CA's December 2013 WDW Trip Report - Page 2
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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    608
    Loving the report! I also love your "echo-y woman fish" note, lol. I didn't realize the new DAS card was only for cognitive disabilities. Thanks for reporting on that and the bands.
    “No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    1,514
    Love reading your TR
    Sorry you had so many problems with your MB/FP+
    We didn't have any problems at all in october,
    but our friends who came back from WDW yesterday had big problems, none of the FP+ worked, luckily there were the CM with the ipads who could let them through
    Looking forward to our Disney vacations

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    10,070

    Re: CA's December 2013 WDW Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by MINI Mouse View Post
    but our friends who came back from WDW yesterday had big problems, none of the FP+ worked, luckily there were the CM with the ipads who could let them through
    The CMs know there are problems, so they're really nice about it. Quite a few told us that their families have had the same problems. It was only a mild annoyance because they handle it well.

    I'm still working on the next installment. Will post soon...
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

    DL: At least 5 times in '80s
    WDW: '72, '77, '88, May '03, May '04, Nov '04, Jan '05, Feb '05, Dec '05, Jan '06, May '06, Oct '06, Nov '07, Nov '08, Feb '09, Oct 09, Dec '09, Mar '10, Apr 10, Dec '10, Mar '11, May '11, Oct '11, Dec '11, Jan '12, Oct '12, Dec '12, Feb '13, Dec '13, Nov '14, Dec '14, Feb '15, Mar '15, Apr '15, May '15, Aug '15, Oct '15, Dec '15


  4. #19
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Phillyburbs
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    1,277

    Re: CA's December 2013 WDW Trip Report

    Loving your report so far! Hope you are feeling better.
    Couldn't imagine life without WDW!
    Last Trip: Oct 2015
    Upcoming: Feb 2016
    Treehouses(2) Vaca. Villas(2) Poly(1) Contemporary(1) CSR(1) CBR(4) POR(1) Sports(4) OKW(1) SSR(2) AKL(1)
    **Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally, Golly, what a day!**

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    10,070
    MONDAY
    Parks visited: AK, MK
    Resorts visited: Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness
    Firsts: "Jingle" Cruise

    We're off to Animal Kingdom. Magic Bands worked perfectly to get into the park (Magic Bands success #4) Negotiating this park on an ECV is very challenging. The paths are tight and many people do not want to give ECV riders an inch, especially if you have no visible disabilities. The ground is very bumpy, which is a little hard on my back.

    We went to Asia first, where DH rode Everest and I waited for him safely on the ground. Since we were doing two parks today and we’re only allowed FPs in one park per day (FP+ fail #1), we made our FP+ reservations for Magic Kingdom, where we would be in the afternoon. But DH went through Everest's single rider line and got right on. He went through so fast, he came out and said he wanted to do it again. He was done in less than 15 minutes.

    We went through the Asia trail, spending time watching the weirdly cute bats. After that, we went to Africa, where I parked my ECV in the stroller area next to the Dawa Bar. We could see the new Lion King building going up behind the construction walls. The safari had a short wait, so we got in the standby line. During the safari, our jeep came within a few feet of a giraffe, then a zebra came right up to us and started rolling around on the ground like a wiggly dog! They do this to control parasites, according to the CM guide.

    After the safari, we walked through a shop where I bought a sparkly turquoise crystal bracelet. Next was Yak & Yeti for lunch. We didn’t have ADRs, but we were lucky enough to find seats at the small bar. We split lettuce wraps (mmmmm!) and fried green beans with thai chili sauce, and DH had a Big Bamboo to drink. Our bartender was very friendly and I was happy to see that he thoroughly washed his hands several times during our meal. On our way out, I spotted the Christmas pin I had seen online--a Christmas light with ears. This was the first time I had seen this pin in a store (and I never saw it again for the rest of our trip).

    Next, we drove to the Wilderness Lodge and valet parked. The WL Christmas tree is gigantic and decorated with rustic ornaments. We headed to the dock to take the ferry to Fort Wilderness so we could check out the holiday decorations on the RVs. There is a long straight walkway from the WL lobby, past Artist Point, to the pool area that has a series of long rugs with several feet of floor in between them. Rolling over them in the ECV made me feel like I was riding the Big Wheel through the halls of the Overlook Hotel in the movie “The Shining.”

