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Old 02-09-2013, 11:47 AM   #31
marDgreen88
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HELLOOO, I'm here! It took me a while but I made it. And I'm so glad I made it right on time for yall to arrive in Disney!!! Can't wait to see SSR pics! I feel like I never see pics of that resort, for some reason. SO YAY.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:13 PM   #32
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Subbing in! I love reading other Jan '13 travelers take on everything!

My sister and I got lost going to ME, haha! We decided to pick up our own luggage and ended up wandering around side A instead of side B. Whoops!

I love the ME videos! I got so wrapped up in them that it makes the drive go by so fast!

I cannot wait to see your resort photos. I think SS looks lovely and would love to stay there one day!
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:59 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marDgreen88 View Post
HELLOOO, I'm here! It took me a while but I made it. And I'm so glad I made it right on time for yall to arrive in Disney!!! Can't wait to see SSR pics! I feel like I never see pics of that resort, for some reason. SO YAY.
Yay, you're here!! I am hoping to finish catching up with your TR by the end of the week. I always open it up to read, but I can never remember where I left off, haha. And I know what you mean about SSR pics - I felt the same way before we went (and I think it's the same with OKW too).

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Originally Posted by emilyindisney View Post
Subbing in! I love reading other Jan '13 travelers take on everything!

My sister and I got lost going to ME, haha! We decided to pick up our own luggage and ended up wandering around side A instead of side B. Whoops!

I love the ME videos! I got so wrapped up in them that it makes the drive go by so fast!

I cannot wait to see your resort photos. I think SS looks lovely and would love to stay there one day!
I'm the same way - I love looking at other TRs from people who were there around the same time I was, even more so if we overlapped days, so I can try to find myself in the background of their pictures

SSR was the very first DVC/Deluxe resort we've ever stayed in, mainly because we got a GREAT deal for renting points. If you like what you see from my pics/TR, I'll send you the info for who we used!
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Last edited by arbolita; 02-09-2013 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:37 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by arbolita View Post
Yay, you're here!! I am hoping to finish catching up with your TR by the end of the week. I always open it up to read, but I can never remember where I left off, haha. And I know what you mean about SSR pics - I felt the same way before we went (and I think it's the same with OKW too).



I'm the same way - I love looking at other TRs from people who were there around the same time I was, even more so if we overlapped days, so I can try to find myself in the background of their pictures

SSR was the very first DVC/Deluxe resort we've ever stayed in, mainly because we got a GREAT deal for renting points. If you like what you see from my pics/TR, I'll send you the info for who we used!
We've actually been toying with the idea of renting for our next trip. We're going for the princess half next year, so I don't know if that's too short of a trip/too busy of a time to try and rent though. Can't wait to see your pictures!
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:12 PM   #35
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We've actually been toying with the idea of renting for our next trip. We're going for the princess half next year, so I don't know if that's too short of a trip/too busy of a time to try and rent though. Can't wait to see your pictures!
It's always worth asking, and I think SSR almost always has availability because of its size and the fact that it's entirely DVC rooms. Renting worked out great for us this trip, since the cost we paid for the room was less than what we would have paid to stay in a moderate.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:32 PM   #36
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It's always worth asking, and I think SSR almost always has availability because of its size and the fact that it's entirely DVC rooms. Renting worked out great for us this trip, since the cost we paid for the room was less than what we would have paid to stay in a moderate.
I'll let you know if that's the route we wanna go. I definitely think it would be cheaper, but I'm a little nervous at the thought of taking the jump and giving someone else control of my reservations! Plus, we're looking a POFQ and we've never stayed there before either.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:52 PM   #37
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Gosh the day you arrived was just absolutely gorgeous!! AHH I want to see the sign SOON!
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:55 PM   #38
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Gosh the day you arrived was just absolutely gorgeous!! AHH I want to see the sign SOON!
It was! We really lucked out with the weather on our trip, because I know the temperatures can vary a lot in January. The only day I was really cold was our last day there.
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:38 PM   #39
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Chapter 4 - Wait, where are we?

Chapter 4 - Wait, Where Are We?

Just after 11:00AM, we arrived at the Aratoga Springs Resort!



I kept intending to get a picture where I didn't cut off the beginning of the sign, but clearly that didn't happen. Moving on!

I had never stayed in a Deluxe or DVC resort before, so I really wasn't sure to expect from our stay here. I knew the resort was big and near Downtown Disney, and that was about it!



After we got off the bus and collected our bags, we followed the people ahead of us towards the lobby.



We did online check-in, which had changed a lot since the last time I had used it. With the upgrade to MyDisneyExperience and the new website, when you check in online they give you several options to choose from as far as room preferences, and not just regarding which section you want to be in! They included options of being in a room on the first floor, being near the Carriage House (main building), being near transportation, and I'm assuming each resort other resort-specific options depending on where you are staying. You can choose up to two, so we chose that we wanted to be near transportation and near the walkway to Downtown Disney.



When we reached the Registration desk, I noticed they had one of the new Tap-To-Pay devices at the counter.



They told us those 4 little words that every Disney guest longs to hear during check in - YOUR ROOM IS READY!!

(Okay, maybe hearing "You're getting an upgrade!" is a little more exciting, but still. I don't think our room had EVER been ready at check-in before).

