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August 31, 2009

Halloween Decorations Already! The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 31, 2009

Note today's date...it's August 31.



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I knew Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties were starting early this year, but I really couldn't believe that the decorations had already gone up today. This is the entrance to the Magic Kingdom parking lot. I was heading to Bay Lake Tower in the purple van late this afternoon (before the rains came!)

I love Halloween--my birthday is the day before--but come on; August is pushing it a bit isn't it?

john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

The Tempo Fountain At Bay Lake Tower At Disney's Contemporary Resort--With Rick Howard: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 30, 2009


This is the Tempo Fountain outside of Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort. And that's serious WDW fan Rick Howard enjoying every minute of it.



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The Tempo fountain is just outside of the rear of the lobby of Bay Lake Tower as you head toward the pool. It gets its name from the concept name of the new tower and it contains the names of the original purchasers of Disney Vacation Club points for the tower in the small metallic tiles you can see of the top of the coping around the fountain.

Now, let me tell you about Rick Howard. The WDW fan community is made up of a lot of passionate people and Rick definitely fits that bill. Rick's day job is running a travel agency, Kingdom Magic Travel. But he's just as passionate about the evolving social networking phenomenon. To say that Rick is on the cutting edge of Twitter, Facebook and blogs is an understatement. And he's been extremely patient with and helpful to yours truly. The's got his own video blog, Travel with Rick, which has featured that dorky guy in the purple shirt a couple of times. He also has 5000 Facebook friends and 25,000 Twitter followers.

I've gotten to know Rick well and I can tell you he's a walking encyclopedia of the new technology....and he's a darned nice guy, too.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 30, 2009

Riverside Mill At Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 30, 2009

The Riveside Mill and Market is the food court at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort.

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The water wheel (which turns) is an excellent example of the great job Disney has done with the Port Orleans resorts. Everywhere you turn at Port Orleans you see things that do't have to be there for the resort to function. Things Disney has done just to make the place special. You can click here to see a post of what's on the other side of the water wheel.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 29, 2009

The Birdcage At Disney's Villas At Wilderness Lodge: The Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August 29, 2009


I honestly think they could charge tickets to go to the lobby at Disney's Wilderness Lodge...it really is unbelievable!

....and the lobby to the Villas (the Disney Vacation Club portion of the resort) could have a separate admission charge.

While the Wilderness Lodge lobby is immense, the separate lobby for the Villas is almost intimate in comparison. And that's where you'll find this birdage.



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The lobby at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge always amazes me. The Villas were added after the main lodge and if I were footing the bill, I would have thought the the main lodge lobby was enough.

Disney obviously didn't think like that and boy am I glad. They've created a space that will just make your jaw drop and this birdcage is just the tip of the iceberg. If you've every wondered what a four story log cabin might look like, here's your chance. Look closely at the background of this photo and you'll see what I mean.

My best advice is just to go there when you have a chance and check it out!

To get to the lobby for the Villas, go toward the back of the Wilderness Lodge lobby and turn right by the shop. You'll walk outside and follow a covered walkway past the topiary Mickey. Keep walking and you're there.

This is also where you'll see the railroad cars from Walt's backyard train set.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 28, 2009

The Lighthouse At Disney's Old Key West Resort: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 28. 2009


I think we all have certain sights that scream "instant relaxation" or "back home again" at Walt Disney World. The lighthouse at Old Key West does both for me.

My family stayed here every year from 1992 until we moved to Celebration to start Owner's Locker. My four daughters grew up in this pool and I've ready many a book sitting in one of these chairs.


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I guess the lighthouse is sort of the symbol of Old Key West. It's easily seen from most of the roads around the resort and dominates the pool area. It houses a sauna and there's a hot tub just in front of it. At night, the light at the top is turned on but it's more of a welcoming beacon than a warning to passing ships!

The pool and lighthouse are right behind the Hospitality House (check-in area).
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 27, 2009

The Outpost At Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground: the Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 27, 2009

If you guessed that this cozy spot is in Wilderness Lodge, you'd be close...but wrong.

It's the Outpost at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground.



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I'm willing to bet that even the most frequent visitors to Walt Disney World haven't seen this place. The Outpost at Fort Wilderness is the check-in area for the cabins--that's why you see the ropes for a queue.

It also houses operations for the fort and the luggage storage area, which is why I get to check it out. If I need to answer an e-mail, I'll often sit in one of these chairs after dropping off Lockers.

