Hello all fellow Disney fans!!
Just wanted to post out thoughts about the trip we just took to WDW. We arrived Monday, Jan. 23rd, and departed Monday, Jan 30th. - 7 nights/8 days.
We are not "newbies" to the World - this is our eighth trip to WDW in the last ten years. Normally we go in October, to take advantage of the Halloween party - that is our favorite. But, with the free dining package Disney rolled out, and late Januray is a great time to get out of Indiana, we decided to take advantage of this deal.
Monday, Jan. 23rd - Arrived Orlando airport ( love this airport, always had good experience with them ), on to the Magic Express, and "whooosh" off to Caribbean Beach Resort. First surprise: One of the resort members met us at the bus unloading area, check our name, and had our room information and paperwork ready to go!! Yea!! Considering is was like 10am, we were not sure our room would be ready yet. Well done, Caribbean Beach. Stayed at Barbados, so we could just walk over to our room. From our perspective, a room is just a place to come back from the parks at the end of the day, fall into bed, get up next morning, shower, and off to the next park. But room was clean and ready, as always. Quick lunch at the food court - *** Free refill cups now included in the Meal Package - Yea!! That was nice *** , back to the room, unpack, and off to the Magic Kingdom. As always, walking into MK is like seeing an old friend appear before you. Just makes you happy! Dinner reports to follow later.
Tuesday, Jan. 24th - Hollywood Studios - Didn't get there until around 10am, but park was up, running, and busy. Noticed something strange right off: Large groups off teenage kids, staying together, but all had same T-shirts on. All were lead by an adult with a small triangular flag on a pole. Saw two to three different of these groups. Talked to a few cast members, asking what this was about. Quickly got a global weather lesson: January in North America is winter.......... January in South America is Summer...... and Summer break!! So these were High School kids from South America that work during the year, and are sponsored by, usually, travel companies, who come to Disney for their Summer breaks. The same shirts they all wear are their sponsor shirts. OK, pretty cool - glad they have an opportunity to do this. And I have to admit, these kids may have been everywhere, but they were fairly quiet, stayed together, and well behaved. Late lunch at 50's Prime Time Cafe. Fun!! Fantasmic was not running this month, so didn't have to budget time for that, so back to the room.
Wednesday, Jan. 25th - Magic Kingdom - Breakfast at Crystal Palace (Yum!) - Another full day around the park, more groups of SA kids. Thunder Mountain not running. Construction back in Fantasy Land is proceeding - the walls are up, but this is such a big project, you can see the tops of most of the main buildings. Going to be cool!!! Dinner at Liberty Tree (Yum!) - Back to the circle in front of the castle for fireworks. They are doing something different, at least I have not seen it - Before Wishes, they project animations and pictures of people that were in that park that day. Very Cool!! Very well done!! Not sure who the AV team is that put this together, but very well done. And then Wishes....... so nice!! Off to bed.
Thursday, Jan. 26th - EPCOT - Breakfast at the resort food court, then off to EPCOT. Have to be honest, this is the park I love most. So big, so many things to do. And a truely beautiful park. World Showcase is so amazing. Dinner at Briso de Paris - Amazing food, but will follow up on this below. Secured our spot just to the side of the concert stage for the fireworks - love it!! Off to bed.
Friday, Jan. 27th - RAIN!!! Woke up early, and it was raining pretty good. Had been beautiful all week, mid-to-high 70's. So we slept in. Around noon, rain was starting to break, so we headed to Downtown Disney. Only one stop for the bus's here - at the mid-park area, by Paradise Island, none of the bus's go to the East stop now. Not sure if this is just for now, probably just to reduced attendance. Have seen a change to Downtown Disney over the years. Still a neat place to go, but I get the feeling that it is searching for an identity..... not like it was when it first opened. Late afternoon, hopped the bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge - Beautiful resort, would like to stay here sometime, just can't rationalize the extra money for a room. Dinner reservation at Boma - OMG!!! So good - more to follow. Back to the room.
Saturday, Jan. 28th - EPCOT - Day two at EPCOT - Soarin' is fantastic, although if anyone has seen it recently, you can tell the film is getting a little old - little grey/black blotches show up on the screen, probably minute dirt on the film. Heard rumor they are working on a new film, that would be cool. Dinner at Teppon Edo - Love it, more to follow. Packed it in, back to room.
Sunday, Jan. 29th - We had originally planned to go back to the Magic Kingdom this day, but due to the rain on Friday, we didn't get to go to Animal Kingdom, so we bailed on MK, and went off to AK - Like this park too, but even with a medium number of people in this park, it seems crowded. Did get to ride Expedition Everest - Great ride. Just walked around here for a while, then headed out.
Monday, Jan. 30th - How can eight days go by so fast. It is always the same, it seems like you just get here, and then a couple hours later, you are packing up to leave. Sad....... -- Got our bags checked in at the Customs House. So we have a few hours to kill. We bought a watch the day before at Animal Kingdom, and needed to get it sized. They did not have tools to do this at the Animal Kingdom store, but they advised us to go to the Watch Shop on main street in the Magic Kingdom. So off we go to MK - once we get there, we are told by them that "we used to have a tool set to do this, but we lost it a while back, so we cannot size your watch". What???? Buy another tool set...... or two. They advised us to go to Mouse Gear in EPCOT. Off we go - jump on the Monorail, and in about 20minutes, here we are back at EPCOT. Into the watch area in Mouse Gear, explain our problem, and they say "we used to have a tool set to do this, but I'm not sure if we still do". Now getting a little irritated. They call for manager.... was about five minutes before Dan came out. Looked at the watch, and after a couple adjustments, fit perfect. Well done Dan!! Thank you. Time was getting close, so back to the bus, and back to our resort. Waited about a half hour for the Magic Express, and whoooosh, here we are back in Indiana.
