Who: Sue (53), DVC member
SB (54), Husband
Dates: February 9 - 13, 2012
Travel Method: Personal car
Resort: Disneys Bay Lake Tower Resort
Experience: Very experienced (6th stay at BLT)
Its finally time for another WDW trip! Since I skipped the usual mid-January trip in favor of my HAL cruise it really feels like its been quite a while since our last visit to WDW. The New Years Eve trip doesnt count since we couldnt get into the parks and werent staying at a Disney/DVC resort. This trip is also our anniversary trip, since we were married last February 10th.
We really enjoyed dinner at Narcoossees on our wedding night last year and decided then to return for our 1st anniversary. Based on that I chose Bay Lake Tower for our resort, since we can ride the monorail to dinner and back. As a youngster I loved the Contemporary Resort and now as a dvc member I really love Bay Lake Tower, except for the lousy location. For a short trip like this its ok. For a no-parks trip its even better, as then I can really fully enjoy the resort (without the parks distracting me) so I have a solo trip booked for June when my park pass will be blocked.
It was such a treat having the 1-bedroom villa in Hilton Head over Thanksgiving I called and was able to get one at Bay Lake Tower for this trip. When its both of us its really nice having the extra space specifically so he can watch tv after I want to go sleep! Were not likely to use the kitchen but might use the Jacuzzi tub this time. Well probably start booking more 1-bedroom villas, when its a trip were certain hell be doing. But, even a studio in a dvc resort is not too hard to take especially compared to my early off-site days and value resort days!
Ive always been vocal against the dining plans, saying theyre too much food and too much money. I still feel that way nobody needs their own dessert, and the dining plan can only be considered a value when you compare the price to the often ridiculously inflated menu prices. That said, this trip I did book the deluxe dining plan for the first night of the trip. DVC members used to be able to segment their reservations to get around having to book the dining plan for the entire stay, and I booked it that way before Disney eliminated that flexibility. For the 2 of us for 1 night well have 6 meal credits to spread over the first 2 days of the trip. To maximize their use and not kill either one of us (me mostly) with over eating were having dinner at Cape May (Beach Club) the first night, then the next day we have a buffet breakfast at Tusker House and dinner at Narcoossees. At Narcoossees dinner takes 2 credits, so well use the credits for SBs meal and pay out of pocket for my entre. We can share dessert and hell have the appetizer and his entre. We also get a couple snack credits, and I think we get 2 of those silly mugs (which hold no value to me).
As usual we probably wont spend many hours each day in the parks. But, well spend each morning in a park, determined by our dining plans. For example, since Friday is Tusker House breakfast well spend that morning doing our favorite attractions in Animal Kingdom. Saturday were having lunch at the Grand Floridian Caf so well spend the morning in the Magic Kingdom. Sunday is lunch at LeCellier, so that morning will be spent at Epcot unless SB really wants to get beaten again at Toy Story instead of riding Soarin <g>.
The weather looks pretty mediocre at this point, including lots of clouds, some showers and 2 out of 4 days being too cool for the beach or pool. Oh well, at least well enjoy the 1-bedroom villa enough to make it worth the points! Im not sure how Ill keep up with my daily walks (which have turned into alternating periods of walking and running) at Bay Lake Tower, since theres really no decent place to walk any distance. I might have to ride the boat over to Fort Wilderness to do my walking over there (walking around a theme park does not count).
The plans so far are:
Thursday 2/9: Work, Drive to WDW, Outlets, Cape May dinner
Friday 2/10: Tusker House breakfast, Animal Kingdom, Narcoossees dinner
Saturday 2/11: Magic Kingdom, Grand Floridian Caf lunch, Top of World Lounge
Sunday 2/12: Epcot, LeCellier
Monday 2/13: Drive to Gainesville
DAY 1 Thursday 2/9/12
Who: Sue (53), DVC member
SB (54), Husband
Plan: Work, Drive to WDW, Cape May dinner
Actual: Work passed quickly and SB picked me up right on time at 12 noon. The drive was uneventful and we decided to stop at Premium Outlets near WDW before going to the resort. Unfortunately, the parking lot was jam-packed and we ended up circling the entire mall before finally going into the free parking garage. The economy is not hurting here! Many (foreign) visitors had bags and bags of merchandise, as usual.
