The original plan was to check into Port Orleans: Riverside (formerly Dixie Landings) last Sunday and stay through that Thursday afternoon – that was before I got appointments for a dentist AND an optometrist for that day. I wasn’t staying over a three-day weekend.
Unfortunately, Disney’s website (and/or Internet Explorer) wouldn’t let me make reservations until last night. The catch was the hotel was now Caribbean Beach Resort (as it was $20 cheaper per night) and I’ll check-out on Friday instead of Thursday.
I arrived at CBR around 1pm and the room “wasn’t ready yet.” He didn’t ask about the MagicBand as I wouldn’t be able to activate it until I got a room number so he told me to get lunch (which I already did on the way over as I had to transfer buses at Disney Springs), take a swim in their “newly refurbished” main pool (tempting… except it was 58 degrees outside) or simple walk around the resort for a while until we contact you when your room is ready.
Of course, I took my camera out of my messenger bag before handing it to the bellhop standing next to the main entrance. The guy at check-In said I could call and have the bellhop deliver my bags to the room when it was ready. Believe me, it was a huge relief to get those bags off my shoulder.
It took approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes to get from the Customs House (Check-In) to Centertown at Old Port Royale (Food court, main pool and gift shop). It should only take ten, but my goals were to take photos and kill time. I’m still not sure if I should post those pictures below or in a separate post…
I explored the pool, the beach and the marina, dutifully catching all of them on my handy little camera. I even went inside, bought some small snacks (two cookies and a soda) and then browsed through their gift shop (which spills over into the hallway separating the store proper from the edge of the food court).
I will say they have some interesting things for sale there (like a “Jake” headband\wig from Jake and The Neverland Pirates – which I would TOTALLY buy if I thought I had space for it in my bag), but what I DIDN’T find was any merchandise specific to CBR. I saw online that they were rolling out resort-specific merchandise, and I know they started said rollout because I almost bought a blue shirt with the Saratoga Springs logo on it back when I stayed there last August (when I bought the MagicBand referenced in my headline).
For the record, the young woman working in the store that afternoon said she didn’t know when\if CBR was getting its own branded items…
“But, if it was any consolation,” she said smiling earnestly. “You aren’t the first guest to ask me that question.”
It was now 3pm, and I hadn’t received a call or text about my room so I asked at the Concierge desk outside the gift shop proper (and literally in the middle of the spillover section even though it didn’t have any registers), and Antonio at the counter said my room was indeed ready and that he was more than happy to set everything up for me.
I told him about my experiences back in August and again in October (when I bought the Annual Pass I was trying to put on this Magicband). I even told him that his colleagues in both Customer Service and Guest Relations said it was “impossible” to reuse this band because it was already linked to “someone else’s account” (as the reservations at Saratoga Springs were bought using my mom’s DVC points) meaning the “original owner” had to “personally” sign it over to me in their presence or I had to provide some “official legal proxy” relinquishing control of the band to me (no, really).
God help him, he worked tirelessly for approx. 35 minutes on his computer and on the phone with CIS until he was able to get the AP and room key on the same band. He was extremely serious (I wasn’t sure if I should talk to him or not) but unlike his colleague at Saratoga he never complained about the indignity of his task nor did he throw up his hands after 5 minutes like the agents at T&TC.
He got the job done – the one his aforementioned colleagues said “couldn’t be done” – and he got it done without a signature, a proxy or notarized affidavit. For that I commend him. Thank you, Antonio, for starting my week off well.
Update: I brought this story up to Guest Relations in Disney Springs, and the woman working there literally just looked at me dumbfoundedly and said “sooo if there’s ‘no problem,’ why are you in here?” so while I have no idea if the report I made to the agents at GR in Disney Springs made it past their fancy mahogany counter, the story is on record here.