welcome home stay: hip, hop ...

i<3riviera

🍷
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
thanks @TinkB278, @MinnieFan4ever, and @4luv2cdisney!

Pop Century
540178


Epcot
534854


the excitement was almost too much, I think that's part of the reason the eldest and I hung out in the secondary lobby for so long last night; today was our first park day at our favorite park, Epcot!

breakfast on the BoardWalk was a pretty standard bakery breakfast complete with the flock of various types of birds surrounding us to help with cleanup; while we didn't actively feed the birds, we were certainly messy enough to keep the fowl happy; with full bellies (we do a lot of that) we headed over to the international gateway; I now see why BWV popularity is such a thing; after a night of adult debauchery during food and wine I could see the stumble back to my room on the BoardWalk much preferable to any other mode of transport

there was a steady stream of folks heading in but not much of a crowd; we passed the temperature check with flying colors (studied hard last night) and security let our crew through; we had to dip off to guest services to get our tickets activated but it was a quick affair; I was going to ask about annual pass upgrades but knew they still weren't selling them so it was a bit of a pointless request (I did ask a few days later so more to come)

and now, the magical Mickey's to let us in! we let the kids go first (Mickey to Mickey!) and it was a bit of a relief to not have to do the finger print (I always can't remember which ones we did for the kids); my partner hasn't linked DVC and My Disney Experience so up popped boring green; but on my turn, PURPLE!!!! I know, I know, old news for most of you folks but I've been waiting years to be DVC and finally signed away our eldest for DVC points earlier this year; in the commotion the cast member didn't notice or really anyone but me but it was a special moment for me 8-)

with a cadre of children you have one guess as to where we went first ... yes the bathroom of course ... then straight to Frozen! as we made our way to the line, we walked past Elsa hanging out in front of her summer cottage on the east side of the Norway pavilion; it was a bit of a weird mix of people forming lines to take pictures, cast members saying there weren't lines and just move up, and a few interesting folks using their strollers / children as people plows to clear the way for pictures of their kids w/ Elsa; we're kind of weird (understatement) and don't take a ton of pictures so we tried to get the kids to just interact with Elsa; they said hello and talked a little bit but were generally pretty shy; they did soak it in though because we heard about it for much of the rest of the day! I do think I prefer the cavalcades though, there is less opportunity for jockeying and positioning for pictures and more focus on waving; but hey, we'll take any Frozen we can get!

the line for Maelstrom was a bit weird geographically as it went from Norway to China but we decided to wait anyway; we were probably about halfway down the China pavilion and were ready for a long morning but I think we pretty much walking forward the whole time; when we got between the China and Norway pavilions (Fin-rus-stan?) a cast member came up to us and gave us a hint that a cavalcade was coming through so if we sent and adult with the kids up a few yards they could get a good view with the other adult held our place in line; perfect timing on that, thanks unnamed cast member!

the same cast member later saw my partner and kids waiting for the cavalcade and chatted them up a bit; the cast member shared another tip that led to a cute interaction between the eldest, middle, and Minnie; it was pretty magical to see happen and it just about made our day; I sometimes forget that some of the best memories from Walt Disney World aren't the rides, characters, or attractions but the cast members that go out of their way to find folks to make their day; we've been a target of this care a few times already on this trip likely because we're clearly out numbered 3 to 2 and look like were frazzled and barely holding it together in the best of times :P

seeing the standby line details was pretty awesome; I'm a huge fan of Oaken so loved his sauna; in the past we're always tried to fast pass Frozen so missed out on a lot of the fun; it was great explaining to the kids that it was nighttime in Arendelle but daytime in Disney World like when we video chat with family halfway across the world; they totally bought it!

Frozen was a hit! there was a bit of screaming at the Marshmallow drop but mostly waiving (eldest is side to side, middle is a flap waver, youngest is still working on it) and singing; the picture turned out awesome as most Frozen ride pictures do; we played a bit in the shop but left empty handed despite the 30% discount; though we did note the Frozen masks we hadn't seen elsewhere and a nice solid blue with white Mickeys mask

the eldest wanted to check out the pyramid so we hit up Mexico and found our way to It's a Small World en español; I think my favorite part of that ride is the first few minutes when you float by the romantic San Angel Inn Restaurante; we have yet to dine there but the atmosphere looks fantastic and I can't wait until we do! we also picked-up our obligatory Kidcot suitcases (we had forgotten at Norway)

next ride was my choice so we hit the best ride of all time, Spaceship Earth! I was a bit sad it was going to be closed for renovations during our trip but with the budget cuts it was thankfully deferred; I did notice a bit of wear and tear on some of the animatronics (papyrus guy wasn't quite hitting the spot and sculpture guy was listing) so it does look like a refresh is due; Rome stilled burned though so all is right in the universe

we headed for Seabase Alpha to get some righteous fin from Nemo and pals; it's a pretty neat way to enter a pavilion if you ask me and we enjoyed exploring the various exhibits; I do miss the elevator that took you down underwater, that thing was sweet and totally blew my younger mind (probably still would to be honest); also, everything I go into Seabase Alpha it seems smaller than I remember; I attribute that to seeing other mega aquariums over the years (Baltimore, Atlanta, etc.); Turtle Talk w/ Crush sadly wasn't open because that was a hit with the kids last time

the sky opened up on our way to lunch so empanadas turned into whatever the Land Pavilion was offering but then again turned back into empanadas after the sky closed back up before we could get the stroller parked; we couldn't quite figure out the best place for empanadas so figured we'd try the Margarita stand in front of the Mexico pavilion; it was a solid choice but the empanadas to come covered in messy stuff that will make eating with kids an adventure; the plus is the sauce is too "weird" for immature palates and therefore left more empanadas for those of use with finely aged palates; by this time the Mexico pavilion was decently crowded (when isn't it?) so we were just pulled over on a side wall stuffing our faces; we tried to find better eating locations for our future feasts

lunch was washed down by some fancy slushy and fizzy drinks; I forget what they were but I think one was frozen orange stuff and another pineapple sparkly stuff; the frozen orange stuff was the hands down winner in our book and we'll be back for more!

