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Old 11-24-2003, 03:30 AM   #61
Janet2k
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Quote:
Originally posted by MJS
I am so glad to read that the service has improved at the RPC. It was so bad when we were there in 2002. Do you think that the managment change at the GF is the cause? Do you think that your experience is the exception (given some of you preplanning work), or has service there improved? The CMs at the RPC seemed unhappy when we were there - and we stayed for about 2 weeks, so we saw many different CMs at different times.
MJS, from what I could see, the new management that the Grand Floridian has been under for the past year or so really seems to have had a positive effect on the resort. A lot of the staff members mentioned the new General Manager by name, and they always followed his name with the statement, “He is such a nice person.” I took that to mean that they respected him. Quite a compliment, in my humble opinion.

Was my vacation the exception rather than the norm? I don’t believe so. My vacation had a rocky start in the pre-planning stages, but then everything fell into place. And it stayed that way right through the end of it. Whenever I was in the concierge lounge, I took a look around to see if other guests seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I saw that they were. I also kept my ears perked to see if I heard anything that would lead me to believe otherwise, and I heard no complaints. Like you, my prior stays at the GF had been unfavorable so I was very sensitive to what was going on about me. I truly wanted to see for myself whether or not things had improved so that I could post my experiences here on the Dis. I know that not everyone reacts to things in the same manner, and what may be an issue for one person is a non-issue for someone else. But my last stay at the GF had them stating the incorrect starting time for the Pirate’s Cruise on my printed itinerary; had them giving incorrect directions to my sister for the Polynesian’s Luau (they told her to take the boat over to the Poly but my sister soon found out that the boat had not been docking at the Poly for weeks due to the Volcano pool’s construction); and had them unable to find out why their own marina had mysteriously cancelled my fireworks/birthday boat cruise. There were other things that had gone wrong during that prior vacation that really left me never wanting to stay at that resort again (and my family didn’t stay there for three years). I guess you can now understand why I really wanted to see for myself what state the resort was in. I am happy to say that I saw vast improvements, but what probably struck me the most were the attitudes of the Cast Members, both concierge and non-concierge, whom I encountered on my vacation. They truly seemed to be happy with their jobs and couldn’t do enough for my family. I took that as the truest sign that things were finally back on the right track at the Grand Floridian. I won’t hesitate to stay there again.
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Old 11-24-2003, 03:39 AM   #62
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Terry S and Erikthewise, the animated way my daughter described the children’s events was wonderful for me to experience – too bad I couldn’t put her emotions into the words that I typed for her (her eyes were as large as saucers at times, and the tone of her voice as she relayed the various words of the Cast Members was an absolute hoot to behold). I would like to thank the folks here on the Dis for giving me the motivation to have her finish the trilogy of children’s events at the Grand Floridian (part three of the trilogy will be posted below). I would never have done this had it not been for you folks, and if I hadn’t done it, I would have missed out on a precious part of our vacation. It is I who is sincerely thanking you.
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Old 11-24-2003, 03:58 AM   #63
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Grand Floridian Day Four, Part 1…

Like clockwork, our room phone rang bright and early. It was Mickey Mouse calling, telling us that our day was ready to begin. We couldn’t refuse his cheery request to “up and at ‘em,” and so we got moving.

We found my parents waiting for us in the concierge lounge. They are by nature true early-birds, so I didn’t doubt that they had been waiting for us for hours (it was 9 AM by the time we joined them). I don’t normally eat breakfast, but I was talked into some slices of cantaloupe and a sweet roll. The lounge was fairly busy when we first arrived, but it soon cleared out. Folks were obviously heading to the theme parks to begin their day.

At 9:45 AM, my husband and daughter headed downstairs to the Mouseketeer Clubhouse, while my parents and I remained in the concierge lounge. My daughter was attending the Grand Adventures In Cooking Class at 10 AM. She loves that class, which I find funny because I do not like to cook (or really know how to cook). It is my husband who is the cook in our family (and the laundry man and the cleaning man). My daughter obviously takes after her father.

Most of you know that my daughter has attended the Grand Adventures In Cooking Class many times over the years. Please click here to view my Grand Adventures In Cooking Class on-line photo album, or please click here to view a slideshow of the Grand Adventures In Cooking Class.

