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Thread: Sue Rayford, June 30 - July 4, 2022, Bay Lake Tower

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    Sue Rayford, June 30 - July 4, 2022, Bay Lake Tower


    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Dates: June 30 July 4, 2022
    Resort: Disneys Bay Lake Tower Resort
    Experience: Very Experienced only 9th stay at BLT though

    This is a solo trip a solo resort trip. My park pass is blocked out, and its so hot/humid I wouldnt want to go to the parks anyway. Years ago I would come this weekend and usually got stuck at Villas at Wilderness Lodge since BLT would be sold out. Id enjoy the resort and ride the boat over to BLT to watch the 7/3 and 7/4 fireworks at Magic Kingdom. This time BLT was available, although I chose to go home on 7/4. July 5 is a Tuesday, and our executive management team meets at 8:30 so it just made sense go to home Monday rather than leaving before dawn on Tuesday to get to work.

    I dont normally stay in the Magic Kingdom area, as its not convenient or preferred for my trips, but since this is a resort trip it will be nice to experience venues I dont bother with when staying around Crescent Lake or further away. The big draw was being here to see the July 3rd fireworks from Magic Kingdom and I love the Electrical Water Pageant, so Ill get to see that all 4 nights! Ill be able to enjoy both the regular fireworks and the special 7/3 fireworks at Magic Kingdom, doing so from the comfort of my resort without the insane Disney crowds.

    I havent been to Enchanted Rose at the Grand Floridian, so that will happen on this trip. A friend was there a couple weeks ago and said the sliders were excellent thats my plan for dinner. Also, Steakhouse 71 at the Contemporary looks good, but I wouldnt bother with it when Im staying further away, so I made sure to book it this trip. Im eager to try their French onion soup. Basically, this trip Ill be staying in the MK resort area, unless I decide to stop by Disney Springs (in hopes of Gideons virtual queue) on my arrival day or on departure day. The June cookie of the month isnt really of interest to me, so most likely I wont bother with Gideons when I arrive. If the July cookie looks good, I may head there Monday before going home, arriving before opening.

    It will be hot, humid & miserable but Ill try to suffer through that for mornings by the pool or on the beach. When I went to book Steakhouse 71 the only thing coming up was 11:55, which is earlier than I want. I originally had that time slot booked for Friday and Saturday, and since booking have kept trying to push one back later figuring once I did that, I would cancel the other one. Despite many attempts, I never saw anything other than 11:55. The French onion soup is not on the bar/lounge menu, or I would have just skipped the reservation and gone there. Eventually I thought to try booking for a party of more than 1 person and amazingly (sarcasm there) more times were available. I rebooked both days for a more reasonable time (1:25 Friday, 1:55 Saturday) and then dropped the party down to 1 person. I ended up canceling Saturday since that will be my Enchanted Rose day. I booked Grand Floridian Caf for Sunday but might end up canceling that.

    My park pass is blocked out from park admission and that suits me fine. I had no interest in the parks in late May and have even less interest in July! My next trip will be early September and I cant imagine going into the parks then either. I figure morning in the sun, shower, leisurely lunch somewhere, then relaxing at the resort in the evening suits me just fine. Ive missed Electric Water Pageant so Im definitely looking forward to seeing that every night. Thats such a blast from the past <g>. Im hoping for a room facing Contemporary, so I can watch the monorails from my balcony.

    In the old days (before the pandemic) when staying here Id spend evenings at the Top of the World. Back then I had Tables in Wonderland and the 20% off made it feel more reasonable. Now theres no Tables in Wonderland and Top of the World is not open, but DVC said it will reopen (most likely with changes) this summer. I was hoping that will include this weekend, but the opening is July 11th.

    About a month before this trip another dvc member from the Mouse Owners board mentioned being at BLT for 1 night on 7/3 and was interested in meeting up for a glass (or glasses) of wine & fireworks. We messaged and found we both like sauvignon blanc so Ill pick up a bottle of one of my favorites and bring it with me. Shes also got a lake view studio (like me) but has requested a studio with a view of Space Mountain (and fireworks). My request is a view of the Contemporary marina. Hopefully we both get our requests met and well enjoy the bottle of wine from her balcony on July 3rd. After July 3rd she moves to Jambo House club level for 10 nights Im so freakin envious of that!!!

    The plans so far are:
    Thursday 6/30: Drive to BLT, Boathouse lunch
    Friday 7/01: Pool/Beach, Steakhouse 71
    Saturday 7/02: Pool/Beach, Enchanted Rose
    Sunday 7/03: Pool/Beach, Possibly Grand Floridian Caf, Fireworks w/Mary Jane
    Monday 7/04: Possibly Gideons, Drive to Gainesville

    DAY 1 Thursday 6/30/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member

    Plan: Drive to BLT, Boathouse lunch

    Actual: This morning started with a couple of dental appointments after spending last night with Chris, Amanda & Ari. First, I checked on my home and swung by Publix for some English muffins, then went to the dental place. My hygienist appointment was at 8:30 and the dentist was scheduled for 9:30. Yesterday on the drive down I hadnt even left Gainesville before a couple indicator lights came on. I checked with Chris and he agreed it was safe to drive with those, and I was thinking its probably an issue with a sensor.

