Holly Jolly Pre Christmas Trip to Wildnerness Lodge/Disney Wonder

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by SuAnne, Jan 11, 2001.

  1. SuAnne

    SuAnne Mouseketeer

    Sep 9, 1999
    Our family of travelers: My mom, my sister(for the cruise),my niece (11),my daughter (7) and Me (SuAnne)

    Date of Trip: Dec. 3-10 Wilderness Lodge
    Dec. 10-14 Disney Wonder
    Dec. 14 Dixie Landings

    Well….I’ve been reading the Trip Reports Board and started feeling guilty about not posting a report of our stay at WDW ( I did do one for the four day Wonder cruise on the Cruise Trip Report Board) so before memory fails me completely I thought to would jot down some of our highlights of the Disney World part of our trip.

    Wilderness Lodge
    What a beautiful resort! It really does take your breath away when you first walk through those doors. The massive Christmas tree in the Lobby is incredible. I’m sure we all just stood there with our mouths hanging open for the first few minutes.

    Check in was very quick. I think there was only one person in front of me. We had a wonderful CM Jackie who checked us in. We had booked a woodsview room and faxed a request for a bunkbed room facing the MK. There were no woodsview bunkbed rooms available so Jackie disappeared into the back room and came back out a couple of minutes later and said she could give me a choice of two rooms…a room facing the MK but no bunkbeds or a courtyard room with a view of the pool with bunkbeds. Well we jumped on that upgrade right away and I thanked Jackie profusely for her help. The kids wanted bunkbeds so badly.

    Our room was wonderful. It was Room 3013. It looked out over the pool and from our balcony you could see the Electrical Parade at night if you looked out to the side. The other pluses of the room were that is was fairly close to Roaring Forks for drink refills and also close to the stairs at the end of the hall by the boat dock so it was handy to have the option of using the stairs as well. I didn’t find the room to be noisy at all and I loved hearing the woodsy Christmas music they played in the pool area. It was so nice to leave the door open and hear the rushing of the water and the beautiful music.

    We also had a wonderful housekeeper ,Luz. She was incredible. Every day we would come back to find that she had made a towel Christmas characters (an angel, reindeer etc) and she would have the radio on playing the "all Christmas" radio station. One day she even had the girl’s stuffed bears tied to the ceiling fan and we came in to find them swinging around just like they were on a carousel! My daughter wrote her a note to thank her one day and say that she wanted to meet her. One day when we were in the room a knock came to the door and it was Luz. What a lovely sweet lady.

    Some miscellaneous bits and pieces.

    The transportation was so so. The boat transportation to MK is great, but if you want to be there for the start of EE you will have to take the bus to the TTC and then the monorail as the boats do not start until 7:30. The only real long wait we had was coming back from AK one day when the wait was 50 minutes! Oh yes…then we had the bus ride from hell coming back from our second visit to AK when the trainee bus driver nearly rolled the bus! Yikes! He hit the shoulder and boy was it scary. There was a flight attendant sitting in the seats beside us who said she was ready to go into disaster mode!

    The Lodge Tour seemed like it would be very interesting but was 2 hours long and I knew the kids wouldn’t last that long so I took them to the pool while mom did the tour. She said it was very good.

    The walk to Fort Wilderness is very nice and peaceful. It took about 20 minutes to walk and we went to the petting farm and then took the boat back to WL. It was a nice relaxing way to spend the part of the morning.

    Every afternoon they have kids activities around the pool area. The one day the girls spent a couple of hours with an excellent CM and they made really cute picture frames.

    Ducks! There is an adorable family of ducks who hang out around the pool. They really think it’s their pool! On a couple of the days it was quite chilly and the girls were the only ones in the pool and the ducks were right in there swimming around with them. One day I was sitting on a lunge chair and was startled by something underneath me….it was on of the ducks poking his head under the chair for some morsel of food. They really added to the atmosphere!

