They Should Really Put a Bar in Here - Closing Thoughts - 4/1

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by afwdwfan, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

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    I say Gatlinburg because more people know where it is, but the Wyndham resorts are actually in Sevierville. :thumbsup2 We stayed there overnight both ways as we drove to and from Washington D.C. and thought it would be a great place to actually RELAX on vacation for once. We're going end of April sometime. The resort has an indoor water park that we will likely spend a lot of time at, plus we will do a couple of dinner shows, a day at Dollywood (I wonder if they have a rope drop show there...? :rotfl:), and horseback riding. I'm excited! Our vacations are always packed to the gills with activity, I'm looking forward to not having much planned and being more go with the flow. :goodvibes
     
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  3. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Ok, I know exactly where you're talking about now. We always stay in a cabin in Sevierville when we go, it is actually maybe a mile or 2 from there.

    We go every 2 years for a few days with the in-laws. They aren't theme park people, so I can't help you with the Dollywood part.:lmao: I haven't been to Dollywood in probably 20 years. :headache:

    We always just have kind of a laid back vacation when we go there. Spend some time at the cabin, play some miniature golf, wreck some go karts :rolleyes1, go drive through the mountains, spend an afternoon walking through Gatlinburg. We always take golf clubs too and the guys play golf at the course right there next to the Wyndham resort while the ladies go do whatever it is they want to do.:confused3:rotfl:

    It's always a good time and there are so many things to do and see in the area.:thumbsup2
     
  4. shan23877

    shan23877 I make lists about my lists

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    I think that Flame Tree may be the one place I've never heard anything bad about. Everyone seems to love it! We'll have to get over there one of these trips.

    I like the rickety bridge, but we always seem to get guides who speak really quietly so the "storylines" don't really translate anyway. :rotfl:
     
  5. My sister's princess

    My sister's princess <font color=green>These boards have grimmer police

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    Ok, found you, and caught up!

    1) Not having a camera would have killed me. Like dead on the ground, killed me.

    2) You should do food reviews. I like food, and your funny, so it would work.

    3) You haven't read Harry Potter? Really? I almost blocked you right then and there (not really, but I am being dramatic)

    4) Your kids are so stinking cute it hurts

    5) I love that you have kids and don't get to ride everything, but it isn't the end of the world. Sometimes people kill me when they complain about not riding things because of their kids.

    6) Did you not do any of the walking paths at AK? Do you have another day coming up there? I love the paths I know not everyone does, I just would be a pouty mess if we didn't do them.


    YAY!!!! Another update please!!! :cheer2:
     
  6. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    It is a great QS value. Both in quantity and quality. :thumbsup2

    I guess it isn't all that bad, but when I'm trying to keep my 7 month old DD from getting whiplash, I'm slightly less impressed by it. :rotfl:

    :welcome:

    Well, I'm not much of a photographer, so I can live without it. But I do feel bad that I don't have very many good quality pictures for the TR.

    Ok... I can definitely review food. I like to eat, so I'll happily share my opinion. However, food reviews here on the Disboards are typically full of food porn, and I tend to focus more on making food disappear than preserving it for posterity. :thumbsup2

    :duck:

    ::yes::

    Thanks!

    Well, we really did ride almost everything we wanted. It helps that dad rides absolutely nothing though and he was happy to stay with the kids. Most of what we missed out on was more of a time issue than a kid issue.

    Well... no. We did spend some time watching some animals in the Oasis area, but we didnt' do the trails in Africa or Asia this year. Not that I don't like them, but we just really wanted to make sure we got naps in. The Lion King show and the trails were the next things on the list if we'd have stayed any longer.

    Well, I have a conference to go to, so it will probably be late next week. :rolleyes1
     
  7. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

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    Really pretty pictures of CSR. I think that resort is so photogenic!

    Here's my theory on why the smokers get the good spots - If you give them a crappy spot they are more likely to smoke anywhere they want, or worse yet, in the room. Give them a good spot and they'll go. They get a nice view with their nicotine fix. It's a win-win for them. They don't feel as ostracized.

    I didn't know Pop Warner stayed at CSR. Hmmmmm...... good to know.

    That was a crazy story about the man at bag check. I wonder exactly what was IN that bag. So curious now!
     
  8. petals

    petals Irish Princess because Cinderella said so!

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    Love the Perry shirt. Also love your DS's jumper in the meet with Santa Goofy pic. :)
     
  9. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Yes, the grounds there are incredible!

