Tonyksl's TR 5-16/5-19


#1

We wanted to give the “other” Disney Deluxe resort a shot. DTD Hilton. There were definitely some good things about this resort and some bad. What you are looking for will determine whether or not this is a resort for you.

This resort is listed as a deluxe. I think they name themselves a deluxe. They do have have a Benihana’s attached to it, and the menus looked good for the other restaurants. Mind you, I didn’t eat here, as my ADR’s were in other places.

The rooms are smaller than Disney Deluxe rooms. I knew going in that the beds were doubles and not queens. They do tout that they use excellent linens and I can confirm this. The linens were very nice. Unfortunately, they are on uncomfortable beds. The rooms are on par with a moderate resort, not a deluxe.

This hotel does get you EMH at the parks. This was important to us because we wanted to use them Sunday night, 5/18, at MK.

This hotel does not get you free parking at the parks though. But, all is not lost. Their bus transportation is exceptional. We decided to try it because the parking was not free. They pick up and drop off every 30 minutes. We used them the entire four days and they never missed a time. In fact, there was one instance where we showed up 15 minutes before the next pickup, and another Mears driver took us to the hotel because he had enough time.

That being said, I almost always use my car when I go to Disney because the parking is free. I wouldn’t stay at this hotel for the transportation, but, that may be important to some of you.

I am used to paying $150-250 a night at a Disney Deluxe resort during the times that my Florida Resident Seasonal Passholder gets me a discount. It just happens to coincide during the slower times, so the discounts can be fairly good.

The Hilton was $149 a night when I reserved it. I could have gotten BCV or SSR studio for $204 a night, but, I wanted to try something new. When we were within a week of leaving, the Hilton lowered their price for the same room to $119 a night. I rebooked my trip and saved $100.

Those are the facts, here are the opinions:

I see this resort as a moderate, not a deluxe according to Disney standards. If you are someone who is used to staying at a Moderate or a Value resort, you may want to check this place out. If you meet the above criteria and you use the Disney transportation, but, don’t like the inconsistencies, I think this really may be the place. The buses only stop at two other resorts which are right next door to the Hilton. The Hilton is the first resort they pickup from and the first resort that is dropped off. One bus goes to MK and AK, a second goes to Epcot and HS and a third goes to the water parks. There is one that runs in the evening for DTD, but, the east side is across the street.

As far as my trip goes, I got what I paid for, so I really can’t complain. I am used to spoiling myself and my family when we go and the resort didn’t really do that for me. If I had to do it again, I would spend the extra $100 a night and stay at the BCV studio.

But, if I had, those of you who would find this resort just fine wouldn’t know about it.


#2

We didn’t tell DS9 or DD7 that we were going to Disney when we picked them up at 2:45 PM on friday from school. It took them all of 15 minutes to figure it out once we got on the road. Like little troopers, they tried, with some success, to sleep out the 2 and a half our drive. We got there at 5:15 PM and we were all checked in and dressed up for the Pirate and Princess Party by 6:00 PM. We decided to take a chance on the bus transportation. They did an excellent job. We were at the MK and walking through the gates at 6:30 PM. They were passing out the bracelets at the front gate and since it was the Pirate and Princess Party, guess which ride the kids wanted to do first? Yep, Pirates of the Caribbean, so off to Adventureland.

And what do we see when we get there?

Here is the point where one of a few things could happen:

A) Things are quiet right now because only bracelets can ride…

B) Things will be hectic an hour from now…

C) I did it again and figured out which weekend was the best one to head to Disney…

I come to find out that this was definitely a C weekend!


#3

How good was the Pirate and Princess Party on this night? EVERY ride was walk on as you walked up except for Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh in the early part of the evening. After 11, only Peter Pan had a wait of 2 minutes. In 5 hours we were there, we rode Pirates twice, BTMRR twice, Splash Mountain once, Haunted Mansion twice, Space Mountain once, Buzz Lightyear twice, Indy Speedway once, Tea Cups once, Barnstormer 3 times (didn’t leave the ride), Peter Pan once, Winnie the Pooh once, Snow White’s Scary Adventure once, Tomorrowland Transit Authority once and watched Mickey’s Philharmagic, the Parade and the Fireworks. Here is the line at BTMRR…or lack thereof.

And a picture of the line at Buzz Lightyear. Notice the clock showing 9:15 PM.

And one last one showing the massive crowd in Philharmagic.

