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Thread: Sue (Holland) Rayford, March 9-12 2017, Beach Club Villas

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    Sue (Holland) Rayford, March 9-12 2017, Beach Club Villas

    Who/When/Where:

    Who: Sue (58), DVC Member
    SB (59), my husband (3/9 & 3/10)
    Amanda (28), daughter-in-law (3/10 - 3/12)
    Ari (almost 8 months), grandson (6th WDW trip)
    Dates: March 9 13, 2017
    Resort: Disneys Beach Club Villas Resort
    Experience: Very Experienced 39th stay at this resort

    INTRODUCTION:
    Flower & Garden Festival has begun, and although this trip is only 4 nights itll be the main Flower & Garden trip for this year. Ill have 1 night before a HAL cruise later this month, and a short 3-night weekend at the end of the festival. This trip should be the end of the nice weather, too (the 1 night later this month should be fine), as by late May its just hot & miserable down here. So, I hope to make the most of comfortable park touring this trip!

    Whenever theres something going on at Epcot I only want to stay at Beach Club or Boardwalk, and of the 2, Beach Club is my favorite. I mentioned this is my 39th stay there, and thanks to dvc I have been able to spend 180 nights there so far. Ive spent over 2 years (752 nights) at the dvc resorts since becoming a member, and surprisingly Beach Club Villas is not where Ive spent the most nights. That would be Old Key West, with 203 nights, almost all accumulated back in the Pleasure Island/Comedy Warehouse days! Without that, theres nothing to make me want to be there anymore. Beach Club will eventually catch up and beat Old Key West!

    Last trip Amanda & Ari joined me for the weekend, and it actually worked out fine sharing a studio for a couple nights, so I invited them back for this trip as well. SBs days off from work are Thursday & Friday, so hell come for the beginning of the trip but will be going home sometime Friday to be at work Saturday morning. Amanda & Ari will move in to take his place, and then Ill stay solo on Sunday night.

    Ari was so much fun last trip, as he was old enough to really enjoy the characters (especially Mickey) and the attractions! Since then hes learned to crawl, pulls himself up to stand, and has started eating food. He still loves his orange magic band, and plays with it often, lol! Hell be turning 8 months old just after this trip (on the 14th).

    For me the main appeal of the festival is the food booths and the concerts. I was pleased to learn the group for this trip is the Pointer Sisters! We saw them once before and enjoyed them, so this worked out really well. Amanda is familiar with a couple of their songs, but shes agreeable to doing whatever I want to do.

    I have a lunch booked at Beaches & Cream since SB loves that place. I could take it or leave it preferably leave it, lol so this is for him. I tried to book Be Our Guest for lunch with Amanda, but since her attendance wasnt thought of until mid-January, there wasnt anything available at that point. Eventually I was able to get a lunch reservation for myself (party of 1) at a time that works for us, so well see how we can get Amanda inside too (were sharing a sandwich, already pre-ordered). Luckily, I was able to add her to my fastpasses (I didnt have Frozen booked on her dates).

    The plans so far are:
    Thursday 3/9: Drive to WDW, Epcot
    Friday 3/10: Hollywood Studios, Beaches & Cream lunch, Epcot
    Saturday 3/11: Magic Kingdom, Be Our Guest lunch, Epcot
    Sunday 3/12: Animal Kingdom, Pool, Epcot
    Monday 3/13: Drive to Gainesville (work)


    DAY 1 Thursday 3/9/17
    Who: Sue (58), DVC Member
    SB (59), my husband

    Plan: Drive to WDW, Epcot

    Actual: Thursday morning came early in the Holland house, where Id spent last night (with Chris, Amanda & Ari). Id set the alarm for just after 4am, and got up to get my shower out of the way. That gave me time to have breakfast, relax online and see them briefly again before leaving at 6:30. After a stop to check on my home I was at the dental office for 2 appointments. Of course, the 2nd one was delayed by some problem they had, and I got called back for my 9am appointment around 9:45! That delayed my drive a bit, and I decided to take a different route recommended by Chris & Amanda. That took me through the middle of the state, through several towns. I HATE drives like that, as I cant stand the changing speed limits. But, this time of year the highways are a mess due to Snowbird Season, Spring Training, and construction. It saved me about 20 miles, but not any time unless of course I would have hit a delay on the highway.

    SB arrived about 5-10 minutes before I did, and was waiting for me in the room with the pool table, watching a spring training game on the tv. It was just before 1:30, and Id specified an arrival time of noon on my online check in. Well, the room was not ready, and nothing else was either. Housekeeping was notified we were there, waiting. This is so friggin aggravating to have this happen yet again! I already book and pay for the last night even though I leave before 6am the next morning do I need to book the night before my trip too so I can have a room to get into when I arrive??

    I went to talk with SB, who was tired. As usual, hed been left a pair of shorts, t-shirt, socks and sneakers to wear (hed agreed on them) and what is he wearing on this hot sunny day? Black jeans, black shirt, socks & black dress shoes. Ugh. At least he had his sneakers with him, and I later learned he had the shorts & t-shirt in his backpack. Since he was tired he agreed to stay here with our stuff while I ran over to Epcot. We figured when I got the text Id call him and hed bring the stuff up to the room then come over and meet me. THAT didnt exactly work out.

    I brought my stuff in from the car and left it with him, then walked over to Epcot. It was gorgeous in the shade but too hot in the direct sun. Epcot was quite busy, considering it was a Thursday afternoon. This makes me leery about the weekend! I walked towards France and stopped in Germany to get the potato pancake with applesauce. I expected it to be one pancake, but there were 2 of them and they were a good size too! I liked them but didnt love them. They were good to try, but I dont necessarily need to repeat it. It was impossible finding a table that wasnt out in the sun (the shady ones were all occupied), so I stood next to a bench in the shade.

    By the time I finished the look it was hot enough that I decided to head back, since surely the room would be ready any second hah! SB was still watching baseball, and the room still wasnt ready. The cast member confirmed housekeeping knows were waiting so I cant figure out why its taking so long if thats the case!

    I was able to push our Living with the Land FP (missed it) and Soarin FP (window just opened) back to later, when it also shouldnt be so hot out there. I was surprised the weather showed it at only 82 degrees, because it felt hotter in the sun. I pulled out the laptop and initially had some problems with it, but after rebooting and updating some drivers it seemed fine again. By 3:45 we still had no room, and I was getting seriously pissed off by now. Its time to march over to the real front desk, since the lobby desk here at the Villas is already closed.

