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Keane and PiC's December 2010 WDW Trip Report -- Planning

Index

(Note there are no pictures in this part. If you want to see pictures, go to the next part.)

Entrance sign
Yet another trip to Walt Disney World...

Prolog:

December 2010. It was the best of trips, it was the worst of trips. My 15th trip to Disney World was worth the memories I have, but would rather forget a few, too...

Cast:
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

Ah, here we go again...

<Disclaimers>
Reading my previous Trip Reports isn't a pre-requisite, but there are some ground rules you should be aware of:

1) Much of what is here is fact, mostly fact, or could be complete figments of my imagination remembered as fact. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

2) If looks like sarcasm, it probably is. Even if it doesn't look like sarcasm, even money says it is.

3) Nothing in this report should be taken seriously. If you take something seriously, it's not my fault. (This is a very important rule.)

4) And finally, please remember to take all your personal belongings, and have a magical Disney Day...

Thank you.
</Disclaimers>


Planning and hoping to go...

(Note: I think I'm whining a lot in this part. If you don't want to hear me whine, go to the next part. Note there's no guarantee I won't whine there, too...)

My last trip to Walt Disney World was in December 2009.

A couple of things were hampering me on my last trip, a small bout with cancer, and a really big hernia, which resulted from my coughing 24 hours a day while I had pneumonia due to my depressed immune system because of the cancer treatments. Sort of a circle of illness, kinda thing. Sorta.

Anyway, I can't even remember when I started to think about another trip to WDW. To be honest it might have been in January. If you're reading this, you probably know what I mean. (It could have been the month before when it rained on me from Ocala to Chattanooga, but I digress.)

But it wasn't until October that I decided I should go. Most of the things that were preventing me (and there were many, many things) started to become less of a problem. After complaints from me, my mom's medication levels were reduced, and she started to come out of a stupor she'd been in for literally months. This was the biggest obstacle in my way, caring for an elderly parent. Let me say it loud and clear, it sucks.

To top it off, a friend's brother Steve, who had a similar cancer to mine, died. Like me, his cancer was in remission for a couple of years, then within a year, he was dead mostly from infections during his second bout with chemo. It also wasn't the first incident like that I'd heard about in the past few months. When I was actively on chemo, I guess I improved so rapidly that any thought of mortality never really shook me.

Steve's death did.

I hadn't really taken on a "Live life to the fullest" attitude after my ordeal last year, but just in case, let's make sure we at least live life a little. I'd hate myself if I didn't when I could. Just in case.

Then my long-time boss and another guy I've worked with for about 20 years were laid off (as well as another three I'd known for 10+ years), and if I wasn't axed, I felt something sharp at the back of my neck. It's clear the new management is cleaning out the old organization. So if I made reservations and paid it off, it'd already be paid for, right? Right?

Add to that, due to not knowing if the MSEP would be around, and to avoid the usual hike in prices, I'd already purchased my AP voucher in June. So that was an already paid expense as well. It was time to get it out and see if it worked...

October 16:

Yes, it works! The login page has changed a lot, but I'm soon in the passholders section. RADP 15 is Dec 10 through 13, a couple days before would be good. (And if you don't know what RADP is, it's short for rec.arts.disney.parks on Usenet. It would also be very good to be back in Chicago by Dec 14 or 15. Someone else will be out of the office for a few months (going to Indonesia, India, Nepal...), and it would be good not to leave them 2 people short. (In the end, I would indeed leave them 2 people short, but it wasn't my fault, and by then I already had reservations and a plan.)

And again this year, I already had plans for my trip even before I even made the decision to go.

I already have a dinner date with 7 other Disney Insane (plus Paragon, who works there, and I won't question her sanity since she'd hurt me; and then there's PiC, but we won't get into that...again) in Mexico on the 9th, and the BMAG is on the 11th. Also have to meet BYPT Jenny for dinner. She's supposed to buy because I'm doing some photo work for her, but I'm so late on some of the shots, I'm not sure I'm going to let her pay for the meal. (We would work a compromise later.) But I need a room first.
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October 17:

I get serious about looking for a room while the Bears slowly degenerate and only pretend to play football. Again. No, I'm not bitter, I was alive for Superbowl XX. At least I'm not one of those loser Cubs fans. But I digress...