    True. It really does make sense, but in this case it wasn't really what I would consider a convenient or scenic location. It was just surrounded by plants and right along the walking path.

    They typically don't and that is why we picked CSR. They announced it and CBR as being the mods to host Pop Warner this year. Our mistake was not switching to Port Orleans when we found out.

    I really wish I knew!

    I really wanted that shirt!! Thanks!
     
  10. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Random Real Life Update

    I haven't had a chance to update here and I know I'm behind on everybody else's TR updates since about this time last week. I just thought I'd post a little update to let everyone know what's been going on.

    As some of you know, I live and work on a farm, and since that isn't quite going to pay all the bills, I also work as a grain buyer for a grain company close to home. Basically, agriculture is in my blood, and for that reason, I'm involved with our county Farm Bureau organization and serve as the county president. I had a chance to go to Nashville, TN for the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting that took place over the past weekend.

    I kind of went back and forth over the decision of whether or not to go, but it was an opportunity to stay in the Opryland Hotel at very little out of pocket cost, so we had to go for it. DW and I were going and we were taking the kids. We were supposed to get there Saturday afternoon.

    Thursday evening, DS came home with a fever of almost 102. DW took him to the Dr. Friday morning and they did a swab for the flu. It came back negative, but the Dr. said she was sure he was in the early stages of the flu and treated it accordingly. We had all had flu shots, but we were bracing for the worst at this point. I spent all day playing phone tag with the travel agent that was taking care of us trying to find out what our options would be if we had to cancel. I knew that I could have gone if that's what it came down to, but the main thought in my head was that if he had the flu, chances are the rest of us would end up getting it at some point and I really didn't want to be 4 or 5 hours from home and sick.

    Anyway, by the time I got home from work on Friday, DS was running around the house acting perfectly normal, and he hadn't had a temperature over 99.2 since around noon. When we woke up Saturday, he seemed fine and there was no fever, so we finished packing up and headed to Nashville.

    Fortunately, we stayed relatively healthy over the weekend. DD did have a slight fever when she woke up Sunday morning, but we gave her some tylenol and we made it through the conference without any major illnesses. Now that we're back home we all seem to have a cold, but so far, so good as far as the flu goes.

    The conference itself was actually interesting. We attended a breakfast on Sunday morning where Jack Hannah was the entertainment. This was an extra cost in addition to the conference, and we kind of debated whether we wanted to get up early and pay the extra money for it, but we figured there would be animals there and DS would love it. We were right about that part, but Jack was only on stage for about 15 minutes. It was kind of a disappointment that it was so short, because he was very entertaining. He was telling stories about different things over the years like asking his wife to breast feed a baby chimp (couldn't quite tell if he was being serious or not :scared1:). He had the penguin that walked the red carpet for Happy Feet with him and was talking about how this penguin has a better life than most people. He said one of his favorite things to do when he travels is to pull up to a fancy hotel and walk in with the penguin following right behind him. :rotfl2::lmao:

    We also got to hear Eden's Edge perform a few songs, we were addressed by the Secretary of Agriculture, and our keynote speaker on Monday was Captain Mark Kelly. He is actually an excellent speaker. He had a lot of interesting stories about flying combat missions in Iraq and then about the space program. When he started talking about his wife, Congress Woman Giffords, and what he and his daughters went through the day of the shooting, you could have heard a pin drop in this room with 6000+ people in it. He said that he, his daughters and his mother were being flown from Houston to Tuscon by a friend of his immediately after he got the news of the shooting. He said he'd done a lot of stupid things in his life, but the stupidest of all was watching the TV coverage while they were flying. He said that while they were in the air, 2 different networks reported that she was dead. I don't think there were many dry eyes in the audience after hearing about what she and their entire family has gone through over the past 2 years.

    Anyway, I did get a few pictures of the hotel while we were there. We had a standard room... I'm not sure if we got an upgrade, or if they really are all like this, but it was basically a 2 room suite.

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    As you can see from the pile on the bed, apparently when you're traveling for 4 days, you need at least 10 pairs of shoes... :rolleyes1

    If you're not familiar with the layout of the Opryland, it is basically a huge resort that has 3 or 4 courtyards, but it is all enclosed under a glass dome. Basically, it you can go "outside" without actually being outside in the elements, which was nice on a rainy weekend. Here's a view from our balcony.

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    And a couple of pictures from the Delta area courtyard.

