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Old 08-30-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
de2fan
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Milford, CT
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Just back- a quick review

We were at WDW August 21 - 27, staying at POP Century for the second time, but my 17th trip overall. Cast: Me, DH, DS7, DD3, DMom and DDad. Shorter trip than we are used to. Got 5 day park-hoppers.

MCO Arrival/Magical Express - First time using this service. Our flight arrived from Westchester via JetBlue at 9am. We were on the bus with no wait by 9:30, sat for ten minutes on the bus for more people, had one stop at Caribbean Beach and were checked into the resort by 10:30. The bus loop that day was Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, Art of Animation, and Animal Kingdom. Our luggage arrived to our room at 1pm.

Pop Century- Standard room, requested first floor, adjoining rooms, in the 60s or 70s. Received all except we were in the 80, in building 9, facing the parking lot with a 2 minute walk to the busses and the store entrance to Everything Pop. Room Number 9130. We had no issues with mousekeeping and the room was very clean. The addition of the fridge was very welcome and we used it to keep water, chocolate milk and candy apples cold. No additional towel animals beside a little one at check-in. The food court was efficient and wasn't super busy. We used the 80s/90s pool exclusively and it was not crowded at all. The Hippity Dippity pool was busy everyday.

Transportation- Never waited more than 15 minutes for a bus from Pop. Waited twice for 30 minutes for a bus to DTD from Art of Animation. Busses from the parks were quick. MK busses were double-up at closing, yet my DH experienced a very long line during EMH on the 26th at MK so he hopped onto a AoA bus which had no line. At Epcot during closing one night a full plush charter pulled up and we rode back in that. Strollers were stored in the luggage compartment. Apparently Disney hires charters to supplement their own busses at closing.

Weather- The weather was awesome, high 80s, not too much humidity, except for a bad downpour at AK one evening which lasted almost two hours. Our last full day, the 26th was off and on showers and was breezy. I did hear the weather was a fluke for that time of year, but I'll take it lol.

Parks- We hit rope drop every morning. The gates opened at 8:45 at Epcot and 8:45 at Hollywood Studios. I followed EasyWDW for park recommendations, and had virtually little waits for attractions. Although my son is tall enough for everything, he did not want to do any thrill rides except for Soarin and Kali River Rapids. At Soarin we did the child swap, which worked well. The longest lines on the trip were for meeting Buzz and Woody in HS at 40 minutes (posted 20) and we missed the first set for Merida on the morning of the 26th and waited 45 minutes. The handler said Merida usually isn't busy. Fastpass was a blessing. We used it for TSM, Jungle Cruise, Buzz Lightyear, the Princesses, and Splash Mountain (for my parents). I used Mobile Magic to check out wait times and fastpass times- the longest I saw was 100 minutes at TSM and 60 at Splash Mountain in the late afternoons. The Mobile Magic times were accurate to the wait boards.

Crowds- I'm used to end-of-September crowds but honestly, it wasn't bad at all. I never felt "body-to-body" at any time except for park closing. As long as you hit rope-drop and plan out fastpass well, you can hit everything. While my DH and DD were in line for Merida at 9:15, My parents and DS rode Buzz three times and saw Carousel of Progress in a 45 minute time frame.

Observations with my little ones- Bless his heart, my DS7 did not complain once about the heat or the walking. We averaged 4-5 miles a day. My DD3 had a stroller, but wanted to walk most of the time. We kept her in the stroller though, mostly due to crowds plus she is tiny. Our next trip is in two years and I can't wait to be stroller-free! We all drank lots of water, even when they didn't want any and kept up with the sun screen. And bathroom breaks- I am very intimate with most bathrooms in all the parks, lol. We left the parks between 12 and 2 every day for a break and went back to another park for dinner time.

Dining- We opted for the QSDP. We paid out of pocket for two meals- one at Trex and the other at Liberty Tree Tavern. My DS is picky so all the QS with chicken nuggets or hot dogs was basically what we hit, lol. We had wonderful meals at Everything Pop, Flame Tree, Columbia Harbor House and La Cantina de San Angel (beef tacos to die for!) For snacks I tried a jalapeno cream cheese pretzel at AK and the ice cream sundaes at Pop were excellent, as was the gelato at AoA. We had a bunch of snack credit at the end of our trip so we brought home rice crispy treats, trail mix, Mickey goldfish crackers and bags of gummies. I noticed prices changing at various places during that time, and new menus were rolling out at the QS places too.

Check Out/ Magical Express- We left the morning of the 27th, in the midst of pouring rain and light wind from the Tropical storm. Our pick-up time was 7:25am but the bus was late and arrived at 7:45. We were the last stop, and headed straight to the airport. We opted for the Resort to handle our bags and the line was nonexistent when we checked them at 6:45am. MCO was not busy and security was very quick. I honestly prefer traveling during the week to weekends.

Any questions feel free to ask!
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:30 AM   #2
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Sounds like you had a great time....we leave in 8 days.....I am sooooo ready to go.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:09 AM   #3
VeeHam
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Sounds like you all had a wonderful trip. Glad to see there wasn't too much waiting.
We are eating at Liberty Tree Tavern and T Rex on our next trip in 38 days (can you tell I'm excited?). How was the food? What did you order? Excited to try their food since we have never been to either restaurant. Columbia Harbor House is our favorite CS, DH and DD8 love their clam chowder.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:38 PM   #4
de2fan
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Milford, CT
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All in our party enjoyed the food at both restaurants. At Trex I had the Saber-tooth salad, which I couldn't finish, it was so huge. My DM had the woolly mammoth chicken and Ddad had the rotisserie chicken. My DH I think had a burger, the kids pasta with sauce and corn dog nuggets. Portion sizes are massive here.

At LTT we were there for lunch and I had the Colony Salad, My parents both had the Pilgrims feast and my DH the pot roast. Kids both had mac and cheese. We were among the first seated that day, at 11:30, and dad's turkey dinner came out lukewarm, but they reheated it for him. My DH wanted to order more pot roast it was so good. Both kids like there mac and cheese.

Have a great trip! I'm jealous you're going soon, since I want to go back!
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