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Old 08-10-2012, 03:44 PM   #61
kimbo0569
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Love your TR! I'm a fellow NY'er as well...from Queens! My dh and I did the drive down one year with our (then 2 1/2 year old) daughter. She is now 10 1/2 and our youngest daughter is 7.

We're planning on another trip down to WDW for next fall.

We totally love SeaWorld and cannot wait to go down again.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:07 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by kimbo0569 View Post
Love your TR! I'm a fellow NY'er as well...from Queens! My dh and I did the drive down one year with our (then 2 1/2 year old) daughter. She is now 10 1/2 and our youngest daughter is 7.

We're planning on another trip down to WDW for next fall.

We totally love SeaWorld and cannot wait to go down again.
Hi and thanks! We love doing the drive down, even with some "adventures" here and there...hey it makes it interesting, right? Gotta laugh! I'm glad you are looking forward to going back to Sea World. You will enjoy it, and it's always nice to look forward to a great vacation. What part of Queens are you from?
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:08 PM   #63
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Hi again everyone! Hop on over to my dining report...I finished my Yachtsman Steakhouse review! I should be posting about our "free" day soon, now that I completed the dining review for the Sea World day. I'm trying to keep up with both threads as best I can!
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:39 PM   #64
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Hi and thanks! We love doing the drive down, even with some "adventures" here and there...hey it makes it interesting, right? Gotta laugh! I'm glad you are looking forward to going back to Sea World. You will enjoy it, and it's always nice to look forward to a great vacation. What part of Queens are you from?

We live in the Flushing/Bayside area though my dh works in Brooklyn, right on the Brooklyn Queens border.

We have quite a few stories from that drive down and it did get quite interesting....LOL. We still get a good laugh out of the drive down, years later. I wouldn't mind doing the drive down again but I don't think my dh shares my ambition.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:10 PM   #65
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We live in the Flushing/Bayside area though my dh works in Brooklyn, right on the Brooklyn Queens border.

We have quite a few stories from that drive down and it did get quite interesting....LOL. We still get a good laugh out of the drive down, years later. I wouldn't mind doing the drive down again but I don't think my dh shares my ambition.
I don't like to fly, and Eric loves to drive and enjoys taking road trips, so we both agree that driving is better for us. We're also off in the summer so we have the time to drive down and spend 10 nights at WDW. That's why we go in the summer...our winter and spring breaks from work (we're teachers) are too short to do that.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:38 PM   #66
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Day 7: A surrey and a swim!

Good evening all! I’m here to update with the next day of our trip…a day we did not go to any theme parks.

We were definitely ready to have a day without so much running around. We had already gone to Busch Gardens and Legoland while staying in Tampa, and we had gone to Sea World. True, the day we arrived at WDW we didn’t go to a park but we still did a lot of walking around and shopping in DTD, plus hitting the rain, so this was a great time for a break from the parks and a day NOT to wake up to an alarm!

The kids got up at around 8:30 (late for us on a WDW vacation!), and we all had breakfast in the villa. We just had some cereal and some fruit. It was nice to eat light. We were planning to go to the pool that day and just relax. Eric and I thought it would be nice to go for a ride on one of the surrey bikes they rent out on the Boardwalk. Eric suggested that we do that first, before the height of the heat kicks in during the afternoon, and before the threat of the usual summer Florida thunderstorm. So, out onto the Boardwalk we went! The boys are too short to pedal, so we rented the surrey bike that fits 2 adults, and the boys rode up front. This costs $20 for half an hour. The one that fits 4 adults and 2 non-pedaling little ones up front costs $22 per half hour. I asked if there is a DVC discount but that is only available between 4 and 6pm, and it’s 10% off so it would have only saved us $2. The CM set us up in our surrey bike, and he was kind enough to take this pic of the 4 of us:



And off we went, Eric and I pedaling, saying this is not so hard to do but we couldn’t imagine doing it in the afternoon heat! After a couple of minutes it felt a little more difficult. I was joking around and said, “Thank goodness we decided to do this early in our trip before we gain even more weight from everything we eat here!” We had a good laugh!

