Day 2, Saturday, 3/17/01
This was the day we intended to spend shopping and site seeing at the resorts, with the night at the Luau. Well, we did some site seeing, and I guess you could say we did some shopping, considering what we bought. Our Luau plans did go off perfectly, though. This day answers the question, "What do you do when you don't have park tickets?"
Well, this was it. The day we took the plunge. I didn't see it coming, but I guess Debbie sort of had a plan.
We bought into DVC. Now, I need the fanatics on this newsgroup to help me feel like this was a good move.
Actually, as I have had some time to think about it, the buyer's remorse has worn off, and I'm convinced we are actually going to get our money's worth from this several times over. Besides, it now makes it an accepted fact that there's a Disney trip every year (although that pattern was getting pretty obvious).
The actual events leading up to the purchase had a weird kind of serendipity. First, Saturday was a day that we did not have park tickets. We didn't purchase tickets starting before Sunday, because that is when the tickets associated with our cruise package stared. Then, Saturday was originally a traveling day. But, because of a really hard time getting decent airfares, we ended up coming in on Friday evening. Thus, Saturday was empty, but we planned to site see and hit downtown for some shopping.
Patti and Jan ended up bowing out from our early morning shopping excursion (actually, it was getting pretty late), saying they wanted to rest at the hotel. So, just Nick, Debbie, and I standing at the All Stars bus stop, waiting to go downtown.
And standing. And standing.
What we found out later was that there was some type of mechanical problem with one of the buses covering this rout, and that threw everything into a tizzy. I swear we were there an hour. Well, maybe not, but it was long enough that both Debbie and Nick had enough, and they convinced me we should do something else.
Debbie had been watching the DVC commercial that runs on the in-room TV the night before. Evidently, she had seen this ad many times on our last trip, and the idea had really grown on her. So, we went into the All Star lobby, and talked to the CM at the little DVC booth.
The CM at the booth, as well as everyone we dealt with over at the DVC office (especially Lee and Bernard) was incredibly helpful. We ended up taking the little DVC van from the All Stars to the Boardwalk, to our lunch at Wilderness Lodge, back to the Boardwalk, and back to the All Stars. We joked about having found a comfortable way to resort hop.
On our first trip to the DVC office, Nick enjoyed the Nintendo in their hospitality room. On our second trip, Patti and Jan were kind enough to accompany him back to the pool at the All Stars, which was the most swimming he got in on this trip. Kind of made up for the troubles he had on Friday night.
Well, I'll stop droning about the DVC. We've spent some time playing with planning out our points already, and we'll see next trip how valuable it really is.
On our trip over to the DVC office, we actually saw the Boardwalk for
the first time. I had seen a lot of pictures, as we had considered the
Beach Club as one place we might stay for this trip. The Boardwalk really
is something to see, especially if you've been primed for it. What didn't
strike me until I saw Spaceship Earth looming on the horizon was how close
you really are to Epcot. Walking distance to both Epcot and MGM, if you
have the energy for it. I am very excited about staying here in the future,
and may be able to experience it on our next trip.
|We had a terrific lunch at the lovely, lovely Wilderness Lodge. The
lobby of this place is simply gorgeous. The upper walkways overlooking
the lobby give spectacular views, and I indulged Nick in a very brief walk
to the upper levels. The parquet floor, the fireplace, the buffalo themed
lamps, and the totems are all so cool. This is a gorgeous place. There's
an irony in that we have admired the beauty of this place before, but didn't
think we'd be staying here, since it is such a premium place. But, this
is where we bought our DVC shares, so I'm certain we will be spending some
time here in the near future. I really want to try to get into one of the
Boardwalk Villas on the next trip, though.
