Trip Report - January 2017


#1

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!


#2

Thanks for sharing! My DS22 will only go on certain trips with us and WDW is definitely one of them.....I don't think he will ever stop wanting to come with us! Looking forward to hearing the rest :grinning:


#3

Sounds like a great start...thanks for taking us along...:grinning:


#4

I like your report and look forward to the rest. Looks like things are going good for you and everyone.


#5

Day 1 was Friday and we went to the Magic Kingdom for our first afternoon/evening. We settled into our rooms and then got to the bus stop a bit after 2. I had FPs for BTM @3:50, Pirates @4:55, and Jungle Cruise @7:05. We also had an ADR for Skipper Canteen @5:45. We took our time walking up Main Street and then ran for Space Mountain. Well –except me, as I am not a fan of SM. I met everyone at BTM and we rode together, then we hit Splash, then Pirates.

Then it was time for dinner, which was good. The kids had not been there before and they really loved it. We had the Falafel, Steak, Pasta, and Chicken. The “Tastes like Chicken” chicken is pretty spicy – delicious, but more spicy than I expected. All the food was quite good. The Kungaloosh cake is great, and we really liked the coconut bar. Service was great, and we were able to walk around and check out the décor in all the rooms. We were seated immediately, even though we checked in before our reservation time.

After dinner we rode the Jungle Cruise. They had some new jokes but our boat was pretty dead and we were the only ones laughing! Then we split up. One daughter doesn’t like fireworks so she window shopped down Main Street and then went back to the room before Wishes. My husband and son like to ride BTM during Wishes so they went to Frontier Land and rode it a zillion times. My other daughter and I watched Wishes from a path near the Noodle Terrace. We sat in the seats in front of the Plaza till right before it started, and then walked to our right till we had a good view. If the park had been much more crowded I don’t think we would have been able to wait as long to get a decent spot.

After Wishes we headed back to the bus stop, but we weren’t in a hurry. It was just lovely, walking down Main Street again!


#6

Enjoying the read!


#7

Sounds like a good first day.


#8

Looking forward to the rest.


#9

Day 2 was Saturday. We went to Epcot and the new Festival of the Arts was on. Because of the Festival I wasn’t sure how our day would go so I planned very loosely. I knew that we would do Soarin’ first thing, and then we had lunch ADRs for The Rose and Crown @1:15. Our FPs were not till much later – Frozen @4:55, Character Spot @6:50 (sort of a throwaway), and SSE @7:55.

Because of the Festival the day got quite crowded…but we were there at RD so we stayed ahead of the crowds for the most part. While we were waiting at the tapstiles, the Jammitors came out. We had never seen them before and we were very impressed! They let us in a little early and we were on line for Soarin’ by 8:55. It was AMAZING! I was worried, as Soarin’ is my favorite thing in Epcot, and I wasn’t too happy about the idea of change. But it was so good. I actually spent half the ride with my mouth hanging open!

After Soarin’ we had breakfast at Sunshine Seasons. They no longer have the Croissant Berry Bread Pudding which made us very sad, as it was a family favorite. But we sucked it up and some of us had the Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding. It was quite good…but not the same. We rode the Land and then got ready to check out the Festival.

We had the little Passport to help us plan and first walked over to the Odyssey. On the way we caught a High School Jazz band performing – they were really good! And we took some pictures in front of some big Festival signs, which were awesome. The Art Exhibits were small but wonderful. My daughters and I love love love Mary Blair and seeing her original work was really special. We’d never heard of Herb Ryman but we were quite impressed. His work reminded me a bit of Leroy Neiman. There was a long line for a class that started while we were there. I am not artistic at all…but it looked like so much fun!

We saw tons of merchandise and food booths over the day. Figment is not my favorite but I think using him in the promo stuff was a great idea. Everything was beautiful and the treats all looked tasty. Over the day we had the croissant donuts – very good, the S’Mores – not that good, the Port – my daughter liked it!, Frangipane Cake – basically a flat Rainbow Cookie, but pretty good, and some drinks that I can’t remember. Our favorite things were the photo booths with famous paintings. That was so much fun!! I will be posting some pictures after we get our personal and Photopass pictures organized. Overall, we enjoyed the Festival. But, it would have been overwhelming if it had been our first time in Epcot!

After the Odyssey, we walked back to Canada and started the World Showcase. There was a Native American group that did some dances and they were breathtaking. Best thing we experienced all week, I think. The chief – leader? – and his family had carved and brought new totem poles for the Canadian Pavilion. The cast member in the shop explained the stories on the totem poles to us and we were able to appreciate them so much more. Here’s a link to more information about them - https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2017/01/all-in-the-details-storytelling-totem-poles-at-epcots-canada-pavilion/

After that it was time for lunch. We love the Rose and Crown and eat there on every trip, but this was our first time having lunch. There is often a little wait but we were seated about 15m after we checked in, so right at our reservation time. We ordered the Fish and Chips, Bangers and Mash, Steak, Corned Beef, and Curry, as well as the Sticky Toffee Pudding, Fruit Crumble, and Jaffa Tarts. The Jaffa Tarts were not a hit (I think my husband thought that they would be more chocolatey) but everything else was great. Service was good but I hate the bathrooms there, as you have to plow through everyone at the bar to get there and then there is always a line. I actually leave the restaurant and run over to use the regular UK bathrooms.

After lunch we walked around the WS for about 3 hours, stopping at every booth, but only going in to a few of the Pavilions. We had another day planned for Epcot so we didn’t need to cram it all in. We got to Norway to use our FP at around 5:30. Frozen Ever After was fine but we would never wait on a long line for it. Well, that’s because we don’t have little ones! I think that they did a great job on the expansion of the Pavilion. Everything was the usual Disney perfection.

