2400 pictures! Beach Club, Universal, and Bay Lake Tower Grand Villa-COMPLETE!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by dr&momto2boys, May 15, 2010.

  1. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    We just returned from a pretty impromtu trip to Mall of America. Did I mention we're from near Chicago? My DH loves road trips. We drove 3 1/2 hours or more each day for 4 days going there and back. We stopped and did things everyday too.

    We left Thurday night after work and drove to Wisconsin. We got to our vacation house at around midnight. We spent Friday morning at a beach on a small lake all by ourselves. That was fun! Then we drove to Minnesota and had dinner at Rainforest Cafe that night. We looked around a little that night and let the kids see what was in store for them Saturday. We had a free night stay at the Hyatt Regency which is what prompted this trip!

    Saturday morning we had breakfast at the hotel. They had a pretty good buffet and kids 5 and under ate free so that's a great deal for us! (All our kids are 5 and under!) We got to the mall just before it opened at 10am and bought all day wristbands for unlimited rides at the theme park in the mall called Nickelodian Universe. It's amazing how many rides they have in there! We spent until about 6pm mostly at the theme park. We did spend a little time shopping. We HAD to go to the Disney Store of course! :laughing: We bought Jake and Max Toy Story (Woody and Buzz) pajamas for the Fall/Winter. We drove back toward Wisconsin and stopped at an Old Country buffet for dinner. We got to our Wisconsin house at about 10:30pm

    I made everyone get up early this morning to get back home relatively early. We got home at about 12:30pm. Not bad. We're all just tired and sick of the being in the car! Crazy DH! He was bummed that the giant ball of twine was too far from the Mall of America to justify going to see it! :rotfl: He's nuts!
     
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  3. dd50

    dd50 DIS Veteran

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    What fun. My kids have wanted to go to the Mall of America for years but we have never been.
     
  4. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    :sad2: I can't believe I let my TR get to page 4!

    I haven't forgotten about it, but am going to the boonies (no internet) tomorrow for a week, so it will be a while before another update. Sorry!
     
  5. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    Okay! Back from up north! I'm working on an update! I hope I haven't lost all my readers! :goodvibes
     
  6. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    Here's a nice AK picture to get me back on track.
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    Where was I? Oh yes, time for an ice cream break and the Jammin' Jungle Parade! I consider myself a WDW expert (maybe not to some here on the DISboards, but certainly compared to the general public) and we have never taken the time to see the AK parade! It's about time!

    We found an ice cream cart and sat down for a couple minutes. While we were there we determined it wasn't a bad place to watch the parade--we had seats and were in the shade--so we just stayed put! We had a while before the parade started though, so I took Jacob into the nearby store as he was still on the lookout for a souvenir for Grandma to buy him. He tried on this reversable hat (try to stop him!), but ended up not selecting anything here. Did I mention he likes to keep his options open? He needs to see everything first to make sure he doesn't miss out on the best thing. :rotfl:
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    For the readers who may be interested in nursing facilities...we were also right next to nursing station so Ella took advantage. This was the only place we had to wait to nurse. Normally these places look abandoned! Here they had individual stalls/rooms and they were full. I think there were two or three rooms. There was another lady waiting also who said she'd been wainting for a while, so Ella and I left. Ella would rather be out socializing than waiting to nurse.

    Here's the bunch waiting for the parade to begin...
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    And finally...
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    This is just a sampling of pictures of the parade. There were lots of characters, huge animals pulled and animated by a single Cast member, and floats including some with families that got to ride on them. My favorite was Donald's pulling his boat that had sprung a leak and was squirting water out of it. I love the detail! It was a good parade and I'm glad we finally saw it!

    After the parade though it is a mass of people swarming to the exit! Since AK closes early, most people leave right after the parade. We did too! :lmao: See the birds pointing to the exit?
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    We took the bus to The Wilderness Lodge for dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe.
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    Here are the kids waiting. They play so nicely with their cousins! It keeps everyone occupied. I don't know why we ever travel without them!
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  7. dd50

    dd50 DIS Veteran

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    Love your son's face with the hat on. Don't think he was impressed. It didn't seem to go with the face paint. I have a daughter like that, she won't spend any money until she see's every thing. Another one will spend it all as soon as she gets in the store and then wish she didn't.

