Yowsa the World is Busy - Trip Feb 6-18 2005

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by Inga, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. Inga

    Inga Mouseketeer

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    Hi Folks

    Just spent two weeks in the beautiful state of Florida, returned yesterday. We were on Disney property (POFQ) from Feb 6th to 13th, then off to St Petes, and returned to stay at POP Feb 17th before our flight home to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on Friday, Feb 18th!

    The cast of characters included:
    Me, Inga: 35yo, WDW vets
    DH: 37yo WDW vets
    DFriend: 35yo been to WDW a few times
    DBFofDFriend: 37yo first time to WDW as an adult!



    Highlites:

    :goodvibes Cirque du Soleil was awesome, it was the first time we had seen the show and it is definitely something to see, at least once!

    :goodvibes Wolfgang Pucks Cafe before the show in DD (not the $$ upstairs restaurant, but the main level) was excellent. We had a terrible time a few years ago at Wolfgang Pucks but this experience has redeemed the place for us.

    :goodvibes Cafe Tu Tu Tango was excellent, yet again, a must-see for us on International Drive

    :goodvibes Arriving at the parks before official opening at any of the parks on non-EMH mornings. Even with the unusual high numbers at the parks during our visit, we were able to enjoy a relatively quiet park for the first 1.5 hours, and we got alot done. We would arrive ~30-45 minute prior to official park opening on these mornings.

    :goodvibes Rose and Crown for Illuminations is still wonderful. This is our 5th visit to R&C for Illuminations and we have been lucky enough to have a great viewing table each time. The food is unfortunately not improving and probably is going slightly downhill in MHO.

    :goodvibes POFQ was a quiet place to rest for the most part. The boat to DD is a wonderful benefit to staying at this resort. Please note if the temperature gets low, they shut the boat down which did happen during our trip.

    :goodvibes National Car Rental: excellent price! We paid less than we were quoted! We also got a SUV...$200.00 US for 12 days!

    :goodvibes The Earl of Sandwich surpassed our expectations. Those sandwiches were sooo good. Thanks to the DIS boards for alerting us to this gem!

    :goodvibes Ghiradelli's ice cream shop. I had a less than stellar experience a few years ago, but this sundae was incredible.

    :goodvibes Loved the Nemo exhibit at Living Seas, loved the Talking with Crush experience!!

    :goodvibes Loved RnR as usual, as well as TT, Splash, Mickey's Phil, BTR


    Less then Sunny Aspects:

    :guilty: Weather was cool, but what can you do? It is February!

    :guilty: Crowds. It was busier than we have ever experienced for February (or any other time we have gone to WDW, for that matter!). It was standing room only for Fantasmic! This is supposed to be February crowds! Between conventions and cheerleaders, it was packed at all parks, especially during EMH evening and morning. IMHO I would not recommend the EMH morning or evening hours, they are absolutely packed, particularly in the evening EMH. It was nuts...we couldn't even get into a comedy show at PI because of the crowds, which has never happened before. Our strategy changed mid-trip, where we avoided EMH parks like the plague, and it worked out much much better that way.

    :guilty: Planet Hollywood always seems to be a hassle...we used the $25 coupons that we got because we had a package, and it is always so busy, and disorganized, I think we'll avoid it next trip. The actual food isn't too bad, but the service is really quite terrible every time we go!

    :guilty: Traffic on the I-4...we stayed on site (thank goodness) but those staying off site should be aware of the major traffic accidents that seem to be happening each and every morning...there was one 5 hour delay major accident when we were there, and we talked with a couple that missed much of their Disney day because of the travel delay!

    :guilty: Food court food. We did everything in our power to avoid the food court at the resorts, and when we did indulge it was as bad as we remembered. Going off site or to DD is a much better option for us with regards to food!

    :guilty: We have heard concerns regarding mousekeeping at PO FQ and we did experience some of that during our trip. Upon arrival to our room, there was a smushed cookie in the middle of the floor, as well as someone elses soap left in the bathtub. The mousekeeping got better as our stay progressed, it really wasn't a big deal but did confirm what others have noted.

    :guilty: Test Track, always notorious for being down, was down more than normal this trip. Unfortunately, this happened during an EMH morning at Epcot which limits what you can do as there are only 4-5 things open. This also was a major problem at the EMHs at night when the park is totally packed, and only a few rides are open, making the lines very very very long. If you can get on this ride, it is a lot of fun! BTR was also down for parts of our trip.


