Is there really something for everyone at Walt Disney World® Resort?

Is there really something for everyone at Walt Disney World® Resort (“WDW”)?

Could this possibly be true? I had this idea to put it to the test.

I decided to use some of my family and friends and their widely varying interests to see if I could match them with what I think will interest them at WDW. Some of these people (in particular my immediate family) have been to WDW before and I have therefore used a few of their favorite activities.

First the obviously easily matched.

Wayne, the thrill seeker (and my husband) –   Tried parasailing with Sammy Duvall’s Watersport Centre located behind Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Even I who am terrified of heights tried this and it was AMAZING. There are also a number of rides geared towards thrill seekers such as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® staring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® where you get to take a ride in a stretch limo through 3 inversions and reach speeds of 60 mph.

Parasailing

Justice, the pre-teen gamer (and my son) –   At DisneyQuest® Indoor Interactive Theme Park (at Downtown Disney® Area) he found a 5 story gamer paradise. He also loves Toy Story Midway Mania! (at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®) which puts him in the middle of a midway-style game. I should also mention the resorts on WDW property have arcades in them as well.

Rayne, the little princess –  Princess Fairytale Hall (at Magic Kingdom® Park) is a magical place where she can meet various princesses and have her picture taken with them.  Dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (at Epcot®, World Showcase) is also a wonderful place to meet some princesses as they mingle with diners.

Mairi, the animal lover –  Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park is a whole park dedicated to animals, need I say more!

GorillaLion

Hailey, the artist –   Up until recently I would have suggested Animation Station and Animation Gallery, however, with them scheduled to close soon I’d suggest checking out the amazing artwork at The Art of Disney in Downtown Disney® Area.

Dwayne, the foodie –  SOOOOO many restaurants to satisfy his food cravings but here are a couple of my suggestions:  Boma – Flavors of Africa (at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge) where you can sample selections from over 50 different African countries or Narcoosee’s (at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa) for a mouth watering seafood treat.  I also like to walk around Epcot®, World Showcase and sample all the different cuisines at each country as I go past.  Doing this during Epcot® Food & Wine Festival is an extra special treat.

Photo courtesy of Mary Morales and Disney Food Fans Facebook Page

Desserts from Boma –  Photo courtesy of Mary Morales and Disney Food Fans Facebook Page

 

Ed, the car guy – Test Track® presented by Chevrolet® (at Epcot®) allows him to design his own virtual concept vehicle.  You then get to ride a SIM car around a windy circuit with 50 degree banked curves and reaching up to 65 mph.

Candice, the Star Wars™ geek –  Visit the world of Star Wars™ on a motion-simulated space flight with Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue Attraction or build her own light saber at Tatooine Traders both in Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.

Now for the slightly less obvious.

Victoria, the clothes hound (and my daughter) –  Marketplace Co-op and Tren-D are her favorite places to shop for those unique articles of clothing and are both located at Downtown Disney® Area.

Sharon, the creative crafter –  Disney Design-a-Tee (at Downtown Disney® Area) would be a great place for her to put her creativity to use and design her own custom t-shirt.

Ted, the quiet country lover – Tom Sawyer’s Island (at Magic Kingdom® Park) is a quiet little island you get to by barge and where you can wander across suspension bridges, check out a giant waterwheel at Harper’s Mill or sit an relax in a rocking chair and just people watch.

Harper's Mill

Josh & Kristy, the newlyweds –  Book a reservation at Victoria & Albert’s for a high end romantic dining experience or visit Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for a relaxing massage for two.

Michelle, the nightlife lover –  Visit Atlantic Dance Hall for an evening of non-stop dancing or House of Blues® for amazing live entertainment, but don’t forget in Florida you need to be 21 to legally drink alcohol.

Rob, the sports fanatic –  ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill is a great place to catch a game on one of the many HDTV’s while munching on wings and drinking and beer.

Valerie, the semi-antisocial sun worshiper (and my mother) – She isn’t as enthusiastic as she used to be about the various parks but is more than happy to situate herself in a lounge chair beside the pool at whichever WDW property we are staying at and enjoy the sun, while reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage.

