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Old 09-13-2012, 03:00 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 129

2nd trip: 9/3-9/10 CS, MK, HS, DTD, Driving from IN to FL

This is our 2nd trip to Disney and my 1st report. We drove from NW Indiana to CS on 09/02/2012. We started at 4AM and stayed overnight in GA at a Holiday Inn and continued the trip on 09/03/2012 at 8AM and arrived at 5PM at CS.

--The Resortó
I paid for a preferred room but not sure actually got one. We were in Casita #3 on the 1st floor. From our room it was a 3 min walk to the quiet pool but it was a long walk back to the lobby where the food was at and even a further walk (around the lake that the resort is on) to the other side where the main pool is at. If you stay on CS try and get into Cabanas 9B as that is ideal walking distance to the main pool and to the hotel lobby. You will walk the least from that building.

The Pool
The pool is divided into 2 parts. One side has the water slide and the other is just a pool. You have to go up some stairs behind the pyramid to get to the slide. A jaguar awaits you near the top to spray water on you as you go down the slide. Itís a blast to do. The pool is only 4 feet on this side where the slide is at so as soon as you come down if you just stand up you are good to go. There are life vest for anyone to use and the stream of water on the slide will just push you away from the slide and back to the stairs if you do nothing once you come down it. Being it was low season we had the slide to ourselves the majority of the time.

There is a small baby pool for very little ones to get wet it with as well as a whirlpool in the area. There is a bar/eatery on site as well. QS is used at the eatery (burgers, etc..) There are bathrooms, changing rooms and an indoor arcade and a playground for the kids. Around 6:30 the CM do a bon fire and marshmallows can be done. At 8:30 an outdoor movie is shown as well. Through the day the CMs have pool activities as well.

The Food
They have a mini-cafť where you can get QC meals to go along with the pop machines and some snacks. Itís very small compared to CBR where we were at last time. The CMís taking orders at the cafť were not always very nice. Sort of as if they were bored having to take your order. At the end of the cafť it leads into the lounge area. Sport Bar type of place.

The real gem is the Pepper Market which is a breakfast/lunch buffet and you can use QS credits! Itís all you can eat for breakfast/lunch and the food is different (taste/quality) that other resorts/propertyís on Disney. I donít know why but itís a lot better. A server will bring you your drinks and cash you out in the end. Food choices are south of the border type. The kids chicken nuggets are the bomb! They are not the processed meat type like in other Disney properties but real chicken breast!

Server was good, fast and friendly 99% of the time. Near the end of our stay (SUN-MON) the place was a mad house and the CM could not keep up. This was due to a convention started on SAT afternoon and on SUN morning all those people were there eating breakfast and the CMs just could not keep up. Way too many people!

BTW unlike CBS where you can order a large pizza and take it back to the room there is no such option here. You can order a large pizza but only via room service. Comes out to about $23 with delivery, tax, room service charge for a large 1 topping pizza verus $16 at CBR if you walk up to the counter to order.

Again this is due to the fact that there is only 1 small QS eatery on CS. There is a sit down restaurant called Mayan Grill as well but I did not try it out.

CS has a conference center and the resort is tailored for conferences when we got there on Monday 09/03 the place was dead. A few families here and there but for the most part it was quiet. That is how it was until 09/08 afternoon. Some conference started at that point and the lobby/conference area got very loud and packed. That evening I went to the gift shop for some snacks and on the way back the resort was shall we say ďadult friendlyĒ right outside the lobby facing the lake is a bar that was open, along with beer/wine carts around the walk-way for the conference people. The booz was flowing and people were having a good time. Too good for some. Inside the sport club the music was blaring, ladies in short shirts all over. On the walk back to the room near the benches adults were having a ďgood timeĒ so to speak. (Get a room if you know what I mean). So be warned if you stay at CS and a conference is going on donít take the little ones out at night.

--DTD on 09/03 eveningó
First night dinner was at Planet Hollwyood. WAY TO LOUD IN THERE!!! BRING EARPLUGS!!! CAN YOU HEAR ME!!! You get the point right? The BLT was huge and A+ but the noise level was just too much for us. They take a pic of you and your group before you sit down and itís $20 to get it. If you donít have one get it otherwise pass on the whole experience unless you LIKE LOUD!

No trip is complete to DTD without going to the LEGO store. My wallet took a hit but alas one can never have enough LEGO right? LOL. BTW they can ship the stuff back home if you like. Also if they donít have something in stock (ie. LEGO Death Star) they will do FREE shipping back to your house.

--MK on 09/04--
Did Pook & friendís breakfast at Crystal Palace and it was a nice time. This is the 2nd time doing it so no surprises for us this time more tradition of our 1st breakfast once at MK.

The new fantasyland area attractions are not done yet. Dec 2012 is what I was told by a CM. The have a huge wooden wall to block off the area and you can see construction (steel structures) along with a crane while in the park. In the far off distance you can see a castle (Beauty and the Beast I think). My understanding is that even in DEC 2012 not all of it will be done. I think itís not until 2014 that the entire area is done.