    This morning I drove all the way home (45 minutes) with no indicator lights coming on. Leaving there to go to Publix (1 mile at most) I had yesterdays 2 plus another. Looking the new one up I saw its the engine protection control system and the manual says to drive to the nearest authorized service place. Leaving Publix for the dentist I had just the last one on. At the dentist they make you wear masks to enter, which is a pain in this heat. I contacted Chris and sent him a picture of the indicator light, which he shared with a buddy of his who has a car repair shop nearby. The friend suggested a couple things, which did not work.

    I had my 8:30 cleaning, and my hygienist was able to get the dentists dental assistant to take my xrays right away to save time. Afterwards I saw the dentist, who was excruciatingly thorough of course, since Im crunched for time. All was fine dentally and I was out there just after 10. I drove to Chris buddys shop and he hooked the computer up to my car and said its one of the sensors perhaps it got knocked off a bit when they did the tires. In any event, he said the car was safe to drive, and he knows I live in Gainesville now.

    With that done I finally got on the road, hoping to make it to my 1:45 lunch at Boathouse in time but prepared to call them if I wasnt going to make it. Close to Disney traffic on I-4 slowed to a crawl, as it seems to always do. Id gotten a couple of texts letting me know my room wasnt ready, but since Im going to Disney Springs its no big deal. Just as I approached the Orange Garage I get a work call but still managed to take a picture of my level/row sign with my other phone. Thats easier than actually trying to remember where I parked!

    The call finished up by the time Id passed through security and was down the stairs. I walked past Gideons and they were not doing the virtual queue, so no reason to stop there. I stepped into the Boathouse at 1:45 or 1:46 and was seated right away. I never knew how large this restaurant is there are so many rooms Id never seen before! I was in a room near the end, but not the last room. Theres lots of outside seating too, but Im not doing that when its mid-90s outside. Plenty of other people were out there though.

    I ordered a glass of the Matua sauvignon blanc (one of cruise buddy Frans favorite wines) and the filet mignon sliders. The sliders come with skinny French fries (plus 2 sliders). I only ate some of the fries but ate all of both sliders. The meat was perfectly cooked and very tender & flavorful. This is my go to item when I eat here. They give a 10% discount on food to DVC and passholders, so I showed my passholder card to save a little bit.

    After settling the check I had to pass Gideons again and the line looked really short to me I estimated 10 minutes. The cast member agreed with that, so I joined the queue and soon was inside. I havent gotten the triple chocolate cookie in several visits so thats what I got today. Its very good, but you definitely have to like chocolate! From there I headed back to the garage to get my car. The room is ready text came while I was eating lunch, and I could tell by the room number I didnt get my request of facing the Contemporary. Im lake view, but also Space Mountain, Tron & the Castle which means fireworks view. I really would have preferred the other side, but it is what it is.

    The parking lot was a nightmare so full! Finally someone pulled out and I got there before anyone else. I made a trip into the resort and waited forever for the elevator, and then it was stifling hot in there and we stopped several times for the other people riding. Im on the 12th floor, so there are lots of rooms below mine. I get to the door and my magic band doesnt work. I pulled out the other band and it doesnt work either. I cursed under my breathe (vehemently) and trudged back to the slow hot elevator and went to the lobby. I heard the story about you have so many bands yes I know, thanks to Disney not allowing us to opt out for a number of years of multiple trips. Most of them have been tagged inactive in the system, on the advice of cast members.

    She fixed my bands, I went upstairs and thank goodness they worked! I unloaded what I had with me, took some photos, and then went down to get the suitcase and gallon jug of water from the car. After unpacking everything I headed out to walk around. I couldnt find an ice machine but asked a bellman walking by and he said theyre only on floor 4, 9 & 14. Wow. Is it too much to have one on each floor??

    I continued across the sky bridge to the Contemporary and walked around there. Tomorrow morning Ill pick up a few packets of grape jelly for my English muffins, since I didnt think to bring the jar I bought at Hilton Head. I dont eat English muffins often but they sounded good to me for this trip. I went down to the lobby and a cast member was able to look up and write down the times for Electrical Water Pageant at each location. It comes to us last, at 10:05. It starts at Grand Floridian at 8:35 so I may watch it there at some point. I can still be back here and on my balcony by the time the fireworks start at 9:20 and then I wont have to wait up and walk over to the back of the Contemporary at 10:05. Id rather be in bed!

    Coming back to Bay Lake Tower I went up to the 14th floor, which is actually 1 floor above 12, and found the vending machine room. The stairs are nearby, so it wont be a big deal to get there from my room. I took the laptop out to the balcony and sat out there updating the report. I could see the Tron vehicles running, which was pretty cool. I dont know when thats opening but it must be getting somewhat close. Sitting out here I realized Ive had this location once before. Im an early riser, and early in the morning all the assorted boats enter the waterway via an opening directly across from me. It was nice watching the parade as Disney got ready for the day.

    Around 5:30 I went back inside to catch some local news. I think these rooms are due to be refurbished at some point reasonably soon and they need it. They do have plenty of storage, and the kitchenette is a nicer layout than most resorts, but theyve still got the tiny little tv (32 inches or less). The balconies are nice & big, at least in the rooms facing the outside of the building.

