Downton Disney: the Disney Snob and the Seven Seas Clubs - the end! 5/30
This trip report will include, amongst other adventures: exploring the beautiful new Art of Animation Resort :artist:, hammocks at the Polynesian :cloud9:, transformations at the Pirates League pirate:, swinging to the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra , and eating dinner at Ohanas for the first time ::yes::.
It will not, unlike the fabulous period drama Downton Abbey which inspired its name, include: scheming sisters :stir:, the British aristocracy, turn-of-the-century outfits (if only people still dressed like that!), a cute Irish chauffeur (I wish! :lovestruc), or swivel chairs (which Lady Grantham will be glad to hear ;)).
I really couldn't resist naming this trip report Downton Disney...partly because, like the guy from Modern Family, I find myself calling Downtown Disney, Downton Disney ALL the time (not that DD will be the main feature of this TR - I just like to say Downton Disney!)...partly because I love Downton Abbey...and partly because this was a luxurious vacation worthy of the Downton Abbey family! :thumbsup2
We stayed at Art of Animation and the three Seven Seas resorts the Contemporary, the Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian and we got to experience the club levels at all three! (thank you CM discounts!). I can't wait to share all the Downton-like details: the elegant, cosy corners and amazing food at the Royal Palm Club at the GF, watching wishes from the Atrium Club lounge at the Contemporary, and a secret, mini club lounge I discovered at the Polynesian!! :banana:
So let's get started!
My name is Emma, and this is my eighth trip report here on the DIS (links to the previous ones are in my signature!). I am definitely a Disney Snob but that's just because I love all things pixie dusted - I'm a friendly snob, not a mean one! :goodvibes
I graduated from Notre Dame in May 2011, and in August I became a cast member, working front desk and concierge at the Boardwalk! Working at Disney World was an absolutely magical experience (to hear more about that you'll have to hop over to my Disney blog!), but when I got the chance this summer to move back North near my family to pursue my passion - a career in writing - I knew it was the right path to take.
My family planned our vacation for just after I finished my days working for Disney, so it was a fantabulous last hurrah before I moved back home. Going into the parks alone on my days off as a CM hadn't been half as much fun without all my crazy family members, so I was beyond excited for this trip.
And who are those crazy family members you ask??
First there's my mom, Betsy, the Mama Snob. She gets just as excited about Disney as I do, and she's the planning expert in the family - meticulously makes all our reservations and ADRs and finds the best deals. When you're travelling with my mom you never know what incredible, hilarious adventures you're going to find yourself embarking on - like singing along to the Electrical Water Pageant at the top of your lungs from your balcony at the Contemporary. Oh yes. That happened this trip. :thumbsup2
My dad, Joe, is more of a sedate personality than Mom, but still has a sense of fun. He had his sabbatical this summer, and for part of it we were on this Disney trip; but the rest of it he planned, and we went on a road trip out West to visit historical Oregon Trail sites and lots and lots of fossil sites and paleontology museums. That's my dad alright!
The oldest child in the Snobbish clan is my brother Aramis :wizard:. If you have a curly-haired fellow seat you at a Magic Kingdom restaurant (he used to work at Chef Mickey's but now he's bouncing around a bit), then it might be him! He had to work some days of the trip, but luckily was able to get time off for most of the fun parts!
The above photo is of the next brother in line, Porthos. He usually has his nose in a book and his trusty cap on his head! He's currently a junior at ND (got to go to Dublin with the marching band a few weeks ago - I was massively jealous). He loves Star Trek and Star Wars and carries around huge books like the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. :rolleyes:
The craziest of the brothers has to be Athos, a high school junior. He has a very eclectic sense of humor and is constantly saying the most outrageous things. For instance, he claims to have invented the type writer with the help of his good friend Wilson President Wilson, that is! Athos loves dinos, Stitch, and all kinds of popcorn.
