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Trip Reports
02-22-2007, 12:51 PM
Kathy Kula - March 2000

Time of Year: Spring
Travel Method: Personal Car
Resort: Disney's Hilton Head Resort
Accommodations: 2 Bedroom Vacation Home
Ages Represented in Group: Adult
WDW Experience Represented in Group: Veteran, Frequent
Comments: Kathy and Stan visited Hilton Head Resort for a week in early March. They planned around a trip they were making to Washington D.C. One of the main objectives for the trip was to investigate buying into the DVC. I'll let you read the report to see how things came out.


Kathy Kula -- March 2000 -- Disney's Hilton Head Resort

Dates of trip: March 4 - 10, 2000
Cast:
Stan, 31 years old, a reluctant Disney fan
Kathy, 29 years old, a Disney fanatic through and through
Mr. Sockpuppet, our faithful travel companion
This is the first time that either of us have gone to the Hilton Head Island (HHI) resort, or stayed in any DVC accommodation.

Pre-trip: We had taken a DVC tour at BWV on our honeymoon in 1998. At the time, Stan and I agreed that once we became homeowners, we could become Disney Vacation property owners. So, we built a house last year, and closed on it on January 28, 2000. Shortly before our house closing, we received an e-mail which told us that we could stay at the DVC HHI resort for $99 a night for three nights with the 4th night free if we agreed to go to a DVC presentation. Since we had to head down to Washington DC for a black tie affair in March anyhow, we planned the trip around the date of the affair and made the reservation.

The week before the trip, I placed an order with Grocery Run and asked to have an activity schedule faxed to me. Unfortunately, it seemed that the activity Stan most wanted to do, nature Kayaking conflicted with the time of our DVC presentation.

Saturday, March 4, 2000

On Saturday, we planned to leave at noon. Somehow, Stan and I ended up not getting out of the house until later than we had planned. At around 12:30, the DVC rep that we had been dealing with at BWV happened to call to see if we'd gone to HHI yet. It was pretty funny considering the fact that we were almost on our way (had it not been for the delay, we would have missed her call). Well, Linda said that she would call one of her friends in the HHI office so that they could split the sale, and she'd let her friend Susan know pretty much where we stood (ready to buy). So, at around 1:00, we finally packed up the car. After a couple of detours for some errands that couldn't wait, we really hit the road at about 3:00 p.m..

We drove as far as Rocky Mount, NC (around 11 p.m.), and we stopped for the night at a Best Western. We did make a few gas stops along the way, and a dinner stop in Virginia.

Mr. Sockpuppet's report:

Well, it was really a pretty boring day, to tell you the truth. I was mostly worried that they would forget me on the dresser, and I wouldn't be able to see this giant Hilton hotel we were heading for. Once Kathy put me in her purse, I just relaxed and looked at her credit cards.

Sunday, March 5, 2000

We decided to go to breakfast at the Denny's next to the Best Western for breakfast.

So, we hit the road at about 10 am or so, and drove south. We stopped a couple of times, and we found another Denny's for lunch (I don't think either of us had ever eaten at this chain before this trip). While we were in the restaurant (in Florence, SC), we ran into somebody that Stan used to work with and her husband! They were heading north from FL (they were vacationing with her daughter and their grandchildren at WDW). What a small world.

We arrived at the resort at about 4:30. When we walked into Live Oak Lodge (the main building), a very friendly CM named Hugh greeted us. He said, "Let's see, the Kulas... we've been waiting for you all day!" To which I responded, "That's good, we've been driving all day!" He went through all of the important information about the resort, highlighted some of his favorite restaurants on the preferred dining list, and just made us feel really welcome. Stan was wearing his DCL sweatshirt, and I was wearing a WDW 2000 T-shirt, so he was asking us how we like the cruise and where we usually stay when we go to WDW. He was so nice, and it was such a wonderful welcome.

