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keith
15-11-2009, 05:39 PM
Well back home, I think so anyway, not really awake enough to be sure yet.

Great time as always and many thousands of photographs taken. Will have to sort through when I wake up.

A few quick things whilst I remember them.

We had decided to skimp a bit on the flights since we're fortunate to go out there so often and just do economy but both going out/coming back Virgin had special offers at checkin for upgrades which worked out far cheaper than it would have been upgrading days before so we did that.

Both flights were on time, staff friendly enough and nothing to really complain about. The food on the way back was probably the most edible I'd yet experienced on a VA flight! Reasonably large piece of salmon with potatoes.

One thing of major note. We never used to bother with Downtown disney checkin but did this time. We arrived at Orlando airport with hours to spare and there was already a huge horrendous queue for virgin. They had perhaps three planes full of people waiting and the queue was wrapped round and round. THANKFULLY having done DTD checkin, we walked right past it and through security. We'll make sure to do DTD checkin all the time from now on :yes:

We went to Colonial photo/hobby in Orlando early on since they are perhaps the best/only real photo store around the area. First time we'd tried it and I can't say we were wowed. The prices were all top RRP and they weren't willing to discount to match amazon or even best buy. It's also not in a great area, so much so that our taxi driver insisted in coming in with us to escort us back to the car. Whilst I think he may have been exaggerating that a little, it certainly isn't in the best part of town. All in all, not worth a taxi journey given the prices although PERHAPS worth a car trip if you hire one and desperately need something photographic. Definitely worth trying best buy first though and even amazon who seem happy to send to Disney hotels.

A word on taxies. It pays to know where you're going and how to get there. If you find a driver you trust, ask for a card so you can call them directly for the rest of the trip. I've used taxies round the world and though Orlando may not yet be as bad, erm I mean, "creative", as some in new york/Vegas, they're getting there! Several times I had to tap them on the shoulder and say "look you can go this long way round if you want, I have lots of time but I'm only paying you for the direct route you just opted to avoid :)". Trying to get to Winter Garden Village, even with perfect instructions, was a particular nightmare. It's roughly a $30 ish trip from the contemporary and indeed, on the way back that's what we were charged but on the way out, the meter managed to get to $110. I believe they've had a hard time with the economy but still, cabs are expensive in Orlando and they've no right to rip tourists off :nono:

The Mall at Millenia is as lovely as ever and is the closest cheesecake factory I think? I wish they'd build a full one at Downtown Disney :yes: However, the mall is now completely women's fashion with the exception being the apple store. Seriously, even the tiny book store has now gone :( I guess the other exception is the ultra high price future tech store which sells a few cameras/lenses and cell phones at prices which have to be seen to be believed! I mean it's a beautiful mall, no doubt at all, and I know many of you will be thinking "yay clothes shops" but I do think the odd book shop, perhaps a cvs could be useful :)

By comparison the Florida mall is much the same as ever with a nice selection of general shops. Definitely a little less polished than the mall at millenia but if you only go to one mall, and aren't bothered by the latest designer brands, the florida mall is better. http://wdisneysecrets.com/index.php/orlando-shopping.html for more on shopping.

Winter Garden Village continues to be our favourite, if you can get there easily. Best buy, super target, book stores, restaurants all together in one admittedly huge area. A special mention to the Uno Chicago grill which always tries hard for us and makes us feel welcome.

Dining... well, where to even start :lol: Victoria & Albert flawless as ever although they seem to have switched from Evian water to well, something lesser which bugged us a little. Food and service perfect though and although expensive, it's a must do for that special occasion.

Although this year is Disney's "what are you celebrating?" year, if anything, we saw LESS fuss made of celebrations than ever before. Perhaps CMs are just plain bored of everyone celebrating something, but despite birthday/anniversary and so on being noted on reservations, little/nothing was said. Strange compared to previous years where the briefest mention would be rewarded with perhaps a tiny cake or some token. As a theme, this seems to be a flop and I hope they return to something more tangible soon.

California Grill made us ill (or so it felt!). Although always hard to pin down exactly, we were both really ill after the meal and for the next day or so. We planned to eat there twice and cancelled the second reservation. Shame since this has been one of our favourites for many years. Perhaps just a one off but we felt the service was off and the overall experience overpriced especially compared to off Disney restaurants.