Like I did for the Pirate’s Cruise and the Wonderland Tea Party, I asked my daughter to describe to me the Grand Adventures In Cooking Class. What follows may be my typing, but they’re certainly her words.

- - - - - - -

For the Grand Adventures In Cooking Class, the parents signed-in and the kids got their name tags. Then the parents left the Mouseketeer Clubhouse.

There was a boy in the class who had a ”Visitor Pass” badge on. During the whole cooking class, Naomi kept calling him “Visitor Pass.” The boy kept saying, “My name is not ‘Visitor Pass,’ my name is ‘so-and-so!’” But when he pointed to his badge where his name was written, there were X-Men on it too, so Bobbi decided to call him “X-Men.”

Then there was another boy who had a “Hoop-Dee-Doo” pin on. During the whole class, Naomi kept calling him “Hoop-Dee-Doo.” It was funny! The boy kept saying, “My name is not ‘Hoop-Dee-Doo,’ my name is ‘so-and-so!’”

“Visitor Pass” had a sister in the class and she had a badge on that said “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” so Naomi kept calling her “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.” The girl kept saying, “My name is not ‘Big Thunder Mountain Railroad,’ it is ‘so-and-so!’” All the kids laughed when this happened but I tried not to laugh, but I wound up laughing so hard that my stomach almost fell out!

The kids sat down on the floor, next to some dirty rugs. (Note: The so-called “dirty rugs” are rugs that the children paint upon.)

Then Naomi said, “Do you know what we’re going to make today? Liver and onions!” The kids all said, “Eeeewwwww!” I raised my hand and said, “You mean REAL liver and REAL onions?” Naomi said, “No! We’re actually going to make gummy worm dirt cups.”

I raised my hand again and said, “REAL worms? REAL dirt? REAL mud?” and Naomi said, “Nooooo! Just chocolate pudding, crushed Oreo cookies, and gummy worms. But before we do that, we have to make our aprons.”

Every kid got a new apron that had their name on it (“Chef so-and-so”). Then we put on old aprons that had paint on them.

Naomi, Bobbi, and Susan got out the hand paints and squirted some paint into everyone’s hand. The kids rubbed their hands together then they pressed hard on their new aprons so they could get hand prints on their aprons. We did this for purple, green, orange, blue, red, and black paint. Black is my favorite color because it reminds me of the skunk “Flower” in the movie “Bambi.” (Note: My daughter mentioned that no one washed their hands in-between paint applications.)

The kids flipped over their aprons on the dirty rugs in order to get the extra paint off of them. (Ah-ha! Now I understand why my daughter called them “dirty” rugs.) Then all the kids picked up their aprons and Naomi opened the door and everybody had to lay their apron outside the Mouseketeer Clubhouse to dry.

Bobbi said, “What shall we do next?” Naomi said, “We’re going to wash our hands.”

The kids went to the bathroom to wash their hands before they cooked. There are two bathrooms inside the Mouseketeer Clubhouse, one for the boys and one for the girls. You can tell the bathrooms apart because the boys have the clownfish (like Nemo) and the girls have an eel (from “Finding Nemo”). Also, the bathrooms state “Boys” and “Girls” on them.

The kids had to get their chairs from a stack of chairs that was in the corner of the room. Then the kids brought their chairs to the table and sat down.

Naomi and Susan said, “Now you guys can’t be touching your face or scratching your arms while cooking because then you’ll get germs on the food. And if you’re sick, the germs will get in the food, and people who eat the food will get sick.”

Trays for each kid were placed on a cart that was next to the table. These trays each contained the same food: chocolate pudding, crushed Oreo cookies, gummy worms, plastic spoons, and empty containers. Naomi handed out a tray to each of the kids. There were probably ten kids in the cooking class.

I put my tray on the table in front of me. Susan, Bobbi, and Naomi said, “Don’t place them in front of you, place them next to you because otherwise they will get dirty.”

Visitor Pass said, “Okay, how are we supposed to place it next to us because there is no table next to us?” Big Thunder Mountain Railroad said, “I know we don't have any table next to us, but we can put it beside us.” Then she said, “Oh, Visitor Pass, you are just not thinking today.”

