"One more time!" Day 0 -- Thurs Dec 14th -- Arrival, Tiffany Towncar, and Caribbean Beach

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by Rajah, Jan 10, 2001.

  1. Rajah

    Rajah DIS Veteran

    Aug 17, 1999
    WDW Trip Report -- December 14th through the 19th

    Tammi, "Rajah", primary trip planner and trip report writer. 4th trip to the World

    Michael, "VonDrake", once again seriously in need of a vacation. Finals are rough on the instructors too ;) 3rd trip to the World

    Supporting Cast:

    Becky, long time friend of Tammi and Michael, CM at outdoor foods at MGM

    Art, new friend (this year), CM at Innoventions

    Trip dates:

    Thursday December 14, 2000 through Tuesday December 19th, 2000

    Stayed at:

    Caribbean Beach Resort Thursday through Sunday, transferring to Wilderness Lodge on Sunday

    This morning we were woken up a few minutes before the alarm by one of our friends in Orlando offering to give us a ride from the airport. As we already had reservations with Tiffany Towncar, we decided against taking the offer, but appreciated it nonetheless. We had debated doing Tiffany this time because of the cost, but when I looked into how much it would cost to rent a car for the trip or even for just the day we arrive and the day we leave, Tiffany looked a lot more affordable. Besides, we think it's quite nice to be able to ride in luxury both to and from the airport and resorts.

    What was it I said last report about there being pretty much no point in me going to work the day we leave for a trip? I'm practically worthless at that time, but then again who isn't ;) This time I actually got about 20 minutes of real work in (out of 3 hours), and I had enough time to get some materials prepared for creating a new crossword on the flight out.

    Finally, 12:30 rolled around and it was time to go home!

    This time I stopped at WalMart for a few last minute items: a shower cap (I hate using the water at WDW to wash my hair...it never feels clean after a shower there), some more green ribbon (mist green this time as they didn't have a true lime green or even the more grass-green I got last time from Michael's Crafts), some pipe cleaners which I used to secure the radio to the clip/holder then create a loop for a strap to go through, and another memory card for the digital camera we were again checking out from Michael's work. I convinced him that it was less expensive, especially in the long run, if we purchased more memory for the digital camera than it would be to use normal film for the same number of pictures. He readily agreed and this time I picked up a 32Mb card (I'd picked up a spare 48Mb card earlier in the week). I really should have gotten a second 48Mb card instead of a 32, but they were having a sale on one type of card and it wasn't entirely clear if the one I got was the one on sale or not. It turned out it wasn't so it would have been better if I'd purchased the 48Mb card, but if it had been on sale it would have been a difference of around $60 instead of the $30 it was. I also picked up some spare moleskin since I couldn't find what I'd done with the stuff I'd purchased at Port Orleans in November. Naturally, once we got to WDW I found it in my backpack even though I'd looked there three times the night before, and furthermore I didn't use it at all. Oh well, just means I have plenty for the next trip -- January, Disneyland.

    Anyway, once I finished picking up our last minute items, I returned home to finish packing. Half of my clothes were in the drier and I wanted to rearrange things so they would fit a little easier. But at least this time I didn't feel like a chicken with my head cut off panicking about us missing our flight. I leisurely packed while watching my afternoon shows: Scarecrow and Mrs King and Remington Steele.

    We got everything packed, including pictures of all my pins so I wouldn't try to get any duplicates, just as it was time to leave and were out the door around 4:15 pm. Michael dropped me off at the grocery store/bank so I could pick up a lot of ones since we always forget to have enough for tips, and he ran to the library to return the library books that I had forgotten to return this morning and which were due mid-trip. I finished up just a few moments before he returned, and then we were off pretty close to 4:30.

    The drive seemed shorter this time and we were parked in the park-and-ride and at the curb checking our bags by 5:30, plenty of time for a 7:00 flight.

