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The Slowhand`s WDW/NY/DCL Trip ~ Part two "The start of the GF bit" "

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Slowhand, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    The next couple of days were taken at quite a leisurely pace, mainly due to my DW suffering from a severe back pain that began before we left home and despite physio and other treatments was showing no sign of abatement.

    As we would be spending a few days at the GF, then we avoided any visit to the WDW parks until we checked into that resort.

    Friday June 29th

    Again another fine and sunny morning, so after breakfast and a bit of lazing around the pool we headed over to Celebration where we browsed the shops along Market Street, had a coffee at Starbucks before taking a very pleasant stroll around the lake taking in some of the wildlife.

    Celebration.jpg

    Bird.jpg

    Geese.jpg

    This was followed by another trip over to DTD, mainly to renew our AP`s taking advantage of our DVC discounts [I had forgot to bring our DVC membership cards with me for our visit yesterday].
    It was also another excuse to have lunch at the Earl of Sandwich……I just love their offerings, which you can eat outside and do a spot of people watching.

    Dinner this evening was at the Olive Garden along 192 where we were given a table after only a short wait.

    Saturday June 30th

    Wow, yet another lovely day. So far we hadn`t seen a drop of rain which is very unusual for this time of the year, although we had arrived shortly after an extended period of rain due to a lingering storm.

    Anxious to top up her card making accessories, my DW suggested that we drove to the Michael`s store at the Loop where she was like a kid in a candy store and totally in her element!
    We also called into a Target store to get some printer cartridges which are much cheaper “over there”, and then settled for a hot sandwich from the deli counter at Publix which we ate for lunch back at the villa.

    The afternoon was spent lounging around the pool before having dinner at a Longhorn Steakhouse near to the Olive Garden on 192.

    Sunday July 1st

    We both were looking forward to this day as we were going to spend a few days at the GF which is a regular occurrence on our Florida trips despite owning a villa!

    As usual I dropped our bags and my DW off at the entrance to the GF and I took the car to the self parking lot.
    The normal procedure is for my DW to wait outside for me so that we could check in together when I could hopefully spot one of the CM`s I know at the check in desk who more often than not manages a room upgrade for us.
    On the return from the parking lot, I therefore rehearsed my speech in my best British accent just in case Dave was not at the desk and I encountered someone new!
    It was then when I saw my DW in tears outside the entrance to the GF.
    Apparently we had been made “Guests of Honour” for our stay, and we had to enter the resort on a red carpet where we had our photo taken by a CM.
    [What a contrast! A few days earlier we had a visit from the sheriff, and now we were being treated like royalty!] :lol:

    The CM explained that we had been upgraded to Concierge for our stay and led us through the lobby, by passing the check in desk altogether. [Just as well, because I couldn`t see my friend behind the counter anyhow!]
    As he led us through the resort en route to the concierge Sugar Loaf building, we passed by the GF Café where Marvin and Louise who work at the podium saw us and came rushing over amid cries of “Welcome back the XXXX party” along with loads of hugs, handshakes and kisses!
    The concierge CM said to me “ I see that you know these folks”, to which I replied “ Nah, never seen them before in my life, who are they?” which caused amusement all around. :lol:

    Sugar Loaf Building.jpg

    Sugar Loaf Building

    We were taken to our room where I simply had to sign a cc authorisation form which was all that the check in procedure consisted of.
    He then explained all of the benefits of concierge….free champagne, wine, snacks, continental breakfast etc.etc. that were available to us throughout the day, before telling us that there was to be a trial run for the 4th of July MK fireworks on the 3rd and that we should get a good view of them from our balcony.

