5th Anniversary Trip to the World, part two and a half - UPDATED 2/14
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5th Anniversary Trip to the World, part two and a half - UPDATED 2/14
Now I know you're saying to yourself "And when exactly was this trip anyway?" Well, it all started on November 10, 2007. I'm sorry to be just now making this trip report. I've had a lot on my plate and have just now had the time to write.
Waking up in Indiana to a sunny 58 degree morning. The plan was to leave the house at 9:30 a.m. Did that happen? Nope. I don't know why people always say that women are the slowest to get ready in the mornings. I know that I'm constantly waiting on my husband. Instead we left at 10:30, including breakfast at Chick Fil-A. We picked up the rental car at National. I love National. The people are so nice and they always have such a nice selection. We reserved a Pontiac G6 because my hubby just loves that car. Oh happy day, we were given a free upgrade to a full size Nissan Altima, you know one of those fancy schmancy cars that doesn't require a key to turn it on. We're ready to go, right? Not. Hubby says in a panic "we need to buy disks for the camcorder". Now, remember this folks. This will come into play later on in the trip. So, to Meijer we go. Then FINALLY we're on our way.
Now I have to tell you that the gas mileage on an Altima is terrific. We went from Greenwood, IN to the Tennessee/Georgia border on one tank of gas. It was then that I discovered that I had almost set fire to my purse. Why? Because of this really cool pen that my hubby got me at a Medical Insurance fair at work. It was one of those light up jobbies. Well, it decided to light up in the bag and when I pulled a book out, I noticed that the notepad the pen was resting against was scorched. Count us lucky!
We arrived at the Residence Inn in Macon about 7:00 p.m. Good first day.
November 11, 2007
Why am I boring you with the details of our trip down? Because I can, I guess. (insert villainous laughter) But seriously, it's local color. We got up about 7:00 had a pretty darn good breakfast (Marriott breakfasts rock) then hit the road at 9:30 a.m. Our destination this day was the Lake Buena Vista Suites in the Orlando area. Now, I was excited to get there because of all the hype surrounding this particular hotel.
By the time we got to the Orlando area it was about 80 degrees and fabulous. You know how it is the first time you arrive in Florida. We found the hotel with no problems (this will also be significant to the story) Grand, impressive, the Buena Vista Suites hotel is certainly nothing to sneeze at on the outside. I was feeling good things when we stepped into the lobby with all of it's refined elegance and enormous open spaced walkways. The check in agents were nice and the palm trees were waving in the breeze, beckoning us to go back outside. We checked in and took the elevator to our room and....
and the room was disgusting. Floor was dirty, bed linens were dirty and torn, blankets (not the comforter) was stained. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've got more than my fair share of germaphobia going on but this was ridiculous! That being said, I always carry cleaning supplies and my own blankets and pillows when we travel so it was going to be all right.
We left in short order and visited Downtown Disney, a short car ride away. Boy was it crowded there! That's the only thing that I hate about DDD on the weekends. Because it's free to the public, it's extremely crowded, that and it was the last day of the Food and Wine Festival so more people were there. But the really cool thing was that it was also the last day of the Festival of the Masters. There were chalk drawings all over the pavement and some of then were really good. Why we didn't take any photos of them is beyond me. Probably because of the ever growing crowds and you could hardly move.
We ate lunch at the Earl of Sandwich and had some really good food. The bad thing was that while I was waiting for my hubby to bring out the food, the chain to my anniversary necklace decided at that point to snap, so it broke. Bummer. I'm glad it broke in my hand and not while we were traipsing around the parks.
After awhile we went back to the hotel, or we would have had we not gotten lost, thanks to some bum directions from a Disney employee in the Christmas shop. We drove around for a good hour and were way out of our way. We finally stopped at a Walgreens in a residential area and bought a map and finally returned to the hotel (seriously folks, the hotel is less than half a mile from DDD.) I don't understand how we got lost, except for it was dark and crowded and we were tired. So much for good beginnings, huh?
Up next, our first day at the Boardwalk and an extra surprise!
When I last left you we had stayed the night at the Lake Buena Vista Suites. They advertise heavily the "greatest breakfast buffet in the world". So, my hubby and I mosied down there are 6:30 a.m. Guess what? Not even the most mediocre buffet. Seriously. It's best left unsaid how nasty it was. Note to any of you planning on staying at this hotel. Run away!
The best part of the morning was arriving at the Boardwalk around 8:30 a.m. Now, we've stayed here before and usually after a hard day on the road we drive up to Valet Parking and have them unload everything, etc. This trip, however, we were rather short on the cash flow so we self parked the car and knowing that this early in the morning the room wouldn't be ready, we left the luggage in the car and walked up to the Concierge Level. Suffice it to say that the Concierge staff does not like to be taken by surprise. We told them that we were checking in and the poor guy just stared at us like we had appeared by magic. He said they weren't informed that we had arrived. Which I found to be hugely funny because aren't Disney staffers supposed to be prepared for anything? After getting back on his game, the concierge person got our paperwork ready and gave us our Keys and Happy Anniversary buttons. I thought that was a nice touch because we had never been given that type of service before.
Keys in hand, we hopped the Animal Kingdom bus around 8:45 a.m. and were underway. Animal Kingdom - extremely crowded and hot. I rather think that it's the hottest park on the property. Usually the week before Thanksgiving is not busy. I guess people have gotten wise. There were long long waits for Bugs Life, Kilimanjaro Safaris, etc so hubby decided that he'd like to shop. He really wanted a tee shirt. After he came back empty handed we did the Discovery Island thing, Pangani Trail and the Jungle Trek. The tigers were very active this morning and that was great.
After we left the tigers, we wanted to take some timed shots of the two of us because this part of the trail was deserted. I saw a Cast Member and asked her if she would take our picture. She said sure but maybe we'd like to move down the Trail a bit farther. We were like "why?" but we followed her nonetheless. Before too long, we encountered two other Cast Members - Dream Team Members! They asked why we were visiting the World and congratulated us on our Anniversary and then they presented us with Year of a Million Dreams Lanyards and of course took our picture. How exciting! We have never been singled out for anything in all the years we've been vacationing at Disney.
After that, we ate lunch at the Flame Tree BBQ. Not as good as past visits but still edible. We watched Expedition Everest for awhile before exiting the park around 12:45 since it was too crowded to do much.
5th Anniversary Trip to the World, part two and a half
We left the the Animal Kingdom and
at 2:00 we got our room. Now this is a really cool room. It was on the third floor right over Seashore Sweets. From our balcony we could watch the performers in the evenings. Very cool. I was very pleased with it.
We had an excellent dinner at Spoodles. The food here is always great. Always. We had no room for desert so we passed but our server brought out a cupcake with a lighted candle for our anniversary. That was a nice touch. I could really get used to being pampered, you know?
Another first for us was going to see the Osbourne Lights at MGM. This is definitely a must do for next time. As crowded as the Animal Kingdom was earlier in the day, MGM was the exact opposite. Totally deserted almost, which made navigating the Lights really easy. I'll post some pictures but they didn't come out very well. Not used to the night settings on the camera I guess.
When we came back to the room after a rather nippy boat ride from MGM, the Concierge staff surprised us once again. They presented us with a bundle of candy bars and a huge laminated sign saying Happy Anniversary. How nice was that? I have to really give a shout out to the Concierge staff at the Boardwalk. They went above and beyond for us and that was only our first day!