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Old 03-20-2010, 06:45 AM   #1
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Bad Mothers' Handbook - Chapter 15

A Perfect End to a Perfect Holiday - What a View!

So, our cruise was over and I should be sad – except I wasn’t because today we were going back to Disney…and checking into Bay Lake Tower…and I had a surprise… (and what a surprise it proved to be!!)

Once we were up and dressed, we headed down to Tritons for our final breakfast. After enjoying some pastries, eggs and bacon it was time to say farewell to Jan and Fernando. We had time for a couple of pictures before gathering our belongings and joining the line to disembark.

All too soon we were leaving the Disney Wonder but we knew we would be back in 2011 so weren’t too sad. Plus we were all excited about heading to Bay Lake Tower (well, me and Nat were anyway). I'd had a great time on the cruise and had we not got plans to return I would have been devastated.

Once we were off the ship and had collected our luggage, we joined a massive line of people waiting to go through immigration. Luckily, there was a separate line for non-US residents and soon we were called forward to that line and were through in about 20 minutes.

We waited outside the terminal while Gary collected the Mystery Machine – apparently he had not parked in the DCL parking area so somehow we ended up having parked for free. Not quite sure how he managed that. I'm hoping he can repeat the feat in 2011..more cocktail money lol

The journey back to Disney World was uneventful and we were pulling up outside the Contemporary just before lunch.

A bit of a back story at this point: Back in the original planning stages, Nat and I came up with the idea of spending our last night at Bay Lake Tower. We weren’t sure whether we would be able to get a reservation at the 7-month mark but it was worth a try. Nat and John had rented enough points to cover their 10 nights at Kidani Village but, since Gary and I had plenty of points available, we said we would cover the last night. At some point, while considering how many points we needed for a 2-bed and studio at BLT, I realised that, for a few points more – a mere 93 points – we could have a Grand Villa with a Magic Kingdom view. I discussed the idea with Gary and we agreed that it was likely to be our only chance to stay in a Grand Villa so, if it was available, we would book it and it would be our little surprise. On 1st April 2009, the day came and I called Member Services and, to my absolute delight, a Grand Villa with Magic Kingdom view was available. And so we were booked. I told Nat and John that we had been able to get into BLT but that I had only managed to secure a standard view studio for them. And so came the hardest 7 months of my life – I am rubbish at keeping secrets and, given that Nat and I speak at least 3 times a week, it was really hard not to blurt it out. Kudos mate, I'm not sure I could have done it!

Still, here we were ready to check in and, as far as I knew, Nat and John still had no idea and nor did any of the kids. Gary and I had agreed that I would go in on my own on the pretext of checking if the rooms were ready so Nat didn’t get suspicious. I checked in but, unfortunately, the room wasn’t ready. I was a tad disappointed as I thought there might be an outside chance but, still, I was given room keys for everyone and told we could call later to check if the room was ready.

I went back to the others and told them the rooms weren’t ready and suggested we drive over to BLT, park up and explore a while before heading down to use the pool – the kids were eager to go swimming and it was desperately warm. So we explored for a while, taking the lift right up to the top floor and checking out the view.

Then we walked across the bridge to the Contemporary where we got some lunch at the Contempo Café, which was pretty dire.

After lunch, I started getting twitchy and, even though it was only an hour since we’d checked in, I decided to go back to check if the room was ready. Nat asked if she could come too and, since I couldn’t think of an excuse not to let her, I had to say yes. The room still wasn’t ready - and, luckily, I had managed to enquire without letting the cat out of the bag – so we went back across the bridge, got some stuff out of the car and headed out to the pool area.

We spent an hour or so relaxing (although I was like a coiled spring, I was that excited to get in to the room) and then I used the phone by the pool to call the front desk and established that the rooms was now ready. She gave me the room number and I went back to the others. Since I now needed an excuse for us all to be going to the same room, I told a big fat lie and said that only Nat and John’s room was ready. I said that I was desperate to see what the rooms were like so suggested we went up to have a look and left the kids at the pool. John stayed behind to keep an eye on the kids, while Gary, Nat and I went off to check out the room.

When we got out of the lift on the 13th floor, I really thought Nat would have twigged since I had previously mentioned that all the grand villas were on the top floor. When we got to the door of the room and it was on the Magic Kingdom ‘side’, again I thought she would have twigged but apparently not. Clearly either I am very gullible or I just trust Joh far too much

When she put the key into the door and opened the door, the look on her face was absolutely priceless. The Grand Villa was gorgeous. I had seen pictures but none of them had prepared me for how completely wonderful it was. I was gob smacked. We had a few hugs and shed a few tears – I think Nat was surprised I’d managed to keep it from her for so long – and then had a good look around. It was a truly magical moment and one I will never forget as long as I live. How she is going to top this in 2011 is beyond me hehe!!

A few pictures of the room!

And the view out of the windows!

We also found, at this point, on the sideboard, a limited edition print for us to keep which is going to be framed and hung in my Disney room at home.

We went back and managed to persuade the kids and John to come and look at the room, although we had to promise Daniel and Matthew that they could go straight back to the pool afterwards.

