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Old 07-08-2010, 02:24 PM   #1
lissawynn
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7 Days on DxDP The Good, Bad, & Why I'll Never Do Again with Kids - Update AP!

We have been home for a few days now, and I've taken some time to think about our trip and reflect on our experiences on the deluxe dining plan. Sorry, this review contains no food porn pics. DH requires convincing to go to WDW, and I wasn't about to ask him to take picture of our meals every single day.
I have been to Disney numerous times over the last several years and have used the dining plan each time. Back in 2006 our plan included everything but the tip, so using the DxDP was very similar to that. I'll be reviewing the restaurants where we dined and giving descriptions of what I ate. DH didn't have too much to say about his food, but I'll provide his brief insight at the end.
I think the question I had while planning this trip and then committing to deluxe dining was this: Was this going to be too much food for us? The answer to that question is yes, and I'll explain why I feel that way at the end of my reviews.

This trip included Me(35), DH(41), DS(5), and DD(3). We enjoy good food, and DH is more adventurous than I am when it comes to spices and sauces. I'm very plain Jane when it comes to what I like covering my food. Also, for the most part the kids had fruit, Mickey pasta with butter and grated cheese, chicken noodle soup, and ice cream.

Here's where we ate...
Grand Floridian Cafe - dinner
Crystal Palace - breakfast
Kona Cafe - breakfast and dinner
Columbia Harbor House - lunch
Roarin' Forks - breakfast and dinner
Norway Princess - breakfast
Tutto Italia - lunch
Artist Point
Narcoossee's (2x)
Sci-Fi Dine In - lunch
Beaches & Cream - lunch
Cosmic Ray's - lunch
If I forgot any other restarurants, I'll add them later.

The places we missed for various reasons (I'll explain at the conclusion of my reviews):
Flying Fish
Chefs de France
Whispering Canyon Cafe
Ohana - breakfast

Saturday, June 26
We began our LONG drive from PA at approximately 4:00 A.M. We had a relatively uneventful trip through PA and MD. We stopped at a McDonald's off I-95 somewhere in VA for breakfast. It was your typical McDonald's breakfast. I did enjoy a bite of the kids' pancakes. For whatever reason I've always enjoyed McD's pancakes. They have a sweetness to them that I like. We stopped at a Chick-Fil-A in South Carolina. This was interesting because it was either a walk-up window or drive-thru. We found a shady spot, parked the car, and I got our lunch. My family loves CFA, and this meal was a good as every other CFA food I've eaten.
Our first day of driving concluded in Savannah, Georgia. We stayed at a Hampton Inn off I-95 on Al Henderson Blvd. and ate at the Applebees that was within walking distance of our hotel. The food and service here were not good. We were all tired after being in the car for almost 14 hours. DH was particularly tired, as he did all the driving. The a/c in the restaurant wasn't working well, and it was warm and humid inside. Our server was ok, but the food was lousy. The portions were small and seemed to be overcooked. At this point we ate what we ordered so we could get back to our room and go to sleep. If you're driving down I-95 S, my advice is skip the Applebees in Savannah. In retrospect I wish we would have gone to Cracker Barrel. I've never had lousy food there.

