We went belly up at the Dolphin! Fairy quest 12/16

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by karajeboo, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. karajeboo

    karajeboo DISmom by land and by sea!

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    We're baaaaaack!

    And this time I have a weekend TR that will include some hilarious (if not horrifying!) tales of my weekend with Ally as we tried our hand at the Dolphin - still ON Disney property but by no stretch of the imagination is this a Disney owned property.

    I've got some more good stories that include some of the rudest people I've ever met, as well as my first truly UNmagical experience at Disney!

    I'll be back with pics and stories of "drinking for two" - no not me!!!!! - condoms on veils, tears at discovering some characters are only people dressed up, and Ally's future career at Disney, plus so much more!

    For those of you who have not followed our many Disney adventures, you will not see DH Jeff this time, as he was off golfing in the mountains somewhere with his buddies. So my little BFF, DD Ally and I hit WDW for the weekend.

    Here we are getting our sparkle on at DTD on our first night!

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    Up next, checkin at the Dolphin and why, exactly, did we choose this resort?

     
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  3. lauren_elizabeth

    lauren_elizabeth Disney World Lover

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    I'm definitely joining along on this one! :thumbsup2
     
  4. karajeboo

    karajeboo DISmom by land and by sea!

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    So Daddy was heading out for his annual golf trip with his boys, so the first thing I did was hop online and check out room rates for Ally and I to have our own weekend!

    But I tried something different this time. Since we have passes, and I was checking out room only rates, I hit Expedia...... "dot commmmmmmm!"

    And what I saw amazed me! We could stay at the Dolphin for the same price as a value resort. And since we love Epcot and DHS, and Dolphin has boat transportation to both, this seemed like a no brainer!

    Right after I booked the Dolphin for $99/night (yes, $99/night!!!) for just Saturday night, I got a coupon from Expedia..... "dot commmmmmm!" for $50 off two nights or longer. So my happy little fingers called Expedia...... "dot commmmmmm" and added Friday night to our stay - so we are now averaging $75/night. Yes, $75/night for an Epcot resort!!!!

    Ally and I did the happy dance :banana: while Jeff did the :sad2:.

    Next up was booking a couple of ADRs for Ally and I. Now since I only booked this about 6 weeks out, we were severely limited. AND it's the first weekend of F&W at Epcot, and free dining is going on. Whew! All that adds up to a lot of people making ADRs.

    But never fear! My happy fingers were at it again! Dialing 407-WDW-DINE, and pulling up online reservations.

    I was able to snag CP for a late lunch on Sunday, and afternoon tea at GF. This is what I was most excited about - since it's a mother/daughter weekend, what better way to celebrate than with our pinkies out, sippling tea in our big floppy hats?

    Just for the record, YES we did stick out our pinkies (which I suppose is the best of the fingers to stick out?), and YES we did wear big floppy hats! But more on that later!

    Then I get a call from my DIS bud Ellen (podsnel) that she and her DH would be in Epcot on Sunday and would we like to meet up with them? Well, hello!!!!! I'm all about a DISmeet while in Disney! And no Jeff tagging along to say :sad2: makes it even better!

    So now that we have scored a resort in prime location, at a killer rate, and two ADRs for restaurants where we have never eaten before..... all we have to do now is wait. And wait.........

    Up next, we're on our way!!!!
     
  5. DizzyErin

    DizzyErin DIS Veteran

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    I'm here, waiting for all updates ;)
    Hope you and Miss Ally had a good one
     
  6. CRdisMom

    CRdisMom DIS Veteran

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    wating for more on the FF&W and the meet with ellen
     
  7. MAGICFOR2

    MAGICFOR2 Condimentessa

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    Checking in- I'm looking forward to your stories!
     
  8. Lovin Life

    Lovin Life I don’t believe in titles!

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    You both look so cute!! popcorn::

    More, more!......
     
  9. karajeboo

    karajeboo DISmom by land and by sea!

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    Thanx! It should be fun!

    Even a bad day at Disney is better than a good day anywhere else! :goodvibes

    Only about 15 minutes with Ellen but it was great to meet Pods!

    And you KNOW I've got stories! :rotfl2:

    Well, yes, yes we are cute!!!! ;)
     
  10. karajeboo

    karajeboo DISmom by land and by sea!

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    Finally, the big day arrived. Now no matter how many times we go to WDW for a day, a weekend, or a week, it NEVER gets old! There is always something new for us to try, whether it be a new resort, new restaurant, attraction, whatever!

    And this trip was no exception!

    So I picked Ally up at the bus stop and we were gone!

    We arrived at the Dolphin around 6pm and right away, I was lost.

    The sign said "Valet Parking" and pointed to the right. Well, I didn't want to valet park in case I wanted to drive somewhere - after all, we were hopping all over the place this trip and I thought it might be easier than a lot of bus transfers.

