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Old 11-01-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
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My Very Goofy 50th - BWV GV and Private FW Reception with Photos

Background:

My DH husband, fondly known as DJs DH, likes to joke that my birthdays are like Disney celebrations & they span more than the one day or one week or even one month of the actual event.

This year was yet another milestone birthday & the Big 5-0 something that I had been planning since we celebrated my 40th at an intimate gathering of 18 in private dining area of Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian. Or maybe it was standing on the balcony of our favorite BWV, watching the fireworks sparkle over EPCOT.

I looked over at the location of the Grand Villas and announced that for my 50th we would create party central in a Grand Villa at the BoardWalk. Little did I know that DJs DH would make that wish come true & DJs Very Goofy 50th Birthday!

DJs DH and I have owned our DVC, with our home resort of the BW, for 15 years. We purchased it when we adopted our then 4-year-old daughter. Little did we know then how much we would look forward to our home-away-from-home as an escape from the real world which included raising a special needs child.

Although my actual birthday fell on Mothers Day this year, we decided that we would have my Big birthday event around the Food and Wine Festival since the people we would invite to the event would all be adults. Wonderful husband that he is, DJs DH made sure that we actually were in EPCOT for my REAL birthday in May.

After all the planning, scheduling and rescheduling, it was finally time for my birthday week!

Thursday, October 4

After we had planned the main event, we decided that we had enough points (actually, one never has enough points but that is a whole other story) for the two of us to spent two nights in a BW view one-bedroom before moving to the GV for five nights.

DJs DH and I flew USAirways from our home airport to Charlotte and then onto Orlando International. We were upgraded to first class on both flights (the first one didnt even count as it lasts all of 15 minutes on a regional jet.).

Of course I am always on the lookout for those Hidden Mickeys!


I suspect the flight attendants thought we had too much to drink since we were taking photos of the armrest!

While I collected our luggage, DJs DH picked up the car from National. Timing was perfect as I was just getting the bags off the conveyor belt when he called to tell me was waiting outside the door.

Next thing we were making a beeline on 417 to Walt Disney World!

We pulled up to the guard at the BoardWalk where we were welcomed home! DJs DH has had some serious back issues so he has a temporary handicap placard. Noticing the placard, the guard told us to pull up to the valet and that our parking would be complimentary.

There was plenty of staff at Check-in and Guest Relations to greet us when we arrived around 4 p.m.

The cast member who checked us in wished me a Happy Birthday. I told him I hope he had some pixie dust for me as I had requested one of our favorite rooms when I made the reservation. The cast member just smiled then said our room was ready. He started to write the number down & I felt like I was watching the lottery on TV & First a 5 then two 0s and then a 3! Yes!! He then made a birthday badge for me.

While some complain about the long walk, DJs DH and I just love the rooms at the far end of the BW as they give you incredible view of Crescent Lake as well as the BoardWalk and EPCOT.

We quickly dropped off our bags, called Bell Services for our Owners Locker. I love opening my Owners Locker! Even though I use the inventory tool on the OL website I always leave something off as a little surprise for us & yes, it usually involves adult beverages.

After digging out the trust backpack and ponchos we headed off to EPCOT & or so I thought.

Since we hadnt eaten lunch and had no formal plans for dinner DJs DH insisted that we stop at ESPN for our traditional first meal & wings and beer. I dont know when or why this is a tradition but who I am to break tradition.


DJ's DH would argue that the alcohol in the beer would kill germs, I still have my Purell with me!

Fortified with food and beverage, we made our way by foot to the International Gateway. The skies were starting to gray and I told DJs DH that I was glad I had packed an umbrella in the backpack as well as the ponchos.

The crowds were light as we worked our way clockwise around WS. By the time we got to the popcorn stand in Canada we were both thirsty. I tried one of the special beers that were only offered at that car (the name escapes me but I know it had something like champagne in the name) and DJs DH had his traditional Moosehead. Sometimes I think he drinks that beer just he can tell one of his favorite jokes & something about antler marks.