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    Now, I'm glad we had a chance to stay there, but I can say that it did give me an appreciation for the money we spend at Disney World. This place is just as expensive and doesn't give you near the experience that Disney does, and it really isn't kid friendly.

    We ate a meal the first night at Solario, which is an on site Mexican place. The food was good, I have no complaints about it, but the restaurant was empty and they seated us way off in a corner in the back by ourselves. We waited probably 15 minutes before we saw a server and I noticed that a couple of other tables were seated after us and served drinks before we were taken care of. I was literally getting ready to get up and walk out when our server finally came over. A few minutes later, another family with 2 young kids was seated at the table right next to us in what was still a practically empty restaurant. It was fine, but I wasn't too impressed that they were clearly placing all the families with children in this small little section that sits off to the side. Now, I've noticed something similar to this at Le Cellier in the past, but I was fine with the kids being seated in the same area. In that case the restaurant was full and we were still in a main dining area with good service. In this case, the families with kids were all being seated in just a small section that was surrounded by some plants and walls and right next to a service door. You couldn't even see us back there unless you were at the right angle in the main dining area. The service was absolutely terrible and I don't know if it is just because they forget about us back there or what. My glass spent a lot more time empty than full. Let's just say that's typically not the best way to go about earning a good tip. No, I didn't stiff the guy, but I typically tip around 20% for good service and he definitely didn't get that.

    Anyway, they managed to make it clear to me that a family with small children is second rate there, so that was the only table service type meal we ate at the Opryland Resort. We grabbed a couple of quick lunches that were actually pretty good, even if overpriced. We ended up eating dinner on the other evenings over at the Opry Mills mall. We ate at Rainforest Cafe Sunday night and the Aquarium on Monday night. DS hated Rainforest, but he had just woke up from a nap right before we got there and I think it was all just a bit too much for him. He really seemed to like the Aquarium though. He loved watching the sharks while we ate there. We also had to make a little detour to the Disney Outlet at the mall. I don't know how you can come home from Disney World and already have to buy more Disney stuff a month later, but we did.

    Anyway, that's where I've been, and I just thought I'd share that experience. Now I gues I should get caught on everybody's TRs and then get back to work on my next update.
     
  11. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    [​IMG]

    You found Ali's sister. First there was Glen, then there was Ali and now her sister. This is the third alligator I know of that has been at CSR in the times we've stayed there. I'm sorry I didn't see her when we were there. When they get to a certain size, they are moved offsite. As long as you don't feed them or get too close, they won't hurt you we've been told.

    Loved your last update (yes, I'm behind on everything too). I miss Flame Tree Barbecue and we must eat there on one of our two planned trips this year.

    How fun that you got to go to Nashville. My Andy has been twice. One for a baseball coach conference and then to see Garth Brooks twice in one trip (the boy is a diehard fan, what can I say). He stayed at Opryland one of those trips...I believe it was the one after they had fixed it up after the damage.
     
  12. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    Sounds like Mark Kelly was worth the trip himself. Glad you got to go...and gain some more appreciation for Disney. :thumbsup2
     
  13. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    I've stayed at that hotel a couple of times for work. It is definitely a business hotel and I can see where it would be a bit boring for kids, though I'm a bit taken aback that you were treated so rudely. I was there once when the gardens were decorated for Christmas and that was something else for sure!

    Sounds like a good work event for you but that the rest fell flat. Still, the flu was held at bay and you got out of town for a weekend and those are all good things!
     
  14. shan23877

    shan23877 I make lists about my lists

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    Sounds like a nice weekend getaway! The last time I was at the Opryland Hotel was about 20 years ago. I was there for a cheerleading competition, and all I remember about it was that it was HUGE and was beautifully decorated for Christmas. What a bummer that they treat families so shabbily. I hate it when people complain about how expensive Disney is. Disney is honestly no more expensive than anywhere else! The last time we took a non Disney vacation, we spent the exact same amount as we would have at Disney, and got half the experience. :confused3
     
  15. My sister's princess

    My sister's princess <font color=green>These boards have grimmer police

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    Phew, I was so busy getting into an over the internet fight on the GAC thread I almost missed this update! :rotfl2:

    Looks like that was a wicked fun little trip! Glad the little one is feeling better.


    Can't wait for the next update!
     
  16. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    I didn't get to see it myself, I didn't even hear about it until after the fact, but I thought it was cool that there was one there. As long as it isn't some 17 foot maneater, I think they're fascinating animals. :rotfl2:

    It has quickly become a must do for us.