Well, it seems I’ve succeeded in matching everyone with experiences they should enjoy and confirmed something that I’ve always known.  There really is something for everyone at Walt Disney World® Resort.

My Continuing Fitness Journey

How is it that you can wake up one day and suddenly realize you’ve let yourself go.  That is what happened to me.  Pants that had been getting tighter no longer fit at all so I stepped on my enemy, the scale, to realize I was heavier than I have ever been, including when I was pregnant.  Now I know ladies are known for not wanting to say what they weigh but I’ve never understood this.  We are what we are and we should not compare ourselves to anyone else. I was 165 pounds and a size 12.

My giggly self before the 21 Day Fix program

My squishy self before the 21 Day Fix program

I’ve never been thrilled with my body image but neither was I depressed by it.  I just didn’t have the drive to do anything about it.  I was great at making excuses and finding reasons not to put the effort into myself.  As a mother there are always things your kids need or want, whether those things have a monetary value or a time value they still kept me (at least in my mind) from anything close to a health/fitness plan for myself.

When I got married I weighed a mere 112 pounds soaking wet but for years I thought that was how much I was supposed to weigh. How was that possible?  I rarely ate and when I did it was all crap food.  I was also dealing with an ulcer. I may have been skinny but I was far from healthy.

Fast forward to a few years ago I started running and then playing roller derby.  I had set a goal to run the Tower of Terror 10 mile race at Walt Disney World and it kept me focused.  Honestly, any excuse/reason to go to WDW will keep me focused. I soon saw the benefits of those activities in how my clothes fit; however, with the activity came an increased appetite.  I was again eating anything I wanted, whenever I wanted.

My first ever outdoor run for a 10 km race a few years ago.

My first ever outdoor run for a 10 km race a few years ago.

With all that activity it would seem I was on my way to healthy town but my path took a major detour.  I received a severe MCL injury from an awkward hit while playing roller derby and I was sidelined for over 6 months.  I tried to return to activity too soon and made matters worse.  The injury did a nasty number on my psyche too.  After one setback from early activity I was terrified of doing anything more that would re-injure my knee so I did nothing for over a year.

I thought that setting another goal to run a half marathon this year was going to help but without having registered for a particular race it was back to the same old same old procrastination for me. I had been hoping to register for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World but was on a plane when registrations commenced and it was sold out before I landed.

That was quite a list of excuses wasn’t it?  It is time for some accountability.

About a month ago I saw a friend, Michelle, post that she was going to be starting a fitness challenge group.  Maybe having to report in daily would be what I needed so I decided to give it a try.

Michelle is a Beachbody coach and talked to me about what I wanted to accomplish.  She suggested I try the 21 Day Fix with Shakeology.  I’m not normally one to take any type of supplement or meal replacement but figured why not give it a try, it couldn’t hurt. I appreciated that she let me purchase a few samples of flavours before I placed my order so I didn’t order something I could not drink.  I must confess I actually really enjoy the vegan chocolate especially when I add a banana and a little peanut butter.  So yummy and it does wonders for curbing my after dinner munchies craving.

The 21 Day Fix program is not what I consider a diet but more of a portion control meal plan with an exercise program.  Aside from the reduced carbs and missing my large glass of OJ every morning, I haven’t found it hard to follow.  Even when I no longer actively participate in the program I’m sure I will continue to follow the basics of the food plan and in particular pay attention to my portion sizes.  It’s amazing to think what I used to consider a proper portion size was.

The program also comes with 2 DVDs of workouts that are 30 minutes long.  These workouts are planned to cycle through all major muscle groups, while working multiple muscle groups at a time to burn more calories.  The workouts are set up in rounds with varying numbers of exercises within each round but each exercise only lasts a minute at a time with a 15 second break in between.  Easy enough right.  “You can do anything for a minute” is what the instructor, Autumn, keeps reminding us.

I really appreciated that there is a modified version for those of us who aren’t initially up to the intensity of some of the exercises.  I cannot for the life of me do a push up so the fact that there was an allowance for this eased my anxiety of the program.  Don’t get me wrong this program is not a walk in the park.  A minute worth of non-stop burpees or surrenders will get the blood pumping and if you are anything like me make you yell at the instructor on the TV as you tell her where you want her to go for thinking up this particular torture.