We browsed the booths and made a stop at Hawaii where DJs DH and I split the Kalu Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise. It was very tasty. DJs DH really wanted a Kona Brewing Company Big Wave Golden Ale but the keg needed to be changed so he passed.

The skies really started to look threatening so we decided to head on over to the Festival Center/Welcome Center to check out the Chase Lounge and charge our phones. We really were impressed with the little lounge. We also appreciated being able to charge our iPhones!

While we waited out the rain a bit longer we strolled along the center. In years past we have always found something that has struck our fancy but this year there didnt seem to be anything that piqued our interest.

The rain had let up a bit so we decide to head back to WS and our clockwise navigation of the countries. We stopped in Germany for a Schinken Nudel (Pasta Gratin with Ham and Cheese) for me a Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Role for DJs DH as well as a 6 oz. Radeberger Pilsner and a 6 oz. Altenmünster Dunkel.

We shared a table in the rain with some folks from New Jersey who never heard of the Food and Wine Festival when the skies opened up. We quickly finished our beverages and said our goodbyes. DJs DH and I walked, ever so slowly because he refuses to use a scooter, in the rain back toward the International Gateway.

Now was it not only raining, it was thundering and lightening & which seasoned WDWers know means that the Friendship boats stop running.

The rain started to come down sideways and despite our best attempts to keep dry with baseball caps, ponchos and umbrellas we were soaked to the skin! We laughed like little kids & the rain didnt matter as we were in our happy place!

We made a quick stop (along with about 100 other people) at the Screen Door for provisions to hold us over until Saturday when we would make our grocery store run.

Tired, satiated and soaked we arrived in our villa just in time to watch IllumiNations from the comfort of out covered bedroom patio.


An iPhone panoramic photo before the start of IllumiNations from the balcony of 5003

We fell sound asleep to the sound of our sneakers tumbling in the dryer.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:32 PM   #2
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The next installment will have a lot of text but I promise the following postings will include LOTS of photo!
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:43 PM   #3
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Friday, October 5

Friday, October 5

We slept in as planned since our days of commando touring are long gone. As a matter of fact we didn’t have plans to step foot into EPCOT until lunchtime! We had an 8:45 p.m. dinner reservation at Yachtsman Steakhouse and a plan to visit Jelly Rolls.

I opened our bedroom drapes to find sparkling sunshine.


I've got sunshine ...

I turned the dryer on as our sneakers were still damp!

DJ’s DH and I had our coffee while watching the Friendship boats ply across the water. Somehow this view never gets old. As a matter of fact, on nights when I have a hard time sleeping I think about this view and the sights and sounds of the BoardWalk.


A panoramic view ... I could live here forever!

Around 10:45 we walked over to the International Gateway and decided we would work our way around the world counterclockwise. We planned to stay in the park until around 5 p.m., then head to the villa for a pre-dinner nap.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the food booth were open at 11 a.m. this was especially good news as neither of us had breakfast!

Our first stop was France where I had the Escargots Persillade en Brioche (Garlic and Parsley Snails in Brioche) and DJ’s DH had the Coq au Vin sur gratin de macaroni (Red Wine braised Chicken, Mushrooms, Pearl Onions and Macaroni Gratin. Both of these items were on the menu for our cocktail reception birthday extravaganza on Monday night. We split the Sparkling Pomegranate Kir as we had to pace ourselves!

We were pleasantly surprised that were little to no lines at the food booth even though it was a Friday.

Our next stop was Belgium where had to sample another item on our Monday night menu … Steamed Mussels in Hoegaarden Beer Broth and Baguette. I had a Hoegaarden while DJ’s DH had a Stella. We found a table with an umbrella in the area to the right of the booth. The sun was hot and the humidity was high. We enjoyed people watching and soaked in the atmosphere, knowing that we had five more days to enjoy what some were trying to fit into one or two days.

