December TR: Eleven Days at WDW...without the kids!


#1

Overview: Instead of a fancy trip, we scheduled a long eleven-day trip without the kids! My parents were wonderful enough to come and stay with them and spoil them rotten while we were gone.

Nope, we never once felt a stitch of guilt. My parents take them to Disneyland nearly every summer, so the kids aren’t suffering from lack of Disney.

Oh, and so you skimmers can just skip the whole TR… we did NOT bring a camera and the camera in the phone isn’t great… and we’re not huge picture takers, anyway. So there are very few pictures, and the ones that we do have aren’t very good.

Also, I’m going to repeat a few things I posted on FB. I hope you’ll still read. :happy:

Rob (DH) and I left on the Saturday afternoon after Thanksgiving. (Did a major blitz on Christmas decorating on Friday! Can’t decorate before Thanksgiving, couldn’t leave the kids without a tree through half of December.) I quashed my every natural instinct to have my ducks lined up in a row early, and instead of the recommended safe-but-very-basic choice that I kept as a backup, I used Priceline name-your-price on Friday afternoon to get the 4-star Rosen Center at an even cheaper price. SCORE! Hotel was beautiful, Christmas-y, and clean. Parking was a longer walk than I would have liked, but also half of their regular price because of a Priceline thing. (Also? I’m convinced that Google navigation is in bed with the state of Florida to guide people through every possible toll booth, including those that you cannot get through unless you’ve got that SunPass. Trying to get to Rosen Center we had to actually back up a ramp because the only other choice was a $100 fine for not paying the toll that could ONLY be paid by pass. And it took forever to figure out how to get to the hotel without anymore unexpected tolls.)

At Rosen Center, was some debate between Rob and me whether or not the Christmas tree in the lobby on Sunday morning had actually been there on Saturday night.

I’m not going to do a day-by-day, I’m just going to split it up by topic.

So… Sunday morning we headed to Pop!


#2

Wow!!! Didn’t even know you had a trip planned. So excited to read your report! Keep it coming!


#3

Trying to continue, having a lot of trouble putting images in. I do have a FEW images!


#4

Not skimming! I want details!


#5

yea, a TR. Add me to the reading not skimming group. :happy:


#6

Okay! Got the image problem sort of worked out!

Now… the hotel!

The Hotel:

I wasn’t entirely sure about staying at Pop (after all, POR is my beloved), but I had a good deal, and I needed that deal at a value to make the trip happen.

The line to check in was long on Sunday morning and we had a bit of a wait. We were checked in by a very nice CM who made note of our requests, which turned out to be not quite in the right order but that we got straightened out, and while we didn’t get exactly what we wanted, it was close enough, and the CM made some phone calls to make it all happen. He gave us “Happy Anniversary!” buttons, and wrote “18th!” on them for us. (How am I old enough to have been married eighteen years?)

Then back to our room. Lake view! Can I rave enough about this back-of-the-hotel, 70s Building? So quiet, and the lake with the Radiator Springs section of AoA on the far shore was always so peaceful, and turned out to be even more gorgeous at sunset. We were on the third floor.

The compromise was the double beds when we had hoped for a King, but it was really just not a problem at all.

My regret is that I never took a picture of our view.

I :heart: :heart: :heart: the décor of the rooms. Yes, the room is VERY, VERY small, but we knew that going in. The rooms aren’t the least bit over-the-top tacky, and I liked the style very much. They’ve gone to triple-sheeting instead of bedspreads, but they used the old bedspreads to make a runner that goes across the bottom of the bed. The look is more upscale and very clean.

The picture collage on the wall was my childhood! The Aristocats, the colored Mickey ears with the little brim, Robin Hood, the Main Street Electrical Parade…

The new fridge? Worked well the first few days. Then the freezer stopped working because it needed some serious defrosting, and never did freeze anything else (I considered the blow dryer, but didn’t think it would reach that far!). The fridge itself kept everything very cold.

One concern I had from pictures was the huge tacky things stuck to each of the buildings. And while I still don’t love them, I found them far less objectionable in person than I do in pictures.

Didn’t feel like it was too long of a walk anywhere. Passed this guy every day.

And we passed these guys when we walked to the car.

Overall, Pop Century had a great feel to it. All of the cast members were friendly, and when I asked for extra pens, our Mousekeeper provided. It doesn’t take much to keep me happy, and spending my life writing on post-it notes with pens that read “Disneyland Hotel” and “Walt Disney World Resorts” makes me happy.