I’ve now finished my first round of 21 days and fully intend to do another but I am rather happy with my results to this point.

I have lost 9 pounds and 10 inches total in 21 days.  My legs no longer have that jiggle that continues for minutes after I have stopped and my pants are no longer threatening to split at the seams.

My before and after the 21 Day Fix

My before and after the 21 Day Fix

Another angle of before and after 21 Day Fix

Another angle of before and after 21 Day Fix

I didn’t start writing this blog post with the intention of it being a promotion of the 21 Day Fix but rather a commentary of my journey; however, the program has been a large part of my recent success and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to make a change and is willing to put in the effort to get the results they want.

I fully intend for this lifestyle of clean eating and exercise to be a permanent change and I’m looking forward to the future.

My Disney Dream

A few years ago I remember seeing the posts of the new Disney Parks Moms Panelists during training as they had their pictures taken early one misty morning before Magic Kingdom Park opened to the public and it gave me chills.

Now I dream of what I imagine would be an almost surreal experience of walking down Main Street, U.S.A. towards Cinderella Castle without anyone else around and being able to gaze in wonder and appreciation at one man’s dream and the creativity and talent of so many more who brought it to life.

I dream of having the time and space to absorb all the nuances and layers of imaginering that often go unseen and unnoticed as crowds rush to their favorite attractions during park hours.

I imagine in the peace and tranquility of a misty morning I could almost hear Walt as if a whisper on the breeze saying “If you can dream, you can do it” as I walk under the archway and into Cinderella Caste.

This is my dream and even 30 minutes of it would be the beginning of an absolutely, perfectly, magical day.

Cinderella Castle

 

I Want It All Or Rather to See It All

During March I was very busy travelling for work and spent half of the month away from home.  While I enjoy travelling, 14 days away from my family in one month is more than I could take.

A quick visit to Stanley Park while in Vancouver, BC for the joint NAR/AE Conference.

A quick visit to Stanley Park while in Vancouver, BC for the joint NAR/AE Conference.

Apparently it was more than my family could take too, but not for the reason you would think.  They actually managed quite well without me (aside from a rather large laundry pile).  What they did (and still do) have a problem with is listening to me as I continually talk about where I want to travel to next.

You see, while I was away and stuck in a hotel room by myself I spent a lot of time online researching where I wanted to travel to for my next trip, with my family. The more research I did the more locations I realized I want to visit.

I’m realistic enough to know I’m not going to get to visit them all but that isn’t going to keep me from trying to figure out how to visit as many of as I can.

In that quest I’m currently planning my 20th wedding anniversary trip and still trying to figure out how to afford another trip to Walt Disney World for my daughters 16th birthday.

My anniversary trip planning has had some challenges.  I booked a Disney Cruise but my husband, Wayne, has now said he doesn’t really want to go on a cruise.  I still haven’t cancelled it on the hopes he changes his mind. I planned the cruise so I could run the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and then relax on the cruise a few days later.

Since this trip is for him as well, I suggested a visit to Las Vegas so he could attend the tattoo convention and then we could tack on a few days to Disneyland for its 60th anniversary but the timing just doesn’t seem to be working out for that.

Next I found a wonderful jungle lodge in Costa Rica that seemed perfect but it’s very remote and Wayne doesn’t want to spend 2 days travelling just to get to and from our destination.  He has also said he’d prefer an all-inclusive resort but I just can’t find any I like in Costa Rica that seem true to the magnificent natural surroundings.  I’ve always said I want to experience the culture of where I travel to. I don’t want to stay in just another fancy hotel so now I’m back at square one again. I’m looking for something unique whether that be from the excursions available, location or atmosphere.

Where to go?

Looking forward to another perfect beach sunset.

Looking forward to another perfect beach sunset.

