Disney World: Day 1 ~ Surprise, Flight, Arrival, and T-Rex Restaurant

We love surprising our kids for vacations.

And this last trip to Disney World was no exception.

We did have to let 19 year-old Mr. Lego in on the secret - when you work 30 hours a week, plus you are going to have him use his military ID to purchase the tickets, he kind of needs to be in on the deal.

So one day in April, I completely "forgot" to put dinner in the slow cooker.

I called My Sweetie, who was very considerate and said he would pick up fast food. (I can't believe the kids did not get suspicious. I NEVER do this.)

So in he comes with take out Chinese, which is such a treat. And since we had been talking about TV shows and food lately, we watched Andy Griffith's "Aunt Bee's Restaurant". If you have ever seen this episode, you would know that she goes in on a Chinese restaurant, and that fortune cookies play a big part in the plot.


After we ate, My Sweetie casually handed out some fortune cookies.


Some very special fortune cookies.




They got what was happening within a couple of minutes. But it did take a bit of convincing.

We sent them packing, and within an hour, we were driving to the Bay Area and the grandparents house to spend the night.



Now before I go any further, let me talk about planning. We had planned this thing for the last seven months, and did tons of research on DW.

The first thing we did was start an account on the Walt Disney World website. This site was amazing. We could look up what the hours were on the days we were going, make all our reservations, see menus, maps and other important information. We also got the apps on our phones which were INVALUABLE while we were there.

Another site that was very helpful was AllEars. There were lots of helpful posts on transportation, fastpass, dining, and so much more.

The next thing we did was to make our dining reservations. We did this as soon as we knew our dates, which was about 4 months before our trip. And even though we reserved them that early, there were restaurants that were already full. (We really wanted to eat at 'Ohana, but tried and tried and never got a reservation.) So if you are reading this and planning a trip, reserve as early as possible. (You can make reservations up to six months in advance.)

We were staying on the DW property and doing a dining plan, so everything was coordinated on our Magic Bands. These things were so cool! We customized them six weeks in advance and they sent them to us before we left. We synced them to our credit card and it was already linked to our hotel room and tickets, so literally, the only thing we needed to bring were the bands. And they never fell off once, although we did take them off at the water parks.


We planned out each day - meals, reservations, and fastpasses, and had it all on our online schedule and synced with our Magic Bands.

I will tell you that all of the planning was SO worth it, and I feel we experienced the most of our trip because of it.


The only thing that we had trouble with, was the promos Disney kept sending us. About a month before our trip, we got a big, shiny packet, with our name and the numbers of days until our vacation in big letters across the front. I about had a fit when I saw my youngest holding it and looking at the photos of Buzz Lightyear. I thought fast on my feet and told the unsuspecting daughter that it must have been an advertisement from our trip to Disneyland a year and a half earlier.

If I remember there were only three mailings, and the other times I was able to get to them before the girls.


Now back to the trip.....

Our plane was to take off at 9ish in the morning, but when we got up at 6, United texted me saying it would be late.

We got there a couple of hours later and the plane was still delayed.

The kids entertained themselves by watching planes take off.





This is how I rolled with the delay.




We finally got on around noon and found our seats.





Nutsy had my camera on take off and took this neat photo of The City.









The flight was smooth, and because it left late, everyone had free TV on their seatbacks the whole way (normally it was $7.)


And guess what Nutsy was watching next to me.....


 Andy Griffith, of course.



I brought snacks with us - trail mix, salami, crackers, and popcorn bags.




We were a little worried about leaving later though, we did have reservations that night for dinner and we weren't sure if we would make it in time.


Our flight was direct and we landed in Orlando a little over five hours later.

When you stay on property they take care of all your luggage and the transportation to your resort.



On the half-hour bus ride they showed videos of the different parks and old cartoons.







Excited to be finally in Florida!



We were staying at Art of Animation.



Since we were so late and were going to miss our 9:30 reservation, we left our bags at the concierge and got right onto a bus to get to Disney Springs, where our restaurant was.


We were eating at T-Rex. We did miss our reservation - when you are late, they just throw you in with the rest of the people in line, so we did wait about a half hour and didn't get seated until around 10:15.

But hey, we didn't care, we were on vacation. And plus, we were still on Pacific Time, and had sat on a plane all day.



The theme of this restaurant is, yup, dinosaurs and pre-historic scenes.  Think Rainforest Cafe but with dinosaurs.

We were on the meal plan, which made ordering lots of fun.

Nutsy had plenty to choose from, even with her food allergy.



My plate: ribs, half a chicken, and fixings.



Mr. Lego was thrilled to get to choose a couple of shrimp dishes for his plate.





Each of us got credits for dessert, for a total of six each table service.


We decided to spend four credits to got this incredible, delectable, beautiful indulgence.


There were four pieces of different cakes, with scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, and caramel and chocolate sauces.


YUM.



We headed back to our hotel room (more on the room later), ready for a fun filled week!



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