View Full Version : Continuing the annual tradition - Sept 17-20, 2008 - Caribbean Beach
Greg in TN
09-27-2008, 04:03 AM
Quick background -- Each of the past two years ('06 & '07) I've had a business meeting in Orlando in the Sept/Oct time-frame, and had worked a trip to the World in around those meetings. This year I didn't have a meeting, but we had a 2-day ticket left over from a previous trip, so my wife & I decided that it was simply "burning a hole in our pocket" and we had to take a trip anyway to use that ticket .
This will be the third trip in 3 years that my wife & I have taken, just by ourselves. Of course we have brought the kids several times, and each of us visited WDW as kids ourselves (actually my first visit was in '71 or '72; long before even EPCOT was around), so we've certainly not grown tired of anything by a long shot !!
Travel was by Southwest Airlines & Magical Express. I really like Southwest's new boarding procedure. We had "A" boarding passes, and we didn't have to line up forever in advance, we simply got in line numerically when the "A"s were called, and got on the plane with no problem.
Day 1 -- Wednesday, Sept. 17 --
Our flight out was @ 6:20 pm, so today was a normal work-day prior to that. I say "normal" very conditionally. It was very hectic & stressful--more than usual. I had already told folks that I'd be leaving early; I anticipated around 4:00, but as the day wore on I realized I needed to get away even before that in order to get my mental state ready for the trip.
So I left at around 3:30, met my wife & we got to the airport ready to enjoy a few days @ DISNEY !! Airline check-in, security procedures, etc went without a hitch; and I've already mentioned how much I prefer Southwest's new boarding procedures. We arrived in Orlando a bit early, about 9:00 Orlando-time. But because we were arriving a bit later in the day, we decided not to use the luggage deliver part of Magical Express just to be completely sure that our luggage would not be brought to our room in the middle of the night, but that we WOULD have it first-thing the next morning. We HAVE used the ME luggage delivery many times before, and it has always worked like a dream.
I got our luggage (only 1 bag for this short trip), met Melissa @ ME, and we were on the bus & on our way with just a short wait. I think there were four resorts represented on this bus, and the first stop was Pop Century. There were just a few people here; they got off, got any luggage they'd brought on the bus, and we were back on the road in a matter of minutes toward our stop--Caribbean Beach Resort.
CBR continues to be my favorite resort. I typically don't want to pay the difference for a Deluxe resort, and the theming of the other Moderates doesn't beat CBR in my opinion--not really interested in the desert southwest, or the French Qtr of New Orleans, and as beautiful as Dixie Landings (rather, Riverside) is, it's not much of an exotic location for us since we live in the south anyway. I prefer the tropical, beach theming of CBR and always ask for it FIRST whenever I call to make reservations.
Check-in was very smooth. By the time I got our 1 bag off the bus, Melissa was already through the line & at the check-in desk. The CM was very polite & efficient and did a very good job of explaining the resort to us (although as CBR veterans, we were pretty familiar with it anyway).
We got to our room in Aruba; set our alarm clock & wake-up call. I always get up @ the alarm clock and take a walk around the lake or across the island to Old Port Royale for my morning coffee, but Melissa sleeps in 'til the wake-up call. Tomorrow it's MAGIC KINGDOM, with morning Extra Magic Hours. :D
Greg in TN
09-29-2008, 01:24 AM
Day 2 -- Thursday, Sept. 18 --
I woke up early (I actually woke up before the alarm--who can sleep on your first night @ Disney anyway). Got dressed & left the room quietly while Melissa still slept. Walking around the grounds of the Caribbean Beach Resort early in the morning is one of the things that I enjoy MOST about our Disney visits. To me it's just the perfect way to get started. I like to sit by the fountain outside Old Port Royale, drink my coffee, and watch the other guests as they come in to get their coffee--wondering where they're from, how long they've been here, how long they're staying, which park they're going to today. Anyway ..