We continued on, and we had to go uphill over the bridge which you would walk over to get to Epcot or the Beach Club. This was difficult but we made it and we were laughing hysterically the whole time! How funny we must have looked to other people. The funniest part was when people would see us coming, the boys would ring the bell, and they would quickly get out of our way…as if we were completely out of control! OK, maybe it did feel a little crazy when going downhill, but Eric controlled that brake pretty well. We had one more hill up climb, closer to the Swan and Dolphin. This was a bigger challenge because we were already tired, but we made it. We made our way back to the Boardwalk. The ride took 12 minutes. Eric asked me if we should do another lap, but I said no, that I wouldn’t make it past the Beach Club! We definitely got a good workout on that surrey bike, and I’m a person who exercises regularly (including strength training). There was another couple with little kids who were just about to start when we returned and they asked us how it was. We told them it was a lot of fun but a great workout (they looked like they were in pretty good shape). They smiled and were on their merry way.

I can’t imagine doing the surrey bike in the afternoon summer heat. I was dripping when we got back, after only one time around in the morning. It was so much fun though and we’re so glad we did it. The boys had a fun, relaxing ride and enjoyed ringing the bell for us from the front.

After the surrey bike, we went back to the room to change and get lots of water, then we headed to the pool area, around 11am. The table with the umbrella near the kiddie pool was not available, but there were 2 lounge chairs nearby, in the shade. So we went right over to those. Philip wanted to go on the water slide, but Jonathan wanted to go in the kiddie pool. I took Philip into the big pool and watched him go on the slide a couple of times. He had a lot of fun on the slide and went on several times. He enjoyed his time swimming. Eric convinced Jonathan to go into the big pool as well. A CM informed me that we could rent a life jacket from the Community Hall for him, for the duration of our stay at BWV, and it was free. I went over to Community Hall while Eric played with the boys in the pool and rented one for Jonathan. He wore it for a little while, but he didn’t like it. We held onto it in the room just in case for the rest of the trip, figuring we could try it out again. Here’s a shot of Eric and the boys in the pool:



We had a relaxing time, just hanging out in the pool, and also on the lounge chairs. Boardwalk has a beautiful pool and we just love it. Here are a couple of nice shots:





And here’s a shot of the boys and me being silly:



At around 1pm, the boys said they were hungry. So were we. We decided to pack up and walk over to the nearby Dolphin hotel to go to Picabu, their counter service, for lunch. First we were thinking of picking up something from BW Bakery and eat in the villa, but Picabu is larger and has more variety so we decided to go there. They give 20% off for DVC members…just show your membership card and you’re all set. But keep in mind, they don’t take the room charge unless you are staying at the hotel because it’s not run by Disney. You could pay with cash, and they take credit cards as well.

After lunch, it was just about time for “Welcome Home Wednesdays” which is the weekly afternoon party for DVC members, held at Atlantic Dance Hall on the Boardwalk. Since it was right there, and on the way back to the hotel when coming from the Dolphin, we decided to go. It starts at 2pm and is held most Wednesdays. When we arrived, they did not ask for our DVC membership card, which surprised me. I guess technically anyone can walk into there for a free snack, beverage and party.

Eric and I each filled out a raffle form, and they gave a snack voucher to each of the 4 of us. There were no seats on the lower level near the stage, so I had to find us some seats upstairs. Eric and the boys waited on line to get us snacks and drinks…the line was SUPER long. I found us a table upstairs with 4 chairs and a pretty good view of the stage. The snack choices were an individual bag of pretzels, an apple or a banana. They had lemonade to drink. They were out of bananas once Eric reached the front. The boys each got pretzels and Eric got an apple for himself and one for me too. We all had lemonade. It was refreshing to have some fruit, but the lemonade was very sour.

A lot of this was a big advertisement for adding onto the DVC membership, particularly at Aulani (in Honolulu). The activities were games like Disney movie trivia, a game where people selected had to guess certain things about the audience related to the Disney theme parks, etc. After about 10-15 minutes we were VERY bored (me and Eric, not so much the boys, they were OK). However, we wanted to wait for the raffle, which was of course done last! They were giving out some terrific prizes for the raffle. The ones I remember are a parasailing adventure, a Disney Floral arrangement, and a gift card for a ride-along at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the WDW Speedway. We didn’t win anything, but at the end they gave every person present (including the children) each a DVC tote bag. The tote bag was a nice prize, but Eric and I felt like this was a waste of time and we don’t plan to attend again on future trips. We were happy we didn’t travel to another resort to do this and that it was held right on the Boardwalk.

