Some firsts, some lasts, and a whole lot of laughs-April/May 2019

Tink0812

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 3, 2011
Hello everyone! We just returned from yet another awesome Disney vacation and I can’t wait to share all of our fun with you. We got to experience some firsts and some lasts while making a whole host of new memories. So let’s get started with the traditional “get to know the cast” post.
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First you have me, Amber. I am 28 years old (well at least until Friday then I will be one step closer to the dreaded 30). This trip was my 17th trip to Walt Disney World. I can still tell you all of the details about every single trip too. My favorite Disney character is Tinkerbell. My favorite park is Animal Kingdom. My favorite ride is Kilimanjaro Safari. My favorite Disney show is Illuminations (and yes I am in mourning because it is ending later this year). My favorite resort is Wilderness Lodge but Old Key West comes in a close second. I don’t really have a favorite restaurant because I enjoy trying new ones and Disney is always changing.
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Next comes my DD, Natalia. She is three years old and this is the first trip that we actually had to buy her a ticket. It was her third trip. She took her first trip at 15 months old and the second just a couple months after she turned two. Her whole childhood has been flooded with Disney. Her favorite Disney character right now is Moana but she also loves Mickey, Minnie, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Belle. Her favorite park is Magic Kingdom of course. She has proclaimed that It’s A Small World is now her favorite ride (it used to be The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh). Her favorite Disney Show is Country Bear Jamboree. Her favorite resort is now Art of Animation. Her favorite restaurant is probably either the Plaza or Tony’s Town Square.
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One of the most important people on the trip, the planner extraordinaire, is my dad. You may know him as TiggersAlly on here. This is somewhere in the neighborhood of his 30th + trip to Walt Disney World. He can tell you the ins and outs of everything. He is the mastermind behind all of our trips and takes well over a year to plan each one. I’m not sure who his favorite Disney character is. I think his favorite park is Epcot, especially since they started doing all of the special booths during the festivals. I’m not sure what his favorite resort is but he does really like Old Key West. I believe his favorite ride is Flight of Passage. He tends to be like me when it comes to Disney restaurants, we have our few go to’s but ultimately, we enjoy trying new places and new things.
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Next comes my mom. You won’t see her in many pictures throughout this trip report but I promise you that she was there. She just hates having her picture taken. She has been somewhere close to 30 times as well but not as many times as my dad. She loves Disney but hates the planning portion. She would rather just show up and enjoy the trip. Her favorite Disney character is Rafiki (or at least it used to be, I haven’t really asked her in awhile). Her favorite park is Magic Kingdom. Her favorite ride is still Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Her favorite Disney Show is Country Bear Jamboree. Her favorite resort is Animal Kingdom Lodge, I think. She doesn’t have a favorite restaurant that I am aware of.

One of my brothers was able to make it on this trip with us, Ryne. He is a twin but his twin brother was not able to come on this trip due to prior work commitments. This was Ryne’s 14th trip to WDW. His favorite park is Magic Kingdom. He claims not to have a favorite character. His favorite ride is Splash Mountain although he surprisingly enjoyed Flight of Passage. He struggles with motion sickness and didn’t think he would tolerate Flight of Passage well but he took Dramamine beforehand and did just fine. He is not a fan of shows and would much rather be riding rides so he doesn’t have a favorite when it comes to Disney shows. His favorite resort is Old Key West. He doesn’t really have a favorite restaurant. Really the only meat he eats is hamburgers so he usually ends up having hamburgers, plain nachos, or cheese pizza everywhere we go.
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Last, but most certainly not least, is my brother’s girlfriend (the one in the picture with him above). We will just call her “S” for the purpose of this report. She went to Disney once when she was very young. She doesn’t remember much but thinks they just went to Magic Kingdom. They were only there for a day. She has been to Disney Springs a number of times on trips with her friends so she was familiar with the shopping scene. Pretty much everything was a new experience for her on this trip so she couldn’t really narrow down any favorites. It was really different to see things through the eyes of a newbie. She gets along well with everyone in our family and is such an asset to my brother. My daughter loves her just as much as anyone else in the family. We thoroughly enjoyed having her come along on this trip.

Now that the intros are over let’s get to the details. My mom, dad, daughter, and I left on Friday April 26th to begin the drive. We live in Central Illinois and it is approximately an 1100 mile trip. This means 15-ish hours in the car. We have completed the drive in one day before but we chose to do it in two since we had a toddler on our hands. Ryne and S flew down from Indianapolis on Saturday April 27th. We stayed until the evening of Friday May 3rd. Our first night on property was spent at Art of Animation while the rest of our stay was at a 2-bedroom villa in Old Key West. My mom is an annual passholder and the rest of us had 5 day park hoppers which we scored on a deal where we bought 4 days and got one free. We chose not to do the dining plan on this trip since there were many days where we were splitting up but we did end up getting the Tables in Wonderland card.
 
