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Thorpeedo's Summer Adventures Pt 1


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  • Trip Report Thorpeedo's Summer Adventures Pt 1

    Disney 2009

    Mainly because I don't have enough detail to keep it completely chronological, I haven't, but my report broadly breaks down into, arrival, resort, then parks as individual places, we visited most parks more than once, but I'll review them each once combining the various visits. I hope that others can gain some of the pleasure from reading that i've had from reading others reports in the 4 years I've waited to return to the world. My partner had been twice before when she dragged me in 03 and again in 05. Our daughter was born in 06, so this was her first visit, we also brought along our nephews, her 2 cousins (Lads of 12 & 14). So some of my experience relates to them, and some comparisons to my memories of an attraction will come from either/both of my previous trips. We also managed to get in a few attractions that I had been steered away from on previous visits, usually with justification I might add.

    On the way over we spotted another plane tracking us and an aircraft carrier from the plane.
    Arrival at Airport. On arrival at the airport we passed through immigration and customs quite effeciently, even managing to find an officer that was yet to have the "humour removal" operation. We picked up our luggage, carried it across the shuttle rather than trust the ground crews. We reported for our transfer, all ready to go and then one of the kids asked where we pick up the pram (stroller from.....good question seeing as we'd completely forgotten about it and left it in the customs hall and were not allowed back. Thankfully the nice staff at Virgin Holidays on level 1 immediately made efforts to call their colleagues in the Virgin baggage claim area on level 2 and also hold the transfer. They radiod through which was not acknowledged, then radiod again at which point they got the grace of a response. It was there and would be cleared and sent on it's way, and would arrive with the rest of the baggage. We watched, we waited, we watched, we waited, we watched other people collect their bags and then disappear, we watched, we waited, we spoke to the Staff on Level 1 who were there, they radiod through again, "why are you calling again it's on it's way came the response". We watched, we waited, we watched, we watched the carousel Partner then presented herself at the baggage claim office alongside a member of the holiday staff from level 1. When they went to the office, the Baggage claim staff were eventually persuaded to turn the belts back on, we watched as the carousel started up again, we watched a pram/stroller pop out almost straight away. Relief...except it was now about 45 minutes later, the transfer had long gone, and it wasn't looking good. The Holidays staff had assured us they would get us transferred there. They had booked us a mears shuttle, go see the mears lady and she will sort us out...excellent... Ask the mears lady how long it will take, about an hour due to availability...what? If you're thinking who started this by forgetting the pram, then so were we, there were many feelings of gratitude that we were being acommodated, but it doesn't stop you expecting a mears rep to raise a mears van in less than an hour. When our feelings were made clear, she simply changed her estimate to 15-20 minutes, without any calls or looking at schedules or anything, she was simply quoting a different time. At this point tempers were fraying, even the kids felt cause to be sarcastic, which they were told off for. This made them sulk, which always helps enormously. Anyway the nice mears lady decided to reappropriate another familys van for our benefit, so the wait was even less than she randomly quoted. Thanks whichever family were not there when they were supposed to be, your van helped us massively.
    The van driver was a nice expat Englishman, but was quoting some poorly disguised sales patter, and some misinformation, the ones that spring to mind were a misquote of one of the shows locations, make sure you see spectromagic at the studios, and visit the Virgin megastore. This actually cheered me up as I felt vindicated in my research, and that I knew some of my stuff.

    Virgin holidays - Nice helpful people 9/10
    Virgin Baggage Claim - Snotty attitude 4/10
    Mears Lady - Dubious, but over delivered 7/10
    Mears Driver - pleasant, but only helped with his driving. 7/10

    Carrier from Plane

    Plane from Plane

    Clouds looking Down...

    *********** Port Orleans Riverside *************
    I'm the sort that's perfectly happy with the values, a clean bed and shower is enough for me, any upgrade money can usually be better spent elsewhere on the trip. We picked moderate because the quick service dining plan came free with it, and the calculations indicated that we could expect to save money when comapring our expected food spend to the "upgrade to moderate" cost.

