Sept 28-Oct 5
Our group consisted of 16 people, ages 5 to 79, spanning 4 generations. We stayed one night at the Dolphin, then transferred to Bay Lake Tower for 5 nights. We then stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel for 2 nights.
Planning for this number of people was quite an undertaking. Executing the plan also had it’s challenges. My DDad(79) and DM(74 with Alzheimer’s) slept in most mornings, and met us for our lunch reservations at whatever park we were visiting for the day. I printed up some posters at Costco that listed our daily itineraries, with ADR’s, FPP and other pertinent scheduling information. This made it easy for my folks to find us when they were ready. I must say that onsite accommodations were crucial for us…the transportation options are what made this feasible for them.
Friday, Sept 27: Arrival day
Everyone arrived in Orlando at different times this afternoon, and everyone was on their own to get to the Dolphin. We didn’t have a solid plan for this night, just because arrival times tend to be unpredictable in my experience. Some of us ate on the Boardwalk, some ate offsite. Some rented a surrey bike and rode around. Everyone was ready to get the party started. We tried to get to bed early since we had EEMH at HS the next morning. Our plan was to meet in the lobby of the Dolphin at 5:15am the next day…which was 2:15am for those of us coming from AZ. Yikes.
Saturday, Sept 28 (EEMH at HS, MK, The Void, 1900PF)
We went to EEMH at HS 3 different days of our trip. Our first morning in Florida was one of these days. We had been told that the boats didn’t start running until 5:45am, so we planned on walking. We left the dolphin at about 5:15, and we were barely too late to catch the first boat. Good to know. We lined up near the Trolley Car Cafe about 5:35 and we were among the first 50 people maybe? When they let us in the park we went straight to SDD and rode it twice before 6:20am. We rode TSMM and ASS and then headed to SWGE around 7? Waited about 35 min for MFSR (posted 65). Then we walked around, got some blue and green milk, and took in the sights. We left there about 8:15 and headed to ST and then HTH and RRC. We were done with every single ride in the park before the park opened. It was freaking fantastic. We went back to the Dolphin, and packed up our things to move to BLT and then hit MK for some FPP rides. We had received conflicting reports about whether or not the Dolphin would transfer our bags, but the morning we needed it, they said they would. And there were several other baggage carts lined up, ready for transfer. So we left our bags with them and got on our rental van, heading to BLT. We parked at BLT with no issues. My brother went in to check-in, and the rest of us headed to MK. MK was suuuuuper busy. We did our FP and got outta there. We went to DS and did the Void, and then we had dinner at 1900PF. I was a little worried about this reservation because of the teenagers in our group….I didn’t know how they would react to a character meal, but I know these characters are a blast, so I took a chance with it.
It was so much fun. My 16 year old nephew was really targeted by the step sisters, and he took it all in stride. They were all over him, asking about how many kingdoms he had, and that sort of thing. He was beet red, but such a good sport. It was a super fun meal for all ages.
Then we headed back to BLT to find our room. We received a text a few hours previously saying our room was ready. It’s noteworthy that the baggage transfer was not without issues. We had a busy day, so it was probably about 7:30pm before we got back to the hotel for the night. My husband and I stopped at the desk to set up a CC on our MB (btw…they do this now….we were staying in the same room as my brother, but hooked up our own CC and PIN to our MB….so we could charge meals and snacks to the dining plan with the rest of the peeps, but CC charges we did went straight to our own CC.) While we were at the desk we asked for them to send up our bags. At 9pm we had still not seen the bags. We called downstairs and after a bit of time and identifying the bags, they found them. They said they had a random cart of bags that had been dropped off, with no identifying marks on the cart. Srsly??? Okay, Dolphin, what gives?? Also, all the bags had our personal luggage tags on them….Disney couldn’t look at one of them and look up the name in their system? Whatever. As soon as we identified some of the bags on the phone (colors and designs and number of bags), the bags arrived quickly.
Our room was fantastic. We were in a 3br grand villa on the 14th floor of BLT, with a park view, and it was INCREDIBLE. It was awesome to not have to wait for buses or monorails, and to just walk to and from MK. And I didn’t mind watching the fireworks from our room at all.