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Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th. *Completed, Photos Added*

Author Topic: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th. *Completed, Photos Added*  (Read 30225 times)

Lavi

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th.
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2015, 10:08:18 PM »
Have a great and healthy vacation!!!

DisneyRon

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Day 8, May 9th. Epcot #2
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2015, 11:00:53 PM »
Have a great and healthy vacation!!!
The great part I can manage, I'm afraid the healthy part is not going to happen. ;)

The morning started off a little weird, as I woke up covered in sweat for some reason. The pain in my ankle was a lot less (thank goodness for small miracles), but I was feeling as if my bloodpressure was too high again (I suppose it could be a side-effect of the painkiller from last night). Not a good start, but we'll see where this ends up.

Any way, breakfast was at 7:30 with Leonore, someone I had met at Animal Kingdom on day 3, and whom I had kept in touch with through SMS. We talked about a lot of the things we had been doing, and around 10 headed off to Epcot.

First up was Mission: SPACE, still fun, though I will not risk the orange version, green is good enough for me, especially with my bloodpressure like it was. Leonore wasn't feeling too well either, so we spent a lot of time talking instead. She was heading home today, so after she left I made my way over to Marocco for my lunch reservation at Marakesh. :)
The food here is rather nice, and will recommend it to anyone, though you should bring an appetite for the exotic. There's very little normal fare on the menu here.

Wanting to get a trip on the newly reopened jungle cruise on it's first operating day meant that I had to get back to the Magic Kingdom, so I took the monorail from Epcot, to the ticket center and then on to the Magic Kingdom. :)
My ankle was starting to really hurt again, so I had to take it slow. The ride though was a lot of fun, lots of corny jokes from the captains and lovely animatronic animals and people all along the route. Recommended. :D

Heading back to the resort to rest a little, before heading off to Epcot for a character fastpass and dinner at the Norway character restaurant. :) I'll fill in those details later. Now it's time to rest first. :)

EDIT:

I left the resort a little later than planned and arrived at Epcot around 6:20, quickly heading off to the character spot for my meet and greets. :) Mickey, Goofy and Minnie were here today, so that's another cool set of characters met. :D

By now it was 6:50, and I had to walk down to Norway for my 7:00 reservation at their character restaurant. I arrived just a few minutes past 7, was checked in and brought into the restaurant just a few minutes later. :)

First up was a little surprise, Belle was holding audience at the entrance, a few photopass pictures with her later I was seated in the restaurant. :)


In the restaurant itself Snow White, Ariel and Cinderella were making their rounds. Once again a CM was wrangled in to take the pictures (thank you Disney for accomodating single travellers). I had met this particular Snow White before at the Royal Table, and she even recognised me. :D The others were lovely as well. :)
The food here is also lovely, relatively simple Entrees, but the appetizer buffet is quite extensive and the dessert (3 different scandinavian desserts on a plate) was lovely.

After finishing up dinner I headed back out of the park, just before IllumiNations was planned to start. Once back at the resort I headed off to bed. :)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2015, 04:08:39 PM by DisneyRon »

DisneyRon

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Day 9, May 10th. Taking a breather.
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2015, 08:40:07 PM »
Today I had planned to spend at Hollywood studios, but I had seen most of that already, so instead I decided to take it easy today.

I  got up around 9:30, had breakfast and took the rivercruise down to Downtown Disney for a little shopping.

There a lot of cool stores here, and some very dangerously attractive Disney-art places too. I mostly browsed, though I was sorely tempted by a large picture of Malificent both as herself and in dragon form... But at $425 plus having to ship it home, I decided against it. ;D

The lego store here is a bit bigger than at DLP, but the Lego statues outside are quite a bit more numerous. :)

yup, that's all Lego.
Taking pictures of them all I headed over to the West Side of Downtown thinking about lunch.

