Time of Year: Fall
Travel Method: Plane, Shuttle Service
Resort: ASSR, FWH
Ages Represented in Group: Elementary, Adult
WDW Experience Represented in Group: Frequent
Comments: Maryann wrote a great summary style report. She calls it a "Reader's Digest" report, but it's still full of details and fun to read. This has information on the resorts, the Hoop Dee Doo, Tiffany Town Car, and lots of other stuff.
Trip dates: 10-16 to 10-24 1998
Howdy folks. I had planned a wonderfully witty, long trip report, a la Kevin Stringer (what a guy) and even took a large notebook and laptop with me on the trip. Alas, I knew after the first night it was not to be. Now that we are home, I realize all the stuff I put off preparing for the World really needs to be done NOW...like Halloween costumes. So, it was either no trip report or a Reader's Digest type report. Here goes:
Cast: Maryann (44), Tim (44), Kate (9) and Mike (7) Trip dates: Fri 10/16 thru Sat 10/24 Stayed at: All Star Sports (3 nights) and Fort Wilderness Home (5 nights) Flew: Delta Express, from Newark, non-stop $167 rt each Used: Tiffany Town Car Had: A Truly Marvey Time
TIFFANY TOWN CAR: Loved this. Picked up by Don, a jolly man with a lovely Jamaican lilt, who told jokes to the kids and insisted that they reciprocate, much to their delight. On the return trip our driver was Moe, another delightful, pleasant man. Moe said it was the busiest October he had ever seen in his many years at Disney. Moe also said they were getting a lot of business from the Disney newsgroup! I asked if he was the Moe who drove a small child who called him Mr. Bahama. He was surprised that I knew about that, and tickled pink that he was mentioned on the newsgroup. BTW, to the family whose child that was, Moe remembers you fondly. Both drivers were waiting for us, both cars were immaculate, both drivers were friendly and drove safely, and I was able to charge the fare and use the internet coupon. I will definitely use them again.
ALL STAR SPORTS: We really liked this resort. Room was smallish, but good enough. Beds were firm. Rooms were kept clean, additional towels brought up immediately when requested. I had faxed a request for Touchdown 7 or 10 on the side facing away from the football field on the third floor close to the foodcourt (thanks for the tip, Ronnie) and I got it all in room 354. We were the last room on the side closest to the food court in bldg 10. Perfect. We arrived at 2:30, CM's were waiting to check us in, room was ready, off we go. While at the desk, we chitchatted about the Hoop de Doo (we had tickets for that night). The CM's asked if we had been before (we hadn't) and warned that the performers encouraged audience participation. I said that I had heard that, and I was hoping they'd ask who was celebrating an anniversary, so I could get up and dance with my husband. Well, they asked how long we had been married, etc., all very small talkish while the computer was doing it's thing. As you might have guessed, when we returned to our room that night, there were balloons and a signed photo of Minnie and Mickey wishing us a happy 22nd anniversary. Great fun.
Loved the pools, altho the chlorine level was very high and we ended up buying goggles for our son. Food court food was okay - we only ate breakfast there and had one pizza. But, you gotta love those refillable mugs. We bought donuts and bagels in the gift shop to save some money on breakfasts. Loved the direct buses.
I feared the place would be filled with unsupervised teens, but it was filled with families just like ours. Very nice indeed. A great Disney bargain.
FORT WILDERNESS. We liked our home very much. We were on loop 2800, only 4 homes from the end. Very quiet, very clean, nice and roomy, great kitchen. One complaint - both the Murphy and the double bed were very soft. Kids loved the bunks.
I had choosen FW for my husband, who loves to camp and do nature-stuff. I had visions of him on early morning nature walks, kayaking, birding...HA! Not the way we tour. FW seems to be a lovely place - we just didn't have any time to use the facilities available. And if that is the case, then it is not worth the extra money or the additional bus time, at least for us. Still, it was lovely. We did do the Campfire Program, at least the sing-a-long and marshmallow roast part. We went on a night when the movie, Huck Finn, was too "scarey" for our daughter (Injun Joe, you know). That part was very cute. Really liked the trading posts too. But, beware, milk is $2.35 a HALF gallon. Whew.
RESORT HOPPING: This went very smoothly. I requested express checkout at ASSp. We left our room at 11, went to the luggage area, where taxis hang out, jumped in one and drove to FW. Total cost $10 plus $2 tip. This was more than I expected, but still fast. I did this rather than let the bell captain handle it as we had a lap top out of it's protective case and medicine that couldn't sit in any heat. I also hoped that we could check right in and get settled. Indeed, that was the case, and we were in our home by 12:15 or so.
That said, we wouldn't hop again, as it did take up park time. (I tried to allow enough time on this trip to avoid commando touring, but I believe that is our natural style, being both frugal and type A personalities).
TRANSPORTATION: Not bad at all. Really good from ASSp. On the very crowded 17th, we left MK after the fireworks, and beheld a line for our resort which stretched along the green fence all the way back to where the signs tell you which resort section "B" serves! My heart sank as my two tired kids moaned. But the buses came one right after another and we were in line just about 20 minutes total. Unbelievable.
FW was a bit of a bother as there is no direct route to the parks from our loop. We did fall in love with the Boone bus, however. (I had to laugh when I remembered the trip report where someone wrote "Boone is our friend." That became our motto for our trip, as Boone was always there for us.) We found from our loop our best bet was to take the Boone bus nearly every time. On the way home from a park, we would get on the Wilderness Lodge bus, and then Boone it home from there.
