Day 1 Arrival
16th of November 2008
We left Gatwick Airport on the fully booked Virgin Atlantic flight to Orlando Florida. Flight time was a short 8 hrs and 50 mins.
Upon arriving at Orlando in the Afternoon, it took another 15 minutes to leave the plane due to how slow people in the front are at walking off a plane. Thank god there was no emergency as we would of never all made it of the plane in quick time. Once leaving the plane I quickly passed by all the people that held me up previously and took my line at US Immigration. Trust me to pick the one line and the one person that was not only slow but did everything by the book. After seeing people who had boarded other lines after me already though and constantly seeing my lugage spin round and around I decided to join another line with a shorter wait and was though in quick time, but I think it was very poor that the whole leaving the plane and entering though US Immigration process took an entire hour. It also wouldn't hurt for some of these people to smile after all I will be spending money which will help benefit the State of Florida, how about a warmer welcome.
After collecting my lugage and clearing customs I was asked to put my case on another belt which would transfer it straight over to the other side of the Airport while I take a tram over. If I had known I would be waiting another 30 mins for my lugage to turn up I would have instead just taken it with me.
Meeting up with a rep I was transfered over to a Mears driver who helped load my lugage. A few other people were going to be riding with us, which was alright but I had a ticket already for Mickey's Christmas Party at the MK and did not want to be late, but luckily the driver was dropping me of at Disney's Pop Century first.
After tipping the driver I walked though the entrance to the Pop Century with Castmembers greeting me and welcoming me home. Towards the lobby which was rather impressive to look at, I spotted what seem like about 20 Castmembers in a group just talking and standing around with nothing to do. I was directed to reception and was checked in by a guy called Michael who was difficult to understand and not exactly full of excitment. After a few minutes of handing over my details I was given a map of the Hotel complex and shown my room, which would be in the Baloo buiding. Very easy building to find really as who could miss a 4 story high Baloo. Room was facing a lake offering some very nice views.
After spending a few minutes getting ready I was out the door down towards the buses. A few people were already in line waiting for a Magic Kingdom bus. I estimate it took about 15 minutes to turn up and the line behind me had already filled up passed the barriers. Also not everyone was able to get on, and so I'm sure some would of probarely had to wait another 15 - 20 minutes. This just proves how badly built WDW really is with everything so spaced out and it feels like you spend half your time either in line for a bus or on a bus packed in like a sardine. After 17 minutes on the bus we arrived at the gates to the Magic Kingdom, which makes a change to usually being dropped off at the Ticket and Transportation Centre, this was the first pro to staying on site as a guest.
Reaching the turnstiles I found absolute mayhem. Guest in front of me had asked a CastMember quite clearly if there could just go in and have a look, as there had tickets to the event on Wednesday, to which he said yes. I really don't no who was more stupid the CastMember for saying yes or the Guest for thinking he could go into a ticketed event to just look around. But he was denied access as I just walked passed laughing at how the incident could of been avoided had the CastMember been bother to listen to the guest properely, but this is WDW and no one cares what the guest has to say unless there are spending money, a fact I would encounter many times on my trip.
Crossing the turnstlies I had to wait in a mass of people who had formed waiting to collect there wrist bands. Its times like this where you notice just how annoying guest at WDW can be, as no one bothers to keep there groups together. So people were being called from the back to come forward.
I was impressed with all the lightening done for tonights event, especially with the Castle which was a jaw dropping moment. Not only did the lights look beautiful on the castle but the regular Castle lighting display gave it a extra wow moment. One minute it would be blue, next purple and than pink.
I decided to catch the first showing of Celebrate the Season, and took a spot in front of the castle. There appears to be a bit of confusion also on if you stand or sit, during this show as the Castmember says no rules are in place but some guest were screaming for others to sit down during the show, but in another showing everyone stood, so I'd be interested to know what the official rules regarding this are!
While waiting for the show to start a Castmember came along and insisted on seeing everyones wrist band, until he spotted what appeared to be two Imagineers in the front row and made a quick dash to them forgetting to check everyone else band, so he could do some sucking up to these two men.
Celebrate the Season I thought from a first time viewing, was a very cute character show, with plenty of performers and characters. Top marks on this as I enjoyed it a lot.
Than came my first encounter but not the last on how out of touch operations are at WDW, as I tried to leave the Castle fourcourt area with the Parade minutes to go and people blocking the path's. After fighting my way though the crowd I walked over to the Haunted Mansion to check it out after its refurbishment. It was great to see everything on this attraction working and in great condition, also the new effects were ok, but during the floating Leota effect you can clearly see the wires.
I than walked over to Fantasyland and Tomorrowland soaking up the atsmophere and seeing what was available. Its A Small Would was opened so I decided to do that one next. Wow I was not aware just how little leg room is given when given the front row on this attraction, it actually made for a uncomfortable journey. Good ride with nothing really looking to badly neglected, but the attraction could do with a bit of a clean up in the docking area on your journey back in as it was covered in dust.
I had heard about the free hot chocolate and cookies which sadly seems to be a real highlight for many guest when I over heard some telling other guest about the party's later during the trip. The use of attractions and free hot chocolate and cookies were always mention while the fireworks and other entertainment which I personally enjoyed didn't get talked about. Which made me think why do Disney bother with this sort of form of entertainement when a small minority of people don't apreciate it. Why not just roll out free cookies every night.
As for the cookies I found them to be very sweet, for my liking but it was a nice added treat for the price. I took my spot along Main Street for the Fireworks and I had the unfortunate pleasure of standing next to a couple who are the sort of guest that will talk not only out loud, but though out the entire show. What was even more comical was this couple than had a full scale dispute at the end because she had not bothered to look at the final shells exploding. Two very annoying and stupid people and there are well suited together, and I was glad to see the back of them.
Made time to check out POTC, and was disapointed to find the Davy Jones effect not working. You could hear him and see the smoke screen, but sadly no image, this effect remained broken during my whole trip.
Made my way over to Main Street to catch a spot for the next parade. Nice parade but most of the floats I have seen before in other parades the park has done.
Feeling exhausted I left the park and ran to catch the next bus which was just arriving. The Bus Driver on the journey back was great fun cracking jokes and getting everyone to sing along. He was one of the very few that not only enjoyed his job but was also good at it. Sadly finding more CastMembers like him was a much more difficult task which I will detail more later on, but for now this is the end of day one...