The Townsends are Home!


#1

Alright,
We are home! The 17th thru the 25th was a good trip. Not our best trip, but nonetheless a good one. We are WORN OUT, so I will come back and give a full trip report soon.

Here are some highlights and lowlights:

Disclaimer: Yes, these are just my opinions, and I know many people disagree with me on certain things. So what, it was a great week, just some good and bad things. In many ways our best trip yet, in many ways, not. I will write more when I get a full nights sleep.

Highs:

  1. We got to ride everything we wanted to ride. Fastpass is a great tool that Disney really ought to educate people more on. We literally rode everything we wanted with nothing more than a 20 minute wait at the max. But, we saw 2,000 people asking for info on how to use them. Great for us, but Disney should really have some information for users in the parks.
  2. Pirates League was a blast. My daughter had a great time and we had a neat experience. Now, how can I make my basement like that room?
  3. Bay Lake Tower is nice, but it is just a nice hotel. It is not a traditional “Disney resort” in any sense. We liked it, and lucked out and got a room on the 16th floor which we loved, but the room was small with little theming, and honestly we are not sure we would go back. I will explain more later.
  4. Deluxe Dining is a fantastic way to go. We only ate two meals per day, but man it was enough. We did a regular restaurant for breakfast or lunch and a signature for dinner. I had some of the best food this week and gained 10 pounds, but well worth it. Applause to Disney! Some restaurants were so-so, and I will go into that later, but it was truly a great eating experience for the week.
  5. Disney still has the best employees and most friendly guests/people on earth. Literally some of the nicest people I have ever met, both as guests and employees. Overwhelmingly the positive people far outweigh the negative or rude and I cannot be thankful enough about that. If you ever want to meet fantastic people that are grateful to be in a magical place, go to Disney, have an open mind about new people, and you will never regret it. My daughter got to meet people from at least 20 countries and we loved that she was able to see that not everyone is like here at home. Sure, there are differences in those cultures that cause conflict, but that is part of the magic too that makes this a great planet.

Lows:

  1. Disney was CROWDED this week. Did it stop us from getting dinner ressies? No. Did it stop us from riding anything? No. What did it do? Basically it annoyed us. Overwhelmingly I would say a large percentage people there were Brazilian, Argentinean, Spanish, Columbian, and Mexican tour groups. They are entertaining to watch as they are super excited and having fun, but we saw several “flash mobs” where they would take up large areas of space and go into random chants and cheers, especially the Brazilians. Entertaining at the beginning of the week, by the end of the week, we would be annoyed by the space they would block with their fun. I will talk more about this later. By no means am I complaining, it was just a very different Disney experience for us this week crowd wise.
  2. SCOOTERS ARE EVERYWHERE. Seriously, have we given up the ability to walk as a country? We met a group of people in BLT this year, super friendly older people in their 50’s/60’s. The next day several of them are in the lobby on Disney scooters. I ask one of them “Hey, you got a new scooter today?”. She promptly replied “Yes, we got so tired yesterday from the heat, we figured we would get our money’s worth with the scooters”. Lo and behold they ALL had the scooters. Honestly, I have never seen so many in my life. My Dad had to ride one the last couple of years of his life, so I know they are valid, but man, I have never seen so many in my life… They just make it hard for people walking to get around safely. Disney should seriously consider making a scooter lane on the sidewalks. My foot was run over more than once, my wife’s foot once, and my daughter was bumped repeatedly. When it gets that crowded, they are just overwhelming to navigate around. And this week, certain days were VERY crowded.
  3. Nothing I can do about this one, but the HEAT. My daughter, 8 years old, actually fainted on our first day from the 107 heat index. Apparently she hadn’t been drinking everything we gave her. Well, she paid for that and we repeatedly filled her with water the rest of the week. Nothing I can do about the heat at all, but was a low. One thing I didn’t like was seeing so many of the brand new-born babies out in that heat. That had to be tough on those children.
  4. Two bad restaurant/show experiences, and one bad ride/show experience. I will give more info later, but if you ever get table 99 in Hoop Dee Doo, fight to get out of it. If you ever go see Muppet 3d and some guy is yelling with the lines and remarking at full volume about every single character in the film to his daughter sitting in his lap, and despite every individual in the audience shooshing and yourself yelling at him from 2 feet away, do not expect any employee to say anything to him. These things didn’t ruin our trip, but I will write my first complaint letter about Hoop Dee Doo. Will it do any good? I only hope they get rid of that d@$*d table to save someone else the waste of an entertaining view.

