Sherry H. -- November 2000 -- Coronado Springs
Just back from three nights at WDW. This was a record for me four trips to the World in one year. Getting an annual ticket last year made me want to get my moneys worth out of it. I ended up paying $22.00 a day for my tickets so it was worth it. This trip was last minute. I wanted to go one more time before my annual pass expired and Thanksgiving vacation was an entire week this time. I managed to talk my less than WDW mad college daughter in going with me. I was only able to get two nights on property as I called at the last moment. Still I was thrilled to get Coronado Springs at All Star prices. ($99.00 ) a night. The catch was it was a Magic Kingdom card price and we had lost our current card. We had four expired ones but not the year 2000 one. I took the list advice and faxed our request ahead and called before we left also.
I left on Sat morning and picked Mindy up half way at her University. We arrived at about four. I first tried a sad looking Sleep inn and was told all they had was a queen bed for $69 a night. No bargain there so I found a Days Inn with 400 rooms a little closer to Maingate west for $34 a night for two doubles. The room was larger than All Stars but very run down at the heels. A strange looking man with orange hair hung out at the stair case near the pool for hours . I wanted to hand a sign on him "small boys beware." This is one reason I pay extra to stay on property. Not that WDW world resorts don't have men with orange hair but I do feel safer there. Also the carpets are not thread bare or the hall ways trashy. You do get what you pay for I guess. What I really love about WDW resorts though is the transportation system.
We went to Downtown Disney that evening. There is a lot of road construction on 192 west and it took almost an hour both ways to get three miles. I loved Downtown Disney at night. We found some unique inexpensive Christmas gifts. It was fun but crowded. We had a hard time finding any thing to eat. Mindy had a sandwich from the Pantry ($7.00 ) and I had a hotdog($3.00). We turned in early.
I couldn't wait to check in the next morning at Coronado. It is lovely. On arrival we not only got the special rate but received all our requests to boot. (ground floor, building 8a near the bus stop and the Dig area, nonsmoking and late check out) ah the Disney magic. Location matters here as the place is huge. I could not get over how much nicer it is than CBR or All Stars. A world of difference from the ratty Days Inn.
We took a quick once over and parked the car. It would not be moved again until we left. We grabbed what we needed for the day and went to Animal Kingdom. The glow had not hit me yet. I began to wonder if it is possible to go to WDW too often.
We arrived at AK at around 9 and picked up fast pass for Safari. We had an hour to wait so we took the Pangani Forest trail. We poked in a few stores and then it was time for our fast pass. I love the Safari and it was even better because the guide was from South Africa. I think I understand the Boer war better after seeing a few no nonsense Afrikaner types. They lend a new meaning to the word guttural. She was matter of fact and dry as she did the spiel. My favorite bit was a definite add lib. We were sitting directly behind her so we got to catch "Get off the road little animal or I will smash you." Not in the official script I bet. LOL This sort of thing pleases Mindy to no end . It makes WDW more real and less prefabricated to her.
We then went to the lion king show, a favorite of Mindy's. It was good but I still felt no magic. Then we had a decent lunch at Pizzafari. (Sandwich and Pizza $12.00) Later we had a root beer float and cone from an ice-cream stand.($5.00) We ate it in the marble gazebo in Asia while we waited for our fast pass time for the raft ride . Mindy rode the Rapids with me this time. I got soaked of course and she did not get a drop on her. I slogged my way back to the bus too old for the wet tee shirt look.
At the resort we got our first look at the room. It was perfect. We had a front room. A huge double hammock was right out side our room on the beach. We had no view but the corner location of the room provided a private walkway which served as a private balcony. Very nice. We left the window drapes open and could see no one. Also it was a quiet spot. Mindy went to sleep in the hammock as I lugged every thing from the car. Then I went to the hot tub for a soak.
