Slow paced family trip, first Moonlight Magic and a couple of mishaps

ShellyKP

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 15, 2018
Intro: This was our third trip as a family and our second trip as DVC members. It was just my husband, myself and our twelve year old son. We were there Monday through Saturday so I'm going to break the days up into separate posts.

Monday March 2nd: We had an early afternoon arrival at MCO. After a pleasant ride on the Magical Express we arrived at Beach Club to check into the Villas. Our room was not ready quite yet so we left our bags with Bell Services and went out in search of a late lunch. But first we stopped by the Beach Club Marketplace to buy our refillable resort mugs, our first time ever getting those. The Marketplace menu was not thrilling us so we ended up over at Boardwalk in search of more food options. My son got a pepperoni pizza from the Boardwalk pizza window but my husband and I were not into pizza at the moment. We looked over some menus for nearby offerings and decided that the Yacht Club market sounded good. By the time my son had finished his pizza we got a text that our room was ready. We headed back over to Beach Club, stopping at Yacht Club along they way to pick up some sandwiches. The Cuban sandwich was delicious! We also were able to complete our first pin trade with a Cast Member at the register.

After we were all fed we headed up to our room. Beach Club rooms may be small but for our family of three it is perfect. We got a one-bedroom villa and it suit us just fine. A larger family might feel a bit cramped in these. Animal Kingdom Lodge (where we stayed last time) for comparison had a huge living room area. BC's was very small. Like I said the size was not an issue for us and I have no complaints about our room. I was very impressed that we had such a huge balcony. It stretched from living room to bedroom. I was warned beforehand that there was some construction going on in one area of BC and sure enough we were right there next to it. For a moment I was upset and worried about the noise until my husband pointed out what was just beyond the construction. We had a lovely view of Spaceship Earth. My thoughts of changing rooms were gone and in exchange for a little construction noise (honestly, it was minimal and only in the mornings) we had a partial fireworks view from our balcony every night.

After getting settled into our room we headed to the pool. Because we had only a few hours before a dinner reservation we decided to just go to the smaller DVC pool, rather than Stormalong Bay. We had that entire pool to ourselves. It was lovely!

Off to ESPN Club at Boardwalk for our dinner reservation. I have to be honest, ESPN Club was disappointing. I enjoyed my sandwich (turkey) but my husband said his burger was bland and boring and my son wasn't thrilled with his chicken, saying it was dry. Service was slow and the whole experience was kind of blah. I wouldn't recommend it.

After dinner we walked the Boardwalk a little bit, hit up the Screen Door General Store and enjoyed some fireworks while waiting for the ferry. We opted not to order any groceries beforehand since we weren't planning to have many meals in the room and we thought we'd wait and see what the DVC gift shops had. Turns out, not a lot. So we ended up placing a small order with Amazon Prime Now for delivery the next day so that we would have some breakfast options and snacks. Then we settled in for the night.
 

ShellyKP

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 15, 2018
Tuesday March 3rd: This was supposed to be a very slow paced trip with a lot less park time so today was a sleep in day for us. After waking up my husband went down to the market to pick up some breakfast for us. We got two of the typical Bounty Platters with Mickey waffles and eggs and such and we split those up between the three of us. Disney portions really are huge! (Sidenote: I do not advise putting hot coffee in your refillable mug. I did that but immediately poured it into a ceramic mug when we got back to the room and the smell of coffee lingered in the plastic for days.)

After breakfast my son and I headed over to Stormalong Bay for some pool time. My husband stayed behind to wait for the Amazon grocery order. Stormalong Bay was lovely. My son really enjoyed the sandy bottom pool, although it's not as relaxing as it sounds if you're a grownup. It's basically a huge kiddie pool. Lots of small children and parents. We also tried out the lazy river but getting into those tubes is hard! I fell over trying to get in and my son wasn't comfortable in the river because it's 8 feet deep and he's not a strong swimmer. The lazy river was a bust for us. We ended up enjoying the "quiet" pool on the DVC side much better than the main attraction pool. The hot tubs were very nice though. There were several ducks enjoying the sandy bottom pool and napping on the "beach" while we were there. It was quite funny. Disney ducks lead a charmed life.

