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Old 09-23-2014, 08:44 PM   #1
Micah008
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Default Our Bonus End of Summer Trip - SSR - Aug 2014

Table of Contents:
Day 1 - Travel / Saratoga Springs / Animal Kingdom (Part 1) (Part 2)
Day 2 - Hollywood Studios (Link)
Day 3 - Magic Kingdom (Link)
Day 4 - Epcot (Link)
Day 5 - Travel (Link)


The Basic Plot:
We visited Disney World from Wednesday 8/27 through Sunday 8/31 2014 (4 nights). We stayed at the Saratoga Springs Resort in a Deluxe Studio, were not on the dining plan (but did have Tables in Wonderland), and had Annual Passes (which we had purchased in January).

This was a totally unplanned/bonus vacation for us, since we weren't expecting to go back again until January. This trip became a possibility because of a great deal we got on a DVC rental, but in order to make this trip work we needed to stay within a small budget (mostly QS food). We already had Annual Passes, and we had more than enough Southwest points for the trip, so the main cost was just the food. We decided to go the very last week in August to catch some of the lower crowds at the end of summer, but still be back home in time before school started for DS6 (now in First Grade).

We decided to keep this trip a surprise from our kids, since they now realize that we go each January... this was our only opportunity to surprise them easily. We told them the day before we left and videotaped the reaction... DS6 didn't believe us at first saying "that doesn't make any sense, it isn't January yet", but once he realized that this was an extra trip he started bouncing off the walls.


The Cast:
Me: This was my 9th time to WDW (see signature). On this trip I was most looking forward to staying at Saratoga Springs (where we own some of our DVC points), trying the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and also getting to do a few things that are often closed in January (like Splash Mountain).

DW: She has been to WDW 9 times including this trip, plus one trip to DL growing up. She was also looking forward to the Mine Train, and trying a new restaurant and resort.

DS6: This was his 5th trip to WDW. About to start First Grade, he had grown a few inches since January and was now tall enough for the 44" rides. He was also more willing to try new things (and do them multiple times) compared to last year, but he was still tentative until he was forced to try a few new things.

DS3: (almost 4) This was his 4th trip to WDW, but the first time that he actually remembers some of it from the time before. We have had multiple conversations at our house while he holds a map to Epcot, and he tells us that we can go, we just "need to take a plane and then 2 buses" and we will be there. He is very talkative and enjoyed talking with people around us and CMs.


Some Past Trip Photos:

February 2004 trip: (just DW and I)


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


January 2012 trip: (DS3 was only 1 at the time)


January 2013 trip:


January 2014 trip:



(note that this trip report was copied from another site I wrote it for originally)
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MOD 137 - Owner at Animal Kingdom Villas, Riviera Resort, and Saratoga Springs Resort

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; 09-23-2014 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:47 PM   #2
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Default Day 1 - Travel / Saratoga Springs / Animal Kingdom

Wednesday August 27th
Crowd Level 3 - AK: Not Recommended (due to AM EMH)


Original Plan:
Day 1 - (Wed August 27th) - Arrival Day; Arrive in Orlando at 10:30am; ME to Resort; Check-in; Lunch at Resort or DTD; Break/Swim at Resort; Head to Animal Kingdom mid/late afternoon; Dinner at Flame Tree; Stay until park closes at 8:00.



We were flying out of Milwaukee for this trip, on an early flight... so on Tuesday the 26th I got done with work a little early and we immediately drove the 3 hours from home to Milwaukee and stayed overnight at a hotel (using points) right near the airport, and then got to bed a little early.

We woke up at 4:30 am, and made it with plenty of time to catch our 6:55 am flight.



The beauty of an early direct flight is that we landed in Orlando at 10:30 (which felt like 9:30 Central time to us), with a whole day ahead of us. We decided to get a quick snack at the airport before catching the DME bus. We still made it to the DME check in by 11:00, but the bus ended up not leaving until 11:30. After dropping a few people off at OKW first we were at SSR by 12:05.

The boys now have this figured out, and even though we had never stayed at SSR they immediately started looking for the TV area in the lobby to wait while I got us checked in.



We got both of our requests (Paddock Area, near the Pool/Bus Stop). In the map below, the big red circle is where the Paddock Pool, Bus Stop, and Paddock Grill QS are located. The small circle next to it is where our room was. The other small circle towards the bottom is the main building where the Artist's Palette QS is located and where check-in was, even that area was not a bad walk to get to.



