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Old 05-28-2009, 03:22 PM   #1
jennypenny
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Just back--observations from BCV, AKV, SWW, etc

Hi. I won't bore you with a traditional trip report because, honestly, we're pretty boring. I will just bore you instead with observations from our trip. We've been DVCers for many years and have stayed at all of the resorts except the Treehouse Villas and BLT. We are a family of 5 with kids 13, 10, and 6, one of which has special needs.

Online check in: We did a split stay with BCV and AKV. We did the online check in for BCV but not AKV so we could compare them. The online checkin is very easy. There is a button to note room requests but this is not really an open-ended question. You have two choices--ground floor or near transportation. Since we prefer the ground floor at BCV we requested that. When we arrived at the desk we walked right up and said that we had registered online. They said "are you the Peters?" with a lot of enthusiasm! I don't think many people have done this yet. They handed me the packet and asked if I had any questions. The room was ready and keys were in the folder. It couldn't have been easier. Now like I said we never have any requests at BCV other than first floor. If we were checking in to SSR, I would want to try and get the section I wanted, so I doubt I'd check in online.

BCV: Not many changes from previous years. Staff can be hit or miss but have improved over the last few years. The room had been rehabbed since the last time we stayed. Pullout couch was much more comfortable according to DD13 (who's 5' 9") and the king bedding was MUCH more comfortable. I still hate the mini-pillows (why have 3 minis instead of 2 standards??) and I forgot to bring a fitted sheet with me and I don't like the way the other slides off the mattress. SAB/HH were great as always. I still think the marketplace's menu is too limited but we thought what we did try was improved over last year. The breakfast sandwiches were fresh and hot, and they toasted the sandwiches for us late one night and they were more than adequate. The caesar salad is always good, so we order sandwiches and 2 salads and everyone has both for a quick meal. It does the job.

Parks: Wet and surprisingly empty for a holiday weekend. We tried SSW and only stayed an hour. I wanted to shop in Wicket's warehouse but there was a long line just to get in the store! No thanks. And the line for TSM fastpasses was longer than the line. Do yourself a favor--just get on line and save the fastpass for something else. It was cool the whole week but hot at AK--what is that?! I'm always hot there. I was disappointed in many of the FG exhibits at epcot. Maybe they were looking tired because the festival was almost over. The tea garden in UK was fun.

AKV: we stayed in a value 1br in jambo. I knew they only had 4 of these rooms that faced the savannah so we skipped online checkin and went right over that morning to checkin in person. We scored a view (rm 5110). We'd never stayed there before. It is dark. My family loved it but I found myself stepping out on to the balcony once in a while for some sun. I was worried because people said the value rooms were smaller but we felt the layout was great. I liked the layout better than the bcv/bw/wlv 1 brs. I liked the roominess without the breakfast bar, the center hallway, and a single door to the bathroom instead of the plethora of doors in the other model. I still think they should switch the water closet and the laundry so people can go and shower at the same time, but they layout was good. And I loved all the pillows on the bed. It was so nice to sit (comfortably) in bed and watch Tv or the animals. Take out was great. Tried Kidani pool. The play area is wonderful and the pool is nice but I think small for the size of the resort. I don't remember if quiet pools are planned like at SSR. If not, I think the pool crowds will be an issue. The bar is great, staff great, and we did the room service delivered to the pool. 40 minutes call to delivery.

Dining: Germany and Tusker house good (TH is a hidden gem IMHO). We were disappointed in Cape May (again) and won't be returning. We've always found the food uninspired. And now that they've removed the prime rib I find no reason to go back. It's plain food, and at $28 per adult (including my 10yo) it's not worth the money. For only $10 more than our total bill at Cape May, we had a delightful experience at Tokyo Dining. Food was fresh and delicious, the kids meals (they let my 10yo order one) came in mini-monorails which my boys loved. We both had a drink, sampled many sushi dishes, tempora dishes and my DD had the bento box. I had the steak and it was fantastic. You could cut it with a fork. We can't wait to go back. We tried TRex. Atmosphere was great but the food is standard chain food and (I think) not worth the money. There are so many great choices in disney I don't think we'll be returning. (one exception--best onion soup I've ever had). I suspect that this restaurant will be the boys' answer to all of the princess meals and will be a popular place. Poolside dining at Kidani was good. Tandoori chicken was just ok, and maybe a 2 on the tandoori scale. Club sandwich was good. I'd try something other than chicken next time. Presentation was great.

Misc: Bus service was good, although we drove most of the time. Crowds light. Cool for late May. WET!! We were there for TS Fay and this was comparable. But at least it kept things cool, kept the crowds away, and flushed away the love bugs. Epcot has new strollers and the doubles are much smaller than they used to be. I think they are trying to discourage older kids from riding. While I understand that to a point, our DS6 has special needs and sometimes needs help getting around. He liked that he could use the stroller and not look out of place. Now we'll have to get him a wheelchair when he needs help. He won't like that at all.

Final thoughts: I would not do a split stay again if I could help it. I like to settle in, buy some groceries, and feel like I'm home (that's the reason we bought DVC). Would recommend this week to friends for crowds/weather. I would stay at AKV again but I'm not sure if I'd prefer jambo or kidani. I wish the walkway between the two buildings was covered like at WLV. Then if it was raining it would be easier to walk over for takeout. The walk is only 10 minutes. I would say if you're at kidani you need some groceries. I know you can take the DTD bus to jambo but how many of those are running at breakfast time? We saw animal control trying to catch the gator at BCV when we were checking out. Hope they caught it--it's BIG now.