Got back to the room just after Melissa's wake up call had startled her out of bed. Since she was up, I had to turn on Stacey & the Top 7 Must Sees. I had that show on most of the time we were in the room--so much, in fact, that Melissa started to get a bit jealous :rolleyes: . It was early magic hours @ the Magic Kingdom and we were looking forward to some quick rides this morning in Tomorrowland & Fantasyland.
Well, we didn't get moving quite as quickly as I'd hoped, but we finally got down the bus stop and after just a short wait were on the bus. We got to the MK and were walking up to bag check just as Mickey & the gang were firing off the streamers & confetti to officially open the MK. We went straight to Space Mtn and got in the very short stand by que. This morning I took video as we walked through that very dark que. I hadn't done that before, but it turned out pretty cool. Excellent ride on this classic. I love the single-file trains.
Next over to Buzz Lightyear. Buzz needs our help, you see, to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg. Still very short waits thanks to early magic hours. This ride is just plain FUN. It's not a rollercoaster, or some type of high-tech thrill ride, but I just love it. After Buzz, we walked up past the speedway (not really interested in that one), all the way to Fantasyland. We thought about stopping for a tea party with Alice & the Mad Hatter, but decided we'd do that later. Instead we went in to visit with Peter, Wendy and the gang as we flew over downtown London. Peter Pan is one of our daughter's favorite movies--everything from the stage production, to Disney's classic animated version, to the more recent ones with live actors--so we rode this in her honor.
Then Melissa said we had to ride that one right across the walk-way from Peter Pan, you know, the one that necessitates psychotherapy when you get off to remove the song from your mind--it's a small world . It was starting to get a bit warm, so I was at least glad the que was indoors, nice & air conditioned. After we took our trip around the world & sat through the mandatory psychotherapy session, it was practically time for the rest of the park to open.
Liberty Square was our next destination. Being a US history buff, I am truly inspired by Liberty Square. The feel, the look of the buildings, the whole atmosphere--very cool. We walked right in to the Haunted Mansion. I'd ridden this one last fall just after the refurb was finished, but I don't think Melissa had. The HM is one of the attractions I remember from my VERY FIRST visit to the MK when I was maybe 9 or 10, so I've always been a big fan. I really do like what this refurb did. I think they did exactly what they needed to with it. Updated some parts, freshened it up, but kept the overall feeling of the classic ride. It's curious that they're still stuck @ 999 ghosts and can't seem to find that next volunteer to make it all the way to 1000.
Even after HM, we were still ahead of a lot of the crowd into Frontierland. As we stroll along the river front, we mark the location of the Golden Horseshoe where we'll be eating dinner later that evening. I head straight for the fast pass distribution for Splash Mtn, and after that we go stand by for Big Thunder. "Hold on to your hats and glasses, 'cause this here's the WILDEST RIDE IN THE WILDERNESS!!" As many times as we've ridden this we still find something new just about each time we ride it. There's a hissing bob cat that I don't think I'd seen before, and other little details that really make the difference between Disney's attractions and anybody elses.
After BTMRR (well after the 2nd BTMRR--we rode it twice in a row), we went over to Adventureland to enjoy a visit with Cap't Jack Sparrow and the rest of those pirates from the Caribbean. Once again Disney details make all the difference. The que here is SO detailed, and really sets the stage & mood for the ride. In this one (and a few others, such as Everest, Space Mtn, even Star Tours, etc.) I feel experiencing the que is almost as much a part of the ride as the ride itself. Without the experiences in the que, I just don't feel these rides would be the same.
After bidding adieu to Cap't Jack, we headed back to use our FastPasses and see Br'er Rabbit, and his pals on Splash Mountain. But before we got in the FastPass return que, Melissa went next door & p/u a FastPass to BTMRR so we could ride it again. It was only about 10:30 and we were already to the point where we could start re-riding our favorites--I love morning extra magic hours and FastPasses !!
