DVC Concierge Collection Trip - San Diego

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Kristen K.'s picture
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DVC Concierge Collection Trip - San Diego

Just 13 days until I head off to San Diego!

What's that you say? That's not a Disney Trip? Well it can be if you use your Disney Vacation Club Points at a Concierge Collection Resort. This will be my second time traveling to a Concierge Collection destination and I'm super excited that this trip puts me in the world famous luxury travel resort, the Hotel del Coronado.

DVC's Concierge Collection is a collection of carefully selected non-Disney resorts and hotels with options in some of the most popular vacation destinations in the US and abroad. From beach resorts and mountain retreats to cosmopolitan cities and soothing New England scenery, the Concierge Collection has options to suit your travel style. DVC has negotiated rates at these locations so that you can book them using DVC points. If you are concerned with getting the biggest monetary value out of your points, it's not the best option for point use. However, if you are planning on traveling to a Concierge Collection location and would rather not (or can't) pay cash the use of your DVC points becomes a pretty great option.

The Hotel del Coronado is a National Historic Landmark and for more than 125 years, has been the symbol of Victorian elegance and refined luxury. It has been a destination for Presidents, Royalty, and in the Golden age of Hollywood it was the "it place" for glamorous starlettes and movie power. An idyllic beachfront family locale "the del" has a AAA four diamond rating as well as a slew of other awards. It is widely considered one of the top hotels in the world. Its architectural is what inspired Disney's Flagship resort, The Grand Floridian.

Who: Kristen & One Lovely Assistant to be revealed later
What: Business and Leisure Trip to "outside" San Diego Comic-Con
Where: San Diego, California
When: July 23rd - 28th, 2014
Resort: Hotel del Coronado via DVC Concierge Collection
Points: 233 (for 3 nights at the Hotel del - try not to have a heart attack)
Transport: VanGalder Bus, Car, Southwest Airline, Super Shuttle, Coronado Ferry, Taxi and Uber(?)

Itinerary:

July 23rd: Wednesday - Time to go! This first day will be purely travel for me. I'm heading to Chicago to meet up with my assistant and spend the night so that I'm closer to the airport the next day. Chicago Midway Airport is a 3 hour trip from my house so I'm very thankful to spend the night in the city before I leave. My number one criteria next time I move is to be within an hour of a major airport.

July 24th: Thursday - Flying out of Chicago's Midway Airport on Southwest (not my usual airline so I'm a bit nervous as to comfort level), our flight leaves at 11am. Arrival in San Diego will be around 1pm and we'll head right to the hotel, check in and wander around the property a bit. I'm hoping to do dinner at ENO, an artisan pizzeria and wine bar. I have a business engagement at 7:30pm, and then after that we're headed off to the NERD Party at NerdHQ (I reported on that Indiegogo Campaign a couple of months ago.) to get our groove on.

July 25th: Friday - As far as I know right now (it could change on a dime) we'll have the luxury of sleeping in. That's a very good thing because we've got some very late nights going on, I usually turn into a pumpkin around 10pm. However I have been informed that no one sleeps at San Diego Comic-Con! We'll take the Coronado Ferry over to the convention center and check out the fun stuff going on around it. We'll head over to Geek & Sundry (Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day's shindig) to do some networking, collect a high five, and check out new and up and coming table top games. Dinner this night is unknown right now, perhaps a different restaurant at the resort as we'll have to head back to change for the night. We've got tickets to the hard to get sold out SherlockeDCC party! This stop is actually a work stop, but I plan on having my fair share of fun. Here we'll hob-nob with Sherlock fans, catch a live band, play some mystery games, and maybe be treated to some surprises. Last year the producers of BBC's Sherlock attended the event (Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, and Steven's lovely wife) no idea if they will return. After the Sherlock party, we'll move on (hopefully) to the next big to do which is a private sponsor party. It's all work and networking at that one, that will likely the need for more than one cocktail and a lot of asprin - anyone remember that difficult client I had? I'm hoping to be back to the room around midnight.

