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Old 04-06-2012, 06:31 AM   #1
laura74
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Disney Nomads ... 3 Resorts in 8 Nights! ALL NEW 9/2!

Welcome to my first trip report. I hope you'll drop me a line while you're here.

About the title, we were really crazy enough to resort hop twice and you’ll find out how that went later.

(Nebo let me know that all these initials standing in for people's names are annoying so I'm updating with nicknames. Yes, they may sound strange but they've actually been used in real life.)

But first, let me introduce the characters. There’s me -- wife, mom and art director; my husband Mr. Squid, also a graphic designer; and my 10-year old Monkston. (Aren’t I secretive, especially with my super secret user name laura74? The 74 is completely arbitrary by the way, just something the Dis assigned me when the one I wanted was taken but I’ll take it because it makes me feel young.)

Also along for the ride, but not crazy enough to stay in more than one resort are our friends Sheena, her husband Druid and their 10-year old son Tour Guide Mike (TGM). Sheena was not at all happy about going on another Disney trip (she claims I said I wanted to go to the Caribbean) but TGM is completely Disney crazy and not far behind is Druid.

This would be our first trip as DVC members and the only reason we are DVC members this year was because it was too cold to swim on the last day of our trip last year. Huh, you say?

We usually hang out at the resort pool before ME picks us up for the airport but last year it was so cold that we decided to go to Epcot for a few hours. Well, after a week of bussing, walking, fighting crowds, we were just tired. As we hobbled to the American pavilion we happened upon the DVC booth, and out of curiousity, stopped to look at the treehouse pictures.

It was about an hour before we had to catch a bus back to the resort and we were looking at a long walk to Future World and the buses. I elbowed Mr. Squid, and whispered that maybe we should sit down for a chat with this DVC person. They have a van and cookies and ice cream waiting for us. How clever we were!

We had done the whole DVC sit down a couple years before when it was a rainy day and they were offering fast passes and ice cream for an hour or so of our time. We were kind of interested in signing but just couldn’t make such a big financial decision on the fly and said we would think about it at home. Well, you know how it is once you leave the bubble. You see the things you need to do to the house, and think about all the other more practical uses for the money. So, we didn’t do it.

We tell the guy we want to talk and he calls for a van and tells us to go wait by the fence at the back of the pavilion. Wow! We get to go backstage... And backstage is... kind of ugly actually. It looks like a back lot. And I didn't see any shenangagans going on with any of the cast members so nothing really interesting to report.

Upon arrival at the DVC office we get our cookies and coffee and our salesman comes out and seems to know everything about us from our last visit which was kind of creepy. But he was very smooth and didn't really try to do a hard sell. He just had some good arguments about why it would be right for us and gave us a good enough incentive to make it attractive.

After his talk and the tour of the beautiful one bedroom units we were sold. I guess he outfoxed clever us.

We have stayed at mostly moderate resorts and they are really nice, but that week at POFQ we had particularly bad bus service and the close quarters in the room were getting to us. Maybe that pushed us over the edge because the thought of being able to walk to MK or Epcot was looking pretty darned attractive. Not to mention me, the early riser, not having to make and drink my morning coffee in the bathroom vanity area.

In our one “hard-*ss” move in signing, we did get them to drive us to the airport rather than taking ME. Aren’t we tough negotiators?

Back to this trip…
We started planning back in October and we knew we wanted to stay in a 1-BR unit at BLT because it was so sleek and “rat-packy” and has that swanky lounge at the top. But we also didn’t want to use up all our points so we needed to split our stay. We chose AKV for the second half of our trip. Well, after airfares came out we had to change our plans because for some reason the dates we chose came with astronomical airfares. Since it was later in the game we had to get creative so we booked BLT 1 BR for first three nights (cheaper than last three), BWV studio for 2 nights and AKV 1 BR for 3 nights. It all sounds very easy on paper but will it prove to be easy in practice? We’ll see…




Chapter Links

Let's Go

Everyone Has Baggage

I'll Have a BLT Please

Wishes and Squishes

Tinkerbell's Shot. Now What?

Deluxe Buses Come With Entertainment?

The Happiest Mall On Earth

Coffee and Sympathy

If They Don't Let Anyone In Why Aren't There More Chairs?

Deluxe Ducks

View from the Top

Ohana Means Expensive Family Pictures

Where's Perry?

How Not to Tour

Dinner at The Wave

Goodbye Bay Lake Tower!

Let Charo Be Your Guide

Who Let The Riff Raff In?

Cheese Please!

Le Cellier! Hooray?

Happy birthday Mr. Squid

From Captain EO to Jiko
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Last edited by laura74; 09-02-2012 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:38 AM   #2
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:15 AM   #3
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Thanks for subbing Grumpy's Wife!
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Old 04-07-2012, 06:23 AM   #4
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Let's Go!

