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Thread: Dad and Daughter's Divine Comedy (A Trip Report 2/27/17 - 3/5/17)

  1. #76
    Thanks for sharing your great trip report! My nephew (13) wants to go back to Disney "just us" sometime. It's cute he wants to go on a trip with me and I am grateful. I hope we can make it work and hope we have as much fun as you and your daughter!

  2. #77
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    Thoughts on resorts

    This was our first true split stay in which we spent significant time at two different resorts. We technically had one a few years ago when we spent one night at POR on arrival day with a car, rope dropped AK, then arrived at BWV without our room ready. We were exhausted and it was not a good experience. I've avoided split stays ever since. The move from Boardwalk Villas to the Polynesian this time, however, was very easy. Around 8:00 a.m. on our moving day, we took our two suitcases to the BW lobby. I checked out at the front desk and was sure to explain that we were moving to PVB. I did this because I'm sure they have encountered split stay issues with Magic Bands in the past and I wanted them to have all the info they needed so I didn't encounter any. We then left our bags at Bell Service and spent the morning at HS. I got a room ready text from PVB at about 11:20 a.m. We were finished with our plans at HS shortly thereafter and walked back to BW. At the valet stand, I asked for our bags and for them to call me a cab. He raised his hand and voice and yelled, "TAXI!" In less than a minute the cab was there. I had him drop us in front of the DVC buildings at the Poly. The ride was 10 minutes and the whole move including tips to bell service, the driver and the fare itself was less than $25 (and I think I over-tipped the driver). I was always turned off by split stays because I didn't want to be "homeless" for any length of time like we were 2 years ago. With our PVB room ready early, it worked perfectly.


    Now, about Boardwalk Villas ...
    Our standard view studio suited our needs just fine. The room ready text came while we were in DME and all of our bands (from both parts of the split stay) worked flawlessly upon arrival. The queen bed was comfortable and Daughter slept fine on the Murphy bed. The kitchenette was large enough for our minimal needs of storing doughnuts, a few snacks and drinks, and making coffee. The room was missing a laundry basket which made the night before our move a little less convenient, but I made due with a backpack. The bathroom was not the greatest. The counter showed its age and had some substance that had been dropped on it but never removed. It was clean, but as if someone dropped drops of glue on it in places and it dried and cured causing odd bumps here and there (or as if a laminate countertop had been melted by a curling iron, leaving raised portions at the melt site). There is only one light in the room with the shower and toilet. Ours went out on our last night making things a bit awkward for each of us when it came to showering and using the facilities. I didn't call it in that night, but told them about it at check out. Overall the room showed its age.


    Three important things about our stay at BW were Location, Location and Location. First, the location of the resort is great. You can walk to two parks, there is entertainment on the Boardwalk itself and the rides to MK and AK are pretty short. Second, the location of our room relative to HS was as close as you can get. For our needs, we loved it. We knew we'd be spending plenty of time at HS and we were at the southwestern most end of the resort. Truly a 10 minute walk from our 3rd floor room overlooking the pond between the resort and the parking lot. It made our breaks easy. Third, the location of our room relative to the resort facilities was not so good. Elevators, laundry, ice, the Screen Door General store and main pool were all a further hike than I wanted. All are located in the middle of BWI and BWV. It seems they could have at least put an ice machine half way down each hall. It would have saved a quarter mile roundtrip walk for ice.


    Overall, the Boardwalk was fine, but just that ... fine.


    As for Polynesian Villas and Bungalows...


    For some reason, we ended up with a handicap accessible room. The only differences from a regular room that I noticed were the door, the bed, a higher toilet and perhaps the addition of a shower wand in the full bathroom. The door was kind of a pain. Pull the lever/handle and it begins sloooowly opening. There is nothing you can do to speed it up. It must remain open for 5 seconds before it sloooowly closes on its own. Again, you can't pull it closed any faster. I'm sure such a door is a godsend for those who need it. We did not. One time, my daughter had woken up from a nap and had showered while I was grabbing food to bring back to the room. I opened the door to find her half dressed clutching her shirt in front of her and diving for cover as 10 long seconds went by for the door to open, stay open, then close. I had no way to shut it quickly for her. The bed was lower and did not have the storage underneath, nor did it have the wood frame with protruding corners that I struck my knees on during previous trips. We did not need the storage, so this was a good thing. The higher toilet was ... higher. Not a big deal. And I'm not even sure if the shower wand was an addition as I've always used the half bath to shower. I did find it odd that there was still a tub/shower in this HA room. I guess the rain shower room would serve for an easily accessible shower, but then why would you need the wand in the tub/shower? But I digress...


    This was the first Lake View we had at the Poly. It was nice to have, but we are not too concerned with views. The second floor had us high enough to see over the Bungalows, so we could view the lake. Honestly, I'd be fine with a standard view on any floor. The room location within the building was great. We were near the center of the building close to the elevator and the ice machine. We only used the elevator 2 times (each when transporting luggage). The location of the building, Moorea, has its pros and cons. It is a far walk from the main pool and Great Ceremonial House, but it's proximity the TTC allows for easy monorail access to Epcot and multiple options for MK.


