Help! DL Vets attempt WDW trip December 2012! PTR & TR.

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by taaren, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    This is definitely good to know. We may just use our snack credits at Kusafiri bakery on the way in and call cupcakes/brownies "breakfast" ... the kids will definitely know we're on vacation that way. None of us are heavy breakfast eaters, the rest of the week we'll just be having cereal in the villa.
    I can't believe I'm in the under 40-day zone now! Next week I'll be able to say I'm going to Disney at the end of the month. :thumbsup2
    The last one I read that stands out in my mind is the Brian Sanderson Mistborn series. Its definitely YA friendly, though shelved in the grown up section, the main characters are young and idealistic. And my favorite living author Jasper Fforde just re-released his new YA offering, Last Dragonslayer, which is a great jokey sort of fantasy.
    The thing about smartphones is they tend to get cheaper the more people you have on a plan. Right now, my parents, DH and I, plus my cousin are all on one plan and we just give my mom the money to pay the bill since she gets the best discount, but it works out to about $35 per person that way. We have Sprint with unlimited data, since we don't use very many minutes but we use a lot of data. Smartphones are great when you have them, and I only upgraded from a regular 9-number keypad 2 years ago, and now its hard to remember how much less convenient a lot of minutiae was 2 years ago ... so don't know if I'd recommend it as its hard to go back. :upsidedow
     
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  3. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the recommendations! As for smart phones, I know what you mean. My regular phone is still on my parents' plan, since it's so much cheaper for them to just add an extra line than for me and DH to get our own plan. I'll have to investigate with her a little more as to how much extra another smart phone would actually be. And the addiction to smart phones is one of the reasons why I've resisted for so long!
     
  4. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Hiya folks! We're getting close ... not a whole lot has changed. I've been enjoying playing with the TouringPlans App and making my own plans. Mostly it helps me get a sense of where stuff is in the park with the personalized maps that get printed out from them.

    We've decided that Michael will be our driver and keeping the car while we're on the cruise, which saves us paying for parking and saves them from paying for a shuttle to/from Universal. A lot of times when I visit California its cheaper to have him pick up a car in the suburbs rather than me picking one up at the airport, so he's used to being my chauffer. :car:

    Also my cruise group decided to do a very small FE gift exchange, which is fun. I didn't want to do another one, because on my October cruise it ended up being 45 cabins, which was way too many! (We arrived late to the FE party, didn't realize there had been a decision not to split up groups if there were more than 20 rooms.) But this FE only has 7 cabins, which will be fun. I've already ordered some fun gifts, since I'm not crafty at all.

    Made it through DS6's birthday party, the kids had a great time. Ordered the Gatorland tickets and the groceries today. Made the SandCastle Club reservation last week for the night we'll be doing the IllumiNations cruise as adults-only. Oh, and I made a spreadsheet of more specific costs of what we plan on spending on food ... looks like we'll definitely be able to keep it under $1K. We're pretty light eaters, lots of times DH & I share meals.

    I keep putting off posting since I'm hoping to announce that I've been hired ... keep going to interviews, but no offers yet. Too many applicants in my field I guess. Got another one next week ... last mainland trip before the real one! Then I can actually pack!
     
  5. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    You're not too far from your trip now!! And your spreadsheet looks awesome, by the way. I'd like to set up something similar for our upcoming trips, so I have a better idea of what we'll be spending!

    Good luck with your job interviews, hope you get something soon! :goodvibes
     
  6. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    So I still have more interviews for jobs in California, but have been offered an open-ended casual faculty position here on Maui at the community college where I worked for a semester a year ago, so I can at least not substitute teach anymore. :banana: And of the libraries I've worked in so far, this was by far my favorite place to work ... college kids are a lot of fun to work with.

    This means I can finally get excited about the trip! :yay: Leaving on Thursday night, my checklist for the trip is down to just the packing. Booked the Spirit of the Swamp airboat ride, confirmed the IllumiNations cruise, printed backups of all my paperwork, prepaid for all the "extras" on the cruise. The FE gifts are in my suitcase, as are special clothes for the few event-y type of things. Still not 100% that I know how we're getting from point A to point B when we get there (outside the parks/park-resort, etc), but that might be one of those things we can figure out as we go along or just taxi it more if we end up hating the buses.

    DS6 asked for Xmas lights, so I'm going to go see if I can find some suction cup snowflake lights to put on the sliding glass doors of our room ...
     
