We set out last week, bright and early, and got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Yaaay, us! And then we were promptly fogged in. For HOURS. Thank goodness for Webkinz and Leapster.
Even so, it wasn't long before Bella was losing patience, and crying, "Can we just go to Disney World already? THAT'S WHY WE'RE HERE." Our original flight was delayed, delayed, delayed again, and finally canceled. If you want to witness a really sad scene, hang around the airport terminal when they announce the cancellation of the day's only flight to Orlando, and then watch two dozen Disney-bound children burst into simultaneous tears. Eventually Alex got us another flight that, unfortunately, went through Atlanta instead of directly to Orlando. Bella was really excited about flying, and thoroughly loved it. I was apprehensive at first, mostly due to the good-sized crop of trepidatious (the correct word is "trepid," just in case you're relying on me for vocabulary enrichment, but it's not nearly as satisfying as "trepidatious"), sobbing children all around us. I thought their anxiety would be contagious, but I needn't have worried. It wasn't long before she was an old hand at flying, and was ordering snacks and beverages like she'd been doing it her whole life.
And yes, those are MY iPod earbuds, and yes, they fit my five-year-old daughter. If you are similarly afflicted with teeny-tiny ears, and standard iPod earbuds are a problem for you like they are for me (and my kid), then I highly recommend this model, that my mom found. They're made by Sony.
So it was that we arrived in Orlando not around noon, as intended, but something close to eight hours later, and dog-tired. We took Disney's Magic Express (definition: comfy bus with a perfectly-timed Disney infomercial playing on GPS-driven television sets) from the airport to our hotel, leaving our checked bags behind for Disney to pick up and deliver to our suite. In hindsight, if we'd picked up our own bags, we would have been able to go to sleep in our own pajamas that night, but we weren't exactly thinking straight.
No matter what time you arrive, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one heck of an impressive place. Bella and I were both well-entertained by the ginormous Christmas tree and life-size gingerbread house (yes, made of real gingerbread) for the duration of the checking-in process. Alex's mom had secured us some first-class lodgings, and we were verrrrry grateful.
In that backpack is her Webkinz pink pony, "Alice." She wore it ALL DAY LONG, never once taking it off.
Once the concierge had us finally settled into our rooms, albeit without luggage at that point, we ordered room service and went to bed, which caused our luggage to be delivered at last. No, I can't prove causation, but that's how it played out.
The next morning, we were off to the Magic Kingdom, where we had reservations in Cinderella Castle for breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table. I cannot possibly overstate the anticipation for this event in one five-year-old girl. Having said breakfast reservations gets you into the park shortly before it opens, along with the opportunity for pictures like this (click it, please--it's so pretty!):
But be aware that while you're taking that picture, you're just about to miss THIS one:
And you really want to document that first glimpse of CINDERELLA'S ACTUAL CASTLE in person...which will be followed shortly by a near-meltdown due to overwhelming emotions. I believe the sentiment expressed at this point was, "THIS IS JUST BLOWING MY MIND!"
Click through to see the note on this photo, and how we very nearly lost Bella to Disney Princess Delirium. More to come.