Another special mention to Charley's steakhouse ~ Charley's Steakhouse ~ Aged Steak. Market Fresh Fish. Fine Wines. (http://www.talkofthetownrestaurants.com/charleys_kiss.html)
We tried Ruth's Chris and Mortons but nothing compared to Charleys. This surprised me a bit given the relative prices and I'd heard such wonderful things about mortons. In the event, the Orlando mortons was a large room with tables thrown in there, nothing special, was practically empty when we were there. We ended up sitting directly across from the only other people in there so them on one side of the place, us on the other, staring at each other :lol: Servers weren't especially friendly, food was very good but no better than Charleys. Ruths chris somewhere in the middle. The servers definitely cared and were great, food again, no better than charleys and the atmosphere a little less good. SO thanks to Mr & Mrs Slowhand for introducing us to Charleys! Definitely my tip for a sensational steak only just off site, about $15 or so in a cab from AKL/all stars area.

GREAT times at the Luau and hoop dee doo, again, no surprise there and the unlimited wine helped I'm sure (hic!)

Food and wine festival HMMMsome really. EVERYTHING was several $ from the smallest taste of cheese upwards and whilst I'd been told and well prepared for this by other members here, the reality of it was just HMM! Eating our way round the world would have cost an absolute fortune and given the tiny portions, left us hungry at the end. Thankfully the alcoholic plans were somewhat better and did allow us to sample lots of different wines. Still, a bit disappointing and I wouldn't plan specially to go just for the FWF next year.

Halloween party great and I was AMAZED how many people dressed up. I reckon 80% or more had on costumes and they were REALLY great costumes too. Everyone was really into it and it was a great night.

Christmas party well, we went to the first one and it poured down for a couple of hours. I guess the rain plus the early date (nov 10th) plus the first showing all added up to it being less special than previous years. We missed the rain with a sneaky reservation for the liberty tree tavern (no characters still but all the better for it in my opinion!). Good food as always although underdone beef to my tastes, thankfully if you ask, the server will bring more well done meats :yes:

The CMs were all saying happy christmas and REALLY trying hard but the damp had certainly squashed a lot of the party feeling and prevented the first parade from running.

The WORST thing was the lack of the traditional Twas the night before christmas. This had become a tradition for us and the removal of this show from the party was a staggering mistake. They've integrated some of the dances into the castle forecourt show but everyone we spoke to lamented the lack of Twas the night. Worse still the new show, "A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas". YET ANOTHER excuse to trot out Stitch, buzz and the gang, as if we didn't have enough of Stitch already (he's even in the new TTA audio :/ ).

Well the new show had been rained off for a few hours. CMs did their best to prep the stage with blowers and brushes to remove excess water and eventually it began. The dancers tested the stage and didn't look that happy but still, they persisted.

The host, Haley Comet (oh dear), did a fine job despite appearing so hyper that one wonders how much sugar she'd eaten backstage. Promising Santa and even snow (ooo!) she then introduced the star of the show "Mike Wazowski from monsters inc".. you know, the big eye thing

So this dancing eye comes on stage, says welcome, throws his arms up in the air and one of them just kept on going. Yep, old mike's costume fell apart and his arm went soaring off into the distance.

Gasps across the kid section of the audience as mike the eye danced round a few more minutes with just an empty hole for an arm. A minute later they cancelled it and all future performances that night. Oh dear.

If someone considers this to be a suitable replacement for Twas the night then all I can say is WOW are THEY ever seriously deluded!

TTA mentioned elsewhere so won't rehash except to say, new audio HORRIBLE bring back "paging tom morrow, your party from saturn has arrived, please give them a ring". Why mess with the classics?

Animal Kingdom Lodge was wonderful and the CMs there really helpful and knowledgeable. I seem to be really highlighting the bad points, but with the new and busy kidani village, the bus transport to/from AKL is now worse than it was. It often arrived at the lodge already full of people and on the way back, frequently called at the kidani village first. So, as well as being a little further out, AKL now doesnt gave a true dedicated bus service, it shares it with the village next door. Kidani village itself doesnt quite feel finished. It's getting there though and should be a nice addition.

We were trying the new Bay Lake Tower at the contemporary this time and had booked a Studio with MK view. Well first thing to note, you have to checkin at the contemporary, there are no checkin desks at BLT itself. We didn't know this so having trekked over to BLT we went back over to the contemporary to checkin. We were checked in by a guy who kept doing that thing disinterested people tend to do when they're going through the spiel but their eyes are wandering round elsewhere :lol: having been assigned our room I noticed it was on the third floor and wondered how we could see the magic kingdom from there :/ when I asked if it really was an MK View room he said erm well yes you can probably see it from there, just.