Okay, now for the important stuff. The crowds were really light, the weather was nice and the floats for the Pirate and Princess Party are worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, the wife had the camera as I was on snack detail and she said she didn’t get any good pictures. They gave out bead necklaces and gems. The kids enjoyed it.


#4

Saturday morning was AK time. We had an ADR at the Yak and Yeti for 12:30. We only used Fastpasses twice at AK. Everest and Kiliminjaro. And I think we did them both out of habit. No line anywhere else in the park. Everything was just walk on and ride or go in and watch. The important part about this is the report on the Yak and Yeti Restaurant. The wife and I both wanted to get the Mahi Mahi dish so we decided to get the Dim Sum Basket and the Mahi Mahi and split each. The Mahi Mahi was fantastic! The Cantonese Sweet and Sour Sauce was unbelievable. I highly recommend this dish. The Dim Sum Basket was good and had a variety of tastes. A really good appetizer for two people.

Sorry, we were hungry and attacked the food before I got the picture.


#5

Hang on to your hats. After a little break time back at the hotel, we headed off to HS for the late afternoon to the evening. The MOJO must have been working, because when we got there, the first thing we wanted to do was check to see if Toy Story Midway Mania was open. The line was huge! Two hour long wait. But fear not fellow MBers…all was not lost! The reason it was two hours long? The ride was being worked on and people didn’t want to leave. Being an impatient person by nature, I wasn’t going to wait. So, we took off and rode everything else. There weren’t any lines anywhere else that were more than a couple of minutes. Why? MK had the P&PP party the night before and was open until 12 AM on Saturday. That’s where everyone went. HS was only open until 10 PM and at 7 PM, they were still trying to get Toy Story Midway Mania back up. Where would you go? Most folks would go to MK…not me. Wide open HS or busy MK? That’s how I looked at it. People were at HS for the TSMM anyway, nothing else. We rode everything and checked back in with TSMM at 8:15 PM. Guess what? Yep, it was open. For those who left, thank you! For those who stayed, I was the guy in the Grumpy hat. Since there were SOOO FEW OF US, I am sure you remember me! BWAHAHA! Yes, I rode TSMM 7 times in less than 45 minutes. Want to see some pictures? Here you can see how busy the cue was. :tongue:

And the next picture also shows the lack of people, but, it gives you an idea of how large the props are. Notice the checkerboard for the ceiling. There is also a chutes and ladders and a scrabble board for the rest of the ceiling.

And this next one, shows you Mr. Potato Head. He is really cool and interacts with you. I have multiple pictures of him all from this same walk in. Imagine trying to get a picture of Buzz Lightyear on his ride at MK by standing back and taking your time without someone getting in the way. Now you know how quiet the ride was for 45 minutes.

More picture and info about this ride in the next post.


#6

Okay, so, some people posted the entire TSMM on YouTube. But, nobody posted this shot!

The fastpass machines for TSMM!

Now for the review of the ride. Okay, I rode it 7 times that night and once more during the next day. If you take Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and add Disney Quest, then put it into 3D…you have TSMM. It is something that HS really needed for the Big Kids (8-12 years old) that isn’t a thrill ride. Don’t get me wrong, everyone will really enjoy it, but, just as I can’t see many adults wanting to ride Space Ranger Spin over and over, I can’t see them wanting to ride this over and over. I can see that age group wanting to though. My kids could have ridden it another 10 times that night and wanted more in the morning. The action was the same over and over. Roughly, there are multiple 10 X 12 screens that you shoot at continuously. Each screen is at a different station. It’s the same motion whether you are shooting darts, balls, pies, etc. The scenes change, but, the game really doesn’t. This is by no means a bad report. It just is what it is. Cute, but, in reality, a kids game that adults will enjoy doing, but, not overdoing.

Here is a picture of the car you ride in. There are shooters on both sides.

The car has a screen that keeps your score.


#7

awesome report so far!
Thanks!!


#8

Great trip report! I wish I was there on a less busy weekend.


#9

Great Tr so far and cool pics.


#10

I stayed last December at the Disney Hilton for Dhs christmas Party ( one night ) and was paid by Dhs work since the Christmas party was at Wolfgang pucks … our first room smelled like smoke but they had no problems switching it . It was ok for the night and since it was free but Dh and I agreed that if we went to Disney on our own it would be a Disney resort only …


#11

We got back to the hotel Saturday night and the kids were asking if we were doing Epcot on Sunday. We told them that we didn’t have time to do Epcot this trip. That it was just going to be a short weekend because they had to go back to school on Monday. Of course, I was lying to them. We had our reservations for LeCellier on Monday for lunch. We wanted to let them think they got an extra day when we told them Sunday night…more on how that unfolded in a bit.

