Monday, April 19, 2010

Disney World, Florida – Had a Blast – Part 1

Took some time off last week and my wife and I went down to spend a few days at Disney World in Florida. We stayed in the park at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and had a little more than 3 days to enjoy all of the parks and attractions; however, it was not nearly enough time to do everything. To say that we had an absolute blast is a total understatement.

First view of the Grand Floridian when you enter the grounds:

We have been to Disneyland and the California Adventure Park in Anaheim a few times over the past few years with our nephew and it’s always been fun. When we look back to going to Disney World as kids we realized that it really is a “magical” place.  Now, we don’t have kids ourselves, so this was a chance for us to become kids again, for just a little while; besides, we weren’t the only childless adults there.

Below is part one of a review and some suggestions if you’re planning on heading there yourself. Now, since this is a photo blog I’ll also provide some photography advice.

Getting There:

Getting there obviously depends on where you’re coming from. We live in Southern Ontario, but decided to fly out of Buffalo since it was infinitely cheaper than flying out of Toronto, and immigration at the border by car is infinitely easier than the lengthy lines at the Toronto airport.

Once you arrive in Orlando you have to make your way to the Disney Reception area to board the Magical Express which will take you to your resort hotel. This is your first encounter with Disney's "Cast Members" (they don't call them employees). You'll notice a big difference in their attitude towards guests. Disney's "guest experience" is their number one priority, and it shows.

Next, you will line up and wait to board the Magical Express bus designated for your resort. This took some time as there were approximately 350 - 500 guests there already waiting. Disney World is a busy place and you’re going to wait for things so bring some patience with you.

You have the option of having Disney collecting your luggage for you and having it magically appear in your room after you arrive. If you have ever been on a cruise it’s pretty much the same thing. However, many reviews have indicated that it could take up to 3 hours after you check in to receive your luggage. So, if you choose this option and need a change of clothes or something else right away, be sure to pack it in your carry-on bag. We opted to pick up our luggage from the baggage claim and take it ourselves. This way we were sure that our luggage 1) arrived, and 2) made it to our room with us. There were a few others who were doing the same thing, too.

The ride to the resorts from the airport was approximately 35-40 minutes; however, we were treated to an entertaining welcome video and our driver was quite friendly and interactive. Our bus was making stops at a few resorts and the Grand Floridian was the second stop.

View from the poolside:

Checking in at the Grand Floridian was probably the fastest check-in we have ever done, anywhere! One tip though, complete the online check-in prior to arrival as this is what saved us a lot of time. From the time we stepped off the bus to the time were had our room keys was less than 5 minutes; 10 minutes after that we were in our room and getting changed and then heading out to grab some lunch.

View from our balcony:

We were finally there and looking forward to spending some time at the parks.

Drop back here later for a review of the parks which is where I’ll also have some photo advice.


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