Articles | Disneyland | Walt Disney World
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Sue (Holland) Rayford, Old Key West, Sept 3-7, 2020

  1. #1
    MousePlanet Columnist
    Join Date
    Apr 2001

    Sue (Holland) Rayford, Old Key West, Sept 3-7, 2020


    Who: Sue (61), DVC Member
    Holli (57), friend & co-worker
    Chris (33), son
    Amanda (31), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson
    Dates: September 3 7, 2020
    Resort: Disneys Old Key West Resort Grand Villa
    Experience: Very Experienced 60th stay at OKW

    Once again, the covid pandemic messes up another planned trip. This time it was club level at Jambo House, intended to mainly enjoy the lounge & the resort for 6 nights. I had studios for Holli part of the time, and Chriss family part of the time. Since covid, Jambo House isnt officially open yet, and Disneys not doing club level services anywhere. I could have done nothing and been moved to Kidani, but thats not comparable to club level in my opinion. This gives us the opportunity to create the faux concierge lounge again, and a studio isnt suitable for that. Work is also still very busy, so in the end I decided to shorten the trip to 4 nights and find a different place to stay.

    Access to parks wasnt a priority but having something nice & spacious for a reasonable number of points was so I booked a grand villa at Old Key West. With nearly 2400 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 4 full bathrooms, the 5 of us will be comfortable. SB could have come, but he decided to skip this trip. Ive had a grand villa once before, for a decade birthday, but Chris wasnt along on that trip so this will be his first time (same for the others).

    Holli is a golfer, so she & Chris are golfing the Palm course (wanted Lake Buena Vista but it was closed, booked Magnolia & then that got canceled & replaced with Palm) Saturday morning. The rest of us can enjoy the pool. Chris family wont arrive until after work on Friday, and theyll spend some time in the parks each day. We all plan to visit Epcot Saturday afternoon/evening, to enjoy Food & Wine. Sunday the Hollands have Hollywood Studios, and I canceled my park reservation just not interested in this heat and dont care about Star Wars stuff or standing in long queues for attractions I used to do with fastpass.

    We (the whole group) dont have any dining reservations and will likely just play it by ear. The Hollands have Sci Fi Dine In booked for an early dinner Sunday. Holli & I are fine with the faux concierge lounge offerings. Were bringing way too much cheese, wine, meats & other foods for us all to possibly eat in 4 days. But thats ok well just take the leftovers back home, and while on the trip well have lots of variety! With Ari along this time I made sure to get some kid-friendly cheeses, and some mini corn dog nuggets plus mini Chips Ahoy and those teddy bear crackers. Hollis bringing other foods hell like. I have the butter chicken (served in the real concierge lounge at Jambo House on Friday nights), and chicken tikka samosas.

    Were still in the pandemic, so I fully expect to spend part of my time working, but hopefully not too much. Lately Ive had 13 hour days, so working only part of the time will be a treat. Well both call in for a conference call with our COVID team Thursday & Friday. The Agency call switched to Microsoft Teams and I wasnt able to get my work email to work on my laptop (oh darn, lol) so we wont bother with that. We do mandatory testing of all staff (approx. 800 people who arent exempt due to being previously positive or who are out on long term leave) and Ive got the lead on that. Tuesday was our mass testing day, with Thursday (departure day) being the day we schedule people who were off on Tuesday. I have to report results daily, so Ill be monitoring the labs portal to see what were dealing with. I will be so glad when this covid crap ends, as Im sure everyone else will be glad too!

