Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Together at Last - '04 WDW Vacation

Chapter 4

Phone Rings

Wake up call from Mickey (and Stitch – “No Sleeping…GET MOVING!”)

We do get moving – Dr. D goes to Pepper Market to fill his UNLIMITED REFILL mug with coffee (which he thinks is a GLORIOUS thing) and bring back a little nosh. Deanster and I pack up just in case we have to vacate this particular room when we do the “check out – recheck in” hokey pokey today for our Dream Maker Package. (We had decided to come a day early just to get settled before the parents got there)

The Plan is to eat, get the room situation handled, meet Randy’s Mobility in the lobby at 9 to pick up Big Cal and Mini Maureen’s ECV’s (Electric Convenience Vehicle), take the rental car to the Car Care Center then take the shuttle back to Coronado Springs, where, hopefully the parents have arrived.

Head to lobby for the ECV’s.

Christmas Tree in Registration Area

Doc and me at the fountain

Ceiling above

The scooters arrive on time and are really cool. I had spoken to Randy on the phone and had made a big point of making sure that Big Cal’s could accommodate someone who is 6’5”. The last thing I wanted was for his first experience with one of these to be uncomfortable. Walking for any distance has become problematic for him. This really hacks him off. I thought that this would be a great chance to try one out and see if it would be something he might want to get for himself someday.

Big Cal’s is a bigger model than Mini Mo’s. Hooray! And they are red! Oooooh – sporty!

And what a service from Randy’s Mobility. Cheaper than getting them at the parks, you can rent them for your entire stay so you have them 24/7 (especially great for this particular resort – Coronado Springs is BIG!) and they have drop off and pick up service.

After a quick lesson in all things ECV, Deanster, Dr. D and I head back to park them in the room. Dr. D’s job is to walk point position and provide verbal cues as to when the resort’s stretch golf carts come barreling around a corner.

It goes something like this.

Deanster and I are chatting, driving and looking at the beautiful scenery. Dr. D is ahead of us.

Suddenly, he stops and does his best meerkat impersonation. Then he yells…

“HERE THEY COME…get over….get OVER”

A word about these golf carts…they are used as an internal transportation system. There are different kinds of carts – ones outfitted for Bellmen to carry luggage on, ones for groundskeepers and those for transporting guests.

I am quite positive that the Cast Memebers who are assigned to operate said golf carts are trained extensively…at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Thankfully, Dr. D and I have knowledge of crossing streets and dodging taxis in large metropolitan areas.

It came in handy.

Besides, we are from Texas. NASCAR doesn’t scare us.


We get the ECV’s back to the room without either of us ending up in the beautiful Lago Dorado or roadkill under the wheels of a golf cart. I take this as a good sign.

Deanster calls front desk and is informed we are keeping the room that we are currently in. This is in some ways a relief – don’t have to move, store luggage and 2 ECV’s until other rooms are ready, but also a bit of a disappointment in that we had requested a king for Dr. D and I when Deanster moved in with the parents. Oh well, no biggie.

Back to lobby to do the paperwork thing for our package deal. Checked in with Cast Member Mike, who got us acclimated and educated. We found out he had his Ph.D. in education and he and Dr. D enjoyed chatting. Dr. Mike was working here for a few months on his way to being part of the college program.

Get the Pimp Mobile and set off to return it. Here is where Deanster announces her plan while hanging over the front seat between me and Dr. D.

“The parents are still 150 miles away. We will be RIGHT BY the Magic Kingdom when we drop off the car. Why don’t we just have the Alamo shuttle take us there and hang out on Main Street USA?”

She bats her eyelashes.

I had been suspicious of her bringing the camera bag. For some reason it had become essential that Deanster see the Castle up close and personal at the earliest possible moment.

Fine by us. Shuttle takes us to the transportation center to catch monorail. Dr. D looks impressed. His only other Disney experience was at Disney Land when he was 12. That was 1962. Things have changed a bit.

It’s a little elbow to elbow, but nothing major.

Deanster RUNS to the Castle.

I’m beginning to think it has become some sort of religious pilgrimage for her.

Dr. D and I get some coffee and hot tea at the Main Street Bakery. I was so excited to find hot tea! We people watch and stroll. Dr. D gets a big kick out of reading the names on the windows above the shops, honoring some of their legends.

Deanster returns and we wander back towards the entrance knowing that we have to get back to Coronado Springs pretty soon.

And then it happens…

Our first character encounter. And it’s CRUELLA!!!!!

I have a secret obsession with the villains.

My dream job would be to play the Evil Queen for a day at the Park. (Deanster says I’d be a natural – I laughed… then I pulled her hair.)

I have a BFA in Theater Performance and a specialty in Children’s theater and try to do at least one show a year that plays to or involves kids. I have always been a character actor, playing the mom or the crazy neighbor next door, etc. But my most FUN roles have been the characters that complicate things. Played the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, Lucy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, you know that kind of thing.

Now it’s my turn to run…

She puts her arms around us and purrs in that low Cruella voice “Everyone say… PUPPIES!”

(okay...where is her right leg?!?)

Deanster sees Aladdin, we get her pic with him, too. He said it had been a long time since a grown up red-head threw her arms around him. (Deanster hugged him tighter)

Cell phone rings.

