Just back. 4 of us - 2 adults, DD9, DD10. We were on the free dining - at ASMu - 11 days. My DH's family is in Orlando and Tampa, so he was going to be with us some days, but doing some fishing and other things with this brother on other days. DD10 did some things with relatives and DH that did not involve Disney. On some nights, all 4 of us dined, other nights, we only had 2. This allowed us to dine at more Signature restaurants. Checked in early on 9/25 after a flight down from PHL (not a dining day) and hung out by the pool until the room was ready (around 4). Loved that they entertain the kids by the pool with dancing, pool games, etc. We are lovers of quiet beaches, relaxing pools, etc.....but sometimes it's just great for the kids to have fun and I'll gladly sacrifice my relaxation for them to sing, dance and laugh. At one point, they threw an 8 foot beach ball into the pool and THAT WAS FUN! Went to room (assigned to RocknRoll building, which I wasn't happy about at first since I had previously requested jazz....but in the end I liked being secluded at the back of the resort). There was a towel Mickey to greet us. That was a welcome sight since our prior visit (April 07 at CSR for my birthday) got us NO towel animals the entire time, even after we left a large tip and kindly asked for one). At ASMu, the towel animals became a normal thing and my DDs began to look forward to coming "home" at the end of the day and seeing them on the bed. Our housekeeper - Melayda - was awesome! She turned down our beds, arranged our pillows in a fancy way, left animals and notes for us, etc. Just incredible. The CM at the desk told me that ALL of the rooms have been refurbished. This was our first Value resort and I was a little nervous about it - but it turned out to be just fine and the room was very comfortable, clean and well decorated. The furniture was nice and the beds were much softer than I had imagined they'd be. I am a stickler for beds and good sheets - and I slept comfortably at ASMu. Yes, the toilets were loud, but it didn't bother me. I would definitely stay there again. I didn't really notice a difference between the rooms at AS and moderates. For the difference in $, I don't think it is worth it to spend more unless LOCATION is important to you - and also for the buses. I didn't like that the bus lONLY stopped at the front of the resort at one location and everyone had to que up there and the bus sometimes filled before we could get on - causing us to have to wait for the next. This, IMO, was the biggest downer of AS. Oh, I almost forgot - one night I awoke at 4am to loud yelling from the room next to us. I tried to ignore it, but it sounded like a teenager...after a while of it, I called the desk and reported it. They said they'd take care of it. The next morning, at 7am, more loud yelling- same person. I called the desk again and they said they would call me back. I then got peeved and called next door - a woman answered and said that they had bed bugs in the bed and her niece had been badly bitten and was covered in bites. She also said her niece was special needs, so it was hard to control the yelling - but they were checking out that day anyway. She sounded reasonable and very apologetic. She said they had been telling the resort about it and wanted to be moved, but the resort refused to move them. Hence, the yelling. I don't think my room had a bug problem.....but I did notice that I had 2-3 very small bites on me - not like mosquito bits - these were smaller, like flea bites. Maybe there is an issue in some rooms. The desk amanger called me back and I explained the yelling. She offered to move ME, but I didn't really want to move after settling in. She confirmed that the neighbor was due to check out that day, she apologized and offered me a credit on my bill for the trouble. All in all, I was satisfied - but feeling badly for the people next door with the bugs and bites. I had a bunch of headliner TS reservations..... some I kept, some I cancelled. It was hard to tear the kids away from the fun just because we had an ADR. Next time, I'll make the ADRs for later in the evening. Most of mine were from 6-7pm. That was too early. Parks were relatively uncrowded with 10-20 min standby waits until the Friday before Labor Day - then it got significantly more crowded and we had to fastpass everything. Prior to that, it was GREAT! Though, very hot and humid. Sometimes, the heat felt oppressive and I wondered if it was worth it to be there in that heat vs. going when the weather is better. The heat just made me so tired. I decided that if the crowds are low and dining is free, it is worth it....but over Labor Day, when the crowds swelled AND it was 95 degrees, it wasn't worth it. We ate dinner at the following: Citricos (excellent) Jiko (second best of the stay!! Yumm - and we LOVED, LOVED the AKL - want to stay there now - tried the night vision viewing of the animals - thanks to the DISer who recommended that) Flying Fish (didn't care for food, but service was great) Yachtsman Steak House (excellent) Fulton's (DH wanted to try and we were treating his family - food was not good!) Wolfgang Cafe (best meal of the stay - we ate dinner here 2X) Artists