Around noon I had decided that I was going to try for the Wolfgang and Puck Cafe, thankfully they were accepting walk-ins and I was seated almost immediately. :) A lovely meal with Sushi later I was heading back to the Marketplace side of the area to take the boat back home. But first I had to go and pick up the Custom T-shirt I had printed. :)
Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter doesn't have it's own merchandise shirts, so I had designed one instead. ;)
The price of these custom shirts is very reasonable compared to the normal shirts you'll find in the parks, only a few dollars more will get you one.

Once more taking the rivierboat back to French Quarter, I was off to rest a little, and head out to Hollywood studios for dinner a little before 6, as I had a reservation for the Hollywood Brown Derby at 6:40.

EDIT:

Dinner at the Hollywood Brown Derby was lovely, the food delicious, and the portions reasonably sized, rather than being seemingly designed for two people. :D

This restaurant unfortunately also included a low note, as the family seated next to me had a lot of trouble with their daughter acting like a totally spoiled brat. Right down to throwing cuttlery at other guests! :o Over the course of my visit I've eaten in a fair few child-rich environments, but over all the kids had been well behaved, this was quite the opposite. Guess parenting isn't what it used to be. The parents weren't exactly stopping her, which was crazy.

Thankfully I was done with dinner fairly quickly.

After exiting I headed back to the busses to make it an early night.
Tomorrow is another Epcot day. :D

« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 11:22:26 PM by DisneyRon »

Disney Matt

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th.
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2015, 08:48:02 PM »
Absolutely amazing report Ron!!  ;D
Not sure if i'm going back to DLP next Feb anymore so totally jealous!

Can't wait to read the rest  :D
Hotel Santa Fe - 95 / Dream Castle - Jul 07 / Hotel Cheyenne - Dec 09 / Hotel Santa Fe - Dec 12 / Sequoia Lodge - Dec 14 / Sequoia Lodge - Feb 16 / Newport Bay Club - Halloween 16 / Newport Bay Club - Feb 17

DisneyRon

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Day 10, May 11th. Epcot #3
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2015, 11:21:25 PM »
I decided against an early day to make Rope-drop at Epcot, so I headed out for breakfast at around 8, and took the bus to the park at around 9:30-10:00.
First up was a Test-track Fastpass, still a fun ride, but this time my car looked quite a bit better than on my first attempt. ;)

Next was "The Seas with Nemo and Friends" at the Seas pavillion. I had a Fastpass for it, but decided to change it when I arrived at the pavillion and found the standby time to be a nice 15 minutes.

The fastpass now went to mission SPACE in about an hour, which was showing 25 minutes plus this morning.
The Nemo ride isn't bad, but I had the feeling that the audio was somehow out of sync with the action. It all felt really messy and confused to me at any rate, which spoiled it a little for me.
The large coralreef aquariums you get to look around after the ride were nice though. Although I will say, Disney needs to work on their Coral, as it didn't seem to be in such great shape... Plenty of fish to watch though. :)
But perhaps I'm just spoiled by the large living coral reefs in a couple of Dutch zoos, I don't know how old the reefs here are.

Having spent way more time at the aquarium than I had anticipated, I headed over to Mission SPACE for another ride on Team Green. :) One downside to being a single rider on that particular ride is that you tend to end up being the Navigator most of the time. Not a boring position at all, but it does get a little samey after the first couple of times.

Exiting Mission SPACE, I needed to head on over to Japan for my reservation at Teppan EDO, a teppan yaki restaurant at this pavillion. As japan is almost exactly on the far side of Showcase Lagoon I took the boat from Canada to Marocco in order to save time.

Arriving at Japan I checked in for the restaurant, and was immediately shown inside to be seated. Teppan EDO is a restaurant in the traditional Teppan Yaki style, which means communal seating. Each table seats 8, and guests are grouped together to fill out as many tables as possible. best to bring your small talk A game as you'll need it. ;)
 
After being seated we were introduced to our server and she quickly got around to our appetizers (I had a small portion of ribs). Once we all had drinks and appetizers we were introduced to our Chef for this sitting, as in a Teppan Yaki restaurant, the chef prepares the meal on a hot grill at your table. He also did a quick round of introductions of the other guests at our table, though I had been chatting away with an older couple from Florida for a few minutes already. :)

After selecting the entrées the ingredients were brought out, and our chef went to work. Teppan Yaki is as much about the show and the art of the chefs cooking as it is about the food, and you'll generally be well entertained as the chef works his magic with knives, spatulas and other cooking implements.

