Sunday, May 14, 2006

Florida - Day 1

Well, today has not turned into the best day, I certainly hope it gets better! To start with, I didn't get much sleep last night, trying to get everything together and not forget anything. I arrived at the airport 2 hours prior to my flight, as I am supposed to, got right through the ticketing counter and the security, then had nothing to do for 2 hours. Since my favorite coffee shop was not open early enough, I did not get to start my day with my usual coffee, so I thought I would get one from the cafe in the airport. It did not even come close to holding a candle to my usual.

Robert arrived not long after I did, and we went to sit at our gate - B12. We were the only ones there for a while. He is sick, coughing, stuffy nose, sneezing... blah... We finally get on the plane and we had seats in a row, I was 7A, he was 8A. The plane was small, so there were single seats on the row, so we could not sit next to each other. Not a problem because I had a book to read, and I was tired. I started out reading my book - big mistake. It made me feel sick. So I quit reading and just rested my head against the seat, trying to go to sleep. Not much luck there, either. But, I survived the boring 2 hour flight, no problem. We arrived at the airport at approximately 1PM and they wheeled stairs out for us to exit the plane. Yep, the plane was that small. :) Stepping outside, I was immediately hot - it was 40 degrees when we left OH, so I had worn pants and log sleeves - and here in Florida, it is 85 degrees. Oh, well, I figured I could handle it until we reached the hotel and I could change.

Once we arrived at the main building, we had to find the Disney welcome center. There was no need to go to the baggage claim area because Disney had sent us special tags to put on our luggage, and they would retrieve it for us and bring it to our rooms within 2 hours of our arrival. After consulting our airport map, we finally figured it out and went down some escalator stairs. Mad house. TONS of people everywhere. Big long lines waiting to board the busses. We had to go to a counter, register, then proceed to the "associate with the big white Mickey hand" for our lane assignment. After waiting in line a while, we finally boarded the bus. It was a big, nice bus. Comfortable seats, flip down TV screens, and a bathroom in the rear. I don't even remember how long the drive was, but it wasn't too bad. I don't know what they use the TV screens for normally, but we did not get to watch anything. We stopped at another resort before the Contemporary to let some of the other passengers off, but we were the second stop, so that was good. We register at the front desk and get our room information - they are both in a building separate from the main building, I am on the ground floor with a patio, and Robert is on the second floor - about 1/2 mile away... yeah, really. Far away.

We decided to go ahead and go to the Convention Center and register with Lenovo before going to our rooms. We received a bunch of "freebie" gifts upon registering, among them a shirt, and then we proceeded to our rooms. Mine is the 3rd farthest room in the entire complex. I had to walk forever! Lugging my carry-on and my freebie stuff. I get to the room at approximately 3:30PM. So, 2 1/2 hours from landing, I finally got to my room. Now, one might think that my luggage would be waiting on me in my room, but no such luck. So I figured I would get my carry-on unpacked, maybe take a nap and relax a bit, then my luggage may finally arrive. After settling in, I was thirsty, so I went off in search of a soda machine. I finally found one - a long way away from my room. I would think they would have more convenient access to them for all the rooms in this place - but not so. The price on one soda from the machine is $2.50 - highway robbery - but I was thirsty, hot, tired, and willing to pay it. I tried in vain to get the machine to take the money I had, but it would not. It did have a slot for credit cards - but I did not bring one with me. I did, however, have my room key card. It was supposed to act as a credit card during my stay and charge anything I would like to purchase to my room. So I tried it. No luck. Not a valid card, it said. So I walked all the way back to my room, got another card and walked back to the machine. I swiped my card, chose my selection, and nothing. I tried again. Nothing. And one more time because I was desperate, but nothing. Each time the screen said "vending product" but it did not vend anything! So I gave up. I went back to my room and called the front desk to report the machine. I probably got charged $7.50 for nothing. They said if I see any charges on my card to call them and they would be able to reimburse me.

It is now 4:30 and I decided to just take a nap. After just falling asleep, Robert called and wanted to see if I had received my luggage yet. Nope. So I call the baggage people and the guy says he will look into it and call me right back. He never called back. At 5:30, we decided to go look around in the hotel for something to drink and for me some shorts. We looked around at all the shops, I bought some shorts and a 2 liter bottle of Sprite (for $3.50), and headed back to our rooms to see about getting ready for the Luau that we were to attend at 7PM.

Still no luggage. So, I called the baggage people again. I was once again told that I would be called back in 5-10 minutes with a status. Yeah, right. I told the person on the phone that I had been told that same thing at 5PM and had never gotten a return call. He assured me he would call me back. He did call back - he said they had located my luggage and would bring it to my room within 10 minutes. Great! I hung up the phone and waited. 7:50 - no luggage. I called again. Was told once again that I would get my luggage in 5-10 minutes. By this time, I was starving, and did not want to wait any longer. So I put my Lenovo shirt on (at least it was short sleeves!), called Robert (he did the same) and we went to the Luau. All of the Lenovo people were wearing the same shirt, but all of the other people were wearing normal cloths.

We got our food and some drinks, and sat down to eat. A couple of vendors approached us thinking we were from Lenovo, so we had to explain the situation to them. We talked to them for a while - about the service industry and their product - AMD Processors - and finally just relaxed and had fun. The Luau was supposed to end at 9PM, but everyone was having such a good time that they extended it. The band continued to play and the continued to serve drinks. Robert and I were talking and watching people when we noticed a guy who looked like our Vice President. After discussing it for a few minutes and trying to see his badge, we just went over and talked to him. It was in fact our VP. He was sitting with 2 of our Technicians from other branches that we had not met before, so we sat with them and talked business for a while. At 10:30 the band quit and everyone started leaving. Not the group I was with... they just kept talking and talking.... At 11, I had finally had enough so I excused myself and came back to my room. My luggage had finally arrived!! I unpacked my clothes, changed into my PJ's, and got ready for bed.

I think I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I was exhausted! I awoke to an ear-piercing alarm going off - I looked for the alarm clock to turn it off, but it wasn't the alarm clock. It was 2AM. I called the front desk, half asleep, and asked what that "horrible noise is??" to find that it was the fire alarm. I asked if there really was a fire and was told no - just a problem with the system and their engineers were working to stop it. Great. Breakfast was being served @ 6:30AM and I had to get up in a couple of hours, so I put a pillow over my head to drown out the alarm and went back to sleep.

So far, day one was not a good day..... I will continue with Day 2 at a later time. :)


Barb said...

Awwwwwww Katie!!!!! And all day I pictured you having the best time! I'm so sorry it didn't go well, but hopefully will improve!

By the way, I LOVE a boring airplane trip!!! Those exciting ones can be scary!

Hope all is well by the time you get to see this!

love you!

Anonymous said...

As much Mt. Dew as I drink I would be bankrupt after a month there.

Work Bud said...

Sorry to hear the bad start. I should have warned you about the Disney "Magic Express" and how they are notorious for either completely "misplacing" or a big time delay in getting your luggage. Hopefully the rest of the week went better for you.

Alikat Corner said...

Mt. Dew?? Not at Disney... none to be found anywhere I went. All Coke products - at the Hotel, at the restaurants, at the parks.... NO WHERE!! :)