My first impression was that the resort was beautiful, and very peaceful. We made it over to our room by 12:30 (exactly 2 hours since the flight landed).



Here are a few pictures of the room and view:















continued in next post...
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MOD 137 - Owner at Animal Kingdom Villas, Riviera Resort, and Saratoga Springs Resort

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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Old 09-23-2014, 08:48 PM   #3
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Default Day 1 - Travel / Saratoga Springs / Animal Kingdom

We decided to grab some real lunch at the Paddock Grill which was just a 1 minute walk from our room. DW and I split the "Spiced-crusted Fish Sandwich" and the boys split a Kids Turkey Sandwich.

After our quick lunch we decided it was a beautiful day to use the pool so we went back up to the room to change quick and came back down. As you can see, it wasn't very busy. The kids loved the slide, and we even convinced DS6 to join in the dance party by the pool (I ended up dancing with him to get him to do it ... no pics of that).



We were at the pool for about an hour, and then wanted to head to Animal Kingdom to make sure we had enough time there.

We made it over to AK at about 3:30. With the park closing at 8:00 this gave us plenty of time to get in everything we wanted to especially with how many people still leave the park well before it closes.

First we met Russell and Dug. I felt bad for Dug in that Florida summer heat and humidity.



Next we had a FP+ setup for Kilimanjaro Safari. We got there at 4:00 and it was actually a walk-on... we used the FP+ anyway, but it didn't do us any good.





We then went to the Festival of the Lion King show. It was closed back in January so this was the first time for us at the new theater, and I don't think DS3 even remembered it from the year before that. I thought they did a great job with the new area... it blends right into Africa perfectly as if it had always been there... and even though the show was identical it was just as great as I remembered.



From there we got some dinner at Flame Tree BBQ, which is one of our favorites for sure. This time I even remembered to use our TiW card for a 20% discount (it normally is just for TS locations, so I have forgotten to use it here in the past)

DW and I took turns going on Kali River Rapids with DS6, using FP+ each time. (DS6 traded MBs with DS3 for the second ride) This was the only ride in the park that actually had a wait while we were there, and even it was a very short standby wait.

After a few rides on Triceratop Spin, DW went on Dinosaur while I took the kids to play in the Boneyard.

After that DW and I each went on Expedition Everest (walk on), and we decided to call it a night. DS6 was tall enough, but he really didn't want to go on EE so we didn't push him.

We got back to the room at about 8:30, and got the kids to bed right away (even we didn't stay up too late), since we had been up since 4:30 and we had a big day planned tomorrow at Hollywood Studios.
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MOD 137 - Owner at Animal Kingdom Villas, Riviera Resort, and Saratoga Springs Resort

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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Old 09-23-2014, 08:52 PM   #4
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Default Day 2 - Hollywood Studios

Thursday August 28th
Crowd Level 4 - HS: Recommended


Original Plan:
Day 2 - (Thu 28) - RD Hollywood Studios; Lunch at Pizza Planet or Min and Bills; Leave early afternoon; Break/Swim at Resort; Go back to Hollywood Studios; Dinner at Fairfax Faire; Fantasmic - 8:30 if we have energy.



On Day 2 we woke up early, and ate breakfast in the room in order to get ready a little more quickly. We brought some mini-muffins from home and had also brought our own juice. This worked out great, and helped get us moving quickly (and also saved some money).

We were down to the bus stop right at 7:30, and the bus came just a few minutes later. After stopping at 2 other bus stops at SSR (ours was the middle stop of 5) we were at Hollywood Studios by 7:55, and first at a tapstyle at 8:00 ... even a little earlier than we had planned.



Even this early in the morning it was already starting to get hot and humid, August is different than January for sure.

The park opened at 8:47, but due to the Frozen stuff we had to stop at a rope up by the stage. We got as close to the stage as we could staying right by the rope and tried to make sure we stayed near the front of the pack as we starting moving towards TSMM. Having strollers made it even more difficult in this pack of people, but at least we knew right where the kids were and felt more safe for them.

We were at TSMM at 9:01, and were one of the first roughly 20 people, but there was huge crowd of people behind us.