    Now don`t get me wrong. It was indeed a great privilege to be upgraded to concierge, and I was very grateful for this, however in a way it was wasted on us for several reasons.
    Firstly the thought of spoiling our dinner by chomping through all of the free snacks during the day scared me.
    Secondly, I always like a fry up in the morning, so no continental breakfast for me!
    Thirdly, as our stay progressed I was disgusted at the amount of food and booze that was wasted by the other guests…a case of “Well it`s free so why not have it?”
    Each evening half filled glasses of brandy, champagne and suchlike were just simply left on the tables.
    All in all I`m glad that I experienced the concierge experience, but would I pay the extra for it?....no! :nono:

    Concierge 1.jpg

    Concierge 2.jpg

    After unpacking, we headed over to Gasparilla`s for a snack lunch. Here we ran into Kim [a Chinese lady who has worked here since the GF opened] who again greeted us with open arms and showed her some photos of her lovely daughter who had just graduated.
    Talk about us being made welcome eh? :thumbsup:

    The afternoon was spent at the MK which is conveniently only a short monorail ride away from the GF.
    Here we “did” the HM before choosing a good spot in Frontierland to watch the afternoon parade. It was remarkably quiet at the MK so finding a good viewing location was no problem at all.

    Parade.jpg

    Castle.jpg

    After munching through an ice cream, we headed back to the GF on the resort launch where we lazed around the pool for a while.
    [One of the advantages of owning AP`s is that you can really “do” the parks at your leisure without the need to try to fit everything into one visit. I guess it also helps if you have visited WDW quite often because then you don`t feel the urge to see and do it all in one hit.]

    Dinner this evening was at Narcoosee`s where we had hoped to get Steve as our server. [Steve is a good friend of Ricardo, who took us over to his house on a previous visit.]
    Sadly Steve`s section was very busy, so rather than wait for ages, we were served by someone else.
    We have always found Narcoosee`s to be a bit “hit and miss”, and this evening was definitely a “miss”!
    Although the service was excellent, my DW had to send her entrée back as it was presented barely warm…..and she rarely complains about this sort of thing. :thumbsdown:
    Also, the cost of the meal was considerably higher than we later paid in a much more “up market” venue, the Blue Zoo.
    On the plus side though, there was a good view of the EWP, and Steve did manage to come to our table for a chat which was nice, however I doubt whether I will be in a rush to have dinner there again until I hear some rave reviews about the place. Hopefully things will improve after it`s refurbishment that Steve told us was to take place very soon.

    After a quick stroll around the resort we headed to our room, taking care to avoid any of the free brandy!
     
  2. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    Loving these reports Sir Slowhand, and great photos too! :yes:

    So sorry to hear that Sue had back pain :( is she feeling better now?

    Again very interesting points... I keep agonizing over concierge, wondering if it's worth doing but I'm sure I'd feel exactly as you did about it.

    Narcoosees. Again, I was about to retry it this year. As you say, hit and miss, but more misses than hits for us I'm afraid :( and after your report I don't think we'll be popping back this year.
     
  3. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    That means a lot coming from a semi pro photo guy like you Keith. :lol:

    She had some treatment at the Spa on the cruise, and again at the Virgin lounge in NY, and since getting back home she has again seen a physio. Touch wood, she is a lot better now thanks.

    I really don`t think it`s worth the extra $$$`s Keith.
    The rooms are exactly the same as in the other buildings and knowing how much you and Helen enjoy your dinners, I doubt whether you would get much benefit from it.

    Darn it! I was hoping that you could be the guinea pig after the refurb. :lol:
     
  4. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    :lol: any idea when the refurb is due?

    I don't like to say this but.... I think a lot of the problem at Narcoosees is down to the staff so it'll need more than a bit of prettying up
     
  5. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Steve did say that the refurb was due "in a few weeks time", and apparently it will be closed for a couple of weeks or so.
    I know what you say about the staff Keith.
    Actually Steve [who has been a server there for many years] comes over as being a bit "surly". However when you get to know him, he is quite a nice person....as his his DW who in an ex V & A server and who now works with Ricardo at the YSH.
     