Br'er Rabbit once again escapes the Fox & the Bear (amazing how he ALWAYS seems to do that), but got us rather wet in the process. After Splash, and a bit of shopping in the Briar Patch shop (we bought our little girl a Splash Mtn beach towel, 'cause she loves the Uncle Remus stories of Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox, Br'er Bear, etc.) it was time to use our FP for BTMRR. Another wild ride around the wilderness, and we decided it was time for lunch. Columbia Harbor House was just up the way, and I've enjoyed the fish there before, as well as a table @ a window overlooking Fantasyland & Liberty Square. We were a bit early for the regular lunch time, so the crowd was not bad @ all. We were able to catch a table right @ a window on the bridge over the Fantasyland/Liberty Square walkway and just kind of relaxed for a bit.
It was barely 12:00, and we had already ridden all our favorites (some multiple times), and were now able to relax, and pick & choose what we wanted to do for the rest of the day. What a great morning.
09-29-2008, 09:13 AM
GreginTN, your trip report sounds wonderful. I do love WDW too, I take my son every year and we celebrate his birthday. He will be celebrating his 10th Birthday in 2009, and he already had 10 visits under his belt. I can't wait to read more on your trip. Keep it coming.
Greg in TN
09-29-2008, 10:06 AM
continuation of Day 2 -- Thursday, Sept 18 --
After lunch, we relaxed & simply enjoyed being in the Magic Kingdom. We did make our way over to Mickey's Toon Town Fair and ride Goofy's Barnstormer, 'cause that one has become a bit of a tradition for us--with or without kids. A lot of the time we spent picking up & using FastPasses for Space, Splash & Big Thunder.
We dropped in on those Country Bears & their Jamboree. Corny? Yes, but still fun. I found myself laughing @ the stupid jokes, and humming along with those awful twangy melodies regardless.
We saw Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor and almost sat in the wrong spot. When we sat down there was a spot light on our seats, and as people were still filing into the auditoruim Melissa showed up on the screen with a caption under her picture that said, "Has kissed a monster." Then the camera panned over & showed my picture. At that point I had to laugh & nod my head to agree with the caption. We were afraid we would continually be highlighted as part of the show, & I was looking around for another place to sit, but thankfully that was the only time we showed up--whew!! This is a good show. The improv talent these guys display is pretty sharp in my opinion.
Mickey's Philharmagic was also on our list. Very, very good show. We also dropped in on the Hall of Presidents and did not take a nap. Parts of that show are very stirring, patriotically speaking.
On this trip, we did not make it to the Tiki Birds, or the Jungle Cruise. Nor did we visit Winnie the Pooh, or Snow White. We did, however, take a flight on Dumbo--perhaps the only adults without kids in that whole que. One time we went over to Space Mtn to use a FastPass and the ride was down, so we took a couple trips around the TTA; we needed the rest @ that point. When we did come back to Space, the stand by que was so short we did that instead of using the FastPass. We caught a little of Woody's Cowboy Roundup parade, but somehow managed to be completely somewhere else when the 3:00 parade went through :confused:.
Another trip back across the park to Splash & Big Thunder, and it was time for dinner. We had ADRs @ The Golden Horseshoe. While planning this trip, I'd made ADRs @ several different places, and cancelled before settling on this one. I was trying to work things out where we would finish dinner in time to watch SpectroMagic. This one worked out alright. This location was set up as a temporary table-service restaurant to catch the crowds from the free-dining-plan offer. The food was good--the same menu as Liberty Tree Tavern, served "family-style." However, the theming was rather non-existent, or at least bland. All things considered, we did enjoy the meal, and our server was excellent--I wish I'd remembered her name.
We walked out just in time to hear the 15-minute warning for SpectroMagic--perfect timing. We staked out a place very near the Golden Horseshoe. We have seen this parade many times. Sometimes from Frontierland, sometimes from Liberty Square, and sometimes from Main Street and in front of the castle. Regardless of our viewing location, I really feel this parade simply belongs in the Magic Kingdom. I don't feel it would be as special or majestic anywhere else.