    The plans so far are:
    Thursday 9/3: Drive to WDW, Faux Concierge Lounge
    Friday 9/4: Pool, Disney Springs, Faux Concierge Lounge
    Saturday 9/5: Chris & Holli golf, Pool, Food & Wine
    Sunday 9/6: Pool, Skyliner, Faux Concierge Lounge
    Monday 9/7: Drive to Gainesville

    DAY 1 Thursday 9/3/20
    Who: Sue (61), DVC Member
    Holli (57, friend & co-worker

    Plan: Drive to WDW, Faux Concierge Lounge

    Actual: Sorry about the date confusion in the last email. This trip is occurring in September not August. Normally I work a half day when Im going to Disney, but with covid/testing stuff and Disneys trend of not having MY rooms ready early, I worked from 4 am to 1:15 pm, so essentially a full day for many people. Although we left at 1:15, that was knowing wed need to load Hollis car and pack up whatever coolers worked best for the trip, so we just hoped to be on the road before 2, so we could hopefully be inside the villa in time for our 4:15 conference call.

    We were on the road by 1:30 and at Old Key West almost 2 hours later. I noticed around 2:15 that I had the your room is ready email! Were in building 48, which is the Southpoint area and where I requested to be. We stopped at the front desk to make sure our magic bands would work, not wanting to get frustrated at the door and being so far away from getting it fixed! Once that was taken care of we drove down to the villa and got our stuff moved inside.

    The villa looked smaller than I remembered, but its more than enough space for this size party! When looking at photos I wasnt sure I liked the new floors, but in person they look very nice. I took some photos before we got too settled, we put the groceries and wine away, and then it was time to get on our daily COVID call at work.

    This grand villa is very similar to the one at Hilton Head, but has a few differences on the ground floor. The shape is different, with Hilton Head being more square and OKW having angles. Hilton Head has a fireplace, while OKW does not. Both are nice, and great places to stay! Both are nicer & bigger than the staff house Im living in currently. There really isnt anything to nitpick or complain about. Its odd to not see golfers outside, but it seems the golf course is closed right now. Thats a shame, as wed have a great view of people playing through.

    While I finished up some work calls after the conference call, Holli got to work cutting up some of the cheeses wed brought I think we have 10-12 different cheeses! I eventually joined her in the kitchen to handle the crackers, and something else must have come up because she set everything out in the living room, poured the wine, etc. I showed up to take a photo, lol.

    We have 2 remotes, a tv and a dvr player. I didnt know what worked with what, but when I turned on the power button and the tv came on, the sound was too loud. I turned it down to zero and it was still loud. Eventually we figured out it was the damn sound bar/speaker under the tv, and the big remote was for that. Unfortunately the battery was critically low so we put it on the charger and turned the volume way down, then just let the Disney music from the parks info tv channel play in the background quietly.

    We settled in for our faux concierge lounge experience, and after a short while called cruise buddy Fran via facetime. We talked for quite a while, enjoying seeing each other. Well get together in person in early November, which will be the first time for Fran & Holli to meet in person. Later in the evening Holli & I were looking at my photos from the itinerary of the cruise that was canceled on us for this December, and another cruise to a slightly different itinerary but on the ship we were supposed to be on. There was a photo of Fran & me in Bonaire and Holli was shocked to see that Fran is shorter than me (Id never noticed). She commented I didnt think anyone was shorter than you, lol!

    The rest of the evening was spent nibbling, sipping wine, and conversing. Id thought about going out to show her around the resort, but before I knew it, it was dark outside. Wed both been up early me at 3am, her by 4am, so we called it a night around 9. After cleaning up the little bit of stuff we had, she went upstairs to her bedroom and I retreated to the master bedroom. It should be a nice, comfortable & quiet night!

    Today was a great start to the trip. It was a relief having the villa ready before we arrived, so we were able to get moved in before our conference call. I spent half the drive on work calls with Tallahassee about a critical issue facing the agency, and a few shorter calls. This COVID crap is creating so many problems and its so tiresome. This evening I disconnected, but will be back at it in the morning. I love the grand villa Holli really likes it too. Tomorrow were headed out to the pool by 9, then Im not sure what well do after that. We do have our daily COVID call earlier tomorrow, at 1:15, so that limits us somewhat. But, well make the best of it, and appreciate being here vs actually at work!