the rest of the day was spent finding Kidcot locations; it's great for the kids but it meant we were a bit more laser focused on Kidcot the rest of the day; I don't think we did the pavilions much justice; we did enjoy the shrunken German village (they come alive at night you know) and did make sure to devour several pastries in the French pavilion; we have a few wannabe francophones on our team but had trouble finding willing victims in the French pavilion; the only natives I recall seeing were working behind the counter at the pasty shop and were pretty busy so we felt guilty stumbling through the interaction in français; once the international cast member programs ramp back up, we'll have to head back! my partner did get to use some limited Arabic at the Morocco pavilion (chocolate baklava stand) which led to huge smiles from the two Moroccan cast members

we finished up our Kidcot adventure in our former home, the great white north; it was a bit warmer than we remembered it considering our Calgarian friends just sent us pictures of snow a few weeks ago; must be a localized warming thingy or something

the end of the day at Epcot was a trip back to Norway for one more Frozen ride and a stop by the shop to pickup those Frozen and blue / white Mickey masks; we later found them at the Pop Century gift shop but hey, getting them straight from the fjords of Norway woven in Viking hair is way better

there was a bit of a line at the Skyliner as we made our way to Pop Century but nothing outrageous; I like that you're pretty much always moving in the Skyliner line, it seems to make it go faster; it was a quick ride to our new home

we were at Pop Century because we had a special ticket package that was linked to a hotel stay; we bought DVC after planning our trip (and buying the special tickets) so our best option was to reduce the Pop Century stay to one day to keep the tickets while replacing the rest of the stay with DVC; originally Pop Century was going to be our first night but then COVID-19, extra points from our absent travel buddies, and all

our first reaction on getting into our room at Pop Century was a sigh of relief and comfort; we both grew up as All Star / Pop Century type folks so it truly felt like being home for us; we reminisced about previous trips as well which was fun; if they ever did a Pop Century or All Star DVC, we'd totally buy in! kind of weird considering I feel like we own the opposite end of the spectrum with RVA but as I said, we're very weird people

I've always loved the food court experience at Pop Century and the All Stars but these days its a bit different with mobile order; most previous mobile orders we just walked up and gave our name and the cast members figured out the rest; at Pop Century there were waaaay more people so they ran by order number instead; when I got to the pick-up location I could see why, the tables were overflowing with orders! if you haven't figured it out by now, cheap quick service is kind of our thing so our Pop Century meal was pitch perfect

we didn't get a chance to try out the pool (much like BWV) but we did wander around a bit to enjoy the theming; the rooms were great too! they have murphy beds for the second beds (closest to the door) and when they're not beds they are rather large tables that pretty easily fit a family; the fit and finish of the room was reliably robust and clean; it even had a waterfall shower of sorts with a secondary shower head that was bigger and more over the middle of the tub; really, it felt like the only thing missing was a microwave and it would be a DVC deluxe studio! if you need to tack on a few days to a trip, I'd recommend checking it out!

Pop Century also scored a 10 out of 10 for us! we would definitely stay again if the need arises; some of our other travel partners are more All Stars fans but since we'll mostly be at RVA going forward and the Skyliner exists, we'll need to convert them to Pop Century!

Epcot was amazing as always; yeah it was different but hey, this will be an experience to remember complete with face covered pictures

next stop, RVA!!!

lessons learned
BWV is super close to Epcot, especially if you stop at the BoardWalk Bakery on the way​
purple is the coolest ring color!​
they changed the name of Maelstrom​
cast members are the best part of Walt Disney World​
Frozen rocks!​
but Spaceship Earth is still the best ride​
Kidcot is good but make sure to stop and smell the pavilions​
orange slushy drinks > pineapple sparkly drinks​
Pop Century DVC would be amazing and they're almost already there!​
we're really enjoying this trip!​
by the numbers
12 nights​
154 points​
10 resorts​
1 park day (Epcot)​
2 Frozen rides​
8 hrs 12 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
10 pool complexes visited​
20 mobile food orders​
7 regular food order (food and wine stands here)​
6 non-Disney mobile food orders​
5 trips on Disney transportation (first Skyliner)​
8 DVC tours completed​
10 MagicBands picked-up (RVA + 2 special + 3 colored)​
45 MagicBands avoided​
 
Last edited:

ctl

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 3, 2012
thanks @TinkB278, @MinnieFan4ever, and @4luv2cdisney!

Pop Century
Epcot
View attachment 534854


the excitement was almost too much, I think that's part of the reason the eldest and I hung out in the secondary lobby for so long last night; today was our first park day at our favorite park, Epcot!

breakfast on the BoardWalk was a pretty standard bakery breakfast complete with the flock of various types of birds surrounding us to help with cleanup; while we didn't actively feed the birds, we were certainly messy enough to keep the fowl happy; with full bellies (we do a lot of that) we headed over to the international gateway; I now see why BWV popularity is such a thing; after a night of adult debauchery during food and wine I could see the stumble back to my room on the BoardWalk much preferable to any other mode of transport

there was a steady stream of folks heading in but not much of a crowd; we passed the temperature check with flying colors (studied hard last night) and security let our crew through; we had to dip off to guest services to get our tickets activated but it was a quick affair; I was going to ask about annual pass upgrades but knew they still weren't selling them so it was a bit of a pointless request (I did ask a few days later so more to come)

and now, the magical Mickey's to let us in! we let the kids go first (Mickey to Mickey!) and it was a bit of a relief to not have to do the finger print (I always can't remember which ones we did for the kids); my partner hasn't linked DVC and My Disney Experience so up popped boring green; but on my turn, PURPLE!!!! I know, I know, old news for most of you folks but I've been waiting years to be DVC and finally signed away our eldest for DVC points earlier this year; in the commotion the cast member didn't notice or really anyone but me but it was a special moment for me 8-)

with a cadre of children you have one guess as to where we went first ... yes the bathroom of course ... then straight to Frozen! as we made our way to the line, we walked past Elsa hanging out in front of her summer cottage on the east side of the Norway pavilion; it was a bit of a weird mix of people forming lines to take pictures, cast members saying there weren't lines and just move up, and a few interesting folks using their strollers / children as people plows to clear the way for pictures of their kids w/ Elsa; we're kind of weird (understatement) and don't take a ton of pictures so we tried to get the kids to just interact with Elsa; they said hello and talked a little bit but were generally pretty shy; they did soak it in though because we heard about it for much of the rest of the day! I do think I prefer the cavalcades though, there is less opportunity for jockeying and positioning for pictures and more focus on waving; but hey, we'll take any Frozen we can get!

the line for Maelstrom was a bit weird geographically as it went from Norway to China but we decided to wait anyway; we were probably about halfway down the China pavilion and were ready for a long morning but I think we pretty much walking forward the whole time; when we got between the China and Norway pavilions (Fin-rus-stan?) a cast member came up to us and gave us a hint that a cavalcade was coming through so if we sent and adult with the kids up a few yards they could get a good view with the other adult held our place in line; perfect timing on that, thanks unnamed cast member!

the same cast member later saw my partner and kids waiting for the cavalcade and chatted them up a bit; the cast member shared another tip that led to a cute interaction between the eldest, middle, and Minnie; it was pretty magical to see happen and it just about made our day; I sometimes forget that some of the best memories from Walt Disney World aren't the rides, characters, or attractions but the cast members that go out of their way to find folks to make their day; we've been a target of this care a few times already on this trip likely because we're clearly out numbered 3 to 2 and look like were frazzled and barely holding it together in the best of times :P

seeing the standby line details was pretty awesome; I'm a huge fan of Oaken so loved his sauna; in the past we're always tried to fast pass Frozen so missed out on a lot of the fun; it was great explaining to the kids that it was nighttime in Arendelle but daytime in Disney World like when we video chat with family halfway across the world; they totally bought it!

