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Old 10-18-2020, 01:11 PM   #1
tomandrobin
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We just got back from a short birthday trip for our grandsons. This was our third trip to Disney World in 7 weeks. Its amazing seeing the transformation over from the first trip to the last trip, on how WDW is returning to normal.

First of all, CM's everywhere are super fantastic. There was not a CM anyplace we went that was not happy to see guests and grateful to be back working. This pandemic is has been hard on them and continues to do so everyday. They may be working, but they all have co-workers/friends that are not.

We arrived Wednesday around 5:30pm. We had an Uber take us to the resort. We were staying at Grand Floridian Villas. We did not want to deal with four stops and GFV being last. Our trip two weeks ago, we were at the Poly and it took 1.5 hours on DME to get dropped off. It was well worth the extra cost, traveling with two young boys.

Our plans for the first day was check-in to the room, go to the pool and get our groceries when they arrived between 6-8pm. We tried Amazon for our groceries this trip. Many people recommend them and they are cheaper. However, after this trip we will not use again or recommend their service. Around 6:30pm, we received n email that our order was out for delivery. At 8pm, we still had heard nothing more. At 8:30pm we received a second email stating that our address was not found. Arrgh.....How can you not find the Grand Floridian. And why did no one call, they had out phone number. Robin got on the phone and called Amazon. They told her it was too late to deliver tonight and that it would have to be 6am-8am in the morning. Groceries came around 8am the next day, but I had already ordered breakfast, since I had two hungry boys and no food. When we checked the order, we had no milk and no water......WTF. You would think after not finding the hotel, not calling us and not delivering the first day.....that they would check and make sure the order was right. We never had such bad service with Garden Grocer and they will continue to get our business even if they cost more.

We spent a lot of time at the pool again. In fact we swam every day. Dining was meh, good and great. On this trip we ate at Gasparilla(dinner & breakfast), Kona (dinner), Sunshines (lunch) T-Rex (lunch) and California Grill.

Kona was the "meh" meal and I was a bit disappointed. The apps were great....stick wings and sushi, but the main entrees were terrible. Robin ordered the Lobster Mac-n-cheese and I had the short rib. The Mac-n-cheese was not edible.....way to salty. And my short rib was chock full of fat....bleh. They did comp the mac-n-cheese off the bill, which we appreciated.

Gasparilla and T-Rex were good. I expected Gasparilla to be good, but was pleased that T-Rex was not bad as I feared. Sunshines was also better than expected. I know its just quick service, but our meals were tasty.

California Grill was wonderful as always. We snagged this reservation 2 days out and were quite happy, since the boys actually requested to go there for there birthday dinner. The were fantastic thru the meal, which was two hours. As a bonus, Cali Grill has a chocolate souffle on the menu, which is one of Robin's favorite desserts! Everything about this meal was great.......food, service and atmosphere!

It was hot in the parks, especially with the masks on all day. I don't like it and after the few hours, everyone was done with the heat and the masks. We go back again in December and I am so looking forward to cool weather with the masks. Every day the parks were busy. Not normal, crazy, crowded pre-covid busy.....but busy. With no fast passes, the lines move decent but still too much for my tastes. The parks are busies in the morning and by 2-3pm, they really start thinning out, except Epcot.

Talking to staff, the cash resorts that are open are running around 40% capacity. Which means that the DVC resorts are bringing in most of the people for the DVC resorts. Apparently weddings are back, because we saw one at the Grand Floridian over the weekend. I was surprised to see, because I missed that they were being held again at the wedding pavilion.

Transportation to the parks still sucks, in my opinion. Ironically, getting back from the parks has not been an issue at all.
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Old 10-18-2020, 01:33 PM   #2
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Sounds nice! Thanks for sharing. Happy birthday to the 2 little guys!!!

We go right after Thanksgiving and stay at VGF the 1st night and then BCV for 3 nights. Can't wait to get back.

We've tried Kona twice now and were not super wowed either time. I also am not fond of the open air style layout of the place. Hope they renovate it when they do the other areas of the lobby. And make it more closed in and private. They could re-imagine the food a bit too.
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Old 10-18-2020, 02:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Lamima View Post
Sounds nice! Thanks for sharing. Happy birthday to the 2 little guys!!!

