Last week I went to Walt Disney World!!! Yippee!!! I love, love, love Disney World! As a Disney Travel Agent, I feel that it helps me be a better travel agent if I can make a trip to Disney every once in a while just to check things out! Lol…
As some of you know, I went to Disney World exactly 2 years ago with my WHOLE family—all 17 of us! Well, this year, 15 of us went since my brother and nephew were unable to go due to soccer. (Seriously!??! Who skips Disney to play soccer?!?!) Anyway… Disney has a whole lotta new stuff that wasn’t around when we went 2 years ago, so I was so excited that I was able to head out to Florida to experience some of this new stuff!
A lot of my clients are wanting to hear about my trip, so instead of just one post with the highlights, I’m going to do a series of posts, with details on what I did every day! So, sit back and relax while I relive my trip to Disney World!!
May 28th – Departure Day!
I don’t know about you, but it’s impossible for me to sleep the night before I head out on vacation—especially when that vacation involves mice and princesses!! Since we were flying out of Denver, and our flight left at 8:01am, we had to all meet at 5am to caravan up to the airport. You’d think after being up for 22 hours straight, I’d be a little tired, but knowing that in about 5 hours, I’d be at the House of Mouse just kept my adrenaline going!
Do you hate flying!?!! I don’t hate the flying so much as the going through security at the airport! Do I take my keys out of my purse? Do I have to take all my jewelry off? The questions are endless! Thankfully, one of the TSA guys saw our family Disney t-shirts and started talking to us—-I just asked him straight up what I needed to take out of my carry on and what could stay in. Note to self: you don’t really have to take everything out of your carry on or bag! (…oh, and don’t wear a belt to the airport….just take my word for it!)
We made it to the airplane just as they were boarding. No time for a group picture this time! We all found our seats and off we go to the land of magical memories! We knew we were in Florida when we walked out of the airplane and were blasted with heat and humidity! Ugh!
When you stay at a Disney resort, you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to get to your resort. Disney offers this nice little service called the “Magical Express”…a beautiful bus that picks you up and takes you directly to your resort. Got checked luggage!??! No worries! Get off plane, go directly to the Magical Express check in desk and board your bus! Your luggage will magically appear in your room 1-3 hours after your arrival. It’s a good thing! (Unless of course, you forgot to take the things you’ll need immediately in your carry on luggage).
We had a few issues with our check in at the Magical Express. For some reason, Disney did not get our reservation for the ME, even though I made ALL of the reservations at the same time, but apparently they only received one of them! After some swiping of the MagicBands and some fancy footwork (there really was no fancy footwork—just swiping of MagicBands…) we were finally squared away and on the ME to our resort!
Can I just say that there is something so magical at that moment when you see the WDW arch that says “Walt Disney World…Where Dreams Come True”??? It’s a sight to behold!
Since our bus driver was aware that there were 15 of us—most of the people on the bus—he tells me that he’s going to take us to our resort first instead of the usual stop at Coronado Springs Resort. What a sweetie!
We pull up to the front of All Star Music Resorts and all 15 of us pile out of the bus. It looks like an invasion of some sort…..all 15 of us wearing the same t-shirt! It was a sea of blue! We all head to the front desk to check in. Now, I had previously done the online check in, but for some reason, they once again did not have us checked in! After about 45 minutes of switching rooms, figuring out where everyone needed to be and some further instructions from the fabulous Todd (his description), we were off to our rooms.
Last time we went, we stayed at the All Star Music and our rooms were WAY, WAY, WAY at the back of the resort. I swear every time we got off the bus from a park at 1am, that walk to the back of the resort was like a death march! There were some days I was just going to sleep on a lounger by the pool because the walk was so far. This time, we got preferred rooms, which meant we were closer to the front…worth.every.penny. Our rooms were in the Calypso building, right behind the lobby/restaurant.
All of us went to our rooms, freshened up a bit then headed to the bus for Downtown Disney, which has now become a tradition since we’ve done it twice in a row! As soon as the bus took off and we were on the road, I realized I had forgotten our reservations to the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, which is where we were going to dinner right from Downtown Disney. So, when the bus let my family off to start their Disney vacation, I got to stay on the bus and go back to the resort! After about an hour and a half round trip, I made it to DD just with enough time to go activate my Memory Maker and purchase a pair of earrings. I didn’t even have time to visit the Disney Christmas Shoppe…my favorite store at Disney World! Ahhh…the injustice of it all. Note to self, and others: Remember to take all documentation that might be needed for the day when you head to the bus!
