Our Drama-Filled May 2010 Bay Lake & Beach Club Trip Report(OMG-ITS MY FINAL UPDATE!)

Discussion in 'DVC-Mousecellaneous' started by TigerLaw, May 29, 2010.

  1. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    The Cast:

    Michael, 16th visit to WDW / DL (Disney fanatic for years)
    Melissa, wife of the fanatic, fellow lover of WDW, just nowhere near my level (14th visit to WDW / DL)

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    The Time:

    Saturday, May 15, 2010 to Sunday, May 23, 2010.

    The DVC Resorts:

    Bay Lake Tower - lake view 1 bedroom villa (from 5/15 to 5/18)
    Beach Club Villas -1 bedroom villa (form 5/18 to 5/23)

    The History:

    Melissa and I first went to WDW in September, 2000. Since then we have gone every year at least once. Highlights of the different trips include Melissa surprised me with a mini-vacation to WDW for my 30th birthday and going to Disneyland for the 50th anniversary festivities. 2009 was a great year for us in terms of Disney - we went to WDW twice (first in May, then in July) and I got to go to Disneyland in the fall as part of work trip to California.

    The Planning:
    We started planning for this trip in the beginning of 2010. We picked the time we did b/c we thought (i.e., hoped) it would be a low crowd time, being between mother’s day and memorial day. It also allowed us to see the Flower and Garden Festival before it closed on 5/16 and the start of Star Wars Weekends, which began on 5/21. Another reason for the dates of our trip is that May 23rd was the last day we could use our annual passes from last year, so we didn’t have to pay for park tickets for this trip plus we got to use our tables in wonderland card as well! :cool1: Additionally, Disney decided to bring back the wishes dessert party, so I was able to schedule that literally the first day it became available once again. :thumbsup2 Finally, one other scheduling plus for us took place about thirty days before our trip when Disney extended the park hours and added more fantasmics nighttime parades, etc., so that rocked for us! (one brief note on this was that about a day after Disney posted the extended hours, they took them back down and then like a day later, they were back up again!) :confused3

    Of course, with the good comes the bas, so a couple scheduling “wrenches” were thrown our way by Disney. First, Disney booked a private party at MK for 5/16, so that meant MK closed way early that night (at 5pm). :sad2: We knew this would make Epcot and MGM more crowded, so while at first, I wanted to do a long MGM EMH night, we decided to take it easy that night and just casually do MGM for awhile that night and rest up for the big EMH night at MK the next day. The bigger issue we had was that Rock n Roller Coaster (“RnRC”) was a given a rehab for most fo our trip, so we rearranged some of schedule so that most of MGM time would be towards the end of trip when RnRC reopened (Friday the 21st). :scared1:

    Overall though, the “big idea” for this trip was to try out Bay Lake Towers (“BLT”) for a bit. What is funny about this for us is that when we first saw pictures of it, we were both like “not for us” but as this trip has gotten closer, it has grown on both us. Our initial plan was to stay first for a few nights in a BLT studio, and then move over to Beach Club Villas (“BCV”) in a one bedroom. When I first tried to book the trip through DVC, I wasn’t able to get every thing we wanted however. Up until right around the 30 day mark, I couldn’t get it all together for DVC points (had the “problem nights” booked for cash instead), but then my wife came up w. a great idea - why don’t we really try out BLT and stay in a 1 bedroom for cash the first night, and then points the other two nights! (As I have said in prior trip reports, while I obsessively plan for our disney trips, Melissa will just come up with ideas just out of nowhere - things that I never think of) After a few days of calling into DVC, we got the last nights we needed for points and were ready to go!

    What else I can say about the pre-trip planning? Briefly, we flew down on Southwest for a decent rate because American stopped flying from St. Louis to Orlando non-stop (even though the planes were full every time flew the route!) For car rental, we went with Dollar, who consistently gives out the lowest rates (at least that I can find!). Otherwise, we were set, Disney world here we come!
     