SB needed something to eat so we went to the food court first. That was mobbed as well, with lines everywhere. After bailing out of the A&W line we ended up at Taco Bell where he got a few tacos. I ate half of one of the tacos, then headed into Character Premiere while he finished. They seemed to have less merchandise, because there was a lot more space between the racks. When I finished in there (did not buy anything) SB was waiting outside on a bench and we decided to head to Bay Lake Tower.
The rest of the drive went quickly, and I went inside to check in at the Contemporary Resort while he waited with the car. Our room was ready and were on the 14th floor, so that was good news. Were on the north side, which means we can watch Wishes from the room and balcony even though its considered a lake view. Before leaving the lobby I asked if we could renew our seasonal passes there and was told yes.
I went out to the car and we moved our stuff into the 1 bedroom villa. SB was impressed with the villa he really likes it! I went around taking pictures and kept discovering more stuff, like the extra bathroom Id forgotten about. He agreed to use the toilet in that bathroom so I would have a nice clean bathroom for the next 4 days, lol! While we were getting settled there was a knock on the door and it was a cast member delivering a really cute flower arrangement in a coffee mug that was Mickeys shorts. I loved them, and opened the card to see they were for our anniversary, from a friend & her daughter. Thanks Deb theyre beautiful and look great on the island in the kitchen/dining/living area.
The next order of business was getting online, and here I had lots of frustration. SB got online with no trouble, but I was not able to get the sign on screen using wireless. I tried the cable in the closet and could get online fine with that, but that means being tethered to the desk in the bedroom! I tried wireless several more times throughout the rest of the day, in different ways, with no success. Ill have to call someone tomorrow, since I didnt have time today.
Since we have the deluxe dining plan for tonight we walked down to Contempo Caf to pick up our 2 free mugs. Boy, are these things ugly, lol! They seem smaller and cheaper than the ones from years ago, and I saw they sell them for $14.49 each! Holy crap! I really dont drink anything you can fill them with, and SB really doesnt need soda, but since theyre included we took them. I mentioned hot chocolate so SB filled his up with that, and said it was very good. I just put mine in my bag, figuring Id use it in the morning for my cappuccino since the coffee cups in the villa are pathetically small.
From there we went down to the lobby to renew our passes and eventually learned we can NOT renew seasonal passes there. We could buy new ones, but by renewing we save $28 on each one. We went back to the villa briefly, then went out to the car and drove over to Beach Club. Security just waved us in when he saw the parking pass on the dash, and we parked in the regular lot. We checked the concierge there regarding the seasonal renewal and were told we had to do it at a park. Since it was just 5pm and our dinner reservation was 5:40 we walked over to International Gateway and renewed the passes there.
That took all of 5-10 minutes, lol so we rode the boat back to kill more time. It was 5:30 when we checked in at Cape May Caf and were given a beeper. The beeper went off at 5:38 and we were taken to a table in a very convenient location to the food. Our server did a great job keeping plates cleared and glasses full. SB has always wanted to eat here, so with the dining plan I figured it was finally time. Theres really not much here for me most of the items are things I dont like, so its a big waste of money on me. He had plenty of crab legs, shrimp, and many other things. I had some salads, mashed potatoes, a rib and part of a chicken wing. I didnt think any of it was really outstanding. He liked his, but said Boma was much better.
We did try some of the desserts I had an oreo bonbon and a peanut butter blondie. He had a bonbon and a key lime tart but wasnt impressed with the key lime (which he usually loves). Our server brought us an anniversary card after the meal and we were out of there around 6:30. It was also FREEZING in the restaurant, so we were glad to get outside!
We walked over to Epcot and made a quick loop around World Showcase to walk down our dinner a bit. The park wasnt too busy, so walking was a lot easier than during Food & Wine Festival! Once we finished the walk we returned to Beach Club and drove back to Bay Lake Tower. My friend Pat had texted while we were in Epcot, so I knew she & her son were heading to the Top of the World around 7:35. We got back to the resort around 7:15 and I discovered my computer was running on battery power for some reason. I tried several different plugs in the bedroom, kitchen and living room, but couldnt get it to operate from electricity. Finally I unplugged SBs computer and that one worked for me. I left it charging while I went upstairs to meet Pat & Sean.
