We're back from BWV grand villa 1/4 - 1/11!!
We are back from a wonderful 7 night (Fri.-Fri.) family vacation with DH, myself, DS25, DS23, DD21, DS18 and oldest DS's gf. WDW was our family vacation spot when my kids were growing up and this was the first trip back in 5 years and the first trip altogether since then, too.
DH, DS18 and DD21 drove from MD and the rest of us flew. DS23 lives in LA, so this was our time to be with him since August.
The drivers left MD Thursday evening about 7:30 and arrived at the MCO airport to pick us up on Friday at 1:30 in the afternoon! :drive: DS23 from L.A. took Magical Express because his flight came in a couple hours later. We thought the drivers would pick him up, but they were earlier than expected.
We stayed the first night at ASM in two adjoining rooms. My kids have fond memories of the Food Court. We ate a late lunch there and breakfast the next morning. I'm not sure that it lived up to their memories - I forgot to ask.
We did each park 1 and 1/2 or more days, except AK which was only 1 full day, opening to closing (9-5). Some of us had 5 day MYW and others had 6 days (no hoppers and they expired). I later added days at the BWV, which was an ordeal but worked out in our favor (I'll explain later). We did all of our favorites and even more! Only Splash M and Kali were closed for refurb.
Heres a brief-ish description of what we did, but I grouped it by park rather than in order of the day, just to highlight a few things we did (sorry if it's confusing that way).
We arrived on Friday afternoon, Jan. 4th in mist and fog but everyone wanted to go to the MK after unpacking. We went right to Gaston's to get a pastry (cinnamon bun and chocolate croissant - YUM!) and look around the new FL. After dinner at Cosmic Ray's, we stood on the bridge to Tomorrrowland to watch Wishes (our usual favorite spot), but we could tell that we were missing projections that were being shown on the castle about 15 minutes before Wishes (I hadn't done much reading on the DIS about this, so I forgot). Anyway, Tink flew above us, but it was so foggy that you couldn't see the fireworks, so we went on to SM, Buzz, HM (cool new effect with the ghosts at the end!), Pooh and SW and left before the park closed (closing was at 1:00 a.m.).
We were back in the MK on Wed., Jan. 9th, arriving about 10:30 a.m. or so (definitely not the rope-dropping time like past trips!). It started to drizzle in the a.m. while riding BTMR, but no one wanted to wear the ponchos I had brought. :confused3 We ate lunch at BOG, which was wonderful and like an attraction itself! I rode the new VotLM myself and thought it was cute (Peter Pan/Small World-like). The new roller coaster they are building looked like a great addition to the MK! I was picked in Monsters Laugh Floor to pick a # between 1 and 50. I think I said it too softly for the monster to hear because he guessed wrong and they dropped him through the floor. Someone must have told him my # later because you could hear him call my name (from beyond) several times and ask if my # was 14, which it was. Kind of funny. DS18 found some good targets during Buzz and maxed out points more than once.
I have been wanting to see the Flag Retreat ceremony @ 5 and finally made it! We really enjoyed the short ceremony and they honored a husband and wife. I was wondering if they get to keep the flag...
After the ceremony, I went to the fire station to pick up 6 packs of Sorcerer's cards, even though no one in my family sounded interested when I had told them about the game earlier. DH, DS23 and DS18 started playing and got hooked. But we weren't coming back another day, so they only did a few challenges. We watched Wishes from in front of the castle (not too close - I learned the hard way once) and saw the wonderful projection show on the castle before Wishes this time. Tink did not fly. This should have been an early day with time to enjoy the villa, but since we couldn't view Wishes because of the fog the first night, we stayed until the park closed at 10. After Wishes, I got DH to go to ETWB with me while the kids did SM. I thought it was cute for families with children and I liked seeing the details of Belle's cottage. (This was Wednesday and the crowds were very manageable for everything!)
Going back to Saturday, the day after we arrived, we were trying to sleep in since we went to the MK after arriving on Friday, but some kids took our "Do Not Disturb" signs off our doors at ASM and Mousekeeping knocked at 8:30. :rolleyes2 So we went to check into BWV and then walked to HS about 10:30 a.m., which had opened much earlier for EMH, since our grand villa wasnt ready yet. This was the only time we went against recommended park suggestions because I wanted to see Comedy Club act and this was their last day. We got to see one show! :cool1: I would love to see this offered regularly at HS! FPs for TSM were long gone, as expected.
