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Keane and PiC's May 2011 WDW Disney Up North, Not A December Trip Report -- Part 2 (Days 0, 1 & 2)


Destination D
Wilderness Lodge Entrance Arch.
Who: Me, Keane. The person who actually writes this drivel.
     PiC, Partner in Crime. Travelling companion and hanger on.
     BYPT Jenny. A substitute PiC, only shorter.
What: Not a December vacation
Where: Walt Disney World; Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary Resort
Why: D23 Event - Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th
When: May 9-16, 2011

1) Much of what is here is fact, mostly fact, or complete figments of my imagination remembered as fact. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
2) Yeah, this is mostly innuendo and sarcasm. Anything else is a bonus.
3) If you take something in this report seriously and get offended, I will laugh at you. I am not Disney. You will not get free park tickets, food, fastpasses or guest assistance cards.
4) Please remember to take all your personal belongings, and have a magical Disney Day!

Thank you.

Day 0, May 8
On the road again...

Up at 1am, to finish some last minute details before leaving. Like packing the cooler. Making coffee and filling the thermos. Stuff like that.

It's 45degF, above freezing, but still below the average norms. By the time I get to Nashville, it's supposed to be 85. So I do what we do out West when expecting extreme variations in temperature, depending on where you are, wear a pair of shorts under some sweats.

I'm out the door by 3:45, a little later than I wanted, but so what else is new? I'm at work by 4:10, and away from there by 4:30.

By 4:45am, I'm in Indiana, headed South. There are fog warnings on the radio, but there isn't any fog, so I wonder where the fog is supposed to be. It's away from Lake Michigan. Visibility is soon reduced to maybe a couple hundred yards. The only way I know I'm at the windfarm in Brookston, is because I saw the power lines go across the expressway. The good thing is, unlike December, the sun comes up earlier which makes visibility better. There is fog off and on though Indiana.

I get to Louisville, and there's no construction. I've said Louisville is the city of never ending highway construction, but it looks like they're done...

I get to the distillery area in Kentucky, where I was concerned about the snowfall in December. The temperature is still in the mid-50's. Where's the warm temperature?

It's in Tennessee. 100 miles from Nashville, it get's *hot* in the car. Even worse with the sun beating on the car. Stop at a rest area, and off come my sweats. Many others decided to change clothes here, too. Either that, or people are having sex in a dozen cars. From here on out, t-shirts and shorts rule the clothing world.

In Chattanooga, they close a lane, so of course, traffic comes to a stop. The closure is at the bottom of a hill, so the semi's slowly make it up the hill, making congestion worse than it should have been. We don't have any hills in Chicago. Our idea of a 1000 foot mountain is the Sears (uh...Willis) Tower. Our idea of a waterfall is watching water go down a sewer. Our idea of...

In North Georgia, an octogenarian wants to occupy the same spot as I do, and tries to lane change into my lane, so I lean on the horn. He somehow thinks I've offended him, so he turns on his brights to bother me. Unfortunately, it is daylight, very sunny, I have my sunglasses on, so his light display is...amusing.

Stopped for dinner at Cubbons'. I have Lisa's address in Karen (my GPS) and blindly follow instruction on how to get there. Darned it if it doesn't find the place, just not on the correct side of the street.

Grilled prime rib eye with potato salad and green beans. Mmmmm.

I stay and chat for a while, so I can avoid the somewhat heavy traffic going South on I-75. As I leave, I am furnished with some (really delicious) oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, some chex mix (both of which are dandy breakfast food) and a mason jar of illicit distilled spirits (which is not dandy breakfast food). All for a couple of bags of potato chips. Whattadeal. An hour later, I'm back on the road, and Karen finds I-75 for me. For the first time *ever* during daylight hours, there was no real traffic congestion in downtown Atlanta. At all.

At the rest area before Macon, I have a car pull up and ask if he should take the by-pass. He's going to Valdosta. I tell him yes, not only is it shorter, but doesn't go through the urban area of Macon. He believes me. (Not that he shouldn't, everything I told him was true, but I have Illinois license plates. I'm sure that makes me an expert on the Macon bypass.)

I make it to the last Macon exit on I-475.

At the hotel, I find I didn't reset my trip data on Karen, so it's a bit off.

823 miles
Left home 3:45am, Left work 4:30am
Got to Cubbon's @ 4:30pm
Arrived Best Western @ 8:40pm

Oh, and would someone please explain to me how a prius driven at 80mph saves gas? Just wonderin'.

Day 1, May 9
I have arrived. Again.

I'm up at 3am, no alarm, and the clock radio is set 6 hours off. I refuse to fix it. I wonder if I should try to get some more sleep, but something inside of me wants to get on the road. I'm on my way to Disney World after all!

I'm actually out the door by 4:50 (that *is* eastern time) and since it begins to get light at 5am at home, it isn't until 6am here. A little fog is happening in South Georgia and North Florida, but nothing as bad as I had yesterday.