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Tink0812

Mouseketeer
Joined
May 3, 2011
Table of Contents
Post number one: preparing for the trip
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/#post-60581070

Post number two: We're on our way!
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/

Post number three: We've made it!
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/#post-60602332

Post number four: Art of Animation Continued
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/#post-60602371

Post number five: Finishing up Arrival Day
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/#post-60604654

Post number six: Another non-park day!
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/#post-60605580

Post number seven: Continuation of non-park day #2
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/#post-60617129

Post number eight: Finishing up the second non-park day
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/#post-60617276

Post number nine: Our first park day, Animal Kingdom!
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/#post-60625356

Post number ten: Animal Kingdom continued
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/#post-60627726

Post number eleven: Epcot Evening
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/page-2#post-60639845

Post number twelve: BBB
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/page-2#post-60643030

Post number thirteen: BBB Transformation
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/page-2#post-60644079

Post number fourteen: The Finished Product from BBB
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/page-2

Post number fifteen: Disney Springs Photopass Fun

Post number sixteen: Yes, we will leave Disney Springs today

https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/page-2#post-60651305

Post number seventeen: Finishing up Tuesday April 29th (finally)
https://www.disboards.com/threads/some-firsts-some-lasts-and-a-whole-lot-of-laughs-april-may-2019.3748366/page-2#post-60654554

Post number eighteen: DHS day

Post number nineteen: More DHS

Post number twenty: Epcot day
 
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heaven2dc

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 26, 2003
Joining in! I can tell already this will be a fun trip! I'm sure I'll learn lots of tips from you (especially your dad) as it has been 9 years since our last visit and a lot has changed!
 
  • DLo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2006
    Following along. Looking forward to reading more about your adventures
     

    Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    Hello everyone, I am sorry for the delay in this post. I am a nurse that works 12-hour shifts and I had to work the past two days. Let’s get moving with what I consider to be the first part of the trip, the preparation days.



    Since I am lucky enough to work just three days per week, I only worked Monday and Tuesday of the week we left for the trip. My first “vacation day” was Wednesday. After I got up and took my DD to pre-school I had to make the trip into work to get a few last minute computer learning modules completed that were due while I was gone. Once those were finished I grabbed lunch to go and headed back home. I work about an hour away from where I live. I stopped by the bank on the way home to get my cash for the trip then I stopped by the grocery store to get a few snacks and drinks for the road. Once I got home I hit the ground running trying to get my house cleaned and laundry all caught up. I am one of those people that will stress about leaving any dirty laundry or an unclean house. It is also really refreshing to come home to clean house after a vacation!



    At 3pm I picked my daughter up from pre-school and we headed to her dance classes for the evening. After dance class we got her homework completed and she took her bath. While she was relaxing and watching television I finished up our last bit of packing. We went to bed early that evening in preparation for a couple of busy days.



    The next day started the same by me taking my DD to pre-school. After that I returned home to finish up the last bit of cleaning that I had to do. Then at around 10 am I went and got a pedicure and manicure. I got a dark red inspired by Minnie Mouse.

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    When I was done with that, I went home and loaded up the car. I picked my DD up from school at 3pm then we headed over to my parents house (they live about 20 minutes away). We took all of the luggage from my car and packed it into my mom’s vehicle which would be the one we take on the trip. Then my DD stayed with my parents while I ran to get my hair done. My hair stylist did a fantastic job braiding my hair. Since we would be in the car for a long period of time, I wanted my hair braided so I didn’t have to mess with it. That evening we had pizza and finished composing our plans for the week. It was a bit difficult to get to sleep because we were so excited to be headed to our happy place the next morning!
     
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    Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    Now that we have all of the preparation work out of the way let’s start with the first official day of our vacation, Friday April 26th. My dad had set a goal leaving time of 5 am so DD and I stayed the night at their house on Thursday night. It was just going to be easier that way! Otherwise I would have to wake up even earlier, get myself and a toddler ready, and drive the 20 minutes to their house. My dad has a history of leaving early for everything anyways. My dad and I got up around 4 am. My hair had stayed nicely braided through the night, so I didn’t even have to do anything to it. I just went to the bathroom, changed clothes, and put on the slightest bit of makeup. While I was doing that my dad was taking his shower. After we were both ready, we got my mom and DD up. All they had to do was use the restroom and change clothes. It was still cold in Illinois so DD and I wore matching leggings and short-sleeve shirts with shoes that we could easily slip on/off in the car. We were on the road by 4:30am. DD and my mom went back to sleep as soon as they were in the car.