    I found out after the fact that there was some charity thing at the Grand Ole Opry the night we checked in. One of the performances had Jay Bruce come on the stage and join Garth Brooks for Friends in Low Places. Baseball and Garth Brooks, right there in one place, on that stage. I was a 20 minute walk away and I missed it. :sad2:

    He definitely was. He was a fantastic speaker and had a great message to share as well.

    All in all, not too bad. We did have fun walking around the resort and enjoying the scenery.

    And the late night ice cream runs at the Haagen Dazs place were a nice feature too.

    It really does make you appreciate the Disney experience. It really doesn't cost much more but you get so much more for your money. I thought the food was good at Opryland, but the price is virtually the same (if not more) than Disney.

    An internet fight on the Disboards???? Surely not!!! :rotfl2::rotfl:

    It was a nice little getaway, I just wish I didn't have so much stuff to come home to!

    We haven't had a quiet evening at home yet, and probably won't until sometime next week. :sad2:
     
  17. that's nice

    that's nice DIS Dad #330

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    Hey Andy.. looks like a nice hotel. Sorry you and the kids were treated so badly at dinner. How cool you got to see Mark Kelly! I can only imagine what he was going through.
     
  18. glennbo123

    glennbo123 DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a really nice trip to Nashville. I haven't been there in a number of years, but we made a point of walking through the Oprayland Hotel even though we weren't staying there, just to have a look. It's pretty cool.
     
  19. amandaw

    amandaw DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like it was a very interesting conference!

    The hotel looks pretty but doesn't sound worth it for families. It's so true how people complain about how expensive Disney is but I always tell them to look at most vacation resorts. Most other places are as expensive as Disney. And like you said, you don't get the experience that you get at Disney. Not even half of it. Even beach trips can cost what a "value" or "budget" trip to Disney would cost.
     
  20. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    It was really neat to hear him talk. When I saw him listed as the keynote speaker, I thought it looked interesting, but after the fact, I'd say hearing him was the highlight of the whole conference.

    I know. It's just one of those places that you just have to see. I figured I'd never spend the money to stay there myself, so I was kind of excited that we had the opportunity.

    ::yes:: I want to see some other places, but it is just hard to find good value for the money. I am kind of excited though... If I keep my position on our board, the meeting in 2015 is San Diego :-)scratchin:idea: Disneyland maybe???) and then 2016 is Orlando.:cool1:
     
  21. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    I Don’t Think She’s Gonna Make It

    Tuesday, Dec 4


    Today was the reason for the trip. It was my parents’ anniversary and Mom had 2 things she wanted to do. She wanted us all to have dinner together, and she wanted to go to MVMCP. We weren’t about to disappoint her, so we booked a 4:00 pm ADR for Liberty Tree Tavern. DW and the kids and I drove over to the TTC to head to the MK. We didn’t get out of CSR quite as early as we would have liked and it was about 3:15 when we got to the TTC. We were definitely speed walking only to find… the express monorail was down and the resort monorail line was flowing out past the end of the queue. The gate had just closed on the Ferry, so we would be waiting for the next one.

    I was constantly checking the time and we got to the bag check at about 3:50. Mom texted and said that they were already in the park and headed back to LTT. We made our way through bag check and went to enter the park, but they had all turnstiles, except for 3, set up for MVMCP.

    Hey we have MVMCP tickets!!! :thumbsup2

    Um... No we don’t… Mom has them. :sad2:

    So, we went to the logjam trying to get through the 3 regular turnstiles. Turns out there must have been some football games that had just ended, because I think the rest of the Pop Warner kids that weren’t in the pool at CSR were trying to get through the gate to enjoy the last 3 hours of the MK being open to the general public. :mad:

    We finally got through and arrived LTT about 5 or 10 minutes late. Thankfully Mom and Dad had gotten there on time and checked us in, so we were promptly seated after we got there.

    We sat down and I noticed Sis looked awful. We had noted on the ADR that she had a food allergy, and when the chef came out to speak with her, she told him that she didn’t think like she felt like eating anything. He offered to make her some chicken soup and said he could make her just about anything she might want, but she declined his offer. Our waiter brought out drinks and she didn’t hang around too long before she got up and left.

    I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but Mom went with her to make sure she was ok. BiL told us that she started feeling kind of sick while they were at AK, and they actually left the park to go back to the room and rest for a while. He told us that she’s been acting like she’d eaten some gluten somewhere.

