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Thread: Inspired by Actual Events (and TV, Music, and Movies) - 12/29/18 to 1/4/19

  1. #51
    Senior Member KathyNY's Avatar
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    I've been away from the boards for a bit b/c I wasn't sure I'd make it to Disney this year (reading with no future trip increases my Disney depression!), but now that I've booked for Spring Break and all the planning is done, I'm happy I came to one of your reports! Always a fun read!

  2. #52
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    Like the A-Team - Day 6, Part 1

    By this final Park Day, I felt like Leonidas leading his small, loyal, well-trained troop into battle against thousands. There was no need for Reveille. Everyone was up and ready to cram as much into this final day as possible. Each had memorized the Prime Directive and knew not to stray from it - “Follow me and keep up!” While the resort slept, we boarded our 2017 Hyundai assault vehicle and traveled in silence to lay siege to the front gates of the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Our timing was perfect. The unsuspecting hoard had not yet blocked all the tapstiles. Our plan, however, had one fatal flaw — Bag Check!


    Ten years ago, I was the guy walking through the parks that looked like he was ready to spend a week climbing and camping on the various Mountains rather than riding them. I had every contingency covered by the contents of my backpack. Bandages, Tylenol, ibuprofen, water, soft drinks, food, money, clothes, rain gear, towels, sunscreen, antacids, ziplock bags, ponytail holders, glasses, sunglasses, autograph books, camera, keys, chargers, batteries, hats, a hair brush, pens, contact lens case and solution, eye drops, and toothpicks - you name it, I had it. I was the Beast of Burden for the family. As the years went by, I lightened my load by buying a Vera Bradley Disney backpack style purse thing for my wife. It was the worst present I ever bought. She loves it! She won’t enter a Disney theme park without it. More recently, I realized that everything I need and most of what I would want while in a theme park can fit in my pockets - keys, wallet, phone and fuel rod. I leave my house almost every day for 8 to 12 hours with only the first three things. Why would I need a week’s worth of camping supplies for half that time at a theme park? My wife agrees, but apparently does not have clothes with pockets large enough to hold her phone and a fraction of what she keeps in her wallet. So, despite our reasoned decision to travel light, we still have to contend with Bag Check. It did not help that we inexplicably gave our daughter a new Disney purse for her birthday the day before.


    Epcot’s front gate Bag Check is ... um ... well ... er ... sucks. Our entire party got through security at the airport in New Orleans in less time than it took for my wife and the two girls to get through Epcot’s Bag Check. The four older kids and I went ahead through the “no bag” line and proceeded on to line up at the tapstiles. Once through, those with bags were still having them checked. We abandoned the Prime Directive, and I sent the older kids ahead to secure a spot at the far left to be in position to get to Test Track when the rope dropped. I stationed myself just inside the tapstiles to escort the rear guard to the rest of the party. Using our electronic communications devices I described our various positions to my wife. I provided reconnaissance and step by step instructions on the best line to tap in. I surveyed the crowd trickling from Bag Check to the tapstiles, but could not spot our troops. I called my wife. I could barely hear what she was saying due to the steady rumble of thousands of voices in the background of both ends of the call. I heard enough - “almost at the window.” I hung up since a text would be more clear, “U r in the line to buy tickets! Go around and all the way right to the shortest line to tap in!”


    Five minutes later, my wife, the girls and I were 25 people deep from the rope. My oldest/tallest and the others were 5 deep from the rope. He and I forgot we had cell phones and were trying to communicate over the heads of hundreds between us using a crude combination of pseudo sign language (pointing) and face reading - silently over-forming words with our mouths as our eyes got big and eyebrows dramatically went up and down. Think of a poorly acted silent movie without subtitles - that was us, but without the pancake makeup. The message was eventually received - “Go to Test Track. We’ll catch up.”