    There was a line of people at the front desk, so I asked the cast member standing with the greeter if she was a supervisor. She wasnt, but she offered to help me or get one if I needed one. I explained I was frustrated and fed up waiting and waiting for my room. Yes, I know the official check in time is 4pm. But, when I am standing here at 1:30 they can send a housekeeper to do that room next. Another party was also waiting in the pool table room for their room assignment. Theyd been waiting around since 11:30 and got theirs after us! The cast member went to check on it and said she thinks it may be ready but needs to check. Soon she was back with the room number, so I thanked her and left.

    I retrieved SB and we gathered up our stuff, noticing as we left that the other party finally got their room text too. On a positive note, the room met all of my requests in terms of location. SB liked it too, because it wasnt very far from the elevator. The rooms have recently been redone here, and while I dont hate them there are definitely a number of things I dont like. I HATE when they add that stupid kid bed so that 5 people are allowed in a studio!! Not only do I dislike the idea of 5 people in a studio, I hate losing the decent drawer storage space and dont like having the table attached to that piece of furniture. Now the drawers are tall, but theyre only 4-5 inches long/deep. Forget putting a shirt or pair of shorts in them theyre drawers for socks & underwear, but they dont need to be a foot tall! The most useful drawers are the 2 under the coffee table, but theyre also small and very low to the ground. My other major complaint is no more ceiling fan. Living in Florida, a ceiling fan is something you just take for granted you expect to have one in almost every room. So, its a big loss. On the plus side, the kitchenette appliances are stainless steel and I like the big TV.

    We were pleasantly surprised when we opened the balcony door and saw it was huge! It runs the length of what would easily be a 2-br villa, and has a section that juts out further. Its great! We emptied out the suitcase but didnt take time to actually unpack just yet. I had some work stuff to finish up, which carried over from when we were homeless. Once that was done we were out the door, walking over to Epcot.

    Both times today there was no wait at bag check or entry. They are using the scanners on the right for passholders, which is nice. This time mine turned purple to signify being dvc, but earlier it did not. I was surprised to see Epcot was less crowded than it was earlier, and it was also much more comfortable now! SB was hungry, and since he didnt have anything particular he was set on, we turned towards France. At Farm Fresh we stopped and got him the shrimp and stone ground grits w/andouille sausage. Earlier the tables were all occupied, but now we had no trouble getting an empty table (with chairs!!) and it was even shady!

    His food was excellent 4 decent sized shrimp atop really delicious grits with spicy sausage and some corn. I generally dont like grits at all, but I tried some with a bit of sausage and agreed they were very good. The next stop was Japan, where he got the beef teriyaki with onions and udon noodles. He really enjoyed this too I tried a bit and it was better than I expected. It wasnt too heavy on the soy sauce, which was nice.

    We kept walking until we got to America, and walked right up to the Smokehouse. SB had the bbq pork ribs, which came with a black bean and corn salad. I tried a bit of one of the ribs tasty, but not to die for. He enjoyed them. He wanted some lemonade so we went into Liberty Inn. It wasnt busy in there at all, but after standing around while a cast member was waiting on a couple of really clueless parties, SB decided it wasnt worth waiting so we left. Hed talked about finishing with something from Italy, but then changed to a hot dog. Amazingly, they dont have hot dogs on the menu at Liberty Inn except on the kids menu. I mentioned Sommerfest in Germany, so we headed over there.

    We ordered the bratwurst w/sauerkraut and a lemonade for him, and the nudel gratin (like macaroni & cheese only much better) for us to share. None of the tables were available, but he found a spot on the high wall of the fountain so we set the food there and used it as a high-top table. He enjoyed his bratwurst, although he did tear off a bunch of the bread since the roll is so big. I ate most of the nudel gratin, but he was happy to eat his share he was quite impressed by how good it was. While we were eating I saw there was no line in the wine store so I ran in and let the cast member pick a white wine for me. It was a medium sweet Riesling and very good!

    After we finished our dinner we continued walking, heading into Future World. Our first stop was Mouse Gear, to get me a new Disney watch for our anniversary last month. Of course there was a group of 3 adults standing right smack in the middle of the watch display case, but thankfully they moved on soon. I saw 2 I liked, and then in the next case there 1 I wasnt sure about. I started with the first 2, and one was disappointing as soon as I picked it up it just looked better under glass, lol! The other one I really liked, and it was not expensive at all. I decided to look at the 3rd one and asked how much it was. When the cast member said $500 I told her never mind, lol I imagine SB was relieved. We got 20% off on the watch (passholder or dvc discount this year), and were happy to check this off the to do list.

    We sat on a bench near Innoventions on the other side for a bit, since we were a little ahead of schedule. Eventually we walked up to the Land to use our fastpasses. We figured wed kill the remaining time by seeing the Circle of Life movie but that was closed for some big private group. So, we went down and rode Living with the Land with no wait and not even bothering with our fastpasses. This was the first time I remember seeing watermelon and blueberries in the greenhouses! When we got off our boat we had about 15 minutes before our Soarin fastpass would work, so we sat again.

    When it was time we entered the Soarin queue (standby was 45 or 55 minutes) and SB was surprised to see the fastpass line backed up around the corner. Thats typical for later in the day he is usually riding in the morning. The line moved pretty well, and it didnt take too long to get into the preshow area. We ended up in the front row, but all the way at the end of the row on the left side. I warned him some of the stuff would appear distorted from those seats, but I dont think he really grasped it until he saw it. Many of the scenes are fine, but when theres one with something really tall, it appears somewhat bent. The thinner it is, the more pronounced the bend is. The Eiffel Tower is downright laughable!

    Despite the odd view, we still enjoyed the attraction. We left the Land to head back out to World Showcase to get our desserts, but on the way through Imagination he said he wanted popcorn. I knew he was tired of walking, and this was easier than walking into France to get the key lime tart at Florida Fresh <g>. We stood in line at the popcorn stand, where guests and cast members seemed to be having great difficulty communicating (all seemed to be English speaking). Finally one of the cast members went to fill up a bucket of popcorn for one of them, and I went over to confirm that the popcorn was almost gone. What was left were the old, smaller pieces so we left.

