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View Full Version : The Quick & Dirty "Girls ONLY" Four Day Spectacular



Beccaberry
18-08-2013, 01:14 PM
Even quick and dirty needs a trip report though, right?

Who's going?
Well according to the title it's GIRLS ONLY! So we have:
Me - At 40, I hardly qualify as a "girl" but hey, it's my trip report!
Baleigh - my daughter :) 15 going on 21, but (thankfully) still enjoys hanging out with her mom.
Kaela - Baleigh's best friend and oft times cohort. They balance each other well, even on vacation.

Short cast of characters, eh? But what we lack in numbers we more than make up for in personality! :wink:

I try very hard every summer to take a trip with Baleigh just before the start of school. Summer passes quickly, September arrives all too fast, and as of late I've noticed just how fast the years can speed by; so I make an effort to slow down, and spend some quality time with my girl while I can. It's always worth it.

So! We leave tomorrow! 8:30am flight out of LGA (nonstop!) and return on Thursday night. We'll be staying at Pop Century and, as it turns out, we've been selected to try out the MyMagic+ system and bands. It won't be a "commando" trip, but it will be a busy one as we try to fit in as much fun as we can in 4 short days.

What are we doing:
Monday - Arrival, Check-in, Head over to DHS where we have a late lunch scheduled at 50's Prime Time Cafe followed by MM+ Fastpasses for Toy Story Mania, Rock N Roller Coaster and, Tower of Terror (more about the MM+ FP's later in this report)

Tuesday - Blizzard Beach w/ Teresa and her lovely family! Can't wait to spend the day floating and frolicking. Following that we have reservations for Kona at 7:00pm and then perhaps Wishes from the Polynesian beach.

Wednesday - My girl has come full circle it seems. From loving and emulating the princesses when she was young, to turning up her nose a bit in her tweens thinking she was "too grown up" to pretend, and now requesting to dine with the princesses again. So, we'll start our day with the Princess Breakfast at Akershus (I can't believed I managed that reservation!) followed by MM+ FP's for: Soarin', Test Track and Mission: Space. We'll likely spend the remaining part of the day exploring the World Showcase (Miyuki has been requested) and wander over to Beaches & Cream for Dinner and end the night with Illuminations.

Thursday - Last day, but a FULL one! Up and out early for MM+ FP's for: Splash Mountain, Meet Ariel at Her Grotto, Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, and finally Enchanted Tales with Belle. (Yep, Ariel's Grotto and Storytime w/ Belle TOTALLY trumped Space Mountain this year.) Depart for home at 6:10pm.

:mental: :mental: BUT WE'LL BE BACK IN A MONTH FOR ANDREW'S BIRTHDAY TRIP!!! :mental: :mental:

A few musings and ponderings:
MM+ has been quite good so far. A quick side story:
I called about a week after making the initial reservation to add Kaela to our party. By then, Baleigh and I had already received our customized Magic Bands but had not really "booked" anything to them. When I called to add Kaela to the reservation (which in and of itself was a hotmess as the CM really didn't seem to have a clue what he was doing) I asked the CM about a Magic Band for Kaela. To be fair, I didn't really expect him to have an answer. This is not my first "testing phase" with Disney, and I realized a long time ago that often they are not great about communicating "new things" to their CM's. But I thought perhaps he could ask and find an answer - maybe not the right one, but at least something. So I asked if she would be receiving a Magic Band in the mail like Baleigh and I did. After he tried to explain to me that they didn't exist yet, and I convinced them they did - at least in testing, he put me on hold for about 23 minutes and returned to say, I should "just ask someone when I get there." I explained to him that w/out her band, it would be difficult to plan anything before hand and was it possible to speak to someone else about the possibility of getting her one. At this point he said, "Look. I'm in shape. And that shape is round. And I'm done walking around for you." Long story short (not), I found that rude. So I remained on the line and took the survey, and then I logged onto the website and...further expressed my opinion. Sent it off to Disney and promptly pushed it out of my mind expecting not to hear a word in reply.