    The Jammitors finally stopped jammitoring and the rope dropped. The girls and I sped ahead to catch the others leaving my wife behind. There would be a lesser chance of getting dirty looks or hearing grumbling from those around us if only one latecomer joined us in line rather than four joining four. It worked great and we all met at Test Track. As we waited for the ride to open, we heard a familiar refrain. Two Cast Members were walking the line informing everyone that the ride was down and we should all go elsewhere to enjoy other attractions. We were now 0 for 3 at rope drop. Slinky, Thunder and now Test Track were our intended targets at each of our rope drops. None were opened on time. We stuck with the plan despite Disney’s attempts at psychological warfare. At 9:20, after two more attempts by the original CM’s to move us along, they deployed the big guns. As the vehicles thundered overhead, a man in pristine coveralls (except the well placed steak of “grease” across his chest) came out holding a two foot long wrench that looked like a prop from MuppetVision 3D. Like the surgeon in blood stained scrubs updates the family halfway through surgery, he had just come from under some important piece of machinery to give us an update on his progress or lack there of. As our party of 8 chuckled at him along with the parties of 4 and 6 around us, we joked that the ride would open as soon as one of us left. It actually kind of worked when my wife acted like she was leaving. The ride opened as she took her second step.


    After the ride, at close to 10:00, we made our now traditional stop at Starbucks for coffee and breakfast sandwiches. The gift cards were now drained. We ate and drank as we marched to the International Gateway. We just missed the boat to Hollywood Studios, but we were now fueled by our rations and marched on. We would take the “shortcut” through the Boardwalk. The Prime Directive was back in effect. The problem was that I had a mental hiccup and passed the door by the pool that would take us through the building and back out on the path. For some reason, I thought the shortcut was through the pool area. It is not. They had some pool cleaning equipment out as we tried to traverse the maze of lounge chairs and hoses. Fully dressed, single file in order from tallest to shortest we marched around the entire pool as people stared at us until we finally gave up and exited through the pool gate we originally entered. Then I saw the door, smacked myself on the forehead and said, “Follow me. I promise this is it.” The group’s confidence in me dwindled as every gentle turn revealed more hallway. It was not until we were back on the path and I could point to Tower of Terror that I had regained their trust.


    Bag Check at Hollywood Studios took three and a half minutes....


    (To be continued)
    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; Aug/Sept 2017 BCV; Feb 2018 BLT/CCV

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  3. #53
    Senior Member ChristineOH's Avatar
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    Burned at rope drop!!! It’s happened to us too many times too!
    June 2011 Poly, May 2013 POR, June 2015 CBR, June 2017 POR, March 2018 CSR, June 2018 POR

  4. #54
    Senior Member Mrs Darling's Avatar
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    Just catching up on your trip report. I'm relieved to hear your anecdote about you having a moment of minor meltdown on each trip, because I totally relate. Even though I know I do it, I swear I'm won't "this time", I always have that moment that makes me ashamed. The latest was when my best laid plan was foiled by that darn 3pm parade (disclaimer: may not have used the word "darn" at the time)
    I suspect this behaviour may not be uncommon among those of us who spend the better part of the year planning & dreaming about our next Disney trip.
    ~Stacey

  5. #55
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    Thank you for your fantastic trip reports - I truly enjoy them. I was just wondering if you could add something about your experience with the Grand Villa? I would love to hear your thoughts on the pros/cons and if it was worth it??

  6. #56
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    A Cult Classic - Day 6, Part 2 (The End)

    Hollywood Studios was part of the original plan, unlike our morning at Epcot. With a plan in place and FastPasses booked, we were able to cover a lot of ground. Like our previous day at Studios, we split up for Star Tours and Tower of Terror, then re-grouped for Rockin’ Rollercoaster. I had a lingering fear that by day 6 with the added rope drop at Epcot, mid-day exhaustion would start to set in, and some of the crew would start a mutiny. Epcot was not part of the original plan, we had already marched miles, and it wasn’t even noon. I hesitantly asked the group to stop after the ride for a group picture outside Rockin’ Rollercoaster. They obliged, and we proceeded up Sunset to kill some time before our Slinky FastPass. At Hollywood, we stopped to watch the March of the First Order. I saw some smiles. By the time we were standing in the queue for Muppet 3D, I was checking the app for pictures. The most recent instantly became my favorite picture of the trip. Any lingering fear of desertion was gone. Six days in the bubble - that’s all it takes to covert a novice to a full fledged acolyte. It was eight people feigning chaos in perfect harmony.

