Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Lazy Go Club Level - Day 1

October 6 - 4:14pm
Saturday, September 29 – Day 1
After a quick stop at Krispy Kreme, full of sugar and excitement, we hit the road and ended up on property around 10a.m. or so.  As we sat at a red light, I realized that I had programmed the Garmin to take us to Wilderness Lodge – NOT the ESPN place.  Oops! I fixed the problem and we made it to the Expo with no problems after that.  

The ESPN Sports Complex is HUGE!  I’m glad I decided to do a little reconnaissance mission in preparation for the Princess Half in February!  If I showed up blindly on that Friday, I think I would have been a bit overwhelmed!  Hubby and the Child were along for the ride, not really enjoying themselves (or it seemed that way anyway) and I kind of felt like I was dragging them around.  

First, I kind of just took it all in – where is the Official Merch? Where do I go to get my bib? Where is Jeff?  
Looking down at the craziness!
Oh good - I was wondering where that was
I see Jeff! I see Jeff!!!
After that, I headed down the stairs, right into the middle of it all.  My other main mission was to ogle and fondle the Sparkle Skirts!  You guys all know I want one! I touched pretty much every single one of them, but finally took a Purple Haze to the teeny-tiny changing room to try it on.  I pulled it up over my hips and first did a happy dance that an XL fit, no XXL for me!  then I fell in love with how it fit, period.  The shorts were tight, but not compression. The waist fit AT the waist, meaning at my belly button, not way low like a lot of athletic wear is lately.  The fabric had a heft to it that felt, I don’t know, reassuring? I came out and told Hubby that that was the one I wanted him to buy for me after I finish my 10k.  I wanted it NOW, but earning it will make it so much better!

Walking around the expo, I got to see Bondi Bands (love these!), Sweaty Bands, YurBuds, SpiBelts, and other stuff that I didn’t think that I needed. (Really, who puts little charms on their sneakers?) Sadly, we made our way through the expo quickly and it was time to leave.  

Sparkly SweatyBands (they are pretty, but don't look absorbent)
We hopped back in the car and headed to Wilderness Lodge! I was so psyched for this stay – we got such a GREAT DEAL on this room with a bounce-back offer when we were here in February (or whenever that was!)  Six nights, Concierge Level for $1800! 

Driving up to the entrance of Wilderness Lodge is very reminiscent of that scene in Jurassic Park where the gates open for the first time.  The entrance is massive, with an arch across the top, and driving through it, you just know that something great is waiting on the other side. 

We follow the meandering pathway to the port cochere, where we were met by a bellhop who quickly unpacked our bags.  The Child did not know we were even staying Club Level and Hubby didn’t know what perks Club Level included, so when a Cast Member said good morning to us and asked our names, he was slightly confused. When she said that she would take us directly to the 7th floor, he was really confused. I just smiled and told him to follow!

Club Level room keys allow you to access, duh, Club Level. If you get on the elevator without a golden room key, you can’t go to the 7th Floor. All you have to do it tap your room key to the elevator panel and you are whisked away. No, literally, whisked – I think it took 3 seconds to get from the lobby to the 7th floor!

When the doors open, you exit into a warm, dark, rustic foyer. There are two small concierge desks that are staffed from 7am to 10pm.  We were taken to one of these and checked in. We didn’t have to deal with the desk downstairs, or waiting in line at all. It was great! After we were given our Golden Keys to the World cards, we got a small tour of the Club Level.  They showed us the seating areas – which wrap all the way around the 7-story open lobby - and the Old Faithful Lounge. The lounge serves snacks and beverages from 6am to 10pm.  Coffee, Breakfast, Snacks, Hot appetizers, Desserts, and Drinks.  The lounge closes between services so that staff can clean and restock, but we were told that if we needed something while it was closed, they would go get it for us! I’m diggin’ this Club Level thing!

Doorway to the Old Faithful Lounge
After our tour, we went to find our room – I had put in a room request for a few specific rooms, from the advice of some folks on the DisBoards. We ended up in room 7121, the connecting room to the Vice Presidential Suite.  I was hoping that, since not a lot of people book a VP suite, our trip would be quiet.  It was – for a few days.
RFID Readers on the Door (Wet bar behind)
LEFT: Bath/Vanity    RIGHT: Wet Bar
View to our left (That is the lobby)
View to our right (that is the pool/hot tub and Bay Lake)
The room is not as large as other Deluxe Resort rooms, but that was not really an issue for us.

Shot from Patio back into room
It had 2 queen beds, a table and two chairs, entertainment center, and off to the side, by the front door, was a little alcove that housed a few drawers for storage, a mini-fridge, and the ice bucket on top. 

Since regular deluxe rooms don’t come with a kitchenette, we designated this area as the food area.  
Concierge Level guests get 2 robes
In-Room Safe (iPod used for scaling)
Current Style of Toiletries - Grapefruit Bergamot
Bathroom Vanity - Toilet/Shower Area behind door
We unpacked and quickly spread our stuff everywhere as it seems like we always do.  On our way out, we stopped by the Old Faithful Lounge for some in-depth photography.... And snacks!!!

