Traveling to WDW from the UK Day 1

Janine Mickey

Nine is one of our Mouze Kateerz writers that lives in the United Kingdom. This will be a multi part series that chronicles her adventure over the pond to see the Happiest Place on Earth.

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These are the memoirs from our last trip to WDW , September 2012. It was our first trip with our then 2 year old daughter. This will be a warts and all style diary, with all the good points and the not so good of taking a pre-schooler.

Cast – me (Nine), 32, ex-cop, full time mummy and Disney-aholic. 5th time to Walt Disney World. Love Magic Kingdom and Tower of Terror.

DH (Disney Husband ~ Steve), 33, lawyer, loves Tampa Bay Rays, Animal Kingdom and Tower of Terror. 7th trip

DD (Disney Daughter ~ Felicity or Tink), 2 yrs 9mths, 1st trip to Walt Disney World, been once to Disneyland Paris. Loves It’s a Small World.

Day One – Travel Day 09/22/2012

We headed up to Surrey to stay with the inlaws the night before so that they could take us to Gatwick (the airport) in the morning. Tink knew we were off on our hols and as always when you want a decent nights sleep, we all slept really badly, a mixture of excitement and nerves.

We woke up around 530 and after a quick shower and a coffee we were off to Gatwick and arrived around 730.

We found Departures and the Thomson Airline desk pretty quickly, glad to have Tink in her buggy. We felt fairly smug lining up at the Premium Class desk (our treat to ourselves to make the first flight with DD a bit easier). I saw a friend I’d met on a UK Disney Forum straight away at the desk with her family and soon we were hugging like old friends. After months of chatting on the computer and texting it was so nice to finally meet.

The bags were all around 10kg and the car seat didnt get weighed at all, hurrah! We dropped it off at the oversize luggage desk then it was off to security. This was pain free so off we went in search of breakfast. Starbucks was located and pretty soon we were scoffing a BLT and cinnamon latte and a pain au raisin and hot tea. Madam refused to eat so we let her play in the kids area for a bit to try and burn off some energy. We got some magazines and sweets and very soon it was time to board. We were the last on in Premium due to farting about with the buggy but we were still seated in our pre-booked seats (middle aisle, second row) and sipping OJ while the rest of the plane was still boarding. Pretty soon after take off we had little pretzels and hot tea/coke/hot chocolate. Tink watched the iPad and I had brought various little presents including sticker books, colouring things, sweeties etc and these helped to entertain her. Meals were produced but she didn’t touch her sausage, beans and smiley potatoes. Her tummy wasn’t 100% so that combined with lack of sleep and excitement left her with little appetite. I figured today was not the day to worry if she ate nothing but crisps and sweets!

DH had chicken and I had veg curry, both of which were passable for airline food. We sure made use of the free drinks too, there was a good choice of soft and hot.

DD defied all logic by refusing to sleep despite being up really early and always having a daytime nap at home. She made friends with the little girl in front and I got to chat to my friend which was cool. Taking a 2 year old to the toilet on the plane was … interesting.

Ice creams appeared and later small sandwiches and scones, Tink yet again refused to eat a thing. Luckily no one seemed to notice or were used to her couple of outbursts, one couple even said how well behaved she had been!

We landed at Sanford on time. We managed to get through immigration, baggage and car hire pretty quickly, thank God for the buggy. We picked out a nice Dodge Caravan and off we went!

As luck would have it Tink fell asleep almost right away, phew. We had a decent drive to Lake Buena Vista although it rained a lot. Found our way to the hotel, the Clarion Inn. The grounds were pretty and check in was harmless. Found our room, dumped the cases and headed straight to DTD as we all had a second wind.Downtown Disney entrance sign, Mickey Mouse Disney, Mickey Mouse Disney sign, Disney, Mickey Mouse

Within 5 mins of leaving the hotel we passed the first Walt Disney World signs (cue tears) and we were quickly parked and ready to get my Caprese sandwich! We’d forgotten it was Saturday night and it was very busy. We headed straight to Earl of Sandwich, enjoying seeing Tink’s face as she took in all the sights and sounds. DH and DD found a table while I headed in to get our order, not too bad, from start to finish took me 16 minutes and it was heaving, the line was out of the door. I had my beloved Caprese, DH had a BLT and Tink had a grilled cheese, washed down with Cherry Coke and milk. I love how milk is an option in the US, DD drinks loads of it especially in the evening so it was perfect. We people watched for a bit then headed into World of Disney for DD to chose her first present. She was over awed by the sheer size and choice in here but ended up with a Minnie dressed for Halloween, which she loved as she had brought her Halloween Mickey from home. We had a lot of comments about these over the next 2 weeks. We then headed back to the hotel as it was now 9pm US time, 2am to us! DD and I went straight to bed while DH popped to the hotel store to get some milk and juice for the morning.

