JeniLynn Knopp (234 Posts)

JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.



As we pull into our parking space, I look upon some of the most inviting condos I have ever laid eyes on.  Surrounded by tropical palm trees and lush shrubbery, three stories of pastel-painted units sit behind a section of white picket fence and a pleasant bench area.  I can hardly wait to find out which unit is ours.

I turn around to face the back seat of my van and capture the look on my cherubs’ faces when I am abruptly reminded of our incredible amount of luggage.  In the past we have never required this much stuff during our trips, but this time we needed to literally pack everything but the kitchen sink due to the childrens’ medical condition.  The thought of lugging all these boxes, coolers and suitcases through long, winding paths is a very unappealing one.  Even though we are now in the midst of Key West bliss, nothing can make that chore magical. 

“I hope our unit isn’t too far,” I slightly whine as I think of past escapades that involved walking endlessly to designated accommodations in Disney’s moderate resorts.  “It isn’t,” DH cheerfully remarks, “It is right in front of us.”  I say with surprise, “What?  I thought you said we have a water view.”  DH exclaims, “We do!”  “I don’t understand,” I reply with confusion, “Are you telling me that we have parking just outside of our unit and we still have a water view off of our balcony?  How can that be?  When we wanted a water view at Disney’s Coronado Springs, we had to walk at least five minutes around fountains and cacti, towing all our luggage, before we reached our room.” 

Apparently I had been too preoccupied with my DVC status inferiority complex during check-in, and I failed to hear the lovely hostess explain that all OKW units have parking directly outside their front doors.  I am completely tickled by this, for nothing gives you the feeling of “home” quite like your own parking space.  “Wow,” I exclaim, “unpacking the van is going to be a breeze compared to our past trips.” DH agrees. 

We excitedly jump out of the van and begin removing baggage and children from within.  I suggest that I start taking luggage up to our unit on the second floor while DH continues to unload the van’s contents.  Finding this to be a good idea, DH nods his head, tosses me a key card to our Key West Kingdom and tells me the number of our “home away from home.”

I carefully balance multiple bags from my neck and shoulders while I pull a rolling duffle bag with one hand and a tired two-year-old with the other.  It is an extremely awkward task, but since the door to my unit is so close I am not bothered.  It will be over soon.  Inching down the sidewalk, I pass some stairs on my left that lead directly to my unit’s front door.  However, with all this baggage, I am not about to take the stairs.  I walk further in order to find a nearby elevator. 

Ever so slowly, I progress down the cement walkway near the front doors of the first floor units. I pass a janitorial closet, a staff-only elevator, a couple designated smoke areas and beautiful landscaping.  Somehow, though, I fail to find the elevator.  “It must be here somewhere,” I mumble to myself.  “Mommy, where are we going,” DD2 asks in a voice that indicates her patience is wearing thin.  I respond, “Mommy is looking for the elevator.  If you see the elevator, tell Mommy.  OK?”  DD2 says in an irritated tone, “OK.”

After painstakingly walking the entire length of the condo complex, I am flustered with the fact that I must now walk all the way back and hope for better luck in spotting an elevator.  Centimeter by centimeter, DD2 and I trudge back towards our point of origin.  The luggage seems to be a lot heavier now, and it rythmically hits my ample rump while I walk.  A time or two bags slip from my shoulders, causing me to lose equilibrium and allow multiple sachels to fall in a pile on the sidewalk.  DD2’s tolerance for my misadventure grows thin and her fussing takes center stage.  I sigh heavily and long to have an elevator in my sight.

Eventually we come back to the foot of the stairs that lead to my second floor condo.  How could I miss the elevator for a second time?  At this point, I am too invested in the elevator hunt.  I cannot give up now.  “C’mon, DD2,” I prompt, “The elevator is here somewhere.  We’ll find it.”

Once again we begin a trek down the length of the building.  As I am about to pass the staff-elevator for a third time, I consider that the guest elevator must be in this vicinity.  Telling DD2 to wait with the luggage, I walk around the entire structure that houses the elevator shaft, looking for the hidden entrance to the luxury I long to find.  None is too be found.  “Pixie wings,” I expel in frustration, “Where could the dumb elevator be?”  I rejoin DD2 and my luggage on the path that lies between the staff-elevator and the front door of some DVC vacationer who is fortunate enough to have a unit on the ground floor.  Completely flabbergasted, I tell DD2 that the elevator must be camouflaged well.

Just then, the fortunate DVC Member with the ground floor unit emerges from his front door.  He obviously has some great vacation event to attend because he has a big smile on his face as he heads towards his car.  “Excuse me,” I yell as I quickly waddle in his direction with baggage and child trailing behind, “Can you tell me where the elevator is?  I have an incredible amount of luggage that I need to get up to the second level.”  The fortunate member’s big smile transforms into a sympathetic frown, “There isn’t an elevator for guests.  You’ll have to carry it up the steps.”  With that the pleasant member’s smile appears on his face again, and he says, “I hope you have a great vacation.”  Then he turns and continues on his way.

My jaw drops open at the words just spoken to me.  I have been up since one o’ clock this morning, driven nine hours in a crowded mini-van, listened to several hours of crying and complaining from bewildered children and suffered a severe blow to my self-esteem while waiting in the check-in line behind Botox Barbie.  Happily I withstood it all. But the injustice of enduring so much emotional pain and stress, clawing my way to get here, only to find that this deluxe resort property does not afford me the luxury of transporting my luggage from the ground floor to the second floor via a simple elevator overwhelms me.  The reality is too much for me to take.

As I hobble with my bags and daughter back to the foot of the stairs, I feel defeated.  I look up to the second level.  My door is almost directly above me.  It is so close, yet it is so far away.  Something in me gives way, and I feel a huge swell of exasperation overtake me.  I plop my sorry backside right on the bottom step and begin to sob.  It’s just too much, and my own personal meltdown begins.  DD2 has ceased to fuss and just stares at her NDM who has completely lost it.

“Love,” DH’s voice calls to me.  I look up and see DH looking strangely at me from the upper level where I want to be.  “Where have you been, and what are you doing?”  As I gasp for breath in between sobs, I try to relay the whole ordeal I just experienced.  But rather than a rational explanation, I am only able to spout nonsensical blubbering.

DH assesses the scenario and joins me at the bottom of the steps.  “Alright,” he says in a comforting tone, “It’s going to be OK.  I’ve already got all our stuff upstairs and in our condo.  I think you might need a nap.  Why don’t you go on up with DD2 and lie down.  I will bring the rest of these bags.  Can you do that?”  “Uh-huh,” I affirmatively answer through my sniffling, getting up and finally making my way to the front door and welcome mat that were meant for me.


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