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Thread: Sue (Holland) Rayford, Nov 4-12, 2018, Beach Club Villas & Boardwalk Villas

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    Sue (Holland) Rayford, Nov 4-12, 2018, Beach Club Villas & Boardwalk Villas


    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), my husband
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (2), grandson
    Pete & Judy, DVC friends
    Tiana (51), friend
    Dates: November 4 12, 2018
    Resort: Disneys Beach Club Villas Resort (4nts) & Disneys Boardwalk Villas Resort (4nts)
    Experience: Very Experienced 45th stay at BCV & 25th stay at BWV

    Finally, the real trip is here. Most people come to WDW for at least a week, so my usual 3-4 night trips just seem so short. Im thankful I get here so often, and keeping most trips short are the only way to manage that while still working, but I still really look forward to more traditional-length trips! I also enjoy both solo trips and trips with family or friends. This trip will be 8 nights, starting with a solo stay and then moving to a family (SB, Chris, Amanda & Ari) trip unfortunately with a resort change, but that was my choice to maximize the use of my dvc points. The only downside was Pete & Judys plans changed and their trip begins shortly before we leave we enjoy hanging out with them, but I wasnt willing to give up Food & Wine Festival to more closely match their dates. So, well just have a few days together this year.

    When my fastpass window opened, I fully expected to have a hard time getting a Slinky Dog fastpass because I have 2 separate reservations for 4 nights each. However, the entire trip was available to me at once. Oddly, I was able to include Chris & Amanda (who arrive on the 2nd reservation) immediately if I was part of the party, but could not book separately for them. They are not listed on my first reservation.

    Many months ago I tried to add the weekend to my first reservation, so Id come in on 11/2 rather than 11/4. Of course, its not available unless you book it right at 11 months! SB was planning something 11/2 for my 60th birthday (actually 11/4), so I only waitlisted 11/3. Months went by no success. I even called the morning of 11/2 on the outside chance something had opened up for the next night, but no way. Between Food & Wine and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, there were no rooms. Beach Club Villas is insanely popular, with good reason plus its small, so fewer rooms to fill. The one plus is I learned Id been assigned an accessible room, with a roll-in shower! I hate those, but the cast member was able to contact the resort and get me switched to a regular room whew!

    The first 4 nights are in a studio, since this is the solo portion of the trip. When the concert lineup came out and Boys II Men were during this stay, SB was going to join me for the final night but later changed his mind. Since its November, Im hoping for better weather (less hot, not humid). I plan to drive down fairly early Sunday morning, since I get up early anyway. The studio wont be ready, but I can park at Beach Club Villas and head to Magic Kingdom for some fastpasses. Hopefully the half marathon will no longer be impacting the roads or transportation by that time. Its supposed to rain most that day & evening, so between the weather and the leftover marathon crowd I think Ill skip Food & Wine and instead use my birthday credit at Terralina over in Disney Springs. They have a nice sounding happy hour Sunday Thursday. Monday is a nice solo day hopefully lounging by the pool, with Food & Wine later. Tuesday Tiana plans to join me, so I booked Epcot fastpasses. She wants to see Boys II Men, so shell head home after that. Wednesday will be more pool time, and Food & Wine.

    Thursday I move to a 2-bedroom at Boardwalk Villas, and Chris & Ari arrive. Figuring wed be homeless for most of the day, I booked Soarin for early, and then a couple afternoon Epcot fastpasses. The evening will be Food & Wine, with the Hooters being the concert group. Friday is pool time, then Hollywood Studios (including Slinky Dog) in the afternoon. SB arrives this morning sometime, and Amanda arrives this afternoon. Pete & Judy also arrive this day.

    Saturday we have Animal Kingdom fastpasses, and plan to see the holiday stuff at Hollywood Studios that evening. In between is anyones guess. Well do breakfast at Rainforest Caf at Animal Kingdom, since I have a birthday credit there too. Sunday were back to the Studios for Slinky Dog in the morning, then pool & Food & Wine to finish up the day (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is the concert group). Amanda has to leave today. Monday SB, Chris, Ari & I check out. SB & I are having breakfast with Pete & Judy at Ale & Compass, but Im not sure SB & I will stick around at all afterwards not sure what Chris & Ari plan to do before leaving.

    As usual, there are no restaurant reservations (other than breakfast w/Pete & Judy) booked initially I had one, but canceled it a couple months ago since Food & Wine is really the priority.

    The plans so far are:
    Sunday 11/4: Drive to WDW, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs
    Monday 11/5: Pool, Epcot
    Tuesday 11/6: Epcot, Boyz II Men
    Wednesday 11/7: Pool, Epcot, Boyz II Men
    Thursday 11/8: Move to Boardwalk, Chris & Ari arrive, Epcot
    Friday 11/9: Pool, Food & Wine, Hollywood Studios, Epcot
    Saturday 11/10: Animal Kingdom, Pool, Hollywood Studios
    Sunday 11/11: Hollywood Studios, Pool, Epcot
    Monday 11/12: Ale & Compass breakfast, Drive to Gainesville

    DAY 1 Sunday 11/04/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member

    Plan: Drive to WDW, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs

    Actual: Last night having the clocks fall back an hour worked for me, but werent so kind to SB. In my case, Id slept poorly the night before & had been awake since 3am (up since 4am). So, I was understandably tired last night and turned off the lights & tv by 8pm after calling SB to say goodnight. Getting up at 4:30, which was actually more like 5:30, left me feeling rested today! In SBs case, he works in a department with a bunch of losers who think nothing of calling in sick here in Gainesville theres much more illness going around on weekends, and especially on Saturdays when theres a home football game (UF Gators). Yesterday was the homecoming game. So, SB reported to work at 3pm as scheduled, and due to all the calling out sick was on duty until 7:30 this morning (which was really 8:30 with the time change).

    I had a small cup of cappuccino and did some online stuff before taking my shower and getting ready to hit the road. Id offered to run out and bring back a breakfast sandwich for SB, but he was only interested in getting some sleep once he finished the 17-hour shift. I checked the weather again, and it was looking more promising still lots of rain all afternoon, but it may clear out enough for a stroll around Epcot in the evening.

    I was out the door at 6:30, stopping briefly to say goodbye & goodnight to SB. The drive was easy, with no traffic and only drizzly rain. As I approached my exit onto Disney property there were signs up that the road would be closed today from 5-8am (marathon). Lucky for me, it was 8:14am and the barricades had been moved aside.

    Ari & his parents called me, so I talked with them the rest of the way in not noticing until near the end that it was a facetime call so then I took my phone out of the cup holder. My calls come through the car radio in this car. Ari is excited to be coming back for his umpteenth WDW trip later this week!

    I parked the car but of course didnt bother to unload anything since I knew the resort was sold out last night. I walked through the Villas lobby, figuring if someone was there I could at least let them know I had arrived. That station wasnt open yet, however. It wasnt worth going over to the regular lobby, so instead I headed out to the bus stop.

    With it being Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend, lots of buses (Disney and other) were in service shuttling runners and their guests. The Magic Kingdom bus stop was mobbed, but the next bus time was still over 10 minutes away. Then the time kept changing to later and later, until finally one came and another was right behind it. Even with the 2 buses, there were people left behind, which didnt bode well for what the Magic Kingdom was going to be like today! I was on the bus and we were pulling away at 9:01 to head to the park.

    At the Magic Kingdom it was very busy, but for once I chose the best bag check line it moved faster than any of the others! We all were sent through the metal detector, then I walked to the less crowded end to enter the park. Coming out from under the train station I was surprised to see the big Christmas tree and all the holiday dcor was already up! It makes sense, since I think the first Christmas party is in a few days no doubt one of the days when its supposed to be 87 degrees. Ho ho ho, lol!
    As I feared, the park was more crowded than Ive ever seen it this early in the day. Places selling food or drink already had lines, too. The Trolley cast was doing their show, dressed in holiday costumes. I walked through the castle and over to new Fantasyland, where I walked onto the Little Mermaid ride. There were lots of people, but the line never slowed or stopped. When I came back outside I talked with Chris dad while walking over to Tomorrowland hed called to wish me a happy birthday.

    Space Mountains standby queue was backed up almost to the entrance, but I didnt notice the number of minutes posted. With fastpass it was very quick, and I enjoyed the ride. My dad called while I was in there, so once back outside I called and talked with him. I decided to ride the People Mover and on my way noticed the standby line for Buzz Lightyear was snaked around outside and posted as 55 minutes! No freakin way! Even People Mover had a line, but at least it moved pretty fast.

    By now it was time to head to Frontierland for my Big Thunder fastpass. The standby queue there was really long, and even fastpass people spend time standing still inside before even getting to the downward ramps. I was seated in the middle of the train, but with it being so busy I didnt want to ask to wait for the back row of the next train. It was still a fun ride!

    Next up was a fastpass for Haunted Mansion, but it was an hour away (11:45). I decided to take my chances on the standby wait, but when I got over there it was posted as 65 minutes, lol! I tell ya, the park was nuts this morning! It was too crowded to do anything else, and I wasnt interested in waiting around an hour for this attraction, so I headed towards the exit.

    On Main Street the trolley show was running again, and I spotted my friend Mary on the sidewalk (shes one of the citizens of Main Street). We spent some time chatting, then I left the park. At the bus stops, there were a few people waiting at the Boardwalk stop but the one for Yacht & Beach was empty. I figured Boardwalk might arrive first, and thats what happened. Knowing that if I waited for my bus Id be stopping at Yacht before going to Beach, and since I was really headed into Epcot, I took the Boardwalk bus.

    One of the Friendships was leaving the Boardwalk dock for Epcot as a passed by, but by walking quickly I was able to beat the hordes of people who would be headed for the entrance. Bag check took no more than a couple seconds, and I only waited for 1 person ahead of me at the band readers. World Showcase was fairly busy, but much less crowded than Magic Kingdom had been!

    I turned to the left and decided to take my chances in Canada shocked to find every cash register manned and nobody buying anything! There were some on the other side, but I was able to walk right up and order the cheese soup with pretzel roll. It was delicious, and there were a few empty tables along the lake, so I ate over there. I looked at the time, and I was just finishing my lunch as my Haunted Mansion fastpass window opened. I definitely made the right decision to leave!

    I continued walking around World Showcase, but didnt eat or drink anything else (other than the water Id brought) since I am planning on a happy hour dinner this afternoon. SB called, and hes not scheduled to work today but thinks they may call him if someone calls out again. Since today is a big football day on tv, I reminded him he can always not answer the phone!