The food was delicious, I had a Swordfish steak, accompanied with freshly baked noodles and vegetables. :)

Our chef then took his leave, and our server once again took over to arrange for our desserts.
For dessert I picked a Green Tea Cheese Cake, which turned out nice and light and very refreshing. :)

After settling the bill I made my way around the World Showcase to pay a closer visit to some of the pavilions that I hadn't spent much time at. The final pavilion, Mexico, even had a boat ride with the Three Caballeros starring in a short trip around Mexico itself. It's not really visible from the outside, as it's hidden inside the huge Aztek pyramid that makes up much of the pavilion. :) There was almost no wait here, which was nice, though the boats were illsuited to someone of my height. My legs just didn't fit properly. :P

My final fastpass of the initial 3 was for Spaceship Earth, so from Mexico I headed back into future world to catch that. Once I came out I headed for a FP+ station to try and score a Fastpass for Soarin'  as I hadn't had a chance to experience that ride yet. The only option was between 8 and 9 PM, and I really didn't know if I'd want to stay that late, but I took it anyway in case my dinner at the Garden Grill took longer than I anticipated. :)

From there I took a bus back to the resort to drop off a few things and to rest a little while.

I'll be taking the bus back to Epcot in 10-20 minutes and will update the post once I get back.

EDIT

well, that didn't go entirely as planned... :)
Thanks to some bad planning on my part I missed my reservation at Garden Grill, I arrived at Epcot after the 15-minute overrun window had already passed. So checking the app I found a spot at the Biergarten at the Germany Pavillion. This is an Oktoberfest styled buffet with communal seating. Not exactly what I usually go for, but it's quite popular. :) Making a reservation for 6:35 I head down to the world showcase. The boat to Germany was just arriving, so I decided to take that, rather than walking half-way around Showcase Lagoon to get to the same spot. After checking in at the Biergarten I was seated after about 7-8 minutes with 3 other groups of guests. The food here is hearty "German" fare, some things have definitely been Americanized, but over all it was tasty food, and a well stocked buffet.

Exiting Germany I noticed that the same was a bit past 8PM already, this meant my Soarin'  FP was nicely timed and positioned on my way out of the park. As I arrived at the ride itself I had to laugh though, as the Standby Waiting time had dropped to just 10 minutes, from it's average of 60-70 minutes all day. The ride itself is rather cool, I can certainly see the appeal. It's relatively gentle, but shows off some gorgeous sights around California, and adds in smell-effects too. :D Definitely recommended, but do get a Fastpass or go just before the start of IllumiNations. ;)

From there I went back to the resort, tomorrow would be my last day in the parks, Animal Kingdom being the park scheduled. :)
« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 09:16:54 PM by DisneyRon »

grovesie

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th.
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2015, 08:08:02 AM »
Glad you are enjoying your stay. What are your thoughts of the following:

1--Which is your favourite and least favourite parks

2--What do you think of the FP+ system? Do you feel it takes away some of the spontaneity?

3--The hotel resort
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DisneyRon

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th.
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2015, 01:05:49 PM »
Glad you are enjoying your stay. What are your thoughts of the following:

1--Which is your favourite and least favourite parks

2--What do you think of the FP+ system? Do you feel it takes away some of the spontaneity?

3--The hotel resort

1) Favourite park: probably Epcot, it's quiet atmosphere and very roomy layout make it nicer to stroll around in.
I might change my opinion today as this will be the first good look at Animal Kingdom, my first Animal Kingdom visit got aborted due to health issues.
Least favourite: Hands down Hollywood Studios, it has a few fun things to do, but it's incredibly low attraction count and bottlenecked layout make it one of the less pleasant parks to be in. Also, what is up with the total lack of shade in this place. The sun beats down on this park more than any of the others.