July 26th: Saturday - I have no idea what we'll be doing on Saturday during the day. Wandering around the Gaslamp Quarter, catching an art show, maybe the zombie parade. I want to hit the History Channel's Vikings exhibit. Perhaps we'll hang out in the Hard Rock Hotel and do some star stalking... eerrr... I mean watching. That night we're headed to the Nerdist Podcast Live! I'm completely geeking out about this one. I think Chris Hardwick is adorable and he always brings in the big names to his panels. We've got great seats (perhaps the first time I've ever been excited to have mobility impairment) and it is sure to be an absolute riot! Afterwards I've got a $20 Gift Certificate and am on the VIP list to celebrate my belated birthday at The Tipsy Crow which is right around the corner. It looks like a pretty cool bar, we'll see! I think we'll stagger back to the hotel sometime before sunrise. LOL.

July 27th: Sunday - Sadly our last day. Since we'll be out so late Saturday night (or in so early on Sunday morning) we're going to sleep in, maybe take a swim, enjoy the resort. For my birthday I was asked what the one thing that I wanted to do that I wasn't going to get to was. I said it was to eat at the amazing Sunday Brunch in the Hotel del Coronado's famous Crown Room! So that's what we're doing!! I'm so totally excited about this brunch, it's supposed to be amazingly luxurious, and the perfect way to end our stay. I can't wait to share it with you. We're headed to the airport about 4pm and our flight leaves from San Diego at 7pm.

July 28th: Monday - Flight lands Chicago MDW around 1am. We're crashing at an airport hotel until late morning. Then it's just one last leg of this whirlwind trip. The 3 hour bus ride home from Chicago MDW to Rockford.

Kristen K.'s picture
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Wardrobe!

You all know that I'm a packing maniac! This trip is no different, especially because I need to have a "neat yet casual" presentation. This is a weird sort of business trip where jeans and t-shirts are the norm, but that's not quite the impression I want to leave so I'm going with a resort casual capsule wardrobe. You'll notice that I used the same type of spreadsheet that I do for my Disney trips to organize. Why change what works? Here's how I did it!

Planning A Travel Wardrobe

I'm mostly packed, yes I know - I'm a dork. muchlove

The clothes in the pictures below aren't the exact same as mine, but it gives you a pretty close idea of what's in my bag. It shows the same shape and colors of what I have. Because I can never seem to stick with just what I need, there are two other dresses thrown in for good measure. I mean really - those Hollywood girls aren't going to be in the same dress twice so I'd better at least make an effort. May I just say - the idea of being out there with a "jet set" crowd has me scared to death, I'm a frumpy mom from Illinois, come on! I'm going to go get my hair cut and colored the week before the trip, I'm really looking forward to that and I hope it will give me a fighting edge in networking.

San Diego Travel Capsule

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eek WOW!!! that sounds like quite a trip, too bad you won't be able to sneak in a date at the San Diego Zoo. It is an amazing place but hilly as all getout.It will really wear you out. It is worthy of two days but I dedicated one day when I hit DisneyLand and saw most everything. But you will be a busy lady and constantly on the go. Have fun.

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Vettelover wrote:
eek WOW!!! that sounds like quite a trip, too bad you won't be able to sneak in a date at the San Diego Zoo. It is an amazing place but hilly as all getout.It will really wear you out. It is worthy of two days but I dedicated one day when I hit DisneyLand and saw most everything. But you will be a busy lady and constantly on the go. Have fun.

It's going to be quite the whirlwind, but I'm hoping totally worth it.

I've been to the Zoo and it is indeed amazing! I actually lived in San Diego twenty odd years ago. I haven't been there since we moved away so I'm REALLY excited to see how the downtown area has grown and just get to be all touristy. yay

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Have a great time! I'm really looking forward to hearing about it biggrin

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Sounds like one crazy busy fun trip Kristen.

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I am jealous!! we saw the hotel del Coronado on the travel channel for the first time a few years ago and fell in love, the only problem is every time we decide to book something other than wdw we get sad and change it, were kind of nuts.

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I'll take lots of pictures for you CJ!

I really booked this trip on the spur of the moment. They "needed me" there for work but not enough to pay my bill, and I had enough points in my DVC account so I just said what they hey and went for it!

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It all sounds so exciting ! I cant wait to hear about the stalking.....errr.....people watching when you get back.....
have a blast!

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The hotel looks gorgeous! I'm excited to hear about your trip! awesome

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Sounds like a great trip!

