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Old 08-03-2009, 07:51 PM   #361
KathyRN137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post





The restaurant is GORGEOUS!



Love that PP Pic... it's the one in the montage you've got in your siggie, right?

We're looking forward to Boma... breakfast, not dinner, but you're right. The restaurant (and the Lodge) are beautiful!


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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post

....the Fort Wilderness RR has been resurrected...but in a new and different way. If you recall, we used the quiet pool on our trip and then the WL main pool, as the Meadows Pool was under renovation.

Check it out.




With the renovation they added a hot tub and a slide and last I read a splash zone is in the works (though I'm not at all up to speed). They took the water tower here from the old River Country I believe and incorporated the railroad logo on it!
Looks really great!!

You almost have me convinced that we need to stay at the Fort someday.

Almost!


Kathy
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:22 PM   #362
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No, it's not over, say it isn't so!! Ok, melodrama over, but I sincerely loved reading all about your trip. You write really well and I related to your perspective on things Disney.

Another hour of sleep at 3:30=a very good thing. I'm glad that a towncar was available. I can't believe the resort had already charged your card! That would irk me.

for you guys because of Steven's poor choice on the homework front. He probably doesn't even realize the ramifications for your family and future vacations. August, although hot, will at least mean no school work to have to over see.

Thanks for the review of the Fort and the history of the rail road. I had never heard that. The renovated pool looks like fun.

Please, please consider writing a TR for your THV stay. I'd love to read it.
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Old 08-03-2009, 10:04 PM   #363
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Awwww, really enjoyed your trip report and I wish it were not over!! I third the idea of checking into renting points vs booking through disney, although if you go during free dining with 4 adults and two children it may not be cost effective to rent points?

You are a much better person than I am. I highly doubt that I would ever take a flight that early to get home for a sport practice of any kind. Now going TO disney, would be an entirely different matter!

Loved your dining report also and enjoyed hearing the background of the fort!! Your Boma review and photopass pictures were outstanding!!

Thanks again for sharing your memories!!
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:23 AM   #364
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Okay, definitely bummed that we've hit the end, but so grateful for your final thoughts!

I've really enjoyed reading your report, and loved your final review of FW. I don't think I've ever stayed there, and from your description, it's something I feel I'd like to try at least once. So many good things going on over there!
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:22 AM   #365
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Hey! I'm not QUITE done yet guys! Have a few more thoughts! Still to come

  • Dining recap
  • Overall trip likes/dislikes and
  • What I'd do different next time!


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Okay, definitely bummed that we've hit the end, but so grateful for your final thoughts!

I've really enjoyed reading your report, and loved your final review of FW. I don't think I've ever stayed there, and from your description, it's something I feel I'd like to try at least once. So many good things going on over there!
It's a wonderful place. Interestingly there are many people who go there just to camp and don't even go to the parks! If I lived locally, I could completely see doing that...just not in August. We are gearing up to go camping this weekend and our heat wave has thankfully passed, that would be miserable! Only in FL though would you read on a camping board about putting AC in a tent! That freaks me out with the possibility of rain, plugging soemthing in like that, I don't get it. But I can see where you'd need it!

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Awwww, really enjoyed your trip report and I wish it were not over!! I third the idea of checking into renting points vs booking through disney, although if you go during free dining with 4 adults and two children it may not be cost effective to rent points?

You are a much better person than I am. I highly doubt that I would ever take a flight that early to get home for a sport practice of any kind. Now going TO disney, would be an entirely different matter!

Loved your dining report also and enjoyed hearing the background of the fort!! Your Boma review and photopass pictures were outstanding!!

Thanks again for sharing your memories!!
If we do go during FD, which is the plan it would actually be 7, or 8 adults! DS8 turns 10 early Sept that year and I'd rather list him as an adult if I can.... We saved so much $$ doing the DDP and had the 4/3 deal but when I compared the two, FD is even more savings for us. So given the time of year it will likely be FD.

We pick our battles it was enough to get them ON the trip, if that's what we had to do, it's what we had to do. It was also dictated by cheap flights but the reality is there just aren't that many options to get back to Seattle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathyRN137 View Post
Love that PP Pic... it's the one in the montage you've got in your siggie, right?