2) FP+ is handy, but it does drive up Stand-by waits as a majority of riders will be fastpassing and it definitely takes away a little of the spontaneity of doing rides. Unless you're lucky and find a low stand-by (some rides do stay low in terms of waits), or you finish your pre-planned 3 FPs and then start adding new ones. ;)

3) Port Orleans French Quarter is a lovely place to stay, clean, nicely laid out rooms, very decent connectivity with the other parks, the in-room WiFi has been rock solid. The biggest downside is the lack of a proper restaurant, since it only has a quick service. But Riverside is only a short walk away and it does have a proper restaurant. The boat connection to Downtown Disney is also a plus, as it gives you a nice relaxed way to get there, without the hustle and bustle of dropping off at the main bus depot for Downtown. :)

grovesie

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th.
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2015, 02:38:52 PM »
I totally agree with you regarding Hollywood studios. especially the lack of shade. Glade you are have a great time. I am sure Animal Kingdom will be one of your favorites after today.
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DisneyRon

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Day 11, May 12th. Animal Kingdom #2
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2015, 04:01:34 AM »
Today was my second day at Animal Kingdom, and also the final day in the parks.
Tomorrow will mostly be spent in Downtown and travelling back home.

Breakfast around 7:45, I got on a bus heading to the Animal Kingdom at around 8:50. We arrived about 20 minutes after rope-drop, but the crowds certainly weren't too bad. Heading to Africa for my first FastPass on Kilimanjaro Safaris, I noticed that the Fastpass queue was huge, and as I had nearly an hour left on this fastpass I went and took the nearby walking trail first. There are plenty of animals to spot here, and a large bird enclosure ensures plenty of active birdies flying around for your viewing pleasure.

After finishing up this walking tour, I returned to Safaris, finding the FP queue much more to my liking. Early morning rides here are fun as the animals tend to be a little more active. :) We got to see plenty at any rate. :)

My next FP was for the noon show of "Festival of the Lion King",  initially I thought this was a shortened version of the broadway musical, but instead it's a musical show themed around the Lion King, it's very similar in costume design to the musical, but the focus here is clearly the music and the songs, rather than story. Regardless, it's a very fun, energetic event filled with dancing and acrobatics that you should experience atleast once. :D

The next item on my schedule was lunch at Tusker House, but that was almost an hour away. However, I didn't want to leave to Africa area, as that's also where Tusker is. Having missed out on Rafikis Planetwatch my first day here, I decided to do that to pass the time. This location is a small distance from the main park grounds and the trains that connect it to Africa run every 5 minutes. This gives you a nice look behind the scenes of Animal Kingdom and Disney Nature and their conservation efforts, showcasing many unique animals, as well as providing information on the massive operation that goes on behind the scenes to keep everything fed and healthy in the park. Chip & Dale and Rafiki also do character meetings here, and since not many people come to the "educational" section of the park the waits are often very short (and I didn't mind taking advantage of this either).


It's really a nice section of the park, and I get the idea that many people don't even really realise what is out here. :)

Taking the train back to Africa it was time for my Lunch reservation. Tusker House is a buffet with characters, jungle explorer versions of Goofy, Mickey, Donald and Daisy make their rounds here. The food itself is a mix of Indian and African, with a few more kid-friendly options thrown in for good measure. The desserts are wonderful, especially the chocolate volcano cakes, though the Pecan Brownies win the prize for densest chocolate thing I've eaten all week. :P
Much like other character restaurants, the characters will come to each table in turn for a quick greet and photos as well as signing autographs if requested. As these are characters in full costumes with masks, they all have their own escorting CMs, which come in handy for photos if you're by yourself. ;)


After Tusker it was time for my FP at DINOSAUR, I really hadn't needed my FP here to be honest, as the standby line was basically empty as well, and the FP-queue rejoined the main queue before I had even seen anyone from Standby. ;) Afterwards I swung by "It's tough to be a bug" on Adventure Island, as I had to give that a miss on my first day here too. Standby wait was a nice 5 minutes. ;)

View of the Tree of Life from the "It's Tough to be a Bug" queue, the theatre is located between her roots.