I think this is a great parade. The lights; the music; the characters--it's what the Magic Kingdom is all about. We had a great location; up close where we could see everything. We got some pretty good pictures and video.
As the last float floated by, we walked over to Adventureland through the short-cut, and made our way back toward Main Street to find a good place to watch Wishes. We've seen it many times before, so we we're going to be really picky about the location, but it is still a great way to end the day. We wound up about half-way down Main Street, so we had a little trouble seeing some of the outside-most effects, and Tinker Belle's flight was really quick from our vantage point. It didn't matter, we really enjoyed the show. Excellent fireworks, but even so, not quite up to IllumiNations, in my opinion.
After the last BOOM (or, cascade of BOOMs), we turned around with the rest of the crowd and made our way under the train station, and out to Disney transportation. They were running a lot of busses apparently, because there was practically NO wait between busses. In fact, at one point there were TWO busses pulled up for the same resort. The ride back was simple & uneventful.
When we got off @ the Aruba bus stop, and got back in the room, I had to turn on my favorite TV show (Stacey & the Top 7 Must Sees). I told Melissa I just wanted to see if they ever made any changes to that Top 7 :p.
Anyway, fantastic day @ the Magic Kingdom. Tomorrow, Epcot & evening extra magic hours :).
09-30-2008, 04:25 PM
I love your humor and writing style!
Excellent trip report. :)
Can't wait to read more!
Greg in TN
10-01-2008, 11:24 AM
Day 3 -- Friday, Sept. 19 --
Today we didn't have to be @ the bus stop quite as early, 'cause Epcot was not having morning extra magic hours (like MK did yesterday), so I had a little more time to enjoy my coffee & my walk around the lake. I took a look @ the recently re-furbished pool @ Old Port Royale, and it looked fantastic. It's bigger; it has an area of zero-depth-entry; there's a new Pirate-themed kids play area with multiple slides, climbing things, and one of those big buckets that fills up and occassionally dumps water on everybody around.
Anyway, off to Epcot! Our plan was to arrive prior to rope-drop and move first to get FPs for Soarin', then immediately go back across FutureWorld and hop on Test Track quickly. Picking up the Soarin' FastPasses went fine, but Test Track turned out to be closed for the moment. So we audibled at the line of scrimmage, and opted for Mission:Space.
It's always the Orange-side for us. Neither of us has ever had any problems with the G-forces, etc. and we think it's just an excellent ride! In fact, both of our kids thoroughly enjoy it too (our son rode it for the first time when he was 7, and our daughter rode it for the first time when she was 6).
When we exited M:S we decided to check on TT again. Okey dokey, it's open now--standby line is still short so we're in the pre-show in a matter of minutes. Fun times. I don't care how many times I've ridden it (overall, or in a single day), I STILL enjoy that high speed lap around the building. I know, it's really not even as fast as typical interstate driving speeds, but on the interstate, you're not taking turns with 45' banking (I don't really know what the banking is, but it's pretty high), and the car is rather low & close to the pavement, and open to the breeze--definitely a cool ride !
We decide to work in one more ride before using our Soarin' FPs. The Nemo ride is cute. We have fun, and always like to work it into our schedule if possible, but it's not one that we'll cry our eyes out over if we happen to miss it. After we have found Nemo once again, we take a few minutes to watch the real fishes (and other animals) in the aquarium. The ones we really like are the dolphins. There's one who keeps circling around swimming by the windows, and then one time comes by swimming UPSIDE DOWN -- Like he's saying, "Hey Mom, look what I can do!"
We leave the dolphins and their pals and head over to visit with Chief Flight Attendant Patrick, and the Soarin' crew. I take out the video camera & catch all of Patrick's "important safery information" on video. He cracks me up. We were in line next to some people who had not ridden Soarin' before. Melissa says it's almost as much fun to watch people who're riding Soarin' for the first time, as it is to ride it herself. I can't think of another ride, anywhere, where people actually applaud at the conclusion of the ride.