Bobbi said, “We mean like on the side of the table in front of you.” Naomi said, “Let’s just get working!”

Everybody worked for ten minutes. We put the pudding in the empty containers first, then we put a gummy worm in it, then we covered it with dirt – I mean the Oreo crumbles!

Once everyone was done, we took off the old aprons and went outside and put on our new aprons. Then we went back inside and got some markers and made our chef hats. I put stripes on my chef hat, and I made Mickey faces too; you know -- three circles like his head. I wrote my name on my hat, “Chef so-and-so.”

Everybody put their hats on now. Naomi put all the dirt cup containers on the cart. We rolled the cart outside the clubhouse and began giving the dirt cups to people – Disney workers, vacation families, kids, and parents. We gave them away to people sitting outside on the benches, and then we gave them away to people sitting inside the Grand Floridian near the café. It took probably ten minutes or so to give all the dirt cups away.

When I handed a dirt cup to someone, they said, “Thank you,” and I said, “You’re welcome,” just like I had learned at the Wonderland Tea Party. Alice in Wonderland would be proud of my manners.

My Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa were all waiting for me inside the Grand Floridian. I gave them each a dirt cup and then the cooking class was over.

I had fun in the cooking class. I want to do the cooking class again!

- - - - - - -


Leave it to Disney to turn a pile of dirt (okay, a pile of crumbled Oreo cookies) into something delectable. My daughter was proud of what she had created in her cooking class. Heck, I bet even Disney could turn a non-cook such as myself into the next Scott Hunnel. Okay, maybe I’ve gone a little too far with that statement. However, considering all the magic that Disney had created for my vacation so far, I would never underestimate their power to turn the impossible into the possible.

Last edited by Janet2k; 02-13-2006 at 09:18 PM. Reason: To Fix Broken Links...
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Old 11-24-2003, 04:07 AM   #64
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More Words From A Future Dis’er…

Once again, my daughter had a comment to make about a Disney event. Here it is, straight from the mouth of my babe:


I want to change something about the cooking class. I want Chef Drew to come back. He was a lot of fun. He would write our names on our aprons as “Chef.” And after he wrote "Chef," he would write our real names underneath it. Then he would be like, “What is my name?” And people would call him “Chef Drew,” but I would call him “Stinky Drew” because he said he wasn’t any good at cooking (but I knew he was).


I should note that Drew had been associated with the Grand Floridian’s children’s programs since my daughter first began attending them. He was wonderful with the children, and my daughter adored him. Drew has since moved on but it is obvious that my daughter really misses him.
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Old 11-24-2003, 04:54 AM   #65
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Grand Floridian Day Four, Part 2…

Yesterday the weather people had predicted that today would be overcast and rainy. Because of the weather prediction, we decided it would be the perfect time to take a drive out to the Gulf Coast. My Mom’s sister lives out there and we were going to pay her a visit. I hadn’t seen my aunt in a while so I was looking forward to our visit.

We left the concierge lounge around 11:30 AM and headed downstairs to wait for my daughter’s cooking class to end. Around 11:45 AM the little chefs came into the lobby near the Grand Floridian Café. That is when we discovered that the cooking class had made “dirt” cups. Oh, boy! Dirt and worms! Yum! And so we spent the next fifteen minutes watching the chefs hand out their confections to the resort guests. The children seemed to be enjoying themselves and were very proud of the little cups that they were handing out.

Eventually the last dirt cup had been given away. We took my daughter and went to the front of the resort. My Dad asked the valet to retrieve his vehicle, and once it arrived under the porte cochere, my husband put my wheelchair in the back. We piled into the vehicle and began our road trip to the Gulf. My husband and daughter had never been to the Gulf before, so they were looking forward to the trip. No sooner had we left Disney property than it began to rain. And it rained all the way to the Gulf. Yes, it was a good day for a road trip.

After a few hours we arrived at my aunt’s house. Her house is on one of the Keys, and all inhabitable areas of a home on the Keys must be on the second level (or higher) due to hurricanes and flooding. Because of that fact, I knew I would have to enter her home on my butt since I could not walk up the stairs. And since it was raining, I had been wondering how I was going to accomplish that task without becoming completely filthy and soaking wet. Luckily for me, the staircase to the second level of her home wound up being an interior one. I happily scooted up the stairs on my rear-end.