We continued our tour with a stop in Morrocco where we shared a Kefta Pocket (Ground Seasoned Beef in a Pita Pocket, a Merguez Sausage (Beef and Lamb Sausage with Grilled Peppers and Onions) and a Casa Beer. We easily found a table in the shade on the patio area at Morocco.

After a while we headed to Singapore where we shared the Beef Rendang (a coconut braised beef) with Jasmine Rice and a Tiger Beer. Again, the crowds were simply non-existent … wish we could say the same for the heat and the humidity!

While DJ’s DH finished up the Tiger Beer I walked over to Japan and picked up a Sukiyaki Beef Pan (Marinated Thinly Sliced Rib Eye with Sautéed Onions and Teriyaki Sauce Served in a Bun) and a Kirin Ichiban Draft Beer for us to share.

We stopped to check the offerings at the new Florida booth but nothing really struck our fancy … other than the Florida Beer Company Florida Lager.

As we made our way to toward America we heard the fifes and drums playing. One of our many magical moments happened in America when our DD was about 10 and was selected to march with the fife and drum corps during their presentation. She received a certificate and a copy of the Constitution. We always take time to enjoy this presentation as it brings back such happy memories … and as Fozzie Bear says “Patriotism swells in the heart of the American bear!”

The Hops and Barley booth was deserted. While DJ’s DH grab a bench in shade next to the booth, I picked up a cup of Linda Bean's Maine Home Style Clam Chowder and a Samuel Adams Sample that included the Boston Lager, Season, Cherry Wheat and the 17th Anniversary Festival Beer– Samuel Adams® Chocolate Bock. We split the sampler and decided that we had try Linda Bean's Perfect Maine Lobster Roll. Of all the food we had tasted to this point, the Lobster Roll was the only disappointment. There was too much roll and the lobster filling wasn’t what I recalled from my youth.

After a lovely respite in the shade we decided that we needed to shop a little … okay, I decided I needed to shop. We headed to Italy where I was able to pick up my signature fragrance … Bvlgari Green.

Having had enough of the “smelly stuff,” DJ’s DH said he was heading to Italy for Salsiccia e "Papacelli" Napoletani (Sweet Sausage, Red Pepper, Ciabatta Bread) and a Moretti Beer. I headed back to my family’s root and had a chance to practice my Polish! Unfortunately, my vocabulary is limited to rain, cows and beer. Don’t ask …

I ordered the Kielbasa and Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream and a Tyskie Beer. While the pierogie wasn’t as good as my grandmother’s or my mother’s American-style pierogie, the offering definitely was enjoyable!

While strolling along the WS, DJ’s DH tells me since I was able to enjoy some of the foods of my youth he wanted to enjoy something from his youth … a soft pretzel with Gulden’s mustard and a beer.

We decided that is what time to turn around and head back toward the International Gateway. We were ahead of schedule so I suggested a stop to cool off at one of our new favorite spots … Tutto Gusto!

The same couch near the fireplace, where we have imbibed on our last three visits, was open so we plopped down and sighed. We ordered a bottle of Barolo wine, knowing that we could take the balance of the bottle back to the villa as long as the bottle was corked and triple bagged. We drank many glasses of water, a glass of wine and a Panini of Bufala Mozzarella & Pomodoro.

We enjoyed the wine cellar ambiance and marveled at how much ground we had covered on our first full day. While the thought of braving the heat, humidity and the growing crowds wasn’t enticing, the thought of our comfy bed and a nap at the BWV won out.

We exited at the International Gateway and caught a Friendship boat to the BW.

After a refreshing nap and shower, we headed over to the Yacht Club for our late dinner. Over the years, Yachtsman’s has become our special place. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Victoria and Albert’s and I can’t say enough about Citrico’s. There is something special about being able to walk the boards to and from dinner from our “home away from home.”


A view of the BoardWalk on the way to dinner.

We checked in at the podium around 8:30 and were told that it would be a few minutes until our table was ready. We headed to the Crew’s Cup Lounge, which has some of the friendliest bartenders on property.

We were seated at one of our favorite tables, the center table next to the window in the octagonal shaped dining area. We finished our drinks from the bar while we tucked in to the freshly roasted garlic and baked bread.