We walked back to unpack when we received the text that our villa #4037 was ready!! It was "tremendous", as DS18 put it!! Amazing space and view! :lovestruc
After unpacking, we walked back to HS to get dinner and use RnRC FPs. The ride stopped as soon as my family was about to ride, so they got FPs that were good until the 15th (we ended up giving them away later in the trip because we had no problem riding it when we went back on Monday the 7th). So, we ran over to F! late, since we hadn't planned on going tonight, and sat in the way back bleachers, front row. We should have stood because there were others coming in even later than us and they blocked our view looking for seats and not listening to the ushers. Then, people blocked our view leaving early!! I can understand people with little ones because the show does get loud and scary, but why are the adults with good seats leaving early??? :confused3 Then we walked to see the fantastic Osborne lights, which we had seen 5 years ago.
We went back to HS on Monday a.m. so that we could ride TSM several times. We drew Grumpy (for the first time) at Animation. We went to the new Pirates thing which was an insult to anyone waiting for it! The only cool thing was seeing Jack Sparrow but the rest was so lame :faint: that we were upset that we wasted time in line. Luckily we were in the first group waiting in line. We would have been really mad if we had wasted more time. I didn't have any ADRs but was able to get a 1:30 reservation at 50's PTC when I stopped by the dining booth in front of the Sorcerer's Hat. We really wanted to go to Sci Fi, but nothing was available. Our waitress was nice, but didn't give us any "show". A few of us enjoyed the American Idol Experience and ended up going back later for the finale of the day to see if our winner would win it all. The contestants were so good that I couldn't decide and ended up running out of time before I could vote. DH and I drew Dopey at Animation - two dwarfs this trip! Of course we did all of our other favorite attractions at least once at HS, but I didn't see any of the street shows this time.
We did EPCOT on Sunday and Thursday. The crowds were very manageable both days. On Sunday, we went back to the villa in the afternoon to watch the Redskins play in the playoff game (and lose :() with Florida relatives that came to visit us, but we returned to EPCOT to get a funnel cake in America and watch Illuminations from there. It was a great spot to watch from, but only because the leaves were off of the trees that we stood under (since it was winter).
I don't do TT anymore (chicken), but my family was so disappointed with the new TT. :( They did like making the cars and the activities after the ride but, to them, the new storyline didn't make sense with the outside track around the building. They think Disney should enclose the outside track to make it more Tron-like. They rode it a few times during our trip but not with the same excitement as before and they didnt really care if they did it more than once.
Some did Sum of All Thrills and really liked that.
DD21 was picked to be a "player" in UK! She held up the "yeah" and "boo" signs. they gave her a special button (not a pin).
A few WS acts weren't performing on the days we were there or the times were not when we could get to, but we did see the juggler in Italy, the chair balancer in France, Off Kilter, and the movies in Canada, America and France. We saw the Jammitors. I had Mulan sign my Mulan backpack in China but never got to see the Chinese Acrobats. We didn't get to see the British Revolution, either. We had wine and pastries in France's new bakery location with bathrooms. We discovered the caramel shop in Germany!! Enjoyed bratwurst and beer there, too. We always love the food in Morocco and this trip, while eating dinner at the outdoor cafe, we loved listening to the MoRockins (or whatever their name is).
In AK on Tuesday the 8th, we did all of our favorites (except Kali which was closed) at least once and saw the parade. We love the change in the Safari ride and how they stop a little now so that you can actually take decent photos. Did not miss the Little Red storyline at all! We ate dinner at ESPN and then the kids played miniature golf on the Fairway at Fantasia Gardens&is that right? They really enjoyed that the course was clean and somewhat empty and that it stayed open as late as it did.
