April 22nd, 2013

Trip Report: WDW April 14-19

We flew JetBlue, because that's what we do if we possibly can. The entertainment system was not working properly on the flight down, altho it was fine on the way back. We checked three bags and used Disney's Magical Express. The bags all showed up in our room towards the end of the expected window. The motorcoach ride was uneventful. We packed swim suits in our carryons so we could swim if our room was not ready, which we did. Checkin was at BLT; our cards were pre-prepared at the Contemporary but they just made a new packet for us so we didn't have to trek back. We ordered groceries from GardenGrocer.com and either I ordered the wrong spread or they sent the wrong one; otherwise the order was fulfilled correctly and in the specified window. I bought too much -- I'm used to having people traveling with us.

We had a 2 bedroom Lake View all the way at the end of the corridor on the 4th floor. It was a true lake view: nice trees. If you went to the window or out on the master bedroom balcony, there was a partial view of the Magic Kingdom, so you could watch the fireworks. However, because it was on a lower floor, the angle on the castle was not great, especially compared to previous years when we had a MK view on a higher floor.

We bought annual passes this year on our first day at the park, because we have planned another trip in under a year and we're just barely past the breakeven point vs. buying Magic Your Way tickets. The new RFID entries are set up and we had a slight problem going in the first day at Epcot which we believe was due to a problem with someone ahead of us in line and a not-yet-competent attendant -- we got sent over to someone with an iPad who told us -- incorrectly -- that our passes were not yet activated and sent us over to Guest Relations on the other side of the gate where they told us he was wrong and to try again. Succeeding days presented no problems.

Other than the first day at Epcot, our remaining park days were at the Magic Kingdom, kids' choice.

T. had an outing to the Aquarium in Boston shortly before our trip to Florida and he wanted to go again, which is why we started at Epcot. We had lunch at the Coral Reef, which has "windows" on the big tank. This turns out to be super cool, especially if you get one of the first seatings (or lucky on a later seating) and are next to one of the windows. Dine with the mantas, sharks, etc. Wacky and wonderful -- food was pretty typical for a WDW sit-down. Our other two ADRs (made much earlier) were for Chef Mickey's and O'hana, in the evening. We were family of the day at Chef Mickey's (another reason to get a first seating and then go down early in hopes of being first in line), and they handled our kids opening the rope too early by just pretending that didn't happen and cheering at the right moment as if they had done it on cue. Brilliant! We were all bummed that we didn't get brooms and coconuts at O'hana, but A. and I did "learn to dance the hula", which was fun. A.'s favorite ride this trip was it's a small world, and she particularly liked the hula dancers and the can can dancers and would do "hula" or "can can" upon request throughout the trip (and after). I think the hula was because of O'hana, and the can can was because I told her it was a naughty dance and what's not fantastic about naughty when you are little?

The weather was warm and we only got a small amount of precipitation, never when we were in the park. R. and the kids did have to leave the pool one day because of a thunderstorm. We were able to do Town Square Princesses with both kids (and earlier with A.). We were able to do Enchanted Tales with Belle: T. got the bars for Maurice and A. got to be Mrs. Potts. By being a complete hard ass, I even got us in first thing in the morning so we only had to wait in line a half hour, instead of an hour or more.

The old-style Fastpass continues; they haven't switched over yet so I cannot speak to that.

We had a great time. The kids want to go back (they didn't want to leave) and they want to go back to Chef Mickey's and O'hana again. I've told them when our next trip is, and when another trip that will involve a theme park will occur somewhat sooner, so they're on board with that, which is cool, because that flight is longer and I wasn't sure how I was going to sell them on it.

I have to say, it's a lot more fun traveling with kids who have intelligible speech and don't need pull-ups anymore. Even when they whine, don't want to go to bed, and wake up Way Too Early in the morning.