  7. tofubeast

    tofubeast DIS Veteran

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    I can't believe your trip is soooo soon. Love your schedule. You have so many fun things planned.
     
  8. KatieJoy

    KatieJoy Earning My Ears

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    Walgreens here has battery operated Christmas lights, if that would work. I was thinking about getting some Disney Christmas window clings from there as well.
     
  9. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Oddly enough, when filling out the travel journal, Sam put under the "What was your favorite thing about the hotel?". "Decorating the windows ...".
    :rotfl: View of the lake, boat, fireworks, easy access to two parks, lots of space and he likes decorating the windows!
     
  10. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    So I'm going to do a bit of a TR here in order to help organize my thoughts, and I might take some of the highlights to the group TR on the December thread ...

    So day 0: travel days. Flights from Maui to Oakland went well, spent that night at the Courtyard Oakland on Marriott points, and there was a In N Out across the street, which my DH used to work at so he had to have. The airport shuttle driver was nice enough to take us through the drive through which was the only thing open by the time we checked in. Great service at Marriott as usual.

    The next morning out of Oakland, as we're on the airport shuttle back to the airport, I get a message that our flight leaving OAK is delayed at least 45 minutes ... we have an hour layover in Kansas to get to our connecting MCO flight! I was freaking out the entire flight, which boarded an hour and a half late, afraid they we'd be spending the night in Kansas and our dining credits from OKW would go to waste, etc, etc ... Fortunately they held the plane in Kansas since pretty much everybody on our plane was connecting to three flights, so it worked out and the flight left Kansas just 20 minutes late. :banana: We even got into MCO about 5 minutes after scheduled. DH took some pix of DS with the tree in MCO, this airport was gorgeous and empty when we got in and headed down to ME, where DH, DS6 and I met up with DBFB's family.
    [​IMG]
    Can you tell we haven't eaten lunch yet and its 9:30p?

    Katie and I were super excited but tired since somehow the DH's hadn't been the ones child-wrangling on either of our planes ... :rolleyes:

    ME left for OKW within a few minutes of our checking in, which was good. We got to OKW at 10:15p or so, got our dining credits, and were hungry! So we asked where we could use them. Everyplace was closed at OKW, so the front desk clerk gave us a list of pizza/chinese delivery options.

    The studios at OKW were huge, felt like nearly the size of my house (which is only 600 square feet), having the 2 queens was great, though with the time change we had trouble getting to sleep even after the pizza came and we ate.

    In the morning, the light woke DS6 up, so we finished off the pizza for breakfast (yay fridge and microwave in the studio!), then went to get our refillable mugs from Goods to Go! and wandered around to check out the pool, etc before getting on the bus to AKV.

    [​IMG]
    I can see why people love OKW for the resort-ey sort of stay that doesn't emphasize the parks. DS really wanted to go to the pool and/or play with some of the boat rentals, but we wanted to get to Animal Kingdom! OKW feels like a condo on Maui though, so I wouldn't want to own there because when I'm on vacation, I want to feel like I'm on vacation ...

    Next up, AKV.
     
  11. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    So December 1, AK. We had our luggage (which had been held from DME last night since we didn't want to be woken up), along with our carry-ons sent over to BLT at Bell Services.

    Waited ~15 minutes for the bus, got to AKV just after rope drop (~9:15a). Exchanged the Photopass+ voucher for the actual card, then headed to Kilimanjaro Safari, which was walk-on. The park felt crowded but the rides were pretty much all walk-on. Guess everybody was in the walk ways?

    Saw all the usual suspects, it was still cool and not too sunny so the animals were awake and moving around.
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    We were impressed with the Disney version of a zoo.

    Then grabbed some fruit since we were hungry again but Kusafiri didn't have the cupcakes out yet and we didn't want danishes, went on the Pangani trail which was fun. Kids liked the hippos and all the guides to figure out what the animals were.
    [​IMG]

    Sent the DH's to Expedition Everest to get FP's while Katie and I grabbed our snack-credit cupcakes:
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    Zebra one was the best, though the elephant and bear paw ones were tasty too!

