Walt Disney World Trip
Day 8 (Friday, Jan. 12)
Homeward Bound(Click on any photo to see a larger version. Click on links to see additional information or photos.)
A final surprise at Animal Kingdom Lodge Disney World from the air A view of my next big vacation destination Final thoughts
Where does the time go?? Although a number of items on my to-do list still hadn't been checked off, it was time for me to leave Disney World.
On previous trips, I had scheduled a mid- or late-afternoon departure, thinking that I might spend a final morning in one of the theme parks. But I never got around to leaving the hotel, so this time, I chose a noon flight. That was late enough that I wouldn't have to be up at the crack of dawn, but early enough that I'd be home by late afternoon Pacific time.
Yesterday, an envelope was left on my door telling me that I was assigned to a 9:05 a.m. Magical Express bus today. I was eligible for flight check-in at my resort, so I took my bags down to the check-in podium about 7:45 a.m. Everything went smoothly this time, as opposed to the lost boarding pass situation last April that forced me to schlep my bags to the airport myself.
I then went back to my room, ate up some remaining food (muffin, banana, juice), and left the room for the last time about 8:45. While walking out to the Magical Express bus stop, I noticed yet another example of the great theming at Animal Kingdom Lodge: the pavement at the hotel's entrance was cast in pieces that resemble the patterns on a reticulated giraffe! Given the level of detail I've seen at AKL before (see my AKL Theming web page), I'm sure this wasn't happenstance.
The bus was right on time, and after a stop at Pop Century, we were off to Orlando International Airport, where we arrived a little after 10:00 a.m. I cleared security quickly, found a seat near my gate, pulled out one of the "Brides of Christ" DVDs, popped it into my MacBook--and realized that I had packed my noise-canceling headphones into my checked luggage. Drat!!
From my eastbound flights, I knew that there would be no movies on the plane, hence probably no headphones. Nonetheless, I figured it was worth asking a gate attendant about it. She verified that there wouldn't be any headphones on the plane, but then very kindly went to a nearby cabinet and got me a pair of earphones. I'd have to put up with the noise of the airplane engines, but at least I'd be able to watch my movie.
I don't know the Orlando area well at all, but I had a vague sense of where Disney World was, so when there was a break in the clouds shortly after takeoff, I managed to get some brief views of WDW. (I've annotated the photo to help you get your bearings.)
Most of the flight to Dallas was above solid clouds, so there wasn't much to see. I occupied myself watching "Brides of Christ." And, being in first class, we got lunch. I chose a chicken pizza and a salad. Warm chocolate chip cookies came along later, yay. :-)
Despite our somewhat late departure from Orlando, we got into DFW early. I took the Skylink train to the terminal for my flight to San Jose. There were a lot of clouds on this flight, too, so I was glad that I had my MacBook to entertain me. This time, I decided to watch "Batman Begins," a movie that I absolutely love. We also got lunch again. This time I had a veggie pizza and a Greek salad. And another chocolate chip cookie. :-)
As we crossed into California over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the clouds cleared enough for me to figure out where we were and spot Yosemite Valley. Well, not the valley itself, but El Capitan and the back side of Half Dome. (I've annotated this photo, too.) Meg, Lloyd, Nick, and I are planning a benchmark-hunting expedition to Yosemite in August, so it was appropriate that I should see the park just as I was ending a lovely trip to Disney World with all of them.
Final ThoughtsHere are a few summary thoughts about this trip to Walt Disney World.
Having the ability to play DVDs of your choosing is a wonderful way to pass the time on plane flights! And noise-canceling headphones are amazing.
The monorail resorts are a great place to watch the marathon runners. The monorails aren't affected by traffic problems on the roads, and compared to the rather closed-in theme parks, there's lots of room along the roads to find a watching spot.
Spend time looking closely, and you'll be rewarded with wonderful details that enhance the ambiance of each WDW park and resort.
It's also well worth your time to pause and enjoy the street entertainment, whether it's a fife-and-drum corps at Epcot or a talking trashcan at Animal Kingdom.
Thank you, Disney, for offering the no-spin version of Mission: Space! Now even wimps can get our Gary Sinise fix. :-)
I love the range of food available at WDW, especially the cuisines of other countries.
I don't know what the Osborne Lights were like before they were set to music, but they're very impressive now. Definitely a don't-miss attraction during the holidays.
My visits to Wilderness Lodge and stays at Animal Kingdom Lodge have strengthened my desire to get rich and have Peter Dominick design a house for me. :-)
Some rides are even better at night. I've long felt that about Big Thunder Mountain and the Jungle Cruise; now I've added Expedition Everest to the list.
Planning | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7
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Last updated 2/11/07