Trip Report 11/3-11/8


#1

I obsessed and obsessed months before. I learned what an adr was about two months before the trip. (Thank you, res finder!) I learned that the FEA fastpass (if you want to do it,) will shape your tp of epcot. I also learned that my family is so over Frozen, we didn't even think about it after I gave up my 5pm fastpass (the only one available on our ep touring date for our trip.)

Anyway - Short and sweet, I'll pepper in my brand of humor as I recall the happenings:

Day 1- Thursday, 3 November.
Got into Swan at about 1am. DS7 slept a little on the flight. He was good to go. Early riser as it is. The Mrs and I needed coffee, but we had adrenaline going as well. Got to the Swan Disney desk a little after 7am while DS and the Mrs finished getting the backpack ready. Wanted Disney CM at the desk to confirm everything was ready to go, so there were no surprises when trying to get into Epcot for MAgic Hours. Fastpasses, adr's, all confirmed as working with the scan of each magic band. After a few "which way" moments, walked over to Epcot for 8am EMH. Sun was already feeling good. Boardwalk was empty, boats were running. Line of about 30 ppl waiting to get in. WE HAD ARRIVED! We had a touring plan ready to rock, and we were pretty much right on time. I let MDE guide us to Soarin. I think I got used to using MDE's walking instructions after the second day of touring. One thing I was not happy with at ALL, for the most part, was Disney's signage. For the most part, I gave up on looking for signage, and just let mde tell me where to go. Touring Plans, on this day, absolutely NAILED everything. We were actually ahead of schedule. First snag, however, was Test Track tech difficulties. We did soarin twice before RD, then rocked test track once. After exiting, we walked back to the entrance to use our TT Fastpass as scheduled, but I noticed mde had no wait time. I asked the cm at the fastpass lane if the ride was down, and he said, "no - no issues I know of." Got in the fastpass line, and blam - gridlock. We waited about ten minutes, and then noticed that MDE was populated with a new Epcot any ride fastpass. So we bolted. I was actually thinking about asking the CM why he didn't check if the ride was down, but the new fastpass gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling about WDW. We caught a Jammitors show - "Wok This Way!!" (tee hee,) and saw that Test Track was back on line. Headed back, and then continued on with our TP as normal. No major goofiness after that, except that TT had a 5 minute delay while we were on it. The Sun was nice and warm, the park wasn't shoulder to shoulder, we did just about everything we wanted to, except for strolling through a section of the World Showcase. I wanted to try and stop in at the American Pavillion Disney Visa Card place just too see. Didn't have time, but no worries.
We also made a mistake by not having lunch at Sunshine Seasons, but DS7 spoke up and said his legs were tired when we were next to Electric Umbrella. I promised him that we would stop any time he was tired or hungry within reason. He is not a complainer at ALL, so when he said he needed a break, we debated whether or not to walk over to Sunshine, but since we were standing at Electric Umbrella's door, we went in. That was pretty basic food, but it was the right choice. After looking at the menu, the mrs. and i split a kid's meal chicken wrap, and jr got a kid's meal cheeseburger. For the money, I was OK with it. But if I had to do it again, I'd check if jr would be ok with a shoulder ride, and head to Sunshine.

We had a 3pm date with Mama Melrose for the Fantasmic pkg, so after some relaxed touring of EP and the lesser tier attractions, we headed to the Friendship boat for a relaxing ride over to DHS. Those tall palm trees at the entrance will be a memory. The entrance seems like outdated 1970's California. Mama Melrose was far better than we expected. FAR better. We planned on maybe taking a dip in the hotel pool between MM and Fantasmic, but we had such a chill, laid back meal at MM, we decided to check out Hollywood. We rocked Star Tours with no wait, then Indiana Jones, Muppet 3d, and also the Great Movie Ride. DS7 was NOT impressed with GMR AT ALL.The gun fight had him on edge. Not crying or anything, but he was NOT a fan. Spent most of it face down in the mrs' lap. He's no wimp, either. LOVED Star Tours and Space Mt, and he basically laughed at 7dmt (my impression as well.)
He's a coaster kid. I will say this - all in all, we agreed that the 3d shows at all the parks are woefully underrated. They are all fantastic. We finally settled in to our seats at Fantasmic. CROWDED! Don't sit too close to the water. We were in the first row, and I'm pretty sure we missed out on a portion of the effects. After the show, we headed straight to the exit, got on a boat, and took a quick dip in the Swan pool. Sleep came quick after a few in room snacks. Next up - Pre-RD BOG on Friday AM, AKA, "24 dollars for WHAAAAT???"


