welcome home stay: hip, hop ...

i<3riviera

🍷
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
all of this happened, more or less ...

with most of our prior vacations plans cancelled and our travel partners deciding to not come on our trip (higher risk group) we found ourselves in a position with too many points and too much time off; so began the idea to extend our welcome home stay into a go to every Walt Disney World DVC resort stay

after much availability stalking and shifting of plans, we secured at least one night in each of the Walt Disney World DVC resorts over the span of our ~month long vacation; there are a few longer stays in the mix but our journey begins with 12 resorts in 13 days (one being Pop Century) then just over a week at the consensus pick for best DVC resort (RVA) followed by several days each in AKV Kidani and OKW

in the words of the classical 1970s era lyrical magicians ...
Sugarhill Gang said:

we're not going to the parks until we get to RVA so the whole point of the first two weeks of the trip is to enjoy what each resort has to offer (mostly pools, food, and walking trails) and try to figure out what exactly we got ourselves into with this whole DVC thing; join us for the fun! well don't because that would be kind of awkward and our room is already full but feel free to read my trip report ... :D

getting to our welcome home stay
our first ever stay in a DVC resort started out with a bang blow thanks to hurricane delta; we added ~140 miles (2 hrs + 48 min) to our escape from reality to "go around" hurricane delta on Friday night by taking I-20 instead of I-10; yeah that plan worked wonderfully ...

I think the only improvement that driving I-20 vs. I-10 was slightly fewer times we thought we were going to get blown off the road or crushed by a tractor trailer; next time we'll try to avoid the forces of nature altogether by leaving before / after storms ...

we decided to take refugee in Jackson, MS after leaving the worst of the worst of the storm behind us; unfortunately, it seems everyone else had a similar plan and the entire city was full of folks avoiding the storm or utility workers coming to the area to help out; after asking at many hotels; we finally found a room in an Econo Lodge for 67.20 USD, easing our way into DVC style resorts

we got rolling again the following morning with an initial projection to arrive around 9pm at AKV Jambo; a few food (2x Cracker Barrel + Subway), restroom, and fuel stops gets you a midnight arrival; no worries, our only objective was to get to AKV Jambo to sleep, tomorrow begins the welcome home experience starting with SSR!

lessons learned
hurricanes / tropical storms don't make driving fun, especially at night​
boxes mounted on the top of vehicles for storage double as effective sails​
fuel is considerably cheaper not in FL so fill-up in AL if driving east​
Cracker Barrel food is amazing, not matter what the meal​
AKV Jambo lobby is breathtaking, especially a night when it's completely deserted​
by the numbers
1 night​
11 points​
1 resort​
0 park days​
 

i<3riviera

🍷
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
SSR
check-out of AKV Jambo went smoothly, the main obstacle to overcome was bringing in clothes to change into since the previous night we literally just walked from the car to the hotel room and went to sleep

as we were about to leave AKV Jambo, I realized I could do a mobile check-in for SSR and indicate an arrival time to hopefully get a room before 4pm; at ~10:30am I checked in for a 11am arrival but didn't hold out much hope so we decided to just pop over for brunch at whatever food we could find at SSR

after passing by RVA (first time seeing it in person!), OKW, and the treehouse villas, we finally arrived at SSR proper; we drove around a bit before parking in the springs area to walk to the main pool where we presumed there was food; thankfully, our presumption was right and we grabbed an outside table in front of The Artist's Pallet (still not into the whole indoors with other people thing) and got to mobile ordering

I have no idea what any of us ate but it was delicious; I could probably go back and check but I'm too lazy :P; I do remember we were slightly disappointed because the breakfast options looked great but by the time we got to order, poof, no more breakfast; so if SSR deserves any critique it's that they follow the standard, accepted transition of meals throughout the day

will full bellies and emptier wallets, we decided to take a stroll to the treehouse villas, one of the three main reasons to checkout SSR; we wouldn't be staying in one this trip but I expect we will in the future (if we can book them at 7 months) because they remind me of cabins we used to stay in during family trips to the TVA lakes in Tennessee; it was a nice stroll down past the grandstand area to the treehouse villas; we didn't explore too much, just checked out a few of them from the ground and saw the bus stop by the first group of them before deciding to turn back as there were some looming clouds

on the way back to the springs area we got an email and pop-up My Disney Experience notification that our room was ready! it was about 1:30pm so still way ahead of 4pm; given the breadth of SSR, we fully expected to walk back to our the springs and drive to our room but when checking out our room number we were in the grandstand mere steps away from where we were (still walking back from the treehouse villas); talk about good timing! we set up shop in the room and sent a scouting party (me) back to retrieve our vehicle while the rest of the platoon cooled off

my working theory is if I would have done the check in earlier than 10:30am, we would have been in a room much earlier; I checked in for the next week's worth of rooms when coming to this conclusion, all with arrival times of 11am, so I should be able to test out this theory ...

we spent the bulk of the rest of the afternoon enjoying the pool and splash pad in the grandstand area; it was probably the first break we had from all the bustle of travelling so it was exceptionally lovely; I think the combo of splash pad, hot tub, and pool all within line of sight was brilliant and was likely designed with absentee parents in mind; this checked the box for the second of three reasons to check out SSR, a good number of pools

dinner involved sending the scouting party back to the springs for more food from The Artist's Pallet; this time I remember having a salad (an attempt at health) and being amazed at how much they gave me! we also ordered yogurt parfaits to have for dessert but forgot about them and they were more cottage cheese parfaits by the time we got to them; don't worry, we only took about 1.5 bites between the five of us

the nightcap was a stroll over to Disney Springs, the third and final goal for our SSR stay; we left while the sun was still doing it's thing but returned under a cloak of darkness; I think I read someone theorizing that Disney Springs is going to be packed in the evenings for the foreseeable future due to the parks being closed earlier than normal, that person was wicked smart; we did a full loop of Disney Springs all the way over to La Nouba (god rest it's soul) before heading home; we did snap a few pics of the Lego / Disney art that was quite exquisite

we wound up back home at some point; I don't know what time it was exactly but we all agreed it was bedtime; we pulled out the transformer inspired sofa bed (quite different than what I was used to or what was at AKV Jambo) and collapsed into a deep slumber

SSR got a 10 out of 10 in our books as it gave us everything we wanted during our stay! tomorrow is finally our chance at The Artist's Pallet breakfast and the first in our ménage à trois of monorail resorts, BLT! see what time our room was ready and hear about our first Disney transportation experience ...

lessons learned
breakfast is served during normal breakfast times​
if you want to check in early, give the cast members more than 30 minutes notice if you want to be successful​
running around splash pads wears out children; this can be a good or bad thing​
when ordering multiples of one item for to-go, check you got them all (not knocking the cast members, sometimes an order with 4x parfaits the 4x gets overlooked)​
Disney Springs is popular in the evening; I feel like I should have known this one already ...​

by the numbers
2 nights​
23 points​
2 resorts​
0 park days​
2 hrs 27 minutes homeless​
1 pool complex visited​
2 mobile food orders​
 
  • i<3riviera

    🍷
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2020
    thanks @What-r-ya Goofy? and @DnA2010!

