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Sue Holland -- May 2005 – Saratoga Springs and Vero Beach


Who:

Sue (me - 46), DVC member

Dates: May 27- 31, 2005
Travel Method: Personal car
Resort: Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort (2nts) & Disney’s Vero Beach Resort (2nts)
Experience: Frequent Guest

INTRODUCTION:

Originally this trip was 4 nights at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and I had another 4 nights booked at Saratoga Springs over the 4th of July holiday weekend. However, I later decided to cancel the July trip in favor of spending those nights with SB while he’s away working in CT until September. Extra time with him between our originally scheduled trips was more important than being at WDW. I hadn’t been to Vero for a couple of years, and was eager to see how it has changed/improved since the hurricane damage last year. Most significantly, I hear the ocean view is much better – the view was always a disappointment to me in the past. The more I thought about my Vero trip though, the more 4 nights of laying around the pool seemed like more than I needed. So, I decided to switch the first 2 nights to Saratoga Springs instead! This way I do get to spend some time at WDW, although I do not plan to visit any of the theme parks this visit.

This trip is actually sandwiched in the midst of a busy travel period for me. After my 5-night visit to see SB I spent 4 nights at home before embarking on a journey that had me in Boston for 3 days (wedding), Tampa for 4 nights (business), WDW for 2 nights, Vero for 2 nights, then Miami for 2 nights (business) before finally returning home for a week or so. Thank goodness dvc resorts have laundry facilities – I’m going to need them!

I’ve made no plans other than visiting Comedy Warehouse on Friday & Saturday nights with Leesa. A dvc friend will be at Saratoga Springs during my stay, so hopefully we’ll get to spend some time together as well. I always have to get a caprese sandwich from Earl of Sandwich, and most likely will walk over there one morning when they open – it makes a fine brunch. Assuming the weather is nice I’ll mostly be relaxing by the pool at Saratoga. Once I get to Vero I’ll do more laying by the pool – reading, relaxing, etc. Member Services called me last week to tell me the resort had to move me from my ocean view inn room to a studio. They offered me free breakfast one morning, so I will try Shutters one of my days. I will probably eat there for dinner one night, as I really like their caprese salad. Overall though, it’ll probably be a pretty dull trip <g>!

The current plans (subject to change) so far...

Fri 5/27: Drive to WDW, dinner Wolfgang Puck’s Café, Comedy Warehouse
Sat 5/28: Jog, Earl of Sandwich, Pool, Comedy Warehouse
Sun 5/29: Jog, Drive to Vero, Pool, Eat out
Mon 5/30: Jog, Pool, Beach, Eat out
Tue 5/31: Jog, Drive to work in Miami

DAY 1 FRIDAY MAY 27, 2005:

Who: Sue (me - 46), DVC Member
Leesa, Comedy Warehouse Regular

Plan: Drive to WDW, dinner Wolfgang Puck’s Café, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: I hadn’t set the alarm, and woke up just before 7. All week I’d been in Tampa on business, and since my meetings didn’t start until 9 each day I’d been “sleeping in” until almost 7 every morning instead of being up by 4:30 for jogging! It was wonderful! Today I had no meetings, but I had some work to do in the suite before leaving. I went downstairs to use the treadmill, then showered and dressed. I was at the Embassy Suite, so I headed downstairs and got some breakfast to bring back upstairs. I spent a couple of hours on work, then finished packing up and left the hotel.

The drive to WDW passed quickly – I spent the first half talking to SB on the phone, and the other half on business calls. Before I knew it, the WDW exit was just a mile away! I went straight to Saratoga Springs and found a busy lobby but no wait to check in. My studio was not ready yet, so I asked the cast member to see what was ready – as long as it met my “no smoking” request. She found a garden view in the first 4 buildings, but it was ground floor – I hate ground floor! She also found a garden view in the new section (The Springs), right across from the hub of the resort. I wouldn’t have a Downtown Disney view, but I’m only here 2 nights and probably wouldn’t be doing much “viewing” anyway. Besides, this location will be better for Leesa if I drag her back here before we head to Downtown Disney.

I found the studio easily, and saw my view is the road, with the old Cinema sort of across the street. I didn’t hear the buses very much, and the studio more than meets my needs for the next couple of days. Everything looked gorgeous – in good condition, and very comfortable. If only SB was here with me – but he’ll get to stay here for part of my November trip if my BCV waitlist doesn’t clear! I unpacked a little bit, then headed over to the Premium Outlets. I love the Gourmet Chef store, and found some cool stuff that I didn’t buy because I was afraid it would melt/ruin if I got to Vero and my studio there wasn’t ready right away Sunday. They did have some good-looking biscotti, so I bought a package of that. My only other stop was Character Premiere, where I bought SB his very first Mickey Mouse polo shirt <g>. I’d held off in the past, but the other day he mentioned he loves WDW – so now we can start building a Disney wardrobe to complement all of his baseball-related polo shirts!