The dig area is terrific. The hot tub was huge and the pool area is fun. I relaxed and talked up a storm. Food is a short coming there. Not much to eat. The Pepper Market food court was expensive and the food looked awful. Average price was around $13.00 for a basically fast food dinner of no distinction. The Maya Grill looked better but I heard a lot of complaints about it. The place was full of conventioneers. A large group of University sorts were mulling over the Middle east. They hated WDW. I am not sure why. Mainly they felt isolated and never left the resort for dinner. 5 nights at the Pepper Market might have that effect on someone. The grill at the pool was fast but my sad hamburger was on a cold bun (5.00). I managed to awake sleeping beauty and we set off for MGM. . There we were in time for the Osborne lights sneak preview and were surprised by hot chocolate and snow. I loved the lights and made Mindy walk though twice. We had our picture made and she ate a terrible humus wrap at the cafeteria . ($7.00). The we went to Fantasmic! and had a perfect seat for the show. No warm up tonight. That was fine as I was freezing. Smart Mindy was well wrapped but I was in short sleeves and very very cold. We were lucky and had no wait fo for the bus. This was my first trip this year with out rain or the need to wear my duck suit. I went to bed happy but still no magic.
The next morning I woke up early as usual. Mindy wanted to sleep. I had no problem and proposed we meet back at the room at noon. Nooooooooo , She did not like that idea. She wanted to see Beauty and the Beast. Returning to MGM was not what I wanted to do so I tried to get her to do her thing and meet me later. No way. She was afraid we would lose each other for ever. Mindy she is 22 not 5 years old but she held firm. She came to WDW to eat some good expensive meals and to see Beauty and the Beast. So a tad grumpy we set out for MGM at 9. WE both enjoyed the back lot studio ride and then her show. WE ate a fast lunch sandwich and fish and chips (10.00) and took the slow boat ride to EPCOT. Here we saw the movie in France and I managed to get Mindy to let me out of her sight while I went to the Millennium village. She hates the village and even I thought it looked rather tired this trip. It was nearly empty and I quickly went through it. I still like the Jerusalem ride and had a long talk with a nice lady from Eritrea. How does such a poor nation ever afford an exhibit in WDW? When I left the village I was amazed by the crowds. Where did they come from. So far we had experienced few lines or crowds. It was now as if some how 1,000s of bodies had been suddenly planted in EPCOT. Mindy noticed the same thing at France. She entered a line to get her pastry with only 6 people in front of her. By the time she ate her tart the lane was wrapped around out side . Bodies were every where. It was more crowded than our usual Late July trip. The Thanksgiving crowd had arrived. Even China's movie was packed to capacity. This was something I had never seen before.
We had PS for the land. Here was the location of the fancy meal I had promised Mindy. All she could eat and cat fish too. She was drooling at the thought. We were starved and I had promised Mindy at least one good meal. When we got there Mindy noticed a little girl crying. A British mother had not reserved seats and they were filled up. It was a character dinner which I had not been aware of. Mindy sweetly asked it the Mother and her little daughter would like to be us for the meal. The tears stopped and both were happy. I was proud of Mindy but hungry. She wanted to go somewhere else nice but hadn't realized that the resorts were just as crowded. So we ate soup and ice-cream at the land ($10.00). She was a good sport about it. We rode Spaceship earth and then went to Japan to watch the parade for the balcony. It was still cold so after the parade we wandered to England park to watch Illuminations. Again we caught a bus in five minutes and were soon tucked in bed. A very nice day.
The next morning I left Mindy snoring. No argument today. I wanted to at least peek at MK before we left. I was so glad I did . The magic hit me the second I entered the park. I was glowing. It was packed but I didn't care. I found half off plush toys for my class and bought 6. Then I rode Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain twice and Haunted Mansion. By then the crowds were crowding me. Buzz had a fast pass return for 2:30 so sadly I left. I was still full of magic when I returned. Mindy had packed the car and checked out for us. I took last minute pictures of the gingerbread house being decorated and then we left. It was a wonderful trip. I wonder why I love the place so.
Mindy correctly points out for the cost of four trips to WDW I could have take a lovely cruise to most any where or a week long trip to London to see shows. That is very true but the magic pulls me back to WD! W time and time again. I doubt if I will return soon but I will return. Perhaps next time with grandchildren who will share the wonder with me.