The next couple of days were taken at quite a leisurely pace, mainly due to my DW suffering from a severe back pain that began before we left home and despite physio and other treatments was showing no sign of abatement.
As we would be spending a few days at the GF, then we avoided any visit to the WDW parks until we checked into that resort.
Friday June 29th
Again another fine and sunny morning, so after breakfast and a bit of lazing around the pool we headed over to Celebration where we browsed the shops along Market Street, had a coffee at Starbucks before taking a very pleasant stroll around the lake taking in some of the wildlife.
This was followed by another trip over to DTD, mainly to renew our AP`s taking advantage of our DVC discounts [I had forgot to bring our DVC membership cards with me for our visit yesterday].
It was also another excuse to have lunch at the Earl of Sandwich……I just love their offerings, which you can eat outside and do a spot of people watching.
Dinner this evening was at the Olive Garden along 192 where we were given a table after only a short wait.
Saturday June 30th
Wow, yet another lovely day. So far we hadn`t seen a drop of rain which is very unusual for this time of the year, although we had arrived shortly after an extended period of rain due to a lingering storm.
Anxious to top up her card making accessories, my DW suggested that we drove to the Michael`s store at the Loop where she was like a kid in a candy store and totally in her element!
We also called into a Target store to get some printer cartridges which are much cheaper “over there”, and then settled for a hot sandwich from the deli counter at Publix which we ate for lunch back at the villa.
The afternoon was spent lounging around the pool before having dinner at a Longhorn Steakhouse near to the Olive Garden on 192.
Sunday July 1st
We both were looking forward to this day as we were going to spend a few days at the GF which is a regular occurrence on our Florida trips despite owning a villa!
As usual I dropped our bags and my DW off at the entrance to the GF and I took the car to the self parking lot.
The normal procedure is for my DW to wait outside for me so that we could check in together when I could hopefully spot one of the CM`s I know at the check in desk who more often than not manages a room upgrade for us.
On the return from the parking lot, I therefore rehearsed my speech in my best British accent just in case Dave was not at the desk and I encountered someone new!
It was then when I saw my DW in tears outside the entrance to the GF.
Apparently we had been made “Guests of Honour” for our stay, and we had to enter the resort on a red carpet where we had our photo taken by a CM.
[What a contrast! A few days earlier we had a visit from the sheriff, and now we were being treated like royalty!]
The CM explained that we had been upgraded to Concierge for our stay and led us through the lobby, by passing the check in desk altogether. [Just as well, because I couldn`t see my friend behind the counter anyhow!]
As he led us through the resort en route to the concierge Sugar Loaf building, we passed by the GF Café where Marvin and Louise who work at the podium saw us and came rushing over amid cries of “Welcome back the XXXX party” along with loads of hugs, handshakes and kisses!
The concierge CM said to me “ I see that you know these folks”, to which I replied “ Nah, never seen them before in my life, who are they?” which caused amusement all around.
Sugar Loaf Building
We were taken to our room where I simply had to sign a cc authorisation form which was all that the check in procedure consisted of.
He then explained all of the benefits of concierge….free champagne, wine, snacks, continental breakfast etc.etc. that were available to us throughout the day, before telling us that there was to be a trial run for the 4th of July MK fireworks on the 3rd and that we should get a good view of them from our balcony.
Now don`t get me wrong. It was indeed a great privilege to be upgraded to concierge, and I was very grateful for this, however in a way it was wasted on us for several reasons.
Firstly the thought of spoiling our dinner by chomping through all of the free snacks during the day scared me.
Secondly, I always like a fry up in the morning, so no continental breakfast for me!
Thirdly, as our stay progressed I was disgusted at the amount of food and booze that was wasted by the other guests…a case of “Well it`s free so why not have it?”
Each evening half filled glasses of brandy, champagne and suchlike were just simply left on the tables.
All in all I`m glad that I experienced the concierge experience, but would I pay the extra for it?....no!
After unpacking, we headed over to Gasparilla`s for a snack lunch. Here we ran into Kim [a Chinese lady who has worked here since the GF opened] who again greeted us with open arms and showed her some photos of her lovely daughter who had just graduated.
Talk about us being made welcome eh?
The afternoon was spent at the MK which is conveniently only a short monorail ride away from the GF.
Here we “did” the HM before choosing a good spot in Frontierland to watch the afternoon parade. It was remarkably quiet at the MK so finding a good viewing location was no problem at all.
After munching through an ice cream, we headed back to the GF on the resort launch where we lazed around the pool for a while.
[One of the advantages of owning AP`s is that you can really “do” the parks at your leisure without the need to try to fit everything into one visit. I guess it also helps if you have visited WDW quite often because then you don`t feel the urge to see and do it all in one hit.]
Dinner this evening was at Narcoosee`s where we had hoped to get Steve as our server. [Steve is a good friend of Ricardo, who took us over to his house on a previous visit.]
Sadly Steve`s section was very busy, so rather than wait for ages, we were served by someone else.
We have always found Narcoosee`s to be a bit “hit and miss”, and this evening was definitely a “miss”!
Although the service was excellent, my DW had to send her entrée back as it was presented barely warm…..and she rarely complains about this sort of thing.
Also, the cost of the meal was considerably higher than we later paid in a much more “up market” venue, the Blue Zoo.
On the plus side though, there was a good view of the EWP, and Steve did manage to come to our table for a chat which was nice, however I doubt whether I will be in a rush to have dinner there again until I hear some rave reviews about the place. Hopefully things will improve after it`s refurbishment that Steve told us was to take place very soon.
After a quick stroll around the resort we headed to our room, taking care to avoid any of the free brandy!