    One minor peeve, though... for you smokers, if you must insist on smoking in a non-smoking area, don't do it *right* next to the "no smoking" sign :rolleyes: -- we saw two people doing that and just couldn't believe how inconsiderate they were being. I mean literally, these two smokers could have reached their hands out and *touched* the foot-square "no smoking" sign without moving their feet they were that close :rolleyes:

    Back to the trip report... this time I gave in to the inevitable and just had my regular camera and film checked and we sent the video camera through the X-ray. I did insist that the digital camera be hand checked, but we've never had a problem with hand-checking at *this* airport. It's always the Orlando airport that gives us a hassle.

    Once again we picked up some dinner at the airport, Michael getting the same pizza he had last time and me ordering the same spaghetti plate only minus the salad this time. Neither of our dishes were as good as they were last month, so we were somewhat disappointed, but we ate them anyway since we knew we would be getting in too late to eat anything in Orlando.

    Once we were done eating, we struck out for our gate and I mentioned to Michael that it shouldn't be as crowded this flight as our last flight out was because this was a Thursday and most people tend to fly out on Friday. Then we saw our gate :eek: . Apparently the flight leaving before ours was running rather late so we had all of their flight *plus* all of ours packed into the same waiting area and everyone impatient about getting on the plane. We were supposed to board around 6:20...we ended up not boarding until about 7:15 and our flight was *supposed* to leave at 7:05. By the time we finally got in the air, we were 20 minutes behind schedule. And in addition to that, they not only had a full flight, they had to offer something like $300 credit *plus* an upgrade to first class on the next flight for two passengers because they'd overbooked :eek: . So much for Thursday not being as crowded as Friday!!

    After we finally got in the air, though, the rest of the flight went smoothly. I put together one crossword puzzle rather quickly (Disney movies matched to support characters...now I just have to get it into the computer) then started fishing around for things for a second puzzle while Michael tried to work on the Disneyland one. He gave up fairly quickly, though, because he felt it was entirely too strange to be working on a Disney*land* crossword while on the way to Disney*world*.

    This flight, we also had a sandwich served on the plane, which was good because despite having just eaten a full plate of spaghetti, I was *starving*. I swear flying *to* a vacation destination makes me hungry! The sandwich was really good, too...just a plain old chicken sandwich on a wheat bun with a single leaf of romaine or similar lettuce, but with *caesar* (sp?) salad dressing. I even found that I actually like a very mild flavoring of anchovy since the dressing did list anchovy as an ingredient and it was fantastic. I could have easily eaten another one (did I mention I was for some reason starving?)

    We landed about 20 minutes later than expected and hiked out to the baggage claim area, pausing only to admire the trees in the lobbies of the airport -- both the one in the main gate lobby/crossroad and the one in the lobby where all the stores are were great...talk about lights!!

    As we were coming down the escalator for the baggage claim, we looked around for our guy from TTC. Sure enough, he was standing there waiting for us despite the delay, but I'm sorry to say he didn't really impress us. Other than "Hi, I'm Henry, your bags should be at claim X" (I forget which carousel) he didn't say anything else until after we'd picked up the bags. No welcome, no how was the flight, no attempt at conversation. He wasn't dressed as professionally as Brian was (our driver from November), nor did he act anywhere close to as professional as the other drivers we've had. He didn't move to help us at all with the luggage until we'd picked all of it off the carousel and had set it up to go out to the cars, then he took us down the escalator (with three bags that had been checked plus our three carry-ons -- thankfully our primary luggage has wheels) instead of the elevator. I was really wishing for Brian again. I may request him by name next time.

    The only thing he said to us at all until we got to the resort was asking where we were going and telling us to "wait here" while he went to get the car. Other than that everything was silent. Not even any radio in the car. I was a little disappointed because this wasn't what I'd expected from TTC, though he did get us to the resort just fine. We still gave him our customary $10 tip because we were feeling generous, though really the service from him was more like $5. He wasn't *bad*, he just wasn't as good as Brian had been.

