My 8 day split stay Christmas time review

So I wanted to try and put together a review of our recent trip since everyone on here has been so helpful. Hoping I could pass along a little info that might help someone else. We had a split stay planned from Saturday 12/12 and checked out on Sunday 12/20. We got to the airport at about 4:30 A.M. for a 6:10 A.M. flight; we left out of Islip NY so the security lines are nowhere near as long as MCO. Flight left on time and was smooth as can be which for me was a good start since flying is my #1 fear. Grabbed our luggage and we were off to Alamo to get our rental car. I registered online so I was able to walk right to the car and we were off. I drove up to the rental kiosk with not one car in front of me and we are out of the airport before 9:30 A.M. Stopped at a Publix on the way to Kadani village for some groceries and got to the hotel around 10:30. Dropped off our groceries to the front desk because we had some refrigerated items and checked in. Our room was not quite ready yet so we walked around a bit. I received a text at 11:20 that our room was ready which was surprising because I have heard a bunch of people say it is hard to get in early at Kadani. Up to our room we had room 7636 which was maybe 1 block of rooms away from the one I requested but it was on the lobby level which I wanted and close enough to the elevator. Our view was beautiful and my DS4 had a great view of the Giraffes which was the whole reason I wanted to stay there. The thing I liked about the savannah also was it seemed like they left different foods in different spots throughout the day so in the morning for instance we could see Giraffes right out our window but in the afternoon we could see zebra. I don’t think there was a time that I didn’t see any animals except very early on when they probably house them. The pool, slide and kiddy area was also wonderful, not a very far walk from our room and it was very clean and of course being in December not very crowded. The only downside I can say about this hotel was without a QS spot made it a little tough with the boys. We did walk to Jambo once but again with 2 kids we took the shuttle back. Overall I loved the resort and didn’t think it was a far walk for anything really but could see how it could be if you were at the tail end of the resort. We then moved to ASMovies which my son loves for all of the characters but it didn’t start out well for my room. I requested something close to the lobby on the first floor and got mighty ducks on floor #2. I know things are not guaranteed but I was willing to wait for something to open up since I received my room ready text at 7:20A.M. I called once and they told me there was nothing they could do. I didn’t mind being further away from the lobby then I asked but the first floor was a must for me so I called back and they moved me to the absolute last room in mighty ducks building 2. It was not what I wanted but I got the first floor and it was actually pretty close to the ASMusic lobby so that was a plus and it was far enough away from everything that it was nice and quite so it worked out. So that was our hotel experiences so now on to the dining. We ate at a bunch of different places that we never tried before but after a couple of days with very picky and fidgety boys (DS4 & DS1) we cancelled a couple of our sit down ADR’s because it was just too hard to sit and wait if they didn’t have anything going on, like getting up to go to a buffet or seeing a character or show. . Our first ADR was for Sanaa. We had a 1PM res. For the day we landed but being we got into our room early we asked if we could be seated early and they sat us right away. Everyone is right the bread service is really good and I am a very picky eater and I tried every dipping sauce. My wife had the Tandoori Chicken and I had the Tandoori Shrimp which I thought was a little chewy but overall the service was great and I though the bread service made the experience worth doing again. We ate at Crystal Palace for dinner which I am sure probably almost everyone has eaten there at some point. The cool thing about this time was Rabbit was there, I didn’t really think it was a big deal at first but when the CM came over and said she has never seen Rabbit and looked very surprised I thought it was cool. I also posted on the chat and it seems like it is pretty rare to see him so that was a bonus. They brought out a card and cupcake and sang to my son for his birthday which I noted on every ADR but only CP and Kona brought out something and Kona only after I asked. I noticed in years past if you noted something on your reservation you usually got something no matter where it was but maybe now everyone does it so they cut back on what they give out. We did the Minnie’s Holiday Dine at HS; we have been to Hollywood and vine so many times this was just for the characters which I loved. Santa Goofy greets you at the door and they have a backdrop and photo pass photographer taking pics. It was Goofy, Minnie, Mickey, Donald and Daisy all dressed up in Holiday attire and my little guys loved it. The next day we ate at Boma and Coral Reef. Boma we have done before and is a good Buffet but my little guy was not feeling so great so we didn’t stay very long. We are at Coral Reef for dinner and I will say the food was great but the service was terrible. We checked in and I asked if we waited if we could have a table close to the tank they told us they couldn’t guarantee it but would note it. Not 5 minutes later they call our names and I think oh good we have a table close to the tanks, nope. We were on the last level possible, we asked if we could wait and get a closer table and they said it would be 45 minutes. We sat down and not 5 minutes later we counted 10 tables close to the tank and people who checked in after us being seated. Ok I can’t really count that against them because they do say they cannot guarantee seating but just wanted to note it since they didn’t really seem like they even tried. Our server was terrible a table that was seated after us received bread 20 minutes before our server brought out ours yes 20 minutes. When our food was served I asked the CM if I could have a refill on my soda, nothing came out and I was about