    As we got into World Showcase SB asked about the refreshment place right on the corner before Canada, which sells soft serve ice cream. There was only 1 person in line, so we got SB a chocolate/vanilla swirl waffle cone. When we got to International Gateway he said hed wait for me there, and found a bench to sit and eat his ice cream. I continued over to France and got the macaron with chocolate ganache and raspberry yummy!! I took it back with me, retrieved SB, and walked back to Beach Club Villas.

    Once we got to the room I put the macron in the fridge while he took a shower and I went out to my car to bring in the rest of the stuff. Amanda had packed a bag that I brought up, to make it easier for her when she arrives, so I had that plus some bottles of water. I finished unpacking my stuff and tried to ignore the cyclone of SBs crap everywhere since itll be gathered up and packed tomorrow!

    He was exhausted, and his knee was hurting. I frequently tell him he needs to walk at home in order to avoid these issues, but that couch has a horizontal hold on him, lol! Earlier (before he started hurting) wed decided to skip Hollywood Studios tomorrow. He doesnt feel the need to get his *** kicked on Toy Story again (his words, lol) and I would like to check out the Disney outlet when traffic isnt bad. So, well be at the outlets when they open at 10, leave by 11 to get back here for our 11:40 lunch, then enjoy the pool (probably just me) until we go over for the Pointer Sisters. It sounds like he wouldnt have been up for a lot of walking, so the new plan works. Itll be a long Food & Wine trip though, if he doesnt prepare for it (Pete encourage him!).

    We shared the macaron, which means I left him the last bite <g>. It was excellent! He was pretty much dozing off by 8:30, while I was working on the trip report. At 9 Illuminations started and since I could hear the music/lyrics clearly and see the high fireworks I took the laptop out to one of the chairs on the balcony. Once Illuminations ended I went back inside, and hope to wind down and try to get some sleep by around 10 or so. Theres just never enough time when Im here!

    Today had a very rocky start, and Im not happy about how long it took to get our room ready. I hope its not going to be like this every time. I am very happy with the room itself, other than the things I cant change like the combo kiddie bed/table thing. Epcot was great, especially later when the sun wasnt a factor. Crowds were manageable and lines at the food kiosks were tiny! The food we tried was all great, with some of it being downright excellent. Im very happy with my new watch, too.

    Tomorrow should be a nice relaxing day, which will be good for both of us! Amanda & Ari will be arriving in the evening, but probably not until close to 8pm or later.


    DAY 2 Friday 3/10/17
    Who: Sue (58), DVC Member
    SB (59), my husband
    Amanda (28), daughter-in-law
    Ari (almost 8 months), grandson

    Plan: Hollywood Studios, Beaches & Cream lunch, Epcot

    Actual: We were both awake by 5:30 hed slept really well, since he was asleep before 9 last night. I turned out the lights by 10, but was awake more during the night. I asked about his knee and learned he was just pulling my leg last night. But, were sticking with the revised plan anyway. I made my cappuccino and we both got online.

    Just before 7 he went down to Beach Club Marketplace to get breakfast, with an extra side of the potatoes for me. I made myself an egg and slice of bacon to go with it, since Id brought eggs and bacon for Amanda and me this trip. The weather forecast is concerning. Theyre saying a front will stall over the area, making it very rainy all afternnon & evening Sunday, as well as most of Monday. If this forecast holds, Ill likely leave Sunday even though Ive paid for the room that night. I dont like to drive in the dark, and with the time change (turning the clock ahead an hour) it will be dark my entire drive home. I could manage it in good weather, but add rain to the mix, with wet roads reflecting in the lights, it becomes something Id rather avoid. Plus, trudging around Epcot in the rain isnt fun either. So, Ill keep an eye on the forecast and adjust as necessary.

    SB came back with breakfast, and it was very good. He had a little Mickey waffle on his plate, so he gave that to me. I gave him part of the egg Id made, and at least half of the extra side of potatoes. We both had plenty, then relaxed for a while in the studio. In the end he decided to just stay in the studio and wait for me while I went to the outlets, which didnt surprise me. He thanked me for not making him go anywhere, lol! I can get in & out on my own just fine, and though I wish he was more active I know his ideal vacation really is doing absolutely nothing just like his off days. Thats one reason it works well for my trips to be mostly solo!

    I got cleaned up & dressed, then headed out before 9:30. I figured I could sit around waiting for the Disney outlet to open. It was already very warm, with an expected high of at least 85 today. I was surprised by the ridiculous traffic on Disney property, created by all of the construction (and to some degree, lots of people visiting right now). By the time I got to the outlets, it was only about 5 minutes or so before 10!

    Since the stores dont open until 10 I was confident I could get a parking space in the lot. What I hadnt realized is theyve taken the entire front half for valet parking. Then they have a row for handicapped, another free row, and then the next large section is premium self-parking for $7! Are you freakin kidding me???? I wonder how many people are lazy enough to do that? Normally I park in the free parking garage, but since Im here so early today I got a shady spot in the free aisle.

    I waited with several others outside Character Warehouse, and once again the Disney cast members were late opening although they were all standing around in a circle inside. People were getting restless, yelling through the window for them to open up, lol! Once they did I made a circuit of the store, picking up a few bargains. The biggest bargain was another pair of my black & pink Disney Croc flip flops. SB bought my current pair at full price ($49.95) but today they were $19.99 so now I have a spare for when the first ones are worn out. I also got a Pluto outfit to go with Aris birthday gifts.

    While out I texted with Pete (of Pete & Judy fame), who was enjoying (NOT) snow in his yard in NJ, and then talked with Tim (Chris dad). Finally, I was ready to head back, once again dealing with the construction traffic & heavy crowds. But, I was back at the studio a little before 11. SB was just getting out of the shower, so I showed him the stuff I bought and he got dressed. We decided to take our chances on Beaches & Cream early, so we walked down there.

    On the way I asked the cast members at Cape May Caf which characters were there for breakfast, and they confirmed it was only Minnie, Goofy and Donald not Mickey. Looks like were stuck with Chef Mickeys when staying here in late September. Chris & Amanda want to do one with Ari, but want Mickey. Itll be ok, since we can drive over and park there, then walk to Magic Kingdom.

