WDW Wine & Dine Group Trip Recap

DH and I rounded up a group of our friends to join us for a mega WDW Wine & Dine group trip. DH and T* ran the Wine & Dine half-marathon, while Moo, B*, BAD, and I enjoyed the Wine & Dine festival race party. We also toured WDW in general, including a stop by New Fantasyland before it opened to the public! I had lots of fun playing tour guide, despite having a nasty cold that I eventually passed to B*.

This was our first experience staying in an All Star Vacation Home. ASVH advertises on a few of our favorite Disney podcasts, so we were happy to give them some business. We were even able to book them using our MEI & Mouse Fan travel agent! As for the home and experience, in a nutshell, we loved it. You do, of course, have to have a rental car to make it work (we rented two cars), but it was great to have a full kitchen for cooking breakfasts and storing sodas as well as our own pool and hot tub in the back yard. We stayed in this house, which had a perfect amount of space for our group. It took us several hours on the first day (and a visit from one of the ASVH employees) to learn how everything worked and also get some burnt out light bulbs replaced, but after that, it was smooth sailing. The locks are PIN coded, so you don’t even have to worry about carrying keys. Everyone in the group loved the house and space, and I highly recommend it for anyone traveling with a large group. It would have been great for a family with kids, too, since everyone gets their own bedroom.

I have lots of trip photos posted in the photo gallery/album for this trip, but I wanted to highlight some of my favorites.

This was our whole group doing the one PhotoPass group shot we managed, at Animal Kingdom:
WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

I got a really great castle shot on the morning we visited Magic Kingdom:
WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

Moo and BAD show off their New Fantasyland Preview bracelets. (Because DH and I have annual passes, we were able to get our group in for a preview, including lunch at Be Our Guest!)
WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

DH posed with a gargoyle outside the Be Our Guest restaurant:
WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

Speaking of New Fantasyland, I do want to spend a few lines on the Be Our Guest restaurant. Lots of WDW reviewers echo the sentiment that this restaurant is the best lunch in the Magic Kingdom and possibly the best counter service lunch in all of WDW. The food was spectacular. Everyone in our party enjoyed the meal (though we did have some special order issues due to the computerized ordering system). Even the most basic entreés were more flavorful than you’d expect. The space is amazing. It’s just fabulous. If you’re going to WDW, it’s worth a visit, but expect it to be super-busy as the word of mouth is spreading fast about what a great dining experience it is!

Beyond that, New Fantasyland is pretty awesome, though generally aimed at (as one would expect) a younger set. We had fun with Belle’s Enchanted Storytime (and, without spoiling anything, the mirror is amazing), and the guy who is playing Gaston (outside the eponymous tavern) is perfectly cast. It also blends perfectly into “old” Fantasyland. You really can’t tell where the seam is in the concrete. Once the construction walls come down, it will seem like it’s always been there.

On to a new topic (and a different park), the baby rhino in the far right of this picture was born when I was doing the Expedition Everest 5K in Animal Kingdom, so he’s kind of special to me.
WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

We had lots of fun sampling items during the Wine & Dine party before our racers finished. B* and BAD even had an impromptu dance party!

WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

DH had dressed up as Uncle Sam for this race. He got lots of compliments on his costume.
WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

We visited the Osborne lights. WDW has done a great job improving the flow of that event. Oh, and the hot chocolate was delicious!
WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

Duffy was even in the lights this year!
WDW Wine & Dine Half Trip - 2012

All in all, it was a very fun trip. The only bad part, aside from the roving illnesses in our group, was that we were all having so much fun hanging out together at the house that we had to really push ourselves to go to WDW. I guess that’s not so much of a bad thing. 🙂

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