    545845BC-870A-4D37-9E90-17C50073EC9C.jpg




    After Muppets, everyone once again enjoyed Slinky Dog. It was 1:00 and time to go. To save steps, we decided to take the boat back to Epcot, though my wife and I hopped off at the Swan and Dolina to walk the Boardwalk with the thought of grabbing a light bite. The kids would grab a snack in the World Showcase. We wandered, stopped, debated, discussed, lingered and finally decided to continue walking to Epcot and grab a bite there. Like the owl and the Tootsie Pop, we answered an age old question. If you wander, stop, linger, debate and discuss while walking, you will get from Hollywood Studios to Epcot at the exact same time as the boat. We re-grouped with the kids at the International Gateway’s Bag Check (took 2 minutes), and we all split a few orders of fish and chips in England. The kids secured FastPasses for Mission: Space. My wife and I shopped. It was now mid afternoon and again time to go.


    Back at Old Key West, we had had a couple of hours to clean ourselves up, rest and rejuvenate for the last leg of the trip. While the rest of use took advantage of the time, my younger son could hardly contain himself. For him, the entire trip led up to this one night. We were headed to ‘Ohana. Having eaten there twice before, he knew exactly what he liked most - Everything. He loved every item served, the atmosphere, the location, the service, and the fact that he didn’t have to get up for more of anything, and he always wanted more of everything. ‘Ohana is his idea of happily ever after.


    When we arrived at the Poly, I truly felt like I was home. We had some time to kill, so I gave the group a tour of the grounds. No one was really interested but the humored me with fake looks of fascination as I pointed out the place to get Dole whip, the place I had bought my shirt, the buildings and floors and rooms in which I had stayed and with whom, the Bungalows, the pools, the place I ate a burger, and the bench upon which I spent over an hour just doing nothing on our last trip. Our Grand Villa had been great, but every trip I need a Poly fix.


    ‘Ohana with a large group was as fun as I had hoped. The food was great and the service was the best we had ever had. My daughter’s birthday button was immediately recognized. Drinks came quickly and the various courses of food were appropriately paced. Everyone found something to call their favorite. My younger son called everything his favorite. He is about as average sized as a 17 year old male can be, but his appetite is that of a giant. For cross country and track, he runs four to six miles a day, five days each week. He needs the fuel. When it is all you care to eat, he cares a lot. Tonight, we all cared a lot. We had reached that stage of the meal where we had eaten enough. We were all just staring and wondering how we had eaten so much. My sons and I started discussing the bread pudding to come. Blank stares turned to disgust at the thought, but we knew they’d come around. Just as we thought the plates would be cleared for desert, our waiter - tall, thin, with a thick island accent - appeared with a skewer containing four hunks of beef. As we shook our heads, waived our hands and let out a cacophony of No Thank You’s, “No Mas!” and “Please-No!”, he would not be denied. It was his accent - “Yes. Yes. Hot and Juicy! Hot and Juicy!” We finally accepted the hunks. They were indeed hot and juicy. We dutifully ate a few bites of them before he reappeared to clear the table and present my daughter with a candle lit cup cake. We sang “Happy Birthday.” As soon as she extinguished the candle, our waiter swiped the cupcake away, turned and shouted “Ok, next table!” Dessert was served, and everyone had just enough room to enjoy at least a small serving. As we waited to settle the bill, some stretched their legs with a trip to the restroom, others remained and chatted. My wife nudged me and leaned in close. She motioned to middle son who looked like he just ran a race. “He threw up,” she whispered. My mind raced. It was our last night, I felt awful for him that he’d miss out on the last few hours of park time. I caught his eye and silently asked how he was feeling. “Oh, that? I’m fine. Just ate a little too much. Now I feel like I ate a normal size meal. I’m good to go!” And so we did.


    Magic Kingdom was as crowded as we had seen it all week. We managed a few disjointed FastPasses at various secondary rides, napped in Carousel of Progress, but were determined to make our last ride Big Thunder Mountain. About 20 minutes before park closing we made our way to Frontierland and got in line. It really was the perfect ride to end with. It was one of the hardest FastPasses for an older ride to get all week. No one had become tired of it. The line slowly but steadily moved. Two by two, we boarded the train - Mom and I, daughter and friend, son and friend, son and girlfriend. Sixteen hands in the air with every drop and turn. We all knew it was the last ride and made the most of it.


    Unlike past trips, we had no plans to spend half of departure day at a park. We had a 10:30 a.m. flight. It was time to head back to Old Key West and pack. Like countless nights at Magic Kingdom at closing before, we dragged our feet through Adventureland making our way back to the Hub. This time, the shuffling sound was a little louder than I remembered. We had six extra feet shuffling with ours. They were in perfect step.


