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Old 04-13-2014, 08:13 PM   #1
zdad
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The Lodge + The Kingdom = Ahhhhhh......Our April trip to Wilderness Lodge

Prologue:
This trip was a last minute ad hoc decision. The wife and I looked at the snow outside, looked at each other and said “Disney”. We usually stay at the Wilderness Lodge, but this time we decided to do something different. So after doing a lot of research we decided that this time we’re going to stay at…….Wilderness Lodge. I guess if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. What we wanted to do was relax, and what better place at WDW to do that than WL. So three weeks from the day we decided to go to WDW, our bags were packed and we were ready for our 6pm flight to Orlando.

Oh how I hate USAir.
Mama had to work the day we were leaving, so we booked an evening flight. That’s actually pretty typical for us. Fly in late, stay at a value hotel that night, then move to WL the next morning. All was well and good until I got the automated call from USAir that said our flight was now scheduled to depart Philly at 925 PM. That’s it, nothing else. I took the initiative and called the airline. Luckily they had a flight that left at 300pm. Mama was able to get out of work early and we hit the airport. It was a smooth flight.

Magical Express and All Star Sports
Upon arrival in Orlando, we headed to Magical Express. About a 15 minute wait until we boarded our bus, and we were off to WDW. We chose all Star Sports because it was cheap. It turned out to be a nice place. We asked for and got a room near the main building as we were going to leaving early in the morning and heading to the Magic Kingdom, while out luggage was transferred to WL. Since we got in early, we decided to head to Downtown Disney for dinner. An indicator of our transportation experience for the week was evident from the start. We walked out of the hotel just as the bus to DTD was pulling up. Jumped on, and we were off to dinner.
After walking around a bit, we decided to eat at The Earl of Sandwich. We’ve never gone wrong there for a quick meal and this was no exception. Fresh bread, fresh eats. And the only dessert permitted on this vacation….a Mickey Bar to top it all off.
After dinner we decided to end the day, and headed back to all Star Sports. Our room was a 1st floor room, with a King bed, and a handicapped room. We don’t prefer the handicapped set up of the bathrooms, and actually prefer two queen beds on vacation so we can spread out. For one night here we didn’t say anything about it. Our luggage arrived at our room around 1115pm and we hit the hay.

TOMORROW: KEYS TO THE KINGDOM AND WE HEAR “WELCOME HOME” AT WL.

Post #5 of the thread contains Day 1
Post #13 of the thread contains Day 2
__________________
1975 - with mom & dad (offsite)
1977 - Sr Class trip (Offsite)
1982 - Honeymoon (Poly)
1988 - 2nd Honeymoon (DTD)
1992 to 1995 - AP holder (lived in Windemere,FL)
June 2005 - the Great Family Vacation (WL)
April 2007 - 25th Anniversary Honeymoon (WL)
April 2014 - Our 1st Retirement Vacation (WL)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I want to be a monorail driver !!!!

Last edited by zdad; 04-16-2014 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 04-13-2014, 11:28 PM   #2
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Reading along! You're off to a great start!
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:44 AM   #3
Wood Nymph
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We took an impromptu trip to WL to escape the cold back in January. I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip.
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Next up: WL - Oct 22 - 27, 2014
BC - March 19th to 25th, 2014, WL - Jan 23 - 27, 2014; WL - Nov 30 - Dec 5, 2013; WL - Feb 5 -11, 2013; BC - April 2011, BW - January 2009, BCV - 2007, 2005, 2003, Poly - 2002;
BC - 2001, 1998, 1994, 1992; YC - 1997; GF - 1989, 1988; Poly - 1987, 1986, 1985; CR - 1981, 1980; offsite - 1982, 1976, 1973
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:37 AM   #4
bluecastle
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Following along! Looking forward to the next installment. no pressure
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'81 offsite, 4/90 Polynesian, 8/91 Beach Club, 7/92 Pt. Orleans, 10/94 Polynesian, 10/96 Caribbean Beach, 6/00 Wilderness Lodge, 6/02 Portofino/Polynesian, 12/09 Wilderness Lodge, 8/14 Portofino/Villas at Wilderness Lodge

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Old 04-14-2014, 05:49 PM   #5
zdad
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Day 1: Hand me the Keys and show me the Lodge.

