Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Battle for my Wallet VII: Lost and Found

Chapter Three: What We Need

Our check in was slow and painful. Not unlike watching Barack Obama struggle to answer a question without the benefit of a teleprompter. And after several minutes, I received some unsettling news: we were assigned a room on the sixth floor. For those of you who haven’t studied the floor plan of the CR, the sixth floor is the lowest level of rooms on the MK side of the building. It is right over the Monorail. It’s the equivalent of getting stuck in a middle seat on an airplane. It’s like getting seated in the back row on Soarin. It’s like getting a room in the Herbie the Love Bug section of the Allstarssomethinornuther. It’s a lousy location.

All the guy said was that our room was on the sixth floor. What I heard was, “none of your requests have been granted. You’re in the worst room we could give you. You suck! Your family sucks. Alabama sucks (perhaps it does if South Carolina’s beat down was any indication). All of your well made plans are destroyed! Your ENTIRE vacation is now ruined!!!"

Or so I thought.

I worked with a manager for quite some time to find a solution because the ZZUBs were NOT going to spend a week on the sixth floor. Like idiots. NOpeopleinCaliforniawhovoteforJerryBrown. But the CR was sold out and (if you can believe it), it was pretty late in the day.  There were no other rooms higher up on the MK side of the building. The best solution she offered was to let us move the next day. She even offered to let us keep our room until the new room was available. Promised me even that the transition would be seamless.

As if.

Out of options and tired of standing there, I agreed to go take a look at the room. Almost as an aside, she said, “if you do end up deciding to keep your room, just call back and let me know.” I looked at her and thought, “what kind of crack are you smoking?” She looked back at me and thought, “For a guy wearing puka shells, you’re not very relaxed, dude.”


I went to break the bad news to the girls. Not only were we stuck on the sixth floor, but there’d be no unpacking and getting sitched tonight. We’ll have to figure out what we needed and just leave our bags packed until we move tomorrow. For us, unpacking and getting sitched is the quintessential first day experience.

I’m not proud of this, but I was full on deflated. This wasn’t how I wanted to start our Disney trip.

And then an amazing thing happened.

We opened the door to our room and walked through it to our balcony.  It occurs to me that we walked straight to it.  And there we saw this.

And this.

And there wasn’t a thing wrong with the view. Not a thing which could be improved upon by five flights. Trust me. I confirmed this the next day.

Why did I think we needed to be higher up? Why did I think this wasn’t good enough? We walked around the room and kept going back out on the balcony and we were talking around whether the room would work for us or not. I was realizing that I’d believed higher was better for no reason at all. We were in Disney World for crying out loud!. We were in the freakin Contemporary Resort with a room facing the Magic Kingdom! Being 50 feet higher up wasn’t going to make that big a difference! I was so disappointed with myself. For several minutes I’d allowed myself to be one of those idiots, the people whose expectations are unrealistic.  Worse still, my expectations were also flat out wrong.

We prayed all summer for our trip. Our countdown chain had prayer requests written on it. So each night when we pulled a chain off, there was a request to pray for. Safe flights. No one gets sick. Make good memories. It was a good way to cover our trip in prayer as we counted down the days in anticipation.

One of my prayer requests was that we’d get the room we were supposed to have.

Which is, in fact, what happened. Even if I was too daft to recognize that. I thought it had to be higher up. But as I stared back at the Castle, I realized that we could move higher up and get still end up stuck next to a loud family. Or get a room with an adjoining door. Or have neighbors who improperly use their balcony for an ashtray. Maybe our room wasn’t higher up. But it was where we were supposed to be and better is one day in His house than a thousand elsewhere. If I may re-interpret a verse.

I was nervously pacing through the room, barely conscious of the fact the girls were jumping on the beds and talking nonstop. I decided we should just stay put.

And as I was making this decision, Mrs. Z was noticing the place was filthy. With a capital Ph! There was a good layer of dust on the furniture. That’s actually an understatement. The room was to clean what Barbara Boxer is to intelligent. What Joy Behar is to reasonable. What Brett Favre is to discreet. What Tiger Woods is to monogamous.  What Frickles is to math. 

The CR rooms have opaque glass doors to the bathroom. There was a greasy hand print that ran almost the entire length of the glass.  Which led to some discussion about what went on in there.  In the room itself, there was a hand print on the mirror and the doors to the balcony hadn’t been cleaned since before Jimmy Carter began his “superior to the others” post-presidency.

In other words, the typical Disney World housekeeping issues. But Mrs. Z was in the bathroom and she spotted something FAR WORSE. Worse than another two years of a Democratically controlled Congress. Worse than the words, "President Palin." Worse than Georgia’s football team even.

There was something brown sitting on the toilet seat.



Lurking really.

Taunting us. 

Daring us to do something.

Mrs. Z was grossed out, disgusted and maybe a touch mortified.

But not touched by the mortified, thankfully.

Not me. Oh sure, I was annoyed as all get out, wondered whether the room had been cleaned at all. But in that moment, a preternatural calm had come over me. I figured the brown was at least near where it was supposed to be. It wasn’t like we found a little piece of brown on the phone.

Still. This was an issue which needed to be addressed. I know from experience not to call the “front desk” from your room. Because you won’t get the front desk at all. So I walked down to the front desk to talk with a manager about getting our room cleaned. I also wanted to let her know that despite the general state of disrepair, we thought the location was fine. The irony wasn’t lost on me either.

The manager was insanely nice about the problem and offered to send up housekeeping immediately. To VIP clean the room. Like that would impress me. She also offered to give me a credit on our room. Without my asking for it or implying we’d be expecting it. I thought was a nice touch. Not the credit, frankly, that was the least they could do.  I appreciated that she offered it without my asking. 

I told her we were heading out for dinner and we’d be back in an hour or so and would expect to have our room cleaned while we were gone. She assured me that wouldn’t be a problem.

And it wasn’t. We took the boat over to Ft. Wilderness for some dinner at Trails End. We like it there. The food is reasonably good and they have sweet tea. Plus it just flat out feels like Disney World. The ride on the boat was pleasant and as we rode we comforted ourselves that we were in the right room. It would be cleaned and as a result of the brown on the seat, it was REALLY going to be cleaned and a clean room is more important than anything, right?

Dinner was fine but it wasn't spectacular. The food underwhelmed a bit although we loved us some sweet tea.  In many ways, the night reminded me of a dinner in Chef Mickey's four years earlier.  The thing which was worrying me was vastly insignificant by comparison.  But it still felt like we were going through the motions.

By the time we were done with dinner we were ready to get back into our room and get unpacked and get sitched.

And there it was. Finally, on the boat ride back to our resort, I finally started to feel like it was our first night at Disney World.

And all that was good. The sweet tea at Trails End, the evening boat ride on the lake. Finding a spotlessly clean room when we returned. The fun that is unpacking in your hotel room. Being so glad to be back at the Contemporary again. Watching the new fireworks show on the balcony.

All of that was good.

But you know what was great?

I woke up early the next morning. Insanely early. Even for me. It was 5:00 when I woke up. Pitch dark outside. Too dark to sit on the balcony for some Bible study time. So I got dressed, brushed my teeth, grabbed my camera and my Bible and went in search of a well lit, but quiet place to spend some time with the Lord.

There’s a large lobby area on the 2d floor of the CR by the meeting rooms. I walked all the way down towards the far end, found myself a couch and spent some time hanging out with God, praising Him for bringing us back there.

At the Contemporary, I’m just a 12 year old kid who can’t believe I’m getting to sit on a couch and read the Bible.

It was still silly dark when I finished praying but I figured the sun would come up soon and I could score some sweet sunrise over Bay Lake pictures. But it was not to be. The sun wasn’t working on ZZUB’s schedule.

Instead, I got to creep around the CR. In the quiet. In the stillness. Just enjoying the solitude. The time. Alone.

We don’t get that in Disney World very much. When it happens, you should enjoy it.

Eventually, the Contempo Café woke up and I stepped in, bought my mug and filled it full with brown water served warm.

The coffee spilled down the side when I put the lid on. As usual. And after I’d wiped it off, I headed up two flights to our room. To eat some Pop Tarts and start getting everyone else up for our first day.

Mrs. Z got up and began getting ready and as she did, she realized her eye was now well enough to wear her contacts again. No wearing her glasses. No squinting in the sun. At the exact moment she needed it, she was able to put in her contact lenses.

Right on time.

And so our vacation began.


  1. Wow - first in. Everyone must be suffering from post-Halloween hangovers.

    Excellent read Zzub, but very scary beginning. Brown things about that are not served warm would have been the end of me!!! There wouldn't have been enough Lysol wipes for that room. But the view was bangin'!

    I'm glad Mrs. Z's eye was better! Nothing worse that squinting at Disney! Actually there is....your room, but at least you got the VIP!!

    Looking forward to Fricks retort.

  2. Y'know, as I look at that picture, I realized that at last year's meet, we were on the 5th level. Obviously, Bay Lake view. But it never crossed our minds to complain. It was awesome! That may be, of course, because we had booked garden wing and were upgraded ; ) I was never a big fan of the Contemporary until that stay. Now...I get it. 6th floor or 9th. Doesn't matter. It's an awesome place to stay.

    The dirty room made me gag on my tea a bit. But hey, who's gonna refuse a room credit and VIP cleaning? As you said, VIP hopefully meant you ended up with a cleaner room than you would have. Just hope you didn't forget to take a Clorox wipe to the remote control.....

    I don't think Frick will take offense to the math comment. She'll be too distracted by the picture of the Contempo Cafe. Homegirl loves that place. Especially the banana caramel waffles.

    Glad you managed to get your rage in check on your first night, that you got to experience the early a.m. in the World, and most importantly, that Mrs. Z's eye got better!!

  3. Zzub, great post as always. So glad to hear Mrs. Z's eye is improving. His time and He is faithful.

    Bummer on the room’s lack of cleanliness. At least they were able to bring Cinderella in to clean it VIP-style.

    Way cool idea on the prayer requests integrated into the countdown chain. Do you mind if I steal that idea for my family?

    Is there anything better than doing your daily devotional on a Disney resort balcony? So much to be thankful for.

    Since South Carolina beat Alabama, and Kentucky beat South Carolina, and Georgia beat Kentucky...does that mean Georgia could beat Alabama? I'm just sayin'

  4. I LOVE the photo across the bay. That's some mighty fine shooting skills.

    Sorry to hear about the remnant that was left behind for you. There was much irony in this post.

    Great update Z! I love that everything came together and that in the end, the room details didn’t really matter. Isn’t it amazing that your family created the prayer/countdown chain and wound up discovering that the doors were open which needed opening. God is so cool!

    I’m glad you found your vacation mode my friend.

    The early morning devotions and walk around the deserted resort were a great ending to your post. I’m looking forward to hearing what new set of circumstances befalls the Zzub family.

  5. What, no pics of the offending "brown"? From the man who brought us Rorscach Protein Spills, I expected at least a pic with a blurry brown spot. I didn't say hoped for, I said expected. There IS a difference...

    However... I am LOVING the pics you did include. What a view! He always provides us just what we need, if we will just stay out of the way and allow him.

  6. As someone who had to cancel their free-dining trip this summer, I just want to admit that while I was reading about how your room at the Contemporary wasn't high enough, I was thinking about breaking someone's arms. I'm not saying they were your arms, and I'm not particularly proud of that moment, but there you go.

  7. Since South Carolina beat Alabama, and Kentucky beat South Carolina, and Georgia beat Kentucky...does that mean Georgia could beat Alabama?

    Allow me to take it one step further...Since MS State beat Georgia, does that mean MSU could beat Bama?

    Why yes. Yes, I believe it does.

    Go State...GO STATE!!!

    ZZUB must've stopped rooting for them because they've been doing pretty dang well lately.

    Thanks for that, Z.


    I loved this update, ZZUB. But I'm sorry to report that after reading it, I've come to the heartwrenching (for you) conclusion that you and I can no longer be friends.

    We're done. SO done!

    Anyone who wouldn't be freaked out that some stranger's feces (a Disney guest no less...have you SEEN the type of people who vacation in Disney?!) was hanging out in their room and could actually bring themselves to SIT on that toilet seat, even after it got the VIP cleaning, is just not someone I want to hang with. No telling where you've been. So I'm defriending you.