Sunday, June 27 - The driving ends and we have a new WDW dining experience!
We got up early on Sunday so we could get to WDW as soon as possible. Our stay at the Hampton Inn was great. It was super clean and comfy. The kids love the "free" breakfast here, so we ate some cereal, pastries, and eggs and sausage before getting back into the car. We did not stop for lunch, so I figured we'd eat after checking into the VWL. We arrived at VWL at 12:45, and our studio was ready. After we emptied out the car and unloaded our bags in the room, we headed to MK. I traded in my voucher for my AP, and off we went. We did several rides, and the crowds in Liberty Square and Adventureland were very manageable. We had a 5:30 ADR for Grand Floridian, so we left MK to see if we could check-in early for dinner. We arrived at the GF via the monorail and took the stairs to the first floor to check-in for dinner. I believe we arrived around 4:45 and was told we would be seated in a few minutes. They were not seating diners yet. We took a seat in the lobby and a nice CM gave both kids coloring sheets and crayons. They entertained themselves for a few minutes until our buzzer went off.
We were seated at one of the first tables inside the restaurant, to the right of the podium. Chris was our server and asked if we were using a dining plan. We told him we had the deluxe plan, and he reviewed what was included for both the adults and kids. We ordered drinks - Diet Coke for me, unsweetened tea for DH, juice for DS, and chocolate milk for DD. I pretty much knew what I was having, and when Chris returned with our drinks he took our orders. I started with the mussles, DH ordered the shrimp for two (which was allowed), and both kids had chicken noodle soup. For our main courses, I ordered the NY strip, but I made a mistake or ordered it medium instead of medium rare. DH ordered the tuna and despite the trends, he likes his fish cooked through, which was not a problem. Our server did suggest the salmon if DH wanted the fish cooked this way, but DH stuck with the tuna. Our appetizers came out in a relatively short amount of time and were delicious. The portion of mussles was HUGE and could have been a meal in itself. I didn't even get to taste DH's shrimp because it was gone in no time. The kids enjoyed their soup, and DH, who tasted it, said it was very good. I did finish all of the mussles because they were so good. My only issue is that the garlic toast was burned on one side and wasn't very good even when dipped in the broth. Had the burned taste not been there, it would have been great. Our entrees arrived shortly after we had finished our appetizers. DH loved his tuna and said it was cooked just as he'd asked. After I cut into my steak, I immediately realized that I had misspoken when I ordered. It was a perfect medium, which is great, but I eat my steaks medium rare. Like I said, this was my error, and I ate a good portion of the steak. It was still good and well-seasoned. I am not usually a sauce person, but the red wine sauce was very good. I ate a few bites of the mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas that came with my dish. DS had pasta with butter and grated cheese. He ate most of the serving he was given. DD had grilled salmon and rice. It was very good, but she ate only a few bites. By this time we were full and beginning to realize this was a LOT of food to eat on a daily basis. For dessert DH ordered the berry sorbet. I ordered the mango sorbet. DS asked for plain, vanilla ice cream, and DD asked for a cupcake, which Chris was happy to give her. The sorbets were delicious and a HUGE portion. Mine came with a drizzle of raspberry sauce and fresh blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. DH's was the same. The dessert was delicious, cold, and light enough not to make me feel like I'd eaten my way through everything on the menu.
This was our first to GFC, and we will definitely be back here again. The service was outstanding, and the food was very good. DH was very happy with his meal, which is rare. He's tough to please, especially when it comes to eating fish in restaurants. Our server Chris gets bonus points for bringing DD a cupcake. Also, when he brought out the sample dessert tray, DD stuck her fingers in the tiramisu (sp?). I was horrified, but he was totally unphased. He had told us he has a two year old at home, so it was nothing out of the ordinary for him.
All in all, this was an excellent way to start our trip.
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2003 - CBR & MNSSHP
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June 2008 - First family trip & Annabel's first trip!
September 2008 - Girls' Trip!
March 2009 - Girls' Trip with Robin and Judy
July 2009 - Sisters' trip with the kids
June/July 2010 - Family trip #2!
June 2011 Kids,Auntie, Grammy
June 2012 Family Trip

Last edited by lissawynn; 07-16-2010 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:06 PM   #2
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Great Start! I just started a thread about the Deluxe DP. My son and I will be doing the Deluxe Plan this year.I was wondering what they would do if I wanted to order an appy for 2. I see that your husband had no problem at the GFC. Did yall ever try this at any other ressies?
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:54 PM   #3
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Great start!
We're doing the DxDP in a week and a half and I know it's a lot of food. We have 4 or 5 signature meals booked, and I keep telling myself that I don't have to eat everything on the plate. Plus I do plan on getting salads as my appetizers as much as I can and sorbet for dessert.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of your reviews!