In my very first trip report, I wrote that my youngest brother, Dart, was just turning four. He turned NINE just before this trip. Where does the time go? Luckily Dart is still adorable and still lets me hold his hand...sometimes. He was still little enough to enjoy doing the Pirates League with me, at least! Dart loves all things LEGO, especially Ninjago.
So that's a run-down of the who, and you already know the why, what, and where. As to the when, we had this trip about the end of July. We took things slow and spent a lot of time at the resorts, avoiding the heat and the crowds as much as possible! :crowded:
We may have to wait three months for series three of Downton Abbey to come out here in the States (I can't wait!), but you won't have to wait that long for updates to this trippie, I promise! I'm hoping to update every Monday and Thursday.
Stay tuned for lots of magic, and welcome to Downton Disney! ;) :moped:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Snobby Post Index! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Magical Expressing and Barrel Bouncing: Disney Arrival!.....................p.1 (scroll down!), post 13
Eating Club.....................p.3, post 36
A Quick Splash into MK.....................p.4, post 46
Nighttime Sweets and Sillies.....................p.5, post 61
Bay Lake and Epic Toasters.....................p.6, posts 79+80
Merida Meet and Liberty Tree Lunch.....................p.7, post 91
Pirates and Mermaids, Oh My!.....................p.7, post 103
Last Evening in the Atrium.....................p.8, posts 114+115
Beach Club Photos and Secret Missions .....................p.9, post 126
Snackage around the World.....................p.10, post 137
At the Rose and Crown.....................p.11, post 153
Fun Times at Coronado.....................p.12, post 167
Haircuts by Captain Hook.....................p.13, post 183
Prime Time Hilarity.....................p.14, post 204
Grand Floridian Royal Palm Club
Living Grand.....................p.15, post 217
Taking in the Prettiness.....................p.16, post 229
Teatime and a Quiet Spot.....................p.17, post 244
Getting Hungry.....................p.18, post 257
DESSERT!.....................p.19, post 274
Good Morning, Grand.....................p.20, posts 287+288
Jungle Adventures and the Grand Circle Tour.....................p.20, post 297
Delectable Dining.....................p.22, post 316
Delectable Desserts.....................p.22, post 324
Au Revoir to the Grand.....................p.22, post 325
Art of Animation Resort
Art of Animation Arrival.....................p.23, post 332
Every Bite Took Me to Italy.....................p.24, posts 346+347
Two Disney Snobs Went Up Rocky Top.....................p.24, post 355
Animation Exploration.....................p.25, post 366
A Landscape of Flavors.....................p.26, post 376
An Animated Morning.....................p.27, post 391
The Breakfast Landscape.....................p.27, post 403
Magic Kingdom in the Afternoon.....................p.28, post 407
Life is Better with Ice Cream...and Bread Pudding (OHANA!).....................p.28, post 417
An Evening in Poly Pics.....................p.29, post 429
Polynesian King Kamehameha Club
ALOHA: Club Breakfast + an UPGRADE.....................p.29, post 430
To-Do: Enjoy the Polynesian.....................p.30, post 436
Dinner, Hammock, Desserts!.....................p.31, posts 451+452
To the Magic Kingdom and Merida 2.0.....................p.32, post 468
Getting my Wings and Back to the Poly.....................p.33, post 481
Polynesian Princess for the Morning.....................p.33, post 489
The Secret Tonga Club Lounge.....................p.34, post 497
Leaving the Poly.....................p.35, post 505
Disney World Music Video
Magic Kingdom Scavenger Hunts eBook
HI there! I adore Downton Abby (or Downtown Abby as my dad calls it :sad2: ). I'm in. -Amanda
I'm in! I can't wait to follow along!!!
Followed you over from your last TR. I enjoyed reading about all of the delicious cupcakes you tried on your blog.
Can I just say that I started reading your trip reports and blogs all because I could relate to being a Disney Snob :) I love the title of your latest trip report; I actually started my PhD in England this past September so I had to start watching Downton Abbey to see what the fuss was about. After watching 10 minutes of the very first episode, I was hooked! Luckily we get the 3rd season sooner here in the UK :) Come write/get your MS in the UK!
