1st time F&W, MNSSHP, Africa Trek & no kids! (Updated 5/11/14)

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by saintstickets, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Hello fellow DISers!! This will be my 5th TR but it will be our first time at F&W and MNSSHP. Our previous TR links are listed below.

    A little background is in order. Before 2009, DW and I had each visited WDW and DL several times with our families before we were married. After we were married in 1982, we had trips to WDW in 1985, 1997 & 2007. As our children started leaving the nest, we were looking for something to take up our time and we discovered DVC in late 2009. We were hooked! Our first purchase was a 50pt contract at OKW. Before our first DVC trip, we bought another 50pt contract at BWV and the dreaded "addonitis" DVC disease was firmly entrenched. In total, we have bought and sold 7 small point contracts (40, 50, 75 or 100pts) at OKW, BWV, BCV & AKV. As it stands right now, we own at BWV & BCV. I emphasize "right now" because the lure of the new DVC resorts forthcoming at the Grand Floridian and the Poly could very well draw us in!

    Now to the upcoming trip...DW and I will leave our little bedroom community of Petal, MS on Friday, 10/18 around 2pm and drive to somewhere in FL and spend the night. The next day, we will arrive in WDW with reservations at BCV from 10/19-10/27/13. Here is our scheduled itinerary...

    10/19/13 (Sat) - Check in at BCV. Go to Customer Svcs and get PAP (we purchased the special DVC deal last year), TIW discount dining card and check on our Photopass + and MNSSHP purchases as well as our Magic Bands. Originally we had no dining plans for this day but I read where Chef Remy is leaving Les Chefs de France on 10/24/13 so we made ADR's at 4:40pm in time for his 5:20pm appearance.

    10/20/13 (Sun) - MK today. Using My Disney Experience, we have FastPass+ reservations at Meet Mickey, It's a Small World & Enchanted Tales with Belle. We have never experienced any character greet and meets so we will try to do that as much as possible this trip. We will head back to the BCV later for an ADR that night at Cape May Clam Bake.

    10/21/13 (Mon) - DW has an early massage scheduled at Mandara's in the Dolphin resort. I will take my camera and try to make rope drop and get some "empty" park pics. Later we have FastPass+ reservations in EPCOT at Soarin, Mission Space & Test Track. We have F&W reservations at the Italian Regional Luncheon. The rest of the day will be spent "grazing" at F&W.

    10/22/13 (Tue) - To start the day, we will tour the new DVC villas at the Grand Floridian. We were invited to do this on 10/15 so I had to edit this post. During the day today, we will probably go to DTD and do a little shopping, ride the balloon flight and try Earl of Sandwich for the first time. Later, we have reservations for our 1st MNSSHP! DW and I have Top Gun-Maverick & Goose costumes to wear. Trying to find adult Halloween costumes that weren't TOO "adult" for WDW proved to be more difficult than expected. DW's flight suit would never pass a REAL military inspection as it is a bit short :scared1: Colored Spanx hopefully will make it somewhat more comfortable to her! I didn't see anything wrong with it at all but maybe that's just a man's perspective? :woohoo:

    10/23/13 (Wed) - This is a DHS day. We have FastPass+ reservations at Tower of Terror, Rock n Roller Coaster & Toy Story Mania. We are going to try and do the Animation class for the 1st time too. We will return to Todd English's Bluezoo that night for dinner.

    10/24/13 (Thurs) - Another 1st for us today...we will take the Wild Africa Trek in AK this morning! I'm looking forward to this after many other DISboard TR reviews. It is a 3 hour tour. We have FastPass+ reservations that afternoon at Expedition Everest & FOTLK. I hope to ride one of my favorite rides, Kali River Rapids, in time to dry off before our ADR at Tusker House that night.

    10/25/13 (Fri) - Not much planned for this day. We have an ADR at Yachtsman Steakhouse for late tonight but nothing planned during the day. We are thinking about visiting a water park, playing putt putt golf, a couples spa massage or more food grazing at F&W. Any suggestions?

    10/26/13 (Sat) - We have a reservation at the F&W Cheese Seminar @ 10:30 today and then one of the highlights of this trip...we will meet DISboard member MEK and her husband Denny at Rose & Crown this evening for dinner! Woohoo! :banana:

    10/27/13 (Sun) - Head back to Mississippi. It is about a 10-11 hour drive, depending on the number of pit-stops. I'll have to listen to satellite radio to hear my beloved Saints play at noon vs the Buffalo Bills so if you see a dark gray Tahoe with erratic driving somewhere along I-10, you'll know it's me!!