Next we went to see Woody and Buzz, which we often do right after the TSMM Rope Drop. It was 9:15 and there was already more of a line when we got there compared to what we expected, but it didn't take too long (maybe 20 min). I think we are used to getting out of TSMM by 9:05 rather than 9:15 so this made a little difference actually.



We then went on TSMM with our FP+ (a little earlier than planned, but at the beginning of our window) and then went to meet Jake.



We went to the Disney Junior Live on Stage show, and got inside right at 10:20. When we got out the Frozen parade had already started, but we were able to make our way around to the American Idol area to see some of it. If we wanted to see all of it we would have had to go further down, but seeing a bit was enough for us.



Next we went over to Star Tours where we had 2 FP+. We got a makeshift Rider Swap card (first time I have seen one of these, they must have run out for the month) with only DW and DS6 scanning their MB. (just to confirm we only needed 2 FP+, not for all 4 of us)




While DW and DS6 went on the ride I took DS3 over to get a return card for the Frozen Sing-Along. I had the choice of any time I wanted, but I went with the 1:30 show hoping that would work well after the 12:30 Indiana Jones show.



We met them at Pizza Planet for lunch. Even though the pizza is basically like DiGiorno, our kids still request going there every trip. We split 2 full size pizzas rather than getting the kids size, and also got an Olaf cupcake.



Unfortunately it looks like we pretty much stopped taking pictures at this point... so the rest of the report for the day will just be words. Sorry about that.

Moving on... we made it over to the 12:30 Indiana Jones show, and then headed to the 1:30 Frozen Sing-Along immediately after it ended. We got there with enough time, and actually had to wait for a few minutes before being let into the theater. The Sing-Along was a lot of fun, and was a welcome break in the Air Conditioning.

Next we headed all the way over to Tower of Terror to use 2 more FP+ (the other two people that didn't have Star Tours) and also got a Rider Swap for it to use later. DS6 really didn't want to go on ToT, so we didn't push it... but I know we were hoping this would be the trip he would be willing to. I don't think he is afraid of the drop, he just doesn't like rides that are dark.

While I was on ToT, DW went to the FP+ kiosk nearby and was able to get a 4th FP+ for Rock N Rollercoaster, and timed it for when we thought we would be back from our break. It was nice to see that there was availability at this time, and we could get another Tier 1.

After ToT we headed back to our room for a much needed break. We don't normally do the afternoon breaks in January, but we wanted to stay for the fireworks, and knew it had been a long day already. A common question here is how long the breaks take, so I kept track of exactly how long it took our family:
- We left the park at 2:30
- Bus came at 2:45
- Made it to the room at 3:05
- We all slept for about an hour
- Left the room at 4:30
- Bus came at 4:42
- Back to the park at 5:03
- Over to Tower of Terror at 5:10

So, it took us less than 3 hours, but we also had good luck with buses and didn't spend any extra time in the room. Budgeting for 3 hours feels about right.

DW went on ToT when we made it back, using the Rider Swap, while I took the kids to the 5:30 Beauty and the Beast show. DW met us there just a minute after the show started. (we sat along the side to make it easier for her to sneak in and join us)

She then went on RnRC and we got a Rider Swap for later.

After that we went to Min and Bills for dinner, enjoying a Pork Shank and also some Frankfurters. The kids thought the pretzel rolls were cool, and enjoyed it.

After dinner I took DS6 back over to Star Tours which ended up being a walk-on, we didn't even need the Rider Swap we had from earlier (I kept it, since it didn't actually have a date on it for expiration). Since it went quickly we got right back in line and did it again. The next time we didn't even have a full simulator, and they just said we could sit wherever we wanted.

During this time DW went with DS3 to VotLM. We then met back up so I could do RnRC, and then headed into Fantasmic. We got there with more than enough time, and sat in the back corner.

We often bring glow sticks from home so the kids have something to stay entertained with while we wait for Fantasmic (or Wishes/MSEP/etc). We bought a bunch at Wal-Mart before we left for $1 or less each, and then brought 2 to the park each day. So we break out the glow sticks, they each pick their favorite, and then we find out that one of them doesn't work... and after a long day this is the end of the world to a 6 year old when his doesn't work but his brother has one that works great. Note to self: bring 3 glow sticks to the park each time, just in case... and if they all work, just give one away to a kid nearby.