It is so amazing how long it seems to take time to get to the day you go down to the World, but once you are there, it goes by so fast. Sad to leave, but always tell each other that we will return. And start talking about the next trip on the plane ride back home.
So, here's a few thoughts about DisneyWorld in January:
1. Weather was really nice, all except for that one Friday morning. Mid-to-high 70's. Lucky us!!!
2. Always budget about 50% more money to take than you originally thought. Everything is expensive in the World, but they do have a monstorous list of things to take care of. Basic Mickey sweatshirt is up to around $50.00 - basic print Tshirt will run you about $32.00. Always try and get the free dining package - great deal.
3. January in North America is winter - January in South America is Summer. As noted above, the SA kids were very good. That being said, and I know this cannot be said for all of them, but a good amount of the SA adults are nasty pieces of work. Rude, pushy, demanding. Just a couple examples I saw: Rocking Roller Coaster: Cast member puts a father and his son (probably 7-ish years old) in line 12 for the next coaster, and starts loading the next lanes. As soon as the cast member walks back past them, the father and son move up to line 5, which changes the order for everyone else, and the total of four people in rows 5 and 6 are no longer riding together. The cast member comes up, and asks the father and son to move back to row 12 - the father acts like he does not understand what she is saying, even though he understood her just a minute ago on which row to go to. She keeps telling him to move, he just shakes his head. So, she takes it to the next level - stops the ride, and says a word the father does understand - "Security"......... ask she walks off, he moves back to row 12.... what's the point? Every seat on this coaster is good, you don't have to be in the front. And what is he trying to teach his son - that being pushy, and ignoring authority is OK? And this delays everyone else. As the ride started back up, I passed by the cast member who had to go toe-to-tow with this donut, and I could see she was upset on having to do this. As I passed her, I told her "Good job, thank you". She smiled, but was still upset. Example 2: Mickey's Philharmagic: Doors open, we are walking in - get pushed back by this guy, who is texting on his phone, and gets his group and kid to the seating row first, before we go in. Fine, whatever. But, then they get to the middle of the row, and sit down. You have got to be kidding. I look at him, and he at me. I tell him we are to move all the way down the row. He proceeds to start talking in his language, and by his tone and body language, he did not want to move. So, I proceeded to let him know that there are complications to breaking the rules: I'm 6'1", about 230#, and threw myself into this - I plowed right into him, stepping on his feet, and knocking his knees into the arm rest. The person behind me, while walking by, reinstructed them that we are all to move all the way down the row, and this is what happens when you think you are above the rules. This might have been a little harsh, but I getting tired of anyone who believes they are above the rules, for any reason. We all obey the rules, or it is anarchy. Just personal opinion.
4. As you travel around the park, thank the workers. Most of the workers there are working for minimum wage, and do their job to make our time at the World a good time, and I think they do a great job. We all like being told Thank You - if you see someone doing a good job, tell them - if someone helped you, thank them. I saw people asking cast members questions, and once the person had the information they needed, they just turned and walked away, like the cast member was just a machine to be used. I would not like to be treated like that, day in and day out. So if anyone from WDW is reading this - THANK YOU!!
And now, for the dining report:
1. Crystal Palace - Breakfast - Always fun, especially with Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and, my buddy, Eeyore. Food is consistantly good, hot, fresh. A+
2. Liberty Tree Taven - Dinner - Had a bit of a problem when we arrived - seemed all the reservation computers decided to take a few minutes off. So it was a bit chaotic for a while. But, the staff regrouped, and we were seated within ten minutes. Food is great, service is excellent. A+
3. Tony's - Dinner - Did not ask for this, but we got a table out on the "porch", overlooking the front circle by the train station!!! So nice. Little delay in getting our server to us, but no problem. Food was wonderful. A
4. 50's Prime Time Cafe - Late Lunch - Great, campy place to eat. Is kind of LOUD in there, but the servers make the meal an event. I think our server's name was Evelyn - Puerto Rican lady, in Florida via Chicago. Great fun!! Kept telling one lady at one table " Put your walkie-talkie away mamma, no walkie-talkies at the table. " ( Walkie-talkie = cell phone ). She was great. We were the last table in that area, so we got to talk with Evelyn for a while. She said she is adamant about people not using their cell phones at the table - as she said " talk to your family!! " Totally agree A+
5. Boma / Animal Kingdom Lodge - Dinner - OMG!!! Fanstatic!!! So many selections to choose, all so fresh, so good!! Would recommend this restaurant to anyone!!! A++
Following are all at EPCOT:
6. Bristo de Paris - France - Dinner - Beautiful restaurant - very elegant. Wait staff all wearing tuxedos, all look like they could be models!! Wow!! Food was very good. This is a dining experience - we were there almost two hours. One note: If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, this restaurant uses two of your table service tickets PER PERSON. So budget on this if you want to go here. Expensive: No alcohol, dinner for two was $105.00. A+
7. Teppon Edo - Japan - Dinner - Love this place. Food is always great, so fresh, and great to see it cooked right in front of you. We had the same chef as the last time we were there - Tomo. Great guy, very funny, very talented. Recommend this restaurant to anyone!!! A++
So that's it friends. Back here in Indiana, ready to move to Florida!!!! But can keep warm with planning our trip in October.
Will be posting some pictures taken soon.