Get out of the pool!! - Nine Nights, Three Resorts, and a Surprise Upgrade, July 2019 TR - Updated 2/9

Jfsag123

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2013
Introduction

Hey hey hey, it’s time for another WDW trip report! Welcome or welcome back! Let’s do this thing.

The Who
Me:


Here I am! And I love me some churros, but only at Disneyland. I have literally never had one at WDW. What’s wrong with me? And where do you recommend I grab one next time I’m in WDW, as I believe this is an oversight that must be corrected?

DH:


He is obsessed with Donald. Like, OBSESSED. He is all about the thrill rides in WDW, but refuses to ride thrill rides pretty much everywhere else. I don’t understand, but I don’t question it.

Cora, 11:


She is a self-proclaimed and proud nerd. She decided after our first trip that she wanted to be an imagineer when she grew up and those aspirations have not changed. She's currently enjoying the Imagineering in a Box series on YouTube. She loves Pluto, Star Wars, and meat. Seriously. Her main goal for this trip was to eat as much meat as possible. Stay tuned to see how she did.

Alex, 9:


This is my dramatic child. He wants to be a filmmaker when he grows up and likes looking for the storytelling/theming details around the parks. The kids at school call him Disney Man. Toy Story has been his favorite thing since he was literally one year old and with the new Toy Story movie that came out this summer (the first in his life, as he was fond of pointing out) he was more amped than ever for this trip.

The What:
As I mentioned in previous reports, our first trip was in May, 2013. The kids were 5 and almost 3 and we were on our “once in a lifetime” vacation. We knew we’d be back by the end of the first day. Here are my tiny babies :sad:






So obviously that was not our only trip. We ended up returning for Cora’s 7th birthday in March 2015, then went back in June 2016 for the trip we now lovingly refer to as “the surgery toe trip” (report
here). In June 2017 we took our first family trip to Disneyland and went back to DLR for Thanksgiving 2018 – DLR trip #3 is scheduled for this November! July 2018 was back to WDW for our first triple split stay at Coronado, Beach Club Villas, and Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas – Jambo House (report here). And now here I am reporting on WDW trip #5! And #6 may or may not be already booked…

The When:
We had originally planned on taking this trip in June, but it worked out better for my work schedule to go in July. We had braved the heat of July the previous year and lived to tell the tale, so we decided to go for it again. Our dates ended up being July 19- July 28.

The Where:
This trip originally started as an 8 night trip split between two resorts with 4 nights at each – Boardwalk Inn and Bay Lake Tower. We had never stayed at a WDW deluxe on the hotel side – only on rented DVC points – but with the free dining deal they released for last summer we decided to go for it for at least part of the trip. We booked 7/19-7/23 in a standard view room at BWI with the free dining plan deal. For resort #2 we stuck with our tried and true DVC point rental. We hadn’t been at BLT since 2016 and we love that resort so much so we decided to make our return to it this year, 7/23-7/27, in a lake view studio. We were scheduled to fly back on Saturday, 7/27, as Sunday flights were a lot more expensive.

A few months before the trip I ended up being able to get our flights changed to Sunday – woohoo, an extra Disney day! But of course, since our ending reservation was a DVC rental there was no way we could just add another night to it. We decided to book a 1-nighter somewhere else and ended up settling on Beach Club. We have stayed there twice previously, but always in the villas on points. We were looking forward to trying the hotel side and wanted a resort with easy park access for our last day so we could maximize time before our flight.

The Why:
Why? Because we like you! Bonus points if you get that reference. But seriously, why not?? It’s Disney! We knew it would be hot, we knew it would be crowded, and we knew it would be fan-friggin-tastic.
 

Jfsag123

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2013
ETA: No idea what is happening with the various pictures sizes, as they're all from the same source and sized the same way. My pictures have been wonky ever since the boards changed over. :confused3

ETA pt. 2: Fixed it! Woohoo!

