Saturday, May 19, 2012

Disney World!!! Day One - Thursday May 10, 1012

If you know me very well, you already know I'm a total Disney-aholic. I can't get enough of the Happiest Place On Earth, and I jumped at the chance to go to Disney World when my sister invited me to go. Lisa was going to Orlando for a business conference and we decided to make a long weekend out of it. A really long weekend.
We arrived at Disney World on Thursday, May 10th and we came home on Tuesday, May 15th (my 46th birthday). We happened to be there also on Mother's Day, so I got to spend 2 special days at the World.

I took about 700 pictures in the 6 days I was in Florida. I sure won't post them all, but I'll include quite a few in this looooong re-cap of my awesome trip.

Beware: It's really long.

I flew out of Kansas City on Thursday on an 8:00AM flight. My son Chris took me to the airport. My sister, Lisa, was going to meet me in Orlando later that afternoon (she lives in Minnesota).

My flight was 2 and a half hours, non-stop to Orlando. I arrived in sunny Orlando at 11:30 (eastern time) and made my way outside the airport to have a long awaited cigarette. After my smoke, I went back inside the airport to look for the Disney Magical Transportation Welcome Center. The airport was beautiful!

Inside the Orlando Airport:

I wasn't really in a hurry, my sister's flight wasn't due in for another 3 hours. I decided I would head on over to our hotel to wait for her. The Orlando airport was nice, but I didn't want to hang out there for 3 hours. I didn't have to get my luggage, Disney would get my suitcase off the plane and deliver it to our hotel room later. That was one of the many awesome Disney perks. Disney sure knows how to take care of their guests.

I found the Disney Welcome Center!!!

There were a lot of people at the Welcome Center, but it only took about 10 minutes for me to get to the front of the line.

I checked in with the desk and they gave me a paper to be able to ride the Magical Express bus to our hotel. Next I was directed to a line to wait for the Magical Express to the Coronado Springs Resort.

My Disney vacation had started! (I was really excited at this point)

Within a few minutes of getting in line, we were led outside to our Magical Express:

My bus pass:

And soon I was inside the Magical Express bus!! By this point I was bubbling over with excitement. I wished my sis was there to share it with me. I was trying really hard not to be a weird lone lady skipping and singing Disney songs. I kept myself in control and quietly found a seat.
I have been to DisneyLand 20 or so times. I lived in southern California for 6 years and went as often as I could. I have only been to Disney World in Orlando one time in 2006. We did not stay on Disney property or use any Disney transportation that trip.

This time, I was excited to get the entire Disney experience from beginning to end.

It took about 25 minutes to get from the airport to the Coronado Springs Resort.

We watched Disney TV, and got a welcome message from Mickey himself! They showed a video of the different amusements parks on the property: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Downtown Disney.........there may be more, those are the only ones I can think of.

Soon we came to our hotel:

The property was beautiful! (more pics of Coronado Springs property coming up later)

I made my way to the hotel lobby entrance.

This was the walkway to the front doors:

And just inside the front doors, a huge fountain:

And to the right, the registration area.

They weren't busy at all, and I got checked in quickly:

He gave me my "Key To The World" which was my hotel room key and my entrance to all of the parks (park hopper pass). He also gave me our Disney info packet with maps and information about all things Disney World.

After I checked in, I decided to walk around the hotel grounds. I still had about 2 hours before Lisa would arrive, and I didn't want to go to our hotel room until she was there to see it with me for the first time.

The Coronado Springs resort is HUGE, and absolutely beautiful! I walked around and familiarized myself with the hotel and the grounds. Did I say it was huge?  I located our building where our room was. I found many smoking areas at this hotel. As a matter of fact, if you are a smoker, I highly recommend this hotel. Since it is Disney's main convention hotel, they have a lot of smoking areas for the businessmen that stay there. I was thrilled to find out how smoker friendly the Coronado Springs is.

If you are a non-smoker, don't let that deter you from staying at the Coronado. All of the smoking areas at the hotel and in all of the Disney parks were secluded enough that we weren't ever bothering the non-smokers. Disney has it taken care of!

Ok, enough about the smoking. I know, I should just quit......... things would be so much easier.

Soon enough, Lisa texted me that she was on the Magical Express Bus to the hotel. I headed to the lobby area to meet up with her.

YAY!! My sister is here! Now I could share all of my excitement that had been building up. Lisa doesn't love Disney quite as much as I do, but she was really excited to be there and experience everything.

We went to our room, which was in the Casitas area of the hotel. The hotel is made up of 3 areas; Casitas, Ranchos and Cabanas.

Our room was 3243 but it was on the 2nd floor

The door to our room:
Anticipation building to see what our room looked like

And the inside of our room. We loved our room!!