I get a couple of texts from PiC that she's getting on the plane, and I'm still in Northern Florida. I wonder if I'll make it. Some quick math tells me yes, but only if I maintain about 70 mph. No problem.

One of the things I'm obligated to do, is send Jenny construction updates from Macon to Northern Florida. She has to call one of her customers from Macon, and needs to know how long it will take to get there. I make some cryptic notes, and text her from rest areas several times with construction information.

The first toll on the Ronald Regan Tollway (i.e. the Florida Turnpike), my SunPass makes a sickly sound, and the green light does not light up. Uh oh. I just rolled through the toll plaza at 70mph... At the next, I look closely, and the yellow light is activated. At the third, I go through a manual lane, and the toll is registered, so I'm not going to worry about it, and I'll look up my account at WL.

Make it to MCO cell phone lot by 10:50. Her flight arrives at 11. How's that for timing?

371 miles
moving time 5:09
moving avg 72mph
stopped 13:11
overall avg 69mph
Total time 5:23

I take a couple of pictures from the MCO cell phone lot. I have my camera set to keep a sequential count of the number of frames taken over its life, and the sequence for this trip starts at 1234. I should buy some lottery tickets...

MCO cell phone lot
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PiC is in departures again, so once again I am the lone car picking someone up. She never even notes I am on time for her pick-up. She doesn't appreciate me.

We arrive at WL at 11:30, go up to the on-line check in counter, and there's someone already being taken care of. While I'm waiting, helpful CM at regular check-in tells me to come over, she'll take care of me. While she's getting my packet and printing my room cards, the on-line check in is empty, and now there are normal guests waiting behind me. Oh well.

The next set of images were actually taken three days after I checked-in, but they fit here better than where they were...

The entrance to Disney's Wilderness Lodge
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My room is ready, so we prepare to move in for the next four days. Talk to the welcoming CM's outside, and they just want me to leave the keys in the car while we take the luggage upstairs. No problem. Take the luggage upstairs, and come back down to find my car gone. Okay they moved it. Got in the car (no one questioned me) and drove off. Parked, taking the few items that still needed to go up to the room, and look at the other cars parked where mine was. Too bad the car I'd steal would have been mine, otherwise I'd have a choice of about 5 vehicles to choose from...

We toured Wilderness Lodge in *MUCH* better weather than in December, got a burger at Roaring fall. The food court sorta pales in comparison to say, the Mara at Jambo, but it's okay. No zebra domes, though.

Inspect the bison topiaries in front, and unlike the world's largest buffalo in Jamestown, ND, these are not anatomically correct.

Wilderness Lodge
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Finished our tour, hydrated, organized the room a little better, and got on-line to check my Sun-Pass problem. The problem I had was, my account down to $4.00, so I replenished the account.

I don't know what it is about females and pools, but PiC wants to go hang by the pool, so I went and sat by the pool for a while. It's over 90, and I remember why I don't go to WDW during the summer. But it feels good, if not a little sticky, and I'm in the perfect place to people watch, and read a few pages from my book.

Got a couple of sandwiches from Roaring Fall, brought it up to the room so we could watch a movie. Tangled. Halfway through, *I'm* still watching, and PiC is asleep. She wants me to stop the movie so she can see the rest of it. Huh? She's usually complaining that I'll see a movie without her, even though she's never around to see the movie when I watch it, and now if I finish watching Tangled, she'll probably complain about the same thing! Can't win.

Just about to fall asleep and the Electrical Water Pageant comes by WL, and wakes me up. I'm also awakened a couple of times as PiC is coughing and blowing her nose. Ugh. I don't need to be sick through the weekend. Jenny has already asked if I needed to be dipped in bleach...

Day 2, May 10
PiC is sick, DHS, MK and Artist's Point

The last guest in room 6136, either left the alarm on and got up at 2:50am, or the last guest set the alarm to 2:50am, just to annoy the next guest in the room. (That'd be me.) PiC hit the snooze button the first time, so 10 minutes later I had to get up to figure out how to turn the alarm off the iClockRadio. If Russo couldn't figure this thing out when he was awake, I didn't give it much hope at that time of the morning. I finally figured it out seconds before I was going to unplug it.

At least it didn't go off again. So I'm guessing I figured it out.

Up around 7am, make some coffee and call home to make sure everything's okay. While the past few trips I had noticed an improvement in water quality, this time the water is *really* bad. Even PiC can smell it, and she can't smell. The Pur water pitcher is working well.

Interesting sunrise. Red Ball in sky. Take a couple of pictures. It's overcast, but that's a temporary thing. weather.com says 92 again today.

Get on SunPass site again, to find my balance has magically gone up $2, and all six tolls are listed. Transaction times are down to the second. I will have to figure out my speeds between those checkpoints.

By 7:30am, PiC is back asleep, and I'm wondering if I'm getting sick. I saw her on Friday, and though she was treated as a leper, it's within the possibility she infected me then. (PiC still lives. That means I didn't get sick.)

Had breakfast at Roaring Fall. I know bacon makes everything better, but I think I can read through these bacon strips. You might be able to get paper cuts on this bacon. But it's still a better breakfast than what you can get in DHS.

