Parent's 40th Anniversary: Or, 13 people, one missing crib, and an ER

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by MaoriWhoLovesDisney, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    :welcome:
    Hi, Everyone!! This is my first trip report, and while it's kind of old, I try and journal regularly, so the details haven't faded!

    A bit of (post) pre-trip background:

    My family of five grew up going to Disney regularly. It was always a highlight, but of course, as our teenage schedules got more and more full, traveling to Florida from Iowa as a family became more and more difficult, and we lost the magic a bit, as it were.

    Fast forward 15 years, and all three kids are grown up with families of their own, living in different parts of the country, and the once family of five, now has 13, with six grands (14, 13, 10, 2, 10 mo, and 10 mo at the time of the trip).

    Here we are day one:
    [​IMG]

    For our parents 40th wedding anniversary, however, we wanted to get a bit of that magic back, as it had been about 9 years since we had been as a family, and there were some significant additions that needed to experience WDW with the whole clan! So I (back row, dark shirt and glasses), as resident DISBoards lurker, deal finder extraordinaire, and Type-AAA planner, set to work planning a time we'd love. I like to think I succeeded!

    Dates:
    July 3-10, 2018
    Resort:
    Kidani Village - Two studios, and a 2 BR Lockoff (mainly so there were enough bathrooms and so every family could have a separate space). We did splurge for a Savanna view, and that was totally worth it!!!

    Goals:
    - Loose Plans: One or two meals together, per day, as a time to spend together, but since we had such a wide age spread and differing needs (NAPS!!!), we wanted plenty of flexibility so as not to poison each other's apples!
    - Food. We love to eat, so we wanted to make sure we were able to try a lot of the TS, Dinner Shows, and unique opportunities WDW offers.
    - New Stuff. Toy Story Land opened the weekend before our trip began, and since it had been almost a decade since we'd been, we wanted to see as much of the new stuff as we could!
    - MEMORIES!!! :idea: Duh!

    Must haves:
    - Be Our Guest - My sister loves Belle, and since it was new to them, we had to do BOG.
    - Chef Mickey - Love it or hate it, we'd never done it before, so we wanted to experience the Fab 5 in the iconic setting!
    - Nighttime spectaculars! As many as possible.
    - Character time. Old or young, we all love the Disney characters, so we wanted to capture as many of those memorable (re)introductions as possible.
    - All the rides. We also have some big adventure seekers, so we had to try climbing all the Mountains!

    Anyhow, bear with me, as this is my first guided tour of our Disney trip!
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  2. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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  4. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    Itinerary:

    Day 1 - Epcot!
    1. Foods:
      1. Electric Umbrella
      2. Starbucks - completely necessary!!!
      3. Seasons
      4. Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie
      5. Karamell Küche
      6. Spice Road Table
    2. Rides (The ones my family rode):
      1. Living with the Land
      2. Journey into Imagination
      3. Seas with Nemo and Friends
      4. Gran Fiesta Tour
      5. Spaceship Earth
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018
  5. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    Strategies employed for a party of 13!!!

    By no means exhaustive or claiming to be authoritative, these were the things I thought would be helpful (and whether or not they worked)

    1) SPLIT UP! We were a generational trip, with varying wants and limits. Some of us had to take naps, some of us needed naps, and some of us powered through. Since we were staying on property, we intentionally didn't micromanage the schedule. Stuck to the idea of a meal or two together each day, and coordinating FP+ only if there was something we all wanted to do.

    2) TIW and AP. Since the party was 13 people, and we were planning at least one table service per day, we bought a TIW membership. When you factor in that we were paying a mandatory gratuity due to table size (even if we split across two parties), this really did save us money with each TS meal we ate. The AP was great because of Memory Maker and the merch. discount. My wife and I bought AP's because we had three trips planned over the course of 18/19. So an AP isn't necessarily for everyone, but do the math and see if it could work for your trip. Just one AP entitles you to purchase TIW and all the ensuing discounts could make it work depending on your trip length.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  6. CourtneyKaro

    CourtneyKaro Earning My Ears

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    Along for the Ride :) quite a task you have undertaken!
     
