Disney,  Photography,  Travel

Walt Disney World 2011 Trip – It Begins!

This trip report involves myself, my husband Chris, and my Mom and Dad – all spending two weeks together in WDW from Jan 10-23, 2011.

Our first week is in Coronado Springs and the second is at an area hotel, Best Western (Lake Buena Vista Resorts).

WARNING – I am wordy and photo heavy. I have 4500 photos (but promise not to post them all!) from this vacation, just to give you an idea.

Also, yes – we had the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan so there will be food photos galore and reviews. Whoo!

You’ve been warned!

Sunday 1/09/11

We drop off our car at a relative’s house, (we live about an hour and a half from the airport), and then Mom and Dad pick us up to head out to the Clarion. We’re splitting a room to take advantage of the “Park and Fly” deal. We all knew that we’d be too excited to get too much sleep anyway and being right AT the airport would alleviate any concerns of traffic or other unknown delays.

Even for a place to crash for a few hours – I would NEVER stay here again.

The beds were laughably uncomfortable. We spent an hour lying in them just giggling at how awful they were and fighting over who was going to sneak out to the car to sleep instead…

I mean, really, the floor had more cushion.

That said – I’d do the ride and fly again – as it was a great relief to just have to hop a shuttle 10 minutes over. I’d just budget ahead of time for a better hotel. ;)

Monday 1/10/11

We arrive at the airport sometime before 6 am – and manage to get the parents’ baggage checked in, and through the TSA with no problems. Well… minor problems. Mom had the 300 trading pins in her luggage and that seemed to cause some confusion (and then amusement) on the xray. :whistling:

I see a Starbucks and stop for a hot chocolate (it’s a nice dark chocolate there, my favorite) but sadly they don’t do hot foods. I often get the gouda bacon sandwich before work. Tasty, light, and not greasy like most quick breakfast foods. The worker at Starbucks did however recommend the Cafe Brioche back the way we came. They had just opened – and we ordered a bacon egg cheese croissant that was really tasty and a good price for airport food. (I neglected to get a photo – it’s 6 hours before I’m normally out of bed – so sue me!)

We make our way through the terminal – riding the express tram to the section with our gate – and settle in at the Delta section waiting for boarding.

After some more people file in, we get to chatting with a woman and her two boys who are sitting behind us and find they are headed to WDW for their FIRST visit. Mom and I dig out our trading pins and offer them their pick. A great start to the magic they’ll have at Disney, I hope. ;) No pics of them for privacy.

Me and Chris waiting – it’s hard to tell here – but my hair is purple. I have thing about big trips (I do a lot of conventions and the tradition started there) it’s good luck to have my hair purple. It’s a vegan wash out type – that usually lasts 2 weeks – and is really dark. So only in bright sun does it show the purple, so I can get away with it at work (just looks black).

Before we know it – it’s time to take our seats. I get some pictures from my window to pass the time.

We stop for de-icing:

I switched to the camcorder for takeoff – I brace but other than a little stomach flip I’m pretty ok with the whole experience. I get a great shot of another plane waiting for de-icing with the sun peeking behind it as sunrise breaks.

We’re up!

The 2 hours are broken up with a free glass of coke, lots of silly pictures, and listening to my new iPod.

Man – talk about sardines. I now appreciate most every airline joke I’ve ever heard….

Touchdown is nice and smooth – and after letting the crush of people (FULLY booked plane!) go by, extract the luggage from the overhead, and make our way off the plane to greet HUMIDITY! Ah, Florida, there you are. Once stripped of my two layer jacket I’m feeling a little more tolerable – and we head to baggage claim – rent a luggage cart – and track down our rental.

Once we’ve settled on a good pick for both trunk and leg space (a Dodge Charger) we headed to check in at Coronado! We pass the magical sign that says we’ve entered Disney territory.

Then the cute DVC ad with the gang in a big red van.

Then – the real sign we’ve been looking for …

Oh, wait, no… not that one.

There it is! Coronado Springs!

We pull up and head in and first impressions are very good. With so many months to read reviews and re-read horror stories and obsess and worry that you’ve picked the “right” resort… it can really make you nervous when you first pull up.

Yes, it was quite overcast (and did start to POUR shortly after) that day – but that was fine because we’d already decided that we’d want to crash early and not waste a partial day at the park.

I found my first hidden mickey too!

After some initial confusion about rooms (we wanted same building, and floor if possible – but for sure Casitas if they could – and they thought we wanted adjoining rooms so were mixing up rooms more than necessary) we were settled in to the 3rd floor of Casitas 5 overlooking the lake with a view of El Centro and the Dig site.

While a beautiful view I wouldn’t request/pay extra as having an outside walkway means not wanting your curtains open (everyone can look in) and therefore you only enjoy it when not in your room anyway.

The king bed rooms are quite spacious though. The sliding doors for the bathroom were very nice – made it feel less like a hotel room to not see anything of that area when the doors were closed. We also loved getting the Japanese TV station – as we are both Japanophiles and this station is an extra $30 a month at home.

The beds are horrible though – very very firm and felt like sleeping on a box spring. Definitely not the new mattresses everyone was raving about… I mean, it wasn’t Clarion bad but still.

I will say up front – our entire stay the staff was excellent. Very prompt and friendly service.

Next post – Wolfgang Puck’s and the Stupid Expensive Dinner (aka Yachtsman Steakhouse)

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