    I have certainly not stayed at all the Disney resorts, but I have stayed at values, moderates and deluxe/DVC. The Poly has become my favorite. I don't think we'd stay there if the whole family were on the trip (we need a 2BR for that) but given our family dynamic, on a trip with 3 or less, it is my top choice. That said, Wife and I have another Labor Day trip coming up, but were able to get a studio at Beach Club during F&W, so I'll let you know in about 6 months if my opinion changes.
    June 2004 ASMO; Dec 2005 POP; Feb 2007 POP; March 2011 POR; March 2014 POR; Feb 2015 BWV; Sept 2015 PVB; Jan 2016 AKV Jambo (kind of); Feb 2016 OKW; Sept 2016 PVB; Feb/March 2017 BWV/PVB

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  3. #78
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    FOOD - Part 1

    Here are my thoughts on the various table service meals (quick service will be next). I'll leave any real reviews to the pros. Also, I'll leave the F&G booth reviews to Josh, as well. I will simply say that we enjoyed the following without any complaints: Ham Hash Potato Pancake in Germany, Burnt Ends Hash in America, Meatballs in Italy and the Spicy Sausage in Morocco. All but the sausage were easily shareable. We tried it because Tom Corless mentioned it was good when we met him and Josh a few days earlier. (I am assuming the "hot dog thingy in Morocco" he mentioned was indeed what I had).


    Anyway ....


    TABLE SERVICE (in chronological order)


    SCI-FI DINE IN: We had lunch at 1:40 on our arrival day (Monday, 2/27). It was my first time trying it. Daughter had dinner there with Wife about a year earlier on their trip. We were seated about 10 minutes after checking in. They brought tiny cups of popcorn around to those of us waiting to be seated. We were seated at the same time as two other parties of two in a "car" with three rows. We had the middle. The waitress took all of our drink orders at the same time and then came back and took all meal orders at the same time. We ordered milkshakes (a vanilla and an Oreo), and onion rings as an appetizer. The shakes were both good. I thought the onion ring order was a little small to share, but it ended up fine for us. I left feeling quite full and satisfied in the end. Daughter had a cheeseburger and I had the Reuben. It had plenty of corned beef that had spent some time on the flat top. The whole sandwich was nicely toasted in said flat top as well. We sat through the whole cycle of movie clips while there. The meal lasted less than an hour including the wait. When given a choice, I usually do not select a booth at a restaurant. I'm 6'3" and like the freedom a chair provides to adjust my distance from a table. In a booth, you can sometimes move the table to accomplish that end. Not at sci-fi. The cars have neither power or manual adjustable seats. I guess the seating was ok since I was sitting with my much smaller daughter. I would have been much less comfortable with any other member of the family. The lighting was pretty dark by design. I prefer a well lit area for eating. I get a headache sitting in the dark too long. Basically, the food was good and I'd eat the food again, but the atmosphere wasn't for me. It was, however, a decent one and done meal. It was requested by Daughter in the early planning of this trip. Glad we did it, and I don't have to wonder any more.


    GARDEN GRILL (Breakfast): We had a 9:40 a.m. reservation for 2 on Wednesday, 3/1. The hope was to ride Soarin', and meet my friend and his party of 9 (his family of 5 with another family of 4 with whom they were sharing a place off-site). We hoped to check in together and ask to be seated near each other or together. Daughter and I were running late and went straight to eat. We arrived to find that my friend had already checked us in and we were all brought to a table set for 11 people. A bonus for everyone was that they let me use my TIW for the whole group. They ran the TIW card and the party of 9 gave me gift cards that roughly covered their share. I placed them in the folder with my credit card to cover the balance. We left some cash on the table as well to increase the 18% automatic tip since they were cleaning up after 6 kids between 8 and 11. The characters came quickly. It was tough getting any solo shots of daughter with any of them, but that was fine. My good camera stopped working anyway. We had fun. The company was more memorable than the food. I talk and text with this friend fairly regularly, but he lives in another city and we don't see each other much. When we happen to be passing through the other's town for work or some other event, we make plans that always seem to fall through. The funny thing is, we both ended up big Disney trip planners. The only times we've seen each other in person over the last few years have been in Disney World (usually Epcot for some reason). The food was pretty much what you'd get at most buffets. It was pleasant to sit and talk without having to get up to refill my plate. Additional items were brought quickly. A good time was had by all. It might be nice to go again with a smaller group though to get more personal interaction with the characters.