We shared a Caesar salad while our waiter searched for our special bottle of wine.

We delighted in watching the lights of Stormalong Bay and a portion of the IllumiNations while we dined on our perfectly prepared filet mignons and quaffed one of our favorite wines.

Too stuffed for dessert, DJ’s DH was presented with the check while I was present with the perfectly sized birthday cupcake!


Perfect ending!

Not feeling our age in the least, thanks to that two-hour power nap, we headed over to Jelly Rolls. DJ’s DH and I joked that we couldn’t remember the last time that our hands were stamped to prove we had paid the cover charge and that we were of age! Ah, youth …

Much to our amazement the dueling piano players were the same ones who we enjoyed when we first joined DVC. They were amazing … as was the crowd.

I joked with DJ’s DH that we were probably the oldest people in the crowd. Regardless, everyone knew the words to all the songs that were masterfully played by both sets of dueling pianists.

My one request was for Don McLean’s “American Pie” … the long version. The piano players made me feel so special as they dedicated the song to me. I think they were surprised that I knew all the words. DJ’s DH just shook his head, smiled and paid the bill.

So many magical moments were created in those first two days. As I lay my head down on my pillow, I gave thanks for being in my happy place and for the magic.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #4
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Villa photos

Saturday, October 6

After another wonderful night of sleep we enjoyed coffee and a light breakfast before packing up for moving day. This was the say that I had dreamed about for at least 10 years & if not longer! A grand villa at BWV!!

The first wave of family was scheduled to arrive shortly after noon. DJs DH and I decided we would stock the grand villa with water, beer, soda, wine, snacks and breakfast items for our group of 14 who would be staying with us in the grand villa or at the BoardWalk Inn or the WDW Swolphin. We arranged for everyone to have keys & but not charging privileges!

We checked out of 5003, stored our luggage and headed off to the Publix on Vineland Avenue.

Just as we were checking out we received a text that our R and his wife A had checked in at the Swolphin and were heading to ESPN to watch the Penn State versus Northwestern football game.

We asked them to save us as seat as we were on our way back to the BW.

We left our groceries with the Bell Staff who made sure to place the cold items in the refrigerated area. We then headed to ESPN where we watched the game and enjoyed our lunch and the company.

Around 2 p.m., DJs DH received a text with our room number & would we hit the lottery again?? DJs DH just smiled and said that my wish was his command.

We had requested a one floor grand villa on the fifth floor since we had some members of our party who had mobility issues. We were assigned 5047.

We finished lunch, paid the bill and made our way to the place I had dreamed about for years &


The "main doors" to the villa are on the right in the center.

Before anyone was allowed to enter I told them that I had to take pictures &


Upon opening the doors you see the dining room to your left, a gathering area in the center and a TV/Great room area to the right.


A closer view of the dining room.


View of a seating area and gathering area and writing desk.


View of the large screen TV and great room area.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:16 PM   #5
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More villa photos


View from the dining room toward the gathering are and great room.


The master bedroom which is "behind" the TV/Great Room area.


The laundry room which is HUGE! Full-sized washer and dryer.


The kitchen.


Entrance to second bedroom and bathroom.


Close up of second bedroom and patio.


Entrance to third bedroom and bath.


Close up of third bedroom and patio.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:22 PM   #6
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What a great way to celebrate a birthday! I am looking forward to hearing about your trip.

Kate
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:28 PM   #7
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What a great way to celebrate a birthday! I am looking forward to hearing about your trip.

Kate
Thanks Kate! It was a magical trip! I have many more photos of our pre-Wishes cruise event at Top of the World as well as the main event ... our private reception and viewing of IllumiNation!
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:53 AM   #8
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Balconies

The BV spans the length of six studios and 5047 has three sets of balcony doors in the main living area and then separate private balconies for each bedroom.


View from the common patio of Grand Villa 5047. Perfect spot to watch "Wishes" fireworks at the Magic Kingdom and "IllumiNations at EPCOT.