But this did mark the use of my initial 3 FPs, so it was time to add a new one. With a dinner reservation at Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge at 6:30, and absolutely no intention of missing another reservations I planned a 2nd ride on the Safaris close to the time I intended to leave.This left me with some time to kill, but also the opportunity to explore Asia, which I really hadn't done yet. the walking tour here is also beautiful, although the Tigers didn't want to come out and play, as they were hiding from the burning heat. There were plenty of other animals to see though, so this tour too is well worth walking through.

The rest of Asia is mainly filled with the Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest. Both not really my cup of tea, though a soaking on the rapids was an attractive prospect in this heat. The wait times reflected this, as Kali had a solid 60+ minute wait all afternoon, and Everest was only at 15, despite usually being more popular.

By now it was time to once more head to Africa for my 2nd Safari of the day, the tour this time was quite different and we were even delayed a good few minutes by a group of Addax antilope that decided to block the road.

After this ride I headed out of the park to go to the Animal Kingdom Lodge Kadani Village for a visit to Sanaa, the Table Service restaurant of that section of the resort.

I arrived almost an hour early, so I decided to have a few drinks in the Sanaa lounge first to pass the time. Once I did check in, I was seated in a few minutes.
The food here at Sanaa is very heavily Indian inspired, with a little African thrown in for good measure. It is however quite delicious, though when the menu here tells you something is spicy, it's not kidding. The food is nice and spicy, and not as bland as you often find at more Americanized exotic restaurants. :)

After dinner I headed back to the Resort to start packing and prepare for departure tomorrow.
I'm very sure I'll miss this place a great deal. WDW has been a wonderfully magical place to stay. :D

« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 12:04:05 PM by DisneyRon »

DisneyRon

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Day 12, May 13th (and 14th), Downtown Disney & the journey home
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2015, 10:38:40 AM »
The day started off a bit earlier than planned as pre-flight jitters managed to wake me up  a bit before 6.

I used the extra time to finish packing my bags and checking if I had forgotten anything.

Anyway, around 8-ish I wandered over to have some breakfast, and returning from that collected my belongings and headed to the reception to complete check-out. Now if you have a Creditcard linked to your Disney account, they'll automatically use that to settle the bill, giving you "express-checkout". However I did have to drop off my bags at the storage locker, as I wasn't being picked up until 3:40 in the afternoon.

Having done that, I headed down to the dock to take a boat to Downtown, as I arrived there, I discovered that they weren't operating just yet. So I headed back up the resort to catch the bus instead.

Arriving at Downtown I mainly wandered around, browsing mainly, with no real intention to buy anything, as I'd either need to have it shipped home, or I need to repack my suitcases after I get back to the resort.
There are many gorgeous things for sale though, and at the Co-Op especially, there's a lot of unique art stuff to be had.

Once noon came around I head to Paradiso 37, the restaurant I had made a reservation at for lunch. :) I had their signature burger and some fries, nothing too massive, it was a lovely burger though. :)

After lunch I did little browsing, and decided to head back to the resort to wait for my transfer.
As the boats were operating again, I took the boat, rather than hopping on a bus.

After waiting at the resort for quite some time, and my pick-up time having passed by more than 20 minutes, I gave Mears a call, and ended up with very little useful info, as a result, rather than waiting for a small bus, I took the Magical Express (also operated by Mears). As a result of these miscommunications I did arrive quite late at the airport, but thankfully still well on time for check-in. The TSA check was also quick, as I was directed into the expedited check line, which is much looser on security and as such quite a bit quicker.

