Aug 17, 2012





“Are you kidding me?”


We were up pretty early that day. So early that we saw the sun come up. There were already people on the beach and since we were up we decided that instead of heading out to have breakfast somewhere we would just finish off the day before’s leftovers, pack up and leave early.

So after enjoying the sun coming up and finally being able to enjoy the view, and some of the in-room, not so excellent coffee we had our “in-room breakfast”, then took showers, packed up all our stuff and headed out the “broken-latch” door. By 9am we were at the gas station filling up the car and off we went. The drive from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando is long and boring. We did the best to make the time and miles pass and we even stopped at one of the rest stations to stretch our legs and had some drinks and off we went again. Traffic was okay, there was the occasional heavier traffic, but it worked out well.

 About 4 hours after we had started our drive we finally drove under that well known and loved arch that welcomes you to Walt Disney World. And soon enough we were driving up to the Contemporary Resort. As we approached the security booth we saw the signs up that there was a convention and parking was for hotel guests only. . We had talked about self parking, but seeing the signs instantly decided to have the car valet parked. The guy at security took quite some time checking if we were on the hotel guest list and finally we were given the all clear and drove up to the hotel. It has always been a dream of ours to be able to stay at the Contemporary and we were even close when we booked it with an Austrian Travel Agent in 2000. Little did we know we would end up in a garden wing. Knowing the “tricks of the trade” now, we went all out this time and went for the Club Level Magic Kingdom view rooms. Knowing that we were early for check in we drove up, had someone take care of our luggage and handed over the car keys.

Ready to head inside and check in we were approached by a cast member. And after making sure we were the party she was looking for she welcomed us to the Contemporary Resort. “Are you kidding me, lady? Are you really welcoming guests right when they get out of the car?” She explained that she would take us up to Club Level and that we would be checked in there. So off we went to the elevator, still not quite sure what was happening, as I was so surprised by it all. We were up in the lounge in no time and seated to be checked in.

Now, keep in mind they had a huge convention going on and we never expected our room to be ready by 1pm but it actually was. We just could not believe what we had been told. But the very nice concierge even called for our luggage, then took us for a tour of the lounge and told us to come back there often, as snacks and goodies changed by the time of day, before taking us to our room which was towards the end of the corridor. When we stepped inside we were both so impressed with how inviting the room actually looked. It was large, the bathroom was spick and span and there was a balcony to be checked out. So, after the concierge had left we went outside onto that balcony and there the question popped into my head again. “Are you kidding me? Is this all for real?” The view was just breathtaking. We stood out on the balcony for a few minutes until we heard a knock at the door and our luggage arrived. We started to unpack some of it and filled the fridge with the drinks we had brought and after enjoying the view and the room for some time we went to check out the offerings in the lounge. When we arrived it was pretty empty and we were able to get a good look around. We both had some Coffee, as they had a great Nespresso machine. Needless to say we needed to sample the Cookies they offered and they did not disappoint. They were as good as they looked and we sat even longer than we had intended on. When we had finished our coffees, Tom went to try their ice-tea, while I had some Coke.

When we were finally done we walked back to our room, got our tickets and headed over to the Magic Kingdom. We did not intend to stay overly long, but we just wanted to pay a short visit. So we walked over to the park, through the turnstiles and up Main Street. We found it packed and went on the Peoplemover before checked out the Main Street stores and fled the parks again. Back at the Contemporary we checked out the stores and got a DVC backpack for Tom before we headed back up and got ready for our reservation at the California Grill. We had written to Ron and he was sure he would be there the day we would dine there, so we put the presents we had bought for him into a gift bag and headed down to the second floor to sign in.

We were very surprised to hear that Ron was NOT working that day after all. But we were both looking forward to our dinner and didn’t think much of it. After checking in we were taken upstairs and as usual told that they were running late and it would take about 20 minutes until they were going to seat us.

So we decided to walk out onto the platform to take in the view and it took less than 5 minutes until our buzzer went off and we were led to our table. The table was in the bar area and right in the path of the servers. To say that I was pleased with the table was an understatement. We quickly talked about the table and when our server came around I asked if there was any other table available as I was truly unhappy there. He went to ask and came back a minute later and we were taken to another room, this time in the Wine room, my favourite place to dine. We were seated at a four top and placed our order for drinks. We both ordered some Diet Coke, Tom had a Whisky Sour, while I ordered my usual Strawberry Daiquiri.

When our drinks were delivered the server took our order for our food and brought over a basket full of the California Grill’s Sourdough bread and some Butter sprinkled with seasalt. We both nibbled the bread and butter until our starters arrived. Tom had ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger Flatbread, Wagyu beef, Tillamook Cheddar, House made Dill pickles and Heirloom Ketchup. It looked really good and tasted equally wonderful. I wanted to try the Homemade Potato Gnocchi, Wild Mushrooms, Edamame, Smoked Pork, Organic Soft-Poached egg. It looked different from what I had expected to receive but I was pleasantly surprised. The Gnocchi were absolutely delicious and melted in your mouth. There were plenty of mushrooms and once the egg was broken and oozed in, it even put it on a higher note. Only downside before our main courses were served, was that we had snacked too much in the afternoon and were both already full after our starter. But we had ordered a main course and that was soon delivered. Tom had ordered one of his absolute favourites again, the Spicy Kazan Roll, crab, shrimp, bay scallops, tuna and fireball sauce, and it did not disappoint. He enjoyed it very much. I had opted for an old favourite as well, the Grilled Pork Tenderloin, with Goat Cheese Polenta, Roasted Mushrooms, Zinfandel Glaze, and Sage. While it was really tasty, I soon was too full to eat any more. And right when I had given up and put down the cutlery, the manager of the California Grill, Michael, an Austrian, came over to greet guests. Seeing I had not finished my dish he came to ask if everything was alright and when we answered in German it took him a minute and then he recognized us as “Ron’s friends”. He stopped and told us all about the renovations which are to start in the new year and how he had just spent a vacation on the Florida Keys and how much he and his family had enjoyed eating and swimming at Marker 88. It was so fun to see some of the servers watching us and some of the other diners were looking at us as well.

We asked Michael to store Ron’s gifts for him and he happily obliged. He finally said his goodbyes and when he had left our table we asked for our bill. Once that was settled we headed back down to our level and stopped at the Lounge for a drink. Tom tried some Yuengling and again I had a Diet Coke. We sat and chatted for a while before we headed back to our room. They had done turndown service and the room looked nice and relaxing. We spent some time out on the balcony, watching the boats and the lights and the hustle and bustle that was going on before we headed back to the Lounge for some desserts. Tom had opted for a liquid dessert, and picked a Heineken, while I got myself some tea and two of the Desserts from their offerings.

They were both really nice and while I was slowly finishing off my desserts and drink, Tom went and tasted the Cognac they were offering there too. It was getting close to the time the fireworks were supposed to start, so we headed back to our room, took our cameras and sat out on our balcony. The Electic Water Pageant was just gliding by. The perspective from the hotel was really awesome and we enjoyed to be able to enjoy them from our balcony. And then it was time for the fireworks. Once the fireworks were over we watched a little TV, before Tom picked up a Bud Light from the Lounge and took it back to our room to enjoy on the balcony. It was fun to watch the “bus parade” as there were so many buses driving in and out of the MK bus stop.

Around 11pm we were tired enough to get over our excitement of staying at the Contemporary and finally went to bed.