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  1. #1

    • Solar Flare Foamer
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    Arrow Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    And my first one here on Mice Chat. Haven't been on the site in a while, so I may not be up to speed on everything. I just made a few observations on my nine day trip that I thought I'd share. My usual disenchantment with the parks was not as heavy this time around, which is surprising considering my last trip was made with no background knowledge of Disney World whatsoever. I had figured this trip would be even harder on me, but surprisingly, I found some things to have changed for the better, and a handful of complaints that are mostly just the same old ones. Here's a brief synopsis of what I thought.

    The Good:
    • Customer Service seemed to be kicked up a notch. I don't usually notice that many cast members around when you need them, but them seemed ever prevalent this trip. Most where cordial, a few where even outright engaging. Only one or two made me want to run and hide, mostly in the parking areas. Most everyone recognized my daughter was in a wheelchair and not a stroller. The few that didn't, realized their mistake right away. Only two seemed to have a problem understanding that, and by that time our trip was over and we only had two rides left to go. They let us in anyway.
    • Ding dong, the wand is gone! Nuff' said.
    • The food is still outstanding and the Dining Plan, to coin a phrase, rocks.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean was nowhere near as bad as I feared it would be. Though I hope that's the extent of the self-consuming pirate-ification of the park. Now that there's a movie tie in, I don't want the ride to suddenly start to date itself. The Jack animatronics are really quite nice. Though I would have liked to have seen more then one or two classic characters get an upgrade.
    • Turtle Talk with Crush. Brilliant concept executed professionally. I can't imagine it fitting in any other park or pavilion. The concept is suited to The Living Seas as much as The Seas with Nemo & Friends.
    • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. Yeah, I know. But I like to laugh. If your not a fan of corny humor, then stay away from this one. My dad would have loved this.
    • Nemo: The Musical is a friggin Broadway play in Disney World. How could you NOT like it?
    • Nemo: The Ride. Okay, this is also in The Bad. I like the ride a lot and will no doubt ride it multiple times even in a single day. But location is an issue for me.
    • Merchandise. Can you believe there was actually stuff in the parks that I wanted to buy this year? This year. Not two years ago when I went to the park with plenty of extra money. This year. The year I went broke. <sigh>
    The Bad:
    • The usual stuff. Giant Hat where it's not supposed to be. Rides that just so happen to be closed on the day of my visit. And that one cast member that inevitably ends up either yelling at me or treating me like I'm ten years old. But that's passable and unavoidable at this point.
    • Expedition Everest. Okay, this had nothing to do with the experience. I really do love everything about this ride. It's flawless. The themeing is great. The location is perfect. The execution is grand. The bad was when I looked down in the silhouette area and saw exactly HOW the track transitions. (!) That scared me more then anything else. I only pray that's some really, REALLY fool-proof technology. Other then that, I'm going on it again.
    • The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Great ride in the wrong park in the wrong pavilion. The Sea Cabs definitely needed something more then what they were, from the very start. But the Nemo overlay does nothing to justify the pavilion's existence. A really nice 24 karat gold-platted Square Peg in a round hole that needed an update.
    • The Grand Fiesta Tour. Dear God in Heaven. That cartoon covered sign looks terrible in the middle of the Mexican street. The refurbishment itself is beautiful. The new facades really add something to the ride. The cartoon characters serve to completely nullify that.
    Alright, I'll start simple. Here's some shots of our hotel and the place with which we ate. A little later, I'll post some pics of Day 1.

    I took over 600 photos, so there's bound to be some good ones among the schlock. I'll try and post only those. We stayed at Coronado Springs. My wife must have liked it, because she insists we stay there again next year.

    My wife has this tradition of taking detailed photos of hotel rooms she stays in, so since I had camera duty this time around, I took the requisite shots.

















    I hate that I didn't get to see the largest of the pools, because that's the one with the Mayan pyramid and the heavy themeing. I guess I'll have to wait till next time.

    Here's some shots of in and around the lobby:










    The Pepper Market was a nice large open area that my wife ate breakfast at each morning. What you did is your hostess would seat you, you'd order a drink and then take your ticket to a group of kiosks at the far end (forgot to snap shots of the kiosks). There you'd order from kiosks where cooks were making fresh food. They had a kiosk where they grilling really large fajitas and quesadillas. (I ate there twice.) There was a bakery one, a coffee one, a place that made Asian food, a steak and burger kiosk, a deli one and a place in the back that made fresh pizzas. I'd say some of those kiosks were out of place, if it weren't for the heavy decor and actual Mexicans in authentic looking garb cooking at each one.




