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Old 11-10-2004, 10:12 AM   #1
AlexandNessa
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Talking Whirlwind trip to GF Concierge. Picture Links (Long)

Grand Floridian Concierge 10/26-10/28

The Cast:

Mike – 35, my SO, takes our vacation money out of my engagement ring fund. Didn’t grow up with the Magic, but tells me he went to Disneyland once as a child (does this even count?). Nonetheless, he is Mr. I-Don’t-Plan-or-Make-Reservations.-Just-Tell-Me-Where-and-When-to-Show-up-and-What-to-Bring.

Me – 32, grew up with the Magic, and clearly takes advantage of the “Just tell me where and when to show up and what to bring” policy. Also known for hiding receipts and credit card bills so he doesn’t readily know how much this policy is actually costing him.

And just a bit older than us:
Mike’s big sis “M,”my best friend.
Mike’s BIL “B,” never smiles for pictures, but promises he’s having fun. He swears.


Background
This was just a quick, whirlwind trip before heading over to Universal so we could attend Halloween Horror Nights for the first time. It was all based on M & B wanting to eat at Victoria & Albert’s while they were in Orlando. Mike and I decided to join them for Disney (after all, they’ll already be there, right?), although we opted to eat elsewhere.

We shared a 2-bedroom suite in the GF’s Main Building, room 4022. This is a suite that sleeps eight, and the reservations were made under M & B’s name, with our names included in the ressie. The ressie was confirmed several times, and the GF Concierge even called B to confirm our names, our arrival time (we arrived about an hour and half before M & B), and how we would be arriving at the resort. The GF even offered to send a car for us (we already booked a towncar).

Check-in
We arrived at the GF Concierge, and as B told me to do, when the town car arrived at the gate, I gave the attendant my full name and said our ressie was booked under Martin, and we were part of the Martin party. We were waived through the gate, but not greeted by anyone. The porter was ready to send us to the front desk for check-in. Not so fast! There was no one at the concierge desk outside, so we went up to another desk and had to tell them we were concierge guests. They sent us to Larry.

I told Larry who we were and that the reservation was under Martin. He said, “Oh, I have you right here. Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Martin.” I explained again who we were and that we were just one half of the Martin party. He said, “I only show 2 adults.” I assured him that we were 4 adults, that Mrs. Martin and Mike were brother and sister, and we were sharing the suite. He mumbled that they would figure it out upstairs. I sure hoped so!

Larry brought us up the elevator to the concierge lounge, where he introduced us to Arnold as Mr. and Mrs. Martin. Again, we had to explain to Arnold who we were, and Mr. & Mrs. Martin are about an hour and half behind us and would be there shortly. As my engagement ring is quickly becoming a plain, sterling silver band with the words, “You are wearing Disney, Universal, and Holland America” inscribed on the inside, I was a bit bitter at the reminder that I am not, in fact, a “Mrs.” just yet.

Arnold (who I should have asked who his manicurist was, as his nails were perfectly groomed, polished, and nicer than mine) pulled up the reservation, and did indeed see that the reservation was for 4 people (phew!).

Arnold seemed to want to go through the check-in process just once, but we asked him not to check M & B in yet, as we weren’t sure where we’d wind up meeting up, and we’d like them to be able to check-in themselves and get their room keys from the desk instead of trying to meet up with us to get their keys. He didn’t seem happy about that. We just smiled.

He asked us to confirm our PS requests, and these were wrong as well. He had M & B eating at Victoria & Albert’s twice that night: once at 6 and again at 9:45. We tried to tell him that although we’re all big eaters, they only needed the 9:45 reservation, but Arnold wanted to wait for M & B to verify. Our room wasn’t ready yet, but we were welcome to enjoy the 4th floor lounge and grab some snacks.

We had done a grocery stop on the way over to the GF, and I had picked up a nice bottle of champagne for the 4 of us to kick off our vacation. I asked Arnold if he would have it chilled and sent up to the suite that evening. He sent me upstairs to talk to Patty who worked in the 4th floor lounge; he said that she would take care of it. I asked the same request of Patty, and she said she could put the champagne in a cooler, and I could come get it myself later.

I gave what Mike calls the “polite head-tilt, huh?” face. Even when I got the champagne later, would I have to carry up the ice bucket and flutes as well? Would they at least give me a tray? I thanked her, and reluctantly handed over the champagne.

We toured the resort for a while. It is one of my favorites, as we had a family gathering there in 1989, and it holds fond memories for me.

***Flashback to 1989***One morning, my aunt, mom, and I dropped off my brother, sister, and one cousin at some art class. We then went to check out the CBR which was relatively new at the time and had a nice morning at the Marketplace. This left my father, uncle and two young cousins to their own devices.

