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November 20th, 2008

So…They Gave Me My Keys To The Kingdom, But The Door Wouldn’t Open…

I’m here in Disneyworld now.  Turns out they do have Internet in all the rooms, but they charge extra for it.  I should have guessed.  They do everything possible here to make sure you have a great time, but nothing is free.  In fact, most of the extras here are pretty expensive.

There is shopping everywhere, and they make it Real Easy to buy stuff.  Your room key is also your part tickets and it can be used to buy anything here.  It all just gets billed to the room.  The advantage I suppose is that makes it real easy to see the what the whole trip cost you.  I’m basically putting everything, and I mean everything, on the Disney Card, so none of it gets mixed up with my day-to-day expenses back home.  But the disadvantage is it’s too easy to spend with a one card does it all thing.

I got in very early.  Check-in time wasn’t supposed to be until 3PM today but I got into Orlando early last night, and stayed at a hotel across the street from one of the entrances.  I’d reserved a room at the Caribbean Beach resort, which is one of the middle-tier resorts here, and instead of waiting until 3 I decided to at least tell them I was here.  So I headed into the park.  The roads here in Disneyworld are really twisty and it’s easy to get yourself mixed up, even though there are signs everywhere.  I wasn’t sure Traveler’s nav system would work in the park so initially I didn’t bother with it.  I might try it later.

The Caribbean Beach resort is gated.  I suppose all the motels inside the enclave are.  There was a lone guard manning the post, and he gave me a friendly greeting and asked for a photo ID and if I was checking in.  My name was on the clipboard in his hands and he gave me a big Disney welcome to the park smile and told me to go up to the "Customs House" to check in.  This is Disney, so I don’t check in at the lobby.  I am in the Disney Caribbean, and I must go to the Customs House.

So I go over to the "Customs House" and park and as soon as I get out of the car it almost hits me that I’m really down in a Caribbean Island town.  Disney let it be said, does it well.  I think part of the saving grace of putting the thing here in central Florida is you can almost make it seem like a lot of other places in the world.  They had the flora and fauna almost pat.  Except for the central Florida forest underneath it all.  But I was impressed. 

I walked up to the registration desk and they had all my information right there…including everything on my park passes and special events and such.  The lady gave me my one card does all Disney card thing and said my room was actually ready, even though it was 9:30am which was almost six hours from the scheduled check-in time. 

They put me up in Barbados (did I mention this is the Caribbean Beach resort?), and gave me a map to locate my room.  The rooms are scattered around in about a dozen or so small two-floor buildings all made to look like Caribbean island architecture…sort of…Disneyfied…  So I drove over to my building and almost lost my way again…the roads inside the enclave are Really, Really twisty, and it was staring to get a little scary.  I never get lost.  Never.  But I was getting all turned around in here.  Eventually I found it.  However, when I got to the room, my one-key-does-everything didn’t do the one thing I needed it to do just then, which was open the door.

So I walked back over to Customs House to get a new one.  The walk was actually shorter then the drive (I told you the roads here are very twisty).  They gave me another key and that one didn’t work either.  So they had to send a serviceman to fix my lock.  Initially they thought the battery in it was gone, but when he got to my room he had to take it all apart and replace the guts of it basically.  So here I am checking into Disneyworld for the first time ever in my life, unpacking my car and hanging up my shirts while a guy is pounding on my door lock to get it fixed.  My first magical experience.

The room is nice though.  Very nice.  No fridge or microwave though, which you’d expect in a room at this price level.  But I have never seen a room at this price level that was so spotless and tidy.  Nothing, not one thing, was out of place.  Matter of fact, that’s the way this entire enclave is.  I have never been anywhere it was so spotless and neat. 

While the repairman was fixing my door, I took a walk around the Caribbean to get some lunch at Port Royale.  I walked over to Aruba and then to Jamaica, and rather then go all the way to Trinidad took a bridge over the Caribbean, hopped a Cay, and landed on Old Port Royale Centertown.  The little Cay was cute, and had dozens of little nooks and crannies with hammocks and beach chairs and sandy play areas where couples or families could duck out of the crowds and have some quiet time alone.  I wondered what it would be like to take a boyfriend with me on a walk through there someday. 

There are lovely little white sand beaches scattered all around the Caribbean, with beach chairs and hammocks laid out invitingly.  But there are signs all over warning you not to swim in the Caribbean.  If you want to get wet in the Disney Caribbean, you have to use one of the swimming pools. 

After lunch I continued walking from Old Port Royale to Martinique and then back to Barbados.  Having thus walked entirely around the Caribbean, and not being too greatly fatigued afterward, I think I’ll take a run to Downtown Disney.  I’m doing Epcot later for dinner, and then going to the Magic Kingdom for the special Christmas party.

More later… 

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