The kids did the Pirate Face Painting and they loved it. We got before and after pictures with priate goofy. The make up will wear off as the days goes on so take those pics with goofy right away. Also around 4PM each day if you go back to Pirates of the Caribbean Capt. Jack will do a group shot with all the pirates that day. PhotoPass if your friend here. There is a secret room right after the kids are done where they take a picture of you that you can buy (no pics/video by you are allowed there).

We focused on Adventureland and FanstasyLand the first day.

--Resort on 09/05ó
Took the kids to the Pirate Adventure at the Yatch & Beach bluch and they L-O-V-E-D it! We drove from CS to YC since it was a 5 min drive vs a 45 min bus to DTD to YC transfer. The kids came back with loads of treasure, talked about seeing tic-toc, pirates and lots of other things. They wanted to do it again. LOL 2 hours well worth the money. We will do another one the next time we go at one of the other locations.

Dinner with Chef Mickey @ Contemp Resort was yummy! Took the bus to MK and then monorail. Allow for around 60 mins of travel time when doing bus to boat/train.

--HS on 09/06ó
This was the DAY of DAYs for us. As this trip was tailored for DS and he wanted to become a Jedi. Something his father (me) was never able to do as the Jedi Academy was not around when I was growing up. We got up at 6AM (you can just imagine getting a 4 yr old up that early!), ate ceral/milk and fruit and were out the door by 7:30. Got on a bus and arrived at HS by 7:45AM and now came the waiting in line for the park to open at 9AM. I had brought along 2 DSs (fully charged) to keep DS entertained and that did the trick along with some grapes and strawberries. It helped that we were under the shade so no heat issues.

I did see several families get in before the park open as they had breakfast resies INSIDE the park. GGGGRRR I should have done that and sneaked out at 9AM when the park open with DS to get to the sign in for Jedi Academy. That way I would have been inside the park already. Oh well. At 8:50 they started to let us into the park got past the gates, picked up DS and speed walked to the sign up location.

His 45 lbs was not the bad part as I had been training back home walking/running/jogging with him and/or a book bag with rocks 1 mile a day. Distance from gate to signup area .3 miles. The issue was the humidity. NWI is nothing like FL in terms of humidity and that was a hard one to simulate. Luckly we were first into the sign up and DS was #1 for the 9:20 show. We waited inside the sign-up area (AC hey!!!) and around 9:15 they walked us over to the Jedi Academy and the rest is history! Well not quiet.

A CM with a special photopass will give each parent a card. This card/photopass will have all the pics for that show for all the kids in one. The photographer takes pics of them fighting vader, getting their certificate, and other stuff. I took both video and pics with my phone as well. In the end DS was the last one to fight vader (tallest go first). By the time he got his certificate and was walking down the stage all in smiles I was holding back my tears. It has/had been 2 years of planning for this trip, for this moment, to ensure that he got a chance to do what I never was able to do and what he had been seeing on YouTube and talking about for a long time now. It was an emotional roller coast for me. To make matters even better is DD (age 7) who has never really shown much interest in Star Wars also signed up for the show and she too fought vader and got her certificate. She told me ďI did it for you daddyĒ and that made me ball my eyes out even more! (Oh snap! Crying as I type this now. LOL)

From we went on the Star Tour ride twice and then took pics at the speeder bike. Next up we went over to Toy Mania (45 min wait time) so we took a fast pass and went and saw the muppets. Lunch at Backlot Express right when they opened at 11AM. The chocolate moose was yummy!!!

Back to Star Tours for a 3rd time (5 mins wait times), then Toy Mania and the Art Studios to see the incredibles. Sometime while seeing the incredibles it must have rained very hard. When we got out our stoller was super wet, people were leaving the park it was still raining but not that hard. We did a few more indoor shows and by the time we got out the park was less croweded. Manahed to do Toy Mania again (10 min wait no fastpass) and then we hit our snag of the entire trip.

2 years ago when we went I bought some embroidered towel at Head to Toe at Disney's Hollywood Studios on Hollywood Blvd. DS got a large towel + name + 2 characters as did DD. The towels were washed often (never used) and stored away. We took those 2 towels with us on this trip and planned on getting another character on each of those towels along with the years 2010 and 2012 added to them. In addition I was going to buy a new towel for DD (1), another for myself.

Once inside the shop the kids were busy looking at the characters and figuring out which one they wanted to add to their towel as well as which one they were going to pick for DD (1). I asked the CM if they could ship the items to our room. She asked when we were leaving and after confirming it was more than 48 hours she produced the green slip. I began to fill it out and then showed her the 2 towels they had made for us and told her want I wanted on each, and about the order for 2 new ones. She was still staring at the towels I had given her and I donít think she hear the new order. She kept looking at the old towels and wondering where they had come from? Looked at the tag made a comment to herself of the font used on the towel and the texture of the towel and then walked away to the back room.