My father was happy to have the morning to himself, and he enjoyed his usual routine of reading the paper in the GF lobby, which he loved. That is until he noticed two small boys with their heads buried in the pillows of the couches across from him with their bums sticking in the air. They were wiggling about and and generally being disruptive. My father looked around, and it was clear these children were not supervised. He thought, “What kinds of parents leave their kids alone to wreak havoc in a lobby like this?” The boys attracted attention from other folks in the lobby as well. My father returned to reading his paper, when one of the boys came up for air. “Uncle Joe!” he exclaimed for all to hear.

My father, mortified (these, after all, are his sister’s kids), escorted them out of the lobby and bought them some breakfast. My uncle had gone off to play golf. My aunt thought my uncle had them. My uncle thought my aunt had them. The boys had been alone for about 2 hours to amuse themselves in the lobby. This was before Ritalin.

I had Mike do a mini re-enactment. I wanted to be in the picture too, but I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to take the picture, and M & B weren’t with us at the opportune moment.



***Fast forward to 10/26/2004***

Anywho… Mike was impressed with the GF as well, but I think he’d have rather been at the Yacht or Beach Club or Boardwalk, which is where we usually stay, primarily for the location.

We checked back in with Arnold, and he said our suite was now ready, and he would call to send up our luggage. He wound up giving us an envelope, and when we opened it once we arrived in the room, we found he had given us M & B's key cards, despite our asking him to hold on to them in case we didn’t meet up with M & B till later. At this point, I wasn’t too impressed with the level of service the Concierge provided, especially at their premier hotel, but we’re on vacation!

The suite wasn’t quite ready when we arrived upstairs, so our guide (not Arnold) asked us to wait outside until he could check things out. We stood about for 10 minutes, and were finally allowed in the room. Suite 4022 is a pretty suite, with an entry way (not quite a hallway), a second bedroom and full bath off to the left of the entry way, a living room with a half bath down a short hallway to the right of the entry way, and the master bedroom (with a full bath of course) off of the living room. There was a wet bar in the living room and another in our second bedroom. The view from the second bedroom was best, as it overlooked the lagoon and Polynesian and the wedding chapel. The balcony from the living room overlooked the wedding chapel and a road. The balcony off the master bedroom overlooked the monorail track and the same road.

M & B arrived a bit later and met us up in the suite. They were told that their luggage would be sent up shortly, but after about 30 minutes or so, they called down to make sure their luggage was being sent up. They were told that their luggage was already sent up. The suite was big, but not that big! It can’t possibly be hiding somewhere. Apparently, there were other Martins in the hotel that day whose luggage was already delivered, so the bellman disregarded the concierge’s instructions. Thankfully, their last name isn’t Smith.

Time to Eat
Since it was now about 4 o’clock, we decided not to waste a full day of a park hopper pass for just a few hours at the park, and went off to find a quick bite to eat. Nothing was really open at the hotel, so believe it or not, we wound up going to the McDonald’s near the All-Stars. This borders on sacrilege for me, but as our dinner was not until 9 that evening, Mike and I shared a chicken tenders meal. We ate too much, as it was close to what affectionately became known as “beer o’clock” in the concierge lounge. They had a nice selection of wine and Miller Lite for Mike (which will do when Coors Light is not available), and a nice selection of appetizers. I believe this was an Asian night, with egg rolls and dumplings and the like. As always, they also had a large selection of cheese and crackers and I think fruit too. I immediately regretted McDonald’s.

We relaxed for a bit in the lounge and then got ready for dinner. Mike and I had 9 pm ressies at our favorite Disney restaurant, Portobello’s. This was packed even at 9 on a Tuesday. I immediately ordered their homemade sangria (yum!). Mike tried something different for a change and had a Coors Lite. I tried to decide between the filet mignon with shrimp and the Australian lobster tails. I opted for the lobster tails, and immediately had food envy when I saw the lady next to me had ordered the filet. She was hardly eating it and hadn’t touched her asparagus. Mike offered me $500 to ask her if I could have her asparagus. If my dinner didn’t have asparagus too, I would have. My food envy ended when my dinner arrived. Mike had a chicken dish, and it was melt-in-your-mouth good, but not as melt-in-your-mouth good as my lobster tails! Turns out I made the right choice (I still think about those lobster tails!), and the lady next to me wound up getting a doggie bag for her plate, probably to prevent me from asking her for a bite of her steak.

Nightlife
We were too full for dessert, and headed over to Pleasure Island to go to our favorite place, The Adventurer’s Club. This is the first time we’d been back to PI since they allowed all ages onto the Island.

Mike and I like to play, “who needs a friend?” We’ve all played it, although you might call it by a different name. The premise is simple: a good friend would never have let you leave the house dressed that way. There were plenty of people in need of a good friend that night. Add alcohol and a bit of dancing to the mix, and you’re in for quite a show. We saw a few parents with strollers, but noticed, not surprisingly, they quickly wheeled their kids through PI and out.

