Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Arriving at Disney World
Since some of you have requested more info into our annual installment of slavering devotion to that juggernaut of commercial and ritualized enjoyment otherwise known as Disney World, I figured that I would indulge you. Plus, I got nothing else interesting happening right now. You know, all in all - a typical summer.
(Actually, that's not quite true. We are going on a mini-vacation the first weekend of August. This is only the second time in our marriage that JF and I have been lucky enough to take two vacations in one summer. We may get the occasional jaunt to the CityofMyBirth to visit my relatives, but that's not exactly what we call "vacation." That's more in the realm of "hell on earth." (Especially if my extended family is involved.) At any rate, we're quite excited, and are planning a trip to Asheville, North Carolina to visit the Biltmore Estate. I went at least once as a small child, and I have very fond memories of the place. JF has never been, and Offspring's never even been in the state of North Carolina. We got a great deal for the weekend, and we can't wait to go. Offspring is obsessively watching "The Private Eyes" to ready herself for the experience. If anyone lives near Asheville, and wants to meet up for lunch or dinner over August 3rd or 4th, drop me an email.)
We started off at The World of Disney, pictured with Offspring above. We always arrive in Orlando the day before we check into whatever Disney resort we've booked that year. That way, we don't waste half a day's worth of tickets in transit. We stay at a cheap off-site hotel for the night, and wake up early to head to the resort and check in. If your room isn't ready (and it usually isn't), you can stow your bags with concierge, grab your tickets, and head out for the parks. We like to arrive in the parks early in the morning so that there's at least three or four rides we can knock out without having to wait 2 hours in line.
We are very spoiled by the wonderful service of Disney hotels, so we save like squirrels hoarding nuts for winter to afford them. Juggling Freak's favorite hotel, hands down, is Coronado Springs. (He's a sucker for the southwestern theming.) This is one of what Disney calls their "moderate" resort. (We're also extremely spoiled by the moderate resorts.) We like staying there because the price per night isn't that much more, but the extra amenities make it so worth it. For example, the "value" resorts (cheaper in price and usually not as opulently themed) don't normally offer a full-service restaurant; they only offer a food court. After a hard day slogging through the parks, not everyone is ready to have to go fetch their own food and bus their own tables. Usually, that would be us. The moderate resorts offer a food court AND a full-service restaurant, plus lots of other things that swing the balance in their favor.
This year, I really pushed for us to stay at a moderate that we hadn't yet tried: Port Orleans French Quarter. When this resort was built, it was very small and intimate. It only has about 800 rooms, compared to the 1600 - 1900 most of the other Disney hotels offer. Because it was so small in comparison, Disney merged what was the Port Orleans resort with its next door neighbor resort, Dixie Landings. This made one large resort, called Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside respectively. We had stayed at Dixie Landings (now Port Orleans Riverside) on our very first trip to Disney World, back when Offspring was 18 months old. Back then, she was so small that we did not have to pay for her, and we arranged to have a portable crib in the room for her. My, how times have changed. We play rock, paper, scissors now to see who has to sleep with the thrashing Offspring, and she is considered an "adult" as far as Disney ticket pricing goes. Oy. Don't give the girl any ideas. Adult. Riiiight.
FQ was not really what I thought of as JF's style. I was worried that he would not care for the surroundings and ambiance. To my surprise, he rated FQ in second place, right behind his very favorite, Coronado. I was delighted that he was happy with the place, as I found it charming and was the one who'd pushed for it in the first place. We were placed in Building Three, which was only a moment's walk from the main building with the lobby, store, lounge, and food court. It was only another moment's farther walk to the pool, the playground, and most importantly for me -- the hot tub. It was quiet, serene, and lovely.
We arrived at FQ at 8:30 am, and were delighted to find that our room was ready and waiting for us. Usually, we tend to look at the hotel room as a convenient place to crash after a long trek through crowded theme parks in the scorching Florida summer sun, but staying at FQ was a nice change of pace -- lazy and relaxed while still being the height of luxury. The theming of FQ was great -- the sidewalks were done up like streets, complete with street signs and lampposts. We almost didn't want to leave to visit the parks. Almost.
If I haven't bored you to tears yet, I'll add more posts about this year's pilgrimage.