Point (wasn't thrilled with the food, but the lodge is lovely) Cancelled dining at (didn't have enough credits to do it all anyway): Brown Derby Narcoosees Boma CS favorites were: CSR's Pepper Market (my all time fav CS - this place is the best, quality and options better than many TS places!! it is a more expensive CS, but if you are on the dining plan, you'll really maximize your plan here - there is mexican, asian, pasta, pizza, salads and sandwiches, amazing dessert area where we got fresh fruit tarts and creme brulee) The Cantina at Mexico pavillion is Epcot Food court at our hotel (My DD's fav, not mine) My dining advice is to dine as much as you can at NON Disney restaurants that accept the dining plan (Wolfgang, Raglan). The Disney TS restaurants seem to have the same food with slightly different preparation - but it seems like it might have been frozen or something. It just isn't that good - especially for the price. If I couldn't be on the dining plan, I'd dine outside of Disney. I wish they could do more with the food. We went to all of the parks (some two or 3X), plus water parks and Quest. Rode all of the rides, except Mission Space Orange (we rode green - not because we were scared, but because people on here reported getting sick and feeling badly for the rest of the trip. We decided not to chance that). We got Dream Fastpasses in Epcot one day. That was fun. My favorite ride continues to be Splash Mtn. We got stuck on Tom Sawyer Island when a storm rolled in while we were on it and it took us about an hour to get off while the boats were not running. We were in the final load que for Space Mtn when it broke down and they turned on the lights. That was cool - seeing the ride in the light. Very old looking. The CM said "well, this is the original ride from the early 70s" and my DH said "that doesn't make me feel too good!". LOL I don't really think Disney has scary rides, but the most thrilling are: RnRC, ToT, EE and SM. Of them all, I think the theming is what stands out at ToT and EE. I loved walking through the pre-ride area at EE - and also at ToT. I love it when Disney plants little surprises in the que area. They really went all out with EE. I only wish they had more CMs who would enage us in the magic of being transported to the story. The CMs at the elevators on ToT do this (sometimes), but the others didn't at the other rides. Come on! Act a little. Bring us into the story more. People just seem to go through and ride the ride for the ride's sake....but what about the story and really getting into it? I did notice that people tend to abuse the CMs. It was such a shame to witness. One lady at Typhoon Lagoon was really going off on the CM when we were waiting for rope drop because she had taken the bus over at 8m and the park didn't open til 10. She was going off about wanting them to open the park earlier because, after all, Disney bussed her there so early. The she said, loudly - "and, if it rains and I don't get a credit, you are REALLY gonna hear something from me - wait til that happens!". Gosh lady, the sun is out and it's a lovely morning - and you are at the front of the line - be happy!!! Why go off about what you are going to do IF it rains! We saw lots of other exchanges like this. Then she went off about how someone at the top of Disney Exec offices has a screw loose becuase they decided to raise the hotel rates on a holiday weekend - but shorten park hours. I couldn't hold it in any longer and turned around to tell her that whomever decided that is probably a celebrated executive for figuring that they can do that, maximize profits and STILL pack the resorts and parks - genius!! Obviously, this woman doesn't understand how a business operates. I don't understand people acting like Disney is a charity or a non-profit. There's probably a bunch of stuff I'm forgetting. Oh, Brad, if you read this...I think you suggested that we simply upgrade our MYW tix for this visit and not use my old hoppers - saving those for another visit. We did that - thanks for your advice! After looking at the ticket price charts and we knew we wanted to add water parks and Quest, it was worth it to just get 10 day hoppers with WP for this trip and save our old passes with non-expiration and 6 days remaining for another trip. If they offer free dining next year, we'll do it again - or maybe something sooner if a great offer comes out. Also, we had a bunch of leftover snack credits, so we just bought the giant lollipops and the giant jaw-breakers for my Ds to pass out to their classmates on the first day of school. If we go back and do a Deluxe, I'd like to stay at AKL. If we do a Mod, I'd like to stay at CSR again. For a Value, we'd like to try POP. I'd have no problems going to another Value.....and with the free dining.....it was REALLY an exceptional value!!! Looking at the bill for dining (before the plan is applied), we probably ate more than 3X the value of our resort stay. Thanks to all who helped us plan this "End of Summer Disney Blitz". We all decided that our theme song for this visit was "Push it to the Limit" from HS Musical. Between the way we ran the parks, dined and just had an overall great time, we really pushed it to the limit!!!