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Keane and Jenny's May 2011 WDW Disney Up North, Not A December Trip Report -- Part 4 (Day 5)

Index

Destination D
The Contemporary Hotel, view from my room.
Cast:
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

<Disclaimers>
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.
</Disclaimers>


Day 5, May 13, which was a Friday
Change hotels, change blonds. Sounds like a Gene Simmons song.

I am late. Took longer to pack up than I thought. In my defense, Jenny texted me at 6:12am saying she was going to sleep in because Jill was up early, so I relaxed and had another cup of coffee. I then get texted at 6:59, she was up and packing, and was ready to go at 7:34. I left Wilderness Lodge at 8:07, and was at ASMu before 8:30. She got picked up curbside. I didn't even make her walk to the lobby.

I get to All-Stars, go up to guard house, he sees my key and waves me through. Who cares if I'm from Wilderness Lodge? Who cares if I'm here to stalk a little blondie girl I met on the net...

Jenny is waiting curbside at Rock Inn in Music. We load everything in the car, and drive back across property. I should point out that Wilderness lodge is the second most Northern resort on Property, All-Stars is the Southernmost, and the Contemporary is the Northern Most. It was about 11 or 12 miles, round trip. WDW is a biiig place.

Park in front of the contemp, check in, and of course room's not ready. It's not even 9am. About to go park the car, and I have no parking permit, so I have to go back in and get one. Park car, board monorail, go to the TTC, go to Epcot. That was easy. I still don't understand why they make you walk halfway to the bus stops before you can ramp down to ground level. Maybe to make the people who take the bus feel better?

I will also add, taking the monorail several times over the next few days, that the inclines make the muscles in my legs twitch more than stairs...

Doesn't seem to be as crowded today, but there are still plenty of school groups. I begin to suspect my Annual Pass' magnetic strip, isn't that magnetic anymore, since they have to scan the barcode every time.

When we're into the park...we find we have no plan.

Well, our plan was to go around World Showcase, but that won't be until 11am. So, we make reservations to save a World someplace, then go off to Club Cool. Jenny actually like the Beverly. I sample some again, trying to determine what would mix with it. Certainly not the moonshine. Maybe a dark rum...

From there to the Butterfly Garden, someplace PiC and I had missed a couple days before. Inside was Bambi, Thumper and Flower...

Butterfly Garden
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Across Future World to the Fairy Garden, where I once again make a politically incorrect comment. It's interesting being there with Jenny, we'll pass a plant, and she'll comment: "Goat will eat that to the ground." "That one will kill a cow dead." "That one..."

Fairy Garden, redux
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We still have no plan, so the go watch stupid Judy and stupid Ellen, just because.

The old Wonders of Life pavilion (now the Convenient Event Space pavilion) is open, so we wander through the remains of a gutted old friend. The spaces that held Body Wars and Cranium command are walled off, the Making of Me theater closed, but at least the bathrooms are still there...

The former Wonders of Life pavilion
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We go to Test Track, and we are willed Fast Passes by another guest. Looking back on it, we should have told the guy to give 'em to someone else, since we didn't ride until later that day, and could have gotten our own. While I've bestowed fast passes on other guests several times, it was nice to have the favor returned.

It's almost 11 by now, so we head over to World Showcase. We stop in Norway to pick up a Kimmunicator, and our assignment is to save China. True to form, Jenny breaks the electronics, and our Kimmunicator doesn't have sound for some of the assignments. So instead of depositing the cell...Kimmunicator into the secret slot at the end of saving China, we take it back to Norway, so the CM can mark the phone non-functional. Of course the phone could have worked once it was out of Jenny's hands, but you never know.

We wander through the rest of World Showcase. We agree again that the best topiaries in World Showcase are Lady and the Tramp. Jenny is thrilled by the tiny topiaries that surround the train station in Germany. We stop in the caramel store. I should have bought some, but it would have been caramel soup in the heat we had that day. (It was another "UV index 10+: Extreme" day, did I mention that?)

Someplace along the line, we figure we're hungry, and stop at the UK for Fish and Chips, and some hard cider. Jenny buys two types, Strongbow Cider, which is a dry hard cider; and Woodpecker Sweet English Cider, which is a sweeter cider. They are both very good. I can only think, however, that the Woodpecker Sweet has a lower proof content, due to the higher sugar content. (Sugar + yeast = ethanol + CO2. So they would have had to stop the fermentation earlier to retain more sweetness.) I have had apple beer before, but in that case, fermentation was done until the sugars were gone, and had a much different taste.