    At Beaches & Cream I told the cast member we were about 25 minutes early, but they were able to seat us in a booth right away! We passed a party of 7 adults sharing a Kitchen Sink. That thing really looks more disgusting than good! While we were there at least 2 other parties also ordered one, including a family of 4 (2 were kids) and a party of 3 slender adults. Both parties pretty well polished them off we noticed as we were leaving! How do people do it, lol?

    SB likes this place. I can take it or leave it preferably leave it. In my opnion its grossly overpriced, noisy, and just not my cup of tea. I will admit their milkshakes are outstanding, but no doubt for the price theyd better be. We ordered the hot dog w/chili and fries, burger w/onion rings, and a chocolate milkshake. With the 10% discount and the tip it came to just under $40! The hot dog was not particularly big, and the burger was good but not worth $16 in this type of a setting. SB ate the hot dog and 2/3 of the burger. I had the other part of the burger and we shared the fries/onion rings. The shake was his, but I helped myself to that as well! It was all good, and we left full, but that price is just a bit crazy.

    After lunch we walked back to the villas and since he was already in his swim trunks he went straight to the quiet pool to wait for me. I went upstairs to change into a swimsuit and gather up my phones, kindle and beach bag and a nearly frozen bottle of water. Hed already grabbed towels, so I set us up at a couple chaise lounges by the pool while he sat in the jacuzzi for a while. Afterwards he spent time in the pool, and I joined him for a short time. Nobody else was in the pool, so it was like a private pool! There were some people on chaise lounges or at tables around the pool though.

    Eventually he joined me on the chaise lounges and did a little reading, then he went upstairs to the room while I stayed out at the pool a bit longer. Around 2 I went inside as well. He was ready for a snack, so after I cleaned up a bit I went down to Beach Club Marketplace. I was shocked to see NO oatmeal raisin cookies out, and was told by a cast member they didnt have any today. Wow. I got him a chocolate chip cookie, banana, and a key lime tart (since he never got the one last night at Epcot) and a bottle of milk. I got one of the coconut bars for myself for later.

    Back in the studio he devoured the cookie, banana & milk. I tried the key lime tart and it was actually very good. He liked it too, but was too full to eat it just then. Hopefully well remember to send it home with him later I put it in the fridge for now. I got some ice, poured a glass of wine and took it along with my laptop out to the nice breezy shady balcony to update the report. I also had several work emails/issues. Thankfully tomorrow is Saturday, so I shouldnt have to bother with the work phone after today. Amanda had texted earlier to say she could probably be on the road just after 4, which is earlier than she expected. That was good news!

    In other news, her dad, stepmother, stepsister & stepsisters not well behaved little kid (under age 3) are in town from North Carolina. Hed texted her asking if she was available this week and weekend, and she said no I would be there Wednesday night, then she was going to Disney with me Fri/Sat/Sun. So, when do they come down? This week! I suggested to Amanda maybe they heard the dates but didnt notice the NOT AVAILABLE part, lol! Her whole family (both sides) drives her crazy with last minute stuff, always being late, etc. So, now they want to come to Magic Kingdom tomorrow and get a picture of the 2 cousins (Ari and the other boy) with Mickey. Well, you good readers know what MK is like on a Saturday, and know how quickly a line forms there, and how necessary a fastpass is. They dont even have tickets yet, so thats another delay and the chances of them even getting there on time are slim. But, this at least caused me to check the park hours and I learned MK is opening at 8am for everyone tomorrow! Thats bad news, because it means the huge crowds are expected to continue. But, Im glad I learned this so we didnt show up at 9 to find a ton of people already in the park!

    Well see how it plays out tomorrow. Amandas going to spell out the many reasons they shouldnt bother, but if they think they can be there at the stroke of 8 or earlier and actually arrive on time, then I dont mind. But, if theyre not there she wants us to go ahead with our Small World ride w/Ari, which I agree with and also with the rest of our plans.

    Somewhere shortly after 4 I went back inside. The balcony was great, and I could clearly hear the performances of the group in the United Kingdom since its just past the trees out here. SB had been napping, but woke up and was ready to go in a few minutes. We brought his stuff out to his car, so he wouldnt have to detour by the studio later, then headed for Epcot. The quiet pool here is enclosed by a big white fence with a gate on either side. A couple in his & her scooters had come in from the parking lot with us, and she was puzzled staring at the gate. The handle is up very high, so I told her to wait and I opened the door for them to enter. As we approached the other gate, she was trying to use her cane to press the bar you use to open it, so again we opened the gate for them. There arent automatic openers on the gates, so how do people in wheelchairs access this pool, or pass through?? At the entrance to the building there is a door opener, so the lady pushed that button and told us now she was opening the door for us, lol!

    At Epcot (International Gateway) the bag check and entry were much busier than yesterday, but at least we beat the friendship that was approaching the dock. I used the passholder lane again but only got green (no purple for dvc). It seems to be hit or miss, but Im not sure why not that it matters what color my light turns as long as Im allowed to enter.

    We turned towards France and went straight to America. I could see (before France) that the theater was already very full, so I was glad we got here early. SB had talked about getting a turkey leg, so I asked him about that but he said he was too full. Thats just as well those things are horrible for you! We arrived at the theater about 40 minutes before the concert, and found seats in the 3rd row of the 2nd section, over on the side by Japan. There was a nice breeze, and a tree trunk provided some shade so it wasnt bad. Even SB commented that if it was warmer (like next trip) it would be miserable, and I agreed.

    Just before the concert started a cast member gave the people in the front row of our section to move down front in the lower section guess those rows hadnt filled with whoever they were for. People moved, and then others sitting on the side wall swarmed over to refill those seats it was funny to watch. It was lucky for those latecomers on the wall, too!

    The concert started 1 minute late, which wasnt right but wasnt too bad. Maybe my Disney watch is fast, lol! The group was the same as last time, but a couple looked different to us heavier. They consisted of an original Pointer Sister, her daughter, and her daughters daughter (the granddaughter). Last time Pete was impressed enough by the legs on the granddaughter that he was still commenting about it earlier today. SB immediately noticed she was much bigger tonight and wearing jeans rather than a yellow mini dress! The original Pointer Sister looked better than any of them she was still slim, tall, and did not look like someone who had to be well into her 60s by now! She also had lots of energy.