So over we go and it was a rubbish view to be honest. We COULD see the castle if we went out on the balcony and looked all the way right, past the monorail track right in front but it was pretty lousy. Complaining about it quickly got us a room on the north side of the tower, 11th floor which was perfect. STUNNING view and exactly what I'd expected having paid for the MK view. Talked about this one quite a lot to CMs and other guests and thought I can't quite get it confirmed, it seems as though they've classified the whole "front" of BLT as MK view which may technically be accurate according to Disney's "if you can see water, it's a pool view" classification strategy but WOW if you're on the 1st/2nd/3rd floor and maybe even a few higher, you won't be getting a GREAT MK View and certainly nowhere NEAR as good as someone paying the same staying on for example the 11th floor. Worth saying here that the Contemporary apparently classifies only the higher rooms as true "tower - theme park view" to avoid this issue which explains why we've always had great views there! I'd really encourage disney to rethink this one and have a lower room rate for lower floors!

BLT itself was good. The room we had, studio sized, was, as real estate agents would put it "bijou but in an ideal area" :lol: they're certainly nowhere near the size of the contemporary rooms but were not as tiny as I'd been led to believe from some reviews. Certainly no problem for the two of us though I believe a family of three/four would have felt cramped.

There's no desk or anything at BLT so all guest services and the like must be done through the contemporary desks.

As it's a DVC resort, we found people were a lot more friendly with "howdy neighbour" from fellow guests and copious "welcome home"s from CMs and guests. Nice warming touch.

The walkway through to the contemporary is on the 5th floor and is a popular spot from which to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Access to and from BLT requires a room key which kept it somewhat quieter than your average resort.

We were asked plenty of times if the monorail has a stop there, it doesnt and so you have to go through to the contemporary to get the monorail. Not that it's any problem at all thanks to the 5th floor walkway.

All in all, it's a very nice new resort and if you've bought points there for your home resort well done! You'll love it I'm sure :) It's ideally situated for the magic kingdom. I'd certainly recommend splashing out and making sure to get an MK view but here's my major concern. ONLY if you can guarantee a high enough room!

I really do seem to have listed a lot of negatives, whoops. It always seems easy to recall the icky bits somehow but the holiday really was great and I've some awesome memories of sitting out on the balcony watching wishes.

I'll try and get a few photos up there soon :)

Dawn
15-11-2009, 05:53 PM
I still can't stop laughing at the image of Mike's arms flying off and vanishing across the horizon.

:laugh:

Britchick
15-11-2009, 06:01 PM
great review Keith:thumbsup:

it's a shame that they have to meddle with the classics, or is it just us not liking change? would be interesting to hear what others think.

Tink
15-11-2009, 06:09 PM
I'm really sorry to hear that you were both ill after California Grill, but truly am not surprised. Our meal there was not nice at all. :sorry:

We did spend a fortune at FWF! We spent over $300 for one weekend and didn't visit every booth! :eek: We enjoyed it, but it's not the experience it once was. :sigh:

Do not let those taxi drivers get away with that nonsense!!!! You know the best, most direct route to WGV now and they MUST take you that way. :yes: :D

I'm still going for Ruth's Chris over Charleys! :lol: Glad you like it so well though. :yes: Wish the free van ride were not so complicated. That would be a great feature.

Yes, the area of the Colonial hobby shop is not good, but during the day you really didn't need body guards. :lol: Sorry that the trip wasn't worth it though. :sigh: There really isn't much in that immediate area to do.

Millenia Mall will be struggling, I'm sure. It is all high end as you see, and the local folk just can't support that. Florida Mall is less glamorous but the place that most go for what they need (mall shoppers that is).

We've found a new place in downtown Orlando for produce and meat, but that's not something visitors care about so we won't go into it here. :lol:

Thanks for the comments on this visit, Keith. I'm always interested in what you have to say. We agree on most, and not on some things, just as life should be, eh? :D

keith
15-11-2009, 06:29 PM
I'm always interested in what you have to say. We agree on most, and not on some things, just as life should be, eh? :D

Absolutely :yes: there are things we agree on and then things you're wrong about! :taunt: :tape::hide::peekaboo:

Only joking :D Ruth's Chris tried very hard indeed and they were one of the few places that noticed it was my birthday trip and gave us a free dessert even though I pointed out it wasn't actually my birthday "on that day". The food and service were excellent and I'd have no problem going back. It's just that I prefer the little secluded low light booths of Charleys to the more open plan Ruths Chris.

keith
15-11-2009, 06:32 PM
it's a shame that they have to meddle with the classics, or is it just us not liking change? would be interesting to hear what others think.