    THE JUNGLE NAVIGATION CO., LTD., SKIPPER CANTEEN: We had a 6:05 reservation for dinner on Thursday 3/2. I wrote the whole name of the place because I was applauded by the CM who sat us. He said he always asks someone in each party to repeat the name of the restaurant back to him. I was the first person to get it right. I don't think he was just blowing smoke either. This guy seemed truly excited about it. Not sure what that says about me. The Cachapas (corn pancake with braised pork, black bean salad and avocado cream) were (was?) very good and very shareable. There were 4 dollar sized pancakes with plenty of toppings for each. We split them evenly. The kids steak was the perfect size for Daughter and perfect price for Dad. She did not care for the steamed broccoli because "it wasn't Mom's." We did sub fries in place of whatever healthy item was listed in the description. My choice was the Whole Fried Fish. I thought I knew what I was getting into, but I was wrong. I have eaten more fried catfish filets in my lifetime than you can imagine. I have eaten very few bone-in fish entrees. They placed the plate in front of me and there were two whole fried lion fish. I tried using a fork, then a fork and knife, then a fork and left hand, and finally two hands. I think I finally picked them clean with very little injury from the spines. It was fun. I smiled and joked throughout. I don't think I'd order it again. The fish tasted really good, but I don't want to work that hard on vacation. The sides left something to be desired. The soy-ginger vinaigrette was off-putting especially on the "jasmine rice." Not sure if I've ever had jasmine before, but it tasted like white rice with an off-putting vinaigrette on it. The "grilled scallions" were presumably the vegetable. Where I'm from, scallions are "green onions." We buy them in bunches of 20-30 for about $0.79 per bunch and often use them chopped and sprinkled on a dish as a finishing garnish or as layer 7 in "7 Layer Dip." My serving consisted of the green portion of 4 scallions that were grilled until limp. The flavor was nice, but I wouldn't put it in the description on the menu. It was garnish. If restaurants generally included "fresh parsley sprig" in a dish's description, maybe I'd understand about the green onions.
    We were seated in the first big room and really didn't get much of a view of interesting stuff. We were by the windows (frosted or stain glass) that overlook the front courtyard. There wasn't much, if any, schtick from our server. I would like to go back. The Cachapas were solid and worth another visit, and I'd like to try some other items on the menu. I'll request to be seated in one of the other rooms next time.


    1900 PARK FARE (Breakfast): I reserved this Saturday, 3/4, 10:30 a.m. breakfast about 8 and a half hours earlier at 2:00 a.m. as I was struggling with my birthday plans. We have had dinner there, but not breakfast. Daughter had really changed her tune about characters. Before the trip, she said no face characters, but the day we arrived, she decided she wasn't shy around them anymore. I figured this breakfast would be fun ... and it was. All of the characters were great. Daughter especially liked the Mad Hatter. I took a pic with Mary Poppins and emailed it to my mom who got a big kick out of it. Tigger came straight for me and hugged me in my seat. I think he saw my b'day button. I'm proud to say I got pounced on by Tigger. The food was a nice change from the standard buffet food. I had an omelet made for me and enjoyed the smoked salmon (with the standard accompaniments) and bagel. It was an expensive breakfast since Daughter is now 10 years old. I held my tongue when her second trip to the buffet resulted in a bowl of dry Frosted Flakes. She had eaten her fill of the hot stuff in round one. Certainly a meal we enjoyed and will remember. I don't see us going back again any time soon, though. There are just too many other places we want to try.




    All four meals were new to me. I'm glad I tried each one. They fit in nicely with our plans and I have no regrets with our restaurant choices.
    June 2004 ASMO; Dec 2005 POP; Feb 2007 POP; March 2011 POR; March 2014 POR; Feb 2015 BWV; Sept 2015 PVB; Jan 2016 AKV Jambo (kind of); Feb 2016 OKW; Sept 2016 PVB; Feb/March 2017 BWV/PVB

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  4. #79
    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    We love Boardwalk, yet agree with your assessment of it's layout, and how things could be more convenient even given the sprawling size and shape.

    On the restaurants, we have perfect agreement on Sci-Fi. It was a one and done for us. No regrets to have done it but no need to do it again. But I'm mostly chiming in on Skipper Canteen, and because I too had the crispy whole fried fish. I have had that before elsewhere and so pretty much knew what I was getting into and probably would enjoy it again, but I think your assessment is a useful description to those who might be wondering whether to try it.
    Mark
    2004 May Offsite,
    2008 Easter SSR, 2011 February SSR, 2012 February Jambo House/Bay Lake, 2013 Easter Bay Lake, 2014 Easter BWV, 2014 Christmas/New Years CBR, 2015 Easter BWV, 2016 Feb Universal Portofino, 2017 February Poly


  5. #80
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    What an amazing trip with a fabulous dad!!

  6. #81
    Linkura
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    "The cars have neither power or manual adjustable seats."



    I also just tried Skipper Canteen on my last trip, and enjoyed it.

  7. #82
    Loved reading your trip report! Looks like a great time for you and your daughter! Thanks for sharing :)
    "Our fate lives within us; you only have to be brave enough to see it..." -Merida
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  8. #83
    Senior Member ChantelCT's Avatar
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    I have ADRs for both 1900 Park Fare breakfast and Skippers Canteen for our August trip. I'm glad to read you enjoyed them. I doubt I'll be brave enough to try the whole fish but the kids steak is exactly what my DS will order so I'm glad your daughter liked it.

    Thanks for another great trip report!

