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Trip Report - Day 1

Hello from Walt Disney World! Even though it has been only 4 months since I have been here, it is wonderful to be back.

Disney's Magical Express
I love this free service. This makes getting from the airport to your Disney World resort very easy.
Once we landed on our Southwest Airlines flight, we headed to Level 1 on the B side of the main terminal. There was a large check-in counter where I had a 30 second wait in line until someone helped me. Two minutes later we were on our way to the line for the buses. Another 30 seconds and we are getting on one of the large especially outfitted buses to head to the resorts. Each bus may carry guest from 4 to 5 Disney resorts so there may be a couple of stops until you get to your resort. We happened to be on the 2nd stop at Saratoga Springs.
There may be a quicker way to get to your resort, but I will take this stress-free and cost free method any time.

Check-In at Saratoga Springs
When we arrived at Saratoga Springs there was no line at check in so I was helped right away. During check-in I asked if there was a room available in the Congress Park section (the closest walk to Downtown Disney). This wasn't my originally assigned room, but the cast member made a phone call and was able to find an available room in that section for us. This was another example of a cast member that went the extra mile to help make our vacation better. I realized since I hadn't put the request in ahead of time I may not get it, but the fact that the cast member took the time to check, was greatly appreciated.
Our studio room at Saratoga Springs was wonderful with a great view of Downtown Disney. It was exactly what I wanted.

Dinner at Wolfgang Puck Express
Since we were hungry we decided to head to one of our favorite eateries at WDW. The Wolfgang Puck Express. This smaller, more casual restaurant compared to the Cafe on the other side of Downtown Disney, is the absolute best counter service deal if you use the Disney Dining Plan. We aren't using the Dining Plan during this trip, but we still enjoy the food and the prices are reasonable considering where we are. I had the Spicy Chicken Pizza, and my wife had the Roasted Vegetable Pizza and we both very happy with our choices.
This is definitely a place you should consider eating at Downtown Disney.

Rain and more rain
The evening brought rain, and we saw quite a bit of it during our dinner. After dinner we caught a bus from Downtown Disney to the Boardwalk Resort. After arriving at the Boardwalk Resort we walked in the rain to the International Gateway in Epcot.
Fortunately as we arrived at Epcot the rain subsided. We then made our way through the heavy Friday night, Food & Wine Festival Crowds. We weren't looking to hit any attractions, but rather just stroll around the World Showcase and take in the night time sights. The last show for the Smithereens was starting as we got to the America's Gardens Theater and we were able to get a 2nd row seat to watch the show. It started out a little slow, but really picked up near the end as they played their more popular tunes and did a wonderful Who cover.
We ended the evening by catching the Illuminations show from a vantage point in Canada and really enjoyed the show.
After the show we shopped for a while to let the crowds thin out, then we exited and caught a bus back to the resort, because we were exhausted at the end of this long day.


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