    When we arrived at Caribbean Beach, he helped us get our bags out of the car and asked when our flight left on Tuesday, told us when he'd pick us up, then took off, leaving us to figure out how to get our luggage through the doors to check in because Bell Services was no longer available outside. We nicknamed him "Bernardo" since he was so silent, though the character from Zorro would have been more helpful. At least it was a ride in a nice comfortable car, though, and he was there on time despite the delayed flight.

    We went up to the check-in counter and were the only ones there. Check in went smoothly and I double-checked that the room we were given was non-smoking since I hadn't mentioned anything about it when making the reservation and I should have. Yep, they'd given us a non-smoking room!

    While listening to the Christmas music Caribbean Style, we were assigned room 3734 of Trinidad South...allllllll the way at the opposite end of the resort from where we currently were. We were given the resort info and told all about the food court, pools, and beach, then were directed to Bell Services right around the corner to catch our van to Trinidad South.


    Yep, van. This place is so HUGE that they assign vans to the bell services people to get from one point to another. When we walked up to Bell Services, "Al" met us and started up a lively conversation right away. He and the other guy behind the counter started teasing us about Trinidad South, saying it had been empty all day and no one wanted that one "because it was haunted". I countered that if any ghost stayed on Disney property, he or she would have to be a friendly ghost so that was fine and they laughed. Al was such a striking contrast to Henry from TTC and quickly got us back into the full Disney spirit. He put our luggage into his nice shiny new van (only 6 miles on it, we were the first guests to use it) then drove us around to Trinidad South, which was at least a 5 minute drive if not 10. Did I mention CBR is huge?

    Al started telling us some of the facts we already knew, but picked up fairly quickly on the fact that we'd been there before and were familiar with things. He pointed out Old Port Royale as we drove by, and explained that we should be the last stop on the bus system before the parks, which meant we'd just get on the bus and head straight to a park, both a plus and a minus. He pointed out our bus stop (right around the corner from our building) then pulled up across from the staircase (much more shallow than the ones at Port Orleans and thus easier to navigate after a long tiring day at the parks) then dragged our luggage upstairs (yes, up the stairs, apparently there was no elevator) and directed us to our room. Then he stayed to visit for a few minutes, telling us about Fantasmic and how they've apparently slightly changed the reserved seating arrangements for the dinner package and recommending the Osborne lights. He was really a sweet guy and earned an $8 tip for the 3 bags he carried.

    One look at our room and what we could see of the resort even at night, and I was in love again. What a nice resort! Michael was even happy because they had a coffee maker in the room, though coffee packets (coffee, sugar, sweetener, creamer, and a stirrer-straw) were $1.21 each (plus tax we found out later). They also had four refillable mugs sealed with shrink-wrap on the table for $8.50, plus 4 ponchos -- three adult and one child -- ready to go also for a price ($6?), so we didn't have to go anywhere to purchase these items.

    I took a few pictures of the room, which was decorated in nice peaches, creams, yellows, and sand colors and with a pineapple motif, then called my parents to let them know we got in just fine -- they always like us to do so. Then we grabbed the camera and headed out to explore our immediate area. We were going to run down to the food court, but by the time we made it to the room it was very close to midnight (about 11:50 or so) and only the bakery was open until midnight and there was no way we'd be able to find our way to the food court on such a huge resort in just a few minutes. So instead we just wandered down to our area-pool (standard shaped pool, only theming was the colors and gate surrounding the pool, but still nice) then dodged sprinklers over to our beach to explore.

    NEAT!! There was no one on the beach, and there were three hammocks placed along the back, plus a play area for kids. If we hadn't already hit dew point (meaning the hammock and chairs and everything were all damp) we would have spent more time on the beach despite the late hour. Michael hadn't ever seen white sand before over an entire beach when he could actually walk on it, and the sand was SO SOFT!! Really neat. The water was so still it was like looking at glass, and the reflection in the lake was really, really neat. Naturally, being the avid amateur-photographer that I am, I had to keep trying to get a picture until one came out mostly clear :D Michael didn't think it would work, but I did end up with two pictures that are only slightly blurry after at least a 1 second shutter speed (which is long for those of you not familiar with camera terminology).