The Adventurer’s Club barely carded us (the crows’ feet must be giving us away) and we settled in for the show. It was a bit “off” that night, and Mike and I thought it might have something to do with them allowing kids into the club now. During one point in the show, the performer noticed three sisters in the audience and asked where they were from and how old they were. They were 22, 21, and 16. Flame me all you want, but I really don’t think a 16-year-old belongs in a club with some convention guys getting rowdy and lots of people drinking after 11 at night. I hadn’t thought that minors were allowed in the clubs, but apparently they are, as the girl wasn’t escorted out or anything. We also did the Comedy Warehouse, which was better than the last time we were there, perhaps because we did the last show of the evening.

Yup, Eating Again
The next day, we hit our favorite rides at Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and MGM (yes, commando-style!), and had dinner at the 50s Prime Time Café. I guess this place is good for lunch, but it’s the last time we’ll have dinner there. Mike ordered the pork tenderloin, but it would’ve made a better belt. I had the tuna steak, which I thought would be served with potatoes and green beans (I don’t know what I was thinking), but it turned out to be on a salad (with cold potatoes and cold green beans in the salad – ick) with a sweet vinaigrette. Our server claimed she was our babysitter and asked if she could call my honey “Mikey.” I suppose I appreciate the effort, but it just didn’t work for this young girl, and the role was a bit too forced – we were old enough to be her parents. Besides, do babysitters really let you have beer?

Eating in the Lounge Again
That night, we returned to the concierge lounge to meet up with M&B for cordials. It is here we met Augustus Gloop. He was probably six years old and with his nanny Katya in the lounge. I thought he was English, but B just thought he pronounced every syllable meticulously. B heard him say, “Katya, I will have one of those cupcakes, but you must scrape the sprinkles off.” I was amused by this, and decided to check out the scene while they were in the coffee area. As I was getting some coffee, I heard him say, “Katya, I will have some milk, and I will tell you when you to stop pouring.” Katya looked tired. I wondered why.

Go SOX!
Everyone was watching the final game of the World Series that night. It was a great night, and lots of Red Sox fans were there. We had a pizza and chips sent up to the room since we had barely touched our dinner.

We decided we must have met Augustus’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Gloop, the next morning as there was a couple complaining to one of the concierge staff that they ordered a tennis ball machine, and it only had 15 tennis balls in it when it should hold 28. They were going to breakfast, and there had better be 28 tennis balls in the machine by the time they returned. The concierge began to scramble for these folks. Huh? I couldn’t even get them to chill our champagne and actually have it sent to the room with 4 flutes (flutes? Blank stare here. Champagne glasses, please.). We still couldn’t get Patty to do it, so we asked one of the housekeeping staff who was restocking glasses to take care of it for us, and she looked confused but said she’d take care of it. We did, after much effort, get the champagne on ice and delivered to the room with 4 champagne flutes. And I promise we were wicked nice about it. Not un-Disney-like like Mr. & Mrs. Gloop!

All in all, was I impressed with the Concierge staff? Nope. Not when one night in a suite costs more than twice my monthly mortgage payment. If WDW bills the GF as its premium hotel, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to keep one reservation and 4 PS requests straight, and accommodate simple requests. But that’s just me.

We checked out that morning. M & B headed over to the MK. Mike and I decided not to waste a day on our passes, and headed for the Marketplace. Next up: the RPR and Universal! (Click here for that trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread....hreadid=679108)

Hopefully this will work to view photos of the room and resort:

http://www.ofoto.com/BrowsePhotos.js...d=908912028105
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Last edited by AlexandNessa; 11-10-2004 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 11-10-2004, 10:30 AM   #2
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Enjoyed your trip report and pics. That picture of Mike on the sofa in the lobby is hilarious!
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Old 11-10-2004, 01:08 PM   #3
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Think you deserve better treatment if you are staying at the GF conceirge...

Your report had my in hysterics though (why is the office staff staring at me) with the Augustus Gloop story. The scary thing is I can actually hear the whole thing in my head!
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Old 11-11-2004, 09:30 AM   #4
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That's a real shame, that you didn't get better service from GF! I can see a simple mix up regarding the reservations, they can only go by what someone else notes in a reservation afterall. But you shouldn't have had ANY problems once you got checked in. For that kind of money, they should wait on you hand and foot!

I'd write a nice letter to Disney pointing out the short comings of their concierge staff at their flagship hotel. You're obviously not that upset over it, but Disney can't correct a problem if they don't know it exists.

I'm glad you didn't let it ruin your trip!
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Old 11-11-2004, 12:37 PM   #5
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Hey Jodie, I know the ABE airport. Can I ask what airline you took down to MCO? My DD goes to school in the area and that's where she always flies out of. I have her joining us in December for our Disney trip and the flight choices are a little slim.

