Jennifer and Dave's Disney Adventure Report

Dates: 12/3 - 12/11, 1999 (9-Day Trip)


  • Jennifer Watson (author): 31 year old, writer and co-author of PassPorter Walt Disney World, on her umpteenth trip to Disney (from Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Dave Marx: 44 year old, writer and co-author of PassPorter Walt Disney World, on his 11th (or is it 12th?) trip to Disney (from Hackensack, NJ and Ann Arbor, MI)
Updated 11/21/03

Copyright 1999-2006
PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

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  Friday, December 3, 1999: The Arrival

Although we booked our flight well in advance, for some reason we couldn't get an inexpensive early morning flight. We usually prefer having a full day to play (or work) when we arrive at Walt Disney World, but the mid afternoon flight turned out to be a good choice considering all the extra preparations for this trip. We finished up the last of our packing and preparations by 1:00 pm, loaded up the car, and headed to Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) for the 3:15 pm flight. Miraculously, we had time to spare, so the trip to the airport was quite relaxed. We dropped the car at our favorite off-airport long-term parking lot, hopped on the shuttle bus, and were standing at Northwest Airlines E-Ticket check in counter an hour and a quarter before flight time.

Just a word about Northwest's E-Ticket check in counter at Detroit Metro (our computer geekiness is showing again, folks!). We love this feature, as we almost never have to wait to check our bags. Northwest has about eight E-Ticket machines along one side of the Detroit terminal. You slide in a credit card or frequent flyer card to identify yourself, answer a few questions on the computer screen, and it spits out your boarding pass. If you only have carry-on bags you can head right for the gate, but if you have bags to check (and you know we did!) there are two or three ticket agents set aside to process luggage and check your ID. We can usually get our boarding passes and check our bags in under five minutes! Meantime, the lines for the regular check in, as usual, are snaking all around the terminal. You can't believe how much less stress we have as a result. If you're flying out of Detroit, request an E-Ticket if you don't automatically get one — you'll be amazed at how smoothly it goes. Just be sure to bring a major credit card or your Northwest World Perks card with you as the E-Ticket machines need to scan it for identification.

We arrived at Orlando International airport (MCO) at 5:45 pm (right on time) after a perfectly uneventful, perfectly crowded flight. Ian, one of Tiffany Town Car's legendary drivers, was waiting for us when we arrived at baggage claim and in a few moments we were loaded up and on our way to Walt Disney World. Actually, we had been expecting to be met by Mohammed, one of Tiffany's other legends. We gave Ian got a bit of ribbing. Somehow, whenever we expect to be picked up by Ian, Mohammed is waiting, and whenever we expect to see Mohammed, Ian is waiting. We can't complain in either case, since they both give us the star treatment.

Check in at the Caribbean Beach Resort went smoothly, and we were on our way to Martinique, building 26, room 2652. This is a fine room assignment. The room is on the second floor, facing the courtyard, and boasts two windows. The building is right next door to the Old Port Royale, home to the general store, food court, and the Captain's Tavern restaurant, and only a few steps away from the Calypso bus stop which serves Old Port Royale. Although the Caribbean Beach is not our favorite moderate resort (and nothing on this trip managed to change our mind about that), we found our room to be comfortable, clean, and very well maintained. If we didn't already know the Caribbean Beach was Disney's oldest Moderate resort we'd have had a tough time figuring it out on our own.

Two items of note regarding the Caribbean Beach Resort — they no longer have mini-bars in the rooms (though the coffeemakers are still there) and refrigerators are now $10/night (as opposed to $6 as before). They still place refillable mugs, ponchos, and coffee packs in the rooms, but you will be charged if you use them. The resort still offers pizza and meal delivery service (see the Bluerunner menu). These details are all on our Carribbean Beach Resort Update page.

After all the rushing around during the week we had no interest in any further travels, so we walked over to Old Port Royale and requested a table at the resort's only full-service restaurant, the Captain's Tavern. While we waited for our table we went to the gift shop and picked up enough snacks and drinks to hold us for those late night needs (the food court closes at 11:00/12:00) and still had time to check out the breakfast menus at the food court.

The food at dinner was no more than average, our server was much too busy to be of much service, and the noise levels in the crowded restaurant were far too high. If you'd like to learn more about this restaurant, read our Captain's Table review.

We finished dinner quickly and hustled back to our room. After all, we still had nearly 400 booklets to staple. We finished about half the booklets, unpacked our bags, checked e-mail, and called it a night.

Jump to the next day: December 4, 1999

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