I think this would make a great bar...but I would say that, wouldn't I?
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 26, 2009

The Parking Lot Tram at The Magic Kingdom: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 26, 2009

As I was passing over the bridge heading towards the Polynesian this morning, a tramload full of folks heading to the Magic Kingdom came by.

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If you stay at a Walt Disney World resort these days, you don't really have the parking lot tram experience. The Disney transport busses whisk you from your resort to the park entrance.

But I like these trams...I always bump my head getting on and off, my legs are too long so my knees hit the bench in front and I never can understand what they're saying over the loudspeaker.

I've got to admit that whenever the purple van heads over this bridge, I always slow down. I guess you could argue that it's good advertising but I just like seeing how full the tram is and enjoy the look of anticipation on the folks on board. Maybe I'm wrong but I always imagine that this is their first trip.
john

click here to see a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 25, 2009

The Alligator Trio at Doubloon Lagoon: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 25, 2009

Yep, it's another post with me going on about how well Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter is themed!

French Quarter is just one of those resorts where you find yourself saying,  "gee, look at that" everywhere you turn.

Or if you're a purple van driver, your camera barely makes it into your pocket before it gets pulled out again.



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But I can't help it...

These three guys (I'm assuming here) are making music right across from the exit of the sea serpent slide in French Quarter's pool, Doubloon Lagoon. You can see the steps to the slide in the right hand side of the photo.

The slide itself is cool and you exit down the serpent's tongue...but that's another adventure for another day!

To get to the pool, walk straight out of the back of the lobby...you can't miss it.

john


click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 24, 2009

The Shipwreck Slide at Stormalong Bay: The Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August 24, 2009


If you walk along the boardwalk that surrounds Crescent Lake, you'll pass Disney's Boardwalk Inn and Villas, restaurants like Flying Fish, ESPN and Cat Kouzzina's and the International Gateway to EPCOT.

...and then you look up and see a wrecked ship beached between Disney's Beach Club Resort and Villas and Disney's Yacht Club Resort.




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Look closely and you'll see a bunch of kids in swimsuits at the top and a long enclosed tube that stretches across the boardwalk This shipwreck is the slide for Stormalong Bay, the fantastic pool shared by Yacht and Beach.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 23, 2009

The Elephant Plaque at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House: the Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 23, 2009


...and you also need to look down to make sure you don't miss some of the great details of the Disney Resorts. This brass plaque with three elephants is inlaid into the lobby floor at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House.



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It's about three feet in diameter and is pretty much in the center of the lobby. There's a much larger plaque near the entrance and several smaller ones like this.

Often, you can see kids on the floor making "brass rubbings" from these plaques. Rubbing a crayon or pencil over a piece of paper laid on top will transfer a really neat copy of the image.
john
click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 22, 2009

The Sassagoula Ferry: The Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August 22, 2009


Walt Disney World has an amazing transportation system. There are busses, monorails, trains..and boats...lots of boats...including this one...



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This is the Sassagoula Ferry, one of several that run between, Port Orleans Riverside, French Quarter, Old Key West, the Treehouse Villas, Saratoga Springs and Downtown Disney. This one is heading from French Quarter (in the background) to Downtown Disney.

Not the fastest mode of transportation, the Sassagoula Ferry is also an attraction. The views are remarkable and relazing...and if you can time a ride around sunset you won't regret it.

The resorts served by the ferry all have departure time posted.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 21, 2009

The Solarium At Disney's Beach Club Resort and Villas: the Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 21, 2009

Here's yet another little hideaway tucked into one of the Disney resorts...although judging by the crowd in there this morning, i don't think we can classify this one as "hidden!"



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This is the Solarium at Disney's Beach Club Resort and Villas and believe it or not, it is empty most of the time. Obviously not this morning!

There are loads of tables and chairs, a huge flat panel TV that is out of view on the left and some comfy chairs. There are windows on all sides which is where it gets its name. I'll often stop in here to answer an e-mail or send a text after delivering Lockers--not today, though. I don't think there was an available seat.

It's pretty easy for the folks staying in the Beach Club Villas to find the Solarium, but I wonder if many Beach Club Resort occupants even know it's there.

If you walk outside from the Villas toward the lobby, you'll walk right by it. From the Beach Club lobby, head toward the shop and turn left and follow the sign that says "additional seating."
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 20, 2009

The Entrance To Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Villas: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 20, 2009

A lot of resorts have a sign and a nice entrance...and then there's Wilderness Lodge...




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You turn onto the road leading up to the resort, and then you round the corner and see this...

At once you know you're in for something special.

Disney has some great resorts but I've got to say that the entrance to Wilderness Lodge and Villas tops them all.

