Monday, April 20, 2015

Welcome to the New RedWeek!

Have you had a chance to explore the new RedWeek yet? With a sleek new look and improved functionality, the RedWeek redesign is packed with changes that we're sure will make posting and searching for timeshares easier than ever.

One of the biggest changes is one you're bound to notice if you're browsing RedWeek on the go - mobile functionality! Whether you're viewing from your phone or tablet, the RedWeek site is perfectly adapted to fit your device. No more pinching and zooming, or scrolling sideways to read minuscule text. Vertical scrolling, slick menus and quick loading times ensure that mobile RedWeek is every bit as great as the "full site"!

You might also notice the improvements to our search features when looking for a timeshare. After you type in a general location (think city, state or country), you'll have the option to refine your search on the results page. You can choose to specify results only within a certain date range or price range. Additionally, you can refine by unit size, RedWeek user rating or even features - perfect if you're looking for just all-inclusive resorts, or just resorts with internet or a pool, for example! Your results can also be arranged into list or grid views and sorted by user rating.

If you commonly post your own timeshare for rent or sale; rejoice! Our posting creation process has been greatly streamlined. Instead of navigating page by page, your posting is created on a single page with clean, expandable menus guiding you through each step. Photos are easier than ever to upload; drag and drop or upload them in bulk, with the option to review and caption them before your posting goes live.

Certain major pages were brought out of their more obscure locations into the limelight. The Timeshare Companies page - a hotspot for those looking to buy or sell a points system - is no longer just tucked away on the resales page, but rather accessible directly under the "Find a Timeshare" tab near the top of the screen. There's no need to visit the account page in order to view your postings, either. The "My Postings" link at the top of the page (left of the RedWeek banner) will instantly take you to the page where you can view and edit your postings.

While not active yet, we also have some great community features planned in the coming months! If you encounter any bugs, issues or something that just doesn't seem to be working right, please let us know at support@redweek.com. We hope you're every bit as excited as we are to experience the new RedWeek.com!

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to Speak Cajun

(A tip of the hat to my niece who calls up and says, "…Hi Annie (Auntie) Helen, how ya be darlin'?")

If you are "fixin to" go to yo (your) timeshare in “Looziana”, (Louisiana) you need to understand the local dialect in order to communicate yo (your) needs clearly. Here's a quick guide...

In Hotels

1. Mash not push: When stepping into an elevator at your timeshare, don't ask a local to "push" the button of the floor you want, you ask to mash it, like "…Mash number four please!"

2. Fixinto: Most sentences begin with fixinto mean "I was going to do it eventually" or "I was getting around to it", such as "I was fixing to begin dusting, or fixin to go to the pool." ...So when your wife says, I want to go shopping, remind her that she is fixinto go shopping.  

3. Lights and Lightbulbs: You don't turn them off and on, you "cut them off and on".  To the hotel clerk, "I was fixin to cut on the light above the desk in my room, but it won’t work. Can you send me a new bulb?"

Driving Around

1. Fresh air: You "crack" a winder (window), not "open it." Try, "It's hot in here, crack yer winder wouldja?"

2. Asking for directions: Don't ask how many miles it is to the nearest bait shop. It's all in minutes - "Bill's Bait shop is 5 minutes down the road. Or, you can go to Fontaineau's which is about six minutes the other direction.You fixinto go fishing?"

3. Backwards and Forwards: When a local says he knows you backwards and forwards that means he knows everything about you.  "Oh you fixinto go fishin today? Well that new reel and pole tells me backwards and forwards how experienced you are. Wan a book guide to fishin in Louisiana? Or a guide on how to rig yo line, or if y'all can wait about an aire (hour), I will be yo guide!"

In Cafes

Be aware that two types of "food" exist in Louisiana: Cajun and Creole. A common joke among the locals is that a Creole mama feeds a family with three chickens, whereas a Cajun family feeds three families with one chicken. Gator is a most delicious substitute for chicken, and most of the meals include okra. Creole's were generally looked on as the "rich" folks, who had access to markets where fresh foods were displayed and purchased but Cajun families often ate off the land and grew their own vegetables - usually onions and okra (the "french fries" of Louisiana). Single women, when assessing a male partner for the future, ask "is he a creole or a cajun boy?"

Another major difference between Creole and Cajun food is the type of roux that is used as the foundation of most food - which is usually in a "sauce". Butter and flour are the basis for Creole roux, while Cajun roux is made from lard and flour.  Cajuns often didn't have access to butter so they slaughtered their pigs and other animals and made lard from the skin.  

Gumbo is found in both cuisines. Creole gumbo has a tomato base (usually ketchup) and is more of a soup, while Cajun gumbo is more of a stick-to-your-ribs type of stew. Most everything has a distinct red base color.  

There are only three flavors in Louisiana: hot, hotter, and hottest. These are powered by Tony Chacherie's spice mix (right on the tables with salt, pepper, Tobasco, chili pepper and ketchup. It's not "cha-cherry" but "sash-er-ee". Pepper comes in colors in Louisiana: black, red, white, green and pink.  There is hot food, hotter food and "just the way I like it". Tourists can be identified wiping their foreheads as they eat, and locals will punch each other in the arm and snicker when they see these "sissies" eating their food. 

