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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.
Once again, our group leader sent me a last-minute request and has pestered me into posting a blog for our Friday night meetups. I agreed to do it this time, despite being viciously attacked in the previous week’s blog for not having the time to post.
This week’s blog is a little late, mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t even asked to do it until this morning, but I also needed the extra time to think about the events of Friday night before writing them down. Things started out a little slow at Sea Dog Brewing Company. When I arrived, everybody was sitting at a table, quietly drinking their beers. Not a good start to the evening.
I refused to sit and, fortunately, it didn’t take long before the rest of the crew followed suit. Maybe we should have stayed seated. Before I knew it, our group had taken over a second table, then the entire half of the restaurant. Children seemed frightened to walk through our section to get to the restroom or front door, and I’m pretty sure those were not happy looks their parents were throwing our way.
By this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what, exactly, was so horrible about our behavior. In addition to the loud and lewd discussions, it didn’t take long for the groping to begin. Most of this was friendly and fairly innocent. At least one person got a little out of hand, though, and after the waiter (politely) gave us our checks and let us know it was time to leave, those of the group who had not already been chased off moved on to a new location.
Unfortunately, the new location was smoky and kind of gross. We all smelled like dirty whores within a minute and decided to move on yet again.
The last place, Kitty O’Shea’s, was fun. Well, at least we ladies thought so. I learned a new lesson that night. Men do not appreciate it when you invite more men into your group! Needless to say, we decided to call it an evening shortly after my little faux pas, leaving behind two cute, but bewildered, men. Sorry guys!
I first want to apologize for being late on posting this episode of Last Night’s Meetup. Without naming any names, a certain member of the group promised to write this week’s blog, but failed to follow through with that promise. I assure you, this member of the group will be severely punished for this blatant act of insubordination. For everyone else in the group that is interested in writing posts on the blog, keep in mind that any tom-foolery such as this will not be tolerated in any way. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience and will make sure that this situation doesn’t happen again. Now, onto Last Night’s Meetup (which is actually the Night Before Last’s Meetup).
Friday Night’s Meetup was great, as usual. And as usual, I think a lot of the things that made it great, were not-so-great things. It’s really all the little moments of the meetup that stick in your mind, good or bad, that are really the things that make it memorable. And I suppose that any memory, good or bad, somehow turns out great when its at Disney. Aww….isn’t that sweet? I’ll go over a few of the memorable moments of the night, and as usual I’ll try to avoid mentioning any names and / or making anyone hate my guts….any more than they already do. Before I begin, let me preface this by saying that everything you read here is my interpretation of what went on. Others in the group might think what I’m saying is total nonsense. That’s one of the reasons why I really want people to participate and comment on the blog posts. Do it!
Although we decided to go back to the usual Monorail Crawl for this meetup, we switched it up a bit. Instead of starting at Tambu, then moving around to Mizner’s and The Wave…we went from Tambu to the Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge via boat. Tambu was just as good as ever. Although there is one thing that sort of bothers me about Tambu. It really doesn’t lend itself to everyone walking around and mingling. The seating at Tambu makes people jump towards a stool or seat when it becomes available. But, I think Tambu is a great place to start the night out. It’s sort of a gathering place where we can pull everyone together and head out to wherever we’re going to get truly drunk. Once we were all present, we decided to take our drinks and get on the monorail. We rode around to the Magic Kingdom where we got off the monorail, and waited in line for too long to get on the sauna….I mean the boat.
As much as I’d like to blame the boat idea on someone else, I have to admit it was totally my idea. I guess I could blame everyone else for agreeing to my idea. So in the end, its really not my fault. Things got real shitty once we got off the monorail. It was hot and humid, we had to wait in line for the boat for what seemed like an eternity, and I always feel a little uncomfortable on a drinking meetup when we have to wait in line right next to a family that has little kids and has been at the parks all day. When the boat finally arrived, and we started to board, everything seemed much better…..until we actually got on the boat. This was standing room only. They really packed the people on there. Think of being locked in a port-a-potty with 3 other people in the hottest part of the day in Orlando. That’s what it was like…minus the poop smell. Well, sort of. One great thing about this boat ride was that I got to go over the water bridge next to the Contemporary. I’ve driven under that thing a million times, and this was the first time I’d actually gone over it. Good times.
When we finally got to The Wilderness Lodge, we hit up the Territory Lounge. I’ve been to this place a couple of times, and had forgotten what a crappy beer selection they have. But, there were nearby food options for those that were hungry. I also like the atmosphere of the Territory Lounge, and the service is pretty good there. This is a place I wouldn’t mind visiting on future meetups. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Wilderness Lodge, and anytime I have an excuse to go there, I’m all about it. We spent the rest of the night at Territory Lounge and as the night went on, some people started to worry about how they were going to get back to their cars. Most people had parked at one of the other resorts, and the boats quit running at some point. I took my chance to get a ride, and left several people still drinking at the lounge. I haven’t heard from those people since Friday, so I hope they didn’t get abducted by the chupacabra that haunts the Wilderness Lodge grounds at night.