Hopefully Decent Plan
The Seebee Clan's Return! EPIC!
#2

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you managed to do what you wanted at Epcot and checking out HS was a great bonus! I look forward to reading more.


#3

Looking forward to more...


#4

Love your report :slight_smile:


#5

Great trip report, write more soon.


#6

Friday, 4 November:
The day started with an 8:30am Pre-Rd ADR at BOG. DS and I are early risers, but the Mrs can be a sleeper at times. We got to bed easily the night before after all of the 1st day excitement, so we were up and at 'em with no problem for the adr. We Ubered to the ttc, and grabbed the Resort Monorail to MK.

UBER IS FRICKIN FANTASTIC!

So...Be Our Guest:
The breakfast, in my opinion is only for getting in before RD. The prices are borderline absurd, but that's ok. It served its purpose, and I knew what the purpose was. The Mrs and I split the Feast A La Gaston, and DS had the Kid's scrambled egg meal. For an early morning appetite supressant, and the ability to get in 4 to 5 rides before any sort of crowds show, I'll take it. We walked on Mine Train, Space Mt, Barnstormer. We ran into a big snag at Tomorrowland Speedway though. The posted wait time was 10 minutes, and since they were still bringing cars out for loading, it took WAAAAAY longer. More like 25 minutes. That cost us a Buzz Lightyear, because after the Speedway, Astro Orbiter was up to 20 minutes, and then Buzz was way up there. Had to skip Buzz to make our first FastPass. I banked on remembering what I thought was cool when I was a kid to set up the rides for DS7. I did one day at MK, and two nights at MK so we could experience the lights and sounds at night which I think are cool contrasts. I remember when I was his age, I thought Space Mt, Big Thunder, Splash Mt, and the Speedway were the coolest rides. DS pretty much fell right in line, so I made it a priority to do each twice, but Speedway 4 or 5 times. Big Thunder was closed, so I replaced that with mine train, once in the day, and once at night. He absolutely LOVED the Speedway even more than I thought he would. Score one for Dad! Mine Train he thought was a little bit "meh." Space Mt he loved, however, he didn't want to do it a second time. Splash Mountain was also a favorite. So, on this day tour of Mk, we got all of those in once, speedway 3 times. Touring Plans took over after RD and smoothly guides us. We planned to actually be leaving MK for a mid day break before the Festival parade, but we were feeling good, the sun was warm, and we ran into a snag at Splash Mt. Tech difficulties. 20 minute wait for our fastpass. We debated leaving while in line every few minutes, but we stuck it out, hoping for a new fatspass to populate the mde account. No such luck, but, oh well. After Splash, DS7 was all smiles and raring to go. We needed lunch, and made another bad choice for proximity's sake. Pecos Bill's Cafe was atrocious. Columbia Harbor House was crowded to the gills when we passed it on the way to Splash, so we opted for Pecos as an alternate. Figured kid's meal for jr. and the mrs and I could split a fajita platter. Jr did fine, but the fajita platter was an oversalted mess. Inedible. Threw most of it away. Live and learn. ON TO THE DOLE WHIPS!!
After Pecos Bill's horrific showing, I had the Dole Whip smile. Aloha Aisle is right around the corner, and the only thing standing between me and a Pineapple Float would be the line, or a spin on Alladin's Carpets. (our dole whip attack plan was for mom or dad to get the whips, and the other one to stand in line with jr for alladin.) Dole Whips are amazing, but Pineapple Floats are better. On our second trip to Aloha Aisle, the Mrs Also found the spot to get a Citrus Swirl, and I gotta say - the Citrus Swirl is not even in the same ballpark. Ok, so after Alladin, and a Dole Whip / Pineapple Float break, we did the obligatory Tiki Room, and next thing you know, it's almost Parade time. Jr wanted to see Hall Of Presidents, so we stopped in. Showtime didn't work out, but we lucked into a prime parade viewing area right out front after perusing the display cases. THE PARADE WAS A BLAST. The fire breathing dragon didn't let out any blasts, but when we got stuck near the entrance train station trying to make an escape after viewing the parade at our spot ( we had to wait for the parade to finish it's route near the train station) the dragon let out 5 or 6 blasts, and DS loved each one.