Frozen was a hit! there was a bit of screaming at the Marshmallow drop but mostly waiving (eldest is side to side, middle is a flap waver, youngest is still working on it) and singing; the picture turned out awesome as most Frozen ride pictures do; we played a bit in the shop but left empty handed despite the 30% discount; though we did note the Frozen masks we hadn't seen elsewhere and a nice solid blue with white Mickeys mask

the eldest wanted to check out the pyramid so we hit up Mexico and found our way to It's a Small World en español; I think my favorite part of that ride is the first few minutes when you float by the romantic San Angel Inn Restaurante; we have yet to dine there but the atmosphere looks fantastic and I can't wait until we do! we also picked-up our obligatory Kidcot suitcases (we had forgotten at Norway)

next ride was my choice so we hit the best ride of all time, Spaceship Earth! I was a bit sad it was going to be closed for renovations during our trip but with the budget cuts it was thankfully deferred; I did notice a bit of wear and tear on some of the animatronics (papyrus guy wasn't quite hitting the spot and sculpture guy was listing) so it does look like a refresh is due; Rome stilled burned though so all is right in the universe

we headed for Seabase Alpha to get some righteous fin from Nemo and pals; it's a pretty neat way to enter a pavilion if you ask me and we enjoyed exploring the various exhibits; I do miss the elevator that took you down underwater, that thing was sweet and totally blew my younger mind (probably still would to be honest); also, everything I go into Seabase Alpha it seems smaller than I remember; I attribute that to seeing other mega aquariums over the years (Baltimore, Atlanta, etc.); Turtle Talk w/ Crush sadly wasn't open because that was a hit with the kids last time

the sky opened up on our way to lunch so empanadas turned into whatever the Land Pavilion was offering but then again turned back into empanadas after the sky closed back up before we could get the stroller parked; we couldn't quite figure out the best place for empanadas so figured we'd try the Margarita stand in front of the Mexico pavilion; it was a solid choice but the empanadas to come covered in messy stuff that will make eating with kids an adventure; the plus is the sauce is too "weird" for immature palates and therefore left more empanadas for those of use with finely aged palates; by this time the Mexico pavilion was decently crowded (when isn't it?) so we were just pulled over on a side wall stuffing our faces; we tried to find better eating locations for our future feasts

lunch was washed down by some fancy slushy and fizzy drinks; I forget what they were but I think one was frozen orange stuff and another pineapple sparkly stuff; the frozen orange stuff was the hands down winner in our book and we'll be back for more!

the rest of the day was spent finding Kidcot locations; it's great for the kids but it meant we were a bit more laser focused on Kidcot the rest of the day; I don't think we did the pavilions much justice; we did enjoy the shrunken German village (they come alive at night you know) and did make sure to devour several pastries in the French pavilion; we have a few wannabe francophones on our team but had trouble finding willing victims in the French pavilion; the only natives I recall seeing were working behind the counter at the pasty shop and were pretty busy so we felt guilty stumbling through the interaction in français; once the international cast member programs ramp back up, we'll have to head back! my partner did get to use some limited Arabic at the Morocco pavilion (chocolate baklava stand) which led to huge smiles from the two Moroccan cast members

we finished up our Kidcot adventure in our former home, the great white north; it was a bit warmer than we remembered it considering our Calgarian friends just sent us pictures of snow a few weeks ago; must be a localized warming thingy or something

the end of the day at Epcot was a trip back to Norway for one more Frozen ride and a stop by the shop to pickup those Frozen and blue / white Mickey masks; we later found them at the Pop Century gift shop but hey, getting them straight from the fjords of Norway woven in Viking hair is way better

there was a bit of a line at the Skyliner as we made our way to Pop Century but nothing outrageous; I like that you're pretty much always moving in the Skyliner line, it seems to make it go faster; it was a quick ride to our new home

we were at Pop Century because we had a special ticket package that was linked to a hotel stay; we bought DVC after planning our trip (and buying the special tickets) so our best option was to reduce the Pop Century stay to one day to keep the tickets while replacing the rest of the stay with DVC; originally Pop Century was going to be our first night but then COVID-19, extra points from our absent travel buddies, and all

our first reaction on getting into our room at Pop Century was a sigh of relief and comfort; we both grew up as All Star / Pop Century type folks so it truly felt like being home for us; we reminisced about previous trips as well which was fun; if they ever did a Pop Century or All Star DVC, we'd totally buy in! kind of weird considering I feel like we own the opposite end of the spectrum with RVA but as I said, we're very weird people

I've always loved the food court experience at Pop Century and the All Stars but these days its a bit different with mobile order; most previous mobile orders we just walked up and gave our name and the cast members figured out the rest; at Pop Century there were waaaay more people so they ran by order number instead; when I got to the pick-up location I could see why, the tables were overflowing with orders! if you haven't figured it out by now, cheap quick service is kind of our thing so our Pop Century meal was pitch perfect

we didn't get a chance to try out the pool (much like BWV) but we did wander around a bit to enjoy the theming; the rooms were great too! they have murphy beds for the second beds (closest to the door) and when they're not beds they are rather large tables that pretty easily fit a family; the fit and finish of the room was reliably robust and clean; it even had a waterfall shower of sorts with a secondary shower head that was bigger and more over the middle of the tub; really, it felt like the only thing missing was a microwave and it would be a DVC deluxe studio! if you need to tack on a few days to a trip, I'd recommend checking it out!

Pop Century also scored a 10 out of 10 for us! we would definitely stay again if the need arises; some of our other travel partners are more All Stars fans but since we'll mostly be at RVA going forward and the Skyliner exists, we'll need to convert them to Pop Century!

Epcot was amazing as always; yeah it was different but hey, this will be an experience to remember complete with face covered pictures

next stop, RVA!!!

lessons learned
BWV is super close to Epcot, especially if you stop at the BoardWalk Bakery on the way​
purple is the coolest ring color!​
they changed the name of Maelstrom​
cast members are the best part of Walt Disney World​
Frozen rocks!​
but Spaceship Earth is still the best ride​
Kidcot is good but make sure to stop and smell the pavilions​
orange slushy drinks > pineapple sparkly drinks​
Pop Century DVC would be amazing and they're almost already there!​
we're really enjoying this trip!​
by the numbers
12 nights​
154 points​
10 resorts​
1 park day (Epcot)​
2 Frozen rides​
8 hrs 12 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
10 pool complexes visited​
20 mobile food orders​
7 regular food order (food and wine stands here)​
6 non-Disney mobile food orders​
5 trips on Disney transportation (first Skyliner)​
8 DVC tours completed​
10 MagicBands picked-up (RVA + 2 special + 3 colored)​
45 MagicBands avoided​
Love your reports! Glad to hear that social distancing seems to be happening. We are heading to BWV in 3 weeks. I also have zero idea how to get to them. Can I ask if there is outdoor seating available at any of the places you have eaten?
 
  • Isabelle12345

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2019
    Following!
    I can’t believe you resort hopped that much with 3 kids! I can’t even imagine doing that with my two kids!
    Looks like you had a lot of fun!!!
     