    The sign said "Self Parking" and pointed to the left. So I went to the left and couldn't for the life of me figure out what to do next because all the parking lots said "Valet Parking Only!" So after driving in circles a couple of times, nearly taking out a Disney bus, then driving the wrong way down a one way road, finally thinking I was supposed to park at Universal......

    I said to heck with it and just parked my car in front of the check in area and got out.

    The only bad part about travelling alone with Ally is that she's only 8 so she has to remain with me at all times. No, "you wait here and I"ll be right back." And that definitely presents a problem at times.

    So here I am illegally parked.... :rolleyes1 and we were off to check in.

    My first thought upon entering was.... Well this is a nice HOTEL. Not resort. Because at Disney they are all resorts. There ain't no stinkin hotels at Disney!!!!!

    And it was a nice HOTEL. But considering it was owned by Westin, I did NOT think it was a nice Westin. More on that later.

    We were not greeted by CMs, we were greeted by HOTEL employees. Nice enough, but sadly, not magical. Maybe it was the name tag? It didn't say Walt Disney World..... :sad1:

    Now for the drum roll please....... I booked a cheap cheap cheap room, would I get my usual upgrade???? You'll find out soon enough.....

    AFter we got our room key, it was off to the car to try to find the self parking area. But I am NOT a man, so I asked. And yes, it was halfway to Universal. Seriously.

    So Ally and I found a space somewhere between Spiderman and Dueling Dragons, and got our luggage out. Luckily, we didn't pack much. Two little rolling suitcases, plus my laptop and another bad with snacks and goodies in it. Oh, yeah, and we each had a backpack.

    OK, OK, so we packed too much!!!!!!

    So as we schlepped our way back to the resort, crossing I-4 in at least 3 places, we finally made it up to our room. 8th floor, gotta be an upgrade, right?

    You tell me!!!!

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    CHECK OUT THAT VIEW!!!! NOT! :rotfl2: Apparently the Westin HOTEL employees didn't get the memo..... Kara gets free upgrades!

    The room was nice and comfortable, well appointed, but..... no...... Mickey!

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    Now I told y'all about the $99 deal, right? WRONG! When I checked in I was shown a special daily deal for $9.99/day. It included unlimited high speed internet, unlimited local calls, and some long distance calls. As well as TWO, yes TWO free bottles of water per day. Wow! Who wouldn't want to pay $9.99/day for TWO, yes TWO free bottles of water!!!!

    Well, I didn't, that's for sure! But guess what? The rate I secured, you know that "killer" rate? Yeah, by now it's killing me!!! Because I was REQUIRED to take this special daily deal each day. So now my rate is $109.99 each day. Still a good rate, right?

    Oh, did I mention the $9/day self parking? That rate is now nearly $120/day. Still a good rate, right? Hmmmm, beginning to wonder......

    BUT.... I've got a Westin Heavenly Bed to sleep in - btw, definitely the most comfy bed in all of Disney! :cloud9:

    Well, enough of enjoying the view from my room.... time to head to DTD for dinner!!!

    On the bus, making our way to our first Disney experience of the trip!

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    Again, we're some sparkly gals!!! Besides, Pam said we were cute so I had to post it again! Who knows, I might include this pic in every post!!! :confused3

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    Up next, Earl of Sandwich and some DTD shopping!!!!


     
  11. Lovin Life

    Lovin Life I don’t believe in titles!

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    Ya think?! Really - I too, am an overpacker. Because of baggage fees, I am trying not to be, but this trip I have to pack our Airborne, medical masks and Netti Pot!:rotfl: Seriously. Guess I am a self-confessed overpacker/germaphobe...

    You are cute, sparkly gals!:cutie:


    At least they had Starbucks in your room!:thumbsup2

    Did you take pics of some of the people you encountered on this trip?! Hee, hee. Enquiring minds are wanting to know!:confused3
     
  12. prncess674

    prncess674 DIS Veteran

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    I am perplexed by your dissatisfaction of the Dolphin. It is not Disney owned and you are correct Mickey Mouse isn't dripping everywhere but it would certainly count as a resort by any standards. I can't believe you think that staying at a Disney Value is better. You get a full service hotel with top notch restaurants, grotto pools, hot tubs, interior corridors and room service.

    Did your room confirmation at booking say a room with a view? Are you an SPG platinum who is guaranteed an upgrade if available? Did you use SPG points to upgrade? Did you pay an upgrade fee? Once again I am perplexed why you believe why you were due an upgraded view based on a very low rate?

    Did you not read that these fees are clearly posted on the website? I don't think they were pulling a fast one.

    http://www.swandolphin.com/rates/index.html

    * Rates are per room, per night based on rate schedule availability and do not include the mandatory Resort Service Package, daily parking fees (if applicable), applicable taxes or gratuities. Not valid with any other special offers, promotions, existing reservations or for groups.

