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Keane and Jenny's May 2011 WDW Disney Up North, Not A December Trip Report -- Part 9 of 9 (Days 8 and 9, Epilog)


Destination D
The closing concert was worth the price of admission.
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 8, May 16.
On the road home...

Up at 6:00am, have to get Jenny to the airport by 7. I make the wise decision to just take a couple things to the car (so long as I have Jenny here to help schlep stuff) then come back to the contemp to get the rest of the stuff.

So I have Jenny to the airport at 6:50am, and true to my word, kick her butt out the door at Departures, and head back to the Contemp for the rest of my stuff. On the way, I find myself following a Magical Express bus, and thinking what lucky son-of-a-guns (well, okay, perhaps I phrased it a little more rudely...I was leaving after all) that they were going to start their vacation.

I linger on the balcony, trying to absorb the sight of the seven seas lagoon, the resorts (both those existing and those only on the plans from so long ago), and the Magic Kingdom as much as I can for the last time.

I silently say my goodbyes, and head out the door.

But my Disney Experience isn't over! I'm stopped by a CM with a bunch of toughbooks (which are laptops made by Panasonic that can take a great deal more punishment than a normal laptop) at the door asking if I'm leaving today, and would I like to take a survey about my stay?

Hey, I'm always ready to give Disney my feedback!

One question asked if I made any purchase of merchandise at the shops at the contemp. I said yes, and I had a problem. That led to a page asking what the problem was, and one of the push button choices was "Not enough resort specific merchandise". Huh.

"If you were here for a convention, did you ask a Cast Member information, and did you get a satisfactory answer?" Huh.

I did notice there was no question about how I felt about the price of the room. Huh, again.

Ignoring Karen's advice, I go to Western Way and take the tollway up to the tollway, and as I'm driving down the tollway, the second to last Space Shuttle goes up. I look in my mirrors, but can't see anything.

Many state and local law enforcement officials are in Florida, but I think were looking for idiot speeders, since we were all doing 10 over, and it was okay with them.

Everything was just hunky-dory, until I get to Stockbridge, Georgia, and Northbound I-75 stops. Took me over an hour to go one mile to the first exit (which it turns out, is where the entire Northbound I-75 traffic was being detoured off due to an accident,) so I decided to just call it a day. Besides, if I ever got through the closure, I'd hit Atlanta during rush hour. Forget it. That last run on Big Thunder is creeping up on me, and I'm getting tired. Of all of my frequent stay hotel programs I belong to, none exist at this exit. My best bet is a Baymont, and it takes me two passes to find it, since it's buried on one of the frontage roads. I'll bet this guy's business would triple if HE GOT A BIGGER BLEEPING SIGN.

I was hungry, tired, and the closest food source was a Wendy's, so I get me a baconator. And yes, it had bacon on it, and that made it good, because bacon makes everything good.

Mileage: 430
Moving time: 6:34
Moving Avg: 65
Stopped 43:23
Overall Avg: 59
Total time: 7:18
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Day 9. May 17.
A last visit with Jenny and Home. I hate it when that happens.

I get a page over night from Jenny, asking if I was to come by for lunch the following day. I don't have time (maybe I would have if THEY DIDN'T CLOSE I-75 ON ME!), but I do agree to meet with her along I-40, where she'll give me some jams and pickles.


I once again breeze through Atlanta at sub-light speed, but it's 5am. I think you can even breeze through Chicago at 5am. If you remember the tornado that went through the South a couple of weeks ago, there is a 200 yard swatch of trees South of Atlanta, and another North of Marietta that have no tops, just twisted off trunks left on both sides of the expressway. Pieces of tree debris still litter both sides of the road. The tops of all these trees went *somewhere*.

I get to the I-24/I-75 split outside of Chattanooga, and traffic down I-24 is backed up to the split. For the first time, I'm not going that way, thank goodness. Going to meet Jenny is saving me some 5 miles of rush hour construction traffic. Not far from there, Karen routes me off I-75 to TN-153, then a short drive up US-27 to TN-111. Tennessee state route 111 is a beautiful drive up the back roads of Tennessee to Cookeville, where gas breaks the $4.00 a gallon mark at $3.999.