    DAY 2 Friday 9/4/20
    Who: Sue (61), DVC Member
    Holli (57), friend & co-worker
    Chris (33), son
    Amanda (31), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Pool, Disney Springs, Faux Concierge Lounge

    Actual: I think for me it was lights out shortly after 10, and I slept well loved being back in a Disney bed and slept much better than when I was here last month. After initially waking at 4, I didnt actually get up until 5. After making my cappuccino I checked the testing results and saw another positive staff in the batch released overnight, so I called our infection control nurse and then notified our covid team via email. We had a significant outbreak in a pair of homes at work who are buddy homes meaning the staff are trained to work with both sets of residents. This new positive is also from those homes, so not surprising.

    Holli came downstairs around 7:30, and made her coffee. I had my egg and slice of bacon, and we hung out in the villa for a little bit longer before heading over to the Southpoint pool around 8:00. We wandered around the resort first, going down to the Old Turtle Pond Road area before heading back.

    The Southpoint pool was deserted, so we had it to ourselves for quite a while. We socially distanced me on one side of the pool and Holli on another, but that was mainly because I wanted sun and she wanted shade not covid related, lol. Eventually two other parties came, and took the other 2 corners. It was a nice quiet morning, but hotter than hell! I had to spend time in the water in order to cool off once in a while.

    We left the pool at 11 and dropped our stuff off in the villa then caught the next bus up to the Hospitality House. Holli got something in the store, then we went to Goods to Go where she got the power salad and I got the banana bread. From there we walked over to Peninsular Road and caught the next bus back to Southpoint. Our luck with buses so far has been great we walk right on with no wait!

    Back at the villa we were unable to get inside the lock didnt seem to work. From the parking lot I called the resort and they promised to send maintenance. Luckily we had a shady spot to stand in! Eventually a lady came and wouldnt you know it the lock worked fine. I think its temperamental though.

    Holli ate her salad, I had a few bites of the banana bread (excellent) & then took my shower. By the time I was dressed and blow-dried it was time for the COVID conference call, so we did that. I was happy the last of the test results from Tuesdays testing popped up during the call. Now I just track the testing from after Tuesday.

    After the call we walked back over to another waiting bus and rode to Magic Kingdom. Our destination was Wilderness Lodge, so this worked out well. However, we had to go through the temperature check and security to get to the boat dock. We road the boat over, sitting out front with a nice view.

    At the Lodge we walked around outside a bit then went inside for much needed air conditioning. Holli was impressed with the lobby its one of the prettiest ones in my opinion. We also toured the Villas as well, and then headed out to the bus stop. Here we had the only wait of the trip.

    We were headed to Bay Lake Tower and the Contemporary, but the little boats are not running so we took the bus to Magic Kingdom, went through temperatures and security again, then walked to Bay Lake Tower. She liked the modern feel of it, and there were lots of people in the pool area (too crowded for me). We took the elevator up to the 5th floor and crossed the walkway to the Contemporary.

    Once there Holli needed water, so we stopped at the Marketplace for her to buy a bottle. She remembered this resort as a child, and was amazed at the changes since then. After touring around we went down to the lobby and wisely stood inside the air conditioned lobby until we saw a bus pull up to the bus stop.

    With that strategy we once again walked onto a bus, and this one was headed to Epcot, which is the closest park to Old Key West. It started to rain on the way over slowly at first, then fat raindrops, and then a downpour. When we got to Epcot it was pouring. I had a small umbrella, but Holli didnt. We got off the bus and I noticed the next stop had an Old Key West bus sitting there. How lucky can you get???? I shouted to Holli that it was our bus, and we squeezed through the railing to stay under cover and boarded the waiting bus without getting wet again. Wow!

    By the time we got back to Old Key West it had let up significantly. The driver commented that we were fortunate the rain had almost stopped for us, and I thanked him for arranging that for us. He laughed, and said we try to please <g>. We got into the villa after an initial problem with the door lock.

