The trip that may have changed things forever.

Jimmy Mouse

My other car is the Monorail
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
For us anyways ....
Part 1.
We just got back yesterday (Saturday) from a split stay between Universal Orlando Portofino Bay Resort (9/30 - 10/3) and our home resort, Disney's Riviera (10/3 - 10/9). So, departure day is here! We all get up, load the SUV and head out at 7:00am on our 7+ hour drive. At 2.5 hours we pull off to top off and grab some snacks at Buc-ee's just outside of Macon, GA. If you have never stopped there, you have no idea what you are missing! 175+ gas pumps, beef jerky bar, candied pecans and cashews made right before your eyes, Brisket and pulled pork being made fresh and oh my god is it good! plus coffee bar, fresh pastries, every kind of drink or snack you can imagine etc. etc. We were still in time for breakfast. Brisket Tacos? Yes Please!
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So we arrive at Portofino Bay around 3:00 and our room was ready. But not without a few problems. We had booked the Minion Family Suite and we had no idea they even offered one with bunk beds. The bunk bed area was so small! We stopped off at the front desk on our way to dinner to ask about the room and they said "No problem, we can move you .... tomorrow". I was like "crap" I hate moving lol. But I agreed so off we went.
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Plus our girls really just hated it! We waited on Bell services (Star Service) and took off to to City Walk for dinner at Toothsome. Awesome as always! Plus the girls just love it.

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Next morning we have Breakfast at the resort and it was good! So a quick stop off at the desk to let them know our bags were at the door for the move and we were headed to breakfast and bam! she hands me a voucher for breakfast! It was a Buffett but we opted for the made to order omelets and I also had biscuits and gravy and oatmeal. We all had full bellies so off we go to UO! The park was very manageable. Plus with Express Pass Unlimited, the whole vacation was a breeze!
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The crowds were really light and no, I didn't take my littlest one to Horror Nights lol. But my 10 year old begged so I bought us tickets, just me and her, and it didn't go well.
 
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Jimmy Mouse

My other car is the Monorail
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Part 2

So after our first park day, we arrive back at the resort and stop off for our new room cards. We arrive at our room and OMG is it close to the water taxi! It took maybe 2 minutes to walk to it so it was super convenient! Plus the room was exactly what the girls wanted.
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So me and my 10 year old get ready for HHN and jump back on the water taxi.
We arrive and things are going okay. We hit the first scare zone and she starts balling! I felt so bad! A female TM came over to us and tried to calm her down but she really didn't stop crying until one of the scare actors came to her and talked to her. He then took her out into the middle of the scare zone and she had a good time! until it got dark. So lesson learned. No matter how much your child begs to go to HHN, unless they are a teen, tell them no lol. We did have a good daddy / daughter dinner at Finnigans so that was good :)


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So the next day, Saturday, we went to UO again and also IOA. There is really nothing special, we had a great time and low crowds. Rides were walk on, beer was cold, food was great and TM's were polite and this part of the trip could not have gone better. Here are a few pics..

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Jimmy Mouse

My other car is the Monorail
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Part 3 Headed to Disney!

So I wake up early on Sunday morning (10/3) and I jump in the shower before everyone else wakes up. Once I am ready I turn on all the lights and both TV's so my wife and kids will get up. The girls took showers the night before so it didn't take long for them to get ready. We checkout and head to Riviera! Traffic was good so it didn't take that long. We arrive at WDW at 9:50 but let me add this. In no way did we expect our room to be ready. Our plans are to drop our bags and head to Epcot via SkyLiner as we have a lunch res at Le Cellier.

