Brumcg's October 2009 trip


#1

Howdy folks,

We’re back from our first ever “quick trip” down to WDW. We were there from 10/21 until 10/25 with 3 days in the parks. My wife wanted to celebrate her milestone b-day at WDW and that also coincided with our 19th wedding anniversary.

I’ve done a non-standard trip report due to the slow pace of our last several trips. In my commando days, I used to write blow-by-blow reports; then as our trips changed, I started to write “highlight” based reports… and I’ll stick to that format. I’ll break the report down into pre-trip, trip, food (including the Epcot Food & Wine Festival), the parks, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and the kitchen sink. At the end, I’ll post some pics.

The cast is myself (age 44), my wife Sandy (age greater than me… and it’s a milestone b-day that might just have a 5&0 in it), my daughter Mags (age 17), and my daughter Mo (age 9).


#2

2009 has been an… interesting year, to put it very nicely. We made the arrangements for the trip back in February, and over the next 8 months bad thing after bad thing just kept coming down the pike.

About 45 days from the trip, I checked on our flight reservations so that I could sign up for DME. I was stunned to find that Delta had changed our non-stop flight to connect in Atlanta with a 3-hour layover. That was going to put us in Orlando well after midnight. We “fixed” this with a call to Delta, but there were no non-stop flights available. With an earlier flight and a short, tight layover we could arrive at a more reasonable time. Delta’s excuse for not notifying us about the schedule change? “Yeah, we’re really bad at that.” That is a real quote.

My dad, despite knowing our plans, made arrangements for knee replacement surgery on 10/15. :blink: My two brothers picked up the slack that I would be leaving which just makes me feel guilty.

Sandy’s mom had a horrible spell in the hospital about the same time.

Then the coup de grace… Mo fractured her ankle in early October during gym class. :pinch:

We talked about cancelling the trip, but not only did we have money invested in the trip… We needed the trip.

An extra symptom of all of this “real life” was that I hardly did any planning. In my book, that’s a really bad thing. I’m the worst “go with the flow” guy ever.


#3

Awww I wouldn’t feel guilty. It sounds like you really needed the trip. Plus you don’t get to celebrate your wife truning 30 every year;)


#4

So, after considering all of the options, we decided to rent a wheelchair in Orlando (from Walker) and use Delta’s wheelchair service in the airports. We were told that a wheelchair would be waiting in Atlanta for the connecting flight. You can see where this is going.

The flight was late leaving Cincinnati and then we had to wait in Atlanta for a gate to open up. We had 15 minutes to get to our connecting flight. And you are correct… there was no wheelchair waiting for us. The Delta attendant told us it would take a few minutes to get a wheelchair. UGH… there’s no time!

Lucky for us, Mo had been able to walk with a boot on the cast for a few days. We made it, on foot, to the gate with literally no time left. I can’t believe what a trooper Mo was. Of course they had given our seats to someone else, but they “fixed” that and we actually made it to Orlando roughly on schedule.

Wow… So many lessons learned. I’m starting to hate flying as much as my wife…


#5

[QUOTE=brumcg;1001165]Howdy folks,

The cast is myself (age 44), my wife Sandy (age greater than me… and it’s a milestone b-day that might just have a 5&0 in it), my daughter Mags (age 17), and my daughter Mo (age 9).[/QUOTE]
:laugh::laugh::laugh: You better make sure that your wife doesn’t read here, Bruce


#6

She always does read my trip reports, so I’m definitely doomed. :redface:

Bruce


#7

We did Tables in Wonderland (20% off meals and alcohol at select restaurants) on our March 2009 trip, so it was still in play here. If I have to pick between paying for the dining plan or Tables In Wonderland, I prefer the flexibility of TiW.

We did 3 sit down meals…

Tokyo Dining (Rating 5 :mickey: out of 5) - We’ve had 2 great meals at Tokyo Dining on back to back trips. Sandy picked this for her birthday meal, a late lunch before MNSHHP. We had a sampling of sushi rolls for an appetizers; Sandy and Mo had the Bento Box, Mags and I had the sashimi/tempura combination. Simply superb. Even better, they brought out a birthday cake for Sandy and did their b-day thing. :happy:

Rose & Crown (Rating 4 :mickey:) - R&C is quickly becoming a solid go-to ADR for us. We did the late seating and had a great view of illuminations. I had Mixed Greens/Bangers & Mash/Trifle; Sandy had Scotch Egg/Sunday Roast/Lemon Meringue Pie; Mags had Potato & Leek soup/Cottage Pie/Trifle; and Mo had the Bangers & Mash/Chocolate Cake. Service was extra friendly, but we received the wrong appetizers and meals. Odd. The Potato & Leek soup was great, and I always enjoy the Bangers & Mash. There was an outrageous amount of roast in the Sunday roast, and it was quite good.

Whispering Canyon (Rating 3 :mickey:) - This was a no-brainer last day breakfast ADR. Not much choice when there’s not much time. They had a slightly new breakfast menu, but I still went with the breakfast skillet. :pinch: Not my favorite thing, but the food was well prepared… although I hate the bacon used on property now. Our server was Wendi who was really nice and tried to start some shenanigans… but that’s hard to do on Sunday morning. It was pretty mellow overall.