Homemade chips - a.k.a. Amy's Crack
(Borden) Chocolate Milk
2% Milk - (for drinking/coffee/cereal)
Chocolate Chip Cookies - nice and soft!
Hippy Dippy Trippy Trail Mix - There's no healthy on vacation!
Beverage Cooler - Selections vary during the course of the day
The crunchy snack that smiles back, til you bite their heads off
Apples (sanitized for your protection), Bananas, Oranges
The BEST DAMN GUMMI BEARS I've ever eaten
Sugar Cookies - Soft and yummy
Ranch dip for those homemade chips
We took our snacks out to the bus stop and  headed to Epcot – it was LUNCH TIME!  
Bus Stops on Right
I don’t remember how  long it took to ride the bus to Epcot, but it didn’t take long enough for my bus sickness to kick in, so that’s a bonus!  We also get dropped off and picked up near the front of the bus circle, so on late nights, that’s a check in the WIN column too!

No trip to Disney World is ever complete without a lunch at LeCellier, so that was where we headed to first. It is the first reservation we make when we know that we are going back to Disney!  We checked in and sat around for a while until a table was ready. We were lead back to a small table right by the kitchen and huge fireplace, where we really didn’t even peruse the menu - all three of us got the filet, substituted mashed potatoes and asked for all pretzel bread.  We are such easy clients to serve!

Our meal was ready quickly, and very tasty. I think this was The Child’s first time ordering her own steak, and she devoured it!  As usual, I was the last one to finish, since I like to take my time and savor the meat and potatoes, as well as the pretzel bread.
Picky Eaters Version - Filet w/Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Too soon however, our meals were finished and it was time to pay the check.  Let me just pull out my Tables in Wonderland card here…. Oh no! I know I forgot to do something!  I told myself that as soon as we got to Epcot, we needed to go renew our card. Luckily, the manager of LeCellier was AWESOME and gave us the Tables in Wonderland discount on good faith that we would go take care of it!  Lunch (dinner, really!) for three, no alcohol, came out to under $100 with the TiW card. I love that card!

After lunch, we headed over to DHS – The Child loves the Animation Academy, and I knew that, at this time of day, Characterpalooza would be happening!

At ease, soldier
Just remember, bee yourself!

Sure enough, it was, and I got my photo taken with both Genie and a Green Army Man and all 3 of us got together with the Queen of Hearts. She was  hoot!  It took me a moment to realize what she was asking me, but she wanted my wedding ring so that she could marry my husband!  She proceeded to ignore me the entire time. It was great!

Hard to see, but she is giving me the "Hand"!
Pluto playing around at Characterpalooza
The Child getting ready to bust out a masterpiece (or shank you)
We popped over and saw Voyage of the Little Mermaid, since we’ve never done it before, and ended up sitting in the second row. For this show, I would suggest at least row 5 or further. We got a little wet and it was hard to see the right side of the stage, but all in all it was a fun show, and will probably see it again (another great show for rainy days!)

Body language! Hah!
After that, we took a stop over to the hotel, and of course, went to the Lounge! It was hot appetizer time, so we all tried some things (some of us tried a lot more of things than others… I'm the most adventurous eater of the three of us, and that makes me kind of sad...)

Arugula? I grow arugula! Salad with Dressing

Cold Meats and Antipasti - Crudite with Ranch Dip - Fruit
Cheese Platter - Cheddar/Blue/Others I can't remember
Venison Meatballs with Coconut Curry Sauce
Soft Rolls and Peanut Butter & Jelly "Shooters"
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto - Sourdough - Red Pepper Hummus
Espresso BBQ Chicken Skewers
Also included in Hot Appetizers time is coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soda, beer, wine, lemonade, water, fruit, cookies, goldfish, chips and gummi bears.

I tried both the Venison meatballs and the chicken skewers (I know, adventurous!).  I liked the skewers. The venison wasn't bad, but I wasn't a fan of the curry sauce. If the venison had been in the BBQ I probably would have eaten all the balls I could get my lips around! We all snacked on sliced meats, cheese cubes with crackers, chicken (me), sourdough bread and lots of lemonade and chips! I love these chips!  (I can feel a crazed sort of addiction happening to me with these things - I literally want to stand over the platter, like a fat guy at a tailgate!)

(As a side note, does it ever get boring, riding the little boats between resorts? I could do this all night!)

Captain? One more time around the lake!
Over to Magic Kingdom, finally, to see the new Storybook Circus!  Casey Jr’s Splash Station is gorgeous at night, but not nearly as breathtaking as the new Dumbo!   

Wow, the lights and water just make this ride area sparkle! We got in line, and got lucky enough to catch Wishes while we rode! Check out these great photos!

C'mon, c'mon - raise the Dumbos already!
Believe & Soar!
My favorite "Circus Attraction" poster at Storybook Circus. It's stuck in your head now, isn't it?
He's a wild and wooly sheep....
We popped over to Big Thunder, The Hubby and The Child’s favorite ride for a quick spin around Tumbleweed, then grabbed a spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade.

 How can you not smile when you hear that music?  I love this parade!

How peculiar
Giving kids nightmares since 1971
We finished our night with a ride on a longboat, then called it a night and headed back to our room. 

Goodnight Magic Kingdom!