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Keane and PiC's December 2009 Florida Trip Report, Part 5

Index

Christmastime!
Nope, not on that list!
Who: Me (Keane). PiC (Partner In Crime). And a cast of thousands.
What: 2009 Winter Vacation.
Where: Florida. Kidani Village, Disney World; and Inn at the Beach, Venice Island.
When: Dec 2 through Dec 13.
Why: Because we *like* you. Em. Oh. You. Ess. Eee.

<disclaimer>
All disclaimers in Part 1 still applies...
</disclaimer>

Dec 9. A date with blondes.

We're actually woken by Mousekeeping, who says she'll come back later. I get up, read my mail, and reply to a couple of Usenet posts before we go to the Mara for breakfast. It's going to be 85 and mostly sunny, the nicest day we're going to have, so instead of going to a theme park, we're going to hang out by the pool.

At Mara, get breakfast, and decide to bring something back to Kidani for later. PiC chooses a yogurt parfait, I choose zebra domes. Quiz time! Which is the smarter choice? HAhahahaha...

Jambo House, Animal Kingdom Lodge
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We get back to the room, I get my laptop and a book, and PiC picks up Steve's book to read. Uh-oh. Has PiC drunk the kool-aid too? :-) (I have a picture of her reading the book, but she says if I ever publish the picture, she'll never speak to me again. I'm not sure if it's because of the way she looks in the picture, or that I have proof she was reading Russo's book. However, it is good to know that I have something that will make her stop talking to me, should the need ever arise...)

I find they have WiFi here at the pool but they want to charge me another $9.95. They want my KTTK card number, but they don't do the lookup to see if I've paid for internet access in my room. Forget it.

So, PiC is reading Steve's book, and I'm typing this trip report by the pool. How sad is that.

Kidani Village, Animal Kingdom Lodge
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I have a plan for tonight too. PiC is questioning why I have so many plans for someone who doesn't plan trips. You know, I have that picture of her reading Russo's book...

We're having dinner at Cape May tonight with BYPT Jenny, and her current captive helper, Jeanette.

Jenny originally wanted to see the room at Kidani, and I promised I'd put all the dirty underwear away before they came over. So we had some work to do...

About 30 minutes after getting back from the pool, Jenny calls and her party has arrived and is ready to start her WDW Vacation. She now wants to meet at Cape May, so PiC and I decide to go on over to the Beach Club and just look at the different resorts around Crescent Lake.

A couple minutes later, Jenny calls back and wants to see the studio.

Women? Blondes? Of course, I *never* stereotype...

I take a quick look at a map, and it's just a short trip up Osceola Parkway to All-Stars, and take the quick drive over. I show the guard my Kidani room card, and he doesn't care and waves me through.

Now Movies is the only All-Stars I haven't stayed at, so I drive right past the front of the resort, where I'm supposed to pick up Jenny and Jeanette. I go into the temporary lot, turn around, and make the correct turn, and pick up a couple of women like the dirty old man I am. We're back to Osceola Parkway, where I find instead of a normal intersection, it's a complete cloverleaf, and find myself heading in the wrong direction. Way to impress the ladies...

I'm still only gone from Kidani for about 15 minutes. Jenny has brought us Peaceful Pastures soap (I hope she wasn't trying to tell me something), I supply a couple of pictures. We talk and watch the animals for a while, take a couple of pictures, and take off to Beach Club.

Me and three blondes...
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Discussing ways to get there from Kidani. I originally thought a bus to DHS, then the boat back, but there's a Animal Kingdom bus right there when we get to the bus stop. So Animal Kingdom it is!

We get to Animal Kingdom, and literally right across the bus station is a bus to the Swan, Dolphin, Yacht Club, Beach Club and Boardwalk. I point out to PiC the place we go under the waterway the boat takes. Only at Disney. We get to Beach Club at 5PM, waaay faster than I thought we would. That's okay, I spend some time taking video and pictures of the Gingerbread/Chocolate displays. PiC and I pick up some gingerbread from... The Gingerbread House, of course!

As I'm taking pictures of the carousel, I overhear a couple saying they couldn't find the hidden Mickey's, so I point a few of them out, and give them a whole new perspective. No, the little figure of Mickey isn't a hidden Mickey...

Beach Club Christmas Display
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Dinner at Cape May is way fun, if a little messy. You start with the stuff you have to work for, like the crab legs, then move onto stuff you can just eat. Good food (Mahi Mahi, Roast Beef, steamed clams, mussels, pastas, salads, etc.), odd conversation, and more food and desert. Flan. It was a little more pudding like and less like the egg custard they have around here, but that doesn't mean it was bad... PiC and I decided we would do it again...

We part ways, we go out to beach and I take some pics and video of the Boardwalk at night. Coincidentally, they're starting up the movie on the beach (which is at the pool at Kidani and Jambo). Snow Dogs. James Coburn. A long way from playing the knife guy in The Magnificent Seven. So instead of going to Epcot, we end up watching a movie on the beach. Well, yeah, it's a predictable and stupid in places, but it has it's laughs and it's mindless entertainment on the beach overlooking the Boardwalk at night... And neither one of us has seen it. What's the problem here?

The problem arises when we go to leave. It's 9:00pm, and none of the boats go to the Studios anymore. Going to Epcot means PiC has to use a day just to get across Epcot. So the only choices are to Downtown Disney or Magic Kingdom. The <bleep> with it. There's a Taxi right at the bus stop, and we hop in and ride (in admittedly more comfort than a bus, :-)) back to Kidani.

