“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are …” – Jiminy Cricket

I am home now after spending the most incredible week with my family. We all went to Walt Disney World together for the first time. My wife had been there when she was a child, but it was the first visit for me and our kids. Our adventure would start with 3 days playing at the Parks and 4 days on a Disney Cruise ship!

One of the benefits of traveling so much is the frequent flyer miles. I have oodles, and used some of them to get of 4 first class tickets to Orlando from Toronto on American Airlines.

We departed early on Thursday, March 8 from Toronto. We were flying to Miami, then connecting to Orlando. The flight was great. The kids napped for part of it, and my wife and I enjoyed a mimosa and some quiet reading time. With about an hour to Miami, the captain announced that we were abeam the Kennedy Space Center. Oh wow, too cool. I brought my son over to my daughters window seat, and pointed out the VAB, the launch pads (39-A, 39-B) and the runway where the shuttle prefers to land. All the excitement awoke my sleepy daughter who strained to see these sights through sleepy eyes.

Right next to the KSC was Port Canaveral, and we could see our ship “The Disney Wonder” docked awaiting it’s departure for the 3 day tour. It would return on Sunday.

We landed in Miami, and made the trek from Terminal A to Terminal E. Man, that airport needs some people movers or large moving walkways. I was carrying my camera bag (see the previous post), which weighs significantly more than my son when fully loaded. It took us about 25 minutes to get to our gate. After a quick bathroom break in the AA Admiral’s Club, we boarded our A300 for the short 1 hour flight to Orlando International.

I always find it odd to fly on a large aircraft on a 1 hour flight. We had the same experience in Phuket on a 747 for the 1 hour flight to Bangkok. It speaks to how popular these destinations are for tourists. That said, it must be hard on the aircraft.

After a couple quick drinks and yippee! We’re in Orlando. This is where the Magic of Disney started for us. Our bags were tagged with Disney bag tags which meant they would be picked up for us and deposited in our hotel room. The check-in at the Transportation desk was quick and friendly. We all got in line for our bus ride to our resort.

We arrived at our resort “The Polynesian” and checked in. There were lots of papers to review and reservations to confirm, but we were soon in our room. Unfortunately, our bags were going to take a few hours to arrive.

Thursday evening, Mummy had arranged for us to go to a special Princesses and Pirates party at the Magic Kingdom. Our little ones were dressed up in their costumes for the party, and we got on the monorail and headed to the Magic Kingdom. Oh, oh, there it is! Cinderella’s Castle!

We went on a few rides. First was “It’s a Small World”, and then “Pirates of the Caribbean”. The kids had a blast finding the ‘X’ spots where they would find their gold encased chocolate treasure coins. The evening ended with a parade of characters, and an incredible fireworks show. These pictures are from the next night because I wasn’t happy with the ones I took without a tripod. In fact, I didn’t have my tripod with me, so on Saturday afternoon I took a taxi to a nearby Walmart and bought one. What a difference it makes in low-light conditions.

It had been a very long, and very exciting day, and the little ones were starting to fade, so we left the Magic Kingdom knowing that we’d be returning the next morning.

Friday Morning:

After a great sleep, we had a good breakfast and headed for the MGM Studios Park. My son and I were very excited about the “Star Tours” ride inspired by Star Wars. We walked straight into the ride, thanks to my wife’s superb planning and ability to somehow get a complete stranger to offer us his 4 fast pass tickets. The ride was awesome, and we left wondering how that robot pilot ever got his license to fly a ship.

We headed back before noon to the Magic Kingdom so that we could dine with Cinderella and the other princesses in the Castle. That was great. I was particularly impressed with Princess Jasmine ;) The kids’ autograph books were filling up fast!

After lunch in the Castle, we explored more of the Magic Kingdom, and went on a great ride called Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. We rode around in 2 person spaceships and had to use our laser guns to hit Zurg targets. You got points for every target you hit.
Mummy won that round!

After some more rides and exploring, we headed back to our hotel room by boat for a rest and to prepare for a special dinner. We were going to be eating while being entertained by dancers at the Spirit of Aloha show.

Saturday was to be our last full day on the Resort, and we had some special visitors coming. My wife’s brother and his wife and 3 daughters were driving from Ontario and were due to arrive at our resort in the morning. So we spent the afternoon with them by the pool enjoying the sunshine and the beach. They left around 4pm and we had dinner and started getting ready for our visit to Epcot!

more to come later…