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djsamuel last won the day on May 15

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About djsamuel

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  • Birthday 12/18/1959

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    Several hours later, I'm still speechless.
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  1. Years ago when there was Communicore East and West instead of Innoventions, you could go in and pick up free copies of magazines like Discovery. You could also have the cast there do some research for you. We would take our daughter there when she was 7 or 8 and pick up the latest Discover magazines and they would help her with school projects. That is the type of stuff that is missing, along with the science/tech related exhibits and the optimistic looks towards the future.
  2. Absolutely. Since we receive the same discounts, we are definitely getting our money's worth. I do try to look at it through the eyes of someone paying for admission and not getting discounts. Between the decline in standards and increases in costs, it is getting to the point where I feel they must be getting close to that line for many. I am friends with several people involved fairly high up at WDW and that is a concern many of those with several years in are voicing. Hopefully, the message gets through. I am taking the changes I noted this visit as an encouraging sign. I certainly hope it continues.
  3. Ha! A squirrel would have had to be built like that to pull that rubber end off the pin! Thanks for the explanation!
  4. Since I live in the Disney area and my wife is recently retired after 17 years at Disney, we get a great opportunity to stay at the Fort and take advantage of the discounts my wife gets even as a retiree. As a result, we generally get 6 or 7 stays a year at the Fort. So far this year, we've had three stays, one in January to run the 10K during Marathon weekend, a stay for Mother's day and a stay for Father's Day. Prior to the Father's Day trip, I found myself getting a bit frustrated at how the Fort seemed to be run, the lack of rules enforcement, and the general rudeness of some of the guests. My favorite places to camp are generally state parks and more so the National Parks because of the general attitude of people camping and not glamping. So, I was approaching the Father's Day trip with a bit of anxiety. We checked into the Fort on Wednesday June 14th. The check in was excellent, it was not crowded, we got our requested site and it was ready. More importantly we had a great time talking to Frederick about the time he spent in Africa; really interesting and he's a really nice guy. We got settled into our site and headed to disney Springs for our traditional post hook up Earl of Sandwich lunch. We beat the rain and got back in time for the deluge, but that was fine. We relaxed in the camper. Thursday morning we had a great breakfast at Trails End. We normally ask for Ken, but this time we got Margerita. She was excellent; really friendly and the food was delicious, a bit more than normal. We hung around the campground because rain was moving in. That was a bit frustrating since I had fast passes for Mine Train, but that was closed due to the storms for most of the night. So, we relaxed some more! Friday we had a terrific lunch at the Biergarten. Sometimes I wonder who we will be seated with, but the host saw my wife striking up a conversation with another couple and sat us together. It was just the four of us at the table and we had a great time. Very nice couple from Tennessee and we all enjoyed the food and the entertainment. We've eaten there several times before, but I don't remember the food being this good. I had a fast pass for Soarin, and also the Character Spot for pictures. We then headed back to the camper to once again beat the rain. However, we waited over 50 minutes for the bus back to the campground. After we got to the outpost, I went inside to let them know how long the busses are taking and a LOT of people were complaing. The guy at concierge was excellent, and he said he is getting a lot of complaints. I told him that I wasn't looking for anything, I just wanted to let him know there is an issue. He saw we had fast passes at Studios the next day so he gave us a couple of universal fast passes for the park that day, which was not expected. I used them to continue my losing streak to my wife on Toy Story Mania. Sunday was Father's Day and we spent the day at Magic Kingdom with our daughter and son in law. Had a nice time there (not too crowded) and then hit Trails End for dinner. Kevin was our server and he was really good. I was a bit disappointed in the beef brisket, and the generally smaller selection of food than I remembered. There were two complete serving lines, so I thought maybe they reduced some of the offerings to allow the two lines for Father's Day. It wasn't bad though, and the highlight came when Kevin ran over to Hoop de Doo to bring over one of the large strawberry shortcakes for us because they had coffee problems and he felt bad that my wife had to keep waiting with nothing to drink. We didn't say anything, he just noticed it. In any case, after the others at the table had a few bites, the shortcake was mine. I think I rolled out the door. The next day we checked out after a very nice extended weekend. Here are a few observations: 1) The campers during this trip were the most polite and friendly I've experienced at the Fort in a long time. Even though there were several dogs in the loop, everybody kept them quiet, respected other campsites, and cleaned up after them. That is all anybody can ask. The kids in the loop were very well behaved and were enjoyable to watch. Some of the meals people were cooking smelled amazing. 