Many aspects of Disney World represent different visits our family took, different chapters of our Disney novel.
When I was younger, we frequented the Polynesian resort, which was convenient by monorail to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center. The smell as you walk into the lobby reminded you that you were on vacation. What made the Polynesian great is the theme, complete with the sounds of the tropical birds, the character buffet breakfasts with Mickey and Friends and of course the light parade on the 7 Seas Lagoon (which can still be seen nightly). Being in this lobby, seeing that parade, having that breakfast is a big Disney memory for me and it has nothing to do with the parks.
We tried out a few different hotels as the years went on including The Grand Floridian, Fort Wilderness Lodge (I lost my blanket there), and others. That is until the Yacht & Beach Club was built and graduated to The Beach Club. Walking in, just like with the Polynesian, the hotel had a certain smell to confirm you were “home,” (Disney smells will definitely have to be a future blog entry). We would be greeted with one of our favorite Cast Members who would say hello to each person that came into view: “To the lady, to the gentlemen,” “hello, welcome back,” “looks like you had fun,” etc. These phrases immediately put smiles on our faces. We would walk over to Beaches and Cream, still one of my favorite places to eat. We would hang out in the game room until our table was ready, look at pictures on the wall of all the celebrities that visited (which are no longer up), and pick songs on the jukebox.
The Beach Club remained our go-to for many years and then came the Boardwalk Resort. Our hearts were then split in two and we would often alternate the hotels with each visit. Luckily they are in walking distance of each other, so you’re never too far from the other.
Each hotel I’ve stayed at, each season I’ve visited, means something different for different times in my life, kind of like going through school. I’ve grown up with and in Disney, but will never grow out of it.