    Boarding the ferry in the ECV was challenging. I got off the scooter so my DH and the captain could move it inside. At Fort Wilderness, the first thing we saw was a couple in a golf cart that was completely bling-ed out for Christmas. It was red with white polka dots, had a giant red Minnie bow in the front, and big Mickey hands sticking out of the sides that waved as they went by. One RV had a life-sized blow-up of Santa riding a John Deere tractor (I know this because it said "John Deere" on it) next to a big nativity...an odd juxtaposition!

    We saw a couple walking their dogs and stopped to talk to them about what it's like to take dogs to WDW. They have an RV and they put the dogs into daycare at the Best Friends kennel while they're in the parks. We watched other dogs playing in the FW dog park, Waggin' Trails, then headed back to the docks, stopping to look at the ponies at the ranch. Two white ponies started squabbling and a CM came over laughing and told us "the girls" do this every day at exactly this time. We saw a few ponies that had Hidden Mickeys on their rumps (I think they're shaved this way...?). Another pony came out of the stall, looked at us, and pooped. Our cue to move on...


    When we got to the docks there was a small ferry that was boarding, but they only allow ECVs on the bigger Friendship ferries. Fortunately, the CM captain said he’d do us a favor and let us board, otherwise we’d have a 45 minute wait until the next boat. Back at the Wilderness Lodge, we had cocktails and fondue at the Territory Lounge.

    We took a ferry from the Wilderness Lodge to the Magic Kingdom...from calm and relaxing to insane and chaotic! Our Magic Bands worked perfectly to get into the park (Magic Bands success #5)

    I parked my ECV near the Tiki Room and decided to walk until later because it was extremely crowded and, quite frankly, many people just aren
    't that nice to ECV riders no matter how careful and polite they are. We had FP+s for the “Jingle" Cruise, which is the Christmas version of the Jungle Cruise (they even change the sign). The Magic Bands didn’t work, but again, they let us in when we showed them our reservations on the app. (Magic Band fail #3)

    We had a female guide who was funny, but sometimes she spoke so fast it was difficult to make out what she was saying. The script was altered for the holidays, so most of it was Christmas-related jokes. Some were groaners, others were funny, and some were indecipherable. And, of course, the cruise still included the backside of water.

    We got trapped by the parade, so we spent time at the Christmas shop, then went on POTC, which was not crowded. DH stopped at Sunshine Tree Terrace for an iced coffee float, and we watched some of the parade from the Liberty Square area. We had FP+ reservations for a Wishes special viewing area, so we set off to find it. It was extremely crowded in front of the castle. We asked a CM where to go for the viewing area and she told us it was in front of the castle near the hub and wished us luck in getting there because of the huge crowd. Some people sit on the ground in the middle of these crowds while waiting for the show, and I almost tripped over them a couple times.

    We finally got to the hub, but there was nothing special there. Then DH spotted the Wishes FP area, which was at the Rose Garden, so we pushed our way through the crowd and got in the queue. The Rose Garden has a side-ish view of the castle, not a good place to be to see the projection show. They weren’t even checking Magic Bands for FPs. (Does this count as a FP fail or a CM fail?) We decided this "special" viewing area was not so special and headed back toward the center, squeezing through the mob. With great difficulty and a lot of whinging on my part, we made our way to a decent viewing spot, only missing the first minute of the Celebrate the Magic castle projection show.

    They added a special holiday portion at the end of the show, along with a segment on the new film "Frozen." The lady next to me spent the first half of the show filming it on her camera and the second half of the show watching what she filmed on the camera. The man on the other side of me watched the show and Wishes through his camera instead of actually looking at them. I don’t understand this. You can never truly experience fireworks through a YouTube video the way you can when you’re right there seeing and hearing them live. (I loooove the ones that boom really loud!) My motto: Live for the moment! Or, if you must shoot video, set up a tripod and just leave the camera alone.

