Trip Report Minnie2000's trip to Saratoga Springs August 2016

Hi everyone, we arrived home on Monday morning after an amazing holiday at WDW.

The people on this trip were me, DH, DD (19) and DD(15).

We left home on Saturday 20th August, and were driven to a hotel near Heathrow Airport by my DD's lovely boyfriend.

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I was lucky enough to be sitting in the front of the car!

After a three hour drive, he dropped us at the Novotel Heathrow. It was a very nice hotel, at a good price. We went downstairs for a meal in the hotel's restaurant, and then went to bed as we had an early start in the morning.

We got up at about 5 on Sunday morning, showered and left the hotel. We had a taxi into the airport and checked our baggage in. We had a few hours to wait, so we had a look around the shops, (loved the giant teddy in Harrod's!)

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and had some breakfast. DD and I tried the avocado on toast and loved it, and had it for breakfast a few times on holiday too.

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We boarded the plane and flew to JFK. We usually fly direct to MCO, but found much cheaper flights by having one stop. The first trip to JFK went really quickly, but we had a bit of a wait there. We went through immigration immediately - no long queues like at MCO! Our next flight was delayed a bit, so we had a four hour wait at the airport which seemed really long. We had a look around the shops and went to MacDonalds.

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We finally boarded our Delta flight to Orlando, and landed at around 9 in the evening. We picked up our car from Alamo, and drove to Saratoga Springs.

We've been to WDW many times, but I like to have a map in the car, and there is usually one provided by Alamo. They didn't give us one this time, and by the time I realised this, we had left the airport! We followed the signs for Disney World, and luckily made it to Saratoga Springs with no problems. We were looking forward to seeing the welcome arch, and I filmed it with my phone. Sadly there were road works, so the lights were not on on the arch!

We arrived at SS, and checked in. We found our room, 5114, in the Paddock section, right next to the pool as I had requested. I did worry that it might be noisy, but it wasn't at all. We went to the quick service restaurant, Artist's Palette, and had a meal and picked up our refillable mugs. The meal there was just ok. By this time, we had been awake for about 23 hours, so we went to bed and slept immediately!
 

minnie2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We were awake very early on the Monday morning, because of the time difference. We got to Epcot at about 7.45, and went into the park.

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It was really empty, I loved it! I have never seen so few people there!

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We made our way to the Garden Grill, and checked in for our breakfast by 8.05. We have been to the Garden Grill for lunch before, but it was a long time ago. I didn't know how good the breakfast would be, but it seemed a great way of getting in to the park early!

When we sat down for breakfast, our server told us about the food. It was a sticky cinnamon bun, fruit, and then eggs, bacon, ham, potatoes, waffles and chocolate sauce. We said not to the bring the bun, as none of us like cinnamon, but she insisted. We were so glad, we loved it! Everything was good, especially the lovely crunchy potatoes, and the pog juice, which we've had before in the Kona Café and 'Ohana.

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We enjoyed the meal so much, that we decided to come back. Later on that day, I cancelled one of our table service reservations, and made a reservation for breakfast here on our last full day.

We left the restaurant by about 8.45 and went straight on to Soarin'. We were really looking forward to the new film, and were not disappointed. We managed to ride it twice using the standby line, before it started getting busy. We then went on Living with the Land, and straight back to Soarin' as we had fast passes!

We walked over to Test Track and used the single rider line. I think having a single rider line is such a good idea, it means we can do so much more in one day! We walked on to Mission Space, and there was hardly any wait. We all did the green one. I wouldn't even attempt the orange, especially after DH and younger DD tried it last year, and absolutely hated it! It's strange, because DH likes all the fast rides and coasters, but he didn't like MS orange!

We then decided to go on Ellen's Energy Adventure. We hadn't been on it in years, and neither of the DDs could remember going on it. Well, it was long, and a bit boring. We probably won't do it again! Younger DD said that they should have used that for the new Frozen ride, and I think that would have been a good idea.