Afterwards, we returned to the villa, showered and changed. We had a 5:20 ADR for Ohana and we knew we had to get there early. We left at 4:40 and we were there by 5pm. I will review Ohana in my dining report as soon as I get the chance!

After Ohana, we checked out some of the shops at the Polynesian. I wanted to go to Captain Cook’s to look at their cupcakes, and maybe get one to bring back to the room to eat the following day. I bought a chocolate macadamia nut cupcake. While I was in there, Eric was at Wyland Gallery looking at some art.

We went back to BWV and settled in for an early night. The following morning we had EMH at Magic Kingdom at 8am, which meant getting onto a 7am bus. In fact, we had 3 EMH mornings in a row ahead of us!

Up next: EMH morning at MK! Stay tuned…
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:09 PM   #67
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Looks like you guys had a lot of fun on your non park day. We made sure to do a non park day this year too and we had a lot of fun. It was much more relaxing. The kids slept in a little and we recharged.

Always wanted to rent a surrey.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:10 PM   #68
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Looks like you guys had a lot of fun on your non park day. We made sure to do a non park day this year too and we had a lot of fun. It was much more relaxing. The kids slept in a little and we recharged.

Always wanted to rent a surrey.
It was definitely nice to get some much needed relaxation! It makes it feel like more of a vacation as opposed to every single day being "GO, GO, GO!!!"
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:11 PM   #69
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Hey everyone, my review for Ohana is done! Hop on over to my dining report and check it out!
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Old 08-11-2012, 02:47 AM   #70
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Bangzoom - WOW !!! lots of activities on the non park day. Sounded like a really fun day yet enough time in the day to kick back.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:13 AM   #71
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Bangzoom - WOW !!! lots of activities on the non park day. Sounded like a really fun day yet enough time in the day to kick back.
Oh yes, we did a lot for a "free" day!

But we had a lot of fun, and next time we are not going to go to the Welcome Home Wednesdays DVC activity. It was something we wanted to try, and we're glad we went to see what it's all about so there is no wondering anymore what we are missing. We feel like we're not missing anything because I think the best reason to go is if you plan to add on points to the membership, and we can't do that even with the best deals they give. So next time, our free day(s) will be even more relaxing. Next time I would rather go back to the villa and take a short nap after the pool and a shower. Or even just relax in the villa and watch some TV to have some down time with the boys.

On our 2010 trip, we had more free time than we did on this trip. In 2014, we plan to have a little more free time as well. This trip was a lot more tiring, even though we enjoyed it just as much as any time we have been to WDW. We would just like a little more relaxing time, one more day without a park at all would be great! I also think we were so tired because in Tampa we went right to Busch Gardens the day after we arrived, after spending 2 full days driving. And, the day after Busch we went to Legoland. Then the following day was our arrival day at WDW and running around DTD in the rain. In 2010, we first drove to Boca Raton, FL to visit some friends and my uncle, so we had a relaxing time there just spending time with people before hitting theme parks. We didn't leave Disney property on that trip, went to Disney parks 6 out of the 10 days we were there, and we had a 7th free day on our ticket from UT so we went to Epcot just for the World Showcase at 11am. So even on that day it wasn't an early morning.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:25 AM   #72
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Hi there - I just discovered your trip report, and am so glad I did! You describe everything so wonderfully, and your family is beautiful. Funny how Florence, SC seems to be the popular place for an overnight stay for most FL-bound travelers - we live in Florence! And we take things like Shoney's, Sonic, pecans and lizards for granted. lol Thanks for posting such a great account of your trip!
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:48 PM   #73
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Hi there - I just discovered your trip report, and am so glad I did! You describe everything so wonderfully, and your family is beautiful. Funny how Florence, SC seems to be the popular place for an overnight stay for most FL-bound travelers - we live in Florence! And we take things like Shoney's, Sonic, pecans and lizards for granted. lol Thanks for posting such a great account of your trip!
I must say, the people in your town we encountered were very nice. On our first 2 trips, we stayed in Lumberton, NC on our first night, but this time we decided to do more driving the first night and less the second. Florence is less than an hour south of Lumberton, so in the grand scheme of things it was not that much further than usual.