I get on the passholders site, enter my dates, and click on 'moderates'. I've been to all the moderates, and I do try to get to a new resort every trip (the exception being Animal Kingdom Lodge, because...well...it's AKL), but let's not raise our expectations yet. I figured I'd get alternatives for both sides of the moderate range.

Almost immediately, I get an offer for a king room at Coronado Springs, $116.35(weeknight)/$189.00(weekend). I'd like to go back there someday, but the recent reports on the food have been so...mediocre, that I pass without a second thought.

There's also an offer for an ASMovies preferred room ($67.90/$107.00), which I consider for all of a second (it's the only All-Stars I haven't been at) when visions of sharp sticks in my eyes makes me move on.

There's an offer for Kidani ($237/$410) --and what is with those weekend rates-- but I was there last year. But I really like the place...but let's try something new. It'd be a great excuse if nothing else is available, but...

A Deluxe Studio at Old Key West is available ($171.10/$295.00). A 42% discount rather than AKL at 25%. And I've never been there. Well, one year we *did* take a side trip after Disney (and before Universal) to Key West. You know, the island down South. I don't think the resort will resemble the Key West *I* was at... Not unless the bars have take-outs.

And this trip will mark my third time as a normal guest at three different a DVC resorts. I should just drink the kool-aid, buy in and be done with it, but this is the second year in a row I could only make plans in mid-October for a early December trip. (This trip would have cost 68 points. Someday I'll see what that translates to... :-))

And so it was booked, December 7 through 13, 2010, Old Key West Studio. That was a heck of a lot easier than last year. I wonder if it's the economy, or it's just a week closer to Christmas than last year, and people are more busy preparing for the holiday. I guess I'll find out the first night at MK taping the MSEP. It could be anything, but I did find it interesting that I could have gotten a room at ASMo for a week this late in the game.

The only thing left is maybe MVMCP tickets, but PiC doesn't want to go, but like, tough. This time I'm going to be close enough where the garland that Amanda likes so much won't be in the way of the fireworks. Otherwise, I'm done planning. That was easy. And that worries me. Nothing is easy these days...


[The next section is about a cat. It has nothing to do with Disney, so if you don't want to read about it, just know it lowered my chances of going to Disney to about 60%. You can skip down to November 7... :-)]

Harry
Harry the Cat...

October 26: Harry

While I'd peg the chances of actually going on my December trip to about 80%, another problem came to light today.

I'd been feeding a friendly feral cat on and off for a couple of years. His name was Harry. As a matter of fact, I was going to take him in after my *last* trip to Disney, in December 2009, but odd circumstances had me taking in another cat when Harry went missing for a few days. He reappeared a week later, like always.

So Harry stayed out.

Almost as a joke, I used to open my back door, and invite Harry in. Well, that's exactly what happened. He walked through my back door and down into my basement. Suddenly I had another cat. Harry, your timing sucks.

Fast forward 5 days, and we find that Harry's Feline Leukemia Virus positive. I have another healthy cat in the house. Harry can't stay. No shelters will take him, those that will, will euthanize him. I can't let him back outside, he might infect other cats. The hunt starts to find a home for him. I impose a two week limit, I'm not going to risk getting my other cat infected.

I get on a pet forum that's been recommended to me, and it won't let me post until I register. I register, but my registration won't become active until some moderator approves me. I am never approved. (I still haven't even received a response.)

Someone finds a no kill shelter about 100 miles away, that's supposed to take FeLV and FIV cats. My calls are never returned.

Two days before I'm going to have to euthanize Harry, PiC finds a home for him. She informs me I'm going to owe her. Big Time. While this has scary implications, at least I won't have to put Harry to sleep.