    A little before 5 Holli started cutting up cheeses for tonight and we decided to also add some chicken tikka samosas and soft pretzel nuggets. Once again the faux lounge was very nice. Holli had some red wine and I stuck with sauvignon blanc. Thunderstorms rolled in, with lots of lightning and crazy pouring rain. The golf course looks a mess, with lots of standing water.

    Chris, Amanda & Ari were on the road about 5:20, which means itll be closer to 8:30 before they get in. We enjoyed our food & beverage & conversation. Amanda texted later to say their arrival will be closer to 9 since theyll need to stop to charge the car. Rodney yes, Chris needs to get a real car <g>. I couldnt do this Tesla stuff, as Im too impatient to stop to charge it. They do enjoy never paying for gas though.

    I decided to go ahead and get this day posted, so after the others arrived I could just enjoy them and then head to bed without any responsibilities. Today was a nice relaxing day, despite the work stuff. The only frustration was with a staff claiming her test was inconclusive (not one of the result categories) and wanting to be retested because her brother was exposed to a positive person and she spends time with her brother. After repeated phone calls once I informed people that her test result was negative, it all started to make sense. She wanted to be off for the holiday weekend, and thought needing a retest (under bogus claims) would put her out until the results came back, which would be the long weekend. She was instructed by her division to return to work we dont need this bull.

    Tomorrow Chris & Holli will golf while Amanda, Ari & I spend time at the pool. After Aris nape well head to Epcot for Food & Wine Festival. I sure hope it doesnt rain like it did today!

    DAY 3 Saturday 9/5/20
    Who: Sue (61), DVC Member
    Holli (57), friend & co-worker
    Chris (33), son
    Amanda (31), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Chris & Holli golf, Pool, Food & Wine

    Actual: The rest of last evening was terrific. Holli suggested taking a glass of wine over to the pool, so we headed over there. Since I want my wine cold I brought the ice bucket and filled it at the bus stop so Id have ice. Shed earlier said it wasnt muggy, so the rest of the night I (and the others) teased her about that. It was ridiculously muggy!!! Sitting at a table by the pool, the chairs, arms of the chair, and table were soaking wet from the damn mugginess.

    Amanda texted to say they were at the gate, so we gathered up our muggy selves and walked back to the villa. Chris, Amanda & Ari had just parked and gotten out of their car when we walked over, and I called out to Ari. He left his suitcase and came running over to give me a big hug, so excited! He also hugged Holli, saying he was happy to see her. We went up to the villa and Ari was so funny he was so excited, saying this is so awesome and oh my god this is awesome over and over. We were all quietly laughing.

    Ari got the grand tour, and picked which bed was his in their bedroom, then we retreated downstairs. Chris & Amanda brought me a couple bottles of wine from a winery in the outer banks (they were there last week), so I put one in the fridge and left the other to take home since we had more than enough already chilled.

    Id brought Ari one of those magic pen things, with a Frozen theme. He sat at the dining room table and colored most of the pages, and I reheated the leftover chicken tikka samosas and soft pretzel nuggets for Amanda. Chris & Holli were talking golf, and making plans to leave at 7 tomorrow for their tee time. It was after 10 before everyone headed off to their bedrooms, and nearly 11 before I turned in for the night.

    Being up so late, I slept later than I have in a long time until 5:30! It was a great sleep, too. I made my cappuccino and brought it back to bed, where I watched the local news and did stuff on the computer. Chris was up by 6:30 and made coffee we chatted for a bit. Before I knew it Ari was coming down the stairs, and Holli.

    Chris & Holli left at 7 for their golfing, and Amanda & I hung out with Ari. He had some mini donuts and a hard-boiled egg for breakfast while watching Disney Junior in the living room. Hes decided this villa is our new home and well be staying here for good, lol.