After Fantasmic we made our way out to go see the Frozen Fireworks. The exit path took us right where we wanted to be at the front of the park, and we decided to just watch from outside the park. (We took the green path in the picture below and watched the fireworks from the green circle outside the park. The green circle inside would have worked fine too, and still had open areas.)



It was a great view of the fireworks, the only downside was that we couldn't hear the music. We also thought the show was over before it really was (there was a break in the fireworks) so we started leaving and ended up seeing the finale from the bus stop.

We headed back to the room, planning another early morning and long day tomorrow at Magic Kingdom.
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MOD 137 - Owner at Animal Kingdom Villas, Riviera Resort, and Saratoga Springs Resort

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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Old 09-23-2014, 08:54 PM   #5
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Default Day 3 - Magic Kingdom

Friday August 29th
Crowd Level 4 - MK: Recommended


Original Plan:
Day 3 - (Fri 29) - RD Magic Kingdom; Lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus or Tortuga Tavern; Leave early afternoon; Nap/Swim at Resort; Dinner at Kona Cafe (ADR 5:45); Go back to Magic Kingdom; Stay for MSEP - 9:00 and Wishes - 10:00.



After being out to HS late we weren't sure how the kids would do getting up for Rope Drop again... but they did very well, actually better than expected. We were at the Artist's Palette QS right at 7:00 when it opened, ate breakfast faster than we expected, and then the bus came right away, and we actually made it to MK at 7:50 (we were planning on more like an 8:30 arrival).



As we waited for the park to open they had a lot of fun looking at the map and trying to plan the day.



Even though it was still August the park was already decorated for Halloween, a pleasant surprise since we had never seen those decorations.



At Rope Drop we started our day off back in Frontierland, first on Big Thunder Mountain and then on Splash Mountain. As we got to BTMRR they queued us all up in front of the ride (it was a couple minutes before 9:00 so we didn't think much of it), but the CMs really didn't say anything, they just didn't open the ride. It was probably 9:10 before they actually let us in, now wishing we had done Splash first.

On BTMRR they had a different Rider Swap procedure than normal. DW and DS6 rode while I stayed with DS3... but instead of giving me the Rider Swap right away, they gave DW a lanyard to take through the line, and then gave her the actual Swap at the ride. Not sure exactly why that was the policy, but it is what they are now trying there.

Then at Splash Mountain I went with DS6 while DW stayed back, but the CM refused to give us a Rider Swap. This is only the second time in many trips of getting these that we have been denied. He said it was "because the standby line was only 5 minutes right now, so you don't need it". Of course our plan wasn't to use it now... but that just made him even more firm in his stance that we couldn't have it. We gave up and went on the ride, but as I got to the ride itself I asked a different CM if it was normal to not be allowed a Rider Swap just because the line was currently short... without even batting an eye he just gave me one. (note that I didn't even ask for it, I just wanted to clarify with a different CM if that was really the policy at that ride)

This was DS6s first time on Splash Mountain (often closed in January, so we don't usually get to do it much). He was a little worried about the big drop, so each time he kept asking me if this was the one yet. At the end he gave the ride two big thumbs up, and said it was his new favorite.

While we were there DW had taken DS3 on Aladdin's Carpets, and then we met back up.

At that point we had 4 FP+ for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Unfortunately DS3 wasn't even tall enough for this ride, so we ended up going in pairs again with DS6 riding with each of us (using DS3s Magic Band). We even were able to get a Rider Swap each time we went through the line, so we left with 2 of them for later in the day.

While they were on 7DMT I took DS3 on Small World, and DW took him on the Carousel the time I was on 7DMT. Then we all went on the Winnie the Pooh ride together, which was a 15 minute wait at the time. (this was probably the longest we waited for anything the entire trip)

After that we all went on Small World, Peter Pan (with FP+), Carousel, and the Little Mermaid Ride (with FP+, though it wasn't necessary).

By now it was time for our Be Our Guest FP+ for lunch. It took them a long time to look us up for some reason (looked like a technology issue), and then the preorder we had made wasn't there, so we had to order again.

We all enjoyed lunch (and being inside in the Air Conditioning), and the kids especially enjoyed their grilled cheese sandwich and the grey stuff on the Master's Cupcake.

After lunch we made a 4th FP+ for Barnstormer (for 3 minutes in the future), but when we got there the ride was a walk-on so we didn't use it. We then rode Dumbo (also walk-on), and while the kids played a little I used my phone to move the 4th FP+ from Barnstormer to the Space Ranger Spin ride. It was nice to be able to move it from my phone, even though we had to go to a kiosk to make it in the first place.