After Norway we walked through Mexico and then skipped the Character Spot that we had the FP for in favor of seeing Joy and Sadness. Oh my that was a long line – at least 30m!! But it was worth it. They were so wonderful and really spent a lot of time with us, even though we were all adults. Afterwards we got burgers at the Electric Umbrella and then found out that SSE was down. It never did come back up but it was not a big deal. My 18yo went back to the room and the rest of us headed up to watch Illuminations. We got a decent spot by the rail right before Canada and my son ran to France for an Ice Cream cone while we waited. The show was satisfying and then it was time for the bus and bed.


#10

Sounds like you're having a great time..Enjoying your relaxed approach to touring..


#11

Love this. reminds me of taking your time and enjoying yourself while anywhere at Disney World.


#12

I am enjoying your report! Do you remember what section you sat in at Soarin?


#13

Section B row 2 towards the left side. My kids were more in the middle! I prefer to wait for B seats if at all possible :slight_smile:


#14

I'm enjoying your trip report! It sounds like a great approach to touring, rather than the frenzied paced approach. :slight_smile:


#15

Day 3 was Sunday – and it rained. It was our AK Day and we had an ADR for the Yak and Yeti @1:15. Our FPs were for the Safari @9:10, Dinosaur @11:15, and Everest @12:30. Our plan was to split up in the late afternoon. My husband and son wanted to stay in the AK till dark, as it’s never been open late enough (at least, while we were there!) before! The girls and I planned an evening at Disney Springs. Everyone was a little tired and, though we got to the park early, we all moved kind of slowly all day. We were there early enough to see the birds fly, which I really love. Three of us ran to Everest and two of us headed leisurely over towards the Safari. On the way we stopped at the Baby Care Center, which is where you can buy some feminine care products if you are unprepared because you didn’t think you’d need to bring many and the shop at the CBR was not open before you got on the bus…ahem. Just thought this piece of information was valuable lol! BTW, the Baby Care Center is gorgeous. I mean, SO NICE! I wonder if they are all that nice? Anyway.

By 9:30 we were all ready for the Safari. It was an unusually good one this time. We saw lots of animals and our guide was great. Afterwards we had some family shenanigans (who needed coffee – not me, who needed to eat right away because they skipped breakfast, even though we had planned to eat before the park– not me, who got aggravated – me!) but we were only about 30m behind plan when we got on the train for Rafiki. We were able to spend some time watching the vets through the window and the train ride is something we all love.

Then we headed to Dinosaur. It had been several years since we rode it so it was a lot of fun, as we had forgotten some stuff about the ride. Hello Mrs. Huxtable! I had planned for the kids to have time to ride Primeval Whirl and hang out in the boneyard (I don’t think they’ll ever be too old for that!) but we skipped them, as we had to get to Everest to use our FPs before lunch.

When we got to the Y&Y, we were seated very quickly. Lunch was delicious. It was our children’s first time there and they spent some time looking at everything. I think this is a lovely restaurant. The service was exceptional and the food was good – Dim Sum Basket, Chicken Lo Mein, Chicken Tikka Masala, Burger, Teriyaki Chicken, Sorbet, Chocolate Cake, Pineapple Cake. The Tikka Masala was spicier than last time and my husband didn’t like it as much. They substituted Jasmine Rice for the Coconut Rice in the Teriyaki Chicken for me and it was really good, especially the vegetables. The chocolate cake was delicious but just too much. At least, for those had eaten a late breakfast! No, really, it was too much for me too. I took most of mine to go.

After lunch the drizzle started turning into rain and the forecast said it would rain the rest of the day. And, honestly, we were all at least a little bit grumpy. We wouldn’t cancel a day in the parks just because it was pouring…but an evening after a long day is different. We all agreed that we should change our plans but it took a while to decide what we all wanted. In the end, I made an ADR for Shutters for that evening, and cancelled the one we had for the next evening. Instead of doing the Jungle Trek and Festival of the Lion King, which are my favorite things at AK, we went back to the hotel and just caught the beginning of a real downpour. I took a nap and, as the weather cleared up for a while, they went in the pool/hot tub. It started to rain again and we all went to dinner.

We always eat at Shutters but this time no one was that hungry. So we didn’t use the Dining Plan and just shared some appetizers and desserts. We had Soup, Salad, Wings, Tres Leches Cake, and Bread Pudding. Delicious food and excellent service went a long way towards making it a fun evening! Later on, we all lay around in bed and relaxed. I may have missed my favorite things at the AK, but I had no regrets, as I think we all benefited from a chill afternoon/evening. However, if this had happened on our first or second trip…well, I would probably have been fuming. I love that we can be more easy-going with every trip. Visit some old favorites, check out what’s new, push ourselves some days, relax on others.


#16

Here are a few pictures from our first day. I wish that I could figure out how to make them a little smaller - any thoughts?

Here are my sleepy kids at the airport - it was an early morning.

Here are some of the great Cast Members at the Skipper Canteen


#17

Day 2 pictures -

The Git-Hoan Dancers. I wish this picture really captured the intensity and beauty of the dancing...

The UK was not too crowded at around 12:30...but it filled up later!

My daughter and I enjoying the Festival of the Arts

Joy and Sadness - with Fear, Disgust, and Anger :wink:


#18

And Day 3 -

The Safari was lovely - the lion was on the highest rock!

Shutters appetizers -

Relaxing in bed -


#19

Can't wait to read more!


#20

Thanks for all the photos...love following along...