They were standing at the wall of the observation deck, so we chatted for a while and then watched Wishes. I left just before the finale, as it was getting cold up there and I wasnt dressed for the weather. Id spent the time fussing with the damn computer instead of changing clothes. When I got back to the villa the computer was charged and it stayed on electricity when I moved it to an outlet that earlier had not worked. Still no wireless, though despite SB using wireless just fine.
We were going to walk over to Magic Kingdom but I realized the extra magic hours were this morning rather than tonight and the park was closing in 45 minutes. So, we watched American Idol and hung around the villa the rest of the evening. Hopefully I can stay awake for General Hospital at 10!
Tonight was a mixed day all good except for the internet frustration. The villa is fabulous and its nice having all this space. Im looking forward to a nice stay here!
DAY 2 Friday 2/10/12
Who: Sue (53), DVC member
SB (54), Husband
Plan: Tusker House breakfast, Animal Kingdom, Narcoossees dinner
Actual: Last night I learned that General Hospital is on SoapNet from 9-10 now so when I turned it on at 10 to watch I missed it. 9-10 is actually much better for me, and I assume its due to the demise of one of the soaps that ended. Lesson learned Ill be prepared next time! I also got online last night & changed our Tusker House breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30. I actually had my pick of 9:10, 9:30 or 10.
We were sleeping well in the huge comfortable bed until I woke up around 2 and realized SB was fairly frequently making relatively quiet snoring noises. I need silence, so this drove me up the wall. I decided to let him get a good nights sleep tonight and just tossed & turned myself until I finally got up around 4 and went out to the couch in the living room. With a blanket I took from the closet and one of the pillows from the bed it was actually comfortable out there and I woke up when the alarm went off at 6:20.
We both got up then I showered, dressed and got online while he hung out on his wireless connection in the living room. A cold front is coming, preceded by a day of rain showers. Theyre saying Sunday well be lucky to hit 60 for a high. Id already packed shorts/tanks for all 4 days, but added jeans and sweatshirts at the last minute <g>. I had my cappuccino while getting online via Ethernet cable. We were out the door just before 8:30 and the Animal Kingdom bus was waiting at the bus stop when we arrived.
The bus wasnt too full but after stopping at the Polynesian it was standing room only. It was almost like a bus of stroller wielding guests were dropped off just before we arrived, as the number of strollers being dragged on board was crazy! One couple asked the driver what they had to do, lol the driver said take the baby out, fold it up and get on the bus. Did they expect the stairs to turn into a ramp for their stroller??
We arrived at the park just before 9, our decision to NOT have more children reinforced, lol! Bag check was a pain, but eventually I got through that nonsense and we entered the park without any wait at the turnstiles. We walked back to Harambe and picked up fastpasses for the safari (9:45-10:45) before checking in at Tusker House. We got there about 9:15 for our 9:30 reservation and were beeped about 9:25.
The buffet is set up in the area that used to be where you ordered food when this was a counter service location. Its nice in the sense that theres plenty of space so it doesnt feel crowded getting food. The seating area however is huge, and very noisy. On top of that we had a speaker above our table and just after being seated they were BLARING some activity where characters and kids were marching around to loud music while shaking noisemakers. I was ready to leave right then, lol!
SB went up to get food while I waited for our server. Beverages are included, so I stuck with water and got jambo juice and milk for SB. Besides the usual eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles etc this place has some African-inspired choices too. SB thought the food was great, and he had a big breakfast. He especially loved the ham. I had some bacon & eggs, then got some warm banana cinnamon bread pudding that was really delicious!
The characters were Mickey, Goofy & Daisy and each came around at least once. We took photos with each, and the lady at the next table took a picture of us both with Goofy. I wasnt sure how SB would react to a character meal, but out of the blue he announced at breakfast that character meals are really cool, lol!
After we were finished eating I realized I should have asked for the check as soon as we sat down, because we wasted a bunch of time waiting for the server to come around so we could ask for the check, then we waited for him to come back and even though I told him it was dining plan he didnt ask about the tip so we had to wait yet again while he ran that.
