Monthly Archives: August 2015
The only Walt Disney World resort hotel that I’ve seen less than Port Orleans is Caribbean Beach. Well, actually I’ve never even driven into the parking lot of Pop Century or Art of Animation. But, those are considered value resorts, so they’re basically a Motel 6 with big props outside, right? I think before today I’d only visited Port Orleans once briefly when a relative stayed there for a couple of nights. But during that visit, I didn’t explore the hotel at all.
Wait….wait….I have been to Port Orleans before. It was for a DizMeet Meetup a couple of years ago, and we went to see YeHaa Bob. I guess that particular visit slipped my mind….or should I say, I’ve permanently removed that memory from my mind as it scarred me emotionally in a way that you can’t describe. The pure agony of having to stand up in front of a room full of people and do the “YMCA” dance, and then trot around the room on my imaginary horse, was too much to take. So, I think my subconscious mind has deleted that bit of trauma from my memory.
Hmm….well, now that I think about it, we had another DizMeet meetup at another bar at Port Orleans not that long ago. Man…that YeHaa Bob experience really messed with my head! I’m also just realizing that I have never been to the Old Key West Resort either. Oh well, maybe that will be a blog for next week. Today we’re talking about Port Orleans.
I don’t know if its because I rarely visit Port Orleans, or because the architectural style is so difference from anything else at WDW…but stepping into the Port Orleans area is sort of a departure from the “typical” Disney resort. First of all, I think Port Orleans might be the hotel that’s the furthest away from any Disney park. What I mean by this is that there is no noise pollution from any other guest area nearby. Disney did a great job of separating this hotel away from everything and really making it a world in itself.
One thing I loved about the hotel property was that there is a river (or creek) running through the middle of it, and boat transportation is available from the Riverside to the French Quarter and on to Downtown Disney. Also, lots of big trees and wooded areas. Port Orleans is the type of property I love that has lots of smaller building connected by neatly landscaped paths and pedestrian bridges over the river. It was a lot of fun just taking a slow stroll around the grounds.
Although this really has nothing to do with Port Orleans specifically, I did have sort of a “magical” moment when I first started exploring the Port Orleans property. After stepping through the main lobby, and out the back door, heading down to the boat dock, I’m walking along the outside of the building and a door beside me flings open. Who comes stepping out? Mickey! Then Goofy…then Donald…then Pluto…then Captain Hook…and on and on and on. By the time they all got outside, there were probably 15 characters hanging around. I just stopped and tried to snap as many cool photos as I could. I know characters are around most anywhere on WDW property…but this was a cool experience, having all these characters come at you all of a sudden with no big crowd around them. Hooray!
I’d like to go back to Port Orleans again soon at night and check out the lounges again. During the cooler months, I think it would be a lot of fun to grab a drink and stroll around the property. I’ll keep you posted!
Until next time….Thanks!
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When I first moved to Orlando, I got a job at Disney. It was at Pleasure Island, which was an area of nightclubs in Downtown Disney. That job only lasted about six months, but I’ll never forget my manager there. His name was Clint, and he had worked at Disney World since its first day in 1971 when he was only 17 years old. Clint had some amazing stories about Disney, but they always seemed sincere and honest. That’s why I thought it was odd when he told me about The Children Under the Stars.
Clint’s stories were never very dramatic. We talked a lot about the history of rides and attractions. There were never any “tall tales” that I can remember. It wasn’t like grandpa telling ghost stories around a campfire. It was more like your uncle telling you about the time he arm wrestled Sylvester Stalone in a Tallahassee bar. But the story I’m about to tell you, was like no other story that Clint told. It’s an extraordinary story to say the least. I really haven’t told it to anyone until now. I haven’t really known many people that could appreciate a good Disney World story until now. So here it goes…
In 1998, Clint was an attractions manager in what was then Disney/MGM Studios. He often worked the late shift and typically didn’t leave the park until well after midnight. It was not unusual for Clint to see castmembers still working in the park whenever he left for the night. After all, employees are working round the clock to make sure everything meets the Disney standard. But one night he saw some activity that was certainly out of the ordinary while getting in his car.
This particular night was a cool March evening, around 12:30am. Clint got into his car, which was parked in one corner of the lot, close to a wooded area. At this time of night, things were very quiet and most of the cars had already gone, leaving Clint’s vehicle alone. As he started up his car and turned the headlights on, he made a u-turn toward the exit. As his headlights scanned across the line of trees at the edge of the parking lot, Clint caught a glimpse of something unusual in the lower branches of one tree. A figure sitting on a tree limb, feet dangling.
