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I'm baaaack.

SDKath

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:wave: Did I miss anything good? Did Starwood stop allowing upgrades this week? Or retro's? Oh wait, I know! They raised prices by 25% across the board?

I give up. What happened while I was gone? Katherine
 

Ken555

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Welcome back!

You haven't missed much... other than Elite status meaning less than before... but no surprise...
 

lprstn

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Welcome back..I am no help as I am still learning how to use my Starwood.
 

LisaRex

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Let's see.....the stock market dropped about 3,000 points and we may be entering a worldwide economic crisis the likes we haven't seen since the Great Depression. Other than that it's all good.

L-

P.S. I think I need some coffee.
 

stevens397

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So to us TUGers - what Lisa is trying to say is that it's a fabulous buying opportunity!;)
 

hefleycatz

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Welcome back. :wave: Glad to know you were having such a good time that you didn't miss the real world.
 

pianodinosaur

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Welcome home. I am sure that we will all be delighted to hear about your vacation.
 

nodge

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:wave: Did I miss anything good? Did Starwood stop allowing upgrades this week? Or retro's? Oh wait, I know! They raised prices by 25% across the board?

I give up. What happened while I was gone? Katherine
Welcome back Katherine!

We’ve all been busy boarding up our windows around our checkbooks and stockpiling canned goods and powdered milk in preparation for this year’s SVO maintenance fee increase announcement.

With the economy in the tank, the recently announced outragously high special assessments at some SVO resorts, and all of those useless SVO VPs’ “needing” to get places on those private charter jets, what else can SVO do with us captive cash cows during this time of worldwide crisis but milk us for every penny we’re worth?

If history serves us and more-or-less just for fun, SVO will likely wait until a major holiday weekend before posting the increases and/or mailing the bills.

In other words, SSDD (Same "Stuff" Different Day)

-nodge

I’ve read that if you are ever held captive, you are supposed to engage your captors as much as possible so that they get to know you. That way it will be harder for them to hurt you should the time come because they will view you as a person just like them. By the same token, captors are usually taught to never engage their victims.

So SVO . . . . . have you seen this link yet? Yah know, I completely understand how flying on commercial aircraft can be a real hassle. Private charter jets are sooooo worth it. You all come from real estate developer backgrounds don’t you? We’ll I bet all of those pesky environmental hoops you have to jump through to develop your wonderful properties must be a real nuisance. Here’s a funny story for you. I have a friend that bought a shirt that had the “Earth First” logo on it. He had it modified to add below the logo “We’ll develop the other planets later.” What a funny guy. You should see his golf swing. Oh, you like golf too? Did you lose weight?

In all seriousness, our foster kid flew on his first airplane trip last year with us to one of your wonderful properties, and we all had the best time. Thank you!

Please be gentle with the maintenance fee increases this year. -n
 
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clsmit

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Welcome Back! How was WDW? We'll be there next month, so post here or on the Disney board how everything went! Did you see the new refurbished units? Do any pin trading? Ride the Buzz Lightyear ride at the Magic Kingdom (it's one of my favorites!)? Shop at Mall at Millenia?
 

SDKath

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Hello! I am catching up on so much work that I really don't have a lot of time to do a full trip report. But I am happy to give highlights.

Beach Club was fantastic! I just looooove that resort. The pool was incredible. Between all of the sandy "beaches" right at the pool and the huge waterslide, there was enough entertainment right on site for my 2 girls for 2 of the 6 days (they are 8 and 3). We stayed in the 2BR room as a gift from Disney. :cheer: What happened is that we originally booked our stay from the 2nd through the 7th via our AKV points in the 1BR size. Then I checked for fligths to Orlando from CA and it was better to go the 1st. So I called back and added on a day for the 1st and they didn't have any 1BR available. So I said ok, we'll take a 2BR for the first night.

Well, when we checked in at around 1am FL time, the lady was nice enough to say "just stay in your room!!!" It was the best gift ever. We were on the 5th floor with a partial view of the water. It was still very nice and we were grateful. I didn't make ANY dinner plans at all (and didn't do Disney Dining) because my family just doesn't tend to eat a lot in general and I really wasn't sure how my 2 kids would take the trip and the long lines and so on. Turned out to be a great decision. My inlaws cooked for us almost every night and we just grabbed food at the parks during the day. We also had a LOT of the free hot cocoa at the resort!

