First, let me start off by saying that I know that this report will take a few installments to write as I did not take as many notes during the trip as I should have and I did not have a computer with me. Also, it was a pretty long trip so I have quite a bit to write about.
Travel Dates: April 21-25 at WDW and April 21-May 2 on DCL Magic Eastern Caribbean (Tortola, St. Thomas, and Castaway Cay)
Resort: ASMu from April 21-24 and AKL from April 24-25 (I'll give DCL details later)
Cast of Characters: Me (26), Mom (57), and Mack (my 6 y/o DD)
Me - 2 trips as a child and 1 last year for Mack's 1st WDW trip.
Mom - trips when she was younger and with me as a child, hadn't been in 16 years and was pretty clueless.
Mack - 1st trip was last May for a week, so this is her 2nd trip to the World.
Travel Method: Flying Southwest from ORF to MCO, rental car, DCL, Disney Bus, and Southwest from MCO to ORF.
Planning: Well, my DH, DD, and I went to WDW for a week last year. After that week, I became like the rest of you and was ready to start planning my next WDW vacation and wanted it to be sooner than later. So, I decided that Mack and I would take a "small trip" with just us this year, maybe to Disney, maybe a cruise, or maybe something else. Well, as time went on all I could think about was Disney. We either NEEDED to take a short trip back or a short cruise. So, I started pricing my options. Well, a cruise included everything so it became the better option money wise. I was initially planning on doing a 3 or 4 night, but then when I compared prices for a 7 night, I felt like it was a better value. Do you see how my "small trip" is almready not so small? Plus, I figured if I had to fly to Florida I may as well make it worth it and go for the 7 days. I considered Land & Sea. I was worried we wouldn't like cruising. I also thought I couldn't go all that way and not go to WDW. But, I didn't like the price. So, I settled on a 7 Night Easter Caribbean Cruise from April 25-May 2. Well, a little bit of time passed and I still hadn't booked and a great deal came out. I found out about the free ticket for military and retired and the $99 companion tickets, so I asked my Mom if she wanted to go to WDW with us for a few days. Then, I figured I may as well tac it on to this trip rather than pay for airfare to FL twice. Definitely not a "small trip" anymore. My Mom and I went ahead and booked our airfare, mine and Mack's was $340 RT for both of us, cheaper than last year. Then before I booked our hotel I was talking to a friend of mine and found out they were also offering 40% off hotel rooms at Disney for military and retired. I went to book and they didn't have 4 nights in a row at any of the values or moderates, so we had to go with 3 nights at a value and 1 at a deluxe. The total for 4 nights was $400.00...perfect! We weren't going to stay on site, but this discount made it affordable. I still hadn't booked my cruise yet. Already had the plane tickets so I needed to book because if not, I would be spending a LOT of time in FL. By the time I went to book, the cruise had gone from about $1800 to $2600, oh well, shouldn't have waited til the last minute. But, then guess what??? I was able to get a govenrment rate because I work for the government, so I only had to pay $1630...phew. So, that in a nutshell is how this trip came to be, so much for a "small trip" for me and Mack. Turned into a BIG vacation and my Mom joining us for part of it.
Day 1 - April 21st - Arrive at MCO at 8:55 AM, Reservations at BBB at DtD at 11:45 and ADRs at 1900 Park Fare at 6:40 PM
Well, my parents were coming to get Me and Mack at 5:00 AM to head to the airport. I overslept because I stayed up late packing so I didn't wake up until after 4:00 AM. I showered and finished last minute packing and woke Mack up. Got her ready and we were on our way around 5:30 AM. Had an uneventful trip to the airport and an uneventful flight. Arrived at MCO right on time. After we got off the plane, I stopped for Starbucks and my Mom and Mack stopped for some cereal and drinks. After those stops I sent them to The Disney Store to get Mack an autograph book because I couldn't find hers at 4:30 AM. I headed off to the baggage claim to get our stuff. I pulled the first bag off the carousel and it was wet. Hmmm... It smelled like FISH! HMMMM.... Next bag, same thing. I'm getting pissed. I'm looking around to see if anyone else from my flight is having this same look on their face. I notice the Southwest baggage office is right behind me, I guess that will be my next stop. Next bag, same thing. Last bag I pull off is ok. I pull my Mom's off and hers is fine. My Mom and Mack still haven't showed up and I keep calling my Mom's cell. I'm getting more and more upset and everything stinks and I stink now from handling the bags and I don't have enough hands. I think Florida doesn't like me.
I start lugging bags one by one towards the Southwest office. I finally see my Mom and Mack cheerily walking towards me in the distance. I instantly start flipping out and being hysterical about the bags. I'm yelling and cursing. That's what happens, I usually try not to be that way on vacation, but this was a HORRIBLE start. So, I make it into the office in lunatic mode and start telling them about my bags. There is one other passenger in the office with the same problem. So, out of the whole plane only one other guy has one damaged bag and 3 out of my 4 are damaged. How does this happen? Turns out sometimes they transport fish, ya think? It was so awful and so smelly and so was I. Well, Mack's brand new luggage that she hadn't ever used was RUINED! She was crying and so was I at this point. They offered to give us new suitcases, but if we took theirs we had to keep them. I overheard the other passenger and turns out that if you want the same thing as what you came in with, they will order it and ship it to your house. So, my large Samsonite would be replaced. Mack's was specialty luggage that they could not order, it was one of those cute polka dot sets, so they gave me cash for them. Then they would also pay the laundry bill ot have the contents of the suitcases cleaned. We walked out with 4 huge Southwest duffel bags, my Mom's suitcase, and my one suitcase that wasn't damaged. I felt so disgusting and was so upset and discouraged. I didn't want to let this ruin my vacation, but it was. By the time we walk out of there it is already 11:00. I'm worried we won't be to BBB in time, we still have to get the rental car.
We head over to catch the shuttle to Thrifty, Mack and I sit outside with our new luggage while my Mom goes in to pick up the car. The weather is beautiful! Maybe things will be ok. Or NOT! Here comes the next minor snag...my Mom comes out and says Space 41 with certainty, Yay we are on our way. I point her towards 41 so she can pull the car up to us. She can't get the car started. I head over there and it turns out that you have to put the lock/unlock remote in the ignition to start the car. Hmmm...nice. So, I get the seat adjusted, drive over to my Mom and Mack and pack up the car. It was a Chrysler 300, very nice and plenty of room for our luggage. Finally on our was at about 12:00. We get to the gate and guess what? We took the wrong car. My Mom was supposed to get the car from space 42. The lady said to park the car where we got it and take the other one. I thought since the keys worked it was the right car, turns out my Mom got the keys out of the car. Head back to space 41 and someone else is parking a car in it. I let them know I need to park my car there and he says to go inside. So, I said "Screw it, we are taking this car!" My mom says we can't. I have NO patience left. We take the car to drop off and I go get the right car, a Chrysler Sebring. We switch luggage, which doesn't fit as well as it did in the 300. Finally we are out of there and headed straight to DtD with hopes of being able to still get Mack into BBB.
We arrive at DtD and of course I park on the opposite end, I mean, come on why would anything be simple or how could I do anything right at this point? I saw the new helium balloon, it was closed due to weather. That seemed odd it was sunny and not very windy.
We made it to BBB about an hour late. They still took her right away. She decided to be Tinkerbell, which was the perfect choice, she looked amazing. And, she had an AMAZING Fairy Godmother in Training who took so much time with her. It was Glenda from PR. Her other FGiT, was Laura from NY. She was going on the Magic as we were getting off.
After we left there we were all hungry, but it was already 2:00 so I didn't want a full meal because we'd be having dinner in 4 1/2 hours. My Mom and I had a small debate about where to go and she started to aggravate me. I thought she knew I was in charge here....hello. We went to McDonalds, where my Mom said she wouldn't eat anything. I had a chicken sandwich, no meal. Mack had a cheeseburger, no meal. We then went for her pics that came with her BBB package.
Mack and my Mom were starting to grate on my nerves a little and I was already on edge from the events of the day. I hate the way this vacation has started and I can't snap myself out of it.
We hang out around DtD until it was time to pick up pics! I LOVED them and the Photopass guy who took them. He ended up being the person to help us when we went to pick them out. He was GREAT! After this it is about 4:00 so we head to the hotel to check in.
We get lost trying to find ASMu...of course. I used a tour book I had in the car to figure out how to get there, I'm so brilliant! We pull up, Tinkerbell is fast asleep in the back. We give the bell man our luggage and he says he will meet us at the room. At check in my Mom requested a room close to parking. We look at the map and head towards building 5, Country Fair. Wellll, we end up in building 5 at ASMo...geez, how do we get out of here and get where we need to be? We finally find it and it is probably the farthest possible room from parking...THANKS!!! Our bell man is waiting and has probably been waiting for 30 minutes while we were lost AGAIN. We had decided to hang in the hotel until dinner. Well, by the time we found it there wasn't much time. I changed shirts, washed my face, put on some fresh makeup and headed out for dinner.
I decided that we would park at MK and take the tram to GF for dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Then we could take the monorail back and see Spectromagic and Wishes. We are the only people waiting for the monorail at MK. The monorail pulls up and 3 people get out of the front seat with the pilot and I looked at my Mom and said, "Wow, I never knew you could sit up there, that's pretty neat"...here comes the Disney Magic...we got to sit up there!!! FINALLY, Magic!!! The trip is starting, maybe all the bumps in the road are behind us...maybe. The ride was wonderful. I was so happy to be sitting in the very front, it was pretty neat. When we reached GF, Mack was able to sit in the pilot's seat and take a picture with the pilot and we were all given co-pilot cards. We walk off happy campers and feel very special.
We head into the GF, which was beautiful. I wish we had time to go out to the beach and take pics, but oh well at least we are finally on schedule and are on time for our ADR. We go check in and are told it could be 15-20 minutes. Our pager goes off right away! Yay! We had a good table, the restaurant was wonderful and the buffet was GREAT! So much to choose from. Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drusilla come over right away back to back, they were great! They played their parts so well. 1900 Park Fare won me over very quickly. THe food was plentiful and delicious. My favorites were the bread and the desserts. The desserts were so cute and so yummy. It took FOREVER for Prince Charming and Cinderella to make it over, we waited for them. It seemed like they kept doing one section over and over. Plus, there were a lot of kids and adults, who instrad of waiting at their table like you are supposed to, run up to see them and hold them up. I think the characters need some handlers to stop people from doing that. Our table and the table next to us had finished eating and still had to wait about 20 minutes for Cinderella and rince Charming. Overall it was a great meal and a great time, very entertaining. As we left, it was packed there were so many people waiting. I think 6:40 was the perfect ADR time as far as wait and crowd.
We headed over to MK by monorail and rode in the back like normal people this time. Walked up to MK...it felt wonderful. It was definitely a "We're FINALLY here!!" moment. My Mom didn't seem as excited as I expected and that disappointed me a little and I thought well, she just doesn't understand, she's not like me...haha. We registered our special tickets and headed through the turnstiles and parked ourselves across from the RR station on Main St for Spectromagic. My Mom and Mack went to get fudge. I was worried they wouldn't get back in time and wouldn't make it back to me, but they did. Then I heard someone else's conversation that made me chcukle because it made me think of a post I had read on MP. I guess this child didn't want to stay for the parade and the parent said, "Did you ride in the car 24 hours to NOT see the parade because I didn't drive 24 hours to NOT see a parade." We watch the parade with a great view and enjoyed it! My Mom said, "they look like people"...oh geez...I said, "they are people". She didn't believe me, she thought the people in the parade were robots...come on...why me? Maybe a "small trip" with Mack would have been a good idea. We leave after Spectromagic...no Wishes, so Tinkerbell. I'm not that surprised. I never get to stay for fireworks, I always see them as I'm leaving the park. We head back to the hotel and make it there around 10:30. I am beyond impressed that we all lasted this long after starting our day so early and having those bumps in the road.
Soooo, here is my summary od Day 1...the day started off pretty bumpy, but ended GREAT! I would definitely recommend 1900 Park Fare. Even though so much was ruined on our flight I couldn't have asked for anymore than what Southwest did to fix it. Mack loves being dressed as a princess and getting all of that attention, but she says it's lot of work. Dressing as Tinkerbell came with a lot of, "You better hurry up and get to the castle for fireworks" comments. Being with my Mom and Mack feels like being with 2 kids. It's going to be a lot of work, I can already tell.
Thanks for taking the time to read what I've written so farTo be continued.....