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INTERCOT > Interactive > INTERCOT Insider Archive > December 2004

Intercot.com INTERCOT Insider
 December 2004 - Edition Two

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This newsletter and other past issues can also be read online at; http://www.intercot.com/interactive/insider/archive

<< Introduction >>

Another year has come and gone. Where did the time go? We here at INTERCOT would like to thank everyone for their continued support. Be on the look out for more exciting INTERCOT changes to come your way. Our Chairman & Chief Imagination Officer JohnY hinted at a few of the details being worked on in a recent message board thread. Although members were told it was a secret we do know it involves new products and a web site. Hmmmm ... I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Stay tuned.
On to the Insider -- With each yearend brings another year of vacation planning and discussion boards. Put away the champagne for a minute to check out what baby New Year brought you in this great Insider. Eva has a detailed Wilderness Lodge review, Ron gives us the lowdown on Walt Disney World holidays, Jane comes back from her Off Topic vacation, and we have a great piece of advice from our member Herb. Come-on everyone, here we go!

<< Resort Review with EvaBryan >>

Log cabin designs, crackling fires, the smell of pine trees. Not what you might expect on your family vacation to Florida. But you can have all that and more at my favorite hotel, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

My husband and I spent another fabulous weekend at the Wilderness Lodge during the beginning of October. We snagged a great rate with our annual passes (nearly 50% off a courtyard view!), a deal that was cheaper than our first choice, the moderate hotel Coronado Springs Resort. We try to visit the WL once during every vacation, even if it is only for a meal, but we prefer to stay at the resort to soak up the relaxing atmosphere of what we feel is Disney’s best themed hotel.

With 728 rooms in three categories, the Wilderness Lodge (WL) feels both intimate and large at the same time. The addition of the Disney Vacation Clubs 136 Villas at the Wilderness Lodge in 2002 nicely meshes with the original lodge structure and hardly looks like an add-on. So many basic facts on accommodations and dining can be found on INTERCOT’s Info Central page, so I will skip the nuts and bolts and jump ahead to what I think makes the Lodge so special.

Upon entering the grandiose lobby with its 80-foot tall fireplace, you are immediately transported to the Pacific Northwest. (Tip: Each rock layer of the fireplace represents a layer of the Grand Canyon. Check the right side for a Hidden Mickey.) The lobby is filled with comfortable leather chairs and loveseats and Mission-style lamps and tables, all lending to the comfortable elegance that is the Wilderness Lodge. I love that you can feel free to lounge around in your comfy clothes while sipping from your refillable mug. Make sure you gaze up at the totem poles in the lobby; both were created by Native American artists and incorporate styles and designs from many Pacific Northwest tribes.

On the way up to our room we passed two different large-sized balconies - these little nooks are all over the WL and can be very special. When not in use (a wedding ceremony took place during our first afternoon there), guests are free to rock on the delightful rocking chairs and admire the views of Bay Lake and the largest geyser east of the Mississippi (120 feet of water!). The geyser goes off from 7AM until 10PM and it is really quite neat to see guests race over on the hour to watch it.

We booked a courtyard room and were on the fifth floor, close enough to the lobby and yet far enough away that we didn’t hear any noise. Each room at the Wilderness Lodge has a balcony (first floor rooms have patios), which are delightful for relaxing and enjoying the scenery. The landscaping at the Lodge is quite beautiful how the gardeners manage to make the gardens look like the Pacific Northwest in the hot Florida sun is nothing short of a miracle. Gentle pathways lined by wildflowers add to the ambience, and I always try to make a note of new favorite plants.