We're looking forward to Boma... breakfast, not dinner, but you're right. The restaurant (and the Lodge) are beautiful!

You almost have me convinced that we need to stay at the Fort someday.

Almost!

Kathy
It's not for everyone. But I do encourage a visit! HDDR, Mickey's Backyard BBQ, ride the horses, Segwey tour, rent bikes, petting zoo...SO much to do!

Boma breakfast would be yummy! Unless we stay there though I can't see us making the trek for bfast. It'd get us into AK by what...3om knowing us?

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Old 08-04-2009, 11:22 AM   #366
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Which did NOT make me happy. I had assumed that would happen in the middle of the night or am. Not at 10pm on the night before our check out date! After MUCH discussion they were able to get the rest of the card credited to our bill and adjust the DV charge but it really cut into my late night packing and I was less than thrilled.


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As we headed back to the cabin we re-evaluated DME for the am. DME wanted us to leave at 3:30 AM!


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We were greeted by this, in our bathroom.

How cute!

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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
I wish I had something interesting to say about the flight back but I don't. Other than it really kind of sucked. We were all tired, crabby and I was really really regretting being talked into this flight time simply so Tink could make it to soccer practice. The girl was going to be a wreck and I just didn't see how it was worth it. Both she and Steven had school the next day and really just needed to go to bed. She at least slept on the plane, she can sleep anywhere but I don't think anyone else did.
Flight time home based on soccer practice?! Yikes!

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Sadly, that didn't turn out to be the case. He bombed the test, didn't get to take his DL test when originally scheduled and it is safe to say in many ways sabotaged his own chances of being allowed to miss ANY school for trips with us in the future. We were not happy as it made us look bad and we really did ride him on his homework the whole trip and were assured, repeatedly he was on top of it. Tink did the same thing though luckily in her case, did fine on the tests despite lack of studying.


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The good news is it appears Steven has gotten his act back together school wise, we will have to see how this year goes but the end of the year was encouraging.
Well, that's good news!
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:48 PM   #367
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Originally Posted by lisalonglash View Post
:

Flight time home based on soccer practice?! Yikes!
Well...to be fair, she missed at least 2 and one practice game (I think, although it might have gotten cancelled last minute) but upon our return they were heading into State Cup in about 2 weeks from our return so really, she couldn't/shouldn't have missed more than she did if at all possible. I still wouldn't do those times again and the reality is it is very very possible that no matter when we book the next trip, there will be a conflict and she may not get to go. We can't hold up life completely so figure if we announce now we are going next August, at least it's in her head so she can really decide if and when there is a conflict. Which, if there is, will be a tournament. We are going to try our best to plan around when we think there will be ones they'll sign up for but it's more art than science at this point!
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:05 PM   #368
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Aw...so sad that your trip report is coming to end. I've really enjoyed reading it!! Thanks for the history and summary of FW!!! We were actually planning to stay there in August until my brother decided to join us and since the cabins only sleep 6, we were forced to look into something else. It's too bad, because I know my parent's would have loved it!! They love the outdoors!!! Oh...and the pool looks great!! It's definitely something we may look into in the future!!!

Can't wait to hear about your dining recaps and what you liked and disliked.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:15 PM   #369
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We aren't staying in the treehouses-we have a week at AKL and then two days at SSR (using up developer points)-we thought that would be a good opportunity to check them out-I'll post pictures if we get good ones!
We've traveled in August when DD was in school-always too much going on during the year to miss school days once she was in HS. Now she's 26 and married but we're going in August because she's a teacher! Anyway, we never minded our August trips-even if your teens can't make the early hours they will love staying up til 1:00 or 2:00 a.m!
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:30 AM   #370
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Aw...so sad that your trip report is coming to end. I've really enjoyed reading it!! Thanks for the history and summary of FW!!! We were actually planning to stay there in August until my brother decided to join us and since the cabins only sleep 6, we were forced to look into something else. It's too bad, because I know my parent's would have loved it!! They love the outdoors!!! Oh...and the pool looks great!! It's definitely something we may look into in the future!!!