We were out of there at 10:15 and rushed over to catch the 10:30 Festival of the Lion King. We made it in time, and snagged seats in the back row so we had the wall to lean against. The show was great as always they really do a nice job with this one! After the show we walked back to Harambe to use our safari fastpasses. If it was March 7th or later wed have had to choose between the show or safari, since theyll be enforcing the fastpass window more strictly.
The safari was pretty crowded, so it was nice to be able to walk past an entire queue full of people. Our driver was excellent, and told us several things that were not part of the script but were in response to specific animals we were seeing. Afterwards we headed out of the park, which was getting rather mobbed with cheerleaders and tour groups at this point. On the way out we stopped at a cart and bought a turtle brownie to share and a lite lemonade for SB to use up our snack credits. I was thinking we got one each, but thanks to the cast member pointing out we still had 2 left I realized we had 2 each.
At the bus stop we had a bit of a wait, and talked about what to do next. SB decided to not walk with me, saying he cant keep my pace <g>. Actually I think he just wanted to go sit or lay down. The Wilderness Lodge bus came so I took that and SB waited for the Contemporary bus that came about 5 minutes later. From the lodge I walked the trail over to Ft Wilderness. As I passed Pioneer Hall I ran into a familiar looking person and said Deb? She responded with Sue? it was Deb Wills of allearsnet fame. I hadnt seen her in years, so it was nice running into her.
After finishing in Ft Wilderness I took the boat to the Contemporary (after a stop at Wilderness Lodge) and stopped in the lobby to get our new keys for the rest of the trip. Our last dining credits expire at midnight, so I checked the bakery case in Contempo Caf before going up to the villa. SB was there, and we agreed on red velvet cupcakes for our last snack credits. I went down to get them and offered to bring him some hot chocolate but he was still full from breakfast. The dining plan can be an obscene amount of food and adding 2 snacks is overkill for sure.
When I got downstairs I got a grip and realized 2 of those cupcakes is 1.75 more cupcakes than we need! Theyre really big. So, I got 1 cupcake and a bottle of milk for him. We can share the cupcake some other day and hell wash his down with the milk. That exhausted the snack credits, so now were down to just the 2 meal credits we need for his dinner tonight.
I tried for wireless again, but no luck. So, I updated the report and then looked around for the number to call for internet help. The person was very helpful and immediately knew the reason for my problem. This netbook uses Windows Vista, and theyre having a problem with wireless working at this location with vista. Thats why SB had no problem. My options were to stick with the Ethernet cable, go to the lobby, or theyd talk me through changing stuff on the computer and then talk me through changing it back before I left. I decided not to mess with is, so Ill suffer with the Ethernet cable. They ARE working on the problem, so hopefully when Im back in June it wont be an issue.
We left just before 5 to catch the monorail from the Contemporary. It was waiting when we got to the platform, although we had to stand for the first leg. At the TTC people left so we took their seats. After another stop at the Polynesian we were at the Grand Floridian by shortly after 5. SB likes this resort, so maybe after the dvc portion is built well stay here for a short trip.
We walked over to Narcoossees and waited inside for them to start checking people in (they open at 5:30). Another anniversary couple was there as well and they turned out to also be from mouseowners (a dvc related message board site). We were seated just after 5:30 and once again our menus were personalized with our names since we were celebrating a special occasion.
Neither of us ordered any alcohol, with SB getting diet coke and me having water. An appetizer came with his deluxe dining plan meal so he ordered the jumbo lump crab cakes. These really were big, and he declared them among the best hes ever had (and he lived in Maryland for many years). For entrees he had the surf & turf filet mignon and lobster tail. Both were excellent and very tender. I had the chicken, which is a half chicken without bones, in some French style. I only like white meat so he ate the dark & really liked it. I ate part of his filet mignon and some of the white meat chicken and loved both. We took home a small box with some of the chicken and a little piece of filet mignon.
