Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Planning for the Happiest Honeymoon on Earth, Part 2

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-We're not beach people
-Wedding planning is kind of an involved process.  So is Disney-planning
-Dreams Unlimited is kind of the best thing ever invented. ("I thought that was Weddington Way?"  Okay so they're tied for the best thing ever invented.)

Because airline travel is expensive and, well, miserable, we've elected to drive from the wedding to Disney and then back to NOVA.

Wait, what?

Yes, we're going to drive the whole thing.

First, I'll be driving the 13ish hours down to Alabama a week before the wedding, hauling all the last-minute wedding stuff in the back seat of my car.

screen capture from Google Maps
Alexander City is about 8.5-9 hours away from Disney, depending on the route, so we'll be driving about halfway the night of the wedding (a feat made possible by our afternoon reception!) and the rest of the way the next morning.  Mr. Geek has yet to find a hotel for the wedding night at this halfway point- or to figure out exactly where we want this halfway point to be- but we've still got time.

screen capture from Google Maps
And then once we leave Disney, we'll be making the 15ish hour drive back to Herndon, breaking up the trip by spending the night in Savannah (and hopefully eating at The Lady and Sons!)

screen capture from Google Maps
While we have yet to figure out hotel situations for the halfway-to-Disney and the halfway-home nights, we have figured out where to stay while we're at the Mouse's house.

How did we make this decision?  With a little help from one of the best books I've ever read.  (Okay, one of the best non-fiction books.)

screen capture taken from Amazon
This book...oh this book.  It's amazing.  They have tested and reviewed every single detail of a Disney vacation.  The segment on resorts alone covered more details than I ever imagined necessary- they formulated their own test for pillow fluffiness.  PILLOW FLUFFINESS, Y'ALL.  Maybe it's because I'm an engineer and appreciate a good set of metrics, but this made me so happy.

When I visited Disney in high school with my family, we stayed at the Polynesian resort.

screen capture taken from Disney's website
Mr. Geek has been to Disney a couple of times, and he *thinks* they stayed at the Dolphin...but he has a pretty crappy memory lol

screen capture taken from Disney's website
Both of these resorts fall into the "Deluxe" category- meaning they're really expensive.  Really, really nice, but also really expensive.  After consulting The Unofficial Guide and discussing our priorities, we decided to go with a "Moderate" resort.  "Deluxe" resorts offer more space in the rooms and more amenities; we figure space is only really an issue if you're there with a family, and we definitely won't be using things like onsite gyms while on our honeymoon so the few extra bucks in our pockets will mean we can buy more souvenir trinkets!  We did temporarily consider the "Value" category, but were quickly dissuaded after talking to people who had stayed there before.  Basically, they said the "Value" resorts were the Disney version of Motel 6- a lot nicer than Motel 6, but still...not necessarily honeymoon material.  Also, apparently, unless you specifically need a handicap-accessible room, it's pretty impossible to get a room with a King bed at a "Value" resort, and, well, 2 double beds just doesn't feel very romantic to us.

We have a category, but which resort?

Based on The Unofficial Guide's ratings for the quietness of the rooms, the location of the resorts in reference to the parks, and the theme and appearance of the resorts, we narrowed the "Moderate" category down to three choices.

screen capture taken from Disney's website
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is set up to feel like, well, the Caribbean.  The resort is comprised of a series of buildings centered around Old Port Royale, named for an old Spanish fortress that serves as the setting for Pirates of the Caribbean.

screen capture taken from Disney's website
Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter is set up to feel like- you guessed it- the French Quarter section of New Orleans.  Much of the outside decor is themed around The Princess and the Frog, including a certain gator with a passion for jazz.  The buildings and rooms at this resort are just so...quaint!

screen capture taken from Disney's website
Finally, Disney's Port Orleans Resort- Riverside is set up to feel like a quiet bayou refuge with buildings themed as "mansions" and "cottages".  Although it would seem that a resort on the "bayou" wouldn't have rooms with the same quality as those in the "French Quarter", The Unofficial Guide assured us that the rooms in both resorts are exactly the same, regardless of what the building looks like- and that Riverside actually has quieter rooms than French Quarter because it is nestled farther down the river.

So which did we choose?

Don't worry, I won't make you wait for another post to find out.  We chose...

screen capture taken from Disney's website
Disney's Caribbean Beach!  All three of these resorts had some serious positives, but what really sold us on this one was The Unofficial Guide's proclamation that this resort has the quietest rooms out of all three choices, especially if you stay in one of the buildings farthest from the Custom House which houses the check-in desk.  This resort has special pirate-themed rooms, but we figured that's probably more exciting when you've got kids.  The decor isn't what drew us to this resort- I mean seriously, these bed spreads aren't winning any design competitions any time soon...

picture this with just a King bed // screen capture taken from Disney's website
...but let's be honest- the only thing we'll notice about the room is the quality of the mattress ;)

Uh...I'm going to pretend like Mr. Geek wrote that part.  Yeah, let's blame him.


So what do you think?  Which resort would you have picked?  Have you ever stayed on-property at Walt Disney World?  Where did you stay?

Much love,
The Geeks

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