    I sat up front to keep my dad company because I don’t usually sleep well in cars anyways and I tend to pay more attention to our surroundings than my mom does. We had originally planned on stopping around Mt. Vernon which is about an hour and a half a way from home to grab some McDonald’s for breakfast, but DD and my mom were still sleeping so we kept on driving. After a couple hours of sleep, they were up and hungry, so we made a stop around 9 am in Kentucky where we filled up with gas, grabbed some food to go from McDonald’s, and took a bathroom break. Once we were back in the car, DD was ready to watch some movies.
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    Now we drove on my DD’s first trip when she was 15 months old, but she was fairly easy to entertain and did quite a bit of sleeping at that time. I was really nervous leading up to this trip with how she would do because she is so full of energy and difficult to contain at times. She surprised me and did a wonderful job! Maybe even better than when she was 15 months old. We brought plenty of things for her to do including coloring books/crayons, a few small toys, a portable DVD player with a few of her favorite movies, her LeapPad with different game inserts, and a few books. We also had a handy table that sat on her lap for her to use. She was pretty much potty-trained leading up to the trip with only a few struggles when she went back and forth between her dad’s house and my house so we put her in pull-ups in the car just in case. I am very proud to say that she went the entire vacation without an accident. We may actually be 100% potty trained now!



    After our pit stop Kentucky flew by and then we were making our way through Tennessee. Our lunch stop was in Dalton, GA at a Chick-Fil-A. My parents had chicken sandwiches and fries. DD had chicken nuggets and fries and I had the grilled chicken nuggets and fries. We don’t have many Chik-Fil-A’s in Illinois so we always try to stop at one when we are on trips out of the state. After lunch we made a quick gas stop and continued on down the road to Valdosta, GA where we had reservations to stay for the night at Drury Inn. We got there around 6pm which was just in time to check in, throw our bags in the room, and take advantage of our complimentary drinks at the happy hour event in the main lobby. Once happy hour was over, we walked across the street to Olive Garden for dinner. DD had the kids macaroni and cheese while my dad and I had different versions of spaghetti from the make-your-own pasta menu and my mom had chicken alfredo. After dinner we walked back to the hotel so DD could take her bath and we could get to bed at a decent time. Once again it was difficult to fall asleep knowing that we would actually be on Disney property the following day!



    One thing that we have learned from previous trips is that when we are making pit stops along the way to Disney, it is easier to pack a smaller bag with the items that we will need for that stop. This way we don’t have to unpack all of our big suitcases for the small amount of time that we will be at that location. DD and I were able to fit all of our items for this night in Valdosta as well as our first night at Disney in a backpack while my parents utilized a small rolling suitcase. Those were literally the only things we had to get out of the car at those stops and it was so nice!
     
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    Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    The next morning, Saturday April 27th started with my dad getting up around 6:15 am and taking his shower. After he was done getting ready, I jumped in the shower while he ran to gas up the car. Once I was out of the shower and ready for the day, I woke up my mom and DD. They quickly got ready and we packed everything up. Before we loaded up the car we headed downstairs for the continental breakfast. They had a wide range of offerings and it didn’t take long before our bellies were full and we were ready to embark on the final leg of our journey. After breakfast we ran up to the room and loaded up our bags. We couldn’t forget any precious cargo!
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    From Valdosta, GA it is only about a 3-hour drive. We weren’t in any big hurry, so we ran through Starbucks to get my mom and I our coffee fix before heading out of Valdosta. It was smooth sailing all the way to Disney property with no traffic whatsoever. We were passing the magical welcome sign around 11:00. Even though it was so early in the day and we had already completed online check-in, we drove straight to Art of Animation. Once arriving there I went to bell services to pick up the stroller that I had rented from Kingdom Strollers. On our past two trips we had brought a folding umbrella stroller with us. It did the job of getting DD around but was quite difficult to fold in a hurry because it had multiple steps to folding it. It also didn’t have cup holders or any storage and didn’t maneuver through crowds well. If we stayed at the parks through nap time or late into the evening it was difficult because it didn’t recline so she couldn’t really sleep in the stroller. Since we were limited on packing space in the car this time around, we figured it was as good a time as any to give stroller rental a try. I did quite a bit of research leading up to deciding which company I was going to use and eventually decided on Kingdom Strollers. We were very happy with the results! Below you will see a picture of the stroller we rented, the Summit X3 Single. The total cost for renting from Saturday morning through Friday evening was $89.90. This included a soft-sided cooler and rain cover for the stroller as well as full-coverage insurance in case the stroller was damaged or stolen.
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    We have found that if we stop by the check-in area and let them know that we are on property, they tend to have our room ready earlier. We had also chosen the first available room in the Lion King section so that we would hopefully be in with enough time to freshen up before our dinner reservation that evening. We had no expectations that it would be ready this early, we were just going to leave the car there and head over to Disney Springs for lunch. While my dad waited in the line at the check-in, mom, DD, and I took a potty break and looked around the store. This is where our first dose of pixie dust came in, we got our room ready text as we were shopping and my dad was still waiting in line. Instead of just leaving the car and going straight to Disney Springs, we had to go check out our room of course! My parents have stayed at AoA before but in the Little Mermaid section and AoA was a first for DD and I. We were all impressed with our Lion King Suite!
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    **Continued in next post (I have reached my photo limit for this one)***
     
  • Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    Well, we left off with us just arriving to our suite in the Lion King section at AoA. I didn't get to upload all of my pics before I reached my photo limit, so here are a couple more:
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    After we threw all of our bags in the room we headed to the bus stop which was just a very short walk away from our building. We got on a bus to Disney Springs so we could grab some lunch. Our restaurant of choice for lunch was Blaze. We love Blaze, especially when we are just looking for something quick. DD had a pepperoni pizza. My mom and I had the red vine pizza. I forgot what kind of pizza my dad had. I am not really the type of person that takes pictures of food or takes notes from trips so I am sorry in advance for all of the things that I may leave out. We all really enjoy the lemonades at Blaze so that is what everyone had to drink. After we finished lunch DD, mom, and I went over to the Marketplace side of Disney Springs to look through a few stores. We had an entire day planned at Disney Springs the following day so we didn’t really want to do too much today. We just went to the Christmas Store, the pin trading store, and the kitchen store. While we were doing that, my dad hung out in his favorite place, The Hole in the Wall bar which is next to Raglan Road. Us girls were done shopping before my dad was ready to head back to AoA so we caught a bus on our own and went back for a nap. Natalia still very much needs a nap during the day, especially when we get up early. Otherwise, she gets extremely grumpy!


    The whole time we were shopping we were communicating with Ryne and S who were getting ready to board a plane. They flew out of Indianapolis around 1:35 pm and landed in Orlando at 4:05pm. They took the Magical Express to AoA and arrived around 5:30pm. My dad timed his return to AoA so that he could meet them and guide them to our room. We were awake by the time they reached our room but since we had some time before we had to leave for dinner, Ryne and S wanted to take a little nap themselves. So mom, dad, and I dressed DD in her bathing suit for some time at the splash pad.

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    **To be continued.......................
     

    Ker Mary

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 21, 2019
    Hello I'm from france, I have read your trip repport with gogle translate so sorry for my english.
    Your family seems to be very kind and your daughter is so lovely. I appreciate your way to explain your trip.
     

    Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    First of all, thank you to everyone who has been following along! Let's finish this day up....
    We left off with DD jumping around the splash pad at AoA on Saturday April 27th. She had an absolute blast and we had a very difficult time tearing her away from it. Once we finally got her to part ways with the splash pad we made our way back to our room to start getting ready for dinner. Originally, we had a dinner reservation for 6:30pm at the Boathouse which is one of our favorite dining locations at Disney Springs but we were afraid that Ryne and S would be cutting it too close to make it there on time so we looked into pushing it back. It was only a couple of weeks before our trip that we made that decision. The only time we could get a dinner reservation there was 8:45pm so that is what we took. We hopped on a bus from AoA to Disney Springs around 7 pm to make sure we had plenty of time. DD and I had cute matching dresses that my mom got us for my early birthday present.

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    We also wanted to walk around for a bit before dinner to show S a few things. We were at DS by 7:30 and it only took us about 30 minutes to walk around and show S the things we wanted to show her so my dad checked us in early around 8:00. They told us that they were quite busy with it being a Saturday evening and the cheerleading competitions were in town but they would try to seat us as close to our reservation time as possible. So we stood outside while the men had a couple of drinks. We were entertained by watching the amphicars come in and take off.
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    As per usual, the Boathouse was phenomenal. It was a beautiful evening (especially compared to the 40 degree, rainy weather that we left behind in Illinois) so we asked to sit outside. They sat us in the furthest table in the very corner of the deck but we had a great view of Illuminations and the volcano erupting at Rain Forest Café. For drinks, my mom had a red sangria which she really enjoyed. S and I had . My dad and Ryne had Yuengling. DD had lemonade. We enjoyed some nice warm rolls. For our meals, DD had the macaroni and cheese with French fries. She had macaroni and cheese several times throughout the trip but I think this one was her favorite. She liked the seasoning on the French fries as well. My brother had the Classic Cheeseburger without the pickles. Like I said in my intro post, he eats A LOT of cheeseburgers since that is the only meat he eats. S had one of the steaks but I’m not sure which one. My mom had 8 oz filet mignon. She likes her steak well done so she chose to have it butterflied in order to help our food come out a little bit faster. My dad also had the filet mignon while I had the NY steak and fries. I really enjoy how they season their steaks here. Everyone liked their meals and ate pretty much all of it. Since it was so late after we finished eating, we walked back to the bus stop and headed back to AoA. The worst part about staying at AoA and going to Disney Springs is that the bus stop is literally the last one and it is a really long walk. When you are tired and very full, it can make the walk seem like even longer.
     
  • Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    Traditionally, we start our trip with one non-park day very similar to the day I previously reviewed. For this trip we intended on having a “down day” as a non-park day in the middle of trip but for some reason it did not work out that way. Instead Sunday April 28th ended up being a second non-park day at the beginning of our trip. It started with plans to sleep in a little bit; however, we were changing resorts on this particular day, so we had to pack everything up before leaving for our breakfast reservation. Breakfast on this morning was at Chef Mickey’s at 10:10. Everyone got up, ready, and packed without a problem. My dad loaded up all the luggage in the car and drove over to Old Key West with Ryne and the idea of letting them know we were on property to make sure they had us set up properly to receive a text message once our room was ready. Online check-in had already been completed. We had an issue the last time we stayed here with receiving the text message so we just wanted to make sure everything was good to go. They said everything was set up properly and they had all of our preferences down. He also checked all of our luggage in with bell services in case some of us were able to make it to the room before others.

    Us girls hopped a bus to Magic Kingdom then walked over to the Contemporary. It is a quick way to get there but of course it is a little more time consuming now that you have to go through security to get to the walkway that takes you between the locations. I understand why they have it set up that way now but I think it makes the entrance a little more crowded. We left Art of Animation at 8:30am and arrived at the Contemporary around 9:30am. Since we had time to spare we walked around the shops there before checking in for our breakfast reservation. S bought her first pair of Mickey ears and mom bought a keychain and shot glass that she had her eye on. Chef Mickey’s is a go-to for us for character meals. We love the buffet option since we all have different tastes when it comes to breakfast. It has a wide variety of things from the traditional eggs, bacon, and toast to carved meats, donuts, and mickey waffles with all the toppings. We love that Natalia gets to meet the essential Disney characters without waiting in a line and then we feel like we don’t have to meet those characters again all week. She has been there a couple of times now and absolutely loves it. After check-in, we got the obligatory picture but Natalia and I were the only ones that wanted the picture, so we did it alone. Of course, we were dressed for the occasion!

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    After checking in, we only waited about 5 minutes until we were seated. This was our first encounter with the new system of receiving a text message on the primary guest’s phone. It’s nice to know that we could have wandered around the shops and still received the notification that our table was ready. We all had plenty of time to make it through the buffet line before our friends started coming around.
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    After our delicious breakfast we decided to take a lap around the resort loop in the monorail. DD loves the monorail and S had never ridden it before so since we weren’t pressed for time, we decided hey why not? After our peaceful lap around the lagoon, we got off at the Contemporary and parted ways. The girls got on a bus Disney Springs-bound and the guys drove the car over to Disney Springs. They had a tee time set for golfing later in the day and wouldn’t be able to spend much time at Disney Springs. They walked around with us for awhile then settled on getting a quick drink before they had to leave. My mom, S, and I decided that a drink actually did sound good so we all journeyed over to the Hangar Bar to enjoy a quick drink. I really loved the Monkey punch! My mom and S found it to be a bit too strong for them!


    ***To Be Continued***
     
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    Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    Okay, so we left off on Sunday April 28th with some shopping at Disney Springs. The men had just parted ways with us after we conquered Uniqlo, The Co-Op, and World of Disney. DD had $125 in Disney gift cards to use for this trip, so she picked out a couple new toys and a purse in World of Disney to spend some of her money on. My mom bought a couple of things as well and I bought a photo album that my mom had requested for her Mother’s Day present. We spent some time slowly making our way through the shops buying a few things here and there. By the time 3:00 rolled around we were getting quite hot, tired, and ready for a snack. We made our way to Ghirardelli (along with most of the people in Disney Springs) for a delicious ice cream treat. DD just wanted plain vanilla ice cream, so I got her a plain sundae. S had a chocolate milkshake. My mom had the Painted Ladies Mint Bliss and I had the Presidio Passion Strawberry Hot Fudge Sundae. We are usually pretty good at taking pictures of our ice cream creations from Ghirardelli’s, but we forgot to this time around. It was all very delicious though! The only seats available were 100% in the sun but we didn’t really have a choice but to tough it out. By the time we finished our ice cream it was around 4:00 and we were kind of surprised that we hadn’t gotten our room ready text. I guess we have just been spoiled with our rooms being ready really early on our previous trips. We decided that we were all shopped out for the day, so we hopped on a boat to Old Key West.

