Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Global Neighbours > UK Trip Reports Board
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read





Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 05-26-2014, 05:21 AM   #1
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

My Solo whistlestop tour review

I've just got back from returning from the airport. Overall my trip to The Magical Place On Earth was an amazing experience that was just perfect. There were a few minor niggles, but it was such a special trip, I couldn't have asked for anything more

DAY 1

Arrived at Orlando airport in the pouring rain with thunder and lightning. It was so severe I had to wait for the rain to pass before my bag was taken off the plane. But that was okay because the queue to get through immigration was sooooo long, that it was only about ten minutes to wait for my bag. Slightly grilled by the customs guy who thought it was odd that someone of my age would wish to tour WDW by myself

The rain had abated by the time I got the bus, but it started up again with immaculate timing just as we were entering Disney property. By the time we stopped off at the first port of call Saratoga Springs, it was a monsoon!

Luckily however as we continued to Old Key West, Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside it slowed down again. After eagerly entering the main building and the reception center my first impression was it was smaller than it looked on the YT videos.

After a brief wait, I was checked in by Chloe at the concierge desk and I was able to finally get my hands on my magic band and set my pin (the birthday of someone close to me). That was when I discovered I'd been upgraded to a Royal Room, which was an unexpected delight. As I was staying in Oak Manor only a short walk from the main building I made my own way stopping off to grab my rapid fill mug (which I can use until this Friday apparently!). With great excitement and feeling confident I dragged my luggage over the wrong bridge to Old Man Island and over the otherside!

After settling in to Room 9232 on the Second Floor of Oak Manor, I returned to the main building to explore Fulton's General Store and have some tea in Riverside Mill. Took the long path back to my room taking in Alligator Bayou
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2014, 07:55 AM   #2
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 2

Decided to have a pot-luck day and get on the first bus that arrived, this was for Animal Kingdom. I visited 'It's Tough To Be A Bug', 'Kilamanjaro Safari', 'Pangan Forest Exploration Trail', 'TriceraTop Spin' and the 'Maharajah Jungle Trek'

After my lunch at Tamo Tamo Refreshments, the park was getting too crowded so I had a look at Animal Kingdom Lodge my first resort visit. During my trip I visited all twenty themed resorts! photographing specific areas but I always tried to photograph a room door and the welcome mat if possible. At AKL the lobby was not surprisingly my main focus.

Then travelled to Downtown Disney walking from Marketplace to West Side. Visited Goofy's Candy Co. and did the create a treat. I had a coconut marshmallow dipped in white chocolate with dark chocolate drizzle.

Then took the boat up to Saratoga Springs. Didn't photograph too much of this and I regretted not exploring this further on my final day when I saw the grounds in the dry on board my ME bus. At the time I considered the place too vast to photograph extensively. The resort didn't have it's own welcome mat just a Disney Vacation Club mat (boo!). On my way back to Riverside on the boat, I photographed a couple of Treehouse Villas.

I'd spent all day stockpiling $1 notes for my Mousekeeping envelopes and so after taking some asprin for a nasty cold, I prepared my remaining envelopes and decorated them with a sticker book bought from Fulton's

After tea, I took a walk down to French Quarter to try out the quiz in Jackson's Square. Managed to answer eight of the questions, got some help from Megan to answer the other two
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 05-26-2014, 08:15 AM   #3
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 3

This was Epcot day. First attraction on the list was Captain EO, which I had seen on my first trip to the World in '89. Don't remember too much about it except this Michael Jackson line to the Supreme Leader; "Not only see your highness, but HEAR!!"

Moved onto explore World Showcase and arrived just in time for Rope Drop which was for some strange reason after Norway!. When I was allowed through I did my first Character Signing. While I was queuing up to meet Jasmine and Aladdin, some Doctor Who fans in the queue said they liked my book that I was using as a trip diary/autograph book/EPCOT passport/pressed pennies store, and we discussed who our favourite Doctor's were.

When I got to meet Jasmine and Aladdin, Jasmine liked my bag and Aladdin asked if it had any lamps in it!. Moving on I explored the rest of World Showcase going to see The American Adventure and O! Canada movies.

