Road Trip Day 12 - First Day at Disney World

Got up before 8am and talked with the very friendly hotel manager during breakfast. Checked out about 9:15 and began driving south towards Lake Buena Vista (and Disney). The tolls on the Turnpike were a shock ($2.50, $1.25, $1). I am okay with paying bridge tolls, but this road did not seem so special.

Arriving in Kissimme about 1pm (after a stop for gas), I found the Best Western Lakeside (7769 West Irlo Bronson Highway). It is not new or fancy, but it is located fairly close to Disney and has a free shuttle. There is a big pool, some food options, and a little store. It was only $52.69 (Best Western Website special AAA Rate), the rooms have a refrigerator, microwave, and safe. Also, the WiFi reception is good. Quite a few families from the United Kingdom seem to stay here. It is ranked about #14 of 215 hotels in Kissimmee by, which is pretty good (I'm almost a little surprised).

The desk clerk, Mary, was understanding about letting me look at the actual room before I decided to register (sometimes I am a bit funny about Feng Shui issues, when I am staying more than one night). I had to spend some time on the phone with the fraud detection unit of my credit card company since I had spent money in so many places without calling in a travel notification (I normally do this if I travel internationally, but did not think about it on a driving trip).

I went shopping for snacks and organized things in the room. At 5pm, I took the hotel's shuttle to the Disney World Transportation and Ticket Center. I had looked at ticket prices previously and realized that the first and second days were really expensive, the third reasonable, and after that they were cheap. I decided to buy a six day park-hopper pass (about $293 including tax). I figured that as long as I was here, I might as well get my fill of Disney World - I could have bought a shorter ticket and extended it, but did not want to hassle with lines at the ticket booth (and days 5 and 6 only cost $3 each).

It was Saturday, and quite busy, so I decided to only familiarize myself with the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. This way I would know where things were when I attacked them in earnest during the week. I did opportunistically go on a few rides (but the waits for many of the popular ones were really long). I went to the fireworks in Magic Kingdom at 10pm. The fireworks were spectacular, but it was very crowded and I needed to leave before they ended, to make sure that I made it back to the transportation hub by 10:50pm to catch the shuttle back to the hotel.

Note: If you are going to go to Disney World for the first time, you should probably do some type of advance preparation so you know the popular attractions, and tips and tricks. Theme Park Insider seems to be one very good source of this type of information.