One minute you're on a road near the entrance to the Magic Kingdom...traffic and parking lots, trams and monorails...and within a few hundred feet you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere...and then you see this...

And, trust me it only gets better.

john
click here for a high resolution version of this photo
j

Meet Owner's Locker Member Elizabeth Caran

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Elizabeth and Chris Caran have lived in the Raleigh, NC area since 1999 -- the year they got married. They’ve been owners at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge since September of 2001 and have been Owner's Locker Members since 2008.
 
Introduce Yourself To Your Fellow Owner's Locker Members!
 
I've been a fan of Walt Disney World ever since I can remember.  Literally, from the early days of my ability to speak, I was pestering my parents to take me to that magical place. They granted my wish in 1977 and I loved every minute. But I wasn't to return again until 1992 when I graduated from college and went down hoping to find work there. Although I didn't get the job, I have managed to make a Disney trip at least once a year on average since then.  My husband had never been to Disney when he selected it for our honeymoon, knowing I would enjoy it. Turns out he liked it just fine as well, although he is by no means as big a fan as I am.  By day, I'm a public librarian and my husband is a QA Manager for a small software company. By night, he is a gamer (video and table top) and I am a blogger. But all the time, we are parents to two beautiful children, ages five and three.
 
Quick Facts:
 
§         DVC Owners since 2001
§         Favorite Characters: The Classics: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Pluto
§         Favorite Resorts: Contemporary (but haven't tried Bay Lake Towers yet) and Boardwalk
§         Favorite Restaurant: Victoria and Albert’s, though we can't go very often
§         Favorite Theme Park: Magic Kingdom
§         Favorite Attractions: Soarin’, Toy Story Mania, Philharmagic, and Splash Mountain
§         Most valued item in your purple locker: Salt and Pepper grinders because we cook a lot in our villa... and maybe the Jack Daniels.

What Brings You Back To Central Florida So Often?
 
We used to limit our trips to one per year, but in the last few years, we've been lucky enough to find we had several opportunities to visit the area, either to visit friends from out of the country here on vacation, traveling with other families, or even being given a free trip by my husband's employer. Now I have many friends who visit often, and that seems to draw me back into the area for Mommy getaways with my girlfriends.
 
Why Is Walt Disney World Such a Frequent Destination?
 
I love the fact that Walt Disney World instantly FEELS like a vacation. In fact, I used to always fly down, and when my husband and I drove with our then five-month-old daughter for the first time, I remarked that I didn't feel like it should be possible to drive into Walt Disney World. You have to fly because it's like being on another planet. I love having all the comforts of home including technology without feeling the need to plug in and keep up with the real world. Now that we have kids, it's also one of the easiest vacations we can plan. The whole place is instant entertainment... anywhere you go. So it's not like a beach trip, when you suddenly find yourselves looking at each other saying, "What do we do next?!"
 
Do You Have Any Traditions You Follow When You Are At The Resort?
 
We were developing a tradition of going to Downtown Disney the evening of our arrival and allowing the kids to play in the fountains after eating at Earl of Sandwich. However, we're finding that exploring the resort is a lot easier nowadays. Especially finding the playground after the ten-hour car ride. I always buy a pin on the trip, trying to choose something that represents the overall theme of the trip.  Maybe it's a resort pin for the first time we stayed in that resort, or a Food and Wine pin if we're there for the festival.  It's different every time.  I have a full lanyard now, so next trip means buying a second one!  Oh, and I might also have a tradition of getting a Glowtini at some point (so the kids can play with the ice cube, of course) and a Grey Goose Lemonade Slush at the France pavilion.
 
What Tips Can You offer to Other Walt Disney World Visitors?
 
Every person and family is different, so I suggest that you really plan for your own family's interests and needs.  Don't do an attraction or event just because people tell you that you have to see it. And don't skip an attraction just because others tell you that you'll hate it.  Do what interests you and your family first and foremost. For the frequent visitor especially, I encourage people to take time out to enjoy their resort and be sure to relax a bit during their stay. Disney has some great theme parks to rev up the excitement, but they also know how to chill you out and give you some down time.
I suppose I could also sneak in a plug for Take The Monorail--the blog I co write at www.takethemonorail.com. We specialize in tips for families for young children including craft and scrapbook ideas that help you build up anticipation for your trip and then remember the vacation later.
 
What's the One Thing You Think Everyone Else Is Missing Out On At Disney World?
 
