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Old 03-13-2013, 07:58 PM   #1
Kathy Z
Counting my Blessings
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: MI
Posts: 1,511

Thanks, White Rhinos, for our best Kilamanjaro Safaris trip!

We enjoyed another brief trip to WDW this February before heading down to Sanibel Island. We chose a moderate resort, Port Orleans Riverside, for this trip and were very satisfied. As of this time, Port Orleans still reads FAX requests sent by guest in regard to room requests. We had booked a River View Royal room and requested close to South Depot, 2nd floor, Northern wing of Parterre. Five days before our arrival date I sent a FAX to the room allocation team explaining both the reasons for those specific requests and also requesting a special cleaning due to my allergies. Within 5 minutes I received an Email back from David Elg, the room assignment manager assuring me that he was able to meet all requests and that he would notify Housekeeping of my special request. Thank you, David! When we checked in we chose to have Bell Services assist us with our carry-on luggage and our grocery order which included a case of water. We rode along with our bellman to our room and entered the cleanest hotel room we’ve ever stayed in! There were two areas we found lacking while staying at POR. Most troublesome for those depending on Disney transportation was their bus service to the parks. Leaving for the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday morning at 8:30 am was our worst experience with their buses which would pull up more than half full and were able to accommodate few people from the huge group waiting at the South Depot. We finally made it onto the 4th bus to pull up for the MK; about 45 minutes after arriving at the bus stop. Fortunately, succeeding days to other parks were much better. There was no cast member at the bus stops to monitor the needs for buses to various parks. The other POR problem for us was poor Wi Fi connectivity in our Parterre Riverfront room.

Not surprisingly, MK was particularly crowded Tuesday despite being a recommended park by easywdw. It did happen to be Mardi Gras this year. There were numerous large tour groups from South America. I had spoken with a nice family of 3 while walking over the bridge at POR and learned that they were from Argentina which was on school holiday for the month of February. We discovered that as we get older even the tamer roller coasters seem to get bumpier! The fact that we were assigned to the last car on Big Thunder Mountain RR probably didn’t help, lol. We calmed down with a leisurely cruise on the Liberty Square Riverboat. Dinner was in the Beast’s Castle at Be Our Guest restaurant. At the early time of 4:30 pm those without reservations were being seated faster than those with reservations. I found that both surprising and a bit irritating. There was no signage for the side by side lines waiting to check in for dinner and no cast members other than the two in the booth. Only by speaking with other people in line were we able to figure out the system they were using. If you had an ADR they would not let you check in until within 10 – 15 minutes of your ADR. Walk up guests were being taken in order and at least 50 of them were accommodated while we were waiting for permission to check in. (We had arrived about 25 minutes before our ADR time.) That day was one of our warmest days of this trip and in the crowds of MK it was the only day that seemed hot as it was 84 with bright sunshine most of the day. After meeting our dinner host, the big handsome fellow known as the Beast, we made our way over to the double Jumbo and like two little kids enjoyed our revolving view over the MK at dusk. This visit we headed out of the park before MSEP and Wishes due to the massive crowds that already filled our favored viewing locations. A single tour group of hundreds stretched from The Plaza Restaurant almost to the circle before the castle.

Our second full day we went to EPCOT amidst sparse crowds and headed directly to Soarin’ as usual. Stand-by was less than 20 minutes at 9:10 am and we Soared. After our flight we picked up FPs to ride again after our early light lunch which we enjoyed in the expanded CS space in France. We rode Spaceship Earth again and had the opportunity to mention the Guest Assistance card that I thought might benefit the gentleman walking through that queue ahead of us with much difficulty. Most people in his condition are either in wheelchairs or riding scooters. He admitted that at this rate he’d only be able to do one or two lines that day. I do hope that Guest Relations was able to help him out with that request. In the afternoon we strolled through World Showcase, treated ourselves to Kaki Gori and got to watch Miyuki creating her intriguing Japanese Fantasy Candy Creatures. Despite a high temperature of 85 this day it never seemed hot. We kept marveling at “how civilized” it was compared to the congested crowds in the MK the preceding day. The Liberty singers were great as usual and the marshmallow caramel from Germany’s Karamel Kuche was just as delicious as I remembered. Chip, Dale, Mickey & Pluto visited us while our booth was slowly revolving at the Garden Grill. Thanks to someone who long ago had posted on the disboards I knew to request the sweet potato fries from the kid’s menu, these were great! Our waitress was attentive and also presented us with a piece of cake with a candle in celebration of our anniversary. We returned to POR prior to lluminations in order to have a chance to see Bob Jackson, aka Ye Haa Bob, perform in the River Roost Lounge. Bill stayed in our room but I thoroughly enjoyed Bob’s energetic and crazy show. He attempts to go around to every table before his show begins and learn the name of at least one person at each table. He asked my name & where I was from. I told him I was Kathy from Michigan. Sure enough, I was one of the people he called out during his show, always as “Kathy from Kalamazoo”. We live about 100 miles east of Kalamazoo, MI.