Well I do like change honestly, or I wouldn't have tried the brand new Bay lake tower it's just I wish when they did something new they kept the old stuff that was still working and if they needed to remove something, removed stuff that wasn't working.

I mean twas the night before christmas was held in the galaxy palace theatre which was apparently knocked down to create slightly closer CM parking :/ I mean that's just a stupid decision in almost anyone's book.

keith
15-11-2009, 06:36 PM
I still can't stop laughing at the image of Mike's arms flying off and vanishing across the horizon.

:laugh:

It really was very very funny and full marks to Mike for keeping dancing afterwards but boos to the show producers who just canned it afterwards instead of moving onto a new segment or SOMETHING.

Even more funny, DW completely missed why I was having trouble keeping the camera still whilst laughing and why everyone around us was laughing loudly. WHAT? she said digging me in the ribs? WHAT!!!!! TELL ME WHATS FUNNY!!!!! I managed to gasp "LOL LOL Mike that eye thing LOL LOL" "oh yeah", she said calmly, "it's always just one eye like that." and kept watching.

foreverducky
15-11-2009, 06:38 PM
Welcome back!

I don't think of them as negative bits, just things to be possibly aware of. :yes:

Oh taxis, I wish they all had gps so that the drive could just follow that, as a gps usually takes a quicker route. I do not like being worked over by them. And of course if you are using them, then you are likely not in your home town.

Isafari
15-11-2009, 06:41 PM
Welcome home :hug2:

I am also so disappointed that I'm not going to see TTNBC and have Stitch and friends as a replacement! Pleased I got the whole show on video last year.

You seem to have had a brilliant trip which is great :thumbsup:

I know there's a Charlies on International Drive....have you ever been to that one Keith? We are often on I. Drive so I would consider visiting this restaurant.

So, what was your costume for the Halloween Party? :wiggle:

Dawn
15-11-2009, 07:02 PM
Even more funny, DW completely missed why I was having trouble keeping the camera still whilst laughing and why everyone around us was laughing loudly. WHAT? she said digging me in the ribs? WHAT!!!!! TELL ME WHATS FUNNY!!!!! I managed to gasp "LOL LOL Mike that eye thing LOL LOL" "oh yeah", she said calmly, "it's always just one eye like that." and kept watching.


:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Tink
15-11-2009, 07:30 PM
You know? I wonder why a taxi customer couldn't bring their own GPS and direct the driver with that? Might keep them more honest!

keith
15-11-2009, 07:44 PM
You know? I wonder why a taxi customer couldn't bring their own GPS and direct the driver with that? Might keep them more honest!

yep it's worth a try! :yes:

I think the key would be not telling them exactly where we're going and just saying "I'll give you directions ok?"

lisaw
15-11-2009, 07:50 PM
Welcome back Keith :wave: Really enjoyed the updates throughout your trip. :yes:

Never mind a full Cheesecake Factory at DTD I want them to branch out over here :lol:

keith
15-11-2009, 07:52 PM
Welcome back Keith :wave: Really enjoyed the updates throughout your trip. :yes:

Never mind a full Cheesecake Factory at DTD I want them to branch out over here :lol:

Wouldnt that just be FANTASTIC!

foreverducky
15-11-2009, 08:07 PM
The Cheesecake Factory is fantastic! I'm not into cheesecake, but they have this awesome cake and their food is fabulous! I've had several items on the menu, everyone has been delicious!

daveann
15-11-2009, 08:38 PM
sounds like you had a fantastic time :)

Ursula
15-11-2009, 08:52 PM
You VILL fall in love wiz Stitch... you vill.....

catrancher
15-11-2009, 10:05 PM
Welcome back!

And please note that my avatar has both his arms! :mental:

Tom (:macwave:... arrrr... but he's still only got one eye!)

Johnie
16-11-2009, 03:45 AM
Welcome back honey!!

mmm Cheesecake Factory. I found a NEW love there last night. It's the Red Velvet Cheesecake. OMG is it good. Better than the pumpkin which everyone knows I wait for every year.

Have you thought about renting a car Keith?

keith
16-11-2009, 07:03 AM
Welcome back honey!!