After that we decided this would be a good time to meet some characters. Goofy was having fun with them... since they were so short he pretended not to see them, which they found hilarious.







After waiting in line for Goofy and Donald, we went around and got in the other line for Daisy and Minnie (I wish there was a way to not wait twice here, but oh well).





From there we used our Space Ranger Spin FP+ and then got a 5th FP+ to meet Mickey later in the day.

It was now time for our break, so we started heading to the front of the park at 2:00, as we were waiting for the bus it started to rain (heavy downpour) but we stayed dry where we were standing. We made it to the room at 2:50, took naps for about 1 hour, and then got ready and headed out of the room a little after 4:00. It was a little harder getting the kids up from their naps today, especially DS3 who wanted to keep sleeping.

We made it back to the park, and in to see Mickey right about at 5:00. It was again raining heavily, and it seemed like most people were leaving as we were arriving. But we were prepared with raincoats and stroller covers, and planned to stick around the rest of the night no matter the weather.

Talking Mickey was a lot of fun. He told the kids a joke, and then DS3 really wanted to tell Mickey a joke. It made no sense, but was really cute, and Mickey laughed and thought it was "great".



Now that we had used our FP+ we got a 6th one for Peter Pan (which was also our 2nd earlier in the day), and then went to the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor next, and took a ride on the PeopleMover.

We went to Columbia Harbour House for dinner (great as always), and then headed back to Frontierland to try to use some Rider Swaps we had gathered earlier.

I took DS3 to the Country Bear Jamboree while DW went to Splash Mountain with DS6. But when they got there they had just closed down the ride due to lightning in the area (we had seen it running with people 5 minutes earlier). So, we all headed to Pirates of the Caribbean.

After that we tried Splash Mountain again, since it was no longer raining (and didn't the rest of the night) This time Splash was going again, and was a walk-on... so ironically we didn't even use the Rider Swap I had gotten earlier in the day.

It was then time for our Peter Pan FP+ so we headed back that direction. After Peter Pan we got a 7th FP+ for Winnie the Pooh and walked right over to immediately use it (since it was just a couple minutes in the future). Both of these rides were 20-30 minute waits at the time, so using the extra FP+ really worked well.

After that we used the 7DMT Swaps we had gotten earlier in the day, and each were able to do another ride... this time at night. DS6 was able to go 4 times total now, and loves the new ride and said it was his new favorite ride (which Splash had been earlier).

We then went to the Philharmagic show since the kids had been begging all day to do it. We then set up an 8th FP+ at Jungle Cruse for later, and then we checked the time and headed to the front of the park to catch the 10:00 Wishes. We had been having so much fun it didn't really set in that it was almost 10 at night, but the afternoon nap really helped.

We found a great spot on Main Street to watch Wishes (right on the bridge by Caseys) and even though it was only a few minutes before things got started, there was still plenty of space. The rain earlier must have scared everyone away, but that was fine with us.

Wishes was amazing as usual, and we really loved this location to watch it from. The bridge makes you just a little higher than all the people in front of you, and it is far enough back that the castle doesn't block many of the fireworks.

We could tell that most people were leaving, but the park was still open for another 45 minutes, and there was an 11:00 MSEP later. We figured we stayed this long, we might as well just stay until the end.

We used our Jungle Cruise FP+ (8th of the day) even though it was a walk-on and the boat wasn't even full. We did Aladdin's Carpets once (fun at night), and then both DW and I went on BTMRR. This felt like a fitting way to end the day, since we had started there 14 hours earlier when the park opened. We didn't need the Swap here either, so later we found some people at the resort to give the extra Swaps to that would be going to MK the next day.

As we went to find a place to watch the MSEP, the streets in Frontierland and Liberty Square were totally empty, but they were setting up ropes for the parade. We walked towards the hub and as we got over the bridge a CM stopped us as asked if we were planning to watch the parade. She let us sit in the private VIP viewing area right at the bridge along with a handful of other people. I asked, and apparently this viewing area is normally reserved for private groups who pay to use it, or other special functions, but since no one had booked it they were just finding some random people to sit there. It was a really neat place to watch the parade, and was a very special way to end the day.