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:24 PM   #4
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Great start....joining in.
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:49 PM   #5
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joining as well...DH wants to go deluxe for our upcoming trip but with 3 kiddos I'm not so sure LOL. Looking forward to reading more about your trip!
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:18 PM   #6
lissawynn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Kimberly View Post
Great Start! I just started a thread about the Deluxe DP. My son and I will be doing the Deluxe Plan this year.I was wondering what they would do if I wanted to order an appy for 2. I see that your husband had no problem at the GFC. Did yall ever try this at any other ressies?
We did not try this at any of our other meals. However, if I remember correctly, ourserver at Kona told us that some of the sushi appetizers would require both of us to use our app. "entitlement" if we wanted it.
__________________
1982 - Off site - Holiday Inn
1985, 1987, 1991 - Off site - Wilson World
1989 - Ft. Wilderness
1996 - CBR and WL
2002 - WL honeymoon
2003 - CBR & MNSSHP
June 2004 - WL w/my sisters and nephew
July 2005 - Jimmy's first trip to WDW!
July 2006 -Dad's first trip to WDW with his boys!
June 2008 - First family trip & Annabel's first trip!
September 2008 - Girls' Trip!
March 2009 - Girls' Trip with Robin and Judy
July 2009 - Sisters' trip with the kids
June/July 2010 - Family trip #2!
June 2011 Kids,Auntie, Grammy
June 2012 Family Trip
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:11 PM   #7
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Day 2/June 28 - Our "debalce" at the MK

Ok, maybe "debacle" is a strong word for what happened on our first MK morning, but it set the tone to have me peeved until the late afternoon or early evening. I know you're not supposed to be cranky at WDW, but when you plan and plan and plan for months and months, throwing a wrench into the works sometimes brings out the worst in me.

Monday, June 28
We had an 8:10 ADR for Crystal Palace this morning. I have made it a family tradition to start our trip at MK and have breakfast at Crystal Palace on this first morning. We took the boat from WL to MK and arrived at the park at about 7:30. There was a line for people with early ADRs and appointments to get bibbity-bobbitied. We got in line and waited. And waited. And waited. Around 7:50 they allowed us to go through the turnstiles and then wait in another line. They were not checking ADR or appointment lists to see if the guests in line did have an appointment or ADR. We waited and waited and waited in this line. By this time DS had had enough waiting. A lovely meltdown ensued. I should have seen this as a sign of things to come. Everyone in the line was getting aggitated, as it grew closer and closer to 8:00 A.M. We were finally allowed into the park and walked with the waiting masses toward CP and the castle. DH and the kids waited on the porch of CP while I checked in. Now this was the ONLY ADR I made by calling Disney Dining. All of our other ADRs were made online, which I LOVE beign able to do. I had all of our dining plans and confirmation numbers in my phone. When I checked in, I was promptly told I did not have an ADR. I told the CM I had a confirmation number, and she told me she couldn't find it. She said she would add our name and we'd be called soon. I told DH it would be a few minutes, so we waited. And waited. Can you see a pattern forming here? After waiting 10 minutes past our original time, I checked with the CM at the window again. She thought we had already been called. It was another five or so minutes until we were finally taken inside to our seats.
By this time I was not happy. After DS's meltdown at the gate and now losing about 20 minutes of our breakfast time, I was ticked. I wanted an early ADR so we could get into Fantasyland by 9:00, and now that was not going to happen. I tried to let it go and enjoy our meal. We were seated to the left of the entrance and in the middle of the section with the half table/half booth seats. Tigger had already passed our table and wouldn't be coming back for another 45 minutes. We were not going to stick around to see Tigger. It took another five minutes until our server came to take out drink orders. I think there was probably steam coming out of my ears by this time. It was well past 8:30. We made our way to the buffet and got the kids Mickey waffles and fruit. Then DH and I took turns getting our food. I think we ate the same things: puffed french toast, fruit, the vegetable frittata (sp?), potatoes, and bacon. I also had a piece of the raspberry crumb cake. The food was delicious, as it's always been. I was just in a foul mood due to all the glitches we encountered that morning. The lines for the buffet were never long, and all the food was very fresh.
I plan on returning to CP for breakfast on our next trip.