    Resort Service Package is $10 + tax per day and includes:

    Up to 60 minutes free local telephone calls, toll free and credit card access calls
    (.10 cents per minute after 60 minutes)
    20 minutes of domestic long distance per day
    Unlimited access to the resort’s health club facilities
    In room high-speed Internet access
    2 bottles of water daily
     
  13. katierae81

    katierae81 Mouseketeer

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    Sheesh...does someone own Westin stock or something? :sad2:
     
  14. karajeboo

    karajeboo DISmom by land and by sea!

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    Everything in my TRs is said tongue in cheek. I'm a Disney addict who loves things "dripping" with Mickey Mouse!

    No, I don't think that a value resort is "better" than the Dolphin, but it's definitely more Disney to me.

    If you've ever read any of my other TRs you would know that its a joke because I just seem to get upgraded most every trip.

    And again, I was not dissatisfied by my stay, just a bit perplexed by certain things. I've stayed at several Westin's in large cities and I found this hotel to be beneath the Westin standards. Maybe it's just due for an upgrade but my room was far noisier than I would have expected, as well as some other little things.

    As for the resort service package, I find this comical. They quote a room rate, and then add this extra package as "mandatory." Never heard of that before...... Kind of like saying the swan boats are $15/hour and you must take at least an hour/day. Why not just include that package in the room rate and advertise free wireless internet in every room?

    But no, I'm not upset by the Dolphin, per se. I'm just having fun with my TR, as I do with all my TRs. Would I stay there again? The jury's still out on that one.
     
  15. karajeboo

    karajeboo DISmom by land and by sea!

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    :rotfl2: I just don't think she knows my humor yet...... And judging by her comments, I don't think she will read any further!!! Oh, well, to each his own, I guess!
     
  16. katierae81

    katierae81 Mouseketeer

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    I will tell you what I told my DH lastnight...everyone seems to be suffering from Dips**t-itis lately.:lmao:
     
  17. katierae81

    katierae81 Mouseketeer

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    Oh yeah, I also noticed your Buckeyes shirt...where in Ohio are you originally from?
     
  18. prncess674

    prncess674 DIS Veteran

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    No, but I am an SPG Platinum who always seems perplexed by persons checking in in front of me who deem themselves worthy of a free upgrade. Why does everyone assume they should get something for nothing. SPG sells a host of rooms and if you are going to be disappointed with a room then don't book it. Book and pay for the minimum room you would accept.

    As an SPG Platinum I am sure that SPG is providing services commensurate with the tough economic times.

    Resort fees are common at just about every beach/ski resort I have ever stayed at in the Hilton and SPG chains. Downtown hotels do not usually impose resort fees.
    Have a magical day too! Do you use that potty mouth around your kids, I am sure that is a great example :eek:
     
  19. karajeboo

    karajeboo DISmom by land and by sea!

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    I went to high school in Westerville (outside Columbus), and Miami University (in Ohio!!!). My folks live in the Canton area now..... Go Buckeyes!!!!

    First of all, no snarky comments on MY TR!!! Save it for someone else's, like podsnel, or Alan Renfroe!!! Just kidding guys!!! :lmao:

    As for the free upgrade, I didn't ask, nor have I EVER requested a free upgrade. It's just that our last 3 or 4 stays in Disney we have gotten room upgrades, even a resort upgrade one time!!! So when people read my TRs I think we all kind of laugh at whether or not I got "my" free upgrade.

    And I knew what to expect staying at the Dolphin or Swan. I knew it wouldn't be so Disneyfied. But there were definitely some things that I did NOT expect from a Westin property. Like no vending machines ANYWHERE! I had to order from the "personal pantry" to get a diet coke! Just silly things like that......
     
  20. prncess674

    prncess674 DIS Veteran

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    I was just reading up on the "personal pantry" and thought this was a fabulous idea that I wish more hotels would implement. I love being able to stock the mini fridge with snacks and drinks that I know my family would eat at reasonable prices! I plan on stocking my and my parent's room with snacks. No needing to yell, "put down that $8 mini bar Coca-cola."

    http://www.swandolphin.com/pdf/pantrymenu.pdf

    I guess I think that vending machines remind me a Holiday Inn and frankly have never gone looking for one at a hotel/resort. The pantry prices are quite reasonable and if I don't have to fumble for quarters or haul snacks up to the room I will pay these reasonable prices.
     
  21. Debbie6221

    Debbie6221 <font color=hotpink>I do believe hangers are again

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    prncess674 you're just cracking us all up because it's just a fun TR and you are posting like you are the Westin's lawyer! It's just funny...everyone is entitled to like or not like any place in the world they want for whatever reasons......
     

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