Oh, and there was a towel animal left when we got there, and Mousekeeper Madeline made a new one for us the next day, so they both sat in our window with our Christmas lights, along with the “Happy Anniversary!” picture of Mickey and Minnie that appeared in our room the second day. That was so much fun to find in our room. We also got the message from Mickey and Minnie on the phone when we checked in.

Would I stay there again? Absolutely! But if there weren’t rooms available back overlooking the lake when I checked in, I would camp out next to the registration desk to get moved there as soon as possible. :happy:


#7

Other Resort Hotels:

Stopped by the Contemporary one night to eat at their CS. Rob and I both enjoyed it. Now, looking up into the doors and hallways in the tower there, I think it’s so stark it looks like a prison. But the people at the Contemporary, both guests and CMs, seemed nice and friendly. And while we ate, I got to indulge in one of my hobbies, Identifying Polygamists.

:laugh:

No, really.

And accuracy really isn’t the point. In this case, I saw a passel of kids, two women, and a guy. Polygamists. Definitely. :laugh: (Rob tries to suggest that there are a lot of other scenarios that could create that group of people traveling together, to which I say Pshaw, and let me have my fun.)

So despite the way the interior, I still got a cozy feel from the Contemporary and think it would be nice to stay there sometime. I really enjoyed their Gingerbread tree.

Stopped by the Grand Floridian one afternoon to check out their storied Gingerbread House, and I was less than impressed. I was expecting more. And while I found the CMs to be friendly and I don’t find the décor as off-putting as a lot of people do, there were so many guests at the Grand Floridian that I have absolutely no interest in being around. There was just a snotty, “you need to know I have money” vibe from a LOT of them, and there were more loud, demanding, badly-behaved children there than any other resort we visited. Blah.

Also, the CS can ONLY be accessed from the outside? Um, what? That was annoying. As were the garbage-hauling vehicles kept driving by while we ate lunch. The view was pretty, though.

Wilderness Lodge: Oh, I do love the Wilderness lodge. Although I’m not sure those busy, busy lobbies in the deluxe resorts are for me.

Art of Animation: I thought I would really enjoy this resort. We walked across the bridge from Pop to have dinner there one night. I’ve discovered that the exterior hallways at Pop seem much friendlier than the interior ones at AoA, since they leave you with those huge walls next to the outdoor paths. Yes, they’re painted, but they still seem unwelcoming.

But here’s my problem with AoA: The gated pool. That just seemed incredibly rude. I understand the gates around the deluxe pools, because who wouldn’t want to go to some of those? They’re awesome. But who is going to go to a value resort for the pool? Only the riff-raff from across the lake! Those fences seemed like they were saying, “NO GUESTS FROM POP! YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR US!” :laugh: So again, just because I totally get why the gate is there and understand that the pool should be just for the guests of that hotel and we didn’t even swim in the Pop pool… it still seemed very personal. :laugh:


#8

Hollywood Studios:

This is the park we went to our first day, and a few others.

Well, it’s official. Rock-n-roller coaster and I have split up. It’s just too much hard work to keep my head from getting banged around. So while I like the idea of it and wish I could still ride it, I just can’t.

But I can still love the Tower of Terror. :happy:

The only real problem with Toy Story is the constant, too-long lines, because I can’t keep riding it over and over to figure out how to improve my scores.

We never did get outed as the rebel spy. Maintaining a secret identity is tough work.

“Thank you for flying Star Tours. Buh-bye!” I took this because our five year old takes great joy in repeating this.

Photo op! Didn’t I get amazing clarity in spite of his high speed?

Osborne Lights were lovely as always. We were there two different nights to see the lights go on, and that’s just magical! Not as thrilled with the Photopass Photographer who didn’t wait for the people to get out of our vicinity before snapping our pic. Might have bought that one otherwise. Ah, well.

The first time we went, it was a little misty, threatening to be a little rainy, and we didn’t get snow. Snow was the next time. :happy:

Since my son and my dad were putting up our Christmas lights at home, I sent this so they’d know what was expected of them.

Mickey!


#9

I’m so glad you posted a link, I had completely missed your TR! Great pictures! I’m looking forward to more. Thanks for the review of Pop!


#10

[QUOTE=Andrea;1140458]Other Resort Hotels:

Stopped by the Contemporary one night to eat at their CS. Rob and I both enjoyed it. Now, looking up into the doors and hallways in the tower there, I think it’s so stark it looks like a prison. But the people at the Contemporary, both guests and CMs, seemed nice and friendly. And while we ate, I got to indulge in one of my hobbies, Identifying Polygamists.