Back to Swan for a lengthy mid day break, and dip in the pool.
Swan pool complex is just awesome. 5 pools, one slide, 3 or 4 hot tubs, a pool stand for toys, accessories, usually a craft making area for kids, two bars, one restaurant with servers taking orders, a beach, a playground, 2 pool tables outside, a ping pong table,and a small basketball court. Swan/Dolphin is pretty bad ass. We swam for a while, chilled out, and had some serious hotel room snacks. Swimming time kinda got away from us since we were having so much fun, so we didn't have time for a proper dinner before heading to Hollywood, but we snacked up and figured we'd come back to the hotel and try out the sushi bar afterwards. We snuck in another ride on Star Tours. The fireworks show was crowded, Jr was blocked from seeing parts of it, but he still enjoyed it. We missed the first boat back to Swan because of the crowd, and the 2nd boat seemed to take forever. Jr was getting crabby but perked up after eating basically all of the sushi we ordered at Kimonos. Go to Kimonos if you're in the area, btw. It'll be one of your best meals of your trip. After Kimonos, you guessed it..BED!

Next up - EMM at Hollywood -AKA, "You tired of Toy Story Midway Mania yet?"


#7

Great trip report! TYour family tours like veterans! Don't forget if the wait is too long for a boat, you can walk back to the Swan from HS . I'd rather walk 20 minutes than wait in line 20 minutes.


#8

Ok, Hollywood Super Star Wars Day. Saturday, 5 November.

I was on the fence about the EMM thing. Went for it anyway. Best. Move. Ever. If we go back, and EMM is offered at any park during our stay, I'll do it again in a heartbeat. The Mrs slept in so Jr and I could rock the EMM. We got in line, seemed like about 50 other ppl in line for EMM, 50 in another line for early adr's. Once 7:45 am hit and we were still standing in line, I started getting antsy, like, "oh here we go - WDW fkng me out of more time and money. Only waited another few minutes. Walked "with a purpose" to Jedi sign up, waited about 8 minutes in line for the absolute morons in front of us because they had no idea what time to sign their youngling up for. Must be nice to piss money and time away like that, and to be oblivious to the fact that other ppl are waiting for you to get your, ahem, "stuff" together. When we were in front of the CM, it only took about a minute to sign up. FREE FASTPASS TOO? Ok, that made up for the McCluelesses. After sign up, straight to Toy Story alley. We took a pit stop for a photo with Buzz and Woody. Buzz actually stopped us and waved us in. Seems they were bored. Nobody there. After the photo-op, we walked right on to TSM. We rode it six times in a row. Without. Getting. Off. Then, With a purpose, to Star Tours. Walked on. Me and Jr front row center. NOBODY ELSE. TWICE. Third time, a few more ppl showed up. We were done with it. We rode it once or twice the day before. Headed over to Launch bay, photo with Chewy. Traded with the Jawas, looked around Launch Bay a little, then took a few pics of jr in front of the Chinese Theater. Then, it was time to check what WDW was gonna lay out for the buffet spread at the Commissary. Way better than I thought it would be. What sucks is that cinnamon /sugar coated french toast? You know, the stuff you say you shouldn't waste your calories or tummy real estate on because you know it's just empty calories that's gonna wind up being a sugar crash in an hour anyway? THAT STUFF IS SOOOOO FKN GOOOOOOOD! I'm so lucky I actually waited until I finished my savory stuff and fruit before I tried it. I was too full to eat a third piece. The buffet had snausage, bacon, scrambled "eggs" mushroom and spinach frittata, that deadly french toast, cheesy potato stuff, all kinds of good fruit, all kinds of pastries, a few juices, coffees teas, and milk. Abundance, for reals. All displayed for you to help yourself to - with help from a random CM just standing there next to each table...watching you. I'm pretty sure they are there so ppl will limit their intake, or assume that the cm is watching if you decide to stuff your backpack full of stuff and actually get 9 dollars worth of the 70 dollars you paid. We lingered at the table until 10:20 or so, like a couple of overstuffed..I don't know. Conjure whatever you need to in your mind to make it humorous. The cm's announced every 5 minutes or so after 10 am that everyone should should get more of anything they wanted, because they were going to take the buffet down. Never did they sound rushed. Ppl were lazily grazing - never seemed like a big deal. The Mrs sent a text that she had just gotten through bag check. I refilled my coffee, filled one up for her, and we started off. Back to Launch bay to show the mrs the Jawas, and to rock the Disney Card Meet/Greet with Kylo Ren. We did the Dis M/G two diff days. Kylo both times. He was weird, sure, but cool. Tall too.
After today's meet and greet. We stopped for a photopass pose, and then it was time for jedi training. Went well - Jr was not one of those that was announced during the show, he also battled the Sister, and not vader. Still cool. Buncha cool photos. He loved it. I had originally planned to do EMH at HS the next day, and sign him up for Jedi again, but he said he did not wanna do it. He had his fill. After Jedi, we let him build a light saber at the store (double sided - kid has expensive tastes.) Then it was time for the Stormtrooper March. Gotta say, it was pretty cool. Not very eventful, but the big screens and loud music gave it some decent theatrics. We asked a cm where they thought the best spot was for viewing, and she led us to the front on the side. Great spot. After that. I couldn't convince any of these ppl I call family to use the free FP for TOT. BUMMED OUT!!!! RocknCoaster was closed for refurb. Headed to the boat to go back to Swan for a light lunch and chillaxin at the pool. Fastpasses were set up for MK tour after dark.

