Getting to Disney World
Our vacation couldn’t have started any further from being a Dream vacation. We had a 6 AM flight from Minneapolis to Milwaukee, and we are no where near morning people in this house. The morning of February 25th we were getting just a light rain/snow shower here in the Twin Cities, which made it just a bit more interesting. We arrived at Terminal 2 at 5 AM to find that the AirTran ticketing was the busiest we have ever seen. They were asking for those that were on the Milwaukee flight to move to the front of the line. Checked our bags and we were off, off to see there was an even bigger line for the TSA screening. Oh what a day. We made it through TSA in decent amount of time, but were more than a bit rushed. We were running to the gate, which just happened to be the furthest gate from the security screening. It was cute seeing my DD5 running to the gate with her luggage as I was holding my pants from falling down.
Whew we made it with maybe 5 minutes to spare, as believe it or not someone else was later than we were. Lesson learned from this, either book later flights or get to the airport 90 minutes early.
But hey, “we’re on vacation” so now that we’re on the plane what else could be so bad? Well it was between 5:30 and 5:45 and we found out that the plane needed to be de-iced. Insert sad smiley here. But hey “we’re on vacation” so let’s keep this positive right? Well the good news was that we were flying to Milwaukee which in the past we’ve flown to Chicago and that flight was only 45 minutes and this flight was scheduled for 1:20, so we should easily make it to Milwaukee before our 7:50 flight from MKE to Orlando, right?
Well the de-icing seemed to take longer than I would have expected, but at least we were leaving the gate at about 6 AM, which was our scheduled departure time. After that though, it seemed like the pilot took the route to drive us half way to Milwaukee. We didn’t actually take-off until approximately 6:30 AM. But hey “we’re on vacation”, what could be so bad? Besides the pilot even mentioned there was plenty of padding added to this schedule so we should be fine.
OK I have to admit leading up to this day I was having worries about missing our flight, and even though I was already on the plane I was still a bit worried about our next flight. So we landed at MKE and it was about 7:15, again the pilot must have thought we wanted to see the scenic points of the airport, and before that I have to thank air traffic control for plotting the most exciting scenic views of Milwaukee, which by the way for the record, been there; done that and we didn’t really need to see it again.
We get to the gate and the flight crew was already asking those that were not in a rush to please let those that were off the plane first. Well that didn’t go so well.
I suggested that my wonderful wife run ahead to the next gate and get us checked in while I get the stroller and DD5 there. But unfortunately someone decided that we were not going to board the plane. They must not have been familiar with the “Minnesota Nice” that we have back home, as we got to see our plane docked and such while the gate attendant ran to the plane to see if he could get us on the plane. Yet After waiting for what seemed to be 10 minutes we got to wave good-bye to our connecting flight to MCO. Now I have never missed a connecting flight for as long as I can remember, so this was a first. But hey “we’re on vacation”, and I thought I remembered AirTran having as much as 5 flights to Orlando from Milwaukee a day. Well not this day! Turns out the next flight that I thought would have been mid morning, wasn’t until 1:45 PM! WHAT?!? 1:45 PM?!? If they would have let us board that plane we would have been to Disney’s Magical Express check-in before this plane was even scheduled to take-off!
Time to kill, way too much time.
Five hours in a terminal at the MKE airport may not sound as bad as you may think, but let me tell you about the terminal. There’s a Chili’s Too, a deli, two stores at least two sets of bathrooms, about 20 gates and a “kids play area”. If one would want to go to any other terminal they would have to leave the secured area and go through TSA again, no thank you!
Now I won’t get started on how we paid $35 for a simple bacon and eggs breakfast from Chili’s Too that would have even made an over priced Disney breakfast appear to be a great value. But the fact that it seemed more of a fast food delivery instead of a relaxed sit down meal that really made the $35 breakfast seem so much more appreciated, not!
We now had 4 hours and 35 minutes to kill in MKE. We decided to go and setup camp near the gate that we would eventually board the plane at. Fortunately after sitting for about 30 minutes I was able to spot a free outlet, yea, airport Wifi and we had our netbook too. Well that seems too easy! Then I found out that the Wifi at MKE wasn’t free. Well thankfully I recently updated my Android to Froyo, and the mobile WAP was enabled on my phone as well. This gave us a little distraction while waiting, but our DD5 couldn’t sit still, which really brought out the aspect of the MKE airport that disappointed me most. I walked her around as long as I could, but she really wanted to go play in the kids area.
Don’t touch that
Yes, there was a kids area at the terminal, but whoa this place really brought out the germ-a-phobe in me. The kids area was basically a 20′ x 30′ room with a rubber floor material and plastic blocks. One aspect of plastic that simply makes me puzzled about the design of this kids area is that plastic is highly conductive to static electricity. As shocking as this may sound, the plastic was so charged with static that you could see and feel the electricity in the room. You could also see all the dirt and grime clinging to everything in the room. It looked like this room hadn’t been cleaned or even updated since the first Bush administration.
Yea, we made it!
In a bit of an effort to save my and your time I’ll skip the next 3 hours and 45 minutes of waiting, you can thank me later. We made it to MCO and that meant our vacation has now really started! But the long day had really worn us out. We were hoping to meet up with some friends that were also in Disney World but since our planned 5 hour journey took us almost 12 hours we decided to just check in our room at the All-Star Movies and get a quick meal. Then get to bed early and meet our friends for an early and all day touring of Epcot.
Before I end this I just wanted to again mention why we like Disney World so much, it’s the Cast Members. After having such a rough journey we found many Cast Members at the All-Star Music resort that really made the effort to either give us a laugh, a quick pick-me-up or even better an all out welcome to Disney World for our youngest traveler. Seeing her interact with the Cast Members is one of those things that bring happiness as you can see how they too enjoy the experience to help bring a little joy and happiness to young visitors.
Next time on my blog…
In the next section I’ll write up a little review of the All-Star Movies room we stayed at before heading to the Disney Dream. Before reading that if you’d like take a look at Touring Plans info on the Resort here.