After that we were all exhausted and got to a bus at 11:45 and back to the room after midnight. No Rope Drop planned for tomorrow, but we still had one more big day, and one more park we hadn't been to yet, Epcot.
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MOD 137 - Owner at Animal Kingdom Villas, Riviera Resort, and Saratoga Springs Resort

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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Old 09-23-2014, 08:55 PM   #6
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Default Day 4 - Epcot

Saturday August 30th
Crowd Level 4 - EP: Most Recommended


Original Plan:
Day 4 - (Sat 30) - Epcot; Lunch at Sunshine Seasons or World Showcase; Break/Swim at Resort; Go back to Epcot; Dinner at Garden Grill (ADR 5:55); Leave park before Illuminations.



We slept in a little after our late night last night, but we still had a full Epcot day ahead of us.

I went down to the Paddock Grill at 7:30 to get breakfast while everyone else started getting ready. It was supposed to open right at 7:30 when I got there, but they finally got around to opening at 7:40, and even then didn't seem to notice that I had been waiting. Guessing they don't get much breakfast business... but the sandwich we got was good.

After breakfast we headed to Epcot, getting there not long after the park opened. First we needed a picture of us all in our family shirts.



We then went to Mission:Space, which was another ride that DS6 had never been on, and was finally tall enough for. We got a Rider Swap for later, and DW rode with him (they did green), while DS3 enjoyed the play area near the exit.

After that we had a FP+ for Test Track (for 2), and got a Rider Swap there too. I rode with DS6, while DW took DS3 over to Living with the Land so he would at least be able to do something.

Next DW and DS6 went on Soarin' with FP+ (again just 2), and we got another Rider Swap. If you have a child under 40" this is the best way to avoid the Tiers for the FP+ rides at Epcot.

From there we all went on the Imagination ride, and then headed to Mexico right at 11:00. We needed to get our usual picture first, then went on the Gran Fiesta Tour ride.



From there, we changed things up a bit and decided to go counter-clockwise around the World Showcase which we decided would work better for the meals and activities we had planned this time. We grabbed a Croissant Doughnut for "lunch" first, then a hot dog for the kids, and made our way around to France to get some ice cream at L’Artisan des Glaces. It actually wasn't open yet, so we watched Impressions de France first while we waited (DS3 fell asleep), which is my favorite in the World Showcase... especially the music. By then we were able to get Ice Cream (the new Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch flavor)

It was time for some actual lunch now, although we didn't want a lot of food, we had now made it around to where we planned to eat ... Spice Road Table. This wasn't in our original plan, but when they started offering 30% off for Annual Passholders it was enough to get us there. I had eaten there back in March and really enjoyed it, but DW had never been there.

We got a Sangria, Spicy Shrimp, and Mixed Grill Skewers. We enjoyed all of it very much, but it was a bit expensive considering how much food we got (even with 30% off). The Mixed Grill Skewers were better than the previous time I had them.. the chicken now has a sauce on it, and there was a larger portion or beef which wasn't as thinly cut. We recommend it for sure, just be aware of how little food you will get.

While we were eating DS3 woke up from his nap (he doesn't nap at home, but the late nights caught up with him). He was very confused at first since he fell asleep in France and woke up in Morocco.

We now headed over to Germany to do an Agent P adventure. They now have smartphones, which overall were better, but that was until DS6 pressed a button he shouldn't have and it started the entire mission over. We decided just to abort mission, and head to our Maelstrom FP+ for our final time ever on that ride.

We grabbed an egg roll in China, and did the Gran Fiesta Tour again in Mexico, and then headed up to Test Track to use our Swap. On the way I noticed how bare some of the grassy areas looked, since I had previously seen them during the Flower and Garden Festival.

Now:


Then:


As we got to Test Track we learned that it was down... so that plan didn't work as well as we hoped. We decided it was too late for taking a break, so we decided it would be fun to try another Agent P. Even though we were farthest from it, we had never done Agent P in France before, so we headed that direction. This time we didn't have any issues (other than the kids arguing a bit over not being able to see the screen, and not sharing well), but we completed the mission and saved the day.