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  3. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    THE PLAN OF ATTACK

    Sat 15th
    check in at BLT, dinner at CA Grill, then head to Top of the World lounge for drinks & Wishes at 10pm

    Sun 16th
    Ohana’s breakfast at 7:30, then MK for regular open 9am
    then Mike heads over to Epcot for last day of flower festival (mel also?)
    late afternoon - rest / pool
    MGM night - 7:45 dinner at Mama’s

    Mon 17th
    AK EMH 8am - Donalds 10:30
    afternoon - BLT pool & nap (rest up for long night)
    dinner at Ohana’s
    MK EMH 11pm-2am (spectro 9pm & 11pm, wishes 10pm)

    Tues 18th
    Epcot EMH 8am (hotel switch morning)
    lunch at DTD - t-rex 12:30
    afternoon rest
    Dinner - Le cellar 5:30 pm
    drink around the world and fireworks

    Wed 19th
    Epcot 9am open
    lunch at seasons or b&c?
    AK EMH 6-9pm (LK show 7pm) dinner at flame tree
    DTD for ice cream!

    Thurs 20th
    MK EMH 8am, crystal palace 1030am
    long afternoon for pool and nap
    MK night Dinner - Plaza 5pm
    Wishes dessert party, spectro 9pm, wishes 10pm (park open to 10pm)

    Friday 21st
    MGM 9am open (star wars begins at MGM )
    sci fi 11:10
    cape may 5pm, then DTD, then back to Epcot watch illuminations and then Epcot EMH 9-12 pm

    Sat 22nd
    MGM EMH 8am (star wars also)
    Melissa's pool day
    date night Bistro Paris 630 pm -

    Sun 23rd
    MGM (opens 9am)
    Cape may breakfast
    lunch - Earl of Sandwich
    head back home

    COMING UP - THE DRAMA BEGINS!
     
  4. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    Saturday May 15th

    Parks Visited: Magic Kingdom
    Dining: California Grill (dinner)


    For the few days leading up to our trip, I had had trouble sleeping, the excitement of the upcoming trip I guess (I know, insert “we’re took excited to sleep” commercial line here) :rotfl2:. Anyway, our flight down from St. Louis to Orlando was pretty uneventful. The plane was supposed to be full, but we didn’t have anyone sitting next to us in our three person row. :thumbsup2 In fact, we actually landed in Orlando a bit ahead of schedule. :banana:

    The “fun” (or more accurately, the problems) began at baggage pick up. Specifically, my biggest piece of luggage was nowhere to be seen. :scared1: Eventually, I made a claim with Southwest and we headed over to our rental car (which I had already gotten the keys for before even going to the luggage pick up area. One of the problems the luggage issue caused was a delay in getting to WDW. Time was of the essence for we were scheduled to attend a DVC “sales pitch” presentation at Bay Lake Tower’s (“BLT”) Top of the World Lounge (the “Lounge”). Basically, we knew we weren’t adding on to our current DVC membership, but had heard they gave out instant fastpasses for attending, so we figured, what the heck? :confused3

    Anyway, we got there with a few minutes to spare. They served miniature sandwiches, cheesecake on a stick and drinks - enough to hold us over. The presentation lasted over an hour and during the quiz portion of the event, I got called on and one a DVC bookbag! :cool1: After the talk, people went to see the rooms, but since we were staying there already, we passed on that part of the event.

    Now, during the talk, I got a couple separate calls from Southwest, who advised that somehow Disney had my luggage and they were bringing it over to BLT. With this knowledge, we went over to the Contemporary to check in (why there is no check in at BLT is beyond me! ;)) I tried to get bell services to work on finding my luggage, but they refused to do anything w/o my claim ticket - which was all the way in the rental car parked in BLT’s parking lot! Without going into all the details, drama ensued w. both the bell service and front desk people. Eventually, we got our room assignment (a room by the way that met with none of my room requests) room 7114. By this time, it was mid-afternoon and we were tired of just about everything - not a great way to start our trip! :eek:

    Here’s a couple room pics:

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    Room was in decent shape. Inb our bedroom, onely one of the three lights worked - one had a dead light bulb and the other had no light bulb at all! :rotfl: After resting for a bit in the room, Melissa started to get ready for our first “date night” of the trip and I wondered around BLT and the Contemporary, picking up some snacks for us at the CR and taking pictures along the way (including up in the Lounge). Here are a few of my resort pics:

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    (I like how I got both monorails in the second shot)

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    (note the monorail in front of Space Mtn is on the transfer track - I had never seen this before)

    One may way back from walking around, I saw a bell hop who had my bag on one of those big bag wheelie things but he wouldn’t give it to me right there and then, saying he had to deliver it to my room! :rotfl: I went back to the room to wait for my bag, and eventually got it like 10 minutes later. Thankfully, the bag was finally in our possession and I could dress appropriately for our CA grill dinner (my dress shoes were in the missing bag for example).