Dessert came with his dining plan meal so we ordered 1 of the almond crusted cheesecake. Our server brought a 2nd one with the Happy Anniversary chocolate and 2 glasses of champagne. We ate one of the cheesecakes, and SB couldnt believe how good it was (guess he forgot since last year, lol). We took the other one back to the villa in another box. His meal was 2 dining credits and would have cost $104 before the Tables in Wonderland discount we would have gotten. My chicken with the Tables in Wonderland was $33 so we added $20 to the tip for SBs meal and were out of there for 2 dining credits and $53. His entre was $68 and thats probably the only way you can make it work financially using the dining plan in the signature restaurants. I asked him if his meal was worth $104 and he said yes, so you know it was outstanding!
After dinner we walked back to the monorail, where once again it was waiting for us. We stood until it arrived at the Magic Kingdom station and then we had seats for the final leg. Wed talked about going up to Top of the World lounge for a drink, but ended up in the villa instead. Next thing I knew a basketball game was on the tv, so I got online to read email and finish up the report. When Wishes started I watched those from the balcony since this would be the warmest night left.
Today was a very nice day and although Im not happy with the wireless internet situation at least I know whats going on and hopefully will find the problem fixed when I come back in early June. Tomorrow were going to take our time in the morning but will spend a little time in the Magic Kingdom before going to Grand Floridian Caf for lunch.
DAY 3 Saturday 2/11/12
Who: Sue (53), DVC member
SB (54), Husband
Plan: Magic Kingdom, Grand Floridian Caf lunch, Top of World Lounge
Actual: I forgot to mention last night SB called to check on a friend of ours in CT who was having a medical issue and learned from the guys wife he does in fact have lung cancer. Unfortunately this man smoked heavily before we ever met him, and the docs say hes not a candidate for chemo due to other lung issues over the years not a good situation. Hopefully he & his wife can make their planned trip to Ft Myers the last half of March and if so SB will drive down to spend some time with them.
It rained pretty heavily for a short time last night. We couldnt hear it at all but when I went out to the other room to get some cold water from the fridge I could see the living room window was wet. I went out onto the balcony off the bedroom and could barely see the lake. But, the good news is it had all passed and the sky was clear by morning.
We both slept well last night. He ended up falling asleep on the sleeper chair in the living room while watching tv and said it was comfortable. We were both up early and spent time just relaxing around the villa. I showered & made my cappuccino and cut a thin slice of the red velvet cupcake to go with it. The cupcake is pretty good! SB had the leftover chicken & steak, chips and a slice of cupcake for his breakfast.
Around 8:15 we decided to get moving, so SB showered & I finished getting ready. I was wearing capris with pockets so I decided to go bagless since I hate the stupid bag checks especially when hordes of people are arriving. We were out the door by 8:45 to walk to the Magic Kingdom.
It was cool but comfortable this morning, although as the day went on it got windier (cold wind). We arrived at the park just as the pre-show was ending up on the train station, so we had a bit of a back-up until the crowd dispersed. We headed first to Space Mountain, where I picked up fastpasses for 9:45-10:45. The first one blew out of the holder on the machine and I had to go chase it down in the wind! Once that was done SB suggested the People Mover, but I wanted to save that for a busier time (and warmer). So, he said he wanted to ride the race cars and we headed over there.
For whatever reason they only had 1 lane open, which seems pretty stupid. They werent still loading cars onto the track, either. The line was short but moved twice as slowly with only 1 lane operating. We split up and I was in the last car of a group while he was in the first car of the next group. A lady several cars up had trouble and she came walking back to get a cast member. The rest of us just sat there, since nobody can go around.
Finally they must have gotten her car started as the line ahead of me started moving. I went ahead a little and waited for SB so I could take his picture. My car was slow, as I had the accelerator on the floor and he was right on my tail. It looks like the Fantasyland expansion is really coming along too bad the fence blocks most of the view!
After the speedway SB suggested the Tea Cups so we did that with no wait at all. He spun it for a while, then I took my turn at the wheel. We were a little dizzy getting off that thing, lol! Next was the Pooh attraction, with a very short wait. We bypassed the interactive play area. Since Snow White would be closing soon we did that one last time its not a very good attraction by todays standards but its a piece of WDW history.
The line was huge at Peter Pans Flight (as usual) so we skipped that and wandered into Liberty Square. SB isnt thrilled with the Haunted Mansion, so we walked into Adventureland and rode Jungle Cruise with no wait at all. This was his first time and he got a kick out of it. Some of the jokes seemed new, too. From there we had a short wait for the Aladdins Magic Carpet ride, which was fun but not worth any kind of wait!
