Obrins At WDW October 2002 Day 1

Day 1  Friday, October 18, 2002.

This was a day we spent traveling to the world, and then we got in a little time just hanging out at OKW.

We were out of the house on time a little after 7 a.m.  We drove to our standard off airport  parking garage this time.  Last trip, we had tried an airport shuttle back and fourth to the house, and that hadn’t worked out all that well.

We parked and got to the airport right on schedule.  We had good luck sailing through security, even though we had the two laptops and a couple of carry ons packed with various widgets and wires.  We were through security in a little less than half an hour.
As planned, we grabbed a light bite at the airport.  McDonald’s seemed like a good send off breakfast.  Food in the airport is expensive, but food on the airplane is intolerable.  No reason to upset our stomachs on this flight, we’ll have plenty to distract us until we land.

I found it odd that we had seat assignments printed on our tickets, but they were changed when we checked in at the gate.  What’s more, they seem to be splitting everyone up.  A security measure, perhaps, but not a great thing for families traveling with minor children.

The seats were cramped and crowded.  They were a little further back than the seats we were originally assigned, and I *KNOW* that those rows get closer together as you go back.

In spite of the crush, I was able to do a little writing on the Power Book, and Nick watched “Lord of The Rings” on the IBook.  Debbie wanted to share the audio with him, but we couldn’t find that headphone splitter, which I know I packed.  Unfortunately, the IBook battery didn’t make it till the end of the movie.

Debbie did get to enjoy the IPod, though.

So, closed quarters, but our little electronic cocoon made things a bit more tolerable.

Tiffany Town Car met us at the airport.  Naturally, Tiffany treated us great.  I love being met at the baggage area with the little sign.  We had a wonderful ride in from the airport. 
I was a little surprised and disappointed that the driver wasn’t prepared to take our credit card, and we had to pay cash.  We have charged Tiffany before, and I think the driver just didn’t have the equipment with him.  But, it was still another great experience with Tiffany.  They remain the only ground transport I’m going to use.  We might sometime rent a car, if the situation is just right, but you can forget anyone like Mears, or a cab company.  If anyone is driving us, it’s Tiffany.

Debbie told the driver that the ride in the car was the best part of the trip.  It sure is nice to stretch out after being squeezed together on that cramped plane.
For reference, my notes show that the basic price of the round trip from the airport for Tiffany was $80.  I always tip the driver 5% to 10%.  Note that some resorts there is an extra fee, because Tiffany has to pay a gate pass (I think it is the MK resorts, but I am not sure).

Anyway, $80 for a round trip to the airport is a bargain, considering how you are treated, the convenience, and the fact that up to 5 people can ride in the car.

We checked in pretty easily at OKW.  We ended up with a room on the second floor of a building that isn’t too far from the community center.  Another few yards towards the front, and we could probably see Olivia’s (just some trees in the way from where we were).  Nonetheless, since we were on the other side of the little canal, we did have a bit of a walk to the front.
Anyway, we dropped our bags in the room, and sat for a little while to catch our breath.

Wow! Wow! Wow!  This “room” is huge!  This is our first time in a one bedroom at OKW.  The thing is spacious and tastefully decorated.  Actually, there are several rooms here, it really resembles an apartment or condo rather than a hotel room.  I joked with Debbie that it was bigger than the townhouse I owned when I met here.  I’m not sure that isn’t actually true!

Anyway, there is a bedroom for us, nice and large, with a TV and a nice appointment of furniture.  Adjoining that is a bathroom with a sink and a two person jacuzzi.  The bath continues into a second room with a much larger sink and vanity, a nice, big shower, and the toilet.   There’s a separate room with a full washer and dryer.  Then, the main area includes a living room, dinette, and full kitchen all in one large room.  There’s also a very large balcony, with a table and four chairs (we are on the second floor).  There’s a beautiful view of the landscaped grounds from the balcony.

If you do the math, this is definitely more expensive than our trips to Port Orleans.  But, unlike the time we stayed at the Poly (sorry, fans), I can really see what makes this a premium room.  This place is what I consider luxury.

 We  then walked over to Olivia’s for dinner.  What a great meal we had!  Debbie and I each had a free smoothie, courtesy of the Disney Club.  I’m going to miss the Disney Club.  I always love the key lime smoothie, fruity, cold and refreshing.  The key lime is nicely tart.  Debbie had a strawberry, which she enjoyed, but she found to be pretty sweet.  Nick had a chocolate shake. 
We started off with the shrimp artichoke dip, which was rich and tasty.  Then, I had the buttermilk chicken breasts.  This is a simple but very well prepared dish, with a nice breading, fresh, warm chicken, white gravy, and home style mashed potatoes.  I was lukewarm on the vegetables, only because I don’t care for squash.  I did eat some of the veggies, though, because they were very well prepared.

Debbie had the snapper, which she loved.  Nick had pasta.  Really?  Nick? Pasta?  Who woulda thunk?

I really enjoyed sitting in Olivia’s, soaking up the atmosphere, exhausted after the worst part of any trip (the plane ride).  I could feel my energy coming back, and just enjoyed the kind of busy motif they have here.  I was just looking at all of the clutter on the walls, the knick knaks on the high shelves, and watching that palm frond fan turning overhead.
We passed on desert (had smoothies, after all), and stopped by the general store to pick up a few things.  Not cheap, I guess we could have had Tiffany stop on the way in.  But, it’s convenient, and it’s just bits and pieces to avoid having to stop somewhere for breakfast, and to avoid late night munchies.

We had one big chuckle.  We had noticed how tiny the box of Tide in the room was.  So, we intended to buy a box at the store.  Of course, all they had were tiny boxes.  I guess that avoids you leaving laundry soap behind.  But, we had this plan where we only packed clothes for half our stay, and tolerate having to run laundry one night.

A good plan, otherwise.  We sure reduced the amount of luggage we were carrying.
After dinner, the plan was to pool hop at the Boardwalk, or at the Poly.  But, it was really pretty late for such a trip (about 7:30).  So, we talked ourselves into trying out the main pool at OKW.

On the last trip, we hadn’t been to the main pool.  Our room was very close to one of the quiet pools in the back of the property.  That pool had been very warm, even though the weather was extremely cold.  It was actually a pleasure to go swimming after a long day traveling or at the parks, and have the steam coming off the water.

Unfortunately, the main pool was not very warm, at least not tonight.  It may not be cold enough for them to have the heat going full blast, it may be that it is a larger pool.  I’m not sure, but we all three found the water to be pretty cold.  Nick still paddled around for a while, but Debbie and I waded in up to our chests, stood around shivering, then got out.

  I do like the entire “peer” area over at the community center.  Great Disney attention to detail in creating a kind of old Florida resort atmosphere.  Nicely themed bar, snack bar, shop fronts.  Even the boat dock area and bicycle rental all seem to fit right in.  And the pool area continues the theme nicely, including that centerpiece lighthouse.  A Disney property is not just another hotel.
So, it was a great Disney Day, even though we didn’t make it to the parks or catch any of the nighttime displays.  But, Olivia’s and OKW helped us to kick off our trip, and undo the psychological damage of our plane flight.

BTW, the two person jacuzzi does fit two people.  That’s all I’ll say about that.

Tomorrow, we Epcot!


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