Alright, more later, and I will put up some of my wife’s great pics!


#2

I agree about the scooters. WDW needs to make a policy that you can ONLY use one of there scooters and then block the spped they can go. I went NUTS last trip after I was run into from behind the 3rd time. Needless to say I would have qualified as a villan if I was to be considered a character. I went high and to the right on some idiot and the amazzing thing was the CM who was right there took 2 steps back when I went off. I did see a small smile on his face when I turned around to leave.:laugh:


#3

Thanks Rich, glad it wasn’t just me. I was ready to go off on some people on those scooters. Honestly, I have a distinct feeling that the Wall-E premonition is coming true.

And for the guy in Muppets, I said some really “nice” words to him. It didn’t slow him down one bit. Honestly, instead of “Drinking Around the World”, he was trying to “Drink Around the Studios” and didn’t care one bit what anyone said. I actually woke up that night to a dream of him yelling “Wokka Wokka” every time that Fozzie bear popped up in my dream.


#4

Sorry you had issues, but glad your overall trip went well. We went earlier this month and apparently the groups weren’t there yet because we saw minimal to none.

There are a lot of people who “need” scooters, and there’s many more who use them as a convienance because it’s just easier to get around.

This is my take on it…if i’m walking through a crowded area and the person in front of me is going slow then I go around. If I can’t then I wait till they do move along. I don not expect them to move so I can pass. It’d be nice if they did but not expected. This is something many on scooters do not do. They beep-beep-beeped and if I didn’t move i’ve gotten ran over. I say same rules apply. If i’m in front of you and you can’t go around, then YOU WAIT YOUR TURN!!!

My personal opinion, Scooters should be like the strollers. Unless it’s your on POV the rentals should all be the push kind and unless you are truly unable to walk they should be folded up on the buses just like strollers.

Sry if I offend but this is getting out of hand.


#5

I think the biggest thing with the scooters is two fold, actually. One, they will just stop randomly in front of a big group. I cannot tell you how often there would be thirty/fourty people pushing through a random small area and the person on the scooter would just stop. No reason, just stop cold. It would inevitably cause the group to resemble a mass collision. Second, they would literally run over you. You would be walking along just fine, behind a massive crowd, and the person on the scooter hadn’t yet mastered the speed control and you just get nailed from behind. Yes, there are people that need them. Like I said, my Father was scooter dependent after multiple diabetes related heart attacks and strokes, but it is no excuse for the others that just don’t want to get too winded to abuse the rest of us.

It was quite maddening. I have no problem with anyone that needs one using one, we just saw absolutely too many people using them that would happily hop right out of them and walk away dancing at the next stop for them. We saw too many people using them for convenience rather than need and I got ran over by those folks too many times.


#6

This is my point also. I retired from the medical fiels after 26 years. I have absolutely no problem with them being used. I get it.

I am just sick and tired of getting run over when I am walking down a path, or especially when leaving a park. We are all trying to get somewhere. It’s just the lack of common manners that exit peoples brains. They either lack the ability to understand they are not the only ones in the park, or what was the case I mentioned, just don’t care.

The same thing happens with strollers. I cannot tell you how often I have been hit in the achillies tendon walking on the sidewalk along Main Street when the parade is going on. I am usually the calmest person when in the World. But there are limits of pain I am going to be forced to endure before I call it quits.


#7

I agree with you about the tour groups. I was mainly bothered by their stopping and chanting…also when they sent one person to get multiple fast passes…and I mean 50-100 at one time. I felt that Disney should only allow up to 10 at a time by one person and then they had to go to the back of the line for more fastpasses. If you got behind a tour guide for a fastpass you were doomed.


#8

Welcome back and looking forward to your the rest of your “Trip Report”.

I agree there are some people who need scooters and others who clearly do not. My mother is in a motorized wheelchair and there are times I have to yell at her as she thinks she can go anywhere when she CAN’T! She feels that others should watch out for her and I have to remind her time and time again that she needs to watch for others.

Oh, now I am nervous for my trip in a few weeks. I hope we don’t have the tour groups. DH will have a bird!!!


#9

Okay, here goes, Day 1.