Favorite Phrases in Local Cafes

1. Jeet: Meaning, "you are hungry and want something to eat?" You will hear jeet a lot - this is short for "did you eat?"

2. Hey darlin’/bon ami: the waitress calls everyone darlin' in her cafĂ© - "jeet here bfo (before) darlin'?" Men call you "bon ami" - meaning good friend. "Ayyy bonami… jeet? Yo ere to camp? (spend some time in a vacation home or timeshare)?"  

3. Buster: A buster is a soft shell crab that just shed its shell. Don't be surprised to hear, "ay ave a good buster for lunch today!"

4. The other white meat:  Fried catfish is considered the "other white meat". Pork and gator are numbers one and two, and often accompanied by fired okra. Mudbug is another tasty delight served in many cafes - it's crawfish, boiled or fried.  

5. Food preparation:  "Ay mon ami, we have fried, bolled (boiled) deep fried, brolled, (broiled) or baked, which ya want?  The Chef was fixin to make a new pot of bolled coffee if y'all can wait for it!"

Local Activities

Major local activities involve gator hunting, crabbing, and "fais do do".  Gator heads mounted as trophies on the wall are not prevalent in the Bayou - instead, they're often used for various purposes. Many Cajun families make necklaces of gator teeth to sell to tourists. It used to be that you could take a boat down the bayou to see the gators. Guides would stick marshmallows on the end of a stick and gators would fly up out of the water, grab the marshmallow and fall back into the bayou. That was until a gator landed in the middle of a boat and then the tourists became gator food.  It is now against the law to "marshmallow" gators.  

Cajun families often feed their families by crabbing - they stick a piece of bacon on a string and lower that into a crab mud hole to entice it to come out for "dinner". 

 If you are invited to attend a Fais Do Do, be sure to go!  It is a wild party that lasts until morning. 

 “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”  

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This article is by guest author Helen Sabin. Helen Sabin is a timeshare traveler and RedWeek member from Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Monday, April 06, 2015

April Resort Spotlight - Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows


After months upon month of heated rumors and speculation, Disney Vacation Club's newest resort - Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows - opened its doors to guests on April 1st! DVC resorts consistently rank highly among vacationers, and the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows appears to be no exception! With an immersive ambiance, premiere Orlando location and that classic Disney magic we all know and love, this South Seas-themed resort is poised to become your next go-to for an unforgettable Orlando vacation!

Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows lies along the Seven Seas Lagoon and offers up first-class views of Magic Kingdom's "Wishes" fireworks display as well as the Electrical Water Pageant. Walt Disney World's iconic monorail system sweeps right through the resort, providing quick and easy access to the Magic Kingdom park, Epcot park, the Transportation and Ticket Center and several other resorts directly bordering the Seven Seas Lagoon. Other parks can be easily reached via bus.

The resort's grounds are shared with Disney's Polynesian Village Resort - the standard, non-timeshare sister resort. Swathed in palm trees and tropical flora, dotted with tiki torches and koi ponds, Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows feels every bit as exotic as its namesake. These "longhouses" are shaped in the classic oceanic style and embellished with deep, red woods and exotic patterning. The lobby and shared interior areas are every bit as tropical and bright as the exterior - breezy, open-air areas and indoor greenery add life and vibrance.

The resort's distinct facade is immediately recognizable.
Even if you never plan to hit the parks, the DVC division of the Polynesian is set with enough to packed with more than enough to keep you busy. The Lava Pool winds around a faux-volcano and includes a waterslide, and the Polynesian East Pool is quieter, ideal for a relaxing swim. Lilo's Playhouse gives kids the opportunity to participate in a myriad of activities while the adults enjoy time to themselves. Several different dining options can be found on site - character dining at the 'Ohana restaurant, casual Asian-infused fare at Kona Cafe and snacks and drinks at Trader Sam's Grog Grotto and the Tambu Lounge.

Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows' new Deluxe Studio unit elevates the average studio with more storage space, "longer" rooms and a kitchenette. The Deluxe Studio isn't the only new concept to be found, however - the Bora Bora Bungalow unit is set to become a hit for guests with large parties! These free-standing units are built right over the lagoon and feature two bedrooms, a full kitchen, separated living and dining areas, gorgeous lake views and even a private plunge pool that overlooks the lagoon. Whether you choose the Deluxe Studio or Bungalow for your trip, count on the warm colors and custom-crafted Polynesian decor that made the original Polynesian Village Resort so iconic.

Bright, vibrant and perfectly Polynesian!
Staying at a Disney Vacation Club resort often goes hand-in-hand with experiencing all the entertainment offered by Walt Disney World. However, Orlando has so much to offer beyond just WDW. Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows is just a drive away from other major area theme parks, such as Universal Studios, Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld and Wet'N'Wild.  Orlando is also home to a staggering array of shopping experiences - The Mall at Millenia, Orlando International Premium Outlets and The Florida Mall all lie within reach by car. For a more cultural experience, Orlando proper is quickly blossoming with a multitude of specialty museums and galleries as well as upscale dining.

The wait for the opening of Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows has been a long one, but now the door is open to both DVC owners and guests! Are you excited to give Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows a try - perhaps even have a trip of your own planned? If so, don't forget to leave a review on RedWeek!

That's right - a picture-perfect beach in Orlando!