Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by SOUTHERNtinkerBELLE, Feb 15, 2012.
I'm so excited to hear the details of your trip!
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Hi Courtney! I subscribed to your new TR the other day but realised I hadn't written anything... looking forward to hearing about your trip - it is definitely 'different' going with a large family group when you're used to going just as a couple
Totally understand about traveling with family. It is always easier with less people. Great start.
Subscribing!! I've read your other TRs and I am excited to read this one
I'm excited to share!
Thank you for joining in! I'm glad you're here!
I'm so glad you're here, Emma! This was definitely a different kind of vacation - it was pretty eye-opening!
It is definitely easier when it's just Miguel and I. This trip really made us appreciate our trips even more.
I'm so glad you're joining in!
I'm here, I'm here! I am beyond excited to hear everything. I can't wait to hear about BC, traveling with a group, and what you thought of Shulas
I'm here! I've read your other trip reports and really enjoyed them...looking forward to reading this one..
My husband doesn't want to travel to Disney with a group....he only wants us to go together...judging by your title, he might be right
I'm excited to read about the differences you found with traveling in a group vs just the two of you - this is a source of nervousness for me with our upcoming vacation! Let the fun begin!
Read your PTR! Can't wait to hear about this trip!
hope all is well!
Subscribing! I always love following all of your reports! You and Miguel remind me so much of me and my future hubby Samir (we are getting married in April) ! We will also be disneymooning in May! Any tips or must dos for our disneymoon?
Can't wait to read more about your trip!
Yay! I'm so glad you made it over Shannon! I thought about you during our Shula's meal!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the other reports! I completely understand your husband. I think the allure of traveling with a group is better than actually doing it.
So glad you're here! There are definitely a lot of differences!
Hi Christina! I'm so glad you made it over! It's so nice to "see" you again!
Hi Emily! Congratulations on the upcoming wedding and honeymoon! One thing that I would recommend for a really special trip is one of the fireworks cruises. They are pricey, but I think they are so worth it. We loved the Wishes cruise for the honeymoon, but we did the Illuminations cruise on this trip and it was AMAZING! The view was incredible - I would highly recommend it! If you end up doing a PTR or TR for your trip let me know - I love to read about trips with other couples!
Hi everyone! Thank you all so much for joining in! I'm so excited to be able to share our trip with so many of you!
So normally, I just do a portion of a day as an update, but I was thinking about doing things differently this time. I'm already thinking ahead to our October trip and the PTR for it, and I'd really like to get it started more than two months out like I ended up doing for this trip's PTR. So, I was thinking of doing a whole day at one time, broken up into different posts. I hope this will work out ok and that you all don't mind! I figure this way, I can get through the trip faster!
Ok, let's get started!
ARRIVAL DAY - PART 1
It was Saturday, February 4, the day I had been looking forward to pretty much since we got in the car to drive home from our honeymoon. Thankfully the previous evening had been fairly relaxed I was actually able to leave work on time and get home with plenty of time to do the last minute things. I had done pretty much all of our packing the weekend before our trip, but there always seems to be things that pop up at the last minute!
Still though, Miguel and I didnt make it into bed until 2:00 Friday night and I was a little concerned that we would have a hard time getting up when the alarm went off at 7:00 on Saturday morning. I of course, hopped out of bed with ease! If only it was that easy to get up every morning! Miguel slept a little while longer while I showered and got my makeup on, and then he got up and got ready while I closed up the suitcases and did one last sweep through the house to make sure we had everything.
We were taking my grandparents car, so Miguel and I got our luggage outside and waited for my grandfather to drive the car over and pick it up.
After he got our bags, we went back over to my grandparents house (they live next door to us) and my grandfather and Miguel loaded up the car.
Finally, it was time to go!