    After Wishes, we squeezed our way back to Adventureland, where I had a Dole Whip. I think I’m getting bored of them. We had a FP+ for Big Thunder Mtn. This time, mine worked, but DH’s didn’t. (Magic Band success #6 / Magic Band fail #4)

    We decided to check out the new version of Country Bears. We weren’t fans of the old show, but this new, shorter show was better. We actually enjoyed it, much to our surprise. When we came out, the electrical parade was going by. We were able to find a good spot, so we watched it, then headed to the Haunted Mansion. We went to new Fantasyland and stopped at Gaston’s to get a snack...pork shank and Le Fou's Brew for DH, veggies with dip and a bottle of water for me. Those pork shanks give me the willies. So barbaric! But DH said it hit the spot at the end of a long day (and he did thankfully use a civilized fork and knife).

    It was EMH till 1:00 am, so after 11:00 pm the crowd had thinned out a lot. We were able to get on Little Mermaid right away. The two clam-mobiles behind us each contained one CM maintenance man. I guess they have to go on the ride to make sure there are no problems...? It was funny to see these two big uniformed guys sitting in separate vehicles while the cutsey visuals and music were going on. Afterwards, DH went on Space Mountain while I spent time browsing in a shop, picking up a magnetic Disney dogs picture frame. We rode the TTA, then Buzz. I don’t like to brag (much), but I scored 509,400 and DH scored 32,200. Thank you, big orange robot!

    It was going on 1:00 am, so we headed toward the exit, browsing the Emporium on the way. We took the ferry to the Wilderness Lodge to retrieve our car. It was so late, there was no one at the valet stand, so we had to go into the hotel to find a CM to help us call for the valet. We finally got the car and drove back to the room to collapse after a very long day.

    End of day 3.
    Last edited by Curious Alice; 12-28-2013 at 04:02 PM.
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

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  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
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    10,183
    Just had chance to catch up with your report after Christmas. Love it!

    The RVs sound fun - as does the fondue (and lettuce cups - mmmm!). ;-)

    I've never understood having a FP for Wishes. Did you feel it was a wasted FP?

    Thanks for taking the time to write such detailed reports. You're taking me right back to WDW!!
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Florida
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    10,070
    Quote Originally Posted by Winkster View Post
    I've never understood having a FP for Wishes. Did you feel it was a wasted FP?

    Thanks for taking the time to write such detailed reports. You're taking me right back to WDW!!
    You're welcome!

    The Wishes FP didn't affect how many FPs we could get for the day, so it's not really a real FP, more like a pass for a reserved area. That said, we didn't like the reserved area, so we watched from the regular crowd area. The view of Celebrate the Magic is terrible from the reserved area. And it's too close to the castle to really see Wishes in full.
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

    DL: At least 5 times in '80s
    WDW: '72, '77, '88, May '03, May '04, Nov '04, Jan '05, Feb '05, Dec '05, Jan '06, May '06, Oct '06, Nov '07, Nov '08, Feb '09, Oct 09, Dec '09, Mar '10, Apr 10, Dec '10, Mar '11, May '11, Oct '11, Dec '11, Jan '12, Oct '12, Dec '12, Feb '13, Dec '13, Nov '14, Dec '14, Feb '15, Mar '15, Apr '15, May '15, Aug '15, Oct '15, Dec '15


  8. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Uk
    Posts
    125

    Re: CA's December 2013 WDW Trip Report

    Loving the trip report its getting me motivated to book my 2014 trip

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Florida
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    10,070

    Re: CA's December 2013 WDW Trip Report

    TUESDAY
    Resorts visited: Art of Animation
    Parks visited: Hollywood Studios
    Firsts: Brown Derby Lounge, 'Ohana dinner

    We started the day at Art of Animation's food court to get breakfast from the tandoor oven station. I had what I always have: the vegetarian breakfast sandwich, which is naan bread with Indian-spiced cauliflower, spinach, and paneer cheese. DH had the regular breakfast sandwich (eggs, bacon, cheese) on naan.

