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  1. #1
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    Default TikiFamily Trip Report 2015

    TikiFamily Trip Report 2015

    Pre-Trip report can be found here.

    We had a wonderful trip to Florida again this year. There were some wrinkles but it all worked out fine. In fact, we got more Disney time than we thought we would!

    So the plan was to be at my in-laws house in Tampa for Weds through Saturday, then we would head over to Orlando and stay at Disney for Sun, Mon, and Tuesday, then head back to Tampa Tue eve and head home on Weds. Park day Sun, Kennedy Space Center Mon, and water park Tues. We didn't tell the girls about any of the plans, except that we would be staying at Disney for one night and going to a water park.

    But as you will see, things changed a little. Read on.

    Weds morning, 4am: we woke up and finished our short list of packing. When we got to the airport, we parked our car in the long term lot and walked to the terminal – along with 10,000 of our fellow travelers, apparently. The line at Southwest was LOOONG, not something you expect to see at 5am. Security was long but it moved quickly. By the time we got through all the lines (including a stop at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and caffeine) we arrived at the gate 15 min before the flight left. We checked in, walked on, and found seats together at the back of the plane. Not bad! Despite the stress of getting to the gate on time, it was awfully nice to walk up to the gate and get right on the plane.

    Our flight was quiet and uneventful. We picked up our rental car, a Chevy Traverse, without any wait and spent the rest of the day settling into my in-laws house. Swim in the pool, a quick run to the grocery store, and quiet time. Ahh.

    Thursday we went to Lowry Park Zoo. We go here every year. We saw the bird show and an owl flew about a foot from my head. I thought it was going to hit me with its feet! If you’re in the Tampa area, you must go to the Zoo. It’s an amazing place, great theming and a wonderful mix of animals.

    Friday we had breakfast at the Frog Pond, our favorite “pancakes as big as your head” place. We went to see “Shaun the Sheep” at the movie theater in the afternoon – where we had reclining seats! Like, actual recliners. It was awesome. I am forever spoiled.

    Friday night we had the best time of our vacation. We went to Redington Shores beach and spent hours in the waves. The Gulf was rough and we had a fantastic time bobbing up and down in our tubes. My husband got some great photos of us and the beautiful sunset. Nights like this are why we keep going down to Florida every year.

    Now, up to this point we had been vague about our plans when speaking with our girls. And we had made a point of telling them that there was no park time planned in our vacation, due to the fact that we were saving up for our week long visit next year. So when we woke the girls up at 5am on Saturday morning and told them that we were going to Epcot that day, they were surprised. Groggy, but happy.

    We got to Riverside around 8am. I had made two reservations – one for Saturday night, one for Sun-Mon nights, due to our change in plans. I had to make sure our Magic Bands were attached to both reservations. It took the front desk about 20 minutes to make sure this happened. But after it was all set, we hopped on a bus to Epcot and got there before opening. We followed the crowd to the roped off area near the fountain and worked our way up to the front, headed for Test Track. We managed to be in the first 40 people on the ride. My husband and I teamed up to make a vehicle but halfway through our computer screen rebooted. Thankfully the girls car saved and they were happy to see it performed well on the tests.

    After Test Track we braved Sum of All Thrills (no line when we went in – 20 min wait when we left) and Mission Space. We paused to get coffee and snacks by Universe of Energy. Katie was saying that she wished we could go to Magic Kingdom, not just Epcot. So I looked at my husband, said, can we stay one more night and go to Magic Kingdom tomorrow? And he said, sure! The girls figured out that we had planned to surprise them, but they were happy nonetheless.

    The rest of the morning went like this: Living with the Land, Soarin’, and Imagination. We headed over to World Showcase around 11:30 and it was quite empty. The weather was beautiful too – overcast and breezy, which meant we weren’t baking under the August sun. We actually stayed later than we planned because it was so nice. We had lunch at Katsura Grill then spent souvenir money in our favorite store, Mitsukoshi. We got lucky on our way out of World Showcase and got to take pics with Duffy!

