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Keane and PiC's December 2010 WDW Trip Report -- Days Zero and 1


Old Key West
Old Key West Resort...
Me (aka Keane), narrator and scribe of this report.
PiC (aka Partner In Crime), hanger on.
Old Key West Resort, Walt Disney World Florida
December 5 through December 14

All disclaimers still apply

Day Zero: December 6th, Monday. On the road. Again.

No Monday morning blues here. Instead of going to work, I'm going to Disneyworld! (And yes, day zero, because I don't get to WDW until tomorrow.)

Actually, I am going to work. My office is, on the way to all parts East and Southeast, a half-mile out of my way. There and back. So I'm going to go and drop something off and pick something up. And empty the coffee from my system one last time before I hit the road. (That part's important. There isn't a very good place to stop in Northwest Indiana, and the first rest area is some 100 miles down the road.)

At 5 am, I'm out the door. Cold, too. 13degF real, -7 wind chill. I have the GPS on. My car has decorations all over it.

Just below the tint line on the windshield is my radar detector, but it has hidden wiring that goes down to the dashboard to a remote display.

Next to that is my I-Pass, my tollway transponder. It's the Sun Pass for Illinois, and it also works in Indiana.

Further down is the Garmin on a suction cup mount. Right below that is the factory clock.

There's a wire sticking out of cassette deck, and it's plugged into the MP3 player. Which sits in a cupholder, along with my phone.

Looking at it all, it's apparent PiC will have to ride in the back seat with the cooler on the way home.

The GPS comes up with some really bad ideas. They'll work, but there's nothing like local knowledge. It does route me to the door of my office, though.

A half hour later I'm at work, in and out in 5 minutes.

The GPS on the road is pretty intuitive, even the lane ID feature. In Atlanta, there are eight lanes in each direction at one point, and it told me which lane to get into, and darned if it wasn't right. Another very useful feature, is it knows what the speed limits are supposed to be, and displays it on the screen. Very handy if you haven't been paying attention.

Once, while putting the GPS back in its mount, I was able to make "work" a waypoint, so the GPS wanted me to turn around and go in the other direction and go back to work. Sorry, can't do that, I'm on vacation.

There were a vast number of troopers in Indiana, so I set the cruise to 8 over and left it at that. The GPS says my speedometer reads +1mph/20mph. So 63 is my new 60 and 84 is my new 80. My car's outside temperature probe says it's 4 degrees out there. Forecasts say it's going to be cold in Florida too. Second year in a row. It's PiC's fault. When I was here in December with Bruce (a local from Tampa), it was sunny and 85 *every* day.

In Kentucky, right around the distilleries, it begins to flurry. Then it starts to snow. It never becomes a problem, but I was ready to call PiC to see if I should have checked the weather a little closer.

More construction in Louisville. There's always road work in Louisville. If that city has a name, it's the land of never ending road construction.

An overhead sign in Chattanooga informs me there's an accident in the left lane. 99% of the responsible drivers have merged over to the right. The other 1% who use it as a passing lane is the reason you want those front-mounted machine guns. Just sayin'.

True to form, I hit rush hour in Atlanta. Lisa and Andy are up in Charleston, otherwise I probably would have stopped for dinner someplace. We have a deal in the works. It involves alcohol and potato chips. I think that's all I can say.

Make it down to Forsyth, Georgia before I stop. I've lost an hour due to the time change, and I have to sorta adjust. Lots of sheriff cars in Forsyth around the hotel. I wonder if there's been some problems around the hotel.

None of my bags touch the floor. They're all on the bathroom counter and the table. Yes, I've succumbed to the paranoia.

I can make the GPS regurgitate some interesting facts:

Mileage: 791
Max Speed: (We'll edit this part.)
Moving time 11:31
Moving average 69mph
Stopped 47:10
Overall average 64mph
Total time 12:18
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Day One: December 7th, Tuesday. Arrival! Again.

I finally decide to wake up about 4 am, I want to get on the road by 5am. I perform the function I do every day when I get up...and...I FORGOT THE DAMN COFFEE FILTERS! I'm forced to make the hotel coffee. I have some cone filters, but no fluted flat filters. (I found I can sort of flatten the cone filters to work, but it's just not the same.) I make a mental note to tell PiC to bring some filters.

Some RADP posts keep my attention, so I'm a little late getting out the door, but there you are. It's your fault.

Check out and leave Forsyth at 5:30 Eastern. It's still dark, and like Chicago, there's no lack of traffic, even at this time of the morning. I take the bypass around Macon, and when I-475 meets back up with I-75, my GPS informs me I have to turn left in 300 miles.