I like to leave for vacation before dawn. I don’t sleep well in anticipation anyway and I’m an early bird by nature. Isn’t it the greatest thing in the world to check into your hotel room before noon and have a whole bonus day stretched out before you?

Unfortunately the rest of my party doesn’t agree.

We had a 2:40 flight scheduled from Philly. We decided to get a car service even though it’s such a waste of money. Both of our cars have a lot of miles on them though and while it would be a drag for my car to break down on the way to work it would be a tragedy for it to break down on the way to the airport.

We’re taking the service with Sheena, Druid and TGM and we are scheduled for pickup at 12. That leaves me with about 6 hours of pacing time. Sure, I can check and recheck my bag a few dozen times and I may have actually added to it but I maintain that this is a colossal waste of time and we should have taken the 7am flight!

The sleeping members of my family disagree.

During this time I get an email that our dog who is staying with a friend has peed on her rug and how does she get it out? Great. Then she calls to add that the dog also bit her and she and her son are afraid to pick her up. Just what I need before the trip. Now, our dog can get nippy if you try to pick her up the wrong way but she’s all of 11 pounds and the size of a tissue box. I told her the dog doesn’t do well with stairs because we live in a ranch and that she should try wearing oven mitts when she picks her up.

Monkston finally gets up, and after a nutritious breakfast of chocolate chip muffins and gummy vitamins, is bouncing off the walls with excitement. Now I have a pacing companion! She checks her bag a few dozen times as well.



I wake Mr. Squid up at around 10:30. I don’t understand how he can possibly sleep so late on our departure day (or is it arrival day?). Normally I’d let him sleep a little later because he doesn’t need nearly the amount of time to get ready that I do but he has to “batten down the hatches.”

This is a task that Mr. Squid takes very seriously. He selects the lights that will get timers, arranges the drapes just so, checks the locks and unplugs all the computers and TVs. He even arranges the pillows from the couch in such a way that they block some of the window.

We are leaving the cat behind for our neighbor to feed. He is completely freaked out since he knows something is up with all the luggage in the hall and the drapes all wonky after Mr. Squid “fixed” them. I bite my tongue and try not to look at them. The same holds true if the pillows on the sofa are moved. If you get up, I will arrange them back the way they should be. It’s a compulsion.

So, the cat is being left behind. We think he’s in the house but we haven’t heard him whining and yowling in a while. Hopefully he’s alive.

The driver arrives promptly at 12. Monkston and I help him get the bags to the van and get in. And then we wait…and wait…and wait. I’m quietly freaking out that we won’t get to the airport in time because we still have to pick up Sheena, Druid and TGM. I know he’s checking the timers and the locks yet again. Finally Mr. Squid comes out and we’re off at 12:10. Ok, maybe it didn’t take that long but you have to understand I’ve been up since 5 and pacing since 6.

We’re flying Southwest and they allow 2 check-in bags per person so I take advantage of that and use a whole bag for toiletries and shoes. Yes, I realize that sounds insane but all my products are full size and don’t come in travel size. I have curly hair. I need a lot of products.

Now Sheena is much more low maintenance than I am and has declared that they are only taking carry-on bags. That’s just crazy talk to me. How on earth can that even be done and why would you do that? I’d much rather check my bags than drag them around the airport, wouldn’t you?

The driver seems to be taking a very circuitous route to their house but who am I to argue with a professional?

So, we pick them up and sure enough they each have a bag and a backpack. Sheena informs me that one bag contains all their socks and underwear. Better keep track of that one! I’m in awe of the carry-on situation. It blows my mind that she can fit all her liquid toiletries in a plastic bag. Our sunscreen alone wouldn’t fit in one!

They get in the car and we’re off again…on another rather strange route. Sheena is not one to shy away from conflict like I am so she piped up and asked him where the heck he was going because this seemed to be a very long way to get to highway. He said he was trying to avoid a stretch of highway but on a Sunday afternoon I don’t think this would be a problem. She backed down because he wasn’t listening anyway.

We discussed carry-ons vs checked bags in the car and Sheena said she didn’t want to deal with a long line to check in and then waiting for the bags. I can’t really remember the last time we waited long to check in though and I can’t imagine we would have to wait that long for the bags after making our way over on the airport monorail. I don’t think it’s worth paring down what I want to bring that much. Or what we want to take home for that matter.

After an uneventful hour drive we arrive at the airport and check in with the skycap. Zip zip, it is done Sheena. 5 minutes tops and I see you over there rearranging your bags so they're easier to walk with.

1 point for checked bags!