Being that it was dark, and Clint had already had a long day at work, he took a second to think about what he’d just seen. Was it his imagination? Just a tree limb shaped in an odd way, making him see things? He did another quick u-turn and pulled back around to where he had seen the silhouette. But, of course, nothing there. No sign of anyone or anything. On the drive home, Clint kept playing the scene over and over again in his mind, finally convincing himself that it was a figment of his imagination.
The next day at work, Clint mentioned his “sighting” to a fellow castmember. As he explained what happened, he expected the gentleman to laugh at the incident. But, instead the coworker listened intently, nodding slowly. Once Clint had finished recounting his experience, the other manager gazed eerily into Clint’s eyes, and with a slight grin on his face, whispered…”The Children Under the Stars”.
To Be Continued….
I’ll tell more of the story soon. Until then, check out http://www.dizmeet.com and join us for an event! #dizmeet #disneyworld #wdw
Summer is my time to hibernate. Its way too hot outside, there are too many tourists, and did I mention its way too hot outside? Not just hot…but like sauna hot. Like as soon as you step out of the air conditioning, you’re drenched in sweat hot. Its not fun. So, I prefer to stay in the AC where things are nice and comfy and wait for all the tourists to go back home.
I have nothing against tourists. I was certainly one of them for many years. But, now that I’m a permanent resident of Orlando, I can afford to be a hermit during the summer months and wait things out until the weather and crowd is just right. I still find ways of getting my Disney fix during the summer. I might hit up the resorts for a drink or a nice dinner. Or, I might just stay at home and listen to the Illuminations pre-show music over and over.
For those people that don’t live here in Orlando, and can only make it to the parks during the summer…I have to tell you what you’re missing out on. Imagine its mid-January, you’re strolling along the World Showcase promenade at EPCOT…its 72 degrees outside…the crowds are very light…the Illuminations pre-show music is playing…and you’re sipping a cold beer or wine (or water) after seeing an amazing pinkish purplish orangey sunset over the lake. Its truly an amazing experience.
As summer comes to a close, and most all the children are back in school, things get a little quieter and a little cooler at WDW. Its a great time to be here. If you already live here, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t had a chance to experience WDW in the cool months, then I encourage you to do whatever you have to to make that happen. What I consider to be my Disney season is coming…October to March. Oh so good!
Hope to see you soon! If you’re not a current member of DizMeet, I hope you will join us and discover a new way to enjoy the parks and make lasting friendships. Visit us at DizMeet.com.
DizMeet has a few recurring Meetups, one of which is the Monorail Crawl. These meetups have been popular since the very first one we had, and it seems like they just keep getting more popular each time we have one. Last night’s monorail crawl was no exception as we had over 140 RSVP’s. The crowd was amazing…obviously the atmosphere was amazing…and the night overall was a great success.
As usual, we started the night off at Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian Resort…and as usual it took forever to get a drink there. I’m not dissing the bartenders by any means. I’m just saying that its a popular bar, so things can take a while. Its no surprise that the Tambu bar is typically busy around that time of day because its the waiting area for Ohana as well. Its really the atmosphere of the place that keeps me going back. As crazy as it sounds, Tambu reminds me of the Regal Beagle from Three’s Company.
Later, we moved the crowd over to The Grand Floridian and the bar at Citricos. Our normal spot at Grand Floridian is Mizner’s, but due to a refurb of a quick-serve restaurant at the hotel, Mizner’s is out of commission for a while. I have to say, the bar at Citricos was a bit strange. Maybe I’m just used to Mizner’s, but something didn’t feel right. I didn’t even realize that much of our group was hanging out on and around the balcony area until after we left. I wish I had known, because now I feel like I neglected that whole group while we were there….not that they noticed my absence.
Last, but definitely no least on the crawl was The Wave at the Contemporary Resort. I don’t know if its the fact that this place is perfect for a big group, or that people are usual drunk by the time we get there, but The Wave has a reputation of being the spot where people finally let their hair down and have some fun. It also helps that someone in the group had a room at the hotel with lots of complementary adult beverages. And to the person who’s room this was….THANK YOU!
The Monorail Crawls are always my favorite meetups. It could be because we get a large crowd, or the atmosphere around the area, or the booze…but I always have an amazing time. To those of you that went, I thank you. To those that didn’t go, you really missed out, and need to go to the next one for sure. They just keep getting better and better!
If you’re not already a member of DizMeet, join us at www.DizMeet.com and find out what all the talk is about.