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We laughed...We cried...we over ate and had way too much FUN!

tink65

Active Member
Great trip report so far! I really like the blue polo style dress you're wearing at the start of your TR....I'm always on the lookout for something more comfortable than short/capris and little dresses like that fit the bill! I know what you mean about the crane pics in front of the castle! Every single picture I have of the castle from 2011 has that crane in the background....errr..... Anyway, can't wait to keep on reading!
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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What a great report so far and the pictures are amazing! Atlantis, saw it in Jan. on a cruise also, breathtaking is all I can say.
Thank you so much, that is so sweet of you to say. I appreciate you following along. Atlantis did look gorgeous. We opted to stay on the ship and explore it on our Nassau day so I didn't get to see it up close. Maybe next time. :)
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Great trip report so far! I really like the blue polo style dress you're wearing at the start of your TR....I'm always on the lookout for something more comfortable than short/capris and little dresses like that fit the bill! I know what you mean about the crane pics in front of the castle! Every single picture I have of the castle from 2011 has that crane in the background....errr..... Anyway, can't wait to keep on reading!
Thanks Tink65. I bought that dress on a whim at a year end sale at Macy's and i am glad I did, it was perfect for that first day on the ship. I tend to wear skirts more times than not in the parks too. For me it just works better. Thanks for reading. I hope to have the rest of it finished by tomorrow. :)
 

OswaldTheRabbit

Well-Known Member
Love the TR! It is great to see the pics if the cruise! We have been on 5 cruises but never on a Disney cruise! I would love to go but I just keep booking WDW vacations :). Oh and I completely sympathize with the aging thing and thrill rides!
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Love the TR! It is great to see the pics if the cruise! We have been on 5 cruises but never on a Disney cruise! I would love to go but I just keep booking WDW vacations :). Oh and I completely sympathize with the aging thing and thrill rides!
Wow, five cruises...that is very impressive. :). This was my first so I had a lot to learn about the process itself. Which cruise line is your favorite? I honestly can't believe we piggy backed the cruise on to our WDW trip, but I agree with you completely about not giving up my WDW vacations. Those are sacred to me. Thanks for reading Oswald.
 

OswaldTheRabbit

Well-Known Member
Wow, five cruises...that is very impressive. :). This was my first so I had a lot to learn about the process itself. Which cruise line is your favorite? I honestly can't believe we piggy backed the cruise on to our WDW trip, but I agree with you completely about not giving up my WDW vacations. Those are sacred to me. Thanks for reading Oswald.
Oh I agree I can't give up the Disney trips either!

We have been on royal Caribbean, Norwegian and carnival. We have done mostly carnival recently because it is cheap and we have little ones that LOVE watersides and mini golf. Or favorite as adults is royal Caribbean but it can be $1000 more and when we are going cheap we go carnival. I am a "big vacation as much as possible" girl so we stay cheap and do it up!

I will say that our absolute favorite itinerary is southern Caribbean (we have pretty much done them all) and the southern islands when you port our of San Juan, Puerto Rico and AMAZING!
 

ExtinctJenn

Well-Known Member
The Fifty Shades thing cracked me up... probably because I immediately pictured Jack, in that typical Jack voice, saying the "naughty girl... I like that" bit. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the 3rd book in that series and would LOVE for Jack to call me a naughty girl. LOL!!!! :D

Oh and girl don't be silly - that picture of you guys in front of Imagination is awesome! I didn't even notice the shirt until I read your comment on it... neither would anyone else. LOL!
 

ctosh

Well-Known Member
Love your report.. The Fifty Shades thing is so funny!!! I would have loved to have seen that. Your pictures are great.
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Resorts

I really only want to discuss two resorts in particular, The Wilderness Lodge, which is where we stayed, and the Polynesian, which is the only other resort we spent any significant time at during our trip.

We have stayed at the Wilderness one other time, in 2004, and we loved it. Last year we stayed at the Contemporary, in the tower with a theme park view. That stay was a dream come true and one that we spent months and months saving for as it was out of our normal price range. During our 2011 trip, we were trying to decide where to stay in 2012 with our bounce back offer. We narrowed it down to the two Lodges, Animal Kingdom and Wilderness. We made a point to visit both Lodges during our 2011 trip and the minute both of us walked in to the Wilderness, we knew it just felt like home to us. So, we returned to our room at the Contemporary, called the Bounce Back line and booked our 2012 trip with our stay at the Wilderness.