    Once we arrived there DD, S, and I went to the general store to look around while my mom decided to make a pit stop at the front desk to see if we had an estimated room ready time. If it wasn’t going to be ready in time for our dinner reservation, then we were going to get our clothes out of our bags at bell services and change in the lobby bathrooms so we could freshen up before dinner. Not long after we entered the General Store my mom texted me and requested for us to come meet her at the desk. She wanted to make sure she was understanding the receptionist right. The receptionist said that they were having problems with the room they had set aside for us, something maintenance related but there was another two-bedroom available in the same area that we could get into now. It was a second-floor villa and a little further from the bus stop (it was actually the same villa we stayed in the last time). She asked if we would prefer to just get into that one or wait a little longer for the one we requested which was right behind the bus stop and a first-floor villa. I told my mom that we would rather wait for the one we requested as long as we were still going to be able to get into it today. The receptionist decided to make a phone call and check on the status of our villa to make sure we could still get into it on this day. She found out that everything was fixed and it was actually ready. Yay!



    The kind receptionist circled our destination on the map then we went over to bell services to retrieve our luggage and Garden Grocer order. They loaded everything up on a large golf cart and gave us a ride to our home for the week. This was our first-time doing Garden Grocer or anything like it. I was very impressed. During our trips we don’t spend much time in the room, but we like to have bottled water, milk for DD, and a few snacks around. I ordered early enough to get the discount and it was super nice not to have to make a grocery run like we have in the past. Of course, the groceries were a bit more expensive than if we had just went to Walmart ourselves but it was worth it for the time we saved! We will certainly do it again! Our villa was in the Old Turtle Pond Road area, directly behind the bus stop. Here are some pictures of our villa, it was a two-bedroom and we were pleased to find that it was an updated unit (don’t mind DD in the pics, she was running around exploring):

    This was the first bedroom which had two queen beds, its own bathroom, a dresser with a television, a nice-sized closet, and a table with two chairs. This was not a locked off unit, but this bedroom basically had everything a standard hotel room would have. The bathroom had a full-sized bathtub/shower combination. There was a sink in the bathroom and one right outside the bathroom to enable multiple people to get ready at the same time.

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    Here is our balcony which was located off of the dining area. As you can see, we had a beautiful water view. We enjoyed watching all of the wildlife throughout the week. Not pictured is the ceiling fan which really helped to move air around on those hot, humid days but our balcony was in the shade for the majority of the day:

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    Here is the living room, kitchen, and dining area. The couch and the chair you see on the left in this picture both fold out into beds. My dad has found that the chair-bed is more comfortable:

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    I have reached my image limit for this post so I will continue in the next post……

     
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    Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    Okay, so we left off after my mom, S, DD, and I had just entered our villa at Old Key West and we were walking around taking a photographic tour. The second bedroom is the master suite which comes complete with a king-sized bed, dresser, chest, two nightstands, and a chair with ottoman. You can also access the balcony from the master suite. **Side Note: As we were walking into the master bedroom, we noticed that the floor was soaked. It was just about a 3 foot by 2 foot area right in the entry way but it was soaked enough that when you stepped on it, water pooled out. We just put a couple of towels on it and assumed that it was due to whatever maintenance issue that had been the reason for the delay getting into our room**
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    Adjoining to the master suite is the master bathroom which you can also access from the hallway leading into the master suite. One part of the master bathroom has a large jetted tub, the closet, and a sink area with a great mirror. While the other part of the master bathroom which has separate doors contains the shower, toilet, and another sink with mirror. This was really nice when we had so many different people getting ready at one time
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    If you are entering the master bathroom from the hallway, you will walk through a laundry room. We really enjoy having a laundry room on vacation because it really cuts down on the amount of clothes we have to pack. My dad also likes to do his laundry before we leave so he has less to do when he gets home.
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    After we got into our villa, we texted the men to see how golfing was going. They said they were having a good time, but it was really crowded, and they weren’t sure they were going to have time to get through all of the holes before our dinner reservation. We settled on just meeting them there. Dinner on this evening was at 7:30pm at Raglan Road in Disney Springs. This is a favorite for us because we enjoy watching the River Dancers and listening to the bands. DD and S were the only ones who have not been here before. My mom, S, DD, and I took a boat to Old Key West and got checked in for our reservation with plenty of time to spare. We looked around the shop and I bought DD a super cute shirt. She loves dance and I just knew that she would really enjoy the River Dancers so I bought her a shirt to commemorate it. As we were sitting outside waiting for our buzzer to go off and waiting for the men to arrive, the dancers came out and put on a show. Sadly, DD had fallen asleep in her stroller and missed this performance.