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I am *SO* excited!! Just four more sleeps before I leave and this morning the company I was working for there just excused me from all official duties. They thanked me for all my hard work and told me I'm awesome and to enjoy myself on a well earned vacation.

yay yay yay yay yay yay yay
I don't have to play nice with the difficult clients, I don't have to network my tooshie off, I don't have to stay up until all hours meeting deadlines, If I don't want to go to an event I don't have to. I just have to enjoy myself.
OMG - best work present EVER.
banana banana banana banana banana banana banana

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Oh wow! That's so awesome! yay yay

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Super reward for a job well done! yay yay

Have a great time, and tell us all about it when you get home.

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Sounds like a blast! Looking forward to the reports. awesome

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That is fantastic!! You deserve it so enjoy!!!! congrats

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- Day 0 - Wednesday, July 23rd

yay Today's the day! My last 24 hours has been so cr**py, I can not wait to get on the bus this afternoon. I wish that I didn't have to wait - on the up side - I think this is the first time I've wanted to run away from home and been able to hop on a plane and go. LOL! Even if I have to come back at least I know that I've got a week away from it all. My first leg is pretty easy, I'll hop on a bus to Chicago where I'll spend my first night at Becks' house. I'm mostly packed, just finished printing off all of my travel documents, I've got about 6 hours of chomping at the bit until it's time to go.

I'll pop in with updates as I can, but if you would like to follow live

You can follow along on Twitter at ---------- and You can follow along on Instagram at
https://twitter.com/momatthecon ----- http://instagram.com/kristenannkirk

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Have a great trip! Looking forward to hearing all about it. awesome

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I'm following you on Twitter - Angela Lick@SabrinaFairGift

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Woohoo! hope your flight goes smoothly today lovely girl Smile Have a wonderful trip, remind me to scold you for all those DVC points when you get back Wink (just kidding!)

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Our Very Merry 24 nighter Nov/Dec 15
Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
The OMG trip June 14 30th Birthday present from the hubs
Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
TR Sept - Oct 2010 big family trip in an offsite villa

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Hope you're having a great time! Can't wait to hear about your adventures.

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WOO HOO!!!! Following you!

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I'm home! Trying to catch up on a ton of work. I'll try and hop on the boards tomorrow to start some sort of trip report!
Pics are up on my flickr account here https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedvcmom/sets/72157646069153303/

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Great pictures Kristen! Looking forward to reading more about your trip.

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Did you see any of the Once Upon a Time characters ?

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Beautiful hotel. I hope you had a lot of fun! Good luck catching up on all your work that piled up while you were gone.

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I'm having a really difficult time putting a trip report together for this vacation. It became sort of an interesting hodge-podge of events and activities. I'll give this a shot, but apologies of if it's a little disjointed as that's how it is in my memory.

The Travel

This was my first time in about 30 years to fly out of Chicago's Midway airport and on a Southwest flight. Becks does it all the time, and she assured me that all would be well. If you hadn't guessed yet, Becks is the aforementioned "lovely assistant" that was coming along with me on vacation! We caught a cab from her house to the airport.

I found Midway to be a very nice little airport, the only really down point to it is that it's 3 hours away from my house. I had been worried about flying Southwest because they don't have pre-assigned seats. In my head the clamoring passengers would have a mini-hunger games trying to get the best ones. It wasn't like that at all though and the process was very orderly. I did add the "early-bird" check-in to my tickets which meant that I would board with the "A" group. A definite must if I ever fly Southwest again. Becks upgraded her ticket so that we could board together and we made our way onto the plane.

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The travel gods were smiling upon us that day, because on what we had been told was a sold out flight, Becks and I ended up with the middle seat between us being empty! That made for a super awesome and comfortable flight out to California, and with the extra leg room to stretch out I walked off the plane nearly pain free. That was an unexpected pleasure.

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As soon as we hit the airport my nose picked up the smell of fresh cilantro (from the restaurant at out gate) and salt air. It made me smile as we headed towards baggage claim. While waiting for the bags I suddenly became aware that everyone, and I mean everyone walking around was crazy TAN! Oh my gosh I felt like a ghost. I mean, I know that I'm pale and freckled, but these people were tan tan tan. It was weird. After we got our bags we went up escalators that welcomed travelers to the city for Comic-Con and promised us that the time would be Legendary. At the top of the escalator we walked outside and we were greeted with clear blue skies and lots of palm trees. We quickly located our super shuttle and were off to the hotel.