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  7. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    Here's hoping its a fun ride!!
     
  8. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    The Cast of Families

    Parents:
    John - The Specialist. My dad never says much, and he never takes center stage. But you can always count on him to step in with some little bit of wisdom or magic.

    Sharon - The Yes Woman. My mom wanted to have time with everyone, at least once a day. So she spent a lot of time saying “yes” (not that she doesn’t normally) whenever the grands wanted to do something with her.

    Cav Family:
    Jon - The Smooth Operator - My b-i-l is one of those string pullers. He’s got quite a lucky streak and always finds himself in the right place at the right time.

    Carmen - The Straight Shooter - Mother of three (almost) teenagers and businesswoman, she’s a no nonsense, fun-loving mom. And awesome Auntie.

    Isabella - The Artistic Eye. This 14 year old has one of the most artistic eyes I have ever seen. She has such a talent for drawing - I’m hoping she becomes an artist for WDW in the future!

    Liana - The Princess. At 13, she is one of the most tenderhearted ladies I have ever seen.

    Konnor - The Adrenaline Junkie. This little man wanted to conquer the mountains - so that’ll be a nice subplot!

    T.Fam #1
    Shauna - The Free Spirit - My eldest sister is the truest example of “not all who wander are lost;” she’s an artist, musician, and new mom. She kills it in all respective areas.

    Jeremiah - The Content One - This 10 moth old is almost always content and happy with his lot (until his gets sick…) Foreshadow much?

    T.Fam #2 (My family)
    David - The Architect - I promise this title was gifted to me…but I gladly accept it! I get almost as much pleasure from planning the trip than actually going on it!

    Christa - The Diffuser - My DW is GREAT at reorienting the ship when things get a little shaky. She put those skills to use a couple of times (I wish I could say they weren’t all my fault…hahahaha!)

    Jude - Dash - My three year old is exactly that…cute, talkative, and possessing limitless energy!

    Luca - Tiny Ralph (as in Wreck-It) Our 10 month old is a little more needy than my sisters, but he’s so adorable, we forgive him for most of it!

    [​IMG]

    Back Row: Me (holding Luca), John, Jon, Carmen
    Middle Row: Christa, Liana, Sharon, Isabella
    Front Row: Jude, Konnor, Shauna (holding Jeremiah)​
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  9. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    Previously: The Cast

    Our story continues: Part 1 - Convergence and Separation: July 3rd, 2018

    With the exception of the CavFam who drove up from Tampa, the rest of us met in the MCO terminal to catch out DME to Kidani Village. Gotta love when you walk right onto the bus and it pulls out, am I right?!?

    While we had done online check-in, we wanted to take in the lobby, and maybe spy some animals on the Savanna. I know the lobby of Kidani is dwarfed by Jambo, but we loved the intimacy of the lobby - highly detailed, of course, but warm. It felt new, foreign, and familiar at the same time. On the savanna there were plenty of Zebras and Giraffes out and about - even some Wildebeest as we were heading back inside. Can I say - and this won’t be the last time I do - the Savanna is absolutely enchanting. This was our first time at one of the Animal Kingdom Resorts, and we wished we had spent more time hanging out at the resort. Surely we’re not the only ones who’ve felt this way???

    After soaking up some of the ambiance (let’s be honest, I may or may not have slipped into the market for a Mickey Crispy Rice Snack popcorn::), we hopped on the bus to Epcot! Being arrival day, we wanted something a little easier in terms of pacing, and given that TSL had just opened in Hollywood Studios, we thought Epcot would be the perfect fit!

    [​IMG]
    My sister's oversized Minnie Ears were amazing...she even had a pair for Jeremiah!!!:tongue::tongue::tongue:

    DW and I had to pick up our AP cards and that delayed things, but we met Mark, a CM from Iowa (where I grew up) so talking about all things Iowa - there’s more to talk about than hogs and corn!!! - was fun!

