"It's Complicated" October 2019 More EPCOT Fun! 11/11

natebenma

Beach Club Dee
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
“It’s Complicated”


Who: Well, me, my DH Mark and a few others along the way- It’s complicated

What: WDW, of course

When: October 4. Scratch that! October 3-7, 2019

Where: Complicated

Why? DUH!

Actually, this trip was booked to cope with/celebrate the empty nest status achieved when my youngest son entered his Freshman year at George Washington University in August.



:welcome: to my trip report!

I'm Dee, wife of Mark, mom to Nate & Ben, administrator on the Beach & Yacht Club FAQ thread, part-time educator at a local historical property/rescue farm.

Some of you know me from the Beach & Yacht Club FAQ board. I have “met” many of you on trip reports through the years- sometimes literally! If this is the first time we have crossed paths, I am pleased to make your acquaintance and hope you will chime in from time to time!

My first trip to the World was in 1983, on a high school senior class trip (with my husband-to-be, we were dating at the time). The Magic Kingdom was magical and EPCOT had just opened a few months before. I was hooked! Mark and I had several trips as a couple including part of our honeymoon, then we brought our two boys along for a few more. I have had semi-solo trips and trips with friends. I survived (barely, in one case) organizing and executing two 8th grade class trips with my boys and more than 100 of their classmates.



1983:
Dang! I’m trying to find the pictures from this trip, I recently ran across that photo album, but not sure where I put it…


1987: No Photopass, so I have scanned two pictures together. Looks like we just got off of Splash Mountain






2013: Last Family Trip






2016: 30th Anniversary Trip





2019:




My “other friends”, the people in my life who are not Disney fanatics, will ask me “Do you go to Disney every year?”

My answer always is “Well, I don’t mean to, but…” Mostly because of, and thanks to, my family and Disney friends, I have made it to the World at least once a year since 2008. 2018 was the first time in 10 years that I didn’t visit the House of Mouse. Unacceptable!

I am a Disney veteran and self-proclaimed expert.

This trip challenged my pro status.

Mistakes were made.

Heck- It took my husband and me three attempts to figure out how to exit Hollywood Studios on our final morning.

:sad2:


“It’s Complicated”
 
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natebenma

Beach Club Dee
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Our oldest son Nate is a senior at UNH. My son Ben just entered GWU. My husband’s last trip to Disney was in October 2016, celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary (which is actually in July, but, Disney math). We loved going in fall! Low(er) crowds, cool(er) weather (allegedly), beautiful decorations, Food & Wine!

As I mentioned above, an empty nest was the perfect excuse for this latest trip.

It would be a quick trip to do some of the new things we had not experienced in previous trips- Pandora for Mark, Toy Story Land/Star Wars Galaxy's Edge/the new EPCOT fireworks show for both of us.

We had enough family points on Jet Blue to pay for Mark’s flight, I had points from Southwest, so we thought a quick weekend trip to Disney would be a nice and relatively easy/”inexpensive” way to cope with both boys being at school. I would fly in early on Friday morning from Manchester NH (7 am flight, arriving at MCO at 10), Mark would work that day, take the subway to the airport and fly out of Boston. Which of course, presented some additional complications, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We would both fly home together to Manchester Monday afternoon.

We booked one night at POP to save some money, since Mark’s flight would not arrive at MCO until after 9 pm, and a Cast Member friend booked us at a discount for 2 nights at my beloved Yacht Club.





















Since our afternoon flight home on Monday was at 1 pm, Magical Express would be fetching us around 10 am, too early to go to a park that morning*, so we figured we would have a leisurely breakfast at the resort*- check out the refurbished Ale & Compass. I purchased a multi-day park hopper ticket with one day free from Undercover Tourist for me to use Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Another CM friend purchased 2 day hoppers for Mark since UT doesn’t have tickets with that duration.

*or so we thought

Sometime in the months leading up to the trip, I learned a friend had booked a trip with her granddaughter at Old Key West that overlapped my dates. She said I would be welcome to stay with her if I wanted to come early, so I checked flight prices and I could save more than $100 by flying in a day early. Done!