We drove over to our villa (2522), and went inside. It is such a beautiful room! We couldn't believe it! As you walk in the door, there is a mudroom to the left, and a secondary bedroom beyond that. In the mudroom, there is a bench with some pegs for hanging things above it. Mickey + Minnie is carved inside a heart on the bench, and W.D. is carved on the other end of the bench. The tile floor has some tiles with dog footprints in them. Those footprints belong to Shadow, the fictional mascot of the resort. There is a closet in the mudroom with a washer/dryer, a vacuum cleaner, an ironing board and iron, and even space to hang some clothes. Directly ahead as you enter the villa is the living area and kitchen (the kitchen is behind the wall of the mudroom). The living area has a sofa bed, a few chairs, and some really quaint lamps and B&W photographs hanging on the wall. The TV and VCR are housed inside the kitchen island which faces the sofa. The kitchen was stocked with the groceries we had ordered from Grocery Run. The cabinets had all of the plates and pots & pans we could need, and there's even a DW and a garbage disposal. The dining area has a round table with a curved bench behind it and two chairs for the other side. Next we checked out the bedroom. The MBr has a king-size bed with a beautiful, rustic-looking quilt as a bedspread, there is an armoire with 3 drawers and the TV, a bench with a padded top that has a drawer, a table with a lamp, and a reading chair. The bed had a wrought iron headboard with a reading lamp attached. There is a door from the MBr out onto the deck (also a door from the LR area). The deck has a picnic table and 2 rocking chairs. The MBa setup is much like at the BWV. A whirlpool tub that has a window looking into the BR and a large vanity with a single sink in that room (plenty of storage under the vanity). The BR closet is located in the room with the tub and the vanity. It has a porta-crib in the closet (unfortunately, the closet smelled a bit musty). Attached to the room with the tub, there is a room with a toilet, pedestal sink, and shower (also accessible from the main hall). The secondary bedroom has 2 queen beds, a table with 2 chairs, a bedside table, and armoire, a closet, and its own bathroom (a little different from BWV where a 2 BR is a 1 BR + a studio).

We called the DVC preview center to see about changing our appointment to Monday, and they had no problem doing so. After we investigated the room, we went out to our car to get the bags. As we were unpacking, Hugh called to see how we like our room. We told him we loved it. Then we walked around the resort a little bit to try to find the activity window (unfortunately, the activity window closed at 5). We saw the Big Dipper pool (right outside our room) and the Broad Creek Mercantile (typical resort shop). They had a few pins there. We also poked our noses into Community Hall, which is just a room with some tables and chairs. It looks like it would be a good place for kids to play games and do crafts. There is a fishing pier that extends over the marsh and we also saw the campfire circle. We headed back to our room and decided to try one of Hugh's recommendations for dinner.

We hopped in the car and drove to The Old Oyster Factory (evidently, few restaurants are open on Sunday nights, and this is one of them). The parking lot was deceptively full. The restaurant is much bigger than it looks on the outside, and we were seated right away. In season, I'm sure this place gets packed quickly. For bread, they brought some tasty hush puppies to the table. I haven't had them in ages, and we enjoyed them. As an appetizer, we ordered an order of steamers and some Oysters Savannah to share. Both were excellent. For dinner, I splurged and had the surf and turf (1 lb. lobster and a petite filet mignon). It was great! Stan had one of the specials - salmon and flounder together in a spiral shape and stuffed with a crabmeat stuffing. His was good, but not very filling. I gave him some of my steak. We received a 10% discount as Disney resort guests, and departed to return to the resort. We parked at Live Oak Lodge and peeked into Big Murgie's Den to see if we would be interested in going to the "Sweet Goodnights" activity. They were telling bedtime stories to children, so we skipped it.

I was pretty tired, and hung out on the couch. Stan crunched some numbers about points and loans, and decided that 170 points would be a good number to meet our needs for the next few years, and the payments (including the dues payments) will be affordable for our budget. I was thinking that 170 - 180 points would be a good amount to start with, so we were in agreement. We each had a Klondike bar (part of the Grocery Run package) and went to sleep.

