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Trip Report No bouche for you! But do you want to build a snowman?

Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#1
Hello all! We've been back for almost two weeks now, and while the holidays are still winding down, I still wish I was back in Disney so I figured I'd get this TR started! First the intros -

Who: Myself (Frank), my wife K, and our 4 year old princess C. This would be our second trip as a family in just as many years. I had been many times when I was younger with my family, and K had been a few times in the past. Once we hit college years we had stopped (for some reason), but after last year we were hooked (again for me).

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Also joining for the first half were my in-laws, G & P. They prefer to not have pictures on the internet, so they won’t be visibly appearing in this report.

When: December 9 - 15th 2018 (G & P were the 9th - 12th)

Where: Caribbean Beach Resort, stayed in Aruba 4626. I've always wanted to try this resort, and when I saw the concept art for the renovations I was really excited. We knew it was a risk that construction could get pushed back (and I started getting really nervous in August/September), but with a free dining promotion it was a deal I couldn't pass up! I'll give my thoughts on the resort including the renovations in the report.

Why: I detailed this more in the PTR, but long story short - we're expecting a little mouseketeer in April, and wanted one more big trip just the three of us. Plus the past year had it's ups and down and we could use a good vacation to round out the year. 65 days out G&P asked if they could join, and while it meant re-arranging a bit, we figured the more the merrier!

What this trip report has in store for you: Transportation failures, face-stuffing and imbibing, magic band failures, scooter drama, seasonal merriment, DVC dilemmas (do we join? you'll have to find out!) and of course quite a bit of magic.
 
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Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#2
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Day T-1: December 14th
I don't know if this is normal, or just has become a tradition for us, but it seems like the day before we travel we hit a snag. Especially on our transportation to Florida. Luckily this wasn't as bad as last year (when our 6:30 am flight was moved to 12:30 pm, and after a lot of pleading/yelling/begging we moved to a 6:00 am flight 2 hours away that required us to rent a car and leave at 2 am) . This time we spent a lot of time watching the big storm that was hitting the Southeast US to make sure it wouldn't affect out MVMCP plans, make our landing worse, or cause turbulence (one of the original reasons we booked Sunday - Saturday was to let us drive instead of fly, as K is a nervous flyer). We spoke to our carrier, United, earlier in the week who mentioned our change fees would be next to $0 less than 24 hours before our flight Sunday morning (aka Sat @ 8:15 am) and there was a flight on Saturday night to Orlando. Naively, we didn't realize the cost of that Saturday night flight would triple that morning. So that morning we woke up thinking we would switch, to realize we would be out $750 if we did.... Since the storm was moving a bit North (away from Florida, but still south of Virginia - sorry @DisneyGigi) we figured it wasn't worth the price. All is set then right?

Nope! That morning we got a call from our drive to the airport, saying she had the flu, but could still drive us. It was very much appreciated, but we couldn't in good conscience ask a sick person to drive us at 6:00 am to the airport. I don't know if this is everywhere (last year when we lived near our inlaws they were going to drive us), but to get a car service with a car seat was going to cost us over $100 for a 20 minute drive to the airport! After looking at the options, we decided to just drive to the airport and park our car in the economy lot for the week (still cheaper than the car service, one way!).

With this decided, our (probably most hectic) day before we traveled started. I'll summarize because I doubt you all care:
9:30 am I had to get the dog to the boarders' house
10:00 am I had to get to our community farmhouse to finish prepping for Santa's arrival (we're on the "social committee" and I spent 2 hours Friday night there decorating as K packed).
That morning Santa told C she was leaving for Disney World the next morning and after months of keeping this Secret, C's response was "Oh... ok"...:oops: We all just kind of looked at each other with a "what do we do", but luckily Santa was well versed in young kids and just went with it with a "what do You want for Christmas"?
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I think she was just a bit young to really grasp it, as when we asked her what ride she wanted to go on, and what characters she wanted to meet, she very excitedly (and repeatedly) said (aka screamed) Dumbo! Merida!! Jasmine!

Around 3:00 pm when I finally got our of cleaning up duty, "Santa" delivered her an early gift of a Cinderella dress to wear to dinner at the Castle.

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Once she knew we were leaving the next morning, we all chipped in to finish packing, had an early dinner and actually got to bed at an earlyish time to wake up the next morning for the airport.

It doesn't look that bad on paper, (and I feel like maybe I'm being dramatic) but from 9:30 am - 3:00 pm I was out of the house doing things not related to the trip and came back having to pack and mentally prepare for the trip. One of the downfalls of going in December (but looking back very much worth it).
 