So how’s that for a great blog post? Pretty boring huh? Well, I completely agree. I think the blog would be much more interesting if I mentioned all of the little things that happened during the meetup between attendees that really made the night interesting. Believe me, I understand that my boring rendition of the night’s events are about as entertaining as Big Mamma’s House 2 (not the first one, it was pretty good). I know that the blog needs some gossip. You need to hear the juicy details of what really went on that night. But it’s tough to do that without really pissing some people off. It wouldn’t be hard to change the names so that nobody would really know who I’m talking about, but obviously that person would know I’m talking about them.
For now, I’m going to refrain from mentioning the “juicy” details. But trust me, if you’re willing to participate in the group and meet people, you’ll definitely be entertained. If you’ve read the meetup comments lately, you know that our members aren’t afraid to get a little politically incorrect, and for that matter, downright offensive. Over the past few weeks, our Friday Night Meetups have really began gaining popularity. We’ve met some great new people, and I hope many more new members will join us on these Friday Night Meetups. As I said, for now I’ve decided not to go overboard on the details of these meetups, but I strongly urge you to check out a meetup for yourself and join in the fun!
I’m always amazed at the lack of attendees for water park meetups. We live in Florida. It’s summertime. What could be better than cooling off in a fun environment while wearing next-to-nothing?
Sure, I’ve heard the arguments, which range from the cost of the pass to body image issues. Yes, it costs more, but I find it’s a great value for so much entertainment. As for body image, someone pointed out to me: a) we can pretty much figure out what your body looks like under your clothes, and b) there’s a swimsuit style that flatters each body type. If all else fails, you can wear shorts or a cover-up.
Okay, so what’s all the fuss about? Well, for those of you who have been to our Friday night meetups, think of the fun the group has there and add to it water slides, a lazy river, and, perhaps our greatest discovery yet, a suspension bridge that overlooks the lazy river and allows for the best people watching/insult hurling I’ve experienced in a long time. And, yes, water parks and alcohol consumption go hand in hand.
So next time you see a meetup scheduled at a water park, think about all the fun you’ve been missing and join us. You won’t be sorry!
I consider last night’s meetup to be the meetup of “firsts”. There were lots of firsts for me personally as well as for the group. For me, it was the first time going to Port Orleans French Quarter, the first time riding the boat to Downtown Disney, the first time seeing the new Lava Lounge at Rainforest Cafe, and the first time for me to go inside Raglan Road. As far as firsts for the group, there were quite a few first-time members joining us, it was our first lounge meetup at Scat Cat’s and Raglan Road, and it was the first time we’ve had over 20 people at a meetup. Last night was an amazing night for a lot of reasons, and I really hope everyone else had just as much fun as I did.
We started the night out at Scat Cat’s lounge at the Port Orleans French Quarter. As I mentioned, this was my fist time going to this lounge. I went in with no expectations and really not knowing anything at all about this place. Honestly, I had never even heard of Scat Cat’s…which means there’s probably lots of cool lounges around property that I don’t know about. I was under the impression that the live entertainment at Scat Cat’s was the main attraction. As it turned out, the musician plays just outside of the bar area, and to me, seemed more like background music than something to sit and watch. I thought the atmosphere at Scat Cat’s was good, although I will say that its a bit brighter than I prefer for a lounge.
There was one part of Scat Cat’s that I was not pleased with, and I know I heard at least one other member comment on it. The Bartender. I’ll just say it….this guy seemed like a real asshole. When I ordered my first beer, he sort of had this attitude of “hurry it up guy, you’re interrupting me!”. When another member of the group asked the bartender if he accepted Tables in Wonderland cards, his response was “yeah, if I have to”. Whenever I get a bartender like this, my goal is to order as much as I can and demand as much as possible, while leaving just enough tip to let the guy know that I was less than pleased…..or European.
But enough about the bad service. This blog is about what a great night it was, and although the story of the bad bartender seems negative on the surface, its little things like that that will spice up a meetup. Scat Cat’s was fun, and I was really happy to see everyone that showed up. We had quite a few regulars, some first-timers, and a few friends that we haven’t seen in quite a while. Oh, and I forgot to mention earlier in the “firsts” explanation…this was the first time at a meetup that I felt we actually mingled instead of all sitting around in a huge circle. This is something that I’ve been striving for for a long time now. I have to say I’m a bit disappointed that I wasn’t the one that actually set this meetup up. I might just be a little jealous of the person that did set it up….and I won’t say who that is.
Although this was my first time at the French Quarter, I have been to Riverside before. Unfortunately, I participated in one of the famous Yeehaw Bob performances. I’ve never been a fan of audience participation, and that’s what his show is all about. I was fairly adamant before the meetup that I would NOT be going to the River Roost to see Yeehaw Bob. So, naturally the group as a whole decided we should check out the River Roost and Yeehaw Bob when we left Scat Cat’s. Thankfully, after our hour-long hike to get to River Roost, it was packed. No place to sit. That meant it was time to hop on the boat and head over to Downtown Disney.