    Nice pics of the parade. We didn't see the parade last year, hopefully this year.
     
  8. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    So you saw what the kids looked like before getting on the bus to the Wilderness Lodge. Here we are getting off the bus...
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    Max was completely out! I think only Ella had any energy left! Good thing, because she was kicked out of her stroller!
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    We had an ADR at Whispering Canyon Cafe. We were all tired and threw ourselves onto the comfortable chairs in the lobby. The kids played with the Lincoln Logs while we waited to be seated.
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    I'm not sure why I took this picture, but it shows both the crashed family members and the kids playing at the table in the background.
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    Although they always tell us when we make ADRs for 11 people that we may be seated at more than one table, I don't recall it happening once. We were seated all the way at the back of the restaurant where one side of the table was a long booth bench. That worked out perfectly for our sleeping Max. You don't want to wake a sleeping Panda! :laughing:

    The kids entertained themselves as usual. [​IMG]

    The chef was quick to come and visit to discuss the special dietary requirements, but the it took a while for our order to be taken. In fact just before we placed our order, Max woke up. Good thing or we probably wouldn't have ordered anything for him.

    The waiter really tried to upsell, but in a nice way instead of just trying to pad the bill for their own benefit like at Rose & Crown. He was sure to inform us that shakes could be ordered as drinks on the DDP and he made sure we all ordered dessert to go.

    In case you're not familiar with Whispering Canyon Cafe, the rowdy waiters are part of the fun! Ours threw tons of napkins and straws all over the table--even on the baby's head! They delivered a soda in what seemed like a half gallon glass to one of us, and when the table next to us asked for ketchup they shouted across the restaurant until the last table that had the ketchup ran over tons of bottles to the new table.
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    I know the WCC dining reviews are mixed, but we enjoy it! Most of us had the skillet and it was very good. Kyle got his own special skillet too. Like I've said before, WDW is a good place to have food allergies! They do have kids skillets in general--I'm not sure if there was anything different about Kyle's or just that they cooked it in an allergy free environment.
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    Occasionally there are kids activities in this restaurant too--like riding stick horses. This is always appreciated by parents, giving us a little more time to finish our meals without the kids going nuts!
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    The kids went back back to play with the Lincoln Logs while we waited for our desserts to go. I thin k this picture of a sad Max is too cute! He got upset that his brother and cousin weren't sharing and went to tell Grandma. I guess I think it's sweet because my kids don't see Grandma all that much, so this was definately a sign that all this time together on vacation has deepened their bond.
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  9. Native NYer

    Native NYer DIS Veteran

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    Just read all of your updates and am loving your tr. Your kids are adorable!
    The GV at BLT is beautiful!
    Staying onsite at Universal is definitely worth it.
    Looking forward to reading more!
     
  10. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    One week until your vacation? Woohoo! :woohoo:

    Thank you! I'll try to wrap up here soon! I can't believe it has taken me almost two months to write a TR for a 10 day trip!
     
  11. poison ivy

    poison ivy DIS Veteran

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    Just wanted to say hi and let you know how much I am enjoying your report. Really love your photos. We usually travel in packs of 10 or more and I certainly relate to your experiences. My slogan is "you're only as fast as the slowest member of your group" so plan accordingly. Your children make me miss when mine were young at Disney. Love Ella's joy! Pure sunshine! And the boys are great. You did a remarkable job on this trip.

    thanks for sharing.
     
  12. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    Oh thank you for your comments! I appreciate it!
     
  13. dd50

    dd50 DIS Veteran

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    Never have eaten there yet. The skillet looks good.

    Isn't it funny how the littlest one still has energy when no one else does. Cute pics. Love the one with your son and grandmother. Priceless.
     
  14. lumpy08

    lumpy08 Mouseketeer

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    Just came across you TR. Great so far... Love your pics. Thanks for sharing.
     