Lunch - Columbia Harbor House
Around noonish DH was getting hungry. He wanted to go for a burger at Pecos Bill's. Here's the problem...my kids don't eat burgers or anything else on PB's menu. Since we were close to Liberty Square, I reminded DH about the good lunch we'd had there two years ago. He relented but was mumbling about the toppings bar and how much he enjoyed it on our last visit to PB's. We went to CHH and decided on what we wanted. DH took the kids upstairs and I got in line for our food. I guess some people don't understand that both the left and right sides are open at the cashiers' stations. I ordered a fish and chicken combo meal with fries and a Diet Coke and an apple crisp and tuna sandwich with apple slices and an apple crisp and unsweetened iced tea. I knew the kids weren't going to eat a lot, so we'd share. DS loved the fish. DD picked at the chicken and fries. Recently she has begun to have a decline in her appetite. Some days she eats like crazy, and other days it's tough to get her to eat much of anything. I think it's a phase, and she'll be back to "normal" eating soon. DH inhaled the tuna sandwich. I picked at the fish and chicken. My complaint about the chicken nuggets at WDW is that there is way too much breading. Since I am a huge fan of Chick-Fil-A, I like a very light, crispy coating on my nuggets. The hit of the meal was the warm apple crisp. We all really enjoyed those. DD had great fun scooping out as much of the filling as she could.
CHH's food seems to be consistently good. I wish the nuggets were different, but at least this is an option here.

Dinner - Kona Cafe and the tale of a missing server
My last two meals at Kona Cafe have been good. It's a nice spot for a good TS meal, and it's close to VWL, which makes it easy to get there after a rest at the villa. We arrived before our ARD (5:30) and asked if we could be seated early. The hostess said it wouldn't be a problem. We were given a pager and told it worked on the second floor of the Poly. Since there were no seats to be had (the crowds waiting to get into Ohana were ridiculous), we wandered around the second floor. DS fell in love with the monorail set in the gift shop and asked for it EVERY SINGLE DAY until we left (We bought it on the last day.). After a few minutes, our pager went off, and we were seated in the very front of the restaurant, to the left of the podium. I should have asked to be moved to a different table. The round, four-top tables just aren't big enough for a family of four when you factor in all the drinks, crayons, coloring pages, etc. The family seated to our left turned down the same kind of table and were smart to do so. Mauricio was our server. He asked if we were on a dining plan and explained what we were entitled to order. I believe he told us that some of the sushi and wing appetizers counted as a serving for two, and we could not each have one. He took our drink orders - Diet Coke for me, unsweetened tea for DH, and juice for the kids. After tasting the juice, DD decided she wanted chocolate milk and that was brought to her. They did put paper umbrellas in the kids' cups, which was cute. However, after forgetting the umbrellas were in my purse, it took some digging to find what was stabbing me each time I reached in my purse. DH and I both ordered the crab cakes, and both kids got the chicken noodle soup. The crab cakes were good, but there could be a lot more crab and a lot less filling. For our entrees DH ordered the shimp and scallops. Now I swear I ordered the exact same thing, but I asked for the sauce on the side. I believe both kids had pasta with grated cheese. Our entrees arrived, and DH got what he ordered, but my plate contained only the tempura shrimp and no scallops. By this time I was tired, our table was too small, and I wasn't going to wait for another entree. The shrimp were good, but there was way too much tempura on the outside. After eating one as it was presented, I picked the batter off the rest and dipped the shrimp in the sweet and sour sauce. Our entrees were delivered by a runner, and it was some time until Mauricio came back to check on us. This has happened to me on the last several trips I've taken to Kona. The servers seem to just disappear and are nowhere to be found for refills or to take your check. Mauricio eventually returned to take our dessert orders. The kids got the make your own sundae, I got the Kahula torte, and DH got the cheese cake. By this time the crab cake sauce had going on a rampage in my stomach, and I needed to excuse myself for some time. When I returned our desserts were on the table, and the kids were digging all the goodies that came with their ice cream. The torte was very good, but it wasn't good as I remember it being last summer. Maybe it was just a better experience last summer and that contributed to my fondness for that particular dessert. Again, we were totally stuffed. DH took the kids so I could settle up with the tip. Again, our server was nowhere to be found. I finally got our bill back after he swiped my card and left his tip. I left more than I wanted for the simple reason that I didn't want to wait around for him to get back to me with change.
I forgot to mention the bread with warm macadamia nut butter. We DEVOURED this. We all loved it and could have made a meal on just the bread and butter.
I would do Kona again, but I don't think it will be anytime soon. The service there is just off. I don't know where the servers go, but it seems like you are always waiting for something. There are other places I'd like to try before I go back to Kona.
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1982 - Off site - Holiday Inn
1985, 1987, 1991 - Off site - Wilson World
1989 - Ft. Wilderness
1996 - CBR and WL
2002 - WL honeymoon
2003 - CBR & MNSSHP
June 2004 - WL w/my sisters and nephew
July 2005 - Jimmy's first trip to WDW!
July 2006 -Dad's first trip to WDW with his boys!
June 2008 - First family trip & Annabel's first trip!
September 2008 - Girls' Trip!
March 2009 - Girls' Trip with Robin and Judy
July 2009 - Sisters' trip with the kids
June/July 2010 - Family trip #2!
June 2011 Kids,Auntie, Grammy
June 2012 Family Trip