    HappyDisneyWife

    Powered by pixie dust... and espresso ;)
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2020
    @i<3riviera I’m loving reading along! It looks like my boys & I were a few days behind you at BCV, but we definitely overlapped at the RIV!! The more I think about it, we may have more than crossed paths ... if you remember “Charleston” the time keeper for the slide races ... that was us 🤣😂
     

    i<3riviera

    🍷
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2020
    Love your reports! Glad to hear that social distancing seems to be happening. We are heading to BWV in 3 weeks. I also have zero idea how to get to them. Can I ask if there is outdoor seating available at any of the places you have eaten?
    thanks! we mostly ate in our rooms but I did notice most quick service places we got food on Disney property had outdoor seating available either as part of the restaurant or seating nearby people turned into outdoor seating; for table service we went to, Topolino's didn't seem to be using their patio (but maybe one could request it) and Olivia's (OKW) definitely had outdoor seating; I think I remember the two Cracker Barrels on 192 also had outdoor seating; the Chick-fil-A and Pizza Hut were drive-thru / carry-out only

    Following!
    I can’t believe you resort hopped that much with 3 kids! I can’t even imagine doing that with my two kids!
    Looks like you had a lot of fun!!!
    thanks! I'd say it's more 2.5 kids because the youngest is still pocked sized; the youngest did learn to walk while we were there so that added a dimension of freedom for trouble making we hadn't planned on!

    @i<3riviera I’m loving reading along! It looks like my boys & I were a few days behind you at BCV, but we definitely overlapped at the RIV!! The more I think about it, we may have more than crossed paths ... if you remember “Charleston” the time keeper for the slide races ... that was us 🤣😂
    haha, that's awesome; we probably did cross paths! I'll have to ask my eldest about the slide races to see if it rings any bells

    Where's the RIV update!?
    sorry, lost it in my luggage :P

    and thanks @TinkB278 and @EAHajd!

    RVA
    537943

    the day we had been waiting for since early 2020 had finally arrived, our first stay at RVA!

    I'm blurring all the days together here since I can't remember when everything exactly happened; or really what happened so I'll make up stuff to fill in the gaps; also, I'll cover the park days later as it's easier to group them separately

    we started the day a bit early with the excitement of finally getting on the grounds of RVA; it was pretty simple (but delicious) fare from the Pop Century food court; we ate in our room and were relieved that the floor was of the non-carpet variety as some of us who will not be named are messy eaters; the syrup that accompanies Mickey worfuls tends to be quite a disaster; great news came as we were just finishing, our early check-in was successful at RVA!

    keeping up the magic for the kids (and myself if I'm being honest) we decided to fly on the Skyliner to RVA from Pop Century; standard practice has been the adults make the luggage disappear to our vehicle and then we all go to the new resort together; one of us adults (me) goes back to retrieve the vehicle to make it appear at the new resort; this was the last time this trip we did it and it worked a treat as it had every other time

    after our Skyliner flight, we made our way to our room; we passed a pair of cast members that were power washing the sidewalks and they kindly stopped to let us pass; I thought about getting them to stop all together to lower costs and save on dues but then realized they might just be power washing the undeclared portion of the sidewalk that Disney is still responsible for so I let them continue; by not interjecting, I held onto my "but I own here card!" for something more important ...

    getting to the room was a breeze because we lucked-out and picked the right elevator; we were on the 3rd floor which is the only floor that isn't continuous (it has a cast member only area over the lobby) so if we had picked wrong we would have had to detour to the 2nd or 4th-8th floors

    the room itself was gorgeous! it had that shiny new car smell that I paid so dearly for when buying into DVC; I was a huge fan of the overhead light in the main living area because it makes the frantic last minute search for the odd missing toy at 10:59am on the morning of check-out that much easier; the whole room just looked fancy and I loved the art

    I also liked how there seemed to be a focus on fancy theming with industrial durability (vs. industrial theming with industrial durability of BLT for example :P); I'm sure the other resorts are like that too but I literally went over every centimeter of RVA because I'm crazy and was there for eight days (correlation or causation is for you to determine); I was really impressed that high wear areas were well protected, the ones that weren't were artistically pre-worn (murphy bed); there were few hidden nooks things could get lost in, and there were 4,521 outlets available for electronics ... give or take a few

    also, RVA was ahead of it's time; there are four facemask hooks at the entryway across from the MagicBand table; someone read their coffee beans well!

    two things were no bueno with the room ...
    1. one of the pocket doors (between the two sections of bathroom) wouldn't lock; should I have reported it and gotten it fixed? probably; did I? no, we just locked the two other doors if anyone wanted privacy and then forgot about it at the end of the trip
    2. it looked like someone had busted a Coca Cola and it got all over the white paint on the various pieces of furniture; the first time I noticed it was on the murphy bed but kept finding more as the days went on; I did try to wipe it off when I found it but it was stubborn and wouldn't come off; I started noticing a pattern though, it was nearly everywhere there was white painted wood and was relatively consistent like someone has busted their soda equidistant from all surfaces (which was impossible or impressive); so I talked to my partner about it (they're a bit more artistically inclined than I) and I was informed of the world of the speckled paint technique; mind blown; never knew the splattered soda look was a thing but I'm totally into it now that I own RVA ... and thank goodness I didn't mention this one to a cast member
    at RVA (at least when we were there) you can tour one of each room type from tower studios through grand villas (though not dedicated two bedrooms); we really like how we can gracefully grow (or contract) in accommodation at RVA as our lives evolve; when we retire, we'll be living in an RVA grand villa if anyone is looking for us

    the courtyard of RVA is pretty awesome, the kids definitely enjoyed running around on the plastic grass and I think they were allowed to? the area really comes alive at night with lots of people hanging out there and crossing through on their way to the pool, back home from the parks, or to Primo Piatto for dinner; the view of the lights of the various Caribbean islands was pretty neat too across the Atlantic; Disney geography is a funny thing ...

    we walked through the quiet pool to check it out but quickly realized that we best not actually go in the water for fear of succumbing to boredom and drowning; but the feature pool was a treat! of the eight days at RVA, only three were park days so we got a lot of use out of the pool! we did mornings, afternoons, and evenings; I think my favorite was the evening time because it was more lively and the lack of sunburn risk; I'd rate us as bottom to middle of the pack parents in general but our attentiveness to sunscreen is a solid fail; we usually get the first coat no problem it's the second+ where we're less stellar; so instead we tell our kids stories of the sky monster who will turn them into lobsters if they don't hide from it; not so effective of a tactic when you're in the water playing fish / crustaceans and having fun

    they RVA slide was also amazing! it doesn't appear as big as the other slides but definitely has the technique down; it has fun curves all down the slide and as a bonus you can see your friends (and / or children) for most of the way down to wave and smile at each other; I also noticed on some other slides that the alignment of the sections wasn't quite perfect so every meter or so your feet, bum, and back would ever so slightly scrape on the transition; if you're a lightweight child wearing a lifejacket, going slowly, or only go once or twice you're unlikely to notice; but if you're a hefty slide addicted, speed demon adult, it can hurt! thankfully, RVA's slide was in tip-top shape so there were no bumps the whole way down; I'd vote it as tied with BCV's slide for that reason but my little slide expert (rode BCV slide in the sitting position waving back to the cast member at the top for the whole straight section) ranked it at #2; I tried to influence them with bribes but there is just something about sliding from a pirate ship to a pool ...