A few of my dream trips would be to Cambodia and Vietnam, Bali, Figi or Madagascar but since Wayne currently won’t go anywhere with a flight longer than 6 hours they are out of the running as well for this next trip.  We does however want to see the Great Wall of China so I have hopes that someday we’ll be able to travel farther together.

Mexico can be nice but we have been there so many times now that I’d like to visit some place different. Roatan, Honduras was beautiful but again I want to see someplace new.

Maybe Brazil, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos or Grenada. At this point who knows where we will end up but I’m having fun researching and driving my family crazy with the discussions on all the options.

An Unexpected Benefit of Running

When I started running I did so knowing I needed to be more active and get healthy.  A sedentary office job was starting to take its toll on my body. I had a lot of aches and pains and had a standing appointment with my massage therapist, Angie, to work out the kinks.  In particular the muscles under and between my shoulder blades were always badly knotted from sitting in one position at a desk typing on my computer all day. I think those muscles are called the Trapezius and Rhomboids but whatever they are called they caused me a great deal of pain on a regular basis.

v2.My back

During the first few weeks of running Angie had to deal with tight muscles in my legs and hips when I showed up for my appointments and didn’t get to spend as much time working on my shoulders as she usually would. Once my body got used to running Angie no longer had to work on my legs and returned to my shoulders but to both our surprises my shoulders were not in nearly as bad a shape as we expected, especially since they had basically been neglected for a few months.

It seems that for me at least, there is an added benefit to running. The motion of pumping my arms as I run also seems to loosen up the stiff muscles in my upper back and shoulders and I couldn’t be happier about this unexpected side effect.

Now if only I could figure out how to pay for my next trip to Walt Disney World for the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon to really stretch out those muscles, life would be almost perfect.

I AM going to run a half marathon this year!

So after a year off from running and roller derby due to a knee injury and life getting in the way I’ve set myself a new goal.  I AM going to run a half marathon this year!  There I’ve said it and put in it writing.  I can’t turn back now.

I haven’t always been the best at keeping fitness goals I set for myself so my thought is that by putting it out there for everyone to see I am forcing myself to stick with it this time.  I know I need to make myself accountable but if the prospect of public embarrassment is what it takes I’ll do it.

I’m lucky enough to be married to my best friend for 20 years this summer and have tentatively booked a Disney cruise to celebrate but I hope to run the Wine and Dine Half Marathon while we are in Florida just before our cruise.

wine-and-dine-logo

Well, now that I have a goal and a date it’s time to get started with the training plan and deal with my 2 biggest excuses.

Firstly, running for me (and many others) is a mental game as much or more than it is a physical game.  In this game I have realized that it doesn’t take much to distract me from my runs so my husband came to my rescue and bought me a treadmill for Christmas.  Why does this help? Because I get bored when I run and then the mind games start.  On the treadmill I can put a movie in the DVD player and lose myself in the story while running.  This means I don’t get bored and want to quit.

Secondly the treadmill is inside.  I know this sounds silly, but to state the obvious, inside means warm.  I truly dislike winter and since I live in Canada winter is long and cold.  With the treadmill I don’t have the excuse that I can’t run because it’s too cold, dark and slippery to run outside.

Well now that I have those excuses defeated I have no reason not to train for a half marathon.

Wish me luck.

I will do it.

Eating Quick-Service at Walt Disney World Resort

Over the years I have purchased most of the different Dining Plans available at Walt Disney World Resort (“WDW”).  I prefer to purchase the Dining Plans because I like to have my costs figured out ahead of time and I don’t want to think about how much I’m spending on each meal.  The great thing about the Dining Plans are all the choices available depending on what style of restaurant you prefer and how many meals a day you want to eat.

With all the different Disney Dining Plans available at WDW the one that I seem to keep returning to is the Quick-Service Dining Plan.  This plan consists of two Quick-Service meals and one snack each day.

Now some people have told me I’m crazy to want to eat “fast food”  for an entire week but these are the people who don’t understand the vast array of options available for Quick-Service at WDW.  I’ve spent entire weeks at WDW and never eaten a single hamburger, which truly amazes some people.

Quick-Service at WDW basically means you eat cafeteria style instead of being waited on.  It has nothing to do with the quality of the food or options offered.

