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Keane and Jenny's May 2011 WDW Disney Up North, Not A December Trip Report -- Part 5 (Day 6 - Destination D:Walt Disney World 40th, Day 1 - Part 1)

Index

Destination D
The Contemporary Hotel Atrium, from the elevator bridge South toward Wilderness Lodge.
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 6, May 14:
Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th. Day 1 - Part 1.

Up at 7:30am, make coffee. Must have coffee. At AKL, I have my coffee overlooking the Savanna, here, I'm overlooking Walt Disney World. When I last saw this view, the Grand Floridian wasn't there, and all of Walt Disney World was what was around the Seven Seas Lagoon. (I don't even remember Ft. Wilderness. I don't remember a lot of things from 1977.)

The problem is, sitting on the balcony chairs, I'm just the right height that my view is blocked by the main railing, so I either have to stretch up to see MK, or slouch down. Neither one does my back any favors, but both do make me look like an idiot.

Notice: This is a Trip Report by a spectator and fan, not someone with press credentials taking notes covering the Destination D event. The events are as best as I can remember them. You were on brain overload from pretty much the first morning until the end of the event. It was like being in commando mode in the parks, except you didn't have to walk anywhere. And the information and laughter didn't stop between attractions.

Dest D opens the Fantasia Ballroom doors at 9am, so we leave around 8:45. We step out the door and are greeted with that tremendous atrium. It would be twice as impressive if it wasn't cut in half by the elevator/bridge structure in the center of the building. The resort beam is directly below us, but the express beam is visible right over the edge of the railing. We noted that morning that the monorail shakes our room very slightly when it goes through. Jenny's not sure if she likes it, I think it's cool. Below that is Chef Mickey's and the food court. Out the end of the atrium you can see the top of Wilderness Lodge.

Well, good morning to you too!

(The long panoramic below had its thumbnail trimmed, since it messed up the formatting on narrower displays. It's one of those ridiculously impractical panoramics. I still need to work on consistent color matching. It'll be corrected by the time I have the Contemporary page up...)

View from the room
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We elevator down to the first floor, and walk outside into the humidity for 100 yards, then back into the convention center. We will later find the bridge between the Contemp and the convention center.

We get to the ballroom at 9am, to find a line. Not just a line, but A LINE. It travels the length of the Fantasia Ballroom, turns left and goes all the way down that corridor, then enters an unused portion of the ballroom where they've utilizing the movable wall panels and ropes to create a series of switchbacks. Just like in the parks. But the line moves quickly (it's not like we're queuing for a ride vehicle), and I haven't walked enough since I've been here. Once we get into the Fantasia Ballroom, I find it's a tardis sorta thing, the inside is way bigger than it looks from the outside.

They had food for the convention, so I went out and got a bagel and a diet coke, with an extraordinary price of $7.25. I would avoid the convention food venue from then on. :-)

We sit over on the right side on the aisle, so I have a clear path in front of me for any pictures. As it turns out, we would always sit in a similar spot for the same reason, and it'll make removing the parallax in post a little easier.

Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th, actually starts with a film with Josh Turchetta (the D23 Armchair Activist), going through some of the archives that has Steven Clark's (head honcho of D23) stuff in it, as a way to introduce Clark.

We are welcomed by Steven Clark, given statistics (for instance, 46 or 47 states were represented, so he named the states that weren't there; the fact they got something like 40% or 60% response rate on the pre-show survey D23 asked you to take), asked you to renew and invite all our friends to join. He even shows the letter he got asking to renew, from Steven Clark to Steven Clark.

We are then, perhaps appropriately, introduced to Debby Dane Browne, a Disney Legend originally employed in the WDW Preview Center, and was the first resort Ambassador. As long as she stayed single until opening day.

Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th, Opening session.
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It was, in retrospect, a rather dry opening considering the rest of the event, but it was immediately plussed by a presentation of Weird Disney World. Evidently a modification or the presentation the two (Becky Cline and Paul F. Anderson) presented at Disneyland 55, it showcased the odd costumes, characters, contests and the just plain wackiness of the 70's.

