We enjoyed a nice dinner last night, and before we knew it was time to get to sleep. We enjoyed another delicious dinner.
The other day we had a decision to make. It's similar to coming to a fork in the road where you are not 100% sure where to turn. You ask yourself to a go left or do I go right? We had to decide do we fly on Saturday as planned or do we fly in one day early due to the weather forecasts. Once we made the decision to fly in one day early we decided we would not second guess ourselves. In other words if the flight was delayed we likely made the right decision. If the flight was on-time we still felt under the circumstances it was better to be safe than sorry.
As it turned out we made a wise decision to move up our flight by one day. Although the forecast was not completely correct it did impact several flights including the one we would have taken. Winds picked up at and near the hub airport along with severe winds and lightening and thunder. The flight we would have been on originate at the hub airport and goes between the two airports. The storm resulted in a five hour delay of the flight. While we would have made do with this our concern was if the flight we were on would be cancelled which can easily occur should the weather not only be severe but last an even longer time.
We were up early to start the day. One of the nice features of this hotel is the walk to the airline check-in counter is one minute from the hotel. When we got in the hotel elevator a couple already there said they got in at midnight last night and two other couples who were arriving from other cities had the same experience.
Following flight check-in a made our way to security. Once again with Global Entry which includes TSA Pre Check we got through security quickly. We took the airport sky-link which is a light train system operating 24 hours a day providing connection between all the airport terminals. We proceeded to the airline club lounge for a breakfast. Only surprise was no cereal. We had scrambled eggs with an English muffin, coffee and water.
Two ironies related to the flight. There is a very nice person who used to work in Keith's organization. We hadn't seen her since 2003. Last year on our way home from a Crystal Symphony Cruise we saw her and her lovely family at the Hub airport as we were waiting at baggage claim. Today as we were waiting in line to board she and her family come up to say hello. Yes, they are on the same flight. For months Keith has wanted to watch the movie Yesterday since it features music of the Beatles. Guess what. It's one of the movie choices on our flight.
We departed the airport a little later than the schedule but we landed on time. It was full which is pretty much the norm for most flights these days.
Each family member arrived to Orlando Airport on three different flights. Our son's family flight arrived first. Our flight and the on for our daughter's family arrived within thirty minutes of one another.
Keith made arrangements with Walt Disney World for what they call a "Minnie" van for each family. They provided car seats for the grandchildren other than Andre who no longer requires one. Each family was met at baggage claim by a representative from Disney World.
Like most things Disney does things up right. The car service is an example of that. After making the bookings Keith received confirming e-mails which is the norm for most companies. Closer to the trip is where Disney distinguished themselves. We received an e-mail a few days ago reconfirming the information and noting a day before pickup a member would contact Keith to go over everything. Yesterday Keith receive the call and the member went through everything and answered any questions Keith had. He noted we would receive two sets (one per booking for a total of six e-mails) the morning of pickup. The first one was reconfirming the details and noting where the driver would meet us. Later Keith received e-mails with each of the drivers telephone numbers in case we can't find them at baggage claim.
They drove us to the Grand Floridian Resort Hotel where we will spend the next seven days/six nights.
The Grand Floridian opened in 1988. We have stayed here twice with Jennifer and Eric. The hotel contains 867 rooms.
The hotel has a Victorian look of Florida beach hotels built in the last 19th century and early 20th century. They modeled its exterior after the Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire and Hotel de Coronado in Coronado, California.
The resort sits on the shore of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon near the Magic Kingdom.
Keith selected the hotel because it has special meaning to us when we stayed here on two different occasions with Jennifer and Eric.
We thought we would provide some Walt Disney World History.
Walt Disney World (WDW) opened October 1, 1971, sixteen years after Walt Disney Land opened its doors on October 7, 1955.
This venue was long in the making. In fact, the process began in 1959. Walt Disney recognized that many visitors to Disney Land came from west of the Mississippi. In time, the focus became Florida.
Unlike Disney Land which had limited land allowing many commercial enterprises to construct facilities all around the permitter of Disney Land, Walt Disney secured 30,000+ acres of land to prevent this from happening to the Florida venue.
Given the large number of landowner's involved, to minimize land speculation, Walt Disney used lots of dummy corporations to acquire the land.
Walt Disney was intimately involved with the planning of WDW for several years but never saw his dream come to fruition. He passed in December 1966. His brother and business partner Roy O. Disney postponed his own retirement to oversee Phase 1 of WDW. Ironically, Roy died less than three months after the opening of WDW.
WDW opened with Magic Kingdom, and three on-site hotels; Disney's Contemporary, Polynesian, and For Wilderness Resorts. 1972 thru 1976 saw the openings of Disney's Village Resort, The Golf Resort Discovery Island, Walt Disney's Village Marketplace and Disney's River Country, respectively. Epcot Center opened in 1982 (later named Epcot in 1996), Disney MGM Studios opened in 1989 along with Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Pleasure Island. 1992 brought the opening of Bonnet Creek Golf Club, followed by Disney's Blizzard Beach, Disney's Wedding Pavilion and Walt Disney World Speedway in 1995. In 1996 Disney's Institute and Disney's Boardwalk opened. Disney's Wide World Of Sports Complex and Downtown Disney West side opened in 1997 and 1998 saw the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney Quest. 2012 brought Phase 1 of Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland expansion followed by Phase 2 in 2014. Since then other new areas of opened; Disney Springs, Pandora - The World of Avatar, Toy Story Land and this year Star War's: Galaxy's Edge.
There are close to 30 resorts/hotels on the property with three more already planned one of which opens in 2019.
While waiting for our room to be ready we went to the Club Lounge. After getting settled in the room we went over to Magic Kingdom by Monorail. Both families were already at the Magic Kingdom.
We walked around and the two of us went to the Carrousel of Progress. We each went to see it with our respective families in 1964 at The World's Fair in Flushing, New York. Several years ago we saw it at Disneyland and at Disney World. It is no longer located at Disneyland and the last time we were at Disney World it was not open. It was fun to reminisce about this and Anne Marie sang some of the tunes.
Afterwards we met the entire family for dinner. We then took a boat over to our hotel while the children stayed at the Magic Kingdom.
We are off to a great start of this adventure. More tomorrow.
Anne Marie & Keith