Big Cal and Mini Mo have arrived at Resort. We say hang tight in the lobby and we’ll be there shortly.

We got back in less than 20 minutes. Love those Disney buses.

Bail out at the bus stop by lobby and are walking across porte corchere when we see Big Cal. Deanster and I become 5 and 10 years old respectively and run across 4 lanes of cars yelling “DADDY”

One of the Bellmen who looks to be around my dad’s age gets all verklempt and pats Big Cal on the back when we pass. “We always want to hear that, no matter how old they get, don’t we?” he says. Big Cal agrees.

We find Mini Mo in the lobby. Deanster has called whilst on the bus back to the resort to see if their room is ready. It is not. Big Cal has had bellmen (note the plural) unload giant Rubbermaid containers, et al and store. We pile into the F150 intent on exploring and a little lunch.

Decide to go to Grand Floridian. Deanster and Big Cal dump rest of us out and they wait to valet the truck. As we are walking towards lobby I think “Hmmm…that’s a familiar aroma.” Ah-ha! Roasting chestnuts – streets of NYC, open fire, Christmas…this is gonna be a great vacation. A very dapper gentleman dishes us up some and we snack until the other two join us. Big Cal is impressed that Valet is complimentary for those with handicapped tags. I am impressed at how well Disney is taking care of my parents.

The Grand Floridian is beautiful.

We have a quick lunch at the counter service there - The Gasparilla Grill. I hadn’t realized that there were video games actually IN the seating area, so it was pretty loud, but all in all a good experience.

We toured the lobby a bit...

Me and Doc in front of the Gingerbread House in GF Lobby

Big Cal and Mini Maureen in front of the Lobby Tree

...and then decided to take Big Cal on the Resort monorail loop. He, like Dr. D., thought that was pretty neat. I told Deanster that it was probably going to be his favorite ride of the entire trip.

Everybody is a little tuckered and our other room is ready so we high tail it back to Coronado Springs. Big Cal and Mini Mo have a primo corner, first floor room with a water view from the front window and a quiet pool view from the side. We bring the ECV’s and Deanster’s luggage down. Mini Mo is enjoying the décor (we think somewhere she has Native American ancestry because of her love of the Southwest). Deanster and Big Cal take the ECV’s on a spin around the resort. Everyone relaxes for a bit.

F150 provisions and luggage is delivered by lone bellman. It is his first day.

Poor, poor kid.

Dr. D and I plan to go over to the Boardwalk Resort, find some dinner somewhere and explore. Deanster and Mini Mo will drive over later and meet us. After driving from Texas to Florida the past few days, Big C is gonna hang out at the home resort.

The Doc and I go to the bus stop. First bus that rolls up is going to EPCOT. We figure, why not? We’ll go there and get a bus to the Boardwalk. Driver is so nice and we get to chatting. I tell him what we’re doing. He informs me that my plan is not the most expedient way and what to do next time. Then he say’s “Watch this.” (Mind you, Dr. D and I are the only two passengers on the bus). He changes his marquee from EPCOT to SPECIAL and takes us directly to the Boardwalk.

We FEEL special. We disembark; waving and thanking our coachman, gently wiping the pixie dust from our shoulders and enter the Boardwalk lobby.

Okay, I love this resort – feels so homey and comfy. And something about the seahorse chandelier in the lobby appeals to the Pisces in me.

We check out the restaurants and decide on Big River Grille and Brewing Works. We walk up behind a party of 10 who can’t decide if they all want to sit together, or separate, or put the kids at one table…yada, yada, yada. The host must have seen my eyes start to roll back into my head. Perhaps he thought I was about to have a hypoglycemic attack. Whatever it was, it worked. He handed off the logistical nightmare group to another host and took us (“party of 2, your table is ready”) right in.

I hugged him.

Me with my eyes rolled back in my head

I get quesadillas and Doc gets the Meatloaf special. We aren’t beer drinkers but Dr. D is somewhat of a Root Beer connoisseur, which is also brewed there. Very enjoyable. Our first evening just the two of us. Did I mention that we will be celebrating our 14th anniversary January 19th? We hold hands through dinner. (This is a great advantage to marrying a left handed person! We can both eat and hold hands at the same time. – I know, you’re getting a cavity just reading this! So, sue me.)

After dinner we find the girls. I can tell, however, that my group is winding down and ready to “go t’da house.”

Our "girls" picture in Boardwalk lobby.

“…one day, I mixed marshmallows with spit and made sauce”
Edith Ann

Tomorrow…. Our first park, Animal Kingdom!

And the first day on the scooters….

Next chapter - The Call of the Wild


Lauren said...

Do you remember lauren Wensel? she is there and "Knows" cinderella! how aweseome is that

Mel said...

Yes - we're in touch quite often. I really hope next time we go that she can introduce me to the princess!

Alyssa said...

I am the most special though. (please know that I raised my hand as I thought that.) I have a letter from Cinderella congratulating me on my engagement. One of my greatest friends worked for Disney and knows my obsession with all things Cinderelly-esque. And the best part is... Jordana told me Cinderella congratulated me while Prince Charming was making out with Prince Eric. It's just like Cinderella to share what she has whenever possible. *grins*

Lisa B. said...

What a great vacation! I felt like I was there! How fun!!