28 nights, 18 hotels, not gonna happen

BabybetterDisney

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Early January, I booked a hotel-only trip, the most ambitious WDW trip I’ve ever booked. Being that we wouldn’t be going to the parks, I wanted to sample as many hotels as I could and go to every hotel I wanted and didn’t have time to do in the past. So I booked for one night each:

Pop Century
Contemporary club level
Fort Wilderness cabin
CBR (6 nights, 3 weekends 2 nights each)
Grand Floridian club level
Poly
POFQ
Contemporary, garden wing
Boardwalk, club level
Wilderness lodge
Beach Club, club level
Coronado Springs (2 nights)
AKL Kidani
Saratoga 1 bedroom
POR
AKL
Yacht Club
OKW 1 bedroom
ASM (3 nights)
Hyatt at Orlando airport

(How would a Disney travel agent like to book my trip?)

Pop Century is our favorite hotel. I just love it so much, we‘ve been going there for 9 years. Last summer, when we were there, I showed my then DS3 the huge POP letter statue and told him it is the name of our hotel. So when I was booking this time, DS4 walked by me, looked at the computer screen and said, “Pea-oh-pea! That spells hotel!” Wow, my little boy is so smart!

Last year, our trip ended 10 days before the Skyliner opened. I am so looking forward to trying out the Skyliner! I am also very scared of it and have no intention of using it for regular transportation, but I want badly to get on it occasionally, in the evening when the temperature is balmy, and we can float from Pop to CBR. I also want to count how many people get on it during different times of the day to see if the Skyliner was a wise decision for Disney. In short, I am dying to studying the Skyliner.

Last year, I booked the Contemporary, Garden Wing. We got there at 4:30 p.m. but the room wasn’t ready. So I asked if they had another room available, we’ll take anything, we are not picky. The manager then walked out, shook my hand, and started chatting most pleasantly. (I didn’t ask for him, he just showed up). We were only staying one night, and he asked where we were going the next day. I answered, as apologetically as possible, that we were going to the GF. I was hoping he wasn’t offend by us being so disloyal, staying only one night. He wasn’t offended at all, and immediately upgraded us to the main building, them park view, which was like a $250 upgrade! I was so stunned, I had never been upgraded before in 9 years of going to WDW.

So this year, I felt obligated to stay at the main building again to show my appreciation for last year’s stunning upgrade. I choose the club level because we’ve never stayed at the Contemp club level before, and I even got a discount. Total cost including taxes: $900. Holy cow! I’ve never done that before and probably will never do it again. In the mean time, we never got to stay at the Garden Wing, so we are doing it this year. I want to find out which hotel is the best for MK, for us. That’s why I also booked WL. Is the boat better, or is walking better?

We’ve never been to Fort Wilderness. We live next to a national park, so we practically live in the wilderness. We caught a bear in our backyard once. In the past, I figured, why bother staying there when I can do the same thing at home for half the money? But then I also realized that I never do the same thing at home. I also discovered this year that FW has golf cart rentals. That sounds very exiting, driving the kids around in a golf cart. FW also have many other things to do that I didn’t know about.

After Pop, CBR is our second favorite resort. It looks so beautiful in the pictures, and even more beautiful in real life. It has a Pirate ship splash pad that is my DS4’s favorite; he preferred it to three others he’s tried: GF, POFQ, and Poly. There are sandy beaches, a beautiful lake where you see the reflections of buildings on the other side. Sometimes in the morning there is a blanket of fog that covers part of the lake. It is more beautiful than the actual Caribbean where you see poverty everywhere. Ew.

Unfortunately, Disney in their infinite wisdom decided to bulldoze a third of CBR to build the Riviera on it. So the Barbados section is all gone! And I never even got to stay there! I was also going to do that some time, I thought I had time! In its place, there is the Riviera. I have zero interest in the Riviera. I could have booked a room for this trip, Disney was running some good discounts on its rooms despite its being brand new, but I was not interested. I also didn’t get a room at Bay Lake Tower because I don’t feel much interest there, but I’ll stay there before I stay at Riviera. I haven’t visited it yet, it wasn’t finished when I was at CBR last summer. It looked tolerable, though I wish Barbados was still there. (Disney renamed another section of CBR as “Barbados”, but it’s not.) The lost of Barbados plus the creation of the Skyliner mean that CBR’s rooms are 50% more expensive than it used to be, and with far fewer rooms available. CBR went from the cheapest moderate hotel to be the most expensive.

