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Friday, June 8, 2012

Adventures with Kirk - 2002 - Day 1

This is a re-print of an original post to the ThompsonFamilyWeb site about a trip I took with my friend Kirk to Walt Disney World in October 2002. It is completely unaltered from my original post.


Kirk Intro

2001 Part 1
2001 Part 2
2001 Part 3

2002 Part 1
2002 Part 2
2002 Part 3
2002 Part 4

2004

2005 Catch-up


Day 1 - Thursday, October 17, 2002
When my friend Kirk and I finished our last trip to Walt Disney World (WDW) we decided we'd like to go to Las Vegas and possibly Disneyland (our old haunt) the next time we got together. As the time for the trip approached, however, that plan did not seem practical. It's still something we want to do, but it will have to wait. Instead, we decided, once again, to visit WDW. No big hardship for us, to tell the truth.
The plan was for 3 nights and 3 1/2 days at WDW. Since I provided the room on our last trip at The Boardwalk using Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points, Kirk provided the room this time out. He was able to get a special rate for Florida resident Annual Pass (AP) holders. He got a room at All-Star Sports for $71 per night.
Our trip started on October 17th. I had packed 2 nights prior, as I knew I would be working late the night of the trip. I only took one small bag and my shoulder bag with my laptop, so I knew I would not have to check my bags. I got up about 5:30 to catch a 6:30 train to Grand Central. After arriving at GCT I took a bus to JFK to catch a Jetblue flight to Orlando. I caught the bus about 8:00 and was at the airport around 9:00 - plenty of time to catch the 10:45 flight.
I had never flown Jetblue before and was curious about them. Well, they were pretty good. The flight was on time, the seats are more comfortable than many airlines and they have a selection of TV channels provided by DirecTV - a nice touch.
The flight arrived on time at about 1:30. Kirk was not there to meet me, but we found each other within about 15 minutes. He had parked his van in the short-term parking, so we piled everything in and we were on our way.
On our last trip Kirk had a little trouble finding the route to WDW he wanted to take, and the same thing happened this time although we never really went out of our way. We stopped at a place on International Drive so I could pick up a few items I needed. I hadn't forgotten the items; it's just that I had been so busy at work I never had the opportunity to pick them up.
We arrived at the All Star Sports at a little before 4:00. We checked in and were given a room in the Tennis section - 5301. I wasn't sure what kind of park tickets I would get, but after seeing that a 3-day Length of Stay pass was, at $161, only $11 more than 3 one-day passes which would not allow for park hopping. I've stayed at an All-Star Resort before twice, but both times were All-Star Music. Of course the rooms and general amenities were pretty much identical, but I did notice a two differences - both of which I noticed on that first evening.
It was a warm afternoon, so the first thing on the agenda for both of us was a swim. Well, actually it was the second thing on our agenda. Neither of us had eaten since the morning, so we were both pretty hungry. So, as soon as we got in our room we changed into our swimsuits and mad our way to the cafeteria for an early dinner.
We looked over the menus of the various sections of the cafe. Kirk wanted to get a meatball sandwich, but when I said I wanted a sausage & pepper sandwich he changed his mind. Kirk got his and went to find a table. I was about to place my order when a meatball sandwich was delivered for someone else, and I ended up changing my mind as well! So I ended up with Kirk's first choice and he ended up with mine.


If there's one thing Disney does right...
After dinner we headed for the pool. This was one of the differences between Sports and Music. Obviously, the pools themselves are different. What's more, though, while the two pools at Music are roughly similar in size - I think the piano is a bit bigger than the guitar - the Surf pool is much bigger than the baseball pool.


After our swim we got dressed and headed out to Downtown Disney. Here is where I noticed the other main difference with All-Star Sports. All of the All Star Resorts share busses for some of the routes and Sports is the first on the route. This means two things - going to your destination you are much more likely to get a seat, and coming back to your hotel you'll be the first dropped off. This alone is, IMHO, enough to choose Sports over the other All Stars Resorts.
We arrived at Downtown Disney (DD) and walked around for a while. We started at the Marketplace and made our way to the West Side. I looked for sunglasses - something else I needed - they didn't sell either of the two brands (Vaurnet or Ray Ban) that I was looking for. We also went to the Virgin Megastore where Kirk got 2 "Gentle Giant" CDs he'd been looking for.
After walking around for a while we headed over to Ghirardelli for hot fudge sundaes. They were absolutely awesome. We then left DD, but we got turned around as to where the bus stop was and ended up in the wrong spot. We asked a DD Cast Member (CM) who told us where to go and we found the bus stop.
We got back to the hotel about 10:30. It was a nice night so we decided to find a place to sit outside and shoot the breeze. We went to the baseball pool area and found it nearly empty so that's where we went. After a while we decided to turn in. When we got back to the room I was very surprised to find that it was 1:20 in the morning. Luckily the next day was our only non-early entry (EE) day.

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