Leaving All star sports
Day 1 started early. Up and out of the room around 7am. We left our bags with the bellmen so they could transfer them to WL. Also did a double check with the concierge to make sure all was well with our magic bands (and it was). We actually got all the necessary work done early so we figured we’d have a counter service breakfast at the All Star Sports cafeteria. We were surprised how good it was. I got the big combo and mama had a custom made omelet. All quite tasty, including a MICKEY WAFFLE !!! We headed for the bus stop and our transportation fairy dust continued. We go in line, and the bus pulled up. It filled at our hotel so it didn’t even make stops at the other All Star hotels. Straight to the park!!!!

Keys to the Kingdom tour
Our first event this trip was a Keys to the Kingdom tour. A five hour, escorted walk through the Magic Kingdom, including several backstage stops. Our tour started at 9am and was a group of 15. Kellie was our tour guide and she did a wonderful job. No much in the way of pictures as they ask that no photos be taken back stage. We toured Main Street, Frontierland, Adventureland, Backstage at the Parade float warehouse, Lunch at Columbia Harbor House (included in the tour price), a tour of the Utilidors under Main Street, and it ended where it started at City Hall. We rode the Jungle Cruise on a private boat, and took the Cast Members entrance to ride the Haunted Mansion. It was a full five hours and really gave us an insight we never had before. We highly recommend the tour if you have never taken it. I would not recommend taking anyone younger than high school age. It’s a LONG tour, and it does expose some of the magic, may be something tweens don’t want to know yet.
Here's Kellie


FP+ on Space Mountain
After the tour, we had a FP+ for Space Mountain scheduled. We walked up Main St. heading for Tomorrowland and stopped by a very cool show on the street by the dapper Dans, the Baber Shop Quartet. Very entertaining.
The dapper Dans


When we got to Space Mountain the FP+ line extended past the WEDWAY, almost back to the seating in front of Astro Orbiter. I mention this because of all the complaints about FP+ lines. So I decided to time the trip through Space Mountain on FP+. We got in line a 2:40. Got to the first FP+ kiosk at 2:43. Got to the second FP+ Kiosk at 2:47. Got on the ride at 2:53. All in all, while looks were deceiving, the process was quick, our magic bands worked well, and we beat an 80 minute stand by queue in 13 minutes. Not too shabby. After Space Mountain it was time to head to the Lodge. But……………………

Afternoon Parade
As we were walking out, the new afternoon parade started. So we took a spot at the traffic circle at the entrance and watched the parade go by. It was quite impressive. Enjoyed it greatly. Some pics are included.
Some parade shots...










Check In at the Lodge
As you might expect by now, when we got to the dock at the Magic Kingdom, the boat for Wilderness Lodge had just pulled up. We walked on and in 5 minutes, we were on our way. This boat ride is one of the great things of staying at WL for me. It is peaceful, the wind in your face is relaxing, and once you cross the water bridge the craziness of the parks just goes away. The relaxation starts even before you enter the Lodge.
The checks in counters were pretty quiet when we got there, so we walked right up to the counter and were greeted by a cheerful CM. Since we were given a handicapped room at All Star Sports, we asked what kind of room we had at WL. Our request was two Queen beds and high floor. The room assigned to us was a king/handicapped room, on the 2nd floor. We made it perfectly clear that this was unacceptable. The CM was sympathetic and he worked for about 5 minutes before he was able to get us a two queen room on the 5th floor. This s where we found out that the reservations folks will look for parties of two and book them into the king rooms, which apparently are difficult to fill. Also, since it’s easier to make a king room a handicapped room, most all handicapped room are king rooms. It was a bit of a pain, but in the end we got the room we wanted. In fact it was perfect. Room 5132. On the quite side, right next to the back elevator. Overlooks the villas, with a view through the trees of the quiet pool. Our bags arrived 5 minutes after we called for them and it was time for a short nap.
Room 5132


















Whispering Canyon
After a refreshing nap, we went for our scheduled dinner at Whispering Canyon. Always delicious. Always fun. We noticed that the all you care to eat dinner had fish and flank steak this time. We didn’t remember from the past. Both were VERY tasty and the one thing we asked for seconds of. I got both a milkshake AND soda with my meal…all as part of the dining plan. I had the apple pie for dessert and it too was tasty. After dinner it was time to head back to the MK for an evening of a few rides and fireworks.