On we go to the escalator that leads to the gate. It’s pretty difficult with all those carry-on bags, isn’t it Sheena?

Another point for checked bags! That’s 2-0 for anyone counting.

We get to the security checkpoint without too much difficulty (at least those of us not loaded down with bags do). We zip right through. Sheena…not so much. We wait a good extra 5 minutes or so for her to get through.

3-0 in checked bags favor!

Sheena, Druid and TGM brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but we needed to find something to tide us over before the flight. I really would have liked to get something other than McD’s but that’s what Monkston wanted and I didn’t want to wait in another line so we split a 2 cheeseburger meal.

Finally it’s time to get on the flight and Sheena had paid extra for early bird check in. She didn’t hear the A boarding passes being called so she ended up on the end of the line. We boarded in B shortly after. I think she was annoyed that she paid the extra $30 for not much better seats.

We found three seats together over the wing. We always seem to get that row of seats, no matter what airline we fly. I sometimes think of the Twilight Zone episode when the businessman sees the man on the wing of the plane.

I don’t like to fly but I like to go places. I really hate take-off but with a child I have to look like I love it. I wonder how many of the calm people I see on the plane are doing the same thing I am… looking as calm and cool as possible while panicking on the inside. I try to remember how many flights take off every day and that you hardly ever hear of a crash. I look at how calm the attendants are and how this is just another day at work for them.

Luckily the flight was fairly calm. We had some bumpiness in the first hour but I tried not to get nervous. Monkston said it was fun like a ride. Um, yeah.

Oddly the woman in front of me freaked when we were landing. I’ve never seen that before. I never worry about landing because I’m just so glad to see the ground so close.

Up next: We get our bags (how quickly?) and off we go!
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:59 AM   #5
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Hello! Checking in for your report!

You know, I always try to bring up the DVC tour to my parents since it involves the free ice cream but they always refuse because they're afraid they'd buy...guess it's true! But that's so cool that you got to try out so many resorts! Looking forward to hear how that went...resort-changing and all.

That's funny about the checked bags. I could see about maybe for a weekend trip or something but Disney is serious luggage business! I get nervous enough about security with my tiny carry-on...I can only imagine with big ones!
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:40 PM   #6
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I am enjoying your trip report so far. I just flew out of the Philadelphia airport last week. I flew United, so I was in the concourse that has the Earl of Sandwich. That made me happy. I also like to go places but dislike flying, so I can totally relate there.

I am interested in hearing how your resort switching went. My next WDW trip involves three resorts. I have never done a split stay at Disney World. Fortunately, I will have my car for this trip.

I have done a split stay at Disneyland once without a car....and I was staying off-site. I had to add a night due to a flight change. I was able to book a room at a motel down the street from the other one and I just walked between them. I felt a little odd dragging luggage down Harbor Boulevard at 7am, but it wasn't a difficult resort switch at all.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:12 AM   #7
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Enjoying your TR! You're doing a great job for a first timer. I'm looking forward to reading more soon.
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Old 04-08-2012, 06:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimiloveswdw View Post
Hello! Checking in for your report!

You know, I always try to bring up the DVC tour to my parents since it involves the free ice cream but they always refuse because they're afraid they'd buy...guess it's true! But that's so cool that you got to try out so many resorts! Looking forward to hear how that went...resort-changing and all.

That's funny about the checked bags. I could see about maybe for a weekend trip or something but Disney is serious luggage business! I get nervous enough about security with my tiny carry-on...I can only imagine with big ones!
That's funny that your parents are afraid that they'll buy. They really are low pressure though. I guess we were just ready the second time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Where'sPiglet? View Post
I am enjoying your trip report so far. I just flew out of the Philadelphia airport last week. I flew United, so I was in the concourse that has the Earl of Sandwich. That made me happy. I also like to go places but dislike flying, so I can totally relate there.

I am interested in hearing how your resort switching went. My next WDW trip involves three resorts. I have never done a split stay at Disney World. Fortunately, I will have my car for this trip.

I have done a split stay at Disneyland once without a car....and I was staying off-site. I had to add a night due to a flight change. I was able to book a room at a motel down the street from the other one and I just walked between them. I felt a little odd dragging luggage down Harbor Boulevard at 7am, but it wasn't a difficult resort switch at all.
You're lucky that you have Earl of Sandwich. I think we had Chickie & Pete's, McDonald's and some other kind of sandwich place at our terminal. I still have yet to try a sandwich at Earl. Maybe next year!

Bell services makes luggage transfer easy although you have to tip a lot. I guess you won't have that trouble with a car though.

That's funny about dragging your luggage down the boulevard. I always feel funny on the last day when we're lugging our carry-on to the pool.

