Monday, February 14, 2011

Disney World

I’m writing this post on the airplane, on our way back home from Florida. We visited Disney World for the first time and had a great family vacation there.

We left Toronto on Monday evening for Buffalo. It was way cheaper to fly to Orlando through Buffalo than flying directly from Toronto. I paid $880 for 4 tickets, 2 adults and 2 kids and, if I remember correctly, the cost for flying from Toronto would have been around $1,500. Most of the hotels near the Buffalo airport offers a one week free parking if you stay for one night. So we decided to take advantage of this offer, especially that our flight was early in the morning and also because the cost for one week parking at the airport was $60, while the cost for one night at the hotel was only $89, with a complimentary breakfast included.

Everything went really smooth and we arrived in Orlando on Tuesday morning, on time. We even got lucky and got the seats in the airplane with the extra leg room at no additional cost.

At the airport we went directly to the Disney area and in less then 10 minutes got into the Disney Magical Express bus. 20 minutes later we were at the hotel. Because we stayed in a Disney resort hotel, the transportation from the airport to the hotel was included in the price. Also, Disney took care of our luggage, too. We did not have to wait for our cargo luggage; they took care of it and delivered it directly to our hotel room.

The Disney transportation service is amazing. Every 20 minutes, or less, there was a bus leaving from our hotel to any of the 4 parks and the Disney Downtown Area. We stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside hotel, which was pretty good. Because I made the reservations before Dec. 31st and because this time of the year is considered low season, I got the room for $115/night. The regular price is about $190.

Our first visit was to the Magic Kingdom Park. The park was even better than I imagined it. The kids were like wow this and wow that most of the time. Magic Kingdom has 4 “lands”: Adventure Land, Frontier Land, Fantasy Land and Tomorrow Land. This is the most popular Disney park and it has the Cinderella castle in the middle. Each section of the park is like a small city with a specific theme and everything from the buildings to the garbage bins are designed accordingly. It’s amazing the attention that they pay to the smallest detail. I did not have anything else to compare it, except for the Toronto Wonderland and the difference between the two is huge, even though the price difference is not. One day admission ticket to any of the Disney Parks is $70 while the same one-day admission to the Toronto Wonderland is about $55, if I remember correctly.   We had 7-day tickets and I paid $950 for all four of them.

The other three parks are Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. I am not going to bore you with the details about each park, but I want to say that we enjoyed each of them. They are all different and well worth visiting if you plan to go to Disney. Like I said, Disney’s attention to each detail is just amazing. Also their customer service is by far the best I’ve ever seen. That includes everyone, from the bus driver to the security guard at the park. Even when they check your backpack at the park entrance, they try to make it as nice as possible. Most of the employees were jocking with the kids and gave them Mickey Mouse stickers. We felt like VIP customers all the time.

The only complain I have is about their room internet service. It was slow, extremely slow.  But as my wife said, it was probably for the better because it kept me away from my laptop.

The kids had the time of their life. By visiting all four parks they got to see everything, from meeting Mickey Mouse in person or seeing the Fireworks Show, which was really impressive by the way, to live Safari at the Animal Kingdom or watching real movie stunts at the Hollywood Studios. Another ride that really impressed me was Soarin’ in the Epcot Park. On this ride you really have the impression of free-flying. Here’s how The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney describes it: “Soarin’ is a thrill ride for all ages, exhilarating as a hawk on the wing and as mellow as swinging in a hammock. If you are fortunate enough to have experienced flying dreams in your sleep, you’ll have a sense of how Soarin’ feels. Once you enter the main theater, you are secured in a seat not unlike those on inverted roller coasters (where the coaster is suspended from above). When everyone is in place, the rows of seats swing into position, making you feel as if the floor has dropped away, and you are suspended with your legs dangling. Thus hung out to dry, you embark on a simulated hang-glider tour with IMAX-quality images projected all around you, and with the flight simulator moving in sync with the movie. The IMAX images are well chosen and drop-dead beautiful. Special effects include wind, sound, and even olfactory stimulation. The ride itself is thrilling but perfectly smooth. We think Soarin’ is a must-experience for guests of any age who meet the height requirement. And yes, we interviewed senior citizens who tried the ride and were crazy about it.

On the training front I did not do much latelly. Before leaving for Disney I was down with a cold and I did not have much energy left for training. Now I feel much better and my energy level is back to normal. I also feel anxious to start my training.


  1. Dude - you have such a beautiful family! Looks like you scored some great deals on the trip! Great planning on your part! wow!

  2. Nice trip! We went there every year until I was about 12 yrs old or so. I have that place memorized hahaha!