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DisneyGigi

Well-Known Member
#3
If I had to get snow but you guys still got to go, I am okay with that! ;) I don’t want anymore though!!
Following, your little girl is adorable! :)
 

Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#5
I figured I'd get the text heavy posts out of the way.... (As an aside, I thought I documented this trip well in pictures, but looking through my photos, apparently didn't at some points, especially in the beginning!)

Travelling: December 15th
The alarm at 5 am came pretty quickly, but unlike the 6:30 (and 6:45, and 6:55, and 7:00am...) alarm on work mornings, we quickly got up because it was time to get to Disney World! We quickly finished packing,the essentials we needed that morning and I made a cup of coffee, before getting C up (who was also chipper than normal), and quickly got the car ready to go. We were aiming to leave by 6:15, and left at 6:17, not bad! After a 20 minute drive to the airport, I dropped off K and C with the bags. First transportation fail: last year at Philly there was curbside check in that made this easy. This year, there wasn't, and K had to wheel two suitcases, plus a carry on, and keep an eye on C inside while I parked the car. Last year this method worked well, but now not so much.

They made it through security fairly quickly, and I found the economy lot and parked the car and waited for the shuttle.
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One quick note - I'm an ok flyer, but airports make my nerves go in overdrive. It's the one place I figure anything and everything can go wrong, and no matter how small they seem, could cause huge problems like missing a flight (I'm getting agita just writing it). So I was very pleased when the shuttle came within a couple of minutes. The website claimed it would be minutes to the terminal. That was somewhat true, excluding all the stops to pick up other people. After 15 minutes we made it to the terminal, except this dropped us off 2 floors down, and across the street! At this point K and C had already made it through and I was power walking through the terminal to get to security. I made it to security about 6:50 which wasn't too bad I figured....

Except I got there at the worst time. Second transportation fail. They were literally switching lines and processes over, so they were splitting lines in half. At one point I had a guy facing me in front of me with a big suitcase behind him, and the TSA agent telling me to go around him. Me and this guy just looked at each other and shrugged and I told the TSA agent I wasn't that friendly with strangers (I would have had to climb on top of him or at least his suitcase). Finally I got through at 7:20 and we had 20 minutes until boarding started at 7:40. At least the airport was decorated nicely! (Picture taken on the way home, but figured I'd post it here to break up the text...)
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And then we had the longest possible walkways to get through. And 3 huge escalators. And a phonorail. If we weren't rushing I would have taken some photographic evidence. At this point, my fitbit already logged roughly 5,500 steps. K's back was killing her, and we somehow got to the gate just before 7:40.

Now mind you, our plan was to get breakfast in the terminal so we were fairly hungry (especially after our cardio intensive morning). Even though boarding was about to begin, we figured we have assigned seats so we'd grab breakfast. We stopped in an Au Bon Pain, and grabbed some hard boiled eggs for C, some yogurt and granola, and some fruit. Coffee would have to wait til the flight. (Picture taken from google)

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So we get to the flight right before they load our group. Perfect!! We get behind a fairly large family clearly heading to Disney, and think this is perfect! Until this family has no idea what they're doing. Third transportation fail. They have a stroller they forgot to check. They can't find their tickets. I'll admit we can be impatient, but after all this rushing we just are standing there. After about 7 minutes we make it through, and go on the loading tunnel thing. Yes! Or so we think....
 
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MickeyCB

Active Member
#6
Following along...and my stomach is tightening up just reading about your airport adventures! You don't need that kind of excitement as you're headed to Disney!
 

Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#7
Let's wrap up this travel shall we? I apologize again for the text heavy!

The way I deal with the stress of flying is to compartmentalize and set little "goals". Get to the airport, get through security, get on the plane, land, get on the Magical Express etc. So after the little hang up, we are cruising down the ramp and I am comfortable in that we're reaching my next big step of getting on the plane.

Until we stop at the doorway to the plane. The guy/dad from the large family that held us up before is standing there and the flight attendant is asking whether the car seat he is holding is approved for flights. :arghh: The flight attendant explains there should be a sticker, but the father is just staring at him. The flight attendant gets down on the floor and is turning the car seat over looking for this mythical sticker, and just keeps saying "it usually is here... or here... hmmm". Meanwhile they're blocking the way on to the plane. :banghead: After about 5 minutes the guy's wife shows up (I'm guessing she was wondering why he didn't make it to his seat), and the flight attendant fills her in. But like her husband, she just stands there not even saying a word. After about 10 minutes of this, and the line of people waiting to get on the plane has filled the ramp, what I'm guessing is a more senior flight attendant comes over and the original one briefs her on the issue, clearly now frenzied because he doesn't know what to do. The senior flight attendant calms him down, and then does the unthinkable - she moves this party out of the way so the rest of us can board :jawdrop:. I don't blame them for not knowing about the sticker, but I do have an issue with their complacency and not helping to figure it out. I'm not sure what happened to them, but I'm hoping it did work out for them.

