Feb 20, 2011




Friends, treats, a DREAM and finally a hotel room


Even though it had been a late night we were both up early. We wanted to be out of the room and checked out by 7am and Tom decided to make some coffee while I remembered that I still had to put our goody bags together for our DISmeet. I had thought long and hard about HOW I was going to pack my suitcases and we left everything we would need in our carry on, so we would not have to open our luggage. Turns out that I had packed the goodie bags and their content in one of the suitcases, right at the bottom of it, so they would not get crinkled. So, while I was combing through the suitcase Tom proceeded to make some coffee. He washed the coffee pot, poured some water in it and poured it into the coffee maker which overflowed instantly.

On closer inspection the coffee machine was already full of water, so he poured it out, washed it and filled it with water just to discover that the coffee machine didn’t work. Now that explains why there was water in it in the first place. So instead of having coffee we shared a Diet Coke and took showers. Once we were ready we carried all our stuff downstairs, Tom went for the car, and everything got loaded in. Um, where’s my little yellow folder with my check-in paperwork? So we unloaded again, searched for the folder, found it and loaded everything back into the car. Tom let me get out of the car at the front desk, I settled the bill and off we went. It was 25 past 7 and our DISmeet was scheduled to be at 7.45. We were sure we would be able to make it in time, especially since we had decided on having our car Valet parked at the Beach Club Resort.

So we drove over to the Resort and at the Gate we were asked if we wanted to check in. We told the guard that we wanted to meet friends for breakfast. He waved us in and told us to drive to the right and self park and to have fun. Hm, being able to self park during President’s Weekend was pretty neat! So we drove over to the self park area, found a spot pretty close to the hotel, took our goodie bags and off we went. We reached the lobby 20 minutes to 8, so we were perfectly on time. I got mixed up there for a moment thinking that I was at the Yacht Club and turned to my left, but okay, the restaurant was to my right. And while we walked up to the restaurant, I could see THEM! The DISfriends I had been exchanging posts with for quite some time. Here they were in “real life”.

We hugged and it felt like we had known each other forever. Little Max noticed that Tom was holding a Cars bag and started talking about it, and YES, Max – you can have it, it’s your bag! Right after we had hugged and exchanged the first few sentences we were led inside the restaurant. We had a large round table towards the back of the restaurant and everyone found a seat and we started talking about how vacations had been so far and our experience upon entering the country.

Our server came by, introduced himself and announced the characters and asked for our drinks orders and then it was time to hand out our goodie bags. One for Tina and Mark and one for Nicki and Todd. Turns out we not only handed out gifts, we were given some too! I got the cutest custom made scarf, which will come in pretty handy on the DREAM in the summer and definitely in the winter, from Tina – the gold coloured scarf matches my black coat perfectly.

Nicki handed out HUGE bags shock full of Disney snacks. Yum, yum, yum! There turned out to be so many snacks we got this trip that I took a whole carryon FULL of leftover snacks home. Food was not really important as we had so much fun talking, taking photos of little Max meeting characters and nibbling a few fruit and a few breakfast items in between. Mark was wearing a birthday button, so he was served a cupcake and sung to and Max was happy to help nibbling the cupcake.

 I think none of us got our moneys worth, but it didn’t matter at all, we were just happy chatting and having fun. All too fast we realized that we had occupied the table for about 90 minutes and we paid our bill and went outside to take a few photos to remember this wonderful moment. It was beautiful outside and we took turns, who would be in the photos and who would be taking them and finally found a good soul who would take a photo of all of us with several different cameras. Time seemed to have flown by and it was time to say goodbye. Tina and her family wanted to head into Epcot, while Nicki and Todd needed to check out of the Swolphin. We changed our plans and decided against going into Epcot and instead drive to Downtown Disney. It was only past 10am and when I had done online check-in I noted that we would check in around midday.