We discover or do something new on each and every trip. Sometimes it's as simple as trying a restaurant we've never tried and sometimes it's more exotic like an Illuminations Cruise. There is so much to do that you can't possibly do it all. That said, I think it's definitely worth taking some time out to enjoy one of the mini-golf courses on property. My favorite is Fantasia Gardens.  It's within walking distance of Boardwalk and the surrounding resorts and the theming is fabulous. It's a quieter, social way to spend an evening. And I say that despite the fact that I ALWAYS lose. Always. Kind of sad, really.  And yet, it's still such fun!
 
And We Have To Ask... What's In Your Purple Locker?
 
A LOT! We have the boring rain ponchos, laundry detergent, toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. We also have some cooking supplies like salt and pepper, lemonade mix, aluminum foil, and storage baggies. I've got some crafting supplies in there for rainy days along with a deck of cards. Then there's the supplies for the trips with the girlfriends that include a corkscrew, cocktail shaker, and perhaps a bottle of whiskey and/or rum. (Why is the rum always gone?!) Basically, it's full of things that we LOVE to have at Disney with us, but we hate to pack because of the space they take up. Our Owner's Locker lets us add just that much more luxury and comfort to our trip.

August 19, 2009

Zawadi Marketplace At Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 19, 2009


These are lights on top of a display in the shop at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House. They are colored animal skins.



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If there's a resort shop on Walt Disney World property where the imagineers pulled out all of the stops, it's got to be Zawadi Marketplace in Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House.

And these lights are an excellent example of the exoctic creativity you'll see at this resort. And, don't miss the ceiling and the other details---amazing.
I've been in this shop many times and never noticed these lights until this morning. I was walking down the steps into Zawadi this morning after delivering Lockers to take a picture of something else to share here when these caught my eye instead. I'm glad they did...and you'll just have to wait until I'm back in the shop to see what I originally intended to photograph.
john

click here to see a high resolution version of this photo
j

August 18, 2009

Inside Riverside Mill At Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort: the Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 18, 2009


It's a shame that this is a still picture and not a video. In real life there are a lot of very big things that are moving here...so I'm afraid you are just going to have to use your imagination.



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This is Riverside Mill, the food court at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort. And it does a very good job of making you feel like you are inside of a working mill. That huge waterwheel that you can barely see through the window is on the Sassagoula River and is constantly turning to power the mechanism you see inside.


As the waterwheel turns, the small wheel inside near the bottom with teeth turns; that wheel meshes with the barrel shaped gear changing the turning motion so that it is now vertical. Up above, another barrel shaped gear meshes with a larger wheel with teeth. It changes the turning motion so that it is now horizontal again. That huge wooden axle is now rotating the length of the room to "run" the mill.


Forgive my non-technical explanation but I just don't think a still picture does this place justice.


Yet again, Disney has gone to incredible lengths with its theming.

To get top Riverside Mill, take a left at the rear of the lobby of Port Orleans Riverside and walk down a long hallway.

And if you have time, go outside to see the waterwheel. It's pretty neat--particularly at night.
john


click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 17, 2009

The Horse Chandelier At Disney's Boardwalk Inn and Villas: The Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August !7, 2009

Sometimes you have to look up to see some of the amazing details in the Disney resorts. Take this chandelier in the lobby at Disney's Boardwalk Inn and Villas.

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It's about 15 feet across, weighs 3000 pounds and I'll bet a lot of folks who have been in that lobby have never seen it. In fairness, it's in a fairly small space and you can't really see it from a distance...but isn't it neat? And look closely at the horses, they don't have rear legs.They're half horse and half sea creature.

That crystal globe at the base of the chandelier is a time capsule to be opened on the 50th anniversary of WDW.

As soon as you walk into the main entrance to Boardwalk, just look up...you'll wonder how anyone could miss it!
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 16, 2009

A Little Tiki At Disney's Polynesian Resort: The Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van

One of the things I love about Disney's Polynesian Resort is the incredibly lush landscaping...and all of the tiki gods that hide in the bushes.

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It's sort of like looking for Easter eggs...some are obvious while others are hard to find. This little guy is guarding the rear entrance to the lobby at the Polynesian. I wonder ho many people enter go through these doors without even noticing him..or is it her?
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo
j

August 12, 2009

Walt's Train at Disney's Villas At Wilderness Lodge: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van

Walt Disney loved trains. That's a major reason one circles the Magic Kingdom. But did you know that he had imagineers build a small train for his back yard at his house in California? He most certainly did and two of the cars from Walt's backyard train set are in the Villas at Wilderness Lodge.

