What will follow in the next few days is a day-by-day diary of our wonderful trip to WDW last week on our belated 5th anniversary trip. The "C:" is Christian's entries, the "S:" is mine.
Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006
C: Whew. We made it. The travel went mostly without incident. The alarm rang at 5:30, and we stumbled out of bed. Rich and Shelly were nice enough to drive us to the airport. Unfortunately, after grabbing the boarding passes out of Suzy’s purse, I didn’t zip it closed and when she swung it ‘round, her Treo cell phone fell out onto the floor, pieces skittering in all directions. I quickly put it back together, but alas the screen now had a giant diagonal crack going through the middle of it, and the “touch screen” function was damaged so that only parts of the screen could be clicked on…Oy. We did enjoy a healthy breakfast of Wendy’s sausage muffins.
S: We then bought 4 magazines and 5 books for reading material. I’ve apparently been out of the book loop for a while as I had NO IDEA that Susannah Clarke and Jasper Fforde each had new books. The downside is that we now have to schlep the books around. One thing we learned was that we should always print our boarding passes at home from the internet. We got our boarding pass for “Group C” which boards after groups A and B, each of which have around 50 people. So we were forced to squeeze into the second to last row for flight #1 from Seattle to Chicago. If we ever manage to sleep on a flight, the heavens will crack open and pour down manna. And everyone needs to take a shower and wear clean clothes when they board a plan. The androgynous girl next to us had obviously not changed her enormous men’s jeans in weeks and she smelled faintly of poo. Yay.
C: After a lunch of hot dogs in Chicago (S: With neon green relish! Hooray for regional cuisine), we parked in the “B Group” line for the hour wait before boarding. We were miraculously rewarded with seats in the second row, thank God, as getting off at the end of the disembarkation process is very traumatic for me. All went well and we enjoyed watching Spinal Tap, while excited Disney World-bound children kicked the back of our seats (S: over, and over and over).
Our triumphant arrival in Orlando came some 12 hours later (3 hours added for the time change). We were supposed to use the “Magical Express” service to take us to the Animal Kingdom Hotel, but after asking two different people in the airport for directions, we were getting frustrated. But we pressed on and by the third person we were able to find it, in another concourse at the very end of the (very long) hallway. Suzy was ready to call a cab, but I wasn’t about to blow $30+ bucks when the Magical Express was already paid for in our package. So a 30 minute bus ride and inspirational video later...
S: which is what FINALLY pushed me over into intolerable excitement, we were dropped off at the AKL, and oh heavens, it is so beautiful!
C: And lush and dramatic. The main lobby is an amazingly gorgeous slice of Africa, especially beautiful at night, due to the muted light from the Masai warrior shield light fixtures. We were upgraded from 3rd floor pool view to 4th floor Savanna view, which was a pleasant shock, and utterly unexpected. The only down size is that the room is at the very end of one of the enormous “octopus” arms of the hotel, so it’s a bit of a hike from the lobby, but we’ll be in walkin’ shape by the end of the week.
S: When we got our room assignment, I could see us in a few days, sobbing and weeping from exhaustion, footsore and weary, stumbling to our distant room, but it’s really not such a bad walk. We also have already seen a giant giraffe and big-horned cattle ambling by in the night! It’s actually a smoking room, but surprisingly not that stinky. There’s a faint whiff of smoke but the view is worth it. Man, seeing a giraffe amble out of the trees not 30 feet below you and no fence to peer over was just astonishing. And thus ended our first day of vacation, with the giraffes and zebras and Watusi cattle lowing outside of our room.