Can't wait to hear about your dining recaps and what you liked and disliked.
Oh that's too bad, the cabins are great but it's tight with 6 (unless the 4 are smaller kids). Hopefully next time! Dining recap coming soon!

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We aren't staying in the treehouses-we have a week at AKL and then two days at SSR (using up developer points)-we thought that would be a good opportunity to check them out-I'll post pictures if we get good ones!
We've traveled in August when DD was in school-always too much going on during the year to miss school days once she was in HS. Now she's 26 and married but we're going in August because she's a teacher! Anyway, we never minded our August trips-even if your teens can't make the early hours they will love staying up til 1:00 or 2:00 a.m!
That makes sense, and thanks for the input on August travel, that's great to hear. I would love to see pictures if you have any!
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:07 PM   #371
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All caught up again. Boma sounded great! Glad you had such a great day at Animal Kingdom.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:05 PM   #372
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Awwww....thanks! I hate to see my TR end too! Almost as much as I hated to see yours end. You, you lucky dog you, get to go back very very soon though! And without kids!Seriously big advantage to living on the east coast and being able to score cheap flights!

I have complete faith that you will ride EE in the dark. It's not an "if", it's a "when" I guess the when will have to remain a mystery a bit longer.

Yeah...for soccer practice. NEVER again. DH is in complete agreement. Not a big deal for Tink to miss 4 days of school but heaven forbid she miss a practice. Seriously. Her mom tried to guilt her into not going on the trip b/c she would miss 2 of her jr high school basketball team practices as well. Which would mean she couldn't play in the first 2 games b/c she wouldn't have enough practice time in.
I know you said this before, but hearing it a second time makes me realize how completely and utterly ridiculous that was!

Never mind the fact that she was an alternate on the team, 13 out of 13 players (and told that she was #13) and that she had to sign a document that stated she knew she was only a "practice" player and wasn't guaranteed any game time at all.
No comment....just

Yeah, I'd miss disney for that. Sorry. Vent over! I did get a good ODP update from her though before she left on her friend trip. She played on the invitational team the entire camp, not the WA team. Call back was almost 80 girls and apparently the ENTIRE S. Cal team made it and most of the N. Cal! About 5 or so from WA including our old goalie. No one from this years team though.Good for tink! What's the deal with the S Cal team???? Do they have superior coaching? I guess it doesn't hurt that they can probably play outdoors year round. How nice would that be?

Which is very very cool for our old goalie, I hope she makes the team (though I really really wish she hadn't left!), I guess the regional pool goes through the whole process again. So not quite as bad as the only 1 from Delaware scenario but on a percentage basis, not that great either. Good luck to your goalie. What a tough position that is.

About the Fort....you want some great running paths.....stay at the Fort! Scrooge and Tink loved it. You can run in between FW and WL! Pretty pretty pretty!I would love, love, love that!

I"ll have to look at the points, last time I priced it it was more than the Fort and it will just come down to what the better deal is knowing that we want the DDP and could go during FD which is also value rate time. It sleeps 3 more than the Fort though and is cheaper than most of the deluxe 2brs outside of SSR and OKW (neither of which I have a burning desire to stay at though).I hear ya.....free dining would definately be an advantage not to be passed up!

We saved a TON of $$ on the DDP this trip and will definitely do it again. I loved knowing our food was paid for, it made is so much more relaxing not doing the day by day adding how we were doing versus budget! Agreed. We do the dining plan every trip we are able, too. It's really worth it!
Sorry I did not respond sooner. I read this last night, but it was late and my computer was acting crazy, so I turned it off and went to bed.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:39 AM   #373
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All caught up again. Boma sounded great! Glad you had such a great day at Animal Kingdom.
Thanks! We did! now I need to get over to your TR and get caught up myself!

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Seriously big advantage to living on the east coast and being able to score cheap flights!
and being DVC! Harder to justify DVC from wayyyy out here...

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What's the deal with the S Cal team???? Do they have superior coaching? I guess it doesn't hurt that they can probably play outdoors year round. How nice would that be?
Well, we play outdoors year round, we just figure it's a bigger state, a bigger deal and I don't know, they are amazing. We get killed by them but so does everyone else. N. Cal is pretty impressive too. Certain clubs in particular, it would be interesting to see the pool by club actually.

