Discussion in 'DVC Trip Reports' started by kristenrice, Mar 30, 2012.
I'm looking forward to reading how it's going!
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It has been so much fun reading your pre-trip report-hope you had a wonderful time and can't wait to har an update!
Love your PTR! Can't wait to hear more!!
So sorry that I didn't update...I never even powered up my computer for the entire trip.
I don't have a lot of time to post right now, but I will let you know that the trip was absolutely FANTASTIC. There were a few ups and downs, mostly due to hot and tired children (and occassionally an adult), but overall, we had a great time.
Our flight was on time and probably the smoothest one I've ever experienced. We had a short (less than 15 minute) wait for DME but we were the first stop. From the time we stepped off the plane to the time we arrived at OKW was just over an hour.
As I expected, they had all kinds of confusion with our reservation. They filled our requests, putting us in the Turtle Pond area in villas right next to each other. We were in rooms 3422 and 3423. Our view was nothing spectacular...an overgrown tree obstructing the view of a fairway and and algae-covered pond...but we never spent any time on the patio anyways so it was not an issue.
The rooms were in good shape with a few minor issues...shower door a little crooked and a wheel missing from the dishwasher shelf in our room and the other villa was missing a spatula. We mentioned it at check out so that maintenance could take care of it.
Oh boy, are their computers a mess. As I mentioned, we booked a continuous 7-night stay through Member Services, with the first and last nights on cash and the 5 in the middle on points. They said that they could see that we had a continuing reservation, but that their system wouldn't recognize it. So, we had to go back the next morning and get new keys...and guess who was knocking at the door? Yup, mousekeeping. THEIR system said we were checking out so we ended up with a full cleaning. Then, on Wednesday (day 4 of our points stay)...here they are again with our trash and towel service. Well, you can guess what happened Friday afternoon...yup, we returned to find we'd received another full cleaning. THEIR system showed that we'd checked out on Friday which was the "checkout" day for our points stay. Then, as expected, our keys didn't work on Saturday morning. That was not a big deal since we didn't leave the room until we were checking out anyways.
If Disney could just get all of their computers to communicate, it sure would save a lot of money. Good grief! We had THREE visits from housekeeping (which should have only been one!) and we went through 45 resort ID cards, which could have been only 15. Oh, and then there was the check out...
Dad and I went to the HH at 9:15am on checkout day because he had $1000 in gift cards that he needed to apply to the room charges. So, they "merged" our rooms (oh, sure) and it shows the total owed is $386....uh....that's not right. So we look over the "itemized" bill. I think you need some sort of advanced degree to understand it. DH and I charged the $216 fishing trip to the room. That showed up as a charge of $64.15. Then, there were the transactions that weren't even there...
...$450+ for dinner at Mama Melrose's...
...$250+ for 1/2 of the bill at Chef Mickey's (oddly, the other half WAS on there)...
...at least 3 different charges for food at the resort...
...the $250 payment that DH made with gift cards...
It didn't help the matter that the poor CM trying to help us did not have English as her first language. We kept trying to tell her that we owed almost $1000 in charges and she kept saying "No, this is the correct total". She finally went and got the manager, Hope, who was also completely confused by our folio. My dad pulled out the receipt from Mama Melrose's which clearly showed that it was charged to the room. The reason that this was such an issue is because dad had bought the gift cards specifically for these purchases. His credit card was on file so if the missing charges were eventually found, he didn't want them charging his card since he had the money in gift cards. He certainly didn't want to go home with $1000 in gift cards AND another $1000 charged to his credit card.
Since we had a 10am reservation at Olivia's, and it was now 9:55am, Hope told us to head over and enjoy breakfast and she would get the problem resolved. Sure enough, as we were finishing up, she came to our table and gave dad the corrected bill. It took a total of almost 2 hours to get it all straightened out, but in the end, it all worked out.
I'll get into more details about the trip later. Right now, I have to get ready to go back to work tomorrow.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.
Does your Dad want to adopt.... say a 37 year old???
He's already got one.
On our arrival night, we all took the bus to DTD for dinner at T-Rex. It was a bit of a wait, but since we'd arrived almost an hour before our scheduled reservation, we weren't suprised or disappointed. Dinner was delicious, but the service was only so-so. It wasn't so bad that I wouldn't eat there again, but it certainly wasn't exceptional.
After dinner, we took the boat back to OKW to try and get a little settled in to our rooms. Our groceries from GG, our baby furniture from ABBF and the three boxes that we'd sent down were already brought to our room when we arrived so we had some unpacking to do.
The first full day was at Epcot. We got there just after it opened. We got FP's for Soarin and got in the standby line to ride it immediately since it was only a 20 minute wait. Then we rode Living with the Land while mom and dad rode Soarin (they'd stayed out with Emilee the first time through). After that, everyone wanted to ride "the big ball". My goodness...you'd think that was the only ride at WDW. My nephew *LOVED* that ride! He is 9 and he loved the fact that they take your picture and you can see it at the end. He wanted to ride that ride ALL DAY!