201105WDW_1755P16130 201105WDW_1757P17072 201105WDW_1759P17072 201105WDW_1761P17072 201105WDW_1762P17072 201105WDW_1764P17072 201105WDW_1765P17072 201105WDW_1766P17073 201105WDW_1767P17073 201105WDW_1768P17073
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After we meet (I also meet Hank the Wonder Dog, and Jenny gives me half a grocery store, including some fresh strawberries and some homemade blueberry cobbler for the road, bless her lil' pea-pickin' heart) and I'm off. Karen wants to route me off the interstate, completely by-passing Nashville, and I let her. The trip up 111 reminds me how much I like driving back roads, so I take the extra 30 minutes to see America. Besides, traffic in Nashville typically... sucks. It is a thoroughly satisfying drive, and I'm fed back onto the freeway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There's some strawberry juice on my t-shirt. Too bad...

As I approach Chicago, Karen wants to route me down the freeway to save me a couple of bucks, but the freeway is under construction and is backed up for miles. The tollway is clear, though, and it's worth the combined cost of the Indiana and Chicago tollway to avoid the traffic.

Get home at 6:38pm. 2592.2 miles.

End of Trip. sigh. I hate it when that happens.

Mileage: 760
Moving time: 11:51
Moving Avg: 64
Stopped 34:49
Overall Avg: 61
Total time: 12:26

Cost of Gas (per gallon, Premium):
Chicago: 4.639
Merillville, IN: 4.399
Smiths Grove, KY: 4.039
Marietta, GA: 4.119
Ocala, FL: 4.229
Ocala, FL: 4.139 (different station)
Macon, GA: 4.119
Cookesville, TN: 3.999
Greenwood, IN: 4.179
Chicago: 4.649
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December Trip? What December trip?

That crappy December trip has been totally eclipsed by what has probably been my best trip ever. I didn't care for Old Key West, but was thoroughly impressed by Wilderness Lodge, and I won't even comment on the how much I enjoyed my stay in the Contemporary. Everyone should do a park view room once. I enjoyed the views from my balcony as much as I do at AKL.

Mom stayed healthy through the trip. No worries.

The weather was perfect, if not a little hot. I'd rather sweat than shiver. I'd take the "UV Index:10+, Extreme" over rain. The crowds (except for that bizarre Thursday night in Magic Kingdom) were half of what they were in December.

It was also very different in how I got around. Yes, there were some early bus trips between Epcot and DHS while I was at Wilderness Lodge, but otherwise it was all by boat or monorail. I walked to Magic Kingdom. And Test Track didn't break on me once.

Then, of course, was Destination D. It presented a fresh look at the history and operation of Walt Disney World. It was an outstanding presentation put on by the most authoritative sources alive today. It ranged from bringing Walt's vision of his Disney World to life, his plans and his dreams of what you could do if you could start a city from scratch; to his original ideas for Magic Kingdom and the hotels around the Seven Seas Lagoon.

But it was more than that. It wasn't boring facts. We all know the land they bought in the 60's was done under dummy corporations and the fact hidden from the local residents, but to listen to the stories told by a panel of the guys that actually *did* the deed, is something else altogether.

The musical encore *was* worth the price of admission.

The bummer of the trip? PiC was sick. Though I guess holding my breath when she coughed and making her sleep in the bathtub worked, I didn't get sick. I'm only kidding. You couldn't hold your breath longer than some of her coughing fits.

I will also add that it's different being at Disney World with another of the Disney Insane. I've been to WDW mostly with a friend I know who lives in Tampa, and PiC, who both visit the parks on MYW tickets. It's not worth the cost of a day just for lunch. But with another AP holder, you just do it, and go on Haunted Mansion, because it's there. Or spend a couple of late hours there to end a satisfying trip. It was fun and special being there with Jenny. At least she was healthy. :-)

As a final note, I just got a postcard from The Cast of Wilderness Lodge asking me to take a survey! As soon as I finish posting this...

As a final, final note, I also have gotten a postcard from the Comtemporary, asking me to take a survey. So like a true Chicagoan, I'm going to get to vote twice!

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. Probably.

Congratulations if you got this far, 'cause that's all I'm writing!

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End May 2011 Trip Report - Part 9 of 9.

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

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