    BLT
    we had a fantastic breakfast from The Artist's Pallet before leaving SSR in the morning, it was pretty standard fare (croissants with eggs, cheese, and bacon) but we're pretty standard folks so it hit the spot!

    as we were getting the last of our bags into the car, My Disney Experience let us know our room at BLT was ready for us! I think My Disney Experience and I are going to be great friends by the end of this trip; we lucked out with a first floor room close to the pool, parking lot, and the main Contemporary building; a perfect combination for us! but yeah, giving more than 30 minutes does lead to better success with early check ins, who knew?

    when we walked into BLT, a cast member greeted us and asked us if we needed to check in (we had our bags with us so were pretty obvious) but we told them that we had done the online check in so were good to go; I think the cast member was a bit bored (it was waaaay before normal check in) so they invited us to come to the desk anyway, confirmed our room, and walked us through all the features of the resort; the cast member was quite thorough which was very nice!

    we dropped everything off in the room and the brave among us (me) took an adventure to the real world for provisions from Walmart; although I broke an axel, I was able to repair it and thankfully nobody died of dysentery; also, I paid for the ferry instead of risking fording the river myself, money well spent; stocked with supplies, the long journey up river reminded me how awesome having our own vehicle was

    once back at the only DVC property named after a sandwich, part of our party went exploring while the rest stayed back for a work meeting (shh, don't tell them it was from Disney World, just keep it at FL); at first we just wandered over to the main Contemporary building but after seeing the amazing Monorails, we had to hitch a ride!

    after finally figuring out how to get on the Monorail, I told a white lie ...
    cast member: where are you headed to today?
    me: ummm, the Grand Floridian?
    cast member: great, that's the 3rd stop!
    ... and we experienced our second temperature check; so far, so good! security was a breeze for us but the party in front of us had several laptops and portable chargers which made things fun; we weren't in a particular rush so no biggie but it was a good experience to have so that we knew to pack light whenever taking the monorail; we finally made it through security, up the escalator, and to a waiting Monorail! well, it waited a hot second before departing as we walked up to the boarding area; that's fine, we didn't want to ride the orange Monorail anyway!

    the cast members assured us it would only be two more minutes but since the whole objective of our adventure was to waste time, we weren't bothered; we had a great chat about nothing with the cast members, as you do, until the lime monorail (complete with blue chevron) arrived as promised; we lucked out and got a whole cab to ourselves; while pulling away from the Magic Kingdom stop, our work ridden travel companions texted that we were done so we were free to go to the pool; five stops later, we were back where we started having completed our first Disney transportation ride (to nowhere as the case may be) and the first of our three reasons to check out BLT

    a quick change in the room and off to the pool! we eased into the experience with some splashing and wading before going all our with swimming across the "deep" end; the splash pad was no where near as impressive as that of the SSR grandstand area so it held our attention for all of ten seconds; but the slide, THE SLIDE!!!! wow ...

    we spent the next several hours between the two pools with slides at BLT / the Contemporary, the adults supervising from the hot tub and / or shade; the conclusion was that the "blue slide" (at the Contemporary pool) was better because the water at the bottom wasn't as deep; I didn't fact check those claims as they seem suspicious but whatever works; reason two of three to visit BLT checked off!

    dinner was a Contempo burger and uncrustables (my favorite so far) for the adults and chicken nuggets / cheeseburger for the kids; I'm fairly certain our oldest will turn into a chicken by the end of the trip ... or whatever eats chickens ... or they'll cross the road a lot ... or come before eggs ... I don't know, but they eat a lot of chicken nuggets; I do strongly recommend uncrustables for anyone that has been a child at some point in their life; it was the perfect mix of peanut butter + jelly with a decent portion size if you're already gorged yourself on the day's earlier meals

    the evening ended with another leisurely walk around the grounds of the Contemporary / BLT complex; the path around the garden wing was our favorite part as it was very peaceful; it also brings back memories of when I stayed in the garden wing as a child (we couldn't afford the real Contemporary); we lost our youngest team member to the sandman during the walk which proved to be problematic later during actual bed time; with our brief jaunt complete, we also finished the third of three reasons to visit BLT (find a good walk) and headed off to bed ... well except for the baby that was now wide awake and ready to party because they had their nap ...

    BLT was another solid 10 out of 10; tomorrow is a harrowing journey to VGF after starting the day with a staple of The Wave!

    lessons learned
    cast members are super friendly and helpful, even more so if they have some free time :D
    with five stops, there are five Monorail trains on the resort line so the most you'll ever have to wait is the time between stations​
    water slides are awesome​
    walking up stairs for water slides also wears out children, again for better or worse​
    uncrustables are amazing​
    even futuristically brutalist resorts have pleasant areas for walks​
    don't let small children sleep in strollers right before bedtime or you will be up all night​

    by the numbers
    3 nights​
    38 points​
    3 resorts​
    0 park days​
    2 hrs 27 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
    3 pool complexes visited​
    4 mobile food orders (new favorite food discovered!)​
    1 trip on Disney transportation​
     

    suzy_q

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2020
    You have a nice comedic style--looking forward to hearing about the rest of your adventures!
     

    i<3riviera

    🍷
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2020
    thanks @suzy_q!

    VGF
    BLT check out was a breeze and I had snagged a parking spot a stone's throw away from our room so the luggage shuffle was pretty quick; we rounded off our stay at the Contemporary complex with a staple of The Wave, bacon and eggs! ok, well not THAT bacon and eggs because it wasn't on the mobile ordering app; yes I could have probably called and made a special request or ordered in person but that would have either required overcoming my fear of the phone monster or interacting face-to-face with other humans which I didn't particularly like pre-COVID-19 and sure as heck have an excellent excuse as to why I don't want to now

    so it was just your standard scrambled eggs and bacon with diced potatoes for two meals and sweet potatoes pancakes and bacon for the third; interestingly, we somehow got six orders of bacon, one in the box with the main and one on the side for each; I have no idea if I paid for the extra bacon but we removed all evidence of it's existence as quickly as possible ... though I guess highlighting that on the interwebs defeats the purpose?

    we won the early check in lottery again so made our way to VGF, in order to make the trip from BLT to VGF more magical, we convinced the kids the only way to get there was via Monorail; having recalled our lesson about Monorail security yesterday, we packed light and left almost everything in our vehicle; that is everything except for the computer charger cable that set off the metal detector; after finally making it through security, we hopped on the silver Monorail for our magical journey south, then east, then north again

    it's been about five years since I've been in the Grand Floridian lobby and I forgot how amazing it smells; it's overwhelming in only the positive sense of the word and I found myself lingering longer than I needed to as we traversed the vast expanse of the lobby; later on in the trip, I would go out of my way to ensure every journey included a trek through the nasal delights that are the Grand Floridian lobby; first of our three reasons to visit VGF complete!