The following is a sample of the Quick-Service meals offered and some of my personal favorites:

Salmon with Couscous and Broccoli from Columbia Harbour House;

photo 2

Photo courtesy of Mary Morales of Disney Food Fans Group on FB.

Beef Udon or Tokyo Sushi Combo from Katsura Grill;

Ginger Chicken Salad from Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes;

Barbeque Pork Sandwich from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café;

Half Rotisserie Chicken from Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café;

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad from Sunshine Seasons.

photo 1

Photo courtesy of Mary Morales of Disney Food Fans Group on FB.

All this choice and no need to figure out and book reservations months ahead of time is why I keep returning to the Quick-Service Dining Plan.

Don’t get me wrong the Table-Service restaurants are fabulous too but after having purchased the Deluxe Dining Plan  a few years ago and booking reservations for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day for a week, it felt like all my family did was run from reservation to reservation.  There was no spontaneity and it was far too scheduled.

With the Quick-Service restaurants you just stop to eat when you are hungry and see something on the menu that looks appealing to you at that moment.  No planning needed.

I still book the occasional Table-Service restaurant for special occasions but am more than happy with the less expensive Quick-Service options and I don’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone who asks.

I Love Disney’s FastPass+

I’ll admit I was skeptical when Disney rolled out its FastPass+ program.  It just seemed like this was one more thing I would have to plan long before we actually arrived at WDW and as much as I like planning for our vacations, my family doesn’t like to have every element of our holidays “scheduled” in advance.

For instance, after purchasing the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan one visit and booking dining reservations for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, it felt like all we did was run from one reservation to the next and it took some of the fun out of the visit for us. Now I only book one or two Table-Service meals per week to avoid the dreaded “schedule”.

If you are staying at a WDW Resort you can book your FastPass+ experiences 60 days in advance of your check-in date and if you have purchased advance tickets (without a WDW Resort stay) you can book FastPass+ experiences 30 days in advance of your use date.

photo

From either your computer or your smart phone you can access the My Disney Experience web page or App to set up your FastPass+ experiences. You select 3 choices from the available attractions and the system will provide you with a number of time slot options for you to select from. It’s so easy.

photo 2

I liked the fact that for most experiences you get a one hour time slot and not just a specific time.  This one hour time slot provides a lot more flexibility to arrive at the attraction at a time that works for you within the hour window.

The hardest part about the whole process was deciding which 3 attractions/experiences are your favorites that you want to guarantee a time slot for.   We have a few must do’s every vacation that do not normally have very long lines so we decided to forgo using FastPass+ on those rides and used them for the rides that traditionally have longer lines (such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Toy Story Midway Mania)  so we didn’t have to wait as long.

photo 4

When all was said and done I loved the FastPass+ system and being able to book 3 attractions ahead of time.  I hadn’t realized before this trip just how much my family likes to sleep in.  We aren’t early risers.  We would much rather sleep in and then stay at the Parks until they close.  Under the old system, by not getting to the Parks early we were often too late to get a FastPass for our favorite attractions and would just have to wait in line.  The new system shortened our overall wait time immensely.  I loved it and can’t wait to use it again.

Why I love Disney PhotoPass Photo Books

Photobook covers

Before I get into why I love Disney PhotoPass Photo Books to show my #DisneySide, let’s start with some basics in case you are unfamiliar with the Disney PhotoPass service.  Here is a quick summary.

As you wander around Walt Disney World, Disneyland, ESPN Wide World of Sports or even Aulani you may see photographers (often wearing a tan vest) with camera in hand or on a tripod and wearing an official name tag.  These are Disney PhotoPass Photographers who can take your picture when asked and then scan it onto either a PhotoPass Card or your MagicBand.

To claim your photos after your holiday is over, you will need to create an online account for Disney PhotoPass Service then enter the code from your PhotoPass Card or MagicBand to retrieve your photos.  Once you have retrieved your photos you can edit them with the multitude of options available for customization including stickers, borders and graphics.