halfway through my meal when I finally grabbed a manager and asked him for one. I don’t complain at restaurants but if I did this one would have been towards the top of the list. I know I probably should have said something but I have seen Waiting I know what they do to your food, JK. I will say the food was terrific I had the lobster soup and strip steak but am a little nervous eating there again because of the service. The next day we ate at Biergarten and Kona. I was not a huge fan of Biergarten but that is just because I am very picky my wife loved it and the show and seating were cool. We had 2 different couples at our table so it was nice to just sit and talk to adults. Kona I thought was good but it didn’t knock my socks off I kind of wished we ate at Ohana. I ordered a steak there as well and thought it was a little overcooked and chewy. Our final restaurant was Tusker House for breakfast. We really just did this for the characters again the food was normal breakfast buffet type items, the server seemed a little short with us but she was very busy so I didn’t hold it against her. The final thing I will list with our dining was the Pirates and Pals fireworks cruise. This was unbelievable and would do it again in a heartbeat. They take you into this room where they had unlimited cake, chips, cotton candy, mickey ice cream and a bunch of other stuff. They even refilled the baskets if they were running low. We got to get pics. With Capt. Hook and Smee who my DS4 love. After all the snacks we were walked out to the boat and I requested a left side seat like kennythepirate suggested and I am glad I did because we had the first seat on the left side and had a great view. The host was amazing singing songs and telling jokes, very very funny. We were able to see the water pageant probably 50 feet away which was a nice touch and then we were off to the MK and dropped anchor right outside. They dim the lights and pipe in the music and we were able to see the holiday wishes which were amazing from where we were because of all the fireworks coming from the sides now as well. After that you head back to the Contemporary and get to meet Peter pan who also was very funny and you were able to get another photo pass picture. Now on to the parks and other activities. I thought for the most parts the parks were manageable until we got to Saturday 12/19 & Sunday 12/20 as it became very busy. The major thing I noticed was the amount of rides that went down. I have never seen so many rides down in 1 trip in all of the times I have been there. The first night we were there Pirates was down from about 6PM and didn’t open back up. My wife and DS4 had to be walked off Test Track right around the banked area outside the ride. She said it was very scary because you are up like 20 feet. It also went down the next day when we were only there for a couple of hours so we missed it that day altogether. Wed. 12/16 might have been the worst night. We had FP for Splash, Pirates and 7DMT and both Pirates and 7DMT went down to where they gave us that universal FP where you can use on select other rides. The day we finally got to ride Pirates we were in the front row and got drenched. On that day we counted Pirates, 7DMT, Small world, People Mover, Haunted Mansion and a couple of other rides I am forgetting right now all closed for an extended period of time. On Saturday 12/19 we waited 50 minutes for TSMM and got walked off probably about 20 people away from the ride. I complained to 2 CM at the ride but they didn’t do anything and we were on our way out for the day so I didn’t bother going to GS. On our final day Splash mountain was closed and we saw them walking people off the ride, that one was upsetting because it was my son’s favorite ride and he wanted to ride it one last time. Luckily we got on HM and he forgot about it. The final thing I wanted to tell everyone about was ICE! At Gaylord Palms, this was our third year doing it and we love it every year. In case you don’t know what it is they set up this convention center with life size ice sculptures and set it to a theme. This year was Twas the night before Christmas. It is 9 degrees and they give you parkas but bring gloves and hats and I even bring those hand warmers. They have Ice slides and an Ice bar. It was really neat the only thing I didn’t like was we paid for the Fast pass and it really only bypassed the first line to get to the parkas once you received your parkas you waited in the same line as everyone else which I thought for $10 a person was a little cheesy. Overall we had a blast and a much better trip then in September when we went with my in laws and I will just leave it at that. Christmas time at Disney is amazing and what they do to the parks and all the hotels is just beautiful. The extra crowds are worth it to me to go at this time because I love Christmas and to see it snow on Main Street in 70 degree weather is so spectacular. We have an annual pass now and are planning our next trip in either April/May or September. I am sure I am leaving some stuff out but hope you all enjoyed my reviews and can’t wait to read some of yours.


Great trip report. I’m sorry to hear that so many rides were down during your trip. We love the Gaylord Palms Resort. I am determined to see one of their ICE! Sets in the future.

Great trip report. Coral Reef seems to be one of the most inconsistent TSs in WDW. I’ve always had good food and good service, but there are quite a few reports of either food or service being sub-par. My one experience at The Wave was like that; the food was probably very good, but the worst server that I have ever had at WDW ruined the whole meal. I haven’t been back, and probably won’t go back.

Sorry to hear that so many rides were down. As ride systems become more complex, there are more things that can go wrong. TT, Splash, and 7DMT are all notorious for having technical issues, and PoC seems to be having more problems than ever since the recent (long) refurb. Sadly ironic.

Great trip report! It is amazing how poor service can ruin a great meal! I most likely will never return to Yachtsman based on the service I had but I know others (and the tables around me that were getting their bread/food) do not feel the way I do. Thanks for sharing!