 and will just likely stay at the resort and let Henry play/swim, soak up a few more rays of sun.


I love that you said OKW felt like SSR to you. I LOVE OKW, love it, love it, LOVE IT! But we had such a rough experience at SSR last time (2009) and I haven't had the desire to go back, that is where we will spend the first part of our trip this time. Last trip we were in Congress Park, the building closest to Downtown Disney which gave us a fantastic view, BUT, a veryyyyyy long walk to the main building - which we use a lot, especially back then with a little one and needing various things for him. It was also our first DVC stay and we didn't know exactly what we liked in our villa for food, and Henry was sick that trip - ugh, it was rough! I'm really hoping by requesting Grandstand we'll have a better experience with the buses and the walk to the main building/Springs pool. I think I'll add to my request to be in the building closest to the Springs too.... Have you ever stayed in Grandstand? A friend of mine, huge SSR fan, said they always request Grandstand, then if they see they missed their bus - they can hightail it over to the Springs stop and catch it still. I love that!

Okay, that's an enormous rambling about SSR. As you can probably tell, I'm a bit nervous about staying there again since it, so far, is the only Disney resort we didn't enjoy! I WANT to like it!
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:18 PM   #180
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Oy, I remember that trip where you had to deal with the rain! I don't know if rain is worse or the bitter cold!
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