    we were welcomed home from afar as we entered the back of the VGF lobby and headed down the main corridor to another first floor room; I noticed one of the two bedroom doors was open and what looked like DVC literature and DVC cast members setup inside; I knew they were touring a three bedroom at VGF with their new promotion but didn't know about the two bedroom; I had half the mind to ask if we could use the two bedroom for the night when they were done with the tours 8-)

    I headed back to BLT to retrieve our vehicle and caught the silver Monorail again; talk about good timing! for some reason, I kept trying to think of the most efficient way to get to the parking lot from the Monorail stop and nearly got myself lost in the Contemporary; I finally realized how silly I was and just took the bridge back to BLT and down to the parking lot from there considering how close our vehicle was to BLT; when my mind is bored, it does dumb things

    the inevitable trip to the pool commenced as soon as we got in our room and changed; we decided to start with the "boring" pool so that we would make sure to visit it; around mid-day it was virtually deserted which was nice if you wanted a lame aquatic experience but our stay was brief because we saw another SLIDE! heading back to the feature pool, we saw some cast members sweeping the water in the splash pad complex; we asked what was up and there were some issues with the water (persisted throughout the day) so they weren't open yet; thankfully the big kids slide was still flowing!

    our budding slide connoisseur deemed the VGF slide faster than either of the BLT slides and therefore the new favorite; at one point, my partner took away the baby for a diaper change or something ... I don't know, the details are fuzzy as I don't always listen well ... but it was made explicitly clear our two other heirs were henceforth in my charge and mine alone; so I put a life jacket on the slide doer and they were told to come say hi after every slide and cornered the less adventurous one in the drown free zone (zero entry) in the shade; parenting brilliance if I do say so myself

    several hours and slide trips later we checked off reason two to visit VGF and headed back to the room to try out some of the culinary delights of the Grand Floridian; we settled on Gasparilla Island Grill because we're cheap and were quite pleased with our selection, a chicken and brie sandwich (hold the chicken) and Impossible™ burger; the brie was amazing and the burger pretty awesome as well; sure the burger wasn't like a juicy beef burger but still good in it's own right; worth the try at least if nothing for curiosity ... like RVA I suppose 8-)

    after our meal, we headed to the three bedroom grand villa tour to check out the digs and were very impressed! the only thing that seemed a bit off was the main living area seeming a bit small, I assume because of the media room / 4th bedroom; looking at other floor plans, it seems others have three bays for the living area (and three for bedrooms) while VGF only has two for the living area (and four for bedroom / media rooms); guess it's just a different architectural style 🤷‍♀️; we left one RVA artwork richer!

    the end of the evening consisted of our third reason to visit VGF, a lovely stroll around the complex; it was quite nice including passing by the wedding pavilion and a foray into the Grand Floridian lobby to get one last hit for the day; we stopped at the Gasparilla Island Grill for take out dessert that was enjoyed by all; exhausted again, we slept well but had a missed opportunity I'll share more about tomorrow

    another 10 out of 10 for VGF makes it a turkey (bowling reference)! tomorrow is another trek on the Monorail to PVB (bonus points if you can guess the color!) where we experience a few firsts!

    lessons learned
    bacon is yummy​
    computer chargers have metal in them; metal detectors detect metal (shockingly)​
    the Grand Floridian lobby smells like heaven​
    effective parenting is keeping your children alive​
    the DVC grand villas are differently awesome in their own unique ways, maybe next trip we'll have to hop grand villas instead of studios ...​
    Disney quick service is pretty reliable for good food ... maybe not be particularly good for you (though I hear vacation calories don't count)​

    by the numbers
    4 nights​
    55 points​
    4 resorts​
    0 park days​
    2 hrs 27 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
    5 pool complexes visited​
    7 mobile food orders (extra one today for dessert)​
    3 trips on Disney transportation (all still Monorail)​
    2 DVC tours completed (missed mentioning 2 bedroom at BLT yesterday)​
     

    i<3riviera

    🍷
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2020
    thanks @SleeplessInTO!

    PVB
    breakfast from the Gasparilla Island Grill was a delightful mixed of croissants, eggs, bacon, and grits; the grits came with four additional butters in addition to the butter already in the grits; since we were moving again and there was a slim chance we wouldn't have access to a refrigerator, the only option was to douse my grits with all the butter provided, you know, to make sure it didn't go to waste

    we're working up to a bingo of early check ins with our PVB room being ready before checking out of VGF; I'm not going to count on this during the 50th next year but this has been pretty awesome for this trip! with us being gone for so long, we are doing some work while here and having the early check ins work out has made meetings much easier to schedule as we don't have a gap from 11am to 4pm; thanks Mickey!

    as we were leaving our room, we walked past the same two bedroom that was setup for tours yesterday and the DVC guide snared us with a promise of a fancy two bedroom tour with a side of RVA artwork; interestingly there were three guides in the two bedroom and only two in the three bedroom yesterday; as with the three bedroom, the two bedroom at VGF was very impressive; the curved eating area was fun as well!

    the option was given to walk or take the Monorail to our new hotel (PVB); after the votes were tallied, we made our way to the Monorail platform; this lead to one more opportunity for us to bask in the smells of the Grand Floridian lobby; I believe this was our team's 3rd temperature check (my personal 4th) and we passed with flying colors; I've yet to see what happens when someone fails the temperature check but I'm guessing there is a trap door that opens to Maleficent's dungeon; ok not really, it's just Jafar's; were were on the yellow Monorail this time for those keeping track

    the Polynesian resort is all out of sorts with the entrance to the main lobby blocked off; the temporary check in was co-located with ourselves in the Pago Pago building; we actually stayed in the room that John Lennon (with May Pang and Julian Lennon) stayed in when he was here 46 years ago on holiday and signed the final paperwork disbanding (pun intended) the Beatles ... is something that is not true (he was actually in what is now the Tonga building); side note: tomorrow (or yesterday depending on your timeline) I saw an imagine FL license plate on a car pulling into Walt Disney World

    we headed off to the feature pool via the boring pool (which we never set foot in for some reason) for a few pool side work meetings (defeating the purpose of the early check in) and to review the SLIDES! for the uneducated in the great world of slides, the Polynesian is blessed with no less than three slides of varying difficulty; one was perfect for our not-so-fearless one as it was all of a 3 foot drop (more like a slide at a playground), the second one was a new medium size category we hadn't tried before but was enclosed as something new and different, and the third one was a repurposed lava tube that meandered it's way through the Polynesian's volcano

    the enclosed medium sized slide was initially a challenge for our slide consultant as the darkness led to some anxiety; thankfully this was overcome and the cycle of slide, walk back to the top, and slide again continued for a good amount of time; our awkward middle child (best to have kids in even numbers) hung out on the little slide but I was set up for another parenting win because both our sliders could be monitored within the splash pad / play set complex