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So, Here we go. We pull up to Riviera and as we have done many many times here and at other WDW resorts. We pull up, a little past center so we do not block anyone and do as we always do. We all pile out and I open the lift gate then (Normally) the Bell Services person would say something like "Are you checking in?" and we would say yes and they would say "Welcome Home" and then help us unload. Nope, not this time. The CM (His name is Ren) walked up to me as I opened the lift gate and said "YOU CAN'T PARK HERE!" My wife got silent, my girls got silent, people walking by stopped to look and I was speechless. Let me also add, where we were parked was past the Valet stand, to the right and there was room 3 or 4 wide for cars to go through. There were also other vehicles unoccupied parked near us. So anyway, I said "Where should I park then?" and he said in the parking lot. Really?!?!? I told my family to get back in and I puled down about 50 feet by the sidewalk and told my wife "I'll be right back" and I took off to the lobby. Then I was like Dang it!!! I had to go back and get my mask! So Finally I make it back and go in, make my way to check-in and ask if our room is ready. Again, not expecting it to be, just asking. The young lady was wonderful, even asking me if she could check my Magic Band to make sure it was linked. And, it's not and the room is not ready lol so I politely ask if I can grab a cart, unload our luggage and store it while she fixes it so we can go to Epcot and she says Bell will do it for you, I tell her no thanks. I get the cart and go to our vehicle. Everyone gets out, my wife holds the cart since we are facing a little downhill and while unloading a nice young man walks up and ask if he can help. I say yes and he helps me unload. He took our bags and my family followed while I parked. When I walked back up he looked at me and said "I am sorry" so I said "why" and he smiled and said shall I store your bags? I said of course and gave him a huge tip and look at Ren and say he's a jerk. He agrees. We head in side, my magic band is linked and the manager comes over and ask what happened. I guess someone reported Ren's behavior. I explained, he apologized, we headed to Epcot.
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First stop, Figment! My 7yo's favorite. Then we head to the short films next door. After the films we go to the DVC lounge and it is packed so we head to Le Cellier! I know a lot of people down this restaurant but we love it! Got my Poutine and my Filet, still mooing, just the way I like it!
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And while we are eating, I forgot to try for the 1:00 Remy boarding group. But we got a room ready text and the kids want to go back to the resort so off we go! Full bellies and all!
We SkyLiner back, head up to the 9th floor, I notice there is a large gap between doors so I get quietly excited! I open it and we all go in and my wife doesn't realize we are in a 2 bedroom! We had a 1 bedroom booked and when we walked in, she didn't notice the other room. It was a great upgrade! we had 2 balconies, an awesome view, 3 showers, 3 tv's etc. etc. We were very happy!

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So it looks like things are getting better. Faced a jerk at check-in, got an awesome room upgrade. I can live with it. So we are waiting on our luggage as we are going to Disney Springs to shop then a late dinner at City Works. Finally our bags show up and the Bell CM said "Here we go, 7 bags?" and I look at my ticket and said "Um, no ... should be 9" and my wife points and says it's not loaded the way we loaded it. He tells us not to worry and hands us my daughters iPad. Her suitcase is missing along with our big bag full of food for the room. Things like Pop tarts, cereal etc. I'm standing there holding a pink iPad which must have been a sight, asking him how the heck (not those exact words) did my daughters iPad get out of her suitcase and better yet, where the heck IS her suitcase!!!!! He tells us he will find out and let us know. I said nope, no way. We are coming with you so we did. We get downstairs at the store room and the Bell supervisor ask what's wrong. We explain and I ask him how the iPad is out of our suitcase. My daughters pink suitcase! He said "No one went in our luggage" and I said that's all good and fine. If so, how did her iPad end up in our room without the suitcase. At this point I am furious!! I just walk past them right into the room with my wife following me. We find her suitcase on someone else's cart! and we find our food bag on a shelf in the corner. We just grab them and head to the room. They were trying to talk to us but I was done at this time. The manager that helped us so much earlier stopped us and I told him I just want to go to our room and check to make sure my kids clothes and belongings are still all here. He ask if we have breakfast plans at the resort and I said no so he ask us what day we would like Topolinos. I say tomorrow is fine and thank him. After we check her bag I check my MDX for my reservation at City Works and notice we have a reservation at 8:00 the next morning at Topolinos (more about this in next post). Still not happy so I unpack (Yes I'm that guy that puts all his clothes in drawers). It drives my wife nuts lol.

Next post, Disney Springs and some park fun! or is it fun ???? ;)
 
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Jimmy Mouse

My other car is the Monorail
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Part 4 ...

After the crazy first day, we are so looking forward to Disney Springs. One of our favorite restaurants is City Works. If you haven't been, it's worth giving it a shot. Even if your not a beer drinker, the craft food is great. So we walk to the bus stop, 30 something minutes posted till the next bus so I order a Lyft. Less than 10 minutes and our ride shows up. We arrive at DS and head to Sephora so my wife can get her favorite makeup then we stop off at M&M store.
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Now, finally it's time to head to dinner. This is just what I needed!!
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Kung Pao Cauliflower is so good! Honestly, everything here is good!