The only unfortunate part of the experience, was the 90+ degree heat. We sat in the courtyard in the back of the UK, since all the tables next to World Showcase Lagoon were taken, and watched all the Kim Possible agents walk back and forth as we ate.

As we were heading back to ride Test Track, we found Millennium Village was partially open for the Cars 2 Weekend at WDW. I haven't stepped inside this building since 2000. It was a huge Pixar Meet 'n Greet. I mean even Carl and Doug were there. I don't think I had ever seen Frozone, either. Got a cool Cars 2 poster, which actually made it home more or less intact.

World Showcase
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We walk back to Test Track, and for a record two times in a row, the entire ride portion goes off without any breakdowns or malfunctions. Maybe they finally got the kinks out after only 10 years. I can report, however, that all the video you see and the infrared image at the end of the ride are all of your car, and not canned video.

We walk back to the entrance, and catch a monorail to the TTC. We can at least register for Dest D, and use the pool until the room is ready.

On the way from MK to the Contemp on the monorail, I get two identical texts from Disney, your room is ready, room 4332. What timing. We decide to go up to the room first. Where is 4332? The contemporary map is in the car. Not the fourth floor, not the 43rd, either. So I think we tried two floors before being able to figure out we were on the 7th floor. Later, when I looked at the text message again, it said:

FROM:Front desk

Your room is
ready. Your room
number is 4332 on

of course, if you scroll down, it then says

the 7th floor.

Operator failure. It is sad how frequent this occurs these days.

So we find the room, and...the keys don't work. I have Jenny try too, just in case of Operator Failure Mark II. Nope. Keys don't work. I'm glad we didn't schlep luggage up...

Back to the front desk, where a helpful CM hears my problem and says "Well, that's unusual." I ask if that was said in a surprised or sarcastic tone, and she smiles. She actually goes up to the room with us to make sure the keys work, along with a chain full of open-any-door cards. So long as I have a captive CM in the elevator, we find out where registration is for Dest D. This time, the keys make a different sound, and we're granted access to the room.

I have been to the Contemporary before in 1977, and it was so hot and humid that I remember swim trunks left on the balcony never dried out. Of course, back then, Disney World was Magic Kingdom, the Polynesian and the Contemporary.

The most vivid memory of the trip was opening the door to my room and seeing the monorail across the atrium. That and the pina coladas at the Poly, but I digress. Sad that one of my only souvenirs is a swizzle stick. I don't remember a lot more, and I'm sure things have changed in 34 years anyway. One of my trips I had in the back of my mind was always a Monorail Resort trip, but I had visions of the Poly, not the Contemporary. But there you are, and here I am....

My very first impression of the room was it wasn't very Disney, in the sense of how other Disney rooms are themed. Don't get me wrong, it's was a *great* room -- lot of space, a work area with a real office chair, a couch and sorta less than private bathroom doors, just the sort of room you'd expect to find in a hotel with one of the great atriums in the biz.

Then you step onto the balcony, and the Disney hits you all in the face at once. The Poly on the left, the Grand Floridian across from you and Magic Kingdom to your right. It was sorta like having your own really detailed monorail set operating whenever you looked out the window.

The Contemporary Resort, Room 4332 interiors
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After photographing the room for my web site, and gawking at the view of the Seven Seas Lagoon and MK, we get most of the luggage out of the car, and take it up to the room. I unpack the cooler into the fridge, and dump this morning's pictures to the laptop and portable disk, gawk at the Seven Seas Lagoon and MK again, then decide to go register for Dest D.

It's a surprisingly short walk to the Fantasia Ballroom, where Dest D will be held. Registration in just across the hall from the ballroom, where I present my D23 card and Drivers License, and get a folder that contains a placard that has to be worn full time, and we become walking Legal Disclaimers. Let's see:

"Filming/photographing/recording will take place at this location throughout the Destination D event. By attending the Destination D event, you irrevocably consent to and authorize D23 Worldwide, its parent, affiliated and subsidiary companies, and their respective successors and assigns (collectively "Producer") to photograph and make sound records of you and any children accompanying you and to use such photographs and records throughout the universe, in whole or in part, for any purpose whatsoever in all known and hereafter existing media and in any language in perpetuity. All such photographs and sound recordings will be the sole property of Producer."

Throughout the universe in perpetuity. Gosh, I almost feel immortal now. I really liked this one:

"By attending the Destination D event, you authorize, for yourself and any children accompanying you, all risks and danger of personal injury (including death); property loss or damage; and any other harm or hazards that may arise from or related or incidental to, or in connection with, the Destination D event, whether occurring prior to, during or after the Destination D event, and whether due to the negligence or willful misconduct of Destination D Management or others."