Ask away if you have questions.
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:20 PM   #2
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Thanks for the report, I am glad you were allowed 5 in a value 1br, since this has not been some other peoples experiance. I think maybe with your experiacne that I might try online check in when we split to our OKW HH GV since there is no need for a request there (only 2 and they are both in the same building.) I will go over at 6:30 am and see if the packet is ready just to see haw early thay can "put them together".

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Old 05-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #3
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Thanks for the report!

Does the Cape May Cafe still have a carving station with anything? And did they still have ribs and peel and eat shrimp? DD17 picked this for her b-day dinner and now I'm a little concerned.
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FOTM_Ring_Bearer View Post
Thanks for the report!

Does the Cape May Cafe still have a carving station with anything? And did they still have ribs and peel and eat shrimp? DD17 picked this for her b-day dinner and now I'm a little concerned.
We had dinner at Cape May in January. Clam steamer broke down and about caused a riot.

They did have the carving station(beef I think), peel and eat shrimp. Don't remember about the ribs.
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:11 PM   #5
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Enjoyed your report!!

Thanks for all the details! May try Tokyo next time. I love Sushi!

We are taking the boys to T-Rex in 2 weeks. Definitely the male answer to Princess meals. We are doing late lunch so hopefully a better value as I expected the food to be underwhelming.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FOTM_Ring_Bearer View Post
Thanks for the report!

Does the Cape May Cafe still have a carving station with anything? And did they still have ribs and peel and eat shrimp? DD17 picked this for her b-day dinner and now I'm a little concerned.
Both Tusker House and Cape May had switched to top sirloin instead of prime rib. I don't consider top sirloin a carving station kind of meat , TH also had a pork loin that was good (with a delicious sauce). Cape may had the peel and eat shrimp but they were medium size at best (smaller than ohanas). Still had that great flavor, just smaller. I did not look for ribs, sorry. What is she looking for as a birthday meal? A buffet? or good steak? I think I would rather go to someplace like Kona or Canada for a good steak, or maybe Boma for a nice buffet.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Enjoyed your report!!

Thanks for all the details! May try Tokyo next time. I love Sushi!

We are taking the boys to T-Rex in 2 weeks. Definitely the male answer to Princess meals. We are doing late lunch so hopefully a better value as I expected the food to be underwhelming.
Try Tokyo dining! They had two menus--one for dinner and one just for sushi. My DH had a tempora appetizer and then ordered two sushi plates for his dinner. You can watch them make it. It was the freshest sushi I've had (in my limited travels).

re: TREX, it's the same as Rainforest Cafe. If you like RC, you'll like Trex. Read the reviews because the quality varies widely. The onion soup was delicious. My salad was awful and she offered to comp it too quickly so I suspected it was always bad. My daughter liked her mushroom pasta. Both of my boys turned their noses up at their corn dogs. Maybe ask your server for recommendations. Any new restaurant is bound to have hits and misses. And warn your boys there are three rooms--ice age, dinosaurs, and an aquarium room. All three are nice, but if they are expecting to eat in the dinosaur room you might not be seated there. They do encourage you to walk around during the meteor shower.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookwormde View Post
Thanks for the report, I am glad you were allowed 5 in a value 1br, since this has not been some other peoples experiance. I think maybe with your experiacne that I might try online check in when we split to our OKW HH GV since there is no need for a request there (only 2 and they are both in the same building.) I will go over at 6:30 am and see if the packet is ready just to see haw early thay can "put them together".

bookwormde
I was completely upfront that we were a family of 5 and the CM said no problem at MS.

re: online check in--I think if your view is booked as a category (BLT MK view, BW standard view, etc) then you might as well check in online. If you have a section request (like at SSR or OKW) or like a higher floor, then you're taking a gamble if you check in online. I think I would gamble if I were checking in at a time that would be very busy at the desk likesunday pm, holiday weeks, etc.

It sounded like the online check ins are processed by 7am so you should be ready to go very early.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:02 AM   #9
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Thanks for your report, glad you had a great trip.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:18 AM   #10
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I assumed you were “up front”, it is just interesting (but not surprising) that many members experiences vary often as to this situation.

Thanks again I will be doing my “test” on the 14th.

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Old 05-30-2009, 03:33 PM   #11
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If we were checking in to SSR, I would want to try and get the section I wanted, so I doubt I'd check in online.
Just wanted to let you know that requests are supposed to be made when you make your reservation - that's why we don't have the ability to do them when checking in online (by then it should be too late anyway).

I've used online check in 3 times, and always made requests at the time of the reservation & the rooms I got were fine. Each time I arrived around 1pm and my room was ready each time - 3 different months, 3 different resorts. With the online checkin they know what time you plan to arrive, and it's increased my odds of having the room ready when I get there. Plus, you avoid any wait. To me it's no-brainer to do online checkin.
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Old 05-30-2009, 04:26 PM   #12
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I enjoyed reading your report. Informative, not boring or flowery, just my style of reading. Thanks much for sharing!
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Old 05-30-2009, 05:07 PM   #13
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Thanks for the report....I agree with you about Cape May. It was always one of our must do places but the "free" dining had taken its toll on this place too. The choices are limited and it is expensive for the quality, uninspired is a great way to put it!
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:16 PM   #14
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Thanks for the observations, they were very informative!
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:35 PM   #15
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Just what is SWW ?
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