    After riding Spaceship Earth (FP), we took the bus back to Riverside and dragged out bags to our room in Building 17. (for hotel information, see end of post)

    We had dinner at the food court and took the bus to the Studios. We knew it would be crowded but we managed to get a FP for Tower of Terror and rode standby on Star Tours and Muppets. We walked around a lot, after finding out that two of my favorite vloggers, Joe and Ashley of See Ya Reel Soon, were in the park! We tried to meet up with them but it was not to be. We thought about seeing Fantasmic, but opted to get some sleep in our hotel room instead, for we were headed to rope drop at the MK the next day!!

    We would have been in bed earlier if it wasn’t for us getting off the bus at the wrong stop… we didn’t notice that we got off at French Quarter until it was too late. After researching our options, we decided to walk. It wasn’t a bad walk… if you weren’t wearing flip flops… and hadn’t walked miles during the day…
    Seriously, we were fine and the plus side was, we passed by the main building of Riverside on the way to our room and found Yee Haw Bob performing. We stuck our heads in to hear his rendition of “The Green Grass Grew All Around”. If we weren’t so tired we would have stayed to hear more.
    Many trips from childhood to 2008, WDW/DLP
    8/09: Ultimate Adventurer Trip, WL Concierge/AKL
    6/10: POFQ
    12/10: Mousefan Reunion (Pop)
    8/11, 7/12: AKL Concierge
    10/12: ICOT 15th solo trip (Pop)
    4/13: Pop
    7/13: Hilton Bonnet Creek
    7/14: 3 nights at BLT
    12/14: US, IOA, and WDW

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  3. #2
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    Sunday, Aug 9

    We ate breakfast in our room and got on the bus early for the MK. We were in front of the Train Station by 8:30. They let us in around 8:45 after the welcome show and we walked slowly to the Adventureland bridge… and waited some more… then went up through Frontierland and slowly walked to Splash Mountain. We were some of the first people on the ride. Second ride – Thunder at 9:27. Haunted Mansion – 9:36 (love the Pet Cemetery with Mr. Toad in the back).

    Into Fantasyland after that, Ariel ride (10:14) and a break at Gaston’s Tavern. My husband and kids hadn’t seen it yet and we had fun looking at all the details (antlers, antlers, and more antlers). The chocolate croissants are good too.

    We had a FP for Mine Train (10:43) then headed down to Tomorrowland with a stop for ice cream. (only in WDW will I allow ice cream before lunch…) Space Mountain 11:11. Tim went on the People Mover since he had injured his elbow before our trip and didn’t want to chance Space Mountain.

    By this point it was getting HOT. So we headed out (stopping to see the Dapper Dans and get Sorcerer’s cards). It took us an hour by bus to get back to our resort. Lunch was at the food court and we all rested in the room until about 5:30. Dinner at the food court – sustenance needed as we planned to be at the MK until midnight!!

    As we walked to the bus we got the first rain of the trip – a good ole Florida downpour. We had our ponchos with us so we did okay and got to the bus stop relatively unscathed. As we waited for the bus we joked that we hoped the rain chased the crowds away and would end just as we were getting to the MK. Well, that’s what it did, pretty much! We didn’t need our ponchos for the rest of the night and were treated to some amazing cloud formations too. 7:18 we did Space Mountain with our 4th FP (Tim went on Buzz Lightyear), then Katie and Julie tried Astro Orbiter (7:48) by themselves as there was no wait. They said it was okay but didn’t like the way it tilted.

    8:00 Peoplemover
    8:15 Stitch (the girls asked for it…)
    8:47 Buzz Lightyear (5th FP)
    9:04 Tea Cups (for the girls)
    9:07 Dumbo (for Mom)
    9:17 Barnstormer (girls)
    Snacks (pretzels, popcorn) for all
    9:43 Pooh ride, no wait!
    10:00 WISHES in front of the castle, for the first time (girls) – a CM put us in the middle of the hub, not a bad spot but the castle was blocked by a small tree. Didn’t make a big difference though, I still teared up.

