Today’s the day! We’re off to Florida! Off to live in a theme park for the next 9 days!
Our day started nice and early with a ride to the airport from Justine’s dad. He’s handy like that. We were leaving Edmonton bound for Dallas on our way to Orlando. That’s where they’d be meeting up with KG, who’d spent the past couple days in Nashville.
At the Edmonton airport we got through security and customs super quickly. This allowed us plenty of time to grab some morning Starbucks and a breakfast sandwich. Funnily enough, this was the exact same thing we got before our flight to New York last year.
On the flight to Dallas both of us had middle seats with Kris directly in front of Justine. This was quite possibly the best flight Justine has ever taken. Kris’s journey to Orlando, on the other hand, didn’t have the best start. First, she was sitting in the middle seat next to a rather large man at the window. And second, her tv screen didn’t work. Not letting it get her down she pulled out her headphones and a book and tried to settle in. Ever the optimist, making the best of any situation 🙂
It was a different story in the row behind. Justine was sitting between a young boy and some random man. Now, Justine was tired and while she tried to read her book she ultimately dozed off. The first hour of the flight had her in & out of sleep. It was in between these little naps that she started to pay attention to the kid beside her. In the span of an hour he had read a book, pulled out a notebook and started writing what looked like a story, grabbed another book and started practicing what Justine guesses was mandarin, and then he pulled out and completed a puzzle. Who does this much on a plane?!? All Justine was trying to accomplish was a nap!
Justine doesn’t really remember how it happened, but suddenly they were talking. He introduced himself as Tristan. He had moved to Edmonton from Ontario last year when he was 13 (which makes him 14 now). And coincidentally, he was also on his way to Orlando. But unlike us who were only planning on living in theme parks, Tristan and his family were planning on seeing a bit more of Florida. The rest of the plane ride was spent chatting. The various topics included Disney, how he doesn’t drink pop, the British royal family, our recent trips to New York City, the lack of excitement living in Edmonton, state capitals (at one point Justine had to tap Kris on the shoulder in front of her to asked what the capital of Kentucky was – obviously Kris knew the answer because she is a state-capital-champ), and American politics. The man on the other side of Justine joined the conversation whenever he could add to it. He was in Edmonton for business (something to deal with breathalysers) but lives in Dallas.
As we got off the plane and said goodbye Tristan shook Justine’s hand. What a perfect little gentleman. She couldn’t believe what had just happened. Since when does she talk to randoms? In the end Justine decided young Tristan was her soulmate. Tristan, if you’re reading this, please give me a call when you’re 21. (Note from Kris: You realize that will still be 6 years from when we’re posting this, right????)
We had a couple hours to kill in the Dallas airport before our next flight. After Justine spotted her soulmate from across the terminal we both settled down with our computers. It was here that Justine emailed her supervisor telling him that she was going to be away for the next week. Oops, she probably should have done that before she left. Kris first pointed out all of the heat trace she could see out the window…which is the line of work she is in & was excited to share with Justine (who was much less excited). She then settle din to write a lovely blog post about all of our favorite OTP’s (because it’s almost Valentine’s Day obviously) for our geek blog My Fangirl Life. You can read that post here: I Ship That: My Real-Life OTPs.
Then it was time for food. After wandering the terminal we settled down at an Irish pub for some fish and chips. In typical American fashion, the portions were enormous (but delicious!).
In comparison to our previous flight, the one to Orlando was pretty uneventful.
Justine had a window seat and as it got dark outside she played a little game, ‘Guess what’s outside the window’. She knew our approximate flight path and wished she could have known what the lights outside her window were. The lines of lights and then complete darkness made her wonder if she would have been able to see the Mississippi River or Gulf of Mexico outside her window. Unfortunately Justine never got the answers she wanted. Kris, on the other hand, put in her head phones and read her book. Again. She’s pretty easy to please. As we approached Orlando we were able to spot lights that HAD to be Disney World, potentially even the top of the Disney castle. We were so close; things were getting real!
From the moment we got off the plane you could easily tell what the main attractions: Disney and Harry Potter. We grabbed our suitcases and were bombarded with multiple posters and cardboard cut-outs.
We were staying in one of the official Disney hotels and one of the perks included was a bus ride to our hotel. Finding the bus was slightly complicated (we ended up on the other side of the airport for a while) but once we got our directions sorted we easily found where we needed to be. Relaying the tale & the subsequent proper direction to KG via text message was a bit stressful, but ultimately we got the point across & trusted she’d also find her way to our home-away-from-home.
There was a short line for our bus so we quickly hopped on. During the ride a video was playing that got us super psyched for everything Disney. It was during this video that Kris decided she wanted to be VP Fireworks and Spectaculars for a Disney Park, because does that not sound like the most awesome job? But what are the credentials for such a role? Seriously…if you know pass the info on to her! The bus trip also took us by our first Disney Park sign; we excitedly tried to snap a photo (but it ended up rather blurry). Next time!
For the next few days we’ll be staying at the Pop Century! resort. Like a number of the Disney hotels it is themed; this particular resort being a tribute to popular culture from the 1950’s to 1990’s. The hotel is one of the cheaper official hotels but based on our first glimpse it looked perfect for what we needed. Remember we’ve stayed in a lot worse during our European backpacking extravaganza. The price was quite reasonable; especially when you consider the added perks we get, like the bus from the airport.
We checked in and each got our magic band, essentially the key to our survival for the next few days in a convenient wristband form.
Magic bands, it turns out, just might be the best thing Disney has ever done. Conveniently on our wrist at all moments was our room key, our park tickets and our fast passes. No need to worry about keys and paper tickets! But that’s not all, you can pay with your magic band at the hotel cafeteria and at restaurants and shops within the parks. Everything is just charged to your room. To make them even more magical you get to choose what colour the band is and get your name printed on the inside. Kris got yellow, KG pink and Justine red. All we had to do was put our magic bands on and we were all set for a day at a Disney park.
The two of us made it to our room and started to get settled. We are staying in the 1970’s! The hotel consists of a number of buildings dedicated to each decade. Our room was in a large neon green building, the area decorated with disco dancers, large words telling you to boogie down, and a life-size foosball table in the central courtyard. There was so much brightness and so much to see! There were also added Mickey Mouse’s everywhere, because it is Disney after all!
There were still a couple of hours until KG would arrive so we grabbed something to eat and walked about the large gift shop in the hotel. KG showed up close to midnight and amid our excitement we stayed up for another couple of hours chatting. Kris and Justine wanted to hear all about her trip to Nashville and KG needed to hear all about Justine’s 12-year-old soulmate. Plus, of course, there was the added giddiness of Walt Disney World tomorrow.
Stay tuned for tales of actual Disney (and Universal) adventures, to be spread between this blog and KG’s Yukon Girl in the World blog!
Love & Luck,
Justine … & Kris … & KG!
(February 12, 2015)