Thanks you ! :D



Have you thought about renting a car Keith?

yeah but that means when I get to the cheesecake factory I can't have several bottles of wine :yes:

It's becoming harder to do without though so I think I'll have to relent and rent one next time.

Skywatcher
16-11-2009, 08:03 AM
:laugh:

Mike Wozaowski - that is just epic - I do hope you will post pictures of that, no matter how blurry

Debbie2
16-11-2009, 10:32 AM
Welcome home, Keith :)

I agree about the taxis, we noticed a real difference this trip and could have easily been ripped off had we not knew what to expect each trip to cost. On one of the evenings all 15 of us went to Tony Romas, in three cabs and my friend who was picking up the bill was charged at least double. On the way back the restaurant called us a cab and we agreed fixed price before setting off. Driver was saying Checker Cabs are a lot more expensive than other companies...but they are the ones outside the resorts.

Sorry to hear about Cali Grill - we went twice in September..all 15 of us and had great food and service :)

keith
16-11-2009, 10:48 AM
On the way back the restaurant called us a cab and we agreed fixed price before setting off. Driver was saying Checker Cabs are a lot more expensive than other companies...but they are the ones outside the resorts.


Yep just a word on that one.

Many of the restaurants now seem to have deals with certain companies and some of the servers seem to have their own deals too. On a few occasions I gave them the card to call a yellow checker cab and found a town car outside. All but one agreed on the spot to match the price we'd had from the yellow cab on the way. The one who didn't agree got in a right strop "this is a luxury town car not a cab" well I didn't need a luxury town car nor did I ask for one!

I was talking to one of the more friendly drivers who said the deals with restaurants are their bread and butter. It gets them business that the almighty mears overlooks and he said "fare? well it's very obvious to us who's a local and who's in town on business put it that way wink" In other words, locals won't stand to be ripped off where as a business/conventioner or perhaps a holiday maker will just think oh well and pay it.

This was a bit different to prior visits too in that I used to say "please can you call me a cab" and get back "we have a town car service?" I'd say nah, cab is fine thanks ;) this time they'd go off with the yellow cab card, and obviously just call their town car service anyway.

Another little scam to watch out for sigh

Debbie2
16-11-2009, 11:03 AM
We thought there may be some 'arrangement' but as we had been so overcharged on the way there we were more than happy with the return fare. I didn't recognise the company name but driver was polite and friendly.

Nearly every driver we had was from Haiti, hated the US and moaned about how they could barely afford to eat. On our way back from Millennia, one driver took us through a really dodgy residential area and we were a bit scared to be honest.

Definitely noticed a difference ...may be time to hire a car for a few days next trip.

Oh and DS wheelchair was found to have illegal substances on the chassis/wheels as we went through Security on the way home. Set off all the alarms. Supervisor swabbed chair again and said was no doubt from it being thrown in/out of taxis during our holiday.

keith
16-11-2009, 11:20 AM
Oh and DS wheelchair was found to have illegal substances on the chassis/wheels as we went through Security on the way home. Set off all the alarms. Supervisor swabbed chair again and said was no doubt from it being thrown in/out of taxis during our holiday.

how scary is *THAT*! Thanks goodness the supervisor had the sense to understand rather than being stupid about it. Does make you think though doesn't it :/

I wasn't happy with the whole taxi thing this time at all. I can usually size them up pretty well and I get a bit of nice polite no-nonsense "this is how it's going to be" out the way up front and all is well. This time though was bad in almost all respects.

We went to the Florida mall a few times and on one occasion a yellow cab went by and I ALMOST raised my hand to stop him when I noticed he didnt have the official mears markings. Very good replica but not quite legit. Well having been stung by no-meters and so on, I waved him on his way. I got a not so friendly gesture off the driver and THEN a mears guy ran over to me and tried to have a semi-go at me for trying to hire an "illegal cab" as he put it. I'm sure he'd have said more except there was a sheriff car right by us and he kept glancing over.

Hired a cab at 3am to go for a middle of the night walmart trip (always entertaining :) ) got in the cab, just out of the resort I noticed he hadnt put the meter on. "oh its alright my friend I'll work it out when we get there". Said erm no thanks but I'd rather see what it's working out as. You can imagine :(

Tink
16-11-2009, 12:31 PM
Wow. I guess I'm used to NYC taxis where the meter goes on and that's that. You do of course have the chance of being taken the long way around, but that's the only real issue there that I ever ran into.