    Now normally at this point we would be heading out of the park… but our girls are 10 and 12 now! So we stayed and enjoyed the cool weather and low crowds. Lines were pretty much 5 min waits for the rest of the night.
    10:28 Splash Mountain
    11:10 Haunted Mansion
    11:18 Small World
    11:40 Carousel
    11:48 Philharmagic

    Walking out of the park was beautiful. We got to see the Kiss Goodnight and marvel in the lights on Main Street. This was another day that defines the reason why we keep coming back to Florida year after year. So many great memories and family time.
    Many trips from childhood to 2008, WDW/DLP
    8/09: Ultimate Adventurer Trip, WL Concierge/AKL
    6/10: POFQ
    12/10: Mousefan Reunion (Pop)
    8/11, 7/12: AKL Concierge
    10/12: ICOT 15th solo trip (Pop)
    4/13: Pop
    7/13: Hilton Bonnet Creek
    7/14: 3 nights at BLT
    12/14: US, IOA, and WDW

  4. #3
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    Monday, Aug 10

    The original plan was to go to Kennedy Space Center. But… seeing that we had stayed up late the night before, we thought it would be better to stay close to home. Thankfully we hadn’t told the girls about the plan so they weren’t disappointed. I will make sure to work it into our plans for next year though. Julie is a big science fan and will LOVE it.

    We started moving around 8:45. We had breakfast in the room and got on the boat to DTD around 11am. It was a nice ride, especially since we had some fellow passengers to talk to – a retired couple with their granddaughters. They have been visiting WDW for years and it was nice to hear their history and their perspective.

    DTD was interesting to see from the water – lots of construction and new sights. We saw the Aqua Cars! Our visit was short – we did some shopping and had lunch at Earl of Sandwich. Took the boat back to the resort around 2:00 and took a swim in the quiet pool that was right next to our building.

    We had plans for the night – DVC has invited us to a mini-luau at the Polynesian. We drove over to the hotel and found Luau Cove. We received Stitch pins and leis and were seated in the same building where they do the Spirit of Aloha show. Drinks were non-alcoholic pina coladas (although they told us they were alcoholic – no way!) and food was salad, sushi, and pulled pork sliders. It was enough to fill our tummies on a hot summer day. The entertainment was great – about 20 minutes of hula dancing and fire dancing. Then we had to listen to a 15 min presentation on DVC. We had heard all of it before and considered joining, but it’s not for us. We were then led over to the new bungalows on the water. They are GORGEOUS. It was neat to see them and the studio villas in the adjacent building. We got a ride to our car on an electric cart by one of the DVC guides and back to the hotel we went. It was early enough that I had some time to pack and relax while Katie and Tim went swimming in the pool.

    Tuesday, Aug 11

    After a promised breakfast at the food court, Tim dropped me and the girls off at Blizzard Beach. His elbow was still bothering him so he opted to stay at the hotel for the morning, load up the car, and get some homework done.

    We got to the water park shortly after opening and so our plan to do Summit Plummet (otherwise known as the ‘wedgie maker’ in our house) was foiled. We got to the top of the mountain and found a 30 min wait. So we opted for the slightly lesser known Slush Gusher, which was still scary enough and was still a wedgie maker. All three of us did it! We spent the morning doing the slides, the lazy river, and the wave pool. We had a great time and made it back to the hotel via bus by 1:30. Tim was waiting for us in the food court. We had a light lunch and sadly said goodbye to Riverside.