Day 1: July 19 – Arrival

This trip represented a bit of a change for us. We enjoy road trips and have had plenty of time off due to DH and myself both being on academic schedules, so for the last few years our trips have been pretty long (12ish nights) bookended by at least two days of driving on either side. However, that wouldn’t be possible with my new job. Quick backstory for those who are unaware – I had been in my Ph.D. program for about 15,000 years (or 6, same dif), meaning I was stressed out, crazy, and broke, but had a decent amount of time off in the summers between semesters. However, I finally finished that mess (otherwise known as my degree) last summer, and now have an actual job with an actual schedule. Hooray for having more money, boo for having less time off. My inability to take more than a week off meant we needed to fly this time. It also meant I was running around like a crazy person right up until the moment of take-off.

We were scheduled to leave on a Friday afternoon and I was scheduled to work on Friday until about lunch time. Normally I have the suitcases packed at least a week in advance because I’m too excited to restrain myself and have a problem. Not so this time. I was scrambling to pack up until Friday morning before work. I also squeezed in a quick mani-pedi appointment for Cora and me on Thursday night. On Friday I raced home from work, threw the last couple of things in suitcases, and my dad picked us up to take us to the airport about a half hour later.

Having never flown to the World before, we’d never used Magical Express before. Because we were flying Southwest, I knew we’d be coming in on the opposite side of the airport from DME and had been debating whether or not to pick up our own luggage. With a mid-afternoon flight, we were scheduled to arrive in the early evening and I was worried that they would bring our bags up after we wanted to be in bed. I ultimately decided to prioritize extra time at the resort and slapped those yellow tags on our bags. I ended up being glad I did, as our flight was delayed, so we got in about an hour later than I had anticipated.

I’d heard to budget about 90 minutes for DME what with walking through the airport, waiting for the bus, waiting for the bus to leave, then other resort drop-offs. However, I think we had just about the speediest DME experience possible. We are all fast walkers, so we booked it through the airport pretty easily. When we got to DME there was no one else in line and our bus was already there. We proceeded directly onto the bus and the bus started moving about 2 minutes after we boarded.

Pretty soon we were seeing this blessed sight



It was a little strange not seeing it from our own car and it was hard to get a decent picture, but I was still glad to not have to be driving. And our luck continued, as our resort turned out to be the first stop.


We had never stayed at Boardwalk before, but I was really wanting to try it. My kids had been pretty anti-Boardwalk, 100% because of the creepy clown slide. Alex especially hates clowns. However, I showed them Tim Tracker’s walkthrough of the resort on YouTube back at home and they were both sold. It helped that Alex is a big fan of the Trackers.

I had originally had a park ticket for this day because I thought we could just pop into Epcot a little before park closing, grab some snacks, and watch Illuminations. However, after watching the video about Boardwalk the kids had asked me to scrap the Epcot plan because they wanted to spend the evening checking out the resort.

We loved the theming and the lobby was beautiful. I knew it would be gorgeous based on pictures I had seen, but I was still blown away by seeing it in person.






But I have to ask – what is with these creepy chairs?? Forget the clown pool, this is the stuff of nightmares.



Despite my protests that we were going to Disney so she should wear a Disney shirt, Cora had insisted on wearing a Freddie Mercury shirt. However, the agreed to wear her Pluto hat to be in theme. The hat ended up becoming a constant for this trip…

We had gotten our room ready text during our flight, so went straight to the room after our quick checking out of the lobby. A look in the app revealed that we’d been upgraded from Standard View to Garden View (not the upgrade referenced in my title)! Here was our view.




The room had been a bit of a hike from the lobby. However, after stepping out on the balcony we realized that we could just go downstairs and out the side door of our little area and walk right across that courtyard to the main part of the hotel. It ended up being a perfect location, as it was really quiet (right next to the garden cottages), but it was easy to get to the action quickly.

And here was our room:





It was beautiful and we loved it. In the bathroom picture the children are making fun of me for taking pictures. Get over it children, there will be hundreds more over the next several days.

Our next objective was to pick up our resort mugs and use our first QS dining plan credit, as we were starving! I had asked the lovely folks on the Boardwalk thread on the DIS for suggestions for grabbing a meal using credits in the area without entering a park and had gotten the suggestion to try the pizza window, so that’s what we did.