Yesterday, I received a phone call from Darnell at the WDW Resort expressing her "sincere apologies at the way your phone call was handled" and wondering if she could ask me a few questions about my call." Of course you can, Darnell. Lovely woman. Listened, validated, reassured. Asked if there was anything she could do to make our stay more enjoyable, and apologized that they couldn't get a customized Magic Band to Kaela in time, but that she would be able to get one as soon as we checked in. She went on to say that during the testing phase things are a bit unpredictable and they appreciated our patience and willingness to help. Quite nice of her to say. It was at this point that I interjected and told her that clearly this was true because, in fact, Kaela's lovely customized blue Magic Band had indeed arrived not two days after adding her to the reservation. I explained that I'd logged in to check-in online and there was a message saying, "Customize Kaela's armband soon before it ships!!!" So I took a chance and did, and voila. She started laughing and said, "See what I mean? Even *I* don't know what's going on!" We laughed and she said she'd like to deliver something to our room during our stay to apologize for all the confusion, she went on to ask what characters the girls liked, and wished us a very happy vacation. I believe it was Mari (or maybe Shelly) who recently remarked that things are bound to go wrong from to time, it's how that mistake is handled that really shows a company's true values. I couldn't agree more, and I was happy to see Disney come through well this time.

As for the MM+ system itself: I didn't think I'd enjoy the FP+ option - but I must say (CAVEAT: IF IT WORKS), it's pretty cool. For instance, I was able to log in, select DHS, choose up to 3 FP experiences and then allow the system to do all the math. After inputting my 3 choices, it gave me 4 options of FP "flow" and I was allowed to choose which option worked best. It even told me when one of the FP overlapped a meal I'd booked. Quite handy. So far (taking a lesson from Mari) I've made sure all my FP's are showing up on my "My Disney Experience" app and have even taken screen shots showing I have them in case they don't work when I arrive at an attraction. I'm hoping if they don't work properly with the Magic Band, perhaps I can show a CM that we DO actually have FP's and they can help.

Right then! I think writing this pre-trippie has taken longer than the actual trip, so I'll wind down now, and, you know, go pack :)

keith
18-08-2013, 06:12 PM
Fascinating indeed! Thanks for posting that, really interesting about the new system

Britchick
18-08-2013, 07:16 PM
I sincerely hope that CM was retrained! Lol Caitlin did exactly the same with princesses at one point. So much so that I watched Cinderella's not so surprise celebration whilst everyone else went on space mountain. Of course, now she has seen sense. I love Mother daughter trips and hope for many more!

Have fun ladies :hug2:

keith
18-08-2013, 08:34 PM
I sincerely hope that CM was retrained!

The dining line is SOOOOO hit and miss. If you get a good CM, they're great and everything is completed quickly and efficiently including discounts and a bit of chat whilst waiting for the system. If you get a BAD one, omg, be prepare to be on the phone an hour and have nothing work.

Why they can't weed out the rubbish ones I don't know. We had one last year and everything we said the cm said "uh huh" and then asked again for the info we'd given. He ended up booking all the meals on the evening of the day we phoned instead of on the dates of the holiday.

Britchick
18-08-2013, 08:49 PM
I guess things don't always come to light as people don't discover the errors until they're in the park :shrug1:

keith
18-08-2013, 08:57 PM
I guess things don't always come to light as people don't discover the errors until they're in the park :shrug1:

yeah I'm sure you're right and that's what happens a lot

I remember one time at the sci fi diner, who can be brutal about reservations, they claimed we didn't have a reservation and unlike other places just wouldn't budge. I eventually went to guest services, gave them the reservation number, and they could see it being made several months earlier, and then being deleted by a CM on the dining line who'd a minute before made a reservation with a very similar number just further on. So we assumed he'd made a mistake, tried to delete it but typo'd the number and deleted ours instead. They said it shouldn't be possible but :shrug1:

Beccaberry
19-08-2013, 12:18 PM
And we are on the plane :)

Wendy
19-08-2013, 12:45 PM
And we are on the plane :)

:mental: :mental: have a wonderful time :D

Watchinherskip
19-08-2013, 02:49 PM
Have a great trip ol' buddy!! Nice that they stepped up. That was rude of the CM on the phone. Hope there were some consequences.

uscwest
19-08-2013, 03:07 PM
Have a great trip Becca

catrancher
19-08-2013, 03:23 PM
Non-stop huh? :D

Betcha you're not on the plane anymore! :mickeybounce:

Tom (:macwave:... gawd, I need my vacation! :sail:)

Beccaberry
19-08-2013, 03:39 PM
Just arrived in the DME line, and first test of our magic bands! Came up aces, Baleigh scanned her band and all 3 of us sailed through!