We quickly make it to our seats and get situated, and then the ice that has over taken our hearts quickly thins as we look across the aisle and see a family on their Make a Wish trip. It really put everything in perspective at that moment. K and I are trying to think if it would be appropriate to do something for them (and what could we do) when the senior flight attendant comes over with a few men, telling the family that these guys want to switch their first class seats with them! :angelic: The family is clearly moved, and they thank the guys repeatedly, and tell them it's not necessary. They guys (who I don't think knew each other) insist, and then to make it better, start goofing around with the kid on the Make a Wish trip. The one man was a bit older, in a very nice suit and kneeling on the floor playing with this young boy. It was the sweetest thing and got rid of any foul mood we were in! :happy:

After this, nothing out of the ordinary happens. The tablet we got C for flights in the past won't charge any longer, so we brought an old iPad with us to watch movies. Apparently though the iPad is too old to download the United app. So instead we watched Zootopia on my phone. After just over two hours, we land in a very rainy and humid Orlando. We quickly make our way over to the Magic Express (after having a girl pass us remark sadly "oh look they're putting on their Magic Bands....". Guess she was heading home). Our bands scan, and they direct us to a row where we're second in line, and before we know it we're on the bus.

So you know how I had my steps? The Magical Express was the culmination of all of them, and last year, I felt such relief and joy getting on. This year - not so much. I think it was the rain, plus worrying about getting the stroller and ECV when we got to the hotel, plus trying to figure out a plan for lunch and meeting K's parents that my mind was just in overdrive. Oh well, soon we were passing under the arch (the windows were so rain streaked that a picture didn't even make sense to try to take), and we first stopped at Boardwalk, then Yacht and Beach clubs, before stopping at Caribbean Beach. (I was taking it all in, so the only picture I took was of the light in the porte cochere (a nice touch I thought!), so the others I borrowed again.)
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I know some people say the renovations have lost the Disney touch, and I even read one review that said it looked like any Marriott in the Caribbean. Maybe that's true, but overall I think they did a really nice job. The decor is gorgeous, and I think it has a good blend of being "classy" but welcoming and not stuffy.

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Since it was about 12:20 at the point we pulled in, and the stroller and ECV was supposed to be there by noon, we figured we'd go right to the valet to ask about them. After looking through both books where they keep the record, we were told they hadn't received them yet, but would go check in the back. :banghead: I of course start worrying because I really don't want to come back to OPR later in the day.

About 5 minutes later, they found the stroller in the back, and then another 10 minutes went by before they came out with the ECV. Just for a little background - K got the ECV after a lot of deliberation because of some pregnancy complications that make walking difficult. When we made our reservation through ScooterBug, we had wanted the Companion model, which is like the mid-tier. It wasn't available until Wednesday though, so we got the Lite model for the first few days. The valet showed K how to use the scooter, and told her it should be more than fine for full park days (interesting is that ScooterBug says to get the Companion model for full days. I already was thinking if we really need the larger model). After a bit of trial and error (and almost only hitting only person), K got the hang of it and we headed into the resort.

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Here again, I was very pleasantly surprised by how nice the hotel looked. The holiday decorations in particular I thought were very nicely done and a lot more than I had imagined. One worry I had with a December trip was that it wouldn't "feel" like Christmas, but this started putting those worried to rest. There is ample amounts of seating in the new lobby, and we quickly found a sitting area to put our stuff down so I could go to the front desk and ask about our room.

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I didn't receive the room ready text yet, but G&P were in their room and were told we would be in the adjoining room so I figured I'd ask. After a short wait, I spoke to the gentleman at the desk and asked if I could just check if the room was ready. He quite curtly told me that he could check, but if it's not ready that's all he could tell me and he can't give estimates on when rooms are ready. Sure enough it wasn't ready, and he kind of just looked at me waiting for me to move. I was a little taken back by his demeanor, because it was just on the fringe of rude and it was lacking that friendliness that most CMs have. Earlier in the week I had spoken to someone else in the resort (my in laws received an email saying they couldn't find their traveling companions reservation), and they were also quite abrupt and hard to get a hold of. I'm not sure if they're still training new staff maybe, but it did seem off.