Remember those tickets I purchased in a previous paragraph? Disney recently went to date-based pricing. The cost of tickets vary throughout the year based on crowd levels at the parks. My ticket was a four day ticket valid starting on Friday. I now wanted to have admission on my new arrival day. Both days were at the same price level. The tickets I purchased could be used for 4 days within seven days of first use. Should be easy-peasy to adjust the start date by one day, right?

It was complicated. I tried to make the adjustment online through MDE, but there was going to be a $40 charge to do that. Nope! I called UT. They wouldn’t refund my money because I had linked my tickets already and my 90 day return window had (just) passed. I called Disney several times- regular central reservations office, special ticketing number and I emailed guest relations. They all told me that because the tickets were purchased from a 3rd party vendor there was nothing they could do, and I should go to guest services upon my arrival. I was told they could *probably* fix the issue, but no guarantees. I was skeptical. This also prevented me from being able to make Fast Passes on my arrival day since I didn’t have valid admission.

I “Let it Go” and decided I would hope for the best and deal with it when I arrived.

And then, Disney announced EXTRA extra magic hours at the parks in anticipation of the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. Hollywood Studios would be open starting at 6 am every day. Mark and I debated about whether we should go to Hollywood Studios before our flight on Monday. I had an extra admission on my ticket, but we would need to add a day to his ticket. Since his ticket was purchased with a CM discount, I was unable to upgrade his ticket in advance so we decided to wait until we were on property to add that day once we figured out at what price point it would make sense to visit the park for just 3 hours.

A few of my friends were going to be at Disney at the same time as the trip and there were a couple of locals who I hoped to see. The day when the most people would be there was Thursday October 3. The most convenient way to have a group meet is at a dining location so I made a reservation at Via Napoli for 8 people. The only times available that evening were 4:15 or after 8:00. I took the earlier time. I subsequently changed this reservation to two parties of 4 at later dining times so one of my CM friends could join us after work (she ended up not being able to make it) and then on the day of the reservation, we needed 9 seats when my friend Teena and her granddaughter decided to join us. It was complicated!






I guess that is enough of an intro to get this thing started. Please join me as I unravel the intricate details of this trip.





Remembering a friend and her mantra to “Just Keep Swimming” xoxo


PS: Life has been crazy since the beginning of the year. I have had trouble keeping up on the Yacht & Beach Club FAQ board and I haven’t even been able to visit the trip report board in months. So for those of you who have reports that I started, then dropped off, I apologize and hope to binge-catchup soon!
 
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natebenma

Beach Club Dee
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Saved for Chapter Links

It's a semi-true story
Believe it or not
I made up a few things
And there's some I forgot
But the life and the telling
Are both real to me
And they all run together
And turn out to be
A semi-true story - Jimmy Buffett


Thursday October 3-
Arrival, Hollywood Studios, Gondolas, EPCOT, Via Napoli, Pool time at OKW

Arrival:It's A Small World After All!

Hollywood Studios: On With the Shows

The Scariest Ride in WDW

EPCOT: A Well-Oiled and Engaging Character Meet
Pick A Pearl, Any Pearl, But Make it a Hairy, Ugly One
Via Napoli
More EPCOT Fun!


Friday October 4- Reunited
Animal Kingdom, POP, Gondolas, EPCOT, YC, POP/Mark's arrival

Saturday October 5-
Animal Kingdom, Yacht Club, Magic Kingdom

Sunday October 6-
Magic Kingdom, Slinky Dog Dash, Shortcut, Resort Break, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios (Star Wars Fireworks)

Monday October 7-
EXTRA extra magic hours/Hollywood Studios, Slinky Dog Dashed
 
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  • luvpoohandcompany

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 30, 2009
    Woohoo I am 1st!! 🥇
    Not that I’m competitive or anything 😂
    Boy but you sure packed a lot into a short space of time judging by your chapter links!
    I love your photo line up (you definitely got splashed in that mountain). How is it possible that you and Mark look younger in 2019 than a couple of years earlier? Whatever you’re doing keep doing it! You both look fantastic!
    I can think of no better way to ease the empty nest angst than a trip to WDW except to possibly cram in meeting as many like-minded friends as possible and you certainly seem to have managed that :thumbsup2 This has been the first year we haven’t been to WDW since 1994 and I have really missed it. I think so much planning goes into a trip that it extends the life of it whereas we went to Portugal for our summer trip and while I loved it you simply show up at restaurants/ attractions and get in - simple as that lol
    Can’t wait to read more of your adventures :goodvibes
     

    DisFanEY

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2007
    Here! Found this on your extraordinarily well maintained YC/BC thread! I’ve got 28 days til my YC stay, and am excited to have your report to pass the time! Love all the pics so far!
     