As a word of warning, if you don’t purchase the photos taken by the Disney PhotoPass Photographers they will expire 45 days after they are taken so if you plan to use any of their photos in your Photo Book you need to create it within this time frame.

Disney offers a Memory Maker product for $199 that provides digital copies of all photos taken by their photographers and scanned to your PhotoPass Card or Magic Band.  Memory Maker can be purchased more than 3 days before your trip, at a reduced rate of $169.  Memory Maker appeals to many people who want to be able to post the pictures taken by the Disney PhotoPass Photographers to social media and/or share with friends and family.  You can then also print your photos for putting in an album or use for scrapbooking, etc.

memory maker

Now back to why I love the Disney PhotoBooks so much. My husband was a professional photographer for years and takes a LOT of pictures when we are away so we always have way more than enough photos for me to post to social media sites without having to purchase the Memory Maker package, so as great as it is, I prefer to use Disney PhotoPass website to create a Disney Photo Book.

I upload my favorite pictures taken by my husband and also use some from the Disney PhotoPass Photographers to make my album.  I get to pick my album cover, layout (pictures per page), background and stickers to make it exactly the way I want it.  Once finished, I place the order and a few weeks later this wonderful Photo Book arrives.  It is essentially a professionally produced hard cover book like I could purchase in a book store with good quality glossy paper for the pages.  The only difference is it is designed by me with the photos and comments I want.

6 pages

I know I could create a beautiful scrapbooked album myself but honestly I have better things to do with my time than print my photos, hunt for funky paper, cut and paste everything together all without monopolizing the kitchen table for a week or more, or having one of my cats think it’s a great game to scatter everything across the floor so I have to start all over again.

Aside from the reasons set out above, for me using Disney’s website to create my Photo Book and thereby show my Disney Side is more cost-effective.  The basic Disney Photo Book comes with 20 pages for $79.95 but you can add extra pages in increments of 2 for $3.50 each extra.  I always go over the original 20 pages.  I would end up paying way more than this if I purchased Memory Maker, scrapbook paper, an album and printed the photos.

Black photobook cover

There is also the option of just saving the photos my husband takes on our external hard drive to pull up and view on our computer when we want to but I personally prefer having a book to take to family events to show everyone or just to look back at and reminisce with the kids.  They are keepsakes filled with love that I cherish and they sit in a place of honour on my book shelf.

I can’t wait for my next one to arrive any day now.

Luggage lessons – Learn from my mistakes!

Why write a blog post about luggage? Well, it is an often overlooked item when planning for a trip and was almost the cause of a major meltdown on our last holiday.

In preparation for our family holiday I purchased two new pieces of luggage.  I’ll admit I didn’t put much thought into luggage when I was buying the first piece.  I just knew that Heys was a well-known brand and it had Mickey Mouse on it, what more did I need?

Can you see the faint Mickey image in the dark purple that I copied and added in lilac vinyl to stand out at the airport.

Can you see the faint Mickey image in the dark purple that I copied and added in lilac vinyl to stand out at the airport?

I used that bag for a work trip to PEI and loved it being hard sided and the way it rolled on four wheels so when I returned home I purchased another one, knowing that we needed one more piece of luggage for our vacation.

I never thought to inspect our two old pieces of luggage that we would be using as well.  Mistake # 1.

After 15 minutes on the road, we got off the highway at the next town so my husband could pick up an item he had forgotten from his shop.  At a stop light we felt a funny bang in the back our truck.  What the heck was going on?  My husband got out to find a man behind us saying he had put our tailgate up for us.  OMG, panic attack, had we lost anything in our drive down the highway?  Were our clothes scattered all over the road?  We pulled over and checked.  Everything was still there, thankfully. I apparently hadn’t put the tailgate up after putting my luggage in or had put it up but the latch did not engage and it came down again.  I’ll double check next time. Mistake # 2.

Since we live in Canada and fly out of Syracuse, New York, surprise surprise we get snow. The airport parking lot hike (and I mean hike) with luggage being pulled along behind us through the snow led to a rather difficult and soggy journey for the two old soft sided bags, especially when one of the bags apparently had a slightly bent wheel. Refer back to Mistake # 2 – check your luggage before packing.   Additionally, never buy soft sided luggage if you don’t want to deal with wet belongings. Mistake # 3.

We finally made it to the airport to check in and I had a nice chat with the Jet Blue customer service lady about all the snow and heading to Walt Disney World for a holiday.  All was going well until she started to check our luggage.   After sending my bag down the conveyor and through the little trap door, the service rep picked up the second piece of luggage and said “I didn’t see the yellow Disney tag on the last one, oh well”.  I didn’t think much of this comment until later.  How could she not see a neon yellow luggage tag hanging off the handle of my bag or have not made the connection from our conversation?  If using Walt Disney World’s Magical Express luggage tags ALWAYS specifically and blatantly point them out to your airport service rep before handing them your bags, instead of thinking they are smart enough to make the connection from your conversation or are actually paying attention and can see them.  Mistake # 4.

For those of you who don’t know, Walt Disney World has this wonderful system called Magical Express that will pick you and your luggage up at the airport for free if you are staying at one of their hotels.  About a month before your trip they will mail you bright yellow luggage tags with bar codes on them that need to be affixed to your luggage before it’s checked at the airport.  Then Magical Express luggage services will pick up your luggage for you when it gets to Orlando and deliver it to your hotel room a few hours after landing.  I love this service.  ** If you are Canadian and have not already crossed the border you will need to collect your luggage in Orlando to take it through customs but can then hand it back over to the Disney Magical Express luggage people.**

Magical Express tags

We finally made it to Orlando, checked into our room and headed to Magic Kingdom Park for some late night fun.  We returned to our room at 2:30 am to find no luggage.  After I called luggage services, three of our four bags were delivered to our room about an hour later.  Can you guess which one was missing?  Yep, mine.  The one the sales rep said “oh well” about after she obviously realized she had not processed something properly for it.

I won’t bore you with all the details but my bag finally showed up (about 36 hours later) after MANY calls to Jet Blue and Disney luggage services.

You might think this was the end of our luggage drama for the trip but unfortunately not.

For this holiday we decided to book a split stay at two resorts.  On the morning of moving day we rolled our luggage to the front desk and checked out of Pop Century Resort and asked luggage services there to transfer our bags to Art of Animation Resort for us.  We walked over to the new resort and checked in but it was only 9am and obviously our room was not ready.  We didn’t want to hang on to our small carry-on bags, that we still had with us, until our room was ready so we checked these bags with luggage services at Art of Animation Resort to hang on to until we came back from Animal Kingdom Park.

We had a fun day getting wet on Kali River Rapids and returned to Art of Animation Resort just before dinner to put on dry clothes.  We collected our carry-on bags and asked about our luggage.  We were told it would be in our room.  Off we headed to our room only to find our luggage was not there.  I made more calls to luggage services and it finally showed up.  We were in a hurry to change and head out again so did not look closely at our luggage when it arrived.  Mistake # 5.

The last night of our holiday we were all sleeping when suddenly in the wee hours of the morning there was a knock on our door.  Luggage services was trying to deliver someone else’s luggage to us.  It really made me wonder where my luggage had been when it was missing.  Aside from that disturbing thought, if you don’t want to be disturbed in the middle of the night make sure to put the do not disturb sign on your door.  Mistake # 6.

After having been woken up at whatever time that was, we all slept in and then had to hurry to check out and catch our bus back to the airport.  We packed all our bags and headed out the door only to find that during the transfer from one resort to the other the wheel on the old piece of luggage that was slightly bent was now totally missing so the bag had to be carried.  There was no time to complain to anyone or wait for a bell hop to bring us a trolley to load it on.  Refer back to Mistake # 5 – inspect your luggage when you receive it from anyone so you can complain then if something is wrong.

Thankfully there were no issues with our luggage on the return flight home.

Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes but also remember, as I did, to find the humour in the unexpected and don’t let it spoil your trip.

We had a wonderful time and even with all our luggage issues will not hesitate to do it all again; after I purchase two more new pieces of luggage and next time I’ll be sure to pack two emergency changes of clothes in my carry-on instead of one.