After our first flight on Soarin' we pick up additional FPs for later, and when we get outside, I mention riding Ellen's Energy Adventure -- :| -- I got "the look" so we did not ride it. We rode it the last time we were there, and Melissa wound up napping through it.
So from here we head to World Showcase. One of our favorite places to eat lunch is the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco. We actually get there slightly before they open, so we continue on around to Japan. Melissa wants to shop :rolleyes: in that Japanese department store. She does wind up buying some Christmas presents which we have delivered back to our resort rather than having to carry them around with us all day--ahh the benefits of staying @ a Disney resort.
Now it's time to go back to Morocco for lunch. Yum! (Or as Stacey says, "Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy!") We each have the lamb & chicken platter, full of, well, chicken & lamb, and ... um ... other Moroccan-type stuff. I'm really not sure what it's all called, but I like it :) .
We spend some time after lunch enjoying our way around the rest of World Showcase. We'll be eating dinner in Mexico this evening, so we bypass that for now. We decide it's time to go back to Soarin' & use our FPs. Since we're arriving back @ FutureWorld on the Test Track side, we stop by there to p/u FPs for TT on our way.
Soarin' is, at the same time, exciting AND relaxing. We could enjoy this one over & over. (Yesterday, I was walking down the street and walked by several big pine trees. When I caught a whiff of that pine scent, for a split second I was right back there on Soarin' flying down the river, or over the skiers.)
The rest of the afternoon, we went back & forth between the Big 3 (Soarin', Mission:Space, & Test Track). We never find a long line @ M:S, we use the single rider line @ TT and actually wind up sitting in the same car anyway, and have one more FP to Soarin' @ our disposal as well. We go see Honey I Shrunk the Audience for the first time. It was pretty good; not nearly as intense as I'd been lead to believe. When the mice came out, and I saw the reactions of all the people in the theater, I could not stop laughing. I literally laughed so hard that Melissa hit me--her reaction was as funny as anybody's :D.
We made a stop @ Cool Stop (or whatever that place with all the free samples of soft drinks is called). Melissa said she couldn't remember which one she really enjoyed from last time, so being the concerned & dutiful husband that I am, I quickly pointed out Beverly as her all time favorite ;). She thought about it for a second, but didn't fall for it. I'm sure I would have gotten another "hit" if she had.
At some point in the afternoon we rode the big golf ball ride--Space Ship Earth, presented by Siemens. This one, I think goes back to EPCOT Center's origins--fun & education. I can see Walt being very proud of this attraction. We especially like the new ending where they place our photographs on animated bodies, and we live & work in the future, etc. etc. We e.mailed a copy of that on-line postcard back to our son @ home. He thought Mom & Dad were pretty cool for doing that :eek:.
Eventually it was time to head back to Mexico for one of our favorite restaurants, San Angel Inn. We think the food is good here, but what really does it for us is the atmosphere--twilight, in an open-air Mexican marketplace, on the banks of the River of Time, with a Mayan (or Aztek?) pyramid and a softly rumbling volcano in the background. We got there a little early for our ADRs so we had time to look around in the marketplace. While we were waiting, the mariachi band made an appearance playing traditional Mexican music--a lot of fun. When we sat down, it looked like the menu had changed a bit. Perhaps it's not quite as good as it had been in the past, but we still enjoyed it.
After dinner, it was time for our traditional tour of Mexico with Donald Duck. I am a huge fan of Herr Duck-meister, and was thrilled when they re-did this ride to include him. It still has a lot of the same views as the original ride, and I'm just really glad Donald has a bigger presence in Epcot now.
Now we went back to try Soarin' & Test Track one more time (we had saved FPs for each) before scouting out a place to watch IllumiNations. After our last scenic flight over California, we strolled through World Showcase, starting from the Canada/UK end. We'd always watched IllumiNations from Mexico/Norway/China locations before and wanted to try some place new this time. As we passed by the American Adventure, the little white pavillion that serves funnel cakes almost reached out & GRABBED us! Well, we couldn't let THAT happen. So to get back at it, we decided to BUY ONE !! (I could quote Stacey again right here) So while I stood in line, Melissa went off to get us something to drink and to find a good place to watch the show.