Driving back to the resort was easy, as traffic was light. I wandered up to Artist’s Palette and bought a cookie for later and a yogurt parfait for tomorrow (had to ask, but they had just made more out back). They were quite busy in there, and I really like their menu choices. Everything looks really good, too. Some yahoo was commenting to his wife that this was a really expensive place – yes, lunch will set you back around $7-8 each, but if money is that tight why not bring groceries and eat one meal “in” or vacation somewhere cheaper? Oh well, I guess it just rubbed me the wrong way, as I don’t find the prices to be high or out of line at all. They’re higher than McDonald’s, but so is the quality!

I walked back to the studio and got online, basically just relaxing all afternoon. I’d thought about going to the pool, but then I would have had to shower again and frankly I didn’t feel like bothering with that. Besides, it was pretty overcast today – hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for the pool. When I turned on the tv I saw they had a new girl doing the top things at WDW promo – no more Krista or whatever her name was. I really didn’t think it was possible to find someone more irritating to watch, but they did – this chick has an awful screeching voice and was acting like a complete idiot throughout much of the tape. Other moments though, when she was just acting like a normal person (instead of trying to be incredibly funny and cutesy) – she was fine. Maybe the obnoxiousness of the tape isn’t her fault after all <g> - but it’ll be interesting to see what other people think.

Leesa was online and we decided to move our plans up a little earlier. She recently had a birthday, and now that she’s getting older I figured she might want to have dinner at 4:30 like other senior citizens (oh, she’s going to kill me <g>). I made some cappuccino and had a piece of the new biscotti for lunch – hazelnut chocolate chip dipped in chocolate – very good! It was also nice watching General Hospital since I’d missed it all week and didn’t have a vcr to tape it in my hotel room. I also signed up for the Race for the Taste 10K run at WDW this October. It should be good practice for the next half marathon, and at 6.2 miles it hopefully won’t leave me limping for 24-48 hours <g>!

Around 4 I left to pick up Leesa – I needed to drop a new hard drive off at her place, and figured it made more sense to do this than expect her to carry it back home on her van at the end of the night. Traffic was heavier than usual, but I got there about 4:30 or so. We didn’t stay there long, as we needed to make a stop somewhere that was closing at 5pm. After that was taken care of, we drove back to Saratoga Springs. I changed into less casual shorts/shirt, then we walked over to the boat dock. They have 2 benches here, but otherwise people have to stand. Boats seemed to stop here on the way to OKW as well as coming from OKW. We waited for a boat coming from OKW, and were pleased that the next stop was the one we wanted – behind House of Blues on the West Side. From there it was a short walk to Wolfgang Puck’s Café, which was quite busy by now (6:30).

Since we did not have a priority seating they said if we wanted to eat outside we could be seated immediately. We said that was fine, and went inside to check in with the hostess. We ended up being seated inside, which made no sense. At first I thought this was a good thing, as it was rather humid outside and a strong breeze was picking up. Inside was climate-controlled, but very noisy! It was hard to hear each other across the table, and due to where it was located it was not possible to place the chairs around the corner from each other. Service was pretty prompt, and everything tasted great, so the noise was something we could deal with.

I asked if they could make the caprese salad I get at another Puck location, but they do not have any natural mozzarella. I figured that would be the answer, as I’d noticed there were not any menu items with that ingredient. It never hurts to ask, though! I ordered a glass of the Alsace wine and the field greens salad. Leesa had lemonade and the rotisserie chicken. She asked if they would substitute the butternut squash soup instead of the mashed potatoes, and the waitress said yes. When the food came I had to laugh – Leesa’s chicken was a WHOLE chicken – sitting there on her plate with its legs crossed <g>. I’ve seen half-chicken dinners and think that’s more than anyone really needs to eat – but I’ve never seen an entire whole chicken served on a plate like that, lol! Needless to say, she had plenty of chicken left over for another day!

After dinner we wandered over to Pleasure Island and saw the Adventurer’s Club was not opening until 9pm so we could not get our wrist bands there. 8 Trax was using the downstairs entrance and had just opened, so we got our bands down there. David & Janet were already at the back door, so we chatted with them before the door opened. Carol Stein was on the keys tonight. It felt great walking back into the Comedy Warehouse, especially after being gone so long – but as much as I love it here I still wished I was in CT this weekend instead of here.

