You know sometimes you have a plan for something in your head? You’ve done everything you can to make the plan work. You’ve done all the research, made sure you know what to do and all that’s left is to let it all unroll? In my experience, it usually all goes wrong from there, or at least part of it does.
Our journey to Disney World this year though went perfectly. Even better than I could have hoped. Sometimes the planning does pay off.
Usually we drive to the airport, whichever one it happens to be, but this year, our lovely neighbour Helena offered to take us as we were flying from our local. It did mean she had to get up horribly early, so Helena – a huge thank you from both of us.
Once at the airport we were the third party to be checked in by United Airlines so then had plenty of time to go and have a coffee at Caffe Nero before ambling upstairs and through security. From entering security to walking out of the other side took two minutes so not bad considering we’ve spent an hour doing the same at Gatwick.
It wasn’t long before we boarded and we were off. I find the seats on United have plenty of room, even in Economy so the flight was pleasant enough. I enjoy flying especially the take off. I love watching everything outside get smaller and smaller. The food onboard was fine. I’d go so far as to say tasty. Any airline that gives you Lily O’Brien’s chocolates can’t be bad at all.
We landed slightly ahead of time at New York and had an easy transition through security there. I had a chat about bagels and tea and crumpets with the TSA chap. As you do. We had a snack from Dunkin donuts in the departure lounge as there wasn’t a meal service on our second flight. I couldn’t resist a Red Velvet Drizzle doughnut to follow my wrap. Well, it looked pretty…
Our second plane wasn’t quite as nice as the first but it was a shorter flight, and the pilot really got his foot down and got us here in just over two hours. Then all we had to do was hop on the shuttle and stroll to baggage claim. So much easier than having to do security in Orlando.
Then the really fun part started. Off to the Magical Express registration desk we went and it felt like we were at Disney already. We were given our paperwork and were directed to the ‘big Mickeys’ to check in for our coach. We had to sit on the coach for about 25 mins before it set off but that’s expected. It just had one other drop besides ours so we were soon at The Beach Club, were ‘Welcomed Home’, and were collecting our Magic Bands.
I’ve been looking forward to this new technology ever since I read about it. A wrist band that you use to open your door, get into the parks, pay at Disney shops/carts, and Fastpass onto rides.
I’d done online check-in so picking up our bands and getting our room number didn’t take long. We just needed to confirm that our order from Garden Grocer had arrived and ask for it to be brought up. Oh, and I asked for some sliders for our bands as I’d heard they were giving them out at reception if you asked as sometimes the bands can come detached. The sliders are tiny ones with the date on so look quite cute. I may be visiting the shop for some accessories to decorate my band too.
First test was getting into our room. One tap of my band on the door sensor and it flashed green and I was in. Fantastic. The groceries arrived a couple of minutes later and ten minutes after that we were out the door and on our way to Epcot. This was at 7.30pm and we’d now been up for about 20 hours. We’d both napped on the plane but were a little tired. What we needed though was to stretch our legs after being cooped up all day.
The next test of the band was to see if we could get our Annual pass voucher successfully de-linked from our bands and get our passes, which we were now collecting, linked. That went like a dream and we then used our bands to enter Epcot.
(I’d had to link the vouchers in order to have a ticket on the bands so I could make FastPass+. Sometimes a little knowledge is a complicated thing)
So far, so good. Oh it was wonderful to be back in Epcot. The smells from the Food and Wine festival carts as we walked down and the snatches of music we could hear were all so familiar and brought huge grins to our faces. (well, more huge than they already were, I suppose)
What I quite like so far, about this Fastpass+ and Magic Band malarkey, is being able to book the Fastpasses in advance. One thing we’ve never done before is got on Soarin without either getting there at rope drop or getting a FP and waiting a good while. You can’t just walk into the park and ride it. Unless you happen to have booked a FP+ a week before and have it on your Magic Band, that is. I wasn’t actually convinced it was going to work, despite the fact that the rest of the day had gone so well until that Mickey head turned green at the Soarin entrance. We all let out a huge Whoop – me, Stephen and the cast member who knew it was our first time using FP+.
A few minutes later I was sitting on my favourite ride in Epcot with a mahoosive grin on my face. I love Soarin. Fantastic! After that we strolled back up through Epcot while the fireworks were going off and got a snack and our reusable mugs from the Beach Club shop. All paid for with a tap of my Magic Band. Yes, I was really getting into this ‘one tap and it’s done’ thing by now.
I’m not sure what to call that meal. We’d been up so long I think it may have been breakfast that’d come around again. It was nice anyway. I had something light due to the hour, even though I was hungry. Tomato Bisque with saltine crackers. Very yummy. Amazingly I even had enough energy after that to unpack before falling into bed at 10.30.
That had to be the best travel day ever. I don’t know what I’ll think about the new technology by the end of the trip but so far I’m liking it a lot. Especially the wi-fi that means I can sit in bed to type this instead of being tethered to the desk.
I fear I may be a little weary later. I pinged awake at 1.30 this morning , after only three hours sleep as that would be 6.30am UK time and my body clock obviously thought that was quite late enough. I did manage to go back to sleep but by 4.30, which is when I gave up and started typing this, I was definitely awake. I may need a nap later.
We don’t have a definite plan for today although the Food and Wine festival will feature later as we have FP+ for this evening in Epcot. I’ll be back later with details and with photos this time.