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Originally Posted by LisaKeys View Post
Enjoying your TR! You're doing a great job for a first timer. I'm looking forward to reading more soon.
Thanks so much!
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laura74 View Post
You're lucky that you have Earl of Sandwich. I think we had Chickie & Pete's, McDonald's and some other kind of sandwich place at our terminal. I still have yet to try a sandwich at Earl. Maybe next year!

Bell services makes luggage transfer easy although you have to tip a lot. I guess you won't have that trouble with a car though.

That's funny about dragging your luggage down the boulevard. I always feel funny on the last day when we're lugging our carry-on to the pool.
I had Earl of Sandwich, but I also had to pay $60 to check two bags. Not totally sure the trade off is worth it. It was my first time to Philadelphia; I was there for a convention. It will probably be a long time before I'm back in Philly. But I do intend to go to Earl at DTD on my next WDW trip. If you're ever in NYC, they have 2 Earls in Manhattan now. I went to the one in Lower Manhattan when I was there two weeks ago. (I flew to NYC, took Amtrak to Philly, then flew from Philly back to New Orleans.)

Fortunately, there weren't many people out and about yet while I was dragging my luggage down the street....and it was also a short trip, so I only had one rolling bag and a backpack.

I am excited to try 3 different resorts on my next trip. I haven't stayed at any of them yet, and I love to try Disney's resorts since they all have a unique theme and feel to them.

I took a nap at the All Star Sports pool before after I had checked out on my last WDW trip. I even set the alarm on my phone so I'd wake up in time for the ride to the airport.

And I hear what you're saying about DVC. I did the Disney Visa thing where you call in and hear about DVC and they give you a $40 gift card. Now I want it, and it's NOT going to help that one of the resorts on our next trip will be a DVC villa!
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Where'sPiglet? View Post
I had Earl of Sandwich, but I also had to pay $60 to check two bags. Not totally sure the trade off is worth it. It was my first time to Philadelphia; I was there for a convention. It will probably be a long time before I'm back in Philly. But I do intend to go to Earl at DTD on my next WDW trip. If you're ever in NYC, they have 2 Earls in Manhattan now. I went to the one in Lower Manhattan when I was there two weeks ago. (I flew to NYC, took Amtrak to Philly, then flew from Philly back to New Orleans.)

Fortunately, there weren't many people out and about yet while I was dragging my luggage down the street....and it was also a short trip, so I only had one rolling bag and a backpack.

I am excited to try 3 different resorts on my next trip. I haven't stayed at any of them yet, and I love to try Disney's resorts since they all have a unique theme and feel to them.

I took a nap at the All Star Sports pool before after I had checked out on my last WDW trip. I even set the alarm on my phone so I'd wake up in time for the ride to the airport.

And I hear what you're saying about DVC. I did the Disney Visa thing where you call in and hear about DVC and they give you a $40 gift card. Now I want it, and it's NOT going to help that one of the resorts on our next trip will be a DVC villa!
We don't have buyer's remorse yet. In fact we were actually thinking of purchasing more points but then we got home and came to our senses. I think they pump more than the smell of cinnamon buns and popcorn onto main street.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:45 PM   #11
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Everyone has baggage

Phew. Landed safe and sound and now we wait…and wait… and wait. All of you carry-on type people are holding up the smarter checked bag people with all your fussing in the overhead compartments. (Full disclosure: we did have one carry-on in the overhead bin, but we’re at the back of the plane anyway.)

I decided to stay seated for a while since we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. This is unusual for me because usually I’m one of those people standing in front of their seat with their head all bent to one side because the ceiling’s too low. I don’t know why I do it but I do. So this time I’m going to be more mature and patient and set a better example for my daughter.

We finally get off the plane and find our friends who are fussing with their luggage and taking turns in the restroom. Sheena decides to look at the silver jewelry cart. Sheena, we say, this is not the time for shopping! You have all week and many stores to visit and this place will be here when Magical Express takes you to the airport a full 3 hours before departure time! She will not be swayed and looks anyway.

I decide to look at the sunglass store because I couldn’t find my pair anywhere. I don’t wear sunglasses much because they hurt my ears after a while and I think they make nose feel greasy but there are times when they are handy and I guess a week in Florida would be one of those times.

Holy sticker shock! I guess I haven’t bought shades in a while because the cheapest pair was about $85. I happened to have a Tory Burch tote with me (bought on ebay) so the saleperson steers me over to her glasses. $285 for sunglasses? I don’t know whether I should be flattered that I look like I would pay $285 for sunglasses.

Sheena comes back empty handed and now we have one more mission before we get on the monorail. We need to find Sheena some Diet Pepsi. Like gum, Diet Pepsi is not available in Disney World and Sheena likes her Diet Pepsi. Score! We find some at the kiosk in the middle of the terminal.