I wouldn't be quick to use a taxi here in Orlando area! :eek: I can't imaging the US being worse than Haiti. :(

keith
16-11-2009, 12:46 PM
Wow. I guess I'm used to NYC taxis where the meter goes on and that's that. You do of course have the chance of being taken the long way around, but that's the only real issue there that I ever ran into.

yeah I remember going into Vegas once and getting "do you want the short way or the quick way?"

Of course the short way was through loads of traffic and would take ages
the quick way was well out of the way and racked up the miles

Either way you couldn't win :lol: I tried "the cheapest way I'd use if I were a local" :) but mysteriously that ended up costing the same.


I wouldn't be quick to use a taxi here in Orlando area! :eek: I can't imaging the US being worse than Haiti. :(

Well we use cabs a LOT in Orlando so I see it all. We did of course have some uneventful trips that cost more than last time, but simply due to price increases rather than any funny business.

The other thing was, EVERY SINGLE DRIVER moaned about how bad things were for them before we paid. I'm sure things ARE bad for them and I wish things were better, but it's bad all round yah know and no one pays me any tips :lol:

Johnie
16-11-2009, 02:44 PM
Thanks you ! :D



yeah but that means when I get to the cheesecake factory I can't have several bottles of wine :yes:

It's becoming harder to do without though so I think I'll have to relent and rent one next time.


Tis true :sorry:

Slowhand
16-11-2009, 05:10 PM
Hey Keith, welcome back. :wave:
I wish that I had your excellent knack of condensing your trip reports into a single post! :lol:
It seems like you had a real mix of experiences during your vacation, but at least I`m glad to hear that Charley`s is still up to scratch. :wave:

If we ever meet up again over there we MUST take you and Helen to some of the other restaurants we`ve found....don`t worry about the cost, I`ll turn my meter off! :lol:

BigThunder
16-11-2009, 06:38 PM
Nice report Keith. Very enjoyable & informative read. Glad to know BLT was a positive experience & now I know to request a top floor room. They absolutely should not charge the same points for a 2nd or 3rd floor room as an 11th. Maybe if they get enough complaints, they will do something about that. You didn't mention the roof top pool! Was it fantastic?? Oh & can DVC members NOT staying at BLT tour it? or do you have to actually be staying there to walk thru & get up to the rooftop?

I hate to hear AKL is overcrowded on the busses. I hate that more than anything. They really need to add more busses or seperate the bus system or something. That place is huge now.

Never watched 'twas the night before Christmas even though I've been to the party a few times, eh, I'm a ride girl, what can I say? lol But my daughter will actually love knowing Stitch is in something else. She loves him & I guess he's a pretty popular fella if he's being incorporated in so much.

I think the taxi driver might have been trying to up his tip by being your protector, lol. I guess if the camera shop was an independent it's hard for them to match prices of Best Buys & such. Those places get such bulk discounts when buying more than little 'mom 'n pop' places do. What you hope you get for the price is better service & more knowledge tho. A lot of those people working in the cookie cutter stores know less than I do about cameras (& I know very little).

Tink
16-11-2009, 06:42 PM
Having stayed at Kidani Village, I can say we loved the bus service. It comes to the DVC first, and drops off first. Now, having paid a small fortune to stay at the Jambo House, I would not be impressed.

However, all the deluxes tend to have lousy bus service because they share. The circle of resorts at BWI are terrible!!! :eek:

keith
16-11-2009, 07:47 PM
If we ever meet up again over there we MUST take you and Helen to some of the other restaurants we`ve found....don`t worry about the cost, I`ll turn my meter off! :lol:

Thanks Terry :lol: We're certainly in your debt for introducing us to Charleys :yes: we've had some great meals there

keith
16-11-2009, 07:50 PM
Having stayed at Kidani Village, I can say we loved the bus service. It comes to the DVC first, and drops off first. Now, having paid a small fortune to stay at the Jambo House, I would not be impressed.

Actually it does seem to alternate. Sometimes picking up at Jambo house first and sometimes kidani and the same on the way back. Of course that's really not great because there's a huge sigh from whichever is left till last, especially on the way back from the magic kingdom late at night and when everyone is standing.