    I got some ice and had some wine while doing online stuff. Since it doesnt look like its going to rain tonight I decided this would be the time to watch Electrical Water Pageant from the Grand Floridian. The weather people were talking about more rain in the next few days, so it seems safest to do it tonight. The internet started acting funky disappearing, so Id disconnect and then connect to find it fine for a short time. I decided to just get the report posted tomorrows activities will take fewer words so I can include tonights stuff at the start of tomorrows report.

    Today was partly a great day, but partly very stressful! I hate car issues. Did I mention I had 1-2 indicator lights on for the trip up here but leaving Disney Springs to BLT not a single light came on? I wish I had my monorail/Contemporary view. But, Im staying in a lovely resort, not going to work in the morning, so I cant complain. Lunch was great, the cookie looks great (too full to try it) and Im looking forward to the next few days.

    Tomorrow Ill spend time by the pool in the morning, have lunch at Steakhouse 71, and then relax until the evening festivities.

    DAY 2 Friday 7/01/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool/Beach, Steakhouse 71

    Actual: Last night just after 7:30 I got up and left for the Grand Floridian. To get there I walked across the sky bridge into the Contemporary to catch the monorail. Fortunately I didnt have any waits I got a seat on the next monorail and arrived at Grand Floridian pretty early. The piano player was playing in the lobby, so after checking out Enchanted Rose (quite busy and really pretty) I sat on one of the sofas in the lobby and did some reading on my kindle.

    Around 8:20 I left the lobby and walked out to the boat dock by Narcoosees. Thats the best viewing spot here. It wasnt dark yet and just before 8:35 I watched the Electrical Water Pageant barges float out from their storage canal (right across from me) and get into position. At 9:20 it started first with the 50th Anniversary stuff, then the regular show and ending with a bit more 50th Anniversary. I really enjoyed it, other than it being so humid out there!

    After it ended I posted some pictures to facebook and went back to the main building to catch the monorail home. One was there when I arrived, and I entered a car fully ok with standing for the short ride but a man there with his family insisted I take his seat. I thanked him, but I dont expect people to give up their seats just because Im old. I have the option of standing or waiting for the next monorail. He & his family got off at Magic Kingdom, which is the next stop. Contemporary was the stop after that, so I got off there and walked back to Bay Lake Tower.

    Quite a few people were standing on the sky bridge waiting for the fireworks. I got to the studio about 10 minutes before they started and enjoyed them from my balcony. I do think the previous shows were better, but of course watching from here I dont get the effect of the projections on the castle and all along Main Street. I also have no interest in being in the crowded Magic Kingdom to see it properly.

    It was lights out by 10:30 guess I could have seen Electrical Water Pageant again, but I was too lazy <g>. I slept pretty well. The room was quiet but leaving the drapes open it was much too light even though it was pretty dark out there. I ended up getting up and closed the drapes except for about 12 inches in the middle, and even that was a bit much but I didnt feel like getting up again. It was also a bit cooler than Id anticipated, but that was my fault. Tonight, Ill pull a blanket down from the closet and use it along the bottom half of the bed that should be perfect.

    Since Im not really going anywhere this morning, I didnt get up out of bed until after 5. I made my cappuccino and brought it back to bed, turning on the local news as I got settled. They arrested some guy trying to steal something Star Wars related at the new Swan Reserve he claimed to be a pending Disney security officer or some such thing. He looked more like a nutcase (sorry for being politically incorrect there) and they went on to say they believe hes connected to thefts at Boardwalk, Grand Floridian and one other Disney resort.

    The internet was still problematic this morning signal would be dropped, so Id have to disconnect and reconnect. Its annoying but perhaps itll push me out of the room more to enjoy doing something offline (on the tablet or kindle) on the balcony. They are expecting more rain today though, so well see. By 7 the sun was shining and the clouds had burned away. The steady stream of arriving boats had begun as well.

    I put on some clothes and got some ice for my water bottle, dropped that off and went to Contempo Caf to scrounge up some grape jelly. I also wandered around the pool area. The main pool opens at 10 but the quiet one (the one I prefer) opened at 7. I dont bother with the pool at Bay Lake Tower never liked that one.

    I went back to the studio, changed into a swimsuit and made breakfast to eat out on the balcony. Breakfast was an egg, slice of bacon and then an English muffin. The English muffin was the best part I may have microwaved the egg a few seconds too long. After breakfast I came back inside, grabbed my bag for the pool and was walking out the door at 8:20. Its early but its already hot it will be miserable before too long.

    Another couple were heading over at the same time as me, so we took opposite corners. The other 2 corners each have a private cabana cast members were setting up both but I only saw people at one of them. After setting up my chaise lounge I walked around on the white sandy beach a bit. They have a volleyball net set up and it has the monorail on it. I wasnt able to get a good picture, though. I went back to my chair and did some reading. Theres no pool shower at this pool so from time to time I sat at the edge of the pool and at least got my feet/legs cooled off.

