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Lynn Bales - WDW (21-30 Sep, 1996) - Caribbean Beach Resort
- Time of Year: Fall
- Travel Method: Plane, Shuttle Service
- Resort: Caribbean Beach Resort
- Accommodations: Standard Room
- Ages Represented in Group: Elementary, Adult
- WDW Experience Represented in Group: Unknown
- Comments: This report reviews Lynn's trip with her husband John and daughter Lynzee. They spent several days at Caribbean Beach Resort. The story of Lynn's trip is interesting because Lynn clearly researched the trip...and points out several of the hints that she uncovered and how they worked...or didn't work.
Hello Everyone. Here's what I did on my fall vacation:
9/21 - Our flight landed at MCO around 1:15. A funny thing happened here with regards to our Florida Towncar service. We went to baggage claim and John went for the bag while I looked for the driver who was no where to be found. I walked up and down the claim area and happened to notice a man with a sign under his arm looking at the monitor. I walked over and peeked at the sign and caught part of my name. I asked him if he was waiting for Lynn Bales and he looked at me sort of odd and said yes. When I said that was me, he really started looking strange and pointed out to me that the monitors show our flight as "in range" like we hadn't landed yet. Anyway the driver, J.C., kept apologizing about me having to look for him, but it really wasn't his fault. So I joked around telling him that the newsgroups gave me a description of all the drivers so I would be able to find him first. Needless to say the ride and JC were great fun! Anyway, he got us to the Caribbean Beach by 1:45 where we proceded to stand in line at check-in for over an hour. Once I got a cast member though check-in was a breeze and they did have my note of what building I wanted but because my husband smokes we had to choose a different building. We asked for Jamaica and got Aruba which is right next door and about the same proximity to the food court.
We got settled in at the room and decided to go over to Magic Kingdom because it was open until 9pm. We thought they might do some fireworks but no luck. When we got there, we changed in the 4 days left of our 5 day world hopper pass to an annual pass. It was cheaper than a LOS pass and we are going back in January I think.
We were starving so we got a map and went right over to Tony's Town Plaza. Our trip was for 10 days, 2 of which were travelling days so I purchased 5 days of food and fun to spread out over the trip. We only really have one meal a day at home so we figured this would work out perfect and it did. Tony's has great atmosphere and we liked most of the food. Our waitress, Theresa really knew what was good! John had the biggest antipasto I have every seen for an appetizer, and the country penne. I had the pizza blanca and the shrimp saute. I must say that my dinner was not as good as John's. Tony's makes a much better marinara then alfredo. But boy dessert was good. John got spumoni and I had tiramisu both with cappucinos. yummy! Theresa was very attentive. I was telling my daughter Lynzee that she could have some of my shrimp (which she loves) and Theresa arrived with a side of sauteed shrimp as an appetizer for her. When we took a look at the bill, John praised food and fun, it was over $93.00.
We left Tony's to walk around, we really didn't plan to do any attractions this first day, but Country Bear Jamboree was just starting a show so we went in. It was fun, the 3 of us got into clapping and singing even my grumpy daughter and stick in the mud husband. It is truly amazing what this place does to people :) When we got out of the show, Frontierland was just a sea of people plus Lynzee was cranky so we went back to CBR.
Once she saw the pool, Lynzee wasn't so tired. So we went to get our mugs for the stay, they were 7.95 with free refills. When I bought the mugs, I mentioned my daughter was going to be 5 on Tuesday and the lady at the food court stand told me to go to the bakery there in the food court about 10 minutes before I wanted it and order a complimentary cake. Plus she gave Lynzee a fist full of those Mickey straws as a birthday present.
Sun 9/22 - We wanted to do early entry at MGM but didn't get there until after 8. The wait for TOT was 45 minutes, but John had to do it! We couldn't talk Lynzee into doing the swap because she is just petrified by anything remotely spooky looking so the two of us waited and it only took 30 minutes. I was really surprised that John liked it as much as he did. He is not a fan of elevators. Although I couldn't get him back on it for the rest of our trip. :) We rushed over to Little Mermaid and the line was huge. We wound up missing the first show and were in line until 10am for the second show. I am really glad we waited though because I seriously doubt there was a time when the 3 of us were at MGM when the line wasn't huge! Lynzee liked this up until the seawitch and then she hated it. We couldn't talk her into seeing it again. We went to the Great Movie Ride which we didn't realize had a witch in it and proceded to scare her even more.