    we tried all the various food options at RVA and each one was wonderful; Bar Riva had a Baked Brie in Puff Pastry that was delightful; Primo Piatto provided consistent quick service with some lovely additions (Croque Madame and Overnight Oats) and the parfait is perfect; Le Petit Café had great quick pastries if you're walking out the door 7:30am to Skyline to Hollywood Studios; and we had the best table service breakfast of the trip at Topolino's (also only table service breakfast); I have a thing for tiramisu and Primo Piatto's did not disappoint

    there were several trips in the mix to Chick-fil-A, Cracker Barrel, and the usual suspects to add some variety to RVA food; we also branched-out to the Caribbean Beach resort's Centertown Market and were quite pleased with the additional options; I timed the one-way trip there and it was only ~5 minutes at a decent pace so really can add all the food options there to your repertoire if you don't mind mingling with those pesky non-DVCers (though I found they generally smell better on account of the daily towel service); I personally gobbled-up several Cuban sandwiches, just don't tell the US Department of State

    the dining pièce de résistance at RVA is definitely Topolino's character breakfast which over the course of eight days we enjoyed not twice, three times, or even four times, but just once; folks of all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors flock from far and wide after booking at exactly 60 days out to enjoy the charactered culinary delights atop the best DVC resort there is (and ever will be); we lucked-out with a window seat so had a great view as we waved from afar to Daisy, Donald, Minnie, and Mickey; the food was pretty solid as well with only a few scraps remaining on our plates at the end; the worful dippers were pretty awesome too that came on a paint pallet with Mickey AND Minnie worfuls! yes it's a bit overpriced as far as food goes but you're paying for the characters who did an awesome job considering the circumstances; having our eldest and awkward middle one give and receive hearts from characters never gets old

    we also enjoyed the perimeter walk around the RVA / Caribbean Beach lake; we do like our walking (tires energetic children) and a lap of the lake was quite sufficient for our needs; I do look forward to the Caribbean Beach playground island being back open as that looks like a ton of fun! the kids might enjoy it too

    I think my favorite memory from RVA will be the many nap walks I took with our youngest team member; my partner has been working most of the whole trip but was definitely working almost every day we were at RVA; the two eldest could be tranquilized with paint by stickers, coloring books, or Bluey on the TV but the youngest generally needed cuddles, feeding, and nap time; during nap time, I'd put the half-pint in a stroller and wall the hallowed halls of RVA; RVA has 7 full floors (including the weird broken 3rd floor) and 2 half floors (1st and 9th) so it's really 8 floors; each full floor took almost exactly 10 minutes for a lap and the half floors were close enough to 10 minutes combined; I've seen every floor of RVA with my sleeping partner more times than I can count; things I did to occupy myself:
    1. count room doors
    2. count room occupied hang tags
    3. notice slightly tilted chandeliers
    4. count ADA wheelchair accessible rooms (have a high and low peepholes)
    5. notice slightly bleached carpet areas (only two I remember, probably spilled COVID-19 cleaner)
    6. secretly smiled at people beneath my facemask as I passed them
    RVA really lived-up to our expectations and therefore gets a 10^100 (googol) out of 10! we will definitely be back (at least once a year for the next 50 years) and look forward to continue calling it our Walt Disney World home

    next up, AKV Kidani!

    lessons learned
    not writing down notes really impairs your ability to remember what happened three weeks ago​
    carpet sucks to eat on, non-carpet is awesome​
    the 3rd floor of the RVA is the top secret floor and is compartmentalized between the two elevator banks​
    new resorts look and smell new (thinking about it, I wonder if that was a problem when BRV opened-up? kinda wrecks the 19th century theming, eh?)​
    COVID-19 mask hooks rock! (the RVA architect nailed it!)​
    Coca Cola splatter is an artistic thing​
    the RVA feature pool / slide are awesome as have been all the other ones​
    all the RVA food options are as good as people say​
    the proximity of RVA to Caribbean Beach is a feature, not a flaw​
    Topolino's character breakfast is worth it!​
    sleepy babies like being strolled through the halls of RVA​
    I need me some more RVA points, anyone know where I can get some?​
    by the numbers
    I removed some stats because I lost count
    20 nights​
    288 points​
    11 resorts​
    4 park days (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios)​
    2 Frozen rides (unchanged due to temper tantrum, not mine)​
    8 hrs 12 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
    11 pool complexes visited​
    0 trips on Disney buses​
    9 DVC tours completed​
    10 MagicBands picked-up (RVA + 2 special + 3 colored)​
    50 MagicBands avoided​

    edit: added that there is still more 😮; also typo
     
    Last edited:

    DISguyDennis

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Dec 28, 2019
    Loving your trip reports! And your RIV report is getting me excited for my welcome home trip there in May 😍
     

    ctl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 3, 2012
    thanks! we mostly ate in our rooms but I did notice most quick service places we got food on Disney property had outdoor seating available either as part of the restaurant or seating nearby people turned into outdoor seating; for table service we went to, Topolino's didn't seem to be using their patio (but maybe one could request it) and Olivia's (OKW) definitely had outdoor seating; I think I remember the two Cracker Barrels on 192 also had outdoor seating; the Chick-fil-A and Pizza Hut were drive-thru / carry-out only


    thanks! I'd say it's more 2.5 kids because the youngest is still pocked sized; the youngest did learn to walk while we were there so that added a dimension of freedom for trouble making we hadn't planned on!


    haha, that's awesome; we probably did cross paths! I'll have to ask my eldest about the slide races to see if it rings any bells


    sorry, lost it in my luggage :P

    and thanks @TinkB278 and @EAHajd!

    RVA
    View attachment 537943

    the day we had been waiting for since early 2020 had finally arrived, our first stay at RVA!

    I'm blurring all the days together here since I can't remember when everything exactly happened; or really what happened so I'll make up stuff to fill in the gaps; also, I'll cover the park days later as it's easier to group them separately

    we started the day a bit early with the excitement of finally getting on the grounds of RVA; it was pretty simple (but delicious) fare from the Pop Century food court; we ate in our room and were relieved that the floor was of the non-carpet variety as some of us who will not be named are messy eaters; the syrup that accompanies Mickey worfuls tends to be quite a disaster; great news came as we were just finishing, our early check-in was successful at RVA!

    keeping up the magic for the kids (and myself if I'm being honest) we decided to fly on the Skyliner to RVA from Pop Century; standard practice has been the adults make the luggage disappear to our vehicle and then we all go to the new resort together; one of us adults (me) goes back to retrieve the vehicle to make it appear at the new resort; this was the last time this trip we did it and it worked a treat as it had every other time

    after our Skyliner flight, we made our way to our room; we passed a pair of cast members that were power washing the sidewalks and they kindly stopped to let us pass; I thought about getting them to stop all together to lower costs and save on dues but then realized they might just be power washing the undeclared portion of the sidewalk that Disney is still responsible for so I let them continue; by not interjecting, I held onto my "but I own here card!" for something more important ...

