Our first Disney World family vacation took months of planning. I honestly felt like a kid counting down the days until Christmas waiting for our departure day. I loved logging into our Disney account and seeing the countdown ticker!
Finally the big day was here! We headed to the Nashville airport that Saturday morning shortly after 7 for our 9:50 a.m. flight and just a few hours later we touched down in Orlando. Here are some of the highlights of day one of our amazing, and honestly ya’ll not so restful trip, but it was so worth it!
I love a parade! Hey Genie from Aladdin bids I’m still waiting for you to grant my wish – a lifetime supply of margaritas.
Day 1 – All Star Movies
We arrived in Orlando about 1:30 in the afternoon. If we could have just parachuted directly down to the Magic Kingdom I think the girls would have been up for it, they were so pumped about arriving. Despite all my OCD planning for this trip, I somehow missed making reservations for the free bus transportation from the Orlando airport to All Star Movies Resort via Disney’s Magical Express until a few days earlier so we had to jump in a quick line to pick up our passes. But that was just caused a few minutes delay. We were on our way!
We’re here! Ready to head to the Magic Kingdom our first afternoon.
We loved All Star Movies resort. Because I had booked our package during the free dining plan special promo we had a “preferred” room location in the 101 Dalmations Resort, which meant it was close to the main lobby building and cafeteria (which was absolute mayhem every morning with people getting free coffee, but I digress). The theming was fantastic and bright and full on Disney. I had second thoughts, albeit briefly, about the location late at night because we were the last bus stop in the resort area and for that reason I would consider booking a different hotel, such as All Star Sports. I have to admit that late at night I gazed longingly at the Coronado Springs Resort (a moderate level resort that I had considered booking) as it was the first hotel we passed by as we headed home every night. But if you are looking for a fun resort as a base camp for visiting the parks, you can’t go wrong with All Star Movies. I was very pleased overall and most importantly the girls LOVED it!
The fun details at All Star Movies are unforgettable!
On our way to catch the bus to the Magic Kingdom!
The bus waits for the parks each day were not bad at all, since buses run every 20 minutes, and we were on our way to the Magic Kingdom around 3 that afternoon. I have to say that between it being a Saturday AND the park having special extended magic hours, it was absolute insanity but then I knew it would be.
First glimpse of Cinderella’s Castle.
By the time we got into the park it was after 4 and we were all starving since we had been traveling through lunch time and let’s face it, the peanuts and pretzels on the plane don’t cut it as a true snack. I’d packed snacks, too, but we were still starving. We lucked up when we headed into Tony’s on Town Square, a lovely Italian restaurant based on the classic Lady and the Tramp movie, one of our favorite Disney flicks! I had actually tried to make online dinner reservations for Tony’s in December and couldn’t get anything early so I was pleasantly surprised when we only had a 15-minute wait at just before 5 p.m.! This was a great way to start our Disney experience. So, lesson learned…if you don’t have reservations for a sit-down table restaurant, it’s still worth checking on, especially if you eat at an earlier hour. Thumbs up for the food and service at Tony’s. It was so nice to sit down at relax after a day of travel before heading into the park.
The girls pose in front of the fun Lady and the Tramp fountain, which is located in the center of Tony’s.
We headed to the Haunted Mansion for our first ride and it was perfect timing because by the time we snaked through the line (which was 30 minutes but went by quickly), it was dusk. I have to say this was one of my favorite rides and the girls loved it! Miss A was a little scared, but not so much that she didn’t enjoy it.
A color-boosted view (thanks to Picnik) of the Haunted Mansion as we approached the entrance.
We rode a few more rides in Tomorrowland after learning that Pirates of the Caribbean was temporarily shut down for the evening (but we’d hit it later in our trip.) I bought a Christmas ornament in one of the gift shops, which is something I try to do on every family vacation, and then we hustled to find a good spot for watching the Wishes fireworks show, which was easier said than done. Honestly since we’d just arrived late that afternoon we didn’t want to stake out a spot for an hour so we just waited til the last minute and it was fine. Although the Magic Kingdom was open until midnight, we headed back to the resort by 10 so we could crash and get ready for our first full day at the Animal Kingdom and a character theme breakfast at Tusker House that I highly recommend! Great characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and, most importantly for us parental types, awesome food. But more on that in my next Disney World post.