    after a bit of cajoling and two walks to the top and back down again, our eldest made their peace with life and took the plunge down the lava tube; we usually go as a successive pair with me heading down first to hang out at the bottom if needed; the expression on our eldest at the exit of the lava tube was once of uncertain and anxious joy; but when asked about going again, the answer was a resounding YES! the monsters in the lava tube continued to be a concern but we walked through how Moana had scared them off so all was well in the world

    another several hours of pool time was successfully on the books and we checked off the first reason to visit PVB so we headed back to our room for some tasty treats from Captain Cook's; we sprang for the pulled pork while the kids went with more standard kid's meal fare; the combination of sweet coleslaw and well prepared pulled pork was amazing and the unique chips were a nice touch! we said we were going to get more of the pulled pork because it was so delicious; we somehow forgot but the sentiment was there

    in order to get more RVA artwork check out more DVC options, we made out way to the bungalow open for DVC tours; it was pretty awesome inside and seemed like it would be a great place to stay! overall it was a bit small compared to the VGF three bedroom we just came from though I do recognize it's a different experience; the entertaining area felt about the same size; I'm sure I could check on a floor plan but I follow my feelings, not facts on these sort of things :P

    the day ended with a walk around the resort including a stop to grab DOLE Whip, one with rum and one without; the grounds of the Polynesian have been our favorite to walk around so far in large part to the jungle atmosphere and the torches in the evening; two reasons to visit PVB checked off in one adventure!

    as we settled in for bed, we remembered the kids bed tucked under the TV much to the excitement of our eldest! this was made for them obviously and became their bed; this was the missed opportunity at VGF, for some reasons we forgot to use this bed at VGF; I'll blame it on being high on lobby smells ...

    this whole DVC thing is working out well for us because we have yet another 10 out of 10 from PVB! tomorrow we're back at AKV Jambo for a two night stay to get some laundry done; what do you think the odds are that we're back in the same room we were on our first night?

    lessons learned
    the Grand Floridian lobby still smells great, even a day later​
    children never don't want to take the Monorail​
    pulled pork sandwiches at the Polynesian are among our new favorite foods​
    the feature pool at the Polynesian has slides for everyone and they're sized (small, medium, large) in a way to help budding sliders progress to the next level​
    if DVC guides give you RVA artwork after a tour it's rude not to accept it ... is what I tell myself to suppress the guilt of having so many​

    by the numbers
    5 nights​
    73 points​
    5 resorts​
    0 park days​
    2 hrs 27 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
    6 pool complexes visited​
    9 mobile food orders​
    1 regular food order (Pineapple Lanai)​
    4 trips on Disney transportation (all still Monorail)​
    4 DVC tours completed (VGF 2 bedroom + PVB bungalow)​

    edit: grammar
     
    Last edited:

    i<3riviera

    🍷
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2020
    AKV Jambo
    this will be two days in one post because we were at AKV Jambo for two days; it's been the same standard story of wake-up, swim, walk with food consumption sprinkled in ...

    we departed our last of the Monorail resorts via a more pedestrian four wheeled vehicle after stuffing our faces with some of Captain Cook's breakfast offerings; the wise among us went for the standard fare (bacon, eggs, potatoes) but I sprung for the Tonga toast; the Tonga toast was great for the first half and then progress slowed as the sugar coating had in quick order left my mouth toothless forcing me to gum at the remains of the toast; by the end I was in a full diabetic fit and stumbling through the long house in search of an insulin shot; I do actually recommend the Tonga toast, as long as you share it; I'm pretty sure I saw that recommendation somewhere (probably the disney food blog) but when I'm hungry I don't think clearly

    again with the winning on early check ins at AKV Jambo; it was also a treat as we ended up in the same room we were in on our first day; chances were 1 in 18 if you believe @Micah008 (I do); the location near the lobby was amazing since we needed access to our vehicle and we'll be in savanna view rooms soon enough (~two weeks) in AKV Kidani so we're not missing much

    we wandered around the complex a bit to see the digs and find out the best way to get to the AKV Kidani pool; on the way back we stopped by the front desk to ask which quick service was open because My Disney Experience seemingly erroneously didn't provide mobile ordering for anywhere but Sanaa; the helpful cast member shattered our dreams by informing us that the only options were Sanaa or the Maji Pool Bar which didn't have mobile ordering

    thankfully, being the Chick-Fil-A aficionado that I am, I knew there was off-site quick service with mobile ordering just outside the bubble; we loaded up with sweet tea (having fully recovered from the Tonga toast) and chicken in all shapes and sizes and headed back to the magic; this happened a further three times across the two days we were at AKV Jambo, Pizza Hut dinner, Cracker Barrel brunch, and Chick-Fil-A dinner again; tomorrow (check out) will be another round of Cracker Barrel breakfast considering how big of a hit it was today; and yes, my buoyancy seems to have improved in the time we've been on vacation

    the two days of pool trips were quite similar to each other; we figured out you can wait until that fiery ball in the sky turns off (or at least dims) before going to the pool to avoid melting; so both days we lazily got to the pool around 3-4pm and stayed through the late evening

    the slide at the AKV Kidani pool was another favorite! it was deemed the favorite of the trip so far because it was all swirly and pushed us side to side! I thought about using it as a teachable moment re: centripetal / centrifugal forces but figured physics can wait until first grade; plus with the time I've spent out of calculus and in spreadsheets / PowerPoint, I'd probably get something wrong; never the less, we thoroughly tested the slide over the course of a few hours and eventually regrouped with the rest of our party

    our eldest helped convince the middle one (not so big on slides) that the smaller slide in the AKV Kidani pool was made for her; having not yet used a slide that exited into a pool, the middle one wasn't so sure; but after a heavy dose of peer pressure, they finally made their way down the slide and into my arms (part of the deal) with an apprehensive grin; you could see the experience playing over in their head and once processed, a yelp of delight was released and a rush to do it again! we spent a solid hour doing the rounds on the slide but since there wasn't much in the way of a line, that meant way more trips than the eldest had on the bigger slide; the eldest was a trooper too as their mission was to always go behind the middle one to keep the slide-too-sooners at bay; so with the help of some solid peer pressure, we made progress up the slide seriatim!

    our trips to the pool were probably the most exhausting we've had due to the duration (un-inhibited by the sun) and activity level; on the second day, we swung by the AKV Jambo pool right outside our room for a few turns on the medium sized slide (eldest only) and a dip in the hot tub; the theory being that if we used the AKV Kidani hot tubs, the walk back to our room would be tortuous

    back on the first day, we made it on another tour, this time of the AKV Kidani three bedroom grand villa; while most of the other places we toured may never be somewhere we stay (more for point efficiency), we'll definitely figure out a way to stay at the AKV Kidani three bedroom grand villas; RVA is by far our favorite resort but AKV (either) is alone by a long shot in second place, mostly due to the animals; there will be many RVA / AKV split stays in our future assuming we can snag AKV at seven months (so far, so good)

    AKV was an 11 out of 10 and we weren't surprised one bit; yeah there was no quick service but as S. Truett Cathy always (or never) said, "when life give you lemons, turn it into fried chicken!"