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And apparently this was no ordinary model train set. It had a live steam engine that was big enough for Walt to sit on. Walt obviously had a very big back yard as the track was a half mile long. The cars you see in these plastic cases are each about six feet long.

Click here to learn a bit more about Walt's Carolwood Pacific Railroad.

These cars are located in a small room off the lobby of Disney's Villas at Wilderness Lodge. To get there, walk out of the Wilderness Lodge lobby on the right past the shop. You'll walk down a covered sidewalk about 100 yards to the entry to the Villas. There's a small lobby for the Villas and the room with the railroad cars (it used to be called the Iron Spike room) is off to the right, behind the fireplace. It's well worth a special trip.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 11, 2009

Hurricane Hannah's at Stormalong Bay: The Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August 11, 2009


This is one of my very favorite pool bars at Walt Disney World. I know, I know, it seems like I'm always talking about pool bars. Hmmmmm. This is Hurricane Hannah's at Stormalong Bay, the fantastic pool shared by Disney's Yacht Club Resort and Disney's Beach Club Resort and Villas.

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In the old days, Disney Vacation Club Members could "pool hop" and visit this pool. My family and I loved to hang out here. The kids loved the pool and I have got to say that the pina colodas from Hurricane Hannah's were the best.

Now you have to be staying at the Yacht Club or Beach Club to enjoy Stormalong Bay, But if you are, make sure you check out Hurricane Hannah's. I haven't tried the food but the pina coladas are dynamite.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 10, 2009

The Shop In Disney's Contemporary Resort: the Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August 10, 2009


I've got to tell you...I cringe an awful lot of the time at the quality of photos in this series...but not this one.

I'm usually on the run from one resort to another when something catches my eye. I pull the camera out of my pocket, take a quick pic and continue on my way. A lot of times I'll take the pictures from inside the van...and it shows!

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I had just dropped Lockers off at the Contemporary and had run over to Bay Lake Tower and couldn't resist checking out the walkway from the new resort to the Contemporary.

Interestingly, the walkway starts out on the fifth floor of Bay Lake Tower and winds up on the fourth floor of the Contemporary. I was about to zoom down to the ground floor and head out when I saw this view...wow. This is what you see when you exit the walkway from Bay Lake Tower.

I know a good photographer could pick it apart, but I like this photo. The shop itself is neat but what I like is the way you get a feel for what the inside of the Contemporary looks like. The proportions and balance of that space just work, don't they? You can even see the original tile mural that doesn't look too contemporary these days.

I've always been fond of the Contemporary and this just reminds me of why.
john

Click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 9, 2009

The Library At Disney's Old Key West Resort: the Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August 9,2009


I just love the way Disney puts little hideaways like this all around their resorts. This inviting spot is just to the left off the lobby at Disney's Old Key West Resort.

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It's called a library but you won't see many books. It's just a quiet spot to chill out and relax. I'll often have a seat on this couch and answer e-mails or post on Facebook or Twitter after dropping of Lockers. I've even been known to have a meeting here. A lot of times you'll see someone curled up with a book. Just another example of some of the things that make the Disney resorts so special.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

Meet Owner's Locker Member Karen Akers

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Karen Akers has lived in the Milwaukee, WI area her entire life (not telling how long that is).  She has been an owner at Saratoga Springs since 2006 and added Bay Lake Tower last year.  She travels to Disney a couple times a year.  She has been an Owner’s Locker Member since January of this year.

 

 

 

Introduce yourself to your fellow Owner’s Locker Members!

 

I work for a small manufacturing company doing payroll, purchasing, and accounting functions.  I’ve only been there since February but am loving it.  I’ve worked in the same capacity for many years at various other companies in the area.  I love to write children’s stories, paint, draw and scrapbook (actually, only my Disney trips).  I’m active in my church, teaching preschoolers and singing in the choir.

 

 

 

Quick Facts:

 

-DVC Owner since 2006

 

-Favorite Characters:  Donald, Mickey, Goofy, Ugly Stepsisters

 

-Favorite Resorts:  Beach Club, Boardwalk, Saratoga Springs, Animal Kingdom and         Bay Lake Tower (I’m guessing that will be added to my favorites in January)

 

-Favorite Restaurants:  Raglan Road, Turf Club, Tony’s, the buffet in Germany

 

-Favorite Theme Park:  Magic Kingdom

 

-Favorite Attractions:  Soarin’, Buzz, Toy Story Mania, Haunted Mansion

 

-Most valued item in your purple locker:  Deodorant!

 

 

 

What brings you back to Central Florida so often?

 

I pretty much come back to visit Disney.  I have visited that other theme park but found it sorely lacking the magic of Disney; what can I say?