Our goal was to leave between 8:30 and 9:00 so that we would have plenty of time to get checked in at the BC, settle into our rooms and freshen up before our dinner at ADR in Epcot! My grandmother is notoriously slow leaving for vacations (she normally ends up leaving about an hour after she plans to), and I was worried that we wouldnt make our departure time. So, when the clock showed 8:48 when we were pulling out of the driveway I was very happy to leave on time and not have to stress out right off the bat!
We all settled in and got comfortable for the 7-hour drive. I normally do all the driving when its just Miguel and I, so I was very happy that my grandfather was being the chauffeur this time.
It didnt take us long to reach our first destination for some breakfast. Chicken biscuits for all of us!
Some time after breakfast, I fell asleep. In fact, I think we all did. Well, except for my grandfather of course! I woke up somewhere after Valdosta we were already in Florida and more than halfway through our trip! We had originally planned to stop for lunch in Valdosta, but apparently we got there a little too quickly and my grandparents decided to keep on driving until we reached the next large (well, large in a sense that there were actually places to eat) city.
We ended up in Lake City at one of the two places that we typically stop for lunch:
Steak and Shake ended up being pretty slow, and by the time we finished up our meals and made it back out to the car, an hour had passed by. Still though, we were making great timing and I calculated us to arrive at the BC right at 5:00, just as planned!
Around 4:00, we made it to the Turnpike, which is always when I start to get really excited because I know we are so close!
We made a quick stop at one of the service centers to fill up on gas for the week and grab a few drinks (and a couple of Disney brochures, because I couldnt resist) and before we knew it, we were on I-4 and cruising towards Disney World!
Once we got to the Disney exits, I let my grandfather know to take the Epcot exit.
For some reason, the welcome sign completely snuck up on me this time. I think I was folding my blanket or something, but when I looked up, there it was! I quickly got out my phone to take a picture, and I must have sound distressed because my grandmother got mad at my grandfather because he was driving too fast and I was trying to take a picture. So then he got frustrated because, as he said, he couldnt just stop in the middle of the road. So my picture isnt too great, and our entrance into Disney was pretty anti-climactic, which made me sad.
Of course, you cant be too sad when youre in the Disney bubble since everything is so Disney! I was so happy to be seeing Disney buses and Disney signs again! We followed those signs, right to the Beach Club!
My grandfather pulled the car up front and we all got out to go check in. Now, for all of you that didnt read the PTR and for those who did and dont remember, my dad decided that he wanted to stay club level at the Beach Club. Mike ended up staying club level as well. My grandmother and I debated about upgrading our rooms, but since the CM at the reservation center let me know that we could all enjoy the club lounge as long as we had my dad with us, we figured it wouldnt really be worth the money. My grandmother was really hoping for a complimentary upgrade, though. I told her that an upgrade is always possible, but not to get her hopes up too much, and to just be super nice when she was checking in.
We all went up to the check-in desk, and one CM helped Miguel and I while the other helped my grandmother. Since I knew that the club level rooms were only on the fifth floor, I knew we didnt get upgraded when the CM told us that our room was on the third floor. I wasnt really expecting an upgrade, so I was completely ok with it. My grandmother though, was pretty disappointed when she got a third floor room as well. I overheard her asking the CM why my father got upgraded and none of us did. She knew that my dad wasnt upgraded and that he paid for his club level room, so this was just a tactic for us to get upgraded as well. I felt so embarrassed! That wasnt exactly my idea of nice. I could tell the CM wasnt sympathetic because she basically said, theres no way you would all get upgraded. Ok, time to just get to the room...
Continued in next post
ARRIVAL DAY - PART 2
Miguel and I had a great room location, right around the corner from the elevator, so it was very easy and convenient to get downstairs to the lobby. We absolutely loved the room at the BC, it was so bright and airy and just comfortable feeling. In fact, even though the Poly is our favorite resort, the BC room was my favorite room that we’d ever stayed in. There was something about it that was just so calming and luxurious. Here are TONS of pictures!
I think this little ledge is the best idea! Miguel always complains about how he doesn’t have night stand for his phone and things (I always take side of the bed with the night stand since I’m the one who sets the alarm), so this was perfect!