We go right after Thanksgiving and stay at VGF the 1st night and then BCV for 3 nights. Can't wait to get back.

We've tried Kona twice now and were not super wowed either time. I also am not fond of the open air style layout of the place. Hope they renovate it when they do the other areas of the lobby. And make it more closed in and private. They could re-imagine the food a bit too.

Just an FYI about Gasparilla's, you have to use the mobile all to order. You have to choose a pick-up time for your order. But....You have to let them know via the app, that you are there and THEN they start to preparing your order. I thought that when /i choose my window for my food order, that when I arrived at 7:30pm my food would be ready. Nope, I had to wait another 25 minutes for them to prepare my food. They are not very efficient at Gasparilla's vs Sunshines.
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Old 10-18-2020, 04:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tomandrobin View Post
Just an FYI about Gasparilla's, you have to use the mobile all to order. You have to choose a pick-up time for your order. But....You have to let them know via the app, that you are there and THEN they start to preparing your order. I thought that when /i choose my window for my food order, that when I arrived at 7:30pm my food would be ready. Nope, I had to wait another 25 minutes for them to prepare my food. They are not very efficient at Gasparilla's vs Sunshines.
Hmmm. Just read another TR where they too had to wait that long for a mobile order. Think it was Satuli canteen at AK. Good to know. Are there TVs in the GF bar...the one they just renovated? Is it open?
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Old 10-18-2020, 04:37 PM   #5
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Hmmm. Just read another TR where they too had to wait that long for a mobile order. Think it was Satuli canteen at AK. Good to know. Are there TVs in the GF bar...the one they just renovated? Is it open?

Yes and Yes
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Old 10-18-2020, 05:27 PM   #6
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Figured weddings were about to start back. When we were at the boardwalk in late September, the cast members were thoroughly bleaching and cleaning the pavilion overlooking the lake. We have seen many weddings take place there over the years!
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Old 10-18-2020, 05:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tomandrobin View Post
We just got back from a short birthday trip for our grandsons. This was our third trip to Disney World in 7 weeks. Its amazing seeing the transformation over from the first trip to the last trip, on how WDW is returning to normal.

First of all, CM's everywhere are super fantastic. There was not a CM anyplace we went that was not happy to see guests and grateful to be back working. This pandemic is has been hard on them and continues to do so everyday. They may be working, but they all have co-workers/friends that are not.

We arrived Wednesday around 5:30pm. We had an Uber take us to the resort. We were staying at Grand Floridian Villas. We did not want to deal with four stops and GFV being last. Our trip two weeks ago, we were at the Poly and it took 1.5 hours on DME to get dropped off. It was well worth the extra cost, traveling with two young boys.

Our plans for the first day was check-in to the room, go to the pool and get our groceries when they arrived between 6-8pm. We tried Amazon for our groceries this trip. Many people recommend them and they are cheaper. However, after this trip we will not use again or recommend their service. Around 6:30pm, we received n email that our order was out for delivery. At 8pm, we still had heard nothing more. At 8:30pm we received a second email stating that our address was not found. Arrgh.....How can you not find the Grand Floridian. And why did no one call, they had out phone number. Robin got on the phone and called Amazon. They told her it was too late to deliver tonight and that it would have to be 6am-8am in the morning. Groceries came around 8am the next day, but I had already ordered breakfast, since I had two hungry boys and no food. When we checked the order, we had no milk and no water......WTF. You would think after not finding the hotel, not calling us and not delivering the first day.....that they would check and make sure the order was right. We never had such bad service with Garden Grocer and they will continue to get our business even if they cost more.

We spent a lot of time at the pool again. In fact we swam every day. Dining was meh, good and great. On this trip we ate at Gasparilla(dinner & breakfast), Kona (dinner), Sunshines (lunch) T-Rex (lunch) and California Grill.

Kona was the "meh" meal and I was a bit disappointed. The apps were great....stick wings and sushi, but the main entrees were terrible. Robin ordered the Lobster Mac-n-cheese and I had the short rib. The Mac-n-cheese was not edible.....way to salty. And my short rib was chock full of fat....bleh. They did comp the mac-n-cheese off the bill, which we appreciated.

