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Old 08-15-2020, 02:05 AM   #1
SouthPoint
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Smile Procrastination Maximus - December 2015 TR

Trip Report Dec 10-15, 2015 OKW
Yes, it says December 2015. I took notes during the trip to post a trip report and they have been sitting untouched for 56 months. So it will be a trip down memory lane as well as a report. Keep in mind how old this info is as you read.

Participants:
Me, aka SouthPoint, aka Jack Disney to my kids
Julie, wife
MoB - Mother of the Bride
This is our second trip for just the two of us since we joined DVC in 1994. We are attending the wedding of a daughter of a long time friend who moved to FL years back. On our other Disney trip for just the two of us, it was for her other daughter’s wedding in 2011.

The Plan:
Fly SouthWest from PHL on Thursday the 10th. Spend a couple of days in WDW (including the candlelight processional) and rent a car to go to the wedding in Mt Dora on Sunday the 13th, then another night and day at WDW, flying home the 15th.

Preparations:
Reservation: points for a studio at OKW.
Tickets: We intend to buy with our DVC discount two Gold AP’s, since we are returning to OKW in June 2016 for 9 nights with extended family.
Meals: During our last extended family trip in 2014 (10 nights), I had purchased a TiW card. It expires 12/31/2015, so we can use it again.
Car: I signed up with the Emerald Club with National through work. I’m to pick it up at the Dolphin on Saturday morning, and will return it Monday morning.


Day 1 Thursday
Our neighbor and unofficial fourth child Heather Jean kindly drove us to PHL for our mid morning flight. We all chatted right past the exit, but since I had started working in Delaware County several months earlier, I was able to quickly get us off and back on I-95, getting there in plenty of time. There was a TSA yellow lab on a leash moving through those of us waiting at the gate. Apparently there to sniff out dangerous materials. He had a vest on with a sign on it instructing people not to pet him.

Our flight was uneventful (yay!) and we landed early. We made our way to the other terminal where the Disney’s Magical Express boards. Thanks to Mrs D., it
is known as the MAGIC BUS in our family. We were on our way without much of a wait, and the first stop was OKW, arriving a little after 1 PM. We have our extended family on a group chat, so I wanted to post a photo of the Old Key West Sign. I was on the wrong side of the bus and did not get a good photo. A woman on the other side saw this and took a photo and texted it to me. DVC people coming through. Thanked her and sent the text. Here is her photo.



When we got off the DME, or Magic Bus, we were met by a young woman and escorted to an open spot in the HH. After receiving a nice "Welcome Home", they only had to scan one magic band to complete the check in. We are in room 2515, which is in our favorite group of buildings to stay. Although I like SouthPoint a lot as well.

Before heading to our room I took a photo of the masts and navel signal flags on the dock. I had read they spell out "welcome home members". When I got home to PA, I checked the signal flags on line and confirmed that by increasing the photo size.

We go to our room and all is well. We rarely stay in a studio, so much to my wife's amusement I kept going to the locked door that leads to another unit instead of the exit door.
The view was decent for a studio.


We have a busy night ahead of us: Go to HS and purchase AP's, try to see the Osbourne Lights and meet the Mother of the Bride (MoB) for dinner that evening. We decided to stop in Olivia's on the way to HS to get a light lunch since it is about 2 PM.
In all the years we have visited OKW, I don't think we ever needed a res or had to wait long for a table at Olivia's, and today was no different. One of us had a Caeser Salad and soft drink and the other had a Cup of Conch Chowder and a soft drink. With TiW, the total was $23.59. We left about 2:40PM.


Our bus driver was old school and engaged the passangers in friendly conversation. There was a lot of talk about the soon to be released new Star Wars movie, Episode VII The Force Awakens.
We arrived at HS and of course had to take a photo of their Christmas Tree before heading to guest services for the AP's.