    The beginning of the concert was a little rocky we didnt recognize the first song (SB said it wasnt one of theirs), did recognize the 2nd one, then the 3rd one just didnt sound very good (SB thought it wasnt one of theirs either). Fortunately after that they did all real Pointer Sisters songs, and they were great! It was high energy, and fun. They left the stage after about 25 minutes, and some people left but I could see them standing in the wings & Disney hadnt played the thanks for coming thing so I told SB to just wait. He was grumbling about Disney making more cutbacks, lol! Oh, I also knew they hadnt performed Jump. So, next thing you know, theyre back out on stage for an encore, doing Jump. After that, we headed out, but I saw them lingering around to meet & greet people in the audience, which was very nice. Overall we really enjoyed the concert and SB was glad he stayed for it.

    He decided to head home now, since hes got a 12-hour shift tomorrow starting at 7am. Hell get to see Ari in a couple weeks when he & his parents spend the night at our place (while Im on my cruise) on their way to a wedding in Destin, FL. I walked with SB to International Gateway, then entered Future World to see the topiary at the front entrance of the park since I tried to never come in that way. It was a maypole, with the main characters each holding a ribbon very cute. I wandered around taking some pictures, then went back to complete my loop of World Showcase.

    In Germany I stopped and ordered the warm cheese strudel with berries, and took it to a picnic table by the lake. I was shocked how good this is!! It was absolutely delicious, but very filling. I would definitely get this one again! The strudel was a flaky pastry crust, filled with warm sweet cheese. Its dusted with some powdered sugar and they put a scoop of berry sauce with strawberries and blueberries on top yummy! Once that was gone I continued walking, stopped briefly at the second Pointer Sisters concert. This show they were all wearing matching black flapper-style mini dresses. They were REALLY short, which isnt such a great look on someone 75 pounds or so overweight! The dress barely covered her crotch! The granddaughter was the right age for it, but surprisingly grandma carried it off very well! Mom needed several more inches or those leggings that are all the rage now, lol!

    I didnt stay for the rest of the concert, but the 2 songs I heard were not in the first show so theyre mixing it up from show to show. Amanda & Ari were on the road and due here between 7:45 and 8 so I went back to the resort to get caught up on the trip report before they arrived.

    The timing worked out well about 5 minutes after I finished, Amanda knocked on the door. Ari was all smiles, and eager to play. We set him on the floor while Amanda organized her stuff, and she nursed him briefly but he was too interested in looking around. I took him out onto the balcony for the fireworks at Hollywood Studios, and he seemed to really like them. When they ended we came back inside, where Amanda had set out a container of pears shed made him. She needed to go get another bag she left in the car, so I fed him while she was gone, and he ate the whole thing. She was surprised he ate them cold, as she usually warms them. She was very happy about it though less work for her, and its easier to travel with food (to restaurants) if it doesnt have to be heated!

    Once that was done we put Ari in the stroller and headed out. We made a stop in Beach Club Marketplace, where Amanda got a pizza to eat as we were walking. She also got her 20% passholder discount. We went through the Beach Club lobby and exited to outside, walking past Stormalong Bay to begin our walk around the lake. Ari loved seeing all the lights, and then all the people once we got over to the Boardwalk. We caught the end of a show where a guy was balancing a small basketball hoop at the end of a long pole balanced on his head, then tossing balls up to land in the net.

    When that was over we continued walking, stopping on the bridge for some of the Illuminations fireworks before returning to the studio for the night. We got Amandas sleep sofa set up (Id set up the pack n play earlier), then she gave him a bath. He loved it and was splashing away and making noises like a boat motor. The plan was bath, nurse, and fall asleep but he was wound up! He was crawling, pulling himself up, laughing, making noises, and showing no signs of being tired for quite a while. Hopefully hell sleep tonight, lol hes got a busy day (and early morning) tomorrow!

    Its now almost 10:30 and Mr. Night Owl is showing no signs of slowing down. Once I post this report well dim some lights and see if that helps. Today was a lovely day nice and relaxing, which is the best kind! Tomorrow we have Magic Kingdom in the morning and Amanda left it that if her dad contacts her in the MK well try to meet up for a picture in front of the castle, but otherwise were doing our thing. I found out the stepsister isnt with them. Her son is almost 3 years old and on his first Disney trip, but she went off on her own vacation and sent him to Disney with the grandparents. Very odd. Amanda couldnt imagine missing her sons first Disney trip, and I wouldnt have either!


    DAY 3 Saturday 3/11/17
    Who: Sue (58), DVC Member
    Amanda (28), daughter-in-law
    Ari (almost 8 months), grandson

    Plan: Magic Kingdom, Be Our Guest lunch, Epcot

    Actual: We all slept well last night. Ari conked out before 11, and didnt wake up during the night. Amanda and I followed just after 11. I had set the alarm for 5, but got up around 4:45 to take my shower. Amanda was awake when I got out of the shower, so she got up and started getting everything organized for the day before waking Ari around 6. He was still sleepy at first, but didnt complain. After nursing, a diaper change, and some cereal, he was set loose to play with the driving toy shed brought. He no longer stays where you left him, now that hes mobile.

    While Amanda was in the shower I had my breakfast, then I made hers (and egg and 2 slices of bacon) once she was ready. We were out the door around 7:15, and walked over to the bus stop. The monitor showed an arrival time of 7:19 but it kept getting pushed back a minute or so, to 7:30. I think it arrived just before 7:30 though. It was a pretty quick ride, since we were at the Magic Kingdom by 7:45! It was busy at bag check and entry but not too bad later it will be a nightmare for sure! I carried Ari and my bag, while Amanda had everything else with the stroller. The bag check guy asked if we were sisters, but he was clearly kidding, lol!

    By now it was 10 minutes before the park opened at 8, and she got a text from her dad saying they were in the theater (Mickey meeting spot). She couldnt believe it theyre never on time, and usually very late! We parked the stroller and went to join them in line they had some other friends from North Carolina with them, including some I recognized from the wedding. We were a big group, and there were 3 little kids including Ari. Just before 8 they let the line move, and we were so near the front it took no time at all.

