I packed up and left Sleep Inn about 9:30 am this morning. Here is a photo of my rental vehicle – a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan. It was actually cheaper than all other options. I checked rates at several different companies for several weeks and Dollar had a minivan special for a couple of days that beat the price of every other car. It is very nice with only 6500 miles on it. Power side doors and power lift back door, park assist, etc.
I drove to Downtown Disney to check out the changes since I last visited and have lunch. They recently opened a parking garage. There is a sign at the entrance that tells you how many spaces are open on each level. Once you enter the garage there are signs at each aisle telling you how many spaces are available in that aisle. Then once you choose an aisle, there are ceiling mounted lights above each space. The light is off if the space is occupied but it is green if the space is available.
Stopped in a few stores and had lunch at Earl of Sandwich.
Left downtown Disney, stopped at Walgreens for Dr Pepper and headed for my hotel, Pop Century. My room is on the bottom floor facing Hourglass Lake.
One of the new things since my last visit is the “MagicBands”. This band opens your hotel room door, is your ticket into the theme parks, is used to purchase food and all other purchases (you hook it to your credit card) and to allow admittance at the hotel parking lot gate. Disney markets it as a convenience tool but what a marketing tool…Disney knows exactly where each guest went at all times, what they purchased, etc, etc.
After unpacking and settling in I walked across the bridge to the hotel on the other side of the lake. It was built since my last stay. It is called the “Art of Animation”. I checked it out and had dinner there.
So you may wonder why I rented a vehicle instead of using Disney transportation. When I stayed here in 2009, there were three things that I did not like. 1. I hated the location of my room. I swear it was the farthest away from everything and no view to make up for it. 2. I hated riding the buses. When you visit theme parks, you know that you will stand in line for rides, food and other things but it just bugged me to stand in line waiting for buses as well while listening to cranky kids and cranky parents and then the worst part…actually riding the buses. They are like city buses with about 25 seats and then everyone else stands. They also stuff you in like sardines, telling you to keep moving back to allow room for more people to get on. You get very close and personal with strangers. It is about 25 minutes to get from Pop Century to a theme park. 3. WDW apparently has quite a deal with Coca-Cola as only their products are available. Every hotel, theme park and store only offers Coca-Cola, Sprite, RB and a few other choices. Even the convenience stores on property only have Coca-Cola products. I love Dr Pepper and a week without it did not make me happy.
So this trip I requested a lake view, rented a vehicle and bought Dr Pepper to keep in the room. Happy, Happy, Happy