On this visit we took a tour of the Lodge, offered at 9AM on Wednesday through Saturday. We had an informative guide and learned quite a bit about the architecture of the Lodge (and we thought we already knew a lot!). The tour is really meant for older kids and adults (the two young children on our tour fidgeted quite a bit) and can last an hour or more…ours was almost two hours long because we asked so many questions. The best thing about the tour was that it was free! And you don’t even need to be a registered guest to take it. We met the guide in the lobby, though the information part of the tour actually starts in the Villas. While in the Villas we learned about some of the furnishings and the artwork seen throughout the WL. After the Villas and a brief talk outside, we were brought back through the lobby so that we could experience the jaw-dropping wonder of our first sight of the lobby all over again. Cast members call this the eyes-up-jaw-down effect. I still get that effect after so many visits. The tour finished up in the Territory Lounge, the beautiful bar located off the lobby and next to the deluxe restaurant, Artist Point. Here we learned about the two historical artifacts at the Lodge (everything else is reproduced), the names of the two bears resting on the bar, and were given clues to find another Hidden Mickey (Hint: Look up.) Our guide also answered the numerous questions we had about the craftsmen and designers who were responsible for building this beautiful hotel, and we were given photocopies of the list of artisans and designers Walt Disney World used to create the Lodge.

The Wilderness Lodge is also a fine recreational destination, with all of the amenities of any of the deluxe hotel properties. Guests have access to Bay Lake and can rent boats of all different speeds and sizes. The pool is absolutely fabulous (and it doesn’t really drain into the lake, as one might believe, we learned this on the tour too) and children can have a fine time in the wading pool adjacent to the larger pool and hot tubs. If you haven’t walked enough around the parks, you can bike or ride the Wilderness Swamp Trail over to Fort Wilderness, as we did one Sunday morning before breakfast (the Swamp Trail was actually closed due to the numerous hurricanes, but you can walk the adjacent bike trail, which is almost as nice).

Due to the Lodges enormous popularity (especially around the holiday season they have the one of the nicest of the Walt Disney World hotel Christmas trees), make sure you book early during popular seasons. I almost hesitate to share with everyone how special this hotel is, as I want to be able to snag one of those comfy chairs in the lobby.
More information, Photos, and Maps

<< Disney Trivia with WDWdriver >>

Holiday Decorations at the Walt Disney World Resort
I am often intimidated by the thought of putting up a Christmas tree, putting on various lights and ornaments, and going on to decorate the house inside and out. Imagine then, being responsible for putting up more than 1,500 decorated holiday trees. This is the yearly task for 28 full-time cast members who work at Holiday Services, a division of Central Shops at Walt Disney World. Holiday Services occupies a 70,000 square foot warehouse packed full of artificial trees, lights and decorations. They work all year long to prepare and produce the holiday trees and decorations.

The "icon" trees are the first to go up. They are the huge trees that enchant guests visiting the theme parks, Downtown Disney Marketplace and Disney's Contemporary Resort. The trees are transported to their locations by flatbed truck, and are lifted into place by a 70 ton crane. These trees range in height from 45 to 70 feet, and weigh up to 32,000 pounds. Each tree is decorated with more than 5,500 twinkling lights and hundreds of themed decorations.

The many smaller trees can be found in numerous locations spread across 24 individual resorts (including Disney's Vero Beach and Hilton Head resorts), 4 theme parks, Downtown Disney and more than 400 merchandise shops. There are even decorated trees on Disney's two cruise ships. Holiday Services transports approximately 150 semi-trailer trucks of decorations to destinations all across the Walt Disney World resort.

Here are just a few holiday decoration facts:

Walt Disney World is decorated with approximately 8,500,000 lights. This does not include the Osborne Family Lights display at Disney MGM Studios.

Approximately 1.5 miles of garland are hung around the "world".

The decorations include 300,000 yards of ribbon.

There are hundreds of wreaths included in the decorations. The largest of these is 25 feet in diameter, and can be found at Downtown Disney Westside on the side of the Cirque du Soleil building.

<< Off Topic with ChipDale   >>

The month of November brought Veteran’s Day and the observance of the 229th birthday of the United States Marine Corp. Thank you to all of our troops and their families for the sacrifices you’ve made and are currently making for our country!

Of course we all know that the main event in November is Thanksgiving! dw2649 wanted to know what everyone has planned for the holiday. Most of our members spent the day with their families. I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Of course, as soon as Thanksgiving is upon us, talk of how far ahead do you decorate for the holidays comes up. DisneyRN posed the question in the Cooler and it seems that most of our members do their decorating during the Thanksgiving weekend. Did you get yours up early this year?