    Unfortunately, it wasnt talking Mickey! Amanda asked about that, and the cast member said hed lost his voice. So, there was no verbal interaction, which was a shame. The kids loved meeting Mickey and lots of photos were taken. Afterwards we parted ways with the others, since we have fastpasses and they dont. We made a restroom stop for a diaper change, then got the stroller and parked it next to Its a Small World. We waited for the next boat so Ari could sit in the front row. Once again he enjoyed it, but he was tired so he wasnt as bouncy as last time. It kept his attention and he didnt fall asleep. He was also getting hungry, but Amanda figured once he ate hed fall asleep, so since he wasnt crying or fussing at all wed continued and try to get a couple attractions in.

    We walked over to Winnie the Pooh, which had a 15-minute standby wait posted. I carried him through the queue and he enjoyed touching some of the stuff (bumble bees, the wall of honey) while we were waiting. He also enjoyed the ride again, and stayed awake. Next we walked over to Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and walked on that. We left the stroller parked by Pooh, since wed be going back near there for our Mine Train fastpasses.

    Ari stayed awake and really enjoyed the ride, but as we were walking back his head kept falling on my shoulder. He was ready to fall asleep, but we wanted him to eat first so I kept talking to him and jostling him around to keep him from sleeping. We went to one of the little picnic tables at the ice cream place across from Mine Train, and Amanda nursed him. I used my Mine Train fastpass, and after that quick but fun ride I retrieved the stroller and brought it over to Amanda. Ari had fallen asleep after eating just a bit, so she laid him in the stroller and went to use her Mine Train fastpass while I sat with Ari.

    When she returned we decided to take the long walk towards Space Mountain, through new Fantasyland and along the path passing the raceway. The train was in the station and it pulled out while we were walking along the path. It blew the whistle repeatedly, which was very loud! It woke Ari up, but he didnt cry or anything. Hed rolled over, so we sat him up and continued into Tomorrowland.

    There wasnt a wait at People Mover, so we did that next, getting the front car. This is always a nice ride, and when we finished we were in the window for our Space Mountain fastpasses. Amanda took Ari to see if Buzz Lightyear was out, while I did Space Mountain. The standby wait was between 90 and 115 minutes, and it was packed in there! It took a little while even with the fastpass, but it was fun. Amanda decided not to ride, and offered me hers, but with the crowd I wasnt interested in doing it again. It was 20 til 11 now and our lunch reservation was at 11 so we wandered over to Be Our Guest. We looked in the shop next to Gastons and Amanda saw on her phone that the rose cup sold at Disneyland was now available at Walt Disney World. She read the article, and learned its available at Be Our Guest, so perfect timing!

    We went back to Be Our Guest and I checked in while she got Ari out of the stroller. Since Id preordered the food we were able to go straight inside. She got a table and the silverware, while I paid for lunch and got her one of the rose cups. Wed agreed on the same room as last time, so I knew where to find her. She had Ari in a high chair and was feeding him some green beans.

    Soon our lunch arrived we shared the turkey sandwich with fries, and shared a Grey Stuff cupcake for dessert. Everything was excellent once again. We got out of there right around 11:30 and walked down Main Street to meet Mickey again. Id texted Mary to let her know wed see her at noon, since she was working today. Mickey had a 45 minute wait posted, but with the fastpass we were in and out of there quickly. This time he was talking, which was much better. He talked with Ari quite a bit, and Ari enjoyed his voice.

    Afterwards we waited for Mary near the Cinema, and visited with her when she arrived looking for us. We had a nice visit, as always! I decided to head back to enjoy the pool, and Amanda decided to find her dad and do an attraction with them before heading back. I had a short wait for a bus, then spent a nice hour out by the pool. Amanda rode the Aladdin carpets with her family, then had a very long wait for the bus. I was in the room before she got back!

    I downloaded the photos from the camera, and updated the report. We took Ari out to the balcony and let him crawl around. Hed pull himself up to stand, using the heavy metal furniture. Hes a lot more mobile than he was last trip! Around 3:30 we decided to head over to Epcot, but first made Ari cry by washing his hands, lol! We walked to Epcot, and had no wait entering the park. Overall the park was more crowded than last night, but not as bad as a Saturday during Food & Wine Festival. The lines at the kiosks werent long at all, which is a huge difference from Food & Wine! We went into Future World first, after stopping for me to get the watermelon salad. This was good, as usual. It was still hot in the sun so we walked in search of shade, ending up in the unused part of the building next to the butterfly garden.

    Ari was tired and fell asleep, so we sat at a table in there for a while. Amanda ran out to get a pretzel from over near Imagination, and after Ari finished his nap we used our fastpass for Journey into Imagination. Ari loved this attraction the music, and Figment. The blast at the end scared him, but otherwise it was a hit. From there we went to Mouse Gear to look for a plush from Moana, but they were sold out everywhere at Epcot.

    We walked out to World Showcase, starting on the Mexico side. We decided on sharing the pulled pork slider in America, so we walked over there and got a picnic table. The Pointer Sisters were starting their first concert in 5 minutes, and we were in a great spot to hear everything. This was much better than being in the crowded theater. I cleaned off the table and Amanda nursed Ari, then she went up and got the pork slider and a warm chocolate cake with caramel sauce and spiced pecans.

    The pulled pork slider was not that great nowhere near as tasty as the one from Hawaii during Food & Wine. Ive had this one here in past years, and for whatever reason tonight it was not as good. Amanda loved the cake, though. She gave me the spiced pecans but they were just ok and most went into the trash. We left America to continue walking, and Ari was getting increasingly fussy. Amanda thought maybe he needed to eat food, so we detoured to the resort to try some carrots. This is the beauty of staying at Beach Club or Boardwalk -quick exit & entry, without dealing with Disney transportation!

    Unfortunately, he wasnt much interested in the carrots, so he just not be feeling well. His nose has been running, and he hates having it wiped. Amanda used some baby nose drops, so perhaps they will help. She nursed him again, and he seemed to be falling asleep. But, if he goes to sleep for good now hell be up in the middle of the night, so she only wants him to sleep for about an hour or so. Traveling with an infant does present some challenges, but since were here so often its no big deal.

    He wasnt getting any better, and felt warm to Amanda. They didnt have any infant Tylenol at the Beach Club Marketplace, so we drove over to a nearby Walgreens to buy some, and she also got a thermometer. It was 8:30 by the time we got back, and he does have a fever. She gave him a bath and some Tylenol, and then called the pediatric hotline. The nurse who called her put her mind at ease, but it looks like Ari may be miserable tonight.