Still heeding Lisa's warning, I keep my speed to about 10 over the limit. I only encounter one Georgia trooper, none at all in Florida until I get to Ocala. Then I encounter about a half-dozen, some in unmarked cars.

At 10am, I get a call from a friend of mine, asking what I wanted. Huh? Evidently, my phone called her. It was sitting in my cup holder with the MP3 player. Her name begins with L, so it wasn't just a couple of accidental bumps. I look at my history, and sure enough, the call was made. From my cupholder. I hate this phone. Really. I could list the ways...

300 miles later, I'm turning onto the Florida Turnpike, the last leg of a trip to Disney World from places Northwest. It's not until I get on the ol' Ronald Regan Turnpike (nee Sunshine State Parkway) that it really feels like I'm back at WDW.

Well, Iiiii'm baaack!

Traffic is unusually light, not what I'm used to going down the turnpike. The GPS routes me off at SR429(toll) and down to Western Way. I keep one eye on the GPS and one on the signs to Old Key West, and darned if it doesn't deliver me to the guard shack at OKW following the same route Disney sez to go.

GPS data, Day 1:
Mileage: 386
Moving time: 5:14
Moving average: 74mph
Stopped: 13:11
Overall average: 71mph
Total time: 5:27

Western Way to Old Key West
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Old Key West:

I didn't use on-line check in, since I was dumping my Disney Reward Dollars into the room, and would have to stand in line anyway, but there's no line anyway, and I step right up to registration. It takes a long time. The CM who helped me (and no, I don't remember his name, I had just finished a 20 hour drive), said they were using a new program, and things were taking a long time.

Now, he was looking at the rates on the screen, and he enters them on a calculator and shows the total to me. I agree to the total, but why is he using a calculator? It's not like there's another guest around me for 15 feet... He then subtracts out the $170 in Disney Rewards I had, and shows me the new total, on the calculator. I assume it's either for privacy reasons, or for foreign guests won't have some sort of translation problem. Of course they could have put a camera in the calculator and recorded a face recognition pattern to search me out in the parks for demographic data, but that would make me paranoid.

Old Key West, Entrance and Registration
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I'm in Building 27 in room 2726. Second floor, up a set of stairs, no elevator. Bummer. But, interestingly enough, the only rooms accessible by the stairway is 2726 and 2725. The room is an odd pentagon shape, with the kitchenette area off one wall, which leads to an oddly shaped bathroom due to the odd room design. It might be a deluxe sized room, but due to the odd design it feels smaller than it really is. Also missing from other DVC villas I've been at are a table and couch, as well as a HDTV. Even the Comfort Inn I stayed at on the way here (and the Best Western on the way home) had a widescreen HDTV. But there isn't enough wall space for any of those things.

If I said Saratoga Springs was like a more opulent Caribbean Beach, Old Key West is even more so. Or less-so. For instance, the TV, because there isn't any wall space across from the beds, is tiny. I don't even remember the last time I saw a 19" analog TV. The chairs have vinyl-like cushions. The dresser (again, because of poor room design) is small. The walls are painted pea green and coral pink. Okay, this is taking the Key West theme a little too far. The plentiful wall decorations are interesting, and they even have some in the bathroom, so I don't have to decorate the way I did in Kidani.

Building 27 and Room 2726
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After resting a bit and getting hydrated (which I don't do on the road, otherwise I'd be stopping at every tree to leave my mark), I don a sweatshirt under a zippered hooded sweatshirt and go for a walk. (Note I haven't whined about the weather. Yet.)

I go around taking my usual resort photos for my web site. While I usually find Disney Resorts very photogenic, not so much Key West. Everything seems crowded together. The Restaurant is right next to the bar which is right next to the snack shop which is right next to the (very small) game room, which is right across from the pool which is across from the tennis courts and playground... It's all densely packed in one area, more than any other resort I've been to.

I see a Larry Dotson painting in the gift shop (I have one of his prints from AKL, since the room I was staying in that year was prominently featured in the painting), and like the layout of the setting. I didn't see that angle of the main part of the resort when I walked from my room. On my way back, I realize it's because it doesn't exist! Larry took some... liberties... when he painted the scene, and move the lighthouse about 200 yards. Can't do that with my camera, no matter how much I know Photoshop...

I also see a Bud Light in the gift shop for $6.50 (or something like that), and am tempted to buy one just for Russo, but I can't bring myself to do it. If I bought it, I'd be obligated to drink it. I should have bought it and sent it to him in the mail. It's Christmas, after all.

Around Old Key West
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End December 2010 Trip Report - Part 2.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

  • 12/25/2010 - Page Added
  • 08/25/2012 - Updated to v3
  • 12/30/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 09/01/2014 - Update to v3.2