After being thoroughly spoiled by our stay at the Contemporary, we were some what concerned about transportation at the Wilderness. We loved the convenience of having so many travel options at the Contemporary, while at the Wilderness, it's bus or boat, neither of which is our ideal transportation choice. I have to say that our concerns were completely unfounded as our travel to all the parks went extremely well. Only one time during our six day stay were we delayed due to waiting for a bus. On one trip to Epcot, we waited almost 30 minutes for a bus. Every other time we took a bus to any of the parks our waits were consistently in the 10-20 minute window.

The day morning after our Epcot bus delay, we walked out to the bus stop and found a transportation Cast Member there monitoring the bus arrivals. He was keeping a very detailed log for each bus. We chatted with him for a few minutes and he said that his job consists of him regularly visiting resorts and creating a time log for all the buses. If a bus was late he would radio in to the transportation headquarters and ask for a ETA on the next bus heading to what ever park and then he would relay the time of the last bus's arrival and provide headquarters with that bus's number. The Disney nerd in me really was interested in this process for some reason.

Other than the single morning with a transportation delay to Epcot, I really have no complaints what so ever about the Wilderness. The beauty of this resort amazes me every time I step foot inside of it.

Our room was on the fifth floor and was directly above the Whispering Canyon restaurant. Sometimes it would get a tad loud with all the fun going on at the restaurant, but I was prepared for that as we had a similar experience with Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary. Honestly though, it wasn't significant enough to cause me any problems. I would just turn on some music and then I didn't even notice the noise.

Here is a shot of our room:


Here is a somewhat fuzzy shot of the lobby as seen from our room.



And some shots from around the resort:









She's a beauty, isn't she. I know I'm not saying anything that most everyone on these boards doesn't already know, but Disney really hit it out of the park with this resort. And every Cast Member we came in to contact with during our trip was so so nice and helpful. We never had the chance to meet our Mousekeeper, but whoever she/he was...thank you. I am very particular about the cleanliness of my room while I am on vacation and our Mousekeeper did a phenomenal job of keeping us clean and tidy.

And in all honesty, I think think that the gift shot at the Wilderness is the best of any resort. They have so much resort specific merchandise that I just love. I really wish every resort would carry their own merchandise.
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Polynesian

While we didn't stay at the Poly, we did dine here on two occasions. Once for breakfast and once for dinner. I stayed at the Poly once when I was a kid, probably about 10 years old. And we always end up here at some point during every trip because Kona is one of our "must do's". But for some reason, neither one of us has ever had a real desire to stay here. All of that changed on this trip. Something about the resort just clicked for us and Tracy said about three times "I really wish we could stay here next time". Personally, I could stay anywhere on property and be happy. I'm at Disney! It's all good. But, because Tracy was a little late to the Disney love fest, I have made it my goal to fulfill every request he makes because I want his love for Disney to grow with each and every trip. So, if he wants to stay at the Poly, he will not here one word of argument out of me.

We took the boat from Magic to the Poly on the morning of our Kona breakfast ressies. While the ride isn't long, I love it. Actually, I love riding the boats anywhere when I am at Disney. As we approached the Poly I got my first real glimpse of the new Grand Floridian vacation club building. I am not one of those people who hates vacation club or the fact that Disney keeps building them. I am actually jealous as I would love to be a DVC member. But, I do think that the position of this DVC resort is a bit off for me. It just seems to be too close to both the wedding pavilion and the Floridian resort. I know am pre-judging it before it opens and I am sure that once the building is complete it will be gorgeous, but I can definitely see how it is going to change the view of the Floridian for anyone staying at the Poly or using the Wedding Pavilion.









So...maybe our next trip we will save and save and save some more and actually try to stay here.
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Dining

My goodness did we eat a lot this trip! Between the cruise and all of our "free" dining at the parks, I was expecting a ten pound weight gain, minimum. I'm happy to report that I only gained five pounds.

Because we had free dining, we had a quick service, table service and snack option for each night of our trip. I only took a few pictures because I typically try to refrain from using a flash inside of restaurants because I feel like my fellow diners are simply trying to enjoy a quiet hour in their hectic Disney day and that they can probably do without my constant flash flash flash as I take pictures. Which means that my food pictures never turn out good, so most of the time I don't bother. I'm not sure why I feel this way because I am never bothered by other people taking flash pictures during their meals. But it is what it is for me.

Our best meals this trip were Via Napoli, Chef de France and Teppan Edo. We actually dined at Teppan Edo twice because Tracy loves it so much.

Here are a few pics of our meals.

Creme Brule from Chef de France (because you should always have dessert first!)
It was so delicious.