Sheesh this poor kid isn't every going to trust me again! Later that night we had a talk and it appeared she was missing home and wasn't in the Disney mood. Once she got used to being in a different bed and place (that took til Tuesday) she was a happy camper and did almost any ride as long as it wasn't to dark without being scared.
We did the Brown Derby for lunch and it was fantastic! I didn't get the Cobb because I saw someone else's and it looked like it was ABC salad. I am one of those people that if it doesn't look good I can't eat it. But I did try the grapefruit cake and it was the best! I got the recipe.
After lunch we saw Beauty and the Beast, finally something Lynzee liked! We were on our way to MuppetVision and caught the end of the Toy Story parade. It had started to rain and by the end of the parade we were drenched, too late to buy ponchos! It turned out we didn't need them it was the ONLY time it rained all week...Lucky Us! We saw Muppetvision which was great for me, Lynzee didn't like the things coming at her, and John only has one eye so he couldn't see it but he said it was fun watching everyone weaving and ducking. He likened it to being around someone who is funny drunk and you are sober.
Lynzee once again was cranky, time to leave for the resort. We passed Star Tours on the way out and I couldn't pass up a 10 minute wait so I went on. WOW! Fantastic!
After splashing in the pool and taking showers (no matter how hard we tried Lynzee wouldn't take a nap all week unless she fell asleep on the bus), we hopped over to Epcot.
We had dinner reservations for Rose and Crown at 8 a hint from the Unofficial Guide so you could watch Illuminations. We checked in around 7:15 and asked for an outside table. They said they would do what they could and check back at 7:45.
As luck would have it the World Showcase Players were just starting a show and we killed time watching them. It turned out that it wasn't killing time, they were fantastic and every time we went to Epcot for the rest of the week, we tried to catch a show. We wound up leaving this show before it was over, but got to catch the end later in the week.
The advice in "unofficial" was one of the greatest, we got one of the BEST tables right on the railing and not only that the food was excellent too! While we were there we met a few cast members from the UK having dinner there on their night off. Now that is endorsement. It turned out to be one of the guy's last night and the others were taking him out on the town so to speak. They had politely asked if we would mind them smoking cigars before they lit up and we wound up talking to them for an hour! That was a great end to a busy day.
Mon 9/23 - Well after the fiasco of trying to get my night owls up for early entry the day before, I left them sleeping and struck out on my own for early entry at Magic Kingdom! I got there just as they were allowing people in and dashed with the rest to Space Mountain. After riding SM, I went to Alien Encounter and waited about 10 minutes. My mantra was "It's all in your head, its all in your head." Of course, I am afraidy cat so once I got scared to death I ran to Fantasyland and rode Peter Pan's Flight. I didn't want to do Small World without Lynzee, but I needed a dose of whimisical after Alien. :) I left Fantasyland and went browsing in stores for a bit and then staked out a spot for the mad dash to the other "mountains" by Adventureland. This was another bit of advice in "unofficial" that worked well. I cut through a walkway to Frontierland and was in front of more than half the crowd come down the pathway there and I didn't even run. I rode both Splash and Big Thunder and just loved them.
I left MK and took a bus to the Beach Club to pay for the Breathless cruise later in the week. I forgot they didn't open until 11 and it was only 10ish but someone was in there and took my Food and Fun coupons (only two). Unfortunately, Breathless had a blown engine and we were getting a pontoon instead and they were going to supply us with refreshments. I walked around the BC, great pool area. Then hopped the boat to MGM where I picked up the bus back to CB. John and Lynzee were actually out and about and we took off to Epcot for a late lunch at Chefs de France which was one of the best meals we had and the service was excellent! We wander around World Showcase, stopping in UK to see Romeo and Edna (this troupe is funny!) On our way to future world, we stopped so Lynzee could splash around in the fountain. We dragged her out to go to UofE but when we got there we noticed one of Lynzee's shoes was missing and we couldn't get in. So we went on a shoe hunt and no one had it not even lost and found out front.