    As of yesterday (Friday, Feb 18th) the resorts were completely full, there was not a vacancy in the WDW property below $600/night, even at DTD resorts and many of the other resorts we called in Orlando. Between the Daytona 500 (which we found out that many of the Daytona hotels were still closed because of past hurricanes so people we staying in Orlando and commuting to Daytona), conventions, holidays (Presidents Week) the place was gridlocked!

    Next trip, we'll be considering January as February has changed significantly compared to last year. Does this signify the end of low seasons at WDW?

    Inga
     
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  3. Buzz's_girl

    Buzz's_girl Mouseketeer

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    Wow, I can't believe it was so crowded. We will be there in 5 days...and although I am expecting large crowds until President's Week is over, I am HOPING (fingers crossed) that it won't be as crowded as you describe.

    We want to try the EMH (Am has always worked for us...but sometimes we too go to another park that morning to avoid the crowds) but if it is SUPER crowded we will probably rework our schedule.

    Thanks for the report!!
     
  4. popeyeohoh

    popeyeohoh DIS Veteran

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    Great report. I like you format. Sounds like a good time. Were you there the same weeks in FEB 04? I have asked this before but do you think patterns are changing in WDW? Are more people going to vacation in the off times in hopes of small crowds?
     
  5. Inga

    Inga Mouseketeer

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    Buzz's Girl

    We have also ususally done early morning hours or the previous e-night 'program' and it has previously worked very well for us...but these EMH, I don't know, they appear to be more popular for some reason, more resort guests appear to be aware of them and use them, particularily in the evenings which I suppose is a more convenient time to go versus early am...folks are already in the park, so they figure they 'might-as-well' stay for another few hours (as their children are melting, I might add :) ).

    Give them a try for yourself, but I might be able to predict that you will change plans mid-trip...

    The EMH in the evenings for MGM and Epcot were particularily bad because only a few rides are open (compared to MK) and so the few rides that are open are really busy.

    Good luck and have a great trip!
    Inga
     
  6. Inga

    Inga Mouseketeer

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    Popeyeohoh

    We were there the same week in 2004 (We stayed Feb 1-13th so our Disney trip this time was Feb 6-13th so there was one week overlap). The Cheerleaders were there last year, I think. It just seemed there were alot of families with children, much more than last year. We pick our vacation time at Disney to avoid the US holidays but this year, I don't know if there were more holidays, or if parents are deciding to take their kids on holidays anyhow, or what. That was the main thing we saw that seemed to be different from last year.

    There seemed to be many things going on around these dates too, Daytona, Superbowl, many many conventions, cheerleading. Perhaps it is a mix of all of these things??

    Inga
     
  7. popeyeohoh

    popeyeohoh DIS Veteran

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    Inga,

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  8. jtdl

    jtdl DIS Veteran

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    We were also at WDW the week of Feb 3 - 12 and I also found it unbearably crowded! I have never been there when it's been that busy. I was also thinking it was probably a combination of the Superbowl and Daytona and the cheerleaders. We stayed at Pop Century and upon arriving one day earlier I called to enquire about getting a room a night earlier and all values and moderates were full.
     
  9. CindyD

    CindyD Mouseketeer

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    Mardi Gras for South LA, some of Mississippi and some of Alabama falls each year in either Feb or March. 47 days prior to Easter. Lots of schools have off part or the entire week. Many families leave to do Disney. When planning a Feb trip, I would research the net to find the date of Mardi Gras each year.

    We were there Feb 6-10th and I too found crowds larger than prior year. I think this year was a combo of things.....Mardi Gras, Superbowl, Cheerleaders, Daytona 500 and a HUGE convention of 45,000 or so for an AC/Heating expo.

    I am hoping this was a one time fluke!!!!! But you never can tell!!

    Mardi Gras in 2006 is Feb 28th, so plan accordingly
     
  10. Drizzo67

    Drizzo67 <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

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    We were there from the 11th to the 18th and we also found the crowds larger than usual for this time of year. The first indication that there would be large crowds was flying out of LaGuardia (NYC) with two different cheerleading squads on our plane. (the horror!!!!). I have to say that the most corwded park was encountered was Magic Kingdom. All the other parks seems okay to us. I stayed at POFQ as well. We luckily had no issues with Mousekeeping and found the food court adequate. Most of our dinner meals were at EPCOT anyway. The first two days were chilly but it warmed up nicely by Sunday the 13th.

    Our family really enjoyed the quaintness (sp?) of the French Quarter and are looking forward to staying again next year.
     
  11. popeyeohoh

    popeyeohoh DIS Veteran

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    All the replies have been very helpful. I am considering some sort of trip early next year but no definate plans.
     