Now, this doesn't have *anything* to do with Disney, except it takes up three weeks of my time, which should have been spent trying to clear out other problems before my trip. Harry, your timing sucked. You're alive, and you don't even appreciate that fact.

[Harry lived another year, inside a home, and became really great friends with his new owner once he figured out he wasn't being punished or threatened, and adapted to life indoors. Seeya Harry...]
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November 7:

PiC finally makes her flight reservation, she'll be there on Wednesday the 8th around 10:30am. Last year her flight was 20 minutes early. But if I show up 20 minutes early, her flight will be 30 minutes late. Ah, how cynical...

At the same time, I find out the Canon G12 is out. I have a G9, three models behind. The G10 and G11 brought a wider lens, a reduction from 14.7 to 10 megapixels to improve image quality, and they brought back my *highly* desired swivel preview screen. At the time, I told myself I'd buy the next model.

So the G12 comes out, and the big upgrade is better software and 720p HD video. I could give a crap about 720p video, but I'll take the new software, and a promise is a promise. Sold! I can use the same memory cards, but not the batteries. Thanks, Canon. Not. (Sony does the same thing.)

Now someplace between then and Thanksgiving, things looked pretty darn bleak. Then something happened. I'm not sure what it was, maybe it was resolving the problem with Harry, but I got this <bleep> everything attitude. I'm stressed out, need some time off, and DISNEY KEEPS REMINDING ME IN E-MAIL THAT I'M GOING TO DISNEYWORLD!!! Then, it started to get cold, and cold sealed the deal. Even if I leave some problems behind, I'm goin' South. (As I edit this trip report later, I find the last two sentences highly ironic.)

December 4, Saturday.

Snow. It snowed on me. It couldn't wait two days, could it? Four years ago, I left Chicago 6 hours before I was scheduled to, because I was avoiding a MAJOR snow storm that might keep me home for a day. But two days was just a tad too long for me to pull the same stunt.

PiC wants to come over, even though there's no parking, to drop off her luggage. (I really am going to charge her a fee this year. What's the going rate on baggage? $25?) Turns out she also wants to give me my Christmas present.

In a thread started on radp by Bashful (which we can slowly but surely say is a misnomer)...

(space for Kitty's rebuttal here)

...was about GPS's. I said I didn't need one. I now have one, and PiC wants me to try it out. Oh good. I mean, it's not like I'm sitting around doing nothing, but luckily, a GPS routing program is a GPS routing program, and it only takes me a couple of hours to familiarize and customize the unit. It has lifetime maps and traffic, so maybe we'll see if the traffic function works in the different cities as I go through. It's even supposed to tell me which lane I'm supposed to be in for the next exit. After a dozen or so trips, I know without thinking about it, but we'll see how this thing does.

It doesn't have Old Key West as a place, but it does have Disney Vacation Club and Penninsular Roads, so I make that my endpoint.

Now, not that I'm complaining, but I think I'm suffering from device overload. I have:

A phone w/Bluetooth (and a power brick for each, two phones when PiC is there)
An MP3 player w/two sets of earbuds (charges via USB)
A GPS (Charges by car adapter or USB)
A Camera (Charges via battery charger)
A Camcorder (Charges via power brick)
A Laptop (Charges via power brick)
A Wireless router (AC adapter or USB)
Two portable hard drives (Powered by USB)
A Blu-ray player (Yes, a high-def player)
A power strip to serve up power for all of the above.
An I-Pass (Illinois tollway RFID) and a sun-pass (Florida's tollway RFID)

Organization will set you free. I need to be free. No, a smartphone will not replace most of the items above.

December 5, Sunday.

Mostly pack the car. The Bears are sucking me into thinking they'll at least make the first round of the playoffs. I find my SunPass has a broken LED screen and I can't read the middle of the screen. Well, who cares. All I need to see is the green light light up. The batteries also need to be replaced. When did I buy this thing, 2001? Anyway, the first set of batteries lasted a loooong time.

I'm ready to go.

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End December 2010 Trip Report - Part 1 of 7.

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

Revisions:
  • 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