However, all the deluxes tend to have lousy bus service because they share. The circle of resorts at BWI are terrible!!! :eek:

yep this is true

malcolm
16-11-2009, 09:43 PM
Your back ????...:point:Never mind mate.....i am still here:wiggle:

Time for another beer by the pool....wanted a dumbwaiter ..but Mick wernt available this trip

keith
16-11-2009, 09:45 PM
Your back ????...:point:Never mind mate.....i am still here:wiggle:

Time for another beer by the pool....wanted a dumbwaiter ..but Mick wernt available this trip

Well we were waiting for an invite to Villa-Malcolm but sadly nothing came :( so we just went home :(( :taunt:

malcolm
16-11-2009, 09:55 PM
your welcome any time Keith... we always keep the car in the garage and the lights off:taunt:

Its a short stay for us this trip came out last Monday and we have hardly been in the villa spent weekend down in Sarasotta and sadly fly back tomorrow. Back out in March ...if your about ???????????

keith
16-11-2009, 09:58 PM
your welcome any time Keith... we always keep the car in the garage and the lights off:taunt:

Its a short stay for us this trip came out last Monday and we have hardly been in the villa spent weekend down in Sarasotta and sadly fly back tomorrow. Back out in March ...if your about ???????????

Thinking it'll be May for us now although the weather would be milder in March hmmmmm ;)

Mags
16-11-2009, 11:24 PM
Welcome back. Your holiday sounds amazing Keith.

Margaret

keith
16-11-2009, 11:26 PM
Thanks Mags :)

The best bit, once we got a good room, was each and every time we came back to our room mousekeeping had left the curtains open just enough so that as we opened the door, we saw the castle sparkling out of the window.

The very best view ever

BigThunder
17-11-2009, 05:21 PM
Thanks Mags :)

The best bit, once we got a good room, was each and every time we came back to our room mousekeeping had left the curtains open just enough so that as we opened the door, we saw the castle sparkling out of the window.

The very best view ever


Oh that sounds amazing Keith :) I've never been one to splurge on views but for this place, I may have to!

keith
17-11-2009, 05:37 PM
You didn't mention the roof top pool! Was it fantastic?? Oh & can DVC members NOT staying at BLT tour it? or do you have to actually be staying there to walk thru & get up to the rooftop?

They were saying you had to be DVC & staying there to go up. We did get a tour and the bar was ok but nothing special. To be honest, since our room had such a great view, we didn't really find we needed the bar


I think the taxi driver might have been trying to up his tip by being your protector, lol

To be fair, I think he was being a nice guy. We'd already paid him in full so he really didn't have anything to gain :) one of the better drivers !


I guess if the camera shop was an independent it's hard for them to match prices of Best Buys & such. Those places get such bulk discounts when buying more than little 'mom 'n pop' places do. What you hope you get for the price is better service & more knowledge tho. A lot of those people working in the cookie cutter stores know less than I do about cameras (& I know very little).

I definitely think there was more knowledge there than at bestbuy but sadly that only really matters if you need the knowledge :( if you don't then it's just an expensive way to buy.

It's a shame, they had the best stock of anywhere I've seen in Orlando for sure but their unwillingness to discount, mixed with their location, makes it unlikely I'll be going back much in future.

BigThunder
17-11-2009, 06:26 PM
Oh rats! I really wanted to go look at the pool, not swim, just check it out. I agree, if you have a private room with a view, why go to the bar (but I'm not a drinker so....).

I was going to say just that about the knowledge. Someone who knows exactly what they are looking for & doesn't need the help will go where the price is best. I always feel for the moms 'n pops out there though being I am one, lol.

Good to know the cabbie was just being a genuine nice guy. That's so rare these days. Some areas of Orlando are pretty sketchy.

keith
17-11-2009, 07:01 PM
I was going to say just that about the knowledge. Someone who knows exactly what they are looking for & doesn't need the help will go where the price is best. I always feel for the moms 'n pops out there though being I am one, lol.


Thing is, and we find this ourselves as independents in a market of huge hyper-global megamarts :), if we take less margin on the base product AND offer superior knowledge and support, people become far less price sensitive on the addons.

In the instance we're talking about, if they'd been "nice" to me pricewise on my initial purchases and offered better service than bestbuy (sure go out and try that lens for half an hour or so?), then I'd be on here saying "well they're a BIT more expensive than bestbuy but MUCH better" and I'd be returning there to buy all sorts of extras, lenses, filters, flashes etc.

BigThunder
17-11-2009, 07:07 PM
Thing is, and we find this ourselves as independents in a market of huge hyper-global megamarts :), if we take less margin on the base product AND offer superior knowledge and support, people become far less price sensitive on the addons.