The hours flew by and we found ourselves enjoying a nice dinner together. The conversation and memories flowed. It was a lovely visit. My aunt looked great and was full of energy. She was leaving for Europe a day or two later to visit one of her children and was especially excited about seeing her grandchildren again. My aunt has always been the jet-setter in the family and has had such a beautiful life. When my uncle died a year or two ago, I wondered how it would effect her. I am happy to say that once her mourning had ended, she kept up the usual pace of her life and has been living it to the fullest ever since. It was such good medicine for me to see her doing so well.

Soon it was time for our visit to end. We took a few group photos and then everyone said their good-byes. We drove back to Orlando in the same rain that we had headed out to the Gulf Coast in. But the weather hadn’t ruined our day at all, it had somehow added to the intimacy of it.

I normally don’t like to leave Disney property while I am on vacation, but I am glad that this time I made an exception to the rule. It was a lovely way to spend a day. I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
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Old 11-24-2003, 09:14 PM   #66
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Grand Floridian Day Four, Part 3…

Since we had arrived back in Walt Disney World late in the evening, my parents decided to call it a night and wished us sweet dreams.

My husband, daughter, and I went to our resort room, where we heard the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes fireworks going off. We watched them from our balcony (click here for slideshow). Once the fireworks had ended, we went to the concierge lounge in search of a late-night snack.

We found the lounge almost completely empty and yet filled with a great variety of desserts. (Not a bad combination.) My daughter informed me that she wasn’t very hungry, and so I handed her my camera and asked her to take some photos of the food offerings for the Dis. That got her pretty excited and she began happily snapping away while I enjoyed a piece of fudge and a chocolate-covered strawberry. All the photos that you see in my new “GF Royal Palm Club (Evening Offerings)” album were taken by her. I always find her photos amusing because it is fun to see things from a child’s perspective (she loves to zoom in on the food items – you’ll see this with a few of the kids’ dessert selections).

The adults’ dessert buffet table was nicely stocked with all sorts of goodies this evening (click here). We found scrumptious desserts such as the following: chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry torte, cream puffs, mini-éclairs, strawberry trifle, and mini-fruit tarts (click here).

If you wanted something that wasn’t sweet, there were deep-fried wontons to munch on (click here). Or spiced bread (click here). Heck, if you decided that you wanted something healthy, there was even a little something for you (click here).

“What about the children?” you ask. Have no fear, there was a dessert buffet especially designed for them, and at their height, too (click here).

The children’s dessert buffet contained peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (click here), cupcakes (click here), Rice Krispies Treats (click here), chocolate fudge (click here), and cookies (click here),

There were all sorts of beverages to whet your whistle with, too. Did someone say, “Got milk?” (click here). We found coffee and tea (click here), spring water and sparkling water (click here), and various evening libations (click here).

My husband never has much of a sweet tooth, and tonight was no exception. He decided that he just wanted to get to sleep, and so he left the lounge and retired to our room. Since the night was still young and there were things yet to experience, my daughter and I headed downstairs to the lobby.

Christian Frederick (click here) was playing the piano in the lobby. When the song that he was playing had come to an end, my daughter approached him and asked if she could purchase his CD. He told her that it was for sale in the gift shop, and if she brought it back to him, he would autograph it for her. And so we went to the gift shop in search of the CD.

Once the CD had been purchased, my daughter immediately brought it to Christian for his signature. She now was the proud owner of two CD’s that had been personally autographed for her while vacationing in Walt Disney World – Bob Jackson’s CD (click here) and Christian Frederick’s CD (click here). She was a very happy girl.

After Christian had completed his set, the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra struck up the band. My daughter sat down on one of the couches and I rolled up alongside her. The two of us watched and listened to the band play. We noticed some couples dancing in the corner of the lobby. They were dressed nicely and appeared as if they had specifically targeted dancing in the lobby of the resort as their evening’s entertainment. I was suddenly a little sad that my husband had retired so early. Not that it would have mattered that much since I was in a wheelchair and pretty much stuck with two left feet. So I wistfully watched the guests dance to the wonderful music.