    Walked the trail in Asia (Maharajah?), decided to save Kali River Rapids for a day when we had slippers and panchos, and paused to use our Photopass in front of the Tree of Life.
    Had a really difficult time getting the kids to make "normal" faces ...
    [​IMG]


    DH & DS6 in front of Everest.
    [​IMG]

    Rode Everest with FPs and Switchpasses so all the adults got to ride 2x and the two older children got to try it once, then declined to go a second time. (The youngest was a few inches shy of the height requirement.)

    Watched Finding Nemo, which is one of my favorite movies of all time, and liked the Fish are Friends song but otherwise it was just okay. Opted to eat at Flame Tree earlier rather than later since we knew we were having Garden Grill at 7p. It was delicious, except for the included desserts. DS6 got the pulled pork sandwich, and the adults got the chicken and ribs plates to share between couples. The BBQ sauce made it better than it would have been without.

    Rode Dinosaur, which the boys loved, then let them play in the Boneyard, everything was walk on though the yard was crowded. Boys decided they wanted to ride Triceratop Spin while the others went on Whirl. Got a picture/autographs with Santa Goofy, then decided we could use a rest since it was about 3:30p, and headed to take a bus to BLT. Caught one as soon as we walked up, perfect timing.
    [​IMG]

    Took just a few min, we checked in at the Contemporary since that's where the bus took us. Found out our two requests had been met: high floor, we got 12th, and the even numbered 2 bedroom so it was on the outside of the "C". As a bonus, it happened to be on the North side of the tower, and we had a spectacular view of the lake and MK.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Room 8202 was at the end of the hall, and everything worked perfectly, it was immaculate.

    After getting our bags at the room and having a bit of down time, we headed over to Epcot via the monorail. Made it to Garden Grill, just in time, they combined our two ADR's for 4 people and were seated after waiting just 10 minutes, all the food was delicious. The kids really enjoyed the character interactions, especially when they got chipmunks and Pluto to dance Gundam style.
    Adults got in on the fun too. Another video of characters and kids dancing. All videos are under 30 seconds.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Kids and DH & Katie went back via the monorail while Katie's DH and I went in search of alcohol via taxi (the boys had earlier looked for alcohol at the Contemporary but not found any). When we got back the fireworks were showing at the MK.
    [​IMG]

    Went to sleep exhausted after Michael arrived and we used the last of the CS dining credits we hadn't used on lunch at the Contempo Cafe.
     
  12. SAT887

    SAT887 DIS Veteran

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    So kinda funny I was at OKW checking into our GV in the AM (what was your room #?) and then we went to AK - were you there when it started to rain a little?
     
  13. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    Looks like it was a lovely trip so far! I'm really glad to hear good things about OKW. I'm staying there for the first time in February. We are sharing a room with 4 adults so it's nice to hear the studios are pretty spacious.
     
  14. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    OKW is the only one I didn't write down our room number anywhere since we were only there for one night ... we were building 11, on the ground floor, which wasn't too far from the lobby which was nice. I think it started raining right before we walked into Dinosaur, then we stayed in the gift shop on the way out getting the ride photo for our Photopass+ and letting the kids look around til it stopped raining.

    I also forgot until I looked at the Photopass that we had stopped for a picture with Santa Goofy towards the end ... disappointingly, the pictures with just the kids didn't make it onto the Photopass, only the one with the whole gang. Odd.
     
  15. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Day two was nice to wake up and have breakfast in the room, we were aiming to hit MK by 9a, made it by about 9:15. Stopped at every Photopasser since Brian said "with what we paid for those pictures, I'm going to make us see every darn photographer!", which was good since we got a lot of great pictures. Had a counter-clockwise plan for the day, so we went to Frontierland first, and it was EMPTY!
    [​IMG]
    We walked onto Splash Mountain and BTMRR, pausing to take pictures of kids in the stocks ... which I think are on DH's phone, get some pennies (and a penny holder book), and kind of soak in the atmosphere. Also walked on to Haunted Mansion though we spent some time playing with all the stuff in the line itself. Moseyed on over to Pirates, rode the ride, thought it wasn't as cool as the DLR version. We were still a bit early for our 11:25 Pirates League appointments for the kids but decided to see if they would take us anyway, and they did. :cool1:
    Conor decided on the Jake treatment, Sam picked the full ghost face, and Liana wanted to be a mermaid. Their makeup artists were all very fun, staying in character the whole time and just really awesome at making it an experience though all three kids ended up being unusually (for them) shy.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Link to 13 second video of DS making faces in make-up process....
    The whole experience took us to about 1p, so we were hungry after and decided to head to Be Our Guest. I think we grabbed Peter Pan FPs along the way. Lines were, as reported, about 20 minutes, about 10 minutes outside and another 10 inside. I found it amusing that some people seemed to have no idea what they were standing in line for. Considering how few lines there were that day, you would think they would run away from lines, but to each their own. :confused3 There were also several people at the front of the outside line waiting for the rest of their party. I get that you want to beat the line, but it seemed an exercise in frustration when the outside line just wasn't that long. We sat in the ballroom, got steak sandwiches and a bunch of desserts. All were good, but the strawberry cupcake thing was the best. Sorry apparently we ate before I got any pictures. That seemed to happen a lot this trip.
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    [​IMG]