Maybe our room would already be ready. Happy to have met such nice friends we walked back to the car and drove to Downtown Disney. We found a spot right behind the Once Upon A Toy Store and started our exploration right there. Walked through the store and were amazed about quite a lot of new merchandise. We then slowly made our way towards the World of Disney, where we checked for new merchandise too and found PLENTY of it. I had a look at the Dooney and Burkes and there were several that looked interesting. On the way back to the car we walked into the Ghirardelli Store, tried a milk chocolate caramel square and decided, why not have an ice-cream sundae. So we placed our order and picked up a bottle of cold water. Tom ordered a Quake Shake - A chocolate bar infused milkshake. He chose Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter with Vanilla Ice Cream, while I ordered the Mint Bliss - one scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream, one scoop of chocolate ice cream, dark chocolate hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and a square of Mint Bliss Intense Dark chocolate.

We were handed a stand with a number on it and went into the little ice-cream parlour to find a table. As soon as we had sat down at a table a couple came up and started taking photos of the picture on the wall. We offered to get up, so we would not be in the photo should they decide to take a photo of the whole wall. By then the woman asked if we knew what a Hidden Mickey was and when we told her that yes, indeed we knew, she showed us a Hidden Mickey on it. We had sat close to this wall and the cable car a lot of times, but we had never noticed the Hidden Mickey and we quickly got up to take photos ourselves. Shortly later our treats were delivered. They were delicious and huge and we both were defeated by them. By then it was past 12pm and we decided to push our luck and try to check in at the Coronado Springs Resort. The year before we had been intrigued by our friend Kathy’s report to stay there and indeed did have a wonderful time.

Early check-in and the room was ready, we were upgraded from a standard view to a “double” water view (lake and quiet pool) and had the best service. So we had something to look forward to. Once we got to the resort we parked the car and walked over to the on-line check in counter. One Cast Member was helping an unhappy guest and another Cast Member, who was earning her ears was looking at us, then back at her computer, glanced over again and NO we hadn’t vanished, so she waved us over to her. I handed her my reservation and she didn’t talk much, just repeated our information, then handed me a calculator with a number I could barely read and in a very unfriendly voice said, “That’s not paid yet!” Um, yes, I know, but whenever I have a room only reservation I pay at check in and girl, you have my credit card information anyway. She turned around and took care of my bill, then told us that our room was not ready yet. Did we have a phone? Yes. An American phone? No girl, we are from Austria, so our phone is an international one. Then Disney will not call us, we have to call Disney. Okay. By then I was a bit annoyed with her and I asked if she could give me a time on when to expect that our room would be ready. She had no idea and said to just check back from time to time.

We were glad when we were able to leave the front desk and went to check out the resort store. After we had seen everything there was to see and had cooled down from our front desk experience we thought about what we could do. Why not go and have some lunch somewhere. Well, I remembered that the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort offered one of the new designer burgers. And since we had quite some time to kill we walked back to the car, got in and drove to Port Orleans French Quarter. We walked right into the restaurant and there were only very few people. After checking the menus we decided on ordering a Cheese Steak Sandwich and a Creole burger topped with crispy popcorn shrimp and remoulade sauce. We picked up a bag of Disney tortilla chips and got two Diet Cokes before heading to a table near the windows. The Creole burger was really nice, but we both didn’t really like the Cheese Steak Sandwich. We nibbled on our tortilla chips and when we were finally done we walked over to the store to check it out. Once we were done in the shop we walked around the resort for a while and since it was already 2.30pm we walked to the front desk and asked which of the two numbers on the little card we had to call. A very nice and friendly Cast Member did it for us and we were told that our room was not ready yet. We knew we needed to leave for Port Canaveral by 3.30, so we decided to drive to Kissimmee and do a little souvenir window shopping. By 3.30 we were back at the resort and since the card said that check in was any time after 3pm we were quite sure that our room would be ready by then.

