Time flies by too quickly! We left NE PA at 5pm April 2, deciding to get on the road sooner rather than later. Our guinea pig was left at the sitter's, we said our goodbyes and were soon rolling down the highway. We always drive down, napping in a rest area. Kids are kept entertained by a DVD player, but thankfully they sleep a lot too. All told, with two meal breaks and a 3.5 hour nap, it took us a whopping 25 hours to reach Old Key West! That is a loooong time to be in a minivan! Traffic was good while we were on I-81 and I-77, but as soon as we hit I-95 it got bad. Precisely the reason we took 81 and 77 for the majority of the way down. In the space of ten miles, we encountered three seperate accidents each one involving three cars. For months leading up to this trip, we had been telling our children that our spring break destination was Chattanooga TN, to see the trains. My DD4 exclaimed "Tennessee has a Disney World!!" when we drove under the purple welcome signs. My DS10 just didn't like being tricked. But they were both happy. We received a hearty Welcome Home at the guard booth for OKW. As we walked to check-in, I remember being struck by how pleasant and cheerful the community hall area was. I especially liked the open breezeway area between check-in and the general store. Music was playing lightly in the background. Check in was not very busy. I did notice that of the four families checking in, we were the only ones who got a welcome home. So that made me think the others were cash guests. The CM who checked us in was pleasant. He gave my daughter a balloon for waiting so nicely. Since it was already after 6pm, our room was ready. Studio 4526. I asked about the location and if others were available, but after looking at the location on a map decided it was fine. We aren't really picky. He gave us our packet of info and then we were done. We hopped back in the van and drove down to building 45. It is right along the canal, and near Turtle Pond Rd. So we had a nice pleasant walk to the bus stop from our studio. We were on the second floor. Didn't notice any downstairs neighbors and only heard the one-bedroom neighbors once, talking and their TV. Our studio was nice and clean. Only things I noticed were a stain on the carpet that appeared to be from a cleaning product and one piece of cereal near the fridge that was missed. Other than that, the studio was spotless. We really loved the balcony and overlooking the canal. Even though it was very chilly most mornings and evenings, we sat out there a lot. Glad we had our jackets and long pants too! We took the ferry to DTD twice, both at night. Nighttime ride was very chilly, but also quite relaxing. I loved seeing the progress on Saratoga Springs. The resort looks great and we cannot wait to stay there in June/July. Our second trip on the ferry, the captain was saying they are retiring the ferries and replacing them with larger capacity boats. They are expecting larger volume of passengers to be using the boats with the opening of Saratoga Springs, and expect a lot of OKW guests will be pool hopping to SSR. We swam twice at the Turtle Pond pool. The first time, the temp of the pool was just right. Very nice, no cold shock getting in. Later in the week, the temp. just wasn't as high and we were freezing in the pool. I only stayed in for a few minutes before deciding I couldn't take it. We got smoothies and pretzels from the pool snack stand, everything was good. We swam once in the main pool. It was very chilly. Just didn't seem to be heated as well as Turtle Pond Pool. I also didn't think it was as clean. There seemed to be a lot of debris in the pool, as well as trash around it by the chairs. Of course, if people would just make the effort to pick up.....................There was a CM walking around straightening up, and I picked up what trash I saw near our chairs. I talked to a family there in the pool, and the dad said that they had hopped to VWL pool and it was heated nicely. I was a bit confused, as I thought pool hopping was suspended during the holiday season, but didn't say anything. My DH did laundry one day, but found it inconvenient to go all the way down to Turtle Pond Pool area to wash clothes. DH and kids played tennis one day and really enjoyed it. Now the kids want to take tennis lessons! We ate at Olivia's once for dinner. Called to get PS earlier that day and were told nothing was available. When we just stopped by the restaurant we were told to come on in and were seated right away. Very nice, laid back meal. We enjoyed everything. Also used the DVC discount at Kona Cafe, wasn't a problem at all. Wish they had the discount for breakfast there too! I did talk to a lot of people at the pools and bus stops who were cash guests. In fact, I only talked to two people who were members. Wasn't sure if that was typical or not. We really liked the laid back feeling here at Old Key West. I had been a bit apprehensive, thinking it may not be for us. But we had a great time. Even though we didn't take advantage, I loved the idea of arts and crafts at Community Hall. We stopped in to look around, and I loved looking at all the pictures on the walls. Same for the pics at Olivia's. Family memories is what it is all about! I enjoyed our stay so much, I even thought about changing our upcoming ressies from SSR to OKW. But everyone in our group of eight really wants to try the new place.