The 8:15 cast was John, Lisa, Brian, Christine & Krista. The guest on the opening phone call identified herself as a tax auditor. Just then John came running out from backstage, across the stage, jumping down to the floor, and running out the exit door – once he got outside the sound tech played some gunshots and everyone cracked up <g>. I love when he does stuff like that! After the first song Lisa rang the bell in a Should Have Said scene where Krista was graduating and John was a somewhat pathetic (but very funny) guy working in the cap & gown store.

Next was Madrigal, led by John. The tabloid headlines were “Bigfoot ate my grandmother”, “Baby born with gold tooth”, “Angelina Jolie leaves Brad Pitt for Jennifer Aniston”, and “Darth Vader’s really a girl”. There was also a Fill in the Blank scene (using the entire audience) by Brian & Lisa. He was the president and she was the first lady, in this very funny scene. He was learning his alphabet and was rewarded with a bottle of alcohol – until John came in as Jenna demanding to know where her bottle was <g>. Lisa constantly put Brian down – pointing out that he was stupid, not well-liked, etc. It might sound not very nice, but it was really a funny scene. At one point he went over and snorted a line of cocaine, and Lisa said “hey – that’s MY stash”. It provided a lot of insight into the real life of our president & first lady, lol!

Overall we thought the show was very good, but the audience was definitely quiet/slow. The cast was much better than the audience response would indicate, at least. I talked to Christine after the show for a while, then went outside and found a huge mob of people waiting to get back in. Bob & Virginia are regulars on Friday night but weren’t here – I wonder if the increased crowd might have caused them to change their night (it would have that effect on me). When the door opened again it was Joe – I wasn’t sure if he’d seen me, although I knew during the past few months he’s asked where I’ve been hiding. I heard him say “I want my hug” and came over to me before he let anyone into the club – that was sweet.

The 9:30 cast was Lisa, Jake, Brian, Christine & Krista. Lisa & Christine did Story Telling, and I actually liked it <g>. I try not to assume it’s going to be awful, but I still cringe a little when I see them set up for this structure (no matter who is doing it). It’s just my least favorite thing they do. The story’s title was Offshore Bankin’ (no “g” on the end, making fun of the accent of the guy who said it). The ladies were former Siamese twins, with Christine being the smart one and Lisa being the one who was always crying – she was sobbing about how she’d fallen victim to a scam and lost all of their money.

Next was Scene Freeze – Brian had baseball, Chris had cooking, Jake had Spencers, and Lisa had music box. It was a very short scene, but it was good. Krista led the action tonight. They also created a play, led by Brian. The play was called “Live from yo momma’s house” and featured Krista as a mom intent on ignoring her son (Jake) while playing his video games. She told him just because school was out for him it didn’t mean he could bother her – from 8:30 – 3:30 was “her” school time and he needed to find somewhere to go to not bother her <g>. Hmmmm, wonder how many stay at home moms secretly feel that way, at least up to a point??? Anyway, Christine came in as the ugly (wild gray wig, big glasses) older mother of Krista, and eventually it was revealed that Christine was the gay “momma” of Krista rather than her actual mother. It was a funny scene – another very good show.

I decided to leave after this show, which surprised me somewhat. I figured after being away since February that I’d be seeing as many shows as I could fit in these 2 nights, but I knew SB was due to be calling and it was so noisy on PI it would be very hard to hear him on the phone. Plus, I wanted to have time to relax with him on the phone before he got too tired – I knew he’d wait up for me until whatever time I was returning to the resort, but with him working tomorrow & me planning to jog – the earlier we went to bed the better. Leesa walked me partway out, and sure enough – SB called before we got to the PI exit. She & I parted company, and I talked to SB a while as I walked. I think there’s a path from Saratoga Springs over to the Cirque du Soleil area, but I wasn’t sure I’d find it coming from Downtown Disney, so I decided to take the longer path from the Marketplace end. The Marketplace was mobbed – it was really miserable, in my opinion. I knew where I was going, and just wanted to get there, but I was constantly stuck behind people just meandering aimlessly (damn tourists, where do they think they are – on vacation or something???? <g>).

After reading Jennifer’s solo trip report on the aol boards this week I decided to stop at the new Goofy’s Candy Co store. She’d mentioned they do the marshmallow thingy I used to always buy at Magic Kingdom, but that you can get it custom made. I found the store and found that counter. You can pick from pretzel rods, apples, rice krispie treats, marshmallows, biscotti or gingerbread mickey cookie. You then pick what it will be dipped in, and then what toppings will be used. I filled out my paper and stood in line, but eventually decided it was NOT worth the wait as things were going pretty slowly and I wanted to be back in the room when SB called again (I’d told him I’d be there in 20 minutes). I’ll try again when it’s less busy – I can’t see spending a half hour waiting for a marshmallow! I continued walking over to Saratoga Springs – glad to finally be free from the mob at Downtown Disney!

