|Day 4, Wednesday, January 2, 2002
This was a day spent entirely in frustration.
This was the day we changed resorts from Coronado Springs to Old Key West. The plan was to spend the day at Disney Quest, and shopping around Downtown Disney. But it was a day that would fall to bad planning and some poor decisions, and leave a couple of lessons about what not to do if you are going to have a successful time at Disney World.
It’s hard to have a really bad day at Disney World, but this day was not terrific.
We slept even later, and that is the most important lesson. The later you sleep, the worst things turn out, especially if you have a lot to do. Checkout was 11:00, and we were only ready about 20 minutes before checkout. We called bell services, and they were there inside of five minutes. We checked all of the bags except Nick’s backpack and our laptops (our airline carryons, essentially). We then took the bus to MGM, which is the closest park to CS. We thought things were going good, since the MGM bus arrived when we walked up, and the OKW bus showed up right when we hit the bus stop at MGM. We were at OKW pretty quickly, but the day was getting late.
We did our initial checkin at OKW front desk, and checked our laptops and the backpack with bell services, making certain they new to expect extra luggage from Coronado Springs.
|We went ahead and had lunch at Olivia’s. This turned out to be
the high point of the day. The food here was outstanding, and the
service was extremely friendly. I had the buttermilk chicken breast
and mashed potatoes, which was wonderfully flavorful. Debbie and
I also each had a delicious cup of chowder, and split a plate of terrific
chicken wings. I also had a key lime smoothy, which was tart and
cold, and terrific. Nick had a bowl of Mickey pasta, which completely
vanished. For “just a resort” dining room, Olivia’s is exceptionally
By this time, it was not only cold, but pouring down rain. I didn’t give it a second thought, because I figured we’d be inside at Disney Quest, and we had the day wired. But, it was at this point that things started to go really wrong.
We took the bus to Downtown and made the mistake of getting off at marketplace instead of west side. So, we walked all the way across downtown in the freezing, pouring rain. For some reason Debbie thought this would be closer, and I needed to override her, but failed.
We did stop into a couple of stores, Magnetron just to look, the World of Disney to buy some gifts, and the Lego store for some serious shopping. But, we didn’t end up buying at the Lego store, with an intention of coming back later.
|By the time we got to Disney Quest, they were no longer selling tickets!
This was about 2 p.m. Evidently, the weather had driven everyone
else inside, and the weather had beaten us after all. Cold, wet,
and frustrated, we ended up seeing a movie at the AMC next to Disney Quest.
We saw “Behind Enemy Lines”, which was actually a pretty good movie, and
the theater is a nice venue (roomy love seats). But, this was an
awfully expensive movie, considering that we were paying for both a hotel
room and park passes. But, it was too cold and wet (and late) to
go to the parks, and the guy outside Disney Quest said they would be selling
tickets again in a couple of hours.
Well, exactly two hours later, we were back at Disney Quest, and just as we walked up they *STOPPED* selling tickets again. It was 4 p.m. now, and I was ready to give up on Disney Quest and even on Downtown for the day. So, we walked down to the West End bus stop. When we got there, a sign said they were closed, and directed us back to the front of Planet Hollywood. Understand that the sign was down at the bus stop, not at the front of the walkway.
By this time, we were all very cold and wet again, and Nick was terribly frustrated. It wasn’t pouring down rain, but it was drissling and very chilly. I tried to comfort Nick, but didn’t know what to say. We stopped in the candy cauldron on the way back, and let him pick one item (he wisely choose a carmel apple). Not the world’s most enlightened parenting, but this was an emergency--rescuing what should have been a terrific Disney day.
|Well, we didn’t wait that long for the bus at Planet Hollywood, and
the rain had stopped. We went to the front desk of OKW, and We ended
up in a “smoking optional” building, which made me cringe. With all
of the trouble we had booking this trip, my nonsmoking preference had gotten
lost. There’s a lesson there about making sure your smoking preference
gets noted no matter what, but my visions of a stinky room didn’t materialize.
The room was quite a way from the front desk, so we ended up waiting for a lift with bell services and our luggage. Luckily, all of our luggage from Coronado Springs had arrived, and was with the laptops. The guy who gave us a ride over on the golf cart was very friendly and kind of funny. He mentioned that the pools (we were very near one of the quiet pools) we kept at 80 to 85 degrees, which proved useful later.