    Not including Sis, we all enjoyed our meal. LTT is one of our family favorites. We love the home style food that they serve and I think we had them bring us more of just about everything. I could have used the kids’ stroller by the time we were done there, but I’d have crushed it.

    Sis came back in and sat with us for a while as we ate, but she didn’t last long before she got up and left again. Mom went to check on her again. Even though her little girl was grown up, she was still her Mom. I think this scene repeated itself a few times throughout the course of dinner. Finally she just said she was going to go outside and sit down somewhere.

    At about this time, our waiter brought out our dessert. He saw Sis get up again and said he was sorry that she wasn’t feeling well. BiL, managing to keep a straight face, just shook his head and looked at the waiter with a sad look on his face and said “I don’t think she’s gonna make it.”

    The look on our waiter’s face was priceless. :lmao::rotfl: BiL quickly apologized and told him she’d be fine. Kind of a cruel joke, but I have to admit, I about fell off my chair laughing. After the waiter left, BiL grabbed a quick bite of dessert and headed outside to check on Sis before Mom decided she needed to get up again.

    We didn’t get many pictures from dinner, but Mom got a few. She seemed to have a somewhat specific subject for the pictures she took…

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    Now, I know this is a short update, and light on pictures, but this is as good a time as any to elaborate on what happened with Sis. As I’ve mentioned, she has a gluten allergy. This was addressed at every meal we ate, but she got very, very sick and it was pretty obvious that it was her typical reaction to gluten. We obviously have no way of knowing for sure, how or where, but she seems to think the cross contamination was at Cosmic Rays the night before. She ended up being miserably sick and missing out on a whole park day over this, and really took a couple of days to get back to normal.

    A couple of days later, she went to the American Pavillion at EPCOT. She wanted lunch, but this was really her first QS meal since she’d been sick, so she just wanted something simple. She told the manager there about her allergy and explained that she’d had a reaction to gluten that she’d picked up somewhere. The manager there explained to her that what she’d heard at other Quick Service places was only partially true. They do have fries that have gluten in them, but they also have gluten free fries. Those gluten free fries, which Sis had been eating all week, have their own dedicated fryer. That much, we already knew. What we didn’t know until this manager explained it was that Disney re-uses their cooking oil. And they don’t segregate it. So while they have a dedicated fryer for gluten free food the oil likely has remnants of wheat based breading or other food in it from whatever fryer it was used in yesterday. After she learned this news, Sis was done with fried foods at Disney World.

    When we returned home, Mom sent some e-mails to Disney World. Someone called her back and pulled up the information from Sis’ KTTW card. They knew every restaurant that she’d eaten at and noticed that she had an unused day on her ticket. The CM confirmed that re-using the oil is the standard procedure that the Disney Quick Service places use, but noted that the managers are supposed to share this information with anyone who has an allergy. On our entire trip, the only manager that mentioned this during the allergy spiel was the one at the American Pavilion at EPCOT.

    Mom never mentioned anything about our suspicions about Cosmic Ray’s, but the CM even went on to comment that she is surprised they didn’t do a better job of explaining it, because it supposedly has one of the best track records of all their restaurants when it comes to allergies. Mom told the CM they need to do a better job of training their managers or something. She made a point to the CM that she wasn’t as worried about someone like Sis who can recognize the signs and take care of herself, but she was more worried about something like this happening to a Make a Wish kid coming to Disney World with a food allergy. It could be a life or death situation for them, all because a manager doesn’t mention that one tiny detail.

    Either way, the CM did give Sis and BiL each a 1 day pass to make up for the fact that she didn’t even use one of her days and he actually spent a pretty big chunk of the day with her back at the resort. They ended up with several unused QS and snack credits at the end of the week though, and wasted MVMCP passes.

    Our feeling about the attention to allergies is that the Table Service places all do an excellent job. The same can be said for a Quick Service place where you have an actual chef that prepares the food speaking to you, like at The Pepper Market. Sis just doesn’t have any confidence in the other QS places anymore though. All they ever do when she says allergy is hold up the line and bring out a manager with a book. She doesn’t feel confident that the managers actually know what they’re talking about and has no confidence in that system. After that incident, she basically went back to just ordering things that she knows will be safe (like she has to do everywhere else). For the rest of the week, her diet consisted of mainly meats (that were allergy book approved) and carrot sticks. She wasn’t about to try any other “gluten free” products that they were offering.

     

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