Last edited by lissawynn; 07-08-2010 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:18 PM   #8
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Fantastic review... Looking forward to more.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:29 PM   #9
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Great review of the GF Cafe, I am can't wait to eat there in November.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:39 PM   #10
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Enjoying your reviews.

One thing that really gets to me is when I can't get drink refills, I find it really annoying!
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:25 PM   #11
lissawynn
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Day3/June 29 - A Wonderful Morning with the Princesses

On our third day, I scheduled a breakfast at Norway with the princesses. When we made our reservations at VWL, I had asked to be put on the waitlist for BCV. Apparently this never happened. When I added the DxDP, they had no note for the waitlist request. I wanted to try BCV, but there's always next time. Anyway, my concern was how would we get to breakfast at Epcot for 8:00 without having to get up at the crack of dawn. DH and I discussed it, and even though we had our Tahoe, we decided to take a taxi to the Beach Club, walk to the International Gateway, and head to the Norway pavilion this way. It was easy peasie to get there. I called the valet desk, and by the time we walked down to the front of WL, our driver was waiting for us. It was a treat for the kids because they'd never been in a taxi before. In no time we were at BC, and it was the second best money I spent on our trip ($20 including tip). We took a nice stroll to the IG and met up with several other families waiting to head to Norway. One of the CMs at the turnstiles did have a list of those people who had ADRs for the princess breakfast and checked us off as we entered the park.
On a side note, it was very interesting to see all the Epcot CMs doing their early morning stuff as we walked to Norway. We had to take the LONG way around WS, but it was fun. There were CMs there to make sure we did, in fact, go to Norway. We saw tons of gardeners doing lots of work on all the plants in the park and many other CMs not yet in uniform heading to their jobs. We also saw the behind-the-scenes construction on the new CS restaurant in Mexico.
We arrived in Norway at almost 8:00 on the dot. We checked in outside and were seated almost immediately. We got in line to have our photo taken with Belle, but DD was NOT in the mood to interact with anyone at this point. The CM with Belle was super. She gave me a card with our photo number on it and told me to come back after DD had warmed up. She said she'd put us at the front of the line so we wouldn't have to wait.
We were seated to the left of Belle's photo area. Our server was Renata, and she was very nice and super pleasant. She took our drink order, explained the cold buffet offerings, and told us we had a great seat because the princesses came out of the door just a few feet to our left. We were the third or fourth table on their stop out the door. I took the kids to the cold buffet and got yogurt, fruit, and a crossiant to hold us over until the hot plate arrived. The fruit was delicious. DS ate his weight in strawberries, blackberries, and pineapple. The pineapple was wonderful everywhere we ate on this trip. Our hot food arrived, and it was all very good. I am not a fan of scrambled eggs from restaurants, but these were excellent. I