After our pool time we got ready for our late lunch reservation at Whispering Canyon Cafe. I have to be honest and say that Whispering Canyon was underwhelming. We got the last time slot for lunch so the restaurant was nearly empty. The cast members were nice and they told jokes and one of the ladies built "ketchup mountain" at our table which was funny. But the food was not great and we felt a little rushed. Husband wants to try them again for dinner sometime for a livelier experience and to try the skillets.

Back to the resort for some chill time before we had to get ready for Magic Kingdom. Tonight was going to be our first time at a DVC Moonlight Magic party!

We decided to check into the party at our resort which, in hindsight was a bad idea. Arriving at Magic Kingdom we got through security quite quickly because we chose to go bagless for the evening. Being that it was our first DVC party we didn't know where to go. We went to the normal entry points. We showed the cast member our party wristbands and instead of directing us to the correct line she told us to just go ahead and "scan in." Not realizing we should have been scanning our blue cards we just scanned our Magic Bands. Afterwards we realized that in doing so we had used up one of our park days. So out we went to tell the cast member who scanned us in what had happened. There was another cast member there with a tablet, checking people in and he basically scolded us for going to the wrong line. He directed us to Guest Relations where we waited in line for about 30 minutes. Overhearing conversations in the line we found out that this had happened to many people. We were refunded our park day without question and went into the party. A bit of a bumpy start but it was a lesson learned.

The party itself was fun! We were able to walk right onto most rides and the weather was lovely. We missed getting the free ice cream because they only had one place to pick it up and we weren't willing to backtrack for that. We chose Pinnochio's Village Haus for dinner and it was not good. We got pizza and sandwiches and really wish we had chosen another place. I wanted to try there because I'd never been in and I like the theming but the food was regrettable. I'll spare you the details but the pizza didn't agree with me one bit. We definitely appreciated the offer of a free meal but wish we had chosen differently.

I didn't ever see any of the special party merch. My husband saw the T-shirt but a cast member told him they were sold out of the pin. A shame for me because I definitely would have purchased the pin. I will have to try to find it on the secondhand market, I guess.

The fireworks were great! They started off a bit slow but built up nicely and the finale was beautiful. It didn't invoke a lot of emotions or tears for me like Happily Ever After does but it was a fun show and I know it was a privilege to be seeing it. I feel really blessed to be a DVC member and I won't forget how special that is. It's something I never thought we'd be able to do so I am grateful.

Got back from the party and went right to bed.
 
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ShellyKP

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 15, 2018
Wednesday March 4th: We slept in again. (are you sensing a pattern here?) Today was Animal Kingdom day. We originally had lunch reservations at Rainforest Cafe but we got such a late start that we ended up cancelling them and getting a QS lunch at Yak & Yeti. (tip: you can cancel on short notice without penalty if you change the date of the reservation first and then cancel. Just has to be outside of that 24 hour window.)

Animal Kingdom was really nice. We walked some of the trails, did a few Wilderness Explorer stations and wandered around Pandora. We didn't do many rides but my husband and son rode Flight of Passage and they both loved it. We also did an evening safari and the Navi River boat ride. It was a very relaxing day. After we got back to BC we grabbed a quick dinner at the resort market. After eating we hit the hot tub for a short while and then went to bed.
 
  • ShellyKP

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 15, 2018
    Thursday March 5th: This was the big day. My husband and son are major Star Wars fans and it was going to be our first visit to Galaxy's Edge. Today we did not sleep in. We were up at 6:00, and on the boat by 7:00 after a super quick breakfast from our grocery items in the room. We again went bagless to make it faster and it definitely was! We were able to tap into the park and get a nice spot by Echo Lake to await our chance at a Rise of the Resistance boarding pass. At 7:59 my husband and I both had our phones ready with the app open. We scored the last boarding pass before they were giving out backup groups. We were number 62 and backup groups started at 63!

