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Old 11-13-2003, 06:00 PM   #16
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I have goosebumps as I'm reading your report. I'm so glad that you're trip was magical. DH and myself are heading to the RPC for a no kids, 20th anniversary celebration. I love the private safari tour. I had actually considered booking the AKL just for the sunrise safari, but I just can't get away from the GF. How wonderful that you were able to experience it. Can't wait to hear some of your other highlights. I'm definitely taking notes for our trip!

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Old 11-14-2003, 03:00 AM   #17
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Helenk, Terry S, and Floridafam, thank you for your kind words. I am getting a little wistful myself as I put my memories into type.

Minybear, I wish you would have arrived in WDW sooner because you surely would have been invited to the VIP Safari & Private Dining Event anniversary celebrations. But I'm glad that you got to join us for a few other events during the following week. It was so much fun finally meeting you and your husband in person.

MOMTOMOOTOO, that VIP Safari was indeed magical. I still want to pinch myself every time I think of it.

SueM in MN, because of you and the others on the disABILITIES board, my vacation turned out beautifully. I can’t tell you how pleased I was with my handicap-accessible resort rooms. Being able to wheel myself into the shower, and then being able to sit down upon a bench while I showered, well, heck, that was the best thing that happened to me in months.

Sharoncity, thanks for the kind words. No matter what I put into writing regarding this vacation, I will never be able to do those memories justice. I just wish I had better photographs to post. For some reason I didn’t take very many photographs (drats).

Kinggoofy (aka, Bob Jackson’s Midwest Fan Club President), thank you so much for the link to Bob Jackson’s website. I accessed it this evening and I’m happy to report that my daughter (aka, Bob Jackson’s West Coast Fan Club President) went absolutely bonkers. I remember that you were the one who started the whole letter-writing campaign here on the Dis. But what I really want to know is this – did Bob give you a big kiss on your cheek when you told him what you had done for him?! Long live Bob Jackson!

TammiMcMan, have a wonderful time at the Grand Floridian. In my humble opinion, the staff at that resort has dramatically improved over the past year. Because of them, I’m sure your stay there will be wonderful.
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Old 11-14-2003, 03:11 AM   #18
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Anniversary Celebration, Intermission…

After our Animal Kingdom Theme Park VIP Safari was over, everyone headed to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to relax for a bit before the second part of our anniversary celebration kicked in. You see, my dear Dis friend Nutz4dzny and her family were concierge guests of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. She had checked the schedule of my family’s favorite Disney Cast Member and discovered that he was working in the Kilimanjaro Club that afternoon. Once we heard that news, you didn’t need to twist our arms in order to get us to head over to the Lodge.

We hadn’t seen our favorite Disney guy in over a year, so it was wonderful to get the opportunity to say hello again. We also got our photo taken with him. We never ask any of the Disney Cast Members to pose for a photo with us (we’re too shy), so this was a first for us (my thanks to Nutz4dzny for making this happen). Everyone hung out in the lounge for a bit and chatted about the safari that we had just experienced. It was a wonderful way to relax, and being in the Lodge made me homesick (I adore the Animal Kingdom Lodge).

After everyone was refreshed, it was time to head back to the Grand Floridian Resort to see if our room was ready (when we had checked into the resort at noon, understandably, our room was not ready). We said goodbye to our favorite Disney Cast Member, and also to two of our guests, and the rest of us headed over to the Grand Floridian.

Once we arrived at the Grand Floridian, we made a quick stop on the 3rd floor (where the concierge Cast Members sit). We were given our room number. We got back in the elevator and rode it up to the 4th floor. Our room was easy to find since it was located close to the Royal Palm Club’s concierge lounge.

We opened the door to our room, which was a concierge deluxe handicap-accessible room. It was just beautiful. I love how the rooms at the Grand Floridian are decorated – so bright and cheery – and this room was no exception. My dear Dis friend took a few photos of the room (she is such a wonderful photographer) as I looked around.

What I noticed immediately upon entering the room was the balloon arrangement (click here). Along with the balloon arrangement was a lovely card that contained a photo of Minnie & Mickey in their evening finery. Written inside the card were anniversary wishes from both of them. It was adorable. There was also a fruit arrangement in a wire basket, a bottle of spring water, and some glasses. What a lovely anniversary surprise, courtesy of the most famous couple I know, Minnie & Mickey.