We wound up right across from Italy. Just out from under the trees, right against the rail, with an EXCELLENT view of the show. We got there about 10-15 mins before it started, and enjoyed our funnel cake as the minutes counted down. To me, this show is just what Disney imagination is all about--the music, the fireworks, the lights, the lasers, the fountains--absolutely fantastic. Apparently the globe had just returned from rehab a few days before we got there and it really looked great. Maybe it was simply that we were closer to it than we'd been in the past, but I could actually make out what the pictures were supposed to be. The Inferno Barge is so cool !! I think you can feel the heat from it no matter where you are around the World Showcase Lagoon, but we could DEFINITELY feel it from here !!
After the IllumiNations WW III finale, we casually walked back around World Showcase the long way. This was our last night in a Disney park on this short trip, so we wanted to savor every minute. It was also evening extra magic hours, so we had time to do something else if we wanted to. SO ... Mission:Space appeared to be calling us once again. We hopped in there, and were soon watching Lt. Dan, er Ken Mattingly, er Gary Sinese (you know who I mean) give us the mission orientation. What a fantastic way to end the day. Even now, there were still a couple hours left in EMHs, but we'd been there all day & were beat. We decided to call it a night.
The bus lines were really short by now. We got on a bus in just a couple minutes that didn't even fill all the way up before leaving (another bus was pulling in behind it so this one could leave). We arrived back @ CBR in short order, found our room & prepared to crash until morning ... well ... you know ... after watching a few more minutes of The Top 7 Must Sees :geek:(I think I did get my second "hit" of the day when I turned that on the TV). Oh well ....
Tomorrow is departure day with a brief stop-over @ the Poly & the Kona Cafe (yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy) ...
10-01-2008, 01:22 PM
got to love those crowds !! was there 9/11-9/15. at 4:00 @ epcot 10 min wait times for all the big attractions.
10-01-2008, 03:45 PM
Being from San Diego County, and used to eating authentic Mexican food, I have never really been impressed with Disney's version of Mex. food either at Disneyland or WDW.
After reading about the atmosphere in San Angel Inn, I may give it another try...maybe for dessert. ;)
I'm glad your wife didn't fall for the "Beverly" you woulda deserved that second punch!!! :p
10-02-2008, 07:21 AM
OMG, I just realized we were both in Epcot on the same day. We tried to ride Test Track first thing in the morning and found that it was closed as well. We opted to go straight to Soarin and grab some breakfast at the cafe in The Land. By the time we were done with that, Test Track was open, so we headed over and did that and then MS. We came back to Epcot later that evening for our trip around the world. We started in Mexico as we had reservations in Canada @ Le Cellier at 8:40 p.m. I LOVED Mexico... I think it was my favorite country. They had the neatest displays inside and I loved shopping in the little shop that had all of the silver jewelry. Best of all I loved the boat ride and the atmosphere of the restaurant. My husband kept saying "Why can't we just eat here? I'd rather eat here than in Canada." I don't think he fully understood the 180 day reservation thing! =o) Wish we could have eaten there, and I know I am going to get flack for this one, but Le Cellier didn't live up to my expectations later on.
We were in Mexico between 4:30 and 5:30, wonder if we were there at the same time?
I'm working hard on getting my trip report together and trying to get it on here this weekend but I am so glad to hear that you had such a great trip! It's so cool that we were there at the same time!
Greg in TN
10-02-2008, 08:55 AM
We were in Mexico between 4:30 and 5:30, wonder if we were there at the same time?
:eek: Our ADR for San Angel Inn was @ 4:45, so, yes, I'm sure we were there @ the same time. Were you there when the mariachi band was playing ?