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Especially dessert!
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After dinner, back to the resort for a good night sleep. 😴

Good morning! Let's get ready for Topolino's!!! Remember? The manager made us a reservation!
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But we still had to pay lol. Either way, it was nice of him to get us a reservation at a booked restaurant. No complaints.

Now it's time to head to Hollywood Studios! Oh wait .... girls need to use the bathroom so a quick stop at the room. Finally we are off! Using the SkyLiner is so easy and way better than the busses. Park day was good. We got there around noon and no one wanted to wait for RnR or ToT so we headed to the left. First ride Star Tours. We all still love it and this one was one we never seen so that was good! Then we headed to RotR then SM. After we rode those my little one wanted Blue Milk. It was her first one ever. And no line at all for it.
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Next stop, Slinky Dog Dash! So we make our way over and the line was not that bad. MDX said 70, TP said 35. Actually took less than 30 min. So we get to the ride, CM ask how many, directs us to our row and there is a little boy no more than 5 or 6 screaming his head off because is father, stepdad, brother, whoever is trying to force him to stand up at the measuring bar. The CM told them they had to measure and the mom started screaming at the CM telling her they should have arm bands or a better program. The CM was scared. I could see it in her face when she told the guy that unless his child stood up to be measured, he could not ride. That's when the guy said something really bad to the CM and it was loud. He repeated it a few times and that's when I had enough. I turned around and firmly told him to shut up! I said I am not going to stand here and hear you say those words in front of my wife and kids. He said "I can respect that" and then said "But screw you too" in so many words. It was our turn to ride so we boarded. We all had a blast! I never let an idiot ruin our good time. So we get off the ride and a CM plus us to the said and apologizes and takes us to the LL line and tells the other CM we are riding again! Pixie Dust? Yes Please! So after our second ride, my wife sees the young CM that was being yelled at and thanks her for doing a great job. The CM looked shocked that someone would tell her that and you could tell it made her day.
Did I ever say how hot it was? Well, it was hot. The kids say "daddy? can we go back to the resort? it's already after 6:00 by this time so I was like Yes we can! I took a shower, we just relaxed in the room. It was very enjoyable.

Next day, Boo Bash Tonight!!! But for now, Let's head to the pool! We don't plan on being at MK till 3:00 for our Skipper Canteen reservation so pool it is! It's still pretty early and I haven't ate yet. The girls had cereal and pop tarts in the room. I tell them both that I am going to the pool bar and ask if they would like anything. They both say no so off I go. I had a good conversation with another guest that is a Disboard member. IIRC she said her name was Orlando Native on here. Anyway, I finish my beer, order another and take my sandwich (which was awesome) back to the pool. Well, my little monkeys get out and proceed to eat it lol. Well, I was able to eat half my sandwich but they took all my fries.
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Did I mention they had Root beer Gelato? OMG it was sooo good!!
I have so many pics but trying to stay under my limit. Just trust me, it was good lol.

So back to shower, get ready and off to the MK for lunch and Boo Bash! We didn't wait long for the bus and it was almost empty.
We arrive at the MK and it was sorta crowded but not really? We had lunch then rode JC, MCOA, BTMRR and CBJ before the event started.
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During the event we rode 7DMT, IASM, HM, SM, Buzz, TTAPM and got some candy. Did I mention that it was crowded? Actually more crowded that the day? I really feel they oversold this event. It was nothing like any after hour event we have done in the past and not worth the money. Midnight here already? Let's go! and I cannot believe that there is no one inline for our resort at the busses! I soon figured out we must have just missed it. But what I do not understand is a line built behind us, and once it did arrive it was enough to completely fill all seats and even some had to stand. During our wait as the line built up, 4 busses came for Caribbean beach and 3 left with less than 10 people on it and 5 busses came for whatever resort was to our left (couldn't see the sign) and no one in line 2 of the times the bus came for that resort. They really need to work on the bus schedule. What a day lol.

Up early the next day for our AK day and our Rainforest Cafe lunch at 11:30. I always get their Nachos. Everyone I know hates this place and for some strange reason, I love it!
Mmmmm nachos!
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We head over to Pandora for FOP and after the ride, The girls want to go back to the resort. This is not unusual as we do go to WDW a lot and sometimes they would rather hang by the pool or chill in the room and I am okay with that. We get back to the room and just chill out for a few hours. I get ready for my daddy's night out with a friend and the girls and wife get ready for dinner at Topolino's. I have a good friend that lives in Orlando and he's coming to pick me up for HHN at Universal. I am beyond excited!

