We awoke at 4:30 to get ready for our 8:00 AM flight. We should have known that as close as we were to the Philly airport (like inside the parking garage at the Marriott), we could have checked our bags closer to 6:30 or 6:45 than 6:00 am. Security was a breeze and no lines anywhere.
We landed in Orlando on time at 10:15, and our bags were first off the conveyer. Alamo upgraded us to a full-size car, so we picked up a Ford Fusion (not the hybrid version, but nice anyway). After shopping at Target for groceries and sundries, we arrived at Kidani Village about Noon. The security guard at the gate thanked us for living in New Jersey and paying their high taxes so he could retire to Florida and live on the cheap.
They really have their act together. We had completed online check-in, but this was efficient. A representative met us at the entrance with our package, called us by name and gave us our room keys. Our rooms were even ready, so she arranged for Bell services to deliver our bags and Owner's Locker.
It was brutally hot and humid today. Real Feel was over 105. Ugh.
After some initial settling in, we left at 1:15 to catch a bus to Disney's Hollywood Studios. We wanted to get in one last ride on Star Tours before it closes Wednesday for a 9 month refurbishment and new film installation.
The one wrinkle was that we hadn't had lunch and were planning an early dinner at Kona Cafe so we needed something to eat to tide us over but not much. We also needed a/c! So, we ordered a burger with apple slices instead of fries to share between us. It only took them 25 minutes to fill two sodas and get us one burger. Ugh. That place is always chaotic. But we did continue our tradition of having a Disney burger as our first meal.
Then, we're off to the Forest Moon of Endor with a brief detour to the Death Star in the midst of a Rebel/Imperial Force dogfight. But we got through unscathed, thanks to our novice pilot Rex and R2D2's intrepid navigation.
Then we decided to drop in on Tower of Terror, or rather, have it do the drop on us. It was a good drop sequence this time with enough surprises to keep it fresh. By now, rain clouds are forming and it's time to head to the Polynesian for dinner at Kona Cafe - another first day tradition for us.
We took a bus to the Ticket & Transportation Center and then meandered through the lush gardens of the Polynesian Resort before showing up for dinner.
Jim had duck-filled potstickers (they promised it wasn't Donald or Daisy) for an appetizer while I had a California Roll. Jim had the Pan Asian Pasta with shrimp and I had the shrimp and scallop entree. For dessert we split a white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry coulis. Or rather, i had two bites, while Jim ate the rest.
It had been steadily pouring for 90 minutes at this point with no sign of letting up, so we decided to catch a cab back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. There was no way we could get from the Polynesian to Kidani Village without getting soaked using Disney's system of monorails or boats and buses. We had left our two Disney ponchos in our Owner's Locker for just such an event, but then we left the Ponchos in the room and we refuse to buy new Disney ponchos each trip. So, we coughed up $20 for a cab ride instead of $14 for two ponchos we wouldn't need once we got back to the room.
Now, it's a nice relaxing resort evening following by a slow morning tomorrow and then we'll figure out the rest. Probably Epcot and Illuminations.