Archive for October 19, 2013

Day 3 – Tonya’s Disney Adventure

Day 3!  What adventures will it bring?  Today was Sunday and that meant it was time for Ros and I to change studio rooms at Disney’s Boardwalk Villa.

Ros is a Disney Vacation Club owner and she booked the Boardwalk 11 months out since the Boardwalk is her home resort but she still couldn’t get the same studio villa for the entire length of her stay.  Sooooooo, we packed up and called Bell Services to come and get our 20 pieces of luggage and “stuff”.  A lot of it was mine but a good bit was still Ros’.   It filled up an entire luggage cart with no room to spare.

During the night, the front desk had called and left a message for us that Ros’ credit card wouldn’t go through.   We decided the best course of action would be to go to the front desk and resolve the credit card issue and check in for out next stay at the same time.  For some reason, the Disney Visa card wasn’t going through.  Unwilling to accept that as an answer since she knew there was not anything wrong with the credit card, Ros called Chase Disney Visa who deteremined that it was simply a Disney computer system problem.  We could tell the front desk cast member didn’t really believe the Chase person but eventually they were able to get the credit card to go through and that was that.  The real moral of the story is to not take “no” for an answer when you know you are right.

We were able to check back in to our next room but the room wouldn’t be assigned yet.  The hotel would text Ros when it was ready so we had a few hours of being homeless.  But if you are going to be homeless then being homeless at Disney World is the way to go.

Ros had plans with a local friend and I decided to go the Magic Kingdom to putz around for a couple of hours.

When I arrived at the Magic Kingdom, the first problem I encountered was that my Magic Band didn’t have my Annual Pass linked to the band even though I spend a good while the night before linking everything to my account.  The cast member working the “turnstiles” told me to go the City Hall on Main Street and they would be able to resolve the issue.

Off to City Hall I go.  The line is out the door but I am determined to make things work with my new fangled pink Magic Band.  After about 15 minutes, there was a Guest Services cast member expedititng the line.  I explained what my problem was and he indicated that I should wait in line and someone could address my problem.  About 15 minutes later of standing in the sun, the next Guest Services cast member expeditor told me I needed to go to the  Town Square Theater and not City Hall.  It didn’t take long for the cast member to realize my frustration of waiting in line for 30 minutes only to be told I am in the wrong line – especially since I told her of my frustration of waiting in line for 30 minutes to be told I was in the wrong line.  Just as fast as I bemoaned, she got her special golden ticket book and wrote out a fast pass to be used where ever I wanted.  I thanked her and trudged over to the Town Square Theater.

At the Town Square Theater there was a few cast member with their specially equipped iPad to assist the general public with fast passes and the like.  I explained my problem and the cast member started doing all kinds of voodoo magic on the various devices she had.  After a few minutes she determined that she needed to “call it in”.  She told me to wait right there while she made “the call” at the phone across the room.  So I waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, she comes back and asks for my email address so they can access my My Disney Experience account.  And I wait, and wait, and wait some more.  After 45 minutes, the cast member comes back and says the problem has been resolved but they had to reissue my Annual Pass.  I told her as long as it worked they could reissue what ever they wanted.  She tried to explain the problem as a glitch in the system between the old User Name login and the new Email login.  If you originally set up your account using a User Name there is probably a problem and a shadow account will be active and some things will go to the real account and some things will go to the shadow account.  At this point I was tired and VERY hungry so I was just trying not to go all Maleficent on the cast member’s backside.  I may have missed a few of the finer points of her explanation.  I did however suggest to the cast member that they should probably put in a bench next to their station for people to sit on while they wait.  What can I say, a little Maleficent sneaks out when I am tired and hungry no matter how hard I try.

Since food had become a major priority, I made a bee line to Casey’s Corner.  Usually I get the corn dog nuggets when I stop in at Casey’s but decided to be adventurous and get the barbeque slaw dog  instead.  Oh my!!!  That thing was huge!!!  It was two meals in one.   Thankfully I lucked out and found a table out side with some shade since there was no way I would able to eat my food at an improvised table.  After giving it my best attempt,  I gave up trying to eat all of the food before me.  It was just too much food no matter how hungry I was.  Next time, I will just ask for a slaw dog and leave off the barbeque.

With my inner princess back in working order and Maleficent in check – and since I was leaving the Magic Kingdom – I scoped out a person to give my golden ticket fast pass to.  Turns out I didn’t have to look far.  The table next to me was occupied by “1st Time Visit” button wearing guests.  I asked them if they knew about fast passes and explained the golden ticket and that I was leaving and couldn’t use it and would they like it.  They said they would definitely use it and I happily – now that I had food in my system – left the Magic Kingdom.