    I made breakfast (egg and bacon) for Amanda and me, then we all hung out for a bit until it was time to go to the main pool. It opens at 9, and since thats where the water slide is we figured it was the best choice for Ari. Unfortunately it also means we either have a long walk or have to get there by bus, which is a pain.

    We walked over to our bus stop and almost immediately a bus pulled in. After stopping at Old Turtle Pond and Millers Road we finally arrived at the Hospitality House bus stop. It was just a minute or 2 before 9 and as we approached the pool area I commented about being surprised to not see a line of people still going in. There was a good reason for that the sign on the locked gate said the pool opens at 10! We were NOT happy, and knew it was 9am before we came. Not wanting to sit around for an hour in the heat, waiting for the pool to open, we walked to the Peninsular Road bus stop (which was very crowded) and caught the next bus that arrived to return to South Point.

    We went to the quiet pool, which also had more people than yesterday. We lasted about 2 hours, and towards the end a big group with several rambunctious boys arrived to that was our queue to leave. We walked back over to the villa and I took my shower while Amanda fixed some beef ravioli for Aris lunch.

    By the time I came out Ari was upstairs, where he fell asleep for his nap almost instantly. Amanda and I headed up the rest of the chicken tikka samosas for lunch, and waited for the golfers to return. They were getting through at a slower pace, and likely wont be finished until closer to 1pm.

    Chris & Holli were back just after 1, and wolfed down the sandwiches theyd brought back with them. They said it was unbearably hot, and with the course being wet it was limited to driving only on the cart path no driving onto the grass. Many of the grassy areas were muddy, and they had to do a lot more walking since they couldnt take the cart off the paved path. Still, they enjoyed it although it wasnt a great golf experience.

    We were out the door by 3, and drove over to Epcot. None of the charging parking spaces were available (theres only 4), so we parked in the row beyond the handicapped parking & walked in. Trams are not running, so it can be a very long walk depending on which lot your car gets parked in. Walking past the chargers we could see one of the cars was fully charged, but the owner evidently doesnt care about other people & hadnt moved out of that spot to make room for someone else.

    At the temperature station most of us did not pass just walking the short distance in this oppressive heat had our skin temps too high. We were directed into a cooling tent, where we sat until the temps came back down. We also got cups of water and were reminded to hydrate in the park. Security and entry was a breeze, and we made the long hot walk out to World Showcase. Its so much nicer coming in from International Gateway!

    Our first stop was Hawaii, for the pulled pork sliders. Chris & Holli each got one, and Amanda got 2 theyre her favorite thing! I decided to pass, and heard someone yelling my name. It was a former co-worker from Tallahassee, Dawn also dvc members. She & her husband were eating sliders from Hawaii, so we shared their table and spent a little time catching up. It was great seeing her, but miserable out there at the sunny table in this heat!

    We continued on, and made a loop around World Showcase. Several of the stands had pretty long queues, and Mexico overall was very crowded. Nothing was worth standing in line in the sun, so we just kept on walking. At the Festival building between UK and Canada we had to wait briefly to be admitted, and thoroughly enjoyed the air conditioning! This place is a great idea!

    Amanda found a table with 2 chairs, so Holli & I grabbed it while they were in the mac & cheese line. We scrounged up a couple other chairs, and Ari just used his stroller. Chris had the lobster mac & cheese, and Ari had the gourmet mac & cheese. With the herb cheese/butter and bread crumbs it looks different enough to make him hesitant to eat it which is why he didnt get a cake pop last time.

    Holli & I went up and each got the gourmet mac & cheese and the chenin blanc both were very good, and I passed off some of my mac & cheese to Amanda. Chris went to the Festival favorites booth and came back with the kielbasa and potato pierogie, and the seafood fishermans pie. The kielbasa looked really good Ill have to try that on a future visit.

    Once Ari finished his mac & cheese Chris & Holli went to the dessert stand. Holli brought us each back an m & m cake pop, while Chris had a twix cake pop and the frozen smores drink for Amanda. Amanda didnt care for the cake pop, but the rest of us enjoyed them. I shared mine with Ari, since I knew it was more than I needed. Holli loved hers but couldnt finish it.