At this point we were tired, and honestly getting hangry :in pain: so we decided to go to Centertown Market for a quick bite to eat. C still had no idea that G&P were there (after a lot of times of almost spilling the beans - such as "oh are your parents at the hotel yet?"). They were going to surprise her in the lobby, so I took her to order while K waited with all of our stuff. Sure enough right when we order they come, and I tell C to go see Mommy for a surprise. She didn't apparently catch any of our almost tells, and was genuinely thrilled to see them and immediately told G that they had to go on Dumbo together. We made our way into Centertown market and found a table, again fairly easily. While there is ample seating, when they designed this space they didn't really account for ECVs, strollers or the silverware carts, so there were a lot of times we or the workers would have to slow down and take turns with other guests going through. It wasn't bad for us to deal with, but I felt bad for the workers who have to do that throughout the day. (I felt odd taking pictures of other people eating, but those at Disney Food Blog don't!)
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After about 20 minutes and not getting a buzz that our food was ready, P and I walked over to the window to inquire. Sure enough they never got our order! They made it up pretty quickly and were very apologetic, but after the valet not having the record of the stroller or ECV, the curt CM at the desk, and the way things went on the phone earlier in the week, I was starting to get a bad gut feeling about CBR at this point. It's a nice hotel, but would we keep running into issues with the staff? I pushed the worry to the back of my mind as I was starving and we quickly scarfed down our food ate. C got a Cheese pizza, I got the barbeque pork sandwich and K got the burger. I had thought there would be pictures online of the food, but apparently most reviews go for some of the more unique options, so I'm afraid I can't find any :(

It was all quite good, but I think the pork was the winner. :hungry: K and I shared, while we just tried to get C to eat a moderate amount to carry her through a few hours. After we were done, our room still wasn't ready, but we made our way outside to cross the island and hang out in G & P's room for a bit. I thought the grounds were great - Now I felt like I was on vacation!
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The Skyliner was not as obtrusive as I had thought it would be. From across the lake you can see it, and from certain points in Aruba and Jamaica you can't miss the poles. But they go so high, and there is so much foliage and the buildings have so many turns that from most points (even in Aruba) you can't see them. When they have the actual gondolas going that might change, but I think it will actually fit with the theme and be kind of fun.

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As for the Riviera, that is a different story. That can be seen from almost everywhere because it is HUGE. I'm hopeful that it will be nice when it is finished, but as of now it does look very plain (K first pointed out it looks like any other hotel). I also don't fully understand how it's going to fit thematically since it's modeled after the Mediterranean. This isn't like the Grand Floridian and Polynesian being close, but far enough that their different styles can co-exist. This towers over CBR and it's hard to get a view of CBR without this in your line of sight. I'm hoping Disney can work some kind of magic with landscaping, but I think there's no way this isn't going take away from the "immersive" Caribbean flair of the resort.
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Songbird76

Well-Known Member
#8
OH no.....the walking issues with pregnancy. Is it "pelvic instability"? Where it kind of feels like your pelvis is going to break and can't support your body? That's miserable. I ended up in a wheelchair for a few weeks with my 2nd pregnancy. I had to all but crawl to the bathroom and stairs were murder. I couldn't lift my feet to put pants on, or shoes and socks. DH had to help me get dressed. I feel so bad for your wife if that's what she has. I can't imagine trying to go to Disney with those issues...I hope the EVC helped!!
 

Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#9
OH no.....the walking issues with pregnancy. Is it "pelvic instability"? Where it kind of feels like your pelvis is going to break and can't support your body? That's miserable. I ended up in a wheelchair for a few weeks with my 2nd pregnancy. I had to all but crawl to the bathroom and stairs were murder. I couldn't lift my feet to put pants on, or shoes and socks. DH had to help me get dressed. I feel so bad for your wife if that's what she has. I can't imagine trying to go to Disney with those issues...I hope the EVC helped!!
Yep, that is what it is! Had the same issue with our daughter, but it didn’t happen until much later so we were hoping she would be ok. As for the ECV, it was the source for some excitement!
 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
#11
Yep, that is what it is! Had the same issue with our daughter, but it didn’t happen until much later so we were hoping she would be ok. As for the ECV, it was the source for some excitement!
Yeah, I had it a bit later in my first pregnancy, too, and went to physical therapy for it. I was kind of angry because walking was very painful and I asked one of the 3 midwives in the practice about it when we had an appointment, and she basically told me I deserved it because I'm overweight, that that's what happens when you are fat. So I resigned myself to it. (I have since learned that that is nonsense...some very thin women get it as well, and other overweight women never experience it) But the next appointment, we had one of the other midwives and as soon as I got out of my chair to go into the office, she said "Oh my! Someone needs physical therapy!" and she immediately gave me a referral. I was told by the PT that I was only allowed to go up/down the stairs once a day. Once I got dressed and went down for the day, I'd better have everything I needed downstairs because I was not to go back up until I was ready to stay there for the night. And I was not allowed to go downstairs at ALL for the first 4 days after the birth....no stairs for 4 days at least, and then back to once a day. She said that if you do too much, it can cause permanent damage and it will never go away. I still have it a bit once in a while, and my DS is now 11, but it's not constant anymore. But I knew what to do during my 2nd pregnancy, so I was a lot more careful from the very beginning, and it was still worse than the first time, which was why I ended up in a wheelchair with the 2nd.
If the ECV helped, I guess it's worth a little "excitement", right?
 

Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#13
Sorry for the delay - we had some family staying with us over the weekend/into New Years, but now that things are getting back to normal I have a bit of time back!

December 9th continued
Once we got to G&P's room, we still didn't get the room ready text, but it was nice to relax a bit. And by relax, it was time for me to get some Christmas lights strung around the ECV, for as K said, if she was going to have it, she was going to make it look good! This ended up taking a lot longer than I realized as the lights kept getting stuck in the holes in the basket, and while doing this K got the room ready text (this was weird considering the room not ready text came to me, but oh well). We made it over, and opened the adjoining door which proved to be really nice. I told the CM when I called to ask for nearby rooms that we don't need adjoining rooms, just close by rooms, but I'm glad we got them. C just went between the two, which made getting ready a lot easier, and it also gave her and G&P a lot more of those "just doing nothing" moments that would never have happened on this trip otherwise.

After we got into our room, I called down to luggage services to get our instacart delivery brought to our room (we like to eat breakfast in the room or on the go, and have a couple snacks for C in case she gets hungry and I don't want to go scrambling for the nearest popcorn stand). We then all got ready to go to MVMCP and left the room just before 3 (right on time - I couldn't believe how well the timing actually worked!)

Here's where we ran into a bit of excitement. We generally knew where the bus stop for Aruba was, and went out to the road and walked over to it. We didn't even think twice about the ramp to get on the curb, but if I did, I would've thought they would be at the corner, like most streets. Apparently this isn't the case at the Aruba bus stop. We get there, and K gets down into the street but then can't get up the curb! This isn't a big deal for the strollers as I could pop a wheelie and get it up. But for the ECV, we're out of luck. So we go further down in front of the bus stop, and still finding nothing when what should happen, but a bus is coming straight for us, as K is literally stuck in the road. :eek:

Thinking quick she jumped on the other side of the road to avoid the bus, and then I figured I could just pick up the ECV on to the curb. As it's a lot heavier than I imagined, P comes over to help me, and as we're bending down trying to pick up this ECV, the bus driver of the near miss collision (which wasn't our bus) comes over and starts scolding us. K explains that we couldn't find the ramp, and he proceeds to tell her that they aren't made for driving in the street. I get that he probably had to do that, but after K, and then P, and then I all told him we couldn't find the ramp, I really don't think he had to make snarky comment after snarky comment about them not being road vehicles. :banghead: Finally we got it up on the curb, and with that behind us, waited for our bus. The MK bus showed up about 5 minutes later, and it was time for K to make her first try with the ECV on a bus.

I have to admit, I was impressed. She did it fairly quickly, and had the driver help a bit, but overall it went smoother than I thought. I stood with the stroller as to not take up a seat, and C sat with G&P. We ended up getting to MK around 3:35 and I started getting a bit worried that we would have to wait until 4 to get in (since we only had MVMCP tickets for the day). That was, until I saw the lines getting in. :oops: Security was similar to last year when we went, and I have to admit I was a bit proud that when I opened the zippers on my bag, the security CM told me I must be a regular. If only....

The ticket lines were insane. I was hoping this was because of the party, and ticket lines would be more like last year when I couldn't believe how short they were (spoiler - they never did, guess last year was a fluke). After negotiating the merging lines with the ECV (K was not having fun at this point with all the people cutting her off) and the stroller, we made it to the front and I showed the bar code on my phone because I was worried about them taking one of our park tickets (it was about 3:55 at this point). It all worked well, with the CM asking us to scan our MBs and set up our fingerprint. All green, until C went. "She's not on the party ticket" I was told. :rolleyes: After taking a deep breath, I pulled up the email, showed her the 5 names which the CM was able to run against the bands we scanned. After confirming that the child with us was indeed the child on our ticket, the CM gave us a paper return pass for C in case we left the park and wanted to return, and otherwise ignored the issue.

Soon enough, we made it through the bottleneck by the tunnel and Main Street lay in front of us. I have to say - pictures don't do DW at Christmas justice. I was blown away by how it looked.
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We repeated what we did last year and worked really well, and that was to start off with a FP to see the main mouse himself.

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We quickly found the ECV and stroller parking, and walked in to the line. C was over the moon once she saw Mickey, and G&P were loving watching her reaction. This then was punctuated by C's question "Why isn't he talking anymore?". K & I just started at each other in disbelief - how in the world did she remember this was the Mickey that used to talk? I guess kids are funny like that, and we knew she remembered parts of the trip last year, but we didn't think she remembered such details. As we were staring, G saved the day and said "he's saving his voice for the party tonight" which was a good enough answer for her.

