When we booked our cruise through Disney, we were a little nervous about booking our flights as part of the package because we knew we would not be able to pick out our own flights (control freaks over here!). However, at 45 days out, we were happy to find that our flights were scheduled pretty much as we would have done for ourselves. We had decided to fly into Orlando a day early to avoid any possible flight delays that might make us miss our cruise (gasp!). Our flight left Little Rock at 6:55a and arrived via Memphis in Orlando at 12:00n. We flew on Delta. Craig claims that he’s never had a Delta flight that wasn’t delayed, but everything ran on time for us this day.
When we arrived in Orlando, we didn’t have to stop to get our checked luggage. Because we booked our air together with our cruise, we also got automatic luggage handling and ground transport. And, the flight costs were about 1/4 of what they would have been if we booked the flights ourselves! So, we headed straight for the Disney Express station in the airport where we were routed onto the appropriate motor coach and delivered straight to our resort, Disney’s Pop Century. Pop Century is a budget-level hotel, but the rooms are very nice and clean, and the kids love all the over-sized decor around the budget resorts. Very family friendly, and how much time are you really going to spend in your room, anyway?
Again, no hauling luggage. We hopped off the bus and I headed straight toward check in while Craig and the kids looked around a bit. Check in was very simple and straightforward, except for when the man behind the counter said, “And I see that you have two-day park-hopper passes for your family.”
I said, “Um, we do?” We hadn’t purchased park passes, and had never seen anything in our online account saying it was part of our cruise package. Two day park hoppers for two kids and two adults costs over $900, so I was thinking this was probably a charge I would have noticed. The registration guy sent me down to the concierge.
The concierge assured me that there were no additional charges for the passes. “You must have bought them with your cruise package. The passes say DCL (Disney Cruise Lines) on them,” she said. So she printed me a confirmation for the passes and we headed to our room.
TIP: At first I was impressed that we had a second level room right over the pool. But, when it got to be 10pm and there were still people yelling and screaming (joyously) in the pool, it was not so great. There were also a very loud group of early morning swimmers that had both our kids concerned about “what the heck is going on out there?”. So, if you’re a light sleeper, request a room on the back side of the buildings near the pool.
Once we reached our room, Craig headed to the food court to fetch lunch while I called Disney Cruise Lines to check on those mystery park hopper passes. Craig came back with two salads and a kid’s meal for C&C to split – total cost: $20.
TIP: Kids meals at the food court cost $4.99 and include a main entree (pizza, sandwich, etc) a drink (milk, water, or juice), and two sides (grapes, baby carrots, or applesauce). Not too bad, especially when compared to a $4 al a carte yoplait yogurt!
Disney Magic Moment of the Day: The DCL rep that I talked to on the phone said, “I don’t see any park passes listed on your account. Confirm with the concierge that the passes are on your ‘key to the world’ and have a magical day at the park!”
So, after a lunch and a nice nap, our luggage showed up. We tossed it in our room and headed out to the Magic Kingdom to ride a few rides and enjoy the Wishes fireworks show. We stopped in at guest services, where we met up with some friends of ours who live in Orlando and work for Disney (and had so awesomely offered to get us into the park for free before our mystery passes happened). C&C each picked up a free Disney Button, and we saw the Celebrate! parade go by and head down main street.
Then, we rode Aladdin, the Jungle Cruise (where Carina got to help drive the boat!), Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World (my personal all-time favorite), the carousel, and the grand finale: our Dumbo ride took off just as the fireworks show started. Apparently Carina was astounded, and Craig really enjoyed experiencing that with her. Meanwhile, Callen clung fearfully to the joystick in our Dumbo as he screamed that he didn’t want any more “boom flowers” (his word for fireworks). We also ate dinner at Pinocchio’s Village House. Not fantastic food, but enough calories to get us through the rest of the evening.
Following the fireworks, we headed back to the resort and straight to bed, where C&C had a rolicking good round of “oops I bumped my head on the headboard and it is so funny I will do it again and again and again” before passing out.
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