Usually, when we get off the monorail I have Terminal B, Terminal B stuck in my head because we would normally head straight to Magical Express. But since we didn’t land until 5:15 I wanted to pick up our bags before we got on the bus. So, we have to find Terminal A, Terminal A and then pick up our bags and find Terminal B. Finding things is not our strong suit. This should be interesting.

Finding Terminal A wasn’t too difficult especially because there’s a three foot A over the door. And look at that, our bags are coming out already! I guess all that tomfoolery and time wastery back on the other side of the monorail worked to our advantage!

Now, we have a very motley looking bunch of luggage. First we have two large neon green suitcases. Back in 1999, when Mr. Squid and I were readying for a trip to Punta Cana we decided we needed some new luggage. Mr. Squid decided to take this task on himself. A few days before we were to leave he calls me at work to tell me about this great bargain he found and what great quality this luggage was. He proceed to talk about the various compartments, locks, wheels and other bells and whistles. Sounds great, I say.

And then I came home and saw them.

Now, I can look back and laugh and I’m not quite so embarrassed about them as I was then. It does make it easy to spot them on the carousel and they really do have some nice compartments.

Then we have my daughter’s suitcase which is perfectly nice and also fairly easy to spot. And then we have the magically heavy suitcase.

I got this bag as a gift several years ago and it’s a very handsome Diane Von Ferstenberg bag. Tan suede with nice hardware, smallish for weekends, not lime green. A nice respectable bag. But empty, this thing weighs at least 25 pounds. I keep looking for a secret compartment. Maybe there are some gold ingots lining the bottom. I just don’t know how this thing is so heavy. Diane really needs to stick to wrap dresses.

Anyway, Mr. Squid picks it up and immediately accuses me of packing it with anvils and irons. I said it’s the bag! It’s the bag I tell you. I only filled it with toiletries. Ok. Admittedly, I did pack a lot of health and beauty products but they were all necessary and can I help it if my diffuser won’t fit on a Disney blow dryer?

He immediately brings up our wedding/honeymoon trip in ’96. Of course he has brought this up numerous times over the years but he likes to remind me of just how heavy my suitcase was that trip. He couldn’t figure out how it could be so heavy and then he later discovered that I had in fact packed a full size iron (hello, wedding dress!), and I guess some of my conditioner bottles could have been the quart size but I was saving money buying the economy bottle.

Well, that was a tangent.

So got the bags, and now Mr. Squid is rearranging the brown bag over one of the lime green bags every 10 feet and sighing and then glaring at me. What? It’s naturally heavy!

We set out in search of Terminal B. There are no 3 foot Bs on the lower level. We kind of stumble around a bit looking confused until a nice lady asks if we are on our way to Disney World.

Wow! She’s a mind reader! How did she know that? I am seriously impressed until I remember that one of us is wearing mouse ears. Oh.

She directs us to the terminal and we’re off! Yea! 3 foot B ahead!

Finally, after passing miles of car rental desks we reach Magical Express. I hand our booklet over to the nice lady who scans it and hands it back and say, “Over there for Kidani!” Kidani? We’re going to Bay Lake Tower! Doh. Wrong book!

So, we fumble through the carry-on and find the right book and we’re off! To wait in line for 20 minutes.

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Confessions of a Disboard Dropout

Disney Nomads...3 Resorts in 8 Nights!

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Old 04-15-2012, 09:08 AM   #12
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I'll have a BLT please

We’re still waiting…

Only now we’re waiting on the inside of the bus but it’s at least cool and one step closer to our resort. I can’t believe we’re actually staying at the Contemporary (or the building next to the Contemporary)!

My one and only trip to the Magic Kingdom when I was a kid was back when there was only the Magic Kingdom and the only resorts were the Contemporary and the Poly (although back then no one thought to call it the Poly).

Unfortunately my family was not Contemporary/Polynesian people. My family was Days Inn people. I hated the Days Inn. I know it was practical and affordable since we were a family of 7, but I dreamed of staying in a fancy hotel with interior corridors and elevators. My mother still teases me about my fancy hotel obsession.

Mr. Squid was excited to stay at BLT because he likes the Rat Packy, swinging 60s vibe. He’s very into old music and Frank, Dino and Sammy in particular. His web sites are here.

www.bigbandsandbignames.com
www.tipsontables.com

And Monkston was excited to stay at a deluxe hotel and get in some pool time. But she would really rather be at her dream resort, The Grand Floridian. I think she needs to find richer parents.

Inside I’m bouncing up and down, so excited to be at Disney, so excited to stay in our first DVC resort. Outside, I’m trying to look cool, trying to fit in. I wonder if we will notice the difference breathing rarified air makes. I wonder if anyone will think we don’t belong.

