Disney Recap: Day One

April 6, 2009

So it all began on a Saturday, with an early departure to drive up to Cincinnati for a 9:53am flight. We flew US Airways, so even though I am a little nervous about flying (just a little bit), I was confident that if our plane were to have to ditch in some body of water somewhere, we would be OK.

We used Disney’s “Magical Express” service to check our bags all the way through tomagicalexpressbus our room at the Wilderness Lodge. This is a nice service that is offered free if you are staying in a Disney resort hotel. It’s great to avoid baggage claim, especially when you are anxious to get on with your vacation. As promised, our bags magically appeared in our hotel room sometime a little later in the evening, and we didn’t even have to be there to see it happen.

Riding the Magical Express bus from the airport.

lobbyWe arrived at our lodge to get checked in somewhere around 7 p.m. or so. The lodge has a very impressive lobby, all rustic and log cabin-looking, with a huge stone fireplace. It really did give the feel that we were staying in some place out west, at one of the national parks like Yellowstone or Grand Canyon. (I have stayed at Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn many years ago, and several things about the Wilderness Lodge reminded me of that place).

Here is something that is great about staying in the resorts at Disney: the “key to the World” card. This little gem is your hotel room key, your ticket to get in each of the theme parks, your card to pay for meals if you are on the dining plan, AND I put my debit card on it so that I could use it to make other charges when shopping anywhere in Disney World, if needed. This means that I did not need to carry anything else around with me during the day when I was out enjoying rides, other than a camera if I wanted to take photos. In the future, I have little doubt that they will put some kind of camera chip on the card as well.

Once we got checked in, we decided to head on over to the Magic Kingdom for the evening. A ferry boat took us directly from our lodge to MK, about a 10 minute ride. It was after dark, so everything was lit up… very nice! Aa-a-a-a-nd we walked right in to the middle of the nightly parade. The parade was noisy and festive and seemed fun… but because of it, we had a hard time getting anywhere for a bit. Partly because we didn’t know our way around the park yet, and partly because the Disney parades are very annoying. There, I said it. I don’t mean to be a party pooper, and far be it from me to cast aspersions on anything related to His Royalness, Sir Mickey… but the problem of parades getting in the way of our progress from point A to point B was soon to become a recurring theme during our vacation. More on this later.

After some frustation-laden maneuvering, we managed to get to the “Tomorrowland” area of the park. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then decided to make the Buzz Lightyear ride our inaugural ride at Disney. Since it was getting late in the evening, the regular line wasn’t too bad. I think we may have waited 20 minutes to get in, without using the “fast pass” system. The ride was a lot of fun… it’s a shooting game where you aim at targets that are littered througout the ride and fire your “lasers” for varying amounts of points.

Next we rode the “Tomorrowland Speedway” which is one of those tracks where you get to drive a little car around and steer it yourself, with a metal guide down the middle of the road that keeps you from getting off course. We waited a little longer for this one, but it still wasn’t too bad. The boys enjoyed driving their own race cars.

Next up: we headed across the park and got on “The Haunted Mansion.” I don’t think this ride would be scary to anyone over the age of about 7… but the effects are very good and entertaining even for adults.

“Pirates of the Carribbean” was also an interesting ride with some very realistic effects with the animatronic figures and all. Apparently the ride has been around a while but they more recently updated it with figures of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. I must say that some of those figures are very realistic! I think Johnny Depp was looking at me! Is all I’m saying.

RIDE REVIEW: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This was the last ride we got on late Saturday as the park was getting ready to close for the night. This roller coaster is a very solid, not-too-intense, fun ride that your whole family could ride over and over again. It is fast paced and involves a lot of surprising hills and some fast turns… and it strikes just the right balance between being a decent thrill ride and a “safe” ride for more timid riders or smaller children. The track goes in and out and around the mountain structure, and there is even a part of the ride where it looks like the huge boulders on either side might fall in on you! It’s a very popular ride, so I would definitely take advantage of the fast pass system for this one… or go in the single rider line, to move through at a faster pace. If you happen to be at the park at the end of the day, you can probably get on more quickly… especially if you are a Disney Resort guest and are there taking advantage of the “extra magic hours” when the park is open late just for you 🙂

After the roller coaster, we were done for the night. We enjoyed a lovely boat ride back to our lodge, and got settled into the room and ready for bed about 1:00 a.m.  It was a very long day, but we had only begun our week of adventures…


One comment

  1. You all will treasure this trip and this journal for a long time. It’s been 30 years since our visit, so it’s fun for me to experience again through your eyes.

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