View from the master bedroom balcony. There are two windows in the master which look out onto the Village Green,
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:55 AM   #9
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After everything was documented we called Bell Services for our luggage and groceries. We turned on the Penn State game and waited for my parents to arrive. My parents said they had a hard time finding the villa since the room number is off to the side instead of right next to the door. They found us because they could hear us cheering from the hallway.

Both of my parents have mobility issues so we ordered scooters for them. We would charge one in the laundry room and one in the hallway right outside their room. The scooters were waiting for them at Bell Services after they disembarked Disney’s Magical Express.

R and A had made an early dinner reservation at Il Munio at the Swan so they left to get ready for dinner while Mom and Dad settled into their bedroom.

DJ’s DH’s brother and wife (B and M) were not scheduled to arrive until after 10 p.m. so around 6:30 Mom, Dad, DJ’s DH and I decided that we would just grab something from BoardWalk to Go for dinner. DJ’s DH volunteered to go down and pick up the order so we could eat in the villa and watch yet more college football.

Interestingly, BoardWalk to Go does not accept TIW, AP or DVC discounts. We split a meatball sandwich, cheese burger, grilled chicken sandwich French fries, onion rings and mozzarella sticks. Not a healthy meal by any stretch of the imagination but it was easy and convenient.

Bell Services arrived with Mom and Dad’s luggage about two hours after their arrival at the villa.

We watched Wishes from the balcony and then IllumiNations at 10 p.m. We learned on Friday night that on weekend nights during the Food and Wine Festival IllumiNations is presented at 10 p.m.

All of us retired to our bedrooms, while DJ’s DH waited for B and M to arrive. For the life of me I don’t understand why B and M didn’t use Magical Express and selected a discounted car rental from an off-site airport location. Their plans included a trip to Sanibel Island after the big event Monday night but they could have easily taken DME back to the airport for the car or picked up a car on property.

I am not sure what time they arrived as I fell asleep to the sounds of the Friendship boats crossing Crescent Lake.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:29 AM   #10
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It just sounds heavenly. What a wonderful celebration!
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:08 AM   #11
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BLT and Wishes

Sunday, October 7

No one in either of our families, with perhaps the exception of R and A who are family by choice and not by blood, understands our Disney addiction or how much planning goes into a visit to the House of Mouse.

When DJs DH and I first started talking about The Event, we thought we would do dinner in the BW GV followed by an IllumiNations cruise. Since our response was relatively high and we could only book one boat at the time we decided to scrap the cruise and go with a cocktail dinner reception in the WS at EPCOT.

During my real birthday in May, DJs DH planned an incredible dinner at Citricos followed by a Wishes cruise. It was a delightful night, complete with champagne and a Mickey cake from the GF bakery!

After deciding The Event would be Monday night we decided we needed a fireworks cruise since half of the group who would be at WDW for this first time in many years and had never experienced the fireworks from the water.

As veteran FWers, DJs DH and I warned the group to stay away from EPCOT on the weekend. We also asked that they not partake too heavily in the offerings on Monday as some of the items would be on Mondays menu.

A purposefully planned a lazy Sunday morning dawned. DJs DHs sister and husband, C and K, were scheduled to arrive via DME before lunch on Sunday, rounding out the PA contingent.

Item number one on Sunday was watching the Eagles-Steelers game in the GV as most of us are native Pennsylvanians with skin in the game!

One of the things we noticed since our trip to WDW a year ago, DirecTV is now the television service provider.

Even though the game was not televised in Florida, DJs DH (whose name really should be Inspector Gadget) connected to his DirecTV Sunday Football Ticket on his computer to the large screen television and live streamed the game. The 10 of us were scattered through the main living and dining are, able to cheer for our respective team, with plenty of room to spare.

At half-time we placed an order a take-out order from Big River Grille, where we were able to use our TIW discount. The group ordered three Chicken Caesar Salads, two Chicken Quesadillas, a Hickory Burger, a Pork Sandwich and a Turkey Sandwich. Everyone enjoyed their food and the beverages we provided.

