Sunday, 15 September 2013

WDW Day 1

Here is my first blog post in a series that I hope gives you all a feel of what our most recent visit to WDW was all about; what we did, where we went, who we met and that all important Disney magic.

Day 1 - getting there...

The day started bright and early at sunny Gatwick with a short drive from our hotel to the airport.  We had decided to use the valet car parking service which meant we simply dropped off the car and keys, literally a five minute job, and then walked straight into the terminal building.

We headed straight through security (our hold luggage already being checked-in the night before) although my bag had to be searched separately as I'd forgot to take the i-pad out of the bag - oops!  Then it was off in search of breakfast, settling on a quiet corner in Pret-a-Manger - in fact it was so nice it didn't feel like we were in a busy airport at all.

I took advantage of walking through duty free to grab a free spray of perfume as I'd not had any with me that morning followed by a mooch about the shops.  I remembered to post a couple of letters before we left the country including a birthday card for a friends upcoming birthday and by then it was time to head over to our gate ready to board.  And no sooner than we got to our gate we were called through for our nine and a half hour flight!

Now the flight was fine...yes it's long but when travelling from the UK I'm afraid it's a necessary evil we have to put up with in order to get to the good stuff at the other end. Unfortunately our 15 year old doesn't travel well on planes, loves roller coasters but hates planes, so much so that he was ill for the majority of the flight.  This meant most of my time was spent making sure he was OK and wishing the time would pass by so much quicker!

We landed just after 3.30pm local time, cleared border control and were on a bus waiting to be taken to Coronado Springs Resort by 5.00pm.  We had time for a quick phone call home to let families know that we had arrived safely before setting off.
We've arrived!

On the bus to Coronado Springs

We were the second drop-off; we grabbed our luggage, tipped the driver and headed into the lobby to check-in.  The hotel was relatively quiet and we walked straight up to the check-in desk and were greeted by smiley faced cast members who asked our name and proceeded to look for our booking on the computer system...which was followed by a pause...which was followed by a more senior cast member being called over.

My initial thought was 'oh no what's gone wrong, can't they find us?'  But then the second cast member gave me the biggest smile and said 'Congratulations!' Now at this point I was a little bemused - had we won something?  Maybe we were getting Magic Bands? (I got very excited at this thought!  For non-Disney fans these are a new way of accessing all you need whilst at WDW - room key, park tickets, charging etc and much coveted by us Disney devoted). 'You're getting an upgrade', again much bemusement from us all...'an upgrade?' I said...'yes, you're being upgraded to one of our deluxe resorts, the Wilderness Lodge'.  At that point I think I was officially speechless...I didn't know what to say I was completely taken aback.

Me - speechless!!
Now I never win anything or get anything for free and couldn't quite believe what I was hearing.  Part of me was thinking 'but I've done all my pre-vacation research about Coronado Springs, I'm supposed to be running around Lago Dorado' whilst at the same time thinking 'but we're going to Wilderness Lodge', we would never have chosen to stay there because it was out of our budget, OMG we're going to Wilderness Lodge!
Happy...and stunned family
I can't really recall the reason why we had been selected for an upgrade...I remember asking the question but can't remember the answer!  I remember the check-in staff saying that they had had a few recently and I wondered if it was because the resort was busy with conventions, but whatever the reason we were off to Wilderness Lodge.
Hidden Mickey at Coronado Springs
The cast members were brilliant and looked after us while we waited for them to confirm all the details with the Wilderness Lodge.  They took the time to point out the hidden Mickey near the registration desk, insisting that we had our photo taken, as well as organising a taxi to get us to the Wilderness Lodge and then staying with us until we were safely on our way.  Now that is how Disney do things - professional, exemplary and all the time with a smile.

This was when we knew this vacation was going to be different and full of new experiences and adventures.

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