Greg in TN
10-02-2008, 10:24 AM
Day 4 -- Saturday, Sept. 20 --
Another beautiful day at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. Actually the weather had been beautiful for us this whole trip. I'd been watching weather.com constantly as our trip approached because of hurricanes, tropical storms & depressions, and potential tropical problems. As it turned out, the weather was fantastic, perhaps a bit warm, but beautiful anyway.
This morning Melissa got up with me as I got ready to walk over to Old Port Royale. We're not going to a park today, just getting ready to leave, then eating lunch @ Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort. Right now, we stroll across the island, and head for breakfast. We each decide on the Bounty Breakfast (aargh, matey) of eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, French toast, biscuit, etc. Not too bad, actually, as far as fast-food breakfasts go.
After breakfast we do a bit of shopping in the gift shop (I get a new Mickey Mouse T-shirt :D) and then we just walk around the resort for a little bit. We're not in any hurry. All we have left to do is get our bags to bell services, then get ourselves over to the Poly for lunch.
We eventually call bell services, and leave our bags in our room for them to pick up. We hop over to the bus stop and get on the first MK bus that comes around. We're going to ride the bus to MK and take the monorail to the Poly. It works great, although it's a bit depressing to be riding a bus to the MK, knowing you're not going into the MK. :( Oh well.
It's only a short walk from the MK bus stop over to the monorail station, and we don't have to go through bag check on the way. It's mid/late-morning now, so the monorail heading back to the hotels is not very crowded. It's a fun ride, and if you MUST skip over the MK, I guess the monorail is not a bad thing to skip to.
The Poly is such a beautiful resort. If I WERE going to splurge on a Deluxe resort this would be it, but for the difference in price, I think I'll stick with my CBR ;). As we're waiting on our ADR @ Kona Cafe, we browse through the Poly's various gift shops. If somebody is going to make me "shop" I guess it's not too bad to shop in a Disney resort gift shop. Our ADR is called, and we get a brief tour of the dessert tray even before we're seated (need I quote Stacey again here--yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy!). The meal is good--very good, in fact. I had some kind of Polynesian chicken sandwich with some Asian vegetable slaw and Melissa had a really good salad of some sort. For dessert, she had a Kona Kone, which was a waffle cone, with a huge chunk of blue cotton candy on top :eek: . It catches attention as the server brings it across the restaurant. We enjoyed the meal, but one thing we really like about Disney restaurants is the exotic theming (San Angel Inn, Biergarten, Liberty Tree Tavern, 50s Prime Time Diner, etc.), but the theming here was very subtle. If you're not looking for a heavily themed restaurant; just looking for a good (perhaps very good) place to eat, you'll really enjoy Kona Cafe.
After lunch we took a little more time to explore the Poly; the volcano pool, other nooks & crannies that really make you feel that you're somewhere in the South Pacific. We eventually caught the ferry back over to the Magic Kingdom, 'cause our pick up time for Magical Express was approaching. We took a few more pictures of the Halloween decorations @ the MK entrance, then hopped on the bus back to CBR.
We made it back to CBR in time to pick up our purchases at the gift shop that we'd had delivered to the resort, and then get back over to the Customs House to retreive our luggage, and hop aboard the Magical Express back to the airport.
The flight home was uneventful, and we arrived back having thoroughly enjoyed the trip--but definitely wanting (needing?) to get back for a longer trip soon.
I'll be back soon with some final thoughts ........
10-03-2008, 02:02 PM
I found myself addicted to Stacy and the Top 7. It was like a car crash. I wanted to look away, but I couldn't. ;)
I've only been to World once. So jealous you get to go so often.
10-03-2008, 03:48 PM
Greg - I really enjoyed reading that. Glad you had such fun :)
Greg in TN
10-15-2008, 10:56 AM
Walt Disney World is such a fun experience--with kids or without. Our kids love it too, and it was just a bit disappointing at first to be there without them. But we got over that pretty quickly; we'll hopefully be able to bring them back sometime else.
