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Old 01-25-2015, 12:33 AM   #1
Micah008
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Default Our Extended Family and Three DVC Resorts Trip - Jan 2015

Table of Contents:
Day 1 - Arrival / Villas at Grand Floridian / Epcot / Hollywood Studios (Part 1) (Part 2)
Day 2 - Magic Kingdom (Link)
Day 3 - Mini-golf / Animal Kingdom Villas / Magic Kingdom (Link)
Day 4 - Magic Kingdom (Link)
Day 5 - Animal Kingdom (Link)
Day 6 - Hollywood Studios (Link)
Day 7 - Magic Kingdom (Part 1) (Part 2)
Day 8 - Epcot / Old Key West (Part 1) (Part 2)
Day 9 - Hollywood Studios (Link)
Day 10 - Epcot / Animal Kingdom (Link)
Day 11 - Departure (Link)


The Basic Plot:
We visited Disney World from Thursday 1/1 through Sunday 1/11 2015 (10 nights), staying at 3 different DVC resorts. The first 2 nights were at VGF in a Lake View Studio, the next 5 nights at AKV-Jambo in a Savanna View Studio, and the last 3 nights at OKW in a 1BR. We selected VGF for the proximity to Magic Kingdom, and the ability to sleep 5 in a studio. AKV was next, to align with the rest of my family who was staying there in DVC Value Studios for their entire stay. Lastly we selected OKW in a 1BR to give us more room to stretch out at the end of the trip, and again for the ability to sleep 5.

Also on part of the trip we had my sister, her family, and my parents along for 7 of the nights from 1/3 to 1/10. It was a total of 11 people at most, the majority of the days being 9 of us, and the beginning and end of the trip just the 5 of us.

This was our first time visiting in early January (we normally do late January and early February). We chose these dates in part because of when our annual passes would expire, in part because we could see more Christmas decorations, and these dates also allowed us to take DS6 out of school fewer days and fewer vacation days for me.


The Primary Cast:
Me: This was my 10th time to WDW (see signature for the list). The things I was most looking forward to on this trip were to see Christmas decorations, stay in a Savanna View room, and to be able to share our favorite place in the world with my extended family.

DW: She has also been to WDW 10 times including this trip, plus one trip to Disneyland growing up. On this trip she was most excited to try some new restaurants and to see the Christmas decorations everywhere.

DWTS: My wife's twin sister joined us again this trip. This was her 7th trip to WDW, and it had been 2 years since she last joined us. I think she was most excited just to get out of Wisconsin in January, but also loves Disney World.

DS6: This was his 6th trip to WDW. His favorite ride is the Mine Train, and his favorite character is Goofy. Now at 46" he can do almost everything, but there are a few he still just doesn't want to go on. He was excited for the warmer weather, and to have his cousins along for a trip (which was a surprise until a week before the trip)

DS4: This was his 5th trip to WDW. His favorite ride is Toy Story Mania, and his favorite character is Buzz Lightyear. He is finally at 38" (barely), so still misses out of quite a few rides... but is very good about it. Once he is tall enough, he says he wants to go on them all, including a few things his older brother still refuses to.


Additional Cast:
This group is made up of my younger sister, her husband, their DD7 and DS5, and my Mom and Dad. They stayed in 2 Value Studios at AKV-Jambo, for all 7 nights.

- My sister hadn't been to WDW since '91, and the rest of her family had never gone. They really wanted to join us before their oldest got too mature for the princesses, and now that their youngest was old enough and tall enough (44") to enjoy most things.

- My Mom was at WDW with me in March for the F&G Festival, and my Dad hadn't been there since '91 either. They mostly came to see the grandchildren, and watch their enjoyment as they experience things, but also planned some resort time and an extra day at Epcot.