Briefly left Epcot to explore the Boardwalk. Had a Mickey Ganache from the Boardwalk bakery and had planned to explore Boardwalk Inn, Yacht Club and the Beach Club, but my cameras batteries ran out while I was exploring Yacht Club.

After a brief stop-off at POR for some tea and more camera batteries, I returned to Epcot and saw Circle of Life and road on Spaceship Earth before returning to World Showcase to snag a decent spot for IllumiNations. My eventual choice was the Germany pavillion near the boat dock, which wasn't too bad, albeit a bit distant. Did get some decent shots of the fireworks, but photographing them was tricky. Took the journey out as slowly as possible exploring MouseGear as I went out.
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2014, 09:14 AM   #4
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 4

Day didn't start off very well as I left my Magic Band in my room!. So I had to go back for it, which wouldn't have been that big a deal if I wasn't on the bus to Epcot at the time!

Came straight back to the resort and then had the challenge of explaining to a member of the housekeeping team why I needed to get back in my room. After checking who I was and letting me in he found me very extravagant in my compensation ($5 tip)

Decided to change my plans to Magic Kingdom, and then immediately went to Princess Hall to meet Anna and Elsa. Despite no FP for this, I got in the stand-by line which took three hours to get through. The wait did get a little frustrating, the worst part was when I had just entered the building and they must have gone on a break or something because the queue stopped for maybe half an hour. Unfortunately I wasn't able to sit down so I had to stand the whole time. In addition there were several parents and children who periodically left the queue and returned back to get snacks and stuff, but I got growled at by this woman for accidentially cutting in front of someone whilst consulting my guide map. However it was worth it in the end I'm glad to say.

Lunch at Cosmic Rays was the only necessary step after such a long wait, then after watching a parade I went visiting The Hall of Presidents, another attraction I'd seen in '89. In the build-up I'd been informed numerous times that it was 22 minutes long, but when I timed it myself I found it was actually about 20 (I have a pedantic brain for things like this!)

Moved onto another attraction I'd seen in '89. The Haunted Mansion. Had great fun in the stand-by line pushing the books when they came out of the shelves - an experience FP'ers would miss. My one memory of the ride from 25 years ago had been the one about the fact there were 999 souls in the building, but there was room for 1,000. In the modern day interpretation this line was on the ride itself whereas in '89 it was part of the lowering lift.

The heat was rising a bit so I explored a bit of Main Street USA then went to visit the Contemporary and the Grand Floridian. The Contemporary needs to be seen to be believed. Pictures don't do the size of the place any justice. Loved the GF lobby and discovered a gift shop on the monorail station floor and bought my mum some speciality soap.

Tea back at my resort hotel was hilarious. For dessert I had decided to have an ice cream, but the cast member who served me must have misheard me, because I'm sure I said a cup, but she gave me a cone instead!.

After tea, I reserved myself a Carriage Ride for the Tuesday with Brittany.
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2014, 09:51 AM   #5
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 5

Day opened with breakfast at Ohana's. For piece of mind I took a taxi to the Polynesian (the only trip I took that wasn't Disney transportation). The bellman who waved over my taxi for me was called Donald appropriately enough!

Explored the Polynesian whilst waiting for my breakfast. The atrium in the main lobby was still there as was the volcano pool. Had time to walk all the way down to Luau Cove and back. I was seated twenty minutes late but the experience more than made up for that!. I saw all the characters; Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Goofy. It was however very challenging to make sure I didn't miss anybody. Lilo unfortunately had arrived at my table before I was ready with my camera and my book so I missed taking her picture and getting her autograph. I got everybody else's though, plus a bonus picture with Goofy when a helpful cast member offered to take my picture.

After breakfast I decided to walk to the TTC as I had already visited the monorail station the previous day. I took the boat launch to Magic Kingdom and started in TomorrowLand, riding both the People Mover and the Speedway, then moved to Fantasyland and rode Mad Hatters Tea Party and Under The Sea. On Under The Sea a woman called Cathy invited me to ride with her in her shell. She introduced me to her family as we went round.

On a brief trip to Tom Sawyer's Island, I managed to get a friendly guest to take a picture of me with Big Thunder Mountain as a backdrop to replace an '89 photo that had got lost. Then I decided to do more meet and greets but after my experience the previous day I thought it might be prudent to get some FP's arranged. Thanks to Jessica at the FP station I managed to secure myself meet and greets with four Disney Princesses; Cinderella, Rapunzel, Belle and Ariel.