Note that even though I don't mention PiC is coughing, she is coughing. She even takes drugs (Sudafed), which tells me she's really trying to be better, but still fails miserably. I stay upwind from her whenever I can. Another good thing, is those virii will only last seconds in this intense UV...

Day 2
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Get to DHS by about 11:30am. Streets of America looks empty compared to December. Toy Story fastpasses's are already gone for the day. We go into the standby queue, and it's a short 45 minute wait. Beat PiC 156,200 to 118,400. We have the same accuracy rate, so she can't even claim to be more accurate. Yeah, yeah, she was sick. She's actually terrible at the ring toss for some reason. We could be point for point, until the ring toss...

We stop by the Academy of Television Arts and Science Hall of Fame, where Harvey Korman and I have a staring contest. Harvey wins. As a matter of fact, I think I may have nightmares from looking at his bust too long. Or it could have been the moonshine. One never knows...

Decide to go see Indiana Jones. It's been a while. Before the performance, PiC needs a drink, so we go to the drink cart between Indy and Star Tours. Standing there for a while, every half minute, you see someone go up to CM's at Star Tours, and they shake their head. One is holding a clipboard. I wonder if she's keeping track of the number of guests who's asked about a soft opening.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
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We go back to Wilderness Lodge, and decide to go for a boat ride to the Magic Kingdom. On the way, we watch the 2pm Fire Rock geyser eruption. It's not Old Faithful, but I do have the same problem as the geysers in Yellowstone, the flume of water disappears against the brightly lit sky.

Wilderness Lodge:
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Take the boat to MK. Wow. You're dropped off right in front of the Magic Kingdom. A quick bag check, and were headed down main street. We watch Philharmagic, and then check out the HM queue upgrades. I am surprised to see an update to the end of Haunted Mansion, where our hitchhiking ghost rips both our heads off and places them on the wrong bodies. Well, that was interesting. I don't want this guy coming home with me.

I check the Christmas shop, and no, they have not started my Christmas Mug series back up. On Main Street, we stop to watch a couple from the Dapper Dans, then take the boat back. We have 5:30 reservations at Artist's Point.

The boat to Magic Kingdom
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Magic Kingdom
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The boat back to Wilderness Lodge
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Artist's Point

Back in our room, I wash off the ooze that comes out of you when you're sitting in direct sunlight in the bow of a ship when it's "UV index:10+, extreme" and 95 degrees out. I actually take out a shirt with a collar on it for dinner. (I call this dressing up when I'm at WDW.)

Now, I've been to Artist's Point in Yellowstone maybe a half-dozen times, and I can tell you, there's no restaurant there. As a matter of fact, I've been to the table service restaurant at Canyon Lodge in Yellowstone (closest food service to Artist's Point), and quite frankly the food there sucks.

Not so much Artist's point in Wilderness Lodge.

We get there a little early, and we're given a buzzy lighty thing, and sent off until they're ready to receive patrons. (We have 5:30 reservations, and AP opens at 5:30...) So we look for something to do, and we determine to do a stupid Photoshop trick. A fellow guest who has another buzzy lighty thing looks at me when I'm telling PiC to move over a little and take a picture, and I tell fellow guest that I'm doing a stupid Photoshop trick. I then position myself next to the where PiC was sitting and have her take the picture, when fellow guest asks if I'd like her to take a picture with the both of us, and I explain that no, this really was for a stupid Photoshop trick. But I thank her anyway. Little does she realize that I'm trying to stay away from PiC's virus infested self.

The buzzy lighty thing goes buzzy-lighty, and we are seated next to the window, where not only can we observe guests on their balcony right across from us, but they can observe us as well! I refrain from waving to these fortunate guests who can spend the entire evening watching other fellow guests stuff their piehole.

We start with the Artisanal cheese platter as an appetizer. It was very good. PiC had the beef tenderloin, I had the buffalo strip with a Newcastle brown ale. Quite frankly, I liked the buffalo better than her tenderloin. The problem would crop up later, where my lactose intolerance would raise its ugly head. Whether the Artisanal cheeses, or the mac and cheese with my meal, something decided to dislike me. Imodium, is your friend.

I pretend she's not with me when she starts coughing. The entire meal is paid for with my Disney Visa Rewards.

That night, we go to the beach full of fake Disney blast-white sand (which I find out later in the week, is *not* fake Disney sand), and find we can watch the large shells from Wishes there. (Illuminations was just a glow behind the trees.)

We sat and watched all the party boats drop off their guests, and we watch the Electrical Water Pageant, since I've never seen it before. It's short and amusing, but it's more something to watch if you happen upon it. Like the Flag Retreat, you have to be in the right place at the right time. It might be better as something to watch when you come upon it, rather than a planned event...

I attempt some night shots of the courtyard and pool, before calling it a night.

Artist's Point, Wilderness Lodge after dark
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End May 2011 Trip Report - Part 2.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

  • 06/04/2011 - Page Added
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