Once she did meet Mickey, we knew we didn't have to worry about her being shy with characters like she was for the first half of the trip last year. She was right in her element.

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After finishing up with Mickey, we made our way down Main street and took a couple Photo pass pictures. (which C was not thrilled about)

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Our plan was then to head to Adventureland, and get some rides done there, as we would focus on Fantasyland for during the party. Of course as we turned left, C was scared we were leaving as we were walking away from the castle, but after some convincing she was ok.
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Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#14
Our plan for Adventureland was to get to the back, and make our way back towards the hub. Negotiating the crowds was beginning to get tricky, and I think we all were starting to gain a new appreciation for those who need ECVs! I was VERY grateful to have G&P here with us at this point, as we essentially paired off - one with K, and one with me with the stroller (or P took the stroller while I stayed with K). We found a spot to park everything, and while the rain had mostly stopped at this point, it was still a bit cloudy so we covered everything up just in case.

The wait for Pirates wasn't bad - about 15 minutes, and luckily C didn't remember being traumatized last year. Not because of the pirates, but because we got splashed by a canon ball and she CANNOT stand getting wet in a splash like fashion (pools she loves, but water getting dropped on she hates). As we made it into the building, she was beginning to get a bit nervous but told us "I'm a little scared, but I'll try it. I'll trust you that it'll be ok." I have to give her props for trying things outside of her comfort zone. IMG_3298.jpg

While in line, she was asking about all of the props and what they're for, like the cannons, windows with bars, etc. It was actually nice because I think I would've missed a lot of the details if it wasn't for her! An interesting moment came when we passed the gun rack, and we told her it was guns. She was shocked that guns were in Disney. Not getting political here, but last year when she was in preschool, she one day told us, trying to play around, that she would shoot us. She was 3 so she had no idea what she actually said, but this was about a week after Stoneman Douglas, so we were shocked. We pretty much just simplified it that guns are bad except for cops, and they can hurt people very badly. As time has gone on, we've tried to give her a bit more details but it's still a tricky subject for her to understand. While at first we were thinking this was a tough conversation to have in a queue at Disney, I'm actually really glad it happened, because we were able to give more context and I think she got something out of it.

When we got to the front of the line, we told them we were a party of 5, and the CM told us: "Row 1". Being the first ride we were going on, we didn't think about it, until we saw the boat. We turned to the CM that was loading and asked if we should be in two rows. "Small children can sit on laps, so 5 with a child can fit." We didn't want to make a big deal of it, so we all squeezed in, but let me tell you, we never all shared again! I just thought it was odd they would assume C would sit on a lap, but oh well. With this in mind, our photo is super awkward, so I'm going to spare you...

The ride as always was great, but I do think the Jack Sparrow appearances are too often. As for Red, I think it's a good scene for what it is. If it never existed in it's prior form, I think it would be nice. Also, this time a cannon went off right next to K and she got soaked, but I was able to cover C with my arms (since she was on my lap anyway), and she was saved! Still, as we came off, C declared "I'm NEVER going on that ride again." Oh well, never say never....

Once we were done there, C had really wanted to ride the carpets, and G&P were getting hungry so they went off to find some food. K was not in the mood for a spinner, so she sat it out and got a Dole Whip. Here the wait said 25 mins, but Touring Plans predicted 15. It ended up being close to 30 minutes until we got on... Meanwhile G&P found nothing to eat, as most QS places around Adventureland had already closed! At least I got to take in the scenery of Adventureland.
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I can't explain it, because I enjoy Dumbo, but this ride just frustrates me. The location, the simple queue, the fact that Aladdin could have had such a better ride, all just get to me. But C really wanted to go, so I put on a smile and went on. Once I saw her enjoying it so much, I also was having fun until I noticed K waving her hands at me.

I just looked at her because I'm a notorious bad lip reader, and then I realized we were about to fly in front of the camel! With the child who hates getting wet, I couldn't risk it so I dove in front of her 007 style, and as predicted, got SOAKED by the camel. C was meanwhile oblivious and having fun. She better not say I never did anything for her...
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With the line taking longer than expected, we were running a bit late, but made it to our Jungle Cruise FP around 5:35. Luckily the FP line was short this time, and we made it on in 5 minutes. Last year I was severely disappointed in Jungle Cruise, but with the overlay this year really wanted to try it. (I also realized at this point that my phone takes AWFUL night pictures)
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And boy am I glad we did! Our CM was great, making constant jokes throughout (both holiday themed and regular) and even kept it going when there was a backup at one point. Even better, there was a woman on her honeymoon on our bought who was laughing hysterically at every joke. Sometimes I think I enjoy watching people enjoy their vacation more than the rides themselves.

I really wish they did more overlays like this one!
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When we got off it was just before 6, and we wanted to make it to the hub to catch the Frozen Wish. No way did I think we would get a good spot, but I was pleasantly surprised when we got right in the hub.

