Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Disney World Vacation--Day 1 (Magic Kingdom and Epcot)

Day 1, Sunday, September 14

We all woke up early at the Doubletree the first morning. I thought I might have to drag everyone out of bed, due to the time change, but the boys were up and ready to go bright and early. I had bought the really huge Ziplock-type bags at Dollar Tree before our trip. They're either 3 or 4 to the box. The bags were big enough to keep complete outfits for all three boys in one bag, so I made a bag for each day of our trip and laid out their outfits each night before I went to bed. I gave them organic Pop Tarts and applesauce in the room, and they were ready to go in no time. We had packed the things we needed overnight on the drive down and that first night before we checked into our real hotel in two overnight bags so that we didn't have to drag all of our luggage in for one-night stops, so it didn't take long to get going.

We had to check in at the Wilderness Lodge before we could hit the parks. When you book Free Dining, you have to get a package, which means your park tickets are tied to your room and are on your room keys. So we had to check in to get our room keys to get our tickets. Our meal credits for Free Dining were also on the room keys, and the room keys act as charge cards all around Disney World. Is that convenient or what? The only way it could be easier if it were like Great Wolf Lodge where they put all of that on bracelets so that you don't have a key to carry at all. (Are you listening, Disney?)

Checking in took less than 5 minutes. While I checked in, Chris helped the baggage attendant unload the minivan. Our room wasn't ready yet, so they stored our bags until we called for them later in the day.

We walked out to the bus stop in front of our hotel, and a Magic Kingdom bus was waiting there. So we got on and were off to enjoy our first real Disney World day! The routes to some of the parks at the Wilderness Lodge are shared with other hotels, but the buses to the Magic Kingdom go straight there with no other stops. We were there by 8:40 for a 9:00 park opening.

Now this first morning had caused me a lot of worrying. Tour Guide Mike insists that you get to each park in the mornings before they open. He doesn't run you ragged--in fact, he insists that you take a long break each afternoon--but part of the way you ride the rides without lines is you get to the parks when most people are just starting to wake up and think about where they're going to go that morning. I was afraid that we'd get there late the first morning since we had to check into our hotel, but it turned out we were just fine.

We even made it there for the rope drop ceremony. At each of the parks, they do something fun when they open that morning. If a park is scheduled to open at 9:00, they'll start letting people in the gates some time around 8:30-8:45, but there will be ropes keeping them from going anywhere. You can rent a stroller or a locker before the park opens, but you can't get to the rides. Then a few minutes before opening, they'll do some type of cute show, and they'll drop the ropes holding back the people. (Hence the term "rope drop".) The Magic Kingdom actually has two rope drops. They do the first one at the very front of the park around 8:50, and then you can walk all the way down Main Street (which is nothing but stores and restaurants--no rides), and they have more ropes keeping you from going any further. At 9:00, the other ropes drop, without any type of show, but there usually are some characters there waving at people or getting on the first rides of the day.

Here are some pictures I took while waiting for rope drop.

Now, I can't tell you exactly which rides we rode in order because Tour Guide Mike requests that you not share his touring plans with people who didn't buy his service, and I respect that, but I'll tell you which rides we rode that morning in alphabetical order before we left at 1:00. We walked onto each of the following rides with absolutely no wait at all:
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
Haunted Mansion
It's a Small World After All
Jungle Cruise
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Mickey's Philharmagic
Peter Pan's Flight
Splash Mountain (Tigger and I only, Piglet abstained voluntarily)
Thunder Mountain (Chris, Tigger, and Piglet because Roo is too small)
Tomorrowland Transit Authority

We also ate lunch at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe for free with our meal credits. Tigger and Piglet both had chicken nuggets kids' meals with applesauce and grapes. They also came with fries, but I don't know if they were supposed to. Chris got a chicken sandwich, and I got a half chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans. We all got drinks, and we got 2 chocolate chip cookies for the included deserts for the adult meals. I guess one of the sides on the kids' meals was the desert.

Now if you notice that my meal looks a lot like what I had the night before, you're right. Baby Roo is allergic to eggs, and since he's breastfed, I can't eat eggs. He breaks out in hives when I eat eggs. I had emailed a lady at Disney World before I left with help for our various allergies, and she had really helped me find things that were safe. But at meals, my choices were to eat things that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt did not have eggs, or I could ask them to give me the big book that has the ingredients for all of the food and find soemthing I could eat. That takes a lot of time, so I used the Internet to look at menus and find restaurants with something safe before we left, and I stuck to things that I knew would be safe. The bread was not safe, so sandwiches were out. It got to where instead of saying that it was time to eat, we'd say that it was time for me to eat half a chicken. I seriously ended up eating at least one half chicken each day of our trip. They were small chickens. I promise.

We called twice to see if our room at Wilderness Lodge was ready, and shortly before 1:00, they said it was and gave us the room number. So we left a little before 1:00 with 10 rides ridden and having already eaten lunch. We hadn't waited in any line at all. That may not seem like a lot of rides in four hours, but keep in mind that the attractions are pretty spread out, plus some of them take almost 10 minutes to ride once you get on them.

The boys were having a really good time. Baby Roo was a little overwhelmed at first with all of the sights and ended up sucking his thumb quite a bit, but he had a blast. He did warm up to it all and waved at everyone who passed it from his royal throne (the stroller). He fell asleep while in the front pack I carried him in most of the time and took his nap while inside the Magic Kingdom and on the boat ride home.

The most popular rides with Tigger and Piglet were Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, and Buzz Lightyear. We ended up riding Buzz several more times on our trip. It's a really fun ride. Your ride car has lazer guns in it, and you shoot targets while on the ride and accumulate points. I'm really good at it (which vexes Chris). The boys did okay getting points. Here are some pictures Chris took of us on it later in the week.

Now that we're home, Tigger says that the Haunted Mansion was his favorite ride, but they seemed a little scared by it there and never asked to ride it again.

We rode the boat back to the Wilderness Lodge, where Chris, Piglet, and tigger napped. Roo had already napped, so he and I walked around the resort so he wouldn't keep everyone up.

I'll post about the rest of the day later.

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