The Darling Family June 2011: A Last Minute Budget Vacation

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by dismagiclover, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    I guess I'm not the only one that know about Writer's Stop! I'm with you on Star Tours. Can't ride that one without feeling sick:sick:

    Phineas and Ferb are a favorite around our house. In fact Michael's bday party is this Saturday and it is a Phineas and Ferb theme.

    You need to get to the Writer's Stop! And our hope for the Backlot Tour is not yet abandoned for this trip. Even without that I can come up with plenty of reasons for another trip:laughing:

    It really does seem peaceful compared to the craziness of the park! A great find.

    DH will be glad to know he is not alone with his fastpass thing:laughing:
     
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  3. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    I just discovered the Writer's Stop on my last trip and it really is a little gem. I didn't eat anything there, but you can bet I am going to in December. Such a cute place and the people were so friendly.

    I can't wait to try Star Wars. Glad your family liked it. I want to ride it until I see every sequence (which will take all day) LOL! I'm not THAT crazy!

    OKW - Yipee!
     
  4. schmass

    schmass DIS Veteran

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    I love the Writer's Stop! First time I went in there I think we were the only ones there - a very strange feeling at Disney...

    I'm glad the report of the new Star Tours was good. I'm looking forward to trying it out myself very shortly!
     
  5. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    I'm glad you discovered the Writer's Stop. You definitely need to stop in for some yummy treats! Let me know how long it takes you to get in all the Start Tours ride sequences. And how often you see the same ones. Interesting research.:goodvibes

    It is very strange to enter the Writer's Stop. It's like all of a sudden things seem silent. I love it!
     
  6. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    We left Hollywood Studios and headed for Old Key West. Yay!:yay: The kids and I stayed here last summer and had a fabulous time. DH had never been so we were excited to show him the resort. John was especially excited because this is his favorite DVC resort. It is right up there for me as well (though I remain partial to BWV because of the walk to Epcot.) Though I have to say if we could walk to Epcot from OKW than it would be #1 for me. So it felt like we were going home when we pulled in. We parked the car and headed to the check in area. Immediately I began to feel that laidback vacation vibe that is so much a part of OKW. Here are a few pictures. Most of them are from our last trip, but you get the idea.

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    Unfortunately our room wasn’t ready yet, but we were OK with that. Mostly we had just come to check in so we could get our deluxe dining credits. We had a 4:05 ADR in Epcot so we were planning on heading over there anyway. So after getting a little teaser of the relaxation that was to come we hopped back into the car and drove to Epcot. We had a few minutes to kill before our ADR so what do you think we did? Duffy Quest.:rolleyes: We hadn’t hit Norway yet so we headed over there. Here are the boys Duffy Questing in Norway.

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    We only had time for one stop. Then we headed over to the Land for dinner. The Garden Grill is one of our family’s favorite character meals. We just love how you sit there and the food and characters come to you. No getting up and schlepping to the buffet. Plus the scenery changes during dinner. The character interaction here is some of the best we’ve ever had. This meal didn’t disappoint. Here are some pictures.

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    Before you know it Wendy will be as tall as Mickey.

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    Michael is always happy to spend some time with Pluto

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    Chip was in an especially playful mood this evening. He kept tickling the kids. This is one of my favorite pictures of the trip.:goodvibes

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    Even though my kids are growing up, they can still have fun with the characters. Mickey made it around again. (Wendy closed her eyes in the shot before this so she is overcompensating.)

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    And again.

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    DH and the boys had already left for the bathroom when Pluto came around to give us our last goodbyes.

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    This was our only character meal of the trip. As our kids get older these are losing priority. They are still fun though and I’m not planning on stopping them altogether anytime soon. Anyway our room was ready and we were anxious to see it. So after dinner we headed back to the car and drove to Old Key West.

    Up next: Our first Old Key West evening.:cloud9:
     
  7. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    The pictures from the Garden Grill are great and I think your favorite is also my favorite so far. The kids look like they are enjoying themselves immensely. It's been a few years since we've eaten at the Garden Grill but have talked about going back.
     
  8. Shannon84

    Shannon84 DIS Veteran

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    Old Key West, I had no idea it is so beautiful!! I really had no clue, I must do some resort hopping to see what I have been missing out on!!

    Every time I walk by the garden grill it smells wonderful, but the menu didnt appeal to me, if I had known it had great character interaction I would have booked that one!!
     
  9. Deemarch

    Deemarch DIS Veteran

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    I, too, love your quiet little spot in HS!!:thumbsup2 DH & I love to get a cup of coffee and one of those delicious cookies!!

    Can't wait for the rest of your report!!:goodvibes
     
  10. bna16

    bna16 Mouseketeer

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    I love your pictures of the garden grill restaurant. My mom and I are dining there on our trip (tuesday!) and I am super excited about this restaurant!
     
  11. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    pretty OKW pics!

    Wonderful GG pics! I love the food there and the kids look like they are having a blast!
     
  12. Missyrose

    Missyrose DIS Veteran

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    This picture is absolutely precious!
     
  13. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    We also love Garden Grill! I agree that the character interaction is amazing!!!

    Amanda
     
  14. kcandbella

    kcandbella DIS Veteran

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    Hey I just found your new report! So fun that you managed to squeeze in a surprise summer trip. It looks like a lot of fun so far!