    Food. We only ate at Roaring Forks. They have very good chili there! We also ordered pizza from room service one night and it was very good as well.

    The gift shop always seemed quite crowded, especially during the evenings. I don’t know, maybe it is because of the Villas now being opened.

    The Lobby was also a very busy place during the evenings. Lots of people taking it the sites and they always had some nice Christmas entertainment going on such as bell ringer and choirs. If you are looking for a quiet place to sit, try the upper floors overlooking the lobby. There are rocking chairs and a couple of quiet fireplaces and you can sit and watch everything going on in the lobby.

    Music. The music they play in the lobby and pool area is so nice and relaxing. The will give you a list of the songs in the gift shop. The CM there said they were working on getting the copyrights so they can put out a CD.

    Hidden Mickeys. Ask for the list at Guest Services. It is a great family activity. I don’t think we ever did find them all.

    Dixie Landings
    We only stayed here for one night after the cruise before our flight back. On our previous stays we had always been in Magnolia Terrace but this time we decided to try Alligator Bayou. When we checked in they had a room ready in Bldg. 28 so we took that. It was a bit of a hike from there to the main pool but for one night we didn’t care.

    Since we weren’t doing any of the parks we just stayed around the pool. It was a great day 86 and the kids swam all afternoon. At night we took the boat to Downtown Disney. That is such a nice feature of Dixie Landings.

    For a longer stay, I think I prefer Magnolia Terrace. It was handy for both the main pool and quiet pool. Close to a bus stop and not too bad of a walk to the food court.

    The Parks
    Early December is a great time to go! We didn’t find any of the parks to be crowded at all. Most rides were walk on and the kids were able to do their favorites a number of times over the course of the week. I lost tack of how many times we went on Tower of Terror.

    Oh yes…one note…. SeaBands! I am very prone to motion sickness and would come off even Peter Pan’s Flight looking green. I put on SeaBands this time and they worked great. I was even able to do Rockin Roller Coaster this time!

    As usual, the parks were all decked out for the holidays. The only think that wasn’t up during our stay was the Mickey hat on the MGM water tower! I love Christmas time in the parks. Even the Main Street Electrical Parade had Christmas tunes mixed in with the music.

    Crystal Palace: We hadn’t tried the character dinner there so we gave that a try on our first night. It is a very lovely restaurant, very pretty. Since our PS was right at 4:00 all the food was fresh and hot. I was really impressed when I saw them out taking the temperature of the salads on the salad bar. We had a very nice meal. The characters were Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore.

    Liberty Tree: We went there the night of our MVMCP. The character interaction was great and the food was very good. We would definitely go back here again. Well worth it ! I especially like that they serve your meal family style as I am not a fan of buffets.

    Hollywood and Vine: We did this as part of the Fantasmic dinner package. Again, it was a buffet with lots to chose from and very tasty. There are no characters at dinner though, but it was well worth it to get the reserved seating for Fantasmic. We came in about 25 minutes before the show and the seats were very good. The section with the reserved seating is also very handy for exiting after the show.

    San Angel Inn (Mexico): Our favorite meal the entire trip! We had this as part of the Candlelight Processional Package. What a good value that is! Now I know San Angel this year was supposed to be part of the upper Tier of restaurants at $42.50 but somehow we were only charges the Tier B price?? Anyway…we had appetizers, more food than any of us could eat. I had the Tuna and it was very good, but a huge portion. Of course could we pass on desserts as full as we were…no. We all tried something different so we could have a try of everything. Oh yes their frozen Margarita’s are wonderful as well! The atmosphere was lovely as well.