    After we went to Enchanted Tales with Belle, wait was posted around 40 but we only waited 15-20 min. My DS got picked to be the Beast! (I guess because he looked so scary?) Conor was picked to be the footstool, and when the CM addressed him as "Footstool", he insisted "No, my name is Conor." It was pretty cute.
    [​IMG]
    Got a video of the dance I'm going to have to posted on Youtube for his aunt, too. Rode Peter Pan, and while some of the adults were on a bathroom break a Photopass photographer decided he was going to play with DS6 by "shooting" him. What a great random interaction!
    [​IMG] We had lots of comments from other guests and CMs all day on their piratey-ness, but this one was the coolest.
    Headed to FutureLand, grabbed FPs for Space Mountain. Adults loved the Peoplemover, kids were less than impressed. I love that some of the cool things we remember from DLR when we were kids still exist at WDW since they have the space for it. Went on Buzz Lightyear, not as cool as the one at DLR, but the kids enjoyed it. Grabbed more pennies, went on Space Mountain a few times for all the adults while the kids went on the Astro Orbiter with the adult that was left. Each of the older children went on Space once, the youngest was again too short. Despite the extra whiplash I think this Space Mtn is as good as the one at DLR, just slightly different. We were really impressed with all the ques in WDW since the ones at DLR aren't as elaborate, since they apparently don't expect people to be waiting as long. It was midafternoon and the youngest child fell asleep while we were waiting for the last set of adults to ride Space, so his dad took him back, while the rest of us headed to eat a Nutella & fruit waffle before exiting the park, which was as delicious as I'd hoped for! DH & DBF chose to stay at MK while the moms and kids headed back to BLT via the monorail, which was a welcome way to get back since our feet were exhausted. Yay sitting!

    The goal was to go to DHS by 7p, so I put my DS6 down for a nap, and the other two kids opted to go to the pool since Conor had woken up. By the time we got going to the parks it was about 8p, and we opted to take a taxi so we could have more park time, thinking the parks closed at 9p and EMH went til midnight. Why this time frame was in my head I have no idea. We also forgot the kids' hotel keys, so we had to get passes for them to go on rides from Guest Relations which ate some time, as well as picking up strollers in the park for the first time, so we opted for 3 day rentals so it would be shorter picking up from then on out.

    Dads were hungry so we grabbed burgers at Rosies on Sunset Blvd, which were okay. Our goals for that night were Star Tours, Rock and Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and being in line for TSMM by closing, as well as seeing the Osborne Lights. So we headed to Star Tours, line was super short, took some pictures at the Osborne Lights. Kids were getting cranky since they knew TSM was coming up they kept whining for it, but we said we do it last. We headed over to TOT thinking we had an hour left, walked onto the ride at 10:45p. We talked all the kids into riding it, they said it was awesome, then when we were getting the Photopass+ picture the CMs mentioned the park was closed and Katie and I looked at each other horrified "We are in so much trouble!". :sad2: Decided to walk over to TSMM as if we were getting in line anyways, then the CMs had to tell the kids it was closed and we apologized for making a timing mistake, we really had intended to wait the half hour at midnight for our last ride. Kids were very mad that in their minds we had picked adult rides & lights over TSMM. :sad:We definitely would have skipped the burgers or droid-building or something if we'd known it closed at 11p. So now we knew we had to do rope drop on our full DHS day. Got some great pictures of happy adults though!
    [​IMG]
    The bus back from DHS to BLT was fast and easy, other than AK day the best bus experience we had all week.
     