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Sorry I did not respond sooner. I read this last night, but it was late and my computer was acting crazy, so I turned it off and went to bed.
no worries, that sounds like a good reason to go to bed to me! Which I'm off to do myself and get caught up with everyone else in the am and then post my dining recap! Today got away from me, in a much needed mental health kind of way
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:08 AM   #374
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7 days on the DDP and $significant $savings for us. A DDP and Garden Grocer recap!

Our week of gluttony in review.

First off I want to state how much we LOVED the DDP.

We really debated whether or not to do it, whether or not we'd save. We did save. Quite a bit. But as important or more, all our meals were paid for. ahead of time. No mentally adding throughout the week to see how we were doing on the budget. No changing of where we were going to eat because we'd over spent the night before. We had ADR's, a new concept for us. Scrooge had really really worried that a daily ADR anchored us too much and didn't give us enough flexibility. That couldn't have been farther from the case. It actually ended up being something everyone looked forward to each day and I loved NEVER having to deal with the..

What do you want to eat?
I don't know, what do you want to eat?
What sounds good to you?
I don't know, what sounds good to you?

No, that doesn't sound good
No, I don't have a better idea

I want mexican
but I want pizza
but I really want a steak
what about fish mom?

I could let the kids have a treat every day without mentally adding up just how much I was spending on Mickey Bars, smoothies and popcorn. I like to treat my kids, I do. I do not however let them get something like that as a general rule every day on vacation! Once or twice, maybe even three times, sure. But not every day. The kids thought they were in heaven.

But first...

a Garden Grocer review

We worried it wouldn't be enough food and so I'd had our cabin stocked with about $200 worth of groceries. We didn't need that much. I bought stuff to make hot breakfast in addition to cold cereals, yogurt, fruit and poptarts. I'd skip that next time. I overbought on the dinner items a little but was able to pack it back home so it wasn't an issue. I mis-ordered one item but that was all me. Ideally on the next trip we will time it so there is no need for more than cold breakfast items, beer, wine and snacks! Although with MIL and her DH along...may need to do rum and coke lol!

That said I was incredibly pleased with Garden Grocer. There seems to be quite a debate between GG and WeGo. As I am not from the area, all our stores are different, so for me to specifiy to WeGo exactly what brand of everything I wanted just seemed nightmarish. Several of our normal brands would be hard to find or non existent and just the idea of making the list bugged me. It sounded like work! I figured I could actually end up spending more if I wasn't careful. And, in looking at the GG site I really didn't see most items as being horribly overpriced.

Our items were not only delivered on time, they were early. Which bugs some people but as the cold stuff was already put in the fridge (except for the beer which would have been really appreciated when we go there lol) I can't complain. Scrooge had been dreading the idea of getting the groceries from check in, into the cabin, and it was already handled!

My only issue is both a plus, and a minus, for GG. We were able to order beer and wine. Which, arriving at almost midnight to our room (but 9pm Seattle time) was a very very good thing! However you can't put it on your order, you email them separately and then when they actually get it they call you with the additional amount. Which means it doesn't count towards your order total and I'd assumed it would. Which meant I didn't get free delivery despite spending enough. I'd still use them again. The delivery fee was far cheaper than renting a car and as, or more important, I didn't spend the first few hours of an actual vacation, at the grocery store! Which is what usual happens. And feels like work. This made it feel like a vacation, right away. We did pack a few items on the dry goods and condiment side and I'd do that again (like GOOD coffee), that worked really well. I would probably do a bit more of it next time. But, compared to my original plan which had been packing almost all our food, and thus another bag to check, this worked better and I don't think cost us much more in the end. What we saved in time, stress and baggage fees more than outweighed it and made our late night arrival relatively painless.

And now,

a trip dining recap……

On this trip we went to ALL new places, both for TS and CS.

