Thursday, June 9, 2016

Day 1 - Mother-Daughter Disney Adventure

It seems this blog has become a race diary, chronicaling my running and race efforts. But for the next few posts, it's going to take a detour and become a trip diary. A place where I share the adventure and magic of my Mom's first trip to Disney World. It's more for us to be able to look back and remember all the little things that time may remove from our memories, but if the cyber-space public gets some enjoyment out of it, well, that's great too.

Day 1 - Travel and Arrival, In Which We Get Delayed But The Pixie Dust Makes Up For It
Our Disney adventure began not so bright and early on the morning of Monday, May 30, when our alarms woke us up at 3:30am so we could beat the security lines at the Pittsburgh Airport. We had heard horror stories about how security lines at airports were long and slow causing people to miss flights, so we decided we wanted to get to the airport early so we wouldn't have to stress about the possibility of missing our flight. But, being a nervous flier, I was stressed anyway; and that kind of nervousness and stress makes me queasy. After being sick in the airport parking lot, I decided I didn't want to be the grown up any more and said I was giving that job back to Mom. She told me to wait until we got to Disney to turn in my grown up hat because, as the trip planner and holder of all the details, I had to stay in charge at least until then.

With a resigned sigh, I got us through security (with little or no wait, despite all the rumors and news stories) and to our gate with plenty of time to spare. We people-watched until it was time to get on the plane, amusing ourselves watching two out of three adorable triplets run around (#3 was asleep in the stroller). And then it was boarding time. We were in the first boarding group so got on the plane fairly early and found our seats, Mom by the window, me in the middle, empty seat on the aisle. And then we waited for take-off.

The Delay
And take-off didn't come. Instead, we get an announcement that there was a problem with the plane's computer system and we were waiting for maintenance to come and take a look at it. Wonderful. Thankfully we had some good flight attendants who told corny jokes and kept us all entertained while we waited. And crossword puzzles - we did a couple of those too. Finally, about an hour later than we were supposed to be, we were in the air and on the way. We were going to DISNEY!!!

There was nothing remarkable about the flight itself, and soon we were landing in Orlando, and wandering the airport to find the Magical Express to take us to Disney. Mom was a little concerned about not picking up our luggage, but I told her Disney Magic would make it appear in our room and we didn't have to worry about it ( or did we?)

The Pixie Dust
We arrived at the Magical Express lines and were just about to check in when my phone rang. I checked to see who it was, thinking I would just ignore it and call whoever it was back. But when I saw it was a Florida number, I stepped out of line and answered, in case it was Disney about some problem with our trip.

It was Disney, but it wasn't a problem. The cast member explained that sometimes they give guests staying at their resorts an upgrade to a higher level resort, and they wanted to know if we'd be interested in staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge instead of Caribbean Beach. Umm, is the sky blue?  It didn't take me long to jump on the opportunity.

So off to Animal Kingdom Lodge - Jambo House we went. 

As awesome as the upgrade was, it had my stress level rising again. Worry about our luggage making it to the right place, how our plans would be affected by the change in location, and fear of the unknown were all making me nervous again. I just wasn't quite sure what to expect. But we got checked in and found our room. And were very pleasantly surprised. 

And The Pixie Dust Continues
With the upgrade, I didn't really expect to be given the best room available, or a room with a view. I figured we look out our window onto a parking lot or a roof top or something. But nope, they had given us a savanna view, and we had a balcony. We looked out to see an ostrich, a giraffe, some zebras, and a bunch of other animals. So freaking cool.

After taking a few pics of the room and the view, I commented that there wasn't a lot in the room to make it Disney. It was very nice and fit the African theme, but here wasn't anything that jumped out and said "this is a room in a Disney resort." But after a trip to the bathroom, I was all excited because I'd found some hidden Mickeys on the shower curtain and in the tiles on the wall. I was happy - there was a bit of Disney in the room after all. Little did I know there was more, if you only knew where to look. (More on that later.)

Since we hadn't eaten and it was after lunchtime, we decided to find the resort's food court to grab a bite to eat. I was still feeling nervous and sick, and didn't really want anything. But we decided to split a chicken nugget meal. Much to Mom's dismay, I didn't eat much, but saved my half for later. The food court, decorated like a jungle or rain forest, was smaller than I expected and was busy and loud, so we didn't stay long. We headed back to our room to rest a bit.

Has Anybody Seen Our Luggage?
When we got back to the room, our luggage wasn't there yet. I wasn't all that concerned, because I know it can take a few hours. While we waited, and since we'd had an early morning and some stressful times, we both crashed out and took a little nap.  We had dinner plans at Hollywood Studios and wanted to not be dead tired when we got there. And I think Mom wanted to wait for our suitcases to show up.

Which didn't happen. I knew it could take up to 4 hours, but it had been that long and our bags still hadn't shown up. So, thinking maybe the luggage handlers didn't get the upgrade memo, I called bell services.  Bingo - our bags had gone to Caribbean Beach. But the lovely guy I talked to said they'd get it straightened out and the bags would be transferred to the correct room within an hour.

With that little problem solved, we decided to head off to Hollywood Studios and Mom's first Disney park visit.

The adventure continues... Stay tuned.

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