  9. #84
    Question for you...
    Was Alice at 1900 Park Fare for breakfast?
    "Our fate lives within us; you only have to be brave enough to see it..." -Merida
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  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denily View Post
    Question for you...
    Was Alice at 1900 Park Fare for breakfast?
    No. I actually asked about it, but they said she was at MK. Others may know better, but I don't know if that means that she was not there that day or simply doesn't appear at all.
    June 2004 ASMO; Dec 2005 POP; Feb 2007 POP; March 2011 POR; March 2014 POR; Feb 2015 BWV; Sept 2015 PVB; Jan 2016 AKV Jambo (kind of); Feb 2016 OKW; Sept 2016 PVB; Feb/March 2017 BWV/PVB

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  11. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by 3dadknight View Post
    No. I actually asked about it, but they said she was at MK. Others may know better, but I don't know if that means that she was not there that day or simply doesn't appear at all.
    Thanks, good to know! She is the main reason we were thinking about a breakfast there, but if she isn't there all the time then we might scratch it.
    "Our fate lives within us; you only have to be brave enough to see it..." -Merida
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  12. #87
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    Counter service

    First, you will notice that I refer to these places as "counter service" rather than "quick service". That's because the latter does not always provide an accurate description of our experience. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you end up with freshly prepared, hot, good food. Unfortunately, that was not always the case, and I found no correlation between time and quality. I did find an inverse correlation between enjoyment of the meal and the existence of a "Toppings Bar." When a toppings bar is present, I don't enjoy the meal.


    So, in chronological order...


    COUNTER SERVICE MEALS


    FLAME TREE BARBECUE: We arrived at about 12:30 on Tuesday, 2/28. This was lunch on our 4 park day. I figured this would be our big meal of the day and had planned it from the outset. We have eaten here many times before and among the whole family, we have had just about every entree in the menu. It is our go-to at AK when we are really hungry. Daughter and I decided to split the Rib, Chicken, and Pulled Pork Sampler, and ordered a side of fries for Daughter since I knew she would not be too interested in the beans and slaw. The line to order looked very long, filling up the queue, but it moved quickly. Within 15 minutes of getting in line, we had ordered, received our food and were sitting down at a table along the water for that great view. The food was hot and we had absolutely no complaints ... until the young man from the table next to us decided to wedge himself between our table and the railing for several minutes hovering too closely with his backside to us trying to take the perfect picture of our view that he was blocking. He never said a word. Not an "excuse me," not a "Sorry, I just want a quick picture," or even a "Suck it up, buttercup, I'll move when I'm ready." He acted as if we did not exist. He moved just as I was about to say something, so I forgot all about it quickly (until I started writing this). Anyway, the food was perfect for us. We finished everything. Quality and quantity are always good here. There were 3 or 4 ribs, a chicken quarter (breast/wing) and a mound of pulled pork. We tried to divide it evenly. Of course, Daughter could not finish her half, so I gladly helped her. One perk for us is that they accept TIW. You get a full 20% discount. The $19.99 sampler, fries and a lemonade cost us $22. We were full and happy at the end of the meal. Without a doubt, we will eat here again.

    TANGIERINE CAFE: This was our second big meal of the 4 park day. It was not planned until we both realized how big an appetite we had worked up after 3 parks and swimming. I had always wanted to try it and Daughter had some unexplained fascination with Morocco (not sure she even knows what part of the planet it is located), so I figured we'd try it. I knew she would at least eat the hummus. We ordered a lamb shawarma for me and a chicken shawarma for her. We both tried and really enjoyed both. We (really, I) finished everything. Daughter ate a good portion, more than I expected. The salad, hummus and bread were all gone by the end. At 6:45 pm, with the F&G fest going on outside, there was no wait to order and be served. We found a nice table outside in a quiet corner and had a really nice meal together. I'd say this is a new go-to place for us, but the rest of the family is not interested in this kind of food. They can't explain why, but they'd be on vacation, too, and I don't like to force anything on someone. Daughter and I will find a way to return, though. A very solid and satisfying choice for a quality meal.


    SUNSHINE SEASONS: We ate dinner here on Wednesday (3/1). I cannot say what time other than between 4:30 and 7:00 based on photo times in my phone. The photos were not taken anywhere near the Land. I think this was a subliminally sentimental choice. It wasn't until we were actually eating that I remembered that the two of us ate here on a spontaneous Daddy-Daughter night a couple of years ago. It was a nice bit of deja vu. She had the kids pizza panini. She ate it and seemed to enjoy it. I was focused on my Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry with Lo Mein Noodles. I really liked this. It was a large serving and hit the spot. I've had better lo mein elsewhere, but there was nothing wrong with what I had. Ordering, paying and sitting down to eat took just a few minutes. It would have been shorter if we didn't have to go to separate stations to get our food. The indoor seating on a hot day is nice. I've had the fish tacos here in the past and would highly recommend them. I'm sure we will continue to eat here when we are looking for counter service in Future World.