I also noticed that upon the desk was another gift basket (click here). It contained cheeses, crackers, fruits, chocolates, cookies, candies, spring water, and more. There was a note card from the staff of the resort welcoming us to the Grand Floridian. It was truly lovely and completely unexpected.

My husband called Bell Services at this point and requested the delivery of our luggage (Port Orleans had transferred it for us). Shortly after it had arrived in our room, it was time for part two of the anniversary celebration to begin. There were six very anxious people in my resort room who couldn’t wait to find their way outside to the Grand Floridian’s Water Taxi Dock, so away we went.

Last edited by Janet2k; 01-15-2005 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 11-14-2003, 03:33 AM   #19
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Anniversary Celebration, Part Two…

Before my vacation began, the Concierge Pre-Planning staff of the Grand Floridian Resort had given me a list of anniversary celebrations to choose from. As you already know, I selected the VIP Safari because it was truly a unique way to celebrate an anniversary. But I decided that I needed to top that event off with a special dinner, and this is where the Grand Floridian’s Concierge Pre-Planning staff once again came into play.

They knew that I was considering an outdoor Private Dining Event somewhere on the property of the Grand Floridian Resort. They had suggested the main building’s third floor balcony as one possible venue, a secluded area of the marina as another possible venue, and the Summerhouse as yet one more possibility. Each of those locations sounded wonderful, however, they didn’t sound unique enough. I wanted something truly different. Something that hadn’t been done before. Something that would take my breath away. After experiencing the wonderful VIP Safari earlier in the day, nothing short of a memorable dinner would do as a goodnight kiss for my family’s first day at the Grand Floridian Resort. And this is where the Concierge Pre-Planning folks really began to shine.

What was eventually suggested to me was the Grand Floridian’s Water Taxi Dock. I was told that this venue had never been used before for a Private Dining Event. I have always loved this dock and enjoy spending time on it during the evening hours, sitting on a bench and listening to the waves lapping at the shore of Seven Seas Lagoon. My interest was definitely piqued when this venue was suggested to me.

The Concierge Pre-Planning Cast Member told me that he had gone out to the Water Taxi Dock and found that its overhang would be a lovely place to contain a small dinner party. He also said that since the dock was public, with the Water Taxis coming and going quite frequently into the night, he suggested that I consider ordering a screening material to help make this venue more private for my intimate dinner party. He had been in contact with the Magic Kingdom Theme Park and had found that they had tall shrubbery for rent that could be used as a screening material. He gave me the footage that needed to be ordered, and the price per foot. I was impressed by the amount of time and energy that he had devoted to this event. I told him that the dock would be perfect for my anniversary celebration.

The Concierge Pre-Planning Cast Member e-mailed me the Grand Floridian’s Private Dining menu. He told me that if there was a particular dish that was not found on that menu that I wanted, the Private Dining folks would create it for me, all I had to do was say the word. I asked him if I could order desserts from Victoria & Albert’s since I love their Grand Marnier soufflé. He told me, “Yes.” It was amazing how easy he was making things for me.

Since I had already asked Nutz4dzny’s family to join my family for the anniversary celebration, I e-mailed her a copy of the menu and asked what meals her family would like. She offered to pay for their meals but I wouldn’t hear of it. This was my party and they were my guests. She eventually convinced me to allow her to bring the wine since her favorite wine was not listed on the Grand Floridian’s Private Dining menu. My husband and I rarely drink so I was happy to take her up on her kind offer. She also stated that she wanted to treat us to the Victoria & Albert’s desserts in honor of our anniversary. That was such a touching offer and I agreed to it. Everything was coming together so beautifully, I just knew that we were going to have a memorable dinner. I was completely over-the-moon regarding the thought of it.

Nutz4dzny and I checked the Magic Kingdom’s firework schedule and also the Grand Floridian’s Electrical Water Pageant schedule and decided that the dinner should start about 7:30 PM. I asked the Concierge Pre-Planning Cast Member to arrange our party to begin at that time, and then I called Private Dining and gave them our dinner order. This all happened just a day or two before I was leaving for Orlando, but I wasn’t concerned about the last-minute planning because I knew that the Concierge Pre-Planning Cast Member would make sure that everything came off without a hitch. I trusted him implicitly. Disney service is magical.