    When the main pool opened at 10 I moved over there, near a pool shower. Once I was set up I went to cool off and the shower doesnt work! I saw another one over by one of the spas and the entrance to the slide that one worked. I didnt bother going into the pool at all, but plenty of people were enjoying it. I did more reading, and then around 11:15 picked up my stuff and moved into the shade to cool down a bit. About 30 minutes later I packed up and returned to the studio.
    I took my shower and found it odd there is no soap dish or holder in the bathtub. That seems like such a basic thing to have, but hopefully theyll remedy that during the next refurbishment. I got dressed and was ready by 1pm so I headed down early for lunch. I figured if I got in and out quickly I would be able to catch some of General Hospital.

    They had a podium outside the entrance to Steakhouse 71 with a cast member who was earning his ears. I had to check in there, give him my phone # and then wait for a text. Do we really need this extra layer?? I sat off to the side in the lobby and within a minute or 2 had the text that my table was ready. This time I was directed to the desk inside, where I was taken to my table.

    The restaurant was busy and remained busy throughout my time there. When a table opened up someone else was seated there within 5 minutes. My server was very nice, in contrast to the one at Boathouse yesterday. That one did her job just fine, but it felt like she thought she was doing us a favor taking the order, etc. This one today had more warmth & friendliness (not that when I go to a restaurant Im looking for a new friend).

    I ordered the Fess Parker Riesling thinking that since its from California it would be a dry Riesling. My server didnt know. It ended up being sweet not something Id be likely to order again but it wasnt too sweet to drink. My server offered to bring me something else but I stayed with this. For food I ordered the French onion soup and after a while they brought me an order of onion rings. I told them I ordered onion soup, but boy did those onion rings look GREAT!!!! My server later told me they told her I said Id ordered soup and she replied that I had please check the order. They did, and saw it was for soup <g>. My soup came out shortly after that and it was delicious!! I will consider traveling over here once in a while to get it. It wasnt the ridiculous huge crock they use at Chefs de France it was normal.

    I passed on dessert and settled the check (passholder & DVC discount for the food portion) then went up to Contempo Caf and bought the flourless chocolate cake to put in the fridge. I can nibble on that the next couple of days. From there I went up to the studio and only missed the first 5 minutes of General Hospital. Housekeeping came by to do the room check, and that person was also very nice.

    Im still having computer issues, with pages opening up on their own when in AOL. Its vaguely familiar but I dont recall how it got fixed last time (years ago). If the reports suddenly end, it just means I wasnt able to access AOL long enough to get them sent and will try again after the problem is fixed.

    After General Hospital I sat out on the balcony with my tablet for about an hour. It was raining very hard by the time I came inside, and its supposed to rain until 8pm or so. At times I couldnt even see anything it was a total whiteout. Im glad now I went last night to see Electrical Water Pageant early! Looks like itll be a quiet evening hanging around the resort.

    One thing I discovered on this trip is the counter service places at most of the resorts in this area are limited to the guests staying at that resort. I think Wilderness Lodge was the exception, but since the boats between resorts dont seem to be running, the only way to get there would be driving (or a transfer at MK). They all want mobile order only, and thats where the warning/alert comes up. Im glad I wasnt counting on Captain Cooks or Gasparilla Grill for breakfasts or other meals!

    I went ahead and canceled my lunch at Grand Floridian Caf on Sunday. Ill be over there for Enchanted Rose on Saturday and dont want another onion soup after todays soup. I discovered I have the option of ordering food to go from Steakhouse 71 so I may order their salad (not the wedge or Caesar the other one) and eat on the balcony with my own wine. I found the glasses of wine to be higher than normal there. Another option would be to eat in the lounge, but Ill probably just get it to go.

    The rain let up after a while but now its supposed to continue (with thunder off and on) until 9. I may decide to hop on the monorail and visit Polynesian, but most likely Ill save that for another day maybe tomorrow on my way to Grand Floridian. Ill watch the fireworks from my balcony again and if Im still up may go check out Electrical Water Pageant at 10:05. For now Im going to try to get the report posted if anything interesting happens tonight I can include it at the start of tomorrows report. Mostly I imagine Ill just be lounging around this evening.

    Today was a very nice day, other than it being so hot/humid (normal this time of year) and all the rain this afternoon & evening (also pretty normal this time of year). I was very pleased with Steakhouse 71 and was glad I tried it. I think SB would like it too, so we may be back on some future trip.

    Tomorrow will be similar to today but hopefully with less rain. Im excited to try Enchanted Rose over at Grand Floridian!

    DAY 3 Saturday 7/02/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Plan: Pool/Beach, Enchanted Rose

    Actual: Last night my friend Michael from work called and after we got the work stuff out of the way I mentioned my computer issues. I remember something similar years ago, which he fixed. He talked me through doing a system recovery, but unfortunately that failed to complete due to 1 file it couldnt access. It suggested disabling my anti-virus and trying again but we agreed its better to wait until Im back in Gainesville. Ill just minimize my time in AOL as much as possible, since thats the program most affected. The internet connectivity problem was getting worse I wonder if its due to more people getting online this time of day? I do think thats a Disney problem rather than my problem, although I havent experienced it on previous trips. Perhaps I was better located than I am here at this resort or this resort just has horrible wifi.

    When I went to get ice I could see the pools were still closed no doubt lightning is part of the storms that will be passing through. In my opinion its a miserable night to be out in the parks and with the humidity it probably hasnt cooled it down much! By 8:30 it looked like it wasnt raining outside my balcony, but the weather was still saying storms were in the area. It was too late to make it to Grand Floridian for 8:35, so it didnt really matter I went back to HGTV <g>.