Late Nite at the Magic Kingdom
After another timely boat ride back to the MK, we headed for our FP+ at Pirates. When we got there, the stand by line was only 5 minutes. So I whipped out my cell phone and changed the FP+ from Pirates to the Ariel ride. This is one thing we really liked about FP+. If the stand by lines make the FP unnecessary you can move it quite easily. That feature worked great every time. After Pirates, it was BTMRR, then a non FP Haunted Mansion, and the Ariel clam shell ride in the new Fantasyland. All rides were good. At this point though we were tired. So we got a Mickey Bar and headed for the exit. We caught the fireworks from the dock and the boat, which to me is always a great view.


A surprise to end the day!
When we got back the the room we had a small gift waiting on the bed. An autographed picture of Mickey and Minnie congratulating us on our celebration WAS WAITING FOR US. (we’re celebrating my retirement!) Mama’s pedometer read 12.5 miles for the day! YIKES. No wonder my legs hurt. A nice way to end the day for me was 20 minutes in the quiet pool Jacuzzi. Peaceful, warm and relaxing.

TOMORROW: THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT TIGGERS, TOYS, AND TOWERS
__________________
1975 - with mom & dad (offsite)
1977 - Sr Class trip (Offsite)
1982 - Honeymoon (Poly)
1988 - 2nd Honeymoon (DTD)
1992 to 1995 - AP holder (lived in Windemere,FL)
June 2005 - the Great Family Vacation (WL)
April 2007 - 25th Anniversary Honeymoon (WL)
April 2014 - Our 1st Retirement Vacation (WL)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I want to be a monorail driver !!!!
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:59 PM   #6
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Joining in. Love the parade pics and good to hear you ended up with a great room!
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* 01/01 - BC * 11/01 - BC * 04/03 - BC * 04/04 - YC * 03/05 AKL / BC * 05/06 - AKL/Poly * 07/07-WL/YC/GF *
* 01/08 (mother/daughter trip) - POR * 08/08 - YC * 04/09 (ladies trip) - Dolphin * 07/10 - BC * 9/13 - YC*
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:03 AM   #7
Wood Nymph
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We did the Keys to the Kingdom tour on our last trip and it was really interesting. I think you have to be 16 or over for the tour, which makes sense.
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Next up: WL - Oct 22 - 27, 2014
BC - March 19th to 25th, 2014, WL - Jan 23 - 27, 2014; WL - Nov 30 - Dec 5, 2013; WL - Feb 5 -11, 2013; BC - April 2011, BW - January 2009, BCV - 2007, 2005, 2003, Poly - 2002;
BC - 2001, 1998, 1994, 1992; YC - 1997; GF - 1989, 1988; Poly - 1987, 1986, 1985; CR - 1981, 1980; offsite - 1982, 1976, 1973
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:31 PM   #8
jordansmama
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Joining in! LOVE WL- stayed there Oct. 2013 for the first time and fell in love with it!
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:56 AM   #9
bluecastle
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What a terrific trip report! Love the photos and all the details. Thank you so much for timing the FP+ line! I think many of the negative comments could be from people who are observing and jumping to conclusions, rather than actually timing it.
I have a question about changing FP+ on the fly. We will be a party of 5. If we walk up to Pirates and see a 5 minute SB line, do we all pull out our phones and make the change or can 1 person do it for the whole group?
Looking forward to your next installment! Congratulations on your retirement, btw!
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Mickey
'81 offsite, 4/90 Polynesian, 8/91 Beach Club, 7/92 Pt. Orleans, 10/94 Polynesian, 10/96 Caribbean Beach, 6/00 Wilderness Lodge, 6/02 Portofino/Polynesian, 12/09 Wilderness Lodge, 8/14 Portofino/Villas at Wilderness Lodge

