Monday, October 13, 2014

{Disney} Day 1 - Arrival

Given the choice, we'll always opt to fly out of Providence instead of Boston.  We obviously aren't the only ones happy with Jet Blue's direct flights from Providence to Orlando - they are always completely full.  The only downside to flying out of Providence is the limited number of flight options.  For that Sunday, there were only two flights - 7:00 in the morning or 3:45 in the afternoon - for us to choose from.  We went with the 7:00 (ack! I am so not a morning person) so that we could salvage most of the day.  Because we only had 5 full days there, we didn't want to waste a day solely to travel.

We woke up at 4:30 that morning and experienced no issues traveling to the airport or checking in.  There were more people there than I expected at that time of day but the lines were fairly short.  We were pre-screened which meant that we were able to go through a different line, didn't have to remove our shoes, etc.  It definitely made life easier.  I was nervous about going through security with Anna's meds and they did check them but no one gave us a hard time.  In fact, everyone with TSA was quite pleasant.

They began boarding a bit early and we had to pull Grammy out of a long Dunkin Donuts line.  Our seats were near the rear of the plane, which I like with the kids because we are close to the bathrooms.  Jet Blue had us sitting 3 and 3.



I was with The A Team while Emily sat with Grammy and Rich in the row behind us.


The only hiccup on our flight came when Anna told us that she needed to be cathed.  It was something we had thought of but hadn't come up with a solution.  We hadn't cathed her prior to boarding because it hadn't been that long since she had been cathed earlier that morning.  While visiting the plane's bathroom with Allie, I checked out the changing table and it was too small.  I also don't know if it would have been a good idea to have a 40 pound kid on it.  We ended up having her lie down in our row.  Grammy sat at the end, holding up her coat as a security curtain.  It worked out fine.

We landed early and picked up our rental minivan.  Under certain circumstances and for certain families, I can see the advantage to using Disney transportation.  For me and for our family right now, it didn't seem like the best fit, so we rented our own vehicle.  I use public transportation five days a week and I didn't want someone else dictating my schedule while I'm on vacation.  There were other considerations as well.  We had grand plans to stop at a grocery store on the way to the Polynesian but neither Rich nor I had had time to look for the directions to one and the kids were all "I just want to get to Disney" so that's what we did.

For those of you who haven't heard why we decided to stay at the Polynesian, here's a quick recap.  We had originally booked our vacation for August through a special offer released first to Disney Visa cardholders.  Because we were planning to spend the most time at Magic Kingdom, we booked rooms at the Contemporary.  It seemed like the ideal location for us because you can walk to the park from the resort.  Then my role at work changed and one of Rich's meetings at the bank changed and taking a vacation in August suddenly didn't seem like a great idea.  Of course, when we went to move our vacation, there were no rooms available at the Contemporary through the special offer.  Of the three Magic Kingdom resorts, the lowest rates were being offered at the Poly.  So although it's currently being renovated, we decided to stay there.  About six weeks prior to our vacation, I had second thoughts about that decision but it all worked out.

We arrived at the Poly a bit after 11:00.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that our rooms were ready and connecting, as we had requested.  The service out front was top notch.  Within two minutes of Rich jumping out of the van, we knew the status of the rooms.  Someone whisked away our luggage and delivered it to our rooms for us right away.  We had all vacated the van and were waiting for Rich to park it.  I was taking some pictures of the girls out front when a cast member approached us and asked if he could get us checked in.  Sure!



I was a bit nervous as to where our rooms would be located within the resort.  The rate we had booked at was only available online and the room description clearly stated that we may be looking at a parking lot or the monorail.  It obviously wasn't that much of a concern because we booked the rooms but I was really hoping for a decent location with hopefully a view of something other than a parking lot.

~To be continued~

(I tried to combine this post with the next one and it began to turn into a monster.  Therefore, I had to leave it on the short side.  I was also up before the crack of dawn this morning in order to bring Anna to the hospital for some medical tests and I'm exhausted and need to go to bed.)         


kdliberty said...

I prefer early flights. Otherwise, your day is wasted. BTW, TSA screens all had to undergo specialized training for dealing with people with medical problems. All thanks to a man who over came his embarrassment and went public after they caused his urostomy bag to leak massively. (He tried to tell them what it was.)

Ashlee said...

Emily looks so grown up in that last picture! (also I hope I got that right, it's harder for me to tell in separate pictures!) I'm not a morning person at all either but I always find myself on those early flights to keep from wasting a day!

Can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip!

Christi said...

We're taking an 8 AM flight out of Providence even though I'm not a morning person either. Providence is so much easier than Boston for everything - traffic, parking, security lines. The only downside is that one Dunkin Donuts line is huge!

I was starting to get very overwhelmed with planning. Luckily we're meeting up with friends who are Disney experts. Turns out most of the FastPasses I made matched up with theirs. I don't remember being this stressed for my last trip - in 2000! LOL

Anonymous said...

Do you guys use a credit card to earn miles to travel? My cousin uses one and puts all his bills on it and pays it off each month. He had enough points to travel for 2 to Aruba this summer. Thinking about getting one. We do pay our bills and we are not in debt except house and car but we never seem to have money to travel with.

Sarah said...

Yes - that's Emily!

Christi - I know the planning can be so overwhelming. I had Rich book our FP+ b/c I couldn't do anymore.

We have the Disney Visa and for this trip, used the points to pay for food. I feel like we don't fly often enough for one of those cc but I haven't really looked into it. I charge everything to the cc but pay off the bill each month.

Kim and Matt said...

We're heading to Disney for the first time with our 5 yr old this December. I was interested that you recommended getting a rental car? I just assumed to use the Disney buses (we're staying at Animal Kingdom), but we do plan on coming back mid-day for a short nap, and my husband has some walking limitations (artificial hip), so I'm wondering if a car might be helpful for us too. Do you find that you get to the parks faster, or with less walking? Do you find that you venture off-site more?

Sarah said...

Hi Kim - for some people, the bus system works out fine. I didn't want to potentially wait for 20 mins for a bus at the airport and then potentially add'l time waiting for the bus to drop off other guests at different resorts. Same thing with returning to the airport. I believe they schedule you to go 3 hours before your flight. We were running late in leaving the resort but it was not a big deal - would have been a big deal if we had missed the bus. In addition, if you have them take your checked in luggage, it will be hours before it is delivered to your rooms.

Also - when we want to leave a resort, we want to leave. I don't want to have to wait 20-30 mins for a bus. And then what if the bus is crowded? There are 6 of us and a double stroller.

I was frustrated enough with the monorail and I dislike public transportation in general - probably from having to use it every day. Renting a car worked out best for us.