Parked outside the Main Building again and walked in to the front desk. Our “Cast Member friend” was still working and she seemed annoyed that we were back to ask about our room. She looked at her computer and just said that it was “not ready yet” and to check back later. I told her and the Cast Member who came over to help that now we had to take our luggage to Port Canaveral and that I would have preferred to leave it at the resort and her snippy answer was that they had bell services and we could carry it over there. No thank you, we already needed to leave in a few minutes and we wanted to take Tina’s goodie bags which we had taken with us, so they didn’t have to carry them around, over to them. Hopped into the car and drove over to the Cabanas to deliver the bags. Tina and her family were taking a break and we chatted outside their door for a while and then it was really time to leave for Port Canaveral.

The drive was pretty uneventful and when we crossed one of the bridges we finally caught a glimpse of the DREAM. The ship looked beautiful the way she lay there in the harbour. As every time when we drive to the Disney cruise terminal we missed the correct exit and had to turn around. We then drove close by the ship and took a lot of photos. It was great to see people on the Aqua Duck and hear the music of the Sailaway Party. Then we were on our way out to Jetty Park.

When we arrived there we were surprised to find the area really crowded. We had been to Jetty park to see off the Disney Wonder before but never had we hit such huge crowds. We were real lucky to find a parking spot right by the pier and got our cameras and headed out to the pier. Quite a way down the pier we found a good spot and waited for the DREAM to sail by. It took some time until she left the cruise terminal and made her way up along the harbour.

Right when she was close to us they started to greet everyone with the ship’s horn, and not just one signal, no they went through quite a few of them. You could not say who cheered louder, the people on board the DREAM or the people on the pier. We stayed until the ship was far out in the ocean and then finally walked back to our car, loaded the cameras back in the trunk and started our drive back.

The drive takes a little over an hour and by the time we were back we were really hoping that by then we would have a room.

Again we drove up to the Main building and I walked in and I got lucky, Lizzy, the unfriendly Cast Member was no longer there. Another Cast Member looked up the information and finally, yippie, our room was ready. It was just a few doors down from Tina too! Tried the keycard, it worked, yippie and in we went to find …… another surprise! This time it was a goodie bag shock full with more snacks and treats from our friends Mary Ellen and Joe!

So after going through the contents of our new treat bag, which came in a super cute bag as well, we finally went to get our luggage into the room and then crashed on the beds for some time. Not too long unfortunately as we had a dinner reservation at The Wave to go to. So after some rest we unpacked what we immediately needed, changed and got ready to get on our way again. Tina came over to drive to the Contemporary with us, as there were Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom and we were to meet there lateron. We arrived at the Contemporary just in time to make it to our reservation, signed in and were handed a buzzer. Then we took a seat in the lounge area and waited for our buzzer to go off.

Well, we didn’t sit there long and we were called, as our table was ready. Once we sat down we were greeted by our server and she took our drinks orders, Diet Cokes and left us with the menus. She soon came back with our drinks, took our orders for the main courses and rushed back with a basket of Whole Grain Bread and some Butter with sea salt. I was still busy taking photos of it when the table next to us complained that the bread was still frozen. So while I was still trying to get the best picture of the bread it was whisked away by the server and we were told she would be back with some eatable bread real soon. She reappeared about 2 minutes later with some hot bread. A little while later our main courses arrived. Tom had the Chili-marinated Flat Iron Steak with Grilled Vidalia Onions, Boniato Mash, Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, and Marinated Beet Salad.

 I had ordered the Apple Brined Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Sweet Mashed Potatoes, Warm Spinach-Bacon Salad, and Sassafras Jus. Both were wonderful and tasty. Since we had tried some of the snacks we weren’t too hungry in the first place, but at a place like The Wave, you cannot leave without trying some of their desserts and especially now that they have introduced a whole new range of desserts. So we both ordered dessert. Tom had the Freshly Made Gelato, Popcorn Gelato, Rocky Road Chocolate Gelato, and Peanut Butter and Jelly Gelato. My heart was set on the American Flavours, Mississippi Mud Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Key Lime Cube with fresh Citrus Whipped Cream, and Boston Cream Pie. Since they have some really special Lavender infused Earl Grey Tea I had to have that too. When we ordered desserts the restaurant started to clear out but there were still several tables occupied.