When the band had finished playing for the night, I realized how lucky I had been that my daughter and I had decided to explore the resort this evening. Just think of what we would have missed had we let my husband lull us to sleep with “Good-Night Ladies” (click here).

Last edited by Janet2k; 08-07-2004 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 11-25-2003, 12:57 PM   #67
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Janet, what a neat way to end your day. I love the time my children and I spend together, no matter where we are. But, how much better can it get than listening to music and relaxing in the lobby of the GF.
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Old 11-25-2003, 10:23 PM   #68
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Janet,

My 7 year old told me she wants us to do some "girly" things when we go to WDW next week. You see we are outnumbered by the boys in our family. "Us girls" have to stick together. You have given me some great ideas in your reports.

My son and daughter are doing some of the GF Children Activities. I saw them on your site over a year ago. It is because of your generosity in sharing with others that I know my kids are going to have a great trip. The Concierge CMs at AKL and the Polynesian have been very helpful and attentive to our itinerary. Thanks again for sharing,

Lori
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Old 11-26-2003, 10:19 AM   #69
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I agree with helenk, that sounds like a wondeful end to the evening. Since my husband has health issues, a lot of the times he has to stay in the room so it is just me and the kids, last trip we tried to take it easy and on several nights we would end the night on the beach at BC sitting on one of the bench swings, just swinging and looking out at the lights of the boardwalk, a wonderful end to the evening.
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Old 11-26-2003, 04:10 PM   #70
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Thank you for sharing your wonderful vacation with us. You have such a way of writing that makes me feel as if I am there with you and your family. I am looking forward to the rest of the installments.
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Old 11-29-2003, 06:19 AM   #71
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Helenk, I completely agree with you – it just doesn’t get any better than listening to music and relaxing in the lobby. The simple things are usually the best (and most memorable).

Pirateofthecarolinas, I hope your children enjoy the GF’s children’s activities as much as my daughter does. Please take photos and share them with us upon your return. And let me know what girly activities you and your daughter do. I may follow your lead on my next vacation.

Terry S, sitting on the beach at the BC sounds like a wonderful way to end a day. I’m going to have to do that the next time I'm in WDW.

Torismom, I see that you’ll soon be in WDW. I’m hoping you’ll write a trip report upon your return (hint! hint!).
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Old 11-29-2003, 06:46 AM   #72
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Grand Floridian Day Five, Part 1…

This time when the phone rang, it was my turn to listen to Mickey Mouse’s wake-up call. At the end of the call, I had a big ol’ goofy grin upon my face. Too bad no one else was awake in my room to see it. I decided to let the two sleepyheads sleep while I took my shower. From what I could see, they needed their beauty sleep.

After my family was showered and dressed, we joined my parents in the concierge lounge for a quick bite to eat. I let my Mom talk me into some fresh fruit (and one decadent sweet roll). Then it was time for everyone to head over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We were going to join up with Nutz4dzny’s family for a ride out to WeFullTime’s place. WeFullTime had graciously invited us to her home.

Once we had arrived at WeFullTime’s home, she and her husband gave us the red carpet tour. My family had never seen anything like their home before and we were amazed by it. It had every convenience known to humankind – satellite hookup, closed-circuit cameras, surround-sound stereo, hydraulic leveling, and more. And to top that off, it was spacious and beautifully appointed. WeFullTime and her husband were wonderful tour guides, and we learned so much from them about their home and their lifestyle. I was very happy that we had the opportunity to visit with them in their beautiful home.

After our visit was over, it was time for WeFullTime’s husband, Nutz4dzny’s husband, and my husband to head out to the Bass Pro Shop. I forgot (drats!) to take my husband’s credit card away from him before they left, and so I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering about the damage that he might do with it (my husband is a fishing and golf nut, and the store that they were going to visit contained both of those hobbies, yikes!).

While the men went shopping, the ladies (and my Dad) headed back to Walt Disney World. WeFullTime and Nutz4dzny joined us at the Grand Floridian because WeFullTime had never seen a deluxe room in the main building before. Since she had kindly given us a tour of her home, I was happy to be able to do the same for her. Once the tour was over, everyone sat in the lounge and chatted for a bit. Soon it was time for WeFullTime and Nutz4dzny to return to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We had had so much fun with them today that I was sad to see them leave.