Mk was pretty awesome. Relaxed night tour. Speedway, Jungle Cruise, POC and Aladdin (of course, dole whip is an automatic with Alladdin. They might as well call it Alladdin's Magic Carpets And Dole Whips as far as I'm concerned. Forgot what else we did, but I had it set up so after alladdin, we would take our Dole Whips to main street for a Wishes spot. I knew Jr would be tired after EMM, and wishes was at 10. He handled it well. Had his first cup of green tea for a treat at 3pm under the guise of "Disney treat," but it was actually a secret light dose of caffeine planned by us. After Wishes, we were not quite zombies, but it was getting close. The walk through the main street stores and to the bus stop perked us up a little. But, jr was snoring before we got off the bus at the hotel. "If you're not tired at DisneyWorld, you're doing it wrong!"

Next up, EMH at Hollywood - AKA - WHY WON'T ANYONE GO ON TOT WITH ME??????


#9

Awesome report.....looking forward to the next installment....you folks are touring warriors...:boom:


#10

Hi ... we're going to be staying at the Swan in a couple weeks, using SPG points. (Yay for free stuff!) It sounds like you're pretty impressed with it. Did you make a pre-arrival room request? We're also planning to use Uber on this trip - the parking fees at the Swan are insane, on top of rental car costs. Did you also Uber from the airport? We're flying into Sanford, again cause we're cheap like that, and that's where Allegiant flies to.

Glad to hear Kimonos was good. We went to Morimoto's last trip, and we were less than impressed. Have you been to any of the other restaurants in the S&D area? I'm particularly interested in the Fresh Market at the Dolphin.

Looking forward to your reports!


#11

LissaKay -
I thoroughly enjoyed Swan. It was a no brainer for price, and proximity to Parks. We flew into MCO, and there is some issue with Uber and the airport, so we found a last minute car service we found while we were waiting for our flight. If we could not find a car service, we would have taken a standard taxi. As I understand it, Uber is not allowed into MCO for pickups. They can drop off - no problem, but they cannot do pickups. Uber suggested to try to find a free airport shuttle anywhere off airport property to arrange a pickup. We opted for cab or car service to avoid the extra steps. Not sure if there is an issue with Sanford, but check on it. That was another thing out of left field for us. We ubered back to the airport for departure with no issue.

We booked this trip through Costco travel. One price. Great price. No hidden fees. I requested the front desk to have a list of room upgrades available a few weeks before our stay. No mention of it when we checked in. We had a room with a resort view and balcony. We requested two queens instead of one king. That request was met.