Ahh yes, Shoney's, Sonic, pecans and lizards...you might ask yourself what is the big deal...but to us all of that reminds us of driving down south and wonderful, sometimes funny, vacation memories!
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:51 PM   #74
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Hi everyone! I know I still have yet to post our first Disney theme park day (MK EMH morning), but we have been busy with other things this weekend. Good things, just busy. We have been spending a lot of time with the boys (continuing summer reading, playing outside, etc.), went shopping today for all their school supplies (and happy we got everything!), spent some time at my parents' house, doing chores around our house and just trying to relax at the same time. I promise, tomorrow I will have that MK day up!
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:25 AM   #75
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Day 8, Part I: MK EMH morning, 7/26/12!

Hi everyone! And so it begins…the Disney theme parks! And away we go…..

Eric and I woke up at 5:30am so we could get ready before having to wake the boys. We woke up the boys at 6am. They popped out of bed when we told them it was the day we were going to Magic Kingdom! They quickly got ready, I put their sunblock on them, and we had our breakfast in the villa. The night before I had asked the concierge at BWV what time the first bus leaves for Magic Kingdom. She said 7am. We figured we would get to the bus stop at 6:50am. We left the room at 6:45, and took the stairs (very close to our room), and when we got downstairs I realized I had forgotten my phone. So, Eric and the boys went to the bus stop, and I ran upstairs to get my phone. When I came downstairs, stepped outside and started to make my way to the bus stop, it was around 6:50 and I noticed the bus there said “Magic Kingdom”. I made a mad dash for the bus, and I made it. As it turns out, he was waiting there for a few more minutes. So, the bus came earlier than the concierge told us…just a tip that sometimes their information may be slightly inaccurate.

We took the bus to MK…it was a pretty quick ride even though we picked up people from the Swan & Dolphin first…and made our way to get our bags checked. I never get tired of seeing this:



There were only a couple of people in line in front of us to enter the park. As time passed, the line behind us got longer and longer, and Eric and I said to each other again that this is why we get there super early! At around 7:40 they started letting us through the gate, Eric and the boys gave me their tickets for Peter Pan fastpasses, and we made our way to the left side (most people went to the right). We were standing behind a very nice family from Massachusetts, who are also DVC members. They were very nice and we were talking about how we plan out our vacations. The father of that family is the vacation planner so we were talking about the different things we do to prepare. They go down pretty often though, but we go for one big trip every other year. That’s the beauty of DVC…you can use it however you want and change your mind down the road if you so choose. I also noticed a woman talking to her family about how this was their first time at MK, and they were wondering where to go first. I noticed they had teenagers with them, so I asked her if they like roller coasters and big rides. She said that her husband and children do, so I recommended that they send one person to get fastpasses for the 3 of them for Space Mountain and then do Peter Pan in Fantasyland. I also briefly explained how the fastpass system worked, and that once the time for Space Mountain comes up, they could get fastpasses for either Big Thunder or Splash, and wait again for the next fastpass if the standby wait was too long. She was very thankful and said that before, she had no clue how to do this. I was happy I was able to help out another family…especially since this was their first time to WDW and the first time at MK. And yes, I am very outgoing!

Before we knew it, they were beginning the rope drop show! I always love this and never get tired of seeing it. Philip and Jonathan were excited. As soon as they let us in, I started walking, making my way down Main Street so I could get to Fantasyland. Mad dash down Main Street right after rope drop:



And on the way I got this shot of the castle:



I made my way to Peter Pan and got a fastpass for each of us. The machine also gave me surprise fastpasses for Mickey’s Philharmagic! When I saw the surprise fastpass come out, I didn’t understand what it was and I told the CM that I thought this was the fastpass machine for Peter Pan. She said it is and I was getting both as a surprise! The Peter Pan return time was 8:40-9:40…perfect! I had told Eric and the boys to meet me in front of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and by the time I got there, they were arriving too. We walked right onto the ride and we all enjoyed it very much.