    After we got our boarding group we headed right back to GE (along with half the park!) This day also drew a huge crowd because of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, which we did not ride.

    Walking into Batuu was quite an experience. It was incredibly immersive. It reminded me of the authenticity of the Harry Potter areas in Universal Parks. I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan so most of it wasn't recognizable to me but my husband and son were awestruck. We wandered around a bit and then went to Ronto Roasters for a breakfast wrap. Really delicious! We browsed through the marketplace a bit and took some photos around the area. Then seeing that Star Tours had a super short wait they went to ride that. I am prone to motion sickness on those types of rides so I sat that one out. .

    Then it was off to Launch Bay for some more Star Wars fun. After Launch Bay the guys left me in the Starbucks line to get some coffee while they rested in the shade. We browsed the shops a little bit and then had lunch at ABC Commissary. After lunch we went back to Launch Bay to do a meet and greet with Darth Vader. Then it was time for our first Fastpass in Toy Story Land. We were set to ride Midway Mania! While we were on our way there our boarding group was called! We were given two hours to get back so went on Midway Mania and then slowly made our way back to GE.

    We tapped in to ROTR and went through the line. The queue was quite long and disorienting because you're basically walking through what looks like cave tunnels. I won't spoil the rest of the attraction but there is quite a bit of walking and then the ride portion is fairly brief. Being prone to motion sickness I was concerned but I didn't want to miss out! I was surprised that it didn't bother me at all. There are some fast turns and one drop but the turns were so smooth that my motion sickness was not triggered.

    After riding ROTR we headed back to the hotel for some resting time and lunch. We just had some sandwiches in the room and my son even took a nap. My 12 year old who hasn't napped for 8 years! LOL! But he was worn out.

    We went back to the park in the late afternoon, riding the Skyliner for the first time! I'm afraid of heights so I was unsure about it but it was a really nice ride.

    The guys had a Fastpass for Smuggler's Run and while they did that I did some shopping on Sunset Boulevard (after another quick stop at Starbucks!) After shopping I joined them in GE and we enjoyed our evening just taking in more of Batuu and doing some souvenir shopping.

    After a full day of Star Wars stuff I had to get in some princess time so I asked the guys to join me in watching the Frozen Singalong. They weren't too excited by that but they did laugh at some of the jokes and my son was awestruck when it started snowing at the end of the show. That was a little surprise I opted not to tell him about.

    After the show we left the park, opting to beat the crowds. We did not stay for any of the evening shows. We stopped off at Boardwalk for some dinner but took it back to our room to enjoy. After dinner we had an evening swim and went to bed.
     

    ShellyKP

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 15, 2018
    Friday March 6th: After the excitement of yesterday we decided to, again, sleep in. Today was our resting day/resort day so after we got up and ate breakfast it was pool time! We spent a few hours relaxing at the pool and then got out and got ready to do some resort hopping. My husband wanted to check out Riviera so we hopped back on the Skyliner for a ride over there. Riviera is lovely. We took some pictures and did some pin trading in the gift shop. Then we hopped back on the Skyliner and headed to Caribbean Beach for dinner. We ate at Centertown Market because it seemed to have the most options to fit our family. Then we rode back to the hotel and stopped by the campfire just in time for a few toasted marshmallows.

    I wanted to watch the movie on the beach that evening but the guys just wanted to relax in the room. I didn't last long on the beach because the night had gotten quite chilly! Off to bed on our last night at Disney.
     

    ShellyKP

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 15, 2018
    Saturday March 7th: Sadly this is our departure day. On the upside, we have an evening flight so we are spending part of our day at Disney Springs! First things first, we stopped at Starbucks. LOL! Then we went to The Void so my son could experience the VR attraction, Secrets of the Empire. My husband had done it on a previous trip and knew the kid would love it. Guess what Mommy did while they were in there? Shopping! (I really didn't buy much on this trip but I do love to browse.)

