Monday, June 15, 2009

WDW Hotel Hopping and a Near-Disaster was Avoided

Today was our last day before our family arrives. We had no major plans, so we decided to do some hotel-hopping at the hotels around Bay Lake in Walt Disney World. We walked down to the dock at the campground and boarded one of the boats for the trip across the lake. It was very hot today with high humidity so the trip across the lake in the open air boats felt great.

This hotel is the Wilderness Lodge. It is really beautiful and done in a mountain lodge theme. The lobby is 2 or 3 stories tall with huge beams. Really nice. The grounds of this hotel are spectacular. The next stop on our journey was at the Grand Floridian Resort Hotel & Spa. This is the cream of the crop here at WDW. We've come here on previous trips for a meal but we have never stayed here. Way....way.....way....beyond our budget! The theme here is of a luxurious Victorian hotel from long ago.
As we approached the boat dock, we could see 2 monorail trains passing each other. One was on the way to the Magic Kingdom and the other was going to stop at the hotel.

This is the 2 story lobby at the Grand Floridian. It is really amazing and over the top in opulence. Wow!
We were thinking about getting our Quick Service meal here at the Grand Floridian but changed our minds and got on the boat again. This time we headed toward the Polynesian Resort.

This is the Polynesian as we arrived at the dock. At this time I was busy taking some photos and wasn't paying attention to much else. We got off the boat and walked all the way into the hotel lobby up this dock.
In the lobby, I went to change my sunglasses and HEY! WHERE'S MY TOTE BAG? Oh my gosh, I must have left it on the boat. It held our glasses cases with our regular glasses, my Annual Pass ticket to the parks, my wallet with credit card and driver's license. Holy Smokers!! I tore out of the hotel calling back to Bruce that I was missing my bag. I actually began running! Yes, me...a 58 year old hauling butt out the door and down that wooden dock toward the boat. Oh, I was praying that the boat driver was still there. They usually only stay at a dock long enough to get everyone off.

I'm sure I looked stupid flying down the dock in my sandals (which are not good running shoes) but at least I didn't fall....SPLAT.....right on my face. I came running down this dock (photo below) and there was that wonderful boat pilot standing waiting for me with the tote bag in his hand. He said he was only going to be able to wait a couple of minutes longer and then he'd have to have gone on to the next stop. My bag would have been turned into the lost and found way back at the Magic Kingdom where his headquarters were. I thanked him a million times and he was very nice about it. I was a victim of identity theft a few years ago and I was so worried about my ID in my wallet falling into the wrong hands. Whew! A near disaster was avoided.
We left the Polynesian and went over to our final stop, The Contemporary Hotel. This is our favorite and it is the hotel where Stephanie, Darin and the girls will be staying while they are here. It has the unique feature of having the monorail train run right through the middle of the hotel. I think this was the first hotel opened when Walt Disney World opened in 1971.

We ate our lunch at the Contempo Cafe, a quick service restaurant, and then we went up to the 9th floor to look down and take these photos. In this one you can see the monorail train entering the hotel for it's stop to take on more passengers. To the left of the photo you can see the Chef Mickey Buffet Restaurant. We have already eaten a breakfast there and will eat there again with the family.

Here is another shot of the monorail leaving the hotel at the other end.

This is again looking down to the restaurant area. You can see a huge tile mural on the wall. This area is on the 4th floor and I think the levels extend up to the 15th floor. This is the Contempo Cafe restaurant where we ate our lunch.

Tomorrow morning we are coming back over here to the Contemporary Hotel to eat our breakfast and wait for the kids to arrive. Their plane is scheduled to arrive at Orlando's airport around 7:00 am. Can't wait to see them! We haven't seen them since we left Tumwater on March 9th.

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