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Walt Disney World 2007
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Tuesday June 19th, 2007

Up at 6:00am for a change... or not. Enjoyed some coffee and took a look at our check-out docs. I'd signed up for Express-Checkout which allows you to bypass the front desk when leaving. You just have to trust that Disney will get your final itemized bill to you and hope there are no surprises. We didn't make any phone calls or use room service so we weren't too worried. We were flying United which is a participating airline in the Magical Express Pre-Check-In program. So we were able to take our bags down to a desk just outside our hotel lobby and check-in for our flight. Brilliant. Got our boarding passes for both legs of our flight home and said good bye to our luggage for the day. Love that.

We had a bit of time to kill before our 9:00 bus-ride to the airport so had breakfast at the Yacht Club Galley. Had a crab-cake eggs benedict and Kel had a regular eggs benedict. The conversation revolved around how we'll do the next WDW trip. Doesn't that always happen on the last day? We both agree that we had a great time but would have liked a bit more time to just chill at the resort, Downtown Disney and the water parks. We absolutely love the Yacht Club and it will be very difficult next time weighing my desire to try new things against the perfect resort experience we had this time. We will however plan to stay for almost twice the number of days that we have theme park tickets for. If we want to spend 5 days in the parks we'll plan on at least 9 days total at the resort. There are so many restaurants outside the parks that we wanted to try but ran out of time. We'll iron out the details once it gets to that time. We have plans already for the next few years so we've got time.

Speaking of time, the service at the Yacht Club Galley was great and we got our check and everything with plenty of time to get to our bus. Went outside and sat in a couple of rocking chairs, just chilling for a bit and enjoying the view of the hotel grounds. At 8:45 we went out to the front of the hotel, to the Magical Express pick-up spot. There was a gorgeous Aston Martin parked out there. The lady who owned it saw Kel taking pictures and offered to let her get behind the wheel, but she declined. The head valet got to speed off in it to park it someplace safe. Bus came right on time and after 3 other stops (Beach Club, Boardwalk and the Caribbean) we were off to the airport.

This wouldn't be a complete trip to WDW without airline woes. We CANNOT seem to be able to get home from Florida without some sort of delay. We had a 2-leg flight. Orlando to Dulles in DC. Then a 60 minute lay-over until our flight from there to SFO. Problem 1: First leg delayed for some unknown reason. Finally got off the ground 45 minutes late. (Waited in the bar near our gate drinking beer and wine at 11:00am). Flight to SFO was scheduled to leave at 2:45pm and we pulled up to our gate in DC a t 2:35. Ran down the jet-way but were fully prepared to have missed the flight. Paused at the departures screens to see what gate it was at. Sure enough, it said 'Closed'. Typical, connections are NEVER delayed when your first leg is delayed. One surprise was that it was leaving from just 2 gates down rather than in the adjacent terminal. Walked briskly to the gate and surprise number 2: They waited for us! "Are you the two from Orlando? Hand me your passes and go on aboard, we were expecting you!". Cool.

So we get on the very full plane and everyone is staring at us like we were to blame for the hold-up. Got to our seats and surprise number 3. We were in Premium Economy, giving us a bit more leg-room. I had no idea, as it hadn't cost any more. I got the tickets through Disney so never saw the actual tickets. So whew! We made our flight and have better seats than expected. So they should push from the gate any second now right? Of course not. There's a mechanical problem and we need to wait for a report from the maintenance guy before we can leave. One hour later and we feel like right doofusses for rushing. They finally close the doors and push away from the gate.

The single thing I like about United is that they let you listen in on their 2-way radio communications to the tower. Delays are annoying but what makes them so much worse is that most airlines tell you NOTHING about what's going on until either your flight is about to take-off or has been canceled. Being able to actually listen in and hear stuff like "United 79, please park next to the Jet Blue - all flights west are grounded until further notice due to thunder storms" makes the delay a little less maddening. So we sat on the tarmac for another 2 hours, listening to the other 13 or 14 planes all asking "Can we go yet?" and the tower saying "No, I'll let you know when you can go and not before!". Sigh. Luckily the AC worked. They put on a crappy movie which we ignored. I sat wearing 2 sets of earphones, one connected to my iPod, the other hooked into the plane's system.

We eventually were given clearance to leave at 5:30. The flight was uneventful after that. They re-showed the stupid movie they showed on our way to Florida because they'd already shown the movie we were supposed to get. We actually bought the sandwich for $5 as we were now not going to get home until way late and we were starving. Got into SFO at 8:45PDT, luggage finally arrived on the carousel at 9:30. Caught the 10:00 BART train, transferring at Montgomery to the Concord/Pittsburgh train. Pulled into Concord at about 11:15. Took a cab back to the house which, thanks to our awesome house-sitter Duncan, was not burned down, still contained cats and was both clean and cool. Hit the hay at about midnight, which was 3:00am to our bodies.

Here are some final thoughts about our trip (most of which I've said in the pages before).

This trip's premise was to go to a place where we could have a good time without burning too much vacation time. I only used 3.5 days of vacation time. We chose WDW because it was easy and it was someplace we'd been before. This worked exactly as planned.

We spent a lot of money but not more than on our last 2 trips (those were 2 weekers though). Disney can be expensive but I believe we chose well when it came to picking which things to spend more on.

Despite the fact that on paper it looks like we didn't hit many attractions, we don't feel like we missed anything important. I wouldn't mind riding Mission:Space again but mostly I think we missed the down-time we could have had at the Yacht Club.

June is not as bad as all of the guide books would have you believe. Yes it got a little crowded at the Magic Kingdom but really that was the only place where the crowds bugged us. Otherwise we spent very little time in lines and never had to wait more that 15 minutes to eat. The weather was hot but not as hot as it was the last time we were there in May 2001.

As we've gotten older, dining has become more of an attraction to us at WDW than the rides. We didn't have a single bad meal this time. A couple that could easily have been better but no real complaints. Making reservations 3 months in advance seems a bit silly but wasn't difficult. It forced us to plan the trip a little earlier than we may have. We chose well, eating late in the parks and early at the resorts. Next time I'd like to try the California Grill at a late seating though so we can watch the fireworks from there. We did not do the Dining Plan and I still think that was a good decision. We ate too much as it was, the Dining plan would compel us to eat more.

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