    After they got out we had a quick lunch at Earl of Sandwich. Hit the Lego store and a few other shops then it was nearly time to get back to the resort for our ride to the airport. My son started calling it "The Tragical Express." He's not wrong.
    Overall we had a really amazing trip with a couple of mishaps. One, the tapping in at the wrong place for the DVC party and two, we discovered that somewhere along the way my son lost the unopened Kyber Crystal he bought in GE. We filed a lost item report online but I'm not terribly hopeful that it will be found.

    Even though we tried to take it easy on this trip we still ended up exhausted. The sheer size of Disney has you walking so far just to fill your mug or catch a bus. So while we kept things at a slow pace we were still completely spent by the end of the day.
     

    ShellyKP

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 15, 2018
    A few extra things to mention:

    -There were no large wall mounted bottles of shampoo/conditioner/body wash in our Beach Club Villa. We were given the smaller bottles and replenished on Day Five. Trash was collected every day as part of a security check.

    -I have mixed feelings about the resort mugs. It was our first time getting them. We were not on the dining plan so we paid for these out of pocket. My husband is a big soda drinker. I am not. They were not good for hot coffee. I did not try them with iced coffee. I did enjoy the options of Powerade and lemonade but I feel like I drank more sugary stuff than I normally would. My son barely used his. My husband felt that he definitely got his money's worth from them. I probably would not purchase one again but it's a nice souvenir to have. I am glad we tried them. They were really nice to have during our pool time and I can definitely see us using them at home throughout the coming summer. On a longer trip it's not a bad deal but I almost wish I had splurged for the stainless steel one instead, to avoid that coffee smell leaching in to the plastic. Standard plastic mugs are $20 for the length of your stay or included in your dining plan. The stainless steel/insulated mugs are $30 for the length of your stay or a $10 upcharge if they are issued as part of the dining plan.

    -I was surprised by how few cast members told us "Welcome Home" during our stay. We weren't greeted with that when we first walked in and didn't hear it at Riviera either. It was said to us by a couple of DVC reps that we chatted with but I heard it a lot more often during our 2018 trip, even before we became members. Just an observation. That doesn't make or break a trip for me in any way.

    -Cast members overall were pleasant but there was no one interaction or "magical moment" that sticks out for me. We did have a lot of fun pin trading at one of the shops in Animal Kingdom. At one point there were six cast members surrounding us, showing my son their pins and letting him choose whatever he wanted. A couple of them were chatting with him about Star Wars and Galaxy's Edge. He really enjoyed that.

    -Food and service was mostly average throughout the trip. To be fair we typically only eat QS with a few TS here and there. My favorite meal was a salad that I got from Boardwalk Bakery and ate in our room and that Cuban sandwich from Yacht Club was delicious. My favorite treat (besides my beloved Dole Whip) is a toss up between a chocolate/peanut butter cupcake and the tropical tart at Centertown Market. Also had a very delicious fruit tart from Boardwalk Bakery. Worst meal was hands down Pinnochio's pizza. Worst treat, I'm sad to say, was the rainbow Mickey rice krispy treat I bought at Beach Club Marketplace. Looked amazing, tasted like pure sugar. It had Fruity Pebbles mixed in which I didn't realize and I am not a fan of those.

    -As always pin trading was really fun, even if you don't find a pin you want to trade for. Cast members always seem just as excited to trade with adults as they do with kids. And many of them are very knowledgeable about the pins they have to trade. As an added bonus there was a pin trading board at the Disney store in MCO. That was a nice surprise!

    -Already looking ahead to our next trip in December for our 20th wedding anniversary. We'll be staying at Wilderness Lodge/Copper Creek which is our "home" resort but we haven't stayed there yet! No kiddo this time. He'll be staying home with Grandma!
     





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