At Pirates of the Caribbean they had both sides open and we walked right onto a boat. Once wed done the small hill and were in the pirate battle scene most of us in the boat were surprised to get splashed pretty heavily. My hair was dripping down my neck for most of the ride after that! Normally that doesnt happen, thank goodness. The family behind us talked through most of the ride, which is annoying.
Big Thunder was closed for refurbishment so we got a popcorn in Frontierland and ate that while slowly walking back over to Tomorrowland. It was 10:45 when we used the Space Mountain fastpasses, and were seated in the 2nd rocket. The standby line was really short, and a couple who entered that line when we entered the fastpass line ended up right behind us in the loading area.
The ride was fun it felt a lot faster than 28 mph but I guess thats because of the darkness! After this we finally rode People Mover, which was pretty chilly due to the wind! We were going to ride it twice but as we came back to the station decided it was too cold to go again. We walked down Main Street and saw the Grand Floridian boat arriving so we walked over to that dock. We wisely chose the sunny side of the boat and had a nice ride over to the resort. We had 30 minutes before our lunch reservation so SB sat in the lobby while I walked the path over to the Polynesian and back. The dvc construction is still in the land clearing stage, so not much worth photographing at this point.
When I got back to the resort I retrieved SB from the lobby and we checked in at the Grand Floridian Caf. We had what I thought was a terrific table right by the window, until hordes of young kids who I think had gone on a pirate cruise were running wild out there. Of course the parents were too busy chatting with each other to pay attention most of the time. He had at least 5-6 different little kids at different times sticking their faces up against the window at our table, climbing & jumping off the bench outside the window, putting their hands all over the window, etc. It was getting ridiculous, but unfortunately I didnt have a tazer gun.
Lunch itself was terrific, as usual. SB ordered the onion soup, which we both shared. He also had the Rueben and I had the seasonal greens salad. We were too full for dessert and wouldnt have bothered here anyway since we still have half a cupcake and the other almond crusted cheesecake in the fridge! After lunch we went to the monorail station, where the monorail was arriving. Our monorail luck has been great this trip! The monorail was busy, so we stood until several people got off at the Magic Kingdom stop. A family boarded with 2 young boys in a double stroller. The boys wanted to stand but the mom kept telling them they had to either sit in the stroller or sit on the monorail seat. She did this repeatedly, and they of course just ignored her. Naturally, she did absolutely nothing totally pathetic. She tried holding onto them when the train was moving, and they screamed and told her not to. The big lug of a dad just stood there clueless sucking on his lollipop (I swear Im not making this stuff up, lol). So, the kids spent the ride standing, walking around, basically doing what they felt like doing despite moms repeated ineffective instructions. I wouldnt take a kid to Disney if he wouldnt do as he was told, but thats just me I guess.
Back in the villa I pulled out our dining receipts to see whether this deluxe dining plan was a good idea or not. For the 2 of us for one night we paid $171.04. The meals plus snacks received were $246.46 but remember we have Tables in Wonderland. If wed paid out of pocket but used Tables in Wonderland it would have cost $199.47. So, the savings was almost $28 but honestly we probably wouldnt have bothered with the 4 snacks and wouldnt have done the breakfast buffet. I didnt count the $14.49 per mug because we really arent using them and I would NEVER have bought them!
After a short rest I decided to go for a more serious walk. I thought about riding over to Downtown Disney and walking through Saratoga Springs but really didnt want to have to travel to start walking. SB decided to stay home and watch sports on tv, so I went downstairs and headed out the front door. I walked the path to the Magic Kingdom and looked for a way to get beyond the monorail station but didnt see anything to make that possible. So, I turned around and walked back to Bay Lake Tower and took a lesson from the 2 recent cruise days where I walked 5 miles along the hallways. Bay Lake Tower is shaped like the letter C and each hallway is fairly long. I started on the ground floor walking from one end to the other, then climbed up a flight of stairs to the next floor and did that until I reached our villa on the 14th floor. The entire walk took 45 minutes, so I estimate I walked close to 3 miles.