    After our wonderful cool respite we headed back out, and went into Future World. Nemo had a 15-minute wait, so we rode that. The line moved continuously so it wasnt bad plus the waiting area is air conditioned! After that we went to Spaceship Earth, with a 35-minute wait. That was tougher, but at least there was a breeze. When we got off the attraction we headed to the car & returned to the villa.

    Since wed eaten at Epcot the faux concierge lounge was very scaled down tonight just a few of the basics. Still, we had plenty, and all sat around the coffee table nibbling and conversing. Ari ate a lot of cheese, and a couple times I made him a plate with sliced Colby jack that spelled his name he got a kick out of that.

    It was nearly 9 before Ari went to bed, and the rest of us probably wont be up too much later. Today was a great day, other than the disappointment of the 10am pool opening time and the unbearable heat & humidity. Otherwise, the company was good and its great being here.

    Tomorrow well have some pool time, and then Holli & I set out to tour Riviera and ride the skyliner. Chris, Amanda & Ari head to Hollywood Studios after Aris nap. After that well spend an evening home.

    DAY 4 Sunday 9/6/20
    Who: Sue (61), DVC Member
    Holli (57), friend & co-worker
    Chris (33), son
    Amanda (31), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Pool, Skyliner, Faux Concierge Lounge

    Actual: Last night I didnt sleep quite as well for some reason. After turning in before 10, I woke up thinking it was morning but it was just after midnight. I woke up a few other times too, then got up just after 5 to make my cappuccino. Checking test results, I saw one person whod been sent home with symptoms was in fact positive. Thats bad news, as he was working in our isolation homes and we were all hoping hed be negative so he could return to work. Now itll be 10 days from his test (hes feeling fine now). I made the notifications, but using email since hes already home.

    It's hard to believe this is the last full day of the trip already it would be nice to stay longer, but thats not possible. Holli & I were sitting in the living room when the others came downstairs. When Ari spotted me he came running over and gave me a big hug, saying he missed me - because he was sleeping, lol! I assured him I missed him too. As Ari sat down to eat donuts for breakfast, and Chris made bacon/eggs/sausage for him and Amanda, Holli & I got changed and headed over to the quiet pool for 9am. The others would head to the feature pool at 10 so Ari could use the water slide.

    The quiet pool stayed fairly busy, including that family with the big bunch of boys and a girl who came by yesterday. Youd think with active kids that age theyd prefer the main pool, but I guess they have their reasons. The kids were respectful of others, and when others were in the pool they kept a distance while tossing a ball around. When they had the pool to themselves, they spread out more.

    We were in the pool for a while early, before that family arrived, and again when they arrived. After that it was easier to just stand under the cold shower to cool off. We stayed out there until 11 then returned to the villa to shower & dress. Amanda texted to say they were on their way back.

    They brought back banana bread for me, the pulled pork nachos and key lime pie for Chris and chicken strips w/fries for Amanda & Ari to share. Once I was finished blow drying my hair Holli & I headed out. They were hoping to get Ari down for an early nap, hoping hed wake up early enough theyd have a shot at a 2pm Rise of the Resistance boarding group but 2pm did not seem very likely to me.

    Once again the bus pulled right up, and while on the way we ordered our food from Primo Piatto at Riviera, selecting a window starting about a half-hour from then. We got off the bus at Hollywood Studios, then walked onto the Skyliner with no wait and rode it over to Caribbean Beach. From there we transferred to the Epcot line and rode to Riviera.

    Holli had seen the models here on an earlier trip, but this was her first time being at the actual resort she really liked it. We used our phones to say we were here (so our food would be prepared), and then waited for the notification it was ready. We ate inside the air conditioning she had a cheeseburger she said was really good, and it came with a nice little salad. I got the tomato bisque, which came with some croutons and was also very good.

