Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Disneyworld: Our hotel & our food
We stayed on site at Disneyworld at their luxurious "Pop Century" hotel. By "luxurious", I mean "economy" and by "economy", I mean "economy for Disney, but not for a regular hotel".
Pop Century is huge. Really, it was five hotels wrapped around one central gathering point. Each hotel within Pop Century is completely themed around a specific decade. There is a hotel based on the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. Although I was praying for the 80's, much like David Hasslehoff, we were stuck in the 70's.
Here is the view from the deck by our room:
There were three swimming pools throughout the grounds. We swam in the HUGE pool in the 60's area called the "Hippy Dippy Pool" (shaped like a flower) and the 90's area, which was called the "Computer Pool". (It was called the computer pool because it was square, much like a computer. Creative AND original) There was also a bowling pin shaped pool in the 50's area, but the heater was broken, so we did not venture into it's frosted waters.
It was a pretty nifty place and the themes were groovy. We had a swell time exploring every decade and jiving around the grounds.
There was also this giant lake next to the hotel with a bridge that goes all the way across. On the other side, they were building five more hotel buildings that will be themed with the 00's, 10's, 20's, 30's and 40's.
Our decade did not have a pool, but we did have the giant Fools Ball table. (Note: After reading this, Cathi has informed me that it is not "fools ball" but, Foos Ball, or some other nonsensical thing. Probably French or something. They probably play on the backstage of Circus Olay)
We also had a disco ball that worked at night in our courtyard and two giant Twister games to play at our convenience.
This trip we opted to try something new and signed up for a "Disneyworld dining plan". Allow me to attempt to answer all of your questions in the following paragraph...
There are many meal plans to chose from, but we selected the cheapest one. We payed for the entire meal plan in advance. The meal plan we selected gave each person in our family two "counter service" meals per day and two snacks per day. So when we arrived at the hotel, they simply told us, "You have 62 meals and 62 snacks to use during your stay."
The meals included an entree, a drink and a dessert.
The counter service meals and snacks could be purchased at our hotel or essentially any place on the Disney property. Our hotel had what equated to a food court in the mall and there was everything from cheeseburgers and pizza to Chinese food to Greek salads. Plenty of selection, but nothing spectacular. We had the same type of options in the park and essentially we could eat at any place that we were not waited upon by a waiter.
To be clear, in order to get the dining plan, we HAD to purchase one for each person per day.
At the beginning of the trip, thinking we would not have enough free meals to last us, I began rationing them and trying to stretch them out. The problem is that Calder never really ate his own meal and ended up sharing most of the time. We started accumulating meals and with two days left, we had something like 30 meals and 33 snacks to use. Oops.
Cathi saved every receipt and by Wednesday (the middle of the trip), the meal plan had paid for itself and we acknowledged that it was definitely worth the money. However, there were definite pros and cons:
1. Not once did I ever feel guilty about getting a soda or bottled water with my meal. Normally, I feel guilty about adding the three dollar soda, but it comes with the meal plan.
2. There were TONS of snacks. ANYTIME we felt the slight bit of hunger, we could get ANYTHING! We had funnel cakes, Slurpees, (yes Coke McPheeters-oholics) ice cream, Popsicles, smoothies, popcorn... ANYTHING! And not a twinge of guilt about the exuberantly high prices. It was all inclusive.
3. A dessert was included in every meal. Who can afford a dessert in these trying times? Well, we could.
4. There were TONS of places to eat.
5. Like I said before, the amount we paid for the plan had paid for itself by Wednesday.
1. I tired of the counter service places. Just once or twice I would have liked something a little more quality than the fast food. I also would have liked to eat at a nicer place in EPCOT at one of the countries. We could have added one nice meal per day, but that was like $50.00 more per person.
2. The pressure to use our meals was a bit much. At the end of the trip we had the option of trading each meal we had left in for 3 snacks, so we came home with a mega-load of cookies and rice krispy treats. That was okay, but I still felt guilty for not using the meals. We saw others there that had the same problem. While we were in line for food on the last day, one guy was trying to use up his extra meals and buy everyone in line lunch.
3. You eat and buy much more than you would normally and I put on a few extra lbs.