SB just shook his head when he learned what Id done, lol! We finished up the cupcake and he watched tv while I read the cruise message boards and updated the report. Around 4 I went down to the front desk to get our new parking pass since wed be driving to Beach Club Villas in the morning and I think the pass in the car had yesterday for the expiration date (since it was from the reservation for the 1st night only). On the way back I filled up his mug with hot chocolate. Technically the mugs were to be used through midnight last night but since between the 2 of us we had ONE hot chocolate during that time Disney isnt losing any money by me filling it up today.
Shortly before 5 we went downstairs to the lobby and upstairs to the Top of the World lounge. My room key did not say dvc member and the cast member explained that due to a glitch in the new system it only says that for the rest of the party but not for the person who booked. I checked SBs card and sure enough it said dvc member. Hmmm, thats not right, lol!! However, the cast member explained that the first several numbers on the card identifies us as dvc, so it doesnt really matter that the words are missing.
Up in the lounge the bartender Mike remembered me from previous visits and welcomed me back. I told him Deb Wills had said hello, and we chatted a few minutes. SB selected the seating area closest to the basketball game and we ordered drinks. He had a 7 and 7, and I ordered the pinot grigio. Unfortunately they were still out of that. Huh??? A customer as big as Disney cant get a wine delivery the next day?? The server said theyd been out for a few days now, which makes no sense to me. I chose the sauvignon blanc instead, which was fine but not as good at the pinot grigio.
We only had the one drink, and by 6 were downstairs at Contempo Caf for dinner. SB had the chicken corn chowder and the mahi sandwich, which he loves. I had the steakhouse salad, which I love and took more than half of it back to the villa. Weve always found the food here to be better than most counter service places. The atmosphere sucks though, from the long lines of people waiting for Chef Mickeys and the overtired & screaming babies/toddlers parents insist on dragging around on the adults schedule.
After dinner we went up to the villa, where well be in for the night. Its really windy outside and getting downright cold. Neither of us has any desire to set foot outdoors when its like this.
Today was a great day I cant believe how many attractions we did during our Magic Kingdom time! It was a nice relaxing day too just what vacations are supposed to be. Warmer weather would have made the day perfect, but honestly I cant complain. Being a little cold is much better than the heat & humidity here from mid-May through September!
Tomorrow is our last full day, and lunch at LeCellier.
DAY 4 Sunday 2/12/12
Who: Sue (53), DVC member
SB (54), Husband
Plan: Epcot, LeCellier
Actual: The wind chill at 8 this morning is 23 degrees, so its long pants and sweatshirt weather (since we didnt bring warm jackets). The wind chill is in the teens in Gainesville, so Im happy to be here! We left the villa around 8:30 and drove over to Beach Club Villas to enter Epcot via International Gateway. It felt VERY cold outside, especially when the wind blew!
We walked into Epcot and since it was a few minutes after 9 when we reached Future World the initial crowd for Soarin was gone. We hardly saw any other people until we got close to the Land. I went ahead and grabbed 2 fastpasses for Soarin (10-11am) and then met SB in Seasons. I decided to skip the fattening berry croissant bread pudding this time and just ate some of his breakfast platter. There was plenty of food for us both. When I got the Soarin fastpasses the machine spit out 2 surprise extra fastpasses for Living with the Land 9:50-10:50. I figured those would be unnecessary, and after we finished breakfast we walked right onto a boat with no wait. Theyve rearranged some of the plants/crops inside and since we havent been here in a few months it was nice to see some changes.
After the boat ride we went upstairs for Circle of Life and had about a 12-minute wait for that. There was hardly anyone there maybe 10% of the seats were occupied. I saw a party of 6 come down the stairs and one of their teens selected a row and walked across to the center. In doing so, they party was seated directly in front of a couple in the row behind them. Now these rows are tiered enough that the couples view wouldnt have been obstructed, but it just seems wrong when the theater is 10% (or less) full to select seats right in front of someone. The man at the end of the party of 6 told his party that wasnt right, but they went ahead and sat down, except for him. He sat pretty far away, and when his party asked him what was up, he kept saying Im not doing that (meaning sitting in front of someone when the theater was mostly empty). Eventually 4 of the other 5 moved down to sit with him, leaving the original teen where she was. It was nice to see someone showing consideration for others!