    getting to the room was a breeze because we lucked-out and picked the right elevator; we were on the 3rd floor which is the only floor that isn't continuous (it has a cast member only area over the lobby) so if we had picked wrong we would have had to detour to the 2nd or 4th-8th floors

    the room itself was gorgeous! it had that shiny new car smell that I paid so dearly for when buying into DVC; I was a huge fan of the overhead light in the main living area because it makes the frantic last minute search for the odd missing toy at 10:59am on the morning of check-out that much easier; the whole room just looked fancy and I loved the art

    I also liked how there seemed to be a focus on fancy theming with industrial durability (vs. industrial theming with industrial durability of BLT for example :P); I'm sure the other resorts are like that too but I literally went over every centimeter of RVA because I'm crazy and was there for eight days (correlation or causation is for you to determine); I was really impressed that high wear areas were well protected, the ones that weren't were artistically pre-worn (murphy bed); there were few hidden nooks things could get lost in, and there were 4,521 outlets available for electronics ... give or take a few

    also, RVA was ahead of it's time; there are four facemask hooks at the entryway across from the MagicBand table; someone read their coffee beans well!

    two things were no bueno with the room ...
    1. one of the pocket doors (between the two sections of bathroom) wouldn't lock; should I have reported it and gotten it fixed? probably; did I? no, we just locked the two other doors if anyone wanted privacy and then forgot about it at the end of the trip
    2. it looked like someone had busted a Coca Cola and it got all over the white paint on the various pieces of furniture; the first time I noticed it was on the murphy bed but kept finding more as the days went on; I did try to wipe it off when I found it but it was stubborn and wouldn't come off; I started noticing a pattern though, it was nearly everywhere there was white painted wood and was relatively consistent like someone has busted their soda equidistant from all surfaces (which was impossible or impressive); so I talked to my partner about it (they're a bit more artistically inclined than I) and I was informed of the world of the speckled paint technique; mind blown; never knew the splattered soda look was a thing but I'm totally into it now that I own RVA ... and thank goodness I didn't mention this one to a cast member
    at RVA (at least when we were there) you can tour one of each room type from tower studios through grand villas (though not dedicated two bedrooms); we really like how we can gracefully grown (or contract) in accommodation at RVA as our lives evolve; when we retire, we'll be living in an RVA grand villa if anyone is looking for us

    the courtyard of RVA is pretty awesome, the kids definitely enjoyed running around on the plastic grass and I think they were allowed to? the area really comes alive at night with lots of people hanging out there and crossing through on their way to the pool, back home from the parks, or to Primo Piatto for dinner; the view of the lights of the various Caribbean islands was pretty neat too across the Atlantic; Disney geography is a funny thing ...

    we walked through the quiet pool to check it out but quickly realized that we best not actually go in the water for fear of succumbing to boredom and drowning; but the feature pool was a treat! of the eight days at RVA, only three were park days so we got a lot of use out of the pool! we did mornings, afternoons, and evenings; I think my favorite was the evening time because it was more lively and the lack of sunburn risk; I'd rate us as bottom to middle of the pack parents in general but our attentiveness to sunscreen is a solid fail; we usually get the first coat no problem it's the second+ where we're less stellar; so instead we tell our kids stories of the sky monster who will turn them into lobsters if they don't hide from it; not so effective of a tactic when you're in the water playing fish / crustaceans and having fun

    they RVA slide was also amazing! it doesn't appear as big as the other slides but definitely has the technique down; it has fun curves all down the slide and as a bonus you can see your friends (and / or children) for most of the way down to wave and smile at each other; I also noticed on some other slides that the alignment of the sections wasn't quite perfect so every meter or so your feet, bum, and back would ever so slightly scrape on the transition; if you're a lightweight child wearing a lifejacket, going slowly, or only go once or twice you're unlikely to notice; but if you're a hefty slide addicted, speed demon adult, it can hurt! thankfully, RVA's slide was in tip-top shape so there were no bumps the whole way down; I'd vote it as tied with BCV's slide for that reason but my little slide expert (rode BCV slide in the sitting position waving back to the cast member at the top for the whole straight section) ranked it at #2; I tried to influence them with bribes but there is just something about sliding from a pirate ship to a pool ...

    we tried all the various food options at RVA and each one was wonderful; Bar Riva had a Baked Brie in Puff Pastry that was delightful; Primo Piatto provided consistent quick service with some lovely additions (Croque Madame and Overnight Oats) and the parfait is perfect; Le Petit Café had great quick pastries if you're walking out the door 7:30am to Skyline to Hollywood Studios; and we had the best table service breakfast of the trip at Topolino's (also only table service breakfast); I have a thing for tiramisu and Primo Piatto's did not disappoint

    there were several trips in the mix to Chick-fil-A, Cracker Barrel, and the usual suspects to add some variety to RVA food; we also branched-out to the Caribbean Beach resort's Centertown Market and were quite pleased with the additional options; I timed the one-way trip there and it was only ~5 minutes at a decent pace so really can add all the food options there to your repertoire if you don't mind mingling with those pesky non-DVCers (though I found they generally smell better on account of the daily towel service); I personally gobbled-up several Cuban sandwiches, just don't tell the US Department of State

    the dining pièce de résistance at RVA is definitely Topolino's character breakfast which over the course of eight days we enjoyed not twice, three times, or even four times, but just once; folks of all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors flock from far and wide after booking at exactly 60 days out to enjoy the charactered culinary delights atop the best DVC resort there is (and ever will be); we lucked-out with a window seat so had a great view as we waved from afar to Daisy, Donald, Minnie, and Mickey; the food was pretty solid as well with only a few scraps remaining on our plates at the end; the worful dippers were pretty awesome too that came on a paint pallet with Mickey AND Minnie worfuls! yes it's a bit overpriced as far as food goes but you're paying for the characters who did an awesome job considering the circumstances; having our eldest and awkward middle one give and receive hearts from characters never gets old

    we also enjoyed the perimeter walk around the RVA / Caribbean Beach lake; we do like our walking (tires energetic children) and a lap of the lake was quite sufficient for our needs; I do look forward to the Caribbean Beach playground island being back open as that looks like a ton of fun! the kids might enjoy it too