    We walked around the outside and inside of the resort so Holli could see the rest, stopping in the shop briefly. It was still early so I asked if she wanted to ride Skyliner out to see Pop Century and she said yes. We boarded without waiting again, transferred at Caribbean Beach, and then rode to Pop without any wait.

    Once there, it was a whole different vibe, with many more people. The Hippy Dippy pool was packed with people, and didnt look pleasant at all. We werent at the resort long before Holli said I dont think Id want to stay here and I had to agree it may be fine for the young families who havent experienced nicer stuff (and therefore arent spoiled) but us old folks are not fans. Its too busy, too many people, kids were running wild (running past you up the side of the stairs vs on the actual stairs like normal human beings). The shop looks pretty decent, but the food court is an empty shell since theyre doing this mobile ordering stuff. The one other plus is the food court is a lot quieter than it used to be, since so many tables are kept empty.

    This is where we should have taken the Skyliner back to the Studios and taken the bus back to our nice calm resort, but we (ok, me) threw out another idea checking out Disney Springs. What a fiasco that turned out to be!

    First, we waited a long time for the bus to arrived and of course there were 2 ladies on scooters who needed to be loaded so the wait was even longer. When the bus finally arrived, we were shocked at the number of people getting off that bus it had to be way more than 6 parties! Weve not experienced anything like that before. We held the line up in the shade until the driver got the 2 scooters loaded, then advanced into the sunny boarding area where we waited while the driver did whatever before opening the door finally. By now there was quite a long line of people behind us. Oh the joys (NOT) of a value resort.

    The driver stepped out and told us what section to take, and once again there were more than 6 parties that boarded. We think in the back he just asked people if they minded sharing and loaded more. In the meantime, his mask was below his nose & mouth the entire time and I didnt feel like being the mask police on vacation so I didnt say anything.

    We get to Disney Springs and its not full to capacity but its very busy not pleasant. Add the intense heat, and the masks, and its challenging. We stopped at Starbucks and Holli got a Frappuccino, then we continued walking. I thought about going into the Co-op, but noticed well before getting there that the line to get into the store was being run along the lake. People were actually standing in a long queue to get into a store!! I assume its because some NBA merchandise was in there (saw a sign). We walked as far as Goofys Candy Co, where I bought a cookie to bring home to SB, then we headed back.

    The little Star Wars shop also had a line of people waiting to get inside, but not nearly as long as the Co-op. We did wander through Uniqlo, but didnt buy anything. Holli had asked if I was interested in House of Blues for happy hour again, but it was just too hot so we skipped it.

    We went to the bus stop, happy that the Old Key West bus comes into stop #5 in the first section I think the maskless driver earlier said 29 or some really high number for the Pop bus stop, so its quite a bit farther. Here we stood and waited and waited and waited with a couple parties ahead of us and eventually one or two more behind us. This driver was at the extreme other end of the spectrum.

    After unloading, he went back inside the bus and seemed to be talking to a party that might have been in the last section. Then he comes outside and asks each party how many are in our party. Then he goes back into the bus, opens the storage bin, takes out a spray bottle of sanitizer and a cloth, and starts slowly and methodically spraying and wiping down every surface in the damn bus!!! Were out there melting, watching the dark cloud getting closer, feeling light rain blowing on us, and hes slowly wiping down the bus! Once thats done, he comes back out and repeats the process of asking each party how many they are. Hello there are 2 people standing on the Please Wait Here marker my guess is the party is 2 people. Finally, he lets us board, telling each party which section to take (we were given #4).

    We got back to the resort before it really rained, and got into the villa around 3:30. Before long, the sun was still shining but it was pouring catching the golfers by surprise. Glad we missed it! I worked on the trip report, then started packing up my stuff since were leaving tomorrow. Chris & Amanda are having a 4pm dinner at Sci Fi, so theyll get back after Holli & I have done the faux concierge lounge for our dinner. As it turned out Sci Fi was running behind since they werent seating every car, so it was after 4:30 before they placed their orders.