Since we got to HS later in the day on Saturday, we decided to go back there in the morning. Of course, we let the kids choose between DTD or HS. For them, it is a no brainer. Off to HS we went. My DD7 wanted to see the High School Musical 2 show and the kids wanted to do Playhouse Disney. I wanted to ride the Rock N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Single rider line in the Rock N’ Roller Coaster is great. Never waited more than 5 minutes and got to ride it 3 times. I used our 4 tickets for Fastpasses to Tower of Terror and rode that 4 times. Not that the lines were long anyway. But, I would rather wait 5 minutes than 20-30. Well, the wait times said 20-30, but, they looked more like 15-20 to me. We have a meeting point in between the two rides when the family splits up like this for when they get done with their show. The kids decided they didn’t want to do the Beauty and the Beast Show, so we decided to head on over to TSMM to see if it was open. As luck would have it, it had just opened up and the line hadn’t really gotten too big yet. About a 10 minute wait. So we rode it again.

Here is a picture from the front of the ride going into the first shooting gallery.

It was lunch time, so, we grabbed a quick bite to eat, turkey leg for me. Did the rest of the rides that we wanted to do and told the kids it was time to head home. As we were leaving, Prince Caspian had just come out. Anything to avoid leaving!

Of course, I took a wrong turn and headed north towards the MK instead of south to the Turnpike. Yes, it was planned. I looked at the DW and said to her, “Oops, I made a wrong turn towards the MK instead of heading home. I don’t feel like turning around, should we just go to MK instead?” Of course, she didn’t get a chance to answer, the kids decided that would be the best course of action…quite loudly I may add. I then said, “I think I would be too tired to drive home now anyway, want to just stay another day? This way we can go to Epcot tomorrow.” Another resounding response from the peanut gallery in the back seat. Well, to say the spirits were rejuvenated would be a gross understatement. 5 minutes ago, they thought we were heading home. Now they knew they were going to the MK, with EMH, open to 1 AM and doing Epcot tomorrow.


#12

So, we get back to the MK for the Sunday night EMH. Park is open until 10 PM plus the 3 hours for EMH. The kids wanted to pass through the Adventureland land route again. Usually, they want to head straight for Tomorrowland. We walked into Pirates and got right on with no wait. The weather was really not as bad as we thought it was going to be. It rained twice the entire weekend. Each time it rained, it was less than 10 minutes. The first time it rained, we were right next to Stitch and went to watch the show. By the time we came out, the rain was gone. The second time we missed the rain completely. We came out of Philharmagic and the ground was wet. By 11 PM on Sunday, the park we near empty and we were able to ride everything with no wait. When we went on Space Mountain, the line was no more than 10 people when we got to the top. The kids were getting a little tired, but, it definitely wasn’t from standing in line.

Here is the Mickey in front of the MK for the P&PP.

And here is one of Pirate Mickey.


#13

The last day was to be spent at Epcot. We love going to the Flower Festival for the pictures. We haven’t been there since before the Spaceship Earth upgrade, so, it was a good time to go. We used our fastpasses for Soarin’ and Test Track only. The rest of the time, none were needed. Spaceship Earth was busy when we first got to the park, but, that is typical. Many people want to ride it first because it is the first ride they come upon. We like to head to the land first to get our Soarin’ fastpasses. We didn’t get to Epcot until 10 AM, so the Soarin’ line was at 30 minutes. We grabbed our fastpasses, rode Living with the Land and then headed over to The Seas. We got right on to the clam mobiles, watched Turtle Talk with Crush and spent some time walking the aquariums. We then headed back to the land to ride Soarin’. The line had grown to 45 minutes, but, we walked right in with our fastpasses. After that, we walked over to Test Track, but, the fastpass return times were during our lunch reservation at LeCellier. The lines at Mission Space were 5 for the green and 20 for the orange. They no longer have the single rider line at Mission Space which was kind of frustrating. The kids and wife like the green. I like the orange. It worked out well though because by the time I got off the ride, the TT fastpass return times were after our lunch would be done.

We still had an hour before the lunch reservation, so, we headed over to the Fiesta ride in Mexico where there was no wait. Then rode Maelstrom. The wait on that ride was less than 3 minutes. We then walked the rest of the way around the world and grabbed some photo opportunities. I will post some pics later along with the review of LeCellier later. I have some work I have to do.


