I am the first to admit—I am not a swimmer. Not even close. I can swim to save my life, but if I swim a length of a pool now, I feel like an athletic pile of crap. So triathlons are sadly not in my near future. But growing up, I was often oddly enough around water. The very first trip my family ever went on was to Perdido Key, Florida, in the Gulf Coast. I was a beach baby at a young age! (my mom also thinks my ridiculous accent comes from the fact that I learned to speak when we would be down in Alabama during this time at Grandpa and Grandma Lammers’ house. I have the weirdest Milwaukee accent ever—must have a bit of ‘Bama twang in it!)
If there was a hotel pool on our family getaways, my dad and I loved to dork around in it. We never swam, per say (he would do some laps), but he would throw me in the air, let me ride on his back like he was a dolphin, and we would play games where I would dive for various random found objects at the bottom of the pool. My enjoyment of “pool-foolery” also may have stemmed from the fact that Wisconsin happens to have this gem we call Wisconsin Dells. This ridiculous tourist stop two hours from Milwaukee has every tourist junket you could possibly imagine, but has boasted having America’s Largest Waterpark, Noah’s Ark. Any real Wisconsin family has spent numerous weekend getaways up in the Dells, playing mini golf, going go-karting, buying crappy souvenirs, and going to the water parks.
When our family started going to Disney World in 1991, having a hotel with a proper pool was a necessity. My mom often says in the early years of our Disney vacations she would often get ticked off at my dad and I because we would want to leave the parks rather early in the morning and go back to the pool. My mom is even less than a swimmer than me…she just sits on a chair poolside or floats in a tube! At our first WDW resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, we had what I thought to be (at the time) one of the coolest water areas ever!
The next two trips to WDW brought us to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort. This resort is now formally referred to as the French Quarter section of Port Orleans. It was brand new in 1993 when we first stayed here, and I loved the Mardi Gras theme of the pool!
In our early WDW trips, we also would frequent the Disney Waterparks. These were not like Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells at all! The theming was impeccable and the slides were a bit more tame—-my dad could enjoy most of them with me! (He was a thrill seeker wuss). We use to go to only Typhoon Lagoon, but once Blizzard Brach was built, we would visit both.
Our last family WDW trips brought us to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Resort. We first fell in love with this resort because of the pool area, Stormalong Bay. In 1995, we had gone to Beach Club for a character breakfast—-when my dad saw the “pool” he immediately knew we had to stay here. Use this term pool loosely, as Stormalong Bay is over an acre of winding waterways, complete with a sand bottom!
This resort had the perfect pool combination for our family, because as I got older, the playing in the water started to slow. I became the poolside lounger like my mom, and we opted to stay in the parks longer than come back for pool time. We came back for pool time more so because my dad still longed for it. I now rarely play in the water like I use to, and when I am at a pool, I am usually in a lounge chair with a margarita. But, whenever I see a waterfall at a resort pool, I think of my dad, and I remember all the years I spent being a non-swimmer with him on vacation.