 

 

 

Why is Walt Disney World such a frequent vacation destination?

 

It is so difficult to explain to anyone who doesn’t have the Disney fever what it is that keeps me going back.  The feeling of being “away” from the real world is part of it.  The customer service levels at Disney are so far above anything else, it makes you feel important and respected.  There is so much to learn and I love that.  When travelling alone I spend a lot of time talking with cast members and find them a diverse and interesting group.  I’m always sad when I leave because it means going back into the harsh real world (sigh).

 

 

 

Do you have any traditions you follow when you’re at your resort?

 

Traditions?   Of course!  I always try to do something I’ve never done, be it a new restaurant, attraction, tour, whatever.  I’m an early riser so I’m typically at a park at opening and pretty much spend the entire day in the park.  That’s kind of against all the touring advice but I like it.  I’m not a night owl so my days usually end fairly early unless it’s a special party night like the Halloween or Christmas parties.  I spend time people watching and listening to or watching the wide selection of entertainment in all of the parks (overlooked by most but seasoned visitors).

 

 

 

What tips can you offer to other Walt Disney World visitors?

 

Some of the tips I would give would be to plan but be flexible.  It pays to have some sort of idea where you want to go but you don’t want to be so rigid you miss special opportunities.  Don’t try to do it all, you never will!  I have been so many times and I still find something new to do on every trip.  To all of the single people or to those who may not have someone who wants to visit: go solo.  It’s a safe environment and a lot of fun.  You don’t need to drive anywhere alone.  Take the Disney Magical Express and use the different transportation options within Disney World.  I’ve found that when I travel solo I meet the most interesting people.  Sometimes I strike up a conversation or others will but it’s a great place to learn about our great big world.  I’ve found that it restores my faith in the human race.  We too often hear about all the bad things; this is the place where most people are happy.  Don’t be afraid to talk to the cast members, too.  They can have a wealth of useful information!

 

 

 

What’s the one thing you think everyone else is missing out on at Disney World?

 

I think the majority of visitors miss out on relaxation while at Disney.  There is the overwhelming desire to see and do it all. I wish people would slow down and enjoy the little things like seeing a child or adult meeting their favorite character for the first time (doesn’t have to be anyone you know-just enjoy the magic).  Take time to really look at things.  The attention to detail and the story telling in all of the parks is amazing.

 

 

 

And we have to ask…what’s in your purple Locker?

 

What’s in my purple locker?  That’s a very good question.  I forgot to do an inventory before I sealed it so I’m just going off memory.  I have the usual large bottles of shampoo, hair stuff, toothbrush, first aid kit, rain ponchos, beach towel, small packets of laundry detergent, insect repellent, and since it was full, lots of other stuff that I can’t for the life of me remember.  Thanks to Owner’s Locker for this wonderful service.  It makes travelling to Disney almost effortless.

August 8, 2009

The Food Court At Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort: The Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August 8, 2009


I've never been to a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans--or a warehouse where they built the floats--but I'm guessing this is what it might look like.

VFPV French Quarter food courtblog.JPG

This is the food court at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort and it's know as The Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. "Floatworks" as in a place where they build the parade floats for Mardi Gras.

It was a very popular place early this morning as I dropped off a couple of Lockers. And it's yet another example of how Disney is very dedicated to making its resorts a pleasure to look at.

I've got to say that I feel a bit guilty about sharing so many photos of French Quarter. But The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van is all about things that catch our eye as we make the rounds delivering and picking up Lockers. And I can't help it if French Quarter is themed so well that I'm always pulling my camera out of my pocket because I've just seen something new. Even if you're not a huge fan of food courts but you gotta love this place.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo
j

August 7, 2009

Mickey Welcomes You To Disney's Villas At Wilderness Lodge: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 7, 2009


There are a number of ways you can find the Disney Vacation Club Villas that are a part of Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort complex and this is one of them.

VFPV Wilderness lodge DVC topiaryblog.JPG

Walt Disney World is famous for its topiaries and this one caught my eye this morning while dropping off Lockers. It struck me as fitting in very nicely with the woodland setting of the Villas at Wilderness Lodge.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo
j

August 6, 2009

There Are Pirates In The Shop At Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort! The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 6, 2009

It should come as no real surprise that products related to the very successful Pirates Of The Caribbean series of films would be prominently featured in the shop at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort.

VFPV Caribbean Pirate displayblog.JPG


But, in typical Disney fashion, they've made a rather eye-catching display that certainly gets your attention. It's almost worth a trip to the shop just to see it.

