Most people would probably begin their trip report with a description of their arrival at a Disney resort or one of the theme parks. Or, maybe they think passing under the Walt Disney World sign is the real beginning of their trip. As I have mentioned in my previous posts, our trip began the moment we booked our vacation. Research and preparation were an important part of our vacation. Based on my reading of various blogs and websites, many regular visitors to WDW report that the anticipation that comes from planning is very much a part of the Disney experience, and I would have to agree.
The second stage of our Disney vacation began with the arrival of our trip documents from our travel agent. It was really happening. We were going to Disney World. We received the luggage tags that would guide our bags from our airport departure directly to our resort room. This was a perk we were definitely planning on using. We would not need to wait for luggage after landing, or wheel them around the Orlando airport. They would magically appear in our room a few hours after our arrival.
Our MagicBands arrived from Disney shortly after our travel materials. The box was decorated with images of the characters from the movie, “The Incredibles.” Our names were printed inside the box under each of our bands. My wife had chosen a red one, and I went with blue. Inside the box was a flash drive with instructions to view in order to obtain special instructions for our trip. The video was an animated “briefing,” by Edna ‘E’ Code, on the advantages of MyMagic+ and the use of the MagicBands. This was our first experience with a little bit of Disney magic. Disney goes to great lengths to give guests these touches of magic, down to the smallest detail. I was looking forward to experiencing just how well Disney incorporated these details, immersing guests in stories unique to each park and resort.
Our arrival at Orlando International Airport was uneventful. We had stored the MagicBands in our carry-on bags, as instructed, and were wearing them when we arrived at the Disney Magical Express Welcome Center. They scanned our MagicBands and knew immediately who were and our Disney Resort destination. The wait to board one of the busses took only a few minutes. The bus driver greeted each passenger warmly and with a big smile. The video we saw on the bus was corny, but fun. The narrator gave us instructions about the resort check-in procedure, and background about the Magical Express Bus. Coincidentally, the video featured our bus driver. And, yes, the passengers cheered as we passed under the Walt Disney World sign, encouraged by our driver.
As we entered the lobby of the Beach Club, a cast member greeted us, called us by name, and welcomed us home. Our bands had not yet been scanned at the resort. How did they know who we were? More magic!
Our package did not include a park ticket for our arrival day because we knew we would be arriving too late in the evening. Instead, we took time to explore the resort. We walked along the white sandy beach of Crescent Lake, checked out Stormalong Bay, as well as the “adult” pool behind the Beach Club Villas. We did not have an ADR for dinner, so we took a chance and asked the hostess if there was a table available at Cape May. Although they were minutes away from closing for the evening, they accommodated us and were very welcoming. Our waitress was friendly, taking time at the end of her shift to explain the buffet, often checking with us throughout our meal to see if we needed anything and to make sure we were satisfied with the experience. More magic! They only set back was the cost of our dinner, which was around one hundred dollars for the two of us. Ouch! That was very unexpected, and why I was glad we had chosen a dining plan for the majority of our vacation.
We were finally at Walt Disney World. Our plan was to hit Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the morning, a decision based on the various crowd calendars I had read. After some time back at our resort to rest and refresh, we would enjoy an adult evening at the California Grill. If the Disney magic continues, we might get to see the Wishes fireworks display from our table.
When does your trip to Walt Disney World begin, before or after your arrival? What do you plan to do on your arrival day? Do you plan an afternoon or evening at one of the parks? Has a cast member ever gone out of their way to share some extra Disney Magic with you?
In the next chapter of The Mature Mouse™ I will review our first day in the parks. If you are indeed a mature fan of Disney, a mature mouse, please use the link to visit The Mature Mouse™ store for logo merchandise.