After getting our AP's (total cost for 2 - $1169.38) it was 3:30 PM and we went to attractions that we can both go on since Julie does not do the fast or bumpy rides. Great Movie Ride, Little Mermaid, and the brand new (opened Dec 1, 2015) Star Wars exhibit. That was interesting. There was a Jawa with glowing eyes in a corner of of room that had a holographic chess table nearby. It appeared to be his living quarters. People were lining up to meet him(?) or take a photo. A CM nearby was trying to explain to us and others nearby that we did not have to line up - just go up and interact with him. I thought to myself, good luck with that lady. WDW has had their guests lining up for 44 years and now it's ingrained. Julie did go up and tried her best to interact and I hung back to take a photo.


The storm troopers walking around the park was also new.


The line to meet Chewy was so mobbed that we did not even try. We checked out the models and exhibits.





I went on the Star Tours ride alone. In my notes it says the CP3O piloted shuttle went through an underwater world with giant sea creatures. It also went through what appeared to be a junkyard planet I was not familiar with. That was because it was from the movie that was to premiere in a few days. It also explains why I had no idea who the young woman on the speeder was in the Star wars exhibit. It turned out to be Rey, the star role of the movie.
We picked up an apple and orange at Anaheim produce near Rockin Roller Coaster.
It was getting to be time to head out and meet MoB for dinner. She lives about 15 minutes from the parks and is meeting us at the Dolphin. Julie and I are looking forward to seeing her and appreciate that she is spending some time with us with a wedding approaching. We will get to see the Dolphin's Christmas decor and I can scope out where the rental car counter is.
At MoB's suggestion, we will eat at The Fountain. Her son-in-law (from the 2011 wedding) works in the Dolphin's management, and she knows it's a good spot.



And it was. Our server Christina was outstanding. We probably sat down to eat about 7, and there was not much of a crowd there. The decor was based on a 50's diner and everyone was very satisfied with their meal. There is also a long ice cream counter with seats if you just want to stop in for a cone. They had everyday Americana cuisine and was reasonably priced. I had the pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw. We wanted to treat our friend and I asked if they took any discounts (since it was the Dolphin) and she said they give 20% off for AP, DVC, TiW, and AAA. Great, I had all 4. But someone beat me to it. It turns out that her son-in-law was there even though it was close to 8 PM. He gave our server coupons that the Dolphin gives to its workers to treat family and friends. I wanted to add a tip to the bill with my credit card, but now I had no bill. What they did was give me a bill for $.01 and I added a well deserved generous tip to it for Christina.
After dinner, I located the car rental counter and we checked out the enormous white Christmas tree in the lobby with a model train going around it big enough
to sit on. Julie and MoB got in with the photo of the tree, but they look tiny next to that thing.

We decided to head back to OKW after we said goodbye and good luck to the Mother of the Bride. We will see her on Sunday. Osbourne Lights will have to be done another night.

Next: Friday, at Epcot and The Candlelight Processional.
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Last edited by SouthPoint; 09-17-2020 at 03:26 PM. Reason: added info on Star Wars exhibit
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Old 08-15-2020, 02:27 AM   #2
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Very nice! Think I myself left off about 2013.

Thanks for taking the time (all 5 years of it) to share. Looking forward to more.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:40 AM   #3
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Exactly what we needed! A trip report to rekindle the Disney memories! Thank you!
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Old 08-15-2020, 12:22 PM   #4
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Enjoyed the report so far. I never heard of that part about the signal flags. Pretty cool. Thanks.
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Old 08-15-2020, 01:46 PM   #5
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thanks for sharing the memories!
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Old 08-15-2020, 07:12 PM   #6
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Smile Procrastination Maximus - December 2015 TR Day 2

Thank you for your positive and encouraging replies. I was not sure about putting the costs of things in the report, but I did so people can compare to present day.