We bought the MNSSHP tickets a few months ago for Sunday. We got to the Magic Kingdom at 4pm after a day of swimming. They gave us special wrist bands and we got to stay till park close (I think MN). By 7, the regular day pass users were asked to leave so only those who had these special tickets could stay. What that meant was that the park was EMPTY. Most rides stayed open and we went on everything we wanted to with no wait! It was awesome. It was also a lot cooler in the evening and the park looked great all decked out in Halloween theme. My kids (most kids) had their Halloween costumes on and got tons of candy from the Disney "cast members". They had a great time and I loved the relative quiet of the park at night. We ended up leaving around 10 but I think if I didn't have my 3yo with me, we could have gone for a few more hours easily.

The rest of the days we went to Epcot (we just walked from BCV, since it was faster than the boat and very close). As a matter of fact, we used the Monorail to go from Epcot to the MK. We were there almost daily because the kids ADORED the new Nemo ride. We did MGM (3yo didn't get it at all, my 8 yo thought it was fun). And Animal Kingdom, which both kids enjoyed. We skipped Sea World since we have one here in San Diego.

I loved Buzz Lightyear and we ended up going on it about 10 times since there was no line! :banana: My other old time fave is Thunder Mtn, and now I managed to addict my 8 year old to it too, so it was perfect. Overall the parks were very quiet (kinda eerie actually) probably thanks to the economy. Still, everything was open and the staff was super nice.

My only gripe is that they never managed to link our reservations. We basically had 3-4 different ressies due to the source of the points (developer points, 07 points, 08 points, etc) so every other day our room key would STOP working and we'd have to check in again. My DH was very annoyed by this. We didn't have to move rooms thank goodness but each time they said it was fixed and it wasn't. It was just a wierd little hassle to go through. DH minded it way more than I did. Oh, and we had to argue about the $10 internet vs free internet for owners. Since we got 4 different bills for all the checkout days, they had to keep taking it off our bill. Sigh.

Overall, it was fantastic and both children loooooved it. My inlaws also adored the BCV and went down the slide quite a few times! I captured it on video with them coming down the slide with huge grins from ear to ear. It's hysterical.

I cannot wait for GCV to go on sale so that we can get points there. The cross country flight was tiring and although both kids handled it well (AA through DFW), I wouldn't want to do this every year. GCV will be driving distance which will make it more economical for us too.

So to tie this into Starwood, I HIGHLY recommend an II trade into BCV during off season. You'd probably have to do an ongoing search for a 1BR or 2BR but I have seen them crop up from time to time. I could not imagine going in the summer when it is hot and humid and crowded. This was the perfect time to go! And I bet the park will look fantastic for the holidays too.

Katherine
 

dr.debs

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Katherine-

Oh this sounds like a great time. How did your 3 yo like the park? Were there many rides they could go on?
 

SDKath

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Katherine-

Oh this sounds like a great time. How did your 3 yo like the park? Were there many rides they could go on?
My 3yo is a little shy (and kinda scardy cat) when it comes to rides. So what she did is find a couple of rides at each park and just go on them over and over and over again. I was getting worried about it for a while but then I saw the huge smile on her face when she rode the kiddie roller coaster at MK for the 15th time and I realized, hey, she is having a blast so who cares. There are rides for all ages. I had low expectations for her ability to "deal" with the lines and the rides but she did GREAT! She did the Dumbo rides, the carousel, the Nemo ride, etc. Older child split with one of the adults and rode every roller coaster in sight all day every day! LOL. I think if you don't try to impose YOUR idea of a good day on your young child, it should be fine. I just relaxed and let her roll with it and she loved it. She still can't stop talking about the week!

Katherine
 

Ågent99

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I think if you don't try to impose YOUR idea of a good day on your young child, it should be fine. I just relaxed and let her roll with it and she loved it. She still can't stop talking about the week!

Katherine
That is a great lesson learned! My daughter is 6 and we learned that a coupel years ago. Just observe them, ask them if they are having fun and if so, life's good!! :)

Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all. My daugher visited Disneyland for the first time on Christmas Eve last year and she loved most of it. She was scared from some of the rides that were scary like the Snow White "scene cruise" thingy. She did not dig that and spent most of ride huddled into my shoulder! :)
 
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