We lunched at Sunshine Seasons. Again, good food, but nothing that blew me away. I honestly don't remember what we did in the afternoon, but we did hit The Seas, Ellen's Energy Adventure, Journey Into Imagination and Soarin again. Then, it was dinner at 6 at LeCellier....YUM! Both of the girls wanted just soup and pretzel bread and the waiter was happy to accommodate them. I had the pork chop (delicious) and DH had the filet. Unfortunately, DD8 did not like her soup at all. She ended up sharing some of my pork chop and filling up on the bread. DD6 happily finished off DD8's soup. I tried it, and I have to admit, it was really bad. I normally love that soup, but it tasted like there was an entire bottle of beer in that small little cup. The beer taste was overwhelming and I can completely understand why DD8 didn't like it. (Perhaps I should be concerned that DD6 was licking the bowl clean)
On the way out of the park, we had to ride the big ball again.
Day 2 was DHS day. In no particular order, we rode ToT, RRC, TSMM, and the Great Movie Ride. We also saw both of the stunt shows, Beauty and the Beast and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Somewhere in there, we had lunch at Mama Melrose's. That was the first time I'd eaten there and I don't think I will be back. Dad wanted to do the FDP and this was the "lesser of the evils" choice. The appetizer choices were nothing we were interested in so we defaulted to the antipasto. It was OK, but I wouldn't order it again unless I have to. I chose the chicken parm for my appetizer. The chicken was good, but the marinara sauce was awful. The dessert tray made up for it! All three selections were delicious!
Again, the afternoon was a blur...I can't remember what we did. I know that we rode ToT again. That ride became a favorite for the older kids. Even my DD6, who HATED it in 2010 when she first rode it, wanted to ride it over and over. My nephew was so nervous and almost chickened out, but then he rode it and absolutely loved it. My DD6 also rode RRC which was her first "upside-down" roller coaster. I was scared because I was holding her hand at first, but I noticed that one of our bags appeared to be falling out of the pouch. I had to let go of DD's hand to grab the bag (I couldn't reach it with my other hand) and I didn't see her move or hear her scream for the rest of the ride. I was praying that she wasn't scared stiff! When we got done, I asked her if she liked it...she said "THAT ROCKED!!" Whew.
At some point, all of the families separated but we all met up again for the 9pm Fantasmic show. The show got rave reviews from the entire family. After the show, DHS had EMH, but DD and I had our Wild Africa Trek scheduled for the next morning at 8am so we all ended up calling it a night.
I'll get to the rest of the trip later...stay tuned.
Oh, here's a few random observations...
Weather: FANTASTIC! Everyone was nervous, going to Florida in June, but the weather was great! It rained on our last night into the day (Debbie showed up!) but other than that, we enjoyed highs in the mid to upper 80's with lots of sun. (*Note that while we were in Florida, Michigan was enjoying record heat with highs in the 90's and heat indices around 100!)
Crowds: Completely tolerable. We heavily utilized FastPasses and, although we spent a lot of time criss-crossing the parks, we rarely experienced any waits greater than 30 minutes. The part of the group that rode Space Mountain (not me) waited about an hour and 20 minutes. We also had about an hour wait for Kilimanjaro Safari the day that we arrived at AK around 3pm. (*Disclaimer: Many of my past WDW trips were over Easter so those are crowds that I consider "heavy")
Buses: No problems! We rarely waited more than 10 minutes for a bus and we were always able to get all of us on the same bus without having to wait for another one.
If anyone has any specific questions, I would be happy to answer them.
On Tuesday (June 19), DD8 and I went on the Wild Africa Trek, which was her 9th birthday present. It was a blast! She had so much fun and can't stop talking about it. In fact, when we go back to WDW in 2014, our younger DD will be 8 and cannot wait to take her turn.
I'm still waiting for our PhotoPass CD and the pictures from our other family members. I'll post more as soon as I get them...
Thanks for reading.
I am loving your TR!! I think it would be fun to plan for so many people! I'm glad you had a great time!
Sounds like we work similar schedules. I am finally getting used to 11-12 hour shifts!
We were there for nearly the same dates..got out just before Debby!!! I was blown away by the good weather and low crowds!!! I was expecting a mob scene. Was this unusal for June? This was our first June visit and I was so thrilled with how everything went I'd like to go again. Have you been in June before?
My brother-in-law said he overheard a CM talking about "how empty it was" so I guess it wasn't too bad. The only other time we went in June was in 2009. That year, the girls got out of school on the 4th so we went June 5-9. That trip was hot and humid. I think this June felt a lot more comfortable because there was almost always a nice breeze and the humidity was unusually low for that time of year.