    I called SB to say goodnight he worked 12 hours today and since a co-worker called in sick tonight he is going back in at 3am to cover the 2nd half of that shift. It sucks when people dont come to work how unsurprising when it happens on a Saturday night. Amanda & I were in for the night. I hadnt really had dinner so I made some cappuccino and ate a piece of biscotti Chris had got me at an Italian bakery near their house.

    Today was a mostly very nice day it was fun with Ari in the Magic Kingdom, and I enjoyed getting some time by the pool. Its unfortunate hes not feeling well, especially here at Disney! But, babies & kids get sick hopefully hell bounce back quickly so Amanda can stop worrying.

    Tomorrow well see how Ari is feeling. She scheduled a doctors appointment for him tomorrow at 4, but shell cancel it if hes better. Our plans include Animal Kingdom in the morning, then moving to Epcot for Flower & Garden Festival. Well see how much of that happens. The weather is looking better, so if the rain stays away Ill enjoy the evening in Epcot.


    DAY 4 Sunday 3/12/17
    Who: Sue (58), DVC Member
    Amanda (28), daughter-in-law
    Ari (almost 8 months), grandson

    Plan: Animal Kingdom, Pool, Epcot

    Actual: It was a rough night for everyone, with little sleep. Ari woke up or was woken up (for Tylenol & temperature check) a number of times, and was irritable & miserable each time. In addition, we lost an hour with the clock being moved ahead. I think I slept from 4-6 and maybe an hour sometime earlier. I got up when my alarm went off at 6, and the others were sleeping. Ari was in his pack n play in a normal position for him. I brushed my teeth and made my cappuccino quietly, then got back into bed and got online. Ari was starting to stir and will probably be due for more Tylenol shortly, but I figured Id wait another hour before doing anything noisy. This studio happens to be a dedicated studio, meaning it does not connect to a 1-bedroom villa. Thats really nice since he was crying so much last night (and screaming at times), as the noise may have penetrated the connecting door. Although, here the door would be out by the entrance, vs Boardwalk and Old Key West where the door is real close to the bed!

    Ari was awake sometime after 7, and was still fussier than normal. Amanda decided to just head on home early today, and I agreed with her. Theres no point taking him to a park if hes not feeling well. By 9 she was ready to go, so I walked them down to the car and saw them off. Shes hoping to get an earlier doctors appointment instead of waiting until 4pm.

    As for me, I canceled the Animal Kingdom fastpasses because I didnt feel like making the effort to go over there. Its easier to just walk to Epcot. My watch has a screw thats sticking out, so I want to stop by Mouse Gear to see if they can do anything. I dont have the receipt or anything, though. I would have liked to spend time by the pool, but its totally cloudy, with a little mist every now and then. I talked to SB, who is not happy that another co-worker called in sick today so it looks like he may have to stay until 3pm, for another 12-hour day.

    Back in the studio, housekeeping came by to do the trash & towel service, so it was nice to get that out of the way. Once she finished I walked over to Epcot, arriving about 9:30. Bag check and entry were very quick, and this time I used the passholder lane and the light turned purple for dvc (cast member didnt say anything no big deal). Its always nice strolling through part of World Showcase in the early morning, especially when its comfortable outside! I walked to the center walkway and entered Future World, heading straight into Mouse Gear. At the watch counter I explained Id bought this watch Thursday but theres a screw sticking out. I asked if they had a small screwdriver or something to fix it, as even if I had one I probably couldnt see something that tiny well enough to do it myself, lol!

    The cast member found a small screwdriver in a drawer but I guess it wasnt small enough, so she said she didnt want me bothered by this and she was going to mark the watch as damaged and give me another one. I told her I didnt have my receipt or anything, and she didnt care about that. She handed me a new watch to check, and it was fine. I took the extra link out of it and gave that part back to her. I was very pleased with how Disney handled this!

    With that done, I went over to the Festival Center but learned it didnt open until 10:00 a.m. (about 10 minutes from now). Spaceship Earth had a long wait, and the single rider line at Test Track was 30 minutes. Nemo had a 10-minute standby wait, so even though I have a fastpass here later I decided to ride it now. The wait consisted of walking through the queue and being held up for about 10 seconds at the loading area. Once I got off my clam mobile I walked back over to the Festival Center to look around. During this festival its only open on the weekend, unlike Food & Wine where its open every day. They always used to have a very reasonably priced prosecco here, which for years was $3 or $3.25 then jumped to $5 and now has jumped to $8. Thats too big of a jump for the exact same prosecco (Zonin), so I passed on getting anything today.

    When I left the Festival Center it was just before 10:30, so I went to Imagination and sat upstairs in the DVC member lounge on the 2nd floor. I got a cup of ice water, and looked at a brochure for Adventures by Disney vacations. I dont plan to ever do one theyre mostly geared towards families and I dont want kids on trips like that (other peoples kids Ari might be ok, lol). Plus, for the prices they charge I can do more HAL cruises! I enjoyed looking at the different destinations and activities, though. The cast members came around with the snack cart, so I got a package of cookies and ate part of them. SB will eat the rest when I get home (Chips Ahoy).

    I left the lounge just before 11 and walked to the Mexico side of World Showcase to make a partial loop. I stopped in Germany and actually had to stand in line behind a couple of people this early, lol! I got the warm cheese strudel and took it to a picnic table along the lake. It was delicious again, and this one was a little bit smaller, which was ok. That was my lunch, but I wasnt really that hungry yet, at barely after 11. I continued walking and stopped in Morocco to get a piece of the delicious chocolate baklava I loved during Food & Wine Festival last year. I got an extra plate to hold on top of it, since I was carrying it back to the studio for later.

    When I got to International Gateway I exited the park, and decided to walk the long way around (past Boardwalk, then over past Yacht Club). It was a beautiful day for walking, as the clouds kept it from being too warm. I think it around 70 degrees or so. I did browse through the Screen Door and other shops at Boardwalk, and then looked in Beach Club Marketplace once I got back to my resort. They still didnt have oatmeal raisin cookies, so Im not sure if theres a raisin or oat shortage I havent heard about. I want to bring a couple back to SB, so Ill have to try my other sources (Seasons in the Land or Boardwalk Bakery) later.