    KONA ISLAND: Upon our arrival at the Poly on Thursday (3/2), we changed into our bathing suits and headed to the Great Ceremonial House. We wanted a light lunch because we had our Skipper Canteen dinner later that evening. At about 1:30, we ordered a California Luau roll (without the luau, i.e. pineapple) and a Volcano Roll. There were a few orders ahead of us, so we sat at the counter and watched the chef make the rolls fresh. We received ours in go-boxes and took them poolside to eat. I think it was the first sushi roll my daughter has eaten that was made with crab instead of Krab. She really liked it and was full after 4 of the 8 large pieces. My Volcano Roll was fresh and better than most sushi I've had. The whole process of ordering until getting our food took about 10-15 minutes, but this was one of those times where the wait was well worth it. I know we will stay at the Poly in the future, and we will certainly return to Kona Island for a sushi fix.


    OASIS BAR & GRILL: I grabbed a burger and fries here on Friday (3/3) while we took a break before heading to MK for the DVC party. This is the pool bar and counter service at the Oasis pool at the Poly. This was a good burger. It was cooked perfectly and the bun was very good. It was much better than any burger you will get at a resort or park counter service and likely cheaper. I grabbed a lava smoothy at the bar while waiting for them to cook and bring the food to me. The smoothy was good and Daughter gladly finished the half of it that I brought back to her. They gladly packaged the food to go as I was bringing it back to the room to eat. It was about 4:00 pm and the whole area was pretty empty. No one was at the bar, so I passed the time chatting with the bartender. This is a solid choice if you are staying at the Poly and particularly in the DVC potion. It is less than half the walk to the main building where other food options are.


    PECOS BILL TALL TALE INN AND CAFE: This was really not our choice. We ate here on Friday night (3/3) before the DVC party. We had checked in for the party with my friend at about 5:30, then split up to use our respective FPs with plans to meet up later. He was at Pecos Bill with his girls, so Daighter and I met them there and decided to split some Beef Nachos instead of just sitting there watching them eat. It was about 7:30 or 8:00. Ordering and getting the food was a breeze. However, I wanted to visit the toppings bar for some guacamole, jalapeņos, and grated cheese. I stood there for almost 10 minutes along with many others waiting for the CM to re-fill the grated cheese bins. At minute 2, she was about to do it after refilling the lettuce bin, but a manager CM redirected her to refill the "boats" (paper dishes) because "all these people are waiting and have nothing to put the items in." We all actually had "boats" but were waiting for the cheese to put in the boats or on the food we were slowly watching get cold. The cheese was eventually re-filled and I was the second one to get the tongs. I left the area, but by the look of the cheese queue, that bin was likely emptied before I sat down. By the time I arrived at the table, the food was fairly cold. I was a bit aggravated. We ate the nachos. They were edible. My mom taught me that if I don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I'll stop now.


    RESTAURANTOSAURUS: This was our dinner at AK on Saturday (3/4) at about 5:15 pm. Now, what was that lesson my mom taught me? I forget, so I'll tell you about our experience. We were in Dinoland. We were hungry. We figured, "let's just grab a burger." The place was crowded with every register open but one. It took a good 10 minutes to even order. I ordered two cheeseburgers with fries. I patiently waited as the 8-meal orders of each of the two parties ahead of me we were filled. Daughter had gone to secure us a table. I watched order after order delivered to the masses by a grand total of two 65+ year old CMs who took the time to chat up everyone they served and answered the same question ("can we get some ketchup?") with the appropriate directions to the toppings bar. I watched as the CMs in the kitchen pushed out tray after tray of food to the point that some trays were hanging precariously half off the counter. I watched as the people who were two parties behind me receive their order ... two cheeseburgers with fries. I finally spoke up. The CM looked at my receipt and grabbed a tray that had almost fallen that had sat there for at least 5 of the 10 minutes I waited for the food. Daughter had secured a table that was much too big for the two of us. At that point I just wanted to eat. But first, I had to go to the toppings bar. She just needed ketchup. There was plenty. I wanted mayo, mustard, onions, tomato and lettuce. After securing the Ketchup and other pumped condiments, I excused my way to the lettuce bin. Yep...empty without a CM in sight. The toppings bar looked as if there had not been a CM in sight for a while. It was pretty gross. I had waited too long already, retuned to the table and ate what they gave me - a dry cold burger with stiff room temperature fries. It all sat in my stomach like a rock. I would have complained, but I just wanted to finish and leave. It was our last park day and I didn't want to spend any more of our remaining time dealing with it. Pizzafari got scratched from the list on our last trip. Restaurantosaurus now follows suit. I don't believe I will eat here again. Your experience may be different.




    The only other counter service type food we had was at Cosmic Rays during the DVC party. Though not for the same reasons, I'll just say that I enjoyed that chaotic experience about as much as Restaurantosaurus. I will mention that if you are working a counter giving away food and someone asks for cookies and you realize that your area is out of cookies and you go to another area to get cookies, please assume that at least some of the 20+ other people in your line will want cookies as well. Walking 2 areas over and returning with a single wrapped cookie only to do it again and again for each additional order may not be the most efficient process.


