Family Ties · Long Winding Road

The Big Family Disney Vacation: A Retrospective (part 1)

As I previously mentioned, we recent went on a Big Family Disney Vacation (BFDV). My mom and dad, my sister, my niece, my husband, and I had some fun in the sun in Florida and the Bahamas. The trip was primarily a celebration of my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary – this has been their dream trip for as long as I can remember, something they saved up for and planned and paid for. We are so fortunate to have been treated to such a fantastic trip.

In the months leading up to the trip, whenever we discussed it with people, we got mixed reactions. Some people were decided Disney fans who were so excited to hear our plans and share their advice and experiences. Some people looked at us with one eyebrow raised and said with trepidation, “Are you excited?” For our part, we weren’t necessarily super-excited about the Disney part of it, but we were delighted to be going on an all-expenses-paid trip to Florida and cruise in the Caribbean.

My folks, sister, and niece went out two days before we did and visited the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Dave and I had both been to the main parks before, and they got a really cheap flight out by going on the day they went, so it worked out well. We drove from our house to my in-laws’ house (3 hours east) to drop the dogs with them for the week and have lunch with them, then back 2 hours west to the airport. We landed on a Saturday evening and took a really expensive cab ride to Disney’s Polynesian Resort, where the others had been for the two previous days. Dude – high security at these places. Our cab was stopped at the gate to the resort, where a guard checked our name against the list of people due to check in that night. When we arrived at the front of the main building, there were people waiting for us who already knew our names. The whole effect of this was simultaneously welcoming and bizzaro to me. On the one hand, how nice to step out of a cab and hear, “Aloha, Mr. and Mrs. Alluisi!” and having someone walk you straight to the check-in desk so you don’t have to go search for it yourself. On the other hand, the security at the gate feels designed to keep the inferior (read: not wealthy enough to stay here) riff-raff out, an attitude that bugs me a bit, and the forced “Have a magical stay!” was just a bit sickly sweet for me. But our check-in person was really, really nice, making sure we knew what to do with our luggage and when to meet our bus for the cruise the next day.

View from our room, right across the lagoon to the Magic Kingdom.

We finally found our way to our room (the different lodges at this resort are not at all marked well, making it very difficult to navigate on your own in the dark). I noted that there were lots of crumbs and trash in the hallway leading to our room, to which I didn’t really give much thought (kids, you know how they are) until it was all still there – the same crumbs and trash – the next morning. Anyway, after putting our stuff down in a perfectly lovely room, we went to meet up with the family (staying in adjoining rooms in the same building), and we had a view of the lagoon between the resort and the Magic Kingdom, so we got to watch the fireworks show over the water from their balconies. That was pretty cool. After a short visit and the fireworks, we were quite tired and hungry, so we went back to our room and order room service dinner. We got fast service and pretty good food, though quite overpriced, but that’s going to be the case in just about any hotel. And then we prepared as much as possible for the cruise departure the next day – we had to have our luggage ready to be picked up by 8:00 am, everything except our essentials/day bags – and went to bed exhausted. Too bad the stupid steamboats the truck people back and forth across the lagoon blew their horns late into the night and very early the next morning. *sigh*

Duckly visitors

We woke up the next morning to a gorgeous day with a gorgeous view, but we were in a hurry to shower and do final packing before the 8:00 luggage call, so we didn’t really check it out until after that. I opened the patio door to take some pictures, and we were assaulted by two ducks. Quack! I fled the patio, but took pictures through sliding glass door of the ducks and then the Magic Kingdom across the lagoon. We met up with the fam for breakfast at the quick-serve restaurant, went back to the rooms to grab our day bags, and then headed back to the main lobby to wait for the bus that would take us to the port from which the Disney Dream would leave. The niece made friends with two little girls from Canada before we even got on the bus. We boarded the bus – which had adorable window decals to make the windows look like portholes – and we were off for the coast.

To be continued…

On the bus to the Disney Dream
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