I loved those little pull-out drawers! Sadly, I never actually put anything in them.
I loved the frame for the TV as well.
I thought this lamp was so cute!
The Beach Club has a combination of full balconies and “standing” balconies. I was hoping for a full balcony, but I didn’t feel like we needed one enough to actually request one. We ended up with the standing balcony, which is big enough for one person. This was our view.
Sorry some of the pictures are a little dark! The bellman hadn’t brought our luggage yet, so I didn’t have the bag with my camera and I was using my phone.
After we had thoroughly explored the room, we were all anxious to check out the club level and my dad’s room! For some odd reason, we were able to get up to the fifth floor without a club level KTTW (that was the only time it happened during the week, every other time either my dad or Mike would have to meet us at the elevator) and after winding down many halls, we made it to my dad’s room!
My dad, Mike and a mutual friend of theirs who lives in Orlando were all in the room enjoying the balcony (the friend left before dinner). After we all said our hellos, we went out to admire the view – it was INCREDIBLE!
My grandmother was obviously jealous because she kept mentioning how her view was just nothing like that, and how her room seemed so small and how it didn’t have a couch in it like mine and Miguel’s did (my dad’s didn’t have a couch either). Seriously? The BC rooms are all so nice, and spacious! My dad mentioned that this wasn’t the first view that he had, because he had to change rooms as soon as he checked in because the first one didn’t smell good. Ok…
After sitting on the balcony for a while, my grandmother mentioned that she wanted to go down to the club lounge to get some hot tea. Mike then mentioned that he and my dad had already gone down there and that it was “about the size of this room” meaning that it was small. Clearly, Miguel and I were the only ones who were actually happy with our rooms and the hotel. The BEAUTIFUL hotel! By that point, I just wanted to get out of there. This was not how I imagined our arrival day to be! We decided to forgo checking out the club lounge and instead told everyone that we were heading back to our room to get changed for dinner and that we would meet them in the lobby at 6:45 for our 7:15 dinner.
Continued in next post.
ARRIVAL DAY - PART 3
Once Miguel and I made it back to our room, I let him know that I was kind of upset about how things had started off. Since I was the planner of this trip, I was taking all of the negative comments very personally. Maybe I was being overly sensitive, but really, I could not find a single, legitimate reason as to why anyone would be complaining. We were in the happiest place on earth, after all! It was at this point that we started to say the phrase that we found ourselves repeating many, many times throughout the week its better when its just the two of us!
After I had calmed down a bit and had freshened up my makeup and changed clothes, I decided to give my grandmother a call to voice my concerns. I figured getting my feeling off my chest would be a good idea; I didnt want to ruin our first night in Epcot!
I guess she could sense in my voice that something was wrong, because she immediately asked me what was wrong. I told her that I was a little upset, because the only thing I had heard so far, from anyone, was complaints. Complaints about not being upgraded, complaints about the size of the room (theyre huge!), complaints about not having a couch (why do you need one?), complaints about the size of the club lounge (um, you should be happy you have access to the club lounge!). I explained that I felt like we were all very lucky to even be staying in the BC, and that they were probably lots of people who would love to be staying there! It is a beautiful resort and we should all be happy to be there!
I think my grandmother was unaware of all the complaining she had been doing, because she immediately began apologizing. She said that she loved the hotel and things had been perfect so far. She said she was sure that my dad and Mike felt the same way.
After our call, I felt better and I hoped that the rest of the evening would go well. At about 6:45 Miguel and I headed down to the BC lobby to meet up with my family. My grandparents and my father were ready and waiting for us, but Mike wasnt there yet. About 10 minutes later he made it downstairs and we were ready to go (this was a common occurrence throughout the week). Finally, it was time to go to Epcot! Our absolute favorite place at Disney!