A quick side note on the Memory Maker: I had to go pick up the actual card and activate it at Downtown Disney in the photo store because I had waited so long to purchase it. I didn’t realize they have to have time to send it to you, or you have to take the time to do what I had to do. So, if you are planning on purchasing the Memory Maker, do it about a month prior to your date of arrival. This should give you time to get it in the mail so you don’t have to waste time picking it up once you arrive. I wasn’t super paranoid that all 15 of us wouldn’t be linked and only a few of us would get our pictures when we returned home, but the Cast Member at the photo center assured me that all was well with it.
We headed to the bus stop to get on a bus to the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, which is at the Ft Wilderness Campground. Now, when hopping on a bus, be aware of what bus you are getting on. Some of my family members were not aware that there is a Ft Wilderness and a Wilderness Lodge. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why they were all running to stop #3, when I had already checked and knew that Ft. Wilderness was stop #4! When I noticed that the bus they were boarding said Wilderness Lodge, I had to chase them down to prevent them from making a long detour around the world!
Let me take a moment to talk about getting around Disney World. WDW has an internal bus system. You don’t ever need a rental car or any other mode of transportation. However…you need to know how to get around the World! In simplest terms….there are buses that run every 20 minutes from the resorts to each park. There are not, however, buses that run from every resort to other resorts. There also aren’t buses that run from every park to every park. There is also a monorail, but it only runs between Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as the resorts on the monorail line (Grand Floridian, Polynesian and the Contemporary). You cannot ride the monorail to Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are very close—so close that you can take a boat between the two, but you can’t take the monorail. There is a bus available between HS and EP, but not between EP and MK! There are buses to all parks from Animal Kingdom, though! The moral of the story, is know what your mode of transportation is going to be while you’re at WDW! And don’t always listen to the Cast Members! We had one tell us at Epcot that we could catch a bus to Magic Kingdom and it would actually be quicker than the monorail, so we ran out of Epcot to the buses, only to find there are no buses that run between Epcot and MK! We had to turn around and go back through security in order to get on the monorail to get to MK!! *sigh*
Now back to Ft Wilderness and the Hoop Dee Doo Revue….
Once we arrived at Ft Wilderness via the bus from DD, we had to wait for an internal bus for the campground! (Yellow or Purple are the colors you look for!) Once we boarded the internal bus, it took us to a bus stop that was a short walk to the Hoop Dee Doo and Trail’s End Restaurant. We got in line to check in to the HDDR, which automatically put us in a line for a fun group picture! We were quite a challenge for the Photopass photographers, but they did a great job of posing us all and the picture turned out great! We had to wait about 20 more minutes before we could go into Pioneer Hall. Once inside, we were led to our tables to start eating. Dinner was fried chicken, bbq ribs, salad, cowboy beans, mashed potatoes and beverages in mason jars! The meal was fantastic, but the entertainment was a real hoot!! There was entertainment through most of the meal, and although it was corny, it was fun and the kids in our party thought it was more fun than any other place they’ve been at Disney. The whole meal and entertainment lasted about 2 hours, but the time just flew by! I highly recommend the Hoop Dee Doo Revue! It was definitely worth 2 Table Service Credits!
To return to our resort, there were 2 ways we could go: back on an internal bus to get to an external bus or take a boat launch to Magic Kingdom and catch a bus from there back to our resort. Since we were all still pretty geared up, we decided on a fun boat ride to Magic Kingdom! We had missed the fireworks, but the park was still open and that first glimpse of the castle from the boat was like seeing “home”.
Once we got back to our resort, we all said good night and headed to our rooms. As we were getting ready for bed, I noticed something moving next to my suitcase. Upon further investigation, I discovered a cockroach had decided that our room would be a lovely spot to spend the evening! (It’s a good thing I’m a single mom and have been faced with such ferocious creatures! I knew just what to do!) I called the Front Desk to report the unwelcome guest and they said a pest control person would be up shortly to remove the little guy. Well, 45 minutes later, it was midnight and I was tired (I’d only been up about 43 hours straight so I’m not quite sure why I was so tired….) so I took control of the situation, grabbed a kleenex and killed the beast myself! I then called the Front Desk to cancel pest control, and went to bed. I slept like a baby, knowing that in the morning, I’d be heading out to Epcot for our first full day of magic!
Tune in tomorrow for a report on our first day at WDW….
Have a magical day!
Interested in booking a vacation to any Disney location? Please contact me at monica@ mousetriptravel.com . Also visit our website at www.buildabettermousetrip.com .