    The Maya Grill was right next door to the Pepper Market, and was a more traditional sit down restaurant with a Mayan theme. I tried to avoid using my flash so I could capture the low lighting of the place accurately. While the colors are very close, it came out very blurred. Still, it was one of the best places we ate on the trip. This first pic shows the optional walk up/take out windows of the Pepper Market right next to the Maya Grill. The second is the entrance right by the sign, with the flash turned on.






    I'm an idiot, I didn't think to take more pics of the food.








    A shot from outside the restaurant I took on the way back to our room.


    Here's a nice shot looking down the hallway from restaurant area towards the lobby.


    Really bad shot of a really nice rear exit:


    Shot these on a walk back to our room. That's our room in that building (The Casitas) across the lake. Did I mention there was a lake?


    And some random shots of the lobby building.




    Yeah, I know. I'm not a good night photographer. But I was never really a picture taker in the past, and I'm trying to rectify that. Probably need to invest in a better digital camera.

    Next up, Magic Kingdom.
    Last edited by Digital Jedi; 09-13-2007 at 10:21 PM. Reason: Added Merchandise



  2. #2

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Great stuff; looking forward to more!

  3. #3

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Nice job on your first MC trip report so far. I'm definitely looking forward to the rest...

    I just found out I'm tagging along on a family trip to WDW 10/6-10/13 at POFQ, so I'm hoping to get a "taste" of what my vacation will be like from your TR!

    Keep 'em coming!
    "When entering the theater, please move as far to the end of the row as possible. Stopping in the middle is distinctly unpatriotic." -Sam Eagle

    "I may have invented these bifocals I'm wearing, but I can assure you they're not rose-colored" -Ben Franklin, The American Adventure





  4. #4

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Though I hope that's the extent of the self-consuming pirate-ification of the park
    arrrrrrr!!! There can never be enough pirates, matey!!!!! (this coming from the women with the pirate bathroom)

    cool report!!!! NEED MORE




  5. #5

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    Smile Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Nice pics,Having never been to wdw Im living through your eyes.nice job.

  6. #6

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Great pics of the hotel. Looking forward to MK.

  7. #7

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    Day 1

    The trip down was the direct result of failed planning from the previous two days. By the time we reached Orlando, I was tired and my wife was hungry. Bad combination. We both learned our lessons there.

    Then to top it off, we made a bad choice choosing a handicap room. We'd never done that before, but for our situation it was actually more inconvenient then anything else. The large shower that shared the floor with the rest of the bathroom was a slipping hazard for us and made it much harder to bathe the baby then in a standard tub. So we decided to see if we could switch. By the next day they told us another room was available, but we had to have our luggage (which my wife had already unpacked) at the luggage handlers and ready to go by 11:00am. We find this out around 9:00 when we're on our way to Magic Kingdom, and a breakfast appointment at the castle at 10:20. Somehow we made both.

    The baby caught a cold that day, and decided she was going to sleep for the rest of the day. She woke up for breakfast and went right back to sleep missing Pirates of the Caribbean and some walkthroughs.

    Deciding that resting was the best thing to do, we all go back to out room around mid-day, and return close to dusk. By this time the baby was up and ready to go, and we had some Magic Hours to take advantage of that night. Like a couple of nimrods we sat on a curb waiting for a parade on a Monday that wasn't going to happen until Wednesday. Then we stand at the worst possible spot for viewing Wishes, way too close to the castle and too far under a shade area. All we could see were an occasional white burst of light and the "shooting stars". Holding my daughter over my head turned out to be a bad idea as well, as I can still feel the teeth marks she left in my skull.

    But my little girl got to experience It's a Small World, Pooh, Buzz Lightyear and PhilharMagic and loved every minute of it. So the day wasn't a total bust in that regard. A little later that week, we went back (on the right day this time) and sat in the handicap section near the egress for the SpectroMagic parade, which she went absolute nuts for. We then got a better view of Wishes that same night.