    I forgot to mention one of the more interesting parts of this whole adventure (at least to me); being that each hop is a new reservation and we're a party of five; we had the opportunity to select 70 Magic Bands! however, we decided to tone it down a bit so we only got five RVA MagicBands (of course!), two additional special MagicBands, and three colored Magic bands keeping it to only 10

    I'll leave tomorrow as a surprise but it's a DVC resort we haven't stayed at yet and we're looking forward to it!

    lessons learned
    Tonga toast should come with a dental / medical plan​
    while not all in the same pool complex, AKV also has three levels of slides (like PVB)​
    the AKV Jambo pool has some weird islanding because of the fences everywhere; I had to swim across the pool to get towels at one point which was weird​
    the walk between AKV Kidani and AKV Jambo isn't short but it's also not so bad, just stay outside (don't cut through the hotel) if you're wet to avoid hypothermia​
    AKV has some great quick service options on 192​
    one AKV Kidani grand villa has two floors, three bedrooms, four bathrooms, five sinks (including kitchen), six TVs (making this one up), and seven sleeping surface (can hold 14 but capacity listed as 12)​

    by the numbers
    7 nights​
    93 points​
    5 resorts (unchanged)​
    0 park days​
    2 hrs 27 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
    8 pool complexes visited​
    9 mobile food orders​
    1 regular food order (Pineapple Lanai)​
    4 non-Disney mobile food orders​
    4 trips on Disney transportation (all still Monorail)​
    5 DVC tours completed (AKV Kidani three bedroom grand villa)​
    5 MagicBands picked-up (RVA)​
    25 MagicBands avoided​
     

    i<3riviera

    🍷
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2020
    BRV
    another win for Cracker Barrel breakfast on our way out of AKV Jambo! while the order was ~30 minutes later than promised, the quaint country store kept me occupied and the rest of the team was back home asleep; blue berry pancakes were a hit all around again; I predict more Cracker Barrel in our future when we're back at AKV Kidani

    BINGO!!! we nailed our 5th straight early check in with BRV 🙌; here's hoping we can keep the streak going!

    for some reason, I thought there was parking closer to BRV than CCV so I did several laps of the parking lot and roads in front of the Wilderness Lodge; I made a few wrong turns and practiced three pointers (still go it!) but never did find that mythical BRV parking; after looking at a map, I realized I was just crazy and must have been thinking of the cabin parking or maybe I'm just new to this whole thing ...

    I intentionally had us bypass the CCV lobby to save that experience in grandeur for another time; the kids got a kick out of the cement turning into boardwalk in front of the BRV lobby, the wheels on the suitcases were exceptionally loud! I was quite a fan of the aroma of lobby of BRV, it reminded me of the great lodges at some of the classic US national parks we've travelled to, kind of earthy like the trees making up the structure were still alive; my partner thought it smelled like a nursing home (I don't think that's a good thing but who knows)

    we all agreed the structure of the lobby was pretty neat; the main octagon was just big enough to be impressive from the ground level and when we got to our floor (4th) we really liked all the triangle of the support structure; the hallway to our room felt like something straight out of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; the cast member uniforms were great too! overall, we really thought the theming was spot on

    after unloading the covered wagon, we sauntered around the property to explore; we started off with a journey back to the lobby (we were the second to last room so it was a trek) and out the back door towards the pool; right as we exited, some among us (whom we won't name) decided they now needed to use the bathroom after being repeatedly asked if they needed to go before leaving; so back to the room (we hadn't discovered the BRV lobby restrooms yet) and an hour later we were back outside

    we aimlessly wandered towards the cabins and decided to find the eastern most end; the trail ended abruptly so we turned around and headed the other direction; we had great ambitions to do the DVC tour of the cabin but as we passed by, another family was going in; no worries, our back-up plan was surprising the girls with the geyser; the eruptions was about 10 minutes away (still on the hour) so we figured out an excuse to keep the kids on the boardwalk in front of the geyser

    when the geyser did it's thing, the kids were definitely surprised and ran to the fence to watch in amazement; unfortunately for our youngest member, they had fallen asleep during in the stroller so the surprise of the hissing water / air combo was a bit more dramatic; I think there may have been something slightly off with Fire Rock Geyser as the water to air ratio tended more towards air and the water peaked out at what looked like only a few feet; comparing it to some pictures / videos from the interwebs, we had a different experience; one big plus from our version was there was a thick mist that washed over the observation area that helped cool off the searing heat of mid-day

    figuring we'd given the other family enough time, we made our way back to the DVC tour cabin that was thankfully vacant; the cabins are really neat and I could see wanting to stay in one on a special occasion; between the bungalows and cabins, I think we gave the cabins a slight edge because of the screened in porch and coziness factor of being tucked in amongst the trees; the hot tub in the cabins was pretty sweet too; at some point in the tour, the guide showed the kids how to change the color of the fireplace so they spent the rest of the time exploring the rainbow; it worked out pretty well because they were distracted while we were talking to the guides; the guides mentioned they get ~40 families a day through the cabin so the tours (of the cabin at least) seems to be popular

    we continued on to the end of the cabins and confirmed there were indeed 26 of them before heading back inside to the A/C via the closest door; next-up was a bit of relaxing and a late lunch from Roaring Fork; after how amazing Captain Cook's pulled pork was, we had to try our Roaring Fork's! it was still very good but more traditional pulled pork vs. the unique flavor of Captain Cook's; the kids meals were pretty standard fare; being able to do on-site quick service via mobile order was also a nice plus we didn't realize we'd appreciate as much as we did

    full with fixings and appropriately rested, we headed to check out the pools; the splash pad / play area looked pretty awesome when we walked by earlier so this was locked in as our first destination; the middle one felt at home in the small slide and the eldest and I spent most of our time being victims of the barrel of water; I think one of my favorite parts of the splash pad / play area was there was really no where safe to stand; with buckets, barrels, and canons everywhere, you really had to be careful; it also provided a great opportunity if some in your party weren't quite aware of their surroundings and were willing to stand where you told them to; sure it might lead to trust issues later but it was totally worth it!

    both slides in the splash pad / play area were rated as acceptable but our eyes were on the big SLIDE since we walked in the pool complex; the eldest suited up in her life jacket and we made our way up the ramp for another in a series of performance tests; it wasn't quite as long as the slides we had gotten used to and was a bit less turny than AKV Kidani's but it still did the trick! being shorter, it also benefited from faster green lights which kept the wait time down to almost nothing; definitely another great slide!

