Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013 Disney World Trip Report: Day 1, Part 1

About a month before her birthday, Rachel texted me and told me that she thought she wanted to go to Walt Disney World to celebrate her birthday which is during fall break. That's all it took to get me planning! Within a week, we booked at the Beach Club Resort, I started making dining reservations (a painful process, due to the free dining package which had been offered during that time, but one which all worked out in the end!), and I ordered our Magic Bands!

The week before the trip was AWFUL for me! I pulled two all-nighters... not because I was procrastinating or being inefficient, but because that was how much work needed to be done and what was expected from me by my professor. So I absolutely worked up until the last possible minute... and I passed out in the car on the way down there!

I forget where we stopped, but it was about an hour outside of Disney. My dad booked a Marriott Courtyard for the night. We arrived around 11PM, but we had to get up early the next morning because I had made us early Cape May Café reservations... oops?


Beach Club Resort


We got to the Beach Club at 7:50 AM - right in time for our reservations! However, the guy manning the door really wanted us to check in first. He took us straight to the check-in desk. I had completed the online check-in, but for some reason none of our information saved!!! We had to redo everything.  We were also working with a CM who was "Earning Her Ears," and it was a little frustrating. There were several times when I wanted to ask if her supervisor could just do this. I think it was her first day on the job because she had no idea what she was doing, and her supervisor kept having to show her how to do things.

When my dad came back from parking, I went to check us in at Cape May, and we left him at the check-in desk when our buzzer went off for us to be seated.

Cape May Café was also a little rocky on the customer service. Our waitress just wasn't very "Disney," plus we had a really bad experience with Donald Duck. Rachel had been joking that she was going to ask Donald Duck to Mallard Ball (an ADPi event), so when Donald came to our fingers, she asked him to do Pi fingers. He shook his head no and was just really rude about it. And then he wouldn't pose with me and Rachel - just put his hands on his hips while we stood awkwardly behind. It was like he wanted us to take his picture, not a picture with us. We understand why Donald might not be able to do Pi fingers - they probably don't want the characters making hand signs that guests request because who knows - that could be a gang sign? Or maybe Donald's "girlfriend" was affiliated with another sorority, and he didn't feel right doing the Pi fingers. Either way, there was a cuter way to say no. We watched Donald circulate the room, and he'd just walk up to each table and stand there.... not wave to the kids, not make kisses or act duck-like. Clearly, Donald was having a very bad day.

But when Donald emerged from the room after his break, he was full of life, strutting around the restaurant and being typical silly Donald. I guess he just needed "coffee"?

Hey, Goofy!

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Birthday cupcake and card!

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This is caffeinated Donald... grumpy Donald would've never sat in the booth with us!

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Our family (and all guests staying at the Beach Club Resort, as well as other select Disney Resorts during October) was given the opportunity to test Disney Magic Bands which are part of My Disney Experience.  If you're curious about Disney Magic Bands, My Disney Experience, and FastPass+, check out my review.  I have also written tutorials on how to link your existing reservations to My Disney Experience, how to customize your Magic Band through My Disney Experience, as well as a post on receiving your Magic Bands.

After breakfast, my dad and I tried to go to guest relations to get them to add our two annual passes to our Magic Bands and purchase two annual passes. However, since we can only purchase annual passes at the theme parks, the cast member suggested that it would be more efficient if we went to the parks to purchase passes and have our already purchased passes added.


Hello, beautiful!

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Hollywood Studios


So we went to Hollywood Studios to purchase tickets. The line for guest relations was moving a little slowly... there was an obnoxious woman in front of us who got to the window, but needed her husband in order to do whatever needed to be done. I don't know where he had gone, but she stood at the window and waited five minutes for him to return. I guess I can understand that she didn't want to go all the way to the back of the line... but please, let someone pass you rather than hold the window up for five minutes doing nothing! I was shocked that the cast members let this happen.

There was a guy in line behind us who complained to the cast member manning the line about how his Magic Band was doing something wrong. It was the X time this had happened, and it was really frustrating. I'm guessing that Guest Relations has seen a lot of heated people with the implementation of Magic Bands and FastPass+.

The cast member at Guest Relations was great. She validated our two existing annual passes and told me that I could open the app up right now and add them to our Magic Bands. She then let us test each Magic Band to make sure that our ticket was working. For some reason, mine wasn't working at first, but then I deactivated my room key and reactivated it and it worked. Yay!

In the meantime, Rachel purchased a bottle of water and saved 10% with her annual pass!

Hollywood Studios here we come...

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Unfortunately, FastPass+ (and FastPass) was already well distributed. I was able to get us FP+ reservations for Tower of Terror that morning, but I couldn't get Rockin' Rollercoaster and Toy Story Mania until that evening. For RnRC, regular FPs were being distributed for that afternoon, but for TSM, FPs had already been distributed into the evening. We were evil double-dippers and took advantage of the regular FPs being distributed for RnRC (I also just wanted to see if it worked to use our AP cards).

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Trying to memorize this book, but we're still not remembering where we do and do not get discounts. I figure it's a good idea to go ahead and offer up the annual pass just in case the discount is available.

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My Magic Band -

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The My Disney Experience app gave my dad a difficult time. It quit on him three times before it would save that he read the terms of agreement.... so he'd have to go through and enter all of his information again. Each time, he said, "That's it! I'm done! I don't need this app!" And then a minute later, he would be back at it again.

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The park was rather crowded and hot. We were able to ride Tower of Terror (FP+) and Rockin' Rollercoaster (naughty FP double-dip). Also saw the Little Mermaid for the first time in ages. Apparently that is the place to take your cranky kid when they are in need of an afternoon nap because I swear every child in there was being fussy. At one point, I couldn't even hear Ariel singing because so many children were screaming. Ariel was a spaz, though. She must've felt like she had to make up for her lack of feet with over-the-top upper body movement. Also, I had forgotten how they skip Ariel's entire time on land and fast forward to her becoming human. So weird.

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Saw the Muppets. They always make me laugh. Then we went back to the resort for a break.


Beach Club Resort


Our room was finally ready!

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We had purchased a water view room because that's all that was available. We had a view of the quiet pool, and we could also see a bit of the lagoon.

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The room was actually in a great location. Though it was a bit of a hike from the bus stop, we could take the side exit and were a "hop, skip, and a jump away from Epcot."