    I think my favorite memory from RVA will be the many nap walks I took with our youngest team member; my partner has been working most of the whole trip but was definitely working almost every day we were at RVA; the two eldest could be tranquilized with paint by stickers, coloring books, or Bluey on the TV but the youngest generally needed cuddles, feeding, and nap time; during nap time, I'd put the half-pint in a stroller and wall the hallowed halls of RVA; RVA has 7 full floors (including the weird broken 3rd floor) and 2 half floors (1st and 9th) so it's really 8 floors; each full floor took almost exactly 10 minutes for a lap and the half floors were close enough to 10 minutes combined; I've seen every floor of RVA with my sleeping partner more times than I can count; things I did to occupy myself:
    1. count room doors
    2. count room occupied hang tags
    3. notice slightly tilted chandeliers
    4. count ADA wheelchair accessible rooms (have a high and low peepholes)
    5. notice slightly bleached carpet areas (only two I remember, probably spilled COVID-19 cleaner)
    6. secretly smiled at people beneath my facemask as I passed them
    RVA really lived-up to our expectations and therefore gets a 10^100 (googol) out of 10! we will definitely be back (at least once a year for the next 50 years) and look forward to continue calling it our Walt Disney World home

    lessons learned
    not writing down notes really impairs your ability to remember what happened three weeks ago​
    carpet sucks to eat on, non-carpet is awesome​
    the 3rd floor of the RVA is the top secret floor and is compartmentalized between the two elevator banks​
    new resorts look and smell new (thinking about it, I wonder if that was a problem when BRV opened-up? kinda wrecks the 19th century theming, eh?)​
    COVID-19 mask hooks rock! (the RVA architect nailed it!)​
    Coca Cola splatter is an artistic thing​
    the RVA feature pool / slide are awesome as have been all the other ones​
    all the RVA food options are as good as people say​
    the proximity of RVA to Caribbean Beach is a feature, not a flaw​
    Topolino's character breakfast is worth it!​
    sleepy babies like being strolled through the halls of RVA​
    I need me some more RVA points, anyone know where I can get some?​
    by the numbers
    I removed some stats because I lost count
    20 nights​
    288 points​
    11 resorts​
    4 park days (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios)​
    2 Frozen rides (unchanged due to temper tantrum, not mine)​
    8 hrs 12 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
    11 pool complexes visited​
    0 trips on Disney buses​
    9 DVC tours completed​
    10 MagicBands picked-up (RVA + 2 special + 3 colored)​
    50 MagicBands avoided​
    Thanks for all the great info. We're heading out to WDW tomorrow and your reports of the various food stops has really helped me to plan. We too own RVA, so I'm so glad you mentioned the soda splatter, or I too may have thought it was a bug not a feature lol!
     

    HappyDisneyWife

    Powered by pixie dust... and espresso ;)
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2020
    it looked like someone had busted a Coca Cola and it got all over the white paint on the various pieces of furniture; the first time I noticed it was on the murphy bed but kept finding more as the days went on; I did try to wipe it off when I found it but it was stubborn and wouldn't come off; I started noticing a pattern though, it was nearly everywhere there was white painted wood and was relatively consistent like someone has busted their soda equidistant from all surfaces (which was impossible or impressive)
    I’m so glad I’m not the only one!! I totally thought it was from an exploding coke too! 😂😂 (I did notice the pattern myself as well & was pretty relieved 😅)
    the courtyard of RVA is pretty awesome, the kids definitely enjoyed running around on the plastic grass
    It’s amazing! I loved walking it & watching kiddos running across it from my balcony above 😍
    we also enjoyed the perimeter walk around the RVA / Caribbean Beach lake
    I never got a chance to, but wanted to so badly!!! I will definitely do it on my next stay 👍🏻 (I think it would cut down on time to get to HS for rope drop too 😉)
    I've seen every floor of RVA with my sleeping partner more times than I can count; things I did to occupy myself:
    I love this. It feels like forever ago that I “walked the halls” (my youngest turned 10 this year 😢), and I love how you occupied yourself! 😁

    It’s been fun reading your report. 🤩 Thanks!
     

    Duckbug.Ducktales

    Clan McDuck descendant
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2020
    thanks! we mostly ate in our rooms but I did notice most quick service places we got food on Disney property had outdoor seating available either as part of the restaurant or seating nearby people turned into outdoor seating; for table service we went to, Topolino's didn't seem to be using their patio (but maybe one could request it) and Olivia's (OKW) definitely had outdoor seating; I think I remember the two Cracker Barrels on 192 also had outdoor seating; the Chick-fil-A and Pizza Hut were drive-thru / carry-out only


    thanks! I'd say it's more 2.5 kids because the youngest is still pocked sized; the youngest did learn to walk while we were there so that added a dimension of freedom for trouble making we hadn't planned on!


    haha, that's awesome; we probably did cross paths! I'll have to ask my eldest about the slide races to see if it rings any bells


    sorry, lost it in my luggage :P

    and thanks @TinkB278 and @EAHajd!

    RVA
    View attachment 537943

    the day we had been waiting for since early 2020 had finally arrived, our first stay at RVA!

    I'm blurring all the days together here since I can't remember when everything exactly happened; or really what happened so I'll make up stuff to fill in the gaps; also, I'll cover the park days later as it's easier to group them separately

    we started the day a bit early with the excitement of finally getting on the grounds of RVA; it was pretty simple (but delicious) fare from the Pop Century food court; we ate in our room and were relieved that the floor was of the non-carpet variety as some of us who will not be named are messy eaters; the syrup that accompanies Mickey worfuls tends to be quite a disaster; great news came as we were just finishing, our early check-in was successful at RVA!

    keeping up the magic for the kids (and myself if I'm being honest) we decided to fly on the Skyliner to RVA from Pop Century; standard practice has been the adults make the luggage disappear to our vehicle and then we all go to the new resort together; one of us adults (me) goes back to retrieve the vehicle to make it appear at the new resort; this was the last time this trip we did it and it worked a treat as it had every other time

    after our Skyliner flight, we made our way to our room; we passed a pair of cast members that were power washing the sidewalks and they kindly stopped to let us pass; I thought about getting them to stop all together to lower costs and save on dues but then realized they might just be power washing the undeclared portion of the sidewalk that Disney is still responsible for so I let them continue; by not interjecting, I held onto my "but I own here card!" for something more important ...

    getting to the room was a breeze because we lucked-out and picked the right elevator; we were on the 3rd floor which is the only floor that isn't continuous (it has a cast member only area over the lobby) so if we had picked wrong we would have had to detour to the 2nd or 4th-8th floors

    the room itself was gorgeous! it had that shiny new car smell that I paid so dearly for when buying into DVC; I was a huge fan of the overhead light in the main living area because it makes the frantic last minute search for the odd missing toy at 10:59am on the morning of check-out that much easier; the whole room just looked fancy and I loved the art

    I also liked how there seemed to be a focus on fancy theming with industrial durability (vs. industrial theming with industrial durability of BLT for example :P); I'm sure the other resorts are like that too but I literally went over every centimeter of RVA because I'm crazy and was there for eight days (correlation or causation is for you to determine); I was really impressed that high wear areas were well protected, the ones that weren't were artistically pre-worn (murphy bed); there were few hidden nooks things could get lost in, and there were 4,521 outlets available for electronics ... give or take a few

    also, RVA was ahead of it's time; there are four facemask hooks at the entryway across from the MagicBand table; someone read their coffee beans well!