    Out of the moderate resorts we had only one personal experience to go off, we had used carribean beachas a resort to transfer from downtown disney to a park on our last visit as we had stayed offsite. This experience was 4 yrs ago and it had taken us over an hour to transfer, so we didn't much fancy the bus service there. Most moderates apart from French quarter seem to be large resorts. The maps/reviews didn't really carry the detail to accurately assess what I consider an acceptable walk to the triumvirate of pool, food court and bus stop, as they are often quite personal experiences based on fitness, walking speed, previous experience, expectation etc. We expected it to be quite a hike, but felt that we are quite easy going and preparred to walk more than some before we consider it too far, so on the basis that we felt we could cope with the walking, and partner liking the Look of Riverside, we went there.
    We only had maps and reviews to go off, but both preferred the look of the Magnolia bend rooms on allears to the Bayou rooms. We picked and requested building 85, which we got. We were close to the quiet pool on the north side of the building, ground floor. The quiet pool was very close, (sub minute) the main pool a reasonably short walk (though we didn't use it), and the Walking distances to food court and bus stop were both quite acceptable to us. I found the staff on site we ran into were perfectly pleasant, although we did have one experience when we tried to change travellers cheques, they allowed me to sign and date 300 dollars worth before informing that only 200 per day is allowed. As you have to sign them infront of the person cashing them I did worry that i might struggle to change that one another day, but it proved without cause as that cheque was changed no problem a couple of days later.We were met with a towel mickey and received more animals throughout the trip, we did have a fortnight, so I guess exhausted their repertiore as they did dry up. (towels...dried up...never mind). Again it depends on personal expectations, but in a deep clean, rather than a mousekeeping sense, the room was acceptably clean and maintained. Mouse keeping was the same lady for most of the time and did a suitably good job on a daily basis, no complaints there. I didn't have any issues with the following points, and stress that I would stay there again without hesistation, but some people might like to know that on occasion we could hear toilets flushing, fairly faintly, but audible to all in the room. When we were in bed but awake on a couple of occasions we acctually heard a man having a wee before the flush. We were not bothered, we're not sensitive in that way, and it only hapenned on average every few days. We also discovered a single beetle type creature, which was dispatched outside, again, not personally bothered by finding just one, an infestation would have had me asking for a move, but a single creature in a fortnight is not a problem. Public internet terminals would not go amiss either.
    As said, I'd stay there again in a flash if the deal was right. Would I consider the cost worth the upgrade in times of no offers, personally no, but it's a lovely place, and the facilities were perfectly acceptable, i'm just not that appreciative of the availability of facilities that I don't actually use. My needs are bed, shower and Disney transport, anything else is extra cost. The facilities I did use however were fine.
    I did enjoy the perks of the resort over the alternatives though, 2 sinks was quite useful, as was the curtain across the vanity area (more so). The curtain is an upgrade I would recommend to the values. The guest experience improvement would be very good value against what I guess is quite a cheap cost.
    The water taxi down the sassagoula to downtown disney was also an excellent relaxing alternative to a bus, we used it several times, passing the treehouse villas, hence the pictures.
    Another wow moment was spotting a turtle in the marina, which we then saw on 2 more occasions.
    "Free" quick service dining plan was what drew us to this resort, I did a reasonably detailed calculation before we went out of our expected quick service average spend and that was enough to make it seem financially sensible. I haven't got sufficient detail to compare the real value of what we ate against what we paid, but needless to say we ate much more than I'd guessed, and we ended up with spare credits, so the experience (rather than hard maths) suggests that it was a correct decision. We did not eat a bad meal on the plan, but then my food needs are not too far from my hotel needs. Hot, Warm, reasonable taste and no adverse effect on my digestive system. I hit saolads and healthy options where I could, as much for variety as for anything else, and have to say that I ate quite happily and comfortably. One stand out recommendation however is to use quick service credits at wolfgang Puck express, we managed 3 meals there with Mike and Evan each providing excellent service when we sat in their areas of the restaurant.
    Rather than comment on each day, Ive commented on each park, we visited most of them more than once and to be honest after about day 3 I can't remember the order.

    Signature shot (good desktop for square monitors

    Guest Check in area. The first place you stop to look around.

    In the Lobby (for Joe!)

    Empty pool, I think this was when it had closed because of storms, but the storms had stopped, and the pool wasn't open yet. Again I'm not the first to take this particular pic.

    Food Court Exterior

    Food Court theming - gears

    you have to look for this signage !

    Drinks Bar in the food Court, the setup is replicated round the other side, so you never had to queue as such even in busy times. At worst you'd wait for the person already there to complete. Cast member uniform theming as well.

    No comment needed...

    View of French Quarter from Boat

    Grasshopper.... These are my hands ... I'm 6' 2" and broad shouldered. Point being Big grasshoppers !

    Building 85, Our Humble abode for 2 weeks !

    One of the other Mansion buildings (I think!), I forget which.

    And a bayou building that everyone seems to take photo's of.

    MArina View, a Photoshop of the first 3 makes a nice desktop on my new widescreen monitor.

    This was the first morning they removed the boards that were there for all bar the last morning of our stay, hence my photostitch didn't account for this wide a panoramic.

    Another couple of final morning shots.

    Unsure how much you can squeeze in 1 post, but 4 parks and a jolly up the Sassagoula river to come !
    Smile, you never know who's looking !

  • #2
    Re: Thorpeedo's Summer Adventures Pt 1

    Various Towel Animals

    This greeted us. The rest appeared during the stay.

    We left the bird...and then got the below which was impressive.

    Sassagoula Shots - It's a nice time to try and play with your camera sat on a boat, but unfortunately the boat moves, which makes life difficult for the clueless photographer like me ! Unfortunately i can't say whereabouts on the river each of these were shot, some speak for themselves, others are more generic. Some are "of" the river, but from various bridges around the resort. If you stay where you can catch the boat to Downtown Disney, I recommend it.

    Treehouse Villas - you get a good view as you float past !

    Saratoga Springs - I think ! (could be Old Key West!)

    This one is from the Boat dock

    Various things from around Downtown disney area

    Smile, you never know who's looking !


    • #3
      Re: Thorpeedo's Summer Adventures Pt 1

      Loving part 1. Thanks for adding great pics of the Port orleans!


      • #4
        Re: Thorpeedo's Summer Adventures Pt 1

        Nice Pictures !!!! Thanks for Sharing !

        I never flew with Virgin Atlantic . You guys have lots of Non Stop flights to MCO from England . From Mainland Europe there is flights to MCO from Frankfurt , Lisbon , Amsterdam .
        HKDL : Done !!!


        • #5
          Re: Thorpeedo's Summer Adventures Pt 1

          Great review and pics! Please continue, I can't wait to read more.


          • #6
            Re: Thorpeedo's Summer Adventures Pt 1

            That's it i'm afraid. I set out with massive memory card capacity and a stash of batteris, but eneded up not taking nearly as many pics as i'd hoped in the parks. Port Orleans got quite a bit of time spent on it as it was first time we'd stayed there. Unfortunately theyhad boards up right until our last morning when they came down, hence a few hurried shots. I'd love to go back and get a real panorama of the whole marina area, but I suspect Pop century will be our destination next time.
            Smile, you never know who's looking !


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