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Magic bands...ACTIVATE!

Watchinherskip
19-08-2013, 03:40 PM
Brilliant!!!

Beccaberry
19-08-2013, 04:00 PM
And now we begin the, "It's my turn to scan my bracelet!!" negotiations ;-)

Wendy
19-08-2013, 04:02 PM
And now we begin the, "It's my turn to scan my bracelet!!" negotiations ;-)

:lol:

uscwest
19-08-2013, 05:03 PM
Why did you need to scan at DME?

Beccaberry
19-08-2013, 05:16 PM
Why did you need to scan at DME?

At each of the podiums (where they typically tell you which lane to walk down) there is now a Mickey shaped RFID reader. One person in your party simply taps their bracelet to the reader and all of your names pop up and you're directed to the appropriate lane.

Pretty cool!

Just checked in at Pop. Confirmed that our tickets ARE linked to our bracelets, and we are on our way to DHS after we drop the luggage :)

Beccaberry
19-08-2013, 05:41 PM
And we are on our way! Check in was a breeze, even received a quick tutorial on how to use our bands. Into the room with no problem and double checked at concierge that our hopper passes were linked up and ready to go.

A sneak peek at our agenda for the day:

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Beccaberry
19-08-2013, 08:15 PM
First test of the FP feature on our magic bands - Toy Story Mania...and...success!!!

keith
19-08-2013, 08:20 PM
First test of the FP feature on our magic bands - Toy Story Mania...and...success!!!

yay! :D

I've STILL never been on Toy Story Mania!

uscwest
19-08-2013, 08:58 PM
Sounds fabulous.

Beccaberry
20-08-2013, 12:08 PM
I actually started writing this last night around 10pm, and promptly fell fast asleep at the computer :)

Back in the room. We had plans to stay at DHS for EMH, but with only two hours of sleep and a very long travel day, intelligence prevailed and we're now in our pajamas, having pizza in the room and looking forward to an early(ish) evening.

Simply put, I find the new bands really amazing. I was extremely resistant to the idea of planning FP's ahead of time, but having now experienced it in "real time" I am actually quite impressed. We started with lunch at 50's Prime Time Cafe, and basically had the rest of our afternoon planned out until 730. We skipped the 120 minute wait at Toy Story Mania in favor of the 15 minute Fast Pass line (which we didn't have to arrive at rope drop and sprint to get). We finished quickly enough that we were able to wait in the standy-by line for The Voyage of the Little Mermaid without one of us having to sprint across the park and secure Fast Passes for RnRC. We breezed passed the 90 minute stand-by RnRC line and barely waited 5 minutes to get in our limo for a ride that now showed "all FP for today have been distributed." After that we had about 30 minutes before our ToT FP became active, so we waited in the 40 minute stand-by line (to enjoy the queue) and then rode again when our FP became active.

What I liked most I think was the feeling of freedom it gave me to enjoy the park without having to worry about what we were going to next. Plus, with it being such a short trip, I feel like we were able to accomplish SO much more in such a short time - we left DHS after about 6.5 hours and didn't feel like we'd missed anything. Clearly they aren't for everyone, and they won't work with some guest's style of touring; but I have truly enjoyed the experience so far. Like I said, I hate bracelets/watches, but the magic bands are lightweight, and fairly unobtrusive. Most of the time I didn't even realize I was wearing it.

Of course, Disney has already started marketing "swag" for your magic bands:
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Widgets for your bands:
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All in all, it was quite a lovely day! We managed to dodge much of the rain, and when we didn't - well, we didn't really care!