    I have a quick question...what does your time need to be/what do I need to bring to move to a closer corral? I did a 10K in 63 minutes but don't have anything official that says that. Can I just print the online list of times to bring with me? Thanks for any advice you can give me! :goodvibes

    Looking forward to reading the rest of your report. Your PP obsession always makes for a good TR since you have all those pics! :rotfl: Have your boys seen pictures of Duffy in his pumpkin costume? You might not want to show them unless you have a MNSSHP trip factored into your budget! ;)
     
  15. okw19

    okw19 DIS Veteran

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    Yay, you're finally at OKW! :goodvibes Garden Grill looks great! I've never eaten there, but I think it'll be going on my "to-try" list now!
     
  16. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    The food at the Garden Grill is nothing special, but the characters have always been so much fun when we go there.

    Old Key West is a great resort! It has such a relaxing vibe and the CMs are incredible! The food at the Garden Grill is pretty standard. This is a place where the characters are definitely the draw.

    I've been suprised about how many people have mentioned they have spent time in the Writer's Stop. It must not be the great secret that I thought it was! Won't stop me from going back though!

    Have a fabulous trip! I'm sure you'll have a great time. Let me know if you do a trip report.

    The kids really did enjoy this meal. Even though they are getting older, they still like the character meals.
     
  17. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    If I ever get around to getting prints done, this one is going to get a frame all its own.

    Sometimes at the Garden Grill we see the characters so many times I feel like saying, "Hi Mickey. Just move right along." We don't want to hurt their feelings though so we never do that:laughing:

    Hello my old friend! Awesome time on your 10K! My 10K time was closer to 70 minutes. The online printout should work just fine. I think there is a spot you take it at the Expo and they will move you up your corral. How has training gone? So exciting! I really want to hear about your race. Make sure to let me know if you do a trip report. I have never seen pictures of Duffy in his pumpkin costume. We went to the MNSSHP last year, but Duffy was only at Epcot. Do they move him over to the MK for the party. You are right that my boys would love that, but they aren't getting another Halloween trip anytime soon.

    I was so happy to finally get to OKW!!! Felt like the vacation really began!
     
  18. Queenofallthings

    Queenofallthings DIS Veteran

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    I am so happy to hear that you have no immediate plans to stop the character meals....we still do them and Jasmine is 18!:lmao: Great pictures of the kids...I love the one of the kids being tickled...pure magic:thumbsup2
     
  19. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    We arrived back at Old Key West and headed for our room. We had reserved a 1 bedroom near the Hospitality House. I was excited as we pulled up to our building.:dance3: Our room was on the 1st floor which I really liked. No hauling luggage up and down stairs. (Most of the building at Okw don’t have elevators.) Here are some pictures of the room. (I actually didn’t take any room pictures so these are taken from the OKW thread).

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    One of the couches folds out to a double bed. That is where the boys slept. The chair on the far right folds out to a single. That is where Wendy slept.

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    This may sound silly, but I loved the extra counter by the table. It was such a great place to dump all of that extra stuff like water bottles, souvenirs we picked up, Duffy coloring sticks etc.

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    This is the hallway that leads to the master bedroom. The door on the left goes to the full size laundry room. Also another nice feature. It was the perfect place to put all the suitcases that was completely out of the way.

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    The master bedroom with our lovely king sized bed.

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    Our whirlpool tub! Another reason the 1 bedrooms are so much better than a studio. What did we think? We loved it. Pictures don’t really show you how big this place is. It was much bigger than the DH and I’s first apartment. Even though it was a 1 bedroom we never felt crowded at all. In fact it almost seemed more spacious than the 2 bedroom we had in January at BWV. I loved the fact that the master bedroom was actually down a hallway and had its own entrance out to the patio. The biggest downside is that the kids didn’t have their own bathroom. The bathroom that we did have was really big though. After checking out the room and bringing in the luggage the boys starting begging to visit the Community Center and the pool. Last year the boys absolutely loved the Community Center and we spent hours there. This summer was no different. Every chance they got the boys wanted to go to the Community Center. In fact even when we were in the parks the boys would ask if we could go to the Community Center. They have video games, fusball, darts and they often have craft projects. The staff there is fabulous. They are fun, welcoming and so laid back. We’ve visited the Community Centers at Saratoga Springs, Animal Kingdom Kidani, and the Boardwalk too. Old Key West is by far my kids’ favorite.

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    So we popped into the Community Center for a little bit then we spent the rest of the evening swimming at the pool. This is a fun pool, but not really anything special. There is a decent slide, but no gradual entry and no water play area. So in the pool department Hilton Bonnet Creek wins.

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    We filled up our mugs at the refill station right by the pool. (Remember the mugs were the impetus for getting the 1 day dining plan.) The kids swam while DH and I just relaxed in the lounge chairs. It was a really pleasant evening. Love that Old Key West vibe.:cloud9: Shortly after dark we called it a night. The kids settled down in the living room. DH and I enjoyed the master suite. It was sweet dreams for us all as we looked forward to another Disney day. I was especially excited because the next day we would FINALLY make it to the Magic Kingdom.:woohoo:
     
  20. dismagiclover

    dismagiclover Mrs. Darling: Mom to Wendy, John & Michael

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    Nope. I am not giving up character meals! I even have a couple scheduled for my January trip where it is just DH and I. (Shhhhh. I don't think I've mentioned that to him:laughing:) They are fun no matter what the age if you just let your kids come out. That picture of the kids getting tickled really does capture the magic.:goodvibes
     
  21. DrMomof3

    DrMomof3 DIS Veteran

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    OKW looks lovely! We liked SSR when we stayed there but hated the transportation. I imagine OKW would pose a similar issue - unless I can continue to convince Tom that renting a car is important! :lmao:

    Amanda
     

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