HOOP DE DOO: What a terrific show! We had great seats, right in the middle, and I got to dance with my husband to "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." My kids laughed until they cried. I would love to do it again. But, the food was dreadful.
A word of warning - a couple of times we shared a Boone bus with people trying to get to the Hoop de Doo long after they should have already been there. One woman was screaming at the bus driver to call the show and save her reservation, as she had paid $200 and was still not at the show after leaving her hotel at 8 pm for the 9:30 show. (She was livid because the bus was full and she couldn't get on.) This was at 9:35. Other people on the bus were telling the driver to drive on as they also had 9:30 ressies. Lots of unanswered questions here, like why was that woman at WL instead of FW after traveling for 1 and a half hours??!! Poor bus driver. Anyway, allow lots of time to get to the Hoop de Doo. There's plenty to do once you get there. Worth the wait.
MICKEY WAKEUP: Got one every day. My son insists that Mickey is humming some music until you say hello. After the first couple of days of being the only one to enjoy the Mouse, I started making the wakeup calls for when I knew the kids would be awake, so they could get it. One morning, my son in his excitement lifted the receiver, and then dropped it back down, disconnecting Mickey. Boo-hoo, until 5 minutes later, when Mickey tried back! I always asked for an off time, rather than on the hour or half hour.
EPCOT FUN SPOTS: These are great. My kids loved doing the crafts around the world, and it gave us the opportunity to see the shops (one stayed with the kids and the other browsed, then we switched). France was particularly neato, as the kids got to paint (smocks were provided) and we sat just outside the area, in their plain view, and sipped wine and ate bread and cheese and watched the bubble mime. France is our favorite place to nosh. We also ate around the world one day - I had something in every place but Italy, and liked everything but Germany. Truly bad food there (from the fast food place). Favorite besides the French: the kaki goris (Ronnie had it right - they are the consistency of fresh snow) and the pork sandwiches in Canada (hello Ruby!!)
DISNEY MAGIC: Couple of instances. On Sunday, the 18th, Kofi Annan, the secretary General of the United Nations was at the World Showcase. We arrived a few hours before Illuminations, so missed any hoopla that went on. After the show, we did our normal walk-the-opposite-way around the world to let the crowds pass. Near the American pavillion, two CM's were helping break down a catering area, saw the kids, and presented them each with a light up necklace. Two minutes later, a suit walks out of the pavillion, spots our Kate and strides over to her, presents her with a flower that had graced the table of "a very important person at the United Nations." A small gesture, but so sweet.
While doing the laundry at FW pool, I lost $1.25 in the dryer after it abruptly died (a not uncommon laundromat happening). As that was the last empty dryer, another guest offered to double up her load and give me her dryer. Back out at the pool, a Disney security guard wandered by looking for someone who had locked their keys in their car. I asked if she had something I could write a sign with so no one else would put money in the machine. She said she'd call the front desk and let them know. 15 minutes later, a suit came to the pool and returned my money!
KODAK VIP LOUNGE: We are stockholders and Tim wanted to check out this freebie. He went to the Kodak store, and they said they would call up to the lounge and we'd be buzzed in. It was very nice indeed, cool and quiet, with a lovely drinks bar and a TV playing kid's shows, and lovely bathrooms (complete with handcream and hair spray). Sandra was our hostess. She gave the kids each a Figment plastic figure, international style, and a HISTA pin. She asked if she could help us with dinner reservations. The week before we left, my son shocked me by saying he really wanted to eat in Cinderella's Castle. Of course, at that point, there were no openings. Just for grins, we asked Sandra to get us a ps, say, about 5 pm that day (it was noonish). Guess what? She got us a 5:50 ressie! Hee-hee. She also could have gotten us into the next HISTA show, but we had just seen it, with no wait, I might add.
E-RIDE 10/23: Very cool and worth it. Rode everything with minimal waits. On Splash we didn't even have to exit the boat to ride again. We bought ours at the Beach Club as we were wandering from MGM to Epcot. No problem, we just couldn't charge it to our room.
FANTASMIC!: Very cool. CM's were telling us to get to the stadium by 6:15 for the 7:30 show. We did, and got next to the last row on the end in the center Mickey section. Excellent seats. Stadium was nearly filled by 7. A long wait, but there was food, and bathrooms, and the street performers entertained. One warning - we went on a windy night, and really got wet from the spray of the water screens, even in the next to the last row! 5 minutes into the show people in the front rows were leaving in large numbers.
ELECTRIC LIGHT PARADE: Very cute, watched it from the WL beach. Warning: it was cancelled at least twice during our stay due to high winds.
Well, that's all I have time to do now. I'll be glad to answer any questions or clarify anything that sounded garbled. We bought AP's and over a second glass of ordinaire rouge, my husband agreed it was just SENSIBLE to go again within 365 days to get our money's worth. But of course!
BTW: the parks were filled with lovely British families, even more than we encountered in our previous November visits. The British are without a doubt a lovely group of people with which to share the parks. Polite and friendly, never pushy, lovely ways of expressing themselves - we always look forward to touring with you guys! And great trip report writers, too.
Many thanks to all who shared their knowledge, especially Ronnie and Jeff Spencer. You all helped make our trip the best.