A few more photos from the day:
My favorite. (almost EXACTLY the costume I'd had in mind for MNSSHP!)
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Our server at 50's, Uncle Gary - he was awesome!
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Does life GET any better than dessert on a viewmaster? No.
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My daughter and one of HER favorites.
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MANIA!
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Today we're off with the Hodgetts' to Blizzard Beach! We will be lazy and spend most of the day floating and gabbing and generally just enjoying life :)

catrancher
20-08-2013, 12:46 PM
Oh dear... is that a PB&J Milk Shake in the same picture with Uncle Gary? :unsure:

I live for the PB&J milk shakes at Mom's place. :worship:

Tom (:macwave:... back in the 50's tonight.)

uscwest
20-08-2013, 02:15 PM
Oh dear... is that a PB&J Milk Shake in the same picture with Uncle Gary? :unsure:

I live for the PB&J milk shakes at Mom's place. :worship:

Tom (:macwave:... back in the 50's tonight.) You know, I have never had one of these. But, I really like PB&J so am considering trying it for the first time on this upcoming trip. I actually prefer a coffee milkshake.

Beccaberry
20-08-2013, 02:23 PM
Oh dear... is that a PB&J Milk Shake in the same picture with Uncle Gary? :unsure:

I live for the PB&J milk shakes at Mom's place. :worship:

Tom (:macwave:... back in the 50's tonight.)

Why, yes sir it is!! Good eye!

It was a big hit with the girls!

catrancher
20-08-2013, 02:29 PM
You know, I have never had one of these. But, I really like PB&J so am considering trying it for the first time on this upcoming trip.

If you like PB&J John, you owe it to yourself to try one at Mom's. The flavor is there without being overwhelming. I'm seriously addicted to the things!

But if you can't wait...



http://youtu.be/j_j7Ea5vE6E

There's always the home grown option! :thumbsup:

Tom (:macwave:... now officially starving for one.)

Watchinherskip
20-08-2013, 06:48 PM
Becca, sounds like you are having a blast! I am glad you like the bands. You just knew that marketing was a strong point of selling the concept.

Hey what special surprise was waiting for you at check in? Didn't a CM promise you something?

Tink
21-08-2013, 12:26 AM
I can barely catch up with you! What a wonderful trip you are having. The bands sound pretty good. I don't know if I'd want to use them for the way we do the parks, but absolutely for what you are doing now. If we had guests who were on a limited time, they'd be good. :yes:

Hope things continue to go well for you. :wiggle:

Johnie
21-08-2013, 02:21 AM
Sounds like a fun time!

John, I think you'd really like the PB&J shake. It's quite good

Beccaberry
21-08-2013, 03:16 AM
Have just watched a young man propose to his girlfriend here on the beach of the Polynesian. Very sweet, and OMG the ring was LOVELY!

She said yes!!

Beccaberry
21-08-2013, 04:42 AM
Becca, sounds like you are having a blast! I am glad you like the bands. You just knew that marketing was a strong point of selling the concept. Hey what special surprise was waiting for you at check in? Didn't a CM promise you something?

Yes, marketing is a part of everything these days isn't it? :wink:

Oh yes! Thanks for the reminder 'skip...I almost forgot that I forgot to mention two things! First, I must say that the Pop Food Court seems to really be stepping up their game here at dinner! Just as a "for instance" we noticed "Shrimp w/ Cheesy Grits" and "Mussels" on the menu last night!

As for the "special surprise". Wow! Did they out do themselves!!! When we got to the room last night, this was waiting for us:

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Unsure of what it was at first, the girls eagerly read the card, "Thanks for visiting! We hope you have a GREAT school year!" From Your Disney Pals

THEN I was allowed to open the cellophane. Turns out, they couldn't have selected a better gift! It's a yellow rucksack on top, with a softside cooler on the bottom. It has tons of little pockets all around it, and the cutest Mickey icon stitched on the flap. Inside the cooler bit were two bottles of water, a few snacks, two matching photo albums, two disposable cameras, a photo frame and a magnet.

