Our Week In Disney World – Part I – The Flight Down

As some of you might know (especially if you read my wife’s blog), we just got back from a week-long trip to Disney World this past Saturday.  During the time away, we took notes of the days events so we wouldn’t forget what happened.  In addition to this, my wife and I (ok, mainly me) took a lot of photos.  How many?  Nearly 2,600.  Even after weeding out some of the duds (like many in-door shows with low lighting, no flash photo rules, and swift onstage action), there are over 2,100 photos that I’d like to share with everyone.  So, just like my Charleston trip last year, I’m going to break up the story of our Disney World trip into many posts.  Some will be stories of the days events.  Some will be "Photo of the Day" type posts (with explanations coming the next day).  Some will be series of photos along a common theme.

I’ll start, appropriately enough, with the trip down to Disney World.  By the Thursday night before our trip, I had run a backup of our laptop computers to our main desktop system and was backing that up to an external hard drive.  The idea was to store that off-site in my office in case anything happened to our house while we were away.  Unfortunately, the backup didn’t complete in time (Friday morning), so I let it run figuring that it’d be done by Saturday morning.  Since we were going with B’s parents, I could drop the hard drive off there.

Friday night, we got the kids into bed early and packed until the the clock said 1am.  The next morning, we were pretty much done and ready to go.  All of us except for the backup, though.  It was *still* running.  Finally, we had no more time and I figured that a partially complete backup was better than no backup at all.  I shut down the backup (and our computers) and dropped it off at B’s parents house before the trip.

We dropped our car off at the parking lot and they loaded our suitcases (4 plus 4 carry-ons) onto the bus.  After a short drive to the airport, we made a last-minute decision to use Disney’s Magical Express to handle our luggage.  It was so worth it!!!  4 carry-ons plus 4 checked bags carried by 2 adults just doesn’t work.  We would move forward in line by 2 feet and need to make trips to move all of our luggage forward.  Later on, when we were walking through Orlando International Airport, we counted our blessings that we just had 2 bags per adult and not 4!

When we got to security, NHL melted down.  He started crying and freaking out about taking off his shoes and going through the line.  It was understandable.  Here’s something new for him to do (even though we talked with him in advance) and he was still quite tired from waking up early.  After he went through security, however, he lauded it as his favorite part of the trip.  (This was before the airplane ride, though.)

After a wait for our plane to board, we experienced the Southwest Cattle Call.  You see, Southwest, unlike other airlines, doesn’t assign you seats.  Instead, you get "seating line numbers."  So instead of knowing that you’ll be sitting in row 9 seat B, you know you’ll be boarding with groups A, B, or C numbers 1 – 60.  We were lucky to be in group A31.  After A’s 1-30 boarded, we went aboard and easily secured two rows for ourselves and B’s parents.  I got a window seat with JSL between B and me.  NHL got a window seat behind me with B’s parents next to him.

We soon discovered that one of our flight attendents was a masquarading stand-up comic.  After takeoff, just before snacks were served, he announced that a couples’ "table is ready on the deck."  As we landed and the pilots engaged the breaks, he called out "Woah there Trigger" followed by horse noises.  He definitely made the flight an entertaining experience.  (If any Southwest management types are reading this, I don’t know his name, but I can provide flight numbers/days/times so he can be tracked down and commended.)

The flight itself was rather uneventful.  NHL had fun playing with B’s parents using activities we planned in advance.  JSL liked using his aquadoodle and looking at the snack menu.  He also fell asleep a half hour prior to landing.  Me?  I took photos.  I don’t get the opportunity to take photos above the clouds that often, so I took full advantage of my opportunity.

When we got to Orlando International Airport, we walked (and took a monorail) across the airport to the Disney Magical Express shuttle lines.  As I mentioned before, we were very thankful that we had done Disney Magical Express.  It was hard enough lugging 4 carry ons and two kids with us.  We didn’t need an additional 4 heavy suitcases as well.  When we got to the Magical Express shuttle, we got our first taste of Disney lines.  It was hot (90+) and the lines moved slowly, but we eventually got on the bus for our hotel.  The kids (and let’s face it, us adults too) excitedly saw the Disney World signs just before we got to our hotel.  We were finally in Disney World!