  6. Britchick
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    Britchick Cast Member

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    i do like club/concierge as you get the lounge, can get coffee/tea at any time and we're not huge breakfast eaters and they generally have something for all of us but like you i am horrified at the mentally of the all you can eat brigade. Last year we stayed on the club level at the Royal Pacific and witnessed this, we sat very quietly and had a few nibbles, we saw it as an appetiser before we went out to eat, some were piling their plates high.
     
  7. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    I often find that to be the case :yes: and it's sometimes as if that's a function of the place. ie. everyone in a certain restaurant will come across as standoffish and a bit surly. If you can get past that, then the whole thing loosens up and they realise we're not just demanding, annoying guests. My problem with narcoosees has been that getting past that point has often been awkward ESPECIALLY when things happen like incorrect orders delivered, or food delivered luke warm because bang, back into demanding guest territory again :( Contrast that with some of the more consistent places where they just can't do enough to help.

    It's such a huge shame because I remember the first time at narcoosees. Great funny server (had only worked there a week which I feel says a lot), table by the window, great food and wine....

    Disney really would do well to improve things because at the cost, as you rightly say, we could go to the columbia, or charlies or any number of offsite places and have a much better experience.

    (Narcoosees was also the place where a very nasty lady server totally stitched us up. We had a reservation at citricos which was closed. Supposedly impossible to do but that's me :lol: anyway, the truly wonderful people at V&A phoned down to narcoosees and got us a reservation. When we got downstairs, we were met by this awful woman who said that since we werent in the booking system they couldn't help us.
    I explained that the people from v&a had just called and she snottily said yes, I know, and it's nothing to do with them they dont own us.
    After a few minutes I was about to call it quits when the person from v&a came to check on us and spoke to the manager who apologised and got us seated. Of course I should've just walked away because from that moment on, the server was just awful.
    She practically threw the menus at us, forgot our drinks, didn't say anything just grunted at us and banged the plates down.
    Several times I tried to talk to her and improve things, which frankly was more than she deserved, but she was just having none of it.
    We were on the dining plan that time and asked could we perhaps have tea/coffee rather than dessert. NO. Well ok, swapping around on the plan is often tough but servers can use a bit of discretion. Then she banged down the bill.I said well we are going to have dessert you know? "you said you didnt want it". No, I said I'd prefer coffee/tea but if that's not possible then we'll choose something else. oh dear. :lol:
    We didn't hang around long but on our way out as a very last gesture of attempted good will, I said goodnight to her, gave her a decent cash tip (she deserved nothing) and said look I realise you didn't like v&a getting us our reservation but I hope you understand that wasn't our fault and looking back you'll be able to perhaps see things from the customers point of view and perhaps reconsider the way you've been this evening. (as the door SLAMMED shut) :lol:

    Anyway, we walked through the GF to get a comment card not to complain, but rather to compliment the v&a people who'd been great. The lady from v&a had left instructions that we were to be taken back to our resort by taxi compliments of the GF for the hassle. so that was nice.

    Next evening we were at the YSH and tried to pay for the meal on the plan and were told no credits left. Of course, the restaurants couldn't say why or help other than to say that the cards were exhausted.

    Got back to our resort and complained, turned out that the witch at narcoosees had put through the meal three times across both cards.
    )
     
  8. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Wow! That sounds like an awaful experience you had at Narcoosee`s Keith and I would have been fuming if that had happened to me.
    I would most certainly have taken it further by letter [or more likely in person] to someone in authority.

    I guess it is another tale of how those pesky dining plans could be a contributing factor as to how things have deteriorated since they were introduced. :furious:
     
  9. Wendy
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    Wendy A hui hou kakou makuakane Staff Member Administrator

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    I love the photos Terry, Celebration looks lovely :) you were very lucky with the weather.