And so, after we had taken the VIP Safari, after we had relaxed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kilimanjaro Club, and after we had finished checking into our Grand Floridian Resort room, it was finally time to head outside to the Grand Floridian’s Water Taxi Dock in order to begin our dinner party. The six of us approached the dock with anticipation. It was a gorgeous, balmy Florida night. A perfect night that seemed to be specially ordered for us by Disney. (Please click here for my on-line photo album of the event, or please click here for a photo slideshow of the event.)

As we walked out to the end of the dock, we saw the greenery that had been placed on three sides underneath the dock’s overhang. The only side that did not have the greenery was the side that faced Seven Seas Lagoon. It looked wonderful and really provided the perfect amount of privacy on such a public venue. I was happy that the Concierge Pre-Planning Cast Member had suggested this screening material.

There was a sign on the dock that stated, "Private Function." Waiting there was our butler for the evening, and also the Private Dining Chef who was going to prepare our meals. The Chef said that since there was a member of my party who had a food allergy (that would be me), he was concerned because a Cesar salad had been ordered for me. I was impressed by his attention to detail. I told him that I wanted my husband to have that salad and I would take a non-Cesar one for myself. The Chef then left us and headed back inside the Grand Floridian to prepare our meals.

At that point I noticed the dining table. It fit perfectly inside the Water Taxi Dock’s overhang, just like the Concierge Pre-Planning Cast Member had assured me that it would. It was also beautifully set, with a gorgeous arrangement of dozens of roses inside a beautiful ceramic bowl. There was a note card attached to the arrangement that stated we were take it home with us – what a wonderful surprise. Scattered about the table were rose petals. It was just beautiful. We seated ourselves and our butler began serving our drinks.

Dinner was delicious. Conversation flowed easily amongst the six of us. Everyone had a wonderful time and soon it was time for the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes fireworks. We all walked over to the edge of the dock and watched the fireworks light up the sky. Nutz4dzny and I both had our cameras and camcorders at the ready. My family had not seen the new Wishes fireworks show and it was spectacular. We could even hear the soundtrack for it floating across the lagoon.

Once the fireworks were over, it was time for our Victoria & Albert’s desserts to be served. A few of us had soufflés, while others enjoyed different desserts. For the first time this evening, everyone was quiet because their mouths were too busy savoring the wonderful desserts.

When we were done with dessert, it was time for the Electrical Water Pageant to float by the resort. Again, we walked over to the edge of the dock with our cameras and camcorders and enjoyed this nighttime spectacular. It was wonderful being able to see both the Wishes fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant while we enjoyed our Private Dining Event.

Before we knew it, our first day had come to an end. Between the VIP Safari and the Private Dining Event, I can honestly say that everyone truly had a magical day that would be almost impossible to top. Or would it? Stay tuned. I have lots more vacation memories to share.

Last edited by Janet2k; 01-15-2005 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 11-14-2003, 07:53 AM   #20
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WOW! I really like the way you vacation!

Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 11-14-2003, 08:51 AM   #21
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Oh Janet! I am sitting here in tears! (and a bit jealous) Such wonderful memories to have! I can't beleive you could have a day to top this day! I bet you never wanted it to end.

I am the appointed planner for my Mom and Step-Dads 25th Anniversary party in May. I have scheduled an Illuminations Dessert party, but now it sounds as if it pales in comparison. Sounds like there are real advantages to staying concierge, for my parents anniversary we will be at BCV so we won't have access to a concierge planning staff.
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Old 11-14-2003, 09:34 AM   #22
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I can not gush enough, what a spectacular day for you and your family and friends. I just can not get over the attention to detail that was put into everything.
We will all be waiting anxiously for the remainder of your trip report.
Thank you so much for sharing!

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Old 11-14-2003, 12:35 PM   #23
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Hi Janet
No (LOL) I did not get a smooch on the cheeck. But DW did.
We saw ALL of his shows while we were there. (7 in all ) He always made it a point to acknowledge us when we were there.

I was the "brunt" of many of his acts. IE..dancing around the room, jumping up and down etc...

But I was never going to see those people again so it did not matter.

He remembers EVERYONE. I wish I had my digital camera with me. He wants pictures from those who have them for his website.