    At the end of my World Showcase loop I exited Epcot and walked back to Beach Club. The station in the Villas lobby was manned now, so I stopped there. My room was not ready yet but he could see one that should be ready soon. With verification that its not on ground floor or an accessible room, I said it would be fine. Supposedly its on the 2nd floor, overlooking the pool thats fine with me.

    I got most of my stuff from the car and sat in the room between the lobby and the pool, updating the report and checking email. Around 1:15 I noticed Id received my room number about 30 minutes ago, so I packed my stuff up and went to my 2nd floor poolside room. I know from the number thats right by the single elevator halfway to the parking lot, so I took the easier (for pushing luggage) route through the pool (over pavement vs carpet).

    As I suspected, my room is one that has a huge balcony. If only I knew a bunch of people here now we could have a great wine & cheese party out there some evening! But, since thats not likely to happen I focused on getting unpacked & settled in. Once everything was put away I went out to the car to get the gallon of water I couldnt carry before and then found my magic band would no longer open the door. I trudged down to the Villas lobby and the cast member reset it for me, then I was good to go.

    Its been a long time since I spent any time at Disney Springs, and the rain chances were continuing to diminish, so I decided Id wander around over there before happy hour. Thank goodness it was really cloudy, as the feels like temperature was 89. Add sunshine to that and it would have been brutal! I left the studio around 2:30 and walked over to the bus stops. This time I saw a bus leaving as I approached, but the time for the next one was about 15 minutes away. It actually arrived a bit earlier, as I was seated by 12 minutes later.

    As soon as I got off the bus at Disney Springs it started sprinkling just like last trip! I opened up the umbrella and carried on, walking around. I have to say, much of the new portion of Disney Springs is not Disney at all. Its very nice, but holds no appeal for me at all especially when Im here. I imagine the people working in these stores are employees of those companies, and not Disney cast members.

    Eventually I came to the Marketplace, where it was much more Disney! The World of Disney store has been redone, and I really like it much better now. They had a lot of really cute stuff! Too bad my budget isnt endless and my closets are small, or Id have bought a whole bunch of stuff! After checking out this store, I got my chocolate sample at Ghiradelli, then browsed through the Co-op, Mickeys Pantry, Goofys Candy, the Christmas store, and an art gallery. Mickeys Pantry is scaled back from when it was the Gourmet Pantry. The Christmas store is about the same.

    I like the Co-op, but the section with ugly dresses for adult women kind of creeped me out. They had a plus-size mannequin in there too, which makes sense given the demographic, but it made the dresses look even more ridiculous. I know I wouldnt wear one of them as a slender woman, never mind an overweight woman. Its just my opinion (so feel free to ignore it), but this stuff works better on children than adults, unless you mean it as a Halloween costume.

    The art gallery store had some beautiful paintings, and the artist was there. I forget his first name, but the last name is McCullough. They had a big painting of Sorcerer Mickey for only $72,000. If it wasnt for that limited budget thing, I would have loved to buy it! By now it was almost 4, so I headed towards Terralina but detoured to another shop Id visited once before (forget the name). They have mostly clothing, including some thats Disney. I ended up buying a shirt for myself, but couldnt find anything in SBs size. The mens stuff looked true to size, but the womens stuff looked huge I bought a size xs and it will be baggy.

    After buying the shirt it was raining again, so I walked over to Terralina dodging the puddles on the ground. I knew happy hour was only at the patio bar but I was thinking that was the seating outside along the side of the restaurant. Well, I was wrong. There was a bar out front, with tables & chairs that were all wet because theyre not covered. I asked, and learned that was the patio bar, and the only place for happy hour. The bar was full, so I waited until a couple left and then grabbed one of their seats.

    The happy hour here is really great, especially in nicer weather, lol! They do half-price wine, beer and pizzas. I talked to the bartenders a bit, did some reading, and had a nice conversation with the couple next to me from United Kingdom but they bought a vacation home in the area so theyre here often. I drank pinot grigio and ate half of a margherita pizza (excellent), taking the other half home. My birthday credit more than covered it all I just left a cash tip. Ill definitely make it a point to return here for happy hour if Im in town on a Sunday Thursday night.

    I dont remember if it was raining again, but I think not I dont remember juggling an umbrella with my leftovers. I walked back to the bus stops and didnt have a very long wait for my bus. Unfortunately, from Disney Springs the bus goes to Swan, Dolphin, Yacht, Beach and Boardwalk. It was also freezing you could have hung meat in that bus! I got off at the Swan, preferring to walk rather than wait for the 4th stop!

    Back at Beach Club Villas I put my leftovers in the fridge, grabbed my camera, and headed back out for Epcot. It was 6:32 and I made it into Epcot and into a seat at the America Gardens Theater by 6:46 pretty much in time for the 6:45 Taylor Dayne concert. I wasnt expecting much, but she was really good! I must have been thinking of someone else when I thought she was just ok. I recognized most of the songs, even though she came along after my music years. Im glad I went back in for her concert.

    SB had called just as I sat down, so I called him back after the concert ended. As it turned out, work never called him so he got to enjoy the football games. Id started walking towards International Gateway, but then decided to make another loop around the countries since it was so nice out (no rain). It wasnt overly crowded, and lines were small or non-existent at the food booths. I just love the sights, sounds & smells of World Showcase, especially in the evening!

    Pete called, so I talked with him while walking. We updated the plans for later in the week, and beyond then it started raining again. By now I was almost to the International Gateway again, so no big deal. I returned to the resort, getting back by 8:30. I turned on the Mickey Mouse birthday special on the tv, then noticed I had standing water on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. Theres a tray under the freezer compartment and that was overflowing, so I emptied that and then cleaned up the water I dripped all over the floor!

    I heard Illuminations at 9, but since Im facing the pool I cant see any fireworks. Its been raining since I got back here, but hopefully itll end before morning. Today was a great first day, even with the weather and the crazy crowds at Magic Kingdom. I dont regret going over there, as I did a few favorites and got to see Mary. Disney Springs and Terralina was great, as was Epcot and the Taylor Dayne concert tonight. Mostly I just love being here and I really appreciate all the birthday wishes. Turning 60 is just another day, but many of you guys made it an especially nice day!

    Tomorrow Im hoping to spend the morning on a lounge chair on the beach here, and then head to Animal Kingdom for fastpasses before returning to Epcot for Food & Wine in the evening. Thats if the weather cooperates!

    DAY 2 Monday 11/05/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, Epcot

    Actual: My room was completely silent last night no noise from the villa next door, the hallway, or any nearby balconies. I only have a neighbor on one side, and I think its a nice quiet couple without kids. I got up a little after 5, and discovered the fridge was either not working or was set too warm. I played around with the knob and will check it again later. If Ive lost everything in there Ill be complaining to the resort. This happened to Chris & Amanda when here earlier this year, and they had to throw out everything but the resort did give them a credit on their account so they could replace stuff.

    I made my cappuccino and did some online stuff, then made my breakfast around 8. I also booked a short weekend hear next October. Itll be hot, but hopefully I can enjoy food & wine at night. Outside I see a clear blue sky, so it looks good for lounging in the sun this morning.

    After changing into a swimsuit, I filled my contiga with ice water and headed out to the beach arriving there before 9. I was surprised to see others there already, although they didnt stay long. I dragged a chaise lounge by the fence (at the water), and spent a lovely 3 hours reading and watching/hearing the boats passing by. It got pretty hot at times, but other times there was a breeze. By the time I went back inside (just before noon), there were a lot more clouds building up.

    I heated up the leftover margherita pizza for lunch, and had that along with a glass of wine out on the balcony. After lunch I took my shower and got dressed, then headed out to the bus stop around 1:15. I didnt have any delays entering Animal Kingdom, and the bus came pretty much right when the board said it would (1:30). My first fastpass was at Primeval Whirl, which was crazy busy. Everything was crazy busy! The standby queue was 45 minutes, and even with my fastpass it was nearly 15 minutes of waiting.

    After riding I decided to check out the standby wait for Dinosaur, thinking Id do that now instead of during my 3:55 fastpass window. When I got over there though, the line was out the door and the wait time was posted as 65 minutes!!! Holy New Jersey Week this really sucks! I walked through Asia and into Africa, where I found a place to sit & check emails until it was time for my safari fastpass window. The standby there was 75 minutes.

    It was a good safari, although the driver wasnt as observant as most drivers. We passed animals she never pointed out including a giraffe only a couple feet from our truck (standing in some trees). When the safari ended I headed for the exit, as I didnt want to sit around waiting for the Dinosaur fastpass.

    At the bus stops there was a long line of people at the Yacht/Beach Club stop, so I was happy that the bus would be arriving sooner rather than later. It did, but then we had a driver change. Then the new driver fiddled with all his buttons, adjusted & readjusted his seat & steering wheel, and did god knows what else up there. I shared the seat directly behind the driver with a lady from upstate NY and Naples, and we started talking about what a crazy situation this was. By the time our driver FINALLY started moving, the next Yacht/Beach Club bus pulled into our spot right away. Our driver fiddled around for 20 minutes!

    He then sat forever letting all the pedestrians and other buses go first at an intersection. At the light near All Stars traffic going into those value resorts was backed way up not moving at all what a mess! We were held forever at the light, perhaps because a fire truck and ambulance were in the McDonalds parking lot. Finally we were on our way again. At Yacht Club the damn driver discharged passengers and then sat there. They sit & wait a short period at the parks, but not at resorts! The lady next to me said something to him, as she was rushing to meet her Magical Express bus. He finally got moving, and the entire journey took about an hour to get from Animal Kingdom to Beach Club!

    I stopped by the studio to drop off my sunglasses and grab the camera, then walked over to Epcot. Entry was quick, as there were no real lines backed up & all the stations were open. I decided to head towards America, thinking I may need to get a seat for the 5:30 Boyz II Men concert early. Arriving there just before 5, I was shocked to see the theater was full every seat, every spot along both walls (both the side facing into the theater and the side facing out). The ropes were up to prevent any more people from going in, and people were 3 deep standing up behind the ropes. I looked over at the American Adventure and every spot along the walls surrounding trees or a fountain were also taken it was just insane! I continued walking, and the line for the 6:45 show was already snaked around in Italy. They had lots of extra security, too.

    Since I obviously wasnt going to be getting a seat for the concert, I continued walking to find dinner. The lines at the Food & Wine booths were insane too many of them extended beyond the roped off queue. Spain was the only one I came by that didnt have a huge line, but I wanted the korma chicken from India. Fortunately, that line was snaked but within the queue, and it moved quickly. I even found an empty table across the way. The chicken was good, but when the naan bread cools off its kind of tough.