The lunch at Whispering Canyons was far more amusing than the last one we had there. Galloping Gabe, our waiter, told a very amusing story to introduce himself (about how he used to be a horse in the Old West, got turned into a man, then came to Disney World, and got Peter Pan disease, which made him young again). There was also a lot of shouting and raucous joking going on throughout the restaurant. At some point, Patti dropped her fork, and asked for another. They brought her a wooden one about four feet long and three feet across the tines.
|Nick was determined for me to have a pony ride (Lee at DVC had planted
this idea in his head). But, it wound up that Nick was in the pony race
himself around the restaurant. It was pretty funny, and Nick got a real
kick out of it.
Nick was also obsessed with the Lincoln Logs that they have at the entrance to Whispering Canyons. He insisted on spending time messing with those while we were having lunch. I wouldn't have minded, but I think he missed some fun stuff going on over at the table. On the other hand, he certainly enjoyed himself tinkering, building a couple of homes and several cars.
Overall, Whispering Canyons was a big hit, much more fun than the last time we tried it. We must have hit it on a low energy day before--today was great.
By the way, the barbecue meal here was excellent.
Patti kindly took Nick to swim at the All Stars (Calypso) pool while Debbie and I made our second DVC trip, to actually buy in and sign the papers. It was the best swimming he got in on the trip, and we were very grateful.
To get to the Luau, we took the bus from the All Stars to the MK, then
the water launch to the Poly. I really enjoyed riding on the launch from
the Magic Kingdom to the Poly and back at night. It's just a cool ride.
|The Polynesian Luau was such a terrific show. We had a seat at the
end of a table on the lower level, which put as close to the stage as you
can get (dead center, too). Wow. Sometimes you get lucky.
We were also fortunate to see the MK fireworks just before the show started, right over the back of the theater. Nick and many of the other kids got up and stood as close to the trees as they could, but I thought we had a great view from our table.
When the New Zealand warrior came out, who makes a show of his tongue, Nick laughed in that loud way he has. At the point where he needed someone from the audience to pick up the leaf as a sign of peace, Nick was quite naturally chosen. His interaction with the warrior was hilarious.
Nick also somehow got the fire dancer (who is, of course, quite hammy) to notice him. I got a big smile out of Nick having this chance to interact with these talented folks at this incredible show.
When I say that the fire dancer was hammy, he certainly does play it
up. But, his talent and execution of such an amazing spectacle certainly
justifies his attitude. This guy was breathtaking.
Some of the dance numbers with the Polynesian girls were breathtaking as well, but for an entirely different reason.
The food at the Luau was tasty, but somehow I remember it being more Polynesian a few years back. Nonetheless, we all enjoyed it completely.
Our timing on the way back was wonderful. There was a dragon in the water ahead, which I noticed before the others. Nick was very excited when he saw it, and made certain that everyone knew he had seen it first, and was pointing it out to all of us.
We were coming up behind the Water Pageant. We have actually not caught the Water Pageant before, and this view was a great introduction. It is really quite a little show, complete with a Sea Serpent (did I say dragon?), leaping dolphins, Triton, octopi, all animated with strings of lights on floats out in the middle of Seven Seas Lagoon. In the grand finale, every float switches to an American flag, or red, white and blue fireworks. It's a short, but really pleasing little show. I enjoyed our special view thoroughly.
A lot of what turned out to be very good luck today. We had perfect seats to a great show, enjoyed a very amusing lunch at Wilderness Lodge, had nice weather, and made what I think is going to turn out to be a very useful purchase to us over the next several years. Besides, now I've got a whole new dimension to my trip planning.
Just an aside on a little mechanical thing that helped me out this trip.
On the last trip, I tried wearing my camera on my belt, which didn't work
worth a darn. On this trip, I carried the camera via the shoulder strap,
which was much, much better. It's a lot easier to navigate things like
the turnstiles then. I also found it surprisingly convenient to hitch my
cell phone holster to the camera strap, rather than the belt. The whole
contrivance around my shoulder was much easier to deal with than either
item on my belt would have been. It even worked better on the rides, where
I generally would wrap the shoulder strap around my hands a couple of times
before grasping the safety bar (so that the camera and phone would be on
a very short leash, and would not waggle). Naturally, you do have to be
conscience not to leave them somewhere when you are getting up.