Disney Recap--Day 1

Day 1, we left our house at 4:45 to get to the airport by 5:30. I was a stickler about adhering to the 2 hours early that the TSA recommends. Southwest and Love made our trip through security with A a breeze. They let us go in through the priority line, a very nice surprise. We did curbside check-in as well, just to avoid having to balance two large suitcases, a stroller, two carry-on bags, and three backpacks.
(I really thought A would crash out in the car, or once we made it through security. However, she was up at 4:30 and did not go back to sleep until 10:30 that same night!) A handled her first flight like a pro. We don't do gum in our house, I don't care for it, J never chews it, and A never asks for it. So she declined the offer of gum on the airplane. Luckily, she did not have any issues with her ears. We did have two landings and two takeoffs. Our flight landed in Alabama then on to Florida. Again, A did a great job! We didn't have to change planes, so I think that helped.

Once we landed at MCO we caught a shuttle to the main terminal, then took Disney's Magical Express to Disney World. This is where we made our first, and honestly largest, mistake of the trip. Magical Express will collect your luggage and take it to your resort for you, cutting out the need to wait at the luggage carousel and lug several large bags through a crowded airport. We were thrilled with the overall ME experience, except that our luggage did not arrive until well after we did. We should have picked up the stroller!! This mistake came back to bite us in the form of hours wasted and a 15 dollar stroller rental fee. We purposefully picked an early flight out so that we could go to a park for half a day. Instead we ended up wasting hours at our resort waiting for our luggage (our swim suits, tennis shoes, floaties, and stroller). A had her swimsuit, as her suitcase was one of our carry-ons. So I took her to one of the pools at the resort. The Big Blue Pool at the Art of Animation had a splash area, so this solved the problem of not having any swim floaties.

The splash park really saved the day, A was so taken by the resort and the splash area she did not care that we weren't actually in a park! Speaking of the resort, it was beautiful! The Art of Animation is a value resort, which means "cheaper". Look, one thing Disney is not? Cheap. For the amount we spent on a value room, we would have had a lovely room somewhere else. And the amount you would spend on a deluxe? Well that would be down right palatial elsewhere! But you are not at Disney for the room, now are you? The theming at the AOA is spot-on. There are four sets of buildings, all inspired by Disney animation. Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars are all family suites. The Little Mermaid section is the traditional 2 full beds.
The lobby
Ceiling in the lobby, all little animation cells.

A giant treasure chest.

Our home for the week, building 7.

The view from our room, that is Pop Century across the lake.
After eating, playing in the water, checking out the resort and our room, we could take no more! We were itching to get to the Magical Kingdom. So we regrouped and decided luggage or not we had tickets for the day and by golly, we were going to a park. So J, A, and I headed to the bus stop to catch a Disney provided bus to MK. (J and I were in flip-flops!)
Check out us (10000 people) and the castle.

First visit!

Cinderella's castle, as the sun is setting.

Dinner of champions, a hot dog from Casey's Corner.
Tiana and Naveen were thrilled to be the first to sign the photo mat!

Enthralled by the electric light parade.

 We made it in to the park, rode the teacups, Dumbo, met Tiana and Naveen, and watched the Main Street Electric Parade. By that point, we had been up for over 18 hours without sleep. We decided to call it a day!

Stay tuned, Epcot is up next!

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