    The next day, timing was perfect. It had to be. Our flight was scheduled to land in New Orleans at 12:05. I had a mandatory meeting at my office at 1:00. At 12:15, I said goodbye to the group and started toward the Uber/Lyft pickup area. Once my back was turned to them, I found myself quietly singing under my breath, “I am the very model of a modern major general...”







    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; Aug/Sept 2017 BCV; Feb 2018 BLT/CCV

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  7. #57
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    I love every bit of this. :)

  8. #58
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    So happy I signed on for this read...very fun and very impressive. I always need a Poly fix and we generally schedule 'Ohana as our last meal. Happy times

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  9. #59
    unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversary dvd but waiting outside best buy just the same jillyb's Avatar
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    Bravo!!! Another great trip on the books!
    Jill & Hannah

    June 2008 @ Pop Century
    November 2010 @ Pop Century
    August 2016 @ Pop Century
    August 2017 @ DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at Seaworld
    May 2019 @ All-Stars Movies
    August 2019 @ Pop Century


    August 2016 Trip Report http://www.easywdw.com/forums/showth...ip-08-10-08-20[/B]

  10. #60
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Another great report, thanks for sharing!

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by psdras View Post
    Thank you for your fantastic trip reports - I truly enjoy them. I was just wondering if you could add something about your experience with the Grand Villa? I would love to hear your thoughts on the pros/cons and if it was worth it??
    Thanks. I’m glad you enjoy the reports. Sorry it took so long to reply. I have been extremely busy at work and life in general. I don’t think it has ever taken me over three months to complete a trip report. Anyway, my thoughts on an OKW Grand Villa:

    First, it was great to have for this trip given the makeup of our group. 8 people and 4 bathrooms was a very convenient timesaver. Also, we had more than enough sleeping surfaces. Only one person (oldest son) did not sleep in a real bed. My wife and I took the king/master suite. Younger son and his friend took the room with two double beds. Daughter and her friend (both 12) shared one queen bed and son’s girlfriend took the other. Oldest son was perfectly comfortable all week on the sleeper chair in the living room. The living room/kitchen/dining area is absolutely huge and provided plenty of room to sit, relax, and eat without anyone being relegated to one of the bedrooms (unless, of course they wanted to). With two bedrooms on the second floor, there was no need to worry about disturbing those sleeping upstairs. Even on the same floor, simply closing the door to our bedroom door made things quiet enough that I slept through the CM knocking to provide trash service during an afternoon nap. On a trip with a large group of which my wife and I are in charge, an OKW Grand Villa Near Hospitality House provides everything we could want by way of accommodations.

    OKW’s location is what it is, and I won’t go into the pros and cons of being “so far away” from the parks. Bus service, though, was pretty good throughout our stay. We were a quick walk away from Hospitality House where every bus makes its last stop before departing the grounds for a park. The first stop made by the buses returning from the parks was at the end of our parking lot. Out of curiosity one day, we boarded a bus to MK from our parking lot stop and rode through the entire OKW property. It took as long to ride the grounds as it did to get to MK. I won’t do that again. Next time I’ll just walk to HH and wait on a bench.

    We usually have a rental or our own vehicle, and I love being able to park almost right outside my door. That is not unique to the GV, but I thought I’d mention it as a plug for OKW.

    Now, the all important question: Was it worth it? Yes, if “it” means a 6 night stay beginning December 29 and ending January 4, with Dad, Mom, Older Son (19), his girlfriend (19), Younger Son (17), his friend (18), Daughter (12), and her friend (12). It was expensive, but we needed the space. I don’t think things would have gone as smoothly as they did if we were crammed into a two bedroom that technically sleeps 9. The first three nights of the trip cost 267 points (105, 81, and 81 points). The last three nights cost 141 points (47 points each). Overall, it was 408 points for 6 nights, an average of 68 points per night. Our trip spanned both the most point-expensive season and least point-expensive season. I still question why the room cost 105 points one night and less than half that 3 day’s later - that is a huge difference without much difference in our WDW experiences from day to day. The drastic point drop seems somewhat arbitrary. I shouldn’t complain, though, because I could not afford the same trip taken a week earlier. In fact, the original plan had been to go Friday December 28 and return Thursday January 3. I could not find the points, so we shifted the trip by one day trading a 105 point night for a 47 point night. At an average of 68 points per night, I think it was well worth it. In fact, for all but 2 weeks out of the year, you can get an OKW GV for an average of 68.14 points per night or much less. For about 5 months in the year, you can get it for an average of 51.14 points or less. For the amount of space and comfort, on a trip when you plan to spend and afternoon or two or an evening or two in the room, it is a steal and well worth it.
    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; Aug/Sept 2017 BCV; Feb 2018 BLT/CCV