Back in the studio I talked to SB for a while, caught up on email, then turned in for the night. Overall it was a nice day – and the start of what I hope will be a very relaxing weekend.

DAY 2 SATURDAY MAY 28, 2005:

Who: Sue (me - 46), DVC Member

Leesa, Comedy Warehouse Regular

Plan: Jog, Earl of Sandwich, Pool, Comedy Warehouse

Actual: I’d set the alarm for 5:30 and did not wake up until then. The thought that I was nuts/stupid for getting up so early really did cross my mind – but if I’m going to jog outside this time of year it has to be before the sun comes up. Monday I’d fallen on the same knee I injured last October, and today was going to be the first time I went back to jogging on the pavement. I’ve been using a treadmill since Wednesday night with no trouble, but that seems to be less jarring (might just be my perception though). I got dressed & headed out – did 1.5 miles and had no pain or other problems. I also managed to stay upright rather than sprawled across the sidewalk <g>.

Back at the studio I showered, made some cappuccino and had a piece of the biscotti, then got to work finishing up yesterday’s report. It was foggy outside, and the sun was very slow to make an appearance. Last night I decided to change today’s plans. Instead of doing Earl of Sandwich I’ll stick with the yogurt parfait this morning and do a nice late lunch at Portobello Yacht Club after spending time at the pool. I can get the caprese sandwich at Earl of Sandwich tomorrow before heading to Vero! So, I spent time in the studio relaxing online and waiting for the sun to make an appearance. I got last night’s photos downloaded from the camera and sent them up to Ofoto. Around 8:30 I changed into my swimsuit and sat out on my porch/balcony to eat most of the yogurt parfait. Just before 9 I headed over to the main pool – figuring it would be warmer relaxing over there than it was in this studio! I’ve seen posts on the dvc list expressing concern about the ability to get rooms cool enough but there is NO trouble in my room – I keep turning the temperature warmer because it’s so cool!

I ended up spending from 9-12:30 at the pool. It was nice & quiet when I got there, but quite busy when I left. Lifeguards were constantly yelling at kids to stop running (towards the steps to the slide), and it was nice to hear a couple of parents speak up and tell their own kids to stop running once they realized the lifeguard meant their kid. Most of them just remained oblivious, though. I like how at the top of the hour they play the horse race starting music – that’s a nice touch, and makes it easy to keep track of what time it is. I did some reading, talked to SB before he headed to work, and just RELAXED. The sky varied from sunny to cloudy, but it was just really nice being out there.

Back in the studio I checked my mail and then took a good long shower, got dressed, and headed back out. Someone on the dvc board reported about sending her parents to Grand Floridian concierge on her dvc points, and that got me to thinking that perhaps instead of moving to Saratoga Springs for the end of our Food & Wine trip I could just blow a bunch of points and book Animal Kingdom Lodge concierge instead. I was unable to find the points chart for that online, and don’t have my dvc member name/password with me, so I stopped at the DVC office since it is right across the street from my studio. The cast member very nicely gave me one of the books they give guests taking the tour, which has all of the points charts!

I walked over to the Marketplace and tried that candy store again, but although it was less crowded it still felt like no progress was being made at all. I swear they’re like snails here, and I don’t understand it. I did eventually realize I had not been standing at the order drop-off point, but then also realized to order one of the custom made things you have to wait for them to call your name to pick it up and frankly I don’t have the patience to hang around waiting for a marshmallow <g>. These may not be in my future after all, unless perhaps I’m here right when they open (chocolate & marshmallow makes a fine breakfast for me <g>).

I stopped in World of Disney to look for something for Darla, but it was not in stock. From there I continued through the Marketplace until I came to Portobello Yacht Club for lunch. It was around 2pm or so, and wasn’t busy at all. I was seated right away and had a view out the window over to Saratoga Springs. They serve warm bread with butter and roasted garlic. I ordered their version of the caprese, and a glass of Riesling. The service was great, and the food was excellent. While waiting for my food to arrive I checked the points chart for Animal Kingdom Lodge – one weekend night of concierge is equal to 2 weeks (excluding weekends) in a studio at OKW that same time of year! Oh well, what good are points if you don’t spend them, right?? Although, it might make more sense to rent some points and pay cash – otherwise using points I’m paying the equivalent of $490 weeknights and $880 per weekend night – that’s pretty steep!