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    While we were waiting, the men called it quits at golfing with a few holes left undone. They drove the car to Old Key West and hopped on a boat to come meet us. Our buzzer went off while they were on the boat. DD was still sleeping so I stayed outside and waited on the men while my mom and S went with the hostess to find our seats. It wasn’t long before the men arrived, and my dad carried a sleeping DD in to the restaurant. She was so worn out that she just laid on my lap for a little while to begin with. We ordered our drinks and got to enjoy some of the delicious bread before the dancers came out. Once the dancers began, we woke DD up and my dad carried her up to watch them perform. We were seated in the back room so we couldn’t see them from our table. As predicted, she loved it!
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    For dinner, my dad had the Bangers and Mash. My mom and I both had the Serious Steak. S had the Shepard’s Pie . Ryne had the Burger “R” Way. DD had chicken strips and fries. As we were finishing up our fantastic food, the dancers came back to our room and did a little performance for those of us that weren’t able to see the stage. DD was wide awake and dancing along so after they were done, the invited her up and took the time to teach her a dance. She then got to perform the dance with them for everyone in the back room to see. It was so cute and I wish it wasn’t so dark in there so my pictures would have turned out better. She loved all the one on one attention and the special certificate she got when she was done.
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    After dinner, we got back on a boat and went back to Old Key West to unpack and call it a night.
     

    heaven2dc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 26, 2003
    I love the new refurbished look to the OKW rooms! I have been thinking of adding on a couple of nights to our stay in October so may check it out.

    We have a dinner reservation at Raglan Road and my son and granddaughter are super excited to dine there (esp my DGD5). No one in our party has dined there before and looking forward to it. I love that your DD got extra pixie dust with the dancers - that was so amazing!
     

    Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    Thank you all for joining in! We left off finishing up Sunday April 28th with a great evening at Raglan Road in Disney Springs. That brings us to our first park day, Monday April 29th. Based on crowd levels and our other plans for the week, we had this day slated as our Animal Kingdom day. Extra magic hours were announced after we pretty much had our itinerary completed and we were lucky enough to get early morning extra magic hours for Animal Kingdom on this day. This meant that we could get into the park at 8 am instead of 9. Because of this, we were up bright and early with plans to be at the bus stop by 7:15-7:30am. DD was dressed for the occasion.
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    At the bus stop DD had some quality bonding time with her uncle Ryne. We only had to wait about 5 minutes for the bus. This was an ongoing trend throughout the week as we enjoyed great bus service. This was very similar to our previous experience with bus services at OKW. Maybe because they have so many different bus stops throughout the resort that as one bus is leaving the resort, another is entering with the same destination in mind?
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    We had a lengthy debate leading up to the trip about what we were going to do with our extra time in the park on this morning. My dad wanted to make a dash for FOP but I didn’t feel like it was worth the stress since we had scored fastpasses for it later on in the morning. Walking into the park we didn’t really have a plan since we hadn’t agreed on one. Our first stop was Starbucks for our morning drinks and breakfast on the go. The crowd didn’t feel too bad so we went towards Kilimanjaro Safari. We had a fastpass scheduled for 9:30-10:30am for Kilimanjaro but there were several other things we wanted to do so we decided to just hop in the standby line while it was non-existent. Within 5 minutes, we were on Safari.​
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    I really didn’t take too many pictures on our safari because I have so many from past trips and I honestly just like enjoying the ride. It is one of my favorites at Disney! We did get to see a couple of the baby giraffes. Giraffes are my favorite animal, so I was pretty excited. After our safari, we decided to take a bathroom break before deciding on our next direction. The Harambe dancers were out in Africa right next to the bathrooms so DD was easily distracted. She really enjoyed watching them and was dancing right along. The leader saw her and invited her up to dance with them and a few others from the crowd. It was super cute and she had so much fun!