IMG_2277

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The Hotel del Coronado

This may be one of the most beautiful and luxurious resorts I have ever stayed in outside of Walt Disney World. The historic lady has not lost an ounce of her charm. Our room was not in the Victorian building (so no ghosts) but instead was in a newer section. At first I was disappointed - but as we were lead down the hall by a bellman I had to chuckle inside that I felt just like I was walking through the halls at the Grand Floridian, only in yellow. When we walked into our room all disappointment faded away, it was spacious and absolutely lovely.

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Stepping out onto the balcony it became apparent that we had a great view of the main pool, turret building, and the ocean in the distance. How could you not be happy with that? Plus PALM TREES! The grounds were an absolute plethora of palm trees. So many different types! I miss palm tress so much when I'm at home, and I never really realize it until I arrive some place that has them. I don't think Becks knew quite how obsessed with palm trees I actually am. I will note that the pool was really loud during the day, but was locked up at 10pm each night.

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After unpacking our bags and settling in a bit we decided to go find some dinner at the hotel. Becks wasn't feeling like Pizza (the restaurant that I was hoping to eat at) so we decided to see what was being served up at the other hotel eateries. Being that it was only about 4:30 the restaurants weren't quite open for dinner - we ended up at the Sun Deck Bar & Grill and it turned out to be one of my best memories of the whole vacation.

The Sun Deck is located super close to our room, in fact if you look at the picture above it's the second story of that small building on the other side of the pool. All of those upper level umbrellas are shading the Sun Deck's tables. On the other side of that deck is the Pacific Ocean. We found a shaded table and sat down with a magnificent view of the ocean with a shipping lane far off in the distance, and several military helicopters running exercises just off shore. It was honestly pretty dern cool - even for this jaded Navy Veteran.

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The food was simple, but delicious - and the view could absolutely not be beat. Becks had a sandwich and I ordered a salad. I think both of us could have been perfectly happy just sitting there for hours. The sun was shining but we were protected by the umbrellas. It was warm, but the perfect ocean breeze kept blowing to keep us cool. I also had a lemonade cocktail that was yummy.

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Sadly I didn't feel well after eating and had to run back to the room for a few minutes while Becks relaxed at the table. While I was gone she saw a hawk (perhaps a Harris Hawk) with jesses on his legs flying about. I think he was probably "working" to scare away seagulls, but I never did ask anyone. He landed on a railing across the pool and we were able to sort of get a picture of him. He's sitting on the railing just below the small palm tree in the middle. I know, it's pretty hard to see, but he's there I swear!

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It wasn't long before I was able to rejoin her, and we then started to take a walk around the hotel and down to the shuttle bus that would take us to the Coronado Ferry. Along the way we saw people setting up for a wedding, the del's Kitchen herb gardens, and

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As we were walking through the grounds we noticed this up in the sky!

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After quickly looking up the hastag we discovered that it was a Comic-Con promotion for a scavenger hunt that was taking place to promote a new show on that will be on the USA Network this fall called Dig.

While waiting for our shuttle bus we saw many people out on rental bikes and one very adventurous family driving a surrey bike down the sidewalk! We hopped on a shuttle bus that drove us down the main road in Coronado. Oh my gosh - this is the most beautiful little town with magnificent shopping, lots of dining, it's beautiful around every corner. I still can't get over how beautiful it is there. I lived in San Diego for 4 years in the early 90s, but I really did not remember how lovely and perfect it seemed. I was in awe the entire time we were there, especially every moment spent on Coronado Island. The shuttle dropped us off at ferry and we hurried to our boat!

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We were headed straight across the harbor to the San Diego Convention Center!

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It didn't take us too long to realize that we had boarded the wrong ferry and ended up a good distance from where we wanted to be. HOWEVER! It was such a beautiful boat ride, I don't think either of us was too upset. It was just an adventure, and we did get a look at the USS Midway Museum.

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I would I would have seen this post earlier! I was working comic con! Did you happen to walk through the interactive lot on the south side of petco? I produced the 24/drone booth.

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Beautiful so far! I cant wait to see more!

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carlsbaddrew wrote:
I would I would have seen this post earlier! I was working comic con! Did you happen to walk through the interactive lot on the south side of petco? I produced the 24/drone booth.

Oh cool! I wish I would have known, we would have stopped by. We didn't make it over to the interactive zone, but it looked really neat when we saw it from the top of the library.