After lunch I walked through the West Side and had no trouble finding the path back to Saratoga Springs from there. It’s quite a hike, but at night it won’t be so bad. Back in the studio I caught up online, watched some of the General Hospital episodes I’d missed this week, and updated the report. At 5 SB’s first game (doubleheader) began, and I was glad I wasn’t going to miss it. They’re broadcast on the internet, and I always listen if I can be online at the time. I left after the 1st game, which was around 7:15.

Tonight I took the walking path to the West Side, and used the pedometer to measure the distance from my building in the Springs section. I joined Leesa and Rande downstairs in the Adventurer’s Club, since it was too early for the first Comedy Warehouse show. This club is free until 9pm, but I’m not sure how they clear non-paying people out of there at that time. I’m never there that long, so I guess I really don’t care <g>. Robbie was playing Hathaway Brown tonight, and doing a very good job. The Pamelia Perkins character sat down next to me and struck up a conversation – I don’t know her at all, but we had a fun little chat. When it was time to induct new members, Leesa & I headed out.

Before the first show John came out and walked over to the keyboard. He sat down, adjusted a few things, and was acting as if he was going to be the keyboard player tonight. We were all watching (Leesa, David, Janet, Larry, Phyllis) and wondering what the hell he was up to <g>. Eventually Carol Stein came out, got something to drink, and went over there. He pretended to argue with her but she tossed him out, lol!

The 8:15 cast was Philip, John, Brian, Christine & Lisa. They did a very good Letters to the Editor. The subject was carved wooden Canadian goose, which doesn’t sound particularly funny at all <g>. Lisa was a bored to death teen on vacation in Canada with her lame grandparents (her name was Jenna Bush), writing to Caravan Weekly. Brian was a redneck hick nascar fan writing to Forbes magazine, and Christine was a drunk lady who was being divorced and was writing to Cosmopolitan. This might have been the best Letters to the Editor I’ve seen – all 3 of them did really well & it was quite funny!

John led Scene Freeze, with Lisa having mouse, Philip having apple, Christine having tricycle and Brian having Mississippi. This was cute, it was tough following the previous structure. John & Philip created a Fill in the Blank scene using the entire audience. They did a day in the life of an average beekeeper (John). Lisa was in as a flower and Brian was the very tall killer bee who stung Philip. It was also a very good scene. Rande was waiting for us after this show, and joined us for the rest of the evening (she’d stayed at Adventurer’s Club when we left).

The 9:30 cast was Philip, Christine, Brian, Lisa & Mark. They opened with a poem called “The fat antelope and the barracuda” – very funny. They did Styles, where the scene evolved through different styles of playwrite, music, etc. Mark & Brian were on the space shuttle, and my notes aren’t specific other than I thought it was very good (sorry – just can’t remember). Up Your Alley was next, with a florist from the audience as the 3rd expert. The topic was flowers and Christine was host Lois Common Denominator. Philip was Woodward Wormwood, from the Coalition Opposing Flower Sales. Christine kept getting his name wrong, and he’d get all indignant <g>. Lisa was Rainbow, a hippie who sells “flowers” out of her van on the street.

Between shows I talked to SB, since his games were finally done. He was tired, but would be waiting for me after the next show. The 10:30 cast was Matt, John, Lisa, Jake & Brian. Most of the show was Conducted Story, called “The Freak That Swam”. It was a bizarre story, but the good ones always are! John died first, by a banana. They were using bananas as cell phones, and eventually John slipped on a peel. He’s so good at falling, I knew that was going to happen – but they created a funny scene leading up to that so it didn’t seem like he took the easy way out. Matt died next, by a little gibbon monkey back in the stone age. Jake was the monkey, and ended up clubbing Matt to death. Jake was next to go, by a penguin stuffed animal. That left Lisa, who wrapped up the story in the style of a poem. All the shows were really good again tonight, but at this point I needed to head out. I said goodnight to Rande & Leesa, and exited as quickly as possible to begin the walk back to the resort.

I knew SB was concerned about me walking back alone – he grew up in a dangerous area and as a result he thinks more about safety than I do. Once I got past the noisy parts of Downtown Disney I called him and we stayed on the phone most of the way back so he wouldn’t worry. The walk is a mile or so – definitely more comfortable after dark than in the hot afternoon sun!

Back in the studio I checked my email and talked to SB a while longer, until lights out about 12:30. Today was a nice relaxing day – I enjoyed the pool time this morning, had a great lunch at Portobello (will save Earl of Sandwich for tomorrow), got to listen to one of SB’s games, and saw 3 terrific shows at Comedy Warehouse. Tomorrow I’ll head to Vero, continuing my trip around the state of Florida <g>!

