2001: Caribbean Beach Resort

Friday, 11th May – 11pm Caribbean Beach Resort – Barbados room 1313.

Wow! What a great day!

I didn’t pack, I fell asleep, and then about midnight I woke up, and there was no sign of Philip, being half asleep and very groggy, I started to panic – imagining all sorts of scenarios, mainly involving him fainting, hitting his head on the way down and being taken to hospital in an ambulance (it has happened before). I paced around the room for a while, getting myself into an even bigger state, and debated what to do. Katie was fast asleep, but I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her alone in the room while I went to look for him. Eventually I could stand it no longer, so I put her in her pushchair (still asleep) and got dressed and went out to look for him. I found the laundry room, and no sign of Phil, so I was getting quite frantic, as I turned back to reception, there’s Phil waving at me, ‘Coo-ee’ No idea of the stress and panic I have been in. ‘I thought you’d be asleep’ ‘I thought you were dead, or at least maimed or seriously injured’ ‘No, I’ve been in the bar reading my book, and the washing’s not dry yet’

Feeling ever so slightly foolish, I wander back to the laundry room, and no, the washing isn’t dry yet – but as it’s been in the dryer for about 2 hours we decide to take it out and pack damp laundry for the move tomorrow. Katie is starting to wake up, (hotel’s are very bright places when you’ve been fast asleep) and so I take her back upstairs, feeling very very stupid. (but he had been gone for 4 hours – to do some laundry!)

Anyway – we sleep, and we wake, a bit later than planned due to the nocturnal activities. We hadn’t packed, so we do that quickly (it’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate in a week), stop off at Michaels (the scrapbook store) so I can get one or two more bits, and finally – we’re heading for Walt Disney World. It’s 10am, just a bit later than I had hoped for.

We find the Caribbean Beach Resort quite easily, and go to the customs house to check in. There was a short queue, but we reach the front quite quickly (I had heard it could take ages to check in), but as we are getting our keys etc, it is 10:45, and we have an 11:30 ps at Crystal Palace – I don’t think we will make it…

The check-in person asks me if I had made any special requests, and I tell her ‘Oh yes ‘Aruba’ ‘ – she says, was that all, and I remember my late night conversation where I specified a refurbished room – apparently Aruba is not refurbished yet – so we have been put into Barbados, and there is a note on my file ‘Do not move this guest to any other room’ put there by an important manager (Or so I am told). I decide to trust the manager and we stick with Barbados. The room isn’t ready yet so we are given the keys, park passes etc (what terrifyingly valuable bits of plastic), and told to ring the front desk from any phone ‘in the world’ to get our room number later.

We dashed to the bus stop, as there was a bus pulling in, but it was heading for the Animal Kingdom. 45 minutes later a Magic Kingdom bus arrived…. This was a little disappointing. We had seen at least 3 MGM buses while we waited. Needlesstosay the bus was standing room only – but it got us there. We arrived at the Magic Kingdom at noon, and headed straight to the Crystal Palace to try and rebook for later that evening. They said ‘no need, we can honor that PS’ and sat us virtually straight away – Pixie dust is starting to reach us.

Suddenly we realise we are heading into our first big character meal, and in the panic we have forgotten the autograph book and a pen. I have my passporter which has some blank paper in it, so I run off to ask a CM where I can buy a pen – she just gives me one. More pixie dust…

We had a super meal, the food was excellent, and we saw Pooh Bear, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. We didn’t even need the pen as they were all carrying their own crayon’s in suitable colors.

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After a super meal, with loads of character interaction and good food, we pull out Janice’s plan. We were supposed to have a fast pass for Pooh (oops), then Belle’s story time, and the parade. We head over to Pooh and get a fast pass for 4.35, and we notice that ‘It’s a small world’ has no line at all, so we head there. Katie is very very nervous – she has not really had a good ride experience yet, and I have to really convince her to ride (I don’t really approve of forcing kids to get on rides when they are scared – but I have been on IASW many times, and I KNEW that it was not remotely scary.) I promised her that it was just ‘dolls singing’ She really enjoyed it, even smiled occasionally and as we got off she said ‘It’s not scary at all mummy – it’s just doll’s singing you know’ as if I had been the nervous one.
I was so pleases, I had been having massive ‘I’m a bad mum’ feelings, especially after The Hanna Barbara ride. (She is sitting next to me as I type this, singing ‘It’s a small world after all, it’s a small small world…’)

Katie’s thoughts:I thought when we were at the fairground it looked wobbly.

(the fairground is one of the last scenes in IASW).

Next we go to the Fairytale Garden to see Belle. This garden is quite hard to find, and I bet most people don’t even realise it’s there. We found it eventually, and sat waiting for Belle, (and wondering who she was – we aren’t up on all the Disney characters yet). It’s quite a hot courtyard, but the show was super, and Belle is the first autograph in our hastily purchased book. We now have autographs in a Pooh Bear notebook from home, the passporter, and the official WDW autograph book – not very organised at all.
Never mind – Belle is the first character the Katie is really comfortable with – I think because she can speak, and the story was great. They acted out Beauty and the Beast (‘Belle’s story for the uninformed amongst you) and had kids playing all the parts. One little girl was very upset because she hadn’t been chosen, and they gave her a lovely sticker and told her to come back to the next show and she would have a starring role – I thought that was lovely.