The flight from Orlando to London Gatwick was uneventful, some turbulence caused by a steady back-wind, but nothing more.

I'm now typing this report from the Brittish Airways Terrace Lounge at Gatwick, waiting for the gate info for my flight and having a bit of a rest. ;)
« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 06:16:07 PM by DisneyRon »

seraphelle

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th.
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2015, 12:42:07 PM »
What a wonderful report. We're currently saving to go to WDW at some point and this has been a lovely report to help me feel a little less daunted by it all. We also want to stay at Port Orleans so I'm glad it sounds such a lovely part of the resort to stay in. Thank you for taking the time to write all of this down.  :D
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twentythingamabobs

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th.
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2015, 01:02:17 PM »
Thanks so much for this DisneyRon, sounds like you had such a lovely time! We are going at the end of July and you have made it all sound a bit more doable! We have a disabled lad with us so the planning aspect of all the Fast Passes etc is freaking us out a bit but glad you hear  you changed yours a couple of times without an issue

DisneyRon

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th.
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2015, 03:48:39 PM »
Thanks so much for this DisneyRon, sounds like you had such a lovely time! We are going at the end of July and you have made it all sound a bit more doable! We have a disabled lad with us so the planning aspect of all the Fast Passes etc is freaking us out a bit but glad you hear  you changed yours a couple of times without an issue

I've had issues with changing FPs in the app though just not very often, Disney rolled out 2 big updates for MyMagic+ while I was there, and those appear to have fixed most of it. If you do run into an issue you can't immediately solve though, head to one of the FP+ centers on the map and the CMs will assist you any way they can, especially when it involves a disabled guest. :D

While flying to Orlando I spoke a lot to a family seated close to me, there were 5 of them, one a heavily disabled young man (early 20s if I had to guess), and they rented a villa just off site, as it allowed for more quiet and privacy, while still being close. They had nothing but praise for the way Disney handles their disabled guests. :)

They had been to WDW about a dozen times with him so far. ;)

What a wonderful report. We're currently saving to go to WDW at some point and this has been a lovely report to help me feel a little less daunted by it all. We also want to stay at Port Orleans so I'm glad it sounds such a lovely part of the resort to stay in. Thank you for taking the time to write all of this down.  :D

Port Orleans French Quarter is lovely and a nice small size. Riverside is much, much bigger (it has 4 bus stops), so which ever of the two you select, adding a preference for "near transportation" is really handy.

As for photos, I'll start adding those over the course of the week as I sort through my own and my Photopass pictures. :) I'll make a post add the end indicating that I've done so for convenience. ;)
« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 04:19:20 PM by DisneyRon »

DisneyRon

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th. *Completed*
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2015, 09:28:41 PM »
The photos I want to share have all been added to the various posts.
They're all fairly large images, so this thread is now quite bandwidth heavy.

All of them are click-able for a larger size image, I hope you like them.

My apologies in advance for any trauma my ugly mug in the character photos may cause. ;)

In total I had about 500 photos of my trip, I wish I had made some more in certain locations (Be Our Guest for instance, a lot came out a little blurry). In total of those 500 about 90 were made on the MemoryMaker pass, totally worth it in my opinion. :D

The Deluxe Dining plan turned out to be a good idea, but it is a great deal of food, and I was doing on average 2 table service restaurants per day. But the far larger number of meal credits makes it much easier to do Signature Restaurants or expensive Character Meals. :) My planning paid off, as I had used all my meal credits and snack credits by the end of my last park day.

I'll be entirely honest, I can not wait to go back, it'll be a few years, but nothing is going to stop me.
The experience was magical to say the least, and I want to experience that again. ;D

Thank you everyone for reading this report and posting comments. :)
« Last Edit: May 21, 2015, 11:24:50 PM by DisneyRon »

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Re: Trip Report, WDW May 2nd until May 13th. *Completed, Photos Added*
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2015, 10:38:34 PM »
Love the report, the photos are brilliant. Particularly loving the food ones (yum)