March 6, 2008

Welcome Home!

Although it was pouring rain, I could see that Disney had changed a lot since CB and I visited 16 years ago (sans niƱos). In particular, I noticed the roads were lined with trees and lush tropical plants - something I didn't notice before. I'm sure they serve to hide the inner machinations of life in The World, but they're also really nice to look at! (Even though at the time they were being pelted by torrential rain!)

Following the map, we made our way from the new west entrance to Buena Vista Drive, turned left at the lighthouse onto Bonnet Creek Parkway, and right onto Vacation Club Way. We rounded a turn in the road and came upon a driveway opposite a heavily wooded area and tucked into the midst of lush plants and tall trees.

There it was -- Disney's Old Key West Resort.

We had to stop and tell the guard our name to which he replied, "Welcome home!" and lifted the arm on the gate. Like they had been waiting for us!

Old Key West is Walt Disney World's first Vacation Club resort which makes it at least 15 years old. It's laid out like an apartment complex with separate buildings with outside entry and close parking, and although it spans 156 acres, the trees and plants make it seem very cozy and secluded.

We headed for the Hospitality House to check-in. There was a lot of activity here as CB pulled up along the curb. We decided I'd run in and get us checked in while everyone else avoided the rain and stayed in the car.

Although I had to stand in line a while, I took the opportunity to enjoy the homey-ness of the place and the shear fact that we were finally here! The check-in and concierge area was small, not huge and cavernous, but warm and welcoming.

In hindsight, I should've ran back out to the car and had everyone come in. MawMaw and the kids could've relaxed and watched TV in Papa's Den, Old Key West's lounge off of their check-in area.

Next time, for sure!

Magic Moment #4. When I approached the front desk I explained our Annual Pass situation. The friendly check-in girl said, "No problem. I'll just give you your discount and you can show me the pass later."

Bless her heart!

Next, the friendly front desk girl gave us our free parking pass to put in the window, our door keys (aka Keys to the World) that also allowed us to charge purchases to our room, our Disney packet full of maps and fun stuff.

Magic Moment #5. Next, she pulled out the resort map and traced the route to our room. "You have a first floor room with a balcony and a view of the pond."

Did you HEAR that?! The room request I made weeks ago had been granted!

What good news to weary travelers. I could've wept right then and there! In fact, it still makes me a bit weepy just thinking about it. Year of a Million Dreams? Absolutely! I told her she just made the two-day trip worth it. I couldn't wait to get back to the car to tell everyone!

This is the view from our first floor balcony.