P.S. I was accepted into ND when I was going for my Masters but decided to stay on the east coast. But it was a very lovely school...I wonder if I still would have ended up in England if I went there!
I'm in - Can't wait to read more!
Hey girl! I am definitely IN. I've never seen Downton Abbey (I'm ashamed) but as soon as I saw the title I totally thought of Cam on Modern Family talking about it... so that counts for something, right? :rotfl:
So you were there the end of July? Any chance you were there at the same time as us? :scratchin
Also, let's just talk about how jealous I am that you got to stay at ALL of the monorail resorts on one trip! That sounds amazing! I know a lot of people don't like to hop resorts, but I've always wanted to do that! I'm hoping to stay at the GF on my next trip but most likely will not be able to swing club level. I can't wait to hear all about it! It sounds like it'll be so fabulous! pixiedust:
We left on the 30th, so it looks like we only overlapped two days. We were at the MK the afternoon of the 29th, I think around the same time you were! :goodvibes
My family is definitely a resort hopping bunch, and it was really cool to stay at all three on the same trip! We didn't originally plan it...the three resorts kinda just fell into place one by one, but I'm really glad they did! :banana:
First update coming right up! :coffee:
Whoa whoa whoa....wait a second....
Why was I not informed of a new TR. I'm calling shenanigans.
Magical Expressing and Barrel Bouncing: Disney Arrival!
There are few events which give as much fun and joy in anticipation as Disney vacations give.
Even though I was working at Disney World, I had been squeeling for months with my mom over reservations and resorts and all the magic. :hyper:
My last days at the Boardwalk happened the week before the trip, and then I had to fly home for a family wedding – all hail AirTran and cheap fares! So as it turned out, I flew back down to Florida with my Mom and brothers Athos and Dart. It was really fun to be with them from the very start of the vacation! Due to work and such, Dad and Porthos were flying down just a few days later.
So one afternoon, after double and triple and quadruple checking for important things like trading pins and vinylmations, sunglasses, autograph books - oh yeah, and things like driver’s licenses, glasses, and keys too ;) – we were ready to head out! We bid Dad and Porthos adieu on the curb at the airport and warned them not to throw any crazy parties while we were gone, then headed in! We got through security to our gate in plenty of time.
I love travelling. I mean, it can certainly be stressful at times, but going places is just exciting, and airports are always so full of activity – full of different people going a thousand different places – I love to wonder what all their stories are.
Florida flights are especially fun, because my imagination automatically assumes that EVERYONE is going to Walt Disney World, so I can assign them all different celebrations and different resorts and basically plan out their vacation for them. In my head. :rolleyes1
C’mon…you know you’ve done it too!
Soon it was time to board - we made it on the plane, found our seats, and settled in for the flight!
Athos was my seat mate – Mom and Dart were right in front of us. This is Athos and I’s “silly face” picture. A “silly face” picture is a photo of Athos and I where we are both looking inordinately excited for no particular reason. We have been taking photos like this for years. We are silly.
There was so much Vera Bradley in my purse that I had to take a picture of it. I love Vera.
Here is a funkily-shaped cloud.
Here is, I think, the coast of Florida. We were flying over the ocean at one point, and Athos, looking out the window, asks: “Is that the ocean?”
I say, “Yes.” And he says, “Why??” And then, when I laughed at him, he says, “I think it’s a legitimate question, considering we’re not going to France.”
No, we’re not going to France, Athos; we’re going to DISNEY WORLD!
Hooray Orlando Airport!! I love the colorful murals on the floors. We hurried to get to the bathroom, because of course every woman on the plane was going the same place. You would think architects and urban planners would have learned by now and would just build two women’s restrooms for every one men’s restroom.
Then it was on to the pre-Disney monorail!
There was a monorail just leaving when we came up, so we hopped on it. Dart was pulling a suitcase and was having trouble getting it on the monorail – the doors were closing, so in a panic we just pulled him on but the suitcase got left behind!!!