:laugh:

No, really.

And accuracy really isn’t the point. In this case, I saw a passel of kids, two women, and a guy. Polygamists. Definitely. :laugh: (Rob tries to suggest that there are a lot of other scenarios that could create that group of people traveling together, to which I say Pshaw, and let me have my fun.)

[/QUOTE]

I have always felt the same way about the decor of the hallways of CR, but I really like the look of the rooms. One of the few remaining resorts still on our to do list.

Polygamists…lol:laugh: We come up with interesting scenarios about people while traveling too, keeps me entertained at least! :tongue:


#11

Epcot:
We enjoyed the usual, Soarin’, Test Track, and Maelstrom (Over the falls! Over the falls!). A little Mission Space.

I am considering adopting a troll. Thoughts?

Also, and I’m sorry to repeat this, but WHY oh WHY is this woman not world-famous? She’s a GIANT! It’s the Attack of the Cruise Director!

Yes, I love Norway. I wish the Stave Church was still the Stave Church, though. It’s all a big ad for Frozen right now. Nothing against Frozen, just liked it better before.

Took the time for Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and how fun was that? I would ride that again. Not twice in the same trip, but another trip, definitely.

Yep, I tried the Beverly.

Not a huge fan of the new Test Track. It was kind of fun to design the craziest cars possible, but I miss the old intro. I know people hated that little film, but I liked it! And I liked the inside of the ride much better before, too. I missed the cow crossing sign.

Another thing we tried that would never have happened during a short trip was embarking upon two Agent P adventures! We had a goofy, fun time, and of course pretended we were completing tasks for the Amazing Race, in case there was any remaining question about just how big of dorks Rob and I are. The first adventure we did was in Norway. Great surprises! The second one we did was in UK, and one of the elements was broken, which ruined both that part AND the next one due to the nature of the quest. Still fun despite the disappointment. I’d try another one sometime.

Had to take this, since Rob was wearing his Mine! Mine! Mine! shirt. :laugh:


#12

The gated pool at Art - yes, it’s to keep Pop visitors out who don’t want to pay more to stay at AOA - HA! lol


#13

EPCOT, continued: CANADA!

Canada is my new favorite pavilion.

It’s beautiful.

It’s got that lovely waterfall in the back where they show the film, and like I said on Facebook, only in Canada are they too polite to dump you in the gift shop after the film.

I found the film to be funny, charming, and it made me want to visit Canada. Mission accomplished, Canadian Board of Tourism. Mission accomplished.

But the best part… for us… is that the movie is called “O, Canada”. Because do you know how many different ways and with different inflections you can say “O, Canada” to make it mean different things? Language geeks like Rob and I got a LOT of mileage out of that game. For days and days. “O, Canada” is never not funny.


#14

CR a prison? Hmmm, I must remember to keep that in mind while clothes shopping for our trip. I’ll need lots of stripes and orange jumpsuits!:tongue:

As always, enjoying your TR immensely. Ahem, I must say that I agree with you about some of the guests at GF. I also fear that Rockin’ Roller Coaster and I will suffer the same fate as you experienced. I love that ride but cannot seem to keep my head from bashing around. I did notice that it was less bashy if we chose to sit in the middle of the train though, maybe that will keep us from an ugly break up. You know me, never one for making a scene. :closedeye


#15

I am enjoying this… :slight_smile:


#16

We enjoyed the movie at Canada, but why oh why must one climb up,down, this way and that to get to the movie? Is it the trade off for not have a gift shop at the end?


#17

Great trip report! Can’t wait to read more.


#18

But it’s such a pretty walk, with such a great payoff at the end!

And I don’t mind the gift shop. (I actually loved the Canada gift shop, too, and would have been happy to end my movie experience there.)

But the girl who introduced the movie? WOWDIDSHETALKFAST! :laugh:


#19

As if I had any interest in their stooooopid pool. :laugh:

And having seen it, no, I don’t want to pay more to stay at AoA! But might think about it if the kids were with us. (I would be concerned about going blind while waiting to check in. That’s some serious light they’ve got going there. Pretty, but BRIGHT!)


#20

[QUOTE=Andrea;1140473]As if I had any interest in their stooooopid pool. :laugh:

And having seen it, no, I don’t want to pay more to stay at AoA! But might think about it if the kid were with us. (I would be concerned about going blind while waiting to check in. That’s some serious light they’ve got going there. Pretty, but BRIGHT!)[/QUOTE]

I like that resort! No poking fun just because you didn’t get to play in their pool…:afro::laugh::laugh: