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Old 06-14-2010, 12:35 PM   #1
mb1234
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Family Trip May 16 through 23 - 7 Adults and 1 Baby at the BWV!

Trip review:
May 16th through 23rd...

Weather – oh wow, I tried to do research before the trip, but it didn’t register just how HOT it is that time of year. We live in Maryland, so we are used to hot and humid, but we weren’t trained up yet and oh my goodness, it was hot!! Once we toned down our touring plan and focused more on relaxing and visiting a few select rides, it because a much more enjoyable trip – but be prepared it can be HOT in May!!

Hollywood Studios – I saw this park in a whole new light this trip, our first with a baby (11 months). While my husband and I love all of the rides, this park is very difficult with really little kids. Everything is super loud and most is outdoors. That made it pretty hard to find an air conditioned location that he could nap or cool off. The baby center worked for a little bit but got really crowded and loud pretty quickly! This isn’t a negative comment, just an FYI, so that other people don’t end up in the same situation we were…

Crowds – For us, because we don’t get to go to Disney very often, we like to pack as much in as we can, after this trip we might be re-evaluating that theory. It is CROWDED! Even when it doesn’t seem like it will be too bad, based on crowd levels, etc, it still gets packed – I think that’s something to keep in mind, it just seems like Disney is more crowded in general now. We will give a try to going in the Fall next, but if that doesn’t work, we might try more frequent economical trips, rather than more expensive, few and far between trips because of how hard it is to get everything done! That being said, there are ways around this, especially using certain touring plans, but we aren’t very good with touring plans, as our group gets distracted easily!

Traveling with an infant – I was pretty nervous about traveling to Disney with an 11 month old, but my family decided to go for a reunion and my husband and I decided that it would be better to just give it a try rather than stay home. That’s how I found the DIS boards because I was looking for tips. I was pretty apprehensive because of the variety of responses to taking small kids, but I do not regret the way we did it. My best advice: understand that you will only be able to do a fraction of what you have pictured, but that’s okay! Once we started relaxing more, it was much more enjoyable! The heat will change things, before we went, I was under the philosophy that people have babies in Florida all of the time and it’s no big deal. The biggest difference about the parks is that they are HUGE and no matter how far away you park at the supermarket or some other daily errand, the distance to get to a ride in any of the parks is significantly longer. That’s not a negative, just a fact of the parks and something to consider in your planning. Our situation was made much more difficult because my son got his first pretty bad cold that week and had a fever – so I was much more nervous to have him out in the heat. Then we did the tag team thing more and took turns going to the parks. The more adults with you the better. Having so many extra hands to help was awesome and made it a much better experience. I know this isn’t an option for everyone, just something to consider. Glow sticks were a great idea. I saw that suggestion here and it was a really good idea – I even use that as a back up in everyday life now too! For us, it worked even better to give him his pacifier and then the glow stick because he still chews on everything, and that way he didn’t try to eat the glow stick ;-). Most importantly, follow their cues, they let you know what’s working and what’s not. Overall, I actually thought that Disney was a great place as our first big family vacation because I knew that it was set up for kids. There was always somewhere to park the stroller or change a diaper and that’s not the case everywhere you go!

Resorts – We added an extra night, so we tried out Animal Kingdom Lodge for one night and then stayed at the Boardwalk Villas for 6 nights. Both are absolutely incredible! We stayed on the Concierge Level at Animal Kingdom Lodge and were not disappointed. For us, it was absolutely worth the upgrade because we got a Savannah view room and the food/drink offerings. A Savannah view room is what makes this experience and I have to say, it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. The chances aren’t great that I’ll take an African Safari in my life, so to look out the window and see zebras and other animals grazing was awesome. It was also cool because it gave my husband and I something to do while our son was napping. The only downside as gets mentioned here is the location. I could definitely see the benefit of having a rental car if you stay here, but I’m not sure how I would feel about having to drive home after a long Disney day! We loved the Boardwalk Villas! We stayed in a one-bedroom villa and having the extra space was great. The kitchen is also very convenient. It was great being able to walk to two parks, because constantly collapsing the stroller gets very old after a while. We have gone back and forth about whether a monorail resort would be better and we haven’t decided. I could see the convenience for Epcot and Magic Kingdom, but the one time we took the monorail to the Polynesian for dinner, it was so crowded that it was an absolute nightmare. By the time we knew how many people they were shoving on the train we couldn’t pull my son out of the stroller in time and he got really scared. I don’t ever remember that happening and we usually stay at Shades of Green so we’ve taken the monorail lots of times before, so I’m not sure if that was a fluke or what. Anyway, I digress. I think the biggest tip I have for traveling with an infant is having a good resort location to get back for nap times, etc. I guess if it wasn’t so hot though, he could have slept in an out of the way area in the stroller, it was just too hot for that when we were there.