    I'll have some thoughts on Snacks and miscellaneous stuff next to wrap it up.
    June 2004 ASMO; Dec 2005 POP; Feb 2007 POP; March 2011 POR; March 2014 POR; Feb 2015 BWV; Sept 2015 PVB; Jan 2016 AKV Jambo (kind of); Feb 2016 OKW; Sept 2016 PVB; Feb/March 2017 BWV/PVB

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  13. #88
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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your dining choices. I haven't tried Restaurantosaurus but have had the exact same experience at Backlot express and won't eat there again if I can help it. Glad you and your daughter had such a wonderful time!
    Jenny
    March 2017 WDW Swan
    January 2015: Art of Animation ; May 2015 BWI; Nov 2015 Polynesian, W&D 1/2
    September 2014 BLT celebrating DS 3rd bday!
    January 2014: WDW 1/2 marathon/Beach Club
    October 2013: TOT 10 MILER/WL
    February 2013:POFQ (DS 1st trip!)
    May 2010: Dolphin
    Christmas 2009: offsite at Floridays

  14. #89
    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets worked up about things while writing about them in trip reports even though I brushed them off at the time. We love Flame Tree and Tangierine Cafe.
    Mark
    2004 May Offsite,
    2008 Easter SSR, 2011 February SSR, 2012 February Jambo House/Bay Lake, 2013 Easter Bay Lake, 2014 Easter BWV, 2014 Christmas/New Years CBR, 2015 Easter BWV, 2016 Feb Universal Portofino, 2017 February Poly


  15. #90
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    I have to admit that many of the more frustrating moments at some counter service places are a result of my perception rather than the actual objective situation. You know those Snickers commercials where the person gets "hangry"? That's me. I can go days without sleep and still be in a very good mood, but once I'm hungry, I must be fed. I'll overreact to the minor inconveniences. I generally don't go to a "quick service" restaurant when I'm not hungry, so those minor things to me become bigger than they actually are. It is best for all that in the future, I avoid the larger more chaotic counter service places (Cosmic Rays, Pecos Bill, Restaurantosaurus) and stick with the smaller ones.
    June 2004 ASMO; Dec 2005 POP; Feb 2007 POP; March 2011 POR; March 2014 POR; Feb 2015 BWV; Sept 2015 PVB; Jan 2016 AKV Jambo (kind of); Feb 2016 OKW; Sept 2016 PVB; Feb/March 2017 BWV/PVB

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  16. #91
    Senior Member ChristineOH's Avatar
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    Thanks for the trip report-- lots of great info! Glad you and your daughter had such a great trip. :-)


    June 2011 Poly, May 2013 POR, June 2015 CBR

  17. #92
    Senior Member est71's Avatar
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    Amazing trip report!!

  18. #93
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    I haven't read the whole report yet, but love love love that you took a trip with your daughter. That is so special. I have two brothers and I know what you mean about kind of splitting duties. My mother and I are very close for that reason while I feel like my brothers more so with my dad. Its so great that you did that together to strengthen your relationship with her.

    Its something she will treasure forever.
    Jessica

    DS (6) and DS (3)

    JUNE 1989: Fort Wilderness and Disney Inn
    MAR 1996: Offsite
    NOV 2014: Pop Century

    NOV 2015: Pop Century
    JUNE 2016: Gaylord Palms/Beach
    NOV 2016: CBR
    DEC 2017: Pop Century

  19. #94
    Senior Member Auto's Avatar
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    Late to the party here, but great report! As a dad of 4 daughters, now I feel compelled to have a one-on-one trip with each of them. My oldest is 11 (soon to be 12) and replace Anakin with young Luke, and your description of your daughter fits mine, too.

    Alas, it'll be at least 3 years to we go back.
    "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." -- Ferris Bueller

    WDW: 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2016
    DLP: 2010, 2011, 2016

  20. #95
    I have really enjoyed your posts. Being the mother of two daughters I have seen the special bond they have with their father. How precious are the memories you both will have of this trip. I also appreciated the breaking down of the resorts and food.

  21. #96
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    Thanks, everyone. We certainly bonded on this trip and have some great memories.

    Auto, aren't you near DLP these days? You could take each one for a weekend.

    Jessica, you definitely know our family dynamic from a different perspective. BTW, the pic of your younger son by the BOG Christmas tree in your report looks exactly like my oldest son at that age. Other pics of him do not, but that one frozen moment, smile and expression had me do a double take. I showed my wife just the picture and she asked me where we had taken it. She caught on because she didn't recognize the shirt he was wearing.

    Tiggerlover, thanks for reading. I think we are still a few years away from my daughter really appreciating the memories, but I know she will eventually. That's part of the reason I write these. :)
    June 2004 ASMO; Dec 2005 POP; Feb 2007 POP; March 2011 POR; March 2014 POR; Feb 2015 BWV; Sept 2015 PVB; Jan 2016 AKV Jambo (kind of); Feb 2016 OKW; Sept 2016 PVB; Feb/March 2017 BWV/PVB

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  22. #97
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    Thoughts on snacks and everything else

    It has been a very busy couple of weeks since my last post. I've never not finished a trip report and won't start with this one. So, here's the finish....