Since this is a convention hotel, the Mickey/cartoon decorations are toned down quite a bit. Aparently businessmen don't really like cartoons all over their hotel room walls. We did manage to find a few things around the room to remind us we were at Disney World.

There was a cute little chicken holding our housekeepers card:

And a Minnie Mouse made out of towels on my bed:

And a cute puppy made from a wash cloth:

Lisa spotted the Mickey's in the corners of the bathroom mirror:

And there were some more subtle Mickey's on the pillows of the beds:

And Mickey's on the runner thing that went down the middle of the beds:

We explored our room a bit and got settled in.
There was a fridge, coffee maker and ironing board.
We changed our clothes and freshened up.
We had dinner reservations at Chef Mickey's Restaurant in the Contemporary hotel at 6:30.

Also traveling to Orlando for the convention was my sister's co-worker, Beth. She also came to Disney World to enjoy the long weekend and she brought her husband Bill, and their two little kids, Sam and Abby. Nice family, cute kids. They had an adjoining room to ours, and most of our dinner reservations were with them.

Around 5:20, the six of us met up and went to bus stop #2 (there are several bus stops at the Coronado hotel). There are busses to all of the parks and we only had to wait a few minutes for a bus heading to the Magic Kingdom Park.

Inside the bus to the Magic Kingdom:

We were taking the bus, and then we would switch to the monorail just outside the Magic Kingdom park to get to the Contemporary Hotel where the restaurant is.

The Contemporary has a monorail stop INSIDE the hotel! It's a very cool hotel! I was excited to be going to see it in person, and to eat at Chef Mickey's!

See the monorail getting ready to go inside the hotel?

And suddenly we are INSIDE the hotel! Fabulous!!!

Downstairs to Chef Mickey's. The restaurant is right in the middle of the lobby:

We were seated quickly at a big round table, and we went to the buffet. We were all starving from our day of traveling.
The buffet area:

The food was good. I ate a lot:

Plate # 1

And plate #2:

Yes, I ate all that food. And then there was the dessert buffet:

I got a brownie and a Mickey Dome:

Now for the fun part! While we were eating dinner, the characters would walk around and visit us at our tables for picture taking. It was fun to see them all make their rounds to the tables:

Lisa and I with Chef Mickey!! Our first Disney character of the trip!!

Me and Goofy!

Pluto was next:

And then Donald:

And finally Minnie!

After the characters made their rounds, they led us in the Napkin dance! I just loved the napkin dance, it was one of my favorite parts of the whole vacation. They played music and the characters led everyone to hold their napkins up and twirl them around while the characters danced around. It was so fun, I really loved it. I was so busy twirling my napkin I didn't get very good pics. If you look, you can see almost everyone in the restaurant is twirling their blue napkins.

So fun!! I really loved Chef Mickey's.
We were finished with our meal around 8:30 and we decided to go to the Magic Kingdom park for a few hours.
We hopped back on the monorail for the short ride to the park:

Inside the monorail:

WE ARE AT THE MAGIC KINGDOM PARK!!! I'm so excited to be here!!!

My first walk down Main Street, USA. 

And my first look at Cinderella's Castle!!

We rode a few rides: Pirates of the Caribbean, It's a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, and the Jungle Cruise.
By the way, the Jungle Cruise is really fun at night.

By the time we did those 4 rides, it was about 10:00 and the park was closing.

We passed by the Castle and took a few pics:

We had enough time to walk into a few shops and browse a little as we walked back down Main Street.

I love it when Main Street is all lit up at night.

We stopped in The Confectionery, our favorite store at Magic Kingdom. We watched them make goodies. I loved the clothes the Cast Members wore:

And we each bought a cupcake with our snack credit for the day. YUM:

We were on the Disney Dining Plan (Disney has seriously thought of everything). With the dining plans, you pay a certain amount of money with your hotel reservation, and you get food credits to use at (almost) any restaurant on Disney property. For our dining plan, we got a counter service lunch, a snack and a sit-down dinner for each day we were there. I loved the dining plan, it was a lot of fun to try so many different restaurants. But really, it was way too much food. We walked around stuffed quite a bit of our trip. That's not a bad thing, but we sure did eat a lot of food on this trip.

We rode the bus back to our hotel, and it was very full. Lisa and I had managed to score seats, but there were several people who had to stand for the ride back.

When we got back to our room, Lisa and I grabbed our refillable cups and walked to Cafe Rix to refill them for the night. The re-fillable cups came with the dining plan and could be filled up for free here:

Back in our room, we spent a little time watching Disney TV (yes, there were other channels, we wanted to watch the Disney stuff). We checked our email, texted, etc... and I finally went to bed around 1:30AM.

Ready for more? You can find DAY 2 HERE

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