So, we are here. It's magic time!
The gate guard finally found our name on her list and let us through. The Caribbean Resort at Disney World is set up as several different buildings, and the Customs House is where you check in and get guest services. The line to check in wasn't that long, and as soon as we got in the families ahead of us were called up and another nice lady came on duty, so our turn.
Our check in process is always complicated, as we have 11 of us in 3 rooms. One room at a time, please, show a picture ID. Explain the dining plan, give us our vehicle passes so we can park anywhere guests are allowed to park on Disney property. give everyone a "Key to the World" card (smart naming strategy around here) so we can get in the theme parks and buy meals, Grandpa signed on the dotted line that he would pay or sell his firstborn (me) or firstborn grandchild (#1 Son), and we moved our cars to the Martinique area of the complex.
Because we wanted to get to lunch by now, we opted to leave our luggage in the vehicles and come get bell/valet services to help us get it all to the rooms later, instead of waiting for them to store it for us. When our rooms were ready, we would get a text message, and could come back any time after that for help.
Part of the Disney "magic" is that you can't get there from here. Every guest complex is just that, complex. Buildings are placed in such a way that you have to go around, through, and around again to get anywhere. So getting from the parking lot through the several buildings in the Martinique area and through to the Old Port Royale food court area required weaving around the buildings, past the pool, and a switchback to the left to get to the lake, and then walk part way around the lake.
The Old Port Royale has one sit down restaurant that opens for dinner only, and several smaller walk up counter areas where you can get even decent food choices for nut cases like me. Typical fried junk is available alongside burgers, pasta, pizza, and salads, fruit bowls, and even whole fruit. We all wandered around and got what we wanted, meeting back at the tables to discuss what we wanted to do.
Uncle J, my brother, had arrived the night before, so he and his two kids were already in the Magic Kingdom. We decided to meet them there, and while my parents just sat and relaxed and waited for Grandma's back to feel better. Driving is as hard on her as walking too much, so it was time for a break.
At the Magic Kingdom, which is a 20-30 minute bus ride from the resort complex (yes, Disney property is that big, when you add in all the stops), again you can't get there from here, but it is mostly true only at certain times of day. The afternoon was a crowded time, so it meant long lines and long waits. We still got to ride a couple of old favorites; the Haunted Mansion is just as ghostly as ever, the Small World just as enchanting, the Pirates of the Caribbean are still swashing their buckles, whatever that means.
When the room was ready, it was time to go our separate ways. Uncle J and Dre, the 5-year-old, had gone back to their room for a nap; Bigger Girl was already exploring on her own. #1 Son, #2 Son, and Little Girl took Bryn and headed for the crazy rides that i have done in the past, when they were little and needed supervision, but now that i don't have to get on them, i won't. Sweetie went to Epcot to catch his favorite Beatles tribute band, the British Invasion, and i went back to the hotel and got very nice Salvatore, from bell services, to help me get our thousand and one bags up to our room.
One great thing about Disney is how friendly and just plain nice the "cast members" are. Everyone who works here is a cast member, with a role to play in making this a fun place to be for guests. By the time Salvatore and i finished, i knew he loved the Cherry Bomb and wanted one, as he was the oldest of 10 kids, all still at home. Apparently, his mom and dad planned to stop at 8, but number 8 turned out to be triplets.
In the room and settled, i took advantage of the only time i would probably be in there alone for the whole week. Unloaded cold food into the fridge, set up my heading pad, staked out a claim for a place for my toiletries bag (Sweetie brings so much he takes over the whole bathroom if you let him). Can't spend too much time indoors, though, and we have a dinner reservation at the Crystal Palace, Another bus ride, a huge crowd to get through -- really, bigger than i had ever seen, i had to step on the fence railings, like i tell the kids not to do, to get there and even still i was late. No matter, dinner was great, we rode more after, and were back to the room by 10pm. Actually, Sweetie and i were, and Bigger Girl. The Magic Kingdom was open until midnight, and the rest of my night owls shut the place down.
All in all, a great day.
Decoration Day -- Liberia
Festival of Life in the Cracks Day (Internet holiday, because this is where most of us are, and we deserve to be celebrated!)
Greater Dionysia -- Ancient Greek Calendar, through the 17th
Harriet Tubman Day
International Day of Awesomeness (Celebrate what is awesome about you - always on Chuck Norris' birthday, because no one is more awesome than Chuck.)
Learn What Your Name Means Day
Mario Day (for gamers, based on the date Mar 10)
National Blueberry Popover Day
Shiogama Jinja Hote Festival -- Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
St. Kessog's Day (patron of Scotland)
Tibetan Uprising Day -- Tibetan Independence Supporters
Whoopsical Day -- Fairy Calendar
World Kidney Day
Emily Osment, 1992
Carrie Underwood, 1983
Shannon Miller, 1977
Prince Edward, 1964
Jasmine Guy, 1964
Rick Rubin, 1963
Sharon Stone, 1958
Kim Campbell, 1947
Bob Greene, 1947
Tom Scholz, 1947
Chuck Norris, 1940
James Earl Ray, 1928
Pamela Mason, 1918
Bix Beiderbecke, 1903
Today in History:
The Romans sink the Carthaginian fleet bringing the First Punic War to an end, BC241
Jews are excluded from public office in the Roman Empire, 418
King Charles I dissolves Parliament; he calls it back 11 years later, 1629
English Quaker William Penn receives charter from Charles II, making him sole proprietor of colonial American territory Pennsylvania, 1681
French Huguenot Jean Calas, who was wrongly convicted of killing his son, dies after being tortured by authorities; the event inspired Voltaire to begin a campaign for religious tolerance and legal reform, 1762
John Stone, of Concord, Massachusetts, patents a pile driver, 1791
England begins its first modern census, 1801
In St. Louis, Missouri, a formal ceremony is conducted to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States, 1804
The French Foreign Legion is established by King Louis-Philippe to support his war in Algeria, 1831
Abraham Lincoln patents a device to help free ships in rivers from shallow water; he built a small scale model, but no full-size device was ever built, and makes him the only US president to hold a patent, 1849
Alexander Graham Bell makes the first successful telephone call by saying "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you," 1876
Almon Strowger, an undertaker in Topeka, Kansas, patents the Strowger switch, a device which led to the automation of telephone circuit switching, 1891
The Courrières mine disaster, Europe's worst ever, kills 1099 miners in Northern France, 1906
After Bob Fitzsimmons KOs much larger Jim Corbett to win world HW championship he says, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall," 1896
China ends slavery, 1910
Mahatma Gandhi is arrested in India, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years in prison, only to be released after nearly two years for an appendicitis operation, 1922
In Memphis, Tennessee, James Earl Ray pleads guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr.; he later retracts his guilty plea, 1969
Astronomers discover rings around Uranus, 1977
In Haiti, Prosper Avril is ousted 18 months after seizing power in a coup, 1990
The NASDAQ Composite stock market index peaks at 5132.52, signaling the beginning of the end of the dot-com boom, 2000
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at Mars, 2006