    I uploaded the few photos from this trip, and around 5 we started setting up our faux concierge lounge. Tonight we heated up some chicken & cheese taquitos to go along with the wine & cheese & crackers. They were pretty good not something Id bother with at home. We opened a bottle of wine Chris & Amanda had brought me from the Outer Banks and it was very good.

    Somewhere after 6 it started pouring, with lots of thunder and lightning. The electricity stayed on, but the tv went out. Chris & Amanda were stuck at Hollywood Studios, with soaked shoes they went on an attraction and came out to a hurricane.

    When Chris, Amanda & Ari got back we all sat around for a while enjoying the rest of the faux concierge lounge food. We heated up some soft pretzel nuggets, which Ari loved. I think he would have eaten them all. Holli went up to bed a little before 9, and the rest of us hung out in the living room a bit longer.

    It's been another great day other than the Pop Century and Disney Springs horrors and those weird bus drivers. Sadly, today is our last full day until next time.

    DAY 5 Monday 9/7/20
    Who: Sue (61), DVC Member
    Holli (57), friend & co-worker
    Chris (33), son
    Amanda (31), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Drive to Gainesville

    Actual: Once again I slept well, and really wished I had another week here in this grand villa! Today is supposed to be rainy, so I guess that takes the edge off having to leave. Between that and the intense heat, its not like Id be out enjoying myself here. I was up before 5 and made my cappuccino, then got back up around 6:30-7:00 to shower and get dressed before going out to the living room.

    We had 2 eggs left, so I cooked one along with a piece of bacon and a bit of banana bread for breakfast. Holli doesnt eat breakfast, and I figured Amanda might eat the other egg. We have a hard boiled egg left for Ari, so they could even do that on the run if they get up late. Theyre headed to Magic Kingdom this morning, before heading home. I meant to let them know not to expect to see Mary there, as the Citizens of Main Street arent back to work yet unfortunately.

    Once Holli was up we finished packing up and brought our stuff down to the car. The others were still in their room, so before leaving I went up and knocked on the door. Amanda woke up Ari to stay goodbye, and she & he came downstairs. We chatted briefly, said goodbye, and were on the road between 8:30 and 9:00.

    On the way home we stopped at the Russell Stover Outlet, which Holli had never been to before. We each bought some stuff I got SB a bag of Millionaires and also got a chocolate caramel apple with chopped nuts and more chocolate drizzle for he & I to share tonight. Here theyre $6.99. At Disney theyre quite a bit higher, and they taste the same.

    I was home before 11 and quickly unpacked then headed to work for just a few hours. It was a great little trip, and being 4 nights long is such an improvement over the recent 2 and 3 night trips. The only negatives (besides the weather) were the bus fiascos and big crowds at Pop Century and Disney Springs. The grand villa was great, and perfect for this trip. Ill definitely have to consider it for a future trip, when the focus is just a getaway vs spending time in the parks.

    The photos are on snapfish at

    The member site says 40 days until the next trip, which will be a nice long Food & Wine trip 2 nights solo in a studio, then 7 nights in a 1-bedroom, all at Beach Club Villas. Friends from Boston are due in the middle of the trip, but with the pandemic they may cancel I just need to know within 9 days at this point. Chris, Amanda & Ari will be up for the 2nd weekend, as will Tiana & her husband. Hopefully the weather will be nice it certainly cant be as hot & humid as it has been this trip!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

  2. # ADS

    Join Date

  3. #2

    Beautiful pictures, Sue! The Grand Villa looks amazing, and your grandson is adorable. Thanks for writing and sharing another great trip report!


    "A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference." --Eeyore

  4. #3

    After my last trip staying only one night in the OKW Grand Villa (I'm a point miser), that room is my reason for living. And I've stayed in the Grand Villa at the Grand Californian. OKW is better!



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts