Sunday, December 27, 2009

Disney World - Days 1 to 3

Before the end of the year, I need to memorialize our Disney trip, while the memories and details are still fresh.

The basics of the trip were a Sunday to Sunday 8 day 7 night trip, with the intention of staying on the Disney property the whole time. In general, with the age and temperment of the kids, we were looking to do as much of the various parks as we could, knowing that we couldn't push the kids too hard. A warm forecast the first half of the week meant that we should be able to mix in pool time to wind down after time in the parks.

Sunday 12/13 - Day 1
We have booked a late morning flight on Southwest so that we do not have to get up at dawn in order to get to the airport. This is going to be a long enough week without having to start day 1 at 5am. With no desire to leave a car in the airport garage for 8 days, and not wanting to impose on anyone for a ride, a private car picks us up at 8am for the short ride to the airport to catch our 10:55am flight. It is about 40 degrees in Philly as we leave, and I know the forecast in Orlando is 80's for the first few days; we are all anxious for the warm weather. We get checked in and through security very quickly and arrive at the gate to wait. The girls are very excited about the flight, although both are also nervous. Grace has never flown, and Julia has not flown since she was about three or four, so she has no real memory of it.

Soon enough we are on the plane, take off, and Philadelphia drops away below us. Grace is mezmerized, and handles it like a trooper. Instead of being scared, they are both thrilled. The 2.5 hour flight to Florida is uneventful, and the girls are well behaved. Stepping off the plane, we are met by a blast of warm humid air, which feels great. We are going to be depending on Disney for everything on this trip and do not have a rental car. We find the Magical Express bus to Disney, and off we go. Part of the service at the deluxe class resorts is that Disney handles your baggage for you and delivers it right to your room without you ever seeing it or touching it. Being a worrier at heart, I am somewhat skeptical, but they do this for a living, right?

It's almost 3pm when we arrive at the Beach Club resort, and we all love the look of the place. It only takes a few minutes to get checked in and pick up our meal plan vouchers and other assorted paperwork. We have beaten our baggage to our room, as it was expected that we would, so we have some time to kill before the kids are able to swim, which is all they can talk about. We walk around the property, specifically checking out the pool, which is hard to describe, but is a series of interconnected "lagoons" and "streams", some of which have sand bottoms and "beaches". Very cool. Now the kids really want their bathing suits.

To stall, and since we haven't eaten much all day, we find a nice little bar in the hotel to grab sandwiches and drinks. Good food, but also the first sticker-shock moment of the trip. Disney certainly requires that you have a degree of emotional detachment from your money in order to not go insane. Hey, exorbitant as it is, we budgeted for it, right?

The rest of the day passed quickly, with luggage arriving, girls swimming, another light meal in there somewhere, and ready for bed. With all four of us in one room (two queen beds), I was concerned that nobody would sleep. It would necessitate that the girls be up somewhat later than they normally would, and Amp and I go to bed earlier than we normally would - make our schedules meet in the middle. On the first night, Julia was little congested and slept fitfully, which made it a little difficult for all but Grace, who can apparently sleep through a tornado...

All in all a good start.

Monday 12/14 - Day 2
Everyone was a bit tired from yesterday's travel and getting used to sleeping in the same room, so we let the kids sleep in before rousing them and getting them ready for a day at a park. Especially in deference to Grace, you pretty much need to start a Disney trip at Magic Kingdom, so after donuts and coffee in the hotel room, off we went. Everything looked beautiful with the holiday decorations, and the girls were very excited. I don't think Grace quite knew how to react to the size of everything.

We took things at a leisurely pace, and did much of the back part of the park, while also enjoying some of the stage shows and holiday themed street performers. In the Mickey's Toontown Fair section, Grace rode on her first rollercoaster, the Barnstormer, which is also the first rollercoaster that Julia ever went on when we were here in December of 2003.

The only downside to the day is that Julia is still not feeling one hundred percent, and we are worried that she might get worse before she gets better. She is able to keep up, but is not having as much fun as everyone else.

After leaving Magic Kingdom, we have time for an hour in the pool before having dinner at the Cape May Cafe in the hotel. Before turning in, we spend an hour or so strolling the boardwalk around the lagoon that contains our hotel, the Yacht Club, and the Boardwalk Inn. Bed by 10:20pm.

Tuesday 12/15 - Day 3
Julia is feeling mostly better today after a pretty good and pretty long night sleep, which is a great relief. Morning and afternoon are spent at Animal Kingdom, which is both Amp's and my favorite park.

High for the day was around 87 degrees, so after Animal Kingdom, everyone wanted to go back to the pool and relax. We ended up eating a simple dinner at the poolside grill.
The highlight of the day was the evening's Christmas party at Magic Kingdom. The lighting, music and fireworks were just spectacular, and the parade was a huge hit with the kids. Picture taking was difficult, but that's to be expected.

Two exhausted kids got to bed near midnight and fell asleep quickly. Yay!

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