It's then she realizes she no longer has the bag that had the gingerbread, and is convinced she left it in the bathroom at the Beach Club. She calls, and is somehow transferred to the Grand Floridian, back to the Beach Club, to lost and found, and when nobody answers, she's transferred to housekeeping...

Say Goodnight, Gracie. They're gone...

Crescent Lake at night
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Dec 10. Venice Island.

Before I get to this, I have to say it's 73 degrees here right now. In Chicago, you can remove the '7', with a wind-chill in the negative high-upper teens.

Does anyone from Florida want to adopt me? I'll be a good kid. Honest. I even promise to get a job...

Anyway, time to pack up and go!

There's a nice little sunrise over the Sunset Savanna this morning.

Sunrise, Kidani Village, Animal Kingdom Lodge
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I put out a call to RADP, if anyone's going to the Beach Club, I need a favor. Something about Gingerbread... :-)

Pack the room. It was very sad taking down the Christmas decorations. Not only am I leaving WDW, but it's like I'm killing Christmas at the same time. This turns out not to be true, and by the time I leave Venice Island, I'm ready to call it a year on Christmas Carols.

Three trips to the car. On the last trip down, PiC gets a call. A heating pipe burst over her desk, and floods out everything. Could this be that Disney Karma I talk about?

We decide to go to the Mara for breakfast. There was talk about doing Boma for breakfast, but we're not hungry enough after stuffing ourselves at Cape May last night. As we're eating, it starts to drizzle. We're done with breakfast, and get to the car. For laughs, we decide to take a trip to Beach Club, and see if they have the gingerbread cookies.

She goes to the front desk and she asks, and the front desk calls lost & found. No one answers, so they call housekeeping, and housekeeping transfers the call back to...The Front Desk! So it's not only Disney giving PiC the run-around, it's Disney giving Disney the run-around. Disney is willing to replace the cookies, but we won't be there when the Gingerbread House is open. So they offer to refund the money, but we have to go back to AKL to get it done. PiC chalks it up to a lesson learned...

While I'm waiting for PiC in the car in front of Beach Club, it begins to rain. Hard. We're off property on I-4, and it start POURING! I find it doesn't matter if I'm leaving Disneyworld via the Turnpike or I-4, it's depressing. I pass the Mouse power pole, and once again, I say goodbye to the World...

Leaving Disney World
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It's just past noon, when we get to Venice. We check in, and the room is ready. It's a nice place. We have one of two rooms that has a balcony that overlooks the gulf. They're tiny rooms, but we don't need a lot of room. The room is probably half the size of the Studio at Kidani. Still, the room is clean, with all the amenities I'd want, check-in was pleasant, and (real) free coffee is always offered in the lobby.

Inn at the Beach, Venice, Florida
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There's a problem with my HSIA. I get a very strong wireless signal, but I can't get to a name server. The front desk isn't helpful.

We take a look at the local propaganda, and decide to eat at Gold Rush BBQ. Problem is, it's not really BBQ. The meat is slow cooked, but it's not hard-wood smoked. They claim it's hickory smoked, but there's no smoke line or very smoky flavor. Food is okay, but I'm disappointed. On the other hand, it's Florida. How many hardwood trees do I see around here?

On the way, we notice the local public bus system is named "SCAT". I refrain from further comment. (Sarasota County Area Transit. I forgot to ask the locals if it describes the service as well... Crap. I commented.) They also have some interesting trees in the median. They're Banyan trees, a strangler fig. They're quite old, and quite large.

Around Venice
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Do some window shopping along the main streets. Typical shops, with a more real estate offices than you'd think could be supported in a small place like this. You might think Disney's shops have become cheezy, but come on over here and take a look... Everything from a Christmas tree that blows fake snow out of the top so it looks like...snow is falling on the Christmas tree (which was actually pretty cool), to shells, shark's teeth, alligator heads and everything else you'd think you'd find in a tourist trap on the ocean... There's even a shop with everything Mermaid. I like places like this. About once every couple of years...

Walk the beach and collect some shells, take pictures of the sea birds. After walking around WDW for a week, walking on sand is a joy (not.) Still, walking on a near deserted beach on the Gulf has it's moments. It isn't sunny, but then too it's not raining. The sun is setting, but there're to many clouds. It turns out to be a crappy sunset, but with some cool cloud patterns. PiC comments as she watches me stop the camera down, making the sunset look way better than it actually does. She stopped believing in photos as evidence a looong time ago...

Venice Beach, Venice, Florida
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We get back to the room, and I have limited connectivity. Look up some restaurants in Venice, and try a local pizza joint named Scamotz. I've actually found pretty good pizza in Florida, but it takes 50 minutes to get a medium thin crust, which should have taken 15 minutes on the outside. Worse, they only has Sinatra tunes on. Not that I have a problem with Frank, but it was wall-to-wall Sinatra for the hour we were there. Is there a problem with Tony? Dean? Alice?

We get back to the hotel, and I have mail from Steve, and the great gingerbread adventure II begins...
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End December 2009 Trip Report - Part 5.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 3a Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

Revisions:
  • 08/24/2012 - Updated to v3
  • 12/30/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 08/31/2014 - Update to v3.2