Mr. Sockpuppet's report:

Well, I was sort of disappointed to learn that Hilton Head Island is not a giant hotel shaped like the head of the hotel magnate. Did you know that the Hilton that discovered the island and the Hilton that started the hotel chain aren't even related? I learned a lot reading that AAA tourbook that Kathy had in her purse. Oh well, I was glad to see that I finally got the respect I deserve, and scored my own bedroom. I don't know what I'll do with the extra bed, but it is nice not to have to fight over the remote. Hey… wait a second, how come my bathroom doesn't have a whirlpool tub? I do have a tee time at Palmetto Dunes tomorrow, so hopefully, Kathy and Stan will drive me to the golf course so I can putt around a bit. Oh, by the way… I'm a little worried… there are paw prints in the mudroom. I certainly hope there aren't any dogs around here. A dog might chew me up and spit me out… like an old sock.

Monday, March 6, 2000

We woke up on Monday morning, and I made Stan some coffee and toasted some bagels for breakfast. Coffee and tea supplies come with the room. After breakfast, we went over to the activity window. We rented 2 bikes for the duration of our stay ($60 for guests, $50 for members), we signed up for the kayaking and for the Dolphin Discovery Cruise (both on Tuesday). I asked about some of the activities that seemed kid oriented, and the CM pretty much confirmed that they were mainly for kids (she said that families are welcome to participate, but they are child oriented). We went up to the Mercantile, and I saw that there were pin lanyards behind the register. I bought some new pins, and promised to come back later to do some trading. We rode our bikes around the resort and I felt like a teenager again... it's been that long since I've been on a bike. I went back to the Mercantile with some of my pins and I traded a Daisy Duck pin for a Ying/Yang mistake pin. It was a little scratched up, but the best thing I could find on the lanyards (she had 3 behind the register - all with pretty much the same pins).

We decided that we should get a lunch ready to go, so we could grab a backpack and go for a picnic on the beach after the sales presentation. I made some sandwiches and Stan got out the bathing suits and beach supplies. We were all packed and ready to go, so we biked over to the preview center, checkbook in hand.

We went inside, and they showed us to a small theater where we saw a video about DVC (nothing we weren't already aware of). Then Susan met us and asked us if we had seen that video when we met with Linda. Frankly, I don't remember many details about what we saw or didn't see two years ago, but confirmed with her that Linda had called to let her know we were coming. So we sat down in a room, and Susan pretty much cut to the chase and asked us exactly where we stood. We told her that we wanted to buy 170 points, use Magical Beginnings, and finance for 10 years. At that point, it was just a case of filling out the forms. We have an October 1999 use year, which means that our next use year begins about 6 months from now, so selling back those points wasn't a biggie (if we needed to, we could even borrow points). She set up a time for our closing that afternoon, and sent us back to our vacation with a financing application and another copy of the book and video. She told us that after we close, it takes about 15 days to finalize the documents, and once we receive the final documents in the mail, we can start making reservations.

So, we biked back to our room, dropped off the DVC stuff, and grabbed our backpack to head to the beach. Since I am the navigator in our family, I led the way, and we followed the bike paths to get to the beach house. The beach house is very cool. The pool there is shaped like the letter "H" and there is a bar/snack bar called Signals (which wasn't open). A room called "Surfman's Station" which has a big screen TV, fireplace, and seating. Stan found a first edition Mark Twain book there (signed by Mark Twain!). There is another snack/sundries bar, but it wasn't open either. We ate lunch at one of the tables in the shade, and then we enjoyed that wonderful heated pool. It was fabulous. We walked out onto the beach for a while, and then we returned poolside, put on some sunscreen, and hung out relaxing for a little while.

We biked home from the beach house, and my thighs were really sore. We decided to try out the sofa bed to see how comfortable it is, and we flopped on it and watched TV and relaxed. It was actually quite comfortable. We also filled out the financing form to the best of our ability. Then we got ready for the closing, and decided that we would leave from the preview center and go directly to dinner. So, we hopped into the car, and drove to Live Oak Lodge, where we asked a CM how to get to the Santa Fe Cafe, another one of the restaurants Hugh had recommended. She must have been new, because she didn't know, and asked someone else to come out and help us.