The shop in the Caribbean Beach Resort is located, along with the food court and pool, in the area called Old Port Royale in the Centertown building. The whole complex is very well done and is worth a visit.

And, did I tell you that Johnny Depp is from my home town (Owensboro, Kentucky)?

john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 5, 2009

The Lobby At Disney's Coronado Springs Resort: the Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August 5, 2009

Have you heard the old saying, "you can judge a hotel by its lobby"?
Well, I don't think there is such a saying but maybe there should be.



VFPV Coronado lobbyblog.JPG

The is the lobby of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and I love it. Disney obviously feels like the lobby of its hotels should get you in the mood to experience everything the hotel has to offer. And one step into this lobby and you know the theme is spanish, old , classic and massive. Everything you see, from the tile floor to the large columns and arches--and in particular the wood beams and those fantastic lights, sets the mood for your experience at Coronado Springs.

The lobby was pretty quiet this morning when we dropped off Lockers and I just had to stop and admire the great job the imagineers did with this one. The architecture, the proportions, the scale and the balance...it just works.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 4, 2009

The Pool at Bay Lake Tower At Disney's Contemporary Resort From The Seventh Floor: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 4, 2009

You really didn't think that today's Everyday Adventure Of The Purple Van would be anywhere but Bay Lake Tower At Disney's Contemporary Resort , did you?!?!



VFPV Bay Lake opening dayblog.JPG

Yep, we couldn't resist and boy, oh boy is it ever worth the trip. This place is fantastic, amazing, unbelievable...you choose the word.

This pic of the pool area was taken from the 7th floor elevator lobby. Not a bad view, huh!

As you might imagine, we've been delivering a lot of Lockers to Bay Lake Tower and we were lucky enough to check out one of the rooms . I must say that every aspect of the place is as good as you've heard.
Let me tell you, I didn't want to leave!
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

Bay Lake Tower At Disney's Contemporary Resort with Deb Wills: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 4, 2009


Well, we couldn't resist heading over to Disney Vacation Club's newest resort today and boy, oh boy is it a winner!




VFPV Deb Wills Contemporaryblog.JPG

It's rare that Brian and I are out in the purple van together but when it's a chance to meet with Deb Wills AND see Bay Lake Tower, well, we'll just put those phones on forward!

Deb is that cool lady standing between us. We are in front of the fountain just outside the lobby of Bay Lake Tower At Disney's Contemporary Resort..

Deb runs the incredibly successful site, AllEars.net. We have an amazing relationship with Deb, are honored to be associated with her site and really enjoy working with her and her great team at AllEars...it's a true partnership.

I've got to tell you that Bay Lake Tower is just fantastic. We saw all of the common areas and Deb was gracious enough to let us see her room. It's just unbelievable and the views are hard to decribe. You just gotta go.
john

click here for a high resolution version of this pic.
j

August 3, 2009

Congress Park Tower at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa: The Everyday Adventures Of The Purple Van August 3, 2009

Disney's Saratoga Springs is a VERY large resort. So large that Disney has opted to give areas of the resort a name rather than just rely on room or building numbers.

VFPV Congress Parkblog.JPG

I like the way they have incorporated the names in the architecture. This pic is of one of the towers for the Congress Park area of Saratoga Springs--which overlooks Downtown Disney. Each area has two of these nameplates and one is on a neat tower with a weathervane like this one. This shot was taken today just before the rains came!
john

click here for a high resolution version of this photo.
j

August 1, 2009

Meet Owner's Locker Members Mary and Bryan Albright

 

Mary Albrightblog.jpg 

Mary and Bryan Albright are from Circle Pines, MN.  Like all of us, they love Walt Disney World!  Mary hadn’t even thought about joining the Disney Vacation Club until her dad mentioned his boss owned some points there and asked what she knew about it.  Curious about it, she researched and lo and behold, she and Bryan purchased their first set of points at the Beach Club Villas in 2002.  They’ve since added on at the Beach Club and a few more points at Animal Kingdom Villas.  They like to get to Walt Disney World twice a year.
 
Introduce yourself to our fellow Owner’s Locker Members!
 
