Here Now!

How was your stay at Riverside? Leave your comments or full trip reports here. Photos welcome.
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This forum is for Port Orleans RIVERSIDE Trip Reports, not for general questions. Please try to keep your reviews relevant, informative and useful to other visiting families. Thanks!
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MardiGroggy
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Here Now!

Unread post by MardiGroggy » November 28th, 2013, 3:53 pm

Arrived early. Smooth early check-in. Got the building we wanted (Magnolia) but had to take 3rd floor. Elevators, so no problem.

MB's working well so far. Haven't been to any parks yet, though.

Bed is plain white, except for throw pillow. Room has fridge.

Dinner res. @ Boatwrights for Thanksgiving dinner.

Pool bar closed, so River Roost open early. Have seats by the fire. Life is good!

Happy Thanksgiving to all.
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

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MardiGroggy
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by MardiGroggy » November 28th, 2013, 11:57 pm

We had early ADR @ Boatwrights. Good thing, as it got crowded later. Thanksgiving dinner special was very good--turkey with the usual sides.

YeeHaw Bob his usual energetic self. Started his Christmas music tonight. Awesome!

BIG Christmas tree In main lobby. Other decorations also, including lots of pointsettias. Nice, but not overdone.

John, CM/server @ River Roost Lounge obviously loves his work and is always a joy to interact with. Always good to see him when we return. Recommend that you take the time to talk with him when you stop in for refreshments.

Not as crowded today as I was expecting. I'm sure that will change.

That's it for day one.
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

ethicaladdict
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by ethicaladdict » November 29th, 2013, 5:40 pm

Thanks for the update SWD!! And if you have a chance to post pictures, we'd love that too!! :D

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MardiGroggy
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by MardiGroggy » November 29th, 2013, 10:51 pm

Wish I could, but I am photographically challenged. Words are the best I can do right now.
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

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MardiGroggy
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by MardiGroggy » November 30th, 2013, 12:17 am

Spent the day @ DHS. MB's worked just fine for park entry, FP+ and all food charges. There does have to be direct contact with the reader, and some are fussier than others about Mickey's orientation vis a vis the reading unit. How you wear it on your wrist affects this. I already have a watch on my left wrist, so I'm wearing MB on my right. This make some contacts difficult, especially the room lock. No big deal, but it takes a little planning/practice.

Busses are crowded, but seem to be running on schedule, both directions.

Stopped to listen to Tom Casey @ FQ on the way home. Good musician, but not the same as Elliot.

Thats about all that pertains to PO for now.
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

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MardiGroggy
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by MardiGroggy » December 1st, 2013, 7:15 pm

Well, we wrapped up the weekend and are now back home.

First of all, please excuse my cryptic typing in the earlier posts, but that was about all I could manage on my "smart phone." (My previous not-so-smart phone had a rotary dial. ;) ) Also, I'm sorry, but I have not learned how to attach photos here yet, and I really didn't take any anyway. We were having too much fun!

Here are a couple of final observations that pertain, more or less, to POR or items that some of you may have asked about.

The blankets, in addition to being bland in appearance, are THIN. We asked for an extra, but still ended up using our own that we brought along--for just such a situation. If they are going this route, then they certainly should be using the comforter style duvets, not this blanket sandwich arrangement. And I still find it hard to believe that Disney couldn't "imagine" something appropriately themed for the different rooms/resorts. :roll:

I can't say if all of the rooms have refrigerators now, but ours in Magnolia did.

Our MB's worked just fine, but as I said earlier, they are finicky about their orientation and contact with the various readers. Even some of the CM's were still trying to figure them out, especially the mobile "devices" used by servers, vendors, etc. In one restaurant the CM/server scanned the wrong bill with my band and it took about 10 minutes for them to figure out how to void and reenter the correct info. The standard answer for any glitches is: "The system is still in the testing phase." I finally figured out that by wearing the MB as loose as possible on my wrist that it was easier to maneuver it into proper orientation with the readers. It can take two hands that way, but it worked better, especially at our room lock. Although it is not strictly required, or the same with all readers, I started calling it "ears-to-ears" contact, as some readers didn't seem to like angles or upside down Mickey. Eventually I think they should offer alternate devices, since they are apparently planning on doing away with the old KTTW cards. At check-in they did issue those also, "while the system is still in the testing phase." Maybe a choice of a pendant, or even a "Magic Mickey Ring" would be possible alternatives. Or maybe the readers could be a little more sensitive and read the band at slightly more than contact distance, to allow for some "Kentucky Windage?" One place I did not try the bands was for the resort entry gates. We used the bus system, so I'm not sure how getting the wrist with the band in the correct position plays out if you're driving. Of course, you can always take it off and hold it in your hand, like I did several times at our room lock. Just thinking out loud here. Overall, it seems like a convenient system and I'm sure it will be here to stay.