    We really enjoyed wandering the area around our building. There was a little alcove that had half a dozen tables set up in it for people to sit and eat, then around the corner was the pool. Lots of palm trees and beautiful flowers, and the evening lighting just made the coral-peach coloring of the resort glow. While I was taking one picture, Michael found a flower that had fallen off its bush and tried to slip it into my hair. Such a sweetie :D

    We finally returned to the room, dodging sprinklers as we went, really happy with Caribbean Beach. Port Orleans had surpassed our expectations last month, but Caribbean Beach went even farther beyond what we expected and we'll stay here again before we do Port Orleans again most likely. Our only disappointment was that the beds were two full/double beds instead of two queens, and we're used to getting a king while on vacation or a queen at home.

    Just before we went to bed, I set up a wake-up call for 7:30 the next morning and was a little disappointed that the only alarm clock they had in the room was one of those that makes the loud noise rather than a radio alarm. But the automated touch-tone system was fun I must admit -- it didn't work in our room at Port Orleans in November.

    On to day 1 of 5




    Rajah and VonDrake's Honeymoon

    Rajah's Disneyland Crossword Puzzle
  2. Mackey Mouse

    Mackey Mouse <font color="blue">Me read the Navigator? I don't

    May 21, 2000
    Great insight to Caribbean Beach Resort, I particularly liked Al kidding with you as he transported you to your room.. Ghosts at WDW, whoever heard of anything like that...They would have to be grinnin ghosts at least.

    Mac-key Mouse QOBGOC [​IMG]
    <font color=red>Coordinator of the First Annual Official Dis Convention </font>
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  4. Aerobics

    Aerobics Instructor Extraordinaire

    Jun 16, 2000
    Yes, those ghosts would definitely have to be of the "Grim, Grinning" variety.

    I'm sorry that you had such a blah driver from TTC--our TTC driver (Rafael) was exactly the opposite from yours. He wouldn't let us pick up our own luggage from the baggage claim carousel, he wouldn't let us carry it to the car, and he wouldn't stop talking the entire way. It's amazing that they work for the same company. :)

    I'm glad to hear such a great review of CBR. It was one of our possible choices, but having been to the Caribbean before, I really wanted to try the WL. I just might have to try the CBR next time. Looking forward to reading more about your trip.

    Somebody call I-X-I-I!!!
  5. Rajah

    Rajah DIS Veteran

    Aug 17, 1999
    Nate --

    Wilderness Lodge is still the best one we've stayed at, but if you split the trip between a moderate and a deluxe, I definately recommend either CBR or the Dixie Landings half of Port Orleans (grrr that they merged, just 'cause they're too BIG that way).

    As for our driver...we've now had 4 drivers from Tiffany and 2 of the 4 were excellent, the 3rd one was great, and the only mediocre one was Henry. I'll still use them, by all means :D




    Rajah and VonDrake's Honeymoon

    Rajah's Disneyland Crossword Puzzle
  6. Beanie

    Beanie ~*Snoopy Fan Forever*~

    May 15, 2000
    Trinidad South does seem so far away from the Custom House, doesn't it? LOL...We stayed in Martinique and like you, upon inspection of the room fell in love with it...Thanks for posting!!

    <font color=purple>Tricia</font>
    Co-Moderator Restaurant Board
    Co-Moderator Trip Reports Board
    Co-Host Instructional Chat with Snuggles and Nativetxn
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  7. Marla Hellwig

    Marla Hellwig I'm not lost, it's called creative exploring

    Mar 25, 2000
    Time to let the fun begin. Thanks for posting!
  8. Robin1116

    Robin1116 Mouseketeer

    Jan 17, 2000
    I had to laugh when you stated your grrrr on Trinadad South!!!
    During our last trip our best friends stayed at the Carribean. What a wonderful and beautiful hotel, however when they gave us directions to come visit they told us they were in the waaaaay waaaaay back!!!
    I really had no idea how big and spread out the Carribean was until we got there, and with the walks to Old Port Royal at night!
    Looking forward to reading the next post!

    Robin Longley

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