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    After our little dancer danced her heart out we decided to head in the direction of Kali River Rapids. My mom, dad, Ryne, and S wanted to ride that before it got too hot and everyone in the park wanted to ride it. They also wanted time to dry off before our lunch reservation. Little did we know that Kali River Rapids does not actually open until 10am. Along the way we had looked at the performance times for the UP! Bird show. We had seen the show in the past when it was Flights of Wonder and really enjoyed it. Nothing but good things have been said about the newer version so we were hoping to fit it in sometime on the trip. Unfortunately, none of the times were going to work with our schedule. So then we looked in a few shops in the area. My mom was dead set on buying DD a straw hat at Animal Kingdom but we kept finding adult sizes only. After walking around, they noticed the line forming at Kali River Rapids and there was only about 15 minutes until it was going to open so they decided to join the crowd and get in line. At this point, the park was open to the general public and the crowd level was really starting to pick up. DD and I walked around for a bit, grabbed a snack of a Mickey Pretzel and water at a stand near Everest and looked in a few shops ourselves. I finally found a straw hat for DD. It was pink with a navy polka dot band that said Minnie Mouse on it. I went ahead and bought it so I wouldn’t have to try and explain to my mom where we got it. We took a quick look at the wait time for the meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie near the entrance to Asia but it was already up to 60 minutes. This was our best meet and greet on our last trip so we were hoping to do it again but we won't wait that long just for a meet and greet. While we were out and about, we ran in to Kevin….
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    **To Be Continued**
     
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    Tink0812

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2011
    Alright so I left off with us running into Kevin while we were out and about at Animal Kingdom. Shortly after that, the rest of the crew got off of Kali River Rapids and we met them back in Asia. We took a quick potty break before setting off in search of a snack for them. We ended up back in Africa getting snacks from a little cart. After they completed their snacks, it was time for our Flight of Passage fastpass which was from 11:30-12:30. We walked over there and showed Ryne and S the whole Pandora area. They were the only ones to have not seen it before. My mom had zero interest in riding FoP since she has done it three times before, so she volunteered to stay with DD while we rode. She ended up bribing her to be good by buying her a bubble wand. They got to watch the drummers as well. At this time, the standby line was 180 minutes, so we were super glad we had fastpasses. We only waited about five minutes and that was purely the walk to get to the showing area. Now, I know nothing about Avatar because I have never seen the movies, but I was thoroughly impressed with Flight of Passage. There is just so much new technology involved. You may remember from my last trip report that I was not a fan of Na’vi River Journey but contributed much of that to not knowing anything about Avatar. For FoP, it didn’t really matter that I knew nothing about Avatar. It was such a cool ride! My brother who is usually pretty prone to motion sickness took some Dramamine prior to riding and he tolerated it just fine. In fact, it is one of his favorites now!

    After we completed Flight of Passage it was time to head to the front of the park for our lunch reservation at Rain Forest Café. Not without stopping by the Tree of Life for a few group pics first though! We have done pictures in front of the Tree of Life on our previous trips and they have been our favorites so we were hoping to replace our framed pictures from the last trip with new ones from this trip but sadly, the photos did not live up to our expectations. We have done this pose from the first picture before but it was a magic shot with Simba in it…..this time there is no Simba and we just look strange……
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    This was probably our best one….
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    Now come on……you can’t even see either of my parents! The photographer could have told us to move or squat down or something.
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    A little better since you can see my dad but you still can’t see my mom…..
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    Lunch today was at 12:35pm at Rain Forest Café at the front of Animal Kingdom. We have eaten here in the past and really enjoyed it. Natalia loves the atmosphere and all of the fish tanks. In fact, here she is waiting in the store in front of the fish tanks….
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    We checked in for our reservation about 10 minutes early and had to wait about 10 minutes past our reservation to be seated. Of course that meant we ended up buying a few things in the shop. For lunch DD had the macaroni and cheese with applesauce and milk. Ryne had the Beef Lava Nachos. This is technically an appetizer, but they let him order it for his main course. He really enjoyed having something different than a cheeseburger. It was labeled as an appetizer for two, but he ate almost all of it by himself. S had Parmesan chicken which she really liked. I cannot for the life of me remember what my parents had (that’s what I get for not taking notes) but I had the Mozzarella Flatbread Arugula which is also technically an appetizer but they didn’t have a problem letting me have it for my meal.


    After lunch we went to our fastpass for the Lion King. Since it was a show, the fastpass allowed us to enter the theater a few minutes before the standby crowd. The fastpass was for 1:35-1:50 for the 2pm show. We chose our seats and were delighted to find out that we were in the Lion section. We have been in all of the other sections with hopes of being in the Lion section, so we were quite happy with our location. We always choose the top row so we don’t have to worry about people behind us and Natalia can stand on the bleachers to see.

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    I didn’t really take many pictures throughout the performance since I have plenty from previous trips. We all really enjoyed this one! After the show was over, we agreed that it was time to take a break from the heat and head back to the resort. A bus pulled up to our stop right as we got there and we had the whole bus to ourselves for our ride back to the resort. As soon as we got back, we climbed into bed for a short nap.

    **I promise I will finish up this day in the next post....it is just so hard when I can only post 10 pictures in a single post**
     
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