    I went up to the studio and finished uploading photos for the album Id done some before heading out earlier. Once that was done I captioned them, and then went out on the balcony to update the trip report. It looks like it rained a little bit earlier, as the walkway was wet. SB ended up not having to stay until 3pm today, so I chatted with him, and heard from Amanda. Ari slept a lot (normal in the car), but would wake up and scream a bit like all last night. Hes not normally like that, so he doesnt feel good. At least hell see a doctor today. Id never heard of Sunday pediatrician appointments when Chris was a baby! Aris grandpa Tim called, after having gone over there to see them and said hes still pretty miserable and only wants his mom. Id noticed that this morning, too Grandma didnt quite cut it, at least for very long.

    While I was on the balcony I changed my 3:20 Nemo fastpass to 3:25 at Imagination. I wasnt really interested in that, but the choices were very limited, lol! I left the studio a little before 4 and walked to Epcot. This time the Friendship had docked while I was walking, but by the time I got down the hill the crowd was just finishing entering the park. I went to Future World for my Imagination fastpass and noticed cast members standing outside so I checked my email. Sure enough, it was down and I now could ride anything that wasnt in tier 1. I decided on Living with the Land, since I needed to look for SBs cookies over there anyway.

    I walked right over there and was surprised to see the standby wait was 25 minutes the line was quite long! Im glad I had the fastpass! I enjoyed the ride, but I was so tired I dont remember much of it, lol! Seasons was also very busy, and I got SB 2 oatmeal raisin cookies but they had no bags to put them in. I ended up going to the merchandise stand outside Soarin to get a small plastic bag.

    Amanda texted to let me know Ari has 2 ear infections again, so thats why he was so miserable! It also explains why hed sometimes scream after a cough it hurt his ears, rather than his throat. Today was the final day of his latest amoxicillin prescription, so obviously thats not working for him. He probably has ear tubes in his future, although the pediatrician wants them to wait. I think Chris & Amanda are going to consult with an ENT specialist though, as this is getting ridiculous.

    I was now in my window for my Spaceship Earth fastpass, so I walked over there and was happy to bypass a long queue of standby people. I had a hard time staying awake on this one, so Im glad Ive seen it before, lol! I was off Spaceship Earth just after 5, so I walked back to World Showcase and entered from the Mexico side. I arrived in America around 5:20, and there were still seats for the 5:30 Pointer Sisters concert so I took a seat near the back and enjoyed the concert. I was disappointed to see a number of younger people and one older couple get up and walk out at various points in the concert. It just felt so rude, and they were performing well. But, not everybody has the same tastes in music. I know Ive purposely sat near the back so I could leave if an unknown group was awful to me.

    After the concert I continued the loop around World Showcase, and then did another loop. I didnt stop to get anything to eat or drink, but I just enjoyed the atmosphere. It got really windy at one point, to the extent I would have put on my jacket if it wasnt sitting in the studio. There was no rain, though. As I was crossing the bridge after France I ran into Connie, another dvc member I met online. It was nice to meet in person for a couple minutes! She was headed to the 6:45 Pointer Sisters concert and I walked back to Beach Club Villas. I stopped at Beach Club Marketplace and got the kids cheese pizza meal, taking it up to the studio.

    The pizza was very tasty, and I finished the rest of the coconut bar (from the other day) for dessert. The baklava may come home in the cooler tomorrow. At this point Im in for the night, hopefully getting to sleep at a decent hour since Ill probably get up by 4:30 to shower and drive back to Gainesville tomorrow morning.

    The album for this trip is on shutterfly at pix.sfly.com/3-kOujkh Its relatively small, since we didnt do a whole lot and I didnt want to overload people with pictures of Ari but there is a sampling of them in there ;-)

    Other than Ari not feeling well, this has been a really nice trip. Ill miss the pleasant weather on my next several trips! Soon it will be hot & humid here, which is no fun at all. I loved everything about my studio (#431)! The location is convenient to the elevators, Epcot, ice machine & laundry room. Its also a dedicated studio, so no noise from neighbors. The view is exactly the view I prefer. The balcony is huge loved that! From the balcony I could watch the Star Wars fireworks to my right and the high Illuminations fireworks to my left. I could also hear the entire Illuminations soundtrack, along with the band in UK and the drummers in Japan (but only when outside). I had a nice mix of park time and pool time, and was pleased with most of what I tried at Flower & Garden Festival.

    My next trip begins in less than 2 weeks! Its a HAL cruise, but Ill be spending the night before (3/24) at Boardwalk to break up the drive and enjoy another afternoon/evening of Flower & Garden Festival. Ill be using the cruise trip report list for this one. The next DVC trip isnt until May 26th, when we have 2 studios for 3 nights at Beach Club Villas for Memorial Day Weekend and the end of Flower & Garden Festival. Chris, Amanda & Ari will be in the second studio. It sure would be nice to get this studio again, but I realize the odds are greatly against that!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford
    WDW1972

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  3. #2

    I love that key lime tart! It was probably my favorite item at the F&G festival.

    Checked out the photos - Ari is so cute! Do you think once he gets a little more mobile you may take him to the water parks to splash around a bit?

    Also, when are you heading out to CA? Just went to the F&W at DCA and while not as extensive as EPCOT was still very enjoyable. I think you would like it!


  4. #3
    MousePlanet Columnist
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Florida

    We'll have to try the key lime tart next time! I don't have any water park plans - he can splash around in the resort pools just as well. When he's older maybe his parents will want passes that include water parks, but we'll see. I enjoyed them in the past, but have no real desire to do them any more (too crowded, inconvenient compared to the resort pools).

    I'd love to get back to Disneyland one of these days, but it probably won't be until after I retire. A bunch of Disney friends are planning a group trip out there in 2018, but they're talking October. That's a good time to go, but I'm not giving up Food & Wine at WDW to do it....or my cruises. Maybe after retirement I should go in March, to enjoy Food & Wine out there!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford
    WDW1972

  5. #4

    The F&W is epic! It seems like DCA is going to keep it because of the popularity so I'm sure it will be here when you finally make it over to the west coast. Who knows what will happen! Maybe your industry will have a convention in Anaheim and you'll have to go!


  6. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Drexel Hill, PA

    Awesome report as usual. Ari is just so adorable. I think it's awesome that you will be able to spend so much time with him at Disney as he grows up. He will cherish that time with you


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