As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time now, you probably saw the #14to21 Countdown that was taking place each Wednesday as my daughter Ashley, our friend Suzanne, and I counted down to Ashley’s 21st birthday at Walt Disney World. That trip has come and gone, so I thought I’d continue my Wednesday posts with our trip reports. Stay tuned each Wednesday – right on up through New Years Eve – for a report on each day of our trip.
We actually drove down to Baltimore Tuesday night and stayed in a Microtel near the airport. (FYI: Unless you like mirrors a lot more than I do, you might want to avoid this hotel!) It was nice to be able to get up in the morning, get ready, and have a 5 minute drive to the airport (rather than a 2 1/2 hour drive – through rush hour traffic).
We flew on Southwest and I was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to find seats all together, especially since we were near the end of boarding group B. We walked to the back of the plane and found 3 seats together, one row from the back. (I hate sitting in the back because it takes so much longer to get off the plane, but it was nice to find seats all together!) Our flight was relatively uneventful, and we were 3 excited girls when it touched down in Orlando! It’s always so nice the Magical Express Bus and know that you’re on your way “home”!
Even more exciting is passing under those Walt Disney World arches. And, then . . . seeing the sign for Animal Kingdom Lodge. (As shared in my countdown posts, this was not part of our original plan, but things all worked out to our advantage!)
Check in was a pleasant experience (we had chosen not to do online check-in for various reasons). Ashley was issued her Birthday button, Suzanne got a First Visit button, and they kindly gave me an I’m Celebrating one (so I wouldn’t feel left out). There was a bit of an issue with our Magic Bands; and while they were working to get that straightened out, another sweet Cast Member asked to see my camera so he could take our picture (shown above).
I’ll be sharing my thoughts on our room at AKL this Saturday, so be sure to check back!
After settling in, we decided to head over to Downtown Disney and introduce Suzanne to one of our favorite lunch places – Earl of Sandwich (more on that on Friday). We were also anxious to introduce her to our favorite place to shop in all the world! I think she was amazed – and impressed! In fact, she did some Christmas shopping that first day. We all had packages to take back to the hotel with us.
When we were all shopped out (does that ever happen?!), we headed back to the resort to freshen up for our dinner at Boma. (I’ll be sharing more about that in an upcoming Favorite Food Friday post.)
After dinner, we decided to check out the resort gift shop (as it turned out, we spent a LOT of time in there during our trip – we passed through it on our way to and from the bus stop every day!) I’ve always loved the gift shop at AKL, but it was even more fun to shop there as a resort guest!
We had a great time watching Mr. Mutiso doing his wood carving. Of course, Ashley had to try one some mouse ears (it’s tradition!) And I had to snap a picture of this fun shirt (on Gracie’s first trip, she was so excited about this saying/picture and we ended up buying her a white sweatshirt with it on the front – that shirt went through both her and Ian and has become a bit of a nostalgia piece around here!)
It was a long, full day and we were all very ready to crawl into bed that night – excited to see our friend Sherri the next morning and spend the day at the Magic Kingdom! Stop back next Wednesday for our Day 2 Trip Report!