DAY 3 SUNDAY MAY 29, 2005:

Who: Sue (me - 46), DVC Member

Plan: Jog, Drive to Vero, Pool, Eat out

Actual: I’d left the alarm set for 5:30 and got up then – a little tired still, but I didn’t want to miss a day of jogging. I got dressed and headed out towards the West Side. Looping to the boat dock, over the bridge, along the water of the West Side, under Pleasure Island, around the Marketplace shops (parking lot), past the bus stop and back into Saratoga Springs via the path was exactly 2 miles from door to door. Adding a detour towards OKW would extend that run nicely, and it was a very pleasant run. I’d heard from my dvc friend Patti last night and I mentioned she could jog with me this morning but I never heard back from her. Hopefully she’s not mad I went without her <g> but I wanted to get it over with before it got too warm outside!

Back in the studio I showered & dressed, packed up the last of my stuff, made some cappuccino and finished what little was left of the yogurt parfait. After catching up online I finished yesterday’s report before putting a couple of things in the car and walking over to the Marketplace. Earl of Sandwich opens at 9 and I got there about 20 minutes early so I wandered around then sat on a bench and talked to SB. I ended up being customer #5 – guess other people had the same idea, lol. Service was excruciatingly slow, and there was no good reason that I could see. I stood at the ordering register quite a while before finally asking the group of employees if anyone was going to take my order. It was also quite a wait for the sandwich, but I guess the caprese is always worth a wait. I took it outside and ate at one of the tables out there. At 9:30 I went to the pantry store to check something out for Darla, then walked back to Saratoga Springs. Angelo spotted me and stopped the dvc van to call my name – I was glad to see him, but we only could chat for a few minutes without holding up traffic. I said I’d look for him next time.

I put the rest of my stuff in the car, got gas at Hess by Pleasure Island ($2.01/gallon) and was on the road by 10. It was an easy 2-hour drive to Vero, except for some slowpokes going 10 mph slower than the speed limit once I left the highway! Check-in went quickly and they had a studio ready for me, which was a nice surprise. I drove over to building 12, unloaded all of my stuff and went up to my 2nd floor studio. As soon as I opened the door the stench of cigarette smoke hit me – some jackass had smoked in a non-smoking unit and there was no way in hell I was spending more than 5 minutes in there! I called the front desk & explained it was unacceptable – they were able to reassign me but there were no other studios ready now. I changed into my swimsuit, put everything back in the car, stopped at the front desk to turn in my resort id and get a pager, then headed to the pool.

The pool was very busy, but I was able to find a lounge chair that wasn’t crammed in with a bunch of other people. I really like my space <g> unless I’m with people I know. I ended up between the pool and the gazebo where the DJ would be setting up in about 30 minutes. Once that started it was a bit loud there, but I knew I’d be out of there before SB could call again. I never did hear the pager go off, but when I checked around 3pm the studio was ready. They have lots of activities this holiday weekend, and there are LOTS of kids. There’s also alot for the kids to do, and they seem to be having fun. There was one who really got on my nerves – a 14 year old named Chelsea. She was there with some girl scout friends (not her family), had large breasts for someone that age and was jiggling all over the place in her string bikini – and was even more annoying than the chick on the Disney information tv channel <g>. She didn’t seem to be trying to act provocative (just obnoxious), but she could easily become a target for the wrong kind of attention. I was glad when the music started up again after the pool games and she was no longer screeching into the DJ’s microphone!

The dunes that used to block the view of the beach are almost entirely gone, and the end of the Inn closest to building 12 is shut down for rehab (scaffolding up). I got my new room location – this time building 15. I drove over there, and was lucky to find a place to park. People were parked all over the place, since there were more vehicles than parking spaces inside and outside. This 2nd floor studio didn’t stink, and I even have an ocean view from the porch. The layout of these studios is identical to OKW except there is a sleep sofa in place of the 2nd bed and the unit appears somewhat smaller. If I opened the sleep sofa it would be very cramped in here! I never book a studio here because I never liked them when I saw the models – and being stuck in one now only affirms my dislike of these units. I probably should have just stayed at Saratoga Springs for the whole 4 nights, but since I hadn’t been to Vero in 2 years I thought this made more sense. I realize I just don’t like this resort as much as the others, though.

The studio window is right on the walkway, and has no blinds like in OKW. In order to keep people from looking into your studio you have to close the drapes, which eliminates the natural light from that side. I unpacked a few things, checked the status of SB’s game, then made a quick run to Publix to get some wine, more water, yogurt for Tuesday’s breakfast and an apple for lunch at work on Tuesday. I got back just before the game ended, and listened to the recap while waiting for SB to call. I took a half glass (paper cup <g>) of wine out to the porch & relaxed a while, then took it with me to wander around the resort. The boardwalk to the beach just reopened a couple of weeks ago, and it’s a nice spot to watch the water. I ended up sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of the Inn, text messaged SB to see if he was tied up in a meeting, and then noticed I would lose the cell phone signal almost immediately from there. I sat on a bench on the boardwalk instead, and heard back from him that they were still in a meeting (with people from the parent team). I decided to go have dinner, figuring he would be tied up a while yet.