Day one, like always, I added a day on the front end so we can drive down and enjoy a nice afternoon not going to the parks, enjoying a nice meal, and just trying a new hotel. This is our 3rd year doing it and we got a great deal on Boardwalk Villas on Travelocity.com.

1st off, we walked in BWV and fell in love with the place. The lobby was great, the theming is impeccable, and my daughter had the biggest grin on her face as she sat on the big sofa right in the lobby. We checked in, checked out our room, which was a loooong walk but had a nice view of the “river” between the Swan and Dolphin and our room and then had to go for a ride around the resorts.

We had a quick ride, then pulled into self parking to head back up to the hotel. My daughter gets out of the car and stands with my wife for 3 minutes right in the sun while I ran back to get my wife’s phone she left in the car. Soon as I got back to my daughter, she looks up with these sad eyes and says “Daddy, my stomach hurts”. We start walking up the sidewalk and 13 seconds later she is out cold on the sidewalk and limp as a noodle as my wife is running up the sidewalk screaming at the top of her lungs for people to help us. Yes, she went insane, and it was understandable.

20 minutes later the EMTs have deduced she is heavily dehydrated and the 97 degree weather is bad for dehydration. Apparently despite the several drinks we bought and opened for our daughter on the way down, water included, she drank NONE of them and the evidence was right there in the back seat of our car with full bottles of drinks everywhere. She was a bit excited and decided to not drink anything. Well, the EMTs gave us a plan and we followed it. We were not to go to the parks until at least 3pm the next day. Okay, there goes our first MK day, but no biggie, this is a 9 day trip.

So, we go check in the room and force a bottle of water in her, then make her rest for a while so we could shower up and find dinner. We had ADRs for Raglan Road but I changed them to Kouzzina. Just as it started raining, we headed down and had a great meal at Kouzzina.

Rating for Kouzzina on a 1-10 scale: I would give it a strong 7, where a 7 is somewhere I would seek out again. However, it was a bit different than what we are accustomed to with greek food. It seems almost everything had cinnamon in it. The olives and olive oil are great, the wine was good, and the service was stupendous. We loved the atmosphere, but it is a NOISY place. We would certainly come to Kouzzina again, to give it a better try with less stress on our minds, but we liked our first experience.

To finish off our evening, as it had heavily cooled off, we walked into Epcot in the rain with our new 3 umbrellas and watched Illuminations which was great as always. They actually had the little area in front of France open they always use for Magical Gatherings and we had a great view. Afterward we walked back to try ice cream at Beaches and Cream and truly loved the 3 resorts.

We will DEFINITELY stay here in the future.

The only negatives we can think of? Our room was a long walk from the lobby. We were right beside the “Attic”, and I walked all over the place trying to find a vending machine. I never did, despite the staff trying to help me.

I will write about our checking into Bay Lake Tower in my next post.


#10

Sounds like a frightening arrival! DW’s reaction is more than understandable. What a scary situation!!!

I’m glad your plans weren’t affected too much, and I can’t wait to read more of your TR! :happy:


#11

So glad your DD was OK! I think I would panic too if my child or DGD passed out on the side walk! Gives me chills just thinking about it!


#12

Geez Corey … Sorry to hear the rough start !!!
Glad the little one is ok … What is it about going to Epcot and having it rain ??? More please !!!


#13

Day 2- Arriving at Bay Lake Tower

Since the little Monster had passed out the day before we decided to sleep in and let her get some rest before checking in at Bay Lake Tower. We got to the Contemporary lobby about 10:00 and it was a madhouse. One of the multi level marketing candle companies were checking out and there was a thousand people trying to figure out express checkout. Oh well, no biggie. We tried to check in early and the young lady was great and tried to find us a room that was ready for us to get into right away. After a little checking and going back to the office to get approval from her manager, we had a room that was ready on the 16th floor. AMAZING view! We were lakeside, but we could see straight down into the pool and out at eye level with para-sailers. Great room! The studio was very small, even by Disney standards, but we could make it work. I called down and arranged housekeeping for the week, which didn’t work out as expected, but we were cool with that.

Anyway, after resting a couple hours, and doing a few loops around on the monorail, we had lunch at Kona Cafe before heading into the park. As always, fantastic food. We actually ended up having the same waitress as last year and told her we had great service both years. She has been at Kona for 6 years and is fantastic. I will have to find her name on our receipts.

