Trip Report January 2016 – Day 1
Our January Walt Disney World trip is one of those you start planning a few years in advance and have a lot to look forward to. It was a long and winding route to end up at the trip we’re taking, but all things happen for a reason.
I’m going to attempt a live trip report for the first time. [This is already live-ish!] I hope to share some trip planning tidbits that don’t land in their own blog post with a few photos along the way. I apologize for typos, I have a new laptop and am not used to this keyboard.
This trip had the best start to any trip we have taken in the last 10 years. I finally learned a packing secret that is so obvious I don’t know why I’ve never done it before. I’ve always had a large selection of travel size toiletries which helps with luggage weight and space. After our last trip, I refilled all the refillable bottles and replaced anything that ran out. Instead of putting these away, I kept them individually sealed in a ziploc (serious lifesaver for air travel leaks!) and in my suitcase. This cut my packing time in half. From now on, my suitcase will be half packed and ready for our next adventure!
Indianapolis airport is well designed and we always have a smooth airport experience. The airport was not busy today, whether because of the low travel season or all the cancelled flights from the East coast, I don’t know. We are TSA Pre-Check, which has been absoultely worth the cost. It’s as close to a security experience pre-9-11 that you can get.
We brought a car seat for the first time. Car seats do not fit through the bag scanner, so they have to be hand inspected by a TSA agent. Although you can check a car seat at the counter, we gate checked it to minimize handling and possible damage. The wheeled car seat bag we used was a great place to stash our jackets to save space on the plane.
Our flight was exceptionally short, and we landed a full 20 minutes early. To get three adults and one infant through the airport, it took 40 minutes from landing to arriving at Magical Express. We waited 7 minutes to get on a bus, then 18 minutes for the bus to leave. We stopped at the Polynesian Village first, then arrived at the Grand Floridian at 4:20. From landing to arriving at our hotel was 1 hr 40 minutes, which is longer than typical for us.
A 3 pm arrival flight is perhaps my favorite arrival time. Unless you live far across the US or far away from an airport, it’s not a really early morning to get to your flight. When you arrive, you room will be ready and it’s just about time for dinner. While you’re out to dinner, your yellow tagged bags should be delivered to your room and ready for you to end the night. Travel days can be exhausting, and while our day was exhausting it was much less so than other arrivals.
We completed Online Check-In and received our room number via text before we arrived. We went straight to our room and our Magic Bands all opened the door. However, we later discovered our credit card was not properly linked, which is should be to skip the front desk check-in. This also happened on our recent November trip, but a lot went wrong that time so I thought it was just the reservation. When we went to fix it, it sounds like this happens frequently. Given our experiences, I would use the expedited check-in (skipping the front desk) with caution.
After settling in, we hopped on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. We had Seven Dwarf Mine Train Fastpasses, and also utilized Child Swap. All three adults had Fastpasses. The first two adults rode with their Fastpasses and got a Child Swap pass. After that ride, the third adult with a Fastpass rode and one of the adults from the first group rode a second time using the Child Swap pass. This was a great way to experience a ride with a height restriction, but without anyone riding alone. The baby and extra adult waiting outside the ride.
The sun was going down by this time and an already cold day was turning even colder. Cosmic Ray’s beckoned with warm indoor seating. Only Bay 1 and 2 were open. My Deluxe Chicken Sandwich was surprisingly tasty, and everyone else enjoyed the Pork BBQ Sandwich.
After dinner, the cold was bitter thanks to a strong wind. We had Peter Pan Fastpasses, but the Fastpass return line was quite long. We had Jungle Cruise Fastpasses coming up soon, so we headed there. Just as we arrived, the ride temporarily went down. We considered this a sign and headed back to the Grand Floridian. On the way out, I saw Princess Aurora next to Town Hall in a nice warm dress with absolutely no one meeting her.
After getting a few groceries and our refillable mugs, we came back to the room and happily found our yellow tagged checked luggage waiting for us inside the door. At 9 pm, Wishes started in the Magic Kingdom. The Electrical Water Pageant started at the Polynesian, but played silently. This is an unfortunate side effect of a 9 pm Wishes. The last time we stayed at the Polynesian in 2011 the music for Wishes and the Electrical Water Pageant played simultaneously so you couldn’t really enjoy either one.