We were feeling a bit tired, and wanted a short park day, so we left and went to Publix. We bought some essentials to keep in the room, and DD's and my favourite, Ken's honey mustard! We'd tried it years ago in the parks, but they don't have it any more, so we have to buy our own.

When we got back to Saratoga Springs, we went for a walk to explore. We walked to the main reception area. It wasn't too far to walk, but the weather was still hot. The resort is really beautiful, and quiet, when you're away from the pools.

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We walked back and went to spend some time at the pool. I was looking forward to this, because I was so hot. Hot weather doesn't really agree with me, I'm more of a snowy weather person! I got in the pool, and it was like a bath! I wanted to cool down! I still enjoyed it though. Luckily this was the only day that the water was so warm, it was much more pleasant for the rest of the holiday. I dipped my foot in the hot tub, and couldn't believe how hot it was! Much too hot for me to even get in. None of us were able to use the hot tub.

We had an early night after swimming, and got some food from the poolside restaurant. It wasn't very good really, so we decided to use our quick service credits elsewhere when possible. We had lots of extra snacks, as we used our refillable cups. There was a bit of a wasp problem around the drink dispensers, so they closed them, and filled our cups behind the counter for us.

We had a great first day, and had plans for breakfast at the Whispering Canyon Café at the Wilderness Lodge at 7.30 the following morning.
 

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minnie2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Following! Also, so surprised to see Epcot so quiet during the summer

It was only that quiet because it was before 8 in the morning and the park didn't open until 9! The only people there were people who had breakfast reservations. It was much busier later on!
 

minnie2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Tuesday:

Today, our plan was to have breakfast at the Wilderness Lodge, and then spend the day at the Magic Kingdom. We got up early and arrived at the WL at about 7.20. We had a little look around the lobby, and checked in at the Whispering Canyon Café for our breakfast. We were the only people there at the time. We were seated and ordered our breakfast. After a few minutes another family arrived, so there were two tables occupied! It was a little strange, our server was in character, but because the restaurant was practically empty, it felt a little weird. I had read that people have the option there of joining in the fun, or just watching and enjoying it. We didn't have that option, but it was so quiet that it didn't matter.

I had chosen this restaurant because DD loves chocolate chip pancakes, so of course that is what she ordered. She said they were delicious. I had the eggs benedict, which was very good. DD had banana bread fried with a sauce which I think was caramel. It sounded far too sweet to me, but we all tried it and it was delicious, and quite light. DH went for the skillet, which he loved.

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After this, we went for a walk around the WL, and had a look in the shop. It's a really beautiful resort.

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minnie2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
After breakfast, we went back out to the car, and drove to the MK car park. It was quite busy at this point, although it was still before 9. We took the tram, and then the monorail to the MK, and then waited in the security line, and then finally went through the turnstiles. It took a long time to get this far, and it was already very hot.

Looks quiet doesn't it?
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It wasn't. Everyone was still waiting in the bag check line!

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Our first ride in the MK was to be Buzz Lightyear, with fastpasses. We walked there and got on quite quickly. I had been reading up on how to get a high score. I didn't do brilliantly, but I did hit a few good targets and was very proud of my score!

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The girls concentrating hard!
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After this, we decided to go on the Carousel of Progress. We all love this. We must have seen it a hundred times, but it's a classic. After that, it was another favourite, the Peoplemover.
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Our next fastpass was for Splash Mountain, so we decided to walk to Fantasyland and take the train to Frontierland.

I loved these trees in Tomorrowland.

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We got onto Splash quite quickly and had a great time. I had worn a white top, which was a mistake. I didn't want to get it wet and see-through, so I held the bag in front of me!
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We walked through Fantasyland, passing It's a Small World, which was closed for refurbishment. Our first trip without IASW. We'll just have to go back again when it's open!