  16. SAT887

    SAT887 DIS Veteran

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    We were not close to the HH - which is fine by me! We were close to a quiet pool and bus stop. :)

    It was raining when we were going on EE (well MIL and I skipped it) I have a few cute Santa Goofy pics but that is disappointing that not all of them made it to your PP : / After the rain I rushed everyone out of AK because our surprise visitors were close to WDW :)
     
  17. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Day 3 was Michael's birthday, and our first time actually going to DO stuff at Epcot (we had previously just gone in for Garden Grill).
    Woke up late (I know, not recommended, but we were exhausted and knew we had a rope drop coming up the next day), and DH made eggs benedict for everybody. We got to the park around 10:30 or 11a via the monorail, did our Photopassing, grabbed some FPs for Test Track which was in a soft opening! Went to check out Seas with Nemo and Friends, enjoyed checking out that whole area, especially the manatees.
    [​IMG]
    Went on Mission Space, girls and kids on Orange and adult guys on Green (except the youngest who was too short). Everybody enjoyed it except DH who said he wouldn't go on Green again and DS who said he wanted to spin more, so after the switchpass went on Orange. Despite the fact that there was no line, just getting 7 people through the ride w switchpass took much longer than expected.
    It was time for our Test Track FP, though it was a tight fit to get that in before our 2:20 Les Chefs ADR.
    Ran for both, made it at almost 2:30 for lunch, which was my favorite meal of the trip, hands down. We ordered escargots, cheese plates, onion soup, Alascienne flatbread, Mahi Mahi, croque monsieur, half-chicken (sauce was awesome!), and for dessert creme brulee, a strawberry cake-y sort of thing, and the profiteroles. Profiteroles and the cheese plate were my favorite, but everything was delicious and we pretty much tried everything that everybody ordered amongst the adults.
    Remy came late, but he came (around 3:10 or so instead of 2:50 like scheduled) [​IMG][​IMG]
    After lunch they rolled us out of there and we watched some of the shows and wandered through the World Showcase the long way back. Decided to check out what the Spaceship Earth ride was on the way out, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Wish they'd let you e-mail yourself that video at the end it was hysterical!

    Monorailed back at 5p to take a break at BLT and napped until 8p or so. Headed into MK just before the Electrical Light Parade, DH, DS6 and I walked and everybody else monorailed (we didn't realize until the last second that it would take 25 min, but Conor was still asleep so they couldn't have walked anyways). Staked out a great spot right at the beginning of the parade in the hub, and got to watch the castle lights show while we were waiting for it to start. The monorail half of our party made it just in time. It was beautiful, we loved it, again a big nostalgia factor for us DLR people.
    [​IMG]
    Headed to Fantasyland to check out some of the stuff we'd missed yesterday, for instance Philharmagic which we really enjoyed. Even though the ride is the same at DLR I wanted to check out the line at Little Mermaid since Eric's castle is one of my favorites from the movies, and the line did not disappoint.
    [​IMG] Hey look! DH & I in a picture instead of the kids!
    Went over to Futureland to try out Stitch's Great Escape, which we found to be very fun. They closed Monster's Inc Laugh Floor while we were in Stitch which was annoying since its the only ride that is open for part of EMH but not all. Never got to see it, so its on the list for next time. Rode Buzz on the way back to Frontierland since we wanted to see Country Bear Jamboree, also got some great Photopass pictures in front of the castle lit wonderfully, as well as grabbing another Nutella waffle along the way.
    Country Bear was just a tad creepy, and right when we came out it was midnight, so the guys gave Brian his birthday punches. We walked over and rode Space Mountain a few more times, then left the park. The monorail was down, so we walked, very slowly, taking turns carrying the 4 year old, back to BLT. Only time the monorail disappointed.

    All in all, a great EMH night and a good 40th birthday for Michael. The EMH nights were very worthwhile to go to for our gang (even though this was the only time we saw the Pop Warner kids, they didn't seem to be going on the same attractions as us, so it still didn't feel crowded and we walked onto almost all the rides).
     
  18. Valgoof

    Valgoof DIS Veteran

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    Yay! I didnt realize you had started a trip report. Very cool that DS was the Beast. I agree the strawberry cupcake was yummy! Your view from BLT is amazing! Was it annoying to not be in the main building though? Obviously, you have more space there. Hmm...something else to think about.
     