We were going to be in the Congress Park section, in room 1712, which was my top choice based on recommendations of some of my friends. As we were checking in, after we gave them a credit card to use, we used the Tap-to-Pay device to input a 4-digit pin code that we could use when making purchases using our KTTW card. She then gave us our check-in packet, drew on our map to show us where our room was, and we were off.

But first I had to check out the adorable kid's section of the lobby.



Since the resort has a big equestrian theme, I love that they included pictures of horses that have appeared in Disney films!





So...when the cast member was giving me directions, I honestly was trying hard to pay attention and follow her, but I am seriously directionally challenged. I'm not going to lie, for the longest time, my motto was "When in doubt, go left!" And did I mention that Saratoga Springs is a big resort? Yeah.

We probably took the absolute longest route to get to our room, which we realized later wasn't that far of a walk from the Carriage House, but at least it allowed us to check out some of the scenery!







At least we know we're still at the right resort!







Finally we found a directory (in which we realized that bridge we had just walked across in my last picture, wasn't the bridge we were supposed to go over. Whoops).



Finally after HOURS AND MILES of walking, we saw a glimmer of hope!



HOORAY!

We followed the sign to this building...



Took the elevator up to the 3rd floor...



And rounded the corner to find our doorway. WE MADE IT!



Continue to Next Chapter

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Old 02-11-2013, 09:54 PM   #40
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Looking at your pictures of SSR brings back memories of our trip 2 years ago when we also stayed at SSR. We were a traveling group of 6 so we appreciated the space available in our two bedroom. I found SSR to be a very relaxing resort because it's so sprawled out, you feel completely removed from the hustle and bustle of Disney. Plus with DTD so close by it was very nice to have so many restaurant options!
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:09 AM   #41
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Aratoga Springs looks like such a pretty resort! Hahaha I always go the wrong direction too, we wandered around the Poly for MUCH longer than necessary when we stayed there!

Were the "additional questions" when you did online check in part of the My Disney Experience thing on the website, and did that mean that you were using the magic bands for the rest of your trip? (I'm still very confused by this process!) Or was that just a new feature on the site?
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:40 AM   #42
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Looking at your pictures of SSR brings back memories of our trip 2 years ago when we also stayed at SSR. We were a traveling group of 6 so we appreciated the space available in our two bedroom. I found SSR to be a very relaxing resort because it's so sprawled out, you feel completely removed from the hustle and bustle of Disney. Plus with DTD so close by it was very nice to have so many restaurant options!
I felt the same - the size of the resort was a little frustrating that first day, simply because it was really overwhelming not knowing where we were or where to go, but we really appreciated that later in the week. And being able to walk to DTD instead of waiting for a bus was fantastic!

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Aratoga Springs looks like such a pretty resort! Hahaha I always go the wrong direction too, we wandered around the Poly for MUCH longer than necessary when we stayed there!

Were the "additional questions" when you did online check in part of the My Disney Experience thing on the website, and did that mean that you were using the magic bands for the rest of your trip? (I'm still very confused by this process!) Or was that just a new feature on the site?
It's a new feature! I'm sure it will assist a lot with the check-in process when people arrive at the resort, so they don't have to fax in any specific requests and the host(ess) doesn't have to try and rearrange where their room is after it has been assigned during check in, etc.

We actually didn't see any magic bands when we were there, although I wasn't actively looking for them. One of the CMs we were speaking with told us that for the week we were there, Caribbean Beach was the resort where guests were pre-selected to try out FastPass+ and other NextGen experiences. I think the current rumor is that by the end of the month, they'll be rolling out the Magic Bands to guests so hopefully there will be a TR soon from someone who got to use them!
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:54 AM   #43
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Saratoga Springs is on our list of DVC resorts to try. We sailed past it on our boat ride from OKW in October and it looks huge! How was the walk to Downtown Disney?
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:12 AM   #44
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SSR looks stunning! My sister is a huge horse fan (she's a professional horse trainer, in fact) so I'm sure she'd absolutely love it there.

Did you find the size unmanageable? Or was it better once you checked out a map/knew where to go?
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:44 PM   #45
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Saratoga Springs is on our list of DVC resorts to try. We sailed past it on our boat ride from OKW in October and it looks huge! How was the walk to Downtown Disney?
From our room, it was probably about a 10 minute walk from the time we left the building to when we reached the Marketplace bus stop - so not bad at all. I think the walk would be similar from anywhere in Congress Park, and no more than 5 minutes longer from The Springs area. The other areas of the resort, especially The Carousel, would be a bit longer.

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SSR looks stunning! My sister is a huge horse fan (she's a professional horse trainer, in fact) so I'm sure she'd absolutely love it there.

Did you find the size unmanageable? Or was it better once you checked out a map/knew where to go?

Once we knew where our room was and could identify certain landmarks (bus stop, walkway to DTD), it made it a lot easier to figure out where we needed to go at the resort. We really only needed to go to the Carriage House a few times while we were there (mostly for breakfast), and that only took about 5 minutes. I think if we had been in one of the farther areas (like The Carousel, The Paddock or The Grandstand) we wouldn't have enjoyed it at much. We actually never even walked back to that part of the resort.

Actually, that's kind of a lie. We walked through the Paddock when we first got there (that's where we got lost, haha).
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