    Those are the plans fellow DISboarders. Any and all suggestions will be welcome. I'm not sure how much I will post prior to the trip as we are making our plans for our scheduled trip next June, 2014 when we take 2 of our children and their spouses and then as soon as we return from this trip, our 11 month window opens up for us to make reservations for a combo DCL cruise with a WDW stay! Gotta get as many trips in as we can to use those Annual Passes and the TIW card! :lmao:
     
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  3. 2xcited2sleep

    2xcited2sleep DIS Veteran

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    Woo Hoo! You are going to love Food & Wine and the Wild Africa Trek! Not to mention MEK & Denny. :) I heard about remy leaving Chef's...I am surprised as I thought he was quite a draw. Happily we are eating there this trip as well. Speaking of which...see ya around BCV! I will be there with my niece starting this Wed! :yay:
     
  4. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Thx Christine. We are really looking forward to this trip. How long will you be at BCV?
     
  5. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along! :)
     
  6. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Welcome aboard!! :wave2:
     
  7. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    I had to add this...Tuesday morning, the day before their grand opening, we are touring the new DVC villas at the Grand Floridian! Looking forward to this but I sure hope "addonitis" doesn't strike!!! :sad2:
     
  8. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Has it really been nearly 4 months since I posted? :guilty:
    I guess it's time to kick this TR in the gear! :woohoo:
    To refresh your memory (and mine for that matter!), we stayed at BCV from Saturday, October 19th until Sunday, October 27th. We were at WDW during the F&W festival and MNSSHP. Our plans changed a bit, as they always do, but we had a great time....so much so, we are returning for F&W this October, 2014! Now...if anyone is still following, we shall begin....
     
  9. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    No followers? Anyone? Bueller? Oh well.....

    We usually drive to WDW from our home in south Mississippi and this trip was no exception. The difference for us is that instead of driving the 10-11 hours straight through, we left around noon on Friday and stopped near Tallahassee, FL in Midway, FL. Nothing exciting happened on this leg of the trip. We stayed in a Comfort Inn Suites, ate at Denny’s since it was late and bought some Florida Lottery tickets (no winner yet….sighhhh).

    We were up bright and early Saturday morning. Finally, here we are!
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  10. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    We pulled in under the porte-cochere and I was very disappointed. No Welcome Home! No can I help you? No NOTHING! I stood there for about 5 minutes waiting for someone to approach us and nothing. This was a first for us. There were several CM bellhops standing around talking to each other. There were 3 CM host/hostesses standing around talking to each other. Talk about a mood changer. I was floored. Finally I walked over to a CM and asked if we could check in! No I’m sorry or anything….she just asked for our name and pointed to the doors and told us to go in there. Granted, all of the CM’s that were outside were in their 20’s but that is no excuse, especially for Disney. It is definitely not what we were accustomed to at WDW.

    Nevertheless, we went inside to check in. I asked what room we were assigned and they told me a room on the 2nd floor. I told them I had requested an upper floor room near the elevators. Thankfully, this CM was much more accommodating and we were given room #460. This is a studio that is mere steps from the elevator with a quiet pool view.

    On the way to the BCV rooms
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    Inside BCV
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  11. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Some people complain about the long hallways but we didn’t find it bad at all. One thing we did notice was that there were CM maintenance men nearly every day touching up the painted trim work in the halls. We noticed that a few people would park their scooters in the hall at night to charge them up for the next day. The halls are plenty wide enough that this didn’t cause a problem. To be polite (I know, shocked to hear that from me, right?), some of the scooter users are better drivers than others. Therefore, the baseboards in the halls will get scuffed up from time to time. It was my guess that this is why the CM’s were always touching up the trim work to keep it looking nice. Maybe we were there during a scheduled time for this but it was nice to see it regardless.

    And here we are
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    Views from our room balcony during the day and at night
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  12. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    I must forewarn anyone that this TR will be pic heavy. I took over 1200 pictures during this trip but I promise to not post them all….well, I’ll try not to anyway!

    Once we were in the room, it was no time before our luggage arrived. A quick unpack of a few items and we’re on our way to the International Gateway to EPCOT to activate our DVC PAP’s we had purchased at a special price last year. There were only 2 CM’s at Guest Services and I believe everyone tried to do the same thing at the same time. It was a LONG line. It was moving along fairly well until 2 people had problems and we did not move for 30 minutes. Obviously someone saw the line was stalled so out of nowhere appears a CM from Buenos Aires, Argentina to talk to those in line, answer questions and do what she could to make the wait more bearable. In my elder years, I’ve become less shy about talking to strangers and as a result, we met a nice couple from NJ behind us. They too were DVC members and activating their PAP’s. Between our conversations with them and the CM working the line, it was no time until we were at the window. They took our Magic Bands we had received in the mail, did their Disney magic and we had our PAP’s, our room keys, TIW discount dining deal, credit card charging, our dining reservations, F&W luncheon reservations and tickets to MNSSHP and Wild Africa Trek all loaded to the bands! WHEW!! The only thing they were unable to put on the MB’s was our PhotoPass+ we had pre-purchased. We were told we had to go to the Camera Center at the front of EPCOT to activate those. I understand that now, the Memory Maker (replaced PhotoPass) can be loaded on your MB’s as well.

    On the way to the Camera Center, we had to stop and listen to these guys for a bit. They are always entertaining.
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    While we were at the Camera Center, the very friendly CM saw from our prepaid purchase that we were from Mississippi. She told us that she had been married in Natchez, MS. Well shut my mouth! That is where DW and I were born and reared, married and had our children until we moved to our current city of Petal, MS. We talked about the various landmarks, the numerous antebellum homes and how she loved the Natchez Pilgrimage Tableaux. The Tableaux is a play of sorts that has individual tableaus (scene or short story depicting an event and performed by people in period dress) starting from the early French settlement in 1716 up through the War of Northern Aggression (the Civil War for those above the Mason-Dixon line :rolleyes1<-is he whistling Dixie?). It is put on by the local Garden Clubs and uses locals to perform. We told the CM the various roles each of us had played while in Natchez from dancing in the Maypole (both of us) to Confederate General (me) to dancing lead in the Soiree (DW) among other roles. It was an enjoyable reminiscence and in no time we were good to go. We’re always amazed at how we meet people everywhere that have lived in Mississippi, especially considering how few live here. DW and I were at Aulani in 2012 celebrating our 30th anniversary and went to the swap meet at Aloha stadium. Those of you that followed that TR might remember how we were looking at some jewelry from this woman with an obvious Germanic accent. I asked where she was from and she said she was born in Germany but moved to Hawaii from a small town in Mississippi that we probably never heard of. It was Petal, MS….where we live! Imagine that?! She had been in Hawaii for a while but we got to talking and both knew some of the same people. Not to sound too corny but Walt had it right, it is a small world after all.
     
  13. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Magic Bands loaded and PP+ cards in hand, we were getting hungry. Can you guess where we ate?
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    That’s right, we stopped at Sunshine Seasons Food Court. We have ADRs later at Le Chefs so we split a turkey sandwich. I’m going to try something new this TR. I will rate our dining experiences. Here is the rating system I will use…

    A+ Fantastic. Hands down best of the best.
    A Superb but something keeps it from being an A+. It could be something small that only happened this visit but we will return without a doubt.
    A- Excellent but maybe small portions, pricey, atmosphere, etc keeps it from being rated higher.
    B+ Great, great place
    B Very Very Good and definitely worth going again
    B- Very Good and will visit again but not first choice
    C+ Okay food but probably will not go again
    C Edible but will not go again

    It’s a crude rating system and before anyone makes a decision to visit one of these places based on my rating, remember that this is our experience and we could go again tomorrow and have a different experience. We have not been to any of the restaurants multiple times so we cannot compare to see if our experience is consistent or a one time thing. We try to go to different restaurants each time we go to WDW. At some point we will run out of new places but that’s a good thing because it will mean we have been a lot of times!!! :thumbsup2

    With all that said, we have to give Sunshine Seasons a solid B. The food is good and the prices are reasonable (for Disney prices anyway). There isn’t much atmosphere because it’s a quick service and you have little interaction with CM’s for the same reason. For QS places, it’s one of the best. With my rating system, it will be hard to get above a B for a QS so don’t miss this place if you are in the area and want something small or an ample meal to fill you up. The selection of options is one of the most extensive in all of WDW for a QS restaurant.
     
  14. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Since we were already in the area, we decided to ride Living With The Land. A few pics from the ride

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    Did I mention earlier that this TR would be pic heavy? :lmao:
     
  15. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    We need to start making our way back to France for our ADR so no other rides at this time. We did stop here though and tried a few samples for the first time ever

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    China watermelon drink – oh yes. Mozambique ginger – not bad. Italy beverly – oh heck no!!

    After a few sour faces and few pleasant ones, we passed by the cranberry bog.

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  16. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Then as we entered the World Showcase again, I always love seeing Canada’s Victoria Gardens

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    And I always have to take a picture of this garden in France for obvious reasons

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    We checked in at Les Chefs de France for our ADR and while we were waiting, we enjoyed watching the balancing act performed by this guy

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    And now on with the show

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    I wonder if this same guy ever dropped a plate while serving in the restaurant? :eek:
     
  17. nat1234

    nat1234 Mouseketeer

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    Hi there. Just wanted to let you know how much I'm enjoying your pictures. It is bringing back some memories. I was there for the start of food & wine at the end of September 2013. We also attended MNSSHP. Can't wait to see what you thought of it.:)
     
  18. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much Natalie for the kind words. This was our first F&W / MNSSHP so stayed tune for more!
     