    After eating I walked back to America and found a curb in front of the American Adventure entrance and sat down. I could hear the concert just fine, and they sounded good. When it started, many of the people who had been sitting on walls stood up (not on the wall on the ground) but I cant imagine they saw anything. Knowing it would be a mob scene, I left during the final song, and headed into Future World.

    I noticed Canada and the other booths that generally have 2 sides only had 1 operating tonight. Im thinking Disney was caught off-guard by the huge crowds today, but a lot of it was their doing. They closed the Magic Kingdom at 4:30 today for a cast service party, so people had to go somewhere! When you consider they close it at 6 multiple times a week for the Halloween or Christmas parties, it limits the options for people who want to see the fireworks and evening stuff there.

    Future World was also very busy. I went to the Festival Center and picked up a ghiradelli sample to take back to the resort. After leaving Animal Kingdom I added a fastpass for Spaceship Earth at 7:45. I checked to see if I could move it up, but they were all gone for the day. I checked the standby time, and it was something like 50 minutes no way! So, I walked back out to World Showcase even though I knew Id run into the concert crowd getting out of the 6:45 show around 7:15.

    Everything was still extremely busy, with long lines everywhere. I counted 30 people waiting for crepes in France. Once I hit the concert crowd it was gridlock. Thank goodness Im small, quick, and solo at least I was able to get to the outer edge and weave past the slowpokes. The people on scooters had to be out of their minds to be here on such a busy night they could barely move.

    I ducked back into Future World, arriving at Spaceship Earth 8 minutes before my fastpass time. The cast member worked some magic to turn my blue light green, and let me in. He was commenting about how strange it was to be so busy like this on a Monday night. Spaceship Earth needed more air conditioning it was pretty sweaty in there most of the time. Afterwards I walked over to the Flavors of Fire stand and finally found a short line! I only had to wait for a couple people, lol!

    I ordered the chocolate picante, which was delicious. I walked back to World Showcase, which was still mobbed, and fought my way over to International Gateway and left the park. It felt good to get back to my nice uncrowded resort! I took the laptop out onto the balcony to finish up the report. People were enjoying the pool at first, and I could hear the music played out there until a group came out to talk on their balcony nearby.

    SB ended up having to work another double shift today, as another of the slimeballs (this time the 2nd shift supervisor) called in sick. But, theyre backing his extra time down tomorrow, meaning he wont work tomorrow so hes planning to come down with Tiana for the day. I was able to add him to our Nemo fastpass, but not the others. I can always let him use my Soarin fastpass, and he wont want to ride Spaceship Earth so thats no big deal.

    Today was a very nice day, other than the continued big crowds everywhere. This NJ week crap is for the birds it really makes it harder to enjoy everything. Next year our trip will end at the start of NJ week, so at least well have a few nice days before the hordes (NJ and marathoners) descend.

    Tomorrow SB & Tiana should be here around 8 well be doing Food & Wine, and well see if Boyz II Men is stupidly crowded again! If so, Tiana will be disappointed.

    DAY 3 Tuesday 11/06/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), my husband
    Tiana (51), friend

    Plan: Epcot, Boyz II Men

    Actual: Once again I slept well, getting up at 5. I had my cappuccino and did online stuff until around 6:15. I took my shower & got dressed, and later made my breakfast. SB & Tiana arrived just after 8. SB mentioned on the phone hed forgotten his magic band. Im not sure if he was kidding or not, but I told them I wasnt stupid enough to rely on him to bring his stuff I have one of his with me <g>.

    Epcot is opening for resort guests at 8 this morning, so I gave them the option of getting breakfast here at the Beach Club Marketplace or over at the Land. SB really wanted the potato casserole, so Beach Club Marketplace it is. We can walk over to Epcot after they eat. I waited for them out on the balcony, since I could see the sidewalk to the parking lot.

    They got in just after 8 and I met them downstairs once I saw them walking from the parking lot. They were hungry so we went to Beach Club Marketplace first. It was very busy there, but since the food is already prepared the line went quickly. SB noticed the potato casserole was missing, and they had home fries instead. I asked about that and learned the casserole was almost done cooking. The cast member said shed bring it out to us, so SB ordered the bounty platter. He was underwhelmed with that, especially for $12. There was a small scoop of eggs, a single link sausage, single strip of bacon, a small mickey waffle, and the tiniest biscuit Ive ever seen.

    Tiana made a smarter choice of a breakfast sandwich on a croissant, that she enjoyed. When the potato casserole was ready, we were given a big portion. Unfortunately, its not the same as it used to be neither of us really liked it. It was way too salty, and I remember it tasted different like this last time too. Tiana liked it, so she ate it. I had SBs waffle.

    After breakfast we walked into Epcot, commenting how nice it would be if it would stay uncrowded like this! We walked into Future World, and got there right about 9, so we saw the crowd of non-resort guests headed up to the Land. We were able to ride Living with the Land without any wait, and then went next door to Soarin. Tiana & I had fastpasses but the cast member let SB go in with us. We ended up dead center, without having to ask.

    SB & I enjoyed the attraction, but Tiana freaked out and was scared to death the entire time (with her eyes closed). She says shes never riding that again! She did ok last time, but I wont risk it again. It was almost 10 by now, and we walked over to the Festival Center. They each got their passholder magnet, we all got a ghiradelli sample, and Tiana bought a 2018 Food & Wine Festival shirt. We arranged to have it delivered to the International Gateway rather than having to carry it around.

    We headed back out to World Showcase, as they wanted margaritas from Mexico. As we approached, I noticed people sitting at shady tables at the cantina. I also saw margaritas on their menu, so we went there rather than sit or stand in the hot sun. SB got a frozen lime margarita and bought Tianas frozen mango margarita to thank her for driving him down here. The lime one was really good I had a few sips. Once 11 rolled around we got up and began our loop of the countries. Along the way we ran into Sandi Femino, who SB remembered meeting a couple trips ago its always nice to run into people unexpectedly.

    The first stop was China, where Tiana had the spicy shrimp & noodles. SB had that as well, and he & I shared the chicken dumplings (pot stickers). It was all good and we had a table in the shade, lol! The next stop was Africa, where SB got the beef tips. This was pretty spicy, but he really liked it. Tiana & I tried a bite, and agreed but its not something Id get for myself. Although SB had planned to pace himself, now he was full, lol!

    We walked around some more, stopping in Ireland. I got the Guinness baileys shake, and when Tiana saw it she ordered one as well. Its a frozen drink and they sprinkle chocolate pieces on top. It comes in a cute plastic glass that says Ireland and its completely delicious! I grabbed us a couple straws from the Joffreys coffee cart across the way, which made it easier to enjoy the shake.

    When the shakes were gone we headed towards Future World, but first rode a Friendship over to Morocco and back. We still had time to kill before our fastpasses, so we went to the DVC member lounge. Its not a terribly exciting place, but it has air conditioning, lol! They both got a soda from the machines in there. The snack cart came around just before we left, so SB & I each got the animal crackers to save for Ari.

    Our final fastpasses were 12:05 and 1:10, so we walked over to Spaceship Earth to arrive about 1pm. Just like at Soarin, the cast member let SB go in with us even though he didnt have a fastpass. It was a little warm in there, but not as bad as last night thank goodness! When we got off that, it was time for our final fastpass at Nemo. SB had one for here.

    It was a cute ride, and we spent some time afterwards watching the dolphin and manatees, then watching the fish in the aquariums. A few divers were in there working on the walls, and in another area I think guests were swimming with their scuba tanks. Eventually we headed out, making the hot walk back to Beach Club Villas! Along the way we picked up Tianas shirt at the International Gateway, and when we go back in later she plans to exchange it for a different size. Im not sure why she bought the size she did, but I wasnt with her at the time.

    We caught the end of General Hospital, and Tiana caught a nap on the couch. I used the time to get caught up with the report, to make this evening easier. I was hungry, but didnt want to mess up being able to eat something at Food & Wine we were planning to go back in at 4. It was almost 4:15 by the time we left for Epcot, but everyone felt much more rested and refreshed than before. We had no wait getting into Epcot, and turned to the right to head towards America.

    We got to America about 4:30 and theyd already let people into the theater, which was almost full. Tiana found the shirt she bought at the kiosk in America, but they only had extremely large sizes. Since what she bought was too small, she swapped it for a XL and hoped to find a L somewhere else. That would turn into a nightmare later. While she was doing that, I told her SB & I would grab the seats at the end of the back row off on the Japan side, since nothing else was available and I didnt want someone to beat us. However, when we got there a big tree would have blocked the view of at least one of us, so we decided to just sit on the wall running up the length of the theater. From there we wouldnt have any obstruction.

    Tiana couldnt find us at first, but called me and we were able to get her down to our seats. Once she was there, SB went off for popcorn & a beer. We figured wed take turns, but always leave 2 people to hold the space. He was gone for a while, and came back with 2 brisket sliders and a beer flight, lol! He said the line at the popcorn & beer stand was moving too slowly, so he walked right up to the Hops & Barley stand. The sliders were huge, with lots of meat and delicious! Id gotten one on our first trip this year, and these were so much better! I ate part of one, and will definitely get one later in the trip.

    Tiana was going to get ice cream next door but the ice cream was actually in France. She decided to wait, but SB went back to Hops & Barley and came back with a couple of the lobster rolls. She loved that, and ate them both. SB enjoyed his beer flight and the rest of the sliders it was enough to fill him up again. I drank some wine, figuring Id get food after the concert.

    When the concert started, most of the people stood up! I cant stand that and I was so glad we were on the wall and not in seats staring at strangers ***** for the next 30 minutes. Honestly, most of the ones we see at Disney arent worth looking at <g>. Tiana had been really looking forward to Boyz II Men, and I was surprised to learn after a while that she wasnt impressed. They did a bit too much talking when youre the concert all you need to do is sing, not talk. We had a lady standing up who blocked SBs view, and when we got a cast member/supervisor over she told us that unfortunately the woman was standing in the red area so she couldnt say anything. Both Disney and the groups need to tell people to sit the hell down so others can see.

    Anyway, we were all ready to leave by the time the last song started, and none of us felt the need to see them again. Give us Starship!! Tiana was wanting to get on the road, so we continued our loop around, but had no luck with the damn shirt. She finally got her ice cream the banana almond berry sundae thing from Almond Orchard. This is so good, but its too big for me unless Im sharing it. Maybe when Ari gets here!

