2016 Walt Disney World Christmas Trip Recap – Part 2

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This post recaps our recent Christmas vacation to Walt Disney World, offering photos and a quick summary of our experiences that we started in Part 1. I’m going to slow down the pace a bit here, since so many people seemed to like the first installment (or, maybe that was because of the faster pace). In any case, I thought I’d start Part 2 by addressing something from the comments to the last post. There, someone asked how we accomplish switching hotels.

Well, it depends. When staying in a Disney Vacation Club room, we usually let the resort transfer our luggage since it’s fairly rare for a room to be ready at ~11:30 a.m., which is what would be necessary since checkout time is a firm 11 a.m. In that scenario, we usually just head directly to the park and don’t go back to our room until the evening. (This trip was a slower paced visit for us, so we actually never did that–we always self-transferred.)

If we’re staying in a standard Disney hotel room, we almost always use Uber and transfer ourselves. This is particularly true if we’re visiting at times of year when occupancy rates are likely lower than 85%. In that scenario, if you’re flexible and polite, the front desk will usually (66%+ of the time, in our experience…and our experience is pretty extensive on this as we change resorts way too much) get you into a room at check-in. Since we only pack a carry-on bag each and don’t have kids, moving the luggage ourselves is no hassle.

Moving on, our next morning started with Boma breakfast. We figured it made sense to do this while staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, because it’s otherwise a bit of a hassle to go there for breakfast unless you’re rope dropping Animal Kingdom.

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After my first plate of food, I said to Sarah, “well, that was overrated.” Aside from a few unique items, I thought it was pretty similar to any breakfast buffet at Walt Disney World. To her credit, Sarah demurred.

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For plate two, I tried a couple of her recommendations, most notably the bread pudding with praline sauce. Game changer. This made me buy into the hype, at least partially. I followed that plate up with a heaping bowl of just the bread pudding.

Still, I was still a bit disappointed by the buffet. It wasn’t as unique, ambitious, or exotic as dinner, and I don’t think the quality was on par with Trail’s End. Perhaps it was a matter of expectations or personal preference, though. Even though I’d consider Boma among the best breakfasts at Walt Disney World (not exactly fierce competition) and my mouth is currently watering as I think back on that bread pudding, I wouldn’t go out of my way to revisit this meal.

Again, though, I have to stress that the majority of the time, I’m disappointed by breakfast at Walt Disney World. I think it’s the meal that is, across the board, the worst value proposition. I’ve become a big fan of the breakfast at Trail’s End, but no other breakfast at Walt Disney World instantly comes to mind as a must-do for me.

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From there, it was time to change hotels for the final time of the trip. On this particular day, we were heading to World Showcase anyway, so it made sense to Uber to BoardWalk Inn and move the luggage ourselves even though it seemed unlikely the room would be ready. (It wasn’t.)

We didn’t really do anything of significance at Epcot that morning; we hit some of our usual favorites (Impressions de France, Spaceship Earth, and Living with the Land) before heading to the Disney Vacation Club Lounge in the Imagination pavilion. We already wrote up our thoughts on this new lounge, so I won’t rehash those here. Suffice to say, visiting it is a bittersweet experience.

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After this, we headed to check out the room of our friends who were down at the same time as us, also staying at BoardWalk. They were staying in a “different” style of room: the garden cottages. (They wrote up a post if you’re interested in further detail.)

I still don’t know quite what to make of their room, frankly. From a practical perspective, it’s totally impractical. The two-story layout is odd, and it’s a pricey room for two. However, there is something alluring about the style, and that it really does have a ‘cottage’ feel to it. And in fairness, when you’re looking at a room this expensive, you’re not doing so from a strict utilitarian perspective.

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At the end of the day, I think “neat that it exists, but not for me” probably best encapsulates how I felt about the room. There’s a cool-factor to it, but I’d prefer a 1-bedroom villa or traditional suite. Different strokes and all of that.

They were also so kind to show us the Innkeepers Lounge, which is the Club Level hangout spot at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. Since I’m not normally allowed in swanky places like this, I took full advantage by spending the rest of the afternoon watching Mater’s Tall Tales, lamenting with my fellow Cars enthusiasts (e.g., toddlers) how it bordered on criminal that Disney had not yet adapted Mater Saves Christmas into a feature-length film. I’m pretty sure they agreed.

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The Innkeepers Lounge was fine. The afternoon spread was out and it did nothing to change my mind from the general conclusion I presented in “Is Club Level at Walt Disney World Worth It?” and frankly, if 6.8 hours of watching Mater animated classics can’t change my mind, I don’t know what can.

Joking aside, it’s obviously difficult to judge a resort’s Club Level on a single spread. I’m still reserving complete judgment on Club Level until we have a chance to stay Kilimanjaro Club at Animal Kingdom Lodge since so many of you praised that one.

On Page 2, I’ll complain some more… (Am I doing this click-bait thing right?)

15 Responses to “2016 Walt Disney World Christmas Trip Recap – Part 2”
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