Some Past Trip Photos:

April 1987 trip: (My Mom, sister, and I - we were 8 and 5)


February 1991 trip: (My Dad, sister and I)


February 2004 trip: (just DW and I)


February 2010 trip: (DS6 was 1 (almost 2) at the time)


January 2012 trip: (DS4 was only 1 at the time)


January 2013 trip:


January 2014 trip:


March 2014 trip:


August 2014 trip:
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Apr '87 offsite; Feb '91 offsite; Feb '04 offsite; Feb '10 Pop; Jan '12 ASSp; Jan '13 Pop; Jan '14 VGF/AKV (Report); Mar '14 POR; Aug '14 SSR (Report); Jan '15 VGF/AKV/OKW (Report); Jan '16 BLT/BCV (Report); Aug '16 AKV; Jan '17 PVB/BWV; Jan '18 Pop/BRV; Aug '18 AKV; Jan '19 PVB/BCV; Jan '20 VGF/AKV/DRR

Last edited by Micah008; 02-25-2016 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 01-25-2015, 07:34 AM   #2
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I'm in!
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:59 AM   #3
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I'm in. Like the way you put some of the old pics makes it more enjoyable.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:02 AM   #4
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I am in and waiting... Love the vintage family pics to introduce your report. Gives it an extra layer of love.
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:25 AM   #5
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I'm in! Can't wait to hear about your trip and how you liked the resorts!
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:12 PM   #6
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I'm in as well. Looking forward to it! Thanks for taking the time.
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:09 PM   #7
Micah008
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Default Day 1 - Arrival / Villas at Grand Floridian / Epcot / Hollywood Studios

Thursday January 1st
Crowd Level 9

We actually started this trip off a day earlier on New Years Eve, since we were flying out early on New Year's Day. We drove the 3 hours to Milwaukee, picking up DWTS along the way, and then checked into our hotel near the airport mid-afternoon... and were surprised with an upgrade.

We were staying for free using IHG points at a Holiday Inn Express, and the Platinum upgrade was to a room with a special kids room added on to what was basically normal hotel room, but it was actually perfect for us. (think DVC would ever make some rooms like this?)



We used the pool for a bit, went out for dinner nearby, celebrated the new year at about 8pm, and then all went to bed early... well before midnight.

In the morning we flew out, and landed in Orlando a little after noon. We had a quick lunch at the Chick-Fil-A in the airport (since we love them, and don't have one at home). We then headed down to the DME check-in, getting there at 1:00. Our bus didn't actually leave until 1:25, but we were at the Grand Floridian right at 2:00… only about 2 hours since our flight landed.

We immediately started seeing Christmas decorations everywhere, including some nice touches in the Villas building:





We found out our room wasn't ready yet, but we had a few ideas for the afternoon anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Knowing it would be very crowded, our plan for the first few days of this trip were to spend more resort time, time at the pool, and go to a few other resorts to see Christmas decorations. The weather looked like it would be better for the pool tomorrow, so we headed out to go look at Christmas decorations instead, first at the Grand Floridian main building:



Then we headed over to the Wilderness Lodge (via monorail and boat). We we had never been there before, but always wanted to (and tried to stay there for this trip actually, but the waitlist never came through). This was #1 on our list also because we heard they had some of the best Christmas decorations of any resort.





We got a text saying that our room was ready, and we knew we needed to start getting ready for dinner, so we headed back to the Grand Floridian.

Here are a few pictures of our Lake View Studio, room 1304. We had stayed in a VGF Studio before, and really enjoyed it... but this was our first time with a Lake View.





And some pictures of the view from the balcony:




...continued in next post...
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Apr '87 offsite; Feb '91 offsite; Feb '04 offsite; Feb '10 Pop; Jan '12 ASSp; Jan '13 Pop; Jan '14 VGF/AKV (Report); Mar '14 POR; Aug '14 SSR (Report); Jan '15 VGF/AKV/OKW (Report); Jan '16 BLT/BCV (Report); Aug '16 AKV; Jan '17 PVB/BWV; Jan '18 Pop/BRV; Aug '18 AKV; Jan '19 PVB/BCV; Jan '20 VGF/AKV/DRR

Last edited by Micah008; 01-25-2015 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:10 PM   #8
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...continued...