However, our momentum was short-lived. After we got outside and started to make our way to Epcot, I thought it would be a good idea to double-check with everyone to make sure they had their KTTW. Good thing I did, because my grandmother had no idea that she needed hers to get into the park! Apparently, she must have missed that speech during check in. Thankfully, it didnt take my grandfather long to go back to their room to retrieve it. Finally, we were really going to Epcot!
The walk from the BC to Epcot is so nice! I wasnt really sure about what to expect, time wise, but it was actually much faster than I was anticipating. I never actually timed it, but I really think that we could have made it from our door to the park entrance in 10 minutes. Very easy! It was so nice being able to usethe International Gateway! I definitely think another Epcot area resort stay is in our future. I just couldnt believe how quick and simple it was to get into the park. We ended up having plenty of time to spare. So naturally, we had to stop for a picture. We just so happened to come across a PP photographer at the bridge over to France perfect timing!
I just love this spot for pictures. We ended up stopping here a few more times during the trip.
After we finished up with our first group picture and I explained how PP worked (I had pre-ordered the CD for us) it was time to make our way to Japan. At this point, most of my frustrations from earlier had faded away and I was just happy to be in my happy place, taking in all the sights and sounds of a beautiful World Showcase. It also helped that I was finally hearing some positive words from my family they all couldnt believe how beautiful WS was, and just how close we were to the park!
After our short stroll past France and Morocco, we made it to Japan!
I told everyone to just hang around and that I would go get us checked in for dinner. After a quick trip to the hostess stand, we all climbed the massive stairs and waited for our buzzer to go off.
It ended up going off right at our ADR time love when that happens!
Since Miguel and I had never eaten at Teppan Edo, I was very curious and excited to see the inside of the restaurant. I was very impressed! It is so pretty and modern in there. Its always fun getting to see something new at Disney.
We were seated at our table, and after about 10 minutes our chef came out and got started on our meal! Our chef was a woman and she was very sweet and entertaining. It was the typical hibachi show, but I always enjoy it!
Everyone loved their food! My grandmother had the chicken, my grandfather had the chicken and shrimp, and the rest of us had the steak and chicken.
We all raved about our meal, and Miguel and I decided that we would definitely return to Teppan Edo in the future. It wont be an every time thing for us, but I can certainly see us going there every few trips. The only thing I wish that they had was an option to do chicken and a filet instead of chicken and sirloin. I am a bit of a steak snob in that I really only like filet mignon. I would probably just do the chicken in the future.
Even though we were all stuffed, my father was interested in dessert so I suggested that we skip out on dessert in Japan and head over to France instead I had been dying for a Napoleon!
Everyone liked my plan, so we settled our bills, gathered our things and headed back out into WS and back to France.
I of course went with the Napoleon, as did Mike and my grandfather. Miguel got the Cream Puff and my dad got the éclair.
The Napoleon was just as good as I had remembered! I think is one of the best snacks (or desserts) on Disney property. It is huge, too! Miguel enjoyed his Cream Puff so much that I couldnt even get a picture before he dived into it!
As we were finishing up our desserts the announcement came on that Illuminations would be starting in 10 minutes. I had remembered reading here that the bridge to France was a great spot to see the show, so I lead everyone over there and thankfully we were able to get a second row spot.
Once Illuminations started, we were all immersed in the Disney magic. I think my grandmother said wow about every 10 seconds! I just love Illuminations; it is by far my favorite fireworks show. The music is incredible! In fact, Miguel and I were obsessed with the Illuminations music. We listened to it at least once a night before the trip and it was so neat being able to really follow along with the music.
After the fireworks ended, everyone kept talking about how much they loved the show, dinner and our trip to the French bakery. Maybe our arrival day had turned out to be a success after all!
Since we had a big day tomorrow (the Magic Kingdom!) we quickly exited the park and made the very short walk back to the BC. I remembered that I had forgotten to give everyone their morning newsletter for the following day, so we agreed to meet up in the BC lounge so that I could hand them out and we could discuss the plans for the next day.
Just incase you didnt follow along with the PTR, here is the newsletter for day one!
