Time of Year: Holiday Season
Travel Method: Personal Car
Ages Represented in Group: Pre-School, Adult
WDW Experience Represented in Group: Veteran
Comments: Marie and Walt wrote this report and gave me permission several weeks ago to post it, and I temporarily lost it on my hard drive. I hope you'll check it out, because it's a nice, brief day by day account of the family's early December trip to WDW. There's also some good comments about the Beach Club Resort that are worth reading through.
December 2-6, 1998, Beach Club Resort
Mom/Marie (age 36)
Dad/Walt (age 36)
daughter, Amber (age 3)
Wednesday, December 2, 1998 (Day One)
Travelling by car from Jupiter, FL, we arrived at the Beach Club Resort at noon. We checked in then went to Beaches & Cream for some cheeseburgers and a Milky Way Sundae. The restaurant was half full when we got there. The food and service were wonderful.
Next, we took the resort bus to Magic Kingdom. The wait for the bus was short, about 8 minutes. At the entrance, we stopped at Guest Services to trade in my daughters Florida Resident Seasonal Pass voucher for a real pass. Her first one! She got a big welcome and some Mickey stickers from the attendant. Very special. The crowd was very light, or so it seemed from our limited experience. Hardly any wait at Guest Services.
Finally, we are on Main Street! First, we got some water. Then we went to Tomorrowland to the new Buzz Lightyear ride. After a short wait in line (3-5 minutes), we got right on. Just before boarding the car, a giant Buzz Lightyear sends you on your way. A big hit! Its full of bright, neon colors. The object is to hit the Zs. They are everywhere! Your car comes with a directional knob, laser gun and scorekeeper. My husband scored 220,000 his first time. At the end of the ride, there is a board that tells you where your score falls. Each level has a name. Space Ranger Pilot, Space Ace, Space Commando, etc.
Its now about 2:30 p.m., so we decide to find a place to watch the Magical Moments Parade. Walt bought Amber a stuffed Simba toy while we waited. She lit up like a Christmas tree.
If you want your child to participate in the parade, sit across from the Main Street Cinema. Our daughter got to dance with Simba and do the limbo! She had a good time!
After the parade, we took the bus back to the resort (it was waiting for us at the bus stop), and got into our room. We showered, rested, then walked to Epcot via the International Gateway for our 7:40 p.m. priority seating at the Rose and Crown for Illuminations. We were told when we checked in at the podium that tables are assigned on a first available basis and that we couldnt wait until we got an outside table. We had to take what ever we got. After a little playful pleading, we went to the bar and waited. About 40 minutes later, we got a perfect table on the lower left terrace. Caveat: YMMV. The food was "extraordinary", (quoting my husband).
Thursday, December 3, 1998 (Day Two)
We did some errands in the morning. We ate at the ESPN restaurant on the Boardwalk at around noon. This restaurant is great for kids. It wasnt very crowded, so we were seated right away. Try the house salad with citrus vinaigrette. A great lunch all around.
After lunch, Amber finally got to try out Stormalong Bay. This is truly a mecca for kids, all ages. In addition to the great slide made to look like the ships mast, theres a large kids pool (average 2 foot depth) with a sandbar to play on, a smaller kids pool with open childrens slide, and other areas for all ages.
We showered then headed down to the lobby for our 5:40 p.m. PS at the Cape May Caf. Whoever said they have spectacular desserts was right! Walt had buckets of steamers! The food was very good!
Now, its off to Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party. We just made the bus as we walked out to the bus stop. We arrived at 7:20 p.m. and found a long line to get in. The gates were opened at around 7:25 p.m. We decided to do the rides instead of waiting for the parade. On our way to Tomorrowland, we stopped near the Plaza Pavilion to get our pictures taken, since the line was so short. The MVMCP pins are available when you get your picture taken. After that, we headed to Tomorrowland and walked on to Buzz Lightyear and rode it three times in a row. Fun! Got a small Buzz action figure for Amber. She loves it! Then it was time for a ride on the racecars at the Speedway, where Amber "drove" with Dad. Peter Pans Flight was next, (two times, walk on), then, Its a Small World, (once is enough). Finally, we walked through Liberty Square to Adventureland and saw the Tiki Room show. It was now about 9:15 p.m. at this time, so we decided to stop and wait for the parade. With a little luck, we found a spot for our daughter to view it in Adventureland. We all enjoyed the parade very much.
Back to the resort we went. On the bus ride back we were delighted to be able to see the fireworks going off at the Magic Kingdom. After a quick trip to Beaches & Cream for milk and a little ice cream, we headed back to the room.
Friday, December 4, 1998 (Day Three)
Today, took the bus to the Magic Kingdom for our 9:50 a.m. PS at Cinderella s Royal Table. Amber got to meet all the characters: Peter Pan and Wendy, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, the Fairy Godmother and Cinderella. The food and service was fabulous. Unfortunately, a couple of paramedics where taking care of a CM laying on the floor as we were entering the restaurant from the stairway. We assumed she had fallen down or something. They took her out on a stretcher. We hope she is all right.
After breakfast, we rode Snow White, and then Dumbo. Try the horse drawn trolley for an amusing ride down Main Street. I loved watching the looks on peoples faces as we rode by!
Back at the Beach Club, we played around the arcade and got something to drink. After a while, we got a late lunch at the ESPN restaurant at the Boardwalk. (We love this place! Great for a cold one, good food, and Amber loved the soccer on the very large TV!) By this time, Amber is winding down. We relaxed in the room, did a small load of laundry (the laundry is only two doors away), and then grabbed a take out mushroom pizza from Spoodles at the Boardwalk (check out the seashore sounds at the Boardwalk at night). After dinner, we watched TV, then went to bed.
Saturday, December 5, 1998 (Day Four)
Today, after a bagel in the room, we headed over to Epcot. We made it just in time to see a bus loaded full of characters pull up! Amber met them all and we took many pictures. Next, we rode Spaceship Earth, the Living Seas and Ice Station Cool. We spent a lot of time looking at the fish at the Living Seas, and watching the scuba divers feed the fish and wave at Amber. A real winner! We ate lunch at Pasta Piazza. Costly, but good. Next, Amber ran into "The Bugs Life" store, where she colored with crayons, fancy pens and tracers and all these other neat things. We bought her a Princess Etta shirt. Cute! Finally, we got Amber a frozen Lemonade and walked back to the room.
Time to relax at the pool! We change clothes, get Amber decked out in her suit and head for the sandbar and kids pool. A great time was had by all!
We come back to the room, shower and leave for our dinner at Les Chefs des France at 5:00 p.m. Try the cassoulet! Next, we go the American Pavilion for the Candlelight Processional at 6:30 p.m. We would highly recommend the dinner and reserved seating if you have your heart set on the Candlelight Processional. Otherwise, be prepared for a long line. We loved the show! Brian Dennehy was the narrator and did a wonderful job! We headed back to the room and wound down for the night.
Sunday, December 6, 1998 (Day Five)
This morning, we showered, finished our packing and then went to the Cape May Caf for our 10:20 a.m. PS. At around 11:00 a.m., we were seated and enjoyed the characters and some wonderful food. Chip n Dale and Goofy went to each table to greet guests, while Minnie received guests in her own room just off the dining area. When I mentioned to Chip n Dale and Goofy how hard they must have to work, I got big kisses and nods in agreement from them! We were there at the tail end of the character breakfast and they must have been worn out! Needless to say, this was a big hit. The characters really make it a wonderful experience!
Back in the room, we arranged for bell service, took our last look around and then slowly drove away!
"Not sure it was worth the $42,000 we spent on this vacation", quoting my husband. Only joking. We made our reservation many months in advance. We asked for a room with a full balcony and a view of Spaceship Earth (third floor, standard). We ended up with a first floor room in the wing closest to Epcot with a view of the woods (1534). The room we stayed in was very clean, spacious, and comes with a free refrigerator (upon request), iron and ironing board, hairdryer, safe, and mini bar (contents not free). By the time we left, we had come to like our room a lot better than we did at the beginning of our vacation. The housekeeping service was excellent. Thank you, Shirele.
Also, be prepared to wait even if youve made priority seating arrangements. PS means you dont have to wait as long as other people. We always had to wait for a table. We saw some folks get quite angry because they had PS and did not think they had to wait.
If we had to do it again, we would stay at the Beach Club again, but demand a better view. The location cant be beat for Epcot. We wanted to go to MGM and the Animal Kingdom but our daughters pace didnt allow it. We live a few hours away so we plan to go back in the future to see what we werent able to see this trip.
The crowd was light at the Magic Kingdom and at Epcot. We love going early in December. The Christmas decorations were lovely and the two holiday events we saw really put us in the Christmas spirit, especially the MVMCP parade!
Heres wishing your next trip is fun, too!
Marie and Walt Fletcher