Getting Started

I am a 30 year old travel snob.  That means while I have a degree in Tourism Management, I have never really used it except to appreciate and analyze my own tourism experiences.  Up until now, I’ve only done this as a gab fest with my travelling companions, but now I share them with you in the hopes that you’ll use them as entertainment, a tool to choose your ideal vacations, a window into my soul, whatever you want really.  And today I start with the Westgate Lakes Resort in Orlando, FL.

Checking in:
We arrived around 10PM, as is our usual deal, my husband pulls up under the awning and I jump out to get us checked in.   It took me a solid 5 seconds to figure out which one of the 4 main desks in the lobby I needed to go to.  From there, I was helped very quickly and checked in quickly too. While checking in, my husband joins me (uhh….who’s watching the car?).  And after we checked in we were whooshed to the concierge desk.  Good, I was hoping to ask a couple of questions.  Do they have transportation to the parks? Can I use the Spa facilities? What are pool hours? Really anything to distract me from the fact that my husband brought work with him on our vacation while I also read the latest Harry Potter and treat myself like a princess.  My first question was answered immediately, my second question seemed to confuse the concierge.

“Can I use the Spa facilities?”
“You mean the pools?”
“No, the sauna, whirlpool, magic relaxation lounge?”
“I’ve never been asked that before, can I follow up with you?”

While my bitchy side wanted to to reply with “Aren’t you the concierge?” I restrained myself and withheld judgement but believe me, I will follow up.

At this point, I was perfectly calm and really quite excited about our stay.  Next thing the concierge does is invite us to an “Owner’s Breakfast” two days from check in.  I would have preferred the next day (when my husband decided to work all day) but sure, eat into my plans of running into the wizarding world squealing like a pig and doing real magic.  When I expressed this concern he kindly informed me that the parks would be empty this week….Bro….I know I’m not a tycoon, but my tourism degree and my 30 (ok 10) years of thinking for myself informs me that Christmastime in Orlando is PEAK SEASON.  But I allowed him to schedule the breakfast anyway ‘cus I’m a complete sucker.

But here’s where my hackle’s get really raised.  He informed me the breakfast would take around 90 minutes. For a Breakfast Buffet? Are you insane?!  Then he charged me a $20 deposit for my “owner’s breakfast” reservation…And that is the moment is all clicked into place.  This isn’t a breakfast.  Its a pitch.  I just got suckered into 90 minutes of incredibly stressful hard sell tactics to sell me a timeshare that I ALREADY OWN!!! At this point I’m just kind of swirling in traumatic memories of the last time I got roped into this.  My husband just kind of pushes my along to the car.

But when we get outside, there’s no car. Apparently they forced Conan into valet parking (he doesn’t let anyone touch his baby – and by baby I mean his car). When the car comes, men swarm my car to open my door.  I get in and they just stand there.  Oh right, a tip.  No, you do not get to steal my car and then make me pay you for it.  So I basically just let it get really awkward.  I was so proud of myself.  This is about the time I realized that we’re being escorted by a golf cart to our room.  When we get there we pull into the fire lane and the golf cart guy gets out and gives us rather detailed directions to find our room. “Walk around this column, take elevator to 4th floor, take 5 steps forward, right face…”.  Problem though, he never told us where to park.  So we spent the next 30 minutes driving around trying to find a space, three buildings away.

So Congratulations Westgate Lakes.  You win the most complicated check in award.


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