    At 9:20 I watched Enchanted again from the balcony. The fireworks are very nice perhaps if I could hear the sound track Id like it more. I dont think anyone does fireworks like Disney. I could see some fireworks in the distance, either Sea World or Universal, and they were nice but not quite AS nice.

    After Enchanted I went down to the sky bridge and waited for Electrical Water Pageant. I could see it finishing up at Wilderness Lodge and from there it went to Fort Wilderness before finishing up with us. Oddly, after the first several screens lit up (dragon, octopus) they went dark, and stayed dark. So, we had a shortened version. It was still very nice, but Ive never had that happen before. When it ended I went back inside and up to the studio to get ready for bed.

    Once again I slept well and didnt get up until 5:30. I enjoyed my cappuccino in bed and dealt with the latest incarnation of computer issues. It kept saying I needed take action for the wifi (basically sign in to Disney) but when I clicked on it (it said click here) Id get a message that too many people were already on and to try later! Ive never seen that before. I tried connecting anyway and got right online the box (lower right corner) kept coming and going, but I just ignored it.

    Then my mouse finally died for good. I prefer a mouse over the touchpad thing. I travel with a spare battery just in case this happens, but I brought the smaller suitcase this time and the spare battery was home in the larger suitcase. Id been nursing it last night, turning it off when not in use, etc but Ill swing by the shops later today to buy new batteries. This trip it seems like its one thing after another!

    Rain is expected again, and it looks like itll start earlier than yesterday shortly after 1. The sun was shining now, so at least Ill have the morning by the pool. The sliding glass doors are fogged up, so its even more humid than yesterday. Shortly after 7 I got up and got dressed. Since lunch isnt until 3:30 today I decided to mobile order breakfast from Contempo Caf. However, the damn app wasnt working right I got a spinning wheel rather than an arrival window, then a message something went wrong. No kidding this is such a pain in the ***!

    I decided to walk over there and on the way shut down my phone and restarted it to clear out the glitch. Coming off the elevator I was able to order, selecting the now window. Before the trip Id been disappointed that the breakfast sandwich here included ham (I hate ham) and I played around on the app the other day to see if I could get it with bacon instead, to no avail. Then I noticed they also have it without ham just egg & cheese on the grilled challah bread. Thats what I ordered.

    It was ready in a couple minutes and I took it to a table by the window. Thats so much nicer than sitting in the normal seating area I enjoyed the view outside rather than a view of other guests eating breakfast, lol. I was shocked how large this sandwich is! On the app the picture made it look a more reasonable size. Its not really something I could save for leftovers, so sadly half of it got thrown away. It was very tasty the bread was so soft, and there was a lot of egg. Id definitely order this again if its on the menu next time I happen to be staying here.

    On my way in I noticed the market store opens at 8, and I assume thats where batteries would be sol. After taking my trash over to a trash can at Contempo Caf I went up to the studio and got changed for the pool. Its going to be another hot one, but well see how it goes. I drank almost my entire bottle of ice water yesterday and will likely do the same today (metal bottle keeps it cold for hours).

    I left the studio just after 8, picked up the battery (pack of 4 for $5.99) and went down to the quiet pool. As I was about to pay I asked about discounts and got 20% off for being a passholder bringing the total with tax down to a more reasonable $5.10.

    At the quiet pool I decided to take a chaise lounge in the middle of the railing over the lake. This pool extends out over the lake a bit, which is something Ive always liked. I turned the chaise lounge around to have a view of the lake and settled in there. There were a couple other parties on the other side of the pool, and eventually it got pretty busy over there and in the water. Once it was 10am and the main pool opened everyone with kids left and it was truly delightful. I decided to stay put.

    After a while I turned my chair around, partly to keep the sun off my face but also to change up the view. I did some reading and took frequent drinks of ice water. Today I lasted until 11:30 before moving to a shady table for another 30-40 minutes. I was back up in the studio before 12:15, still not hungry in the slightest after that breakfast sandwich! Im glad lunch will be later today.

    I replaced the battery in the mouse and overall the computer seems to be doing fine. Hopefully that will last. At 12:30 I took my shower and started getting ready for the rest of the day. After getting dressed I had another bite of the flourless chocolate cake (ate a few bites last night) its very good! It should last me through tomorrow if I pace myself <g>.

    For whatever reason I checked the Enchanted Rose menu on the app and for the first time I noticed that although the lounge opens at 3:30 the food doesnt start until 5pm! Im glad I saw that and didnt show up expecting to eat at 3:30. I hung out in the studio reading cruise message boards to kill some time. The rain started and it looked like it was blowing sideways so no point in walking across the sky bridge while thats going on. I got some ice and poured a glass of wine, then sat back down to do online stuff. For whatever reason the laptop is working perfectly (hope I didnt just jinx it with that statement, lol).

    By 3:30 I decided to head out. It didnt seem to be raining right now, and I had my kindle so I could kill time reading in the Grand Floridian lobby before 5. I walked over the sky bridge to the Contemporary and went through security to get up to the monorail. I had really good luck with the monorail this trip I think my first day I had to wait a couple minutes for it but after that it was almost always waiting for me.