About 3 we headed into the Magic Kingdom for our first time. Usually, we take our time heading down main street, get some great photos, but that wasn’t gonna happen this time. HUGE CROWDS were lined up for the parade. So, we meandered through the tour groups, with matching shirts, and made our way to our traditional first ride of Haunted Mansion. We got a great view of the new queue, and the new ghosts and had a blast. We did our normal loops of the parks and rode everything but Space Mountain and Carousel of Progress and in just about 5 hours and done everything despite the crowds.

For dinner we hit our Crystal Palace ressies and had a fabulous dinner. It was VERY crowded as usual, and VERY VERY noisy, but the food was good. The beef tenderloin with horseradish is my favorite and I took heavy advantage.

After dinner, we decided to head back to the BLT and see the Magic the Memories and You show and fireworks from the 16th floor viewing area at BLT. This is a great location to see the fireworks. The MM&Y show was just so so from there, but the fireworks are a great view. We rounded out the night with a swim in the pool with our pest of a daughter. Ready for day three we would be soon, Epcot here we come!

Highs:

  1. Good food, as always.
  2. Despite the massive crowds, which were at least a 9, we still got on everything easily with fastpass. Somehow, I guess it is because of the groups riding together, we would never see the groups in lines at rides. So, no problems at all even with the huge crowds.
  3. Crystal Palace was somehow better this year. We have always had problems getting refills on drinks at CP. Not this year. Our waiter was great!

Lows:

  1. HOT. Nothing more to add.
  2. Crowds. Same thing I said in my overview. The only way to make it worse is to put the tour groups on scooters. Then it would be Disney ****.
  3. Making my daughter drink water. It could be possible we were inducing water intoxication we shoved so much water and “blue drank” down her throat. However, no more passing out. Trust me, this was an epic battle with her. She fought every sip.
  4. BLT access to the 16th floor. Our card had to be swiped to get up to the 16th floor. It only worked sporadically. So, we would swipe/push the button, swipe/push the button, over and over to get the elevator to take us up.

Despite the lows, this was a good day. Not our normal magical Magic Kingdom day that we always have, but it was a good one.


#14

Great trip reprt so far can’t wait to read more.


#15

Ug, your poor little girl! Glad she recovered, and that you were able to give her time to rest and regroup.

Enjoying your report so far, can’t wait to read more.


#16

Welcome home!! Scary, SCARY day one!!! Glad the “little monster” was okay and you only had to rest up a little more on your first full day. I will make my DD read this later on as I am always yelling about water while we are there in August and she thinks I am insane! This will prove my point.

I love hearing your highs and lows at the beginning and can’t wait for your to expand on all of them. The negatives help people avoid certain things and the positves keep you enjoying the trip and going back for more. Can’t wait to read on and see some of your wife’s great pics.


#17

What a scary way to start your trip!! Glad everything turned out ok. Can’t wait for more!!


#18

I can relate to the little one’s dehydration, similar issue with my DS9 last year during a football practice…I think he learned his lesson…sorry for your experience, I know how scary that is.

Can’t wait to read more of your report…

If you don’t mind, could you elaborate just a tad more on the “groups” you encountered while there…last time we went (Auf 05’) I don’t remember them and although crowds were large, we did fine…but all this mentioning of those “groups” I see posted everywhere has me real concerned it is in some way going to spoil some of the magic we are so looking forward to…and to be blunt…have $10K invested in!!!


#19

My family and I were also there last week, and my older children decided that when the tour groups were present it was like a nightmare we couldn’t wake up from. They were obnoxious and rude.

I had the same thoughts as you about the scooter usage. I had visions from WallE several times. DH said if he ever gets to the point that he can’t walk at Disney World we should leave him at home.

Glad your little girl was okay! What a scary start to your vacation!


#20

I’ve blogged in the past regarding the scooter problem and was chastized by the moderator. However I now see where others are tired of being run over by people who obviously just don’t want to walk and therefore don’t use them on a daily basis and know how to control them. As I have said, I’m the first to help a true person with physical challenges that REQUIRES a scooted or motorized chair and give them courtesy that they deserve. But the obese or elderly who run over you to get ahead then get off the thing to beat you in line at the food court is something to try your patience! Maybe your 85 year old Grandma would be better off at home?