    Effective immediately.

    As a parting gesture, I will tell you that your shot of the Contemporary at night (love the crescent moon in the middle) is my new favorite shot of Disney at night.

    That one is amazing.

    And so was this chapter. Never ceases to amaze me how God always knows just what we need. Thanks for sharing your first day with us. Looking forward to more.

    As long as there's no more brown stuff involved. I just threw up in my mouth just typing that.

  8. Doug said:

    I'm not saying they were your arms...

    Were they Mel's arms?

    Because I'm thinking about breaking her arms myself if she doesn't show up around here before too much longer.

    I'm kidding.

    I'm not prone to violence.

    Unless someone leaves brown stuff on my toilet seat. And then it's ON like a chicken bone!

    PS. Don't break his arms, Doug. Just de-friend him. That what I did and I feel MUCH better about it already.

  9. "Allow me to take it one step further...Since MS State beat Georgia, does that mean MSU could beat Bama?"

    I wasn't going to take it to that logical conclusion LaLa, because there is only so much our friend Zzub can take. Or it that ex-friend...former' friend...quasi friend...pseudo friend...??? Bless his heart.

  10. It's not every day that my wicked good math skills get me recognition. I'm forever going to be in a Zzub TR, which means when this thing gets produced into a movie, I'm so there.

    I must say I enjoyed the sweaty armpit feel you got when they told you the 6th floor was all for you. It's always fun to hear what others freak out about. Where did you read that it sucked? Dude, stop trusting the Dis boards so much. I know that is where you learned that Tigger ears were cool for grown ups too, but not all info on there is correctamundo. Your view was amazing! Glad you scored a sweet spot, but not so glad that you shared the brown on the toilet saga. I guess brown is better than green - cause that's a minor indication of sickness or ingesting too many blueberries. Not that I would know anything about that. Glad the brown wasn't on the phone, but I'd have to bet a man did that, so more than likely there was some brown on the tv remote.

    I am THRILLED about Mrs. Zzub's ability to get the contacts in! I also like the prayers on the countdown chain too... nice!

    Ash was right about the joy I found in breakfast at the Contempo Cafe. I love that place! Thanks for taking me to the Contemporary tonight. I heart it!

  11. Yeah, I'm a little late to the party. But what a great installment, Z. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures of the CR and your view of the MK. I've been pining for a Disney getaway over the last few days, and that was a great teaser.

    Except that whole "brown thing" issue. Oh my. I can assure you that I would have done the hover move in the restroom for the ENTIRE LENGTH OF MY STAY after that. Is there enough Clorox in the World to take away the stigma of that bathroom? Ewwwwww...

    And another thing, it never ceases to amaze me that you can wake up so early at Disney when you live on the West coast. Getting up at 5 at WDW is 2 AM where you live! That's some serious Disney excitment. Mad props!

    Another good installment with lots of great reminders of how things work out best when we leave them to Someone Else.


  12. I dont know what to think, a little bit of brown at a dirty deluxe resort, Z throwing a fit about a room assignment, Limo rentals, George spotting dimes...

  13. Brown water served warm. In a mug with a lid which spills it down the side.

    So, so true! But we still love it, don't we?

    Great update! Beyond speechless about the brown spot, but so glad the 6th floor worked out for you afterall.

    And so glad for Mrs.Z that the contacts fell into place.

    Loved hearing about your solo quiet time in the early morning...while I wasn't praying or carrying a bible, the times I have spent alone in the early morning at both the CR and Poly have been pretty amazing.

    Can't wait for the next update! :)


  14. as a long time reader of your Trip Reports I am beyond thrilled that you are writing another one!! It's pretty amazing to see how far y'all have come! I remember the...what were they...some form of Olympics in the days of POR?! Then it was Wilderness Lodge and now, are staying at the Contemporary.

    Bummer about the poo on the toilet seat. That's bound to be a Buzzkill...

    but still...

    it was poo in the Contemporary and that must make it slightly cooler and less gross than if you had found it in say...Motel 6?

    everything is better at Disney! even poo!

    Can't wait for more!!!!

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