I can honestly say that I am looking forward to taking another trip in June. As long as DVC keeps that AP discount, it is much more affordable for us to plan our trips for June (as soon as school gets out) followed by April (spring break) the next year. This way, the added cost of the Easter/spring break transportation will be offset by the fact that we won't have to buy tickets for that trip. In our "off" year, we go to HHI for spring break. 2013 is our HHI year so I am in the preliminary stages of trying to decide where we want to stay in June 2014.
can't wait to hear about how all of your planning paid off!!
Loving your TR! Just finished mine! Looks like your family trip went as well as ours! It's nice to see that families can and DO have great trips to the World without squabbles. DMIL wound up picking up dinner for our group at Ohana and LTT which was awesome! We were there the same week and we live in Oh where there was also record heat! Funny that it was cooler in Fl than Oh and MI. Good for us!! Can't wait to read the next installment!
Just found your Pre-TR and what a great job you have done! Your parents sound wonderful and what a great thing for them to do -- making memories. Our family enjoys our trips to WDW and about every couple years we plan a "gathering". Looking forward to reading more and so glad everything worked out for you. Oh, were you able to get the upgrade at the airport?
Thanks for sharing!
Here's some pictures of the cast...
Me, DH, Kamryn (9) and Kaedyn (6)
My Brother's Family...
Brother, SiL, Kenadie (10), Jaxson (9) and Eastyn (7)
My Sister's Family...
Sister, BiL, Olivia (4) and Emilee (7 months)
...The Best Parents Ever!!!...
Dad and Mom!
...And here we all are on our first day of vacation!...
Oh, guess what? The trip was such a hit, dad is already starting to plan for another one in 2017. Everyone is already starting their "Disney Funds" because Dad can't afford to pay for another once-in-a-lifetime trip.
I love re-reading my TR...brings back great memories.
I noticed that I forgot to mention that we were successful in getting our upgrades on AirTran both down and back. My sister was glad she'd opted to get a seat for Emilee instead of travelling with her as a lap baby. Olivia did really well on the flight, even though her DVD player died about 20 minutes into the flight. She thought that "going potty on the plane" was really cool. Emilee slept through most of the flight, riding comfortably in her car seat. On the way down, it was my sister and brother's families that were upgraded, along with mom so that there was an even number. Dad sat with Kamryn and I on one side and DH and Kaedyn sat across the aisle from us. We were in the 4th row of coach so we weren't too far away from everyone else. On the way home, our family flew in BC and then dad upgraded himself and mom to keep it even. Then, he moved around my sister's family of 4 so that they sat 2/2, one behind the other. My brother's family of 5 just took up one row across.
I mentioned our breakfast at Olivia's but I failed to talk about the rest of the afternoon. We got done eating around 11:30 and our DME pickup wasn't until 1:15. Amazingly, nobody wanted to swim. I think it was because they all found the community hall. I have to say, that place was a GOD-SEND!! Kamryn, Kenadie and Jax all played the Wii...Olivia colored with Granny...The hubby, brother, BiL and Kaedyn all played pool...and sister, SiL and I just floated from group to group, "supervising". Dad just watched and admired all the fun everyone was having. Around 12:45, mom busted out the birthday cupcakes that she'd made the night before. We got some candles and sang "Happy Birthday" to Jax, Kamryn, Olivia and Hollie (SiL)...and the CM's even joined in.
Our DME bus was a little late and I have found that the best way to get it to show up quicker is to have half of your group take a last-minute potty break while the other half wanders through the gift shop to spend the rest of their gift cards. Then, watch the person who actually stayed to wait for the bus lose their mind while trying to wrangle up the other 14 people and their bags. We were OK, though, since there was another party of 15 AND a party of 8 that were "in line" ahead of us. By the time they were boarding, our group was reunited and in line with their bags.
My mom was talking to me yesterday about the trip. She was still raving about the great weather we had and how she would really have no problem going again in June. I know that my SiL has already started thinking about taking her family again, but she also mentioned that she'd love to do F&W again in October 2013. I don't know if she's thinking about taking her kids out of school or if that will be an "adults only" trip. My sister wants to wait until Emilee is 4 or 5 before she goes back. She said her Disney fund has $75 in it already and she has started putting $25 per paycheck into it. Dad said he is shooting for 2017 as the next family trip. I think everyone will be on board with that.
I'll post some more vacation pictures when I get a chance.
...but I thought I would update...
THE DATES ARE SET!!
We are ALL going back from June 18-25, 2016
It's a little early to start the PTR, but the dates are set and the planning (and saving) has begun.
The only thing that is fairly certain is that we will be staying at AKV this time instead of OKW. Although, Dad and my sister are contemplating OKW...they love it there.
Thank you for such a great TR. It's amazing how much your kids look like you and your hubby! I hope you have a blast planning your next big trip!
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