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Old 05-03-2013, 08:20 PM   #16
ddluvsdisney
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Amy~ I'm so glad I found your latest TR and that you decided to write one.
We were there the week before.
It was so unusually hot for April wasn't it???
I was so surprised to read you just got APs thought you would have gotten them sooner with going twice a year.
We got APs this year too. So excited!!!
Looking forward to reading along.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddluvsdisney View Post
Amy~ I'm so glad I found your latest TR and that you decided to write one.
We were there the week before.
It was so unusually hot for April wasn't it???
I was so surprised to read you just got APs thought you would have gotten them sooner with going twice a year.
We got APs this year too. So excited!!!
Looking forward to reading along.
So glad you found me!

It was hot on some days, but we actually got a couple unusually cool days... of course one of them was supposed to be our pool day!

I've had APs before... I think this one is my third, but it's a first for everyone else! We got Zach his AP last summer before the prices went up & they stopped selling children's APs at a discount. He'll be 10 on our trip next year so we are really making out with his ticket! The upgrade to APs for Tim & Alex was last minute. I double checked my math & it turned out to be a big savings to upgrade them. I think we paid just over $400 to upgrade them both. With the number of park days we would need next year, plus park hopping, there's no way we could get tickets for $200 each.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:46 AM   #18
ddluvsdisney
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So glad you found me!

It was hot on some days, but we actually got a couple unusually cool days... of course one of them was supposed to be our pool day!

I've had APs before... I think this one is my third, but it's a first for everyone else! We got Zach his AP last summer before the prices went up & they stopped selling children's APs at a discount. He'll be 10 on our trip next year so we are really making out with his ticket! The upgrade to APs for Tim & Alex was last minute. I double checked my math & it turned out to be a big savings to upgrade them. I think we paid just over $400 to upgrade them both. With the number of park days we would need next year, plus park hopping, there's no way we could get tickets for $200 each.
Wow that was a good deal.
My boys loved the new entry with the APs they thought that was COOL.
It was near or 90 degrees every day for us. Very little rain just some late in the afternoon ( the usual).
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:09 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by ddluvsdisney View Post
Wow that was a good deal.
My boys loved the new entry with the APs they thought that was COOL.
It was near or 90 degrees every day for us. Very little rain just some late in the afternoon ( the usual).
For the most part, the new entry works great! Alex always has trouble with the finger scan and we had to step aside a few times to get his card scanned by one of the CMs with the portable machines. Zach is anxious for the day he gets to scan his finger!
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:37 AM   #20
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Check in!

Day One: Wednesday, April 17th

A little back story about the few days leading up to the trip… A couple days before leaving our kitty got sick! I worked Monday and realized he needed to see the vet that afternoon. I called but they didn’t have anything until Tuesday. I squeezed in an appointment between my other appointments and they said he either had an infection or crystals in his bladder causing irritation. They gave him a combo of antibiotics/anti-inflamatory medication but said we needed to keep a close eye on him. But we were leaving the next morning!!! Luckily Tim’s mom was willing to stay at the house to look after him. Things worked out well & Snowy is feeling much better... but it really threw a wrench in things as we were preparing to leave!

Wednesday morning started at 3:30 (a little earlier for me as I beat the alarm to get up). We got ourselves ready, woke Zach around 4:00 and hit the road around 4:30. The airport & flight were both uneventful and we were in Tampa by 10am. We picked up our luggage and rental car and headed off toward Orlando, stopping for our traditional McDonald’s lunch on the way (yuck!). Since our condo rental was through a timeshare exchange, our check in date was actually the previous Sunday, so our villa was ready when we arrived! I had made a few requests - the most important was that our two reservations be linked so we didn't have to move on Sunday... also, top floor, near the pool & preferably in a different section of the resort than we have stayed before. We've stayed in the "Lakes" and "Fountains" sections of the resort on previous trips, both of which are on the right side of the resort. We had hoped to be in the left section (you really can't wait between the two sections). Luckily all of our requests had been met! We had a top floor villa in the Cascades section, right across from the recreation center & pool and most importantly, our we didn't have to move on Sunday! When we drove up, we didn't find it right away. For some reason, none of the signs pointed to building 17. We ended up circling around until we saw a sign pointing us in the right direction. Turns out the first batch of signs didn't list building 17 because building 17 was the very first building as you drive in past security. We were concerned it could be a bit busy or that parking could be an issue there, but we never had any problems. It was a nice location.

Once we found our villa, we basically put all of our stuff in the condo and headed to the grocery store to get that over with. According to my receipt we finished up at Publix at 1:34pm and stopped at the liquor store at 1:43pm. 

When we got back, the plan was for Tim to take the boys to the pool so I could unpack a bit. However, we had a couple issues with the room so housekeeping & security had to come by. Tim decided he would stay in the room while I took the boys to the pool. Later on, he came over and I went back to unpack.

