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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Orlando Hyatt Regency or How We Spent Christmas Day 2009

As the mid-west braces itself for another winter storm, I was reminded about how we were keeping an eye on the weather this time last year.

We were set to take our 3rd Disney Cruise on aboard the Disney Magic from December 26 through January 2, 2010. We had planned to fly from Kansas City to Orlando on December 25, and stay one night at the Hyatt Regency at Orlando International Airport. Then the winter storm warnings started to appear in the forecast for Kansas City—not just snow, but ice.

AirTran Airways, our favorite airlines, e-mailed us early on December 23, stating that they were aware of the impending winter storm and would change our flight without a fee. We phoned our travel agent and within minutes, we were booked on a flight for December 24, just before the storm was to hit Kansas City. We drove to K.C. on December 23 and stayed at the Embassy Suites near the airport, as they would keep our car and shuttle us to the airport. (We had originally planned to stay there on Dec. 24.) Our travel agent had changed our reservation at the Hyatt for our arrival on Dec. 24, and with a quick call to Santa asking him to come to our house on the eve of Dec. 22, we were set. We only experienced thick fog on the drive to K.C. and the ice was on its way shortly after our flight left around 11:00 am. We were on our way to Orlando and would be in time to make the cruise.

 Here we are in front the huge Christmas Tree on Christmas Day, 2009,
 in the atrium of
Orlando International Airport.

 This is the view from our floor at the Hyatt into
the atrium below. 

Now, many airports have hotels, either nearby or attached to them via shuttle, etc.  But Orlando International offers the Hyatt Regency right inside the airport.  Yep, you step out of the security area on the east side of the airport and look up in the atrium to see the 6 floors of rooms with balconies spanning the perimeter of the atrium.  That’s the Hyatt and guests take the elevator up one floor to check-in. 
 The outside of the Hyatt from the pool deck.
All rooms either have an inside atrium balcony or
an outside balcony.

This is in one of the "green spaces" inside the Hyatt.

We had stayed at the Hyatt one other time, just before our first cruise. One of the amenities we like is the ease of transition between a Hyatt stay and a Disney Cruise. Tell them at check-in you are a Disney Cruise passenger, tag your luggage with the Disney Cruise bag tags, leave your bags inside your hotel room door at check-out and your luggage will appear in your stateroom on board the ship. Magic!

Since the first night of our Hyatt stay was December 24, the staff knocked on our door that evening and presented us with a small holiday gift and wished us Merry Christmas. How thoughtful!

 Another "green space" inside the Hyatt--there were
birds in the bird cage.

On Dec. 25, we started the day with breakfast at the Hemisphere Restaurant located on the top two floors of the Hyatt offering breathtaking views of the airport runways and a lovely breakfast buffet.  We were not the only ones in the restaurant and took our time eating and watching the planes.  Towards the end of the meal, our server told us that the staff had picked our family to wish a Merry Christmas and that breakfast was on them.  What a great surprise!
 The pool at the Hyatt.

 The boy on Christmas Day ready to explore the airport and the hotel.

 A photo op outside one of the two Disney stores located in the airport.

 We found the boy's favorite character.
Yes, that's a shopping bag in his hand.
He used his Christmas money.

 By another Disney shop inside the airport.  There are also
Universal, Seaworld, and NASA shops located inside the airport.

We spent the rest of the morning browsing the various shops and displays located throughout the airport and the hotel.  Orlando International has some great shops, a huge food court, other restaurants, moving sidewalks, elevators, escalators, and incredible people watching.  There was plenty to do!

 Taking a swim on Christmas Day!
We phoned our family from the pool deck to wish them
a Merry Christmas!

 The husband took time to read and enjoy the warm weather.

By afternoon, it had warmed up enough for us to take a dip in the swimming pool, located on the rooftop of the 6th floor of Hyatt and overlooking the runways.  Nothing like taking a swim on Christmas Day!
The wind made coming out of the water a bit chilly.

By evening, we snuggled down with visions of our cruise coming the next day.  We were very excited!

Waiting on the lower level of the airport for the Disney bus to take
us to Port Canaveral for our Disney Cruise! 

On December 26, we checked out of the Hyatt, leaving our cruise luggage behind in our room.  We even left a suit case (dirty clothes and things we didn’t need on the cruise) with luggage services at the Hyatt for a small fee, as we would be returning there on January 2.  You see, the Hyatt offers “day room” rates and we had a room booked for January 2 since our return flight did not leave until late in the day.  We were able to use all of the hotel amenities prior to flying and even had a bell person help get our luggage to the airline check-in.  It beat lugging our bags around and waiting in the airport for 8 hours.  We had space, quiet, a TV, swimming pool, a place to keep our stuff, etc.

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