also enjoyed the potato casserole. DD ate some eggs, sausage, and potatoes. DS stuck to fruit and yogurt. The princesses came out after we'd eaten a good portion of our food, which was nice. We didn't feel as if we had to scarf down our food to get pictures. We saw Aurora, Cinderella (YAY!), Snow White, and Ariel. After we had our fill of breakfast, we went back in line to see Belle. No sooner were we in line than did DD need to use the potty. Again, the CM was great and let us come back to the front of the line after our trip. Belle was very nice, and their pic turned out well. We were out of Norway and headed toward Soarin very close to 9:00. I was worried that we'd be stuck in a mass of people, but that wasn't the case. We rode Soarin and had our FPs to come back later.
I would do the princess meal again, but I would probably schedule it for lunch or dinner, even though some of their hot offerings are a bit sketchy for my tastes. It would be nice not to have to rush, but the food was good, our server was very nice, and the kids loved seeing all the princesses.
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1982 - Off site - Holiday Inn
1985, 1987, 1991 - Off site - Wilson World
1989 - Ft. Wilderness
1996 - CBR and WL
2002 - WL honeymoon
2003 - CBR & MNSSHP
June 2004 - WL w/my sisters and nephew
July 2005 - Jimmy's first trip to WDW!
July 2006 -Dad's first trip to WDW with his boys!
June 2008 - First family trip & Annabel's first trip!
September 2008 - Girls' Trip!
March 2009 - Girls' Trip with Robin and Judy
July 2009 - Sisters' trip with the kids
June/July 2010 - Family trip #2!
June 2011 Kids,Auntie, Grammy
June 2012 Family Trip
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:50 PM   #12
lissawynn
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Day3/June 29 - A Wonderful Morning with the Princesses

My review of our wonderful lunch at Tutto Italia just got sucked into the DIS abyss. I'll write it again tomorrow. It was delicious and would love to be there tomorrow eating my weight in wonderful food.
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1982 - Off site - Holiday Inn
1985, 1987, 1991 - Off site - Wilson World
1989 - Ft. Wilderness
1996 - CBR and WL
2002 - WL honeymoon
2003 - CBR & MNSSHP
June 2004 - WL w/my sisters and nephew
July 2005 - Jimmy's first trip to WDW!
July 2006 -Dad's first trip to WDW with his boys!
June 2008 - First family trip & Annabel's first trip!
September 2008 - Girls' Trip!
March 2009 - Girls' Trip with Robin and Judy
July 2009 - Sisters' trip with the kids
June/July 2010 - Family trip #2!
June 2011 Kids,Auntie, Grammy
June 2012 Family Trip
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:06 PM   #13
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Great Reviews! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:13 PM   #14
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Loving your reviews so far...and sorry about losing your Tutto review (hate it when that happens...to the point I just always do a word doc & copy & paste. At least that way if the Dis post doesn't work, I don't have to type the whole thing again.)
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:16 PM   #15
samefay
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: King George, VA
Posts: 393

Hampton Stay?

Thanks for sharing your reviews. We are thinking of stopping in Savannah the first day of our trip down. How was the Hampton there? I've been looking at that one but it would be great to have a first hand review. Thanks!
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