We are not used to eating the way the dining plan makes you eat. Typically we would have likely split 2 of the smaller pizzas and a couple of desserts. Using the DDP, we each got our own pizza and dessert. Three pizza pics and 1 dessert pic below because 2 of us got the same kind of pizza ad we all got the same dessert – cannoli.






They’re blurry because my food picture taking skills are on point. We enjoyed the view and atmosphere from our table and eventually saw some fireworks across the water. Also a blurry pic because I’m just awesome like that.



We finished the night off by watching a couple of the Boardwalk performers (so fun!) and checking out the gift shop. DH got the first souvenir of the trip and added to his Donald collection with a pair of the duck butt ears because of course.


We got showers and got in bed early to prepare for our first park visit the next morning!

Ok one more time, seriously, what the h*** is this??

 
Last edited:
  • DLo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2006
    Hopping over from your last TR . Looking forward to reading this one . I love the EPCOT area resorts.
     
  • buzzrelly

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2005
    Joining in!

    I tried getting a studio at the Boardwalk for March at the 7-month mark and wasn't able to this time. It looks so amazing though so I'm definitely going to keep trying, or pray that my waitlist comes through. If not, we'll be at your other resort, BLT, that week and I love it there too.

    Can't wait to read more!
     

    ariane37

    Dis veteran
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2012
    I'm here Kelley :wave2:
    Um yes those chairs are super creepy. We've stayed at the BW 3 or 4 times and they never fail to make me walk as far away from them as possible lol but I do have pictures of the boys in them when they were little! I guess they represent they style you would have found at the turn of the century?

    Seriously. Her main goal for this trip was to eat as much meat as possible.
    🤣 that sounds like Chris! He could heat a filet every day and usually orders that if it's on the menu wherever we are.
    We finished the night off by watching a couple of the Boardwalk performers (so fun!)
    Coney Island Chris!!! Did you see him? We LOVE him and often go over to the BW once when we aren't staying there to try to catch him. Steve and I did that last week; he never gets old regardless of how many times we see him.

    Glad you had a positive ME experience for your first time lol. I enjoy it but as of late we only take it back to the airport on departure day because Steve is now all about the quick arrival using a Lyft gets us..............I miss taking ME when we arrive but I'm getting used to driving through those gates like 45 minutes after we land................
     

    judyannemorgan@att.n

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 15, 2011
    I love your reports - you are hilarious! Those (I think) are called nanny chairs- used to be on carousels and the nanny could sit on them while the child was on the horse
     

    Jfsag123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2013
    I’ve read all your other reports, so....here for this one! 👋
    Glad you're back! Welcome!

    Joining in
    :welcome:

    Hopping over from your last TR . Looking forward to reading this one . I love the EPCOT area resorts.
    I previously thought I liked the Magic Kingdom resort area better, but after this trip I decided I'm EPCOT all the way! I still love the MK area, but the Crescent Lake area is now my favorite place to be. The atmosphere can't be beat.

    Can’t miss hearing about another trip!!

    That is definitely one creepy chair! 😂
    Those chairs were one of the first things the kids noticed. They were drawn to them like a car wreck - you want to look away, but you can't! :rotfl:
     
  • Jfsag123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2013
    Joining in!

    I tried getting a studio at the Boardwalk for March at the 7-month mark and wasn't able to this time. It looks so amazing though so I'm definitely going to keep trying, or pray that my waitlist comes through. If not, we'll be at your other resort, BLT, that week and I love it there too.

    Can't wait to read more!
    Glad you're here! And you can't go wrong with either of those choices, but I do hope your waitlist comes through. The Boardwalk was really special!

    I'm here Kelley :wave2:
    Um yes those chairs are super creepy. We've stayed at the BW 3 or 4 times and they never fail to make me walk as far away from them as possible lol but I do have pictures of the boys in them when they were little! I guess they represent they style you would have found at the turn of the century?
    :rotfl: We should have just walked away, but found ourselves staring at them multiple times. I guess I will be glad to have the pics of the kids in them, though they refused to sit with their heads directly in front of the chair heads lol.


    🤣 that sounds like Chris! He could heat a filet every day and usually orders that if it's on the menu wherever we are.
    Oh Cora would probably enjoy taking dining tips from him. She was all about steak and ribs on this trip.