    We drove to Hollywood Studios and parked in the lot. Having the ECV was a bit confusing. We were parked pretty far back, so I wound up driving the ECV all the way to the park entrance while DH took the tram. (Is there a better way to do this?) I got there first! Magic Bands worked perfectly to get into the park.
    (Magic Band success #7)

    I parked the ECV near the Jack Sparrow attraction and we headed to TSM, where we had FPs. Mine worked, his didn't. (
    Magic Band success #8 / Magic Band fail #4) DH was beating me until the very last segment, where you have to fire as fast as possible. I wound up winning by a hair, though his accuracy score was better. We headed toward Streets of America, taking a break at Writer's Stop, where we shared a big cream cheese carrot cookie/cake thing that was DELICIOUS! This may become a new tradition for our DHS visits (as long as Writer's Stop doesn't become a Starbucks).

    We walked through New York Street looking for the hidden purple cat, even though the Osborne Lights were not on yet. Star Tours had a long wait, so we skipped it and browsed the Christmas store, then went to Muppets 3D. We had some time left before our ToT FPs, so we went to The Great Movie Ride, but the wait was too long for my patience. We stopped to browse the Animation Gallery and DH ordered a Mary Blair print through the prints-on-demand kiosk. By this time, I really needed the ECV, so we got it and headed down Sunset Blvd, stopping in a couple of stores. DH bought me a sterling silver ring that I saw in a jewelry case.

    I parked the ECV on a side street, then we went on ToT (my all-time favorite ride), followed by RnRC. I know I probably shouldn't go on these rides (especially RnRC) because of my back problems, but I just can't miss them.

    The Brown Derby recently opened an outdoor lounge where you can get food and drinks from a new bar menu. You don't need an ADR, but it is small and is first-come, first-served. We were seated at a table next to the bar, where we got into a conversation with the bartender. DH had a margarita flight and Derby Sliders (one was Wagyu beef with cognac-mustard aoli, smoked gouda cheese, bacon, and avocado; the other was chorizo with chipotle mayo, manchego cheese, pickles, and crispy onions). I had a fabulous Bloody Mary and The Derby Cocktail (jumbo lump crab and shrimp with avocado and horseradish sauce). While we were there, a group of what sounded like hundreds of foreign teenagers gathered in the area in front of the Sorcerer's Hat and started the high decible, brain-piercing chanting that they're infamous for, drowning out all the park music, destroying the Disney ambience, and interfering with our ability to have a peaceful conversation over drinks. Why does Disney allow this?

    It was almost time for the Osborne Lights, so we headed to Streets of America, found a spot to park the ECV, and waited for the millions of tiny lights to be turned on. A young couple who was standing near us asked if we had found the purple cat yet. We told them we hadn't, and they laughed and said if we didn't find it, we should "thunk ourselves in the head." Don't worry, readers, I'm not going to include any spoilers about where the cat is located. The lights came on with that super-fast rendition of "Jingle Bells" by Barbra Streisand, who sounds like she recorded it after drinking 30 cups of extra strong coffee. We walked up and down the streets looking for the cat. We watched the lights dance to my favorite Osborne Lights song: "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo" by Trans Siberian Orchestra, then, feeling like losers for not finding the cat, we headed back to get the ECV...to find the purple cat only about 20 feet away from where we had been waiting earler!!! We starting laughing about that couple who knew we were waiting so close to the cat without even knowing it!

    We had ADRs for 'Ohana, so we left the park to go back to the room to freshen up. We decided to double up on the ECV for the long ride to the car. I calculated that our combined weight wouldn't be too much for it, so I sat on DH's lap and drove the ECV, which wasn't easy or comfortable, and probably wasn't very safe, but we were tired and it worked.

    We valet parked at the Poly and went to the 'Ohana check-in stand to ask how early we should arrive to request a window table for our 9:45 pm ADR. The hostess said we should check in about 15 minutes early. We still had time, so we took the monorail to the Grand Floridian to see the magnificent holiday decorations. The life-sized gingerbread house makes the lobby smell so delicious, I wanted to buy a piece of gingerbread at the counter inside the house. The smallest piece was a shingle, which was a plain, thin slab of gingerbread the size of a large cookie, and cost more than seven dollars!! No, thank you. I can live without it.

    We got on the monorail to go back to the Poly for our ADR. As usual, it got stuck in traffic and we watched the minutes tick away as it got closer and closer to our reservation time. We finally started moving. A family got off at the Contemporary, and just before the doors closed, I noticed the little girl had left her character autograph book on the seat. DH grabbed it and ran after them, catching them just before they got on the elevator.