We arrive at HHN around 6:15 and it is packed for a Wednesday night! But the crowds are very easy to navigate. We end up doing 9 of the 10 houses, drink a lot of good beer and eat some good food. We had Pizza at Louie's , a twisted tater at one booth and a candied pork belly on a stick. Sounds gross but was actually good! HHN was so freakin good I swear if I could get away for a few days I would drive back down to Orlando just for that! If you have never been, you have no idea what you are missing. The TM's are beyond polite and helpful and the scare actors are awesome! You can tell that they all love what they do! My favorite house was Icons. It was all different characters from a variety of scary movies. Another good house was Beetlejuice. Man it was fun! The level of the props is just mind blowing! Texas Chainsaw was not a good as I wanted it to be lol. I was expecting a little more.

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I have a ton of pics, I may do another thread in the UO section. It's just too much for this thread.
That's it for now! Check back as I plan on finishing this up before the weekend!!!
 
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Jimmy Mouse

My other car is the Monorail
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Part 5.
2 days left. Today is our Epcot day but after getting back at 3:00am from Halloween Horror Nights, I have to sleep in a little but the family has no problem with that. Finally up and on our way! A quick ride to Epcot and we head over to Figment, my 7yo's fav. After we ride, my wife and kids go up to the lounge while I go outside and try and secure a boarding group for Remy. We then head to Soarin' before lunch.

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Soarin" was walk on. Posted 20, walked straight on with no wait.

Now it's time! I have been waiting for this restaurant for what seems like forever! It was so awesome! The ride to space, the atmosphere or lack of lol. The food was good but not great? If that makes sense. Me and my 10yo had the burger. We all shared the deviled eggs which were really good. My kids shared a calamari and me and the wife shared the caulifower. My 7yo had space-ghetti but said it was horrible so we got Mac-n-cheese for her. My wife had the seared tuna and said it was really good. Like I said, the food was good. Will I spend $300 to go again? Doubtful. But I am glad I got to experience it.
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So, after lunch we headed to Test Track. My wife didn't want to ride so it was just me and the girls. I'm okay with that. After we rode it was time for Ratatouille! It was a cute ride, not mind blowing but the kids loved it. It is kinda short though. The detail in the ride is good. If they keep this as pay to ride on our next visit it will be a hard pass for me. But then again, my next park visit may be a year or more so we will see.
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Bt the time we got off of Remy it was almost 6:00 so we headed back to the resort. We had dinner later that night in the room and just relaxed.


The next morning, our last park day we head to the MK. I am totally shocked how busy Main Street is! I thought wow! Wait times are gonna suck today! But I was wrong. Walk on TTAPM, walk on Astro Orbiter, just had to wait for the elevator. 30 min for 7DMT, PP was 30ish, HM was maybe 15. We had a good time but left the parks around 3:30.


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Back to the room and showers for everyone. Had to get ready for our Steakhouse 71 reservation! I was really looking forward to this one!
We call for a Lyft and I opted for the Lux Black. After all, this was our last dinner at WDW so let's go in style! We arrive and after check in we are seated within 20 minutes or so. I have eaten at about every steak house on WDW property and have had great steaks at most. I will say for the money, you cannot beat Steakhouse 71. Me and my 10yo had the filet. My wife had the prime rib and it was shrimp and Mac-n-cheese for my 7yo.
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Both our filet's were very flavorful and tender. I have zero complaints about this restaurant. Also the 15 layer cake was good!