After a few shopping errands were done around Orlando, I returned to the Boardwalk since Ros texted me that the room was ready.  This time I didn’t valet park and that was a mistake.  The parking lot is quite a trek from the resort entrance and I was carrying a few heavy bags.  UGH!!!  I was worn out by the time I made it to the front desk.  There was a helpful cast member with her trust iPad in hand ready to give me our newly assigned room number.   I trudged my way to our new room only to find out that my Magic Band wouldn’t open the door and I didn’t have a regular room key.  After gathering up my bags, I trudged back downstairs to wait in line to get the issue resolved.  I won’t go in to all of the details of the machinations that took place but after about an hour I was assured that my Magic Band was all set and ready to go.

After another trudging back to the room with my heavy bags, my Magic Band opened the door.  I was so excited!!!  It is amazing what little things make you happy after having a pretty crappy day.

This was the view from the balcony of our new room:

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After my trying day, I decided to just hang out in the room for the night and get some work done and watch Amazing Race.  (A girl has to have her priorities.)  I did happen to watch Illuminations:  Reflections of Earth from the balcony.

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So, although I wasted about 3 hours of my day on Magic Band glitches, the day ended nicely.  And in the worlds of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Day 4 – Magic Band powers activate!

 

Tonya’s Disney Adventure – Cruise Portion Update – Disney Magic Cancels Cruise

Remember, when I first posted about my big Disney Adventure.  The first part is a stay at Walt Disney World for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and then a 5 night cruise on the newly revamped Disney Magic.

Well, bad news came today!!!  Disney Cruise Line has cancelled the cruise.  It was the first sailing of the Disney Magic after its dry dock and we were scheduled to leave on October 20th from Miami.  According to DCL, the ship hit some bad weather on its transatlantic crossing and they were unable to make all of the renovations necessary for passengers to sail.

Here is the letter our travel agent received:

Important Information About Your Cruise
We appreciate you selecting a Disney Cruise Line vacation for your clients and have important information to share about their sailing.
As you may know, the Disney Magic has just undergone the most significant transformation in the history of Disney Cruise Line. Unfortunately, during the course of dry dock renovations and the Trans-Atlantic crossing, we encountered challenging weather conditions that made the necessary work impossible to complete in time for the first cruise. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the October 20, 2013, 5-night sailing from Miami, Florida.
We are truly sorry for disappointing your clients and their traveling party with this news. Therefore, in addition to a full refund of their voyage fare, your clients will also receive a complimentary sailing up to 5-nights in length on the Disney Magic when sailing from Miami or Port Canaveral, Florida, before May 16, 2014. This complimentary sailing is subject to availability, offered in the same category stateroom with the same party mix originally booked aboard the Disney Magic and is non-transferable. Guests who are unable to take advantage of this complimentary cruise offer are invited to sail at a 35% future cruise discount on any Caribbean or Bahamian sailing of up to 7-nights in length, taken by October 31, 2015, excluding holiday and select peak sail dates.
Refunds will automatically be returned to the original form of payment on the booking. However, we sincerely hope that we have other sailing dates to meet your client’s needs and invite you to contact us at 1-866-325-3905 or 1-407-566-7032 as soon as possible, to explore alternate complimentary sail dates or to utilize their future cruise discount.
Guests on this sailing with independent flight arrangements are welcome to submit any flight change fees via e-mail to DCL.Guest.Communications@disneycruise.com for consideration.
Sincerely,
The Cast and Crew Disney Cruise Line

Ship’s Registry: The Bahamas

The compensation is nice, albeit, a bit convoluted if you want to take the free 5 day cruise.  What exactly does “same party mix” mean anyways?  No one can really give us a definitive answer at this point.

Some friends have suggested that we book another cruise for next week on another cruise line.  I’m not really interested in doing that.  The point of this cruise was to see and enjoy the new and improved Disney Magic.  I was not going to see the Bahamas, yet again.  I was going to report back to my readers about the “new” ship and relax on Serenity Bay with a Conch Cooler in a hammock for two days.  None of that can be accomplished by taking a different cruise.

Needless to say, I am very upset.  Usually, I am pretty good with these types of situations and just go with the flow but I really wanted to spend the week with my friends and explore the Magic.  It is the only ship in the DCL fleet that I haven’t been on yet and that was one of the reasons I agreed to go.

It will be interesting to see what renovations weren’t done that would cause them to cancel an entire cruise.  It makes me think it was a lot of work that didn’t get finished.  Time will tell as it always does in these situations.

So for now, my Disney Adventure will be ending on Sunday the 20th instead of beginning the second part of my adventure.  (((sigh)))  I think I need a Mickey Bar to sooth my broken heart.