    we finished off the day with a trip to the Mercantile for some replacement sandals and provisions for dinner; the eldest's sandals had delaminated and were flopping more than they were designed to; there were some sweet kids Crocs in the Mercantile with the only downside being that they lit up; the packaging said the battery wasn't replaceable so we're just encouraging the kids to take extra steps to wear them out; and yes, we did get the middle one Crocs to so as not to cause issues; with the 30% for DVC going on right now, the Mickey pricing was virtually negated so it was better than driving offsite to pick-up replacement sandals; dinner was a microwave pizza, donuts, dibs, and something else unhealthy that I can't remember; we weren't entirely bad parents, we just had a late lunch ... is what we tell ourselves

    the eldest picked-up on the fact that there was another fold down bed in the room but it took us a good 30 minutes to figure out how to get it down; the PVB ones (both in our room and the bungalow we toured) just folded down when you pulled them; but the BRV ones had this weird table-like growth on the front and the bed wouldn't budge no matter where I pulled or prodded; finally we discovered the buttons you had to push to unlatch the bed; not so hard once you know the trick; based on the state of the hardware on the outside (pull handles, brackets supporting the table, metal bar to the ground) I had a feeling I wasn't the first one to have issues with getting the bed down and others may have taken a more forceful approach ...

    holy cow, the pull out sofa bed was something unique as well! I thought the transformer sofa beds (apparently designed specifically for Disney) were weird but wow, pulling the strap on the back of the sofa was a whole new experience; it was crazy to see the back cushion coming out at me and then collapsing on itself and diving under the bed; I don't know, maybe I'm just boring but I'm used to the ones with the single middle handle that you pull up and then fold out the end of; so far, only AKV Jambo has had what I think of as normal pull out sofas and interestingly enough they were Ethan Allen ones; I'm pretty sure the RVA murphy beds are going to blow my mind

    BRV is another 10 out of 10! I think my favorite part of the experience was remember that Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman existed, now I just need to find out where I can stream it from; I bet you can't guess where we'll be tomorrow ...

    lessons learned
    the Wilderness Lodge parking = CCV parking = BRV parking​
    BRV theming is pretty awesome​
    geysers don't age well (at least pneumatic ones)​
    splash pads / play areas are not safe for adults who want to stay dry-ish​
    there are 26 cabins and they look amazing​
    Mickey pricing -30% ≈ normal pricing​
    not all sofa beds were created equal​
    Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman was an awesome show and you should watch it​

    by the numbers
    8 nights​
    109 points​
    6 resorts​
    0 park days​
    2 hrs 27 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
    9 pool complexes visited​
    10 mobile food orders​
    1 regular food order (Pineapple Lanai)​
    5 non-Disney mobile food orders​
    4 trips on Disney transportation (all still Monorail)​
    6 DVC tours completed (CCV cabin)​
    5 MagicBands picked-up (RVA)​
    30 MagicBands avoided​
     

    i<3riviera

    🍷
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2020
    thanks @linco711!

    CCV
    Roaring Fork breakfast was a hit; the kids had Raisin Bran and worfuls (also known as waffels) and we had the bagel sandwich and steel-cut oats; I've always preferred iron-cut oats but didn't taste much of a difference with the extra carbon; we also treated ourselves to pain au chocolat which out west is known as a chocolate croissant; it was a smart move to have breakfast on our balcony because sharing chocolate filled pastries with a powder sugar coating proved to be a messy affair

    our streak of early check ins came to an end with CCV; the BRV to CCV was a good place for this to happen as all we had to do was load up the vehicle with our luggage and hit up the pool; they day was a bit overcast so it was a bit cooler than it had been and was super pleasant all day long

    the splash pad / play area was another big hit for the day; we bounced between the two pools for most of the day but definitely spent the majority of our time in splash pad / play area; the hot tub and zero entry portion of the BRV pool was also a pretty good setup because we could be relaxing in the hot tub while watching the kids play in a safe enough area; my personal favorite was the river entry to the CCV / Wilderness Lodge pool; I would take turns carrying our two non-swimmers there and letting them play in the rocks right by the pool, not entirely sure how far up river you're allowed but we only went a few feet in and never got yelled at so I think we were fine

    we didn't really use the big pool slide very much the second day, just a handful of time with my coaxing; overall I think the slide ranked as adequate but the whole dual pool complex was definitely a team favorite because the overall average experience for everyone was higher!

    around 4pm, we started checking My Disney Experience more often and still we waiting for our room; we thought maybe we would check at the front desk to see if maybe they were holding off on giving out rooms until folks actually came in the lodge; CCV and BRV seemed very busy so I wouldn't have been surprised if they were; after we talked to the cast member at the front desk, we were set with our room! who knows if it was a coincidence or not but also who cares? my partner did think the cast member was stalling a bit but I thought they were just being friendly; though when we got to our room, it did smell like it has been just recently been sanitized; we were homeless from 11am to just about 4:30pm but barely noticed it

    special note: another person seemed to be having a similar homelessness issue as we did; they also approached the front desk at the same time we did but took a different, more forceful approach with their cast member; their results were also different from our own (still no room available for them); I don't know if their approach and their results were related but it certainly felt karmic ...

    our CCV room was great, we had a first floor room again with a walk out to the BRV pool; I had some fun going to rescue our luggage from the heat because when I came back, I creepily knocked on the sliding glass door; my partner thought I was knocking on the regular door (as normal people do) and go up to answer it, looking quizzically down the hallway in both directions; only once back in the room were my manic grin and frantic waving seen 😁 👋

    the room seemed somehow bigger than BRV but I don't know if that's actually true; the non-carpet flooring that extended to the table area in front of the pull out sofa was great because it lessened the guilt about being messy eaters (can't have crumbs in the carpet if there is no carpet); I apologize in advance for anyone that owns at any of the fully carpeted DVC resorts at Walt Disney World as we may have single handedly increased your dues for next year ...

    they style of CCV was also quite different than BRV's; I'm sure part of it is CCV is the second newest and BRV is on the refresh schedule in the very near future; CCV felt more like a modern western experience you might see in someone's newly built cabin in Jackson, Wyoming or Lake Tahoe whereas BRV felt more like US national park lodges from the late 19th or early 20th centuries; both great experiences and it's good to have diversity in DVC, make's it more fun to visit each other's homes

    dinner was another reliable Roaring Fork experience where I went with another kid's uncrustables meal; we splurged on dessert, three Mickey brownies and a pain au chocolat chocolate croissant, and then I was off to do laundry, a task we hadn't accomplished during our AKV Jambo stay (laziness) but our re-use of clothes (uncleanliness) also lets us stretch our wardrobe a bit further

    the laundry room had laundry soap for 1 USD (as well as dryer sheets if you use them); the machine was credit or debit so I swiped my go to credit card; unfortunately it didn't work; I cycled through the five cards I had in my wallet and only one payment actually worked; it only worked once though so I think it was a fluke; also, I still haven't seen a charge on my credit card for 1 USD so I'm not sure it actually did work; my theory is the machine wasn't able to phone home which led to the issues; thankfully a quick trip to the front desk solved my problem; the cast member (same one that gave us our room) was able to hook me up with a liquid soap that was good for two loads

    I spent laundry time writing the BRV post and catching-up on other things; by the time I got back home, the sandman had wiped out the rest of the team; I was barely able to squeeze into the spot left on the pull-out sofa between the two older kids; but I knew it would be like Christmas the next morning for everyone with fresh, clean laundry tucked away under the tree!