I made one of these for every day so that everyone would know exactly what the plans were, and what time they needed to be ready, could expect a break, etc. Everyone loved them, and they really looked forward to getting a new one every day!
After I distributed the newsletters and everyone was in agreement about what time to leave the next morning, we all went to our rooms for the night. I cant speak for everyone, but I know Miguel and I dreamed about all the fun we would have at the MK tomorrow, and I hoped that everyone would have a good time!
Gosh, I feel like that update was so depressing! Im sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but I want to give you all a realistic account of what happened on our trip. The good news is that our arrival day was definitely the worst day of the trip as far as complaints and such go. There were of course a few things here and there that bothered me, but for the most part, the rest of the trip was much smoother!
Great updates! I really like that you're doing one whole day in different posts, I wish I did that with my December trip! It's not very much fun writing a TR about a trip that didn't go the way you hoped, is it? I keep wishing I never bothered doing a December TR, but since I did, I just want to finish it and be done!
Your room at BC is SO beautiful! I know I've stayed there, but I love seeing pictures of the rooms, they are amazing! I feel the same way, WL is our favorite resort, but the BC rooms are the best! I can't believe your grandmother was complaining so much, that's too bad! We didn't have a couch in our room when we were there, and we were Club Level! It's not like we would have used it!
I'm glad everyone's moods improved for Epcot! I love your first PP picture, that border is new this year, I love it! That just means I have to pre order the CD for May, I guess!
Teppan Edo looks great! We've only done it once and we liked it, but haven't been back yet, but I'd definitely like to give it another try!
Glad everyone enjoyed Illuminations! I love that music, I listen to it all the time too!
I LOVE your TR so far! I do know what you mean when you say, "It is better with just the two of us." I had a Disney Wedding in 2008 and 18 of our family and friends joined us. DH and I are very protective of our favorite vacation spot and any little negative comment really hurt our feelings. We love that place so much, that we wanted our family to fall in love with it too! It was very stressful. We haven't been back to Disney since our first anniversary trip in 2009. We had our first child and have been so busy. We are having withdrawals! We did officially book our next WDW vaca for June 16-23 and it will be the first time our son (18 months) gets to go. We are also taking my mother-in-law with us. So it looks like the days of "just the two of us" are over. I am so excited for our trip though! I am super jealous that you got to stay ot the BC! It is so beautiful. We actually got married on the Boardwalk and had our recepetion at the BC. I have always wanted to stay at one of the Epcot resorts. I can't wait to read more and find out what happened during DAY 2!
Your newsletter was totally awesome! That's such a great idea, especially when traveling with larger groups that include inexperienced WDW travelers. So cool.
I like hearing about the real things that happen on trips, so don't worry about thinking you sound like a Debbie Downer. Your day still ended up turning out wonderfully I think. And I think telling your grandmother the way you felt was the right way to go.
I love Teppan Edo! Great choice for the first night dinner. And then dessert from the patisserie in France and Illuminations? Perfection.
Oh, Courtney, I'm so sorry that there were so many complaints on your arrival day. I can completely relate to how you took the comments so personally I do have to say though, I'm glad to see that your Grandmother took your concerns to heart and really made the effort to apologize for it.
Backing up to the beginning - yum! to Chick-fil-a, one of my favorite stops for a quick bite to eat
We love Teppan Edo, but agree that it isn't a "must-do" every trip. Since it is easily accessible to get hibachi here (and quite good, actually) we save it for every other trip. There's just so many other options at Epcot that must be tried
I'm so glad to see that the night wrapped up with great attitudes and fun
Hi, Courtney! You have no idea how excited I was to see a new TR from you! I thought I remembered you having a trip coming up, and Id had my eye open on the forum. So yay!
Im excited to read more about the Beach Club! Thats where we are staying with our families in the days leading up to the wedding.
Wow! Your dad did have a wonderful view! I can see why your grandmother was slightly jealous
Sorry you had a rough arrival day! But it sounds like things turn around for you. Can't wait to read more!
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