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Old 05-29-2009, 10:28 PM   #1
stopher1

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stopher1's Father-Sons Adventure: Star Wars Weekend - May 2009

Hi all... I have thoroughly enjyed DVC Mike's past 2 live TR's, and I just happen to be here at OKW for an extended weekend with my two sons for a father/sons getaway for our first ever Star Wars Weekends, that I thought I'd try posting a live trip report myself. My photos probably won't be nearly as good as Mike's are, especially since all three of us have so far been sharing the photograhic duties... and am not as succinct as Mike either... but I thought I'd try it out anyway. So if you want to come along with me, great, I'd love to have you join me on this crazy little adventure.

This getaway has been planned for about 6 months now, and is my first father/sonS trip. I've previously taken both of my boys INIVIDUALLY for their own special trip to WDW, but never together until now. So far it's been quite enjoyable. We're here til Monday evening, so we'll see how each day goes. DW and my DD are back at home having a girly type weekend, and from our call home to say goodnight tonight...sounded like a nice day on their end too. Now I just need to plan a father/daughter getaway and we'll all be good...but that's a story for another time, now isn't it?

My sons are 13 and 10, and for the past several years have been Star Wars addicts. So when the possibility came up to finally be able to get down here for one of the SW Weekends...we jumped at it. Although strangely enough, the special SW events start each weekend on Friday, but my boys decided that they didn't want to go over to the Studios today! But we're definitely hitting the Studios tomorrow and Sunday.

We began our journey at about 4am this morning as we had to leave for the airport at 5. Our trip to our home airport, flight to MCO and then trip over on the DME bus were quite uneventful, despite having a 100% full flight, with many, many families with lots of small children on board - many of whom were going to WDW (schools in our district got out yesterday). In fact, there was NO ONE at the DME counter this morning when we arrived, except about a dozen workers. We literally were able to walk right onto the waiting bus! Never has that happened for us before. It was awesome. And then we were the first stop on the route..again, awesome.

After checking in at OKW (also a first for us, as we've not stayed at OKW before), we were heading over to AK. The boys decided they wanted to ride Everest today, which was fine by me, so that's where we landed. First time to Everest we did the Single Rider line (after grabbing FP's for a 2nd ride later). The wait wasn't bad. We were all on the ride in about 15 minutes. This was at about 11:15ish, with FP return times in the 1:10-2:10 hour. The standby line was stating about 50 minutes, so we were quite content with our SR time. (Again, we've never been here for SWW, so I am not all that familiar with crowd levels at this particular time of year).

We then went over to get a bite to eat at the counter service location next to Yak & Yeti. We were happy with the food and service. We're on the Quick Service DDP this time, so no TS restaurants for us (with one exception thanks to a gift card for T-Rex). This was my 10 year old's first time on the "adult" plan... he was THRILLED to finally be off a Disney diet of Mac-N-Cheese and Chicken Nuggets. But of course, at 10, he couldn't finish the adult portion. Once again, too much food. I do like the convenience of the DDP, but not how much food you get - even on the quick serve version. Getting the refillable mugs is nice, but who really needs dessert every time? Not me, as you'll see in some of the photos if the computer ever finishes uploading them!

After lunch we enjoyed Kali River Rapids (got drenched), Everest again and then Kilamanjaro Safaris. All quite enjoyable. Then we decided it was time to move on. As we were headed out of the park I took the boys around the trail on the back side of the tree of life to see the intricate animal carvings up close. They REALLY enjoyed that. They've only ever seen them from a distance across the river from the path between Africa & Asia. It was great.

We headed over to check out Kidani Village. That was terrific. I loved almost everything I saw. What I DIDN'T like, however, was the fact that the approach is down right ugly. I hope that landscaping grows fast along the outer edges of the building. The porte cachere area is beautiful, but the wings, not so nice. And how much extra time and effort would it have been to at the very least PAINT the interior of the parking garage to match the rest of the building? Seeing those grey cinder blocks and exposed pipes was a bit disconcerting an disappointing. As an owner there, I was not very thrilled about that particular design choice (or lack, thereof). Overall though, I am thrilled, and can't wait to stay there in January.

After that walkabout, it was time to get back to OKW and check out where we are staying this time around. I like our room. It's a studio..but some of the furniture needs repair, particularly the 2 table chairs. I'm going to let them know, because they are both ripped and honestly quite ugly.

We headed over to DTD and had dinner at T-Rex. We had really been looking forward to it. We love Rainforest Cafe, love Yak & Yeti, but honestly I was not all that thrilled with T-Rex. The food selection was not as varied as at Rainforest, the prices were a bit higher, the service was slower, and the noise level was much higher than any time I've been in a Rainforest (which is MANY). I left there with kind of a bad taste in my mouth. As I told my wife on the phone tonight, it felt like the hype about the place was much more than it ever should have been. I was disappointed. Happy to try it once, but I really don't think I'll be back again.

Then it was back to OKW and time to hit the pool. My older son decided he wanted to stay in, so he got a DVD from the Community Hall and stayed in the room relaxing, while my younger son and I went down to the pool. That was very enjoyable. Can't wait to go back again tomorrow evening.

