I'm going to be doing a series of reviews of resorts past that we have stayed at. This one is dedicated to AbbyBeth!
Before I do these though, there is some business I've got to get out of the way first, for those who are Disney vets so maybe you'll understand me a bit better and those who aren't so you'll know what the crap I'm talking about!
Now, let me start off by saying, for those in the Disney know and who frequent the DisBoards, (and this is going to be controversial, so prepare yourself), we are Deluxe Snobs...there, I've said it! Whew! What a load off! Hi, I'm Keebs, and I'm a Deluxe Snob! Now that I've done that, what are the other 11 steps? Yes, I'm a poor person who lives in a mobile home, so how can I possibly be a DS? We started off staying off property in '81 (which was terrible, I would never recommend it), in '99 we stayed at Caribbean Beach Resort (which was OK, but 30 minutes to breakfast and 30 minutes back to the room was just too much walking!), in '04, Caribbean Beach again, and I believe I've established how "fun" the '04 trip was! '05 was my first stay at Wilderness Lodge and my first venture into Deluxe Snobbery, '06 solo to the Lodge, '07 Contemporary, '08 solo back to the Lodge, '09 back to Moderate land at Port Orleans French Quarter (further solidifying my DS-ness, once you've gone DS, you can never go back), and '10 The Polynesian.
OK, the off property discussion first. Disney offers a million perks to staying on property, some of which I have already discussed, but some of which I haven't...discounted and combined ticket perks, free transportation (which means you don't have to rent a car - total money saver right there) (and for those that stay off property and take the buses anyway, be warned, I know 99% of the time you can get away with it, but have seen bus drivers ask for resort keys before boarding and I have also seen them embarrass the crap out of someone for not having a resort key and trying to use Disney buses - there is barely enough room for resort guests as it is! DISNEY BUSES ARE FOR RESORT GUESTS ONLY - YOU CAN USE THE MONORAIL, HOWEVER (JUST NOT THE RESORT MONORAIL)! (sorry, pet peeve of mine), free parking (and the current parking fee for non-resort guests is $14 per day and that can really add up!), free park to resort gift shop package service (which I have already discussed), using your room key to charge purchases, Extra Magic Hours (which means the parks stay open later or open early for resort guests on specific days), you don't have to commute an hour every morning and every night into and out of the resort because you're already there, you are guaranteed admittance to the parks when they are full to capacity (although you may not get entrance to the park you are trying to get into), and tons of other things that are escaping my migraine-hungover brain at the moment!
For those of you not in the Disney know, there are basically three levels of Disney resorts: value (not even when hell freezes over - sensory overload! I know some people love them, but we ain't them people - we got stuck at the bus stop at a value in '04 and I thought we were all going to have panic attacks!), moderate, and deluxes (well four levels if you add DVC's - Disney Vacation Club - Disney's version of time shares, or five levels if you count the camp grounds)...moving on. Values and Moderates are like motels, several levels, rooms accessible from the outside, both have food courts, moderates have a restaurant, pools, etc. Values are geared more towards families with children...they have over the top theming. Moderates do have their fair share of children, but the theming is much more subdued and adult. Deluxes are like hotels, rooms accessible from the inside, food courts, several restaurants, pools, etc, higher level of quality and although there is children as well, the quantity is even less and the theming is also more adult.
Why do I keep mentioning children? Another controversial statement: we don't have any in our family and frankly, I'm not a fan. Just stay with me for a minute and let me get it all out. How in the world can I go to WDW and not like children? Well, that's a very easy one to answer...having Asperger's, I'm an observer of people more than a participator in things and the main thing I've noticed about the kids at WDW is, yes, a larger than normal quantity of them are ill-mannered and badly behaved, but it's not there fault. I notice that the parents are the ones that don't control their children or encourage their bad behavior. I can't imagine acting like those kids do in public when I was little and if I did, I can't imagine my Mother's reaction! We'd probably would have been packed up and taken home right then, money spent on trip be damned! My Mother would have died if I hauled off and kicked a total stranger for no reason (and yes that has happened to me and I think Am as well - and the parents did NOTHING and even ignored me when I tried to acknowledge it!). Who lets their child behave like that!?!?
But, having said that, only in WDW, do I have any sort of normal reaction to children. By normal, I mean when I see a child's eyes light up when they see Donald or Aurora for the first time, it actually puts a smile on my face, and trust me, that's huge for me! I was 16 when I got the reiteration that my "feeler" was dead (now I know that was the Asperger's), first time being when my Father's Dad died (which I've already discussed way back). I was with my Mother in Wal-Mart and she ran into some she knew who had just had a baby and everyone was cooing and cawing all over it and I felt nothing, nada, zip, zilch. That wasn't normal and I knew it and it freaked me out! From that moment on, my reaction to children was to just shun them away (which in kids speak means, "Keebs is in the room, quick go hug her, she hates it!")-I'm still a kid magnet BTW, it's like they sense I don't like them so they come running! WDW allows me to feel at least somewhat "normal" even if it's only for a week, if it wasn't for the stupid parents and their bad parenting skills ruining it all!
Boy, could I have gotten more off topic? But the good news is, we won't have to go through all this next review (I don't think)...anyhoo, on with the show:
This is a review of a WDW Resort (BTW, I will use WDW alot, it stands for Walt Disney World for those that don't know) we stayed at in Oct 2007, Disney's Contemporary Resort.
This is a Dec 2006 shot coming up from Bay Lake from The Wilderness Lodge (I was sight-seeing Christmas decorations):
This would be my favorite, if it had just a touch of Disney theming! It's perfect as far as location goes...in fact, it's got the best location in the whole complex, right next to the Magic Kingdom! Don't believe me? This was the view from our balcony in 2007:
and here's a zoomed shot of Cinderella Castle:
Need I say more? You can either take the elevator down directly to the monorail that runs right through the middle of the resort (this was from our interior balcony):
And it is the only resort you can walk to the Magic Kingdom from (sorry about the fuzz, the lens always fogs up in the mornings in Florida):
But the entire place is just cold! Yes, there is a giant painting by Mary Blair (original Disney artist who created the artwork for It's A Small World - but don't hate her for that, it's the Sherman Brothers you want to hate, they wrote that bloody song!) in the center of the Tower Building and there is a Mickey statue in the lobby and there are Mickey themed shops and restaurants, but the overall theme of the rooms and resort in general is "Contemporary". They had just done a rehab when we were there, so it had lost it's 70's mod look at least. This was our room:
As an aside, the California Grill, the restaurant that sits atop the resort, is one of my favorites on property and is the one that introduced me to Moscato, which is now my favorite wine (although that night I drank too much of it and it made me sick - sweet wine in moderation with Florida heat - lesson learned). And if you don't have the moolah to stay at the Contemporary, eat at the Cali Grill...it offers the same views we got from our room and SPECTACULAR fireworks viewing. I will be reviewing it at another time.
But that's it! Next resort review I think will be The Polynesian...my third favorite (and the last deluxe we stayed in).