We canceled ADR’s at Artist Point (opting to graze at Epcot instead) and an extra-early breakfast at Crystal Palance (opted to sleep-in).

The only other food note is that the last 4 hot dogs that I’ve ordered at Casey’s (for myself and family) have come with the bun in 2 pieces. :eek: You can’t load toppings on a broken bun… I vow to take the next one back to the counter. Yeah, I take my hot dogs that seriously. :blush:

I’ll talk about the Epcot Food and Wine festival in a seperate post.


#8

I’m so glad you didn’t have to cancel your trip when things got bumpy, it sounds like you needed the trip. We’ve done two quick trips and they are great for a mini Disney fix. As always, I enjoyed your dining reviews.


#9

Glad you got to go on the trip. Looking forward to your F&W review and your MNSSHP review…


#10

Well you certainly did need a trip! Glad you were able to pull it off.

As always, I like your no-nonsense approach to reviews, looking forward to hearing about the Food and Wine festival.


#11

[QUOTE=brumcg;1001165]

my wife Sandy (age greater than me… and it’s a milestone b-day that might just have a 5&0 in it), [/QUOTE]

hahahaha!!!

  • sure sounds like a trip was needed
  • yeah, I’m starting to hate flying as well…things keep changing for the worse
  • I take my hotdogs seriously, too.

#12

Before the trip when I read some reports about the Food and Wine festival, I decided to cancel my ADR pick at Artist Point to “graze” around the world. I love Artist Point, but this was a great decision.

We went counter clockwise around the showcase and ordered something from probably 75% of the booths (over the 2 days). With 4 of us sharing, it really wasn’t as much food as it sounds like… and it ended up being just as expensive as Artist Point. To be honest, some of the prices are criminal even by Disney standards.

We also went back on Saturday night, and I have to say that was a mistake in hindsight. It was super-crowded, and, IMO, not family friendly. If I go back in the future, I will not go back on a weekend night with young kids.

I was really looking forward to the wine… but it was so hot and humid that I quit after several booths.

Winners

Kourtaki Mavrodaphne of Patras (Athens; a sweet, red wine that tasted almost like Port)
Beef Empanada with Tomato Salsa (Buenos Aires)
Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Pureé (Buenos Aires)
Chopin Raspberry Chiller (Krakow; I’m not a big fan of slushy drinks, but this was just delicious)
Crawfish Étouffée (Spicy Cajun Crawfish and Vegetable Stew, White Rice) (New Orleans)
Cabernet Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes (Paris)
Parisien Cosmo Slush (Paris; according to Sandy)
Lobster & Scallop Fisherman’s Pie (Cork; it lived up to the hype)
Seared Sea Scallop with Vegetable Slaw, Lemon Oil (Wellington)
Lamb Slider with Tomato Chutney (Wellington; this may have been my favorite item overall… so good I had another the next day)
Villa Maria Private Bin Unoaked Chardonnay (Wellington)
Rock Shrimp Ceviche (Santiago)
Alfajores (Dulce de Leche Cookie) (Santiago; according to the girls)
Bacardi Frozen Dragon Berry Colada (San Juan; according to Sandy)
Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s Ganache (Cork; according to the girls)

Good

Spanakopita (Savory Spinach and Cheese Pastry) (Athens)
Strawberry Shortcake (Desserts & Champagne)
Cheese Sampler (The Mouse Catch)
Martini & Rossi Prosecco (The Mouse Catch)
Red Snapper Escabeche (Barcelona)
Pork Pot Stickers (Shanghai)
Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, Murray River Sea Salt (Melbourne; good taste, but poorly seared)
Boston-style Crab Cake with Cabbage Slaw and Remoulade (Hops & Barley)
New England Lobster Roll (Hops & Barley; for me, this was a borderline loser)
Chicken and Andouille Gumbo (New Orleans)
Spicy Tuna Roll (Tokyo)
California Sushi Roll (Crabmeat and Cucumber rolled in Rice) (Tokyo)
Escargot Persillade en Brioche (Paris; my first ever Escargot)
Chocolate Milk Creme Brûlée (Paris; according to the family)
Kerrygold Cheese Selection: Aged-Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Ivernia Cheese with Apple Chutney and Brown Bread (Cork)
Bunratty Meade Honey Wine (Cork; Sandy hated it)
Corn and Cheese Arepa (Santiago)
Viñedos Emiliana Sauvignon Blanc (Santiago)
Ham Croquette/Croquettas de Jamon (San Juan; borderline winner)
Bacardi Frozen Mojito (San Juan)

Losers

Mango Lassi (Chilled Mango Yogurt Drink; the texture was similar to raw egg yolks) (New Delhi)

So favorite Kiosks look like Wellington, Cork, and Buenos Aires.

I’d love to go back another year for an extended visit and do some of the seminars. I’m not sure about the ticketed events; we saw many people dressed in suits & dresses walking though Epcot in 90 degree heat and high humidity. That’s not my thing.


#13

We didn’t do AK this trip; we spent a couple hours in the Studios, probably two-thirds of our time in Epcot, and the rest in the MK.