After the game, we reminded everyone that we were to gather together at 5:30 p.m. in the BW lobby to take two cabs (one van and one car) over to the Top of The World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower for cocktails and a light supper before the Wishes Fireworks Cruise. Even though R and A were staying at the Swolphin, we had them listed on our reservation and they had keys to the GV so they could hang out at any time. All Keys to the Kingdom had a notation that we were DVC members staying on points.

We took the cabs, which average $20 per cab per trip, to BLT where we checked in at the desk to the left as you enter. We were escorted to the Top of The World where we found four other people at a table. The bartender looked a little shocked as he watched us move two or three tables together to accommodate our group.

DJs DH and I are the only ones who have been to Top of The World before so everyone was blown away by the views.


View of the original Top of The World and the Contemporary.



A panoramic view from the Top of the World Lounge.

While the group scattered to enjoy the views we ordered the first round of drinks.


What a view!

We ordered two Mushrooms Flatbreads, two Veggie Nacho Flatbreads, three orders of Pretzels with Dips, and Lobster Cakes. We also ordered another round of drinks.


Some of the group enjoying their drinks while the rest checked out the views from the observation area.

The food was very good although the drink service left a bit to be desired. Our TIW was accepted for food and beverage and the bill.


One last look at the Magic Kingdom before heading to the marina.

As scheduled we headed down to the Contemporary Marina at 8 p.m. to meet the Birthday decorated pontoon boat.

We were informed by our boat captain that the Space X Falcon 9 would be launching from Cape Canaveral at 8:35. We motored away from the pier and were able to watch the rocket streak against the inky black sky.

We then had a brief tour of the now-defunct Discovery Island and River Country on Bay Lake before heading over to Seven Seas Lagoon to park in front of the castle to watch the fireworks.


The opening salvo.

Our normally chatty and hard to impress group were totally enthralled by the fireworks. I was glad we decided to go with a boat that had the soundtrack for the show. Soft drinks and snacks, which were included in the price, were offered to the group.









After the show we were able to watch the Electrical Water Parade. For many this was the first time they had ever seen the show.

We tooled around the lagoon for a while and were able to watch the water parade yet again. We returned to the Contemporary marina and made our way through the lobby and to our awaiting cabs.

After arriving back at the BW we collected Mom and Dads scooters from the Bell Stand. I reminded the group that they were to be in the GV no later than 6 p.m. on Monday night. DJs D DH also added that folks who were going into EPCOT should take it easy during the day as we had a BIG evening in front of us!

M and I headed back to the Screen Door to pick up a few items like coffee creamer and chips. We met the group back in the GV and talked about the fun we had through the course of the day.

I fell asleep watching the Weather Channel and praying that the forecast wasnt true.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:13 AM   #12
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It just sounds heavenly. What a wonderful celebration!
It truly was an incredible week!
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:21 PM   #13
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Loving your trip report. We were there Sept 29th thru Oct 6th. I am anxious to hear how the weather was after Oct 6th - we endured thunderstorms every day during our stay! We were also at BWV, but only in a studio - the grand villa looks amazing.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:48 AM   #14
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Loving your trip report. We were there Sept 29th thru Oct 6th. I am anxious to hear how the weather was after Oct 6th - we endured thunderstorms every day during our stay! We were also at BWV, but only in a studio - the grand villa looks amazing.
Glad you are enjoying my trip report!

The weather pattern you had remained until our last day there

The GV was perfect for our needs and wants this trip. For my 40th we "gave" each of the 4 couples a studio for two nights and then had a two bedroom which we shared with my parents.

I loved having the gathering space in the villa but I also enjoyed having our own space (especially in the morning) when we did the studio/two-bedroom route.
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:13 PM   #15
DisneyJen
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Location: Somewhere along the Hudson River in NY
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Video from BWV Grand Villa 5047

Here is some video of the BW from the main patio area.

http://youtu.be/IY8h9efWXRg
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