Restaurants:
Picabu -
We only went to picabu once. I assumed that's where we would eat most of our meals, but it just didn't work out that way. I got the steak tacos. 3 steak tacos, pretty much anything you want on them. The corn tortillas were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. That's about the best I can say. 10.95. 3 steak tacos. I expected rice and beans...nope. Jr had a kid's burger meal. I'd trust Picabu with a burger if we went back. They piqued my interest with a half and whole chicken meal, which appeared to be priced very well. The chicken parts were held in a heated pan. After seeing the chicken parts on two occasions, they seemed pretty tired. Oh yeah - I did get a side of collard greens with my tacos. Not bad.

The Fountain:
I'd go back here. Diner style sandwiches, onion rings/fries/shakes. We had the flagship turkey sandwich, a pullled pork sandwich, and a kid's meal. All very decent. Probably overpriced by two dollars for each sammich, but still, pretty good. We were going to try Fresh Med, but it was closed at like 12pm on a Sunday - so beware - check times. The Fountain is just outside of Fresh MEd.

Kimonos -
If you dig on sushi, you'll noticed that some things on Kimonos' menu are priced about what you'd think they should be, but other things are overpriced. If you stick with the normally priced stuff, I think you'll be nicely surprised. Also, if you are there on Karaoke night with kids, beware of expletives. No biggie. For the quality, even though it's just sushi which is pricey no matter what, I'd say we'd happily go back to Kimonos more than once if we did another 6day at Swan. It was worth the premium price over Disney and overpriced hotel food. And it wasn't really expensive in the realm of decent sushi.

Garden Grove -
We did the breakfast buffet on departure day after working up a big appetite swimming. We only chose GG because it was a few dollars cheaper than Fresh MEd. Tell you what. At Garden Groove for the breakfast buffet, the good stuff was good, and the bad stuff was bottom of the barrel. I'd say if it was closer to 20 bucks per adult, then it would be a pretty decent value.
The good:
They had smoothies in individual glasses on a bed of ice. 4 or 5 different flavors. AWESOME!!!
The omelette station: AWESOME!!
The Oatmeal (with fixin's bar) AWESOME!!!
The cinnamon rolls AWESOME!!!
The fruits: AWESOME!!

The bad:
Seriously, everything else was pretty bottom of the barrel quality garbage:
Scrambled eggs
bacon
sausage
Bfast Potatoes
pancakes - hilarious - hard and dense.
Most of the pastries were big grocery store quality (but the cinnamon rolls were dense and chewy, wish I saved room for another one)

So the price for GG Buffet - not worth it imo for the stuff that was good. We'd try Fresh Med next time, and hope for an uptick in quality for the extra few bucks.

We didn't try the other cheap sandwich place, or Bluezoo, or Shula's. They also had a place called, "Anthony's" for late night pizza/burger/wings. Also, if you see mentions of their food truck courtyard? Don't get your hopes up. It's a small courtyard next to the Swan's pool and hot tub. In between the swan pool, and the playground/ beach area that leads to the Dolphin area pool complex (which was all kinds of awesome, by the way.) The food truck area looked like nobody had fired anything up since the 70's. There were 4 or 5 little trucks stationed, but I'm guessing if you opened up one of the doors, a few families of raccoons would run out.

P.S. - If you like Ice cream, we didn't try any ice cream at The Fountain, but lemme tell ya - Ample Hills Creamery on the Boardwalk (about a 7 minute walk from the hotel) was pretty damn good. Not too sweet. Don't forget, your back door is basically the Boardwalk, so you have those places to include as options for hotel dining. Swan rocked. We'll definitely return. Hopefully we didn't just get lucky with everything being so smooth. No problems, nice room, housekeeping was awesome. The one snafu we ran into tho - you'll read about it soon. More of a problem with the $%^&* Disney Bus System, but I'm over it....now.


#12

Ok, So we're up to Sunday, 6 November.

Today's main goal is five-fold:
1. Take care of any unfinished business at DHS
2. Lengthy hotel / pool break mid-day
3. Tackle Chef Mickey's (never been)
4. Another light night tour of MK, with an exit before Wishes
5. Another Dole Whip (duh)

AM EMH at Hollywood. Up and at em early. Another sunny day on tap. I had planned this as Day 2 of Jedi training, but Jr did not wanna do it. As it was an am emh day, and we also had a paper fastpass burning a hole in our pocket, I figured we'd hop on the boat, and just do what we wanted to in a very relaxed manner. I tried my best to talk jr into TOT, but he was just not budging. No chance the mrs was gonna do it. Even if I tricked her into doing it, she'd probably kill me afterwards. What stinks is that I know jr would love it, but he was just not budging, after bag check, I veered to the right while they sauntered onwards towards Toy Story. We met at Launch Bay afterwards.

