"A free trip to the World? Sweet!" - AUGUST 2013 WDW AEP TR updated 10/19

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by jenny105, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. jenny105

    jenny105 DIS Veteran

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    Hi everyone! I'm back with another Jenny105 TR. Most of you reading this know me but for those of you who don't my name is Jen, I'm 30 years old, and I'm from New Jersey. I'm a travel agent for AAA and my job has some great perks! :) I book all kinds of trips but my favorite trips to plan are Disney, natch.

    This trip was different from others. It wasn't my own, I did little to no planning, and Disney chose the resort. I went to the World August 26-30th as part of an Agent Education Program for "work." Most of my days were filled with site inspections and seminars but I was able to squeeze in a little bit of fun too. The best part of it? Disney put us up at the Grand Floridian resort! I never thought I'd get to stay there and it's another resort to cross of the bucket list. I traveled & roomed with my co-worker Lorraine and met some great people along the way. I hope you'll join me and relive my trip with me!

    Chapter 1 - We Have Arrived
    Chapter 2 - Polynesian & Boardwalk
    Chapter 3 - Illuminations
    Chapter 4 - New Fantasyland
    Chapter 5 - Fort Wilderness & Wilderness Lodge
    Chapter 6 - Contemporary & BLT
    Chapter 7 - Grand Floridian Tour
    Chapter 8 - Magic Kingdom and Chef Mickey's
    Chapter 9 - AoA Cars Section
    Chapter 10 - The Rest of AoA
    Chapter 11 - Port Orleans Riverside
    Chapter 12 - Dinner at Garden Grill
    Chapter 13 - Cape May Café, the Clubs, and Port Canaveral
    Chapter 14 - Disney Dream Tour
    Chapter 15 - Disney Dream Continued
    Chapter 16 - CSR, DHS, & Wishes
    Chapter 17 - Our Last Day in Disney

     
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  3. budafam

    budafam DIS Veteran

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    I'm joining along :) Gotta love those travel agent perks :thumbsup2 Can't wait to see pics of all the resorts... I plan to take a trip just to do all that next summer.
     
  4. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Joining in! :goodvibes
     
  5. Dancegrl624

    Dancegrl624 DIS Veteran

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    I'm here!
     
  6. klacey1

    klacey1 DIS Veteran

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    Here! :thumbsup2
     
  7. homeschoolmomof4

    homeschoolmomof4 Keep moving forward

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    Can't wait to hear more about it! :)
     
  8. SEASONK

    SEASONK Mouseketeer

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    I'm in! Grand Floridian is my dream resort!!
     
  9. princess_momma

    princess_momma DIS Veteran

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    I'm here!! And sooooo excited!!! :cool1:
     
  10. jenny105

    jenny105 DIS Veteran

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    Welcome everyone! So glad you will all be reading along. :)
     
  11. FauntleroyFAN07

    FauntleroyFAN07 Commander of Donalds Crew Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy

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  12. jenny105

    jenny105 DIS Veteran

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    I had an early flight to Orlando so I begin the day waking up at 4:30 AM. I am not a morning person at all but when Im waking up early to go to Walt Disney World Im a very happy girl! I showered, dressed, packed some last minute things, and forced myself to eat a little something before waking my boyfriend Kris at 5:30. He had agreed to drive me to the airport. Well I woke him up, he came into the kitchen to get a drink, and then crawled back into bed. Wake up sleepyhead! I finally got him into the car and 20-30 minutes later we were at Newark airport. We said our goodbyes and I made my way to the security line. I think bag fees are ludicrous and wont check a bag if I dont have to. Because of this my carry-on was stuffed to the brim but security didnt give me any problems. I saw my co-worker Lorraine in the security line and we met afterwards & walked to the gate together. When we got to the gate the employees were making repeated announcements that our flight was overbooked and needed six volunteers to get on an afternoon flight. Because of this our flight was delayed about 30 minutes or so. The good news was that a family was booked in the exit row and the kids were too young to be there so we managed to get our seats switched with them & scored exit row seats! Plenty of leg room! We were one of the last people to board the plane and because of this they were forced to gate check our bags. Hey, as long as I dont have to pay for it, check away! We were off and in the air by 8AM (supposed to be 7:25).

    The flight was uneventful. I read for most of it and Lorraine slept. We landed by 10:30, caught the fake monorail, grabbed our bags right away (first ones off the plane!), and headed toward Magical Express. The last time I took Magical Express was in 2009 and I like the way they just scan the barcode on your packet now; moves things along quite nicely. We waited about 10-15 minutes for a bus and managed to get in the second row when we boarded. Disney here we come!

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    In no time we saw the best sign that ever stood.

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    Second best.

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    Lucky for us we were the second stop. Polynesian first, then us, the Grand Floridian! We have arrived.

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    After we oohed and aahed over the lobby (beautiful isnt it?) we proceeded to the check-in desk. We were roommates but the girl at the desk had to check us in one at a time since I guess it was technically each a separate reservation. She gave us our little welcome packet from our group leaders (lanyard, name badge, MK fastpasses, itinerary) and a map of the property. We ended up on the 5th floor of the Sago Cay building. Bell services took us over in style golf cart! We ended up with Witt who is absolutely wonderful. He was full of facts about the Grand Floridian and gave us a mini-tour of the resort. He then proceeded to get the elevator for us, walked us to our room, and got us ice. He was fantastic and if any of you stay there tell Witt I said so! He left us to get settled and we quickly unpacked. Pictures of the room and more of the resort later in the TR I promise! We freshened up and changed before heading to&.

    Magic Kingdom! It was about noon at this point and we werent scheduled to meet with our group until 3:30 so we had some time to kill. We walked over to the main building, up the stairs, and before long saw this bad boy.

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    Yay! Ive never stayed at a monorail resort before! So convenient.

    Selfie on the monorail Lorraine & me.

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    Some pictures of the monorail resorts from the monorail J

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    Now last time I was at MK (in October 2012) they still had the regular ticket machines. Now its been replaced by the touch posts so I was a little confused as to what I had to do but no worries! Easy peasy and we were through the gates in a breeze. Let our trip officially begin!

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    I have so many pictures of the castle yet I keep taking more!

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    I asked Lorraine what shed like to do first and she said she didnt know and told me to lead the way. BTW Lorraine hadnt been to Disney since 1996! So I was kind of like her tour guide. First we stopped to get a bite to eat at Pecos Bills since we hadnt eaten since the airport. She got a cheeseburger and I got a taco salad. Then, because it was so hot, we headed back toward Splash Mountain. We were each given two fastpasses which were good for up to five people and didnt expire until 8/31. Pretty sweet! So we went through the fastpass line, waiting about 5 minutes, and were in the log shortly. Right before we boarded the CMs made an announcement that inclement weather was headed our way. Uh oh.

    No rain during Splash Mountain except of course from the splash itself. I love that ride and never tire of it and I think Lorraine enjoyed it as well. She kept asking if this was the big drop and I wouldnt tell her. After we hit the main drop she was like oh that was it? lol. Such a fun ride!

    We had a little bit of time left so we decided to do one more ride: POTC! We needed some Johnny Depp! Well that ride is almost always walk-on so no problems there but shortly after we were dispatched we got stuck! Right at the part with the skeletons - lovely. We sat for about 10 minutes before moving again and made it through the rest of the ride with no stops. Lorraine remembered that ride so it was nothing new for her except the additions from the movie.

    When we came out of the ride we were in for a surprise. Remember that inclement weather? Yeah well it was downpouring! It was coming off the roof of the gift shop like a sheet. We tried to wait it out but were running short on time we needed to get back to the resort to meet our group! We made a run for it and by the time we got to the monorail station we looked like we had taken showers with our clothes on. Oh well!

    Ironman monorail!

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    We made it back to GF with enough time to take quick real showers, change, and dry our hair a bit before heading to the conference center. Time to meet our group!

    Coming up - come with me on a tour of the Polynesian and Boardwalk Inn.

    Stay tuned!
     
  13. jenny105

    jenny105 DIS Veteran

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    Hi Dan!
     
  14. princess_momma

    princess_momma DIS Veteran

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    AHHHHH The Grand Floridian!! I'm in love!! What a gorgeous resort!! How magical that you got to stay there!! :cheer2:

    Goodness...I don't think I will be ready for how much has changed since I've been there last...even longer than you, June 2011! :faint: CRAZY! I'm glad tap to touch is pretty easy though.

    I'm glad that you were able to squeeze in some Splash...I LOVE going on with people who don't know when the drop is. So funny. :goodvibes

    Can't wait for the tours!!
     
  15. vleeth

    vleeth I heart Disney

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    You're right, that is the best sign that ever stood...and I own a sign shop...so I'm an expert. :lmao:
     
  16. klacey1

    klacey1 DIS Veteran

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    The GF lobby is gorgeous! I never get tired of Splash either! It's such a long, great ride. Augh, I hate getting stuck on rides, but it doesn't sound like Pirates was too bad.
    That FL rain! Short but fierce! Glad you had time to dry off!
     
  17. NMW

    NMW DIS Veteran

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    Subscribing
     
  18. Brae's Mom

    Brae's Mom In need of a Disney Fix.......NOW!!!!!!

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    Hey girl!! I'm here. Can't wait to see all your pics from your trip and hear all the stories. I saw some on facebook but I love hearing the report along with it. Sounds like you are off to a great start. Getting to stay at the GF, lucky girl. I'm totally jealous and seriously considering a career change;)
     
  19. jenny105

    jenny105 DIS Veteran

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    Has it really been that long?? Wait til you see New Fantasyland. You're going to love it!

    Are you going to be in Epcot 10/22? We'll be there!

    So you would know! :rotfl:

    GF is a very pretty resort. I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. I'm glad I was able to stay there.

    Welcome!

    Hi Crystal! I took around 500 pictures so there are plenty to look at. :) The funny thing is I wasn't even excited when they told us we were staying at GF. I never had any desire to stay there but I quickly changed my tune. Beautiful place!
     
  20. jenny105

    jenny105 DIS Veteran

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    Lorraine and I headed over to the convention center to meet the rest of our group. There were about 50 of us in total – mostly all women and two guys. Our group leaders were Rita and Tommy. Both were very nice but Rita talked a bit too much about herself IMO (no offense but I really don’t need to hear about your grandkids over and over again!). Tommy was fabulous and full of information. We picked up another welcome packet – this one included a water bottle, a poncho, and an earpiece that was to be used during our tour. They split us up into Mickeys and Minnies. We fell into the Mickey group which meant Tommy would be our tour guide during the site inspections.

    At 4 pm we boarded our bus and headed over to our first resort, the Polynesian. Originally we were supposed to be touring Coronado Springs but they were filled due to a convention so they switched us at last minute. The Polynesian is my dream resort so I didn’t mind one bit!

    Welcome to the Poly

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    First things first: the CMs at the Poly taught us a hula dance. Now I’m not really a shy person but the entire lobby was watching us. I’m sure there’s a video floating around of us somewhere.

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    After that we began our tour. It started raining a bit again but nowhere near as bad as when we were at the MK.

    The marina

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    I can see my house from here!  I wish.

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    Just look at those clouds…

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    The rooms were recently refurbished. Pretty nice IMO.

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    After our tour we headed back to the bus and headed to the Boardwalk! Creepy clown pool aside this is a gorgeous resort and you can’t beat the location. I think I have my eye on this resort for our next stay. I didn’t get a picture of it but I really loved that the doors going into the rooms looked like you were outside a house. So cute!

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    I’ve been to the real Lucy!

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    Creepiest chair ever!

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    We toured the villa side first. Here is a 1 BR.

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  21. jenny105

    jenny105 DIS Veteran

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    Studio. If anyone would like to rent points to me for next November I’d love you forever! 

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    Ack!

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    I just love this whole area.

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    Next we were taken to the Inn side and viewed a standard room.

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    Gotta love the view!

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    I had assumed we were going to walk to Epcot for dinner since it was so close but they loaded us back into the bus & took us through the employee entrance. It was interesting to see each of the World Showcase buildings from the backside but at the same time it kills the magic a bit. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures of anything backstage so sorry guys! We arrived at our destination – the American Pavilion. We went in through a back entrance and they showed us to a private ballroom area which I didn’t even know existed! We helped ourselves to a glass of wine & a buffet of hot food. I remember there was pasta because it was delicious! We had a little presentation during our dinner and then it was off to the UK for a dessert party & viewing of Illuminations. I don’t remember exactly what desserts we had except for a kiwi turnover. I had two of those because they were so good. We stuffed ourselves and chatted until it was time for the show. We had a prime viewing area.

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    After Illuminations we all headed back to the Grand Floridian on our bus. It had been a long day so we turned in for the night. Stay tuned for day 2 – a tour of New Fantasyland, more site inspections, and dinner at Chef Mickey’s!​
     

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