Mary and Bryan have two children: Stefan, 13, and Caitlin 12.  Bryan is a systems engineer for UnitedHealth Technologies and Mary currently owns her own direct selling business.  Bryan’s lived in Minnesota his entire life.  Mary was an Army brat early in life, then spent some of her childhood in Texas before the family moved to Minnesota when she was 9. They’ve been Owner’s Locker Members since 2008.   You can find both Mary and Bryan on Facebook.  Mary invites you to read her blog at powercooking.blogspot.com
 
Quick Facts:
 
~ DVC Owners since 2002
~ Favorite Characters:  Mulan, Mickey Mouse
~ Favorite Resorts: Beach Club Villas and Polynesian
~ Favorite Restaurant: Kona Café, Boma, Flame Tree BBQ
~ Favorite Theme Park: Tie between Epcot and Magic Kingdom
~ Favorite Attractions: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mission: Space, Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear
~ Most Valued Item in Purple Locker ~ rain gear and prescription swimming goggles
 
What brings you back to Central Florida so often?
Well, I have O.D.D ~ Obsessive Disney Disorder.  If we didn’t get back to Disney World often enough, I’m not sure what exactly will happen.  As it is, we were just there in June and I’m already feeling a serious itch to go back.
 
Why is Walt Disney World such a frequent vacation destination?
I admit; I’ve totally bought in to “It’s the Place Where Magic Lives.”, because it’s totally true.  Being at Disney World is like being inside joy. Why would you not want to get back there as often as you can?
It’s also a place where I feel completely secure in letting my kids go out and about.  I know they are in a safe environment and we’ve been there so many times that they know their way around.
It also serves as a reason to make my husband use his vacation days.  He won’t look forward to any other vacation other than Disney World.  Every time I ask him where he wants to eat on the next trip, the standard answer I get is, “I don’t care as long as there are characters there.”  This from a 37-year-old.
 
Do you have traditions you follow when you are at the resort?
We are morning people.  Our habit is to get up and go to the parks in the morning, come back for a rest and pool break in the afternoon, and then maybe go back out again in the evening.  We find that gives everyone what they are looking for.
I like to get into my room right away and get settled. I’m ready to unpack my Purple Locker and really be “home” right away.  Until I get unpacked, even when I’m at the resort, I still feel like I’m a “traveler”.
 
What tips can you offer to other  Walt Disney World visitors?
Don’t commando tour.  Even if you are on your once-in-a-lifetime trip, there’s no way you will see it all in one week.  We’ve been there more than 15 times and we still haven’t done everything there is to do on property.  Disney World isn’t just about thrill rides.  It’s about stepping inside another world, leaving the troubles of this world behind, and embracing the magic that is Disney. Look for those special touches that only Disney offers.  Find the Hidden Mickeys.  Get Pressed Pennies.  Watch the Jammitors at Epcot. Wait to see Tink before Wishes.  The little things are what make everything special.
 
What’s the one thing you think everyone else is missing out on at Walt Disney World?
I think people rush too much from one attraction to the next.  I think they miss out on all the details and wonderful theming that are all around them.  Everyone is so concerned about squeezing every moment out of those park tickets that it enjoyment of your time there becomes second nature.  Slow down. Take it all in. The experience is part of what you pay for.  Don’t miss out on it because you are rushing from one end of the park to the other.
 
And, we have to ask…what’s in your purple Locker?
I think I have a lot of what other people have in terms of toiletries, rain gear, first aid kit.  I have prescription swimming goggles for my husband ~ he rarely swam before because he could never see in the water.  We found these goggles at a sports store and while it isn’t perfect, the adjustment allows him to see underwater while swimming.  So now he can enjoy swimming with the rest of us fish in the family. I have a twin size Aerobed so that when we need it, if in a smaller unit, it’s there.  For our next trip, I’m bringing down an Executive 12” Skillet and Forged Cutlery Knife.  When you are used to using good kitchen tools, cooking on vacation without them is like being back in college.  I can’t wait to have my good tools with me all the time!
 

The Roller Coaster In The Lobby Of Disney's Boardwalk Inn and Villas: the Everyday Adventures Of the Purple Van August 1, 2009

Nope; it's not a real roller coaster. I don't even think the Disney imagineers would try that one!

It's a miniature model on display in the lobby of Disney's Boardwalk Inn and Villas in a plastic case..

VFPV Boradwalk rollercoasterblog.JPG

I'm sure there is additional information about this model somewhere but I certainly can't provide any details.
I always notice it as I head out of the luggage room and through the operations department where we leave notations for our Members' reservations letting them know that their Locker has arrived.

I can say that it does not look new!

But you know, the Disney Resorts are so chock full of stuff like this, you almost wish there was a guide book or audio guide like you see in museums so you could appreciate the incredible items on display.

To see the model roller coaster, just look to your left when you enter the Boardwalk lobby. It's near the fireplace.

john

click here for a higher resolution version of this picture.
j

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