    Tuesday evening we spent at my in-laws house, swimming in the pool and going to get ice cream. Weds morning went by quickly as we said our goodbyes and finished packing. Our flight was at 1pm and we were home greeting our dog Andy before dinner.
    Many trips from childhood to 2008, WDW/DLP
    8/09: Ultimate Adventurer Trip, WL Concierge/AKL
    6/10: POFQ
    12/10: Mousefan Reunion (Pop)
    8/11, 7/12: AKL Concierge
    10/12: ICOT 15th solo trip (Pop)
    4/13: Pop
    7/13: Hilton Bonnet Creek
    7/14: 3 nights at BLT
    12/14: US, IOA, and WDW

  5. #4
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    The Wrap-Up:

    Considering we planned on having NO park days this year, I think it ended up being a great vacation! Plans changed due to finances, family complications, and the fact that my husband knows how much I love being at WDW. We’re still looking at spending a week at WDW next year – and saving up our pennies so we can do it in style.

    The Hotel:

    I had picked Riverside because our original plan was only one night. I thought we could take anything for one night, and I had heard good things about the hotel and wanted to see what people were talking about. Well, it was okay for a short stay but we wouldn’t stay for a longer one. The building of the food court was great – loved the theming – but can’t say we loved the food or the price of the food. Maybe it’s because our kids tend to order adult entrees now, but it seemed like we spent a lot of money on food during this short trip. The quality of the food wasn’t great either. The food court was almost always crowded too.
    The resort itself felt HUGE. We were in Alligator Bayou building 17 and it was a bit of a walk to everything. Building 17 itself was a maze. You had to figure out how to get to the walkways without walking around the entire building. AND the 2nd floor rooms didn’t have an elevator. One flight of stairs is okay, but when you’re hauling a 24 case of bottled water, an elevator is nice.

    The room itself was fine. We liked the extra murphy bed – our tall 10 yr old daughter just fit on it. It saved us the “she’s kicking me” arguments. The only problem we had with the room was that when we first got into the room, we found that the murphy bed had not been remade. We called housekeeping but no one came. We called again and it took about 30 min for someone to come and make up the bed, and at this point it was around 10pm.

    The transportation was another downside for us. Buses had to go to each of the four depots every time, and sometimes stop at French Quarter. We are used to resorts where there is only one stop. The boat to DTD was nice, but certainly not a time saver. We were waiting for a boat at Riverside and after about 10 minutes one came. We lined up with everyone to get on… only to be told by the boat captain that he could only take 24 people. We were the next family in line. GRR. Then when the next boat came (about 15 minutes later), we counted about 26 people getting on the boat. No one was left behind.

    The Food:

    Not much to report this year. We ate at the Riverside Food Court mostly (not impressed), had lunch at Katsura Grill (good udon noodles), Earl of Sandwich (always yummy), and the Polynesian DVC luau (would have been much better with alcoholic pina coladas).

    Thanks for reading everyone! I will be on the ICOT boards looking for ideas for our week long visit next year! See you soon…

    Kathy
    Many trips from childhood to 2008, WDW/DLP
    8/09: Ultimate Adventurer Trip, WL Concierge/AKL
    6/10: POFQ
    12/10: Mousefan Reunion (Pop)
    8/11, 7/12: AKL Concierge
    10/12: ICOT 15th solo trip (Pop)
    4/13: Pop
    7/13: Hilton Bonnet Creek
    7/14: 3 nights at BLT
    12/14: US, IOA, and WDW

  6. #5
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    I can't believe you were able to keep the surprise to the end, good job! Sounds like you were able to do a lot of things in the short time you had. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
    - Lynn -
    INTERCOT Staff: Theme Parks, DVC

  7. #6
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    What a lovely trip, Kathy. I know you were looking forward to taking the girls to Kennedy, but you can knock it out next trip. We found it was worth it to purchase tickets and schedule the tour in advance. I can't believe the girls are 10 & 12. Isn't it fun to be able to stay at the parks later and just keep going?!

    Looking forward to hearing about your plans for next year's trip. Thanks for sharing this one with us!
    Carol (aka KylesMom)
    INTERCOT Staff: Mousellaneous & Trip Reports
    Last Trip: ICOT 15
    Happy A/P Holder 2002 - 2011

  8. #7
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    Great trip!! I felt like I could follow right along with you each day!! Thanks for sharing!!
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    faline@intercot.com

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