I really enjoy going to theme parks. I've been to many others, and, try as I might, I can't help but compare them to the total experience @ Walt Disney World (shame on me for that!). It's not that I don't enjoy going to other theme parks (I really do), but the total experience @ Walt Disney World is head & shoulders above anything else I've ever found. It starts from the moment you get there--the Magic Kingdom, especially. You don't just turn off the highway into the parking facility, but you drive for quite a bit, and are totally engulfed by Disney magic long before you park your car. Then you continue your voyage to the Magic Kingdom in one of two ways. Either by the futuristic monorail, as you silently cruise through the Contemporary Resort on the way--or set sail across the Seven Seas Lagoon on the Magic Kingdom ferry. Either way, you really do feel like you're going to another world, instead of just parking & walking into a theme park.
To me, Disney MAGIC is what makes all the difference. Other theme parks may have more intense roller coasters, or taller drop rides, or maybe better live musical entertainment, but NOBODY can beat the MAGIC that Disney puts into everything they do. Even walking through the que @ Pirates of the Caribbean, or the Tower of Terror, or Expedition Everest is an experience that shouldn't be missed. The details, the surprises, the overall "setting the mood" make these (and many other) rides @ Walt Disney World the fantastic experiences that they are. And the MAGIC is all around -- hidden Mickeys & other surprises are everywhere, restaurants with exotic theming, restrooms that are clean & smell fresh, walkways that are free from trash, shops that are not cluttered with worthless junk, resort hotels that take you away to somewhere from your dreams, roadways & grounds where landscaping is immaculate, even Disney transportation that is comfortable & convenient, and plays Disney music.
Finally, a brief word about the Caribbean Beach Resort. Like I've said before, this is my favorite resort (it's always the first one I ask for now when I call to make reservations). I feel rather sorry for the people who've stayed there before & come away complaining about the experience. Of all the times we've stayed there, I actually can't remember a truly negative experience. I really do come in with very high expectations for the resort, but I don't expect things to be PERFECT. I know that the resort is staffed by people, who are human, and do make mistakes (just like I do). But I also don't think anybody is intentionally trying to mess up my vacation if something a bit less than perfect ever does happen. Maybe that lets me excuse a thing or two that some people wouldn't, but I think it also lets me enjoy my stay because I don't stress out over things that I really can't control anyway. ... But anyway, this resort is just completely comfortable to me. The walk around the lake, whether early in the morning, or middle of the afternoon, or whenever, is very pleasant. Now we have stayed in every village except the two that are closest to Old Port Royale, and have never felt too far away. The landscaping is lush & beautiful, and the tropical, steel-drum music really sets the whole mood. The recently re-furbed pool looks fantastic (we didn't get in, but it looks great!). The Caribbean theming in all the buildings and grounds just immediately puts me in relaxation mode.
Rather quick trip; but all-in-all an excellent one--a couple days in the parks; very comfortable stay @ CBR; excellent service by Disney transportation, including Magical Express; even nice weather (despite what looked like a potentially turbulent tropical weather season). Walt Disney World, you've done it again--and simply made me want to come back ... SOON ;).
10-16-2008, 12:55 PM
Wow, sounds like you had a great trip. Thanks for sharing with us.
10-19-2008, 06:19 PM
I am looking forward to "one day" when DH and I sneak off to Disney just the two of us! Maybe in 10 years for our 25th wedding anniversary! I enjoyed reading your trip report...you have me tempted to try CB on our next trip!
10-20-2008, 07:06 PM
Excellent post of your final thoughts! :)
11-18-2008, 07:38 PM
My daughter and I are going to DW for our first time in 8 days:D! We are so excited and are staying at the Caribbean! After reading your trip I'm even more excited! My daughter and I are "Pirates" at heart and can't wait to see this amazing hotel. Thanks so much for telling us about you trip.
11-22-2008, 11:11 AM
Quick trip is better than no trip, any day! Thanks for posting!