Saturday, August 15, 2015

Disney Day 1 - Planes, Monorails, Cars, Etc.

We made it!  We are officially on Disney property.  Half the battle of getting here is surviving the travel process - traffic, busy airports, heavy suitcases, ensuring your bags arrive, and so on.  We had only a few minor speed bumps during our busy travel day, including a very confused pilot who couldn't quite decide if everyone's luggage was on board or not!

I'd also like to take a moment to officially thank the FAA for allowing iPads to stay on for the duration of flights these days.  LIFE-SAVER!  Georgia happily watched "Paw Patrol" for the entire flight and only interrupted to scream things like "WHEEEE!" at the top of her lungs during take-off (memo to self - the child does NOT need noise canceling headphones ever again!).

Away we go!

We pulled up to the hotel and Mimi was waiting for us in the car loop and had already checked us in, so we were able to head right to the room to get settled.  

Our Garden Grocer delivery had already arrived (they had text me as we were getting ready to pull back from the gate in DC) and Mimi claimed our goods and got them into the refrigerator.  We had zero issues and I highly recommend them to anyone who wants some groceries at their hotel --- we got cereal, crackers, snacks, drinks, bread, etc.  

My favorite thing about the Shades of Green resort (besides the convenient location) is the room size - it can't be beat in Disney!  This year, we were in a different wing of the hotel (Palm wing) and everything looked recently renovated.

The hotel also installed a new playground, which Georgia was more than happy to explore and test out while we killed an hour before dinner.

After a quick change, we were off to our first dining reservation - dinner at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian.  I may have made the reservation for the pure reason of wanting a good excuse to visit the Grand Floridian after riding past it all these years on the monorail and drooling at the beautiful architecture and grandeur of their grounds.

It did not disappoint...

Mimi at the Grand Floridian

Mini-tip --- Go explore hotels if you have a spare few hours!  I'm so impressed with all the theming and each Disney resort is so different from the next.  You do not need to be staying at the hotel to enter, so you are free to explore the lobby, grab a drink, book a dinner reservation, etc.

Since we arrived a few minutes before our reservation, we were given a buzzer so we could continue to explore the hotel while we waited.  The flower displays and the chandeliers were amazing.  The resort lives up to its reputation - I felt like I stepped into the era of Gatsby...

What is the weekly floral budget?!??!

And then a big band started playing!  I seriously could have sat in their lobby all night and just listened to the music and people watched.

At exactly 6:50 (our reservation time), our buzzer told us that Cinderella was ready to meet us!  Gotta love that Disney punctuality.  

We didn't even get to our seat and Prince Charming swung on by to say hello to our little lady.

Prince Charming and G!

Disney is the gold standard for food allergies.  Immediately after we sat down, Chef Paula came right over to walk the buffet with me and talk about what were the safe options for Georgia.  She volunteered to get fresh rice and broccoli from the kitchen (since butter/dairy was on the rice and broccoli on the buffet). I've learned that the chefs are more than happy to get fresh food from the kitchen if you are questioning cross-contamination or if you have any concerns with eating from the buffet directly.  Georgia inhaled chicken fingers while hiding under the table from Cinderella's evil step-mother and step-sisters.

But guess who charmed Georgia with just a few kind words...

Look at that - Anastasia and Georgia - new BFFs!

Drizella didn't quite win over Georgia, so she hid in Nick's armpit.  I snapped a selfie with Drizzy as she harassed the kid at the next table over from us!  You could hear her anywhere in the restaurant... and she wasn't afraid to go find you if you tried to hide.  I think she may have tried to pick up Nick too!

Georgia was also not a fan of Cinderella's evil step-mother, Lady Tremaine.  So, Mimi and I took one for the team and posed with the wench!

I cropped Mimi out, but she'd appreciate it because her half eyes closed look wasn't working for her!

Of course, everyone's favorite gal, Cinderellla was also out and about greeting her guests.  Georgia ran right over to her!

The highlight of the night was the special dessert that the chefs brought out for Georgia (since she couldn't eat any of the desserts from the buffet!).  Yes, gummy worms and Mickey-shaped sprinkles with vanilla Rice Dream ice cream and Enjoy Life cookies.  I could just hug and kiss the chefs when they go out of their way to make a kid smile!

After dinner, we went on a hunt for Magic Bands.  The Grand Floridian staff directed us over to the Contemporary Resort.  Since we were already on the monorail system, it was a quick and easy trip over there.  Just a few minutes later and Nick was sporting a Star Wars band, Georgia had her beloved Elsa, Mimi went with Minnie Mouse, and I went with Tinker Bell.  The Contemporary staff were also able to link them to our tickets and activate them, so we could skip that step the following morning. 

Mini-tip --- You don't NEED a Magic Band - old fashion tickets work just fine if you are staying off site.  HOWEVER, if you plan to ride any roller coasters, my tickets/lanyard kept snagging on the safety bars and harnesses and almost fell off a few times last year.  This year, we decided purchasing the bands was a smart choice.  They easily fit all of our wrists, even Georgia and she LOVES having Elsa on her wrist 24/7.

Mini-tip --- According to Katie at the Contemporary, Magic Bands are active and charged for about 2.5 years, so if you are planning to come back in that time span, save your band and new tickets/reservations can be linked to them in the future. 

Next stop... the Magic Kingdom in the AM!

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