I read somewhere that Riviera is supposed to replace GF as the new flagship hotel of WDW. Yeah right.

Anyway, I love Pop. It’s beautiful, cheap (for Disney), and convenient. I stayed at CSR some 8 years ago and didn’t like it for reasons that no longer exist, so I won’t mention them here. I was going to stay at Pop for those 2 nights until I noticed that CSR cost the same money. Seriously, Pop has raised its price so much that the price of a Pop preferred view was $186, same as a CSR standard! When I saw that, both my love for Pop and my bad memory of CSR gave in, and I succumbed to CSR instead. In the end, Pop is only a value, whereas CSR is a moderate (some call CSR a deluxe priced as a moderate after their recent renovations). There’s no denying that CSR is far more luxurious than Pop. And luxury is, in the end, nicer. My kids will enjoy the slide that Pop doesn‘t have.

I booked 3 DVC resorts: Kidani, Saratoga, and OKW. I’ve never stayed at a DVC before, and have never stayed at a one bedroom at Disney. That will be very interesting -- the kids will love it. Kidani, in particular, has a very interesting splash pad that I believe DS4 will enjoy. I just found that out this year. 10 years of going Disney World, and I’m still constantly learning new things.

Lastly, I booked at ASM for 3 nights. We have never stayed there, though I have stayed at the other two All Stars. I want to try it out to see how we like it as a home base for future trips. Pop has been our home base all these years, but with the price hike due to the Skyliner, compounded with the fact that I can’t ride the Skyliner (except occasionally), it doesn’t make financial sense. I am better off staying at All Stars and using the Minnievan during busy times. Which is better, the Minnievan or the Skyliner? I prefer the bus unless it’s really packed, so I can just ride the bus and use the Minnievan as a backup. If I stay at Pop, I will have to pay for Minnievan anyway being that the buses are cancelled for the Skyliner routes. That is simply too expensive. Basically, if we move to All Stars, I get the Minnievan “free.”

When I first heard about Disney building the Skyliner, I knew the time had come for us to say goodbye to Pop because the price is going to skyrocket. That is just so sad, it‘s like breaking up with a boyfriend! I love him so much, but he’s become so high maintenance! But WDW has changed over the years, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. We just have to accept it and move on. But we are still arriving at Pop when we arrive at Disney World, for just one night. That will be our custom for now on.

And lastly, we are staying at the Haytt at Orlando Airport. I live in a remote state, so the only way I can fly home is to take either the early or the late flight. The early flight is too difficult to make, so we always take the late flight. That means I get up at 6 am Orlando time on our departure day to pack and get ready, and we arrive home at 3 am the next day, Orlando time. I’ve been doing that OK over the years, but lately I’m getting too old and decrepit, so I had a revelation: why don’t I spend the last night at the airport? That way, we can get up early enough to catch the flight home and be home by 1 p.m., which will be so much easier and less stress.

For food, we are going to eat at Trails End, Boma, Yachtman Steakhouse, and McDonald’s! We go by this McDonald’s on the bus to AK every year, and I’ve always been impressed by the looks of it, but we never had the time to visit. This time, we have no park days, so we have all the time in the world to go wherever we want. And I just found out this year that you can walk to that McDonald’s from All Stars Sports, it‘s not far. Like I said, I’m always learning new things about WDW. We are also going to visit Celebration and eat at the restaurants there, something we’ve never done before due to lack of time. We are going try out Yachtman Steakhouse because DS14 wants to try the $130 steak there.

Doesn’t my trip sound awesome? Where else in the world that you can stay at a Caribbean themed resort one day, and then move easily to the African resort the next day? And you can keep doing that -- French quarter the next day, Polynesian the next day, Mexico the next day, with your luggage hauled for you so that you can leisurely take the bus/boat/Monorail/Skyliner/Minnievan to your next destination. It’s like traveling around the world the easy way.