  19. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Not at all, its a pretty short walkway to the main Contemporary building, so just a few steps to the monorail and the drink fountains even though we were on the North end of the tower. The guys ended up using the refillable drink mugs from OKW at Contemporary a couple of times per day since running over was that easy, but it was a lot less convenient using them at BWV (even though our room was the first one off the lobby :confused3), so they stopped using them at BWV.

    The 1 bedroom is twice as much space as a regular hotel room, about 850 square feet, but the studio is only 359 sq feet or so, so about the same size as a hotel room (though having the mini-fridge and microwave are nice). I find it difficult to travel without a washer/dryer and kitchen in a room since my mom got us hooked on timeshares. :snooty: But then again, we manage on cruise ships in 250 square foot rooms so its all relative I guess.
     
  20. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

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    Day 4 was Brian's birthday, and apparently I didn't take very many phone pictures, though there are a lot of Photopass pictures from this day.

    We taxi-ed in to DHS, since we wanted to be able to both sleep til 8a (given that we were in the parks til 1a with small children), and also wanted to make it for rope drop. After a quick cereal breakfast + packing granola bars and apples for the kids who don't eat much while sleepy, we headed downstairs at 8:30a, and were in the park at about 8:55a getting our strollers. Quickly handed our FP runner our tickets, and Michael was at the back of the crowd and headed straight for FP's for TSMM while the parents + kids made a run for Jedi Training. Were in the middle of the Jedi sign-up pack of people, and by the time we got to the front of the line they were on the noon show, and our Sci-Fi ADR was 12:30p. We opted for the 2:10p Jedi and they told us to show up at 1:40p, it should be no problem with Sci-Fi being next door.

    Michael showed up with 11:10a FPs for all of us and we knew we wanted the 11:30 showing of Indiana Jones Stunt show, so we set off to do some rides and ran into some Photopass photographers along the way. Rode Rock N Roller Coaster, which I loved (better than California Screamin, it didn't make me sick on the one loop de loop) with almost no wait for the first group of adults, and the second group went very quickly using the switch pass. Went on Tower of Terror during the day, fun but not as cool as at night. On the way back we stopped at the bathroom, and while we were in there for some reason the kids decided instead of the three of them being in a single and a double stroller they should all pile into the single ...:scratchin
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    Used our FP's at TSMM (the CMs even saw us standing there and let us use them a couple of minutes early so we wouldn't be too rushed to get to Indy), watched Indy and all enjoyed that quite a bit, walked in about 5 minutes before showtime. Headed over to Star Tours and rode that before taking some pictures on the speeder bike ... btw, all the adults in this group are huge geek/nerds and adore Star Wars (we even play the role-playing game and the guys play the video games), so this was a huge amount of fun for all of us. Will insert pictures later.

    Checked into Sci-Fi about 15 minutes early (12:15p), and they were busy turning everybody who didn't have an ADR away ... we weren't seated 'til 12:45p, though we told them we only needed 1 car since we like sharing meals and being squishy (especially the kids). The waitress came quickly, took our orders, and we had our drinks and appetizers by 1:00p. (Milkshakes and fried pickles and artichoke dip! Yum on all of the above, though the artichoke dip was nothing special, just caloric goodness.) Apparently we should have mentioned we wanted the kids stuff to come first, because it was unfortunately a looooong wait between the apps and entree and she later mentioned she could have easily brought the kids entrees sooner. Got the entrees at 1:30, and had the kids wolf what they could down (though they were super happy watching the movies and didn't mind) before their meet time of 1:40p for Jedi Training and Katie took them over to the Padawan check-in since her app was her main meal. Michael and Brian got (and loved!) their Picnic Burgers, DH & I got a mushroom swiss burger, which again was decent but nothing special. Since the kids meals came with dessert and the server felt really bad the kids had to leave prior, she said to come back after the Jedi training for their sundaes and she would give them to us to go!

    It was a decent meal but pricey ... its not high on my list of "to-do agains", though on the off chance we walk by at an off time and there's no wait, I'd be okay with eating here just for the milkshake.

    Who says you can't put 8 people comfortably in a Sci-Fi car?
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    After the kids became Padawans, we were beat. They really enjoyed it and wanted to do it again, especially the older kids. My DS got picked to "force push" the Stormtroopers which he enjoyed greatly, link is to the video thereof, as well as Liana. Its about 1 minute long.
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    Got the Jedi pictures from the generic card transferred onto our Photopass card, and exited the park at about 3p ...
    Ended up waiting well over half an hour for the bus, (about 45 minutes I think) we were the first ones in line but even the people in the middle of the lane were complaining about how buses for every other resort seemed to be going by at least 2x before a Contemporary bus came.