We drove to the preview center, and Romaine walked us through the closing. We signed just about as many papers as we did when we closed on the house. When we were done signing everything, two other women came in to witness and notarize some of the pages. They asked when we would take our first DVC vacation, and we told them that we hope to use points at BWV and cancel our cash ressies for BWI for December. Then they asked how many times we had gone to WDW and where we stayed. When Stan told them that he proposed to me at V&A's the one girl had goosebumps. They were very friendly and really made us feel welcome. Romaine wasn't that friendly, in fact she said something about wanting to go home early, and that we had ruined her plans.

As we were leaving, I saw a hammock set up for Shadow. I had to take a picture, so I got out my camera (for my "Where's Shadow?" scrapbook layout), and clicked away. One of the nice women offered me a chocolate Shadow dog biscuit, and they offered to take our picture in front of the hand carved Mickey in the lobby area. They were so nice.

Well, we drove over to the Santa Fe Cafe and learned that they don't open until 6 (it was just after 5 at the time). So, we drove over to the other place that Hugh had recommended... Scott's Fish Market. Scott's was open, and not very busy, so we decided to eat there. I wasn't that thrilled with my sautéed shrimp over pasta, but Stan loved his shrimp and scallops over linguine in a clam sauce. The shrimp was very spicy. Normally, I like spicy, but this was overdone where the spices are concerned; it killed any flavor that the shrimp had. We also received a 10% Disney resort guest discount here. After dinner, we drove over to the Shelter Cove mall, and walked around a little. We were looking for a new cummerbund for Stan, since he couldn't find his before we left. They had them in Saks... for $195!!! They also had vests... for $250! So, we left without buying anything.

We drove back to the resort, and decided to check out the campfire. We sat there in the background for a little while, but it was really aimed toward the kids, so we left and decided to go for a swim. We changed into our bathing suits and used the spa and the regular pool. We had a great time (the pool is open until 9, and we had it all to ourselves). After that, we went back to the room for our Klondike bars. I was trying to stay up for Ally McBeal, but fell asleep by 8:30 (must have been all of that bike riding).

Mr. Sockpuppet's Report:

Well, Kathy and Stan dropped me off at Palmetto Dunes for my tee time, but somebody grabbed me and stuck me on their driver, so I didn't really have a very good time. After the golf fiasco, I met up with them at the villa, and decided to go with them to the beach. Thankfully, I got a ride in the backpack, and didn't have to ride a bike (tough to do with no legs). The beach house was cool, but I could really use some shades. I think I saw some nice ones that might fit me in the Mercantile.

Tuesday, March 7, 2000:

The next morning, we woke up, and had our bagels and coffee out on the deck. We decided that we'd check out the Shadow scavenger hunt (if only for scrapbooking purposes). We went over to the activity window to have them change the activities we signed up for to reflect the fact that we were now members (we received temporary member cards at the closing). We walked out on the fishing pier, and took some pictures, and then returned to the area where people were meeting for "Shadow's Doggone Adventure." It was a bunch of little kids and their parents. So, we decided we'd do some exploring around the resort. We walked around, swung on a swing, relaxed in a hammock, and did a lot of biking. It was a bit buggy, so we bought some Off at the Mercantile, and matching hats to wear kayaking.

We decided to go back to the Preview Center, since we realized that we had made a mistake on the financing form (we wrote the incorrect number of months that are still due on the mortgage). They had someone come down from upstairs, and she thought that we wanted to change our financing terms. When we explained that we just wanted to correct a mistake, she thanked us for being so honest and said that it really isn't necessary. She said that she wished that all of the members were as good as we were.

We had to eat an early lunch since the kayaking started at 12:30, so we went back to the room and made shrimp boil (thanks to Grocery Run). I put together a salad, we had the shrimp, and we had some Tostitos and salsa too. We brought everything out to the deck, and had a really wonderful lunch. The shrimp was easy to make, and it was really very tasty. We may have to make it at home, if I can find the seasonings at the grocery store.

