ha...this is actually from spring 2010... I am so rusty at this (today is October 17 2012) I messed up the order of these blog posts...
Today I spent a lot of time in the car running errands....that means time to think. Aerosmith came on the radio.... pretty funny that I consider Aerosmith "Disney music" but I do! It takes me to Disney's Hollywood Studios. So then naturally my thoughts roam to Disney World....and clients. I have a list in my head of clients traveling next week and in the near future and did a mental run through check list assuring myself that they are all taken care of and ready for memorable and magical travels. Next week is our spring break, too...but my daughter is going to New York City with the high school band. We can't go to Disney World without her - she's a huge fan and it would break her heart if we did - so we are staying home. We'll make our own magical times here :)
This morning before I left for my running around, I had been reading more about the rumored DVC coming to the Grand. Did a few miles worth of pondering about that. I can't get past how I will be so disappointed if Disney builds this DVC. I enjoy the pathway between the Grand and the Polynesian. So pretty and quiet except for the Ferry boat horns and miscellaneous WDW sounds now and then. We often walk it and see nobody...the DVC will nix that little peaceful walkway. The monorail is already experiencing overloads and breaking down more than ever - I've seen that on the past several trips..... we used to enjoy staying at the Contemporary but haven't even bothered in recent years because of the noticeable difference in the crowd levels there and lines in the monorail station on the fourth floor. The Contemporary is still a terrific resort, but for people like us that have stayed there over the past 20 years, the changes we have seen have turned us off a bit - and the addition of Bay Lake Tower is one of those changes that has kept us away. I don't want to see the Grand go down the same path with over crowding in the pool and common areas. The Grand Floridian was always my little respite from the craziness of the parks...*and craziness of life*.... and I just love the peaceful calm way I always feel at the Grand. It's such an escape. Not sure I'll have the Grand as my happy place if DVC comes along. I don't appreciate that Disney is being cheap and building their DVC onto already existing resorts so that the DVC owners can flood into the resort pools, shops, restaurants, etc.
AND....along those lines, as I am planning trips for people - many that are first timers to Walt Disney World - I know the cost of a Disney vacation can be a real turn off to people that don't realize the VALUE they will get for their money. Walt Disney World is the absolutely the best vacation destination in the world. There really is something for everybody. But there are differences that the locations of the hotels can mean as far as transportation and view and over all convenience & vacation quality - and price of course.
We started going to WDW 20 years ago when my son was one year old. When I was a child and went to WDW with my own family waaaaaaaay back when, we stayed at the Contemporary...so when we took Zack for the first time, that's where I wanted us to stay. My childhood memories of that absolutely fantastic vacation were all wrapped around the Contemporary and the Magic Kingdom. (most of our family vacations were to historical and natural wonder destinations but WDW was my favorite!) The Contemporary meant Disney and happy family vacation to me. So we stayed at the Contemporary and enjoyed the view of the Magic Kingdom, the terrific location, the fun monorail rides...."Please stand clear of the doors"..... and that wonderful feeling of being IN the midst of the magic 24/7 from the morning boat and monorail sounds, to wake-ups with Chef Mickey's music outside our door in the morning - "Celebrate with Mickey Mouse!" - and again greeting us at night after an exciting exhausting day spent in the parks, to the view of the changing colors on the castle and luminous Tomorrowland glowing in the dark - just so many precious memories of those family vacations. After that first trip with our first baby we chose a Magic Kingdom resort from then on and had the same magical experiences for years with our daughters, too. A few times to change things up we would split our vacation time between the Beach Club and the Contemporary. But the vacation never felt the same until we had the opportunity to gaze at the castle. That view means magic to me. I still equate a Disney vacation with the monorail and the castle. I'm having a hard time thinking of an Easter trip over at the Boardwalk Inn without a split with a Magic Kingdom resort.
It's hard to tell people how important that aspect of the WDW trip can be ...especially when they are trying to work within a budget. Or maybe that part of a WDW trip is just MY perception and idea of what I value about a Disney vacation and not the same for others? Maybe just due to the memories we made over the years? I often worry, though, because first timers don't realize how large Walt Disney World is, and how time is money, and convenience makes for low stress. Or is that just ME again? And what I find important? We usually go all out nuts on vacations....I would rather not go to WDW if I have to be on a budget. Our family had some tough years between 2008 and now. We were victims of the poor economy, we had high medical bills aquired by my son and also my beloved dog, and we chose to skip our family WDW trips rather than downgrade to a moderate or value resort. I was thinking I wouldn't get the same magic fix that I've grown accustomed to over the past many years full of trips. I think all the Disney resorts are fantastic and have terrific theming, I've tried almost all of them, but I have my favorites and if I can't stay at them I'd rather keep the money in the bank until I can. Years ago we started off our first Disney trips being mega park touring maniacs - we would do 12 hours in a park and come back and pass out, rest and do it again the next day and the next. The past few years we've changed our Disney vacation strategy. As the kids become more involved in activities and sports here at home and our crazy schedule has taken over our lives we really need the down time on vacation. We love having relaxing time spent at the resort mixed in with the park touring. So where we stay really has some importance in how the trip goes. Maybe that's the difference for us and we know if we don't get to see or do something on a trip, we'll be back again and do it then. Some first timers don't mind where they stay so much because it's all about being out and about and seeing everything they can on a once in a lifetime trip. They just need a place to shower and lay their heads for the night. I remember us feeling that way 20 years ago - we were out in the parks all day soaking in as much magic as we could, always thinking it was our last Disney trip for a while...but we would return the next year and the next.
I hope everybody, no matter where they choose to stay in Walt Disney World, makes magical memories like we did that will last years and bond their families together. A nice thing about Disney is that they do have hotels for all budgets and vacation styles, and they are all wonderfully themed and fun.