In traditional The Great Umbrella Heist fashion, I'm going to write up a trip report for this Disney vacation just as I have in the past. I enjoy reading trip reports, whether Disney related or not, and that carries over to writing my own trip reports. I'll also include some restaurant reviews and the girls' opinions and, of course, give you all my planning tips. Expect to see quite a bit of Disney here over the next few weeks.
One of the great benefits of not working is time. I'm not a fan of morning flights so because we had time and in order to help in calming some of my flying anxiety, Grammy, the girls and I flew out of Providence at 1:30 in the afternoon. Again, all of the employees at this airport, from TSA to Southwest, were incredibly nice. My dad accompanied us to the airport so he could drive our van back home. Where was Rich? Working. Don't worry. He flies out and joins us the next day. The logistics for this vacation were a bit funky. All will make sense when I explain it in another post.
Because we gave ourselves plenty of time to drive to the airport, check bags and clear security (there was no line), there wasn't enough time to eat lunch at home. We opted to grab burgers from Johnny Rockets in the airport. They didn't have kids meals listed and I've never eaten at a Johnny Rockets with the girls so I didn't know if they had a kids menu or not. I should have asked but it didn't matter. I bought the regular burgers and the girls devoured them.
Our flight left on time and we didn't encounter any issues, outside of some slight turbulence as we were approaching Orlando. Flying with the girls was a breeze. They pack their own carry-on bags with entertainment that includes books, math workbooks, and dolls. Emily even brought along bunny slippers for comfort. I sat in a row with Emily and Anna while Allie and Grammy sat behind us. The plane was 100% full but it appeared that everyone was able to sit with or near those they were traveling with. I know that open seating isn't always a breeze, especially on a full plane.
When we landed in Orlando, it was pouring rain and the girls, remembering our last Disney vacation of rain, were upset. I reassured them that it was just an afternoon storm which would pass through and promised they would be able to swim at the resort that night. We had gate checked Anna's stroller but because of lightning, we were told we needed to pick up the stroller at baggage claim. Because we were using Disney's Magical Express, we hadn't planned on hanging around baggage claim. This was an unexpected change of plans and I brushed it off, thinking it would give us time to use the bathroom and I could cath Anna. Well, we ended up waiting at baggage claim for two hours for that stroller. Apparently, the lightning was so severe they were unable to unload the luggage from the planes. We should have wandered around the airport in search of dinner but I never expected to wait that long and you reach a point where you think, This has to be it!
I'll talk more about Magical Express later but for now, I'll share that it was efficient, well organized and a pleasant ride to the Contemporary. Before we checked into our room, we headed straight for the Contempo Cafe for dinner. I've seen this restaurant awarded "best quick service" by Disney foodies. So look, a kiddie meal is a kiddie meal no matter which quick service place is serving it up. Grammy and I shared the Caprese Flatbread and while it was quite tasty, the middle was a bit soggy.
You may or may not know this about Disney but you can't make a reservation for more than one room in your name because it is physically impossible for you to stay in more than one room at a time. If we were staying at the Hilton, for example, I could just call or go online and make a reservation for two rooms in my name. When you make room reservations at a Disney resort, all of the people in the room need to be listed. This links up to your magic bands, which allow you access to the room and holds your park tickets. We had two rooms (one in my name and one in Grammy's) for every night of this vacation except for the first night because there were only five of us and rooms at the Contemporary can hold five guests. Because the guests in that room the first night weren't going to be the same as the guests the remaining nights, this was a separate reservation. I booked this vacation through a travel agent to take advantage of a magical deal and that first night was added on later, which is how I ended up with a separate reservation. The separate reservation meant that technically we would have to check in twice and move rooms after that first night. The travel agent suggested explaining the different reservations to the front desk upon check-in and seeing if there was a way for us to stay in the same room for all nights with a connecting room added on the second night. Jonathan at the front desk was awesome and hooked us up. To me, that's the Disney difference. He actually thanked me for my patience. I was patient because he was helping me out! I know he could have easily said, "Sorry, no can do," but he didn't.
Our room was on the ninth floor, facing Bay Lake. The girls quickly changed into their bathing suits when we reached our room and we headed out to the pool, which was visible from our balcony.
After swimming, we headed back up to our room to get everyone in bed. We were a bit sidelined with the fireworks at Epcot though. It was a late bedtime for the girls but we were on vacation.
Coming up: A full day of magic.