November 21, 2009: Heading to Walt Disney World 2009

Today is the big day.  Our trip to WDW 2009.  This is our longest, biggest WDW trip since the “second honeymoon” trip of 2005 that Dominica and I took alone.  This time ten people!

We were up around four in the morning.  Ready and out the door by around five.  Still dark out.  Still very tired.  I rode in the back with Oreo and Liesl while dad drove us out to the Buffalo International Airport.

We arrived at the airport by a quarter after six.  More than enough time to get situated and through security at such a small airport so early in the morning.  We got in in no time and grabbed breakfast before flying out.

This will be Liesl second trip by airplane and her fifth take off and landing combination (we had layovers on our way to and from Texas a few weeks ago so she got to do the whole sequence four times on that one trip.)  This is also our very first time flying on JetBlue.  Everyone has been raving about JetBlue for years but we have just managed to never have them be the best airline for us on any of our journeys up until now.  I flew Aer Lingus, (or JetGreen), JetBlue’s European partner when I went to Amsterdam so I knew about what to expect but this was the first time officially doing it.

The flight went really well.  Liesl was awake quite a bit of the trip and, when handed a bag of animal crackers by the flight attendant, she actually said “Thank You” for the very first time!  She is growing up so fast.  One week before her first birthday.

Liesl did very well on the trip.  She is a very good flying baby.  There was another baby, a little younger, flying in the front row across the aisle from us so they talked to each other a little bit on the flight but both napped on and off as well.

The direct flight took hardly any time and we were in Orlando by twenty after eleven.  I like leaving NY early to go to Florida.  We did a trip like this in 1987 the first time that I ever went down to Florida and I have always connected early morning flights headed south with happy memories.  It is just a good feeling to force yourself to get up early, head to the airport and leave the world behind.

Disney’s Magical Express picked us up and carted us off to the All Star Music resort.  Our room was not yet ready and Francesca met us at check in as soon as we arrived.  They arrived very late last night and stayed in a temporary hotel room that they checked out of this morning and they too were waiting for their new room to be made ready.

The girls, Madeline and Emily, were swimming in the “Guitar Pool” when we arrived and they swam for an hour or two after we got there.  We hung out by the pool and then went to the All Star Music restaurant to get a grilled salmon salad for lunch.  Even once we get our rooms we have to wait for Dominica’s parents to arrive as they are coming in from Albany on a flight two or three hours after ours.

We got into our rooms around two.  I am very pleased with our room, 10-542 in Calypso.  It is a handicapped King room and much nicer than I was expecting at the All Stars.  The Grices and Toccos shared a suite, 10-556, just around the corner from us.   Their room was really nice and had a pool view too.  Lots of room.

Dominica’s parents got in around three thirty, I believe, and at a quarter after four we were headed out to the Magic Kingdom on the first of many, many bus trips to that destination from our hotel.  This is Bennie’s, Liesl’s, Garrett’s, Madeline’s and Emily’s first time to Walt Disney World.  So we are half Disney virgins and half experiences Disney travelers.  At the end of this week this will be two entire months of my life spent at WDW!

We got into the Magic Kingdom (after some hassles as they lost Dominica and my tickets once again – the resort gave them to different people but gave us empty tickets so we thought that we were all set) and headed straight over to Tomorrowland.  Our first job was to get some food for everyone as most everyone was pretty hungry.  We hit Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe as they are supposed to have a pretty decent selection of food and are able to handle crowds well being the largest counter service restaurant in the parks.

After food it was time for the Carousel of Progress which was a major hit with the girls and got things off to a good start.  Then we did Buzz Lightyear and I hit a new personal score record: 311,600 points which is about fifteen times higher than I have ever seen anyone else get.  I have become rather a pro at this game.

From there it was the WEDWay People Mover or the Tomorrowland Transit System as they now call it but I refuse to drop Walt Disney’s initials from his own creation just because he is not here to defend the naming of his own ride.  The girls really like the WEDWay too.

Then it was off to Fantasyland.  While here the girls rode the spinning teacups, Dumbo and other rides while most of us sat out.  For a while, Francesca and the girls rode Dumbo and the rest of us sat in Aerial’s Grotto just relaxing.  While we were there, Liesl took her first ever step!  She was standing on a table and took one step all on her own while going from her grandmother to me.  Dominica was not there so she missed it.  Very exciting.  This is a big week for Liesl.

We looked for some food at this point, just evening snacks as it was around eight, but we had a very had time finding anything really good.  The babies, Liesl and Garrett, both got tired and everyone wanted to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride so I volunteered to babysit the kids.  So I ended up all alone in Walt Disney World babysitting two toddlers!  Now that is pretty crazy.

We did not do too much after that.  We got to see the castle all lit up in some amazing holiday lights.  That was very cool.  Then we took the long walk back up Main Street USA and out to the bus back to our resort.  It was probably ten or ten thirty by the time that we got back and were able to start getting ready for bed.  Liesl crawled around a little bit wearing herself out and then we were off to sleep.

Tomorrow we have to be up super early as we are going to the Polynesian Resort for the O’Hana Character Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch.  Lilo is one of my favourite Disney characters, of course, since I am a Linux administrator (inside joke and I’m not going to give the punchline, if you are going to get it then you already got it.)

Getting SGL updates done while here is going to be really, really tough.  I have no workspace in the hotel and have to make due with the laptop sitting on the nightstand and can only use it while sitting on the bed.  Very uncomfortable and really bad for excessive typing.

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