I am going to do a longer trip report than I have in the past. Maybe some of our plans and experiences will be helpful to someone here! I actually took some notes during the trip so I would have something more specific to share.
We spent a week at the Caribbean Beach Resort, from 1/20 to 1/28, and it was a relaxing trip. It was our sixth family trip (fifth at the CBR!) and we felt that we didn’t need quite as much park time as I had planned. But no one was ready to go home! So I think the next trip we’ll plan to spend one less day in the parks. A whole day to spend at the resort/Disney Springs instead of the parks would probably have been perfect!
Our family for this trip was my husband (59) and me (51) and our three younger children (daughters 23 and 18 and son 16). Our daughters were the ones who really pushed for this trip. We always think that our current trip will be our last trip together, but we always seem to find the money/time for another one. Speaking about money – for many years we have had a vacation fund that we add to monthly and the $$ does add up. We never spend the whole thing, like we would if we stayed at the Poly or the GF, so we always have a nice amount left towards another trip.
We live in Brooklyn, NY and flew Jet Blue out of JFK. TSA and the flight were fine, though I did get a tiny pat-down for the first time. I always wear an underwire so why it was a thing this time I don’t know. But it was super-quick and not as bad as I thought it would be.
The CBR sent texts that our rooms were ready while we were still getting on the Magical Express. But we had to stop at the Customs House first anyway, as three of our magic bands were not activated. We took care of that quickly and bell services took us over to our rooms.
We had preferred rooms in Trinidad South – 3113 and 3114. These were adjacent but not adjoining. They were on the ground floor, as we had requested, and the view was of a path, not a parking lot or a courtyard. Not our favorite view, but still pretty. This was our second stay in Trinidad South and I was not crazy about it. We were close to the pool, but not OPR. It takes as long to walk around to the food court as it would to walk over the bridge. Walking to the side door of the shop is much quicker, but that door is not open early enough for it to be useful in the morning. I think Martinique is worth the extra money, but not Trinidad South.
However, it wasn’t worth changing rooms as everything else was great. The Murphy beds were unnecessary, but I liked the benches. And we love the beds and find them extremely comfortable. Housekeeping was great, as usual. It was very clean and there were plenty of towels. One afternoon I called and asked for an extra blanket; they brought two to the room before evening.
Before I get into our actual trip, some more info:
The buses. We waited a long time – 20m – twice. Once for Disney Springs one afternoon and once on our way to a park, can’t remember which one now. But it was in the morning and I guess that we had just missed one. The rest of the time it was 10m or less - usually less, so not a big deal. One night, leaving a park, the bus driver actually waited 2 minutes for my daughter who had stopped in the bathroom on the way. Pretty nice!
We had the regular Dining Plan as part of the Stay/Play/Dine package. It works out to about half the usual price, which is not as great as the Free Dining we have had a few times in the past, but still a good deal. Two snacks a day was A LOT and we had a bunch left over, as well as a counter service. So we brought home some caramel corn and those Mickey shortbread cookies that we love. We always eat a few things off plan and I think we might do better without the DP, but my husband thinks this is the better way to go.
I have been having a lot of phone trouble and should have upgraded before the trip. I couldn’t even load MDE on my phone at all and Lines was slow, so I gave up doing more than commenting occasionally. I wanted to put in wait times and adjust my TPs, but it was not to be. Everyone had a copy of our daily plans (which I planned out on TP and then put into a doc) on their phones and we just referred to that. My husband had MDE so he would check wait times for us.
One of our daughters has multiple food allergies so we spoke to the chef in most restaurants. Sometimes just speaking with the wait staff was enough. Disney is great about this! We filled out a form in advance so each restaurant was prepared for her. Sometimes there was something on the menu that she could eat as is or with a little modification, and sometimes they made her something special. Desserts were better than last trip. She had either fresh fruit, Babycakes cupcakes, Rice Dream ice cream with Enjoy Life cookies – this was a big hit as they looked like Mickey ears in the ice cream! – sorbet, or just the cookies.
Wheelchair. Since our last trip, I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am fine at home but I would need to walk way more at WDW than in my regular life. We decided to rent a wheelchair in the parks while we were there, so I could use it as needed. We got the week-long thing, which was at a slight discount, and picked one up every day at the park. This way I didn’t have the hassle of having it on the bus. This worked out well. I never got too exhausted and had hardly any pain and they all took turns pushing me when I needed to sit. I actually used it more than I intended because we all discovered that they could push me faster than I wanted to walk. And I had no problem pushing it myself when I went off on my own or I got tired of sitting (yes, sitting too long is tiring too.)
Using a wheelchair on the rides was interesting. Sometimes we had to use a separate line/entrance and other times we just used the regular or FP line. The Cast members were great about it and always made it very easy for us. Twice I could tell that we got on the ride sooner than we would have if we had been waiting on the regular line, but I got the feeling it was because it was easier for them, not because they were favoring anyone in a wheelchair.
OK – on to our first day!