Shortly after they had left, my husband returned from his shopping spree. I was a little afraid to see what he had purchased, especially when I noticed that he had placed (a.k.a., hidden) his package in our room’s wet bar. When I finally got the chance to view the receipt, I was relieved to find that he had not spent very much money (that was uncharacteristic of him, not that I’m complaining, mind you!).

Since it was another glorious Florida day, with not a cloud in the sky, we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the pool for the rest of the afternoon.

While we were at the pool, the Cast Members walked around asking the children if they would like to play a game of piñata. My daughter loves games and thus jumped at the chance to play. (Please click here for my on-line photo album of the event.)

The piñata was shaped like a bat (click here for photo) and the Cast Members placed it on a pole that they held up high above the children’s heads (click here for photo). There weren’t any sticks to strike the piñata with but there was a broom that could be held backwards and used as a stick (click here for photo).

It was fun watching the children attempt to break the piñata open. Each child was allowed one swing, and then they had to pass the broomstick to the next child in line. Some children missed the piñata completely at first, but by their second or third turn, they were able to strike it. No matter how hard the children struck the piñata, though, it would not break open. The children were getting frustrated so one of the Cast Members decided to whack the piñata until it broke. When it broke open, the trinkets inside flew everywhere (click here for photo).

The children immediately began scooping up the trinkets (click here for photo). The trinkets were plastic rings (fashion rings, black spider rings, and white spider rings), ghost-shaped whistles (black and white), and scary fingertip puppets (click here for photo). My daughter got a handful of trinkets and was a happy camper.

After admiring her trinkets, my daughter went back into the pool and took a few more trips down the waterslide. Soon it was time for us to head back to our room in order to get ready for the “999 Happy Haunts” event that was being held after hours in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park. My parents were not joining us for the event, so they said goodbye and we parted ways.

Last edited by Janet2k; 08-07-2004 at 04:00 AM.
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Old 11-29-2003, 08:12 AM   #73
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Grand Floridian Day Five, Part 2…

The “999 Happy Haunts” event was scheduled to begin at 8 PM in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park. This was a ticketed event that had sold out in advance. Last year this event was offered for the first time and my daughter and I had attended it during our “Mother & Daughter” vacation. This year my husband was joining us.

There were three different levels of event packages. When the packages first went on sale, I almost purchased the Phineas package. Since that package came with accommodations at the Grand Floridian, of which I already had a room reservation, I decided not to purchase it. Plus, I would have only purchased the package for myself due to the cost of it and that wouldn’t have been much fun. I next considered purchasing the Gus package. That package came with accommodations at the Coronado Springs Resort. Again, I already had a room reservation, so I decided not to purchase it. The third package was the Ezra package, and it didn’t come with any room accommodations. I found that package perfect for my family’s needs and thus purchased it.

I should probably explain the three levels of “999 Happy Haunts” event packages for those of you who are unfamiliar with this Magic Kingdom Theme Park after-hours event. The following info regarding each of these packages was posted on the Internet:

- - - - - - -
"Phineas" Event Package:
Monday October 27, - Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Haunted Mansion Exclusive Dinner: Take part in an exclusive dining experience among the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion. Guests will enjoy a spirited reception and elegantly themed dinner with Special Guests and haunting entertainment inside the Haunted Mansion attraction.
This event package will also include the following offers:
Two nights' accommodation at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort& Spa (10/27-28/03).
Exclusive Dining experience inside the Haunted Mansion attraction (10/27/03)
Plated Dining Experience (10/28/03)
Seminar Experience (10/28/03)
Haunted Dining Experience in the Graveyard of Frights at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort (10/28/03)
Meet & Greet with Artists of the 999 Haunted Mansion Event Merchandise (10/28/03)
Breakfast in the Graveyard of Frights at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort (10/29/03)
Transportation between Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (10/28-29/03)
Preferred Seating for our Haunting Live Auction and Entertainment (10/29/03)
Entry into Magic Kingdom(10/29/2003 after 8:00 p.m. for event only)
Frightful Dinner Buffet throughout Liberty Square (10/29/03)
Walk around entertainment and activities (10/29/03)
Photo opportunities (10/29/03)
Ride on Haunted Mansion and other attractions throughout Frontierland (10/29/03)
Opportunity to Pre-Purchase Limited-Edition 999 Happy Haunts Event Commemorative Gifts
Tickets for this event package are $2,250 per person. Limited to 25 Guests.
- - - - - - -
"Gus" Event Package:
Tuesday, October 28, - Wednesday, October 29,2003
This event package will include the following offers:
One night Hotel accommodation at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort (10/28/03).
Seminar Experience (10/28/03)
Haunted Dining Experience in the Graveyard of Frights (10/28/03)
Meet & Greet with Artists of the 999 Haunted Mansion Event Merchandise (10/28/03)
Breakfast in the Graveyard of Frights (10/29/03)
Preferred Seating for our Haunting Live Auction and Entertainment (10/29/03)
Bus transportation between Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and the Magic Kingdom
Entry into Magic Kingdom (on 10/29/03 after 8:00 p.m. for event)
Buffet dinner throughout Liberty Square (10/29/03)
Walk around entertainment and activities (10/29/03)
Photo opportunities (10/29/03)
Ride on Haunted Mansion and other attractions throughout Frontierland (10/29/03)
Opportunity to Pre-Purchase Limited-Edition 999 Happy Haunts Event Merchandise
Commemorative Gifts
Tickets for this event package are $450 per person. Limited to 275 Guests.
- - - - - - -
"Ezra" Event Package:
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
This event package will include the following offers:
Entry into the Live Auction/ Entertainment Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Bus transportation between Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and the Magic Kingdom
Entry into Magic Kingdom (after 8:00 p.m. for event only)
Buffet dinner throughout Liberty Square
Walk around entertainment and activities
Photo opportunities
Ride on Haunted Mansion and other attractions throughout Frontierland
Opportunity to Pre-Purchase Limited-Edition 999 Happy Haunts Event Merchandise
Commemorative Gift
Tickets for this portion of the event are $109.99 per person. Limited availability.

- - - - - - -

For several weeks after I had purchased the Ezra package for my family, I had considered upgrading it to the Gus package. The fact that we didn’t need the accommodations at the Coronado Springs Resort eventually kept me from doing so. When I broke my leg and became disabled, well, my whole vacation suddenly was put into jeopardy. At that point I was awfully glad that I had decided to stick with the Ezra package. If I had to cancel the vacation, I would only lose $330 (the cost of the Ezra package) and not $1,350 (the cost of the Gus package). That meant less pressure on me to keep the vacation for purely monetary reasons.

When my cast was removed before I left for Florida, I suddenly found myself in a lot of pain. Because of that sad fact, I had made arrangements with Event Services to pre-register at my resort instead of at the Coronado Springs Resort. As promised, a few days before the “999 Happy Haunts” event began, my family’s registration packets arrived at the Grand Floridian, along with the event merchandise that we had purchased. I was very grateful that Event Services had consented to arrange this for my family; it made things much easier for me.

Since we were pre-registered, we did not go to the Coronado Springs Resort for the pre-event activities; therefore, when 8 PM hit, I rolled my wheelchair onto the monorail and we rode over to the Magic Kingdom for the party’s start. There were several people in our monorail car who were heading to the party. How did I know this? By the event lanyards found around their necks (click here for photo).

When we arrived in the Magic Kingdom, we found it lit up in holiday style. Halloween-style, that is. If you have been to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, it is not decorated as elaborately as that party is, but there were some Halloween lighting effects on Main Street (I don’t remember that having been done during last year’s Happy Haunts Ball event). We saw the witch and the Mickey-bat floating up and down the buildings along Main Street, and the Haunted Mansion music played throughout the street (always a nice touch during an after-hours party). Cinderella’s castle was lit up eerily, too (click here for photo).

My daughter wanted to ride the Haunted Mansion ride and so we headed directly to it. Since I was in my wheelchair and incapable of boarding the doom buggy vehicle in the normal manner (that is, on two feet), I requested they stop the ride to let me board. The Cast Member told me that the handicap-vehicle would be coming around in a few minutes, so I should just sit tight. Since we had arrived at the party so early, as the doom buggies went by, I counted only two guests in the hundred or so doom buggies that had passed us by. That made me happy because I didn’t want to feel like I was inconveniencing the rest of the guests by requesting the ride be stopped so that I could board it.