    We arrived at the 'Ohana check-in 20 minutes early and told the hostess that we'd like a romantic, preferably window, table because we were celebrating an anniversary (sort of true). We were given a pager and went to the bar to wait over a couple of drinks, including DH's obligatory Lapu Lapu (rum drink served in a real pineapple). We waited and waited and waited. Finally, at 10:15 pm, more than 30 minutes past our ADR time, we were led to a table right in the center of the room under an extremely bright light. We were seated side by side and facing the kitchen door. It was like we were under a spotlight...no exaggeration! We decided to move to the other side of the table to face the window that was all the way across the room, where we had a very far away view of the castle. Better than looking at a kitchen door.

    Then the "entertainment" began...and I use that word as loosely as possible. The "singer" (another loosely used word) wasn't just singing off-key, she was mangling the melodies to the point of making them almost unrecognizable. Have you ever seen the movie, "My Best Friend's Wedding"? If so, think of Cameron Diaz in the karaoke bar. Meanwhile, our less-than-friendly waiter came by every so often to plop more food on our table. The food wasn't bad, but it wasn't terribly interesting and the pork was overcooked and dry. And why they serve unpeeled shrimp is beyond me. It's disgusting with those little legs (ew...shudder!). Finally, dessert came, and that was the high point of the evening. Bread pudding a la mode with bananas and caramel sauce. It was quite good.

    I really don't understand why this dinner is so popular. It was way too much mostly mediocre food and terrible entertainment. I don't know if I have ever been so disappointed by a WDW restaurant. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if we hadn't been seated at the worst table in the room. The 'Ohana decor is nice, the giant tikis are cool, and I really enjoyed our 'Ohana character breakfast a couple of years ago, but I will never go back for dinner. FAIL!

    It was quite late by the time we finished dinner, so we drove back to our room to rest up for Wednesday, the day I was most looking forward to.

    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

    DL: At least 5 times in '80s
    WDW: '72, '77, '88, May '03, May '04, Nov '04, Jan '05, Feb '05, Dec '05, Jan '06, May '06, Oct '06, Nov '07, Nov '08, Feb '09, Oct 09, Dec '09, Mar '10, Apr 10, Dec '10, Mar '11, May '11, Oct '11, Dec '11, Jan '12, Oct '12, Dec '12, Feb '13, Dec '13, Nov '14, Dec '14, Feb '15, Mar '15, Apr '15, May '15, Aug '15, Oct '15, Dec '15


  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
    Posts
    10,183
    Oh no! Epic O'hana fail!

    I haven't been there for years but found it similar to your experience of too much mediocre food.

    The only "entertainment" then was kids races around the restaurant. Just what you want for a nice meal! Though judging by your experience, maybe it's better that we didn't have your entertainment.

    Love the doubling up on the ECV idea. Maybe Lee and I should try that! Oh hang on - is there an industrial strength one?
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  11. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    1,514
    Love reading your TR

    We had the same experience at Ohana!!
    Had high expectations of it but we were disappointed.
    We didn't know you had to order the Lapu Lapu at the bar and our server..... well, let's say I didn't want to ask him so we had regular drinks
    Food was just ok, nothing spectacular
    We will only go back there for Breakfast.

    Only highlight of the evening was Hallowishes from the Beach after dinner, a-ma-zing!!
    Looking forward to our Disney vacations

  12. #27
    Uh oh! Going to O'hana's in April for dinner. I hope it gets better by then.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    10,070
    Well, don't settle for a bad table. Looking back, maybe we should have complained instead of so readily accepting a table in the blindingly bright hell where they sat us.

    And definitely save room for dessert, the best part of the meal.
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

    DL: At least 5 times in '80s
    WDW: '72, '77, '88, May '03, May '04, Nov '04, Jan '05, Feb '05, Dec '05, Jan '06, May '06, Oct '06, Nov '07, Nov '08, Feb '09, Oct 09, Dec '09, Mar '10, Apr 10, Dec '10, Mar '11, May '11, Oct '11, Dec '11, Jan '12, Oct '12, Dec '12, Feb '13, Dec '13, Nov '14, Dec '14, Feb '15, Mar '15, Apr '15, May '15, Aug '15, Oct '15, Dec '15


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