  • cocoabean1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 22, 2007
    Teena looks great! I guess Las Vegas agrees with her. I'm sure she misses her beloved Beach Club and being there brings back a lot of good memories of her and Bob. I can't believe how big Lily has gotten, she's almost as tall as you!



    :rainbow::rainbow::rainbow::rainbow::rainbow:
     
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    Shadera

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 28, 2016
    Tagging along and can't wait to live vicariously through you. I've never been to the Yacht Club, but have stayed across the lake at BW a couple times and have admired it from afar.
     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    Found you- heading back to read 👍
    Woohoo I am 1st!! 🥇
    Not that I’m competitive or anything 😂
    Boy but you sure packed a lot into a short space of time judging by your chapter links!
    I love your photo line up (you definitely got splashed in that mountain). How is it possible that you and Mark look younger in 2019 than a couple of years earlier? Whatever you’re doing keep doing it! You both look fantastic!
    I can think of no better way to ease the empty nest angst than a trip to WDW except to possibly cram in meeting as many like-minded friends as possible and you certainly seem to have managed that :thumbsup2 This has been the first year we haven’t been to WDW since 1994 and I have really missed it. I think so much planning goes into a trip that it extends the life of it whereas we went to Portugal for our summer trip and while I loved it you simply show up at restaurants/ attractions and get in - simple as that lol
    Can’t wait to read more of your adventures :goodvibes
    Nicely done!!!

    :banana::banana::banana:


    Yes, knowing it was a short trip, we tried to get in as much as possible. Crowd levels really helped with that.

    It's funny, on Friday Mark sent a text to me saying "You should tire yourself out so you'll go easier on me"

    That cracked me up, but sadly, I was still in drill sargent mode when he arrived.

    Thanks for your kind words. I am still trying to catch up from the trip, so apparently, I'm not as young as I used to be!

    :goodvibes

    Here! Found this on your extraordinarily well maintained YC/BC thread! I’ve got 28 days til my YC stay, and am excited to have your report to pass the time! Love all the pics so far!
    :welcome:

    I appreciate your comments about the FAQ thread! We are fortunate to have lots of people who contribute before and after their visits, but there is nothing I like better than being there myself to check things out!

    I have lots of pictures I took of the lobby in the early morning hours and just before leaving the resort.

    I'll try my best to add some excitement for your upcoming trip.

    ::yes::


    All signed up!
    :welcome:

    YAY!!! Thanks for joining in!

    :dogdance:


    Teena looks great! I guess Las Vegas agrees with her. I'm sure she misses her beloved Beach Club and being there brings back a lot of good memories of her and Bob. I can't believe how big Lily has gotten, she's almost as tall as you!

    :rainbow::rainbow::rainbow::rainbow::rainbow:
    :wave2:

    Thanks for reading and commenting. It was awesome to see Teena. I sat next to her at Via so we had a great time catching up. This was my first time meeting Lily, although I feel like I know her so well!

    She loves to read, so I gave her a couple of books when we met. She really is a lovely, mature young lady.


    Tagging along and can't wait to live vicariously through you. I've never been to the Yacht Club, but have stayed across the lake at BW a couple times and have admired it from afar.
    :welcome:

    Thanks for joining in.

    The Beach & Yacht Club have a special place in my heart, so I haven't stayed at BW. The EPCOT resort area truly can't be beat!

    It was a great trip. I finally learned the shortcut from BC to HS, through the BW pool. I have read about it, but I got to experience it first hand, which was very helpful.

