POR stay April 27-May 4

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Joined:February 27th, 2016, 12:51 pm
POR stay April 27-May 4

Unread post by Godalejrbud8 » May 7th, 2016, 3:49 pm

Hi all, just returned from our third stay at POR. My wife and I were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. We arrived via the magical express, stopping at Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, French Quarter, then Riverside. Our flight landed at 10:10am and we were at Riverside just before noon. We received a text saying our room wasn't quite ready. A few minutes later, another text saying it was ready with a room number and link to a map. I requested (by fax five days earlier) a room in Magnolia Terrace, top floor, corner room. I was hoping for building 85, but got building 80.
I was concerned about the walk to the lobby and bus stop, but the lobby was just under 5 minutes and the north bus stop was four minutes. I highly recommend checking out the best way to these two things. The buildings are large and there are different ways to get around. We saw lots of people confused about which bus stop to get off at every day. They usually announce which stop is coming up, starting with west, north, east and finishing at the main stop, south. The south stop is (at least during ou stay) last to pick up and last to drop off and always more crowded. We sometimes skipped the south stop for pick ups because the bus was full. I would try to use a different stop. We had great luck with all bus service and only waited more than five minutes a couple times all week and never more than 15. That includes after wishes at the Magic Kingdom and park closure times returning to the resort. We shared buses with French Quarter a few times, usually in the middle of the day but it was no big deal. It does take an extra five minutes to exit the resort, but transit times were very good. I don't know why, but the tv screens at the bus stops did not show arrival times for Epcot or Magic Kingdom all week. The times are updated and change as you wait. Be prepared to stand some, depending on time and destination. Also be prepared for the large number of ECV's which get loaded first and do take time to load and unload. Having your stroller folded before the bus gets there also expedites the loading process. Lots of people let their kids stay in the stroller until it's time to get on and all strollers must be folded before you get on the bus.
We ate two breakfasts and one dinner at the Riverside Mill. We felt the selection and quality were very good. Be sure to understand how the meal plan works, substituting your refillable mug for a bottle of soda, side dish instead of dessert etc. the staff was very accommodating, though the language barrier can be a problem, and not just at the resort! If you are on the meal plan, you get your refillable mugs at the food court. Pick your color and take it to the register. The staff always asks if you are on the meal plan, just tell them you want to use a snack, quick service or charge to your room. Be sure to specify. This goes for all food establishments at all parts, Disney Springs and other resorts. Our magic bands were flawless, by the way. No issues at all. We did not eat at Boatrights on this trip. That is one of the tough decisions when planning for us, where to eat. The Mill is open for breakfast at 7:00 and closes at 11:00pm. I found out late in our stay that you can refill your mug 24hrs a day. Nice to know for those late nights at the park. There were busy times at the Mill, but we never had a wait and there were always clean tables available.
I don't have much to say about our room in general, we paid for a king bed, and had no issues. Mouse keeping was very good, they left several "towel animals" which was neat even though we traveled without the kids this time. The front desk staff was fine, again the language thing came into play. My primary language is English. We checked in online and only stopped in the lobby for questions. If you set up your magic bands ahead of time and your room is ready when you get there, there is no need to stop in the lobby. Go right to your room! That was nice. We freshened up, grabbed a few things from our carry on bag and went right to the bus stop and the MK. Our checked bag was there when we returned around 4:30.
We used the boat to Disney Springs a lot, have always enjoyed the ride, not so much the destination. Before 4:30pm, the boat stops at FQ, after, goes straight to DS. Never waited for a second boat and if you do, less then 10 minutes. We had the pleasure of meeting Cecill, the WDW boat manager. On one occasion, we would not fit on the boat from Old Key West to Disney Springs and Cecill gave us a ride there on his golf cart. Very good service as we felt like vip's, not to mention it was faster than the boat!
One thing I was looking forward to this trip was seeing Yee Haw Bob. Saturday night was our night. We got to the River Roost around 8:15, I know, a little late! Well, as I was scoping out a place to sit, Bob came up to me and said, "don't worry, in about 15 minutes, the place will be empty"! I laughed and shook his hand. One of the servers told me a customer up front is paying his bill, I'll clear the table and you can sit right there. Our lucky day! My wife and I sat down, Bob started the show, and we waited for the server to clear the table while we looked over the menu. The staff was obviously busy and the server took 20 minutes to come back. I guess I'm getting old because Bob was good, but just not my thing. Too loud for us. We had one drink, had to pay the bartender as our server was straight out and went back to our room. Like I said, it just wasn't for us.
We enjoyed the quiet pool a few times, sometimes several people there, sometimes we had it to ourselves. Remember to bring your own towel. A staff member came by one afternoon with snacks, water, beer and wine for sale. I did go down the slide at the big pool one time (on my bucket list!) but did not swim, visit the hot tub(always loaded with a family of 10), or have a drink at Muddy Rivers.
I have to say based on past stays and others comments on the beauty of the resort, I was disappointed this time around on the landscaping. All the shrubs were in desperate need of a trim, there were a few that were dead and needed replacement and the paths needed to be swept after the rain a couple times. I understand things take time, but by late afternoon, the benches at our bus stop were still wet. This surprised me and shows Disney's cut backs. The parks were all clean, bathrooms food courts etc. the staff was always cleaning the pool and chairs every morning, again, just my opinion. The only suggestions I have, if you like to see the time at night like my wife does, bring your own clock, we had to ask for one and it did not light up. They also would not print my boarding passes without me present. This was bad for me because we flew Southwest and needed our passes printed 24hrs in advance. I had fast passes for illuminations at 9:00 and printing our passes exactly 24 hrs was 8:55pm. It was my call, but we missed illuminations to print our passes. This was different than in the past, the front desk would print them any time. If I had known, I would have changed things around. But anyway, a great trip. Sorry I was so long winded, but I guess I had a lot to say.

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