Gasparilla and T-Rex were good. I expected Gasparilla to be good, but was pleased that T-Rex was not bad as I feared. Sunshines was also better than expected. I know its just quick service, but our meals were tasty.

California Grill was wonderful as always. We snagged this reservation 2 days out and were quite happy, since the boys actually requested to go there for there birthday dinner. The were fantastic thru the meal, which was two hours. As a bonus, Cali Grill has a chocolate souffle on the menu, which is one of Robin's favorite desserts! Everything about this meal was great.......food, service and atmosphere!

It was hot in the parks, especially with the masks on all day. I don't like it and after the few hours, everyone was done with the heat and the masks. We go back again in December and I am so looking forward to cool weather with the masks. Every day the parks were busy. Not normal, crazy, crowded pre-covid busy.....but busy. With no fast passes, the lines move decent but still too much for my tastes. The parks are busies in the morning and by 2-3pm, they really start thinning out, except Epcot.

Talking to staff, the cash resorts that are open are running around 40% capacity. Which means that the DVC resorts are bringing in most of the people for the DVC resorts. Apparently weddings are back, because we saw one at the Grand Floridian over the weekend. I was surprised to see, because I missed that they were being held again at the wedding pavilion.

Transportation to the parks still sucks, in my opinion. Ironically, getting back from the parks has not been an issue at all.
I've been to Kona on three separate occasions and I feel like it is getting progressively worse (and more expensive).

First time in 2016 was great. Seated promptly and all the food was pretty good.

Second time in 2017 we had to wait a little while, maybe 10-15 mins which seems to be Disney standard during busy times.

Third time in summer 2019 -- I think we waited more than 45 minutes to be seated. What was incredibly annoying is that I booked it about 30 minutes before the time, and they had multiple time openings on the app -- but when I show up, all of the sudden their booked beyond capacity??? It was also frustrating that people that had later check-in times were getting seated ahead of us when they showed up...not sure what happened, but they didn't really seem to be apologetic at all. Worst part was that I was by myself with two kids (ages 3 and 6 at the time), so managing "starving" kids while waiting for an extended amount of time, plus juggling "potty" breaks during dinner did not make for the best experience for myself.

With that said -- I got the sushi (steak option I think) and it was really good...server was also great at least.

Their prices seem to have gone up quite a bit since 2016, so I'm not sure if we'll be back again absent a dining plan or something like that.
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Old 10-18-2020, 05:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomandrobin View Post
Just an FYI about Gasparilla's, you have to use the mobile all to order. You have to choose a pick-up time for your order. But....You have to let them know via the app, that you are there and THEN they start to preparing your order. I thought that when /i choose my window for my food order, that when I arrived at 7:30pm my food would be ready. Nope, I had to wait another 25 minutes for them to prepare my food. They are not very efficient at Gasparilla's vs Sunshines.
haha -- I made that same mistake at Riviera's quick service. So you aren't alone!
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Old 10-18-2020, 07:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by tomandrobin View Post
We just got back from a short birthday trip for our grandsons. This was our third trip to Disney World in 7 weeks. Its amazing seeing the transformation over from the first trip to the last trip, on how WDW is returning to normal.

First of all, CM's everywhere are super fantastic. There was not a CM anyplace we went that was not happy to see guests and grateful to be back working. This pandemic is has been hard on them and continues to do so everyday. They may be working, but they all have co-workers/friends that are not.

We arrived Wednesday around 5:30pm. We had an Uber take us to the resort. We were staying at Grand Floridian Villas. We did not want to deal with four stops and GFV being last. Our trip two weeks ago, we were at the Poly and it took 1.5 hours on DME to get dropped off. It was well worth the extra cost, traveling with two young boys.