We had saved my favorite park for our final full day. Animal Kingdom never disappoints a critter lover like me. The day was perfect because it was cool (high of 61) and drizzly, perfect weather for the animals. Luckily for us a few white Rhino’s decided to block the pathway which the safari vehicles travel so we had front row seats to the actions of the feisty creatures and the ranger who was using her pick-up truck trying to persuade them to clear the way. No sooner did one rhino move off the path than another stepped in its place. Back & forth they went while we got to sit and take and take photos. We secured perfect front row places under the protection of a roof covered area for viewing the Jungle Jammin’ Parade following which we headed to the Wilderness Lodge for dinner at Artist Point.

After checking out on our departure day we had our luggage stored in the luggage room and took the boat over to Downtown Disney. We had lunch at Wolfgang Puck Express, Marketplace. Bill had a good wood fired pizza and I made the mistake of asking them to leave off the red onion from my turkey club sandwich. When our food was delivered my “club” sandwich had only the turkey, tomato and lettuce; no avocado or bacon. When I inquired of the waitress she apologized for the omissions and returned with separate small bowls of each. We rewarded her for her attention with a tip, something we normally don’t do at a CS. A bit later we enjoyed decadent scoops of ice cream with hot dark chocolate at Ghiradelli’s. Since my only wristwatch had decided to “die” during our last night at home before our departure I got to look for a new watch at Disney. Now I have Tinkerbelle to help me keep track of time! We had arranged for a shuttle from the National/Alamo Disney Car Care Center to pick us up from DTD to take us to their facility to pick up our rental car for the following week. The shuttle driver was excellent at giving us directions on how to get back to POR to pick up our luggage and how to then drive to the Boardwalk Inn for our final diner reservations at Flying Fish Café. This used to be just one of my favorite WDW restaurants and it now stands at the top of my list. I must admit we’ve probably only sampled less than half the restaurant choices WDW has to offer. At the FF our server asked if he could bring us some champagne to celebrate our anniversary and we replied in the affirmative. Soon after he also presented an amuse bouche of tomato basil soup with croutons to each of us. The Caesar Salad, side of grilled asparagus, and our entrees (I had the scallops) were all wonderful as were the suggested wine pairings. Then our waiter returned with a complementary dessert. My DH got to enjoy this as it was a peanut butter crème brulee, about the only flavor I don’t care for. I did eat the chocolate ribbon with the anniversary greeting and one of the raspberry garnishes.
Following our final 2013 Disney dinner we bid adieu until the next Magical time and headed further south to spend a week with my sister and B-I-L on the Gulf Coast of Sanibel Island. What a special break from our cold Michigan winter.

I will try to post a few photos tomorrow. I was having trouble including them tonight and didn't want to loose this text.
Polynesian Apr. 1975 & May 1980 w/DH, DD, & DS The Disney Inn (Originally The Golf Resort; now Shades of Green) Christmas 1985 w/DH, DD & DS
Polynesian May 2009 w/DH, DGD (10) & DGD (7) BWI Dec 2009 w/DH; AKL Dec 2010 w/DH; AKL Feb. 2012 w/DH; POR w/DH Feb. 2013
WL Nov 2013 w/DH & DGS (8) POFQ Feb 2014 w/DH
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:17 PM   #2
Kathy Z
Counting my Blessings
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: MI
Posts: 1,511

Photos finally posted!