Afterwards, the boys wanted to do the Tomorrowland Speedway (they remembered how much they enjoyed it last time), so we did that next. We waited about 8 minutes before getting into the cars. Eric went with Jonathan and I went with Philip. We each let the boys drive and it was a lot of fun.
We made our way to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, another fave of the boys. We waited about 10 minutes for this. I went with Eric and the boys went together. We had a lot of fun of course! Afterwards, I noticed that the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor was open. We went over there, and the CM outside said the first show would begin in 5 minutes. Perfect…we still had 40 minutes left to get to Peter Pan. However, once inside, they told us they were having technical difficulties and to come back later. We never made it there on this trip, but that was fine. We went last time and wanted to see some different things this time anyway. We walked back to Fantasyland and rode Peter Pan with our fastpasses. By now, Peter Pan had a 45 minute wait in the standby line! We walked right on from the fastpass line. The boys wanted to ride together, and Eric and I went together right behind them. I always love Peter Pan’s Flight. It reminds me of my first trip to WDW when I was 8 years old. A lot of fond memories. When we got off the ride, Jonathan kept saying, “That was awesome!” Peter Pan is one of his faves at WDW!

After Peter Pan we went on It’s a Small World. The wait was only 5 minutes. I can’t go to WDW without going on this ride, but I promised myself this time that I would not take any pics on the ride! For some reason, on our last 2 trips, I took tons of pics on this ride…I don’t know what made me do that. Probably the different cultures involved because that interests me very much. We were unable to use our fastpasses for Mickey’s Philharmagic because the time had already passed, but it didn’t matter. We went over to see it and walked right in from the standby line. We all enjoyed it as always!

This was the first time Jonathan was big enough for Big Thunder and Splash. Philip has been on Big Thunder before, but didn’t want to go on Splash last time. This time, both boys wanted to go on both rides. So the plan was the fastpass Big Thunder, go to Tom Sawyer Island and then return, since Big Thunder and the raft for Tom Sawyer Island are right by each other. The fastpass return time was just around the corner for Big Thunder, so we figured after Tom Sawyer Island, Eric and the boys would be able to ride, and I could grab them some fastpasses for Splash at that point.

We got right on the raft for Tom Sawyer Island, and we spent about 30 minutes there exploring. If you have trouble walking uphill and downhill, Tom Sawyer Island may not be for you. It is all walking, and much of it is on uneven terrain. We all had a great time though, exploring and walking around. But it was very hot and humid (it hadn’t rained in 2 days!), so we were drinking tons of water too. They have rest rooms on Tom Sawyer Island when you get off the raft to get there. So no worries there. Here are a couple of pics from Tom Sawyer Island:





When we got back, the fastpass time was up! So the boys and Eric went to Big Thunder. I walked over to Splash to get fastpasses but the return time was 12-1pm. We had a lunch ADR for Plaza at 12. OK here is where I had to really think. I texted Eric and they were still in the fastpass line and not yet on the ride. So I figured I will wait around and I was sure the fastpass time would quickly get later since a lot of people were grabbing them for Splash. It was just about 11am. The plan was to get the fastpass once the return time would be 12:30-1:30, and then go to Plaza early. This was the only shot we had at the boys being able to ride Splash (we weren’t returning to MK in the evening).

By the time Eric and the boys finished riding Big Thunder and made their way over to me, the Splash return time was already 12:20-1:20! I asked the boys how they liked it and they both really loved it. Jonathan said it was awesome and he was glad he was big enough to go. I went and grabbed fastpasses for Splash, with a return time of 12:25-1:25. We explained to the boys that depending on when we would be able to return to Splash, they may or may not be able to ride it that day. We wanted to make sure they understood this just in case. We walked back to Main Street to the Plaza restaurant. I checked us in (it was only 11:15!), and we were seated in 5 minutes!!!!! Yay!

Immediately following this will be the rest of our MK day...here it comes!
__________________
-Bonnie
DH DS9 DS7

8/1985, off-site; 8/1989, off-site; 5/1992, HS trip off-site; 5/1994, HS trip off-site; 7/2008, 1st family trip Pop Century; 7/2010, 1st DVC trip BWV; 7/2012, 2nd DVC trip BWV; 7/2014, next DVC trip
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