TOT is everything.

RNR was closed for refurb, but I can't imagine it being better than TOT.

I'm pretty sure we just re-hashed Launch Bay, took a turn on Star Tours, watched the Green Army Men "show" - why aren't show times listed for that - it's pretty funny! We ended with using the FP for Toy Story, then doing the Disney Visa M&G (Kylo again.)

Hollywood - crossed off. Star Wars..DONE.
Swan/Dolphin pool chill time for most of the afternoon. Gotta say, their pools complex is pretty sweet.

Chef Mickey's at 5:30pm. Bus to MK, walk to the Contemp. I was wondering if I was going to despise CM's. I didn't. The buffet is overpriced, sure. There are grenades on the buffet, sure. But, I truly don't get all of the hate for CM's. On this day, the short ribs, roast beef, roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, were VERY good. I even grabbed five pieces of the spicy tuna rolls which turned out to be a minor mistake - just not as good as I hoped, but I ate them all. The Mrs and Jr declared the clam chowder vile, that was enough for me to not try it. I forgot what else I tried, but I took little tiny taste portions on my first pass, and then loaded up on the roast beast, roast turkey, taters and gravy on my second, and I ate well. Over priced, yes, but....
IMO, if you factor in what ELSE you get a CM's (no salmonella jokes, please!) the price CAN be worth it.

You will get an interaction and a photo opp with each of the "fab 5"
You will get a sit down ish meal
You will get a break
It's ON the monorail line
You can combine all of that and not have to wait in the park for the character meet.

I thought it was worth it. I don't know if we need to do it again, but I'd suggest that other ppl do it if they haven't, and they would like the character portion of it.
Donald Duck was hilarious. It was wine and dine half marathon wknd, and some of the runners were walking around with their medallions. Donald asked a lady if he could "see" her medallion..then he took off with it. Pluto came around, and Donald was trying to convince him that he won it himself, Pluto didn't believe him. It was a very silly spectacle, everyone was laughing. Then Donald finally "gave in," and offered the medallion back to the lady. She reached for it, and he snapped his hand back, and took off again.

Night tour of MK was simple and relaxed. Another night go round of the Speedway + 7dmt, and whatever else. I forgot. Maybe Buzz and the people mover (underrated!) I know we made our way back to Alladdin's Magic Carpets And Dole Whips eventually. Hopped on the bus back as Wishes was lighting up the sky. Oddly - you can catch a decent portion of it at the bus stops!

Next up - AM EMH at AK - AKA - WHERE IN THE HOLY %$^#& IS THE DISNEY BUS??????


#13

Can't wait to find out the answer to that question!! :smile:


#14

Ok, now we're up to the last touring day of our trip, Monday, 7 November. Today's plan is simple, but busy:

  1. 8am EMH at AK + hitting the major attractions + FLAME TREE BBQ FOR LUNCHIES!!!!!
  2. Quick swim at the hotel
  3. Hoping to snag a tier1 fp at Epcot
  4. Agent P at Epcot plus a leisurely tour of World Showcase to stuff our faces, and then catch Illuminations.

I had the family up at 6:45am. Jr was having a bowl of cereal while the mrs and I took quick showers and had coffee. We were in bed early the night before. We were ready. No foggy am haze, we were "bright eyed and bushy-tailed." Ready to explore AK. We were at the bus stop at 7:30 am. There were about 15 ppl already there waiting. I took this as a FANTASTIC sign, assuming we didn't "just miss" a bus. And we waited. And waited. And waited. The queue grew. And grew. And grew. Oh, yeah - the day before, I specifically asked what time the bus should be expected for AK's magic hours at 8am. Why? because Uber is fantastic, and I would have NO ISSUE AT ALL ordering an Uber to get us to AK for 8am.

No bus.
People waiting were getting VERY agitated.
I called the Disney desk of the hotel. (I've called the disney desk with questions probably 5 times previously - they've never answered.)