After lunch, we sprayed ourselves, and slathered the sunscreen for the Nature Kayaking trip. The guide, George said that it wasn't a race, and he was going to take things very slowly. It was just we and another couple. He gave us a 5 minute lesson on kayaking, and he set each of us up in a kayak. There were also 3 people from another resort that joined us (he said that he was training one of them to be hired as a guide for this company). Of course, I was the slowest one. I had the hardest time going in a straight line. I was spending way too much energy correcting myself. We went against the tide first, and everyone was way ahead of me and Stan. We missed all of the educational content because we were so far behind everyone else. At one point, I was in tears because I felt like I was holding Stan back, and I was having such a miserable time. When we went with the tide, we managed to keep up with them, but neither of us were very happy with this guy George.

We heard him ask the "trainee" if he had any visible tattoos. The trainee said "no," and George said that it was good because a CM can't have a tattoo. Then George told the trainee that he has a tattoo on his leg, but he has to wear make-up to cover it up, and he has a ponytail, but he wears a hat when he represents Disney. I thought that this was very poor guest service on his part. He shouldn't have said anything in front of guests to complain about Disney's policies or flaunt the fact that he found a way around them.

We were going to lodge a formal complaint, but just made a note of our disappointment on the "We're All Ears" form in the room.

Well, somehow, I got a lot of water in my boat, and my pants were soaked, so we went up to the room and changed for the Dolphin Discovery Cruise.

I was very glad that we didn't have to use our own power for this trip. We met Captain Tyler, and he brought us to the dock where we met Captain Dave. There were 11 people, and they can fit up to 6 in a boat, so we went with Dave. It was a very fast little boat we were on, and we quickly got out of the Broad Creek area and into the open water. At first we saw some younger dolphins that were jumping up out of the water, but since they are younger, they didn't know what to think of us, and kept their distance. Then Dave got on the radio with Tyler and discovered that Tyler had seen one of the resident dolphins - Blackbeard. There are some dolphins that they see over and over again, and they give them names. As we sped over to where Tyler was, Dave told us that he and Blackbeard are good friends, and Blackbeard will always come to Dave when he holds his hand out. Well, we got to see a whole bunch of wonderful dolphins... Blackbeard, Nick, and a few others. He said that Blackbeard and Nick like to eat and go cruising for females. We saw a whole bunch of dolphins all playing at the surface of the water, and two of them swam along the surface next to our boat. It was very cool, and I hope that I got enough pictures for a layout. As we were leaving, Dave told us that dolphins have sex in threes, which was certainly interesting to learn. It was a very cool experience, and I'd gladly go again.

After the cruise, we went for a swim in the pool. I was sort of disappointed to see that the water slide had closed for the day, but I figured I'd have a chance on Wednesday to try it out.

After our swim, we showered, and dressed for dinner. We drove over to the Santa Fe Cafe, and it was open. We were seated quickly. I ordered my standard for the trip "Sprite," (no caffeine, no artificial sweeteners, a relatively good choice if I happen to be pregnant), when she asked if we'd like margaritas. Hmmm... I'd love a margarita, but I'm not drinking alcohol right now... After she left, Stan reminded me that I could always order a virgin margarita, so we called her back to the table, and I ordered a virgin, and Stan ordered a regular one. MMMmmmm... it was yummy! Hugh had told us not to miss the "Painted Desert soup" so we each ordered a bowl of that and some tortilla chips. The chips were great - very warm. The salsa was so fresh, and she also gave us a bowl of this green salsa that was very spicy... and very tasty. The Painted Desert soup is two different colored cream soups poured into a bowl at the same time to create a horizon. Guacamole and mole sauce are used to draw cacti, clouds, etc., a dollop of sour cream acts as the sun. It was beautiful and delicious! I has a yummy chimichanga, and Stan ordered the "Santa Fe sampler" which he said was tasty, but not very filling. I was very happy with the Santa Fe Cafe.

After dinner we went straight back to the room for Klondike bars and sleep.

Mr. Sockpuppet's report:

Well, it was a pretty boring day. While Kathy and Stan were out kayaking, I headed poolside, and made good use of that waterslide. I got a little wet, but it's OK because I'm wash and wear. I went with them on the dolphin cruise, and I had fun checking out the dolphins. When they went out for dinner, I hung out in the villa watching the Super Tuesday election results on TV.