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This show was a lot better than I expected. I watched it on youtube before we went and wasn't impressed, but in person watching the castle light up is something else. Even the "remix" of Let it Go that they play has so much more emotion behind it.
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I'll wrap this one up with some text to not drain on the next post, but here is where me made a massive mistake. Since G&P hadn't found anything to eat, they were very hungry at this point, and the rest of us were getting there. For some reason, we thought it was a good idea to go to Casey's at this point. During MVMCP there aren't a ton of places open, but we should have went somewhere, ANYWHERE, else. It was slammed with everyone leaving. We found a table outside, and P & I went to go order, but the line was wrapping around outside. I'll Mobile Order I figured, but then of course it was an issue of figuring out what people wanted. After about 10 minutes I place the order, and click I'm here. Another 20 minutes go by until we get out food. Finally with out 4 foot longs for us to split (I definitely over estimated appetites/panicked when I ordered and didn't read they were foot-longs), we started eating. I think we just slowed down, because all of a sudden it was 7:10 and we were still there. We had wanted to really maximize our time before the 8:30 parade to go on rides, and it was all slipping by. We rounded everyone up (after of course a bunch of potty breaks), and finally made our way out of Casey's and to the wild blue yonder! (aka Fantasyland by way of Liberty Square).
 
#15
Enjoying your report. We were there at the same time as I remember commenting on each other's Pre Trip. I need to get started on a Trip Report soon as well. We also had some issues with lack of quick service options during MVMCP. I also don't get Aladdin but my 4 year old said it was her favorite and we ended up on it 3 different times on our trip.
 

Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#16
Thanks for reading. What really got me was that a lot of QS places (especially over in Adventureland/Frontierland also closed really early, so we didn't have a lot of options before the party started
 

DisSplash

Well-Known Member
#17
Great report so far! I agree that the Riviera resort looks like it will be an eyesore ... we were at WDW in August after they had already started on it, and we could not help thinking it was just so out of place. Hopefully they will be able to Disney-fy it somehow. But it is quite a massive blot on the view.

It sounds like G&P were a great addition to this trip! it is so helpful having an extra set of hands with a toddler, and having grandma and grandpa be that help - even better for everyone. I am sure that you all made some great memories!
 

Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#18
As we left Casey's, we started towards the Castle, but I had a feeling with all of the stage shows we wouldn't be able to go through. As we got closer that seemed to be more the case, so we cut over on the bridge through Liberty Square. A few of the characters we were thinking of meeting going in were Mary Poppins & Bert (G introduced C to Mary Poppins so it's a special movie for them, and I think Bert is hilarious). But we decided we would prioritize entertainment and rides, rather than waiting in line for characters so we forged on.

I love Liberty Square and all of the details in this area, and decorated for Christmas it was even better. I was just taking it in this time, and trying to keep the stroller and ECV close enough, so I didn't get pictures this time but did later in the trip.

The first stop for us was Small World! This is one of G's favorites, and it also is the quintessential Disney ride to me. K on the other hand finds the song too annoying to enjoy it. It was a complete walk on though (you never realize how long the queue can be until your speedwalking through it). I was though quite excited to ride with other people who enjoyed it as much as me.
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I won't bore you with all the pictures, but here a few favorite scenes.
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Did this doll get a budget cut or something? Why are her eyes so different?
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When we got off of here, it was a little after 7:30 and we had to make a decision. We were planning on catching the 8:30 parade because we didn't know who would make it to 11 with our early flights that morning, but since we wanted to see the parade on Main Street, we figured we could maybe get one more ride before we had to line up to get a spot. In the end, we decided to power through on the high we were now feeling, and go for the 11 pm parade.

After leaving Small World, I stopped by Pinnochio's to grab some treats (a priority of my sweet tooth), but the line looked massive. Now reading other TR's I realize it probably moved quickly, but at the time I was discouraged and we moved on. Next planned stop - Under the Sea!

Somehow though, we went the wrong way (I won't put the blame on anyone, but will say that my directions weren't followed). We went around the front of 7DMT rather than the back, so we ended up near Dumbo. Since we were here, and it's C's favorite from the last trip, she went on with G.
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Meanwhile, I remembered there were treats by Storybook Circus and went on the hunt while K & P relaxed a bit. I don't know why, but I thought the treats were in the tent, and after circling a few times, realized they were in the courtyard. Oops! I grabbed a couple Peppermint cookies and I think an apple sauce pouch for C, and I have to say the cookie was great! Soft, with the right amount of peppermint.