    I left them in the United Kingdom, and took her shirt to try to find the right size in Future World while they left the park and got on the road. It was feeling more humid out, and frankly was pretty gross. Most of the Festival shops had switched over to mostly Christmas stuff by now, and since the Food & Wine Festival is almost over its not surprising that many things are sold out. Mouse Gear had some things, but not this shirt. I ended up back in the Festival Center, where they had the shirt but the hangers were all S, XL, 2X and 3X. I checked them all and found a L on an XL hanger unfortunately, it was a little dirty. It was probably ghiradelli chocolate fingers that had touched it, but hopefully that will wash out. I did ask if they had any more out back, and the cast member refrained from laughing at me when he included a comment that the festival is almost over. I figure a dirty shirt that fits is better than one too big to wearand surely Tide or some spot remover will take care of it.

    With that done, I walked back to World Showcase, walking past Test Track and the Odyssey to come out by Mexico. In Germany I stopped at the Spain booth and got the paella for dinner, taking it to a table by the lake. Afterwards, I continued my loop stopping in Morocco for a piece of chocolate baklava to take back to the room. World Showcase and the food booths were getting busier, as people were arriving from other parks most likely.

    I was back in my studio a little after 7:30, ready to be out of the humidity and relax in the air conditioning. I put the baklava in the fridge and had a glass of wine while updating the report and flipping between HGTV and election results. Im not really interested in politics at all, but this year Im eager to see who the new FL governor will be, and whether the current governor will beat the senator hes running against.

    Today was a really nice day, and we all had a great time. We do Disney well together, and everything just flows nicely. If it was about 10 degrees cooler it would have been the perfect day! Oh yeah, and if Tiana had just bought the shirt in her size to start with, lol!

    Tomorrow is my last solo day, so itll be nice & relaxing. I plan to spend the morning on the beach again, then head into Epcot later. I have yet another Spaceship Earth fastpass, but I pushed it back from 12:25 to 3:55. I may or may not trudge up to the front to use it. I have Test Track later at night, but depending on the humidity may not stick around that late theres always single rider line, and I could care less about designing a car. Whatever the day brings, Im sure itll be great!

    DAY 4 Wednesday 11/07/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, Epcot, Boyz II Men

    Actual: After another good nights sleep in a comfortable silent room, I was up around 5:15. I made my cappuccino and did online stuff until Beach Club Marketplace opened at 7. Yesterday Id seen the kids meal options and decided to just do that this morning, especially since with it being so hot I wasnt necessarily going to be over at Food & Wine for lunch. I got the cheese/tomato/scrambled egg on goldfish bread, which came with a packet of grapes, a small yogurt parfait and small bottle of water. Its plenty for me, and I saved the parfait for later and grapes for Ari.

    Fog was rolling in, which I assume is a factor of it being so much warmer than normal. Im glad Im not driving in it! I hung out in the studio until around 8:45, when I changed into a swimsuit and headed out to my chaise lounge on the beach. It was nice and sunny, but very hot! Some large group had a catered breakfast on the beach, but they were at the other end. I doubt they were counting on it being so warm and humid when they booked that! No other guests came out to use the beach today, and I stayed out there until just before noon. I did some reading, watched the boats, and just relaxed (and sweated).

    Since this is my last day at Beach Club, I dropped my towels in the used towel bin at the quiet pool before walking back to my studio. I heated up the last piece of pizza from Terralina for lunch and tried to watch the noon news but the president was blathering and insulting reporters on tv. Hopefully hell be finished before General Hospital at 2! I gave up shortly after 1 and took my shower. Thankfully the press conference was finished when I turned the tv back on just before 2.

    I caught up on the cruise critic message boards after General Hospital, and talked with SB. He went to the dog track in Tampa, and now is headed down to spend the night with Chris, Amanda & Ari. Tomorrow hes hanging out with former Twins co-workers in Ft Myers and will spend the night at our place before coming up here Friday.

    Around 3:30 I put on my sneakers and headed for Epcot, getting hungry again. There was no wait at International Gateway, so I got right in. When I left around 7 there were long lines entering the park. Since I hadnt walked much today, I decided to do a loop around World Showcase, starting with France. Much of it was in the shade, so that was very nice! It wasnt crowded or busy at the food & wine booths at all. I didnt stop anywhere, because Id already decided on something in Future World. When I finished the loop I entered Future World and went to the Flavors of Fire booth for the piggy wings. The people ahead of me were a pain they wanted the corned beef but without the onions, and the piggy wings but without any sauce or sesame seeds. The cast members cheerfully accommodated them. I was fine with my piggy wings coming just as they are sauce, sesame seeds, and little bit of slaw.

    These are not wings at all, but meaty little ribs. There are 2 of them in the portion, and both of mine had a lot of meat on them. I cut the meat off the bone and had several bites from each rib more than enough. After eating I walked over to Spaceship Earth figuring what the heck on riding it yet again. When I got there however, it had just gone down. I went into a nearby shop to check for the email with my fastpass information but couldnt stay in there because it was too warm. Whats up with Disney and the lack of decent cold air conditioning these days?

    I ended up in Electric Umbrella (standing off to the side), where it was much cooler. I got my email but wasnt interested in any of the choices available for my fastpass, so I walked over to Test Track to do the single rider line instead of waiting for my fastpass later this evening.

    The single rider line had a 30-minute wait posted, but as soon as I got inside I could tell it likely wasnt going to be anywhere near that long. Had it been backed way up I would have turned around and left. I was seated with a young couple, and was very underwhelmed by this attraction. I guess I havent ridden it in a while, and I dont like how its changed its a big nothing. The only attraction is the high speed loop outside. All the time leading up to that is boring and useless in my opinion.

    When I got back outside I checked the app and saw that Spaceship Earth was running again, so I went back there to use my fastpass. While riding I saw I had a missed call and voicemail from SB. Thinking he was lost or something, I listened to the voicemail but it was him with Ari, having Ari talk to me, lol! I called him when I got back outside.

    It was time to head back to World Showcase, and now the sun was down and the sky was really pretty again. I stopped at India for a glass of the chenin blanc, then took it to an empty table in Africa. The table had 4 chairs, so when a couple came with food & drink from Africa and were going to eat balancing it on the wall, I invited them to share the table. They both had the shrimp skewer, which looked pretty big SB might like that.

    Eventually I continued walking, noticing things had gotten much busier. It was really crowded in Italy since they hadnt let the crowd into the America Gardens Theater for the 6:45 Boyz II Men concert yet. I went to Hops and Barley, finding the queue completely filled in. It moved pretty quickly, and I got the brisket slider disappointed that it was a smaller portion than the ones SB got last night. However, I was stuffed after eating it so I guess it doesnt matter. The picnic tables in the covered area outside the restrooms had been removed, so Im not sure whats up with that. It didnt look like theyd been added to the festival eating area, either. I ate at a stand-up table where the picnic tables used to be.

    Continuing on, I was craving something sweet but didnt want anything too big. I stopped by Ireland and watched while someone got the warm chocolate thing, and knew it was a little more than I wanted. I still have most of the chocolate baklava in the fridge, so that will be dessert later. I headed out through International Gateway, and ran into a former co-worker from Tallahassee. I figured she & her husband were here, since they usually run the half marathon. It was nice to catch up with her, and we may run into each other again since theyre at Boardwalk until Monday.

    Speaking of Boardwalk, I walked around over there before heading back to my resort nothing much was going on yet. I didnt spend much time, since Ill be there the next 4 nights. I returned to Beach Club Villas and packed up most of my stuff before settling down to watch HGTV.

    Today was a very relaxing, lazy day which is a good thing! I enjoyed my kids breakfast sandwich and the time on the beach (although it really needed to be about 10 degrees cooler to be perfect). Food & Wine wasnt overly crowded, and both food items tasted great!

    Tomorrow Chris & Ari hope to get on the road around 7:30 or so. I did online check in while I was at Epcot (on my phone), and will probably head over to Boardwalk between 10 & 11. With it being hot again tomorrow, Ill drive up the hill and drop my Boardwalk stuff off with bell services before parking the car. I dont want to be lugging stuff up in the hot sun in the afternoon, or pulling a heavy suitcase down a long carpeted hallway! Its a pretty safe bet the villa wont be ready when I get there <g>. Our plans for the day are Epcot and a Publix run.

    DAY 5 Thursday 11/08/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    Chris (32), son
    Ari (2), grandson

    Plan: Move to Boardwalk, Chris & Ari arrive, Epcot

    Actual: I slept well again, getting up just after 5. I followed the usual routine, and around 7 made my breakfast egg, slice of bacon, and the kids yogurt parfait from yesterday. I still have some of the baklava, which Ill eat before heading out the door. Its too good to go to waste! Its another sunny day and I would have liked to spend it by the pool or on the beach, but without a place to shower & blowdry my hair, it just isnt practical.

    I hung out in the studio, taking my shower and dressing around 8 but not heading over to Boardwalk until after 9. Chris stopped at McDonalds for breakfast with Ari, and texted once they got back on the road with their ETA of 11:30. Around 9:15 I shut down the laptop and packed up the last things, including the cooler. I got some ice from the ice machine, but probably didnt need it since my freezer packs had all finally frozen again once I turned the temp down in the fridge (they were in the little freezer section).

    I stopped to fill up the tank with gas on my way to Boardwalk, and was lucky to find an empty pump. At the Boardwalk I drove up to the entrance and had bell services take my suitcase, cooler, and 2 other bags before driving back down to self-park the car. I decided to take a walk around the boardwalk first, so I left my backpack in the trunk. The walk got rather toasty, once I lost shade. The combination of the higher than normal temperature and the high humidity was pretty gross. It was too hot to consider walking down to the Studios, so I limited my walk to around Crescent Lake.

    I retrieved my backpack from the car, then walked up to the Boardwalk lobby. I stopped at the front desk to let them know I am HERE, hoping that might make a difference in when they cleaned my villa. It ended up being 3:07 before my villa was ready, so my efforts were basically in vain. I planned to sit outside on the porch, and found an empty rocking chair there, but between the pressure washer being used below (noisy) and the humidity with a lack of any breeze, I lasted less than 5 minutes out there.

    Inside the lobby, I tried a couple chairs that looked comfortable but were anything but! Eventually I settled on a sofa, and spent about an hour reading until Chris & Ari arrived just after 11:30. Ari had only slept for about 50 minutes during their trip, so that wasnt a good sign for the rest of the day if the villa wasnt going to be ready soon. We went downstairs to the Boardwalk Bakery and got Ari the kids turkey sandwich on goldfish bread for his lunch. He didnt seem too sure about it at first, but he eventually ate it.

    We left for Epcot, in the sweltering heat. We turned right towards France, and didnt stop until we came to America. Chris got the brisket at Hops & Barley, which was a huge portion like the ones SB got the other night. Our next stop was Germany, where I got the bratwurst in pretzel roll and I think Chris got a beer from the regular stand. The bratwurst was very good.

    We walked some more, but didnt stop for any more food at this point. We entered Future World, and did our Nemo fastpasses. Ari rode with me and was spooked by the jellyfish and also by the shark. I guess hes getting to that age where things can scare him. He was fine again almost instantly after moving to friendlier scenes. After the ride we went over and watched the manatees for a while, then the dolphins. An elderly lady was sitting by the window we chose, and she seemed to enjoy Ari. She was talking to him, and they were looking at fish. When we moved to another area, I had Ari say goodbye to his new friend, and he waved & told her bye.

    We watched the fish a bit longer, then checked some of the smaller exhibits before going downstairs and heading outside to get the stroller. We still didnt have a room number, and had agreed to skip the Spaceship Earth fastpass in favor of the DVC member lounge. First, we rode the Imagination ride, which had a 15-minute standby wait posted but it was a quick walk-on. Ari wasnt happy with the skunk smell, or the blast at the end, but did seem to like Figment. Afterwards Chris had to do something for work, so I took him to play on some of the interactive things. Soon hed forgotten he was scared, and was running around like normal.

    We went up to the DVC member lounge next, and found seats to wait for the room ready email. Chris got some soda from the free machines. After a while he needed to take Ari to the restroom (outside the lounge), and while they were gone the snack cart came by. I got 2 animal crackers and a cheez its. I texted Chris to suggest we just go back to Boardwalk to wait for the room, and he agreed, so I met them downstairs.

    As we were on our way back to the resort I got an email (at 3:07) telling me to stop by the front desk about my room assignment. Chris checked the app, and from his account could see our room number. From my app, it only showed Beach Club Villas. Back at Boardwalk he & Ari went down to their car to get their stuff, while I stopped by the front desk.

    The cast member couldnt get it to work, and told me the magic band was trying to open room 260 which didnt exist at Boardwalk, but was my room number at Beach Club. I stood there while he tried different things, pecking away at his computer, but we were getting nowhere. I was getting impatient. Chris & Ari finally got back, and were surprised to see me still standing at the front desk it had to have easily been 20 minutes or more at this point. Finally the cast member said he needed to get a supervisor, and when came back the supervisor who came with him was Marlene friend of Pete & Judy, and a front desk manager here. She remembered me, and we exchanged greetings, then she went to work with her higher level of access.

    Even Marlene had trouble, as it kept wanting to link me to a BCV room even though I was clearly checked in here. She was able to make me a couple old fashioned key cards, and eventually did that. She kept my magic band (and SBs) to continue working on the problem without holding me up, letting me know what to say to get them back when we passed by later.

    A bit earlier Id brought my bell services ticket over to ask for my luggage to be delivered, and now when I went to the elevator I shared it with the bellman who had my stuff on his cart. I commented to him that it was my stuff, so he took my backpack from me and hung it on the cart. I knew the room number so he followed me, I tipped him, and then I finally got somewhat settled. Chris had already started unpacking in their bedroom, so I did the same in mine and unpacked the cooler. Ari had filled up an ice cube tray with water for me, and it was in the freezer but I learned the ice machine room is directly across the hall so we have options.

    The villa is great everything looks like it should, and the a/c works very well! We overlook the main pool, directly across from the clown face at the end of the keister coaster slide. The Tower of Terror is beyond that, so we have a view of any fireworks from the Studios. We needed to pick up some groceries, so we headed for Publix. Since I needed to stop at the front desk they went to the car and would come back for me. Marlene was still working on my bands, and evidently finally got them right both scanned green. I thanked her and walked to the bottom of the hill, where Chris & Ari picked me up.

    We went to the Publix over by Orange Lake and picked up mainly breakfast things. We didnt spend too much time there. Ari fell asleep on the ride back, finally too exhausted to stay awake. Chris dropped me off at the entrance and I took the groceries while he went to park the car and carry Ari up to the resort. We had eggs, sausage, a gallon of milk, gallon of water, and box of wine. It was a challenge handling it all, but I managed struggling towards the end. Wouldnt you know, just as I got close to my villa, a party pushing a disabled girl in a huge wheelchair stopped dead in front of my door to talk to each other. Really people????? I was about to drop a gallon of water, but managed to get between the wheelchair & my door before that happened. What are the odds that in the long hallway, the room they stop in front of has to be the one Im going to???

    I put the stuff way, grabbed my camera and the stroller, and went back downstairs. Chris & Ari were already out on the boardwalk, so I met them down there. Ari was still asleep on Chris shoulder, but woke up when Chris put him in the stroller. It was too hot to keep holding him. Once he woke up, he was raring to go.

    We were within the fastpass window for the character greet thing, so we entered Epcot and went straight there. I had a fastpass, but Chris did not the cast member let him go in with us but told me next time to book a fastpass for him. We had a bit of a wait, but eventually got into the room with the characters. A party up ahead had a couple shirts to be signed, and a hat so they took more time than most people and slowed down the whole experience for everyone behind them.

    Ari enjoyed greeting and interacting with Mickey, Goofy, and then Minnie. By the time we got out of there it was dark. We needed to get Ari dinner, so we went to Electric Umbrella. I got a table while Chris took Ari to the restroom. When he came out, the line to order was long so he used the app to do mobile ordering. He was able to bypass the line, and get Aris kids cheese pizza very quickly.

    Ari likes the pizza here, but he wasnt eating very quickly. We kept prompting him to take a bite, and finally I put the last piece in the tray on the stroller, and he ate that as we started walking. We went back to World Showcase, starting with the Mexico side. Once Ari finished his pizza he got the strawberry yogurt smoothie thing that came with his meal he sucked that down in about 10 seconds!

    In Africa Chris got the beef tips, while Ari & I waited by a table. Id brought in a couple of those glow in the dark sticks, which Ari was playing with. Chris enjoyed the beef, and it was a big portion. We continued walking, and stopped just beyond Germany so Ari & I could walk through the train village. He enjoyed seeing them all, with their lights on. Eventually we met back up with Chris and kept walking. Our timing was off for the concerts tonight, so hopefully I can hear the Hooters tomorrow. We passed by America around 7:30, and the next show wasnt until 8.

    In Morocco Chris got the beef kefta and a chocolate baklava, while Ari & I waited in front of the stage. Chris liked the beef, and it looked like a good portion as well. While we were there they took the rope down from the front of the stage, and soon the group came out to perform. Chris told Ari he could go dance, but he was being shy at first. Eventually he started moving around, although a lot of his dancing very closely resembled running around in a circle, lol. He enjoyed the music, and they seemed to enjoy watching him. I wasnt sure if Ari would try the baklava, but I swiped up some chocolate sauce with an almond slice and he liked that (he likes chocolate). After a couple of those, when I offered the baklava he took a bite and liked it. Chris later gave him another bite and was shocked that he chomped down, taking a huge bite this time, lol.

    We continued walking, stopping in Belgium, where I got the beef with smoked gouda mashed potatoes. This was also a very big portion, and it was delicious! I ate what I wanted, and gave the rest to Chris. It was 8 or later by now, so we left at the International Gateway and walked back to the resort.

    Chris gave Ari his bath and got him into his pajamas, then Ari & I sat out on the balcony while he drank his milk. While we were out there, SB called 4 times. He forgot to pack his phone charger and only had the one for the car, so he was sitting in the car trying to call me. The phone was too dead to work in the house. Chris eventually heard the last call, so I was able to call him back. Chris asked if Id told SB how to turn the hot water heater on at our place, and reminded me the hot water heater has been off for over a year. LOL SB took a shower there this morning and didnt say anything, so I guess hell do the same tomorrow morning. It is pretty warm down there, which helps.

    Chris bedroom is basically a studio, and it has the Dumbo kiddie bed. That works out perfect for Ari. He got in bed, and facetimed with Amanda before going to sleep. I said my goodnights and went to the master bedroom to finish todays report. With being out all day, it was much later!

    Today was mostly a great day I could have done without the long issues at the front desk with my magic band, and the heat is just ridiculous (but not normal). Ari is a joy, and its such fun being around him. Tomorrow were going to relax by the pool in the morning, then let Ari get a normal nap. SB should arrive before noon, and Amanda hopefully before we go to the Studios. It should be the last of the hot days thank goodness! Were also looking forward to seeing Pete & Judy tomorrow!

    DAY 6 Friday 11/09/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), my husband
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (2), grandson
    Pete & Judy, DVC friends

    Plan: Pool, Food & Wine, Hollywood Studios, Epcot

    Actual: This is another silent villa so I slept well! I forgot to mention, last night when we returned, my magic band worked just fine but now Chris wont open the door. Well have to deal with that later. Also, as we were walking to the room last night Ari was talking in his normal voice, which is loud enough to be heard inside the rooms. Chris told him to not talk so loud, which is what parents are supposed to do. When that didnt sink in, I said shhhhhh and whispered to Ari that we need to talk quietly because people may be sleeping. He may not have really understood that, but he likes to be a copycat and immediately started whispering. By answering in whispers he stayed in that mode until we got into our villa.

    I was up at 5, enjoying my cappuccino while doing stuff online. Chris & Ari didnt get up until after 8:30. I went to the kitchen around 7:45 to make my breakfast, since I was hungry by that point. Chris made some scrambled eggs and sausage for him & Ari. Theyd forgotten to pack swim diapers, so Chris went down to the shop in the lobby to buy some. Once he got back I went down to the pool and set up an area for us. They came down a bit later.

    Ari wore one of the resort life jackets and immediately went to the water slide. This ones the biggest one hes been on yet, but he loved it. Chris went down first, then once he landed in the pool Ari pushed himself off. He wanted to do it again, so we went back up this time when Ari took off he had both arms extended out like he was an airplane, huge grin on his face! He also spent time in the kiddie pool, the main pool, and the playground. He went down the taller slide and slide right off into the air at the bottom, lol landing on his butt on the ground. He wasnt hurt or anything.

    I did some reading and when SB arrived had to go up to let him in because the magic band he had wouldnt open the door. He changed into a swimsuit and came down to join us, and Ari was happy to see one of his Grandpas. Hed jump from the side of the pool and SB would catch him. Chris & Ari headed back upstairs for a shower & bath around 11, and SB went up shortly after that. I stayed at the pool until about 11:45.

    Their plan was to get lunch from the Boardwalk to Go stand, and I went to the villa to throw in a load of laundry, pick up SB (and my wallet, thank goodness) and we met Chris & Ari down there. Chris didnt realize this place isnt Disney and doesnt take Disney gift cards. SB didnt like the way the booth had been redone and the menu was scaled back. So, we ended up having lunch at ESPN.

    We were seated right away, and our server was great. Ari had the kids grilled cheese with waffle fries and apple slices. The rest of us shared the nachos, then I had tomato basil soup and the guys each had the grilled chicken sandwich (bacon, cheese sauce, arugula, tomato on a pretzel bun). The sandwich was very good and the soup was excellent! We were too full to consider dessert, especially since we hope to be able to eat at Food & Wine tonight. We got 10% off for dvc or passholder, but with tip it was still an $88 lunch.

    After lunch we went up to the villa. Chris & Ari went to their bedroom for naps, and SB watched some horse racing on the computer. I finished the laundry, took my shower, and watched General Hospital. Pete & Judy had arrived, and of course their room wasnt ready despite being told by someone here it would be. Amanda arrived just before 3, and we headed out around 3:30.

    Since the walk to the Studios is so long now (due to the gondola station construction), we decided to take the boat. We must have just missed it, since nobody was in line. Id bought Ari a Star Wars bubble blower recently, and he was having fun playing with that shooting bubbles everywhere. Another little boy was playing with him. When the boat arrived from Epcot, it was full and hardly anyone got off. We boarded, and had to stand but figured wed get seats at the next stop. At Yacht Club nobody really got off, but more people crowded on. Same thing at the Swan. Finally we got to the Studios, and thankfully it was pretty quick getting into the park.

    Amanda took Ari to the restroom, while Chris went to Starbucks. We saw the stormtroopers march down the street, and Ari pointed his bubble blower at them when they passed. Once Chris had his coffee we continued into a very busy Toy Story Land. It was cute seeing all the characters there decked out for the holidays. Even the green army men were wearing red & green Christmas scarves not exactly needed in 87 degree sunshine, lol!

    We did the baby swap at Slinky Dog Dash, and had Amanda & Chris ride first while SB & I waited with Ari. They were on pretty quickly, and we were able to see them on half the track. When they came back out, Amanda went to get food at Woodys Lunchbox, while Chris & Ari stayed to watch SB & I ride. This was the first time for either of us, and we really liked it! Its pretty smooth, and although it goes pretty high its a very gentle coaster. Anyone 38 inches or taller can ride it, and there were some kids who barely made that requirement.

    We met back up and found Amanda finishing her grilled cheese & tator tots at Woodys Lunchbox. She said when she arrived there was nobody in line that wasnt true by the time we got there. She also got the poptart thing with chocolate hazelnut inside, and it was surprisingly good. Ari loved it too, so she saved him some to eat after his dinner later. There was nothing else we wanted to do here, so we left the park.

    The boat was just leaving, and I was reasonably sure wed make it onto the next boat so we waited. It actually came quicker than we expected (maybe 10 minutes), and we sat near the back. At the first stop (Swan) hardly anyone got off, and a whole bunch of people boarded but a few had to be left behind because there was no more room to squeeze anybody in! When the boat arrived at Yacht Club, we got off and walked into Epcot. No way did I want to approach bag check & entry with hordes of other people. We breezed right into the park.

    Pete & Judy had been living a nightmare ever since arriving at Boardwalk, with the latest problem being with their magic bands not working to let them into the room they didnt get until after 4. Judys band would work, then it wouldnt work. They made about 4 more trips to the front desk to try to get this fixed. They also had to activate their new annual passes before entering the park, but they came in not long after we arrived.

    Our first stop was America, where Ari would have macaroni & cheese at Liberty Inn. SB & I stopped by the Hops & Barley booth on the way in, getting a brisket slider and bottle of water. We found Chris family inside and pulled extra chairs around for when Pete & Judy would arrive. Ari ate his dinner, and SB decided to get a burger it was just ok. Pete & Judy found us, and we sat around talking while SB & Ari finished eating. It was great to have everyone together again!

    After dinner, Chris family headed into Future World and did the kids dance party in front of the fountain. The 4 of us older people went to the Hooters concert. I think Ive heard of them, but had no clue what songs they did. Turns out I didnt recognize any of them, but we both liked them. We got good seats, about 20 minutes before the show, and left during the final song to beat the crowd.

    We texted Amanda, and we all met up again by Hawaii. The Epcot Christmas tree was all lit up, and looked pretty. SB didnt remember ever seeing it before. Its not usually here during our Food & Wine trips, and years ago they didnt light it until after Thanksgiving. Now Christmas is in full swing by early November, even though it feels like summer!

    Amanda got the pork slider, and Pete got something else from the Hawaii stand. I had a new glow toy for Ari, but one of the sticks got a leak so we had to throw it away. We continued over to Almond Orchard, where SB & I each got one of the banana soft serve sundaes. I shared mine with Ari, who loved the ice cream but wouldnt eat the blueberries. In the past hed gobble up blueberries, but those werent on ice cream.

    Pete & Judys granddaughter Zoe and her boyfriend arrived as we were eating the ice cream, and said hello before going to their Soarin fastpass. They go to college in Sarasota and are over for the weekend. We continued walking, and Chris wanted the maple boursin cheesecake so we parted ways from Pete & Judy at the entrance to Future World. Theyd been up since very early, so they headed back to the resort. I hope their magic bands worked!

    The rest of us went to the Cheese Studio, and Chris got the cheesecake. Its really good, and he liked it. I might have to get it one more time. We went back to the dance party for a little while, then decided to do another loop around the countries until we realized it was already 8:30. I bailed out, knowing I still had the report to finish & I didnt want to be up really late. In the end we all headed back.

    Tomorrow the 5 of us are having breakfast at Rainforest Caf and then will meet Pete & Judy (and possibly Zoe and boyfriend) for Flight of Passage. I hope to get some pool time in the afternoon, and dont know what the evening plans will be.

    DAY 7 Saturday 11/10/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), my husband
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (2), grandson
    Pete & Judy, DVC friends

    Plan: Animal Kingdom, Pool, Hollywood Studios

    Actual: We both slept well. I got up at 5 and went out to the living room to have my cappuccino. Its another foggy morning, but it will burn off once the sun comes up. Last night we decided to drive over to Animal Kingdom, so we just needed to be ready to head out the door at 8. They were ready ahead of schedule, so Ari came over to wake up SB. They played for a little while, and we were out the door on time. We rode over to Animal Kingdom in Chris car. We didnt have any delays getting in, and just had the magic band scanned to enter the parking lot. After going through bag check we checked in at the elephant in Rainforest Caf.

    They were just opening, and we were the first party seated. Ari seemed to like the restaurant, except the frogs painted on the table scared him. No big deal they got covered up by the kids menu/coloring paper. The thunderstorms and animal noises didnt bother him at all.

    It took a while for the food to come, but thats always the case here. When it did, some of it was a huge portion, and it was all very good. SB got the traditional breakfast (Breakfast of Bandits eggs, bacon or sausage, home fries & toast), Amanda had the French toast, I had the sliders (scrambled egg & bacon with home fries), Ari had the kids menu version of SBs breakfast, and Chris had the Mexican breakfast pizza (Pie of the Viper). Chris pizza was massive! Aris kids meal was huge as well it would be too much for me or Amanda, and I cant imagine a child eating all of it!

    At one point Chris wanted some hot sauce so he asked the waiter if they had any chalupa or similar. The water said yes, and later came back and set down a glass of dark liquid. Chris asked what that was, and he replied it was the kahlua Chris asked for, lol! Chris told him he meant hot sauce, like chalupa, lol and the waiter said hed wondered about the kahlua but figured what the heck. He took the kahlua away and brought a bottle of hot sauce.

    We took over half of Chris pizza with us, and threw away enough food to feed at least another adult. I used my birthday credit, and Chris picked up the rest of the check. I heard from Pete, and they were having challenges. First traffic was backed up getting into the Animal Kingdom area, and they had to wait in a long line to get to the parking booth. They showed their passholder card, and the cast member wanted to see a photo ID as well. Pete may have asked if they needed a urine sample too <g>. Then they parked, getting placed almost at the far end of the row. At the tram they had to stand in line to wait for a tram. Eventually they got into the park, and met us over by the fastpass entrance to Flight of Passage, shortly before the end of our window (9-10).

    Amanda had decided to skip the ride, so she took Ari to do the Wilderness Explorer activity and walk the Pangani Forest Trail. Judy ended up sitting out and waited for us outside the gift shop. This was Petes first time riding, and he loved it! We all felt invigorated afterwards its such a rush! We met Judy and walked over to Harambe to meet up with Amanda & Ari.

    We were concerned to see the fastpass queue backed up all the way to the entrance, but it moved quickly. There must have been animals blocking the road before we got there. I think Pete said the standby wait was 90 minutes at 10:15 am! We had a pretty good safari, and saw the baby giraffe whos only a few months old. This driver did a better job than the one the other day this one didnt miss any animals.

    After our safari we noticed the standby wait was now 125 minutes and the crowds entering Harambe over the bridge were massive. Pete, Judy, SB & I decided to head back to the resort & pool. Chris family stayed for Amanda to ride Everest and maybe do something else before going back for Aris nap. Theyre headed to the Magic Kingdom tonight. With all these Christmas parties, there are relatively few nights that park is open late (there was a party Thursday, Friday, and the next one is Sunday) so you know its going to be crazy crowded. Its open until 11, but until 1am for resort guests. Us older folks will stick with Epcot, even though its a Saturday of Food & Wine.

    Pete drove us back to the Boardwalk, and we agreed Id secure a spot by a pool and text them to let them know which pool. From our balcony I could scope out the main pool, and the only table not occupied was the one in the kiddie pool area. That wouldnt necessarily be a bad spot, since theres hardly ever many kids in there. Nowadays kids just put on life jackets and use the real pool.

    I changed into my swimsuit, grabbed my stuff, and went down to check things out. I started walking towards that table, and they announced Goofy Bingo would be starting in a minute. I immediately realized this pool is NOT the one we want to be at none of us want that blaring noise. If we were with Ari & he was participating in it, that would be different. I walked over to the quiet pool (which was busy but quiet the entire time) and selected an area with a table/umbrella/chairs plus 4 chaise lounges. We had sun and shade, so people could take their pick.

    Pete & Judy stopped at the Boardwalk Bakery and got a couple sandwiches for lunch. I think they liked them, but they could only eat half. I tried calling SB to let him know we were at the quiet pool, but his phone was off. Eventually I went into Community Hall to call our villa, and just then SB called me. Hed gone down to the main pool, couldnt find me, and was back up in the room. Sometimes hes so aggravating what good is a phone if you dont turn it on or take it with you?? He started watching the Florida game, then called to have me meet him by the elevators since he didnt know where the quiet pool is.