    SNACKSExcluding the items at the F&G booths, we didn't have that many "snacks." Daughter was content with apple slices with caramel dipping sauce on two occasions. We had an ice cream sandwich and a fruitcicle thing during the After Hours party, shared a basic funnel cake for dinner while waiting for SWAGS at HS, and shared an ice cream cone from Ample Hills. The Ample Hills cone deserves some recognition. We had a large waffle cone ($8.49) with a scoop each of Baked/Unbaked (top) and PB Wins the Cup (bottom). Daughter ate most of the top scoop and I finished off the bottom. Both flavors were excellent. It was a fun atmosphere with entertainment on the Boardwalk and very pleasant weather. Unless your specific goal is the Kitchen Sink, I recommend skipping Beaches N Cream and taking the short walk to Ample Hills for your ice cream fix.


    EVERYTHING ELSE


    Express Bus Service was kind of worth the money. Don't get me wrong, we loved it on our 4 park day, but we paid for a week. The price had just jumped by $4 or $5, so we paid $29 per person for the service for the week. We did not use it again until our last park day and probably could have done without it. Staying at BWV and PVB, with their proximity and easy access to parks, made afternoon breaks too easy. We did not do a lot of hopping without a stop at the resort first. That said, I would definitely pay for the service again, but I'd just think hard about whether it would really benefit us on more than one day. The buses were on time every time, although we almost missed one hopping from AK to HS. We checked in at the podium and the CM directed us to an area about 30 ft away to wait for "Brad" to escort us to the bus. It was about 2:30 and the bus would depart at 2:40. I saw a CM with a name tag that said "Brad" walk from the backstage area to the podium and stand there talking with the other CMs. I knew the buses left timely based on our earlier experience. At 2:37 we were still waiting for Brad's escort. I finally went back to the podium and reminded them about us. They radioed the bus and quickly took us back. The check-in CM had not mentioned us to Brad. Other than that, the service was great.


    As I mentioned before, refreshing the app to search for additional FPs was harder this time. I do think increased awareness played a part in it, but the main reason I believe was that there was an update to the app on our second day. Once my phone updated the app automatically, it would take forever to find what I wanted. At times, the app would just close in its own. I didn't realize there was an update until my daughter mentioned on Day 5 that she saw a notice earlier in the week. I had better luck when I started using the web site. It was slower to refresh than the app, but provided available times for rides we wanted when the app would show no availability. I wish I had thought to use the web site earlier than our second to last day. It was not until we got home and I had the same issue with the app closing while trying to view pictures that I simply deleted the app and reinstalled it. From that point on, I had no issues.


    In a previous trip report, I joked that there is nothing to do at Epcot. This trip, we spent a total of 21 1/2 hours at Epcot over four separate days. We met characters, ate a table service meal, ate 2 counter service meals, ate from F&G booths, rode most of the rides, explored WS through the Agent P missions, took PhotoPass pictures and pictures of our own, and still didn't do everything we had talked about doing. So, there's still more to do at Epcot.


    A 10 year old girl becomes a FastPass at the security check point at airports. Two teenaged boys slow you down (especially when they leave a half full water bottle in your backpack that you asked them to clean out because you were using it as your carry-on).


    Over the course of the week, excluding Disney's Magical Express, we rode 5 buses - three express buses between parks, one from BW to MK for rope drop and one from AK to Poly at park close. We never shared the bus with more than 8 people. On the express buses, we were the only passengers on two of the rides.


    Although there is a mass of people in the Center Stage area at HS waiting for Star Wars:A Galactic Spectacular, there is a way to get a decent view if you are vertically challenged. We arrived to the area with our "dinner" (a funnel cake from Oasis Canteen) about 15 minutes before the show. We saw a group sitting on the ground in front of their double stroller. We stuck close to them when the CMs started herding everyone closer to the stage to "fill in all available space." Once we were in our final spot, daughter was standing with that other group's double stroller in front of her. It put some distance between her and any taller adult in front of her. This provided a pretty good sight line in most directions.


    I checked at Guest Relations at HS to see if they found my sunglasses that fell off my head onto the Toy Story Mania track in February 2016. They had not found them, so I used the cheap back up pair I had brought.


    I would pay to go to Disney After Hours again at MK. It was worth every penny and exactly met my high expectations.


    I will not attend another free DVC Moonlight Magic event. If you are like I was, always disappointed that I had no trip planned when these things take place, don't worry. You aren't missing anything other than long lines for food, characters and rides. We have had much better times during regular park hours on nights when MK closed at midnight or 1:00 a.m. Had it not been for the opportunity to spend time with my old friend, this would have been nothing more than a reminder that you get what you pay for.


    Test Track has become one of those take-it-or-leave-it rides for us. It used to be Soarin', but now we try to ride that as often as we can. I'm not sure why.


    Speaking of Soarin', if you took the image of the Eiffel Tower we saw on our first ride (top row, dead center) and overlaid it onto the image we saw on our last ride (bottom row, last two seats on the right), they would form a perfect "D".