When we got out of that we were just a few minutes into our fastpass window so we rode Soarin. We got the front row of the center section, which is the best in my opinion. By now it was around 10:30 so we meandered back to World Showcase and sat near Canada for a little while, then walked over to Norway and had a brief wait for 11am to arrive so theyd take the rope down. Our plan was to walk 2 laps around World Showcase before lunch.
At 11 we started walking and when we got around to Canada SB said hed wait there while I did the final lap at my pace. He was able to get us checked in while I was walking, and I got back there about 11:20 or so. We went down the hill to the restaurant and soon they did the Canadian national anthem (SB knows all the words, from baseball games against Canadian teams) and then we were seated.
We decided to share a bowl of the cheese soup and the burger. It was way too much food! My piece of the burger was 3 bites, which is all I wanted but that left him to struggle with the rest of it. Its a HUGE burger, and absolutely delicious! I say this is the best burger on property for sure. Its $14.99 but worth every penny. We left quite a bit of the soup he wasnt much help with that after the burger! We need to remember next time to just share the burger and skip the soup (or do a cup rather than bowl). I skipped the wine, thinking I might go to the lounge later, and he had a coke. We both skipped dessert!
After lunch we headed back to the resort, where he spent the afternoon watching sports on tv. I hung out online, did some packing, and relaxed. Had it been 30 degrees warmer I would have gone out to the beach or pool next door at the Contemporary, but it wasnt meant to be this weekend! I also worked on some future trip plans, canceling my only dining reservation in June. Our Tables in Wonderland expires May 31st so Ill wait until our Food & Wine trips to renew that rather than paying for it in June and not using it again for 4 months. SB talked to our friend with lung cancer, and sadly he sounds terrible and can hardly breathe (even with his oxygen tank). Were hoping he gets to FL next month, but it looks more likely that SB will take the train up to CT to see him.
Before I knew it the afternoon was gone time passes too quickly on my days off! I love this resort, this beautiful villa, and the gorgeous view of the lake. Its so peaceful! Shortly after 5 we headed down to go up to the Top of the World Lounge. It was a little busier than last night, but nowhere near full (normal for this time of the day). A different bartender was working, but we had the same waiter.
Tonight SB ordered the Tip Top Colada (Captain Morgans spiced rum, pina colada mix and splash of midori) and I had a pinot grigio. They hadnt gotten a delivery, but brought a different pinot grigio up from the Wave restaurant. SB also ordered the chicken sliders, and we ended up having 2 rounds of drinks. Total after Tables in Wonderland was $49.53 so this isnt a cheap venue, lol! The chicken sliders were ok he said hed order them again, but I wouldnt order them for myself. There were 3 sliders small but thick chicken on a bun, with goat cheese & tomato jam, with jalapeno ketchup on the side. Wed brought SBs bbq chips with us, so he ate those with the sliders. I tried a bite, and that was enough.
It was a pleasant time in the lounge. He watched the end of the basketball game and I brought my Kindle <g>. We saw most of the national news, which was mostly Whitney Houston. What a shame that incredible voice was damaged & then snuffed out by her lifestyle choices. She had everything at one time.
Eventually we ended up back in the villa. I finished up the almond crusted cheesecake for my dinner, figuring Id take the salad home for tomorrow night. Well watch some of the Grammys but since I dont know most of the artists SB will have to go to the living room to watch the last half. Tomorrow we drive back to Gainesville and I return to work.
This has been a great trip a nice mix of doing stuff in the parks and relaxing at the resort. We had some great meals (Narcoossees & LeCellier) and did more attractions than usual in the MK. I really love this resort, and look forward to returning for a mostly resort-only weekend in June. Im not sure when well be back as a couple, as when I gave him a choice between here & Kidani for next January he chose Kidani (for the animals) without hesitation.
The photos from this trip are on shutterfly at
My next trip will hopefully be a solo trip starting April 18th at Beach Club Villas for 5 nights. I say hopefully because SB is still searching for his next job, and we both hope he has one by then. I love love love my solo trips, so well see what the next couple of months brings <g>. Thanks for reading along!