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Keane's August 2011, "It Was Hot, Then It Rained, Repeat Tomorrow" Trip Report (Part 1 of 7)

Index

Cast:
Who: Me, Keane. The person who actually writes this drivel.
     BYPT Jenny. Frequent WDW guest.
     BYPT Cathy. Okay, maybe just plain Cathy, but also a frequent WDW guest.
     BYPT. Big Yellow Penske Truck. Just in case you were wondering.
     Karen. My GPS. (A Garmin nuvi 1390)
What: A whim of a trip
Where: Walt Disney World, Coronado Springs Resort
Why: For the heck of it, not to mention Star Tours 2 and the reopening of the Tiki Room
When: August 16-21, 2011

Coronado Springs
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. This was the second time I've stayed here, the first time in 2005.
<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 freebies.
  4. Please remember to take all your personal belongings, and have a magical Disney Day!

Thank you.
</Disclaimers>


Ah, here we go again...

Prolog

There's a couple of rules I have about Disney World.
One, with the exception of Animal Kingdom Lodge, to stay at a different resort every trip.
Two, don't go during June, July or August...

Planning

Jenny asked soon after our May trip if I could make it to Disneyworld during her August BYPT run, and I told her no, too many things in my way. Besides, I don't go to WDW during August. Nothing like sharing space with a few thousand fellow sweaty bodies.

By June, half those problems disappeared.

By July, half of the half of those problems disappeared.

By August 1st, the last obstacle in my way went away. As a matter of fact, the last obstacle actually cost me a considerable amount of money less than I had budgeted, so in true government fashion, I would take the savings I had just realized and go to Disney World! BWAhahahaha...

So on a whim, I whipped out my Annual Pass, and logged into WDW's AP site... Okay, that's not exactly true, I had started looking a week or two before when it actually looked like I could do a trip. This was going to be a cheap trip. Not a value cheap trip, but we're going to break a rule and try for a moderate cheap trip. I have been to all four moderates, if you count Port Orleans as two resorts. Which I do. If it has its own registration desk, it's its own resort.

Much to my amazement, both Caribbean Beach (heretofore known as CBR) and Coronado Springs (CSR) were both available, for all the days I wanted. At 15 days out. Hmmm... Six of one, half a dozen of another... No I will not get a pirate room at CBR...

I was almost settled on CBR (it was the first Disney Resort I had stayed at back in 2002, so going back to update my photo collection was primary in my mind) but then I got e-mail from Jenny saying she was thinking about upgrading to a moderate. Probably CSR, since she'd never stayed there.

Decision made. On August 1st, I made reservations for the 16th through the 20th at Coronado Springs. A standard view room. I figured a parking lot view, maybe like Riverside and French Quarter, close to the car. Wrong...

And what the heck. So it's August. How bad could it be? Aren't rules meant to be broken?

Contacted Cathy, and discussed an evil plan. She would text me their room number, and I would happen to come by. Made reservations at Boma for three, the same night (but at a later time, of course) in case their reservation couldn't be changed to three guests. (This actually turned out not to be a problem.)

Three people knew I was going, Mom (someone had to take care of Figaro), Cathy and me. (Oh, PiC too. I borrowed her (almost) brand new waterproof camera...)

End of planning. I really didn't even have time to look forward to the trip until I started packing a couple days before I left.

I was out the door on August 15th...

Day 0, August 15th. On the Road...

I'm gone by 5am. 62 degrees outside, but the forecast for WDW is highs in the low 90's and lows in the mid-seventies every day. Not much different than my trip in May.

Uneventful trip down. No worries, except for a drunk around Nashville. I don't know what it is about Nashville, but if I had to count the number of accidents in all my trips to WDW, the highest number would probably be in Nashville. I've said it before, Nashville needs a bypass.

In Georgia, took a couple of pics of the places where the tornados came through back in April. It's still pretty apparent...

Tornado Damage along I-75
201108WDW_001P15155 201108WDW_004P15173 201108WDW_006P15173 201108WDW_007P15173
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Made it to the last stop in Macon on I-475, another 800+ mile day. I've actually stopped at this exit three times. The first was back in 2006 when I was escaping a snow storm. Ate at the BBQ joint next door to the quality inn, and it was excellent.

I was here again in May of 2011, but I had dinner with Lisa and Andy, and just stopped for the night. As much as I wanted to try the BBQ, the ribeye Lisa served up was quite enough for me...

But this time, I was eating. BBQ. Got the brisket and the pork, beans and slaw. And boy, I was disappointed. The food may have been the same, but I've since been spoiled by my local BBQ joint, which has some of the best Q I've had...

Mileage: 814
Moving time: 11:43
Moving avg: 69
Stopped: 27:13
Overall avg: 67
Total time: 12:10


SIDEBAR: Thoughts on Disney's Coronado Springs Resort...

(This will eventually be incorporated into my CSR page.)

Coronado Springs is a 1915 room moderate resort, officially classified as an Animal Kingdom resort, though the resort was completed two years before AK's opening. It sits on 125 acres, the majority of which is parking and a large central lake. (Lago Dorado.) The main registration/food/souvenir area is known as "El Centro", and three main "room areas" surround the resort in a circle around the lake. These areas are Casitas (buildings 1-5), Ranchos (buildings 6 & 7) and Cabanas (buildings 8 & 9).

Each building is a standalone building, and it's a hit or miss whether there are upper floor connecting walkways, so you're better off going down to ground level before trying to make your way to the food court, for instance.

In Casitas, it is possible to get all the way from Casitas 5 to the El Centro without getting wet in the rain. Unless one of the walkways is flooded out. But I digress. You'll have to find the path yourself. It isn't a straight forward path. You essentially have to remember where there's connecting walkways on the upper floors.

The worst rooms are probably in Ranchos, which is on the other side of the lake and pool. You would definitely be using the buses (or drive) to get to El Centro unless the burger and other fare at the feature pool quick service is good enough for food...

Talking about buses, they've changed the system. The internal bus that just stopped at all the CSR bus stops no longer exists. The first stop for all theme park buses is Bus Stop 2 (then 3 and 4) and the last stop in CSR is at Bus Stop 1, so all theme park buses will take you to El Centro. The first stop for the Downtown Disney bus is Bus Stop 1, so the DD bus would be the return bus to all of the CSR bus stops.

There are now five food venues at CSR, six if you count alcohol as a food. One is a quick service the Laguna pool bar by the feature pool; Cafe Rix, which is a quick service in El Centro, but has bakery goods, and replaces the packaged food area that used to be by Pepper Market; Rix Lounge, which is actually the bar in El Centro, but you can order food there too; Pepper Market, which is sorta half counter service, half table service; and Maya Grill, the table service restaurant.

I should mention Coronado Springs is the only moderate with a convention center, so that might explain the food venues.

I ate at all four of the food venues in El Centro, and had consistently good food throughout.

It probably is my favorite moderate, though my experience with CBR was just before a major rehab. (Disney was going to shut down all of CBR the day after I checked out. No one was at the resort. At night all the windows were dark except for one or two on the way back to your room. You passed no one on the walks. Spooky.)

If you want to be close to the food court, pay for the preferred room. If I stay here again, that'd be my choice. The far rooms from El Centro really are *far*.

End August 2011 Trip Report - Part 1 of 7.

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

Revisions:
  • 09/19/2011 - Page Added
  • 08/26/2012 - Updated to v3
  • 12/30/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 09/01/2014 - Update to v3.2