John loved the room but the little heathens – sorry, kids – were less impressed and eager to get back to the pool. So, after deciding where we would all sleep, we headed back down to the pool where we stayed for the rest of the afternoon. We ended up taking part in a treasure hunt-type game, where the CMs would read out an item and we had to collect various things, such as a Mickey Mouse watch or a receipt from a Disney World store etc, and take them up to the podium. We ended up winning and the kids got to choose a prize so they chose an electronic Connect 4 game. That game was a lot of fun! The boys had a great time by the pool and it was lovely to chill for a while.

It was time to leave now as we had an ADR at ‘Ohana this evening. I was a little bit apprehensive about this as I am a very fussy eater and I didn’t think the food would appeal to me at all. I couldn’t have been more wrong – I absolutely loved it! She was nowhere near as apprehensive as me. It was my choice of restaurant as we love it but I was more than a little worried that miss picky eater would hate it.

We all got showered and changed and walked across to the Contemporary, where we caught the Monorail to the Polynesian and checked in at the podium for our ADR. After a couple of family photos (for some reason, Daniel did NOT want to be in this picture but I made him lol) we were called to our table and it was time to eat.

Continued in the next post...
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:46 AM   #2
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Continued from above....

We had a great time at ‘Ohana and we will definitely go back. The boys loved the limbo and the parade with the musical instruments and Nat loved the Lapu Lapu’s Enough said!

Suitably stuffed, we returned to Bay Lake Tower, where we left the kids in the room watching TV and eating chips (crisps) and sweets while we adults went to check out the Top of the World Lounge. Easier said than done as it took us a while to figure out we couldn’t get the lift up to the top floor. After trying to figure out the way to the top, we returned to the room where I phoned the front desk and found out we needed to go down to the lobby and see the CM there, to gain access. After showing the CM our key cards and verifying that we were indeed DVC owners staying at BLT on points, we were given access to the magic elevator that allowed the exclusive access to the lounge. That was no easy task! It all felt very exclusive though.

Once up there, we admired the view from the terrace – it was pretty impressive.

The lounge was lovely but we were very surprised to discover that it was virtually empty. After speaking to one of the bartenders, we found out that it was not being as well used as had been anticipated. It seems a real shame since it is a gorgeous lounge, with little nooks where you can have a cosy drink and a couple of comfortable sofas.

After one drink, we ordered another ‘to go’ as we were going back down to the room to watch Hallowishes. After all, what is the point of having a Magic Kingdom view if you don’t make the most of it? The fireworks were great, although it was weird watching them from that far off as they seemed to be coming from all over the place. Indeed, some of them were actually let off a huge distance away. We were also lucky enough to see the Electrical Water Pageant so we were all pretty happy. It was a very different way of watching wishes but it was a great view!

The younger ones went to bed after the fireworks and the adults and teens stayed up a while longer, drinking and chatting, before heading off to bed ourselves. I was a bit disappointed that, once I lay down in bed, I couldn’t actually see the castle but left the curtains open anyway so I could see the lights from the Magic Kingdom shining in the distance. Beautiful! Lol, me and John did the same, I was not shutting out that view!!

Next (and, unfortunately, last): Hollywood or bust! John finds his inner bunny...or not!
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Old 03-20-2010, 07:34 AM   #3
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OMG what an amazing surprise . i don't know how you managed to keep that a secret Joh. i love the room and the amazing views -
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Old 03-20-2010, 08:28 AM   #4

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Wow!!! I mean WOW!!!! What a way to sweeten the whole "getting off the Wonder" experience - the Grand Villa looks amazing!!! Very impressed you kept your lips zipped for so long, Joh - you're a better woman than me..

Love the pics of the Top of the World lounge - even more excited to try it out with Claire in June...
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Old 03-20-2010, 08:37 AM   #5
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I've been waiting for this instalment Joh.

What a great end to an amazing holiday - the villa looks amazing - what a lovely surprise for those not in the know.

As Nat says - how are you going to top that in 2011 - a night in the castle maybe

Hope you are enjoying your birthday

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Old 03-20-2010, 09:13 AM   #6
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OMG fantastic, the villa looks amazing!
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:18 AM   #7
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Wow thats a fantastic surprise!! I would never have been able to keep that quiet!!

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Old 03-20-2010, 11:35 AM   #8
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That's not a room, it's an apartment. I'm hoping I can get a MK view next year.

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Old 03-20-2010, 11:51 AM   #9
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Wow what a stunning room and view. BLT looks so impressive and I would love to drink cocktails in that bar. You are sooooo lucky.

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Old 03-20-2010, 12:00 PM   #10
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What an amazing suprise, the villa is like a house!! I am so hoping to get a night or two there next year just to try the lounge.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:56 PM   #11
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Awesome chapter! I love surprises! That was excellent!

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Old 03-20-2010, 06:23 PM   #12
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Wow!!! What a wonderful surprise, I don't know how you kept that secret for so long, Joh! What a fabulous finale to your holiday.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:14 AM   #13
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Great update, what a lovely surprise. The room looks amazing.
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:24 AM   #14
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Good one Joh

What a room, what a view!
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:29 AM   #15
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Wow, what an amazing surprise. The Grand Villa looks gorgeous!
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