I finally learned how to use the new photobucket and refreshed my memory on how to post from there to here. A special thanks to Mary, moderator of the Technical Support forum on DISboards for compressing my new avatar and getting that up for me yesterday.

Polynesian Apr. 1975 & May 1980 w/DH, DD, & DS The Disney Inn (Originally The Golf Resort; now Shades of Green) Christmas 1985 w/DH, DD & DS
Polynesian May 2009 w/DH, DGD (10) & DGD (7) BWI Dec 2009 w/DH; AKL Dec 2010 w/DH; AKL Feb. 2012 w/DH; POR w/DH Feb. 2013
WL Nov 2013 w/DH & DGS (8) POFQ Feb 2014 w/DH

Last edited by Kathy Z; 03-16-2013 at 03:40 PM. Reason: correcting photos
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:56 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 289

I really enjoyed your report. Thank you for posting it.

August 2008 - Walt Disney World, Lots of Pictures
1977, 1978, 1984, all off site. 1996 FW cabins, 2008 CSR.
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:40 AM   #4
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 331

I like your trip report. Thanks for posting!
1979 June: Days Lodge Kissimmee - 1991 August: Rental house Orlando - 1997 May: Dixie Landings - 1998 May: Dixie Landings and Polynesian - 1999 July: Wilderness Lodge - 2000 May: Wilderness Lodge, Dixie Landings and Grand Floridian - 2002 April: Dixie Landings - 2002 May: Newport Bay Club at Disneyland Paris - 2003 May: Residence Inn LBV - 2004 April: Villas at Wilderness Lodge and Beach Club Villas - 2005 January/Feb: Fort Wilderness Cabins, Royal Pacific, Hilton - 2005 May: Hampton Inn and Riverside (POR) - 2006 January: Fort Wilderness Cabins and Beach Club Villas - 2007 March: Riverside (POR) - 2008 May: Pop Century - 2008 August: Embassy Suites Int'l Drive - 2009 July: Disneyland Hotel Hong Kong - 2009 Christmas: Wilderness Lodge and Homewood Suites - 2011 March: Riverside (POR), Fort Wilderness - 2012 March: Riverside (POR), Fort Wilderness - 2013 August: Contemporary, Riverside (POR) - 2014 March: Riverside (POR)
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:08 PM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Dowagiac, MI
Posts: 376


Thank you for your wonderful trip report, what a nice Anniversary!

June 1976-My first trip!
March 2006 @ POP dd's 2nd birthday
August 2007 @ SSR 11 day trip
November 2008- POP dd's 7th birthday
May 2013 Port of Orleans Riverside- All girls week
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:06 PM   #6
Kathy Z
Counting my Blessings
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: MI
Posts: 1,511

Thanks, havinfun, WDW1979 & dramaticmissy. Our actual anniversary is January 2 but we normally just go out to dinner locally on that date. We were married during college holiday break time in eastern PA on a day of freezing rain. So we like to really celebrate our anniversaries where we can expect warmer weather and hopefully sunny skies! For our 25th we waited until May and flew down to the US and British Virgin Islands where we island hopped for 3 weeks. That was the best!
Polynesian Apr. 1975 & May 1980 w/DH, DD, & DS The Disney Inn (Originally The Golf Resort; now Shades of Green) Christmas 1985 w/DH, DD & DS
Polynesian May 2009 w/DH, DGD (10) & DGD (7) BWI Dec 2009 w/DH; AKL Dec 2010 w/DH; AKL Feb. 2012 w/DH; POR w/DH Feb. 2013
WL Nov 2013 w/DH & DGS (8) POFQ Feb 2014 w/DH
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:52 PM   #7
Earning My Ears
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 39

Thanks Kathy!! Love hearing about Disney and POR! We are leaving in 42 days and its just my DH and I. It sounds like you are retired with all your travel plans and i just wanted to let you know that you are living my dream enjoy your travels and may it continue to be a joy
AS 2007
POR 2010
POR 2012
POR 2013
POR/BWV 2014

BWV 2015
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