November 6, 2005

Our final day in Walt Disney World is now officially over. We are back in the hotel and getting everything ready to go first thing in the morning. Our taxi (limo) is picking us up at 6:00 am and taking us right over to the airport in Orlando and we are expected to be home by noonish. Dad and Oreo are picking us up from the airport. We are very much looking forward to being home. We really miss our little dog. This vacation would have been a lot more fun if Oreo had been able to come along with us. Today is another day without Internet access as well as no Audioblogger service. We have been exceptionally out of touch while we have been down here. We had been counting on at least some form of communications working. I guess that technology just isn’t being used in logical ways yet that allow us to move forward into the next generation of services. Ho hum.

We had originally been planning on jumping out of bed early this morning and making the most of our final day in Disney World but we were pretty tired after last night and decided that we wanted to get a little bit more sleep than that. So we ended up getting up just after 9:00 and catching the 10:10 shuttle. We took the shuttle to Downtown Disney instead of EPCOT today. The shuttle drivers know us pretty well by now and do us favours when they can. We tip well too so they really like us. And we are pretty flexible when they forget to pick us up or have to have us wait for another shuttle to come. Dominica wanted to go Downtown so that she could do some shopping that she hadn’t been able to do previously. The shopping is much better on the outside of the parks anyway. I have never figured out why anyone would shop inside of the park when there is so much better shopping on the outside. The shops our larger, nicer, cleaner and have better selections. The prices are the same. But you don’t have to spend your expensive park time when shopping Downtown. We walked over to West Side and bought caramel, chocolate, peanut butter covered apples that were yummy but way too big. We ate what we could and then tried to catch a bus to go visit Port Orleans since everyone we know seems to stay there. Our afternoon plans included tea at the Grand Floridian and since the Disney transportation system is very good and going directly anywhere going there via Port Orleans was a pretty reasonable route to take. We had hours to kill but didn’t have the energy to go back into the parks again. Even though we had a pass. We are to the point where neither of us is enjoying being in the parks very much.

Now the disaster starts. The buses were mislabeled. By mislabeled we get stuck talking about how they do the buses. At any given location they have a number of bus stops, say about fifteen. Each stop has a sign that lists where the bus that stops there goes to. For example, the bus we took on the first night went to five resorts. Only one of those resorts can be shown on the electric sign on the side of the bus. Every stop has a situation like this. We have used this system for a whole week now and are pretty comfortable with it. At Downtown Disney, bus number one is labeled that it goes to Old Key West and Port Orleans. Of course, the electric sign on the bus only lists Old Key West but it really goes to five locations inside of Old Key West as well as Typhoon Lagoon which you would never have guessed. But where it doesn’t go is Port Orleans. It turns out that there is a separate bus that goes there but nothing anywhere that informs you of this. After we were on the first bus for forty-five minutes or so we were finally told this once they realized that we were on the wrong bus. This bus driver told us that each bus only goes to where the electric sign says and not the written sign. But we knew that this was backwards from the way that all of the other buses that we had used so far worked. So either this bus was mislabeled or ten or so other buses were mislabeled. Either way, Disney was not labeling all of their buses correctly and this time they really caught us off guard.

We got to one stop where the bus right behind us had been assigned to be the Port Orleans bus and the driver dropped us off so that we could switch right over. She did some calling to let us know how we could do it really quickly. By this point we had managed to kill all of the extra time that we had. Our tea reservation is at 2:20 and we had gotten onto the first bus at noon. We would have been on the bus earlier but they didn’t label the bus stop at Disney West Side and we spent ten minutes just trying to find the bus stop there. We were not the only people who couldn’t find the bus stop either. We ended up asking some people who had been lost for a while and had finally gotten directions.

The bus to Port Orleans was another bus that took a very long time to do its route. It had four or five stops inside of Port Orleans which takes forever as well as going first to Typhoon Lagoon which, of course, is not shown on the electric sign. So we were on this bus for a very long time. When we finally got to a place in Port Orleans where we felt that we could change buses we got off and waited for the Magic Kingdom bus since there is no direct route from Port Orleans to the Grand Floridian. The original plan had been to bop on over to Port Orleans and spend fifteen minutes or so there looking around and then to go to the Magic Kingdom and kill an hour or two shopping there and then go to the Grand Floridian since the trip from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian is really fast and simple. But not we were stuck going to the Magic Kingdom just so that we could make all of our connections to be able to get there at all. The Magic Kingdom bus that we got on did the entire Port Orleans route that we had just done backwards. So it took incredibly longer than we had been anticipating (for the third bus in a row.) We finally got to the Magic Kingdom and ran as quickly as we could to catch the Resort Monorail which would take us to the Grand Floridian. Or course, the Grand Floridian was the farthest point on that route as well so that took a lot more time that we would have liked. But the weather was really hot today. The hottest day yet this week and we couldn’t handle jogging outside to try to beat the monorail around so we were stuck riding. It probably would have taken us longer to walk anyway as we are pretty gimpy from all of the blisters at this point.

We walked up to the desk at the Tea Room at the Grand Floridian Resort at exactly 2:20. Two and a half hours after we had left Downtown Disney using Disney’s own transportation the entire way. One hundred and fifty minutes of bus and monorail riding. Thas was pretty much our entire day. The desk at the Floridian felt bad and made sure that we had a really good seat for our tea with a good view of the Seven Seas Lagoon.

We were at tea for two whole hours and it was amazing. Definitely one of the best experiences while we have been here at Disney World. We both went with the Buckingham Tea which included finger sandwiches, scones and pastries along with our tea. After tip and tax our tea was close to $60 but it was well worth it. We had so much fun and the tea and food was so good. The service was amazing. The Grand Floridian definitely deserves its reputation. There was a live band playing in the lobby the entire time that we were there. Our host was a dead ringer for Omar Sharif and very good. Our waiter was definitely the best that we had seen in all of Disney and it was obvious that he took he job very seriously and was a true professional – not that any of the other fine waitstaff in Disney has been less than professional but this guy really stood out. It was so nice and relaxing to just have tea there. We both highly recommend doing it some or maybe every afternoon in Disney. We ended up talking to the table next to us for a while. They were from central Wyoming and this was their first time having tea there as well and were really enjoying themselves. We just had so much fun there. It is one of the few things that we are really going to miss when we are back in New York.

After tea we went back to EPCOT where we were going to catch our shuttle back to the hotel. We had about one hour before we had to catch the shuttle so we headed into EPCOT for our final chance to see the parks. We ran quickly up to Morocco and got ourselves some more hummus that we had liked so much yesterday. It was very delicious again. Then we ran down to the UK and grabbed some more fish and chips. We were totally out of time and had to almost run all of the way out of EPCOT and out to catch the shuttle. We made it just barely in time. We caught the shuttle and came back to the hotel. We were really glad to be back. We are totally exhausted and are really glad to be done with the park. We can’t wait to be home tomorrow. We miss our little dog SO much.

There was some good television shows on tonight and after Dominica packed the room up we decided to watch some to wind down. There was some episodes of the Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy. It is nice to see television from time to time.

I talked to the hotel about how much time we had put into getting Internet access to work. They decided, after I bugged them about it since they weren’t going to take the initiative to do anything about it any other way, to give us a free nights for the effort that we have put into getting Internet access to work. Tonight the general manager told the front desk girl that they didn’t have an Internet Provider and all of the people who work during the day were just lying trying to get us to stop bothering them. One free night is almost a 15% discount so we are pretty happy with that. That is one free meal in Disney. I hate to have to ask for a discount but we have really been treated poorly here. We are definitely never coming back to this hotel.

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