Favorites included Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Small World (well, not my favorite), Peter Pan, Spaceship Earth, and Soarin’.

The only real disappointment to me was the new audio for TTA. As I wrote elsewhere, it’s a family favorite ride. The second time that we rode, we found ourselves talking instead of listening.

We decided not to do Kim Possible due to the Food & Wine Festival. It would have been very hard to do this on Saturday night.

With Mo in the wheelchair, we got a Guest Assitance Card. We never had to show it to anyone. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the “wheelchair gets you to the head of the line” is mostly a myth. Almost all of the new queues are built to handle wheelchairs. It’s mostly the MK that has special procedures that would probably be considered to be highly beneficial to disabled riders.

Even though this was a short trip, it still surprised me that we weren’t approached by a singe PhotoPass photographer. We don’t seek them out, that is true, but it’s the second trip in a row.


#14

So the big event was MNSSHP on Sandy’s birthday.

The event itself is great. Hallowishes is spectacular, and the the parade is wonderful. I might have been disappointed in the Villain Mix n’ Mingle; it was very short. The candy stops are fun. I wish my kids were still into the characters; there were so many in the park, it was great. We did ride a few rides early as we planned to do the later parade.

I felt like I failed in my duties here as the planner. I should have done more research and had more of a plan. I think we missed some of the cooler bits, and we didn’t even end up going over to Adventureland/Frontierland.

It’s here that I’ll mention the weather. We had a very mild summer, and we were having highs in the 50’s before we left home. Arriving in Orlando to warmer than expected weather and humidity just killed us.

We decided to wear costumes :pinch:. Mo was limited due to the wheelchair, so she and Sandy went as “black cats.” They had cat ears, regular black clothing, and had their faces painted at Epcot. Mags dressed as a Geisha; I was worried about the costume as it had a wig and multiple layers of clothing. I thought I had a sensible costume - a Hercules deal - that had a light tunic with a fake light armor looking thing. Well… I was wrong. Mags and I absolutely baked. The outer layer of my costume wasn’t a breathable fabric, and it trapped in the heat. I was drenched; Mags was worse.

This all started to take its toll. Even though we “planned” on staying to the end, the kids were toast after the second parade. I wanted to delay so that we wouldn’t have to fight the crowds, but I ended up throwing a silent temper tantrum worthy of any 2-year old instead and fought the mass of humanity exiting the park. :frown: Regrets, I have more than a few.

So… my big tip for MNSSHP is to plan better than I did, and if the weather doesn’t cooperate with your costume… Lose it. Mags and I should’ve bought t-shirts (and whatever else we needed) in the park. It wasn’t worth the misery and the meltdown.


#15

So, on the transportation, we normally had Mo transfer to a seat and I folded up the wheelchair. The bus drivers seemed to encourage that. The bigger boats were never an issue… you just wheel right on. The little boats though, like the little boats that go between the WL and MK, they were an issue. I wish they would just have a “no wheelchair” rule on these boats. There’s no good place to store a wheelchair or even a big stroller even though I asked each time we went to board.

There was a recent thread about people who push wheelchairs in the parks. I freely admit that I’m not in good shape so that’s a factor. It is hard. The parks are not nearly as flat as I thought they were. Going down a hill is almost as bad as going up.

As I posted elsewhere, Ranger Stan’s last day at the WL is 10/31 :crying:. We didn’t find this out until Saturday when he had literally just left for the day. No one deserves retirement more; I hope they give him a major sendoff. We left a note for him at the desk. No cast member touched our lives quite like Stan.

I didn’t do a seperate resort category… because we didn’t really spend much time there. In hindsight, this would’ve been a great trip to try another DVC property. :pinch:


#16

So that’s a wrap other than the pictures that I have to sort through. I know that this report seems pretty negative, and I apologize for that. Learn from my mistakes… :mickey: In the end, though, we really did have a good time… and like always we’re already talking about our March 2010 trip.


#17

Sounds like an interesting trip Bruce, but I’m glad you had an overall good experience.
On the plus, you can start planning your next trip, which always makes a WDW fan smile.


#18

[QUOTE=brumcg;1001318]
With Mo in the wheelchair, we got a Guest Assitance Card. We never had to show it to anyone. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the “wheelchair gets you to the head of the line” is mostly a myth. Almost all of the new queues are built to handle wheelchairs. [/QUOTE]

You know I am actually glad to hear this, maybe some people who really don’t need the chairs and scooters won’t rent them to just have this advantage. And no one take me wrong. I am all in favor of those who do need them to definitely use them.

To me there is nothing wrong with everyone waiting their turn.

Sounds like you had a great trip. Looking forward to your pictures.


#19

Here’s a pic of me in my Hercules outfit. If asked, I told people I was “Hercules, the Later Years” and that the years had not been kind. Not the greatest pic, but it turned out that it was the only one.

If you remember from the trip report, not a great costume if you can’t take the heat (like me).


#20

And a picture of Mags in her “geisha” outfit. Mags is eating her precious Dole Whip.

Again, this costume with it’s multiple layers and wig wasn’t the best choice for someone not acclimated to the weather.