Friday, October 17, 2008

Walt Disney World (part one of many)

I’m finally getting around to write a bit about our amazing trip to Walt Disney World in Florida and to upload a few of the hundreds and hundreds of photos we’ve taken. And this will only be a very small snippet of the whole trip. If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World, then it’s hard to describe just the incredible size of the place alone and all the different activities it has to offer. It’ll require a few seperate entries in this blog over the next few weeks to even scratch the surface of all the things we’ve expereinced.

Let’s just hop right in, shall we?

A beautiful sunrise at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, where we had a layover before continuing to Orlando in Florida. And an inside view of the cabin of our Boeing 767-300, before take-off to Orlando.

We left on a Friday night, taking a Delta Airlines red-eye flight to Atlanta, GA and then on to Orlando, FL where we arrived the next morning. This was also the very first time we ever used a travel package, which included hotel room, park tickets, transfers and pretty much everything else. The Disney Travel Co. would take care of everything. And they did. We checked in our luggage with specially marked tags at Las Vegas McCarran Int.’l Airport and haven’t seen it until it was inside our room at Disney’s All-Star Movie Resort the next day. The Disney folks picked us up from the Orlando airport, transferred us to our destined hotel where we were able to check in right away. While checking in, they gave us each a card which is all we needed while staying at Walt Disney World.

Well, that and...more money to buy food, souvenirs and the like.

The porte cochère to Disney's All-Star Movies Resort and their hotel lobby.

This card was our hotel room key, our I.D. while staying at the Disney property and for using their immense transportation system, and our ticket to every themepark, waterpark, Pleasure Island and Disney Quest. There was actually more but there was simply not enough time to take everything in.

Mickey Mouse is ubiquitous. Towels in the shape of the mouse greeted us as we arrived at our nice hotel room.

Pleasure Island was part of Downtown Disney and an adults-only section of night clubs, discos and comedy venues but has closed since we’ve returned home. We checked it out on their last night, which was quiet crowded and happening.

But now back to us Mouseketeers again...

Since we’ve arrived somewhat early on Saturday morning and also had dinner reservation for the “Boma” restaurant at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we decided there was just enough time to check out the “Blizzard Beach” waterpark.

George at the bus bays in front of Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, waiting for our bus to Blizzard Beach. And me at the entrance to Blizzard Beach waterpark.

Weatherwise, it was the most gorgeous day. The bluest, clearest sky one can imagine and the temperature were just perfect. Not humid at all. My biggest fear was that we’d have to suffer through a muggy mess and sweat our you-know-whats off. Still, we couldn’t wait to finally jump into the cool waters of the gigantic wave pool or whisk down all those crazy water slides. “Blizzard Beach” was definitely a fun way to start our amazing Disney World vacation.

By the time this waterpark closed, we both worked up a mighty appetite. So we hoped on the appropriate Disney Transportation bus which would take us to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. A visit to this grand and amazing hotel alone is worth the trip.

We were far too early for our dinner reservation at Boma restaurant. But the host did squeeze us in within the following ten minutes. This restaurant was busy and later there was a long waiting line. The South African food was served buffet-style and simply delicious. Every single dish was just scrumptious. We can highly recommend this place, if you’re looking for something different for your taste buds.

Inside the Boma restaurant at the lodge

After dinner we were highly content but also very stuffed and needed to walk some of this gained ballast off again. Not a problem, since the Animal Kingdom Lodge itself is a huge complex and there’s lots to see and do. In typical Disney fashion, they spared no expenses and left out no detail to re-create this African-themed resort.

The spacious lobby of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

It is one of the deluxe hotels of the many Disney resorts and hotel guests have a fantastic view from their balconies over the open “African Savanna” where they can see the animals running around freely. Can you imaging looking out your window and there’s a giraffe peeking in. It’s all right there. We enjoyed a nice walk around the huge premise and watched many animals grazing in the setting sun. It was almost like a scene out of “The Lion King.”

Okay...get ready...cue in the song “Circle of Life”!

Yup, by now we definitely knew we were in Walt Disney World.

We returned late to our hotel. The All-Star Movies Resort comprises of several buildings, each one themed after Disney films. Our's was "The Love Bug." And Herbie would greet us every morning and every evening when we returned from our adventures in Disney World

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