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  12. #62
    Senior Member mgarbowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3dadknight View Post
    The next day, timing was perfect. It had to be. Our flight was scheduled to land in New Orleans at 12:05.


    That's living on an edge where I would not be comfortable. Glad it worked out for you.


    Quote Originally Posted by 3dadknight View Post
    In fact, the original plan had been to go Friday December 28 and return Thursday January 3. I could not find the points, so we shifted the trip by one day trading a 105 point night for a 47 point night.
    And now I see why you did it.
    Mark
    2004 May Offsite,
    2008 Easter SSR, 2011 February SSR, 2012 February Jambo House/BLT, 2013 Easter BLT, 2014 Easter BWV, 2014 Christmas week CBR, 2015 Easter BWV, 2016 Feb Universal Portofino, 2017 February Poly, 2017 July OKW solo, 2017 Christmas week POFQ, 2018 P-week Wilderness Lodge

  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgarbowski View Post
    That's living on an edge where I would not be comfortable. Glad it worked out for you.
    It was mandatory training and there was another scheduled in March that I could attend, but would require me to drive across the state. In hindsight, I should have attended the March session. I didn’t think there was anything that could make a 4 hour mandatory training session more boring until I attended one within an hour of returning from Disney World.
    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; Aug/Sept 2017 BCV; Feb 2018 BLT/CCV

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  14. #64
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    The way you broke it down really makes sense. I've been going back and forth between getting 2-3 rooms or going off site for a larger house for our large party. But this was an option I hadn't considered. I'm going to price it out now and add it to the list of options. I know an off site house will be much less expensive but my main concern is our party being able to split up with teenagers who would be old enough to take disney transport on their own but not to drive rental cars. And I really don't like the idea of 2 or 3 rooms as I think it would really dampen our hanging out together time. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Looking forward to your next trip report!

  15. #65
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    How hard is reserving a grand villa?

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    How hard is reserving a grand villa?
    After thinking there was only 1 GV Near Hospitality House, I learned that there are two in that category - the one we had and the mirror image adjacent to ours. They are both in building 25. I actually walked our reservation at 11 months for our trip. Both were gone fast. I just checked and other than a night here and there, there is no availability for those in the next 7 months and only a couple of stretches of 2-3 days in Nov and Dec. Late January and Late February into early March still show some availability of 5-7 day stretches. The other GVs at OKW are pretty easy to get. Although we are about to hit Easter and a week that costs 81 points for weekdays and 105 on Friday and Saturday, I could book a 7 day stretch beginning tomorrow. There are plenty of 5-7+ days of availability for the next 11 months. In fact, as I write this on April 9, there is complete availability for an OKW GV on any day from August 25 - September 14. A 5 night trip over Labor Day beginning Sunday, Sept. 1 with a Friday checkout would only cost 235 points and it is available now. That is less than 5 months away. SSR has both preferred and standard GV availability for that same trip, but the cost is either 55 or 140 points more. AKV Kidani GV would also be 140 points more and is available.

    To finally answer your question, GVs Near Hospitality House likely require booking at 11 months or at least before the 7 month window opens, depending on the time of year. The other GV’s at OKW are pretty easy to get except around Christmas/New Year’s and perhaps Thanksgiving since they really lend themselves to family gatherings.
    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; Aug/Sept 2017 BCV; Feb 2018 BLT/CCV

    MY TRIP REPORTS

  17. #67
    Senior Member Anne's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the details! I didn't realize how reasonably priced the grand villas can be. We're spending that many points on a 1 bedroom for thanksgiving week :-(
    Next off-season extended family trip I think we will seriously consider a GV. Although we might have 12-14 people so we'd still need another room.

  18. #68
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    What a great report! Thanks for sharing.

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