Dining – We were on the Disney Dining Plan, which I think we all kind of had mixed feelings about. It was very convenient for traveling in a group, no splitting checks, etc. but it is lots of food – especially dessert! And I think there is a lot of confusion with the snack credits, we didn’t pay very close attention when checking out and got charge extra quite a few times. That being said, we loved the opportunity to try lots of new restaurants with no concern about cost! Just an FYI – everyone’s opinions about eating out are different and although we are particular about customer service (lots of former waitresses in the family), I find that trekking through the parks at Disney leaves us so hungry that almost everything tastes delicious ;-)

Crystal Palace – We scheduled breakfast here before the park was open on the excellent advice of people on this board. While it wasn’t the best use of a table credit because of the price, I have to say that experience more than made up for it. We got some incredible pictures!! I was skeptical at how empty the park would be, but we have pictures in front of the castle with literally no one else in them – priceless!! The buffet is huge and everything that I had was delicious – they had a really good variety of fresh fruit. I was shocked at how much my son loved the characters – I didn’t think he would be very interested, but he was thrilled! We think the kiss on the nose he gave to Tigger is probably what brought on his Disney cold…oh well, just an FYI, I think every toddler we saw there had a runny nose. Because for as much as you try, eventually they are going to lick the handrail…

50’s Prime Time Café – we have always loved this restaurant and this experience was no different – except that the waitress kept calling my Dad the King, seriously, do you know how long we had to deal with his big head?!? Haha, just teasing, sort of… but if you are up for a different type of experience, the food is good but the entertainment is even better! And the S’mores dessert – YUM!

Yak & Yeti – We all thought the food was great here – pretty overpriced if you aren’t on the Dining Plan (haha, but what isn’t, it’s Disney!). We were traveling with 7 adults and tasted each other’s meals – I think everything I tasted was delicious. And the mango sorbet was also wonderful (are you noticing a trend here!)

Teppan Edo – I read a bunch of mixed reviews, but we had a noon seating (first one of the day) and we loved it here. All of the wait staff was wonderful and the chef was very entertaining. We have a hibachi grill near our house, but the food was much less greasy here and it was a nice relaxing lunch. Again, pretty expensive, so the Dining Plan was helpful. The desserts were yummy (mixed reviews on the green tea pudding), but if you weren’t on the dining plan, they are super expensive, especially for a little frozen yogurt!

Biergarten – We absolutely loved it here. My sister has spent time in Germany and speaks German pretty well and she said that the food was pretty authentic – I was hesitant because I’m not the most adventurous eater, but I have to say that I left there completely stuffed, there was something for everyone. My son loved watching all of the kids dancing, so it was one of our more relaxing dinners! I’m sure the liters of beer helped increase the enjoyment of this evening, but we had a great time and would definitely go again!

Ohana – This was another with mixed reviews. We really enjoyed ourselves. The food was delicious, but the environment is part of what makes it a great place. The suggestion of the Lapu, Lapu drink was great because it’s not on the menu (it comes in a pineapple if you haven’t seen a picture!). Though be prepared to share, I think we had four people working on that one drink! Be prepared to pace yourself, because they rush all of the food out, but they didn’t mind that we stayed longer than that to munch on all of the food. It actually worked out better, because I’m pretty sure if they left that delicious bread, salad, wings, etc out too much longer we wouldn’t have had any room for the meat and the incredible dessert! Just speak up, they were more than happy to bring out extra steak, that and the shrimp were the table favorites.

Some counter service notes – I was able to get a lot of good recommendations from the boards before leaving and I thought that Wolfgang Puck express was one of the best ones. Towards the end of the week when you want something quieter and more like table service (with AC!), this is an excellent option, especially if you go on the off times. This is another place that is pretty pricey without the meal plan. I agree with many other posts that the CS options are lacking at the Boardwalk. The Bakery has some sandwiches and good breakfast foods, so that is enough to get by, but after more than a couple meals (especially since we were around the area for nap time many of the days), we got kind of sick of it! However, I did want to check out Hurricane Hanna’s (I think that’s the name) because I saw good things here and we never made it over there, so part of the lack of options was our fault!

Please let me know if you have any questions. This report is more stream of consciousness because I tried to put down everything I could think of so hopefully it’s not too confusing! Good luck to everyone planning, I only wish that we could go back sooner!!
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Old 06-14-2010, 03:11 PM   #2
Joan S.
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Hi, Just wanted to say VERY nice trip report!! I enjoyed how you set it up and reviewed your dining also. Thank You, Joan
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:14 PM   #3
cmp1111
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Those are great, well-organized bullets. Thanks for sharing!
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See my " The Decoy Trip" Report here. May 2007 - AKL Aug. 2008 - The Big Group Pre-Trip Report is here. And the Rain, Rain, Rain TR: Here
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