    I got off at the Polynesian and wandered through the shops there. There was a 50th anniversary celebration shirt that I liked but I dont need any more shirts. When I went back out to the monorail it was sitting there waiting for me, so I got on and rode over to Grand Floridian.

    I was about an hour early so I walked around a bit and checked out the Enchanted Rose. It is a large area, and each room was quite busy. I didnt see much available seating, but hoped Id find something when it was time for me. I sat in on a comfy sofa in the lobby and listened to the piano player while reading on my kindle to pass the time it was very relaxing and nice.

    Around 4:45 I went back up to Enchanted Rose and saw a table for 2 in the corner of the room to the right and decided to grab it. The servers working here really hustle theyre busy all the time! Mine was very good. I ordered a glass of pinot grigio and mentioned Id be wanting food when it was time. By the time the wine came it was just after 5 and I was able to order the short rib sliders. These were really great! They have onion marmalade and glacier blue cheese and come in 3 small split-top toasted buns. I would happily get these again so delicious!

    After settling the check (no discounts on food here) I returned to the monorail station and walked onto the waiting monorail. After a brief stop at the Magic Kingdom I was home. I hadnt really spent time in the big shop at Contemporary so I wandered through there. I saw the same shirt Id liked at the Poly and decided to buy it. There wasnt anything else I had to have so I got my 20% passholder discount on the shirt and then went up to the studio. The rain had ended, pools were back open, and hopefully itll be a nice (but humid) evening for all the people in the parks.

    I updated the report and then decided to once again get it posted earlier. Later should be a repeat of last night, and I can include that at the start of tomorrows report. Today was a really great day everything was just so nice. The pool was mildly more comfortable than the day before, and I really enjoyed the sliders at Enchanted Rose. The breakfast sandwich this morning was a really pleasant surprise, too. Later Ill snack on more of the flourless chocolate cake.

    Tomorrow is my last full day, which is sad its gone by too fast. Once again Ill enjoy the pool, find some lunch and hope to spend time with a couple people Ive never met in person (one of whom Ive known for many years online).

    DAY 4 Sunday 7/03/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool/Beach, Possibly Grand Floridian Caf, Fireworks w/Mary Jane

    Actual: Last night I watched tv until it was time to sit on the balcony at 9:20 for the Enchanted fireworks. That was the last night for that (for me), since tonight will be the special July 3rd & 4th show. After the fireworks I hung out on the balcony for a while and just before 10 went downstairs for Electrical Water Pageant.

    I first went to the sky bridge, where I could see it still playing at Fort Wilderness. I could clearly see the floats that made up the dragon and was happy to see that working again. Since I had time, I decided to go down further and watch it from the end of the boat dock. When it came around and got started I was surprised to not have the first several floats light up no dragon, no octopus, etc. Why does it work elsewhere but not here? The music was the same, so some of the images used more than one piece of music since there was less to light up. Very disappointing.

    When it was about to end I went back up to the studio and went to bed. As usual I slept well and this morning got up just before 5:30. I made my cappuccino and turned on the local news theyre saying rain should start earlier today (possibly noon).

    Eventually I got up and made breakfast egg, slice of bacon & English muffin taking it out to the balcony to eat while watching the boats arrive for the day. Its such a peaceful way to start the day. Around 7:45 or so I left the studio, stopping by the fountain where the founding members names are to check out a fellow MouseOwners tile before continuing to the quiet pool behind Contemporary. I walked around the whole thing and never saw his tile, although I did spot a couple other people I know from DVC/online stuff. There were many tiles that were not even visible so most likely the one I was looking for was one of those. It's a shame Disney doesnt correct that.

    Once again, I set my chaise lounge up along the railing at the lake (between the 2 cabanas). Speaking of the cabanas, yesterday both were reserved by a family with the same name. They never showed up at either one by the time I left just before noon and by 2-3pm the area was shut down due to thunderstorms for several hours what a waste of money that was. Today the same family had both, but today they showed up around 10:45. Unfortunately the first part to arrive was a husband, wife, toddler and whiny crying baby. I got my butt up and moved to the far corner, as far away from them as possible securing the shady table again.

    The toddler was allowed to wander around the pool alone, and even went into the pool where thankfully an adult woman was sitting on the steps reading and kept an eye on him. Heaven forbid mom or dad should do that although to be fair, mom was dealing with the crying baby. By 11 the other half of the family was here with several more kids. Youd think kids would do better in the main pool, so a cabana over there would have been better. Lots of people were arriving by 11:30 so I took that as my cue to leave. Id had enough sun and was ready for air conditioning since even sitting at the shady table was a bit too warm.

    I went up to the studio and was pleased to see theyd already done my trash & towel service. I updated the report and puttered around a bit, not sure of exactly what Id be doing but knowing a shower would be in order beforehand! I was glad I came in when I did, because when I looked up at 12:15 it was pouring out there! So much for the cabana people (again).