  19. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    After watching the balancing act in front of...
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    ...it was time to eat.

    This also is a first for us. We really LOVED Bistro de Paris that was upstairs over Les Chefs but it has been refurbished as a new restaurant named Monsieur Paul. Bistro had repeatedly been named the best Theme Park restaurant in Florida and for years had been a AAA four diamond selection. For us, Bistro was the 2nd best restaurant in WDW topped only by V&A. Change is inevitable I guess so I’m glad we tried Bistro before the refurb. But for this trip, we made last minute ADR’s at Les Chefs for a reason that will be revealed later.

    We were seated and CM Teddy waited on us. I didn’t get a picture of him but you ladies might want to ask for him. DW admitted he was easy on the eyes! For appetizers, I had the Soupe a l’oignon gratinee (onion soup topped with gruyere cheese) and DW had the Bisque de homard (lobster bisque). DW started off with a glass of Pinot Noir and I had a Pinot Blanc. I’m not very good at food porn photography, mainly because we start eating before I remember to take a picture but I’ll insert a few from time to time. Here are our appetizers
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    Both were very good. Nothing to rant and rave about but as I said, very good.

    Before our entrees arrived, the main reason we are eating at Les Chefs has arrived. We read that the rascally rat Chef Remy was leaving Les Chefs next week for good and we have never seen him. Before long, he made his rounds
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    The skit was funny and CM Amelie took ample time to talk to us. I’m glad we were able to see Chef Remy.
     
  20. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    Now for the entrees. DW had the Filet de saumon, pommes de terre ecrasees au beurre et ciboulette, sur coulis de tomate et poivron rouge and I had the Plat de cote de boeuf au cabernet avee pates. Now before anyone gets a silly idea that I am some kind of connoisseur, don’t. I can copy menus with the best of them. If you want to know what we had in my words, it would be broiled salmon with mashed taters served with a tomato/pepper sauce and short ribs with noodles! Here are the pics

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    Regardless of how you say it, the salmon was excellent and the ribs were very good but the onion/mushroom sauce on the pasta was a little bland.

    Now for dessert. DW had the Crème Brulee and I had the Fraisier, sorbet et coulis aux fruits rouges. In my words, crème brulee (how else could you say it?) and strawberry cake with red berry sauce and flavored frozen water. Both desserts were great and I managed to get pics before we ate them

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    As for our dining rating – A-. We were pleasantly surprised by Les Chefs. For the most part, the food was great and CM Teddy was there when we needed him and not hovering when we didn’t (maybe to the chagrin of DW but we must all make sacrifices from time to time). The restaurant was not very crowded when we were there but I can see it being very noisy if it was packed. For us, on this visit, it was definitely an A- but I could see it being a lesser rating when crowded and without Chef Remy in the future.

    We paid for our meal by using our Magic Bands as easy as could be and we were out of there. But was it easy? More on that much later.
     
  21. saintstickets

    saintstickets DIS Veteran

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    We were pretty stuffed and it had been a long day so we decided to meander on back to BCV. That is what is so nice about staying at Beach Club, Yacht Club or the Boardwalk. A short walk and you’re home. As we were walking over the bridge between France and UK, there was a PhotoPass photographer taking pics with France in the background. We paid for it so why not use it, right? Here is his first pic

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    Then he told me to give her a kiss so I had to oblige

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    As I handed him my PP+ card to scan, I leaned in and told the CM, “You know, you really shouldn’t ask a brother and sister to kiss for a picture” :eek: and walked away. DW looked at the CM and asked me what I said to him. I asked her why and she said he had a look of total shock on his face. I told her what I said and because we’ve been married over 31 years, she wasn’t nearly as shocked. She just gave me her normal rolling of the eyes along with a shaking of the head and a quiet sigh that said, “Why am I not surprised?” :rotfl2:

    It was a nice stroll back to the room and a nice night as you can see by this picture. It did not rain but the clouds kept it somewhat cool.
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    We had a very good first day despite a few hiccups along the way. Too many people allow those hiccups to totally ruin their vacation but not us. We expect them and get past them as quickly as possible. The sooner you move on, the sooner you can enjoy the trip. We’ve had much larger hiccups on trips before and have gotten past them to remember the trip for the good times instead. This is not the last hiccup we had on this trip and definitely not the worse. Stay tuned to see what happens!
     

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