This is my first trip report - I hope I do it right!
Some background: My parents took my sister (and brother) and I to WDW twice when we were kids (1982 and 1989). Except for a few hours at Epcot with my Orlando-based aunt and uncle a few years ago, they hadn't been back. My sister and brother-in-law had not been since they were kids, and their two boys had never been. I had been once a few years ago with a girlfriend, just to Magic Kingdom, and we knew nothing about fastpasses or anything like that. We didn't do much except walk around, take in the sights and ride just a few rides. Last year, I went with my brother and his family, which is when I first learned the basics about Disney Vacation Planning. We had a great time, and I was happy to do it again with my sister's family and our parents this year. I pretty much did all the planning, and everyone else was great about going along with it. I used The Book and forum advice a lot, and did Personalized Touring Plans for all of our touring days. It worked out beautifully!
We landed at MCO at 7:30 pm. We had sent our luggage ahead with my parents a week before, so we had no checked bags to deal with. We found the DME very easily and didn’t have to wait long for the bus at all. This was everyone's first time staying on-property, so it was very thrilling to do our first scan of the wrist band after planning all of this for so many months! The guy who scanned us in to the MDE area (named Roy) said "the magic starts now" and it sure felt like it.
It was dark when we arrived at French Quarter, but we could see enough of the buildings to enjoy the theming. We had requested rooms around 4314, but ended up in 4141 and 4142. It was SO much better! For some reason, they didn’t put us in a standard view room - we had a view of the courtyards. And, even though I was afraid the first floor would be too noisy, it wasn’t at all. Being able to stumble right into our room after long days of touring was perfect.
We planned today to be Animal Kingdom because there wasn’t as much that we wanted to do there, and didn’t want an early morning for our first day after a late arrival the night before. We had no trouble at the bus - very short wait - and off we went. We were earlier than we expected, so we took the time to take pictures at the entrance, and headed to Dinosaur. My sister and her husband and boys (7 and 8) rode it while my parents and I sat it out. Then we headed over to Festival of the Lion King. In hindsight, we might have been better off saving Dinosaur for later, since my youngest nephew had a really hard time walking all the way across the park without getting distracted by everything to see along the way. He really didn’t understand The Plan yet.
We had a great breakfast at Tusker House, although like all the buffets, it was more food than we could eat. My parents had both been successful in losing a nice bit of weight before the trip, and were not very anxious to overeat. But it was good, and it was nice to start the week off with Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy. My dad waved us off when we told him to get up to join our picture with Goofy, so Goofy just shooed my nephew out of his seat and sat down next to Dad for a picture! I think it was Dad’s favorite picture of the entire week.
After Tusker House, we went straight to Kilimanjaro Safari, which everyone loved. The animals were out in full force and a lot of them were super-close to us. Then we meandered over to Expedition Everest, where my parents and I separated from my sister and her family. They road EE and then Primeval Whirl, and hung out at the Boneyard playground while my parents and I watched the Nemo Musical. It was cute and different, but I wouldn’t sit through it again (and we didn’t think my nephews would have liked it). While in line for EE, my sister ran into one of her students in line, from Virginia, which was crazy! After all of that, we were all ready to catch the bus (again, easy) and head back at around 2:00 pm.
We had a 6:15 reservation at Raglan Road, so we took the boat over to Disney Springs around 5:00 to look around a bit beforehand. It was very crowded! It was the first of many times that I remarked how much more crowded this Easter week was than last year. I had expected it to be less, since fewer school systems have their Spring Break this late, but I was very wrong. We all enjoyed our meals at RR - the entertainment was fantastic and kept the kids spellbound. I had a cocktail before dinner and red wine with my shepherd’s pie.
The best part of the evening was meeting a lady sitting nearby, Stella. She’s from Glasgow, but lived in Liverpool for ten years before moving to Canada with her husband. We have Scottish ancestry (and I’m spending a month in Scotland this Summer) and my grandfather was born in Liverpool before coming to the States by way of Canada - so we felt a great connection with her!
After dinner, we roamed around the Lego store before heading back to the French Quarter and turning in in preparation for tomorrow.