Luckily, we are the first stop, and after retrieving our bags and handing over one of the many tips we would give to various bellmen over the week, we head into the lobby.

I approach the counter and give our information and also add with a big smile that I need a birthday button for Mr. Squid (upgrade maybe?). Would we luck out? Oh look, new welcome folders, now with less paper. Do you think they were redesigned for guest convenience or Disney cost savings?

We head over to bell services, find a bellman and warn him about the magically heavy bag. I think I see him wince when he lifts it. Following him to BLT, we take the elevator to the 6th floor. We have an awesome location just one floor up from the walkway and a couple doors down from the elevator! Would the view also be spectacular?

Eh. Not bad but certainly no secret, around the corner Wishes views here. We are right above the marshmallow toasting area and have a view of the lake and the Contemporary pool. Could be worse. (That’s a little foreshadowing there…)

I could get used to having all this room though. Wow! The 1-BR units have so much space. So much more than any of the previous resorts we’ve stayed in. I can make coffee in the morning in a real kitchen and I don’t have to drink it in the bathroom to not disturb anyone. And two bathrooms! Need I say more about that?

The décor is very sophisticated and sleek and the art on the walls are really fun Warholesque pictures of the Magic Kingdom. At first glance it all looks very rich but if you take a closer look there is some wear and tear. The tables are scratched, wall paper is peeling in the bathroom, some of the cushions are looking a little the worse for wear. I’ll take it though!

After all our poking around we decide to head over to Contempo Café for some dinner. Our plan is to eat dinner and then head over to MK to get our passes and try to stay up as long as possible. Extra magic hours are until 3 am! I really don’t know how long I can stay awake since I’ve been up since 5.

Although BLT and CR belong to the same resort the vibe couldn’t be more different. Both are very sleek and modern but BLT is tranquil and when you open the door at the end of the walkway to the concourse you are greeted to what I can only describe as cacophony. Holy heck, there’s a lot going on here! The stores are jammed, everything is done in bright colors and in my mind there are a lot of bright lights. As you get closer to Chef Mickey’s it gets even louder. It’s mostly happy noise but it is loud.

Contempo Café is located right next to Chef Mickey’s. We had never been there before so we spent a bit of time in front of the menus and reading the directions on how to order. I get a little nervous at restaurants that make ordering so complicated that you need directions at the door.

I had read that the flatbread was really good but it looks like more food than I want so I opt for the Mahi Mahi sandwich with the green bean salad. What I really want is a glass of wine. Where the heck are the directions for that?

Mr. Squid decided to get the Italian stacked sandwich and Monkston decided to get a burger. I walk over to the ordering thingy like I know what I’m doing and they follow me like they think I know what I’m doing. It turned out it wasn’t so difficult though so nobody called my bluff.

We head over to the refrigerator and I see that they have quite a selection of fine Chardonnays. Parducci or Parducci. I guess I’ll try the Parducci. I can’t remember what the other two got.

As I’m walking to the cashier I see a very familiar silhouette. I know that walk. Kind of crane-like but the figure is very small, under 5 ft. I guess that's hard to picture but take my word for it.

It’s got to be her! “The Marsupial!” My sister’s office nemesis! What a small world. I can’t believe “The Marsupial” is at my resort!

A little background: My sister and I both worked at “Company Name.” And “Company Name” had quite a few characters and my sister had names for a lot of them. My favorite was “Testimonial Pants” but there are also favorites like “Sponge Lady” and “Moose Man.” “The Marsupial,” like “Testimonial Pants,” liked to announce to everyone in a teeny tiny little girl voice all the work she had accomplished. And this happened every single day. And it drove my sister nuts. That and the fact that she “complained” that she could only wear clothes from Gap Kids. In explanation of the name, my sister would just say that she’s “marsupial-like.”

So I point at her and exclaim, “Company Name!” You worked with my sister! And she says to tell her hello and that was a very dull conversation. But a “Marsupial” sighting at Disney is pretty exciting news!

I explain it all to Mr. Squid who looks at me like I’m crazy so I get my phone out to text my sister. “The Marsupial is at our resort. She says hello.”

And then I realize I sent it to her outdated cell number. I wonder what the recipient thought of that. Probably thought she had somehow intercepted a spy call like "The crow flies at noon."

I send the same message to the right cell number and wait. Finally, I get a text back, “Shut. The. Door!”

Around this time our food is up. I think I like this way of ordering because your food doesn’t get cold while you’re waiting in line to pay.