After the bags were in the room, we looked around and found out that the groceries I had ordered by fax hadn’t arrived. I called down to the general store, and within ten minutes, someone had brought up most of our order (the orange juice didn’t make it somehow).
By this time, Nick had headed for the playground, which was not far from our room. He reported later that it was OK, but not great. Debbie and I talked a little bit about how to recover the rest of the day, and decided some hot tubbing and some swimming would help a lot.
|Debbie and I went down and soaked in the hot tub for a while, which
was nice and warm and complete with jets. Nick swam in the pool,
which was warm enough to have steam billowing off it in the cool night
air. Debbie and I joined him later, then went for a second soak.
There were a couple of other young kids in the pool when we got there,
but they left, and we had the place to ourselves.
There are no lifeguards at the quiet pools here, so you do have to keep an eye on your kids. But, it was an extremely pleasant and relaxing experience after a rough day.
After our swim, we all had a quick shower, then took the bus back to Olivia’s for another great meal. I had the prime rib and another key lime smoothie, both of which were outstanding. Debbie had the Florida snapper, which she described as being “so good”. Nick had another bowl of Mickey pasta. Debbie and I also split a dish of the artichoke shrimp dip, which was exceptional. Another very satisfying meal.
We went back to the room to retire early. For, we had learned our lesson, and would be up early tomorrow. The movie was good, we had a very relaxing soak and swim, and two terrific meals. But, this day could have gone a lot better, and we resolved to make an early start of things tomorrow to keep ourselves more on track.
After all of the whining, let me say something happy now.
We sure did like Old Key West.
|The bus service was surprisingly good, and I liked the fact that we
could board a bus near Turtle Pond that would take us where we were
going, without having to change buses at the front of the resort.
Most busses did end up stopping at all the stops in the resort, but it
really wasn’t that annoying. We almost always caught a bus right
away whether coming or going (there were a couple of noteworthy exceptions).
And I don’t think we hit standing room only nearly as often as the Coronado
Springs or even the Port Orleans buses.
The rooms are lovely, quaint and understated like the exterior buildings. The quiet pools are kept warm enough for a swim in unusually cold weather, and the hot tub is welcome after a long day on your feet, or just a day of frustrated desires.
Our room was a soft peach, with a subdued coral shell motif, which I expect is pretty common through this resort.
We were surprised to find two beds, we were expecting one bed and a pull out sofa. Debbie was disappointed at first, but it gave us a lot of sleeping space. These beds were pretty big--maybe even queens. There was plenty of room in the bed, definitely more than at CS.
There was a lot of room in the room, as well. Even though it was a studio, if just seemed like a nice layout. And, of course, we liked the microwave, the kitchen sink, and the little fridge. Saved us a lot of time, and we still got breakfast in the mornings.
|The bath was a good size as well.
And I do like the way the resort is laid out. Kind of quiet, quaint, and understated. A very relaxing place to come back to at night.
Then there is Olivia’s. Guys, this is one great restaurant. We always like Bonfamiles at Port Orleans before they closed it, but this is even better. We didn’t have meals here because it was convenient, we actually went out of our way to eat back at the resort. The food here is all very good, some of it is great. The key lime smoothies, for example.
And everyone on staff--at Olivia’s, at the front desk, at bell services--was on the ball and friendly. Even the bus drivers were nice.
Old Key West has just got it. By the end of our stay, both Debbie and I had independently thought of coming back here again rather than Wilderness Lodge, if we can’t get into Boardwalk. I want to try the Boardwalk, at least once, for it’s proximity to Epcot and MGM, and for the extra entertainment options. But, I can’t imagine Wilderness Lodge (where our home resort is) being as nice as Old Key West. Plus, Wilderness Lodge seems so isolated by comparison. And Old Key West is cheaper!
So, we already have reservations for our next trip at Wilderness Lodge (less than 11 months away). But, I’m going to try to wait list for Boardwalk at 7 months out. If that doesn’t work out, I may try to come back to Old Key West, rather than going to Wilderness Lodge.
I did send some e-mail before bed, using the data port on the room phone and a dial-up AT&T connection. It was easy and painless, and it is very cool to have the laptop, cameras, andd so fourth ready in the room.
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