Sorry about the GF. Maybe the Gloops were checked in right ahead of you and that threw off the CM's entire day. I love that story. You had a great attitude though and I'm glad it didn't ruin your trip. Your Mike sounds exactly like my DH and we've been married for 21 years now. The only thing he does for our vacation is pack his own suitcase.

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Old 11-11-2004, 05:05 PM   #6
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My family is quite proud of Mike for posing, but one of my culprit cousins said that was a very conservative re-enactment, and Mike should have had his head buried further in the couch and more of his bum showing.

We did enjoy our trip, but I don't see GF concierge as a great value or even a valuable service worth the premium. We probably wouldn't do that again. But it was a short trip, and there's always our favorites to return to, the Y & B Club and BW.


Tammi - We flew on Delta. We did for our March trip as well. One time we connected throught Cincinnati and once through Atlanta. Both flights were pretty uneventful.

Where does your daughter go to school? I came so very, very close to going to Lafayette, but I've taken classes at Moravian so I could graduate on time, my good friend went to Muhlenburg, and B went to Lehigh!
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Old 11-11-2004, 10:00 PM   #7
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Jodie, my DD goes to Cedar Crest in Allentown. The whole area is really beautiful.

I checked on Delta and they have a flight that will accomodate her schedule. It has a connection in Atlanta, but that will only add about another hour onto her flight.

Tammi
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Old 11-12-2004, 04:28 PM   #8
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thanks for posting
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Old 11-12-2004, 08:13 PM   #9
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Thanks for the trip report! Loved the Augustus Gloop part!

Sorry that the GF didn't do a better job.....
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Old 11-13-2004, 08:59 AM   #10
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Great report ~ Thanx for sharing.
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Old 11-13-2004, 09:11 AM   #11
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I sent the photo of Mike's 1989 re-enactment to my father. He responded:

It's a somewhat flawed re-enactment. You see, I am the sole witness of the original. Chris and Tim had somehow acquired a surplus of expensive pillows and then piled them high on the sofa. They burrowed deeply inside the pile exposing only their bums, which were pointed directly at everyone in the lobby rather than towards the arm of the sofa. As they exploded from the pile, they announced to the entire lobby that their mother simply left them there and they had not seen her for hours.

I humbly stand corrected!
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Old 12-04-2004, 01:38 PM   #12
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great trip report - it does seem as if the GF's concierge has been getting a bad rap lately; someone should compile a list of complaints from everyone that has posted lately and send it to the Disney Executive Offices! Especially with the Four Seasons being built in Celebration, if they want to retain 'top shelf' clientele, they'd better improve!

Would you be able to post about your so's sister's experience @ V&A's? I'm dying to read about V&A's - I've been there several times but my BF and I are supposed to be eating there next Saturday and I need all the ammo to convince him to pack a suit so we can, he doesn't think it's worth it (he's never been there, what does he know??? )
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:33 AM   #13
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Victoria & Albert's

M & B like this restaurant a lot. They said the service has slipped a tiny bit since they were last there about 3 years ago, but nothing too major. (Little things only they would probably notice since their good friends work at a consistently-rated 5-diamond restaurant in Kennebunkport. A shlub like me probably wouldn't notice. For example, I remember them saying that they no longer give you a fresh napkin when you leave the table. They simply refold your same napkin. And, they served M her appetizer while she was in the restroom. Most expensive restaurants will not serve your food unless you are all at the table together. Just little things they pick up on; but nothing that ruins dinner.). They did go back a second night, and they have the Chef's Table booked for March.

They had the caviar the first night and enjoyed that a lot. They had told their waiter that they would be back for dinner again the following night, and asked if they could expect the same menu. Their waiter asked if they had anything special in mind, and they said to surprise them. I don't remember what they actually had for them, but I know they seemed to enjoy it fine. M received a rose each night at dinner, and they had noted that they were celebrating their anniverary. V & A's made a chocolate card of congratulations for them.

I don't think you and your BF need to go overboard in dressing for dinner. I remember that M wore a simple, casual dress and B wore pants, a jacket, and tie (not a suit), and they said that they were by far the best dressed couple in the restaurant. Enjoy it.
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Old 12-06-2004, 01:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TammiMcMan
Jodie, my DD goes to Cedar Crest in Allentown. The whole area is really beautiful.

I checked on Delta and they have a flight that will accomodate her schedule. It has a connection in Atlanta, but that will only add about another hour onto her flight.

Tammi

What a small world, I am a grad of CCC (too many years ago to post).
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:50 PM   #15
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The Gloop story had me rolling! I just finished dictating a case to my co-worker and decided to get a quick Disney fix to cheer me up. It made my day!


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