I think I got to bed around 12 or 1am on December 23rd. My sister and I played the annual game of “luggage Tetris” as we packed her SUV, then I spent the rest of the evening watching Home Alone after triple checking that I had every single charger and electronic in my carry-on. Unlike past years, I forced myself to fall asleep early. Our flight would be an hour earlier than years past and I knew I needed the sleep after a busy week.
It felt like I was asleep maybe ten minutes before my alarm started blaring at 3:45am. On a normal day, this would be met with a grunt, but today was December 24th which meant we were going to Walt Disney World!
Creatures were already stirring. My dad was up and pacing, my mom was checking for flight delays and my sister was just getting up. We left the house and were on the road by 4:45am.
After a quick and seamless check-in at Long Island MacArthur Airport, we breezed through TSA (thanks to my TSA pre-check) and were ready to take off. Our flight departed Long Island and the cold weather at 6:45am, landing in a sunny, 70-degree Orlando at roughly 9:45am. We boarded the Magical Express and were on our way to our first stay at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, but not before stopping at Caribbean Beach and the Boardwalk, first.*
*Usually, this would be followed by a stop at Yacht Club, but we were the only ones left on the bus.
Immediately upon arriving at the Beach Club, a Cast Member with a tablet welcomed us by name. We were ushered inside where another Cast Member with a tablet checked us in. Last year we started sending packages down ahead of time, containing all of our toiletries, as a way to increase luggage space and alleviate some of the weight. With Yacht and Beach Club having a convention center, guests would normally have to go to the mail room to fetch the packages. We were very happy and surprised to see that the package was at the front desk waiting for us.
Upon entering our room, we discovered that it had a Juliet balcony. This normally wouldn’t be a huge deal, but we requested a full balcony and had been looking forward to sitting out there a few nights during our trip. We asked the front desk if there was anything they could do and after a little searching, the Cast Member placed us one floor higher, with a better view and a full balcony. A nice little sprinkle of pixie dust to kick off our trip.
I’d also mention that because we were checking in on Christmas Eve, a Cast Member was on hand to provide cookies and fresh apple cider. Now, in past years, we always received Snickerdoodle cookies and a glass of lemonade. This year was different. We were able to choose from chocolate chip or snickerdoodle and received apple cider, rather than lemonade. We joked amongst ourselves that “we already noticed the step-up in Deluxe accommodations.”
With the weather being absolutely gorgeous (around 82 degrees and sunny) we decided to head to the pool for the afternoon. After “hawking” around the lazy river, I eventually found a float for myself and soon my sister. We spent a solid hour going around the lazy river and enjoying the weather.
By 4pm we went back to the room to shower and get ready for dinner. We had a 6:30pm reservation at Il Mulino in Disney’s Swan Resort. After dinner we toured the lobbies and checked out the Christmas decorations at the Swan, Dolphin and Boardwalk Resorts. We had dessert at Ample Hills, which was everything people claimed it to be.
We called it a night around 10pm and needed no help falling asleep. It’d be another early morning on Christmas Day, as we decided to get to Magic Kingdom for Rope Drop.