While waiting for the appropriate times for my meet and greets, I went on It's A Small World, Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride and I briefly visited the circus in New Fantasyland.

In Belle's Enchanted Castle, I got to play a suit of armour which was really cool. Ariel asked me if I collected things and I had to explain what a CD was. Cinderella asked if I journeyed on a magic carpet and I should sing Disney songs on the way back!.

Rapunzel however said she hadn't been back to Arendelle, yet Anna and Elsa the previous day had said that she had. I decided to forget this little inconsistency though.

My day ended with a walk through Fort Wilderness from the boat dock to the bus stop
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2014, 10:24 AM   #6
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 6

Decided to have a rest day from the parks so I began with a round of Miniature Golf at Winter Summerland (Summer Course).

Then visited the All Star Resorts - Sports, Music, Movies. It was slightly disappointing to note they didn't have different welcome mats. When I took the bus back to Blizzard Beach - to use as a transfer point - my bus driver was the same driver who had dropped me off at All Star Sports!

Next on the list was Pop Century. As I didn't have time to explore all of it just visited the 70's, 80's and 90's sections. Then I crossed the bridge to Art of Animation. I wasn't going to explore all of it, but figured I might as well after I'd seen The Little Mermaid, The Lion King and Finding Nemo sections.

Had my lunch in Landscape of Flavours from the Create A Burger stand. There were too things to note; 1) They had smaller desserts compared to my home resort and 2) They used metal cutlery!

Travelled to Hollywood Studios to take the bus to Caribbean Beach and this was were things went a bit haywire. I got a bit impatient at the number of bus stops so I got off at Martinique and found the jogging trail no problem, but getting off it was another matter entirely. I found Center Town easily, but the signage off the jogging trail was terrible so after I'd melted enough in the heat I gave up on photographing Custom House and went back to POR for my carriage ride.

I chose to ride round French Quarter, my driver was Star my horse was Dan. Star told me that she had been told there were 12 different types of ironwork on the FQ buildings, but she had only got up to ten.

After my ride I went to roast some marshmallows at the Campfire and had my caricature done by the caricature artist. So I could use my mug and not have a large dessert I paid for my main course, and wrote some postcards
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 10:03 AM   #7
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 7

Started off the day with a delayed visit to Coronado Springs, which took some time to get to as I got off the bus at Blizzard Beach then waited for a Coronado Springs bus that never came, so I got there from Animal Kingdom instead. The resort was set out much like Caribbean Beach but smaller and better signage.

Travelled to Epcot my first stop was the re-jigged Universe of Energy unfortunately they'd removed the end song from the ride (I loved that song in '89; "We're in the Universe of Energy!")

Took the short route to Yacht and Beach Club to cross them off my list then proceeded to walk to Fantasia Gardens to play another round of Miniature Golf. Took the long route round the Dolphin (god that place was huge!) and decided to play on the Fairways course. What I didn't like though was the cast member who dealt with me was So Serious. I almost felt like saying to him 'Dude, this is miniature golf. Smile!" I played on the Fairways course and had a couple of really bad holes. When I say really bad, I'm talking scores in double figures!. Travelled back to Epcot past the Swan and bought my niece a WDW shirt at a shop on the Boardwalk.

When I got back into Epcot, I met Mary Poppins in the UK pavillion then went to see Impressions de France. After lunch I went on Soarin', then decided to make my way to Wilderness Lodge as that was my venue for dinner, a journey that took in two trips on the Monorail and a boat. I did think originally there was a boat from the TTC to Wilderness Lodge but couldn't find out if there was hence the second monorail.

I absolutely loved Wilderness Lodge. Although it was the 19th themed resort I'd visited and I still had Old Key West resort to go this was my favourite of all the Disney resorts. Not to knock POR where I was staying, but this place was just a notch above. I did try the Hidden Mickey hunt, but gave up in frustration after looking at the fireplace for 5 minutes looking for a HM. I also got myself a blue Wilderness Lodge sweatshirt - which I'm wearing whilst typing this.