    Poor Sue, I hope she keeps improving :hug2:

    I couldn't believe it when you said you were Guests of Honour, Chris was convinced it was your sweet talking that got it :lol: wait until I tell him it wasn't :)

    Narcoossee’s is closed for a very short refurb between 8th July – 21st July 2012. Citricos
    closes afterwards for a refurb between 23rd July – 4th August 2012.

    We always visit the Olive Garden on the 192 near Target, we have a server there who we ask for and is lovely. I don't know if we will try the Longhorn up there again, we had really bad service last year.
     
  10. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    yep, the thing that really got me was, I imagine that the awful server probably got 3*the dining plan gratuity (it was included at that time) as WELL as the cash tip I gave to try and be nice.

    I did write in but they didn't get back to me other than a survey sometime later to ask me how I felt about their response to my complaint.

    What really amazes me about that experience is the contrast between the mind boggling wonderful people at the Grand Floridian and V&A versus Narcoosees ;/
     
  11. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    yeah it was very mediocre when we tried it too.
     
  12. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Loving the trip report Terry! :thumbsup:

    Keep 'em coming. At least that way, even though my DW and I aren't going this year, I can be there vicariously.

    Excuse me sir. But I've been informed by reliable sources (you, in particular) that you don't have an accent. British or otherwise. Everyone else does. :D

    Are you implying now that you lied to me? :unsure:

    Oh, the shame of it! :shocked:

    Tom :)macwave:... the one with an accent...)
     
  13. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Ricardo tells me that the YSH is also to close soon for a major refurb, taking around 6 weeks to complete!

    I found it to be ok Wendy.
    Ok we`ve eaten at better places but we both found the food & service to be fine......maybe they have changed some of the staff since you went last.? :unsure:
     
  14. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    I keep that response up my sleeve whenever anyone "over the pond" says that they love my accent.
    My stock response is "Thanks but I don`t have an accent, I speak English, it is you guys who have the accent". :lol:
     
  15. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Sounds like everything is going beautifully so far! With the exception of the alarm company, of course. That is the process though. If you set off your alarm you MUST give the alarm company caller your password or they will alert the police. She hung up on you because she has only so many minutes to go from "no password" to alerting the local police force.

    As you saw, they will come out, and if you are not there to speak with (and lecture on the setting off of an alarm) they'll leave the notice. You will get ticketed with the 3rd (???) notice?

    Can you tell we've done this a time or three! :eek:

    Set up a password, and that will be all it takes. Yes, you should have been given the opportunity to tell the alarm company your password at installation.

    Must say, not surprised at the poor Narcoosee's experience. Ours was so poor we've never returned. May one day, but not until consistently good reports are forthcoming. On the other hand, that nasty DDP has indeed ruined Disney dining, so won't be expected things to be improved any time soon. Prettying up the restaurants does no good when the food and service are not commensurate with the picture.

    That stretch of 192 west with the newer chain restaurants is very hit or miss. We try to avoid eating there as much as ossible. We had a very poor experience at the Olive Garden there, and the Red Lobster is the site of the "famous bug in the salad" experience we had. The Longhorn there isn't reliable either, nor is the Ale House.

    So, all that to say, if we use those chains, they are elsewhere. Longhorn in Winter Garden is USUALLY good, but not always.
     
  16. catrancher
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    catrancher Assistant Cruise Director Forum Host

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    There may be something to what you say. Especially for us "Southerners". :ROFL:

    I mean, who knew that the plural of "y'all" was "all y'all"? :unsure:

    Tom :)macwave:... y'all come back now. Ya' hear?)
     
  17. DisneyFreak
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    DisneyFreak Serious Forum Regular

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    This is certainly the truth. It makes for a much better vacation.

    Loving the reports and pictures Slowhand!! Thanks.
     
  18. Watchinherskip
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    Watchinherskip Better known as "That Guy"

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    Thanks for putting the TR into TeRry!!

    Aside from your ability to sweet talk the CMs...:tongue:

    You have a knack for writing...very good descriptions...thanks for sharing.:yes:
     

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