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March 13 14 15 at MK, Epcot, and HS

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  • Trip Report March 13 14 15 at MK, Epcot, and HS

    Hi guys! We got back last night.

    First I want to thank everyone who told me to stay at the Pop Century. I hadn't stayed on property for several years, and all I remembered about Pop was that the room was tiny and the parking was far away. Both those things were still true, but we loved all the theming, the shopping and dining within walking distance of our preferred (but still affordable) room, and the very short drive to the parks! Also loved that the facility has been maintained like new. The room was extremely clean, cared for during our stay, no noisy air conditoner unit that many off-site hotels have, no mold, no mildew smell... except for the small size of the room and the trek to the car, it was absolutely fantastic, a great value for the price.

    It was a girls trip this time, just me and my three girls (11, 10 and 4). They had the week off of school, and apparently so did the rest of the world because it was CROWDED!!! I knew it would be, but it was worse than I expected. E-ticket rides had two hour waits throughout the trip. Each day we arrived twenty minutes before opening to find that hundreds (thousands?) of people were already lined up to get in.

    I noticed that Epcot as well as HS opened about ten minutes before 9; I had never experienced that at WDW before, it used to be 9 on the button!

    Fastpass return times are indeed being strictly enforced; there are signs on top of all the machines and also it is printed on the ticket. It went very smoothly as far as I could tell. Fastpass return lines didn't get absolutely crazy-clogged in the afternoon, though the FP lines were still longer than I thought they would be. Sometimes I found it a bit challenging to return exactly within that hour window; I personally would like to see the return window increased to, say, 90 minutes.

    We got to Epcot well before opening, and I managed to lose all my Annual Passes between the Epcot entrance gate and Soarin. I had to go to guest services to get them replaced, and by the time I got back to Soarin, the FP return window was late morning and there was a long stand-by wait. Bummer! If not for that mistake, we could have ridden two or three times without much wait (opening stand-by, FP return of 9:40, FP return of 12noon). As it was, we rode once, using Fast Pass, and by the time we were eligible for more FP tickets, they were gone for the day. I know we could have done the two hour wait, but that's just... not my style. It was my four-year-old's first time on Soarin, and she LOVED it ("I wanna eat that smell!") she would have loved to go again... Oh well, there's always next time.

    We had much better luck at Splash... my little one finally reached the magic "40 inches" (exactly, they checked her height every time, usually twice, and each time she said "YAY!!!!" So we were early birds who rode it stand-by twice first thing int he morning and FastPassed it three times... No BTMR right now (down for refurb) so it was Splash all the way... FUN!!! Speaking of Splash...

    While I was riding, I noticed everything seemed to be in excellent working order... animatronics working, mouths moving, shadow effect working, dialogue audible... everything looking fresh and perfect... and I thought that Kevin Yee's article on the subject must have had some impact... then we got to the room with the water-effects, and none of the water effects were working at all, including the turtle on their backs, they look impaled on daggers when the water isn't working...Bad show! But other than that rather big, glaring exception, the attraction was in MUCH BETTER shape than I had seen it in a very long time.

    Back to Epcot, the flower and garden festival is stunning. Everything was just beautiful, we really enjoyed just walking around, snacking, enjoying the beautiful day and beautiful surroundings.

    Thursday was Hollywood Studios for us. My girls are suddenly really "in to" Star Wars, which meant multiple rides on Star Tours... it really is cool that you get a different experience every time! We spent some time and money in the gift shop (would we be doing spending money in an "Avatarland" gift shop? Nope!)

    We did the Muppet 3d movie to kill time waiting for FP return. ((sighs)) That attraction really needs some help. The jokes just aren't funny anymore, it seems so tired and dated, and that 3d character-whats-its-name used to be funny, but now it's just annoying... I remember that theater being filled with laughter years ago and now it's just dead silence even though it was full of people.

    We had a fantastic meal at Prime Time Cafe. (I really didn't want to spend money on an expensive meal, but I was so danged sick of chicken nuggets and fries). I was able to walk in that morning and get reservations for 1:40. Our waiter played his part to the fullest... fun! Delicious food too.

    That's about it!

  • #2
    Re: March 13 14 15 at MK, Epcot, and HS

    Thanks for the report!


    Also, it was crowded because it's spring break season for colleges!


    Comment


    • #3
      Re: March 13 14 15 at MK, Epcot, and HS

      Glad to hear things are improving in Splash Mountain!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: March 13 14 15 at MK, Epcot, and HS

        I really enjoyed reading this Trip Report. It made me feel like I was there.

        Is it okay to ask you how much money you spent on the trip? I don't want to embarrass you or anything, but I have always thought that staying on property was too expensive for me. I don't make a lot of money and I have a lot of health problems so I can only afford to go to WDW every 4 years or so and I always try to stay somewhere as cheap as possible so I can afford to go to MK as much as possible (have never been to Epcot or HS).

        I am wondering how much Pop Century cost you per night?

        How much did you spend on food?

        How much did it cost to park?

        How much did you spend on souvenirs?

        I never can afford to buy things in the gift shop but I love looking at all the cool things they have for sale.

        I keep trying to understand how some people seem to be able to afford to go to WDW much more often than I do -- they must know a secret on how to do it more affordably!

        Can you update with your costs?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: March 13 14 15 at MK, Epcot, and HS

          Originally posted by DragoHarley View Post
          I really enjoyed reading this Trip Report. It made me feel like I was there.

          Is it okay to ask you how much money you spent on the trip? I don't want to embarrass you or anything, but I have always thought that staying on property was too expensive for me. I don't make a lot of money and I have a lot of health problems so I can only afford to go to WDW every 4 years or so and I always try to stay somewhere as cheap as possible so I can afford to go to MK as much as possible (have never been to Epcot or HS).

          I am wondering how much Pop Century cost you per night?

          How much did you spend on food?

          How much did it cost to park?

          How much did you spend on souvenirs?

          I never can afford to buy things in the gift shop but I love looking at all the cool things they have for sale.

          I keep trying to understand how some people seem to be able to afford to go to WDW much more often than I do -- they must know a secret on how to do it more affordably!

          Can you update with your costs?
          I don't think I'm going to be too much help:

          Pop Century was $130 a night, florida resident rate. Years ago, you could get it for much much less, not anymore!
          Parking included in my AP, so I don't know
          Food: I'm sure when I get the credit card bill I'm going to pass out, but I didn't keep a running tab. We did eat cereal each morning for breakfast (that I brought from home) right in the hotel room, and I brought a big jug of gatoraid into the park, and just asked for cups of ice at the counter-service places. You can save a lot of money that way, they really get you on those drinks.
          Souvenirs: My daughters got their own stuff with their own birthday/allowance money, so not sure there either.

          I do agree with you about staying somewhere as inexpensive as possible, so you can go more often, that is historically what I've done. Staying at Pop Century was a bit of a splurge, and boy did I like it! The preferred room made all the difference; it was great to stroll over to the food court for a quick bite at the end of a long day. The theming everywhere was sooo nice and made me feel like the whole trip was Disney-ish, not just daytime at the parks. The room was in excellent shape, really clean, and also themed; compared to off-site places with mold/mildew, loud AC units, leaky toilets, less-than-helpful staff, etc. I'm spoiled now, I'm going to want pop century again!

          Comment

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