  15. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    I wish I could have captured his "I told you so" face as he marched over to the table with Grandma on his side! :rotfl:

    :welcome: Thanks for joining in!
     
  16. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    My in-laws haven't been to Wilderness Lodge before, so they enjoyed seeing the pool and scenery on the way out to the boat. It was a nice ride back to the Contemporary.
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    A good view of the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower.
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    These birds were always flying outside the windows of our villa. Turkey vultures?
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    You can see everyone got there energy back after that WCC dinner!
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    Having a grand villa sure was nice. Bathtime and bedtime were easier and we had fun hanging out together in the evenings and mornings. Too bad there's not a way to give Ella an older sister. She sure loved all the attention Avery gave her!
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    Up next: A day at the Magic Kingdom including Main Street Barber Shop--wait until you see this!
     
  17. dd50

    dd50 DIS Veteran

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    Nice pics. It is good that you all get along well because if not then you don't want every one around. I've never been to the WL but will try to go on our free day or maybe before my daughter gets into town.
     
  18. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    I see your trip is right around the corner! What are your plans? WL is a cool resort. It's especially worth a trip if you eat at WCC. I think it's neat that there is a geyser out by the pool/lagoon that shoots off every half hour (I think.)
     
  19. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    7 days down and three to go!
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    I know I've been complaining about waiting for everyone, but this morning it was us that ran behind schedule! :scared1: We were running low on the food we had brought for breakfast and sick of what we did have so we went to the Contempo Cafe and told the others we'd meet up with them at the gates to Magic Kingdom.
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    This is our 8th day and the kids are still plenty excited!
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    We ate quickly and walked swiftly over to MK! It's faster to walk to the MK than to take the monorail from the Contemporary. Even though we were running behind schedule, we still made it before rope drop. The rest of our group was closer to the front, but everyone except MIL and FIL came back to join us. MIL was on a mission to get to the barber shop before anyone else! She told us how she squeezed into the crowd at any opportunity to move forward. She said one lady just looked at her and said, "go ahead." :rotfl:
    The girls got prime seats for the opening ceremony...
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    The barber shop isn't far from the gate so we quickly caught up to Grandma who was holding our place! :rotfl2: They don't take reservations, so she took her job very seriously!
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    Here's the "before" picture...
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    (Did you notice their shirts? They each have their names and ages on them. Grandma has her "Grandma's Little Mouseketeers" shirt on too.)

    They opened the door after about ten minutes. They had two chairs open. Kyle and Jacob went first. (BTW, no one else even showed up until shortly after the boys got started.)
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    No one actually got their hair cut. The boys just wanted it colored and spiked! Kyle chose blue and Jake chose red.
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    Jacob's hairdresser went wild with his. She added yellow tips onto the red so it looked kind of like fire! She also did a not-so-hidden Mickey on the side of his head.
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    They opened a third chair and got Max started. Kyle finished and Avery was next. She chose pigtails and a few stripes of pink. Her mom thought a ponytail would be better, but you know kids!
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    Continued...too many photos for one post!
     
  20. dr&momto2boys

    dr&momto2boys DIS Veteran

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    Then it was Ella's turn. Her hairdresser was impressed with how still she sat to have her done. She said, "You can tell the true princesses, and this girl is a real diva!"
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    Ella didn't get any color, but she did get the "pixie dust." Most of hers fell out in the first couple of hours, but it stuck just fine to the color in the other kids hair.
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    Here are the "after" photos. I think Grandma should have gotten her hair done too!
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    SIL paid for this, but I think the cost was about $7 per child plus tip. I think it is one of the best deals in the park! After all a balloon is $10!

    It takes 1-4 hours for the color to dry, so we carried some wet wipes around with us for every time the kids bumped into us--which was a lot! And Max could not keep his hands out of his hair!

    Next: Our day in Magic Kingdom and dinner at CRT
     
  21. onelilspark

    onelilspark DIS Veteran

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    Love the hair! My brother and cousin always did it when we were younger. A couple years ago they went together and got it done! 2 20-somethings walking around like that, gotta love my family :laughing:
     

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