    COMING UP - DINNER AND FIREWORKS, DISNEY STYLE!
     
  5. Shadeaux

    Shadeaux DIS Veteran

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    Great pictures! I especially like the ones with the two monorails. Looking forward to seeing more.
     
  6. Sandisw

    Sandisw Moderator Moderator

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    Thank you for the report. We are doing BCV and BLT this summer as well. Just a quick question. You mention having a LV 1 bedroom but then your room number suggests you were first floor? Is this right?

    I thought all first floor rooms were SV rooms but if that is not the case I am going to be disappointed as we booked LV this summer (gave up SV) because we didn't want first floor.

    If we can still get that with LV, then maybe we will just go standard in the future.
     
  7. Disney Princess

    Disney Princess <font color=red>Member Since Day 1<br><font color=

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    Thanks for the report so far. The pictures are great! Sorry about your bag issues - I'm glad it was finally resolved! :thumbsup2
     
  8. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    Thanks - I was actually quite proud of that shot, showed it to my wife, and she was like "explain to me the big deal about this again?!?" :rotfl2:

    Didn't even catch that - we were in room 7411 - sorry for the mistake! I will say calling my room a lake view room was a stretch, as you basically had to look pretty far over to the side to see the lake - Our straight ahead view was of the other side of the circle and those damn too tall bamboo trees!

    Yeah, we debated should I go to CA grill in shorts or my dockers w. tennis shoes since all my shoes were in the missing bag except for what I was wearing.
     
  9. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    May 15th (vacation day one) cont.

    Eventually, we headed over to the CR using the sky bridge for the first time. I still wonder why they didn’t enclose it with glass windows, but who knows?!? :confused3 We didn’t have to wait much at all to get up to the CR roof and the restaurant. We sat down first in the waiting area, but was told we couldn’t get drinks served to us there b/c we didn’t have a table next to our seats, so we move up to one of the tall tables, but got called to our seats before we could order a drink. The restaurant wasn’t too crowded, yet we still got sat next to table with kids who acted like they were at a playground all night long. Anyway, we still had a nice meal, all things considered. We tried a couple different flat breads (one was cheese-based and the other had chicken on it) and liked both. Melissa had a crispy chicken dish and I had the beef filet for our main courses. For dessert I had a banana/caramel mixture and I can’t remember what Melissa had.

    Here are some pics from our CA Grill night:

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    Now we had planned to go straight from dinner to the BLT Lounge, but we actually had some time on our hands, so we went back to the room, changed into less dressy clothes and headed up to the Lounge around 9pm or so (the fireworks were set for 10pm). I thought it was funny to have to go down from the 4th floor elevators to the first floor, have a CM walk us back to those elevators so we could then go up to the top Lounge floor, but whatever. Melissa had a mojito and I just had a coke. The view was great and here are some of my pics of that:

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    It never got too crowded in the Lounge (actually, it was more crowded during the DVC pitch). About 10 minutes before showtime, we got a spot on the outside wall to watch the Wishes fireworks. :cool1: It was cool to watch the fireworks w. a drink and have the music piped into the Lounge’s speakers. Here’s a couple fireworks pics (not the greatest I admit, but I liked how you could see in the second one the distance from where the fireworks go off behind the castle).

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    COMING UP - HOW DO YOU WATCH TWO PARADES IN A CLOSED THEME PARK ANYWAY?!?
     
  10. BWV Dreamin

    BWV Dreamin DIS Veteran

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    Love your trip report! We have yet to stay at our new home. That one bedroom looks great. What a shame about that rude family with kids at dinner. I would have asked to be moved. You were very patient! Love the fireworks pics!
     
  11. Sandisw

    Sandisw Moderator Moderator

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    Thanks!!! I just wanted to be sure I didn't spend an extra 9 points to avoid the 1st floor only to find out that we could end up there anyway!
     