    Given it was already almost 12:00 and most of us had been up since at least 4:00 am local, our first stop was LUNCH!

    I’m fast-forwarding through it because it was only at Electric Umbrella (which was better than I remember) BUT! We met a really awesome CM named Michelle from Auckland, New Zealand! It was great because we are Māori (Nagpuhi) on my dad’s side, and meeting someone from New Zealand right off the bat was neat.

    After lunch, I snuck my first favorite photo of the trip

    [​IMG]
    :lovestruc:lovestruc:lovestruc

    Can life be any better??? I’m so thankful I was able to get this shot - it is such a sweet memory. But also, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker!

    From there, we headed to Living with the Land!!! It was everyone’s first time riding it (we walked right on), and we really enjoyed it! Funnily enough, Jude was afraid of the alligators, or at least he said he was!!!

    We headed back outside and waited out the rain for about 45 minutes! :bored:

    And then, second favorite photo so far:

    [​IMG]
    All the grandkids with Marlin and Dory!!!
    I wish I would have written down the CM's name of the photographer who took this photo, because he was amazing. So engaging, funny, and friendly! With a picture like this, we were ready to go home...except we weren't...and we didn't! We FP+ Nemo & Friends, and then headed over to Figment! On the way, I realized our online check-in still wasn't going through, so I called the reservation line. The CM assured me things were fine, and that she processed our check in. Not wanting to miss a moment, I ended the call, ok that no room had been assigned because check-in wasn't until 4:00 and it was only about 2:00.

    Again, we walked right on, but can I just say, while I love Figment, I would have loved a Flubber ride featuring Robin Williams just as much. MAN, I wish they would have made that ride! :sad: I digress...next came:

    WORLD SHOWCASE!!!

    For most of us, anyway. The Cav Family headed to some more teenager-y things (Test Track!), while the toddler-toting crew shopped and ate our way around the Showcase!

    What are your Showcase favorites???

    We love Les Halles - we always make a bee-line there. Jude found a new favorite snack, and Christa was on a carb-induced cloud nine as well:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    But we also love Germany (Karamell Kuche!!!), America (Voices of Liberty!!!), and Mexico!

    We ended our day with dinner at Spice Road Table and stayed there for the fireworks. We thought this would be a great way to see Illuminations without the hassle of crowds, and having just enjoyed a nice meal.

    ...dun dun DUUUUUUUUNNNNN...
    After a really long, wonderful day, I had forgotten about our room situation! While the other rooms in our party had been assigned (two of three), we still didn't have an assignment. It was now 8:55 pm, Illuminations was beginning, and I was stuck on the phone trying to explain to the current CM what the previous one had said. She wondered why I was given incorrect information (I had been told they couldn't check me in) when all that was missing from my check-in was a telephone number. She called over to Kidani at 9:15 and processed the check in with management. We were given a room number, and the manager told us our things would be sent to the room right away, and be there when we arrived - I mentioned we were leaving the park and on our way there. Since we'd also rented a crib, I'd asked if she could make sure that was there as well, as we would be coming with a 10 month old who would be ready for bed. She obliged, and we were thankful we'd averted a crisis!

    :moped:
    We took a taxi so we wouldn't have to wait for a bus, and arrived at 10:10. Headed to our room to find (Jiminy) cricket(s).

    :crazy2:
    Not the literal ones, but the figurative ones when you're expecting something and there isn't anything.
    :crazy2:
    No luggage. No crib. Just a really comfortable room waiting to be slept in.
    :crazy2:

    I checked with the rest of the group, and our parent's luggage hadn't arrived, along with the other rented crib. As I was checking in on the parents, their bags arrived. Speaking to the Bell Services CM, he didn't seem to know where our luggage was. I'd asked to follow him down and check, as it was 10:15 and we wanted to get the kids to bed. Just then the crib arrived, but it wasn't the one we rented, it was one provided by the resort. :sad1: Happy to have been brought something, but frustrated because it wasn't what we paid for, I asked if I could accompany the Bell Services CM back to downstairs, to which he declined, saying he would return immediately with our things, as he knew where it was. It was 10:30 and the kids were bouncing off the walls.:headache:

    When he hadn't returned at 10:45, I went downstairs and asked to personally find our things. I found them and promptly took them upstairs. At 11:00 we tucked the kids into bed and I headed back downstairs to talk to a manager.