DAY 2 FRIDAY

After our busy previous day, we slept later and took our time getting ready. We arrived at Epcot about 11 AM and went to the Fountainview for a light breakfast, more like brunch. Each of us had an apple juice with one of us having a ginger bread and the other a blueberry scone. $13.17 total.
We kept it light because Julie surprised me by making arrangements for tickets that give you a full dinner and a seat at the CP. She had selected the Rose and Crown. Our res was for sometime between 4 and 5. We were attending the 6:45 show so we had time after dinner to walk around a bit and go to the show. It is a nice day - temp 79, Humidity 42.
After breakfast, we headed to Figment, a favorite of my wife. I'm not sure if the DVC lounge was open yet, but if it was, we were there at the wrong time. I never did get in there until two trips later, 2018.
Julie indulged me by agreeing to head over to Ellen's Adventure. We have been on family trips of 12 and 14 people and I think i was the only one who wanted to go on. It must not be just my family, since they will be closing it.
Before heading over we found a spot that had no people around or in the background. So we had to take a photo of Julie with no people.



After exiting Ellen's Adventure, I went alone on the nearby Mission Space (Orange). Not much of a wait since I was alone.
From doing those attractions and visiting some shops, it was now time to head over to the Rose and Crown. I had been there two times before, but in the bar area where there are also some small tables along the wall. My first visit was to stop in and listen to the "Hat Lady" make up songs on the spot and play the piano while singing them. Don't miss her if you get the chance. I don't know why they don't call her the Piano Lady. My previous visit was when Epcot was hit with a heavy downpour for about 90 minutes. I, Julie, our sons, daughter, daughters-in-law and all the grandkids waited it out having beers and bar food with all the other guests who jammed in there for the same reason. Grandkids had sodas - no beers.
This time we thought we would be in the adjoining dining room, but we were given the option of sitting on a winding patio behind the building close to the lake. It must be too hot in the summer to use that area. I did not even know the seating was there. We were taken through a door leading out there and seated with a nice view of the lake.


Our server was Amy, who was great - any diners would be lucky to have her. She explained that the CP meal plan gave us a choice of any soft drink, any appetizer, any entree, and any dessert on the menu. After she answered some questions about the choices we went with each of us getting an 8 oz NY strip steak and ice tea. The appetizers were potato leek soup and smoked salmon. Desserts were toffee pudding and a tart coated with butter rum sauce.
For some reason, maybe short on help in the kitchen, we had long waits in between the courses. Amy kept the ice teas coming, and offered an apology for the delays. We explained we were fine sitting at a lakeside table in nice weather dining at a leisurely pace, and that relaxed her. We had a chance to speak with her during the delays, and took photos with her. (will post if I find them) She is from Nottingham, England. (Of course she is, this is Disney). When she found out where we were staying, she said that she and 3 friends scheduled a mini vacation next week and will be staying in a 1 BR at OKW. So we answered any questions she had about the resort.
My wife and I enjoyed our meal a great deal, and the delays did not matter since our setting was so comfortable and Amy was fun to speak with.
The price for the dinner plan was $57.99 each, totaling with tax $123.52 plus tip. We finished up about 6 o'clock, It was getting dark and we made our way over to the CP to get in line.

We were confused where to get in line or if we should be in line since we had tickets. We ended up doubleing back and did not get up front as far as we could, but we still had good seats. This is our second visit to the Candlelight Processional. It is another must see, even more than the Hat Lady. The guest celebrity who introduced songs, hymns, and read passages from the bible related to the birth of Christ was Neil Patrick Harris. We enjoyed the show and were glad to see it again.



The singers were arranged like a Christmas tree on a platform. The girl at the top had her hair parted done the middle making her long hair fall evenly on each side She had a angular face. I thought that she must have been put there intentionally to add to the tree top effect.

After the show we went to a Joffrey's and treated ourselves to a latte w/ Irish cream and a mocha latte. total cost $11.49.
We walked through the countries for the rest of the evening. At a spot that I think was near Germany, we came upon Mr and Mrs Claus sitting in their large throne like chairs.



Santa's wife looks really young. No wonder he's so jolly.

In the area next to the American Pavilion, there is a counter service eatery with restrooms further back. On the walls they have large wooden replicas of the flags of the original 13 colonies. I wish I had taken a photo of them all - I read that area is being changed. Here is one.



We decided to head back to OKW about 9:30 or 10:00. But here is the obligatory Christmas tree photo.



and another photo of us from Day 1 that I forgot to post.



