Disney Vacation Part 1: Arrival + Disney Springs

You guys, I can’t believe it’s been a month since we spent time at the Happiest Place on Earth aka Disney World. I loved being able to share my favorite place with my two favorite people and celebrate our five year anniversary in style. Now that things have calmed down a bit and I’ve recovered from my Disney blues (it’s a real thing–I looked it up), I thought I’d recap our trip for you guys.

Today I’m sharing all about our somewhat tumultuous first day and our visit to Disney Springs (aka Downtown Disney).

Our first day at Disney World didn't go quite as planned but it was still a day for the books

After three long months of counting down days till our vacation (I’d been working with the lovely Alicia聽to plan this trip since way back in April!), Saturday, July 1st finally dawned. Our flight was at 6am so 0330 saw us making the one-hour drive to the Syracuse airport–very tired but very excited to be on our way.

I was a little nervous about Baby E’s second ever airplane flight but she was a gem and slept blissfully during our hour and a half flight from Syracuse to Detroit. I internally breathed a sigh of relief–maybe this whole traveling with a 9-month old wouldn’t be as hectic as I’d anticipated.

Guys, I celebrated too soon! Unbeknownst to us flying 10,000 feet in the air, our flight from Detroit to Orlando had been moved up 45 minutes and was in the process of boarding just as our wheels hit the tarmac!! Did I mention we were sitting in the back of the plane and had checked our carseat at the gate? Did I also mention we landed at Gate 71 and departed from Gate 10?

With only 15 minutes until our next plane flew away without us, Zach and I grabbed Baby E, our carryons, and our carseat and hauled butt through the airport. We made our flight with minutes to spare though and thankfully, even though E was awake the whole time, the flight to Orlando went off without a hitch.

We landed in Orlando at 11:30am and headed down to the Magical Express bus station. Since we were arriving before check-in time, we opted to have our checked bags delivered to our room later in the day (a nifty little service that made exploring so much easier).

For our stay, we chose Port Orleans Riverside, one of Disney’s moderate resorts, as our home away from home and I’m so happy with our choice. The resort’s theme is the Antebellum South with lots of Princess and the Frog touches and is separated into Alligator Bayou–rustic lodge themed rooms and Magnolia Bend–plantation style rooms. Port Orleans Riverside was absolutely gorgeous and we will definitely stay there again when we get the chance.

Once we arrived, we dropped off our carry-ons at the concierge desk and headed to the Riverside Mill Food Court for lunch. I have to say that we didn’t have high expectations for the food court but it ended up being surprisingly good.

After lunch and a quick break to change and feed Baby E, we hopped on another bus to Disney Springs. It was so much bigger than I remembered it being but then I realized it’s been TEN years since my last Disney visit!!! It wasn’t even called Disney Springs at the time; it was still Downtown Disney.

Anyway, first things first we headed to Guest Relations to activate our Armed Forces Salute tickets (we bought the 4-day park hopper option at our local MWR here on Drum). Then we were off to explore my dream store–World of Disney. Seriously, guys, this place is huge–it’s every Disney lover’s dream.

The Florida heat was starting to get to all 3 of this at this point so as soon as we got the text that our room was ready, we headed to the bus stop and back to Riverside.

Now I should preface this next part by saying we booked a king room + a pack and play for our 4-day stay. I was crossing all my fingers and toes that we would be staying in a room on Magnolia Bend (because inner Elizabeth has always wanted to be Scarlet O’Hara for a day) so when I saw our room was in Alligator Bayou I was a teensy bit disappointed but willing to make the best of it…..

Until we opened the door and I saw two double beds + a pullout and more importantly, no luggage. Visions of our suitcases being lost and having to re-buy Baby E’s food, diapers, and wipes for the rest of the trip flashed through my brain. And because I may or may not have a penchant for Scarlet O’Hara-esque drama, I started to cry right then and there in the doorway. Yep, I cried over a room arrangement and a luggage mixup–not one of my most #LadyBoss moments.

So after sitting there for a bit, Zach and I decided to at least ask about the room switch at the front desk. The lady at the desk was really sweet but informed us there were no king rooms available for the night. She did check availabilities for the next day though and set us up to change into a king room then. Zach also checked with the concierge desk and had our bags, which had arrived but not been delivered yet, brought to our rooms.

The whole ordeal, pretty much the only hiccup to our entire stay at Disney World, was definitely not the most relaxing way to start off our vacation but all in all, we were very impressed with how the resort staff handled everything and how quickly changes were made to accommodate us.

We ended our first day with dinner at Red Robin with my dad and his wife and then completely passing out in our room, tired after a very long day. Alarms were set for 6am to start our first magical day at the park!

Check back on Friday for Day 2 at the Magic Kingdom!

Let’s Talk:
Tell me about the last time you went on vacation?
Have you ever been to Disney World or Disney Land? I want to hear all about your trip!

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  • I stayed at Port Orleans Riverside once!! I loved it. Gosh, even with your hiccup, which I am so glad they were able to resolve quickly, this post has me dying to get back to the happiest place on earth! It must have been so much fun with a little one!

    • Me too haha! Zach and I already made plans to go back in a few years when E is a little older. 馃檪 Disney is addictive!!

  • Oh girl. I’ve done my fair share of running through airports to catch connecting flights. But never with an infant and a car seat! I feel for you!

    It’s been 16 years since my last Disney trip… While I’ve heard the name “Disney Springs” around, I didn’t officially know that it replaced “Downtown Disney” until I read this post… Oops. I’m a terrible Disney fan. I’m so ashamed! haha. I thought Downtown Disney still existed and that Disney Springs was something totally different. smh

    I’m so sorry your room and luggage got mixed up. Trust me, I would have cried too. I’m glad it got worked out though. I’m excited to hear about your time in the parks! We’re going in January to celebrate our 5th anniversary/Pearson’s graduation and I can’t wait!

    • I had no idea either!!! And it’s so different than how I remembered it–so many boutique stores and so much bigger. I’m glad I’m not the only one who would have cried (I felt a little bad about it afterwards). I hope you and Pearson have an amazing time when you go–and that you post a recap on the blog!! 馃榾