We dined at

Table Service
  • Biergarten
  • Teppan Edo
  • Kona
  • Boma
  • HDDR
  • PTC
  • HOB (OOP)

Counter Service
  • Cosmic Rays
  • Yak and Yeti Local Foods
  • Gasparilla Grill
  • Roaring Forks
  • Tangerine Café
  • La Cantina De San Angel
  • Starring Rolls
  • Toluca Turkey Legs
If we had to rank our favorites for our sit down meals (and we did) it would be

Table Service
Me:
1-Kona
2-PTC

DH:
1-Biergarten
2-Boma

Kids:
1-Teppan Edo
2-HDRR

Dinner Show
Probably a show down between the HDDR and Teppan but PTC is right up there for me! DH didn't get to see as much so he can't vote lol. Out of these only the HDDR technically counts as a show (and the 2 TS credits to pay for it) but I really think Teppan, PTC and Biergarten all count as having "shows"!

Which means all of our ADR's were someone's 1st or 2nd favorite so I'm pretty darn pleased! Interesting how different our tastes are but everyone liked every place, just had a different line up of favorites. I am surprised that buffets were DH's fav's. I knew we'd all like the food but I had no idea he liked buffets that much! Kind of fun to be surprised like that!

Top Snacks

No surprises here!
  • Yak and Yeti Egg Rolls!
  • Mickey Bars
  • Goofys (espresso for me, yum!)
  • Main Street Confectioners

I know a lot of people love Sunshine Seasons for both food and snacks, we were not overwhelmed. On that note....here are my thoughts by park.

Epcot
#1 in TS options
#1 in CS options
#4 for snacks. We had a hard time with snacks here. Partially b/c we'd left the WS. Or at least I think that's the reason. Also could simply be it was early in the trip!

MK
#4 in TS options
#3 in CS
#1 for snacks

DHS
I'm actually going to give this a #2 in TS. While there aren't a ton of options, I think PTC and SciFi are good enough to be repeaters and for in the park dining that's pretty important
#4 for CS (even though we liked Starring Rolls)
#3 for snacks

AK
I'm going to give this a #3 in TS b/c of Yak and Yeti and Tusker House. Even though we haven't eaten at either, they are on my someday maybe list which is more than I can say for a single sit down in the MK.
#2 in CS
#2 in snacks. Say it with me. Yak and Yeti local foods egg rolls!



Speaking of snacks. DHS, AK and MK did a FABULOUS job of having those nice little snack credit icons on the menus. Epcot flunked that one. Big time. I didn't see a single icon on any menu, the entire trip. They are very very helpful! Even if you have your wonderful DIS list, which was a godsend for snacks1

It's going to be hard next time to balance all these wonderful experiences with trying new places!

We had late ADR's (7:30-9:30). If memory serves there was something going on with booking windows on ADR's that was different then (shorter?) than it is now. I was NOT tracking that at all before the trip. Despite planning the trip for in truth, about 18 months (as it kept moving dates) I didn't look into dining until it really seemed like we were actually going! Which meant I started looking the day after we paid off our balance lol! So I booked all our ADR's about 42 days out.

Other than LeCellier, despite the insane crowds of the week, got everything I wanted. I am sure a lot of it had to do with my mostly 8pm slots. And I am a bit of a loss as to how to fix that next time. The reality is we never eat before 7:30 at home anyway. So 8:30 on vacation feels perfect to us given the time difference, even a little early. BUT it did impact fireworks. In a big way. And I have to say that I don't trust park hours. I booked all of my ADR's around them, and showtimes, and they all changed. So that's frustrating but I will try to figure it out!

And so…that brings me to my....

hypothetical ADR list for my mythical 2010 trip.

LOL! I know the kids will want to go back to some of their favorites (just like they want to stay at FW again) but I also know DH and I would prefer to try new places. So my gut is we will do 100% new places again for our sit downs but at a bare minimum, get some egg rolls for a snack!

Here are my thoughts at present, a wish list for the future. This plan assumes we are at THV. If we stay elsewhere, the plan will change!

Dinner Top Choices:
  • Turf Club
  • California Grill
  • Les Chefs
  • Ohana
  • Olivias
  • Sanaa
  • Tokyo Dining
  • anywhere I get in on a fantasmic package!