    Coney Island Chris!!! Did you see him? We LOVE him and often go over to the BW once when we aren't staying there to try to catch him. Steve and I did that last week; he never gets old regardless of how many times we see him.
    We did! He was hilarious! Cora especially loved him. We also saw the hula hoop girl.

    Glad you had a positive ME experience for your first time lol. I enjoy it but as of late we only take it back to the airport on departure day because Steve is now all about the quick arrival using a Lyft gets us..............I miss taking ME when we arrive but I'm getting used to driving through those gates like 45 minutes after we land................
    I can definitely see Steve's point and probably would be with him if we went more frequently. However, with our once a year trips I think we will stick with DME, as it felt like part of the experience. For the kids it was like we were already on Disney property the moment we stepped out of the airport.

    I love your reports - you are hilarious! Those (I think) are called nanny chairs- used to be on carousels and the nanny could sit on them while the child was on the horse
    Thank you and welcome! Poor nanny - being stuck in such a creepy and uncomfortable chair while the kids got to ride the horses lol. But it seems in keeping with the style of the time so I guess it makes sense. Cool trivia! I'll have to share it with my kiddos who were baffled by them.
     

    disny_luvr

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2008
    I’m here!

    We always like visiting BWI, but I don’t think I’ll ever get my kids away from the YC/BC. They do not like the clown at the BWI pool at all, so I’m interested to hear your thoughts. And, yes, those chairs are creepy and weird!

    I just want to add that Cora is looking very grown-up in your pictures.
     

    Jfsag123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2013
    I’m here!
    Yay! :) Welcome and glad you're here.

    We always like visiting BWI, but I don’t think I’ll ever get my kids away from the YC/BC. They do not like the clown at the BWI pool at all, so I’m interested to hear your thoughts. And, yes, those chairs are creepy and weird!
    I was having the same fight with my kids in the lead up to this trip. They were very resistant to the idea and were all in on BC. However, I could never find availability at BC for our dates for the duration of the free dining deal, so I stuck with Boardwalk and told them to suck it up, you're staying in a deluxe resort at WDW lol. They still weren't happy with me until I showed them the Tim Tracker video, which was about a month out from the trip. Despite Alex being terrified of clowns he now says he prefers BWI to BC after this trip - he loved it, clown slide and all! Cora still prefers BC, but said she'd be happy to stay at BW again too, so they both ended up being converts. They really loved all the little details in the theming, the entertainment on the Boardwalk, and they actually said that the clown slide is a great slide and a lot of fun. :confused3

    I just want to add that Cora is looking very grown-up in your pictures.
    Ugh, she really is! I have no idea where my baby went. I knew Cora would likely end up tall with me being 6'0', but she is already taller than some adult women - and is in women's size 10 shoes!
     

    Jfsag123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2013
    Day 2: July 20, Part 1 – Animal Kingdom

    Those of you who read my last report may remember the comedy of errors that was our first park morning that trip including my dumb self passing the parking area not once, but twice, and DH realizing he had lost his magicband somewhere about 5 minutes before rope drop then having to book it through the park solo after going to guest relations to try to meet up with the rest of us in time for our first ride. Though things ended up working out and DH later found his magicband in the car, it was not an experience we wanted to repeat. That first park day had been an EMH at Animal Kingdom with an attempt to rope drop Flight of Passage. We wouldn’t be stupid enough to attempt a repeat of the same morning this time, would we? Oh yes, we absolutely would.

    Backing up a little bit, I hadn’t slept well the night before. The bed was really comfy, but I had been unable to get into a good sleep because I was anticipating a knock at the door delivering our luggage sometime late in the night. I hadn’t called bell services to ask them to hold our bags and I’d read stories here on the DIS about people having bags dropped off at midnight or later. Well morning arrived and still no bags. After we were all up and dressed I called bell services, slightly nervous that I would hear that our bags hadn’t arrived. However, they had and the cast member told me that they had gone ahead and held them for us rather than disturb us in the night. I was relieved and pleased, but wished I would have known to anticipate that so I could have slept a little better. Anyway, we had our bags within 10 minutes of calling and were out the door shortly after.