    Just after 12:30 I got up and took my shower. I packed up what I wouldnt need tonight or tomorrow and made a trip to the car to drop it off before walking over to the Contemporary. Today there was no podium at the entrance to Steakhouse 71 so I walked right in. However, they had ropes up on both sides where youd enter the bar area. I told a cast member I was hoping to sit in the lounge, she asked how many people, then checked around the corner and told me to come on in. There was plenty of seating. She directed me to any seat along the end of the bar (1 occupied on the left, a couple on the far right, and probably 6 in between them that were empty). I took a seat next closer to the party of 2 vs the party of 4 that were at the 2 corners.

    That was probably a mistake, as the 2 women were far louder than the group of 4 women! The 4 women were also further along and left while I was there. The loudmouths were setting their check as I left. The wine here in my opinion is overpriced even by Disney standards. Its cheaper to get a cocktail, but I know nothing about cocktails really. I decided to try a vodka gimlet (first time for me) after talking with the bartender. He described it as earthy, which I couldnt quite figure out but when I tasted it, thats exactly right. I didnt love it but it was ok. I certainly didnt hate it, so thats a plus.

    I also ordered the onion rings since they looked so good yesterday. Several other parties did the same, but generally as an appetizer for 2-3 people to share prior to a burger or other meal. There were 5 large onion rings with a spicy ranch sauce (the sauce was not my favorite had better options other places) and I didnt quite finish them. The bartender told me I looked like Emma Thompson, and although Ive heard the name I cant say Id be able to pick her out of a lineup. Evidently she was in Cruella and some other movie he mentioned Id seen neither.

    My longtime Disney email friend Paula texted at 1:45 to say she & her adult daughter were having lunch at the Boathouse and after wandering around Disney Springs would head over here so we can finally meet in person. I texted back saying I was looking forward to it.

    After lunch I settled the check (passholder discount on the onion rings) and then headed up to the studio. The pools are still closed, although its not actively raining. Its supposed to storm off and on until at least 7. Paula texted when they arrived and I went down to meet them in the concourse of the Contemporary. The seating in there was occupied so we went up to my balcony and spent time chatting out there.

    Her daughter Lauren is lovely very pretty young lady, and very nice. I was happy to finally meet Paula after all these years and we had a nice time visiting. They left around 6 to pass through Epcot and go to their resort. I sent a text to the person from MouseOwners to see if shed made it here and if we were still going to meet for wine & fireworks. I then updated the report and watched the end of the local news.

    By 6:30 the pools were open and by 7 the rain had ended. While Paula, Lauren & I were on the balcony we noticed another boat coming from out back to join the fleet either theyre adding boats or need to replace one for maintenance reasons. Later I saw another ferry heading out, so I think theyre increasing boats for this very busy evening at Magic Kingdom. Tonight and tomorrow only theyre doing the special 4th of July fireworks show, which is so much better than Enchanted. I havent been impressed w/Enchanteds fireworks and it was interesting to hear both Paula and Lauren say that they prefer the previous show much more, for a number of reasons.

    I got ice and opened the bottle of wine Id brought to share with the MouseOwners person. I hadnt heard back from her, so it looks like Ill be bringing at least half the bottle back to Gainesville (good thing I have the big cooler) since I cant/wont drink a whole bottle myself. I was interested in one of the salads from Steakhouse 71 but was not at all hungry plus I still have flourless chocolate cake to finish. If I can book here next year for 4th of July Ill be sure to get it then (mobile ordering to go).

    In the interest of not being up later than I want, Ill post the report and finish up tonights stuff at the start of tomorrows installment. Today was another lovely relaxing day here at Bay Lake Tower! Pool time was great, and I didnt mind the screaming baby making me move to the shady corner table since 45 minutes later it was pouring and thundering. I dont understand that cabana family - they pay big bucks and then dont show up until just before it shuts down for the rest of the day due to lightning!

    Steakhouse 71 Lounge was a nice choice for lunch, and the full restaurant menu was also available. The onion rings were very good but theyre not something Id get very often the next thing on my list is the salad. I do think SB would love the turkey club sandwich or the burger but he commented it wouldnt feel right to get a burger when he & Pete used to share the burger at Le Cellier. Of course that was 10-20 years ago, when LeCellier had the steak burger on the menu the good old days. I think Pete would be ok with SB ordering a burger <g>.

    Getting to meet Paula finally was an unplanned bonus that came up right before my trip. She lives up in Massachusetts, where Im from, and I think shes in the same town as my cousin Karen. Small world.

    Tomorrow I head home, and have a bunch of stuff I need to do in the office unfortunately. I look forward to retirement, when I wont have to deal with work, but for now I do. Before I leave though, Ill head to Disney Springs and wait for Gideons to open. They actually have 2 special cookies this month orange pecan chocolate chip and banana bread chocolate chip. The orange one is what I got my first time there and its great. Thats probably what Ill go with.

    DAY 5 Monday 7/04/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member

    Plan: Possibly Gideons, Drive to Gainesville

    Actual: Last night I noticed the Electrical Water Pageant floats were hanging out in the lake off my balcony, which was a very strange spot for them. I dont know whats going on thats really strange. At 8:45 my phone rang it was Mary Jane from MouseOwners. Shed realized she gave me the wrong phone number and had taken a brief nap that turned into 4 hours shed just woken up. She also got my room overlooking the Contemporary & marina, lol! She asked if it was too late to come over, and I gave her my room number.