    Older kids were still bouncing and only plan that night was DTD for T-Rex, so we took them to the pool. They had some pool activities happening but ours were only interested in swimming and slides.

    Took the bus to DTD at 7:00p. T-Rex I hadn't expected much from the meal, but it was disappointing beyond that. We walked up for our 7:45 ADR, waited about 15 minutes. They called us to the podium, we followed the host to the inner podium where he handed us to a different host. Someone walked up to the second host, said "Seat us please." and even though they were a party of three and our host had clearly been instructed to seat a party of 8 the second host walked off with the party of 3 who cut in line and didn't have an ADR!! I was flabbergasted, and Brian went to chew out the 2nd host and say "What happened to our table for 8??". They seated us near the kitchen, and while the effects were cool our server was terrible, acted like it was a huge burden to serve us ... I kind of wonder if the automatic gratuity for a party of 8 helped with that, but we didn't have that bad of service any other time on this trip.

    We had both a $50 credit from the Landry's card + the 99 cent kids meals coupons, but even sharing meals the bill still came to close to $80 for us, which seems high for a mediocre experience. We won't return there.

    After dinner the kids wanted to check out the Lego store around 9:30p ... I was tired and wanted to go back to the resort to watch the Electrical Water Parade at 10:05p via taxi but gave in to DS6. Total mistake. We took the bus back at 10:15p, but this night was probably a low point for me as we were fatigued but the next night more than made up for it ...

    DHS I feel we did well with in the morning with the planning, though we could have planned it even better if I'd known there were so few showings of Lights, Motor, Action and Beauty and the Beast ... ah, next time.

    I will say that wearing the birthday button all week was pretty fun, especially having CM's say it three times in a row when they saw Michael, Brian and I walking together they were almost out of breath when they got to the end! I think we wore them on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th before packing them up.
     
  21. taaren

    taaren "There is more treasure in books than in all the p

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,856
    So Day 5, December 5th Michael wasn't feeling great and decided to spend a day resting. The rest of us wanted to make our Tusker Brunch ADR at 10a, so 6 of us got on the bus at 9:30a, while DH had been picked up by Dollar rental car to go get it from the rental center and would park and meet us at AK. While I was waiting I upgraded our tickets from MYW Hoppers to the WP&M, and they switched them from Undercover Tourist tickets to Disney tickets, which is I think why when we later upgraded to AP's, this is the start and end date.

    Tusker was good, but the park was crowded so we didn't stay. Character interactions seemed rushed, but the kids were also in a more squirrel-ey mood than they had been for Garden Grill. I think character dinners will be our norm from now on though we really enjoyed the breakfast and lunch food. Were seated shortly after we checked in at 10:15a, grabbed a plate of breakfast food and by the time we went back for seconds it was lunch foods, which I thought were better.
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    Loved eating lots of different kinds of rice! Being Japanese from Hawaii, and a starchitarian, I had been missing and craving rice.

    DH thought this meal was one of the better values for a character meal, and we both agreed the food was decent for the price with the characters as a bonus. I might decide to do dinner next time instead if we're in AK that late.

    So the guys split off and took the rental car to Gatorland. We had ordered tickets from Undercover Tourist over 3 weeks prior to leaving for our trip, but they hadn't arrived on time, the USPS had screwed it up since their tracking when I flew on Nov 29 had it last scanned in Florida! UCT was great, they offered to fax the vouchers to us, and did so twice (not sure what BLT did with the first copy, but they didn't charge us for either one) and they were able to use the faxed vouchers no problem. A lot of headache to save $5 per ticket, but it couldn't be helped. The park itself was well worth the $20 a head ticket, though the dads said they felt kind of like they were nickel and dimed once in the park since all the "cool stuff" that the kids wanted to do were each $2-$4 extra, eg. animal interactions, feeding the gators, etc.

    Anyhow, here's some pictures:
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    Not a real snake:
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    But this one is!
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    Brian got picked during a show to "close your eyes" with a few other random guests: [​IMG] so prior to the boys holding the constrictor he got to.
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    Sam got picked from the audience to select the gator that the wrangler would wrestle ...[​IMG]
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    Since this post is pretty long, I'll put what the girls were doing on the next post, same day.
     

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