    One big change to our AK morning this time was that we didn’t have our own car. We headed out to the bus stop at Boardwalk right about the time we had planned, which was 6:30ish. However, the bus times board was saying the next AK bus wouldn’t even pick us up at the resort until 7:09, which would have killed our FOP plans. I made an executive decision and called for our first ever Minnie Van. Could we have paid less and used Uber or Lyft? Absolutely. But we are those annoying people who will pay more because they slapped some mouse ears on it. #sorrynotsorry

    There happened to be a Minnie Van waiting literally around the corner and it pulled less than a minute later. Seriously, like we’d barely had time to walk away from the bus stop and were nowhere near the resort entrance, so the CM just picked us up on the side of the road.

    The Minnie Van turned out to be a great experience. Our driver was a long-time CM who had retired and started driving the Minnie Vans. He had worked at AK at the time of its opening and was full of trivia related to the park. This was a wonderful way to start the day and made me feel even more fine about spending the extra for it. When we departed, he gave the kids transporation trading cards, which we hadn’t even known existed prior to this! Of course this started a new thing where the kids had to ask about the cards each and every time we took Disney transporation anywhere.



    Anyway, very shortly after we were seeing this



    And here was our spot in line



    As you can see, they were Celebrating the Lion King. Alex had noticed a photo spot on the walk to the entrance and begged to go back and take a picture with it. I knew there would likely be lines for it later in the day, so I agreed to take him while DH and Cora kept our spot in line.



    Alex made it his goal to get us to take our pictures in all of the special photo spots. It was a goal he wouldn’t come anywhere close to achieving, sadly. We ate some granola bars while we waited to be let into the park and after a pretty short wait we were. I knew the park would open up and start letting us into Pandora early, but I was surprised by how early. Last year we’d been let in at like 7:30, but then held at an internal rope a while longer. This year they let us in and just walked us straight back to Pandora and we lined up for FoP immediately.



    We lost some of our good positioning, as I’m simply not willing to run or throw elbows for a theme park ride, but we still made it on in pretty good time. I love this ride so much. After FoP we went to the Pandora ride that I love a lot less, but would still like to do once per trip. Cora enjoys imitating the Shaman animatronic at the end and loudly singing “ma eywa!”, which she 100% did as we walked from FoP to Na'vi River Journey. I may have joined in with her, making us a very special looking group.



    With Pandora accomplished and a decent amount of the EMH still to go, we headed off toward Africa.
     

    Cloe Colton

    Registered
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2018
    Joining in! Sounds like a great trip!!! DH and I were there nearly the same dates as you last year and it was a great time to be in Disney!
     

    disny_luvr

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2008
    Great start to your AK morning. I guess after last year anything has to be better.

    Oh, we are definitely riding a Minnie Van at least once on our next trip. Actually, it may be more than once. 😉👍🏻
     

    buzzrelly

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2005
    Those of you who read my last report may remember the comedy of errors that was our first park morning that trip including my dumb self passing the parking area not once, but twice, and DH realizing he had lost his magicband somewhere about 5 minutes before rope drop then having to book it through the park solo after going to guest relations to try to meet up with the rest of us in time for our first ride. Though things ended up working out and DH later found his magicband in the car, it was not an experience we wanted to repeat. That first park day had been an EMH at Animal Kingdom with an attempt to rope drop Flight of Passage. We wouldn’t be stupid enough to attempt a repeat of the same morning this time, would we? Oh yes, we absolutely would.
    Oh, no!

    I'm glad it didn't turn out to be quite as bad!


    There happened to be a Minnie Van waiting literally around the corner and it pulled less than a minute later. Seriously, like we’d barely had time to walk away from the bus stop and were nowhere near the resort entrance, so the CM just picked us up on the side of the road.
    Nice :thumbsup2


    And here was our spot in line

    Perfect spot in line!
     

    ariane37

    Dis veteran
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2012
    We love the Minnie vans and have used them many many times-because like you, we go after the polka dots lol. I knew about the transportation cards but didn't realize they'd added Minnie van ones, that's cool!

    Gals you made it to AK in good time to ride FOP before the crowds set in. It's close to Ricky's favorite ride now and one we all love. Na'vi River........not as much!
     

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