    Here's some shots of breakfast at Cinderella's Castle. Cinderella had an incredibly sweet voice and we had a complimentary picture taken with her as part of our vacation plan. We even got to ride the elevator up with her to the main dining room. Breakfast, which I don't generally eat, was pretty good. My wife seemed astounded by the shape of the french toast.



    Pretty, aint she?

    Yes, the silhouette was intentional.














    Here's the view of the park from the balcony windows of the restaurant.









    After breakfast, the girls go into the companion restroom to do some diaper changing and I start snapping pics of the lobby. Didn't know what the heck I was doing with the settings, and the results are evident here:









    When they come out boo is sound asleep, so we're off to Pirates. I begin practicing taking pictures on the move without stopping to frame everything. Again, my success evident in the results.










    I'm not exactly what you'd call patriotic. But for some reason, I love taking pictures of the Hall of Presidents.







    By this point it's time to head back to the room for an old people nap. I guess it didn't help that it was over 90 degrees. Later that night, it time for Magic Hours. Let's just say, I haven't quite yet grasped the fine art of nighttime photography.












    My daughter got a lot of attention at the parades. Especially when we found out that there was a handicap section for them. What were we thinking? Here's later that week at the SpectroMagic parade. Boo gets spotted by Snow White from far away.

    Last edited by Digital Jedi; 09-11-2007 at 08:36 PM.



  8. #8

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    You have a beautiful family!
    I am really enjoying your trip report!

  9. #9

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    What a wonderful report! Thank you so much! Great pictures too.


  10. #10

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    I think as a parent seeing the characters interacting with kids is so "magical"!! Love it!





    It's kind of fun to do the impossible- Walt Disney

  11. #11

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Thank you so much for your report. Great pix!
    I am going to WDW for the 1st time 09/26 - 10/05. I am looking forward to it. Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge w/my Husband and 4 year old daughter.
    I am keeping my fingers crossed that things go well. We are already a Disney Family.

  12. #12

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Awesome Pictures!

    Do you happen to have any pictures of the Night of Joy stages?

    Celebrate Churros
    Only at Disney Parks..

  13. #13

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Evoulie View Post
    Awesome Pictures!

    Do you happen to have any pictures of the Night of Joy stages?
    Thank you very much. I'm afraid I had not heard of Night of Joy till just now. What's strange is I did a quick Google search to check it out, and came across a picture of a guy at Night of Joy wearing the same Tshirt I wore to Magic Kingdom doing one of my same awful dances. Spooky.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchy-poo View Post
    arrrrrrr!!! There can never be enough pirates, matey!!!!! (this coming from the women with the pirate bathroom)

    cool report!!!! NEED MORE
    A pirate bathroom. Is that like an illegally downloaded bathroom, or do I have the wrong idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by jane2073 View Post
    You have a beautiful family!
    I am really enjoying your trip report!
    Why thank you. Hence the exclusion of any self portraits. I didn't want to kill the magic altogether.

    Quote Originally Posted by tayakaleb View Post
    I think as a parent seeing the characters interacting with kids is so "magical"!! Love it!
    I didn't realize what a difference it would make to me personally, seeing things through her eyes. Just goes to show how much growing up is overrated.

    Quote Originally Posted by brose07 View Post
    Thank you so much for your report. Great pix!
    I am going to WDW for the 1st time 09/26 - 10/05. I am looking forward to it. Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge w/my Husband and 4 year old daughter.
    I am keeping my fingers crossed that things go well. We are already a Disney Family.
    My daughter is 3, and that number of days seemed to be just right for us. Even if you have your days scheduled, take breaks when you can. Rest on free days where you don't have anything planned. If it looks like a day is going to exhaust you, don't be afraid to go back to hotel for a couple of hours to rest. It can make all the difference in the world, and you'll always have a chance to go back (presuming your using the Park Hoppers).

    Thanks everyone for the comments. I'll try and get day 2 photos up tonight.



  14. #14

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeland View Post
    What a wonderful report! Thank you so much! Great pictures too.

  15. #15

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    Re: Sept 1st-9th Trip Report

    Great report! Although I have to ask, what does your daughters wheelchair look like that the CM's wanted to argue with you?

    Love the photos though, especially the inside of Cindy's castle. Good job snagging those reservations.

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