    :furious::furious::furious:

    Not quite furious, but definitely frustrated. I've worked in retail and the service industry, so I completely understand things can go wrong. I --calmly-- walked downstairs and asked to speak to the manager I'd spoken to on the phone. She'd left, so I spoke to a new manager (for the life of me I can't remember his name either, and I didn't write it down!!!), and calmly rehashed our day. I told him I wasn't angry. I'm a rational person who can understand that things go wrong, sometimes in the worst possible way, and that no person had done anything necessarily wrong or bad. I was frustrated that set expectations weren't met and that there might have been ways to shorten the luggage waiting time (I should have followed the Bell Services CM to begin with). I wasn't trying to complain, to get anyone fired, or to cause a scene, just to let them know we were a little frustrated and disappointed with how the things were handled when we'd been told our things would be ready when arrived.

    He was the epitome of what you'd expect a manager to be. He listened, asked clarifying questions, didn't patronize, and honestly tried to empathize. He sincerely apologized, and asked if there was something he could do for us. I told him that wasn't necessary at all - I completely understood, I just needed someone to hear what had happened. He thanked me for telling him, and gave us his card in case we needed anything.

    At that point, I headed upstairs and collapsed on the bed. Tomorrow was a new day!

    Next up: Magic Kingdom! Or Guests, Carpets, and the hunt for a Turkey Leg!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
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  10. rdkeim

    rdkeim Mouseketeer

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    Following! I always admire people who are willing to plan large family trips :rotfl:Even with some bumps in the road, your first day sounds like fun. Hope day #2 goes well!
     
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  11. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    Welcome to the retelling!!!

    It wasn't so bad once we got there, and the planning could have been much worse! The parents didn't care where their fast passes were, the CavFamily was happy to plan their own, and Shauna was game to go with us everywhere. Meals were more along the lines of "where can we get some combination of 13 seats???" Hahahaha!!

    Day #1 wasn't all that bad, all things considered; we love Epcot, and there were some surprises in store for day #2
     
  12. rlk

    rlk DIS Veteran

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    I am impressed that you were able to stay for Illuminations after such an early start. Looking forward to reading the rest of your trip report. I wonder if the Kidani manager who gave you his card was the same one I spoke back in April. He really helped resolve our issues.
     
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  13. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    Not going to lie, I was surprised, too! No meltdowns, either!!

    I wish I could remember the manager's name; I remember he was from Puerto Rico, because it was on his name tag, and with the hurricane just having hit, I asked if he had any family that was affected by the storm.
     
  14. rlk

    rlk DIS Veteran

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    Like you, my husband journals, so I will ask him to look back to see if he has his name written down. I know he was the night manager.
     
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  15. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    I hope he can help us out!
     
  16. TravelE

    TravelE Earning My Ears

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    Loving your review!
     
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  17. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    Thanks!! Should have another day posted today!
     
  18. absolutmey

    absolutmey planning epic 2020 trip!

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    I have a large family trip on the horizon, so I'm very interested to hear your report! thanks for sharing. :)
     
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  19. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    It can be done without everyone overdosing on pixie dust and turning into pirates! I hope your trip is super successful!!
     
  20. MaoriWhoLovesDisney

    MaoriWhoLovesDisney All you gotta do is JUUUUUUUMP!!

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    Previously: Convergence and Separation

    Part 2: Magic Kingdom! Or Guests, Carpets, and the hunt for a Turkey Leg!!! July 4, 2018

    I doubt I’m alone in thinking that the best night’s sleep is after a long, fun day in Disney, right?? The kids had never slept better, and even though it was late getting back, we were all up bright and early to check a big thing off Carmen’s list: BE OUR GUEST!!