Our view as we waited for the elevator (that's the recreation building and the pool is right behind)…




Kitchen:




Dining room/Living room:






Master bedroom:




Master bathroom & vanity outside the bathroom:




Second bedroom:






Second bathroom:


Vanity area outside the second bathroom:


View from the screened in porch (sorry bad pics from the screen):




Washer/Dryer off the kitchen:


We did have a couple stains on the carpet that we told them about:




It could have been from anyone but we have a feeling the stains came from the people who were there before us. They left us a few other surprises too… Tim went to turn on the tv and the remote didn’t work. It had no batteries… along with one of the other tv remotes! They took the batteries from two of the three remotes! Plus, when they left, they locked the safe so we had to call security to come open it for us. Once we got those things settled, we really enjoyed the villa. Tim stayed back to deal with that while I took the boys to swim.








Continued...
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:55 AM   #21
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Dining with the Dinos

After swimming for a little bit, it was time to head to Downtown Disney! We had a dinner ADR at 5pm. We also needed to stop at Guest Relations to activate the AP vouchers we had for me & Zach, purchase a new Tables in Wonderland card and stop at the Photopass desk next door to pick up our Photopass Plus card. We were also able to convert Tim & Alex's Undercover Tourist tickets to the new RFID tickets while we were there. The kids also wanted to shop a little bit. This year we made them save their $5 allowance every week for several weeks leading up to our trip. They would be using their own money for any purchases they wanted to make on the trip. I have to say it worked out really well! Neither of them found anything they wanted to buy at Downtown Disney that day. There were several items they liked and would have begged us for if we were buying, but knowing it was their own money, they opted to wait and see what else they might find during the trip with the promise that we could easily return to DTD if they decided they wanted something there. We never returned to DTD after that night.

After shopping and dealing with our errands, we headed over to T-Rex. We were about 15 minutes early but they were able to seat us right away. It was a decent meal and a fun way to start the trip. I think we’ll be back. The kids loved it!



I felt bad for these people sitting below that dinosaur. It kept leaning down and roaring at them while they ate!


















Pardon the glowing eyes…


After dinner we went back to the villa, showered & headed to bed. We had an early morning the next day! I really liked what we did with our arrival day. We often hit a park on the first day because our villa isn't ready when we arrive. It was nice to check-in, get some groceries, swim and enjoy a nice meal at DTD.

Up next: Our first park day – Epcot AND Animal Kingdom!
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:24 PM   #22
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Looked like a great arrival day. Whenever we stay off property we don't do a park. We swim shop and relax so we get an early start the next morning too. Always works best for us.
The boys love TRex! It's fun.
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:57 AM   #23
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Fun start to the trip!

You had a great room location right across from the 'fun' building and pool.

Spending one's own money does require more thought than blowing through someone else's!
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We've stayed at Pop Century, All Star Sports, All Star Movies, All Star Music, French Quarter, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Art of Animation, Beach Club, Vero Beach, Kidani Village and Saratoga Springs - many trips, and many wonderful, magical memories made.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:46 AM   #24
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Sounds like a nice first day! I'm glad all of your requests were met.

Looks like the boys were really happy to be in Florida!

It is definitely a different story when the kids have to spend their own money! They really think through their purchases a lot more when it's coming out of their pocket!

I'm glad Snowy is feeling better!
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:15 AM   #25
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I'm here, subscribed, and caught up!

Your villa looked lovely! We enjoyed our meal at T-Rex, but not sure I'd go back. It was so loud in there.

Look forward to more.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:48 AM   #26
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great pics!
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:50 AM   #27
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I went searching for you and yeah it didn't take me long to find your TR. Sorry I didn't realize you had already started.

12 nights! That is just awesome!

Love your villa. It's really beautiful and I am glad that the whole "not moving" thing worked out better for you.

So how long does it really take to drive from Tampa to Orlando. Total time - once you get off the plan, get the rental car, and actually get near Disney world (don't count the food stop). I was trying to talk Denny into flying to TPA in June because we would arrive on site a little earlier. He is not convinced, but I can still change things around if I decide to. I noticed the rental cars are cheaper.

Anyway - great start. Really looking forward to your TR!
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:36 PM   #28
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I can see why you enjoy staying at this timeshare; the villa is so spacious and airy! So glad you didn't need to pack up and move during your stay!

I wonder if Billy would like T-Rex? He wasn't too keen on all the loud noise at Rainforest Cafe, but that was several years ago.


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Old 05-06-2013, 04:37 PM   #29
ddluvsdisney
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I can see why you enjoy staying at this timeshare; the villa is so spacious and airy! So glad you didn't need to pack up and move during your stay!

I wonder if Billy would like T-Rex? He wasn't too keen on all the loud noise at Rainforest Cafe, but that was several years ago.

Kathy
It is loud in TRex.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:50 PM   #30
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I am glad your kitty is all better.

Lovely timeshare/condo....the rooms look really huge.

Too bad about the "previous" tenants.

Looks like the boys were having a blast swimming.
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