Friday, March 17, 2017

Anniversary Trip to WDW Day 1 (more like 36 hours)

In celebration of our 20th anniversary we are all going to Disney World!
This trip has been a year plus in planning and we are all rather excited. 

We booked a night flight this trip. We have done this once before and it worked out. That time the kids slept on the flight and we managed it fine. This time.... not so much. Despite the best laid plans, including wearing one of the kids out at Taekwando class beforehand, handing out melatonin at boarding time and bringing snuggly blankets - both kids struggled to sleep. Our sweet girl got maybe two hours, on and off, and her silly brother was similar from what hubby said. Our silly young man didn't think he had slept at all. 
I am fairly sure I got over an hour - but somewhere over the last year I got out of the lifetime habit of wearing a watch... so I actually have no idea. And hubby didn't sleep at all. [Editor's note: I don't think I've ever really slept on a plane, including during a 10 hour overnight flight to Paris last fall.]
So, when our flight landed 45 minutes early (EARLY!!!! Have you ever?) we wandered forth into darkness starting to wonder about how our day would play out.
This left us plenty of time for pit stops.. and at 5:45 am in Orlando, Starbucks seemed like a wise idea! 
Note: green nails for Saint Patty's Day.

Early Morning Starbucks - First of the trip. 

Hubby grabbed our bags and we found our car for the week. Then we headed to Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Interestingly, you have pretty much 12 hours of daylight in Orlando right now... the sun is up at 7:45 and down at 7:40.
We had an 8am breakfast reservation at Boma, so we checked in at Kidani, requested an early room, if at all possible, and then went to Jambo House to see some animals, the sunrise, and have some breakfast.

Sunrise at Jambo House

Breakfast at Boma is always tasty, but the value -- especially for kids who don't eat a ton, but are 10+ years old so Disney charges them as adults -- is questionable. We all found good stuff to eat, and a meal was a good way to reset from our weird night.

Mickey Waffles

Whats for breakfast at Boma?

Breakfast is a serious thing :)

After breakfast, we headed to Epcot. We had made FastPass reservations for two rides in the morning and one ride at the end of the afternoon. 
We tried to head into the park, but first needed a quick stop at Guest Services to play Stump the Cast Member... Apparently our passes we active, but not activated? He didn't understand either - don't feel bad. But he fixed it! That's why he has a name badge and you don't ;)
Our first stop in the park was Ellen's Energy Adventure. We have never been on this ride with so few people. [Editor's note: Because no one in their right mind would enter a Disney park right at opening and head directly to a 37 minute long ride that never has any line. But this wasn't the day for using my awesome park touring skills.] Our  young man suggested this ride to pass the time before our Spaceship Earth fast passes. There were a grand total of 12 people on the whole ride. 
The timing was perfect, from Energy we used our Fast Passes for Spaceship Earth. 

At this point in the day my hip decided it was done. [Editor's note: "This point" meaning 10:30AM] I think it was aggravated by not laying down to sleep overnight and being constantly bent. But sitting down for rides and then standing back up and then walking... nope! Not a happy hip. So hop-along (that's me) decided to stay standing for a while and slowly strolled the Future World area, while hubby and the kids hit The Seas and used another FastPass at the Land. 
Our visit overlaps with the springtime Epcot Flower and Garden Festival - So I enjoyed some great Disney themed topiaries.  And wandered through MouseGears, before remembering the (new to us) DVC Member's lounge in the Imagination Pavilion. So I texted the family to meet me there when they were done with the Land and headed over.

Wonderful Flower and Garden Topiaries

Great ceiling from the DVC Members Lounge in the Imagination Pavilion
Look what you can see from here!
Love the pattern on this seat... Does it remind you of Spaceship Earth?

After checking in at the kiosk I asked if I could take the Elevator, which allowed me to have a fun conversation with a DVC cast member on the way up. 
The lounge is beautiful. It's light and open, plenty of seating and sometimes even more important, tons of charging outlets... tons. Plus three Coke Freestyle machines. 
I found a nice place to lean and relaxed a bit while the family found their way over. 
After something to drink and some time sitting... we headed to find some food. 
The other part of the Flower and Garden Festival is food booths - which Hubby and I have enjoyed at the Epcot Food and Whine (I mean Wine) Festival in previous years, but we discovered it's not a great venue for our kids to eat lunch. 
Being almost 1:00 - all of us (maybe not Hubby) were feeling the grumpys coming on. So we decided to go back to the resort and try to find a quiet place to relax until our room was ready. This wasn't the favorite idea of our Son, but he got through it. 
Hubby and our young lady decided to explore the Kidani lobby and beyond while son and I rested... they found a great library area with plenty of seating and some savanna views too. So we set up camp there for a few hours. Hubby and the kids found the arcade and passed some of the time there.

Arcade Games have come a long way....

This isn't the way we have ever done things in the past, but we all were battling sleepiness and I was still in a fair amount of pain, so sitting in a comfy quiet spot was good. And before to long, we got the text that our room was ready!!! Yay!

Our Room, before it gets lived in.

Our Savanna View!

Once in the room, I took a hot bath and spent a little time laying down. Sadly it didn't fix the problem, but got me to a point that I could venture back out with the family for our last FastPass of the day. 
This time we rented a wheelchair... I rode and hubby pushed, which allowed for a much faster pace to the Norway Pavilion for a ride on Frozen Ever After. 
The standby wait was 100 minutes :( Eeks. So Thankful for FastPasses. 
The ride was great. Nice effects and visually beautiful. After that, the family went on the Three Caballeros Ride and I people watched.
Frozen Ever After

PhotoPass Ride photo from Frozen

When we left the park, our young lady's legs were more or less done - so we swapped.. she rode and I pushed for the last little bit. I found pushing the chair helped with my pain.. the added support, I think. 
So, we decided we may rent a chair again this week. We will see how I recover after a real night's sleep. 

We grabbed a quick dinner at Noodles and Co. and Hubby picked up some groceries to finish up our evening. 

Back in the room the kids got ready for bed and fell asleep fast. 
Hubby and I both took some time soaking in an Epsom salt bath and unpacking. 
We are here for 7 nights... and other than a cruise, we can't remember the last time we stayed 7 nights in one place on a vacation. 
(note: our son recalled that in 2013 we stayed at a rental home with the extended family for 7 nights) 


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