Category Archives: WDW Resorts

DizDash Launches – 10/25/15

IMG_1341 When we first set out to crete an event that revolved around some sort of competition, many ideas were tossed around. Should we do a Scavenger Hunt? An Amazing Race? Some kind of trivia-based game? We eventually decided on the current version of DizDash, mainly because of its simplicity. While most other ideas involved scoring and complicated rules, the DizDash we came up with was more or less a hide-n-seek game. Super simple…be the first to find me sitting at the secret location, and you win. How much easier could it get?

Our first DizDash event was held on Sunday October 25, 2015. The DizMeet organizers, including myself, thought long and hard about where we should setup the secret location. We first decided that we would keep this one to only Walt Disney World Resort Hotels….no Theme Parks. We further narrowed it down to only those hotels that had Convention/Conference space in them. Then we finally decided that we would set the secret location in the Convention area of the Contemporary Hotel, in a lounge area at the bend in the main hallway.

For this first DizDash, we decided to keep the grand prize simple as well, and kept it at $100 cash. We promoted the event on DizMeet.com and immediately received interest from DizMeet members. Finally, the big day came and it was time to see who would win the big prize. The coordinators setup shop at the designated location, with our iPads and computers, ready to sit there for the next six hours waiting for someone to find us, if we had to. Little did we know, we’d only have to be there for just over two hours!

IMG_1339The event was scheduled to begin at noon, and at that time we posted our first clue on both the DizMeet website and all our social media pages. The first clue was a closeup photo of a light fixture close to where the secret location was. We didn’t expect this clue to necessarily provide any insight as to where we were, but it was the first clue and we didn’t want to give up too much too soon. The second clue came about an hour and a half later, and it was the prize money sitting in a planter next to the secret location. Again, this was a closeup photo, but it did show some of the carpeting in the background, which proved to be helpful to the winner that found us first.

Our next clue was scheduled for 3pm, but we never made it that far. Around 2:15pm, as I sat in my chair at the secret location, I happened to look down the long hallway next to me, and I see a man with a bright Tangerine-colored DizMeet shirt walking toward me. He hadn’t seen me yet, and as he got closer, he spotted the plant that was the second posted clue. I watched as he looked at the planter, then back to the photo on his phone. He knew he was close. He then continued down the hallway, and finally spotted me. We had our first DizDash winner!

IMG_1343We had a short ceremonial handing over of the prize, took some photos and videos, and then made the announcement to everyone else that the big race was over. I don’t think things could’ve worked out any better on this first DizDash event. It was truly a fun event for everyone involved, and we can’t wait to do it again next month!

If you’re interested in participating in the next DizDash event, or any of the other exciting events scheduled through DizMeet, please JOIN US by clicking the link at the top of this page, or by visiting www.DizMeet.com.

Parking at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Needless to say, I’m a big Disney World fan. I try to take advantage of all that WDW has to offer. That includes the resort hotels. I can honestly say I visit the hotels even more than I do the theme parks. That’s not to say that I’m booking room nights at the hotels and actually staying overnight. Typically, I go to the resorts to just stroll around and enjoy the scenery, have some lunch or dinner at one of the great restaurants, spend an evening at one of the unique lounges, or just to setup a good spot to sit down and work on the computer for a while.

I’ve noticed that over the years its become increasingly hard to park at some of the hotels around WDW property. Security is without a doubt much tighter at the hotels that are connected to one of the theme parks. I can always get into DAKL, Coronado Springs, and Wilderness Lodge without any problems. But trying to park at the Polynesian, Contemporary, or Yacht & Beach can be a real hassle at times.

I understand that they have to watch out for people trying to get free parking at some of the resorts to avoid having to pay the hefty parking fees at the main lots. But should the locals that genuinely want to go spend time at the resort hotels have to suffer for this? Of course when the guard turns you away, they always give you the alternative method for getting to the resort. But who wants to park in a separate lot and take a monorail, boat, taxi, bus, or hike to their actual destination? Not me. I’d like to park in the parking lot of where I’m going and just walk in the building from there!

I think one of my main problems with not being allowed to park at some of the hotels some of the time is that it doesn’t necessarily seem to depend on the time of year, or how busy things are. It really seems to depend more upon the security guard manning the booth at the time you visit. Don’t get me wrong, dealing with this is much better than Disney charging money to park at the hotels. But still, maybe we can get some sort of system going where you show them your Annual Pass and your Florida Driver’s License and they roll out the red carpet for you! 😉

This rant has been brought to you by the letter P, and the number 0.

If you’re not already a member of DizMeet, come join us for amazing adventures around Walt Disney World! Join us at DizMeet.com.

DizNights: Taking up where Pleasure Island left off!

I first moved to Orlando in 2002. There was no doubt that I’d end up working at Walt Disney World. The only questions was, where at Disney World would I end up working? I originally moved here with dreams of becoming a musician at the parks. I’d been a drummer for many years, and I thought combining my love of drumming with my passion for Disney would be a dream job. I’m sure it would’ve been…if I had been good enough.

But, needless to say, I was nowhere near the caliber of musician that Disney was looking for. Basically, they want a musician that could play any style of music at the drop of a hat. They needed someone that could sight read music flawlessly, and that was not me. So, instead I ended up going to WDW casting, and after telling the HR staff member that I was interested in music, their first reaction was to place me at Pleasure Island. Makes sense right? They had music at Pleasure Island.

If you’re not familiar with Pleasure Island, you’re most likely not familiar with WDW at all, or you were literally born yesterday. But, just to give you a brief explanation of “PI” as we all called it, it was a collection of night clubs located at what was then Downtown Disney. After 6pm, you paid an admission fee to get onto Pleasure Island where you had access to all of the night clubs. PI was quite the popular spot for nightlife. There was a comedy club, BET Soundstage club, a 70’s and 80’s club, a Techno dance club, and several others. Every night of the week there was sure to be a big crowd.

In 2008, Disney decided that Pleasure Island had run its course and it was time for something new. All the clubs were closed, and Downtown Disney gradually began turning into what is now Disney Springs. There were lots of rumors as to why Disney decided to end Pleasure Island’s run. Some said there were too many problems with underage drinking. Some said they couldn’t compete with Universal’s City Walk. But I believe the truth to be that it was just time for a change. Disney certainly embraces change, and they had big plans for Downtown Disney that did not include night clubs.

Pleasure Island was promoted as the spot to go when the parks close. It was the “adult side” of Disney. Their slogan was Carpe PM….seize the night! So what happens when there’s no more Pleasure Island to go to? Where do all of those adults find their nighttime fun? Sure there are plenty of restaurants and bars around WDW property. But they don’t have the same vibe that Pleasure Island did. There was something about PI that was unique and fun.

It was because of the closing of Pleasure Island that DizMeet came up with the idea of DizNights. There was a void that needed to be filled, and DizNights began filling that void by providing a way for adults of all ages to meet and have nighttime fun around Walt Disney World. It started out with a couple of small events in area lounges, and then began to grow in popularity, attracting larger and larger numbers of attendees.

More recently, the DizNights Monorail Crawl has been a huge favorite among DizMeet members. The Monorail Crawl typically starts at the Polynesian Resort at Tambu Lounge, then we hop on the Monorail, making stops at The Grand Floridian and The Contemporary. The Boardwalk Crawls have also been very popular, when we visit many of the lounges located at the EPCOT resorts. Both of these events are held periodically, and continue to provide a great way for DizMeet members to meet each other and enjoy the great nightlife Disney World has to offer.

If you are interested in participating in one of our DizNights events, go to DizMeet.com and sign up!

Port Orleans – Riverside and French Quarter

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!

T.R.

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