It wasn't just of WDW. Their Disneyland stories were in there too. If you ever get the chance to hear the story of the time Disney decided to fly Baby New Year down Tink's wire from the Matterhorn; or the little people Disney hired to play Pinocchio on opening day on top of the Disney Theater marquee, only to have them over imbibe during lunch and moon the crowd below...

There were some hideous TV moments shown, most from those on-so-wacky '70's, such as a Grad Night promotional that makes South Park look like a high-value production. I think I could have done a better job on a fifth of bourbon. I'm sure *someone* thought it was a good idea. Maybe they were on the fifth of bourbon.

Of course, the glowing faces of those characters in SpectroMagic made the show, as did Russo's little girl chair at the Yacht/Beach club [Steve has since corrected me that it's at the Boardwalk], and even Food Rocks. Hey! What's so wrong with singing food? I'm sure this will be a repeat performance at these events for years. See it if you can.

Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th, Weird Disney World.
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The next session, "Walt Disney World: The Way We Were", was a Dave Smith presentation. There were only two spontaneous standing ovations I saw at the conference, and appropriately, Dave got one of 'em.

He presented an extensive hour-twenty minute slide show of the construction of the parks as well as the infrastructure of Walt Disney World, the opening of Disney World, and slides of the numerous venues, attractions and restaurants closed during the 40 years of operation.

One revelation that came out of this presentation, is all the white sand that line the beaches around CBR, all the monorail resorts and other places on property is actually from Bay Lake! When they drained the lake, they did have to clear all the muck off of the bottom, but when they did, they found all the sand. I was always under the impression that it was fake sand, shipped in from someplace else.

The phenomenon of applauding for your favorite attractions, both existing and not, started with this show, and would continue through the weekend.

Of course, I forget my memory cards for the camera in the room, so I have to switch to jpg only for the last third of the presentation. But I do know one thing, I'd like Dave's old job.

Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th, The Way We Were.
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During the lunch break, we go up to the room to dump my current memory card to the computer, and grab the memory cards I forgot. What to do for lunch... Jenny suggests the Kona Cafe. And it's down (then up) to the monorail! Damn. It wouldn't be hard to get used to this.

The Contemporary Atrium from the Monorail platform
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We arrive at the Polynesian, and we have a 20 minute wait. No problem. We (okay, I) can go take pictures. I'm given another one of those buzzy lighty things. I've never been here, so it's another new Disney experience. I drag Jenny around the resort. Not as impressive as the Contemporary I think. Sorry Poly and Grand Floridian fans, I think the Contemporary is an Impressive Place, the most impressive of the monorail resorts. Of course, AKL is still my favorite resort on site. Jambo or Kidani, doesn't matter to me. If only a monorail passed though AKL...

The resort is certainly themed to Disney Standards, perhaps moreso than the Contemporary. But after being in the atriums of the past few days (Wilderness Lodge and the Contemporary), the lobby in the Poly sorta pales in comparison.

As soon as I'm done taking pictures (and Jenny is remarkably patient while I do), the buzzy lighty thing goes buzzy-lighty, and we're seated for lunch. I had the Grilled Teriyaki Steak, Jenny had the Stir-fried Asian Noodles. We split a lava cake. Good thing, I think I'd be wired for the next session. I should have been doing food porn. I failed. As a matter of fact, I enter such a mind-overload condition over the next couple of days, I don't do any food porn at all. Sad...

(Okay, I've read Jenny's trip reports, and didn't even realize I was being led around like a newbie visitor. It was fun, but definitely added to the brain overload. Thanks, Jenny! It was much appreciated!)

The Polynesian Resort
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Back on the monorail to the Contemp, and go back up to the room to pick up the memory card I left downloading to my laptop, and pick up something to drink from the 'fridge. I start to confuse Jenny by getting off on the second floor, and using the bridge from the contemporary to the convention center.
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End May 2011 Trip Report - Part 5.

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