    :thumbsup2
     

    luvpoohandcompany

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 30, 2009
    It's funny, on Friday Mark sent a text to me saying "You should tire yourself out so you'll go easier on me"
    :rotfl2: :rotfl2::rotfl2:
    That cracked me up, but sadly, I was still in drill sargent mode when he arrived.
    You know what they say- “you’re a long time dead”. Gotta pack as much into a Disney day as you can ( even if that means scheduling some pool time) so you can spent quiet days reminiscing :goodvibes
     
  • sheri18

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2011
    Joining in...had the pleasure of meeting Teena years ago whi staying at the beach club. My favorite resort ..which I could win the lottery to stay there again with my family..we literally used over 1 million Amex points to stay there
     

    PolyAddict

    Donate Life
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2004
    Love the 80’s photos! We have a lot in common. My DH and I went on a senior trip together in 1987 and are in our 30th anniversary year! We celebrated at CSR in April (anniversary is June 30th) and we are headed back in November for part 2. This time staying at YC. It is our 1st time at YC is the last of deluxes for us to try. Can’t beat the Epcot areas! We are really not pool people so that is not really a factor for us. But location is everything! As a family of 5, we mostly stayed deluxe but now that the kids are grown I honestly feel bad paying the high price when it’s just DH and I so We are splurging on this short trip. Looking forward to reading your trip report.
     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    :rotfl2: :rotfl2::rotfl2:

    You know what they say- “you’re a long time dead”. Gotta pack as much into a Disney day as you can ( even if that means scheduling some pool time) so you can spent quiet days reminiscing :goodvibes
    I'm not as young as I used to be. I think I am still in recovery/catch-up mode from the grueling (but amazing) trip.

    :faint:


    This sounds interesting ..... I like complicated stories. I am in!
    :welcome: and thanks for joining in!

    :thumbsup2

    I’m glad that you decided to do a trip report. You packed a lot of fun into a short trip. And we loved being part of it. :)
    :welcome:

    I'll make this report feel like you were there!

    :rotfl:

    Joining in...had the pleasure of meeting Teena years ago whi staying at the beach club. My favorite resort ..which I could win the lottery to stay there again with my family..we literally used over 1 million Amex points to stay there
    :welcome:

    Teena has become a dear friend through the years. I have been fortunate to visit with Teena a few times in Florida and we also went on a Disney cruise together a couple of years ago.

    This was my first time meeting her precious granddaughter Lily.

    ::yes::


    Love the 80’s photos! We have a lot in common. My DH and I went on a senior trip together in 1987 and are in our 30th anniversary year! We celebrated at CSR in April (anniversary is June 30th) and we are headed back in November for part 2. This time staying at YC. It is our 1st time at YC is the last of deluxes for us to try. Can’t beat the Epcot areas! We are really not pool people so that is not really a factor for us. But location is everything! As a family of 5, we mostly stayed deluxe but now that the kids are grown I honestly feel bad paying the high price when it’s just DH and I so We are splurging on this short trip. Looking forward to reading your trip report.
    :welcome: soul sister!

    That is great that we have so much in common. The location is really the main attraction for the Yacht Club for us, although we have really enjoyed the pool during our last couple of adults trip.

    Thanks for joining in!

    :goodvibes
     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    Arrival: It’s a Small World After All!

    It’s time! 0 Days until Disney trip!!!

    Nails are done






    Bags* are packed



    *Dee, this is a short trip. Why do you have BAGS?
    Mark asked the same question.
    He was flying in after work with no luggage. I had a night at OKW, 1 night at POP and 2 nights at YC. I had the brilliant idea of packing one bag (small carryon) that would have the stuff Mark and I needed for our 1 night at POP. Sleeping stuff, toiletries, clothes for the next day. When I left OKW, I would send the large bag to Yacht Club and the small bag to Pop.

    Sounds like a great idea, right?
    It was, mostly, with one small and one medium hitch. But we’ll get to that later.

    My flight was at 7 am, from Manchester NH. This airport and Logan in Boston are about the same distances from me, but Manchester is much more convenient, easy to drive to, much less expensive to park, not nearly as crowded.

    I left the house at 4:15 am and got to the airport around 5.

    This is the parking lot at MHT:





    Mark, Ben and I recently applied for TSA precheck. I thought I had added our Known Traveler Numbers to Southwest for this trip, but my boarding pass didn’t show the little green checkmark. When I got to the TSA agent, I asked if my boarding pass showed I was pre-check and he said no, but go ahead over to the other line.