NEXT: Day 3 Saturday Magic Kingdom
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Last edited by SouthPoint; 09-17-2020 at 03:29 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:30 PM   #7
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Thanks for doing this! Brings me (and I am sure others) back to the good old days when Disney and life was normal....
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Old 08-20-2020, 01:23 AM   #8
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Post Procrastination Maximus - December 2015 TR Day 3

Day 3 Saturday Magic Kingdom

Today we will pick up our rental car that we will use for the wedding in Mt. Dora tomorrow. We take a bus from OKW to Disney Springs (too early for the boat) and get a bus to the Dolphin from Disney Springs. One of the bus drivers warned there may be delays today for the bus system, but so far, so good. We go to the counter for National, they are all ready for me. We are out in the car driving to the MK by 9 AM. Here is the MK Christmas Tree.



We wander in and out a few places on Main Street and then stop at the Cheshire Cat to get a light breakfast. Cheese Danish, muffin, large bottled water and an OJ, total of $13.69. We finished about about 11:15 AM.
Lines were long for Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan and Small World. The whole park is crowded, but it's Saturday.
We go in to Mickey's Philharmonic first, and then decide to go to an attraction we have not been on in many years - the riverboat that docks near the HM -The Liberty Belle. While traveling on the Rivers of America around Tom Sayer Island, you get a different view of familiar sights. We went to the top deck for some nice views and photos.







Next we waited in line and rode through the HM, followed by a stop in a store we like a lot, Memento Mori. Julie picked up a souvenier for our daughter, a deck of playing cards with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. She also posed with a Jack Skelington pillow.



We declined to wait in the crowded Small World line and waited instead at my wife's favorite, Peter Pan. A timeless attraction. But plenty of time in line.
On the way to check out The Hall of Presidents we stopped in the Christmas shop and then went to a shop that we had visited in a past trip, Heritage House. We had bought a souvenir there at that time, and enjoyed this store. I opened the door and while I was waiting for my wife to enter, I saw that it was empty of everything - furniture, merchandise, and people except for 2 CM's speaking inside. They explained that due to some construction, (I forget where) that the store was temporarily being switched over to a meeting place for Tiana. And then ordered us to get out and close the door (no, of course they did not do that). I guess Tiana will be found at the Splash Mountain site after that goes through.
I know the only constant is change, but getting rid of the Song of the South theme is not satisfactual. To me at least.
Next we visit Hall of Presidents. No, we are not going to take a nap there. Just like Ellen's Adventure, I'm in the tiny minority in my family of those who like that attraction. Had a long wait in the outer lobby, but I enjoyed the exhibits.
Across from the Sleepy Hollow snack area is this business sign for Washington Irving's Ichabod Crane. It has probably been there forever, but I never noticed it before when we where doing this area of MK commando style with kids or grandkids.



We decide to eat lunch at the Columbia Harbor House after we head to Frontierland to watch the 3 o'clock parade.

NEXT: Saturday Continued - Parade and visit to GF to see Christmas Decor

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Last edited by SouthPoint; 09-17-2020 at 03:30 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-23-2020, 05:16 PM   #9
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Default DAY 3 continued Parade, lunch

Saturday Continued - Parade and visit to GF to see Christmas Decor
We found a good spot for the parade and were able to take a few photos.













Despite many floats and participants the 3 PM parade was only about 15 to 20 minutes long. We headed over to the Columbia Harbour House for lunch. As usual, we ate on the second floor, since on busy days it seems like a quieter, saner world up there.
We had fish broccoli and a tuna sandwich. We shared a bowl of clam chowder(very good-tender clams), and each had an ice tea. Total $31.90. It is about 4:30 when we finish eating.

Next we headed to the exit, stopping in shops on the way out. We are going over to the Grand Floridian to see their Christmas decorations, including their ginger bread house that is big enough to walk in. We head for the monorail about 5:30.

NEXT: SATURDAY DAY 3 CONTINUED GF and back to OKW for dinner - Olivia's
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Old 08-24-2020, 07:19 AM   #10
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Thank you for sharing - enjoying your report and pictures.
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