Eventually, the handicap doom buggy vehicle approached and the Cast Member stopped the ride for me. I hopped to the first doom buggy and sat down in it with my daughter. My husband rode by himself in the next doom buggy. Once we were boarded, the ride was started and away we went. My whole family loves the Haunted Mansion ride. It’s always a thrill whenever we get to ride it. I was awfully glad that I decided to ride it this evening (I almost didn’t).

After the ride had completed, the Cast Member stopped it so that I could disembark. I hopped the few feet to my wheelchair and plopped myself down in its seat.

Once we exited the Haunted Mansion, we were bathed in black lights. We started making scary faces because our eyes and teeth glowed eerily. I think we easily spent fifteen minutes hamming it up underneath the black lights:
Scary Photo # 1 (click here)
Scary Photo # 2 (click here)
Scary Photo # 3 (click here)
Scary Photo # 4 (click here)

Luckily, it was still early enough in the event so that not too many guests were around to see our silly antics. We had a lot of fun posing for our photos.

We walked (and wheeled) around a bit. We pretty much stumbled into this Haunted Mansion float where a Cast Member beckoned to us (click here for photo). We happily posed for a photo with him.

The event included a buffet dinner, and since we were hungry, we went in search of food. We quickly found a couple food stations and finally chose this one because its line was short (click here for photo). The dinner was good and included rolls, salad, potatoes, roast beef, dessert, and drinks (either soft or hard).

After we had eaten, we wandered around some more. My husband and daughter rode the Aladdin ride while I watched from the ground. All three of us rode the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (I did not forget my painful boarding experience on this ride earlier in the week and used extreme caution while boarding the ride this evening).

We were lucky to have seen the Headless Horseman twice during the event (we were at the right place at the right time). However, we missed the dancing gravediggers (I learned of them two weeks later from www.doombuggies.com).

At one point during the evening, the three of us had our photo taken in a doom buggy (click here for blurry photo).

Before we knew it, the event was over and we picked up our cookies on the way out (click here for photo).

Compared to last year, I thought this year’s event ran much smoother. I was disappointed, however, that there weren’t as many rides operating this year as there were last year. Will we attend the event next year if it is offered? You bet. It is always fun to have the opportunity to purchase limited-edition merchandise that is based on the Haunted Mansion ride. And it is always fun to hang out with fellow Haunted Mansion lovers, especially the www.doombuggies.com crowd. In my humble opinion, Haunted Mansion lovers are a great group of people.

Last edited by Janet2k; 01-03-2004 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 11-29-2003, 09:14 AM   #74
tammydel
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Janet2k-
Your trip report is "magical"! Thank you so much for sharing!

I am especially interessted in how it was managing in you chair. I am planning a trip that includes my grandmother who will need to be in a wheelchair. She can manage a few steps with assistance but has great difficulty stepping up or down.

I am spending a good bit of time over at the DISabilities board (they are a kind and helpful bunch!) But I am still looking for more detailed info on boarding Haunted Mansion and Pirates otC. You don't happen to have any pictures? I realize how little chance of that there is as I am sure everyone in your party was boarding or assisting you and not standing around with a camera taking pictures!!! But just in case...I am guessing the Doombuggie is reasonably flat, with a small step in, it is the PotC that I am worried about, especially after reading the trouble it caused you. Am I right to understand that while you can roll down to the boarding area, you are then on you own to step down into the boat and back up out at the end. No other accomadations, other then your party helping you out? I think my gram would LOVE this ride but I am not sure she could safely get in and out of the boat.

I am a DVC member at BCV so I can't wait to here how accomidating DVC rooms are with a wheelchair. We are thinking of VWL for Thanksgiving (for the atmosphere!) and am hoping that your Villa expereince at BCV may be similar to VWL???

Thanks for any info you may have, hope your leg continues to improve and I can't wait to here about your next magical day!!!

Tammy
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Old 11-29-2003, 05:26 PM   #75
helenk
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Thank you for your posts Janet, I figured with Thanksgiving you'd be busy but I was getting anxious to read more about your trip!
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