Fancy shmancy grilled cheese with ham...which Tracy said was the best he has ever had



My Quiche' and salad...another winner.



And the french onion soup...my mouth waters just thinking about it.



Via Napoli family style salad. You can only order this salad when you order a pizza and it is $5. Deliciousness in a bowl. I loved the dressing. It was a house Italian, I believe and was just perfect.



Pizza Margherita....I could seriously eat this pizza every stinking day. The wood fired grill definitely gives the crust a better flavor, in my opinion.



We booked Via Napoli last year on a whim while watching "Eat Pray Love". If you haven't seen the movie, there is an entire section of the movie spent in Italy and in one scene she and a friend go to Naples just for pizza. I suppose we were simply hungry at the time we were watching the movie because as soon as the scene was over, I paused the movie, got on line and booked a meal at Via Napoli. We loved it so much last year that we knew it was another "must do" for us this year. And in typical "us" fashion, we ate the exact same meal we had last year. No coloring outside the lines for us!

Teppan Edo - this place gets ragged on for being just like every other Hibachi in every town in America. And you know what I say...so what! It's is consistently delicious. In all the years we have eaten here we have yet to experience a bad meal. And the servers are beyond nice in this place. We always go twice on every trip.



Of our quick service choices, as I said previously, Columbia Harbor House was the best. I feel like this place use to be a hidden gem that not too many people knew about. It was a place we would go to get a quiet table upstairs and relax for an hour or so before heading back out in to the park. I think the secret may be out on this place because the upstairs portion of the restaurant was pretty crowded. But the food was still yummy even if everyone has discovered my secret quiet spot.
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Halloween Party

As I noted early in the report, we attended Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party twice during this trip. Once on Tuesday, September 18th and again on Friday September 21st.

Our Tuesday party was the better of the two because we actually were able to catch both parades and Hallowishes, which I think is now my favorite fireworks display. Those perimeter bursts at the end just blow my little pea brain. When we went last year we both came home with a huge bag full of candy. The Cast Members would give you huge handfuls whenever you went through the trick or treat line. This year, Mickey must have sent out a memo saying that adults don't get as much candy because we were lucky to get one or two pieces at each stop.

The first night it only rained for a bit, but the second party was almost a wash out due to rain. I heard one woman complaining, which I totally understand. When you buy your MNSSHP tickets, there is a disclaimer about bad weather, blah blah blah...which we always ignore. I know it's an absolute gamble when we buy these tickets. I mean you are talking about September in Florida, which as far as I know is still well within hurricane season. We have been to this party six times over the past three years and this was the first year we have had any part of the party cancelled due to inclement weather, so I think we are doing pretty good.

Also, the creativity and time that some people spend on their costumes is nothing short of amazing to me. I do not have a single artistic bone in my body. My big idea for costumes was to pull our old bowling shirts and shoes out of the closet and go as bowlers. But in the end we didn't even do that. If you are one of those individuals who spends a lot of time thinking about and creating your Halloween costume for these parties, my hat is off to you and thank you for doing it. I could spend hours just people watching at the party.














Boo To You is the best parade on property. Especially now that Spectromagic is in storage somewhere. If you are looking for the best place to view the parade, my recommendation is somewhere in Frontierland near the shooting arcade. We almost always find a great spot there and don't usually have to fight for it more than 20-30 minutes before the parade starts. Every time we want to watch it on Main Street, we have to get there an hour early or else forget about it.

Besides, the parade starts in Frontierland so while half the park is still watching it, you can run to Pirates or Mansion and usually walk right on, which is a total win in my book.

We do try to ride our favorite rides while at the party - Mansion is a must because of all the extra lighting and smoke that they incorporate on to the grounds surrounding the building. Also the Cast Members are dressed up with "scary" make-up and cob webs on their outfits. They really go all out and it is wonderful.
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
A few final thoughts and random pictures

I was really excited to check out the new Storybook section of Fantasyland and I actually rode Dumbo for the first time ever. Yep, you heard that right, this was my first time riding Dumbo.

I was so impressed with all of the pictures coming out after the dueling Dumbo rides that opened earlier in the year. I especially wanted to check out the beautiful lighting and water feature that surrounds each of the rides at night. And it really did not disappoint. What I did find odd was the new loading system for Dumbo. In case you haven't heard about it, you step in to the Dumbo tent and you are given a pager that will go off when it is your turn to board the ride. I felt like I was checking in to the Olive Garden. While you wait, you sit in side of this huge play area where kids are running around having fun. If I had kids of my own, I am sure I would love this ride. But as two middle aged adults without kids, it felt a bit odd to just be sitting there on a bench watching other people's children run around an play. It is an interesting way to wait for a ride and on the plus side, you can sit down rather than walking back and forth through switch backs like we do on most every other ride.