I called the hotel front desk and pretty much unloaded. I requested an eta of the bus. They told me they had gotten several complaints already, and the eta was...8 &&^%^& 10!! (8:10.) I unloaded a little more to the csr. He apologized several times, but I told him each time that I was definitely not mad at him, and that he didn't need to apologize. What he needed to do was understand that everyone now waiting for this AK bus was not going to fit, and that the crazy amount of time and money that ppl have spent on this vacation was now being totally crapped on. I assured him that I was not mad at him.

Uber would have cost about 7 dollars, and would have been on time. I would have GLADLY gone with Uber, but we were ready to rock with definite time to spare to catch the friggin bus. If we didn't plan early bed, and lay ouor clothes out, and pack the backpack the night before, I would be happy to rock an Uber. The 7 dollars is practically NOTHING compared to the cost of the trip, and the time saved waiting for a bus, and needing to budget extra time for the bus. THIS IS WHAT MADE ME START THINKING OF MY MURDER DEFENSE.

All righty, so the internal debate of how to handle the possible pre-meditated murder charges aside, the bus showed up, half the people couldn't get on. I told several of the obviously irate ppl to complain to the desk when they got back, maybe we'd all score a free meal, or maybe a fastpass or two. They all eagerly agreed that would be a great idea - more on that later...grrr.

We got to AK at about 8:20, and I was steaming. We headed straight for the safari, and had to wait about 10 minutes. Not bad, but please understand, I had planned to be done with the safari and in line for Everest by about 8:30. The attractions were STEADILY growing while we were running behind schedule.
All crowd level predictions were a total failure for some reason. AK was an absolute zoo that day. This only added to my wanting to stab someone in the knee with a spoon...repeatedly.

(I'm over it - but not really. If the hotel would have sent a rep out and just said, "Sorry, the Disney Busses are flippin late. The eta is 8:10" as soon as they started getting the complaints, I'm guessing everyone that wanted to get there would have just called an uber..NO BIG DEAL. Probably had plenty of time to do it. Ubers are all over wdw. Every time we called one, it was there in under 3 minutes. Almost crazy! Instead, we got bent over...ROYALLY.)

AK was pretty cool. Definitely a way different feel. We still did everything we wanted to, but we got out of there MUCH later than we wanted. Word to the wise - I read on a few diff sites that at every showing of, "it's tough to be a bug," there will be frightened kids screaming, and parents leaving with those kids. It's true. Once again, however, we agreed that the 3d shows at WDW are all waaaaaay underrated. Mupppets 3d, Philharmagic, and Bug - all just fantastic.

I gotta start getting things together for Thanksgiving here.
More to come.


#15

All righty -
So, after the AK tragedy, (no really, I'm over it!) we headed back to the hotel for a swim break to work up an appetite for F&W at WS. Our basic plan for after AK:

Swim
Take the boat to Epcot
Try MS Orange
Catch Sergio, the Chinese acrobats, Check out the Disney Visa perk at the American Pavillion
Eat a bunch
Watch Illuminations

Well...We missed all of stuff we wanted to do at WS except eating and the Chinese Acrobats.
We just had too much fun swimming, and the Mrs got a work call emergency. I forgot what we were supposed to look for when staking out a spot for Illuminations, so we found an open spot along the tall tan wall kinda between Morrocco and whatever country would be one space towards the International Gateway. It was an obstructed view, but still OK. We were fine. Wished we left the pool a little bit earlier though. We only had time to try:

Potstickers from the booth outside of China - Mrs and the boy only. Crazily overpriced, but they said they were good.

BBQ beef with Kimchi from the Korean Booth - Mrs and the boy liked it a lot. I thought the beef was way too salty.

I bee lined it to Tangierene Cafe and got the Chicken&Lamb combo to eat while watching Illuminations. We all split it. It was edible. The hummus was better than I thought it would be. Everything else was decently edible, but nothing fantastic.

After Illuminations, we walked back to the hotel. AMPLE. HILLS. CREAMERY. THAT PLACE IS THE TRUTH! Only had one cone there, but you can tell that everything is going o be fantastic. Rich, smooth, and not too sweet at all. We will definitely make it a point to go there multiple times if we stay in an Epcot resort again. Count on it. I also popped in to the Boardwalk Bakery. I was hoping to find some rumored Maple Bacon Pecan Pie type of thing. They looked at me like I had three heads. Settled for an awesome looking individual fruit tart, and a chocolate chip cookie. No need to go there again. Neither item tasted like "more." Kinda blah. Ample Hills though - highly, highly, recommend.