I went to Shutters and was seated immediately. It was just before 6 but not busy at all. Of course, every party had small children with them and I was glad to be seated out on the porch area because the kids out there were quieter & better behaved than the noisy ones inside. My server was terrific, and the entire meal was great. I’d intended to get the tomato/mozzarella and a glass of wine, but the soup of the day was a roasted red pepper bisque and sounded too good to pass up. I ordered a cup of that, knowing I would take most of the tomato/mozzarella home to finish tomorrow. I tried a Riesling by Dr. Loosen that the server said was excellent, and she was right. The special dessert today was a kahlua cheesecake so I got a piece of that “to go” for later and tomorrow. Dinner was just under $30 plus tip, but worth the price – especially considering I have enough left for a 2nd meal <g>.

I walked back to the studio to store the food in the refrigerator, then headed out to walk on the beach for a while before it got dark (in case the no see-ums are out this time of year). I ended up walking about 3.5 miles, and had trouble talking to SB when he called. The signal goes in and out here, which is very frustrating. Even in the room it’s going to be tough, and that’s something that’s very important to me. I’m regretting being here even more. Even SB asked (before I complained about anything) why I went to Vero instead of staying at WDW – and I told him I was wondering the same thing. At the time it made sense, but right now it sure doesn’t. Of course, he said I should be up there where he is – next season I’m not letting as long go between visits, and I’ll make use of all the holiday weekends. Maybe I’m just burnt out from being on the road (without him) so much lately – we’ll see how I feel about being here tomorrow when I’m not tired.

I spent the rest of the evening in the studio or on the porch. My good knee was killing me, perhaps from walking on the slanted beach. In any event, I want to be able to jog tomorrow so we’ll see how it goes. Despite wishing I was elsewhere, today really was a good day. The Vero resort is still very nice, and even though there are a bazillion and a half kids everywhere, I’ve not seen any brats (Chelsea wasn’t a brat – just self absorbed and too perky). The beach looks nice and the Beach Cottages have fabulous views now that the hurricanes wiped out those pesky dunes <g>. Dinner at Shutters was very good, and tomorrow I’ll try them for breakfast for the first time.

DAY 4 - MONDAY MAY 30, 2005:

Who: Sue (me - 46), DVC Member

Plan: Jog, Pool, Beach, Eat out

Actual: I’d told SB I wasn’t going to set the alarm and would take a day off from jogging this morning, but later changed my mind and left it set for 5:30 after all. I ended up waking around 5 and realized there was no way I could jog yet, so I turned off the alarm and didn’t wake up again until 7:45! I must have been exhausted, as that’s very late for me. Once I saw what time it was I got right up, showered & made some cappuccino, then talked to SB on my way over Shutters for breakfast (I did confess about the alarm thing <g>). Along the way I saw many pool chairs were being reserved by pool towels, including most of the tables (it was 9am). I figured when in Rome – and grabbed a couple of pool towels to secure my chair. I left my bag there, too – most chairs had nothing but a towel or 2 on them. Funny, none had any shoes or personal items to indicate the people were in the pool or rest room <g>. I snagged a chair at the end of the row, where there were 2 empty chairs. I was hoping nobody else would take the single seat between me and the party of 6 towels to my right, and it worked out really well.

At Shutters it was busier than dinner last night but I was seated right away. I had a coupon for a free breakfast for 2, but I didn’t know anyone here to invite! My server was ok, but not nearly as friendly as the one last night – I later realized it might have something to do with the fact that the gratuity was included with my free breakfast. I didn’t realize that until the end. She took my coupon and said I was free to go – I asked her if that included her gratuity and she said yes. For breakfast I ordered the Healthy Floridian and a side of their potato cheese casserole. The potato thing was ok – basically hash browns with a minimal cheese taste. The Healthy Floridian was fruit, yogurt & granola – I expected something small but it came served on a huge platter. It was way more than I could eat, and what I had leftover filled a large “to go” container. It was excellent though!

I dropped the fruit off in the studio, changed into my swimsuit & went right to the pool – arriving before 10 am. People who belonged to the 6 towels to my right showed up sometime after 11, and I’m not sure I ever saw the people who belonged to the towels on the 3 chairs behind me at all. It was pretty hot out there, and I spent some time cooling off in the pool or standing under the shower. Around 12:30 I walked back to the studio to pick up my fruit, and SB called while I was on my way there. I sat down on something concrete to talk to him, as the cell phone signal is much better outside than it is in the studio. It’s frustrating being here when the signal fades out. We talked for a short time – he was teasing me about laying around sipping pina coladas while he was off working <g>. Hey, if one of us has to work – I’m ok with it being him, lol!