Because she lost her "favorite" shoe she went into a freak so we went back to CB for a swim and some drinks at the Banana Cabana. I must say though after awhile the music there is boring. I suppose I can only take so much of Jimmy Buffet.
Tue 9/24 - Well I don't know if it was because it was her birthday or what but this is the day Lynzee FINALLY got the Disney mood and kept it the rest of the trip! We had 8am seatings for King Stefan's CB and I was kind of concerned how we would get there because it wasn't early entry at MK, but we went to the bus stop at 7:30 and boom there was a MK bus. We got to the gates and they didn't even let people in until 8am. It was no problem. Well, Lynzee was all excited and practical ran to the castle. I must say the food was awful, but it was worth every penny to see my daughter's face light up when all the characters came up to her and wished her happy birthday. And there were ALOT of characters! Let me see if I remember them all: Cinderella, Prince Charming, Fairy Godmother, John Smith, Pochontas, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Belle and Aladdin. It was written on our seating card that it was her B-day and we didn't have to tell a one of them. Lynzee was very impressed they knew "all by themselves" :) After breakfast we got a jump on the crowd by being in the park already, John made a dash for Space Mountain and Lynzee and I stayed in Fantasyland. We got on the carousel, and dumbo and when we got off we saw Chip, Dale, and Goofy going into the ex-20000 league now character greeting area. It didn't look like anyone else saw them and we were in the area with them for a good 10 minutes before another soul came in. Another suggestion we took from the newsgroup was telling EVERYONE it was Lynzee's birthday and she got tons of special autographs and treatment. We went to the Tea Party, all the Alice characters were there plus the b-day girl got to ride twice in a row. Then I blew it and took her on Mr Toads whoops! But we met up with her dad and made things better by going to ToonTown Fair.
While he was on his own, John went on Space Mountain. This is a big step for him because when he was 16 or so he almost fell out of a roller coaster at a local fair when the bar broke and he hasn't been on one since. Well naturally he said it scared him to death plus he was in the front, and even though I told him you could see the track he was so scared he couldn't. Of course his eyes were probably closed. :) After SM he did a little circle and went on The Pirates of Carribean and Haunted Mansion. Then came back to Fantasyland to get us.
Over at Toontown, we went through Minnie's house because Lynzee had to see her but she wasn't there she was at the County Fair tent. So off we went to the Fair :) and once inside Lynzee decided she wanted to see the Princess's instead. When I asked if we could get a group picture (for her birthday of course) they waited until everyone was done. Lynzee and I were the only guests and we got a great picture of Snow, Cindy, and Poco with her plus some extra hugs. Governer Ratcliffe came in and he tried to pull Lynzee's hair but Pochontas stepped on his foot and scared him off :) We still hadn't seen Minnie so we got in line again for the Mickey's friends line (each line took about 20 minutes). Again they let us hang back and get a group photo, this time with Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald. We finally left MK about 12:30 and headed for the pool. Lynzee feel asleep on the bus ride and took a nap instead about time! I went to the Custom's house and snagged our tickets to the Mickey Luau. While I was at the Custom's house I reminded the CM that it was my daughter's birthday so she would get her special birthday card. It wasn't in the room when we had returned from MK. I took the Internal bus to Port Royal and ordered Lynzee's cake, it was ready in 5 minutes. When I picked it up the lady at the bakery asked if I was going back to my room and when I said yes she said she would have someone deliver balloons. Unfortunately they never made it before we had to leave for the Poly.
We were told to allow an hour and 45 minutes to get there but we left at 3:45 and got there in plenty of time. There really isn't a reason to get there early because the seats are prioritized according to your original date of reservation so I was told. I called about 4 months in advance and we were 3 tables in about even with the end of the stage. They weren't bad seats and as a matter of fact there were quite a few empty. The show was really cute, the dancers very good and the food pretty good. John loved the chicken and got the recipe. Our waitress Charley was great. She kept the beer and Maitais following and paid extra attention to Lynzee with a piece of cake and a candle. We were definitely loose by the time we left and it was still early so we walked around the resort, bought Lynzee a grass skirt set and set off to the monorail. I asked for the front and we got the next one that came. What a cool ride. Everyone should do this once especially going to Epcot instead of leaving it. The sight of Spaceship Earth is really neat from that vantage point. John wanted to do SE so Lynzee put on her grass skirt and did the hula with a few robots that had come out to dance behind SE.