Luckily the doors opened again and we retrieved the almost-lost suitcase. PHEW. That would NOT have been a fun way to start the trip!
This is how excited palm trees make me.
More palm trees!!
We made a quick stop to take some pics outside the Earport and look at the first vinylmation traders of the trip!
I had to get a pic with Snow of course! But we were too excited to slow down much, so we made a beeline straight for MAGICAL EXPRESS!
When I last took DME, you had to wait in line, get your booklet checked at the desk, then you went on to the bus line. Now you don’t have to go to the desk at all if you have your booklet. You follow the mickey heads straight through to a podium where they look at your booklet and send you on your way!
There was a bus that they loaded us straight on to! It was half full so we hoped that it would leave shortly…but alas, we had to wait another half an hour until it was completely full. Little bit of a buzz kill, but hey – our flight had arrived early (AirTran manages to swing that pretty often) and we were still making good time.
We hit the road and the bus driver announces that we will be stopping at Fort Wilderness, then the Wilderness Lodge, then the Contemporary. A lady at the back stands up and says What about the Polynesian? – so looks like there will be three stops before we get to the Contemporary. Again, a bit of a buzz kill, but at least we got to watch the cute bus video and soon we saw the Welcome Sign…
After the welcome video there was a video for the Vacation Club and then they played Disney cartoons, very cute…
So we got on the bus at 4pm and at 5pm we arrived at Fort Wilderness. At least we had some entertainment here…see those two barrels by the security gate? Our bus knocked over not one, but both of them!
I thought when he was making the turn that it seemed a little bit tight. The security guard was staring at us in a sort of bemused disbelief as it became apparent that the bus driver was DEFINITELY making the turn too tight, and first one, then the other barrel went down. I’m just glad they weren’t bolted to the ground or anything, cause then there really would’ve been a problem!
So the barrel incident gave us an inkling that our driver was rather new at his job. He stopped at the Polynesian next, and much as I love the Polynesian, at this point I just really wanted to get to the Contemporary. Dinner at the club went from 5-7, and I really didn’t want to miss it – I had barely eaten anything since breakfast, so I was starving!
So we pull out of the Polynesian, and now the suspicion that our bus driver is new is confirmed – he turns the wrong way and before we know it we’re back on World Drive, going OUT of the Magic Kingdom gate and leaving Disney World! :scared1:
Luckily the driver realized his mistake and used the turn around - to be fair, it was only a 10 minute delay, but it was still kinda frustrating.
A cab ride from the airport to Disney usually takes about 45 minutes, sometimes less. DME took us an hour and a half. Now it is a fun and free way to get to your resort, so I’m not really complaining, just sayin. Magical Express: sometimes magical; sometimes…not so much. :rolleyes1 We stopped at the Wilderness Lodge next and then at 5:30 we at last pulled up to the CONTEMPORARY!!!
My brother Aramis was waiting for us as we got off the bus. The cast members who greet you at the curb and walk you in to check-in are called “curbside” (I used to be one of them!). Well Aramis was nice enough to be our unofficial curbside! He had already gone up to check us in and get everything set!
The annoyances of the bus ride quickly melted away as we hopped in the elevator and used our touch key to get us up to the twelfth floor, where awaited…
This gorgeous lounge…
THIS gorgeous view…
…and THIS glorious FOOD!!!
But to hear about that, you’ll have to wait til Thursday!
I think it's fair to ask for a portion of your money back on that one.
Hey Emma! You're so lucky to be able to stay CL at not one but all 3 Seven Seas Resorts and I'm looking forward to your comparisons and reviews. I'm kicking myself for missing the opportunity to go through the College Program at Disney. I'm studying in Canterbury, have you been there? The whole Kent county is so pretty and if there's one word I would use to describe living here, it would be civilized :) What one word would you use to describe living in Dublin or England? I'm actually hoping my research will help me get a job at Disney as an Imagineer doing a lot of computer-based research- fingers crossed!
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