I do think that the Fantasyland Expansion is going to be amazing (can you tell that amazing and awesome are my two favorite words? Someone needs a thesaurus). From what I could see around the Little Mermaid ride, the rock work and waterfalls were so pretty. I can't wait to go back and see it all after it opens.

I also spent way too much money on souvenirs this year. I am a huge Haunted Mansion fan and I will buy almost anything that is Mansion related. Specifically, I prefer those items that have what I call the "real" Mansion characters on them - Hitchhiking Ghosts, Madam Leota, Ballroom Dancers...etc.. I like these items better than the Disney characters portraying Mansion characters i.e) Minnie as the Bride, etc..

With that said, I scored some spectacular (in my opinion) mansion items this year. I walked in to the Art of Disney at Epcot one day and saw this Jim Shore creation of the Organ Player from the ballroom scene and I...HAD...to have him. He was the last one they had, so I purchased him immediately.



Side view... The faces on the front of the organ light up. It's so cool.



I also found all four of the stretching portrait Olziewski boxes..



And this one is a bit embarrassing, but we had our selves dropped in to a mansion picture. I purchased a whole set of these goofy pics. I'm thinking of using them as Christmas cards for my family this year.



I actually bought us a poster sized version of this picture. I know what you're thinking...SUCKER!! And you would be right! I am a total sucker when it comes to Mansion related items.

As we end this trip report, here are just a few extra pictures.



We caught the British Revolution for the very first time this trip and I loved them. They were a total blast.



And we did the Tiki Room for the first time this trip!!



More Cast Member interactions



Unfortunately this will be our last trip to WDW until 2014. I kind promised Tracy that we would take a break and go somewhere else in 2013 and he has promised that we can return to WDW in 2014. Of course I am already regretting that agreement, but I also understand that there is more out there to see than just Disney related stuff.

But during my sad, lonely Disney hiatus, I look forward to following each of my fellow WDWMagic members as they take their trips to the best place in the whole world. I will fill my time with reading your trip reports and looking at your pictures and dreaming about the next time my little toesies walk right down the middle of Main Street USA.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my report. :)
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Love your report.. The Fifty Shades thing is so funny!!! I would have loved to have seen that. Your pictures are great.

Thank you Cindy. I don't have a fancy camera or anything, just a simple point and click, but I do like taking pictures of anything and everything at Disney. It gives me a lot to look at when I get home and the Disney blues set in.
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Fifty Shades thing cracked me up... probably because I immediately pictured Jack, in that typical Jack voice, saying the "naughty girl... I like that" bit. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the 3rd book in that series and would LOVE for Jack to call me a naughty girl. LOL!!!! :D

Oh and girl don't be silly - that picture of you guys in front of Imagination is awesome! I didn't even notice the **** until I read your comment on it... neither would anyone else. LOL!

Jenn, you hit the nail right on the head...it wasn't so much what Jack said, which was hilarious in and of itself, but the way that he said it. The guy playing him was great. He had the Jack swagger and voice down perfect and it just made me laugh.

I finished all three books in one weekend...once I started the stupid things I couldn't put them down. I so wanted to go up to this lady and chat with her about them, but I thought that might seem a bit weird. When I read them I hid behind the anonimity of my Kindle. I was impressed that she was just sitting there reading them without a care in the world of what anyone thought. I need to learn to be a little bit more like that.
 

harveyt0206

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Oh I agree I can't give up the Disney trips either!

We have been on royal Caribbean, Norwegian and carnival. We have done mostly carnival recently because it is cheap and we have little ones that LOVE watersides and mini golf. Or favorite as adults is royal Caribbean but it can be $1000 more and when we are going cheap we go carnival. I am a "big vacation as much as possible" girl so we stay cheap and do it up!

I will say that our absolute favorite itinerary is southern Caribbean (we have pretty much done them all) and the southern islands when you port our of San Juan, Puerto Rico and AMAZING!

My best friend absolutely loves Puerto Rico so maybe I can convince her to take a Southern Caribbean cruise. I have heard a lot of wonderful things about Royal Caribbean, so maybe I should look in to that.

And I totally understand what you mean about vacationing more for less. We don't have kids, so traveling is our way of blowing the equivalent of college tuition. I would rather spend our money on travel than anything else.
 
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