After a little time getting moved in and getting ready, it was time to head out for Dinner. We had a reservation at Chefs de France, since it didn’t really fit into the plans any other day we figured arrival day was as good as anything…

We decided to walk through the Polynesian over to the TTC to catch the monorail to Epcot. This gave us a chance to check out decorations at one more resort, and also really isn’t a bad walk from the VGF building (and will be better when construction is complete).





I know this may not be a popular statement… but I actually like the new lobby at the Polynesian. It is very open, colorful and has lots of natural light. I don’t have any emotional attachment to the old lobby, so unlike many people I guess I really don’t miss it.

On to Epcot… where there were still plenty of Christmas decorations still out.



When we got to Epcot this was the first we really noticed how busy the parks were, and remembered this was a crowd level 9 day. But, since we really only were planning dinner and then checking out the Osborne lights, it really didn't matter to us how crowded it was for everyone else.

This was our first time having dinner at Chefs de France. The 3 of us adults had the Lobster Bisque, and then split the Duck and Beef Short Ribs. The kids split Chicken Strips and Pasta (both eating more bread than anything, and stealing some of our Bisque). The meal was good, but it wasn't the best meal we ever had or anything… with the Duck in particular being a little dry, but everything else was cooked as we expected, and tasted good.

From there we headed over to Hollywood Studios, to make sure we had a chance to see the Osborne Lights, the only other must-do of the day… since there wasn't another HS day where they would still be operating.







There were hidden mickeys everywhere in the lights. DS4 was having a great time looking for them all (something he had never done much of in the past). At least 4 in this picture alone...



We all really enjoyed the lights!

After seeing the lights we had a FP+ for Toy Story Mania, and then we headed back to the resort for the night.

As we took the bus back to the resort we reflected on how many different modes of transportation we had used in a single day, and how far we had come since waking up. ...Car, Shuttle, Airplane, AGT Train, Motorcoach, Monorail, Boat, Bus, and of course walking. Maybe we should have rented a surrey bike just to complete the list…

Off to bed after a long day, since we were planning an early day at Magic Kingdom tomorrow.
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Apr '87 offsite; Feb '91 offsite; Feb '04 offsite; Feb '10 Pop; Jan '12 ASSp; Jan '13 Pop; Jan '14 VGF/AKV (Report); Mar '14 POR; Aug '14 SSR (Report); Jan '15 VGF/AKV/OKW (Report); Jan '16 BLT/BCV (Report); Aug '16 AKV; Jan '17 PVB/BWV; Jan '18 Pop/BRV; Aug '18 AKV; Jan '19 PVB/BCV; Jan '20 VGF/AKV/DRR

Last edited by Micah008; 01-25-2015 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah008 View Post
but this was our first time with a Lake View.
So, did you like the view?
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Old 01-25-2015, 05:47 PM   #10
Micah008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC Mike View Post
So, did you like the view?
We did enjoy the view a lot, but I am still undecided if it was worth the extra points, especially since we were only there 2 nights. The main time I ended up having time to enjoy it was the following afternoon while everyone else was getting ready for dinner.

I think I would have liked it more if we had been able to see the fireworks from our balcony, which oddly enough we actually could see (partially) from our Standard View room the previous time at VGF.
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Apr '87 offsite; Feb '91 offsite; Feb '04 offsite; Feb '10 Pop; Jan '12 ASSp; Jan '13 Pop; Jan '14 VGF/AKV (Report); Mar '14 POR; Aug '14 SSR (Report); Jan '15 VGF/AKV/OKW (Report); Jan '16 BLT/BCV (Report); Aug '16 AKV; Jan '17 PVB/BWV; Jan '18 Pop/BRV; Aug '18 AKV; Jan '19 PVB/BCV; Jan '20 VGF/AKV/DRR
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