Next stop was Philharmagic, another favourite, and it never has a long wait. We enjoyed the show as always, and then it was time for our next fastpass, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It's a great ride, but it's over so quickly, which is a shame.

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We had used all our fastpasses, so we went to have a look (and to cool down) in the circus tent. I checked my phone and got fastpasses for Dumbo. This was great, as there was a wait time of 30 minutes! We went straight onto Dumbo, and then I looked for another fastpass.
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Luckily there were fastpasses available for the Little Mermaid, so we got those. We walked over, and were still ten minutes early for our fastpass time, but the lovely cast member let us in anyway.

We had reservations for a late lunch at Be Our Guest at 1.50, so we made our way there.
 

minnie2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We arrived at Be Our Guest, and went straight in, as we had pre-ordered our food. Between us, we had two beef sandwiches, a turkey sandwich, and a pork casserole. We also had a selection of desserts. We thought the food was just ok. DD didn't like the beef, as she thought it was undercooked, so she had my turkey and I had the beef. I loved the beef, so that was fine! We didn't think the cupcakes were great, but none of us really love sweet things, we prefer savoury, so perhaps that was why. I thought it was worth going there for the experience, but maybe not for the food! We have been before for dinner, and that was much better.
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We managed to get another set of fastpasses (six in one day!) for Pirates of the Caribbean, so we walked over there. By this time, we were all hot, full of food and tired, so that was our last ride of the day. We walked back to the front of the park, and got back to the car.

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We headed back to Saratoga Springs, and spent some time by the pool. We had an early night, ready to get up early again the next day!
 

DimpledDevil18

Well-Known Member
Enjoying your trip report! I was there around the same time as you guys (Aug 20th-29th) and it's funny because I went to Epcot on Monday and Magic Kingdom on Tuesday as well! It was very hot and kind of crowded at the MK on Tues if I remember. We also gave up and wound up leaving the park early around maybe 4:00ish. Look forward to reading more!
 

minnie2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
This report has been delayed as I have had problems downloading all my photopass photos. I think I've got them all now, so can carry on. :)

Wednesday:

Today our plans were to visit Hollywood Studios. For some reason I thought it was extra magic hours, so we were there just before 8am. I was wrong, and the park didn't open until 9. :banghead:

We had a nice sit down. Even though it was just after 8am, it was already very hot and humid. They let us into the park at about 8.30 and we walked as far as the bakery and waited there. We split up then, DH went towards the Rock'n'Roller Coaster, and the girls and I went to Toy Story. We got on the ride at about 9, and then met DH outside and rode again with our fastpasses.

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Our next stop was the Great Movie Ride. We haven't been on this for a while, and it had quite a long queue, which surprised me. When we came out we bought a churro with chocolate sauce. We hadn't tried them before, and it was good.

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DH went to ride on the Tower of Terror on his own. The girls and I don't want to ride that one! I get nightmares about getting stuck in an out-of-control elevator, so that ride is not for me. We watched The Little Mermaid instead. :D

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As we left the LM, DH was waiting outside for us, and a parade of storm troopers was going past. DH is a huge Star Wars fan. He has loved Star Wars since he saw it as a little boy when it first came out, so he loved all the Star Wars theming in the park.

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We went to the Star Wars Launch Bay, and watched the film, and walked through the meet and greet section. It was quite busy, so we didn't meet anyone, but hoped to go back again.

Our next fastpass was for Star Tours, so we headed there. There was a long standby line, and we felt very lucky to walk straight through in the fastpass line. We enjoyed that ride very much. It seemed much rougher than I remember.
 

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minnie2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We had lunch in the Backlot Express. Again, DH enjoyed all the Star Wars theming. I had the Darth Vader burger, which had some sort of lovely pulled beef on it, DH had the cheeseburger, and the girls had chicken. It was all very good. The dining plan is great, but there is too much food for us! We tried the BB8 lemon cupcake, and the Darth Vader peanut butter cupcake. None of us liked the lemon one, but the peanut butter one was delicious. It was also very rich, so we didn't manage to finish it.