    CCV was a definite 10 out of 10 again! I've heard both are competitive to book at seven months so we might not be back for a while but maybe we'll get lucky again one year!

    tomorrow we stay in one of the 2042 resorts that starts with a B, it's a DVC favorite with lots of people singing it's praise; it's also on Crescent Lake; I'll give you two guesses ...

    lessons learned
    Mickey worfuls (waffles) are better than I expected​
    pools are greats ways to kill time if you can't check in​
    if you don't have a room by your expected arrival time, consider dropping by the front desk and having a friendly chat with a cast member​
    CVV ≠ BRV and that's a good thing for both resorts!​
    laundry is fun with several washers / dryers, quicker too!​

    by the numbers
    9 nights​
    124 points​
    7 resorts​
    0 park days​
    6 hrs 55 minutes homeless (added a lot of time today but barely noticed)​
    10 pool complexes visited (didn't go to BRV's pool yesterday)​
    13 mobile food orders (third today was dessert)​
    1 regular food order (Pineapple Lanai)​
    5 non-Disney mobile food orders​
    4 trips on Disney transportation (all still Monorail)​
    6 DVC tours completed (didn't re-visit the cabin)​
    5 MagicBands picked-up (RVA)​
    35 MagicBands avoided​
     

    i<3riviera

    🍷
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2020
    BCV
    another solid breakfast from Roaring Fork; the offerings there seem to be a perfect match for what we're looking for so it's been one of our favorites so far; after the easy task of cleaning up (thanks to the non-carpet floor) we packed up and headed to BCV; it was getting onto 11am at this point and still no room but we figured we'd just hang out at the pool, I hear it's ok ...

    we got to BCV and parked by the villas (off to the left) and had a team pow wow; since our youngest had left us for sleepy land, our room wasn't ready yet, and it was raining / overcast, we decided to just drive around to give the littlest a bit more of a nap; I don't know exactly where we went (we've avoided using GPS as much as possible to have the fun of getting lost and aimlessly wandering) but I do remember seeing the warehouses on property that I assume keep the beast running; it would be pretty interesting to get a behind the scenes tour of Walt Disney World some time to see how everything works (like logistics, Monorail maintenance, food prep, etc.)

    upon getting back to the BCV entrance, I thought I'd be smart and use the MagicBand gate entrance for returning guests; well, since we didn't have a room yet, the MagicBand reader didn't recognize us as returning guests; thankfully the guard was the same one we talked to before and he recognized us so opened the gate (after telling us the reason it didn't work); good thing to remember for the future!

    I decided to try my go-to-the-front-desk-to-let-them-know-you're-here plan to see if that helped the room come any quicker; which the cast member didn't have a room yet (no biggie) she did note that we were at BCV and said it shouldn't be long; the crew hopped out and started exploring while I took the vehicle to park in the parking lot; by the time I parked (~10 minutes after talking to the front desk), I got a ding and our room was ready! I grabbed the bags and headed up to our room to surprise the team with our room!

    I easily spotted them in the lobby (we're a bit of a circus) and we made our way to the fourth floor; we remarked on how great the lobby smelled at the Beach Club resort as we passed through; personally I thought the Grand Floridian was better but my partner was more of a fan of the Beach Club; both nasal winners in our books!

    when we got to the room, I asked our eldest to try out their MagicBand on our door, red lights ... weird, I was just here and our luggage is inside; ok, my MagicBand ... red lights again! I've seen solid green (unlocked door), flashing green (read error), and flashing orange (locked from inside) but we haven't seen red this trip, what did I do?!

    checking My Disney Experience again it seems our room was actually on the 5th floor; huh, I was certain I took our bags into this 4th floor room; checking my email, we actually had two separate rooms at BCV, I guess you could say we were upgraded to a two bedroom of sorts ...

    in reality, it looks like we were given one room assignment, I moved my bags in the room, then we were given a different room assignment (22 minutes later); I wonder if my visiting the front desk confused things; a quick trip to the BCV lobby and they sent a runner over to help me break into our now former room to grab our luggage; the 5th floor view was slightly better so we considered it an upgrade of sorts; I just feel bad that they had to sanitize the 4th floor room again that I was only in momentarily

    we were famished by the experience and the weather was still no bueno so we grabbed some grub from the Beach Club Marketplace; the kids were on hot dog withdrawal so they were very pleased to hear that was an option! there was some outdoor seating (complete with high chair) just outside in the covered walkway back to the villas; we setup shop and devoured our meals; the different kinds of macaroni and cheese at Beach Club Marketplace provide some interesting and tasty options if you're interested

    my partner and the youngest stayed back for a work meeting (partner's not the youngest's) and we three musketeers made our way to the one, the only, Stormalong Bay! I think this was probably one of the parts of the trip I was most looking forward to; we kept most activities a surprise for the kids and I knew they were going to love this pool; a thunderstorm had just passed (while we were eating) so when we got to the entrance, there was still ~10 minute wait for the pool to open; we took an extra bathroom break each and bonded with another family that had also driving through hurricane delta but more wisely left a day earlier and avoided most of it

    the cast member gave the all clear and we headed into the pool to find the sand bottomed pool; the eldest jumped right in and got to playing in the sand but the middle one was still a bit fearful of the water depth; I knew that it was only ~2 feet deep and would be easy to wade through but they weren't so sure; so we spent the first 30-60 minutes walking around the various parts of the pool so they could get a sense for it; worked a treat because by the end of it, the middle one was fearlessly wandering every square centimeter of the pool

    the three of us to a quick trip around the lazy river; the youngest wasn't quite having it (despite being in a life vest and on a raft) so we moved back to the sand bar; the river wasn't quite as quick as other one's I'd been in but I think that was more because my floating companions didn't really have much of their bodies in the water; I was swimming next to them and seemed to get pushed considerably faster so I think the jets that move the water are just a bit lower

    at some point, the youngest was deposited with us (too loud for meetings) so we all played in the pool for a few hours making sand castles, star fish, and orange fish (the kind of fish you make with an orange fish-shaped sand toy); the pool was relatively empty the whole time (the parks were still open) and everyone was doing great keeping distance; all the kids at the pool did a good job keeping decent space from each other; we're frequenters of play grounds and have noticed that kids do a pretty good job of still playing with each other even while giving space; Stormalong Bay was very similar

    when the work meetings were finished and we were back up to a full basketball team; we moved on to explore more of the pool; the eldest and I found the slide exit but couldn't figure out how to get onto it; finally after asking a cast member, we learned the trick, you go outside the main pool, across the walking path, and up the spiral stair case ... what?! I had a feeling this was going to be awesome

    I was a bit worried the eldest wouldn't quite be up for it but they were ready to go! we made our way over and up and saw the magnificence that was the SLIDE!!! I went first to be at the bottom when she arrived; my style is more lay down, arch back, fast as possible and the eldest's is more sit-up and enjoy the ride; when the eldest came out, I knew from their expression we were headed down the slide several more times ...

    we ended up switching order a few times and I noticed even with the cast member prescribed spacing, I would essentially come out of the slide a few moments after the eldest because of our different speeds; I also came out with a big splash which at least once gave the eldest a bit of mouth water which wasn't ideal; so if you're going down with a slower slider, you might either slow down yourself or take your time at the top to give more space

    thoroughly spent for the day, we ordered some more food from the Beach Club Market place and sat at our same table; the day was topped off with a chocolate dessert and some tiramisu followed by a thorough sleep!

