A little late, but I’m going to finally post my review and trip report. I took a lot of photos during our vacation and spent a lot of time editing them. Between that, my classes and actual job, I’ve been hard-pressed to find time. So without further or do, my trip review/report.
And so it starts. I woke up around 4:30am. The house was quiet and it looked like no lights were on. My mom and dad usually both wake up very early, especially when there’s a plane or appointment to make, so this seemed off. The fear of pulling a Home Alone and missing the plane jolted me out of bed. I was relieved to find the kitchen lights on, where my mom sat, fully dressed, checking emails. My sister and I had packed the car the night before, so all we had to do was wash up before heading out. I brushed my teeth, got changed and was ready to go.
With MagicBands intact, we piled into the car around 5:00am and arrived at the airport by 5:30. We grabbed a quick bagel and played the waiting game. By 7:35am, we were off, heading toward our sixth Christmas vacation in seven years.
I slept most of the flight, which is very strange for me. Between sitting in an uncomfortable seat and the excitement of getting there, I rarely sleep on the plane. This year was different, though. Could I be getting sick? Not this year, I thought.
Side Note: I’ve gotten sick EVERY YEAR at Disney. In 2009, I caught a cold. In 2010, I broke my foot the week before getting there, then got a stomach virus the last two days of the trip. In 2013 I got a cold right before the trip, which left me feeling sick the first half of the trip; and last year I got a bad cold the last half of the trip. I actually did get sick the week before this trip. I got a really bad stomach virus which lasted the entire weekend. I hoped that karma would pay off and I would have a happy, healthy vacation.
We arrived in Orlando early, but were stuck taxiing until our terminal opened up. After traveling into Orlando for so many years, we made friends with a worker at MCO. We called him and he said he’d meet us to scoop up our bags and walk us across the airport. My mom, sister and I stopped off to grab our annual “first Starbucks of the trip” – a tradition we started long before Joffrey’s was introduced at Disney resorts or Starbucks opened at the parks. It was often thought of “our last good cup of coffee” for the next week or two. We continued the tradition even after Starbucks opened and Joffreys was added to the resorts.
After meeting up with the worker, we trekked across the airport to the Magical Express. It was much more crowded this year. In past years, we’d walk right on. This year, the Magical Express had a line that would make Soarin’ blush. Okay, maybe that’s an over exaggeration, but the line was long!
Once on the bus, I handed out our itineraries. Part of having a plan is creating an itinerary. Sure, we’ll often stray from the plans, but it helps us keep track of reservations and FP+ windows, and reduces the amount of times “when should we be ready by?” is asked. We understand the transportation (or so we thought we did) and are able to properly estimate when we should leave the rooms and be ready for reservations by.
We arrived and checked in by 12:30pm. The CM at the front desk said that he’d be able to check us in early. We received a corner room in building 3. It was dirty – there was crumbs and dust on the rug, a coating of dust on all the furniture, dead bugs on the windowsill and the mirrors were dusty. We assumed that the room was cleaned in haste to allow for an early check-in and gave them a free pass.
We were hungry, so we went over to Riverside to grab a bite to eat. The weather was beautiful. It was in the mid-to-high 70’s and the sun was shining strong. After eating, we went back to the resort to relax a bit. I decided to walk the grounds a bit. The weather was gorgeous and I knew we’d be heading back to a cold New York in a 10 days, so I tried to enjoy it. I tried to find the fastest route to the lobby and bus stop, then walked around snapping some photos.
We all showered up and got dressed for Christmas Eve dinner. We’d be dining at Tutto Italia. We took the bus to Hollywood Studios, then hopped on the boat to the Boardwalk. It was a pretty seamless night travel-wise. After dinner, we walked the Boardwalk and went to see the decorations at the Swan and Dolphin lobby. We took the boat back to Hollywood Studios, then the bus to the resort and called it an early night (around 11pm). We were sleeping by midnight, ready to tackle Christmas Day (the biggest day of our trip!)
A few photos of the Swan and Dolphin resort…