2) Enforcement at the Fort was the best I've seen in a while. Several times I saw bus drivers flag down golf cart drivers who passed them while stopped. I also saw them strictly enforcing the rules about not boarding busses while others are getting off and not to board via the rear doors. The Fort Rangers were around, and were very friendly and were enforcing where people could take their pets. We saw one couple walking their dog towards the Settlement and the ranger stopped them. He asked them where they were going and when they told him the Setllement area he very nicely showed them the sign and told them they would have to take their dog back. They were not bothered at all and turned around. They certainly did NOT enforce their no parking on grass policy, but that was fine given the other improvements. That never bothers me anyway. The trash collection seemed to be much more frequent, and they fixed the labeling on the recycling bins. It now says "Glass" under the left door, and "Recycle" under the other doors. I guess they only need to separate glass. The comfort stations were also very clean and the A/C back to operating as it should. I also noticed that at the horse barn they added the free 12:30 tour of the facilities. I don't know how long that's been around, perhaps a long time, but I never noticed it before. We didn't get the chance to do that, but will sometime if still offered. 3) The only negative we experienced, and I add this as something to watch for, is somebody tried to remove the hitch lock on our camper. I came back to the camper on Saturday and noticed that the chains from our weight distribution hitch were moved, the lock cover for the hitch lock was on the ground and the rubber end on the other side hitch pin lock was pulled off and laying on the ground. it takes a lot of force to pull that rubber end off, so somebody was trying hard to separate that lock. I didn't call security, although perhaps I should have (I didn't want my wife worrying about what was going on). But, the only thing making me wonder what someone was trying to do is the fact that my truck was backed right up near the hitch, about an inch away. There was no way they were going to get that camper out of the campsite with my truck parked there blocking it. I don't know if it was just some teen age kids messing with the lock or what it could have been. Nothing else around the camper was touched. So, it was a nice trip that had some encouraging signs regarding the direction the Fort may be heading. Maybe it was just a good anomaly; but I am hoping it is more of a trend. Obligatory picture:
  5. They told us welcome home for our stays in May and June.
  6. They are sold out at World of Disney. We were in Magic Kingdom yesterday and Gastons seemed to have plenty of them as well.
  7. I second spending the couple of bucks and getting all of the accompaniments.
  8. No. There is now just one menu now. If you look up a few messages you'll see a picture of it. That's the new menu we were given at lunch around Mother's Day.
  9. They will be used for the new dining option at Mickey's Backyard BBQ. Called "Make Your Own Magic", guests, for an additional charge of only $37 per person, can actually discover the magic of cooking your own meal in a Disney restaurant! Hamburgers and Mickey Hot Dogs will be provided for guests to cook them as desired. Children are welcome to jump right in and help.
  10. Be sure she checks out the two fenced areas outside the store. The larger one is usually for bids, but not always and the smaller area next to the building sometimes has stuff like grills there. If they are still greasy they may not bring them inside.
  11. I think it was a combination of all you mentioned. There is a definite cost cutting and increase in prices, but I think it was compounded by a new menu and manager. The food was so far below what we were used to there, I can only assume at least some of that was an unusual occurrence. We did send the noodle bowls back because they were cold, and when they came back they were a little bit better, but still not very good and still very "sticky".
  12. When we last ate at Kona in May we were really disappointed. Not only was the teriyaki steak gone (and replaced by a steak more than twice the price) the Asian Stir Fry which was still on the menu was dry and sticky; nowhere near as good as it used to be. In addition, the service stunk. They did not bring dinner rolls out, and when we asked after seeing other tables getting them, we were told that they weren't ready when we ordered so they figured we wouldn't want them. My wife spoke to the manager who did nothing as well other than to apologize. No free dessert or even a visit to the table to check on things. To be fair, the menu was new then. I did write to guest services and they refunded our meal, which was more than I expected. However, I don't think I'll be visiting Kona for a while. It was one of our favorites.
  13. 120 minute wait as of right now.
  14. The slinky roller coaster track is being installed now.
  15. They're working on quick service drone delivery using the MyDisney Experience app.