As for the food, I thought it was ok. I ate the Mahi Mahi like a dinner rather than a sandwich., especially since I’m having an elegant plastic cup of Parducci Chardonnay. I thought the fish was good but the apple slaw was a bit too sweet and could have used an acid like lemon. I didn’t like the green bean salad. The beans were pretty limp and the whole thing was pretty bland. I had hoped for a more Asian flavor. Mr. Squid also hated the salad but liked his sandwich. Luckily, we’ve gotten good at sneaking no-calorie French fries from Monkston’s plate.

After dinner, we walk past The Marsupial’s table and I give her a final wave.

Up next: Upgrading to annual passes
__________________
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March 06 Offsite, March 07 CSR, March 08 POR, March 09 WL, March 10 CSR, March 11 PFQ, March 12 BLT/BWV/AKV, March 13 BLT/BCV/AKV, May 14 BWV

Confessions of a Disboard Dropout

Disney Nomads...3 Resorts in 8 Nights!

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Old 04-20-2012, 01:12 PM   #13
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Wishes and Squishes

After waving goodbye to The Marsupial, we headed down to the lobby and out the door.

Now the Contemporary Resort is not the most picturesque resort at Disney World. To me, it looks a bit like it was plunked down next to the NJ Turnpike with all the concrete and cars around it, but you can’t beat the short walk to the Magic Kingdom.

Within minutes we are in line to have our bags checked. Does anyone else suffer any editorial comments from the bag checkers about the size of their bags and the make-up bag therein? It takes a village, people. (Ha! Village People! See what just happened there? YMCA!)

We then head over to our next line in front of guest relations to get our first ever annual passes. Now we really have to go back next spring! DVC points and annual passes demand it.

I was a little nervous because we’re actually upgrading one day tickets bought from AAA to annual passes. We have a fairly bad AAA credit card, at least in respect to incentives. After all the money we charged last year we got a lousy $250 gift card for AAA store. What the heck would we buy there? Overpriced fanny packs? Then the light bulb went off and we discovered that we could buy one-day tickets ($91 each now! Holy crapweasels!) and upgrade them at guest relations. For some reason this can only be done at guest relations at a park and not at the hotel. They must give them a special test or something.

Finally… finally, we get to the window. I was anxious because it was getting dangerously close to all the nighttime shows and I wanted to get a good spot. The cast member (let’s call her Suzy) is very friendly and helpful (of course!) but seemed a little inexperienced. Suzy must be one of those hotel concierges who didn’t take that test yet because she seems a little confused.

Now, I asked many strangers on the internet if I could in fact upgrade my tickets to DVC annual passes and they all said no problem. Mr. Squid remained skeptical and I’m just nervous that I’ll lose my Disney expert status by being proved wrong. That, and losing $250 of course.

Turns out she just likes to take her time because we are in fact able to upgrade. And then she says, “That will be $X,XXX please.” Wow, that’s a big number for some theme park tickets. We always had that number hidden in MYW packages before this so we never really thought about how much we were spending to go on Small World. So, gulp, we pay and receive our flimsy paper cards.

Now, why is that the annual passes are so chintzy? Even our one day tickets were plastic cards. Disney perplexes me sometimes.

"Just one more thing, Suzy," I say. "We’d like the Tables in Wonderland card so we can eat and drink for 20% less please." That, and because my 10-year old is somehow a Disney adult and therefore renders the dining plan useless for us. What 10-year-old can eat $52 worth of food in a day?

She gives us our card and solemnly tells us that we must not lose our card or we will die. Ok, not really. But it will cost us $50 to replace it.

Reader, you’re probably thinking to yourself at this point, “When is this woman going to stop her rambling and get into the d*mn park already?” Well here we go.

Finally…finally! We get to the turnstyle to use our annual passes for the first time. Monkston is very excited and pleased with herself that she got Mickey. I put her card through and the finger thingy lights up. I tell her to put her finger on it and there is some kind of problem with it so the cast member waves her through. I put my Donald Duck pass in and do the same thing and somehow it attaches to her card. I still don’t understand how that happened. So rather than fix it, the cast member says from now on I’m Monkston and she is me. Somehow that doesn’t seem kosher to me and I foresee problems (foreshadowing!).

(I’ve noticed a lot of green underlines in this Word doc. I think that Word is trying to tell me I don’t write very well.)

So off we go! Under the train station and…wow! That’s a lot of people. I was expecting crowded but this looks like a photo of downtown Mumbai. Luckily, I’m pretty good at working my way through a crowd so I grab Monkston’s hand, weave my way through and hope that Mr. Squid is keeping up. I only have to knock over a few toddlers to get to Tomorrowland. (Speaking of toddlers, as I was walking I accidently kick something on the ground and I see that it’s a dirty diaper. There’s a baby changing station. Where was this baby changed? The middle of Main Street?)