We went to WS and watched the Holy Grail at UK. I told you we loved this! We are still walking around, Lynzee included, doing the knight salute, shouting RUBBISH and going "Grail Grail Grail HUH" Of course, everyone around us here think we are lunatics. :) We split before Illuminations so we could sit on the bus and when we got back to our room there was Lynzee's special card. Addressed to her and with a really nice picture of the gang in front of the castle with all their autographs. We pulled out the cake lit the candles they gave to us and sang Happy Birthday. Lynzee was very surprised and said it was her bestest birthday ever.
Wed 9/25 - Again I split early and went to MGM. I rode TOT two times in a row. The first time for the thrill and the second time to check out the effects. It certainly is awesome. I forgot to mention that when John rode it earlier in the week, he got the infamous middle seat. Maybe that's why he wouldn't get on again :) I went to Star Tours and went on twice then caught Muppet Vision and the Great Movie Ride. There really isn't much to do for early entry at MGM they should open up some other things.
I went back to CB. Lynzee and John were just headed out to fill up the mugs. We decided to do our laundry and play in our island's pool. What a way to do the laundry. We went to MGM in the evening and caught the last show of Hunchback of Notre Dame. It was a pretty long line and we wound up in the last row over to the right. Little did we know these are great seats, a lot of the actors come out the door next to the sound booth. A gypsy sprinkled Lynzee with confetti and Clopin tickled her cheeks. I must say this show is absolutely wonderful. The actors have spectacular voices, the puppeteering and imagery are great. I was enthralled the whole 30 minutes. We left there and of course Lynzee had to have an Esmeralda toy! Disneyworld knows how to market things. Every show has stands at the corners, almost every attraction and character greeting area dumps you into a store. Ah, ain't it great to be 'merican. :)
Anyway, we wanted to nab the last showing of the Stunt Spectacular but the CM told us the plane had malfunctioned and John didn't want to see it without the plane. I told him to get on Star Tours and Lynzee and I would get a snowball. Well, I can tell you this was by far John's favorite attraction (next to Rose and Crown pub if you can call that an attraction:)). He came out of there hopping up and down saying how he always wanted to make that bombing run on the deathstar and now he had done it. He said the only thing that could possible make it better was to have the guy Charlie I think is his name saying "stay on target, stay on target" in your ear. I sort of agree with that one.
We went to see the last showing that day of Beauty and the Beast which was special because they released a bunch of doves which they didn't do the other time we saw it. We took off for Port Orleans to have dinner at Bonfamille's. John was let down for this meal, but mine was great. He got the crawfish pasta which he loved but the jambalaya was really dry. I had shrimp orleans and the catfish special both were excellent. I wound up giving John half my fish and I am glad because I need all the room I could get for the bread pudding which was wonderful! After dinner we took the Marketplace boat a nice relaxing ride and grabbed a bus to CB. Lynzee fell asleep on the bus.
Thu. 9/26 - We all got up late today (well late for me is 9am) and we decide to go to the Marketplace and look around. I was sort of disappointed. I suppose I expected more stores and they didn't have most of things I saw in the parks that I wanted. I was waiting to go there to use my MKC. Oh well. We got Lynzee a new pair of shoes and a few polly pockets. She had started collecting the small plastic figures that sell for 3 bucks and our maid, Christine, would arrange them everyday in a different place. Lynzee couldn't wait to see what Christine would do with the Pollys.
We hopped a bus to Epcot or rather the TTC and the monorail to Epcot. We finally got to go on Ellen's Energy adventure after the shoe fiasco early in the week. What a cool show. I don't know what it replaced but this was very entertaining. I guess you have to be an Ellen fan though. I think she is one of those comics that you like or you don't. Lynzee was kind of leery about this attraction but she is also a big fan of The Land Before Time movies we just kept pointing out Littlefoot and Spike Tail. It was too loud and we also had to cover her ears alot.