Lawyers. Gotta hate 'em. They could have just asked for my first born. I would have agreed. I don't have kids.

We also receive a reprint of the Preview Edition of Walt Disney World booklet that was given out (or sold) at the WDW Preview Center.

We still have a couple hours, so we go up to the room, gawk at the view of the Seven Seas Lagoon and MK, and go out to the pool.

Jenny is adamant that the pool at the cheap seats is better than the pool here, until we find the deeper pool on Bay Lake. While she swims around, I decide to read some of my book.

The Contemporary Resort, Resort Exteriors
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We have to be on our way by around 5:30pm, so we go back up to the room, and get tidied up for the trip to City Walk, then gawk at the view of the Seven Seas lagoon and Magic Kingdom. I have to admit, the view from the Contemporary was just... awesome.

Off to City Walk. Karen has a problem, keeps wanting to send me north, up around Magic Kingdom, when the road that passes in front of the Poly is the shorter, if not bumpier route. (Speed bumps. Like those would slow me down.) Later, she wants to route me off the wrong exit to Universal. I ignore her. It's sorta like a marriage. Or so I'm told.

Get to Universal Orlando, and the parking sucks. I'm sorry, I'm at almost the end of the row way back in Cat in the Hat 558. But it was after 6, and only cost $3 to park. I guess you get what you pay for. HAhahahaha...

I think it's kinda frightening I know exactly where Margaritaville is. And I've never been in the place. If you know the song "Jamaica Mistaica", the Hemisphere Dancer itself has been turned into a Bar on City Walk. I have priority seating, so I'm given one of those buzzy lighty things, and we take a walk through the store. I consider a 5 o'clock somewhere t-shirt, but that might imply I think it's okay to drink any time of the day. (See Disclaimer #2.)

It's a good 10-15 minutes before our buzzy lighty thing goes buzzy-lighty, and we're taken to a table toward the back on the first floor. It's loud. Non-stop videos, mostly of Buffet. Imagine that.

I figure I have to have a Mushroom Cheeseburger with a LandShark Lager (the in-house brew), Jenny has the Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair pasta and of course, a Margarita. They don't take her TiW card here.

It's rained a little as we travel on the other side of the waterway, to the Blue Man Group theater. I've seen this show before, and you never quite get used to the visuals they do. If you have never seen it, it's an experience in humor and percussion you shouldn't miss, in a smaller venue than someplace like Chicago. (Or so I'm told. Friend of mine from Tampa, Bruce, took his kids to see BMG in Chicago, and said the Orlando theater was a lot better.)

Their signature Drumbone segment doesn't work. One of the pvc pipe instrument's mike doesn't work. They try to work around it, and might have gotten away with it if I hadn't seen the show before. I don't think I've sat quite so close to the stage (but well behind the 'wet' zone), and some of the percussion is like a pyro retort in Illuminations. After the show, I get a picture with the band on the way out. It's good they do this, since you're not entirely sure the band is made up of real people during the show...

City Walk
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The new coaster in the Studios is running, and we both agree ya' gotta be pretty dumb to do it. On the way back to the car, I stop in the Endangered Species store, where I've purchased my "Endangered Feces" and "The Cat Owners Guide To Hairballs" t-shirts, only to find in the past two years, they have lost their sense of humor and only have crap in the store. I mean, it's where I got my t-shirt that has a squirrel on a tree branch holding an acorn with the caption, "It's all fun and games until someone loses their nuts."

Sadly, we go back to the car. At least Universal as moving sidewalks...

If you recall my 2009 trip report, I pick up Jenny and Jennette at All-Star Movies, so they can see the room at Kidani, then we were all going for dinner at Cape May. On the way back to Kidani, I make a wrong turn. So of course, I don't turn Karen on, and miss the turn back to Disney. So we have to route down the tourist trap known as I-Drive (I feel so unclean) to Sand Lake road and back to I-4. So if you're meeting Jenny, not only will your boat will make an extra stop someplace, but when you're with Jenny, yer bound to make a wrong turn somewhere.

Case-in-point: There is an elevator on both sides of the center bridge structure that splits the atrium at the Contemp, so you cannot just memorize the way to your room by turning right or left when getting out of an elevator. I did this, and was already turning left from the bridge when I realized the monorail was on the wrong side of the atrium. Jenny sez she was just following me. Uh huh...

End of Day 5
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End May 2011 Trip Report - Part 4.

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

Revisions:
  • 06/04/2011 - Page Added
  • 08/25/2012 - Updated to v3
  • 12/30/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 09/01/2014 - Update to v3.2