 

Day 2, Part 2 – Tonya’s Disney Adventure

When last I left you, Ros and I were on our way to the Magic Kingdom via the Epcot Monorail.

We arrived at the Ticket and Transportation Center just as the Ferry was docking.  Our transportation mojo was still going strong.  Woohoo!!

Here are some views from the Ferry:

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After a few minutes, we were on Main Street ready to have fun.  But first we needed to play a portal for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom so I could get a new set of cards.    How the daily sets of cards for the game has recently changed and you must play the next portal in your game to get your next set of daily cards.  Click here to read my original post on the changes.

We were meeting one of our Disney friends who happens to be a cast member so she could enjoy the park with us.  She was meeting us on Main Street so while we waited, Ros and I wandered through the shops on Main Street.   It was about 7 p.m. by now and people were finding their curb space for the parade and fireworks.  Are you one of those people who camp out for the parades or just find the best spot you can find a few minutes before the parade starts?

After meeting our Disney friend, we wandered over to Fantasyland to explore the new attractions.   There were fast passes burning a hole in our pocket and we needed to use them.  (Ros had a friend who had issues with the plumbing in their resort room so Guest Services gave them a bunch of  any park, any time fast passes for a group of 6 for their troubles.  Their trip was over before they could use them all so she passed on the golden tickets – literally, the tickets are gold colored – to Ros.)

Our first attraction was the Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  And it was a good thing we had fastpasses!!  The stand by line was 50 minutes but we practically walked right on.  I love the Little Mermaid and I know the ride isn’t technologically advanced but I still like it.  I love all of the omni-mover dark rides actually.  They take me back to my childhood when that was basically what the rides were at Disney World.  And besides, on the Voyage of the Little Mermaid I get to sing along with Ariel and Sebastian.  😉

We were all a little peckish by now and decided to try out Gaston’s Tavern.  I tried the pork shank.  It was a lot of pork,  and other than being a bit greasy,  I enjoyed it.  It isn’t the kind of thing you can eat while strolling through the park but perfect for those people on the Paleo or Atkins diet.  Ros had the chocolate croissant.  I had one a few weeks ago and thought it was delicious.

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Wishes was about to start and instead of forcing our way to the front of Cinderella Castle, we decided to watch the fireworks from New Fantasyland.  We didn’t get to see the Castle show before the fireworks but other than that, I would highly recommend this as a viewing location.  It wasn’t crowded and you get two castles for the price of one.  We did sometimes think we were at a tennis match since we had to keep looking at one castle and then the other castle.  It was nice to see a different view of the fireworks.

Here are few pictures of the fireworks over Beast’s Castle.  They were taken on my phone so not great but you will get the idea.

 

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 After the Wishes, it was time to check out Storytime with Belle.  The first time I saw it, I thought it was cute but didn’t see the repeatability of the attraction.  However, this time we had some really cute kids playing the different parts which made the story so much better.  So, my advice is to keep going because you never know what will happen when kids are involved.

It was getting late by now and we decided to make our way out of the park.  But we still had a golden ticket fast pass left!!!  It was time to become Space Rangers on Buzz Lightyear.  We each decided that we didn’t like riding with another person who wanted to take control of the turning gear in the ride vehicle.  We did the only logical thing and each got our own car to eliminate the frustration of having someone turn the car just as you were racking up some points.  After the ride, we didn’t compare scores but I pretty much sucked – but I had fun.

Check out the ghetto pictures* of me and Ros.

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We caught the last few floats of the Main Street Electric Parade and then made out way out of the park.

Ros and I made it to the bus stop and had to wait about 10 minutes for the Boardwalk bus.  That isn’t a bad wait so I am going to say that our transportation mojo was still going strong.  On the way “home” we decided we were hungry but then realized it would be after 11 p.m. by the time we got back and nothing would be open.  (((sigh)))  So we made do with some snacks we had in our villa.

All in all, it was an excellent day and a nice way to start the trip.

*A ghetto picture is a picture taken of the attraction photo taken by Disney on a ride.  It is easy to do as long as you don’t use the flash and is a cheap reminder of your trip.  Cast members don’t care if you do it either.  And trust me, I have enough of the pictures that my family has purchased over the years.  I don’t need any more 8 x10 pictures of me on Buzz Lightyear and Splash Mountain.  There are enough to wall paper a wall in my house.

Day 3 is coming up – Trouble in Magic Band Paradise.

Day 2, Part 1 – Tonya’s Disney Adventure

After staying up late and catching up with my friend (her name is Ros, by the way), we had a lazy morning.  We discussed our Magic Bands and what Ros had already done since she arrived two days before me.  I was very excited to have a Magic Band and try out the new technology.

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My first Magic Band!!!