CBR-Sept. 93 ( Honeymoon); ASMu-Aug. 97; CSR - Aug.98; PO-Aug. 99; DXL-Aug. 00; POR- Aug. 01; POR- Aug. 02; POR-Thanksgiving 02; POR-Aug 03 (Celebrated 10th wedding anniversary this trip); POR-Aug. 04; POR-Thanksgiving 04; POR-August 05; POR-Thanksgiving 05; POR-June 06; POR-Thanksgving 06: CBR-ESPN The Weekend Mar 07; POP-Memorial Day Weekend 07; Poly-Aug 07; BW-Thanksgiving 07; Poly-April 08 DW Birthday Present ; Poly Aug 08 (15th Wedding Anniversary); POR - Thanksgiving 08; Aug 09 YC; POR- Thanksgiving 09; Aug 10- Yacht Club to celebrate our 25th Visit to Walt Disney World; POR- Thanksgiving 10 ; POR August 2011; Poly Aug 2012 OKW in Nov 2012 OKW 2013; POR & SSR Thanksgiving 2013; SSR 4/14 (DW bday gift ) and BWV in August 2014

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Old 11-14-2003, 04:53 PM   #24
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Janet, what a wonderful vacation so far! I am enjoying your trip report - thank you for taking the time to share it with us. I am glad everything worked out well considering your temporary disability.
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Old 11-15-2003, 05:45 AM   #25
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Old 11-15-2003, 06:44 AM   #26
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Hello Janet!!!!

I am sitting here reading this in tears also!!!! You write so magically! This was indeed THE BEST WDW Vacation ever! I am so fortunate to have found such a friend in you. Last night I had my folks over and I showed them our pictures and I remarked how I thought you and I had been seperated at birth since we were so much alike! I also shared with them stories about your parents and they said they would love to meet them someday. (They are sooooooo much alike)

Sounds like we should start working on our Magical Gatherings trip for next October!

For those of you who are reading this thread......don't stop! It only gets better!
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Old 11-15-2003, 09:09 PM   #27
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Good Things Come to Good People...

We are full-time RVers spending the winter at the Encore SuperPark just a few miles from WDW on 192. My sister, nutz4dzny, was so excited to be returning to WDW and to be getting together with Janet2k and her family that it seemed to overshadow the fact that our families would be getting together after having last seen each other in June. (Hmmm, I was hoping she would have some time to see us!) She had told us all about this special friend she had met through the boards, and, as we had done the same with internet friends on similar RV boards, we understood completely. Imagine our surprise when we found ourselves included in Janet's special and unique AK safari! Truthfully, the safari took second place to meeting Janet and her wonderful husband and lovely daughter. That is what we will remember more than the event itself. My husband found so much to talk about with Janet's husband, and all of us just loved their animated and charming daughter.

After a wonderful afternoon together, we said our thanks and our goodbyes, expecting that this was just a one-time meeting. Little did we know that we were to come to know Janet's family much better and to see them many more times over the next few days.

I've been a lurker on these forums and never felt the need to register or post, but I just registered so that I could tell you what a truly lovely, down-to-earth, and gracious lady you have on these boards in Janet2K.

Thanks, Janet, for including us in your vacation plans--two strangers who showed up unexpectedly and were welcomed wholeheartedly by your entire family--and for your friendship!

Cindy and Dennis Henderson
Fulltime RVers--wintering in Florida at the Encore SuperPark Orlando

Last edited by WeFullTime; 11-15-2003 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 11-16-2003, 08:56 AM   #28
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What a great trip! I am so glad that you had such a wonderful time, and I look forward to reading more about your trip! Thanks for all of the great details!

One thing that we loved when we stayed at the GF was the music in the lobby. Our favorite was the pianist Christian Frederick. Is he still there? We purchased his CD in the GF gift shop!

Last edited by MJS; 11-16-2003 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 11-16-2003, 12:03 PM   #29
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Well, I think you found your rhythm Your trip reports are always full of wonderful details and pictures. Reading them is like being right there with you. I can't wait for the rest of your journey


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Old 11-17-2003, 02:34 PM   #30
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Amazing! They couldn't have picked a better person to experience these unique activities, if only because you've been kind enough to share them with all of us, in exquisite detail! I'm so glad I found your thread.

So are you now an official "beta-tester" for the GF Concierge staff?
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." (Inigo Montoya, "Princess Bride")
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