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We head to Main Street now, for the parade, and find a spot to wait, and wait – it seems we are at the end of the parade, It is a very long hot wait but it is superb when it arrives. Katie’s face really lights up, and she is even brave enough to go out and dance with some of the characters. Although, I must admit she talks about the barber’s shop quarter and the marching band which were before the parade more than the actual parade.
After the parade we dive into a shop to cool down and Phil & Katie make some not too secret purchases (it’s mother’s day on Sunday). We wander slowly back to the Pooh ride and Katie starts to worry again. I am not sure if she will go on or not, and I haven’t been on it, so I am not prepared to force her in case I am wrong again. We are quite early for the FastPass so we browse the shop (which smells like honey – I had heard this, and it is true), and we watch people leaving the ride. We ask a couple of very little kids if it is scary, and they all say it’s ok, so she is reassured.

Our time arrives and we walk straight on, past loads of people who are queueing – but we have no wait at all ‘This is the life’
Katie enjoys the ride, although she mentions the rain, and the ‘dream’ frequently. I am chuffed to bits. Two successes and no scares today. What a good mummy I am.

We decide to leave, but I really wanted to buy a Guest of Honor badge for Katie. Phil & Katie watch the barbershop quartet while I hunt for one. Apparantly they are phasing them out, but they can be bought in Tomorrowland – maybe I’ll get one tomorrow.
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I arrive back to see Katie brazenly asking the quartet for their autographs ‘Go Katie’

I forgot to mention that while Phil & Katie were making their not so secret purchases, a lovely CM in a shop had phoned the CBR for us, and we now had our room number – 1313! Lucky for some.

We headed back to CBR, and I was very curious to see what the room would be like, In fact I was quite nervous as I had heard such mixed reports. As we approached the building I suddenly realised that we could have a car park view, and it didn’t look that attractive, so I started to worry some more. But as we followed the signs we were directed deeper into the resort. When we finally found the room, it was overlooking the pool, on the corner. It was very bright, clean, airy. Perfect!

(Although, we did have to fix the drawers as they kept falling out of the unit – but we’ll overlook that minor imperfection – I’d rather think of it as ‘Perfect’)

Phil & Katie wanted to swim, so I put yesterday’s damp laundry into the dryer and sat on a deck chair watching them swim. ‘This is the life’

Later on we headed to Jungle Jim’s for tea, and Goodings for supplies, and before we knew it, it was 10pm. ‘Where had the day gone?’

No big plan’s for tomorrow as we are very tired. Although we will be going to Magic Kingdom in the evening for the fireworks. I think it will be a pool day.

Sunday, 10:30pm Mother’s Day.

So, I’d better try and remember what we did on Saturday.

We were shattered as we hadn’t stopped for 8 days, so we decided to change the plan and have a quiet day by the pool. We slept quite late and had donuts in the room for breakfast, then later we wandered along to the main pool at the CBR. It’s quite a long walk, but pleasant, along the lakeside (the lake was very low due to the drought)

Katie and I went for a swim while Phil walked back to the room to collect the sun-cream (my fault apparently). I popped into the store to buy some new shades, as mine had disappeared during the move from the Clarion.
(Lost Items so far: My sunglasses, Katie’s suncream, Katie’s sunglasses (I think she buried them in the beach))
I also traded in my voucher for 3 trading pins, (All the same), The free pins are quite boring, I think so that you will trade them and get addicted to their new shopping ploy…

After swimming we decided to go to the Premium Outlet, to the discounted Disney store, where we picked up a few things and browsed the shops. We also ate at the food court (Subway). My feet were aching so badly that we came home for a nap. When we got back the maids had been, and all our beanies were gathered on the bed holding a ‘Welcome Home’ card.
I had a nap (no idea what Katie and Phil did) , and we headed to the MK about 6.30pm for the Spectromagic and fireworks.

Again, we had a long wait for the bus, and it was very crowded. A nice little boy gave Katie his seat, and she had fun playing with him and his granddad all the way to the park.
We were hungry, so decided to find some food first. I also wanted to sit somewhere cool, as my feet were still very sore. We started at Tony’s, and basically worked our way up main street and into Frontierland trying every restaurant we saw, and they were all packed – no tables unless you had a ps. I was starting to get a little frantic. I had made loads of ps’s for the week, and couldn’t believe I didn’t have one at this time when we really needed it.
Eventually we found the Columbia Harbour Hours, which was very nice. It wasn’t too crowded, and it was cool. Although it’s counter service, once you have your food there are loads of tables upstairs and it’s quite civilised. I would certainly recommend it.
After dinner, we had an hour before the parade, so we did the country bear jamboree – this is really corny but good fun. We exited the show to massive crowds (there hadn’t been many when we went in) and we found a spot at 8.45 for a 9pm parade. However, once again we were at the wrong end of the parade, which didn’t reach us until 9:30. It was worth the wait. It was excelled, we loved the floats, and Katie’s face was shining thoughout (or that could have been the reflection of her new light up Pooh Bear wand )

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After the parade it was nearly 10pm, so we headed round to see the fireworks. We stood in front of the Crystal Palace and had an excellent view of tinkerbell although a tree blocked some of the fireworks.
We decided to sit and wait out the crush, rather than run for the exit, and sat on a bench to watch the world go by. Unfortunately, when we did head out there was the longest queue I have ever seen for the Caribbean Beach bus. It stretched the full length of the bus station. People were walking right past the queue, assuming it was for another bus, and then having to turn around and head to the back. (Although one woman did just jump in right behind me, and being tired and cranky this really annoyed me, but my loud comments about having waited so long just fell on deaf ears.

We did eventually get on a bus, I even got a seat, and we made it home. Tired and happy. I realised we had an early PS for 1900 Park Fare in the morning, so I set a wake up call for 6:32am (ouch).

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