    I partially expected this but wasn't quite sure, BCV was another 11 out of 10 (on par with AKV in our books)! the difference between BCV and AKV for us is I don't know when we'll be back because BCV is a bit competitive at 7 months; but we'll take the odd day that we get here and there!

    tomorrow is that other B resort in the area!

    lessons learned
    Walt Disney World is massive​
    MagicBands don't work for getting into parking until you have a room assignment, the security cast member will still let you in if you have a reservation but you need to chat with them​
    there are many awesome lobby smells at the various DVC resorts​
    the new non-adjacent two bedroom options are non-ideal if you want access to your luggage :p
    macaroni and cheese can be topped by many wonderful things​
    Stormalong Bay is more amazing than you expect it to be​
    we have a new winner in the slide race ...​

    by the numbers
    10 nights​
    139 points​
    8 resorts​
    0 park days​
    8 hrs 12 minutes homeless (took a drive during our homelessness today)​
    10 pool complexes visited​
    16 mobile food orders​
    1 regular food order (Pineapple Lanai)​
    5 non-Disney mobile food orders​
    4 trips on Disney transportation (all still Monorail)​
    6 DVC tours completed​
    5 MagicBands picked-up (RVA)​
    40 MagicBands avoided​
    edit: typos
     
    Last edited:

    i<3riviera

    🍷
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2020
    Stormalong Bay BWV

    the Beach Club Marketplace had some solid options for breakfast; just your typical eggs and bacon type fare but a great start to the day; we headed to Stormalong Bay shortly after breakfast and loading up our luggage in our vehicle; entering the pool was a bit more of a process today with scanning of MagicBands (yesterday was just, "what hotel are you in?") but it was also early in the day so it makes sense

    bet you can't guess where our first stop was ... the sand pool! we got there a little after 11am and it was pretty busy; nothing crazy but way more than yesterday; again, folks were doing pretty well with physical distancing; there were several sand toys (buckets, shovels, sand shapers, etc.) that were on the sand bar; I figured out later that they were Mickey's put there for folks to play with, nice touch!

    two minutes before homelessness (11am) we received our BWV room assignment; maybe this is the beginning of a new streak! the funny thing is, we didn't even step foot on the BoardWalk until the early evening; whoops, I guess we should have thought that through ...

    after a few hours in Stormalong Bay, I asked the eldest if they wanted to go on the big slide; surprisingly, there was little interest; it had more to do with the game of covering the rocks with sand and less to do with her judgement of the slide; no worries, I took it as an opportunity to do some additional solo slide research and went down the slide myself several times

    about an hour before we were to leave, the eldest decided she was game for more sliding; the daytime slide experience was just as amazing as the nighttime one yesterday, the eldest always came down beaming looking for the pool exit to go again! after several more turns, we headed back through the pool to collect the rest of the party; one game the eldest and I created was we always had to swim under the string across the pool (I assume volleyball related) and the bridge; unfortunately, I went a bit to deep under the bridge and scratched up my knuckles pretty good; it was a good thing we were getting out of the pool!

    after comparing the mobile order dining options at the BoardWalk and the Beach Club, we decided to go with the Beach Club again; we headed back to our special table by the Beach Club Marketplace and saw our friendly cast member friend we met yesterday that was in the area keeping it up; the kids all said hello and told the cast member about our adventures in Stormalong Bay; late lunch was some more good eats from the Beach Club Marketplace, hot dogs were again a hit!

    as a special treat, we splurged on ice cream from Beaches and Cream; we went for a Fudge Mud Slide with mint chocolate chip ice cream split five ways; definitely a great option! we only used the to-go window but had no problem ordering the sundae; every last bit was consumed, mostly by the two eldest kids

    we hit-up the two bedroom BCV DVC tour and it was pretty awesome, I would definitely stay in one if we can find availability; we also went by the BWV DVC tour after making our way across; also a great option if we can book it!

    we made our way by foot to the BoardWalk; being our first time to BWV, we had some trouble figuring out how exactly to get up to our room; we had spent the points for a BoardWalk view (we had 5 spare points we had to use) so we were able to narrow down where exactly our room was; the trouble was, we couldn't figure out how to get from the BoardWalk to the villas; after much wandering, we finally found an elevator that took us up to the second floor where our room was; later on, we realized that many of the openings we thought were ways in were in fact ways in but most were one way (I assume for safety)

    the evening ended with a stroll on the BoardWalk and some Chick-fil-A (we were craving it and needed to move our vehicle anyway); once everyone headed to bed, the eldest and I setup shop in the secondary lobby in front of our room (the little two story thingy by the BoardWalk views); I worked on things for a few hours (including a trip report) while the eldest played doctor with her stuffed doggy and turned a paper straw wrapper and small stick into a roasted marshmallow she fed her stuffed doggy (potentially a cure for whatever ailed it); at some point, we pulled together two of the chairs in the sub-lobby and made a bed for doggy and the eldest while I finished-up; the eldest was knocked out almost right away (the Stormalong Bay effect) and slept their soundly until I called it a night

    BWV was definitely another 10 out of 10; we didn't spend a tremendous amount of time at BWV but liked the setup and were looking forward to the walk to Epcot tomorrow for our first park day!

    lessons learned
    one day is not enough for Stormalong Bay​
    parts of Stormalong Bay are knuckle scraping shallow where you might not expect them to be​
    the walk from BCV to BWV is remarkably short, not quite BRV to CCV short but still easy to do​
    there are many ways out of BWV but only a few into BWV​
    parking is a bit confusing at BWV (I think due to the convention center parking area)​
    BWV BoardWalk view rooms are pretty awesome, I can see why they are more points​
    the hidden special second lobby / nook at BWV is a great place to hang out​
    by the numbers
    11 nights​
    154 points​
    9 resorts​
    0 park days​
    8 hrs 12 minutes homeless (unchanged)​
    10 pool complexes visited​
    18 mobile food orders​
    2 regular food order (Pineapple Lanai, Beaches and Cream)​
    6 non-Disney mobile food orders​
    4 trips on Disney transportation (all still Monorail)​
    8 DVC tours completed​
    5 MagicBands picked-up (RVA)​
    45 MagicBands avoided​
     

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