From here we just decided to do a few more things we had missed in the morning, and headed to Nemo, Crush, and Spaceship Earth. Both kids enjoyed being able to setup their future. We then did the Piggy Bank Adventure in Innoventions (our 3rd time we have done this over the years, if I remember correctly, but they enjoy it)

It was now time for our dinner at Garden Grill, and we were all getting hungry. We had never eaten there before, but we wanted to do one "special" meal on the trip and this one looked good for us. We arrived at 5:50, but waited to be seated, and a bit longer for our waitress to arrive. I enjoyed the food for the most part (I wasn't a fan of the fish, but the rest was good), and the kids had a lot of the mac n cheese.

During dinner we got pictures with 3 of the 4 characters...







...but Chip never came to our table. After having dessert, paying for dinner (20% off with Tables in Wonderland), and hanging out a little longer he finally stopped by (after a request to our server).



The dinner took longer than we planned (it was now 7:40, so almost 2 hours), but we were not really in a rush either.

We had 3 Swaps left, but decided we were almost done for the night... so we gave DS6 a choice of which 1 ride he wanted to do again, and he chose Test Track. So DW headed to Test Track with him, and I gave away the Soarin' and Mission:Space swaps to some surprised people. (It was harder to give them away than you would think, you just get a strange look from most people, or they say they are not doing that ride so they don't want them)

While they were on Test Track I took DS3 on Nemo again, and saw Crush in what must have been one of the last shows of the night (not many people there). He really wanted to ask Crush a question, but they didn't choose him (earlier in the day he hadn't wanted to, but he thought of a question.. it was probably a good thing though, since it didn't really make sense anyway)

We headed out of the park, and back to the resort.

It was hard to believe it was already time to start packing and getting ready to fly home in the morning. While DW packs up, I normally take the kids out of the room just to keep them from being in the way.

On that night they both had an extra burst of energy (amazing with how busy we had been the last 4 days) and wanted to use the pool again. We actually walked over to the main pool at the Springs area, since we had already done the Paddock pool, played there for a while (mostly on the big slide) and then we went back over to the Paddock pool for a few last times down that slide. They both really love the slides, and it is great to see no height limit so DS3 can actually enjoy it just like everyone else, we just make sure I am at the bottom to catch him.

DW then came down to get us, since she had everything all packed up, and we finally got the kids to bed around 10:30.
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:57 PM   #7
Micah008
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Default Day 5 - Travel

Sunday August 31st

Original Plan:
Day 5 - (Sun 31) - Departure Day; Breakfast at Resort; Fly out at 11:00am.



We woke up early enough to make sure we had a decent breakfast before catching our DME bus. We were out of the room right at 7:00, with everything packed and ready to go.

We hauled everything over to the main building, as the sun was coming up.



We checked the bags at the resort and then ate at Artist's Palette. When we were done we had a few extra minutes, so we took a little walk around the resort and took a few more pictures.





The mostly full DME bus arrived right at 8:00, and was on the road at 8:05. It had already picked up people from a few other resorts before it got to us, so we headed straight to the airport.



We got off the bus at Terminal A at 8:40, which was way too early for an 11:00 flight... as is normally our experience with DME (with one exception). So we spent some time at the airport taking some of our usual pictures, standing by the fountain, and then through security.





With an 11:00 flight, it doesn't really leave a good time to eat lunch... so we decided to eat 2 small lunches, one before we boarded and one after we arrived back in Wisconsin.

As our flight took off I spotted Disney World out the window. The picture didn't turn out the best, but it is neat that you can easily pick out the 20 new bungalows at the Polynesian.



Zoomed in:


The flight was uneventful, we landed at ~12:30 (Central), got our luggage, got to our car, had some lunch, and then drove the 3 hours to home getting there right around dinner (which none of us were hungry for after 2 lunches).


As your prize for making it this far, I will leave you with two bonus pictures from our trip. First is the car that DS6 designed at Test Track:


And something I saw on my phone on our MK day... my first reaction was: "well that stinks, I guess the whole place is closed, we better just go home".



Thanks for following along!
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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; 09-23-2014 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:12 PM   #8
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Excellent report and pictures, thanks for taking the time.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:47 PM   #9
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Loved reading your trip report - sounds like a great trip! Thanks for posting!

Enjoy those boys while they are young - I just sent my 18 year old off to college and it seems like yesterday he was 6 and experiencing Disney as only a kid can
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:58 PM   #10
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So cool thanks and glad you have fun . I hope I can see the new POLY from the airplane someday! I have had luck searching for the Swan and the Dolphin from the plane windows to get an obvious locator...
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