In the instance we're talking about, if they'd been "nice" to me pricewise on my initial purchases and offered better service than bestbuy (sure go out and try that lens for half an hour or so?), then I'd be on here saying "well they're a BIT more expensive than bestbuy but MUCH better" and I'd be returning there to buy all sorts of extras, lenses, filters, flashes etc.


Oh I agree, we have to offer better service. More personable service. And by all means be 'nice'!

I can't stand any place that marks up their products more than what is nominal. If I'm in a store & I see something that we sell & I know what they have in it, it just kills me when I see the mark up being 3 or 4 times more than it should be. We usually take a hit on our markup as we have to try to match what the chains are selling it for. It bugs me because I know we have more in the item than they do. And in some case, I have actually seen Best Buy selling CDs for less than what my wholesale is. I can't compete with that :(

Just curious, do store owners/workers that don't know you at all really let you take lenses out for a half hour or so & try them? Not saying you would be dishonest :tongue: but that seems like a pretty risky practice unless they take credit card info or something. Especially in a tourist town where people are coming & going all the time.

Tinker
17-11-2009, 07:09 PM
Welcome Back Keith . So glad that you had a fabulous time .
And we agree ... Jim and I did not like Cali Grill either . We ate there once and have not returned since .

keith
17-11-2009, 07:18 PM
And in some case, I have actually seen Best Buy selling CDs for less than what my wholesale is. I can't compete with that :(

Although we're in different businesses, we all have the same issues. Certain products we have to buy from a certain huge market leading provider and said provider a couple of years ago decided to sell direct at LESS than we can buy for wholesale :/


Just curious, do store owners/workers that don't know you at all really let you take lenses out for a half hour or so & try them? Not saying you would be dishonest :tongue: but that seems like a pretty risky practice unless they take credit card info or something. Especially in a tourist town where people are coming & going all the time.

Well I don't know what it's like in the states, my experience is of course UK but it's common for mom&pop photo stores over here to offer to lend out equipment. As you say, if they've never met you before they'll politely ask for a swipe of the card but with absolutely no obligation to buy if I don't like it. That's fine and certainly better than being surrounded when looking at a $300 lens in best buy by a legion of spotty sales assistants :lol:

In fact, more than once I've had this conversation with best buy
"do you have xyz?"
yeah its kept in the cupboard
"so, can I see one?"
well we get them out when you buy
"well I want to just read the box?"
I'll call a manager

Crazy absolute lunacy

Tink
17-11-2009, 11:27 PM
I agree with what you are both saying Keith and Big Thunder. If I can, I'll support the privately owned, individual's business over a corporate one. I used to frequent a lovely clothing shop (in NY) owned by an individual. Yes, her clothes were much pricier than the retail chains, but she was incredible on customer service. She'd even special order things for customers and not require them to keep the order. That's what I paid extra for.

Best Buy drives me batty. I had to open a box myself to get the product out while the "service person" stood there in shock. I am NOT paying hundreds of dollars for something I can't first touch, Dude. Sorry. I didn't destroy the packaging, and the item was put back exactly as it came out. What a crock of bologna!

I think for the average person who is trying to support the individual's business, the business needs to offset the higher prices with incredible service. :yes:

Big Thunder, I didn't know you owned a store. What sort is it?

Slowhand
18-11-2009, 02:09 PM
Just a thought Keith.... you mentioned Mousekeeping entering your room.
As this is a DVC resort, normally you only get a trash and tidy service every 4 days or so. Is this not the case at BLT?

keith
18-11-2009, 02:13 PM
Just a thought Keith.... you mentioned Mousekeeping entering your room.
As this is a DVC resort, normally you only get a trash and tidy service every 4 days or so. Is this not the case at BLT?

As we were staying on a full normal cash reservation not dvc/points, it's a usual full mousekeeping service :yes:

Slowhand
18-11-2009, 02:19 PM
As we were staying on a full normal cash reservation not dvc/points, it's a usual full mousekeeping service :yes:
Aargh, now it makes sense. [I forgot that you paid cash for your stay there. :unsure:]

Esmeralda
22-08-2010, 10:19 PM
Still waiting for pics.............................................. .....................

Mari
23-08-2010, 08:17 PM
hahahahahahaha

keith
23-08-2010, 10:03 PM
:taunt:

Esmeralda
23-08-2010, 10:05 PM
Lol, thought we'd forgotten didn't you.

Skywatcher
26-08-2010, 11:11 AM
I hadn't ;)