#14

What a lovely TR - a really enjoyable read with lovely photographs too. How lovely to be in the parks when the crowds are so light, and I loved the ‘wrong turn to MK’ story I bet the kids were delighted- thanks for sharing.


#15

Sounds like a great trip. Love the pics and the reviews. Glad you were able to surprise the kids. Looking forward to the rest.


#16

We walked around Epcot getting some nice pictures of some interesting and new topiaries.

Beautiful Tinkerbell.

Victoria Gardens outside of LeCellier.

Captain Hook.

This Goofy stands over 20 feet tall from the ground.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

LeCellier was fantastic. Can you believe there were people actually complaining because there wasn’t room for immediate seating without an ADR? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I even told one of them that most people make their dining reservations for this restaurant up to 6 months in advance. I then directed him to Mousebuzz.com for good hints and tips on how to plan a vacation for Disney. I hope he remembers to take the advice.

I had the Cheese Soup appetizer followed by the Filet Mignon with Mushroom Risotto. I had the Chocolate Chocolate Whiskey Cake for desert. The Cheese Soup with the bacon and potatoes is always a great start. Especially when the only thing you have had for the day is a cup of coffee and your ADR is for 1:30 PM. This is one of the restaurants I intentionally make myself hungry for by ignoring my stomach for 5-6 hours. The Filet was so tender, I didn’t need a knife. They use a really nice mix of mushrooms for the risotto. I almost ordered a side of roasted mushrooms to go with this, but, I wanted to make sure I had room for dessert. The wife ordered the mushroom ravioli. The garlic was a little bit overpowering in them this time, but, nothing that a little salt didn’t fix. Not much, just a tad to offset the garlic a bit. She had the Chocolate “Moose”. The powdered bittersweet chocolate that covers this mousse makes this one of the best desserts in Epcot. It is so rich and creamy. Extremely thick and satisfying. The whiskey in the cake adds a dimension that is so unexpected. It adds a taste that seems to be like bittersweet dark chocolate. It totally fools your senses when you don’t taste whiskey at all. Until you realize that the bittersweet dark chocolate you think you are eating is the whiskey itself. I had a couple of the Trios Pistoles beers. It is a dark beer, but, not heavy like Guinness Draught. Don’t get me wrong, Guinness Draught is my favorite beer when sitting down to a meal. I enjoy black and tans when walking around Epcot. But, this dark beer had the flavor of a dark beer, but, the lightness of a pale ale. The carbonation seemed to be double that of a normal beer. It went down very easily. That’s kind of scary because the alcohol content is 9%. Just to give you an idea of how strong that is, Budweiser is 5%.

The person sitting next to me ordered the New York Strip with Bercy Butter and Balsamic Red Onions. Before she had taken a bite, she asked the server for A1 Steak Sauce. The server said he would get it, but, you could almost hear the dismay in his voice. I kindly offered the advice of trying the steak first before putting the A1 on mentioning that it really is an exceptional steak without needing anything. I explained to her my many trips there and she heeded the advice. She took one bite, looked at me and her eyes opened as big as saucers. She couldn’t thank me enough for not allowing her to ruin her steak. When the server came back, she said I had convinced her she didn’t need the steak sauce anymore. While you may be used to doing something at home, I highly suggest you taste the food at a table service restaurant at Disney before adding anything to it. You could wind up ruining a great meal. More thoughts to come…


#17

Dream Team Sightings…none. Last time we were here, we got bombarded with Dream Team Sightings and even had three Dreams come true.

I think this had more to do with our times at the parks than being in the wrong place. We got a late start every day because we kept very late hours. We didn’t have any breakfast ADR’s because our times were, 12 AM Friday, 10 PM Saturday, 1 AM Sunday. Because the kids are 9 and 7, our past trips have usually been early in the morning to no later than 9-10 PM. Our Dream Fastpasses were for being the first family on Primeval Whirl. We also got recognized for being the first family for a character breakfast. The other one was for being the first family at the American Adventure Show at Epcot. So, if you are hoping for a Dream Team to give you something, it is probably the best bet to get started early and try to be first.


#18

good one!

I love how you surprised the kids. Heeehee, I could not have done that:laugh:


#19

As you can see, my next trip is already planned. I highly recommend the weekend that my next trip is scheduled.


#20

I completely agree with a Deluxe Disney Resort only for me. But, for some folks, if the dollars are right and they need really good transportation with EMH, this resort could fill a really nice niche. I haven’t decided where to stay on my next trip, but, it is definitely going to be one of my 4 favorites. Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian or Animal Kingdom.