    We got there about the same time, and stopped at Leaping Horse Libations, where he got a Bud Light and a chili cheese hot dog for $20. It was a regular size hot dog not jumbo. It was pretty ridiculous. Oh, it did come with a bag of chips <g>. I wasnt hungry, and just stuck with my ice water. We walked over to the quiet pool and he ate at the table with Pete. After a while they went back to the pool bar thinking theyd see some of the game on the tv there, but some couple had requested the Penn State game so thats what was on. They each got a pina colada to soften the pain.

    Around 2 they came back to the quiet pool and SB said he was going up to the villa to catch the end of the game. I decided to head up as well, so Id have time to relax. Chris family were in their bedroom taking naps, SB went to our bedroom to watch the game, and I sat in the living room to update the report and do stuff online.

    Around 4 Ari & his parents woke up, and he came over to our side with his hair all sticking up from sleeping, lol. SB & I were due to meet Pete & Judy on the boardwalk at 4:30, so we left in time for that. Once we got downstairs I realized Id forgotten something, so I went back upstairs. Chris family decided to go down with me and walk through Epcot to take the monorail to Magic Kingdom. We met up with the others and walked over to Epcot together.

    We separated at the top of International Gateway, and would hear from them later. Pete, Judy, SB & I fought our way through a VERY busy World Showcase in the direction of America. It was absolutely mobbed, and the lines at the Food & Wine booths were very long. I guess thats to be expected on a Saturday. Normally we avoid it on Saturdays, but with the festival ending in 2 days we decided to brave it.

    When we got to America, the theater was nearly full so we went inside and could only find seats along the side wall same spot we were in with Tiana the other day. The wait was only about 30 minutes, and it went by fairly quickly. At least the weather was nice it wasnt hot & humid like last time. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy put on a great show, and we all really enjoyed their music. I wouldnt mind seeing another of their shows, but perhaps the 2nd one hoping for some different songs. It was nice that nobody in the audience stood up once the concert started. At the Hooters only a handful of people stood up, but at Boyz II Men it seemed like almost everyone did I cant stand that!

    We left after the final song, and it was really congested out on World Showcase. We stopped in Africa, where Pete & Judy each got the shrimp on a skewer. We were lucky to find an empty table right by the exit, so 3 of us held that while Pete went through the line. They enjoyed the shrimp, but it was quite spicy I could tell just from the smell! We continued walking but didnt get anything else. At the entrance to Future World we decided to go get SBs cutting board and Pete & Judys magnet, then hit the Flavors of Fire booth on the way back out.

    Festival Center wasnt overly busy, but there was a big crowd in the passholder line. Pete & Judy got their magnets much quicker. They got their chocolate sample at Ghiradelli, but by the time SB & I got there the person was gone. We sat on a bench and when I went back over to check I was told the person was on her break. I found out later Pete had just helped himself to 2 of the chocolate caramel squares since thats what they give out. I went back a bit later and the girl had just come back from her break with the basket of samples. She wouldnt give me one for SB though, saying he had to come over. I gave mine to SB, and he ended up giving it to me anyway.

    We headed back outside and went to Flavors of Fire. The line here wasnt bad at all maybe a person or 2 ahead of us. I got the chimichurri skirt steak, which was pretty small but tasty. Pete & Judy shared the piggy wings, which they really liked. SB wasnt in the mood for any Food & Wine stuff.

    On the way out we stopped at the Cheese Studio, where Pete & I each got the maple boursin cheesecake its excellent! Pete shared some of his with Judy and loved it. Once we finished that, we continued walking towards International Gateway. Pete & Judy took a detour to rest on a bench, saying theyd meet us at Slinky Dog tomorrow. SB & I walked back to Boardwalk and stopped at the Boardwalk to Go booth to get him a hamburger.

    This didnt go too well, as the burger doesnt even come with lettuce & tomato or anything just a bun. Part of the edges of the bun were hard, where the bun had been warmed but then it had cooled. The burger was cooked medium to medium rare, and hes a well done kind of guy. He ate part of it and threw the rest away when we got back to the room. I offered to cook up some eggs & sausage, but he said he didnt want anything.

    In the meantime Id heard from Amanda and their time at Magic Kingdom was anything but magical. The crowds were horrendous 80 minute wait for Dumbo, 125 minutes for Mine Train. There were lines everywhere, and something was being filmed in front of the castle (for the Christmas day tv show no doubt). I tried to tell them it would be really crowded (which is why I wasnt going near the place), and she said if theyd known it would be that bad they wouldnt have bothered going over. Even leaving was a nightmare, with huge lines of people still entering the park, and long lines for the monorail and ferry.

    SB & I got settled he was dozing off & on by 8:45, and I expect to turn in early myself. Chris & Amanda came back, and Ari came running to show us both his boo boo from Dumbo. One of his pinky fingers was wrapped up in a bandaid, and he had a couple Mickey stickers on his shirt for being a brave boy, lol. After a little bit, they went downstairs to spend some time on the boardwalk, and might take Ari to see fireworks from the bridge by Epcot later if they last until 10pm.

    Today was a great day in some ways, and not so great in others. We enjoy spending time with friends and family, and the weather was much more comfortable. Unfortunately, these crowds are tiresome, and make it hard to enjoy our time at Disney like we have on other trips.

    Tomorrow is Hollywood Studios in the early morning, then pool time (probably football time for SB), and then my final evening for Food & Wine Festival.

    DAY 8 Sunday 11/11/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), my husband
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (2), grandson
    Pete & Judy, DVC friends

    Plan: Hollywood Studios, Pool, Epcot

    Actual: Last night Chris family came back almost immediately, saying even the boardwalk was mobbed. SB was awake and had decided he was hungry, so he & Chris at the rest of the breakfast pizza from this morning. I was glad it didnt go to waste, and I knew SB was likely to be grumpy if he was hungry whether hed admit it or not!

    After a good nights sleep I actually woke with my alarm at 5. I think this whole trip Ive already been awake, but not today. Today was our earliest departure time, so I got up right away. I made my cappuccino and gave myself until 6 to enjoy that and do online stuff. Then I took my shower, dressed, dried my hair, etc. I also packed up the bag I was sending home with SB later today. He got up around 6:30 or so, and took his shower before packing up his computer & toiletries.

    Chris, Amanda & Ari were up and ready right around 7, and we were out the door not too long after that. Rather than fixing breakfast in the room and taking the chance that Ari was going to eat his breakfast slowly, wed decided last night to just get something from Boardwalk Bakery. There was a short line, but it moved quickly. SB didnt want anything but agreed to help me eat mine. Thats a good thing, because I always want to try something but know Id never eat the whole thing so I usually skip it rather than waste the extra food.

    I ordered the Oooey Gooey Sandwich, which has a couple fried eggs, cheese(s), sun dried tomato and capicola on an artisan roll. I cut it in half outside and gave half to SB. He liked it, but I loved it! I would love to have this again it surprised me that I liked it so much. Chris got the sandwich with shaved ham & scrambled egg on some type of thick bread. He was not impressed, saying the ham was one skinny little slice. Thats Disney for you! Amanda got a croissant because she loves Disneys croissants. Ari got a pair of hard boiled eggs, because he loves those. He also had a bunch of cheddar goldfish in a paper bowl.

    We ate while waiting for the boats to start running, and ours arrived just as we finished eating. They started running before 7:30, which was a good thing. We stopped to add more people at Yacht, then Swan/Dolphin, and it was standing room only for the last leg to the Studios. SB & I sat outside, but the others sat inside.

    At the Studios the lines for bag check were ridiculous! SB & Chris were able to bypass them, and thankfully met up with each other on the other side. Amanda & I stuck together, and after the bag check we joined the long lines to get through the band readers. Of course as soon as we got into the park we see SB walking into the restroom, so Amanda decided to take Ari for a potty break too. Chris had already gone down to Starbucks and gotten something.

    Once we were all back outside we walked (with everyone else) to Toy Story Land. We saw the end of the standby line for Slinky Dog before we even got there, however. It was barely after 8 at this point. We soon discovered that Slinky Dog was down, and a cast member was saying they didnt expect it to be up before the extra magic hour ended at 9. Toy Story Midway Mania had an 80-minute wait, so that dashed our hopes for that, but I said maybe after the initial rush itll come down.

    The lines for the character greets were all VERY long as well not sure of the time, but easily 30 -50 parties in line at each one. We went back to the Aliens Space Saucer Spin, since Ari can ride that & he likes it. It had a 25-minute wait posted, but I dont think it took more than 20 minutes. I rode with SB and the 3 of them rode together. It was fun, but its not something SB & I would bother with on our trips without Ari. Nor would I choose this for the fastpass over Slinky Dog!

    After retrieving the stroller we gave Ari another restroom stop, then went to check out Toy Story Midway Mania. The standby wait was posted as 30 minutes now, so we got in the queue. It ended up being barely 15 minutes, and only because it took that long to walk through the queue. We had a brief pause on the upstairs pre-loading area. What helped was the fastpasses didnt start until 9 and we were well before that still so the standby line moved really quickly.

    I rode with SB and beat him again I think I had 126k points to his 94k. Ari rode with his parents in the other side of our car, and Chris had the high score for our car and for the hour, at 217k. Amanda let Ari control the shooter and they got 25k. It was fun, but its a long walk out the exit now, and it takes you far from where the strollers were left.

    By now it was just about 9, so we went out of Toy Story Land in search of popcorn for SB. We found some (with a long line, of course) next to the Brown Derby. At this point the standby Slinky Dog line was extended all the way back past Little Mermaid and out into the courtyard & looped around by the Great Movie Ride! They said it was 125 minutes, so I assume they had not let anyone into the actual queue yet. Finally when we checked at 9:20 it was up & running, and the line of people had moved out of our area.

    Chris & Amanda took Ari to meet Vampirina around the corner, and I hung out with SB and his popcorn. We saw Pete & Judy arriving, so we got their attention and then went around to corner to wait for the others. Ari showed Judy his boo boo. At one point he tripped and fell, but didnt hurt himself. He did want Amanda to kiss the knee he landed on, and also the one he scraped earlier in the trip before she got there, lol.

    We walked back into Toy Story Land, and once Pete & Judy saw Slinky Dog they decided they werent riding it. I think they will eventually, after they watch it on You Tube videos, but it does look intimidating because its so high in the air and appears to curve. When they do, I think theyll like it in my opinion it looks wilder than it really is.