I got my fruit and walked back to the pool, and managed to eat it without making too much of a mess. A DJ started playing music at 1, but there weren’t any pool games scheduled. I think several people were leaving today. Around 2 I decided I’d had quite enough sun and I headed back to the studio. I logged onto SB’s game and found they were doing extremely well today – they ended up with a big win. I changed into my jogging clothes and went to the fitness center, since my knee felt a lot better when I was walking to the studio. The fitness center is behind Community Hall, and you enter through a door that has Comm Hall right ahead of you and the fitness center down a hall to your left. There were a LOT of kids inside Community Hall (probably an un-birthday party) and in this stinky, hot hallway were bunches of parents standing their watching their kids through the glass. A couple of them had strollers, so they had the entire hallway blocked! I just didn’t understand it – but I forged ahead and let the parents move their strollers out of my way – I didn’t have any other way to the fitness center, and frankly – they didn’t belong there.

I did a mile on the treadmill, experiencing some pain but not so much that I was willing to quit. Once I got off though, I could not walk without a limp. The “good” knee was once again giving me trouble, not wanting to bend at all. I limped past the strollers in the hallway, limped past the swimming pool where Chelsea’s big breasts were jiggling like crazy as she and 2 friends were performing the Macarena for everyone at the pool. Yikes – that girl needs a little more than a string bikini at age 14! I’m so glad I had a son, lol! I limped back to the studio and checked on the game once more before taking a nice long shower.

I watched General Hospital, updated the report, replied to some emails, and stayed off my feet for a while. Around 5 I poured some wine and went to sit out on the porch to wait for SB’s call. Like yesterday, the people from the parent team had them tied up in meetings – he didn’t know when he’d be able to call. I decided to go sit by the beach, but had to keep moving because I kept losing the cell phone signal. I don’t know if I’ll be back here, but it certainly won’t be without him – this phone stuff is too frustrating. I finally went back to the studio at 6 and watched the news until he was able to call.

Dinner tonight was the leftover tomato/mozzarella and the rest of the kahlua cheesecake from last night, washed down with some Riesling. I packed up most of my stuff and made a run down to the car to put a few things away. While in the garage I discovered a laundry room – I’d asked the front desk if there were laundry rooms in these buildings and she’d told me no. It wasn’t worth going to the main building to do my laundry so I never did it this trip. At this point there’s not much point – I have enough clean underwear to get me through the 3-day business trip (pays to plan for everything).

I spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the studio, talking to SB & watching tv – I wasn’t going to risk bothering the knee by doing another beach walk. Overall it was a really nice day – being here is definitely relaxing, even though I’m lonely for SB. I’m not sure I see us here together, but you never know – it just seems like an awful lot of miserable driving across FL (3 hours each way, rinky dink roads) when we’d probably spend most of our time in the room except for eating out.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be on the road before 8, driving south to begin 3 days of working in Miami before returning home Thursday night for up to 9 days.

SUMMARY:

Despite what might have come across as a definite lack of enthusiasm to be on this trip, I really did have a nice time. DVC resorts are beautiful, and they always feel very comfortable and home-like to me. I probably should have stayed at Saratoga Springs longer and spent less time at Vero, but hindsight is always 20/20. I’d always thought I would only like Saratoga Springs if I was in one of those first 4 buildings across from Downtown Disney, but I ended up liking my building in the Springs section this trip. It had the advantage of being really close to the fitness center, food court, main pool, etc. The drawback was no Downtown Disney view, and it was a longer walk to Earl of Sandwich, lol!

At Vero I’m certain now I’ll never book a studio. It will be an oceanview Inn room or beach cottage – I don’t see the point to anything else! I wish it wasn’t so hard to get here from the other coast of FL though. I purposely avoid this resort unless I’m coming from WDW because I really hate that drive through the middle of the state (notice I avoided it coming AND going this time, and did the same 2 years ago). This was the first time I tried breakfast here, and although I’m not much of a restaurant breakfast eater I was very impressed with my Healthy Floridian and the overall menu.

My next Disney-related trip is not until Labor Day weekend, since I cancelled my July dates to spend them with SB instead. September will be only 2 nights, if I remember correctly. We’ll then be back for a few nights in October over the Race for the Taste 10K weekend, then back for a longer trip for Food & Wine in November.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Sue Holland
WDW1972@aol.com

 


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