Dinner Second Choices:
  • Raglan Road
  • Narcosees
  • Citricos
  • The Wave
  • Coral Reef
  • Yak and Yeti
  • Teppan Edo (yes, this breaks the all new rule)

Breakfast:
  • Chef Mickeys
  • Kona
  • Cape May

Counter Service
If it works out I'd like to try
  • Columbia Harbour House
  • Boulangerie Patisserie (which we wanted to go to but no one wanted to hike back to France)
  • Flame Tree BBQ
  • Earl of Sandwich

But CS isn't something we are going to really plan. It works better that way.

I'd love to try Beaches and Cream some day but just don't see it as a good use of TS credits as they don't take reservations but...could be an option for a late night dinner at DHS.

And Yes. I am planning to do breakfast. I might be crazy. We might end up with only half of the crew making it out of bed to go but I love breakfast. I never get to go out to breakfast. I'm always the one making breakfast. It's going to be "my" thing this next trip.

As with this trip all of our lunches will be CS and the remaining breakfasts in our room or CS. We (quite) often didn’t really eat 3 meals on the last trip so I’m going to make myself relax about those CS credits! I look forward to staying somewhere that has CS there! I have more places on my list than will be covered by our plan so either I will have to whittle it down or pay OOP. Right now my plan is for one signature and to do it OOP. I am hoping to make it an 8 night trip so this time we really get 7 full days with how much time the travel takes from here. Breakfasts will have to be OOP or, if I really want breakfast, do a CS dinner or two.

We will not really do 3 sit down breakfasts, especially since 2 are buffets, so will need to choose between the 2 character ones. MIL will be into breakfast though so that's ammo for me. We’ve never done a Character meal and I think it must be a rule to do at least one in your lifetime! Plus I think MIL and her DH would get a huge kick out of it. Tink too though she’d act otherwise.

If I can’t get a fantasmic package I’m not sure. It is helpful eating at DHS though plenty of things are relatively close. MIL would “love” going to the Brown Derby but I’m not sure that’s where I want to spend 2 credits or go OOP, just think there are better choices for that. We’ve done PTC and SciFi, liked them both. DH would vote for Mama Melrose as he LOVES Italian but the reviews are generally so bad….I don’t know. Might well end up out of the park that night. I’ll eat anywhere if it’s a fantasmic package. Maybe I’m over thinking that but we didn’t get to see it this trip and the trip before, the wait and the crowd was INSANE! Granted, in August it may well be a totally different “world”. But the time we saw it was early Nov, not still Halloween, Not yet xmas or thanksgiving decorations so you wouldn’t have expected it to be as insane as it was. Dh would eat at Big Time Brewery again but it’s not on the DDP. So…I don’t know! I do know there is a new place happening on the Boardwalk so maybe that will be my fantasmic backup.

Oddly enough, though I've seen tons of lunch reviews for Yak and Yeti, it doesn't seem anyone eats dinner there but....we're just not into sit down lunch, especially as late as we get to the parks.

Feel free to weigh in on my imaginary list and year away over thinking!!

Next, park summary, what we liked/didn’t like and will do again (or not, or different) next time!
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:02 PM   #375
KathyRN137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
Scrooge had really really worried that a daily ADR anchored us too much and didn't give us enough flexibility. That couldn't have been farther from the case. It actually ended up being something everyone looked forward to each day and I loved NEVER having to deal with the..

[IWhat do you want to eat?
I don't know, what do you want to eat?
What sounds good to you?
I don't know, what sounds good to you?


*************************************************

We worried it wouldn't be enough food and so I'd had our cabin stocked with about $200 worth of groceries. We didn't need that much.....That said I was incredibly pleased with Garden Grocer.

**************************************************

hypothetical ADR list for my mythical 2010 trip.


Ed and I have the same feelings about ADRs and the Dining Plan... the first are a "necessary evil" (!) and the second is just so convenient... never mind the savings!

I second your review of Garden Grocer.

I also have made the mistake of packing too much food for the DVC Villa just because it had a kitchen. There is so much food on the DP that it really makes it unlikely that you cook full meals.... next time I'm just doing cold cereals, milk, fruit, and bottled water.

I love the "Mythical Trip" title!! DISers always have mythical trips planned it seems!


Kathy
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