    SB, Amanda & I rode first, while the others watched us. The fastpass lane works really well here assuming its not backed up. The waiting area after scanning the band is not very long, so that ensures a short wait. We had a great ride! Next, Chris & Amanda (using Petes band) rode while the rest of us waited & watched them. After that, we split up. Chris was meeting up with a buddy, Amanda was going to do something with Ari before taking him back for a nap, and the 4 older folks left the park.

    The boat arrived just as we started to approach, and we were able to get onboard and get seats! We got off at the Swan and walked over to Boardwalk, which is faster than staying onboard. Pete & Judy were having lunch at the Swan with their granddaughter and her boyfriend, before going to the pool. SB & I went up to our villa and I was going to help him carry stuff down to his car but he insisted he was the pack mule. To his credit, he was! He had his backpack, a stuffed DCL duffel on one shoulder, his laptop case with the dirty laundry bag tied to it on the other shoulder, the big cooler in one hand, and a jug of water in the other hand. Id left what wed need for tonight and tomorrow in the fridge, but pretty much packed up the rest (except for Chris beer).

    I changed into a swimsuit and set up camp at the quiet pool with hardly anyone else there for a while! I stayed almost 2 hours, and texted Pete to let him know I was heading back inside. They were just finishing lunch, but I left towels on the chairs in our spot not that it was really necessary, since there were at least 2 other spots empty with a table/umbrella and chaise lounges.

    Back in the room, the trash & towel service had not happened yet. I threw our swimsuits into the laundry, and got dressed, then sat down to update the report. Chris family was napping in their bedroom, but they got up around 3:45. They took some stuff down to Amandas car, and I texted Pete to let him know we were running a bit ahead of schedule. We ended up all meeting on the boardwalk a little before 4:30.

    We walked into Epcot, with no wait. We turned right and headed in the direction of France. I was surprised and disappointed to find the Food & Wine booths were very busy, with long lines. World Showcase was congested as well, although not as bad as last night. I hate that our trip next year is going to hit some of these big crowds too.

    Our first stop was Germany, where each family got a roasted bratwurst and Chris also got the schinkenoodlen. Ari likes macaroni & cheese, and ate a little of that even though it wasnt normal mac & cheese. To me its a huge improvement over normal mac & cheese, but Im not a 2-year old. We ate at a table by the lake, then continued on our way. I think the next stop was Hawaii, where Amanda got 2 of her pork sliders she loves those things. The rest of us waited near where they do the dessert parties, and she met up with us there.

    Chris family and I entered Future World and went to the Festival Center, while Pete & Judy chose to wait for us in America. They got a table behind Fife & Drum, and waited to hear from us. Festival Center was pretty busy, and the passholder line was huge almost wrapped completely around. The festival ends tomorrow, so anyone needing to pick up their cutting board is running out of time. Pete & Judy will need to do it tomorrow, and I hope to remember to tell them to do it early!

    We got our ghiradelli sample and looked at the meager merchandise left in the store (still full price) before heading back to World Showcase. We came in on the Mexico side, and walked over to join Pete & Judy. Amanda said her goodbyes, and returned to the resort to drive back home. Chris took Ari inside Liberty Inn and got him the kids macaroni & cheese for dinner. While there Chris got something for dinner as well. I hung out at the table with Pete & Judy, until we saw they were letting people into the theater for the 6:45 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert. They went to get our spot on the wall while I went in to let Chris know where wed be. He & Ari were just finishing, and would join us after a bathroom break for Ari.

    I saw Pete & Judy on the wall, but when I got down there they had moved to the front row of the back section. The show wasnt going to fill up, and they didnt have as much space roped off for the dining package, so we were able to get great seats. From here Ari could dance if he wanted to, and nobody was sitting directly in front of us to block our view.

    Chris & Ari arrived, and when the concert started Ari immediately started shimmying and dancing. That kid has some moves, too! He danced through almost every song, for nearly 30 minutes straight. I thought hed like their music, but was surprised by just how much! They put on a good show, and Ari was fun to watch since he was clearly having a great time. I filmed him for a little bit, towards the end, so he was starting to tire out a bit then.

    After the concert Pete & Judy went back to the resort, and the rest of us waited for the crowd to thin out before continued towards Canada. World Showcase was getting a little less crowded, and the food booths were significantly less crowded. I got the cheese soup with pretzel roll in Canada, and shared some with Ari. He also drank a lot of water, after working up a thirst dancing, lol! The soup was great will look forward to it next year.

    We turned around and went to Morocco, where Chris & I each got a chocolate baklava. I shared mine with Ari, who ate half but would have eaten it all if I would have let him. He loves that stuff! We left the park and walked back to Boardwalk, calling it a night. Chris quickly gave Ari a bath, finishing up just as the 8:30 fireworks were starting at the Studios. Ari & I sat out on the balcony watching them him cheering, laughing, and acting like he was seeing the greatest thing in the world. He loves fireworks. These werent even anything special, but he didnt care. Afterwards we came inside and he snuggled up with me on the couch and I scrolled through the photos of him on my laptop & played a few videos of him from earlier days. Shortly after 9 he & Chris went to bed and I spent the rest of the evening in my room finishing up the report and doing online stuff while watching HGTV.

    Today was a great day getting up early was worth it to do all 3 Toy Story attractions with minimal wait. The breakfast sandwich was a very pleasant surprise! Ive really enjoyed having pool time this week, and of course Food & Wine Festival. If only the crowds werent so ridiculous.

    Tomorrow were having breakfast with Pete & Judy, then Im hitting the road. Chris & Ari have fastpasses at the Magic Kingdom in the morning, then theyll drive home.

    DAY 9 Monday 11/12/18
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    Chris (32), son
    Ari (2), grandson
    Pete & Judy, DVC friends

    Plan: Ale & Compass breakfast, Drive to Gainesville

    Actual: I got up at 5 for cappuccino & online time, taking my shower around 6:15. By the time I finished getting ready & packed, Ari was spending time with me while Chris showered. He brought their stuff down to his car while Ari stayed with me and ate a hard boiled egg. Once Chris was back we put Ari in the stroller and met Pete & Judy down on the boardwalk.

    We just missed the boat, but it was a pleasant morning for a walk and Yacht Club isnt very far. We checked in and were seated at Ale & Compass restaurant (former Captains Grille before that it was Yacht Club Galley). Service was a bit on the slow side, as we sat there a while waiting for the server to pick up the check. Youd think Disney would help push people through to turn the tables over faster and let the guests get to whatever theyre planning to do, but that doesnt seem to be the case.

    The food however, was excellent everyone enjoyed what they ordered. Judy had the blueberry & bacon pancakes without the bacon, which were 3 huge pancakes. She ate one of them and took the other 2 home. Pete had the shrimp & grits, and on the phone later told SB it was the best thing hes ever eaten. Well be coming back next year so SB can try it also. Chris had the eggs benedict, which he said were excellent better than your average version because this one had pork loin instead of ham, and the hollandaise sauce was a bit smoky. Ari & I had my caramel apple French toast, which consisted of 2 slices of French toast bread with diced apples & raisins in between (like a sandwich). It was delicious, and Ari loved it. At first he wouldnt try the apples, even though I told him they were apples. Once he finally did, he grabbed a spoon and started scooping up spoonfuls of the filling.

    Pete & Judy bought breakfast thank you again! Chris & Ari were headed to the Magic Kingdom and during the wait for the server Pete told them they didnt have to wait, so they said their thanks and goodbyes and went back to Boardwalk to get the car and drive to MK. Theyll go home from there. Pete, Judy & I walked back after the check was settled, and talked to SB on the phone along the way. Itll be a year (almost) before we see each other again.

    I picked up my stuff from the villa, took it down to the car, and drove home getting home just before noon. Overall it was a great trip, and I especially enjoyed that it was 8 nights long rather than just a long weekend! Itll be a couple of years before I can do a Disney trip that long again. I loved my time at both resorts, although being homeless for the day is a big negative (expected). The magic band problem was also a big negative, and unexpected. Ill have to think twice before I change resorts again during a trip! The other huge negative was the big crowd of people everywhere, regardless of the time of day. At times it was truly awful. Had I been solo I could have made it a mostly resort vacation and not tried to do anything but the pool, but we had things we wanted to do including Food & Wine Festival!

    There were good times as well and a couple days the crowds either werent bad or we were lucky (or smart). The day Tiana & SB came down for the day was one of them, and we had a great time at Food & Wine. Boyz II Men was a big disappointment, and none of us feel the need to repeat that. When the audience stands up for the show, Im not going to be there. The Hooters and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were much better!

    Pete loved Flight of Passage, and Im glad he finally got to ride that. Hopefully next year theyll enjoy Slinky Dog, although thats not nearly as exciting as FoP! SB enjoyed hanging out with his buddy Pete, and really enjoyed the trip. He likes it in smaller doses than I do, which is fine with me. Having Ari & his parents along was fun too Ari is such a great kid to be around. He just loves everything always smiling and having fun no matter what hes doing. Pete & Judy really enjoyed him too.

    The photos are on Snapfish at

    So, thats it for the Food & Wine trip. Next up is a short weekend for me in early December to see the holiday stuff. Last year I had a HAL cruise right after Thanksgiving, so I didnt get to WDW at all during the holiday season, and I heard the stuff they added at the Studios is pretty cool. I had planned for an evening to see the castle lit up at Magic Kingdom, but after Chris & Amandas experience this trip I may change my mind!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

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  3. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Drexel Hill, PA

    I loved your report as usual. My nephew got engaged on his Disney trip a couple weeks ago. He and his now fiance almost bought into the DVC and got annual passes. I refer to your reports for info for them including maybe a split stay next year. They invited me to join them when they go back for Halloween and hopefully time it right to catch the beginning of the Christmas party. I have always wanted to see the castle lit up. They are trying to save points so your reports are awesome. Glad you had a great time

  4. #3
    Self-Proclaimed Disney Queen! Pammer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Sacramento, CA

    Great photos ~ Ari looks so big & happy!

    DL trips: too many to remember actual dates, but they began in the 60s!
    WDW trips: 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013

  5. #4

    Just finished day one of your trip report and I'm already hungry! Can't wait to read the rest of it.

    ~Anne~ Trips to the World ~ 18 * 15 * 09 * 10/05 * 6/05 * 02 * 99 * 95 * 91 * 89 * 88 * 81 * 79 * 77 * 76 * 74

  6. #5

    Oh my gosh Sue, Ari is so adorable! What a cutie-pie! Love the trip report. Thanks for again sharing your adventures with us.


    p.s. We share the same birthdate, but I'm 1956.



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