My steak was not as rare as I wanted but I did not send it back. It was that good.
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I was so full I had to get my cake to go. I ate it about an hour later then laid in the bed curled up but it was so worth it!
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It's always a sad day when a vacation comes to an end but in all honesty, we were all glad to be heading home. I stayed up late and did all my laundry while we watched TV. The next morning we packed up and headed out right at 11:00am. We talked about the trip and for the first time ever, my girls both said they couldn't wait to go back to Universal. I asked them about WDW and my 10 yo old said she wanted to go back when Tron opens and my 7yo said she wanted to go to Legoland lol. Go figure, she's 7! Anyway, me and my wife talked about it and she said let's take a year or more break from WDW. I said where should we go on vacation? I reminded her that we already have a Christmas trip booked and she said cancel it. She said we can go to Universal for the holidays and Hilton Head next summer (which we absolutely love) so I am okay with that. We talked about the good and the bad with this trip and it actually breaks my heart as I really love Disney. We had such an amazing time at Universal that it opened our eyes to all the problems at WDW. Now after going back and reading my own trip report, I can clearly see all the good times we had. There were plenty of them! But the things that stood out that were not so magical has really made us rethink WDW. There were more grumpy, snooty cast members this trip. There were more rude guest. The buss service is horrible, no shows, no parades and every thing was just more expensive. The Boo Bash was a total fail. HHN at UO was less money, 5 hours longer, had 10 haunted houses, food booths everywhere and not once did I run into anyone with a bad attitude. I know that WDW is bigger but they really need to get lessons from UO. Once we got home and settled in, I cancelled our trip this holiday season. We originally were going to Legoland from 12/30 -1/2 then 1/2 -1/8 at WDW. Now we go to Poly from 12/29-12/30 just because I had some points that would expire and my bank window has closed. Then after Legoland, I booked 6 days at UO. I love the WDW resorts and I have no problem staying a night or 2 when we come back to Orlando. I'm just gonna give the parks a break for a while. Besides Hilton Head, We will probably book a few weekend resort only trips at resorts we haven't stayed at. We need to do Boardwalk, Saratoga, Grand Floridian, BLT and WL. We have lots of points to burn next year so we will see what the family wants to do. I know my kids are happy at the pool where the stress is pretty much non existent.

Thanks for reading!
 
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  • Welsh_Dragon

    Y Ddraig Goch
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2019
    Part 2

    So after our first park day, we arrive back at the resort and stop off for our new room cards. We arrive at our room and OMG is it close to the water taxi! It took maybe 2 minutes to walk to it so it was super convenient! Plus the room was exactly what the girls wanted.
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    So me and my 10 year old get ready for HHN and jump back on the water taxi.
    We arrive and things are going okay. We hit the first scare zone and she starts balling! I felt so bad! A female TM came over to us and tried to calm her down but she really didn't stop crying until one of the scare actors came to her and talked to her. He then took her out into the middle of the scare zone and she had a good time! until it got dark. So lesson learned. No matter how much your child begs to go to HHN, unless they are a teen, tell them no lol. We did have a good daddy / daughter dinner at Finnigans so that was good :)


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    So the next day, Saturday, we went to UO again and also IOA. There is really nothing special, we had a great time and low crowds. Rides were walk on, beer was cold, food was great and TM's were polite and this part of the trip could not have gone better. Here are a few pics..

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    Were you able to visit any of the HHN houses?
     

    wfjny

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 30, 2012
    ...we pull off to top off and grab some snacks at Buc-ee's just outside of Macon, GA. If you have never stopped there, you have no idea what you are missing! 175+ gas pumps, beef jerky bar, candied pecans and cashews made right before your eyes...
    I am so excited.

    On our normal trips to Disney, there are two Buc-ee's along I95. However, they are only like an hour apart, so we do stop at one, and then probably not the other...

    But, there is a new one being built up in Florence SC, at the exact exit we would get off when we drive to Myrtle Beach. Cannot wait for that one to open.

    And, there is one being built on I40 in Sevierville, TN. That is just outside the Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg area.

    I can honestly say, I have never been excited about the opening of a "Gas Station" as I am about these two places. Both Myrtle Beach & Pigeon Forge are our quick weekend trip places, both being just over a three hour trip for us. In the early days of the pandemic, we made several "day" trips to both just to get out of the house...
     

    DeeBee3

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 9, 2020
    I am so excited.

    On our normal trips to Disney, there are two Buc-ee's along I95. However, they are only like an hour apart, so we do stop at one, and then probably not the other...

    But, there is a new one being built up in Florence SC, at the exact exit we would get off when we drive to Myrtle Beach. Cannot wait for that one to open.

    And, there is one being built on I40 in Sevierville, TN. That is just outside the Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg area.

    I can honestly say, I have never been excited about the opening of a "Gas Station" as I am about these two places. Both Myrtle Beach & Pigeon Forge are our quick weekend trip places, both being just over a three hour trip for us. In the early days of the pandemic, we made several "day" trips to both just to get out of the house...
    So funny we are all so excited at Buc-ee's - I have none near me but have heard all about them. Definitely need to find a way to plan a trip to include a visit! 🤣
     


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