Our day started at 3 a.m. this morning. Flight left at 6 a.m. We were at the airport by 5ish and there was a long line. By the time it was our turn, it was 5:15 a.m. and our bags got marked ‘Late Check.’ I guess if you check in within 45 minutes of departure, that’s the scarlet letter you get. The Southwest guy said our bags might not make our flight. Ultimately they did get on our flight, and everything was fine.
Even when everything goes fine, your bags typically turn up at your Disney hotel 3-4 hours after you at your hotel. As part of the “Magic Your Way” package, they take you to and from the airport to your resort on the Disney Magic Express bus.
We were pleasantly surprised by our room at the Contemporary. The three resorts on the monorail are the cement monolith Contemporary (smooth jazz playing in the lobby, typical Florida flowers and fauna surrounding the resort); the dark wooden Polynesian (traditional Hawaiian music playing, oversize Palm trees); and the white, Victorian-style Grand Floridian (classical music, weeping trees like what you see in the South). What the Contemporary lacks in personality, it makes up for in quality of room.
The pool is nice too and that’s where we hung out today from the moment we got here until around 3 p.m. We were able to eat lunch at the pool on the Disney Dining Plan. Drinks are NOT covered by the plan. A mango margarita is $11. A can of Miller Lite is $6.
At the Magic Kingdom, we rode several old favorites like It’s a Small World, Dumbo and the Goofy’s Barnstormer roller coaster. And we hit some new things including the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train, a pretty rockin’ wooden roller coaster that takes you through the mines where the seven dwarves dig for gems. Greta loved it; Magnus rode it but afterward said he did not like it. I think it was too scary for him. We got a fast pass for this. Otherwise it’s running on a 90-minute to 2-hour wait.
We also met Elsa and Anna, the princesses from Frozen, and we ate at Be Our Guest, which is the restaurant in Beast’s castle. It was beautiful inside but the downer was Greta wouldn’t eat a single thing on their menu and was sort of pouty the whole time.
Last year, the headache-inducing ride for me was the Toy Story ride at Magic Kingdom. While you wait, the noise just makes you want to scream. This year, the winner by a mile for most annoying, head-pounding wait goes to the Winnie the Pooh ride. Who would have thought? Holy god.
It was a whirlwind day. Everyone was exhausted (they’re all asleep as I write this). Everyone’s feet hurt. My poison ivy is holding steady, and the humidity aggravates it. Plus, I’m trying to ward off the usual breakouts that occur from humidity, sunblock and sweat.
We came across a little boy, ‘Ryan Rodriguez,’ who had become separated from his mom. He was 7. He was crying. We took him to a Disney kiosk but they were all kind of dicking around, calling for other colleagues. Meanwhile, Barrak went back to the area where the kid said he’d been, and started shouting, Anyone looking for a Ryan Rodriguez? And the kid’s mom was there, and said, Yes! I am!’ It was a strange experience.
A couple things for Branda, who is coming here with her own crew in September:
Remember that bottled water in the parks are FREE under your dining plan; they count as a ‘snack.’ One per person, per day.
Rent a double stroller for the week. It’s $160 for the week, for a double. If you go by the day, it’s a little more expensive. We didn’t think we’d need it this year; and Greta barely fits in it. But you need it. The kids just can’t do all the walking. We ended up getting one. You just pick them up and drop them off at the entrance of each park.
Here are some pictures from our first day – airport, our room at the Contemporary, our afternoon at the pool, and Magnus falling asleep on the monorail on the way to the Magic Kingdom…