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Old 04-16-2014, 01:46 PM   #10
bookgirl
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I did the KTTK Tour in March. It was lots of fun and informative. I would also add that they are not kidding about it being a "walking" tour. There were several people on my tour who had some stamina problems. Except for a few places it is walking or standing. There were also stairs involved.
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UPCOMING: 7/14 Offsite & 10/14 F&W Festival (in planning) WL

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Old 04-16-2014, 01:50 PM   #11
zdad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluecastle View Post
I have a question about changing FP+ on the fly. We will be a party of 5. If we walk up to Pirates and see a 5 minute SB line, do we all pull out our phones and make the change or can 1 person do it for the whole group?
Looking forward to your next installment! Congratulations on your retirement, btw!
If all parties magic bands are linked (or synced or whatever word they use online) then 1 person can do it for the whole crew. For example my wife and I were linked/synced, so when I made the change I made it for both automatically.

Also note I used the web site, not the app to make the changes. Just bookmark the my Disney experience web page on your phone. worked 100% of the time that way. I had heard there were bugs in the app still. also, if you use AT&T, don't hook up to the Disney Wi-Fi. The AT&T 4GLTE is WAAYY faster.
__________________
1975 - with mom & dad (offsite)
1977 - Sr Class trip (Offsite)
1982 - Honeymoon (Poly)
1988 - 2nd Honeymoon (DTD)
1992 to 1995 - AP holder (lived in Windemere,FL)
June 2005 - the Great Family Vacation (WL)
April 2007 - 25th Anniversary Honeymoon (WL)
April 2014 - Our 1st Retirement Vacation (WL)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I want to be a monorail driver !!!!
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:13 PM   #12
bluecastle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdad View Post
If all parties magic bands are linked (or synced or whatever word they use online) then 1 person can do it for the whole crew. For example my wife and I were linked/synced, so when I made the change I made it for both automatically.

Also note I used the web site, not the app to make the changes. Just bookmark the my Disney experience web page on your phone. worked 100% of the time that way. I had heard there were bugs in the app still. also, if you use AT&T, don't hook up to the Disney Wi-Fi. The AT&T 4GLTE is WAAYY faster.
Thanks! I already have the web site on my phone because I heard that it was better for all pre-trip plans. However, I heard that the app was OK for in the park. I will have to read more about it. I don't have AT&T but I know my DH wants to change our plan so that we can connect to hotspots instead of using 3 or 4 G. I don't know how that would affect our wifi in the parks.
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'81 offsite, 4/90 Polynesian, 8/91 Beach Club, 7/92 Pt. Orleans, 10/94 Polynesian, 10/96 Caribbean Beach, 6/00 Wilderness Lodge, 6/02 Portofino/Polynesian, 12/09 Wilderness Lodge, 8/14 Portofino/Villas at Wilderness Lodge

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Old 04-16-2014, 08:13 PM   #13
zdad
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Day 2: THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT TIGGERS, TOYS, AND TOWERS

After a long day 1, we got to sleep in a bit. We’re really not rope droppers and we typically don’t do the commando march in the parks, so a loverly casual morning was in the cards. Our first item for the day was breakfast at 1900 Park Fare over at the Grand Floridian. We took the boat to the MK and jumped on the monorail to GF. I was bummed to find out that they don’t let people ride with the monorail driver anymore. Was always one of my favorite things.

Breakfast with Mary and Tigger We checked in and had a 5 minute or so wait until we were seated. Before we could even take our first pass at the buffet, Mary Poppins stopped by. I told that I too was practically perfect in every way. She wryly replied that I look like I “measure up”. (Get it?) Breakfast itself was very tasty. The omelet chef was spot on and quite chatty. They had Mickey waffles at the kids buffet and without shame I stood with the 5 year olds to get mine. The fruit was incredibly fresh and tasty. Finally the juice they serve is some concoction of orange, grapefruit, mango?, and other fruit juices. Sounds like it would be gross but it was incredibly good. I couldn’t get enough. Before we left Tigger stopped by. Mama and I broke into the Tigger chant….

The wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is Tiggers are wonderful things
Their tops are made out of rubber
Their bottoms are made out of springs
They're bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN!
But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is I'm the only one


Tigger went wild. Hugs, high fives, and kisses for mama. He even made a point to come by as we were walking out for one final group hug. It made for a great meal.




Hooray for Hollywood (Studios)
When we finished with breakfast, we went to the bus stop, and as was typical for this trip, the bus to Hollywood Studios (via Blizzard beach) was pulling up. A relaxing ride and we were at our park for the day. We really didn’t have an attack plan, other than our FP+ for Toy Story and Tower of Terror, so we just strolled around and walked into the rides/shows that caught our eye. Saw the Indiana Jones Show. Same old show. Time for a re-do there. The changes to the Star Wars ride were good, and we enjoyed that. Always have fun at the Muppets show. The backstage tour was a nice rest. At this point it was time for a Mickey bar. Not sure who makes them, but they are addictive. We each had to have one every day.
With our sweet teeth satisfied, we did the Movie Ride. It’s simple but we seem to always enjoy it. At that time our FP+ for Toy Story was ready. Again, the FP line looked daunting, but it moved quickly and we were on the road in no time. I got 133,000 points, crushing everyone in my group, but not getting near the high score for the day. Hard to think about how you can score 250k+ points. It was a lot of fun, and I say it’s much better than Buzz Lightyear in MK. On the way out we were able to walk into the Jack Sparrow thing/show. It seemed slapped together, and it was not very good. A rare disappointment.
It was starting to be a long day at this point, so we headed over to my nemesis….The Tower or Terror. See, I am VERY afraid of heights, so this ride pretty much owns me. The FP was short and efficient, cutting a 75 minute stand by line to 5 minutes. So here we are, and to make things more interesting, I’m in the front row. Then I had a revelation. As we went out to the drop zone, I prepared myself. I really don’t mind the ups and downs, what gets me is being at the top when they open the doors and drop you. So every time they started to open the outside doors, I closed my eyes. It worked! The ride was no longer scary, just exciting.
At this point, it was time to get back to the Lodge. Again, a bus was waiting for us. Actually, we were the only ones on the bus. A private ride back to WL.







Chill Time
We got back to the Lodge around 8pm. We stopped at Roaring Forks for a hamburger. They were pretty good. I’d eat them again. Mama really liked the cucumber salad that came with the meal. We strolled back to the room and threw on our bathing suits and hit the quiet pool Jacuzzi. I was another relaxing way to end the day. A nice couple from Michigan was there as well, and we joked about our friends at home still in the cold. After cooking for 30 minutes, we “retired” to our room and called it a night. The pedometer said 7 ˝ miles for the day. That makes 19 ˝ miles in 2 days.

TOMORROW: A WED WOSE…..HOW WOMANTIC.
__________________
1975 - with mom & dad (offsite)
1977 - Sr Class trip (Offsite)
1982 - Honeymoon (Poly)
1988 - 2nd Honeymoon (DTD)
1992 to 1995 - AP holder (lived in Windemere,FL)
June 2005 - the Great Family Vacation (WL)
April 2007 - 25th Anniversary Honeymoon (WL)
April 2014 - Our 1st Retirement Vacation (WL)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I want to be a monorail driver !!!!
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Old Yesterday, 09:44 AM   #14
bluecastle
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Spring break for me, relaxing with a cup of coffee, and reading your trip report. Thanks!!
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'81 offsite, 4/90 Polynesian, 8/91 Beach Club, 7/92 Pt. Orleans, 10/94 Polynesian, 10/96 Caribbean Beach, 6/00 Wilderness Lodge, 6/02 Portofino/Polynesian, 12/09 Wilderness Lodge, 8/14 Portofino/Villas at Wilderness Lodge

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