The day started off early and could have gone all wrong, but ended up going very right. Had a 7:40 connecting flight through Atlanta that would have had us getting in to Atlanta around 1:30. Got up at 4:30 in the morning to be able to make sure everything was ready on time. Took a shower and started to wake the kids up around 5:00. They seemed to wake up OK and I went down to check our flights online to make sure that everything was in order. When I did, first I noticed that I had been upgraded to first class, second that I was no longer on a connection but rather a direct flight and third that my departure time was now 8:50. I immediately got on the phone to make sure that my wife and kids had also been moved, which they had. Unfortunately, they weren’t in first class, but I figured we’d take care of that at the airport to at least get me back in the main cabin.
We go there and checked in easily, other than the $25 charge for our one overweight bag. We rolled through security and then had a couple of hours to kill before getting on the plane. We headed towards Starbucks, but then remembered that they had a Pete’s close to our gate and DeAnna hadn’t had that yet, so we headed there. I ordered us a couple of coffee’s with steamed milk and a cheese strudels and some chocolate milk and donuts fir the kids. We sat near the gate and ate up, then I headed to the desk to get rotated back. When I got up there, there was more good news – all of us had been moved to first class! It was very nice, but I think it was completely lost on the kids. My son ate about 3 bags of chips and a granola bar. My daughter ate a couple of chips. They both slept once we got to cruising altitude. It won’t be as spacious going back, but at least they had the experience of flying in first.
We got to the airport and fetched our bags without any problems. We then had to call our rental car company to come get us cause I tried to go the cheap route and get us a convertible at the same price as a regular car by going to one of the offsite places – Payless rental. The bus trip should have been a ride at Disney World with all the turns and the speed we were going. We got there without incident and got our car, a fairly new Mitsubishi Eclipse GS convertible. They tried to “upsell” me to a Sebring, which I declined…the Mitsu is much cooler although as I would soon find out, much smaller car. When we tried to get our bags in the trunk we realized how small a convertible trunk actually is. There was no way I could make the large bag fit, so DeAnna sat in the back with the kids and we put the big bag up front. We made our way to our hotel, the Sheraton Safari Buena Vista and checked in. We got room 2621 on the 6th floor. Pretty standard hotel room, nothing special, but nothing bad either.
We hadn’t had any lunch, so we headed to a Bahama Breeze that was close by. DeAnna and the kids hadn’t been to one, so it was a nice departure from the ordinary. We then went shopping at the local luxury outlet mall. It just so happened that we are here at the same time as the Florida state back to school tax amnesty week, so the outlet was having a sale. That plus the no-tax made for pretty good deals, which I took advantage of at the Tommy Hilfiger shop. We planned to go back to the hotel and go swimming, bu just as we got there, it started to pour, which as I remembered from the last time I was in Orlando, happens every day around 4 PM. It was a 90 minute storm with lots of lightening and thunder. When it was over, we headed over to the Rainforest Café at Downtown Disney, which DeAnna had purchased a member club card to the last time we were in Vegas. It turned out to be a good purchase, since it saved us a two hour wait. We were seated in the Gorilla room and had an OK dinner. Nothing really great, but OK…although for OK, it was expensive! Afterwards we bought the kids a few cheap toys from the gift shop (their picks…really!) and headed to the Ghirardelli ice cream shop. This was expensive, but worth it. I had a really good ice cream soda, my son had a giant cookie, my daughter had a chocolate ice cream cup and DeAnna had a sundae.
After ice cream, we started to head back to the hotel, but my daughter stopped us at the dance party they have for kids and proceeded to boogie for 30 minutes. She had a great time and we closed the dance party out at 9:30. We headed back to the hotel and all wen to bed. A really good first day of vacation.