Wednesday, March 8, 2000:

We woke up Wednesday and decided to go to the Grand Villa for "Member's Day" coffee. Stan had some coffee, I had some OJ, and we took a look around the HHI 3 BR. It is very nice. I met a CM named Alex who was putting on his lanyard, and he had some good pins. He didn't even realize that his Tink pin and his Aurora pins are "mistakes." I saw a few I liked, so I ran back to the room to get some TDS pins to trade. I traded a Huey Dewey and Louie for a 25th Anniversary pin, and a Fantasia pin for a CM DVC pin. Since they didn't have any food there, we went back to the villa for bagels on the deck. There were men working on the waterslide right outside our room. Oh well, so much for going on the waterslide that day. :(

After breakfast, we walked over to the activity window to sign up for the member's only "Behind the Ears tour." We were the only ones signed up, but we were joined by a CM in training, Amanda. Gordon, our guide was very nice, and I thought he looked just like our friend Joe. We learned all about how they had done environmentally sound things around the resort to enhance guest enjoyment without harming nature. The drainage system on the island cost them megabucks, but it was the best way to keep the resort area from becoming all marsh without harming the Eco-system. They installed some thin wires above the eating area to cause vibrations that would annoy crows and keep them away (he said that the crows are very aggressive and not afraid of people). He showed us some Hidden Mickeys around the resort, and told us about some of the artists that did the artwork on the signs. The mailboxes and birdhouses scattered around the resort are antiques found at flea markets and such. He showed us how they had made special provisions in several cases for some of the live oaks located near the roadway (to ensure their survival). It was a truly fascinating tour, and we really felt it was worth our time. We ended up in Big Murgie's Den where he showed us some HMs in commissioned artwork (we thought the artwork wasn't Disney). He also showed us a picture of Walt and Lillian and some Disney "artifacts."

After the tour, we went to the beach house. I drove, and Stan rode his bike. Between the traffic lights and the slow speed limit, we arrived at about the same time. We hung out at the pool and went swimming for a while. It was really enjoyable. We went down on the beach, and I sat in the sand while Stan went to get his bike. The sand is so fine and soft there. I didn't mind getting it between my toes and stuff. Stan rode his bike up the beach, and came back a while later. I just sat in the sand while he did this. When he came back, he had the biggest smile on his face! He had really had a lot of fun! So, I hopped on Stan's bike and tooled around a bit myself. It really was a lot of fun. We went wading out into the water, and walked out to the sandbar. We could see some dolphins playing off in the distance, and we just enjoyed watching the families and their children playing in the sand. We looked forward to bringing our own children there.

We went back up by the pool to dry off, and then I hopped in the car, and Stan hopped on his bike, and we went back to the resort. I cooked hot dogs for lunch, and we ate out on the deck and watched the workmen. At one point, a crow came over to bother us, and I was sure that he'd try to steal our food. I managed to scare him away, and another one came over to beg. We finished our lunch and headed inside.

We put a load of wash into the washer, figuring that we'd bring home only clean clothes. Then we headed out to the pool at the resort. We hung out there for a while, splashing around, and we spent some time in the spa. While we were in the spa, a woman and her son joined us (he must have been about 4 years old, and just sat on the edge). As we were getting out, the woman asked us if her son could ask us a question. He said, "Are you on vacation, or do you live here." LOL! I told the little boy that we were on vacation, and we were sorry to have to leave tomorrow. The mother told us that her son thought that everyone else at the resort lived there, and that he was so sad that their family wasn't as lucky as the people who lived there all of the time. It was too cute.

We decided to get dressed and go outlet mall shopping. We put the darks in the dryer, and put the lights in the washer. We went had fun walking around the outlets. The Disney Catalog Outlet store had some great buys... just about everything Stan bought me for Christmas was there... and cheap! I bought a Belle sweatshirt for $7 (originally $36) and a pair of Donald Duck PJs for $14 (originally $48). I was also able to use my MKC discount, so everything came to ~$20 including tax. We found a men's wear store that had tie and cummerbund sets for $20 (sold!).

We returned to the resort and did a little more shopping. On member day, you can get 10% off your purchases at the Mercantile, so we each bought a T-shirt and a member pin. We also bought a BWV pin, since that is our home resort.