Anyone who’s been around INTERCOT for a while knows about harlowandthemermaid’s little Sam’s battle with leukemia. Well, Mel gave us some good news this month – little Sam is tolerating his chemo treatments well and is able to do them on an outpatient basis! We’re sending our more pixie dust and good wishes to Mel and little Sam that he continues to improve!

Congratulations to our own moderator Piglet822 on completing her 10th year of driving buses for Mears! Way to go, Jeanne!

Jamie’s Friday parties in November included the End of Hurricane Season Party, the Veteran’s Day Hoedown, a Happy Thanksgiving Feast-ival, and the Let’s Sit Around and Be Fat Because We Ate Too Much Yesterday Party. If you haven’t joined in on one of Jamie’s parties, you don’t know what you’re missing! Stop in this Friday – all members are welcome!

Special congratulations go to Imalismom on the occasion of her marriage on November 6th! Best wishes to you and Dennis!

More special congratulations are in order for TikiGoddess on the birth of her new baby girl, Kate, born on November 9th. Welcome new TikiBaby!

And yet one more congratulations due to one of our members! Congratulations roryjulie on passing the bar exam! We’re all proud of you, Julie!

November birthday wishes went out to marlyn, TheMartellFamily (mrs), TiggTigg5, Jeremy, Figment!, Goofy81, John Y, jillluvsdisney, Steve Brown, mickeefan, vz9p57, MCFantasia, J9, Toughbug, Jeri Lynn, Ozarker, bradleysnana, RSGBSG2002, LNACE, Disneymom4ever, DisneyScarlie, Mickey Mouse, WDW_freak, DisneyWizard, Crystal, BigDisneyDad, spiderkd, walstib, Honey_Bdynamo, *Liz*, Jeannine, riding_big_thunder, Disney2002, Noah's Helper, goofysmyfav, CarrieAllie, Tifa, brad192, and Dopey's Girl. I hope you all had a terrific birthday!

Posting celebrations in November were held for: PolyGirl40 – 27,000 posts, Beast_Fanatic – 25,000 posts, TiggerRPh – 24,000 posts, MickeysGirl – 10,000 posts, Jeff – 9,000 posts, ChipnDaleGal – 9,000 posts, goofy for pluto – 1,000 posts, and offwego – 1,000 posts. Great job, everybody – keep up the quality posting!

Since I’m late this month, I’d like to with everyone a happy and safe New Year! See you next month!

<< INTERCOT Member Feedback >>

We love to check our inbox and see Member Feedback – either about the Insider or with tips for fellow INTERCOT vacation planners. Herb recently sent in this tip regarding a recent Candlelight Processional visit:

“We go each year and try to go when there is no crowd to speak of but this year I found out that Disney is selling more and more dinner ticket packages making it rough on those that just stand in line to see the Processional. In fact, we saw the line for the 8 p.m. show for the dinner package guests and I don't think they could all fit in. It was 8 p.m. as we were walking by the line and it was super long.

Good luck if you have a package dinner ticket and even more luck if you are trying to see the show without the package.”

If you have a review, recommendation, or idea please send it to us! Write us an e-mail at newsletter@intercot.com.

<< Conclusion >>

Hopefully now you are filled with a New Year’s Resolution to take another vacation! If not, at least be sure to check out INTERCOT to get your planning fix. Here’s to a wonderful and magical 2005! Happy New Year.  Thanks for sharing your year with us at INTERCOT!

<< INTERCOT Would Like To Thank>>

The INTERCOT Insider and INTERCOT.com are supported by the following sponsors who in turn, help us bring the Magic to you!

Magical Journeys
Magical Journeys is your Disney Vacation specialist. Start planning your Vacation Discount Dreams today!
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Right in the heart of action! Only 1.5 miles from Walt Disney World is an oasis of ponds, beautiful landscaping, serene waterfalls and relaxing options hiding in every corner.
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Happy Limo
Providing ground transportation to the entire state of Florida.
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The Official Ticket Center
Walt Disney World’s, Universal Studios and Sea World’s #1 guest service provider for the last 3 years. The Official Ticket Center has been servicing vacationers for more than 7 years now and sells tickets only, at a discount price.

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