    We did a few new things each day. Monday's Firsts were meeting Kylo Ren, Frozen Ever After and Galactic Spectacular. Tuesday's Firsts were Express Bus Service, Muppets Show in MK, Tangierine Cafe, Joy &Sadness, and M:S Orange Team for Daughter. Wednesday's Firsts were Garden Grill Breakfast, Flower & Garden, and Agent P. Thursday's Firsts were Path of the Jedi, a split stay move, Pirate Tutorial, Skipper Canteen, and any special ticketed After Hours event. Friday's Firsts were eating from Festival booths, the American Adventure, and DVC party. Saturday's Firsts were breakfast at 1900 Park Fare and Rivers of Light.


    I enjoyed Frozen Ever After a lot more than I thought I would.


    Does anyone have a DINOSAUR ride photo that depicts themselves as anything but half-interested? I don't mind the ride. It's pretty fun, and we ride it every time we are at AK, but every ride photo we have captures us with a look as if we are at a museum saying, "Hmm, another dinosaur."


    Rivers of Light was a good show and I'm glad we took the time to see it. Like most of the night time entertainment at the parks, however, I won't make special plans to see it again. I liked Galactic Spectacular more, and it was a lot less time consuming to see. We had a FP for the 8:30 ROL. The Park was closing at 8:00. We got in the FP line at about 7:45 and were walking out after the show a little over an hour later. About 45 minutes later, we arrived by bus at the Poly. For the 7:45 Galactic Spectacular on our arrival day, we made our way to the Center Stage area at about 7:30. Within the next hour, we saw the show, used the restroom, walked to Epcot and were waiting in the FP line at Frozen Ever After. Within 30 minutes of that, we stopped to watch Illuminations on our way back to the International Gateway.


    My "good" camera stopped working a few minutes after I started using it on Wednesday, our Epcot day and first day of F&G. Everything I have is therefore a cell phone pic (iPhone 6). I've found that I'm not a photographer and can't get my head around the settings on my Cannon, so I may just invest in more cloud storage rather than a new camera.


    Just when I think I know my kids, they surprise me. During the planning stage, Daughter didn't want to meet any "face" characters because she said she was shy and didn't know what to say to them. During the trip, she gladly met Kylo (no face but he talks), the Vikings in Norway, Cinderella, Tiana, Elena, and Rapunzel all when I simply asked half jokingly if she wanted to meet them. 5 days in, I booked Park Fare breakfast without hesitation. She apparently found something to chat about with anyone she met.


    I don't recall ever riding Dumbo or the Carousel on this trip or any other.


    I bought a backpack a couple of years ago for our trip to the mountains. I can fit a ton of stuff in it. It is sturdy and comfortable to carry. I decided to use it as my Park bag at Disney over the past 3 trips. I can fit camera equipment (before it stopped working), phone chargers (before I got a fuel rod), water shoes and flip-flips for up to 5 for AK days with Kali, a towel, rain gear, medicine for any ailment, bottles of water, spare Magic Bands, etc. the only problem is it has 9 zippers and security wants to open every one of them. I've gotten pretty good about having them open already as I present the bag. For that reason, 99 times out of 100 it is still quicker to get in line behind me than almost anyone else at bag check.


    In the first two days of the trip, we had ridden virtually every ride we really didn't want to miss thanks mostly to the 4 park day. It made the rest of the trip much more relaxing. We had plans for each day, but didn't feel constrained by them. There were very few "must-do's" left, and we had plenty of time to do them.


    Since February 2015, I've been to WDW twice with the whole family, once with only my wife, once with only my boys, and now once with only my daughter (and one time I stayed home and directed Wife and Daughter like mission control). They have all been great, and no one trip outshines any of the others. This one, like the others, was special in its own way... and of course, we had a blast!


    Thanks for reading along and thank you for all the kind words along the way.
    June 2004 ASMO; Dec 2005 POP; Feb 2007 POP; March 2011 POR; March 2014 POR; Feb 2015 BWV; Sept 2015 PVB; Jan 2016 AKV Jambo (kind of); Feb 2016 OKW; Sept 2016 PVB; Feb/March 2017 BWV/PVB

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  23. #98
    Senior Member RMmom's Avatar
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    A 10 year old girl becomes a FastPass at the security check point at airports. Two teenaged boys slow you down (especially when they leave a half full water bottle in your backpack that you asked them to clean out because you were using it as your carry-on).


    Isn't it *fun* going through the extra search because of forgotten-about liquids in the bag. Being groped, test stripes rubbed all over me and in every inch of my bag.....taking an extra 10 minutes, at least, to get through security. good times! (and yes, I know TSA is just doing their job)

    Really enjoyed your trip report.
    Cathy
    Trip Report #1 http://www.easywdw.com/forums/showth...mber-2015-Trip
    Trip Report #2 http://www.easywdw.com/forums/showth...-Trip-Report-2

    WDW 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015 & 2017
    DL 2016


  24. #99
    Linkura
    Guest
    I can take or leave Test Track as well. Soarin' I can just leave.

    I'm sure you've seen my Dinosaur ride photo in my trip report.

  25. #100
    Senior Member Alcachofa's Avatar
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    Only getting around to reading this now. This pic is great! I gotta do that next time!
    Quote Originally Posted by 3dadknight View Post


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