I thought the hike from Scat Cat’s to River Roost was long, but that was nothing compared to the boat ride. I felt like they should’ve had a casino onboard…or at the very least, a restroom. We finally made it over to Downtown Disney, at the boat dock next to the Rainforest Cafe. It’s been a while since I had been to Downtown Disney, and I knew that Rainforest Cafe was going through some rehab, but I didn’t realize they were building an outdoor lounge, called “Lava Lounge”. They also did some enhancements to the outside of the restaurant like smoke and fire shooting from the volcano. Very cool.
Our original plan was to go to Lava Lounge, but when we got there we realized that the place was packed as well. No seats available, and really no place for 20 people to stand around and drink. Although Lava Lounge was a cool place, it doesn’t seem like a hangout sort of place as much as it is a quick drink at the bar while you’re doing some shopping sort of place.
We decided to head over to Raglan Road, and I was excited since I’d never been there before. I’ve walked by Raglan Road plenty of times, and for some reason I was thinking that it was a small pub inside and an outside bar with a few tables. I was very surprised to see that this place was quite huge inside….some might even say “ginormous”…a fictional word that I hate. There were musicians playing inside and outside, several bars, and great atmosphere. I really liked this place. I’ll definitely be back. We actually found one single table that was large enough to fit the whole group! Why didn’t someone tell me about this a long time ago? This was the perfect spot for a Friday Night Meetup.
Raglan Road is where the night began to slow down and come to an end. After one last stroll through the marketplace, it was time to call it a night. I gotta mention the heat here. It’s hot….and I know that it’s so cliché to say that its hot in Florida in August, but I feel that its an important aspect to summertime meetups. The good thing about the heat is that it makes those 65-degree nights at EPCOT later in the year all that much better.
It certainly seems like our Friday Night Meetups are gaining in popularity, and they keep getting better and better. I encourage everyone to join the DizMeet group if you’re not already a member, and come join us for our next Friday Night Meetup.
This is the first installment of a new series I’m calling “Last Night’s Meetup”. The name pretty much says it all. It will be an overall description of the previous night’s meetup, and sort of a review….good or bad. The idea is to make the meetups sound as enticing as possible so that we attract new members. Why do we want to attract new members? I have no idea, but it seems like a logical thing to do.
Believe it or not, the DizMeet Meetup Group is quite a dramatic environment…depending on what your idea of drama is. When I first decided to do these meetup review posts, I thought I’d talk about all of the interesting dynamics between members…and the relative drama that it can cause within the group. Particularly, I thought it would be cool to write about any interesting conversations or interactions between members.
The only problem discussing all of this “juicy” meetup gossip is that there’s a good chance the people I’m writing about will read this. Being that the topic of discussion at most of our meetups is far from our favorite Disney attractions, some members may not like their private conversations being discussed on a blog. So what do I do? Do I talk about all of these extremely interesting meetup details, risking making some members angry? Do I stick to only the topics that were G-rated, making them safe for a public blog? My solution was to mix the two. Although I try to discuss the interesting parts of the meetup, I will do it in a way that doesn’t piss anyone off….at least for now.
Okay, enough explanation. Let’s talk about how things went last night. We had our usual Friday Night Meetup at Victoria Falls Lounge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This is by far one of my favorite lounges on Disney property. Great atmosphere, good service, nice seating, close to food, and last but not least, a Disney lounge. We’ve had quite a few meetups at this lounge, some good…some bad. Thankfully, despite some interesting turn of events, it really turned out to be an awesome night!
As I mentioned before, I’m going to try not to mention anything that could make anyone angry. But there were certain things that happened last night that I feel are worth bringing up. Hopefully my recount of last night’s festivities won’t be taken negatively by anyone in the group. If it does, I encourage you to participate in the dialogue by commenting on this post.
I’ll start off by saying this…it’s possible that a typical Friday night DizMeet meetup may not be the best place to bring a date for the first time. Normally I wouldn’t consider taking a date to a meetup, but due to certain circumstances that I won’t go into, it so happened that I took someone to last night’s meetup. Although everything started out just fine, things soon took a turn for the worse (for reasons I’m not totally clear on), and I ended up taking this date back to her car….ending our “date” and most likely any chance for a second one. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Once the drama of the failed meetup date passed, I was able to get back to the meetup and continue the evening as planned. I’m not sure if it was the company, the atmosphere, the beer, or all of it combined; but last night I thought was one of the best Friday Night Meetup’s we’ve had. I really had a great time. Everyone seemed to get along, the conversation was good and lots of laughs.
These Friday Night Meetups seem to be increasingly popular with the group. I hope that you’ll consider checking one out if you haven’t already. I also hope you’ll consider participating in the DizMeet Discussion Board as well as commenting on these blog posts. Also, if you’re single, I hope you’ll check out DizDate. It’s a great place to meet other singles interested in Walt Disney World. But remember, I wouldn’t suggest a DizMeet meetup as your first date!