I'll put some photos up in a little bit as a separate post...just a few photos of the day. I hope to post more tomorrow night.
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SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
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AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!

Last edited by stopher1; 01-06-2011 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:33 PM   #2
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thanks for sharing! I appreciate your comments on T-Rex!!
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:37 PM   #3
stopher1

Wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills! Shh...listen
I have plenty of hill left to climb thank you very much
 
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Breakfast at the airport


The approach into the World...from the front row seats on DME


Getting closer to the resort - our first stay at OKW


Taken from row 6


We LOVE the carvings on the Tree of Life


The three of us
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Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!
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Old 05-29-2009, 10:53 PM   #4
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Subing in Hope you guys have great weather . We will miss SWW by 2 days this year but have caught it a few other times. I love the Characters that just walk around and nothing like walking up tot he turnstyles with stormtroopers on the roof.
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Old 05-30-2009, 01:50 AM   #5
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Have a great trip! It's been too many years since I've been there for Star Wars weekend.

I remember when AKL opened and you could easily see the resort on the drive up. I was a bit shocked a couple of weeks ago at how hidden it now was so hopefully the vegetation around Kidani will sprout up as fast. I agree it will be much nicer once it does.
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Old 05-30-2009, 04:44 AM   #6
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im in!! looks like your having a good time! it would take me the weekend to start a trip report like that much less to one on the fly. but its great to read!! looking forward for more.
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:42 AM   #7
stopher1

Wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills! Shh...listen
I have plenty of hill left to climb thank you very much
 
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Here are some more photos from Friday and the resort


The check-in counter...I love the mini light poles - supposed to be recreations of real ones in Key West, aren't they?


We're in building 14, just across the way from Hospitality House...it's very convenient for beverages, milk for cereal, etc.


Heading out to DTD on the ferry... what an awesome view. I loved it at night time too, with the lights on


Thanks to another recent thread on here, I knew that there is a sauna inside the lighthouse... I wouldn't have known that by just looking at it, and would have thought it was just more rich Disney detail. I was impressed also that the light is on and spinning at night.


The OKW ferry docks right near the new Characters in Flight balloon. I'd sure like to try that out


Where we had dinner


Rich in theming...but lackluster overall, IMO. There are LOTS of animatronics in here


We were seated right on the cusp of 2 different themed dining areas, the ice cave and something else. Like Rainforest there is an event every 20 minutes. At T-Rex it's the "meteor shower". The ice cave then turns from a frosty cold blue to a bright red as if a meteor has struck and is destroying the planet...almost all of the animatronics react, quite loudly...I couldn't hear my sons talk at all during those storms. We endured 3 of them.


Still spitting on passersby. I loved watching the little kids running around squealing when they were hit! Reminded me of trips gone by when my younger son did that.


Still handing out free samples... yesterday was chocolate squares with peanut butter inside... YUM


In flight


On the way back to the resort from DTD


One of the great proverbs found on the walls at Kidani Village

Today we're off to the Studios...have to get our Star Wars fix. More later.
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Christopher DW DS (18) DS (15) DD (10) BICOASTAL SOLO Adventure: Nov/Dec'10 / Daddy-Daughter Adventure: AKV Sep'10
SOLO Adventures: WDW Jun '10 / Triple Whammy WDW Family Trip-Jan'10 / SOLO Adventures: DL Nov/Dec'09 / Father/Sons Adventure May'09
My 13,000th Post My 12,000th Post My 10,000th Post

DISNEYLAND: Way too many to possibly count! I grew up 30 mins. from DL. Former CM. AP holder for 20 yrs. Premier Pass AP. All 3 DL Resorts and numerous off-site hotels.
WDW: 58 trips on & off-site, including DVC, Deluxe, Moderate & Value - in 18 different WDW resorts & numerous off-site resorts. AP holder for 5 yrs. Premier Pass AP holder.
AULANI: 1 so far. More to come though, & definitely looking forward to returning!
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:42 AM   #8
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Your pic from the broken tracks on Everest gave me the chills!

Enjoy your trip!

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Old 05-30-2009, 07:02 AM   #9
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Nice report! and very nice pics also..I look forward to continued reading
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Old 05-30-2009, 07:09 AM   #10
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Thanks for the TR...keep this pics coming and hope you and your sons have a great time!
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Old 05-30-2009, 07:16 AM   #11
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How awesome.....just the guys.
Have fun and keep the pics coming they are great.
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Old 05-30-2009, 07:20 AM   #12
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Great report and pics!

Looking forward to reading more about SWW as we head down next weekend
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Old 05-30-2009, 07:42 AM   #13
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Looking forward to SWW details-----especially any information about characters (both types like Jedi Mickey and SW characters like Chewbacca), times/locations especially. I know there are lots of people going during weeks 3 and 4 who are looking all over for this information!
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Old 05-30-2009, 07:55 AM   #14
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Oh I LOVE SWW, we took our kids a few years ago and my son still talks about how awesome it was. I'm hoping to convince DH to do it again in the next couple of years. Love the pics and I can't wait to read more of your trip. Have fun!
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:05 AM   #15
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Just checking in Chris, Pictures look great hope weather holds out for you 3. SWW is cool but WOW does it get crowded over there would trade place's for ya done it once and once is enough for us. Shawn
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