I had hoped to get a glimpse of of a celebrity from another message board who I knew would be at the park and who said she would be staked out by the tip board but a) where is the tip board? And b) where is the tip board? I abandon that mission and check my phone for a text from Sheena.

She says they are at Cosmic Ray’s eating dinner so we decide to go over there to meet them. It’s now about 8:20 so we don’t have much time to get over to the castle, find a spot and catch the memories show.

Now Cosmic Ray’s is a big place but I know my Sheena and she is bound to be at an outdoor table rather than in the air conditioning. We find them fairly quickly and then see that Sheena still has more than half her sandwich to finish. Sheena doesn’t like to hurry and now I have a dilemma. Do we duck them and run over to the castle or do I do the polite thing? Sheena would do the polite thing.

I offer to wait and catch Mr. Squid giving me “The Look.” Uh oh. Well, I guess he can be the bad guy then. He says we’re going and off we go.

Back through the sea of people we go. We know we want to sit in front of the castle. I don’t care if it’s crowded since we’ll be looking up but that’s our favorite place to see Wishes (besides the top of the Contemporary with a glass of wine).

We make our way to the castle. Ahhh…beautiful castle. We were supposed to stay in the Cinderella suite a few years ago but the dream team made a mistake and didn’t pick us.

Lest, you think I’m one of those plunk myself down in the front minutes before the show people, we made sure we weren’t blocking anyone and sat down on a square of concrete in front of some people standing. It eventually filled in even more and you really couldn’t see any ground. It’s a good thing we’re all going to be awash in sentimentality any minute because this many people, this close could be trouble.

And don’t anybody think about taking a bathroom break!

Aaah. I just love sitting in front of the castle with my daughter sitting between my legs and resting against me and my husband by my side. I always tear up during Wishes (with my greatest wish granted and sitting right there with me). I guess pretty much everyone feels that way. Disney’s no fool. They don’t call it a kiss goodnight for nothing.

So, during all this teary-eyed goo, my husband has been saying that he wants to get a shot of Tinkerbell flying down from the castle and that he always misses it. So I keep my eyes peeled and I think I know the exact moment when she comes out.

“There she is. Standing on the balcony.”

I elbow Mr. Squid. “She’s there! She’s about to fly!” Elbow again.

And…

I get The Look.

“What?”

“You elbowed me while I was trying to get the shot!”

“Oh.”

Luckily, after looking through the camera he see that he did indeed get a shot of Tinkerbell and isn’t it a good thing that we saved that masterpiece. Here it is.

See that speck in the middle? That’s Tinkerbell.



Here are some more fireworks shots and a photo of Monkston.








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Confessions of a Disboard Dropout

Disney Nomads...3 Resorts in 8 Nights!

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Old 04-20-2012, 06:41 PM   #14
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Hi Laura, I want you to know you are doing a great job.
I'm only up to the part where you just get to Magical Express, but really enjoying this.

I'm alos curious as to what you thought about BLT, AKV and BV,,, you know what my thoughts are on them.

One thing though,,,,,
Please, oh please,,, if you don't want to give real names for all the parties involved,,, then make up names for them!

Unless ist's your intention of going through the entire alphabet,,,,, no really,,, I will never remember who C,,, s,,,, t,,, or PBJ is.

And hopefully,,, you will be able to answer the mystery question,,,, "How is the fourth floor on the Contemporary Resort the same as the fifth floor at Bay Lake Towers, next door?

Keep up the good work, Laura
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nebo View Post
Hi Laura, I want you to know you are doing a great job.
I'm only up to the part where you just get to Magical Express, but really enjoying this.

I'm alos curious as to what you thought about BLT, AKV and BV,,, you know what my thoughts are on them.

One thing though,,,,,
Please, oh please,,, if you don't want to give real names for all the parties involved,,, then make up names for them!

Unless ist's your intention of going through the entire alphabet,,,,, no really,,, I will never remember who C,,, s,,,, t,,, or PBJ is.

And hopefully,,, you will be able to answer the mystery question,,,, "How is the fourth floor on the Contemporary Resort the same as the fifth floor at Bay Lake Towers, next door?

Keep up the good work, Laura
nebo
Thanks so much for stopping by Nebo! I feel like I've thrown a party and no one has shown up.

You're right about the initials. I'll have to switch to nicknames. I just don't like the whole DH thing because I would never call my husband "dear husband." I'd sound like a pilgrim.

I think the answer to the mystery question is that the first floor of the Contemporary is taller than BLT.

I'll let you know my opinions on the different resorts but you'll have to come back to find out.
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Confessions of a Disboard Dropout

Disney Nomads...3 Resorts in 8 Nights!
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