Speaking of the buses, they seemed to be running pretty much on schedule. They were standing room only most of the time. We spent Saturday evening at MK and left right after the fireworks. We got on the second bus that left from the Transportation Center right after that. We timed it just about perfectly, as there were a BUNCH of folks who were still in line as we were leaving. Probably 3 or 4 bus loads, and more people queuing up. I'm sure their bus wait stories will be different from ours. We seemed to catch the breaks this time and never waited longer than about 20 minutes anywhere. Less most of the time. If you don't mind the walk, it is often easier to get a bus back to POFQ and walk over to POR when things get crowded.

I'll mention Yehaa Bob again, as his shows were his usual manic excellence. As I said earlier, he started with his Christmas songs this weekend, and those of you who know him can imagine the orchestrated pandemonium that ensues when he does "The Twelve Days of Christmas," what with all the "maids-a-milking, swans-a-swimming, lords-a-leaping," etc. Utter (or maybe udder) chaos, but what great fun!! :D You just can't hide, or sit still, when Bob gets wound up!!! Fortunately, CM John (who I mentioned in my earlier post), kept us supplied with wine and Mint Juleps, so we could "cope with the chaos." Don't miss Bob! But you might want to bring noise protection and steel-toed shoes. :P

Everyplace was decked out for the holidays, and particularly there were thousands of poinsettias everywhere. Pots full, flower beds full, trees made from them. My wife loves them, so she was quite happy checking them all out. There are BIG trees in all the resorts we checked out (POR, POFQ, WL, GF). The tree at WL and the gingerbread house at GF were every bit as amazing as reported by others. Well worth the time to make the side trips to check them out.

There were other interesting things, some good and some not, but since they don't pertain to PO, I won't bore you with them here. Overall it was an "E Coupon" weekend.

Thanks for listening. I hope this helps you plan for and/or enjoy your visits.
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

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reader562
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by reader562 » December 1st, 2013, 10:45 pm

Thanks swd for your reports. We're close to our 60 day mark and can't wait for our first stay at POR!

Hey_Hey_CKay
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by Hey_Hey_CKay » December 2nd, 2013, 1:19 pm

We are only 6 days away from POR and your report is getting me more excited than I already was (if that's possible?)! :D

I am SO ready to test the MagicBands. I have our Fastpass+ times set and dining reservations done. Did you depend on the My Disney Experience app on a phone to keep track of your FP+? Or did you have everything written out (cheatsheet)?

Also, you brought up a good point about using the MagicBands at the entrance gate. We will be driving a couple times while there and will 'test' them at the gates.

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MardiGroggy
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by MardiGroggy » December 2nd, 2013, 5:38 pm

While I did have hard copies of the various confirmations, except for the FP+ times, I never used them for anything. I kept track of everything using the MDE app on my iPhone. It was a piece of cake, including making changes for ADRs and some of the FP+ times.

Just remember, MBs work best with "ears-to-ears" contact orientation. Other than that, there were no glitches from our side of the program. The CMs seem to like the opportunity to welcome you by name, which appears on their monitor when you use the band. I'm sure they are trained to do that, but still, the CMs seemed to be genuinely on board with the new system. We stopped at Whispering Canyon Cafe (WL) for breakfast on our way out (home) and the gate guard just scanned my MB on the way in. No photo ID required.

One comment about FP+: Disney is not flexible at all with the times. We were turned away (told we had to wait) at Pirates of the Caribbean because we were 10 minutes early. We heard others told the same thing at other attractions. At HM we stood around for about 3 minutes, while others were told to "come back later." Neither were very busy, so switching to the standby line would not have been a problem, but the principle of the thing kind of bugged us. According to a CM, they have to follow the times because of space allocation rules. As I said, no flexibility. I don't know what happens if you are late, as we never were, but I understand from others that they send you to the standby entrance. I would suggest that you be prepared to make changes to your times, if necessary, as you move through the parks. We did that using the MDE app. Having the app was a big help.

Btw, WDW also has Wi-Fi of one type or another in most areas, so keeping track of things didn't use up any of my data plan.