    two things were no bueno with the room ...
    1. one of the pocket doors (between the two sections of bathroom) wouldn't lock; should I have reported it and gotten it fixed? probably; did I? no, we just locked the two other doors if anyone wanted privacy and then forgot about it at the end of the trip
    2. it looked like someone had busted a Coca Cola and it got all over the white paint on the various pieces of furniture; the first time I noticed it was on the murphy bed but kept finding more as the days went on; I did try to wipe it off when I found it but it was stubborn and wouldn't come off; I started noticing a pattern though, it was nearly everywhere there was white painted wood and was relatively consistent like someone has busted their soda equidistant from all surfaces (which was impossible or impressive); so I talked to my partner about it (they're a bit more artistically inclined than I) and I was informed of the world of the speckled paint technique; mind blown; never knew the splattered soda look was a thing but I'm totally into it now that I own RVA ... and thank goodness I didn't mention this one to a cast member
    at RVA (at least when we were there) you can tour one of each room type from tower studios through grand villas (though not dedicated two bedrooms); we really like how we can gracefully grown (or contract) in accommodation at RVA as our lives evolve; when we retire, we'll be living in an RVA grand villa if anyone is looking for us

    the courtyard of RVA is pretty awesome, the kids definitely enjoyed running around on the plastic grass and I think they were allowed to? the area really comes alive at night with lots of people hanging out there and crossing through on their way to the pool, back home from the parks, or to Primo Piatto for dinner; the view of the lights of the various Caribbean islands was pretty neat too across the Atlantic; Disney geography is a funny thing ...

    we walked through the quiet pool to check it out but quickly realized that we best not actually go in the water for fear of succumbing to boredom and drowning; but the feature pool was a treat! of the eight days at RVA, only three were park days so we got a lot of use out of the pool! we did mornings, afternoons, and evenings; I think my favorite was the evening time because it was more lively and the lack of sunburn risk; I'd rate us as bottom to middle of the pack parents in general but our attentiveness to sunscreen is a solid fail; we usually get the first coat no problem it's the second+ where we're less stellar; so instead we tell our kids stories of the sky monster who will turn them into lobsters if they don't hide from it; not so effective of a tactic when you're in the water playing fish / crustaceans and having fun

    they RVA slide was also amazing! it doesn't appear as big as the other slides but definitely has the technique down; it has fun curves all down the slide and as a bonus you can see your friends (and / or children) for most of the way down to wave and smile at each other; I also noticed on some other slides that the alignment of the sections wasn't quite perfect so every meter or so your feet, bum, and back would ever so slightly scrape on the transition; if you're a lightweight child wearing a lifejacket, going slowly, or only go once or twice you're unlikely to notice; but if you're a hefty slide addicted, speed demon adult, it can hurt! thankfully, RVA's slide was in tip-top shape so there were no bumps the whole way down; I'd vote it as tied with BCV's slide for that reason but my little slide expert (rode BCV slide in the sitting position waving back to the cast member at the top for the whole straight section) ranked it at #2; I tried to influence them with bribes but there is just something about sliding from a pirate ship to a pool ...

    we tried all the various food options at RVA and each one was wonderful; Bar Riva had a Baked Brie in Puff Pastry that was delightful; Primo Piatto provided consistent quick service with some lovely additions (Croque Madame and Overnight Oats) and the parfait is perfect; Le Petit Café had great quick pastries if you're walking out the door 7:30am to Skyline to Hollywood Studios; and we had the best table service breakfast of the trip at Topolino's (also only table service breakfast); I have a thing for tiramisu and Primo Piatto's did not disappoint

    there were several trips in the mix to Chick-fil-A, Cracker Barrel, and the usual suspects to add some variety to RVA food; we also branched-out to the Caribbean Beach resort's Centertown Market and were quite pleased with the additional options; I timed the one-way trip there and it was only ~5 minutes at a decent pace so really can add all the food options there to your repertoire if you don't mind mingling with those pesky non-DVCers (though I found they generally smell better on account of the daily towel service); I personally gobbled-up several Cuban sandwiches, just don't tell the US Department of State

    the dining pièce de résistance at RVA is definitely Topolino's character breakfast which over the course of eight days we enjoyed not twice, three times, or even four times, but just once; folks of all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors flock from far and wide after booking at exactly 60 days out to enjoy the charactered culinary delights atop the best DVC resort there is (and ever will be); we lucked-out with a window seat so had a great view as we waved from afar to Daisy, Donald, Minnie, and Mickey; the food was pretty solid as well with only a few scraps remaining on our plates at the end; the worful dippers were pretty awesome too that came on a paint pallet with Mickey AND Minnie worfuls! yes it's a bit overpriced as far as food goes but you're paying for the characters who did an awesome job considering the circumstances; having our eldest and awkward middle one give and receive hearts from characters never gets old

    we also enjoyed the perimeter walk around the RVA / Caribbean Beach lake; we do like our walking (tires energetic children) and a lap of the lake was quite sufficient for our needs; I do look forward to the Caribbean Beach playground island being back open as that looks like a ton of fun! the kids might enjoy it too

    I think my favorite memory from RVA will be the many nap walks I took with our youngest team member; my partner has been working most of the whole trip but was definitely working almost every day we were at RVA; the two eldest could be tranquilized with paint by stickers, coloring books, or Bluey on the TV but the youngest generally needed cuddles, feeding, and nap time; during nap time, I'd put the half-pint in a stroller and wall the hallowed halls of RVA; RVA has 7 full floors (including the weird broken 3rd floor) and 2 half floors (1st and 9th) so it's really 8 floors; each full floor took almost exactly 10 minutes for a lap and the half floors were close enough to 10 minutes combined; I've seen every floor of RVA with my sleeping partner more times than I can count; things I did to occupy myself:
    1. count room doors
    2. count room occupied hang tags
    3. notice slightly tilted chandeliers
    4. count ADA wheelchair accessible rooms (have a high and low peepholes)
    5. notice slightly bleached carpet areas (only two I remember, probably spilled COVID-19 cleaner)
    6. secretly smiled at people beneath my facemask as I passed them
    RVA really lived-up to our expectations and therefore gets a 10^100 (googol) out of 10! we will definitely be back (at least once a year for the next 50 years) and look forward to continue calling it our Walt Disney World home

    lessons learned
    not writing down notes really impairs your ability to remember what happened three weeks ago​
    carpet sucks to eat on, non-carpet is awesome​
    the 3rd floor of the RVA is the top secret floor and is compartmentalized between the two elevator banks​
    new resorts look and smell new (thinking about it, I wonder if that was a problem when BRV opened-up? kinda wrecks the 19th century theming, eh?)​
    COVID-19 mask hooks rock! (the RVA architect nailed it!)​
    Coca Cola splatter is an artistic thing​
    the RVA feature pool / slide are awesome as have been all the other ones​
    all the RVA food options are as good as people say​
    the proximity of RVA to Caribbean Beach is a feature, not a flaw​
    Topolino's character breakfast is worth it!​
    sleepy babies like being strolled through the halls of RVA​
    I need me some more RVA points, anyone know where I can get some?​
    by the numbers
    I removed some stats because I lost count
    20 nights​
    288 points​
    11 resorts​
    4 park days (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios)​
    2 Frozen rides (unchanged due to temper tantrum, not mine)​
    8 hrs 12 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
    11 pool complexes visited​
    0 trips on Disney buses​
    9 DVC tours completed​
    10 MagicBands picked-up (RVA + 2 special + 3 colored)​
    50 MagicBands avoided​
    Y'all had an awesome trip, thanks for sharing! Looking forward to being there in two weeks!
     

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