    Quick Snacks: Dole Whips (yum…my first time for one), Turkey legs and of course my all time favorite…Mickey Ice Cream sandwiches

    Holiday Events

    We attended on Monday, Dec.4. We had gone three years previous on a Friday and the crowds were unbelievable so I was a little hesitant this time around. Of course, last time I didn’t have the benefit of the wonderful from the DIS to help! We had booked PS at Liberty Tree for 6:00 pm when the park closed and we were able to stay inside the restaurant until the party started. What a bonus that was. As soon as they let us go into the park we had our photo taken and hit Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain ( three times) and Haunted Mansion with hardly another soul in sight. What a difference from our last MVMCP! From there we went over the Fantasyland and walked on the all the rides there. It wasn’t until we hit Tomorrowland that we ran into crowds. It seemed to be an older crowd that night and it seemed everyone was in Tomorowland. We did do Alien Encounter while the first parade was on. Space Mtn. was a 40 minute wait so we passed on that and cut back over to the Jungle Cruise which is really different to see at night. We caught the Country Bears before the late parade. We found a spot right by Pecos Bills and and were able to sit right on the curb and had a great view of the parade. The kids had good intentions of trying Space Mountain again before we left but we were all too cold and tired so we took the boat back to Wilderness Lodge.

    Candlelight Processional
    This was our first time seeing this and it was spectacular. We bought the CP dinner package for the 5:00 show and then our dinner afterwards at 6:30. I found this worked out great with the kids. Only thing was, it was a hot day and the kids had been swimming back at the pool so we had to really hustle to get there for the 5:00 show. We did get there about 4:30 and had very good seats about halfway back in the center. The performance was very moving….especially Silent Night with the falling snow. This show is a must see for our future trips. After the show we went to see Santa at the American pavilion. Oh…my…he is the best Santa I have ever seen! Of course it was the one photo I wanted to get of my daughter. I stood in line for an hour at the end of the night to see it and it was horrible.

    Osborne Lights
    Again…another bad experience on our last trip as we went right when they opened it at night and were armpit to armpit with everyone. This time we went twice. The first time we went was while Fantasmic was on just before park closing, and the second time we went was after we saw Fantasmic. Both times were wonderful. No crowds and you could walked through leisurely and really enjoy the lights. The night we went to Fantasmic I asked a CM if the lights would be on after Fantasmic as it would be after park closing time and she said no. We wandered over anyway and sure enough it was open. It was a great time to go.

    Hotel Decorations
    Of course having stayed at Wilderness Lodge I was very partial to the decorations there. You just can’t beat them for theming ( I love that woodsy theming!!) There was no gingerbread house at Wildness Lodge this year though…or at Dixie Landings. The Grand Floridian had a gingerbread house that was incredible though and boy was their tree something to see. The tree at Dixie Landings was also very pretty too

    Christmas is my favorite time at WDW and although our next trip won’t be for another 2 years we plan to go again in December 2002 doing 3 days at WDW and the 7 day Magic cruise. Thanks to everyone for all the advise and tips that made our trip so fantastic!
  2. snuggles

    snuggles <font color=blue>A good day with short lines...wha

    Aug 18, 1999
    Thank you so much for posting your trip report. Its always great to read about how much fun someone had on their trip to Disney. :)

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  4. Mackey Mouse

    Mackey Mouse <font color="blue">Me read the Navigator? I don't

    May 21, 2000
    SuAnne, great trip report, sounds as if Christmas is a must for visiting WDW. Thanks for sharing all the little hints, I took special notice of them all.

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  5. Beanie

    Beanie ~*Snoopy Fan Forever*~

    May 15, 2000
    Thanks so much for posting! I am a big fan of the WL and hearing your detail of it, just brings me back!! :)

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  6. BetsyAnn

    BetsyAnn Mouseketeer

    May 18, 2000
    SuAnne - thanks for all the wonderfull information, details and hints. I am seriously thinking about going at about the same time this year(I can't believe it's 2001) Your great trip report is making me get out my deposit to send in.

    :) BAS
  7. Marla Hellwig

    Marla Hellwig I'm not lost, it's called creative exploring

    Mar 25, 2000
    A fun filled Disney trip for all. Thanks for posting!

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