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It was PERFECT for our day at Blizzard Beach today. Towels in the top, waters and snacks in the bottom, with a handy pocket for our phones and whatnot! As close as we live to the beach, I can promise this little gem will get plenty of mileage. The real fun though, was trying to explain to my girls what the disposable cameras were :wink: "But how do we see the picture first?" "What do I do with it when it stops clicking?" "How do you upload them to Facebook?" Oh yes. Great fun.

A few more photos from our day:

Our building icon:
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Worms in Dirt - it's what's for breakfast!
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Kona for dinner!
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Seriously, I LOVE their French press coffee....so nice.

Fireworks from the beach at the Poly w/ friends.
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Truly one of the more perfect days I've spent in Disney. Floating with a dear friend down the lazy river, laughing our heads off like it hadn't been 12 minutes since we'd seen one another much less 12 months. Watching "my girls" have REAL fun. Sweet talking the CM at Kona into seating us together, a WONDERFUL martini (truffle!), watching the lovely couple on the beach get engaged and sharing in their joy....*sigh* oh yes, quite lovely :)

Looking forward to tomorrow - off to Akershus for breakfast w/ the princesses and then more My Magic+ FP's: Soarin', Test Track, and Mission: SPACE :)

Should be a fun day!

OOOH! Magic Band update: not much to report today as we didn't use them much. However, I CAN confirm that they *are* water-resistant!

Jodie
21-08-2013, 07:36 AM
I want a magic band!!!!

uscwest
21-08-2013, 11:15 AM
Those scallops look marvelous.

Beccaberry
21-08-2013, 11:59 AM
John, the scallops were very tasty! In fact, everything we had was delicious.

Beccaberry
21-08-2013, 12:19 PM
Meant to say - after Kona last night, we took the monorail back over to MK to catch our bus to Pop. Arrived to find the bus line for Pop still overflowing the queue. Quick look at AoA bus stop showed only 3 people waiting. Made an impulsive decision to jump in that line instead. Five minutes later, a bus arrived, we had a seat, and we had quite a lovely stroll across the bridge to our resort. Not a bad option if the circumstances work out.

Deb
21-08-2013, 12:48 PM
What a perfect day! And the food looks gorgeous!

Beccaberry
21-08-2013, 03:02 PM
Currently standing in queue for our Princess Breakfast in Norway where I may have to be physically restrained from replying to the @ss behind me who I just overheard say, "Are you kidding me? We've been waiting nearly ten minutes. I think people without small children should have to wait behind those of us who have kids. Seriously, if you're thirty years old, you don't need to see a princess."

Would I be ejected for throwing my camera at him?

keith
21-08-2013, 03:17 PM
I wouldn't want to waste the camera on him but if he happened to fall headfirst into a wastebin.... :D

Loving the trip report and photos!!!! :hug2:

Watchinherskip
21-08-2013, 04:46 PM
I want a magic band!!!!

Yeah forget that I want to go to there with Becca!! She has the juice! The mojo!

What a great time you must be having!

Watchinherskip
21-08-2013, 04:49 PM
Currently standing in queue for our Princess Breakfast in Norway where I may have to be physically restrained from replying to the @ss behind me who I just overheard say, "Are you kidding me? We've been waiting nearly ten minutes. I think people without small children should have to wait behind those of us who have kids. Seriously, if you're thirty years old, you don't need to see a princess."

Would I be ejected for throwing my camera at him?


Maybe you should use the disposable one! Tell the girls that is what they are for!:lol:

Beccaberry
21-08-2013, 08:38 PM
'Skip, I like the way you think :)

I won't lie, I did get a bit of an inappropriate feeling of satisfaction when our name was called before his :)

Beccaberry
22-08-2013, 07:06 PM
Headed back to the hotel for our DME departure time. Had a BLAST at MK.

Looks like Disney's been involved in another MVA just a few moments ago. Passed a parcel of emergency vehicles just outside of the Hess station. Looks like one of the new Disney buses and a minivan were involved. Sad to see, hope no one was seriously injured.

Off to wait on DME, more on our adventures from the airport!