Had a conversation yesterday with a friend and potential first timer to Walt Disney World. The questions and answers took nearly two hours. The aha moments were frequent.
It is always interesting for me to hear first timer questions, as they give insight into the preconceived notions that folks have about the most magical place on earth and how, typically, they have never had an experience that rivals what they are about to experience with a trip to Walt Disney World.
Often overlooked or misunderstood is the enormity of the land that is Walt Disney World. It is not just Magic Kingdom. 47 square miles, the size of San Francisco or double the size of Manhattan that includes 22 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 miniature golf courses, 2 water parks, PGA grade golf courses, and a dining and shopping center. The place is HUGE!
When I shared that there were going to be multiple buildings at the resort, she was blown away. Yeah, this isn’t like Howard Johnson’s and there isn’t an IHOP across the street. Then I explained that the resort had more than one swimming pool. Huh? Yep, many resorts on the Walt Disney property have a themed pool and then quiet pools spread throughout. Again, her mind was blown.
I also explained that it would take about 2 hours to get to the resort from Orlando International Airport. What? Yes, Walt Disney World is NOT right next to the airport, but several miles away. Orlando International Airport is big and it takes a while to traverse from the terminal gate to Disney’s Magical Express check-in location. Then there can be a wait for a bus, then a wait to get started, then the bus ride, then potentially multiple resort drop-offs, then check-in, and then finding your resort room. Two hours from plane to resort room is a good approximation.
Disney’s Magical Express was another mystery to be explained---luggage tags, airport check-in, bus ride, etc.
Then there is packing for flights—TSA regulations, what to put in a carry-on bags, etc.
Disney pins for trading? Sure. Autograph books? Definitely.
Our conversation ended with two things: Her realizing that there is no way to do it “all” during a 5-6 day vacation. Yep. Totally agree. And, one of the many reasons we keep going back. The other was an invitation for me to visit their “dance moms” group and explain all of this to them. Agreed. When I told the husband, he said I should charge. I am willing to do it for the adventure and a soda. Helping people plan magical Disney vacations brings me joy. Gotta love first timers!