August 19

Disney2014: Be Our Guest

Let us start the DisneyWorld recap off with a little background.

I went to DisneyWorld (from now on, let’s just use WDW) with my family in 1986 and 1991.  We stayed off-resort, it seemed like we stayed an hour away, and I believe my Dad had to sell something to buy one of those mid-80’s video cameras.  The type you hoisted on your shoulder and it had wires running down to a VCR-type machine encased in a custom messenger bag get-up.  I think we stayed three days.  Why?  Because WDW=$$$$$$$$$$.  I remember riding the monorail through the Contemporary Resort and thinking that the architecture didn’t spark my fancy, but it sure must have been nice to not have to drive an hour and then spend another 30 minutes on a tram THEN on a monorail before you even got to the park.  On the 1991 visit, we drove around and ended up driving up to the WDW Swan.  It is such a . . . strong . . . design.  But looking up at the Swan from our Days Inn motel vacation sure made it seem luxurious.

So.

When Knobby surprised me by telling me that we were leaving for a week at WDW the very next day . . . AND that we would be staying at an on-resort hotel?  I was experiencing some disbelief.

“But . . . but . . . that’s where the RICH people stay.”

Silly Pixy.

——

We drove down the next day, and arrived at the BoardwalkVillas around 2:30 or three in the morning.

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This picture is so fuzzy, because it was so hot and humid, even at three in the morning, that my camera needed more time to defog itself from the cool car interior it had ridden in all day.

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I sat there . . . and sat there . . . and wondered why it was taking so long for Knobby to check in.

He finally emerged to let me know that our name wasn’t showing up on our reservation.

Long story — a friend’s wife is a travel agent, the BoardwalkVillas is predominantly a DisneyVacationClub (DVC) member resort.  You can still book rooms on the WDW website, but most people are going to presume you are DVC.  The original vacationer had booked via points and for whatever reason, not been able to make it . . . therefore, Knobby’s travel agent offered it to him as a way for the original vacationer to retrieve some compensation from his/her non-refundable cancellation.  We ended up in a HUGE villa, but we will get to that in a moment.

Gigantic artwork as you walked through the sliding doors above.

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The lobby.

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Concierge desk.  Loved the blue-and-white plates and platters used as decoration here.

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More Lobby.  Such a tall space.

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This incredibly . . . dramatic light fixture actually greeted you when you turned into the Lobby from the Foyer.

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Walking to the rooms, somewhat subtle Mickey carpeting.

 

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See him now?

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More hallway.

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Now for the room.  They called it a 2-Bedroom Lock-Off Villa, and when we got there, we discovered that it was actually two rooms that could have completely functioned on their own.  Each had its own entry from the hallway.

Oh yes — and they had the exact same RFID door hardware as The Carolina Inn had when we visited this summer.

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We didn’t need cards for these . . . no, these read your WDW wristbands, as does everything else in the park.  But we’ll get to that in a moment, too.

Yes, each had their own hallway entry.  The smaller of the two rooms had a separate kitchenette, bed, table and chairs, and a sleeper couch.  Through the dividing door, the larger “room” was a suite with full kitchen, washer/dryer, coat closet, two gigantic bathroom spaces that connected, a living room with a sleeper couch, then a separate Master Bedroom with a king size bed and a walk-in closet.  Three balconies.

Yeah.  It was crazy large.  We could have fit eight people into that villa with ease, so we felt rather wasteful.  But . . . we gave the maids an easier job, I suppose.

BoardwalkVillas is feeling a bit elderly around the edges.   Things like the tile in the kitchen and bathrooms needed an update.

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You can see how they look a bit . . .outdated.

Add in things like wall switches were looking a bit yellowed, lighting needed to be about twice as bright, interior doorknobs that wouldn’t lock, and some little nags about details like wall conditions/paint jobs/tiny bits of dislodged trim . . . and it was a conflicting opinion.

It was a tremendous amount of space, it was clean and orderly, and it was on-resort (which has such great benefits) . . . but despite all of that . . . we were ultimately in agreement that we would have been rather disappointed, had we paid the per-night price of something like $830 or $850 per night which was listed for that week.

Now, were you to break up all this space and take your couple-friends so that four couples could have fit — two to each bed and sleeper couch — therefore, making this huge space $200-something/night per couple . . .now, that might have made great temptation sense to a whole lot of you.  And at $200/couple/night, (plus, they get you with an “extra person over two occupants” charge, so whatever THAT was) . . . you may be more forgiving to the state of the decor.

Us, we would have gone with a much smaller interior, but more upscale.

Two “luxuries” of this room were the jetted tub and the washer/dryer.

The bathroom of the larger side of this villa is both of the pictures above.  It was gigantic.  The first space was this:

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Shower pictured above to the right — it could have fit four or five people.

Then to the left, this door . . .

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. . . through to the bigger vanity sink, walk-in closet, and the big jetted tub.

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The louvered doors (yes, the flaw in the one nagged at me) opened to the bedroom.

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I’ve seen that open-tub idea before . . . but it really bugged Knobby that . . . had he wanted to watch the tv in the bedroom, he would have had to lay the wrong way in the tub, with his head up by the faucet, in order to see it.

And that, of course . . . was the only reason we had to even open those louvered doors.  Ha.

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(Lest you forget you’re at WDW.)

I have heard all the tales about mold and infections breeding in the jets of those tubs.  Hotel tubs, home tubs, all of it.

But.  Mold be darned, when we had walked ourselves around miles of parks all day.  When I had worn blisters on three new parts of my feet each day.  When we had been sweaty and arrived home all aches and fatigue . . . well, the answer was hot tub time.

I laid in that tub for a minimum of two hours each night.  I did not want to get out of that tub, but by then Knobby had fallen asleep and I realized I needed to get up and attack another theme park the next day.

And the washer and dryer . . . thank goodness for that washer and dryer.

Because of my poor planning and poorer packing, the things I had planned to wear weren’t really ideal.  I found that out after the first gruesome day.

SO.  I had brought two pairs of capri-length leggings, and I wore those over and over, thanks to the washer and dryer in our villa.

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They even provided the detergent.

Glory, glory, hallelujah.

So:  our next ideal place would be . . . smaller, more upscale, jetted tub, and W/D.  Please and thank you.

Besides never having to get in our car, and the easy access to everything (especially Epcot and DisneyHollywoodStudios) . . . another great benefit was that anything we bought at the parks we had delivered to our room.  This was fantastic because we weren’t weighed down . . . but it also meant you could get quite a surprise when you went to pick up your packages!!!

“Oh . . . I forgot about that.  And that.  Annnnnd . . . that.”

BoardwalkVillas faces the Boat and Yacht Club across a beautiful little lake.  I loved the ambience of the outdoors, but we will approach THAT subject with the next entry in our Disney recap.

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Posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 7:18 pm. DisneyWorld2014.