After UofE, we went to ride Body Wars which John did while Lynzee and I saw Making of Me and played with the toys. We ran into Goofy. Lynzee was wearing her Pochontas dress and he said Wingapo to her with his hands of course. We walked by the Test Track it looks like it will be cool. Then we went to Coral Reef for lunch. We had reservations for 2:50 and only waited about 5 minutes for a table on the glass. It was great. John got a steak which he said was the best he every had and I had their seafood pot pie which was out of this world. The crust was puff pastry and it had shrimp, lobster, scallops...all my favorites in white wine sauce. We were so stuffed when we got out of there. We went to the Land and saw the Circle of Life and Food Rocks. Then we went to Journey to Imagination. Since there wasn't a line, I jumped over to HISTA and John took Lynzee to see Fig-a-mint. Well all I can say is we found Lynzee's ride. She rode that thing about 10 times the rest of the week. Three in a row that day! We bought her a Figment doll and she took it back to school and explained who he was and what he does. He is a big hit in our house! When we finally pulled her out of there, we went to Mexico for the boat ride which is uninspiring. I would think they would have some kind of tape telling you about Mexican traditions or something, but Lynzee liked it. Then we hit Norway's boat ride, it was okay but I wouldn't wait in to long a line for it. What I would wait for is that rice cream everyone turned me on to, yummy! We stopped in China and watched an acrobat show. Then it was getting late and we had the cruise so we hustled over to International gates and walked over to the dock. I don't know what Breathless is like but the pontoon was very comfortable. They had sodas and huge cookies for us to make up for it not being Breathless. Our driver's name was Mark and he was from England. He was a lot of fun. We went to MGM and rode around the lake trying to feed the ducks and then back to Epcot for the show. Now I must say this is the way to go for viewing Illuminations. And it was Mark's first time at seeing the 25th's version. John said he liked the other better and I still am a toss-up. After the show, Mark rode us over to MGM again but this time let Lynzee drive and she did pretty good. He kept telling her to ask daddy for a boat. We finally got the dumb ducks to eat a cookie and then we headed back. Mark was great and instead of taking us back to the BC dock let us off over at the Boardwalk dock so we could look around. It is really neat, it reminds me of Maryland's beach resort Ocean City when I was a kid. Again Lynzee fell asleep on the bus.
Fri 9/27 - We went to MK and pretty much spent the whole day there. We did Swiss Family Treehouse, and Pirates of the Carribean. Saw the Lion King and rode Its a small world. Finally got Lynzee and John on Big Thunder and they both loved it. Got on the jungle cruise and the driver was from New York (ugh a Yankee fan) so he was making comments about the Yankees and being the true O's fan that I am told him they would choke like last year. He started wise cracking about dumping me out where the alligators were. It was a ball. We staked out a place for the parade. Lynzee got kind of antsy after 30 minutes but when it started she was all into it! John and I are still humming Remember the Magic...:)
We decided to have dinner at Mama Melrose so we went over to MGM but they were booked for a party. This was the only time we couldn't get into a place. So we went back to CB and had dinner at the place there Captain's Tavern. We were all bushed. I don't know why but we seemed to tire out faster on the days we went to MK. The crowds were also picking up too. I suppose it was for the 25th plus there was a dentist convention we meet a bunch at the pool that night.
Also, when we got back to our room there was another birthday card along with a plush Eeyore. We have no idea where this came from and no one would fess up. We still think Christine put it there. Plus I forgot to mention that someone had directed us to the main lost and found over by MK and the kennel to see if they had Lynzee's shoe and I couldn't believe it but it was there. That thing had been missing for days, an old kids shoe, unbelievable.
Sat 9-28 We went to MGM most of the day. We did Stunt Show, HOND again and this time John stood next to the sound booth and told me there was a tempermental star. He said they were doing mike checks and he thinks it was Quasi asked if he was loud enough and the sound man growled back "if you were any louder they would hear you at EPCOT". He said it was neat hearing them cue the actors. We watched some of the Ace Ventura and walked over to the 101 Dalmation tour which was cool. The best part was the puppet room, the newborn pups were unbelievably real! Then we went on the tram tour. It was cool seeing the house fronts from shows we watch and the canyon was neat. John thought for sure he was gonna get drenched. We went to the Animation Courtyard and met some characters and saw a demo they had running for the animation celebration. It was a CM who did story boards for Disney animation and he showed us how they choose music to go with it. While we were there Chip and Dale stopped in and raised a ruckus. Chip left and Dale hid from him until a CM came and dragged him out. It was funny. We got to eat at Mama Melrose and boy it was worth the wait. That place is great. I had Sausage and rigatoni it came in a pancetta cheese sauce which was really really good and John had bottomless pasta bowl which he couldn't finish one of anyway! That was it for today. We were definitely getting tired. Plus the crowds were getting really big and that makes it tiring too. So we hung out at the pool and called it an early night.
