After a short flight from oh so cold Philly to perfectly comfortable Orlando, I wait in my seat on the plane for all of the passengers traveling with children under 5, those needing special assistance, anyone who is related by blood or marriage to a US Airways flight attendant, people under 5’4, men named Xavier, and women who own or would like to own a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes to gather their carry on bags and get the heck off of the plane, and then it’s my turn! I head off to the train that takes me to baggage claim, where I expect to meet someone who will drive me to the hotel. I know there are a couple of other moms coming in at the same time, so I figure we’ll all be riding a short bus (no offense, ladies, I mean the short DVC type buses) to Coronado Springs Resort. I head down the escalator and find Tom, the driver, holding my name in his hand. I walk over and introduce myself, and he immediately congratulates me for making it on the panel, and he walks over to where my luggage will eventually come down.
He informs me that I was going to ride with Tanya and Joanne, but their flight is delayed, so I have the car to myself. I feel like a rock star – only without the money, talent, groupies, and drug habit.
So I’m standing chit chatting with Tom, and I find out that he has been in Orlando almost since he graduated high school, and he graduated just 3 years before I did. He’s from Mt. Laurel, NJ – two towns over from where I went to high school. Then I find out that he went to the “enemy” high school! I went to Shawnee in Medford, NJ, and he went to Lenape! We are nearly related!
Tom is so friendly, and we have a great chat about Jersey, Orlando, Extreme Home Makeover, and how absolutely amazing all things Disney are. He and I are soulmates, I can tell.
I arrive at the Coronado Springs Resort. Years ago, when they first opened this resort, I got to tour here. I thought it was so nice, and always thought I’d stay some day. Then we had kids, who want to stay at kid type place – All Stars; Pop Century; French Quarter; Animal Kingdom Lodge. Coronado fell far on the list of places to stay when we bought DVC, and now that we are here, I’m sorry it did. This has a very deluxe feel for a moderate resort, and I know immediately I am going to like it here.
Tom grabs my bag – he is such a nice guy – and we head in. As I walk into the lobby, a throng of moms is standing there and before I know it, I am kissing off my lipstick, hugging everyone in sight, and squealing like I’ve just been invited to the prom by George Clooney!
I head to the front desk to check in, followed by a group of the moms (some of them decided to run into the parks), find out that my room is not ready, and decide to head to Margaret’s room, which is ready, to store my bag. The group of us that has stayed behind talked briefly about going to Downtown Disney, but end up opting to grab lunch here and get ready for our 4:30 cocktail party.
Jackie, Diane, Margaret and I head to the Pepper Market. If you’ve never eaten here, it’s a great experience! You are seated and a drink order is taken, then you go to one of the stations, order your food, and get a card stamped. You eat your lunch, then take your stamped card out to the cashier to pay. Great for families that want something quicker than table service, but still want to satisfy the whole family. As we were just settling into our meals, Tanya and Joanne came in, so we moved to a larger table. It was so nice to have a little while to meet everyone face to face and hear about their journeys and share the excitement of the itinerary we are FINALLY getting to see!
After we pay for lunch, I head back to the front desk and find out my room is ready. Room 9600, here I come!