    To act like Carmen wasn’t the most excited in the bunch would be a big fat lie, so I won’t go there…:rotfl2: We headed down to the buses early to get to our 9:00 reservation, and I saw the manager from the night before - I really wish I could remember his name!! - I walked over to thank him again for listening to what was wrong and not trying to talk me out of the frustration. He thanked me for telling him, and asked where we were off to. I told him about our reservations (or, rather Carmen, the giddy 36 year old did) at BOG, and he said, “To make up for last night, let me take care of your meal.”

    I was floored.

    “You really don’t need to do that, it was understandable.”
    “Sure,” he replied, “But that was a horrible way to end a day and start your trip. I’d really like to take care of your meal.”
    “But there are 11 of us eating!”
    “And there were 13 of you inconvenienced last night. It’s my pleasure, really. I insist. Anything you guys order, we’ll take care of it.”

    And just like that, we had been comped breakfast at Be Our Guest.

    It was a really, a wonderful gesture. So above and beyond what we’d expected. Truly, a magical, Disney touch. We were floored.

    Once we got to MK, a couple of the CavFamily headed to 7DMT to catch it before the line got too long, and we headed to our reservation. We didn’t want to order ahead, because we wanted the full experience, so we waited in line, took in the sights, and got seated in The Rose Gallery. This is our favorite room!! It’s so gorgeous and it doesn’t make me want to take a nap, like The West Wing does…

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    We loved the breakfast, for the most part. The pastries were…meh…they did the job if you were still peckish after the very delicious entrées. The entrées were, on the whole, great!

    Some may think we were crazy being at Magic Kingdom on July 4th because of crowds. While I wouldn’t say it was outrageously packed…it was pretty packed, and it got worse as the day went on.

    We didn’t let that bother us, though!! We had a blast of a day. We stuck around Fantasy Land, split up and grabbed Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Teacups all within the span of an hour and fifteen minutes. I know there are much more sought after rides, but we were surprised to have waited so little that day. Before we left Fantasy Land, we had to do a little photo recreation! Isabella had been infatuated with Ariel as a little girl, and so we had to stop by and update Ariel on how Isabella had been in the meantime.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Splitting up after this, the CavFamily headed to Frontier Land with Papa, and Nana and Shauna headed to Philharmagic, and my family headed to get a DOLEWHIP!!! Jude and Christa rode Aladdin’s Magic Carpets while I munched on the Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

    We headed to Country Bear Jamboree after that and then headed to The Diamond Horseshoe for dinner, thinking that barbecue would be just plum patriotic of us! We headed back to the hotel after dinner because Jude and Luca had a little too much magic for the day and not enough naps!! Christa and I prepared ourselves for this before the trip, and reminded ourselves a lot during the trip, that we were going to do what we needed to to keep the kids sane. For our boys that means plenty of sleep. We will have plenty of time in the park, it isn’t worth it to us to push them past their limits (which is strategy number three!!!).

    I really, really wanted to get a Turkey Leg, but you have to leave something to come back for, right?!?! I left that for the next day.

    Upon arrival at Kidani, I stopped by to speak to one of the management team to thank them for our breakfast. Though not the same manager, he knew what I was talking about, and I made sure to thank them profusely.

    The rest of the day was decent weather, all told. Until fireworks - boo for fireworks delays!!! The delay was pretty substantial, I think 45 minutes?? That 45 minutes was totally worth the wait, though. According to the CavFamily, those fireworks were spectacular - seriously - they still can’t get over how cool they were.

    [​IMG]

    Next up: Return to Magic! Charming Candy and Royal, Ranger Racers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  21. Stasieki

    Stasieki DIS Veteran

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    You really took the luggage debacle in stride. So frustrating to start of that way, but looks like the next day sure did make up for it.
     
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