2011 Walt Disney World - Our First Trip as a Family of Four
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Day 1 - February 5, 2011 - Travel Day, First Night the the Baymont Hotel

For the first time ever, we stayed at a non-Walt Disney World Resort. We opted for the Hilton Grand Vacation Club just outside of Downtown Disney as a timeshare exchange. This turned out to be a very good choice for us and a big money saver. We also were fortunate to cash in some credit card reward points for airline tickets. So we cancelled our original plans to drive and flew instead. This gave us two extra full days than were originally planned.

It never fails, despite all the advance planning, we always seem to scramble to get out the door. However, this is probably the best that we have done with the kids. We got up and I took the dogs down to Castle Rock Kennels. When I got back we dropped the van off to get the transmission fixed while we were gone. Good thing we got airline tickets at the last minute. Grandpa Ed picked us up and we headed to the airport.

We flew out of terminal 2 (Humphrey). We got our bags checked in and cleared security without too much trouble. I now understand why traveling with passports with the kids makes sense even internally. The TSA agent asked Maddy who we were. No big deal, but I am sure the fact that we are a bi-racial family made them more likely to ask that question.

Our flight out was delayed, but not as long as advertised and we were late to the gate as Gabe was being stubborn on the way back from getting a snack. I even got paged by my dear wife!

The flight was uneventful and we landed and collected our luggage and proceeded to the car rental. They tried to up sell us to a van, but we stuck to our guns and ended up upgrading for free to a full size. So we drove a Chevy Impala for the week. This was fine, as it had a nice large trunk and plenty of space for all four of us.

By the time we left the airport it was getting pretty late. So we jumped on the toll way and headed for our first night's destination. On the first night we stayed at the Baymont hotel near the Animal Kingdom Gate. We would not be able to check into the Hilton until the next day. We stopped for some McDonald's and unfortunately, the kids were exposed to some less than desirable people.

The Baymont was an ok hotel, but the key was the price was right and it would only be for one night. We also received our stroller, and that seemed like a really good choice compared to the high price strollers that were available for rental at the parks. This stroller seemed to be more comfortable and more maneuverable and much more affordable then the Disney counterparts.

By the time everyone settled in, it was pretty late. The kids were pretty excited for the next day. When we arrived it was pretty warm and definitely humid. The high that day was 80 and the low 59, which felt pretty good coming from Minnesota. Unfortunately, we would not see those kind of highs the rest of the trip.