Until we had finally finished our desserts and tea the restaurant had gotten empty and we were once again the last people to leave the restaurant. It was Extra Magic Hour from midnight until 3am at the Magic Kingdom and we were determined to at least give it a try. When we arrived at the Magic Kingdom we phoned Tina to let her know that we had finally made it there. We were at the entrance to Adventureland she was right at the hub, so we met at the gate to Adventureland to experience some rides together. First off we decided to get on the Jungle Cruise. I love that ride at night and the wait was pretty short, so we gave it a go. Tina had not been on it in some time and we all enjoyed the jokes and sights of the boat ride. Next we looked into Pirates of the Caribbean and they had a 20 minute wait, so we decided to wait and ride it lateron. Thunder Mountain had a line which already started outside, no thank you.

It was around that time that Extra Magic Hours started, so we kept on walking around the edge of the Rivers of America and had a look at how long the line at the Haunted Mansion was. It looked long, but actually moved fast and we decided to get in line. We were inside the stretching room in no time and even though there were still lots of people we were soon to board a Doombuggy. Tom rode on his own and I rode with Tina, pointing out the Hidden Donald and Hidden Mickey at the end. Once we got off we walked past the Animal Cemetery and over to Fantasyland. Peter Pan was offering Fast Passes, so we got some and walked across to “It’s a small world”, which was a virtual walk on. Once we got off the ride we walked through Fantasyland, looked at the new Fantasyland expansion fences and the long lines for Winnie the Pooh and Philharmagic.

It was time for a biological break near Cosmic Ray and this is where we ran into one of the Cast Members, who, broom and water in hand was drawing characters onto the pavement. Not one, not two, but three characters, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. Soon there was quite a crowd around him and we all cheered once he had finished his work. By that time we were able to get another Fast Pass, so we walked over to Space Mountain.

When we finally made it there they were all gone and they were already covering the Fast Pass Machines. So we decided to just do Peter Pan and then try to get on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Peter Pan had the usual long standby line, but Fast Pass was short, so short that we held up the line when I wanted to show Tina the Hidden Mickey in the queue area. We were on the ride, flying over London and off the ride in a flash. By then we were way into our Extra Magic Hours and we thought it would be about time to try Big Thunder Mountain, so we headed over there. It was supposed to be a 10 minute wait, but it was a walk on, so we asked if we could go to the back. Yes, we could, but we would have to wait a train or two. Didn’t bother us, best seats on that train are in the back, so we waited and within a few minutes we were actually on the train, laughing and having fun.

Once we were off we just looked at each other and voted to go again. Same procedure, asked for the back, were allowed to, waited and had fun. So much fun that we did it four times in a row. After the fourth time we decided that there were just one or two more rides we wanted to fit in, so we finally left and walked over to Pirates of the Caribbean. No line here either and we were to be seated front row and ……….. the ride was stopped. The very nice and funny Cast Member at the start of the ride was trying to keep us entertained but even he ran out of conversation topics during the 20 minutes it took until the ride was functioning again. The had a whole lot of boats going through empty before we were allowed to board and meet those pirates. We still had a few more minutes of Extra Magic Hours left so we headed over to Space Mountain and discovered that it was either down or the line was out the door, so we finally decided to call it a day and head out to the car. On the way out we had our photo taken by a photopass photographer and then we were really on our way to the car. About 10 minutes after we had gotten into the car we pulled into the Coronado Springs Parking Lot. We said goodnight to Tina at our door and didn’t waste much time until we hit those heavenly beds.