Sun 9/29 - We got to MK about 9 and went straight to BTMRR. We told Lynzee we would ride it twice but it broke down after our first time around and they kept us sitting right at the exit in the sun for 20 minutes. We were happy we got to ride the whole thing and weren't stuck at the top though. We walked by Splash Mountain and it was only 20 minutes so I got on. They don't even let you take your kid in line for a swap the other person goes to the back and walks up the exit. So I thought John was waiting but the sight of the drop just intimidated him to much. We had early lunch seatings for Crystal Palace. Lynzee just had to meet EEyore, her favorite besides all the princesses. She told him that too. She said " Eeyore I got a secret" He bent down and she picked up his ear and said "please don't tell Pooh 'cus I don't want to hurt his feelings, but I love you best". It was one of the cutest moments of our trip. After lunch we went to Toontown Fair and saw Mickey's house this time and ran around on Donald's boat. We caught the train to ride it once around and saw people lining up for the parade so we rode it back to the main station and staked out a spot on the curb. This time we knew about the stickers and I snagged two for me and Lynzee. We got to bang the drums on the Lion King float, how cool! Lynzee is telling everyone she was in the parade at Disneyworld.
Lynzee and I were tired so we went back to CB and John headed to Epcot but what happened was the monorail line was huge with people leaving after the parade so he caught another bus back to CB behind us. We laid around for a bit then I started to get hungry so we went to Epcot to try some of the Food and Wine festival.
I loved this. I wished we had done it the night before too. We started in Mexico with a margarita and blue corn taco, both excellent. And just kept eating and drinking the world around. There were many added countries then the 11 in WS too! I can't even remember all the different food I got to try. Except that I found I hate cavier, yuck.
Mon 9/30 - Last day! John had gone to the pool the night before and did laundry and packed what he washed so we were pretty much good to go. We had packed a bag in a bag for all the extras we bought and we took everything to the Custom's house and headed out to MGM. All week Lynzee wanted to meet Esmeralda and Jasmine and except for seeing them in a show or parade we didn't. So I had made last minute seating for the Soundstage CB figuring Esmeralda or Jasmine might be there. Guess what neither....sheesh. But it was loaded with characters. She met Meeko, Genie, Aladdin, Clopin, Belle (for the zillionth time) and Quasi. This had to be the second best character meal we did in regards to the interaction with guests and the food was better than King Stefan's by a long shot. John and Lynzee were coloring and I told Quasi it was a contest. He said Lynzee won and took her up to the front of the restaurant and danced with her. Genie came around, stole John's plate and John chased him around the place trying to get it back. It was great. Lynzee still was upset about the two ladies though and we asked a CM about Esmeralda. She immediately called into her Walkie Talkie and found out she was going to be right outside the restaurant in 15 minutes. Well outside we went and she came right out just as they said. Lynzee was speechless around her though.
We walked around meeting other characters and I was trying to talk John into TOT one more time but he wouldn't go for it. So we left for Epcot and more Fig-a-mint and Food and Wine Festival. We were walking around WS and lo and behold, the show with Mickey and Minnie in American Adventure was starting so we got to see that and meet Mickey and Minnie in colonial dress. And with only picture left on the camera who do we run into in Morocco??? Aladdin this time WITH Jasmine. I thought Lynzee was gonna break her neck getting out of the stroller.
We left Epcot at about 3:20 to catch the Towncar at CB by 3:30, we were a little late. It is hard to pull yourself away from here, especially when Lynzee was crying she didn't want to leave.
Well that is my trip. I know I am long winded but I hope my experiences will help tide everyone over until they can get back to the most magical place in the world!
Lynn, John and Lynzee Bales
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02-10-2006 01:35 PM