On the way I snapped a stalker picture of Scrooge and Donald. Donald's always been my favorite,, and as I got older gained a new appreciation for Scrooge, but I wasn't going to make everyone wait in line.
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When G&C got off Dumbo, we decided to do Barnstormer next since we were right there. This time it was me, C and P and again it was a walk on. C was a bit nervous because she didn't remember it, but again said she would try it, and in the end she loved it. In the dark it does seem to go a lot faster! No pictures this time.

With that crossed off, we finally made our way back to our original destination, Under the Sea. I enjoyed how they did little things like these snowflakes throughout the park.
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Again a total walk on, and we realized how long the queue for this is. K had decided to not bring the ECV in lines to avoid the turns, but in front of us was an older couple (late 70's/early 80's), and the man was speeding through on his ECV. It was really impressive! And K & I both said that will be us later in life - things to look forward to I!

I know the story line is choppy, but this holds a special place for us as it was C's first Disney ride and she still loves it.

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And she still also waves to Ariel & Eric at the end!

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When we got off of here, I noticed that Touring Plans had Ariel's Grotto at a 3 minute wait (my MDE would not load at all, so I was using TP's app instead). I thought it seemed weird because I thought she was meeting elsewhere with Eric. but why not check it out I figured.

Sure enough, as we walked up the CM positioned there, she pointed across the way to a line of people saying Ariel is over there with Eric. It wasn't a massive line, but still not worth it since we'd be seeing them a few days later.

I did enjoy that Gaston got in on the holiday spirit! (random thought that this reminded me - I find it odd as to what in MK is decorate for the holidays. Most of Fantasyland is not, except for Gaston's. Frontierland I don't believe had anything either. I guess they try to make it "accurate", but it still seemed a bit disconnected.)

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Spash007

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#19
Around this time we also stopped for a Photopass outside of Prince Eric's castle, that actually ended up being our Christmas card:

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This reminded me how cold it was getting. I brought a sweatshirt, but was stubborn about wearing it for awhile. Meanwhile, the sweatshirt C is wearing was actually mine from 25+ years ago that my mom I believe had made. There was a little button on it that played music, but that has long stopped working. Otherwise, it still does it's job, and I couldn't believe it fits C perfectly now!

As we made our way back to "old" Fantasyland, we jumped on the carousel, and I tried to get a group shot that didn't work all that well.
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Does anyone else feel like they're going to slip off the horses?

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After this we decided to head to Winnie the Pooh, but first I stopped at (I think) Friar's Nook for some more treats. This time just Dove Chocolates and "Apple cider". I read a review this Cider was actually just juice, but I couldn't believe how it was actually 100% just juice! False marketing.... We were really thirsty though so we made a couple trips to keep re-stocking.

We made it to Pooh, which had a slight wait, but not long enough for C to really play the games in the line. Some kids did hold it up in order to play but luckily C didn't fight when we told her it was time to keep moving.

C & I are the only ones who enjoyed this. I think the quick curves and bounces are silly and fun - everyone else thought they were nauseating. Oh well, maybe I'm a kid at heart!
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C wanted to do the Tea Cups next, and I have to admit this is a guilty pleasure of mine. It might be because she enjoys it so much, but I have a lot of fun spinning on this ride. We were the only ones up for it though, but we still had a blast! (Even though I've noticed over the last year spinning rides are starting to affect me when I get off, and I felt quite unbalanced for a few minutes. I refuse to stop riding anytime soon though!)
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This picture alone I think summarizes why I enjoy Disney.

At this point it was nearing 9:30, and counting we had done 10 rides we figured we were in a good spot to make our way towards the hub. As we took some restroom breaks by Cheshire Cat cafe, G took C over to watch the reindeer dancing in Cosmic Rays. I'm actually not sure if they want in or not, but C had a lot of fun so that's what counts.

As we went across the bridge, I believe the Mickey show (I don't remember what it was called) was going on. We decided to skip it since we were going to be standing for the parade and fireworks, plus the Frozen show (and I couldn't hold C that much through a few hours). We did catch the side of some really cool projections though.

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At this point we had a slight miscommunication, when K said something about a good spot for pictures. I thought she meant to watch the fireworks from here, but she actually meant there was a photopass photographer that had no line. By the time I caught up, there was a line, and we tried to take our own picture that had some issues. I'm going to try to edit it at some point, because I think it has potential.

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If you're wondering where C was, she was now crashing, HARD. She wasn't cranky which was great, but that 11 pm parade seemed very far off.

Coming up: Getting through Holiday Wishes crowds with an ECV and a stroller, and does C (or any of us) make it for the parade? Or even the fireworks??
 
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LisaBelle

Well-Known Member
#20
Sorry you guys ran into so many issues early on. Luckily it seems like MVMCP went well for the most part. The picture of C on the tea cups is priceless! I love the pics of all the Christmas decor. Disney at Christmas is one of my dream trips!
 
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