Get ready for a great time--Christmas is in the air in Mouseville!!! :D

Hope all goes smoothly for you, and Merry Christmas!
Last edited by MardiGroggy on December 2nd, 2013, 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

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MardiGroggy
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by MardiGroggy » December 2nd, 2013, 5:58 pm

Perhaps I should clarify one point about the FP+ times. If the reservation is for a fixed show time attraction or event, such as Indiana Jones, then there was no issue with showing up a little early. It was just the ongoing rides that were held to the schedule. Just wanted to be as accurate as possible on this.
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

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Molly Wobbles
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by Molly Wobbles » January 22nd, 2014, 7:14 pm

SWD,

Thank you very much for your Trip Report. You've answered a lot of questions that I had about the MagicBands and have even sold me on stopping into see Yehaa Bob! By the way, sorry if I missed it, but do you have a review on Boatwright's?

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MardiGroggy
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by MardiGroggy » January 24th, 2014, 10:49 pm

Molly:

Thanks. Glad the reports were helpful.

I did not post a review of Boatwright's as I usually don't comment about restaurants, mainly because people's perceptions and tastes vary so widely. However, since you asked so nicely, I'll give it a shot (with the understanding that your results may vary). First of all, we usually have one meal at Boatwright's on each visit. It has always been a good, solid, "best surprise is no surprise," convenient place to eat for us. They have a decent menu selection, especially since they added some items last Fall, and we have never been disappointed with the food or the service. They give you decent, though not what I would call large, portions. That suits our aging digestive systems as we prefer not to feel "stuffed" after a meal. The food is well prepared and they are cooperative about dietary concerns, even just personal preferences. For example, our last visit I ordered the Prime Rib and it comes with "Horseradish Mashed Potatoes." I'm not a big horseradish fan, but our server assured me that it was a mild dose and went well with the meat. She convinced we to take a chance by saying that she would bring me something else if I didn't like it. As it turned out, I thought the potatoes were quite good. My wife ordered the Thanksgiving Day Special (turkey with the usual sides, including plain mashed potatoes) and it was both well prepared and generously sized.

I do think I need to comment on the atmosphere (or ambience, if you prefer). Boatwright's seems to get very crowded, very quickly at dinner time. We try to make our reservations as early as possible (between 5 and 5:30, if possible) so we can get in and out fairly quickly, We spend our relaxation time in the River Roost Lounge, rather than in the restaurant. The restaurant has a lot of wood and "hard" surfaces, including a bare wood floor. As a result, it can get quite noisy when it fills up and that can detract from the experience. If we can't get in early, then we eat later when things calm down again. As much as we enjoy the bedlam that goes along with Yehaa Bob's show, we don't need it while we're trying to eat. (Just an old curmudgeon, I guess.)

I suggest checking the menu posted elsewhere on this site, and if any of the items appeal to you, then go for it. We are not really very hard to please and we have never been disappointed. We just want it cooked properly, served hot, with reasonably attentive service. I wouldn't call it gourmet quality, just good solid food. I know some folks who expect to be fawned over, but this is not that type of place. The biggest negative I can think of about Boatwright's is how crowded it can be at the peak dinner times. It is, after all, the only table service restaurant for both POR and POFQ. I see a lot of folks waiting around when we leave after an early reservation and am always glad we booked a time close to 5:00pm.

All that said, we have a reservation at Boatwright's on the first night of our return visit next month. We'll be walking over from FQ.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

p.s. Don't forget to post your impressions after your visit. :)
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

ethicaladdict
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by ethicaladdict » January 27th, 2014, 11:28 am

SWD :D I know you were not addressing me directly but I appreciated your review of Boatwrights. My husband and I are heading to POR for the first time at the end of the week and we have an ADR set for Boatwrights on Feb 6th. Thank you so much for your honest assessment of the restaurant, I will in turn post a review of our personal experience there. Again, thank you so much!

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MardiGroggy
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Re: Here Now!

Unread post by MardiGroggy » January 27th, 2014, 8:12 pm

Glad to help. Looks like you'll be hitting a spell of nice, warm weather while you are there. I hope you enjoy Riverside as much as we do. We'll be interested to hear your review.

We'll be returning, this time to French Quarter, in mid-February. We are looking forward to that, as well. :D
MardiGroggy
Aka: Steve

"Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

ethicaladdict
Posts: 28
Joined: January 31st, 2013, 5:25 pm

Re: Here Now!

Unread post by ethicaladdict » January 28th, 2014, 11:38 am

swd wrote:Glad to help. Looks like you'll be hitting a spell of nice, warm weather while you are there. I hope you enjoy Riverside as much as we do. We'll be interested to hear your review.

We'll be returning, this time to French Quarter, in mid-February. We are looking forward to that, as well. :D
Funny that you should mention the weather - I'm obsessively checking the weather report so I can be prepared for the weather that lies ahead :shock: !! I have been to WDW several times during this time of year and one thing I have learned is that there are no for sures. Here's to overpacking!!

I hope you have a wonderful time on your vacation and I look forward to hear your report as well.

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