    Um, ok, that’s good for me but is that safe???

    I walked to my gate, which was right next to the Dunkin’ Donuts. I got a black coffee and a pumpkin donut.




    The orange nail is in honor of my friend Rebecca, an orange banded monkey who is incredibly missed.

    I had a low B boarding number, can’t remember exactly what it was, but I plunked myself in a window seat in row 6. As the plane continued to fill, I looked up and saw someone I knew. The dad of Troy, who was Ben’s best friend from elementary school through middle school. There were no seats by me and he ended up way in the back. I waited for him when the plane landed in Orlando.

    The flight was uneventful. SW flight attendants are usually very entertaining but this crew was surprisingly not funny.

    Here’s a few random pictures from the air:








    I was about 4-5 rows from the front on the Magical Express.

    Nailed the arch photo!



    I dumped off my backpack in the room at OKW, then I was off to join friends at Hollywood Studios.

    Would I be able to charm guest services into changing the start date of my ticket without a hassle so I could get into the park???
     
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    Ninja Mom

    Attention People of Earth, I come in Peace...
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2012
    I'd be curious to hear if Guest services helped you with the ticket.

    I purchased a non date bound park hopper from Undercover tourist right before Disney instituted the "bound by exact dates " park tickets.

    The ticket I ordered was supposed to expire 12/31/19. I knew we were going on a Dec 2, 2019 trip to WDW and my husband would use that ticket. UT sent me a ticket that expired in Feb. of 2019.

    NOPE! THAT'S NOT WHAT I ORDERED.

    There is no expiration date on the ticket card but there was a small sticker buried on the sheet that the ticket was packaged in that made mention of this unexpected error. I didn't look for it because I ordered the ticket that expired on 12/31/19, so why would I think to look for a notice like that on the plastic sheet that the ticket came in?

    When I couldn't attach the (mysteriously expired but still unknown to me) ticket to MDE for my husband, I called Disney assuming it was a MDE app error. Disney told me I had to call undercover tourist and get a new ticket number.

    So I called UT and the first person I talked to let the cat out of the bag. She said that I should have gotten and "Electronic" ticket from UT. That was the one that expired on 12/31/19.

    I had the card ticket type which unbeknownst to me expired before the trip I purchased it for. She said that there was a notice on the web site about the card types expiring in Feb 2019.

    NOPE, THERE WAS NOT. WHY WOULD I PURCHASE A TICKET THAT WOULD EXPIRE BEFORE MY TRIP?

    So I asked to speak with a manager and we went back and forth about how I SHOULD HAVE REALIZED THEY HAD SENT ME A TICKET THAT EXPIRED IN FEB. LONG BEFORE OUR TRIP.

    NOPE. N. O. P. E.

    I wasn't getting anywhere until I mentioned that I was a long time customer of UT and I was very loyal to the business. The manager looked up my file and saw my purchase history. Then he decided to help me.

    So I had to send my "expired" ticket back to them. I now have to repurchase the ticket which will be locked into the dates I have to specify AND I have to pay the ticket price increase.

    In return UT will sweeten the pot in a way I won't publicize on the web.

    I feel bad for UT because they really got slammed with people who are having problems with the crap that disney is doing with these date based tickets. If you miss your plane or get sick during your trip and have to rearrange your park days, you are screwed, and the only thing that can maybe fix it is time wasted in line at Guest services where you will have to beg Disney to help you.

    What purpose does this serve? The upside for Disney is that guests give up trying to fix their ticket problems and Disney gets to keep the money. That's just BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE! It's beyond stupid and I have to seriously wonder what the hell is going on with Disney management.

    You know who still has good customer service.... Undercover tourist! Once I got through to a manager who was "fried" constantly dealing with ticket problems created unnecessarily by Disney, we were able to work out a solution.

    Honestly speaking, The people at Disney who are making all these stupid decisions really need to stop. The direction that Disney is taking lately is just awful. All of this unnecessary "dates locked in" ticket crap for what earthly reason?

    NOPE!

    ~NM
     



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