Tuesday, 8 Nov:
Last day in the world. Woke up, got the bags packed, and headed to the pools.
After the pools, we opted for the hotel buffet breakfast at Garden Grove. Way overpriced. Some things were VERY good, but most of it was not the greatest quality at all.
The VERY good:
Build your own omelette station - fresh veggies, made to order. Fantastic.
Hot cereal station, yogurt bar. Oatmeal, grits, yogurt, plenty of toppings.
Cinnamon rolls in the pastry were REALLY good. Dense and chewy.
Smoothie Bar - 4 or 5 different flavors in single serve glasses on ice - VERY NICE.

The Horriffic:
Pancakes - dense and hard
all breakfast meats were an oversalted mess.
All breakfast potatoes were an oversalted mess
The pastries, except for the cinnamon rolls, were grocery store quality.
Most of the food on the hot section was dried out and tired from sitting too long.

I think they'd do MUCH better if they lowered the price by 5 dollars, and scaled back on the offerings. The bottom of the barrel quality on some of the offerings was VERY obvious. The decent offerings did not make up for the garbage at their price point.

We grabbed an uber (again, fantastic service they are providing. Cheap, quick, efficient.) back to MCO, and had a pretty uneventful flight. Had a fantastic time at WDW. The mrs was skeptical, but she said it was way better than she thought it would be. Thanks to all the liners that helped with my questions. TOURING PLANS and the UNOFFICIAL GUIDES absolutely rock! I'm still checking in every once in a while and offering advice. The best advice is to:
1. remember to have fun
2. Plan, plan, plan - even try to plan the spontaneity.
3. If you are traveling with kids, remember, they will get tired, and also, they might really find something interesting that you didn't account for.
4. Sometimes, the money is worth spending (I'm looking at you, Chef Mickey's, and Extra Morning Magic, and On-Site resorts!)
5. If you like food, and come from a place with lots of really good ethnic food choices, you really have to research the options. The quality control at WDW, imo, is haphazard at best. One QS 15.00 meal can be fantastic, while another QS 15.00 meal will wind up in the trash, in it's entirety.
6, As one of my co-workers stated when he got back last month: "Pineapple Floats are the SH!T!!!" (They REALLY, REALLY are. I'm pondering buying the 4 lb bag of the mix from ebay.)
7. Remember again, to have fun, and try to spread pixie dust where you can.

For the most part, our trip went as planned, and I'd say for the most part, we absolutely CRUSHED it. We pretty much did everything we wanted to do, and we were not sad to leave. We heard from a friend that their friends did WDW around the same time we did, and they said they were miserable, and didn't find it great at all. I almost can't even understand how that could happen when there are resources like this. The first thing I would say to them would be, "WHAT WAS YOUR TOURING PLAN?"

I can already feel super confident about our next trip. I wouldn't hesitate to stay at Swan again, but I have to say, part of the reason I did choose Swan was the food reviews. The hotel restaurants didn't really live up to my expectations, but I have a feeling that a true Disney run resort might be even worse - except for the Contemporary, but Swan being easy walking distance to Hollywood and Epcot is a major plus, IMO.

Thanks again, everyone! See ya real soon!

I'll leave those of you that know, with this. These alone, make me wanna get back asap:


#16

Glad you guys had a great time...despite the bus issue...that is always one of my fears! I have yet to experience a Dole Whip...float or otherwise...but you've reminded me to put it back on my list! Thank you for sharing!!


#17

Bus issues notwithstanding (and I agree you had a doozy!) it sounds like you had a great trip! And I totally agree with you on the non-planners. I've had coworkers scoff at the level of my planning (and I will admit I am an over-the-top type A planner) but our trips are always fabulous, and many of theirs are just, meh. And yes, the resources are out there and you don't even have to look too hard!


#18

Dole Whips really are as good as they say they are. Float of just a cup, it doesn't matter. It is AMAZING.


#19

Sounds sooo good! I could use one right now...in WDW of course!!