Our plans for the first day was check-in to the room, go to the pool and get our groceries when they arrived between 6-8pm. We tried Amazon for our groceries this trip. Many people recommend them and they are cheaper. However, after this trip we will not use again or recommend their service. Around 6:30pm, we received n email that our order was out for delivery. At 8pm, we still had heard nothing more. At 8:30pm we received a second email stating that our address was not found. Arrgh.....How can you not find the Grand Floridian. And why did no one call, they had out phone number. Robin got on the phone and called Amazon. They told her it was too late to deliver tonight and that it would have to be 6am-8am in the morning. Groceries came around 8am the next day, but I had already ordered breakfast, since I had two hungry boys and no food. When we checked the order, we had no milk and no water......WTF. You would think after not finding the hotel, not calling us and not delivering the first day.....that they would check and make sure the order was right. We never had such bad service with Garden Grocer and they will continue to get our business even if they cost more.

We spent a lot of time at the pool again. In fact we swam every day. Dining was meh, good and great. On this trip we ate at Gasparilla(dinner & breakfast), Kona (dinner), Sunshines (lunch) T-Rex (lunch) and California Grill.

Kona was the "meh" meal and I was a bit disappointed. The apps were great....stick wings and sushi, but the main entrees were terrible. Robin ordered the Lobster Mac-n-cheese and I had the short rib. The Mac-n-cheese was not edible.....way to salty. And my short rib was chock full of fat....bleh. They did comp the mac-n-cheese off the bill, which we appreciated.

Gasparilla and T-Rex were good. I expected Gasparilla to be good, but was pleased that T-Rex was not bad as I feared. Sunshines was also better than expected. I know its just quick service, but our meals were tasty.

California Grill was wonderful as always. We snagged this reservation 2 days out and were quite happy, since the boys actually requested to go there for there birthday dinner. The were fantastic thru the meal, which was two hours. As a bonus, Cali Grill has a chocolate souffle on the menu, which is one of Robin's favorite desserts! Everything about this meal was great.......food, service and atmosphere!

It was hot in the parks, especially with the masks on all day. I don't like it and after the few hours, everyone was done with the heat and the masks. We go back again in December and I am so looking forward to cool weather with the masks. Every day the parks were busy. Not normal, crazy, crowded pre-covid busy.....but busy. With no fast passes, the lines move decent but still too much for my tastes. The parks are busies in the morning and by 2-3pm, they really start thinning out, except Epcot.

Talking to staff, the cash resorts that are open are running around 40% capacity. Which means that the DVC resorts are bringing in most of the people for the DVC resorts. Apparently weddings are back, because we saw one at the Grand Floridian over the weekend. I was surprised to see, because I missed that they were being held again at the wedding pavilion.

Transportation to the parks still sucks, in my opinion. Ironically, getting back from the parks has not been an issue at all.
Thanks for the TR. Glad y'all enjoyed some wonderful birthday time with the grandsons. and all had a great time in WDW celebrating. we did the pool every day too. I found it too hot in parks too. But I remember it was hot last Oct. We often go around this time/Columbus day for kids' fall breaks. I felt this year seemed the same as far was busyness and heat. Not much difference, except HS is not as fun as it has been in the past: hours too short, lines too long. Masks didn't annoy me as much as expected. kids wear them all day at school, so they were used to it.

Glad to know about Kona. Considered it once when staying at the Poly, but seemed too pricey for what you got. will scratch it off the list.

We had mostly good experiences with mobile ordering. but they were when ordering at off times. Ronto Roasters around 10:20, had food in about 15 mins, Satuli at 10:35, sitting down w food in less than 20 mins. Blue Milk stand easy, and DH said his order at PizzaRizzo was fairly quick. However, my experience at Backlot Express was over an hour from when I placed the order (window was 35-40 mins in future, then 20 more mins once I hit I was there,) also used it at the Beachclub Marketplace. (which was VERY meh food, no plans to eat there again, unless it's the mac/cheese. DD liked it,) not very long at all from time of order until food ready, but was early in dinner hour.
So even with mobile order, we plan to stick to our usual of eating at odder times, avoiding busy meal times.
Oh, we dind't use it, but looked at the 'book now,' options for table service. often the 'now' was 45 mins to 1 hr in the future...so not really 'now,' but still a nice option for last min dining plans.

Thanks for sharing the fun!
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Old 10-18-2020, 08:45 PM   #10
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Thanks for the report. Happy Birthday to you grandsons.
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