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Before we left, I managed to get another FP for Toy Story, so we went there and rode again. We used our snack credits to get popcorn for the girls, and headed back to Saratoga Springs.

We try and get this photo every time we go to HS!

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minnie2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We had a long rest in the room, and then we thought we'd go to Disney Springs. We walked over to the boat dock and took the boat there. We looked around the shops and listened to some live music.

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We had a meal at Wolfgang Puck Express, which was actually a counter service restaurant. It was more like table service. We ordered our food, 3 pizzas and one macaroni, and it was brought to our table with drinks. The food was excellent, and very good value for a counter service credit. The only problem was that we felt we ought to leave a tip, but we didn't have much cash on us, as we thought we were just going to get a normal quick service meal. We didn't have 20% of the bill, and only had a few dollars in change. We didn't know whether to leave it or not, in case it was a bit insulting to leave a small amount. In the end, we finished our meal, and left, leaving a few dollars on the table.

We looked around the shops a bit more, and bought some sweet treats to take back to the room from Goofy's Candy Store. These looked great!

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We caught the boat back to SS and fell asleep very quickly, it had been a long day!
 

minnie2000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thursday:

We woke up very early this morning as our younger DD was expecting some exam results. She is not doing her GCSEs until next year, but her class did some sections of the exams this summer, and she also did her Maths GCSE a year early. As we weren't home to go to school to get her results, we had arranged for the school to email them to me.

I woke up at about 5, and noticed that the email was there. DD had said that she wanted to see her results first, so I woke her up and she opened up the email. Huge smiles all round - she did really well and got the results that she wanted!

We all felt great after such a lovely start to the day. We got showered and dressed and had some breakfast. We set off early and got to Epcot by 8am.

We went straight to Soarin' and rode that.
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Then we headed to Test Track and did that twice using the single rider line. We went back to Soarin' again and rode using our fastpasses. I think Soarin' is possibly our favourite ride! We stopped at Sunshine Seasons for a snack, and DD had a strawberry shortcake to celebrate her results!
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After that we walked to The Seas and rode the Nemo ride. We spent some time looking around the aquarium, especially with the manatees, which we all love.
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We walked to the Figment ride and did that. I have always walked straight on this ride, but today there was a short line! Only a few minutes, but I was surprised. I love the jumping water fountains in this area. I remember seeing it on TV when I was a little girl and was fascinated. Today, we didn't stop to see the fountains, as we had a reservation for Chefs de France. We walked to the World Showcase, and took a friendship boat over to Morocco. From there we walked to France and checked in for our lunch.

It was our first time at this restaurant, and we were given a table in the front section, not right next to the window, but close enough to people watch outside!
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We ordered our food. The girls both had the minute steak, which they said was good. DH and I had the tenderloin. It came with a peppercorn sauce, which I don't like, so I asked if I could have something different on it. The waitress suggested garlic butter, so I had that. When the order came, there was a bit of a mix up, and we all had garlic butter. It didn't matter because it was delicious! The steak was excellent, and the potatoes were delicious too.
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For dessert, we had two sorbets with fruit, a meringue and a crème bruleé. They were all wonderful. The meal was a success and we decided that we would definitely go back there another time.
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We had a wander around the French Pavilion and then walked towards the USA. Elder DD loves funnel cake, so she had one as a snack.

We intended to take the friendship boat back, but it wasn't running, so feeling full of food and very hot, we walked back through the countries to the front of the park.

We listened to the German music. We used to live in Germany, and visit Germany or Austria every year, so we really enjoyed this.
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We called into the Mexico Pavilion. We wanted to go on the ride, but there was a long queue! We had never seen that before. We decided to go on the ride another time instead.
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We stopped at Club Cool, my favourite, and went on Spaceship Earth.

We left the park, and headed back to SS for a rest and a swim.
 
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