We went back to the room, and the clothes were not dry, so we put them in for longer. Then we rode our bikes over to Live Oak Lodge to find out where we should go for dinner (since Hugh's recommendations worked out so well, we figured we'd ask again). Eric recommended Boathouse II (pretty far from the resort), so we changed for dinner, and drove out there. It was good. We each had a cup of the Carolina Crab Chowder, which was excellent. Stan had the surf and turf (1/2 a lobster stuffed w/ crabmeat stuffing and a filet mignon), and I had the filet mignon topped with crabmeat. We had dessert there, since we were out of Klondike bars.

We returned to the resort, and decided to return the bikes and check to see if we could find a gift for Chip. Of course, the activity window was closed, so we slipped a note underneath that told them the combo and our name so they wouldn't have to look it up. No gift for Chip, but I did have a nice conversation with a CM behind the counter, and we bought some MM sunglasses for Mr. Sockpuppet.

We went back to the room, and the clothes were still damp, so we put them in for longer and went for a swim. We arrived at the pool at about 8:15 - still 45 minutes left for swimming. There is always Disney music playing at the pool, so we got in, and we were dancing around the pool to the strains of "When you wish Upon a Star"... then the music was abruptly cut off for some unknown reason. It was pretty funny, because just as we were noticing how perfect the music was for the moment, it stopped. After our last dip in the pool, we went back to the room, changed into PJs, and packed up. The darks were still slightly damp, but we were ready to give up. We put the lights in the dryer and started packing our suitcases. We used that 2nd bedroom as an area for packing, so we'd be sure not to forget anything. There wasn't much food left, but I made some sandwiches with the remaining lunchmeat, for the drive the next day, and we decided what could go and what had to be thrown out. We were all packed, except for the clothes in the dryer. Eventually, we started taking things out, a few at a time, and ironed them to get some moisture out. We ended up packing a bunch of wet things. We went to sleep for the last time.

Mr. Sockpuppet's report:

Well, I pretty much spent the day poolside at the beach house and back at the resort. Stan and Kathy were generous enough to finally buy me some sunglasses… great… just in time to leave! I was contemplating going to the outlets with them, but I'm glad I didn't… I would've missed some good daytime TV. Oh, BTW… I am soooo glad that they didn't try to put me in that lousy dryer!

Thursday, March 9, 2000:

We got up at 5:30, and we were out of there by 6:00 a.m.. Oh, I had called for a wake-up call the night before, but we never got it. We stopped at a McDonald's for breakfast, and ate in the car. We stopped a few times for gas, and had lunch at a rest area in NC (those sandwiches just hit the spot), and we arrived at the Courtyard by Marriott in Roslyn, VA at around 4:30. We rested for a little while and then got dressed for the affair. Stan looked so handsome in his tux, and I wore a full-length gown that I had purchased for a formal affair in December.

Stan missed the entrance for the Four Seasons the first time past, so we had to turn around (not an easy task). As we finally approached the entrance for valet parking at the Four seasons, there was some sort of Secret Service activity around the entrance to the hotel for about 15 minutes. We had no choice, but to sit there and wait. We finally got inside, enjoyed the reception, and met a lovely couple from the DC area.

Friday, March 10, 2000:

We checked out and went to the Jefferson Memorial. Jefferson is my favorite president. Then we walked around the Tidal Basin to the new FDR memorial. WOW! It is great. There are four outdoor rooms that represent his four terms, and some of the things got us a little choked up. FDR is Stan's favorite president.

We drove home, stopping only for gas and a quick lunch at Burger King. We arrived home at about 5 p.m.

Mr. Sockpuppet pretty much slept through our trip to Washington DC, and on the drive home.

Epilogue:

I received a call from the manager of the kayaking service that Disney uses a few days after we returned home. The man asked us how we think things could have been done a little better, and he apologized for the fact that George was not able to accommodate people of widely different abilities better than he did. He said that it is not meant to be something that only the athletic and coordinated people can do, and he offered to give us a personal kayaking tour the next time we are on HHI. The phone call was really more than enough to make up for what we felt was poor guest service, and we felt it was very generous of the manager to make this offer.

Kathy Kula