I take my 3 kids to Disney World by myself, always have. The oldest one is handicapped, the youngest one is a toddler (used to be a breastfeeding baby). DH doesn’t like Disney World. He says he’d rather go to jail. I actually prefer that he stays home. For one thing, without DH, we can fit into a 4-person room much better, so it saves a lot of money and provides much flexibility in hotel choices. Not to mention the savings on his plane ticket, park ticket, and food. For another, I need DH to keep working so that he can pay for our trip. I should get DH one of those shirts that says “I work to support my wife’s Disney addition.” And ultimately, even if you don’t think about money, I don’t want to hear DH whine about WDW and Florida. That’s going to put a big damper on my trip. DH is a natural born wet blanket. He puts a damper on everything.

10 years ago, when I began going to Disney World by myself, I went with my then DS11, DS9, and DS4. On the flight to Orlando, the air hostess looked at us and said, “So…you are bringing three kids by yourself to Disney World.” I grinned guiltily and said yes? She didn’t say anymore, but everyone could feel the disapproval emanating from her face!

But in reality, it’s not near as impressive (or stupid) as it sounds. DH drops us off at the airport. We check the big luggage and carry the small ones ourselves. We arrive at Orlando, Disney takes care of our checked luggage, we eat at the airport, take the Magic Express, arrive at our hotel. Everyday, we get up, we go to the parks by free Disney transportation, we ride rides, we come back, we eat, we swim at the pool with lifeguards watching, we watch TV / play iPads / read Kindle, we go to bed. I don’t cook, I don’t clean, I don’t drive, I don’t look for parking, I don‘t do grocery runs, I don‘t worry about muggers. When the trip is over, I take the big luggage to the hotel check in, and they haul it directly onto the plane. We ride the Magic Express back to the airport, get on the plane, the big luggage pops out of the home airport, and DH is there to drive us home. Life doesn’t get more awesome than that!

DS14 wants to visit NYC instead of WDW because he thinks NYC has the best food. I tell him that we are never going to NYC, you get mugged there constantly. Crocodile Dundee went to NYC and got mugged the first day -- he had to pull out his machete to scare the mugger away. Carrie from Sex in the City got mugged -- they even took her shoes! The Modern Family went to NYC and their camera got stolen right in front of them. And in Law and Order, this Japanese celebrity brought his wife to NYC to have her murdered. He figured that they have so many murders there, they will never notice his! We are never visiting NYC, just forget it.

Another question people have is, how do you handle kids misbehaving? My answer is, kids don’t misbehave in Disney World. What do they have to complain about? They are in Disney World, for God’s sake! No school, no homework, no chores, just pure fun day after day! My kids behave perfectly when we are at WDW, aka Kids Heaven. We live in a remote state, in a small town, out of town, at the end of a dirt road. Disney World is a mind-blowing experience year after year. The kids are too impressed to be bad.

I booked my trip early January, when the discounts came out. On February 24th, which was DS21 and DS19’s birthday, I cancelled the whole trip. I had been studying the coronavirus and at that point, I knew that the trip was not going to happen. It took me ten minutes to cancel all 21 hotel reservations (I hadn’t made any airplane or restaurant reservations yet). I was hyperventilating when I did it, I was so upset, but there was nothing I could do about it. Even if the coronavirus clears out by summer, I wouldn’t dare to go for fear that it might come back (the Spanish flu did, and became more deadly even). What’s worse, I won’t be able to go ever again because I think the coronavirus will stick around forever, and being that I take the kids by myself, I can’t take the risk of getting deathly sick far away from home. I have been sick during our Disney trips before, during which I just stayed in the hotel for a couple of days till I got better. It was no big deal. But this is different. I’m scared, and I can’t go anywhere when I’m scared, it will totally ruin the vacation.

This means DS4 will never go back to his favorite splash pad at CBR. Even if we do go back eventually, he will be too old for it. DS14 will not get his fancy steak. And I will not be able to study the Skyliner, something I’ve been looking forward to since they first announced it. We will never visit Celebration, where I had planned to retire some day. And I will not get to walk on the walkway they are building to connect GF to MK. It has an awesome swing bridge I was going to check out. And we won’t be going to that McDonald’s, after all.

DH got a fever yesterday morning. Now he is sick in bed and can’t go to work. DH almost never gets sick. I’m scared.
 





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