  12. crazy canuck

    crazy canuck Earning My Ears

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    Stayed at POR Feb10th-18th. Found the parks were also crazy for EMH. The wait the space mountain was over 1 hour Sunday night after the fireworks. Went to less busy attractions after that. What time is better late January?Still want to wear shorts and Tshirts.
     
  13. calena

    calena <font color=red>BL II - Red Team<br> <font color=g

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    I liked your format too. To the point.
    I hope the crowds will lessen, but for us coming from the Great White North, even crowds are better than snow/ice/cold at this time of year!!!!!
     
  14. Drizzo67

    Drizzo67 <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/" targ

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    Calena - you may find the crowds a little big the beginning of your trip as alot of people travel to WDW during the President's week break 2-21 to 2-28. Hopefully your trip will end with some peace and quiet - depending on your stay length.

    On another note - there was a hugh high school cheerleading competition :cheer2: the weeknd of the the 12th-13th. I did note that some of the cheerleaders seemed to have stayed for the rest of the week and a few people coming down for the Daytona 500 came down a fes days early to enjoy the parks before Sunday's race. That could be why it was so crowded at a time that is usually not.....(wasn't last year)
     
  15. LisaInNc

    LisaInNc Succulent Wild Woman

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    I was there Febh 4-12 and it was so crowded at times I thought I was there in peak season. The one night we did EMH I felt that the lines were as long as during the day. I didn't expect it to be that crowded.
     
  16. lilred

    lilred Earning My Ears

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    And we found it incredibly crowded. MK on Sunday and Monday...many waits 40 minutes or more....missed a lot of rides because of this. AK on Tuesday was nuts....didn't enjoy ourselves much in the crowds. We booked this time of year cuz it was supposed to be slower...value season. Not at all. Combination of cheerleader competitions and Daytona seemed to be the consensus among CM's and drivers.

    Beth (37)
    DH (58)
    DD (4)
     
  17. Ozymoe

    Ozymoe <font color=blue>I bare all!

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    ...and all the days preceding that were almost deadly quiet (I even remarked upon this to some CMs). I guess I just lucked out this time...I certainly didn't expect to hear that the days following were packed! It must have been a combination of all the events that caused the congestion. I've been there other years at that time and at that time until February 14th everything was very manageable.
     
  18. jcemom

    jcemom Official Tag Fairy Assistant

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    We were there last year from the 2nd-12th and practically had the parks to ourselves. I was unpleasantly surprised with the crowds this year the 6th-13th. It felt 4 or 5 times more crowded than last year. I also tried to add a day onto my reservation at WL since we had a late flight home and my sister got sick, but there was nothing available. Booked solid. We still had a good time, but the crowds were tiring. I can't even imagine being there for Christmas or Easter or July 4th!

    Next time I'm trying September and January.
     
  19. CareBlair

    CareBlair Mouseketeer

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    We were there Feb 11-18 and Disney transportation was so overwhelmed the night of Friday, Feb 11, that it took us over 2 hours to get from Ft Wilderness to POFQ then to MK. We left Trails End at FW at 7 p.m. to go back to the hotel for warmer clothes. We were to meet up with DISers on the dock at the Contemporary at 9 p.m. for a Wishes cruise. Two hours to do this...no problem, right? We didn't make it! Apologies to drumflower and other DISers.

    As Disney suggests, we took a bus to DTD and changed to a bus going to POR/POFQ. By 8:30 p.m., after riding buses and waiting at bus stops, we'd only made it as far as the first bus stop at POR!

    We scrapped our plan to get the warm clothes and just tried to get to the Contemporary. We took a bus to MK and planned to walk to the Cotemporary, but it was already after 9 p.m. by the time we reached MK and we knew we'd miss the boat.

    I was literally in tears describing our dilemma to the WDW transportation guest services manager at MK. He was very understanding and apologetic. He acknolwedged that the cheerleader attendance was unexpectedly high and WDW transportation was having severe delays that night.

    The moral of this story is if you are trying to go from resort-to-resort, NEVER TRANSFER AT DTD! Always take a bus/boat/monorail to the nearest theme park and transfer to WDW transportation to your resort. WDW will not tell you this because they don't want to overwhelm theme park transportation. But the DTD route just doesn't work.

    As this was the first night of our trip, it really put a damper on the week. I read a posting by drumflower that the Wishes cruise was the highlight of their trip. You can imagine our disappointment to have missed it. Thanks for listening to my rant.
     

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