Day 1 actually started on Day, uh, -1, when Patrick drove me to the airport for my overnight flight.
I was set to sleep on the plane—all showered and snuggly in my virtual jammies (which is to say that I was wearing sloppy clothes that were as comfy as PJs, not that I was wearing holographic PJs…)
I got pretty sad when Patrick dropped me off. Even though I’d only be gone 4 days, it was going to be the longest we’d been apart since we’d been married. Only the thought of the inordinate amounts of cake I planned to eat on the trip pulled me through!
The plan was to sleep on the plane from about 10:30pm to 2:30am PDT (a.k.a., 5:30am EDT) when we began the descent into Orlando. I had no trouble falling asleep as soon as we were airborne, but after about 45 minutes something caught my ear and I was dragged back to consciousness as excited thoughts and plans for my big day out with my Orlando pal Jensey tumbled into my head. So then I was kinda freaked out that I would be a mess all day because I hadn’t slept enough. Even worse, I was awake to experience the woman in the seat in front of me tooting her way across the country!
When we finally landed in Orlando, I felt surprisingly awake. I took waaaaay too many photos to document the momentous occasion of my arrival (this is when I first realized that juggling an iPhone camera to live blog and a real one for the trip report was gonna be tricky.)
I was trying to capture the Eighties Fabulous décor in the Delta terminal’s peoplemover boarding area—the place was ablaze with giant vanity mirror-style light bulbs. Instead you get this:
The maddening challenge of squeezing 4 days’ worth of toiletries into a quart-sized zip-top bag paid off as I sailed by the baggage claim and went straight to Alamo’s car rental kiosks to get my car.
I stood at the counter and hollered into the open doorway “Halloooooooo?” to which I got a very cranky “Whaddyou need?” when someone eventually emerged. So apparently the counter agents don’t get rolling til 6am and somebody else puts up “proceed to counter” signs on the kiosks sometime in the night. What happens if you get in before 6? At any rate, the guy warmed up eventually, and I actually got out to the garage in less time and with fewer steps than I do at the kiosk, which is programmed to bore you into spending extra money on the rental with an unending stream of questions (“Would you like extra collision insurance?” “Would you like extra-super collision insurance?” “Would you like extra-super-duper collision insurance with a cherry on top?” “How about a full tank of gas?” “A car wash?” “Fuzzy dice?” etc.)
I had three choices in the Cheapo Econo section of Alamo’s garage. I went for the cute little blue hatchback that reminded me of Patrick’s Matrix. Unfortunately, when I started it, a very scary warning light came on and wouldn’t go out. Sure, it was probably the “low air freshener” warning, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
Unfortunately, this left me with two choices: Clementine and her albino twin!
I think it may actually have been the very same car we got three months earlier on our anniversary trip. And, as you may recall, that one had No (power) Windows and No (power) Door(locks)!!!
So I did a bad thing. I turned my back on the Cheapo Econo section and took two paces over to the Slightly Less Cheapo Econo section. There I selected a navy blue Ford Focus with delusions of grandeur (leather seats, Sirius satellite radio, light-up cupholders—I wasn’t fooled. It was still a glorified golf cart!) I decided she was the type of car who had a very plain name that she insisted on pronouncing unusually. Like Deborah pronounced “D’BORah”…
OK, we’re not even to Disney yet! Sorry!
So the trip to Walt Disney World down 417 was smooth sailing at 6:30am. I think it took me 20 minutes, and that’s only cuz I’d heard there was construction on Osceola Parkway, so I had to take the long way around (World Drive).
I’d been worried about two things: 1) that check-in would take forever because I hadn’t been able to log on and check in online, and 2) that Pop wouldn’t have a room ready that early and I’d have to go wake up my pals the Roots in Celebration so I could crash on their couch (or, more likely, lie there as their dog Huck excitedly and repeatedly alerted them to the presence of a strange woman on the couch).
Fortunately, there was no one else in the lobby, and I checked in easily. There were no rooms ready in my preferred section, ’50s, so I took a room on the top floor of the ’80s building, overlooking the computer-shaped pool (that means it’s a rectangle!). I know some people like the ’80s section cuz it’s relatively close to parking, but the parking is a long way from the lobby. I think I’m still a ’50s fan: It’s close to parking AND the main hall.
But the cool part was that I had a welcome bag waiting for me!!! If you spend any time on reading about weddings, you will know that welcome bags are a Big Deal for brides, who spend hours collecting and assembling thoughtful gift items to make their wedding guests comfortable. Unfortunately, you’ll often hear that either the resort screws up and the bags never get to the guests or the guests get them and kinda ignore all the effort that went into them. So when I found out that DIS bride Lori (who was getting married that day!) had gone to all the trouble to make one for me, I was bound and determined to use and appreciate everything in it. Also, it was thanks to her including a large-size sunscreen and body lotion that I was able to travel with just carry-on luggage, so I was doubly grateful!
I grabbed my bag o’ loot and drove over to the ’80s building.
My wing of the ‘80s building was blessedly quiet that early in the morning. But I was too excited to fall straight into bed. First I had to take a ton of room pix (you know, in case someone doesn’t know what a motel room looks like!).
I am going to apologize now for how out-of-focus most of my shots are on this trip. I always thought “point and shoot” meant, you know, point and shoot! But apparently you have to hold the camera really still when you do this. Who knew? … I mean besides my husband …
Then I sat down and rifled through my loot bag. In addition to the toiletries, I got some lovely New York City Disney shwag (because Lori and her husband live in NYC): two pins, a Minnie Liberty pen, a vintage Donald key chain, a lined journal (this is very cool because I am always on the lookout for my next journal, and I have trouble finding good ones that have pages with lines on them), and a bag of chocolate doubloons –er, coins. Plus, the bag is supercute! Thanks, Lori!
Finally I made myself lie down in my nap bed (I had two beds – why not designate one for napping and one for real sleeping?) even though I still didn’t feel tired. I turned on the Ambience app on my iPhone, which is a sound machine with a bazillion different clips. I only have a rain one, and it was all I needed….