While I unpacked, I noticed that I forgot to pack my sneakers.  Uh oh!!!  Guess a trip to the outlet mall is in order.  Hate when that happens but I did need a new pair of “dog walking shoes” so it isn’t a huge tragedy. Off to the Premium Outlet Mall, I go.  Woohooo!!!

When I checked in last night it was late so I went ahead and valet parked my car, so I dug out my valet ticket and headed to get my car.  I handed the valet cast member my ticket and she told me it was $15.00.  I asked her to just charge it to the room but she needed to run something through the system (whatever that means) so I handed her my handy dandy Magic Band since that was activated for charging purposes, among other things – or so I thought but we’ll get to that in another day or so.  She said that the valet desk wasn’t set up to accept Magic Bands yet.  WHAT?!?!!?  You have got to be kidding me. How hard is to put a scanner thing out there?.  So I handed the cast member my room card.  She said she couldn’t use it since it said it wasn’t allowed charging privileges.  (When I checked in the night before, the front desk cast member printed my room card before we put my credit card on file and we didn’t see the need to print another card since I would have the Magic Band to charge purchases with.)  (((Sigh)))  What to do, what to do???  I know!!!  I’ll go old school and pay with cash.  Now at this point I am also asking myself why a registered hotel guest is actually being asked to pay for valet parking when it normally is charged to the room automatically but I was still tired so I just went with it.  The cast member took my $20 with a look of disbelief and horror  She actually said “you want to pay with cash????”.  With horror still in her eyes, she said she would call the front desk and have them charge my room.  I’m just standing there looking at my $20 bill on the counter wondering what was wrong with cash.  When did the world turn into a cashless society?  I love the convenience of debit cards and paypal and online banking but cash is still a good thing.

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I finally made it to the Premium Outlet Mall only to find that apparently they were giving away free merchandise from the look of it.  There were so many cars trying to turn in to the mall that it took me 25 minutes just to get into the parking lot.  For a little while,  I thought it was Christmas time at the mall but then I remembered it was still October.  But have no fear, I was not deterred and remembered my mission  And I actually found a pretty good parking place once I made it to the parking garage.

The next stop was the Reebok store where I found that their sale that day was Buy One, Get Another for $19.99.  You don’t have to tell me twice about a good deal.  I was all over that.

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Love my new pink sneakers!!

Two pairs of sneakers were found in record time and I was out the door – with socks, also – and on my way to the Character Warehouse store.  Woohooo!!!  I didn’t find anything fabulous this time but it is still fun to look around.  And it soothed my soul just a little since I didn’t get to stop at the Disney outlet in St. Augustine on the drive down.

After a trip to Walmart for a few needed supplies, I was back at the Boardwalk Villas getting ready to head to the Magic Kingdom via Epcot with Ros.  We knew it would be crazy busy at Epcot since it was Saturday and it was a holiday weekend but decided to do a little Food & Wine as we made our way to the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.

To start off our stroll towards the International Gate we got a glass of Sangria from the Boardwalk Pizza walk up window.  Just because it is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, we felt justified in starting our personal festival before we got to Epcot.  It was tasty and delightful addition to our walk.

Once we made it into Epcot, it was time for food – we did just drink Sangria on empty stomachs, after all.  Off to France we went.  The line to the F&W kiosk was crazy busy so we opted for the new and improved Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie for a quick ham and cheese sandwich, of course it sounds so much more sophisticated when you call it a Croissant Jambon Fromage .  Ooh la la.

With sufficient nourishment, we made our way to the front of Epcot dodging many Drink Around the Worlders along the way.  (It did make me nostalgic to be doing the same thing with my Disney friends though.)   There we a lot of cute and creative t-shirts which of course draw attention for Disney Security to follow the drunkards.  Amateurs!! The key for a DATW is to have fun but go unnoticed by Disney Security so you don’t get tossed out in case you have one too many.

The monorail was in sight as we exited the park.  Literally!!  The monorail was just coming over our heads as we exited the park.  Our transportation mojo was good today!!  We made it up the seemingly endless steep ramp to the monorail station just as the Monorail pulled in to the station.  Wooohooo!!!  I love the Epcot Monorail.  It is right up there with the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover and the Ferry Boats for relaxing rides.

Next stop, the Magic Kingdom.

Holiday Wish List at Earl of Sandwich

We’ve always loved the Holiday Turkey Sandwich but this year the Earl of Sandwich is stepping up their game.

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They have added a Holiday Ham Sandwich, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes, and Peppermint Brownies.  YUMMMMMM!!!!  I may have to make a stop at Downton Disney this week to enjoy the new menu additions.

Don’t delay though, these holiday delights are only available for a limited time.

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