    She arrived shortly I had no idea if she was 20 or 80 and it turned out she was close my age (perhaps younger since her son is 7 years younger than mine). I poured her a glass of wine and we went out to the balcony. Eventually the Electrical Water Pageant moved away to where I had no idea. It should have been at GF at 8:35, Poly at 8:45, then to Wilderness Lodge by now.

    Promptly at 9:20 the fireworks started and these were so much better than the mediocre fireworks they call Enchanted. The sky was full of fireworks, as opposed to having one or two shot up. In the distance we saw fireworks from at least 4 other places all off in the distance so not really impressive from here. I took several pictures on my phone and posted several to Facebook.

    After the fireworks we hung out on the balcony for a bit and then went down to the sky bridge around 10. We could see Electrical Water Pageant ending over at Fort Wilderness and it arrived here about 2 minutes late. When it started I was thrilled to see the whole thing! What had been missing the last couple nights here was the entire first set of 7 floats the dragon, turtle & octopus. I have no idea what happened but glad they fixed it.

    When it ended we headed back to the elevators hopefully our trips will overlap again at some point. I returned to my studio and finished the flourless chocolate cake and updated the report. I wasnt tired so I stayed up for a while watching the 90 Day Fiance pillow talk show to see what Id missed after Mary Jane arrived.

    This morning I was up around 5:15, made my cappuccino and brought it back to bed. Its the most humid morning of the trip, with both glass doors pretty much covered with fog. Around 7:30 I got up and made breakfast egg, slice of bacon & English muffin again. Id bought the English muffins at Publix and really liked them. Thomas come in a package of 6 and are over $4 per pack. I got the sour dough Greenwise ones in the bakery package of 5 for $2.19 and I liked them so much better than Thomas version. Sometimes the big brands arent best <g>.

    I finished packing and hung out in the studio until it was time to leave. Before leaving I checked out via the app. I did learn that last night they allowed up to 499 guests staying at Bay Lake Tower to use the observation deck to watch the fireworks. I imagine theyll do the same tonight. Had I known about it maybe I would have gone up there (for the sound track) but it was really nice just stepping out onto the balcony and having a seat!

    I left the studio around 8:45 and drove over to Disney Springs to park in the Orange garage. There was a heavy police presence around the Magic Kingdom area (traffic patrol) and elsewhere while on Disney property. Since I had time I decided to fill the gas tank across from Disney Springs. After that I parked in the garage and walked over to Gideons, where the line had formed but wasnt very long. It was 9:11. Unfortunately, it was broiling hot and my spot was not shaded at all. I sat on the wall and did some reading but before long it was just really uncomfortable. Id left my umbrella and bottle of water in the car. A younger couple was ahead of me and she went off to the donut store, asking if I or the 2 women behind me wanted anything. I should have thought to ask for water, lol but we all said no thank you.

    There was some shade up close to the building that used to be Mannequins (now Morimoto Asia), so I left my bag on the wall where I could see it and went to stand in the shade. The other 2 women behind me did the same. The young couple offered to hold our place in line if we wanted to go across the street to more shade but we were fine. Thankfully about 5 minutes before 10 they opened up and let a whole bunch of us inside to the air conditioning. I got the orange pecan chocolate chip cookie for myself, coffee cake cookie for Holli and a cookies & cream for SB. I walked back to the garage, got in the car, and was outside on the road by 10:09 to begin the drive home.

    The drive was easy, with no significant traffic. The indicator lights started coming back on, so Ill take it in to be checked later this week or early the following week. After unloading the car and quickly unpacking I went over to the office for a couple hours and now Im back home finishing up the report & doing some relaxing before starting a very busy 4-day work week tomorrow.

    Overall this was a really great trip (ignoring the car crap and heat/humidity/rain) and I enjoyed being in this location for this holiday weekend. If I can get it again next year at 7 months Ill probably repeat it. I especially liked Steakhouse 71 and Enchanted Rose, and next year the Top of the World lounge will also be open. The Boathouse was also great, but thats a place I can easily go to on almost any trip in fact well probably be there in October.

    For the benefit of the readers not on FaceBook I sent most of the photos to an album on Shutterfly. If you saw them on FaceBook during the trip, youve seen them all theres nothing else. They can be found at

    Theres only 58 days until the next trip another relaxing resort stay at Jambo House on club level. Holli will be there the first 3 nights and Chris family will be there the last 3 nights so we have 1 night in the middle where we all overlap. I was lucky enough to get the DVC event Moonlight Magic at Animal Kingdom for arrival night (8/31) and Im looking forward to that!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

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  3. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Gulf Coast of Florida

    One comment on your experience with the family at the pool. They sound like the exact demographic the Disney company is going for now. Money to burn, burn, burn.
    No more of us cheapskates trying to save a buck here and there. Thanks again for your trip reports. Sounds heavenly.

  4. #3
    MousePlanet Columnist
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by wdwchuck View Post
    One comment on your experience with the family at the pool. They sound like the exact demographic the Disney company is going for now. Money to burn, burn, burn.
    No more of us cheapskates trying to save a buck here and there. Thanks again for your trip reports. Sounds heavenly.
    LOL - I think you've hit the nail on the head ;-)
    Sue (Holland) Rayford



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