Went off to sleep happy to be back in our favourite place and looking forward to Disney Hollywood Studios in the morning.

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Traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort from the United Kingdom Part 1

By Janine P

We have fairly recently returned from our first trip to the Walt Disney World Resort with our 2 year old daughter, Tink.  My husband and I have both been several times before but this was to be the first taste of America for the smallest Pipe.  She had been to Disneyland Paris with us this June for a very quick 2 night visit and had both thoroughly enjoyed it (we rode It’s a Small World about 1,000 times) and was over-awed (she literally screamed when she saw King Louis and Baloo).  
We booked this trip back in March 2012 for September 22 through October 6, 2012.  This was a short time period of planning for us, but the holiday was very much a last minute decision.  We last visited in 2009 when I was pregnant with Tink and didn’t think that we would be able to afford to return until a planned family visit in 2014.  But sometimes life deals you a card which makes you think just go for it, and so we did.
Being old hands at Florida holidays made the planning and booking process a lot easier.  I still laugh when to think of when the Travel Agent phoned me trying to sell me some tickets to Universal.  No thanks I said, we won’t be going this year.  But do you know about such and such they asked?  This is my 5th and my husbands 7th visit I replied.  Oh was the answer, well you probably know more about it than me then.  Teehee.
We booked the flight, hotel and car hire through said Travel Agent but online rather than in the store which allegedly saved us some time and money.  We booked the tickets to Disney through Disney directly but bought the 14 day Hoppers which are only available for UK customers.  We opted to upgrade our flight to Premium seats which meant we had a dedicated check-in, extra baggage allowance, complimentary food and drinks etc.  Well worth it with a pre-schooler as it was her first flight and 9.5 hours of sitting down with nothing to do was not going to happen!  She actually did pretty well on the flights, refused to sleep the whole way there but made good use of watching Mickey Mouse on the iPad and playing with the huge bag of surprises I’d brought for her.  Luckily she did sleep most of the way home, thank goodness as it was an over-night flight!  There was one small child who was really wailing for part of the flight and I just felt so sorry for them and their parents, it can’t be any fun with a grouchy child and disapproving looks from fellow passengers.  We put her in her PJs and made sure she had her favorite pillow and blanket and that really helped too.  We also brought her bed time sippy cup so she could have her usual milk and hot chocolate, so she had all her bedtime signals.  I really think this worked more than anything to get her to sleep.  A big tip was to buy toddler sized head phones.  The ones provided on the plane would have been way too big and hers were pink, just what every 2 year old princess-in-training wants.
We booked a Dodge Caravan as we wanted plenty of space even though it was just the 3 of us.  We really liked this car and would happily have one again.  It just about fit all the stuff we carted around with us each day!  We chose to take our car seat and stroller rather than hire them Stateside as Tink likes what she knows and knows what she likes.  As the stroller is a MaClaren Volo it is really lightweight and folds up super quick anyway.  Having a stroller was a Godsend, even when Tink didn’t want to use it we laden it up with the bags in the Parks so we could carry extra stuff without worrying about the weight.
As this was a quickie/cheapie holiday we did not stay on-site at WDW but just outside in Lake Buena Vista.  We stayed in the Clarion Inn on Palm Parkway and were about a 2 minute drive from the first WDW sign and just over 5 from DTD.  The hotel was perfect for us as we had requested a ground floor room, lots to do and places to eat with in walking distance and a very short drive to the Parks.  It might not have been as fancy as some of the WDW hotels (Oh Grand Flo I dream of staying in you one day) but it did us fine for what is was needed for and we would happily return.
Please stay tuned for Part 2
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Janine Pipe, married mom of 2 year old Tink, living in Swindon in the UK.  DLP shareholder and lifelong WDW fan.  Always planning the next trip and making the most of all things Disney in England.  Has been told her house resembles a Disney Store.
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