From reading a tip on the DIS, I brought a golf ball that I drew Mickey-head on and "caught" it after Soarin'. I also brought jewels for "catching" during Ariel's scene in Philharmagic. My family laughed and thought I was nuts. :blush:
My kids had downloaded the new Disney app for looking at wait times and FP availability and that came in very handy!! :thumbsup2
We checked out on Friday, the 11th and those who drove left at 10:30 a.m. The rest of us didnt want to miss our Magical Express to the airport, so instead of doing DTD (I can't believe we didn't have time to get there at all this trip!), we decided to go to EPCOT for a bit, since we were so close. I went to concierge at the BWV to add a day to our tickets and, when they looked at my room key ticket, they said I still had 3 more days left&OMG!! :scratchin:cool1: There was a major glitch in their system - to our benefit!!!
Unfortunately, the BWV didnt have us staying for 3 more days!! :scratchin
We took this trip fairly leisurely even though we did do parks every day. My kids only went to the pool once and we never made it to DTD. I really did want to see Splitsville. I could definitely have spent another 7 nights in the grand villa! A couple of kids wanted to rent water mouse boats and others wanted to do the Segway tour, but...next time!
Overall it was a wonderful trip! Everyone arrived and got back home safely, we were healthy while we were there and the weather was just about perfect. We all stuck together by choice and they mostly let me lead them around. My oldest DS even asked when I was planning the next trip! Of course, this was on DH and my finances, so it will be awhile! I had printed out a newsletter months before for all of my kids. One of the * items was that Mom and Dad were only paying for meals eaten with us, so that might have helped with the togetherness.
Heres the itinerary that went roughly as planned (though I had another plan with less park days, but Friday night started us out on a late night trend...):
Friday - arrive at ASM; go to MK (Wishes was fogged out)
Saturday - check into BWV; walk to HS (see Comedy Club); unpack; walk to HS for Osborne Lights/Fantasmic!
Sunday - E; relatives and football; Illuminations
Monday - HS @ 8:15; pool break, ticket mishap; HS (American Idol finale)
Tuesday - AK (9-5); ESPN; miniature golf
Wednesday - MK (arrived @ 10:30ish) all day to see Flag Retreat Ceremony, Wishes
Thursday - E (arrived @ 10:30is) all day - no one wanted a break!!
Friday - check out and get free day at E for those who flew!; Magical Express to Airport
What a dream trip.:cloud9: To have everyone together and in a GV at that. Nice.
I don't think the Food Court was how they remembered. DS25 was now conscious of the prices. When you're a kid and can pick out all the junk food to eat, things look a lot better and you aren't as picky. I'm sure the quality wasn't what they remembered.
We took the kids when DS25 was 6 for the first time. I told him the Jungle Cruise animals were real. When we went back 4 years later, he couldn't wait to go on JC. When we finally did it...he was so disappointed. :( I felt bad.
Sounds like you had a nice trip.
We have a trip planned for the same time next year.
It's nice to hear the crowds weren't too bad.
So was everything still decorated for the holidays?
Hi Shanna! It was crowded the first weekend we got there because the FL schools were out until the 7th (Monday) and we got there on the 4th. But we went with a touring plan and avoided days suggested except for Saturday the 5th because I wanted to be in HS to catch the last day of the Comedy Warehouse act. We arrived late on an emh hour morning, but still managed to do things, but not the "headliners". I refuse to wait for anything with more than a 20 minute wait. :) We did each park two days, except AK, so we had time to catch things we missed. If you go to each park on a recommended day, you should be fine, even if you don't arrive at opening. We only made it to opening our 1 day at AK, our second day at HS, and just barely on one of our Epcot days. We only went to MK on the evening we arrived (park stayed open until 1 a.m.) and on Wednesday, but didn't get there that day until 10:30. If you arrive at park openings, you will avoid crowds and get a lot done!!
Yes, the parks were still decorated for the holidays. We were able to see the Osborne lights on Saturday, too, but the last day was Sunday the 6th.
Have fun planning!!:goodvibes
My son was 2 when I bought into DVC, now at 16 our trips are different, we bring his best buds with us! Yikes,next will be the girlfriend!!! I see from your trip that your kids are grown, and that one came from LA, how exciting to all meet up at Disney and to stay in a BWV GV! Reliving old memories and making new ones, what a great trip report! Thank You!
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