Whilst waiting for my 7:40 reservation time, I read a book in the lobby - The Castle of Adventure by Enid Blyton if you're wondering. Notified the team at Whispering Canyon of my arrival at 7:20 and got seated immediately at a quiet table at the far end of the restaurant. I had Pork Loin, the Strawberry Cheesecake and two Root Beers and I felt really stuffed at the end of it all!

I had then intended to watch the Electrical Water Pageant however when I checked with a Cast Member in the gift shop, I caused a bit of confusion as I'd forgotten what it was called!. Her partner on the till knew what I was talking about but told me unfortunately that I'd missed it.

I therefore decided to see the Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom, and as it turned out I not only saw those plus Celebrate the Magic!. I also saw the Water Pageant as it was passing by MK as I arrived. I had the perfect spot on Main Street looking directly at the castle and only had twenty five minutes to wait for the fireworks. They were fantastic and I was glad I'd made a split second decision to see them, but they seemed to stop twice so when they show finally did actually end, just to be on the safe side I didn't move for a few seconds.

Journey back to the hotel was fine, managed to get on the first bus.
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 10:24 AM   #8
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 8

I'd used it as a transfer point for two days, now I actually made it inside!. First port of call was Star Tours which I had previously rode in '89 although on this occasion I didn't have long to wait.

Then it was onto the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, a little bit stop start while they set up for the next stunt, but it was a fun retelling of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The next ride was The Great Movie Ride again I was revisiting something I had been on in '89. The parts that I remember were still there namely the queue past trailers of classic movies and the guide in your car that leaves the attraction when they are kidnapped by bandits and comes back again when the bandit steals the idol in another Indiana Jones reference! ("That is what happens to people who do not remain seated!!")

Next moved onto the Lights! Motors! Action! Stunt Show, which like the Stunt Spectacular was stop start but had some great behind the scenes secrets and huuuuge explosions!. After lunch at Pizza Planet I returned to Fantasia Gardens via the Friendship Launch to play the Gardens course (I went nearly everywhere!). I couldn't play the 3rd hole because it was being refurbished, but everything was going fine until the penultimate hole which was just obnoxious! After I took about four penalty strokes for going out of bounds I had to replace my ball when it went in the water!

After the golf I returned to Hollywood Studios for some more cash and to see the Magic of Disney Animation and Walt Disney's One Man's Dream exhibition. During all of this I had time to squeeze in Meet and Greets with Wreck It Ralph, Vanellope and Goofy

I really liked the One Man's Dream exhibit with all the models including the Tree of Life, New Fantasyland and the interior of the Under The Sea ride from Magic Kingdom.

I finished off my resort visits by going to Old Key West Resort and returned to POR via Downtown Disney. Unfortunately tea was a bit rushed as I wanted to see The Little Mermaid which they were showing as that night's Movie Under The Stars. I made it just in time, me and my fellow guests were also joined by a rabbit who came to see us. Didn't stop to watch the movie though!
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 10:48 AM   #9
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 9

The sadness started to creep in today as I realized that I was running out of time

Concluded my trip to all the Miniature Golf courses by returning to Winter Summerland and completing the Snow course. Fell over on one hole because I was determined not to get soaked by the snowman that squirted water which was rather silly, as I would have dried out in no time.

Then I went to ESPN Wide World of Sports (I went nearly everywhere, did I mention!). This required three buses; 1) Animal Kingdom, 2) All Star Sports and 3) ESPN itself. However despite the protracted journey I got my hands on something I never thought I'd get, A Key To The World Card!!. It's got a green background and has Mickey on it, if you're interested!

I didn't spend too long at ESPN as there wasn't much shade and it was really hot. Unfortunately the Grill was closed so I went to All Star Sports for lunch instead. I used the create your own burger stand, and had the chicken burger with bacon and BBQ sauce.

After lunch I returned to Downtown Disney, the wait was rather long at one point another ESPN bus arrived!. To pass the time I chatted to the girl behind me in the queue. She was from Ohio and had been to a Character Audition, but hadn't succeeded.

At Downtown Disney I went to the AMC theatre to see X-Men Days of Future Past, which was a really good movie. The drinks fountain boasted an incredible array of 106 drinks, including about ten varieties of Coke! (I had the lime version!). After the movie I returned to Goofy's Candy Co. to do another Create A Treat - because it's awesome. This time my treat was a gingerbread man coated in dark chocolate with mini M&M's and white chocolate drizzle although with hindsight I wished I'd picked Oreo cookie crumbs

I then decided to take the bus back to POR, our driver took a wrong turn and tried to take me and another passenger to Old Key West!