  12. Disney Princess

    Disney Princess <font color=red>Member Since Day 1<br><font color=

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    Love the new addition and pictures! It is funny to see how far back that big firework is from the castle. When you are on Main Street, it certainly seems as if they set it off from Fantasyland. :) Sorry about the kids at dinner. :sad2:
     
  13. ajf1007

    ajf1007 DIS Veteran

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    What a great TR! I'm looking forward to the next updatepopcorn::. Sounds like you had a rough start but are working through it and keeping a positive attitude! I love the pics, they're great! Bring on the next update!
     
  14. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    Dreamin, your suggestion is funny as I never thought of that (and honestly, it would have been a hastle). I was truly surprised at the number of kids at CA grill that night, as given our bill, the last thbing I would want to do is bring kids up there! :rotfl2:

    Glad I could help! :thumbsup2

    I'm with you - I didn't think that the fireworks were shot right behind dumbo, but not that far away!

    Thanks for the kind words on the pics - I bought a new mega-zoom bridge camera (the panasonic FZ35) and these are the first pics from that (an dthe first pics that I have processed afterwards as well) I got shots of Spectro, FOTLK, and other places I never could get before now. Later in the week, I have some night shots at Epcot during the EMH that I love from it!
     
  15. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    After the fireworks ended, Melissa went down to the room to sleep and I walked over to the Magic Kingdom to take Spectromagic pictures w. my new camera (the park was open until 11pm and the second Spectro showing of the night started at 11pm also). The walk was an easy one - less than ten minutes. Here are some of my pictures walking around before the parade:

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    Around 10-15 minutes for the parade, I saw that no one was line was lining up for the parade in the front hub, so I got a front row seat across from city hall and took these pictures:

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    More Spectro to come!
     
  16. DVC Mike

    DVC Mike DVC & Photography for me! BLT/VGF/BWV DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    I enjoyed your photos!

    Thanks!
     
  17. mckryan

    mckryan DIS Veteran

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    Awesome photos! What kind of camera are you using? Tripod?
     
  18. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    You're welcome - coming from you, that's high praise indeed!

    Thanks. I use a birdge camera - the panasonic FZ35 - a fancy point and shoot w. a mega zoom is the easiest way to describe it - got it about a month before the trip.
     
  19. allaboutdisney1967

    allaboutdisney1967 Mouseketeer

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    Dear TigerLaw,

    Wonderful photos!!! :worship: Both the day and the night photos. Very jealous of the night photos. The clarity of your BLT pool and the Contemporary at night are marvelous.

    We just went to WDW in April (first visit w/out daughter). Went to BLT dog and pony show. Added 50 BLT pts. to our Saratoga. We will be staying at BLT in a STD View Studio next April vacation after Dream Cruise. HOPE TO GET PHOTOS WITH HALF THE CLARITY.

    I'm beyond JELLO pudding jealous of your SPECTRO photos. I have a Cannon SLR w/ a zoom lens. No matter what I put the setting on, whether it is Night, motion, or AUTO, I can never get pictures with the clarity of yours.

    :cool1: :thumbsup2 Kudos.
     
  20. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the kind words! This was the first time I took pictures w. this camera at WDW. All the shots shown up to now were w/o any tripod-like support (at the epcot EMH night, I tied a bunch of pics using trash cans and railings as tripods to fake the camera out for long exposure purposes) The picture of the CR was done like that as well I just remembered as I had the camera around my neck and then on the high railing at the Top of the World Lounge.

    As for the spectro pictures - this was the first time I got pictures of it I was happy with - I think my location helped a bit as I felt like I was right on top of the parade standing in town square. Also, it seemed like there were some "traffic jams" going around the circle, so I think that helped a bit as well. :confused3

    I will have some more spectro and MK night shots up tomorrow, so come back, take a look and let me know what you think! :thumbsup2
     
  21. TigerLaw

    TigerLaw DIS Veteran

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    Now, you would probably guess that after the parade was over, I went back to BLT as the park was closed, BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG!!! :rotfl2: Instead, I tried to get ahead of the parade and take another set of pictures! :cool1::banana: I thought it wouldn’t be that difficult to do, but I ended up having to walk all the way through adventureland and end up next to Peco’s Bill’s to take these pictures:

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    (The second C&P picture shows them goofing off right before they cross the "magical yellow line" where no one in the park can see them anymore (so past that line, characters can walk around w/o their "heads" on for example)

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    COMING UP - THE LAST SET OF PICTURES FROM DAY ONE OF OUR VACATION (I PROMISE!!!) ;)
     

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