A min or two went by before she came back and she asked if the towels were used. I told her they had been washed once but never used and place in storage. She said they can not embroil used towels due to hygiene purchases. Another CM said the same thing in passing by. I asked if this was a new policy as there was nothing posted and when I bough them 2 years ago nothing was mentioned. CM #1 said they had never had a customer return asking for additional embroidery. ???WHAT!!?? So I asked well can I order new towels and before I could continue she said they were all sold out of while towels and tore the green slip up! CM #2 walked away at that point. I asked CM#2 when they would get more towel. She said she did not know and then walked away as well! So I was left there just looking around. They did have large mickey towels that you could add stuff to and I was about to buy 4 new mickey towels with our names, years, characters and all but got real made that the CM just walked away without even offering some other towel to buy. Figured I best just calm down and leave and that is what we did. Looks like they did not want my money and after that I was not willing to part with it anymore.

I figured they lost a $340 sale and a very bad memory/experience which I will write a letter to customer service on.

3 towels like this
$30 for towel
$8 per line of text x 3 (name + year 2010 + year 2012) = 24
$12 per character x 3 = 36
Sub-total = 90 per towel

1 towel like this
$30 for towel
$8 per line of text x 2 (name + year 2012) = 16
$12 per character x 2 = 24
Sub-total = 70 per towel

The rest of the day this issue kept nagging me. Upset they they did not ever state the new used towel policy but even more upset on the way I was treated. It felt like I was bothering them with wanting to buy a towel from them and like they just did not want to be there. Plus how on earth do you run out of towels and not have an idea when you might get more?
Had dinner that night at Sci-Fi and it was OK. The picnic burger was HUGE! It was hard the read the menu in their a bit too dark but overall ok food.

--09/07 resortó
A bus ride to EPCOT then the monorail to PR for breakfast with Lilo and Stitch. OMG this **IS** the best breakfast ever! Itís family style all you can eat and the fruit is fresh. The potatoes and sausage links are not like at the parks/other resorts. Best of all is the Hawaiian juice a blend of OJ, pineapple and something else. Itís sweet and tart at the same time and I drank way too much of it. LOL. They have some type of pineapple cinnamon sweet bread as well that is to die for.

That night we went to DTD for dinner at T-Rex. Itís loud but the kids loves the moving dinos and the baby back ribs were yummy. Off course no trip is complete without going to the LEGO store and this was no different again. =)

--09/08 resort againó
We were suppose to go to EPCOT but were were tired and slept in instead and family from Orlando came by to visit and we stayed at the pool instead. So I cancelled our Lunch at Akershus Hall and sadly we did not get to see Mulan. =( But spending time with family at the pool was nice.

Best of all I went to the lobby and they were able to help me bump up my dinning resy at the GF 1900fare with Cindy and family to 4 adults, 4 kids when it was originally 2 adults, 3 kids. So we took a bus to MK and then the ferry and had a yummy dinner with Cindy and family. DD (7) got to dance with the princes twice! We were seated in the center of the room so it was the best seats in the house. The food here is beyond good. Probably the best buffet food at Disney.

--09/09 MK againó
A very late start for us on this day. We got to the park around 1PM LOL. This time the focus was on tomorrowland and fantasyland again. Did the Indy Speedway 3 times! 10 min waiting time only. Stitchís great esacpe, the carosel, and peter pan, small world. At 5PM we had ressy at BBB for DD (7) and DS as well. They looked like royalty after getting their make overs. Walk around some more, saw some characters we had not seen before (BRAVE) and then back to Cindyís castle for dinner at 8:05.

Oh at Cindyís castle for dinner the photopass guy took 2 pics for us. The first one was of the kids with cindy in their make over gear. Then it was a family pic. At dinner time we got to keep BOTH sets of pics! I know only 1 set is included with the dinner package but we ended up with 2. YUPPIE!!!
Got to see the fireworks from inside the castle and by the time we got out of dinner it was close to 10PM. Magic hours for MK so the general public was gone by then. Did the haunted mansion, walkway of tomorrow, indy cars (again) and some final shopping before heading out by midnight.
Loaded up the van that night and off to sleep.

At breakfast at the resort, checked out, used up the rest of our snack credits and off on the road to go home.

Things Learned
Park -> Resort -> Park -> Resort is the way to go. Back to back park days is too much for us.

While itís all you can drink pop at the resort donít do it. You will feel sick after drinking too much pop.

If you have a budget, make sure you are tracking it each day. I was $2 underbudget at the end of the trip. =)

The Disney App for Android/Iphone is a good app to use while in the park. Much better than some of the other non-disney apps out there and itís free as well!

Firearm from IN to/from FL is possible.
More info posted by me here:

Iím sure there is more but this is what I recall off the top of my head.
Oh and just like last time itís about $1,000 per person for the trip be it if you drive or fly. We spent ~ $4900 on this trip from start to finish on a family of 5.
Me , DD(8) , /DS(5) , DD(2)
09/2010 CBR | 09/2012 CS | 09/2016 POLY (hopefully)
jediagh is offline  

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