Managed to photograph French Quarter before the sun set and at tea they were having register problems at the Riverside Mill. One could take cash and the other the dining plan but not both at the same time. Also apart from one other till they were the only ones open and it was rather busy, seeming to indicate at these times they don't have enough CM's to man all the cash registers as they are needed to serve the food
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 11:02 AM   #10
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 10

Went first to Epcot to shake off the final day blues by getting my Not Very Disney Doctor Who book stamped at the Kidcot stops in World Showcase. The various cast members were also invited to write or draw anything they desired, some were really artistic. At places such as China and Morocco they even drew my name in their own language. Germany was my favourite, not only was she really beautiful she had amazing hair (I like hot girls with long hair sue me!). Norway was my least favourite. Not only did she seem not to enter into the fun of the enterprise she was the only one who didn't translate her message.

I returned again to the Boardwalk to see if I could find a Captain America shirt for a work colleague's son but I couldn't find one. Decided to have lunch on the Boardwalk; A cheeseburger from Boardwalk To Go (with melted cheese courtesy of Josh) and a slice of Tiramisu from the Boardwalk Bakery. Cutlery had to be pinched from a neighbouring store to eat my dessert.

After riding Nemo & Friends and going to see Turtle Talk With Crush, I went back home to POR to finally photograph my home resort and press some pennies. I had decided not to go mad with the penny pressing machine, because I didn't want to get obsessed - Collecting ALL the pressed pennies is such an onerous enterprise, it isn't a good idea. Therefore I only did four, one from each machine at POR. However when I looked at the mountain of change I asked Megan to change for me into dollars, I did wish I'd pressed a few more.

Took the boat once again to Downtown Disney and managed to buy the Captain America shirt. I also happened to notice the Rainforest Cafe spout fire from it's volcano which I had missed on my two previous visits. Then it was back home.
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 11:15 AM   #11
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

DAY 11

My final day was one of great sadness that my magical trip had finally come to an end. I had just one query on my bill which was sorted out very quickly. It seemed to indicate that I had been to Fort Wilderness for a horse ride, but it turned out that was my carriage ride. FW appears on the bill because that's where the horses come from.

After breakfast I finished packing my case and took it to the luggage drop, as my bus wasn't until 3pm. The sentimental part of me decided to take the same journey that I took when I first arrived, but in reverse. It was a quietly emotional and reflective journey. I remember going through all the stuff I hadn't done, but that was really silly when I'd done so much.

After storing my luggage, I took a walk over to French Quarter. The quiz had changed but this weeks was much harder so I didn't attempt it. I walked back to Riverside and visited Parterre Place before sitting in the River Roost and having a read before lunch. My final meal was the Chicken Nuggets and Fries.

Wanting to prolong my vacation just a little bit longer, I took another 'final' walk this time along Riverside going from Magnolia Bend to Alligator Bayou.

My final minutes inside the resort building was in the chairs in the reception area, before I picked up my luggage thanks to Donald (the same CM who had waved me over a taxi on the Monday). My driver to the airport was Hector.
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2014, 11:26 AM   #12
jrparkin
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 46

FINAL COMMENTS

My main worry when I arrived was that I hadn't planned enough. I looked at my puny list of two ADR's and wondered if that had been a mistake. Happily though I discovered it wasn't. I was able to take WDW at my own pace, and just do and see what I wanted and I felt incredibly free. The few occasions when I was tied to a specific schedule I didn't like it as much.

It was the best holiday I'd ever been on and there isn't anything I would have done different. If I had any niggles (and that is exactly what they were, niggles), there were a couple aside from the ones I've already mentioned

1) The air conditioning in my room was a bit loud. I was therefore faced with the choice of turning it off and being stuffy, or leaving it on and trying to get to sleep with it whirring in the background

2) In Riverside Mill, there were a couple of occasions where it got busy at tea time, but there wasn't enough Cast Members on the registers so there was a danger that your meal would have got cold by the time you sat down to eat it.

But that was it.
jrparkin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:53 PM.

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

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