Wednesday, January 28, 2009

UAL and Disney's Magical Express

I guess my title could be a bit confusing, because there is no link between these two items. But I wanted to touch on both things, and figured I could do so in a combined post.

First, DME. I love this service. It makes that Disney feeling start right at the airport. It really feels, to us at least, like you're being transported to somewhere very special.

I love the convenience of the transportation to and from the airport, and for us, it has always worked flawlessly. It is so nice to not have to handle our baggage from the moment we check it in Chicago to the moment we pick up our bags at the carousel back in Chicago. This is especially true since my wife is the classic over-packer. We almost move in when we go somewhere. I'd be okay with a small carry-on sized case myself, but hey! I'm a guy! In any case, on this trip we had six full sized suitcases for 4 adults and 2 children. Plus carry-ons.

We did rent a car, as soon as we could upon arriving in Orlando. We got to our hotel, found our room, and then went right down to meet the Alamo shuttle. And a nice Dodge Caravan mini-van was waiting for us. (Not a bad car - beat the heck out of the Ford Windstar we got the last time we were a bigger group.) Early morning reservations at character dining at the Contemporary (this trip) and Polynesian (last couple of trips) are much easier to make if you don't have to depend on the Disney inter-resort shuttles. And late nights at the parks become a little more palatable when you don't have to carry a six year old off the shuttle because it was a 20 minute wait to get on the thing, and then another 30 minutes to get back to the hotel. Drop off was convenient, too. We all got in, dropped it off at the Car Care Center, and the Alamo shuttle took us straight to Epcot for our last day of park visits.

I'd recommend the DME to anyone if for no other reason than the baggage handling.

Now onto United: We were supposed to fly out at 12:35 pm, so we had to get the shuttle at 9 am. Which meant a pretty early wake up time (6 am for my wife, and thus for me...). But after being loaded on the flight, we were removed after 1 1/2 hours. Mechanical difficulties. (No air conditioning during most of that hour and a half, either.) So we are finally told that we'll be on a plane from LA, and will depart at 6:30 pm. This works for me. Except that THAT flight also had mechanical difficulties. They finally cancel our flight completely at around 7 or 7:30 pm. Give us vouchers for a hotel (offsite, of course) and meal vouchers. We are told that we will be on a 6 am flight in the morning. And it sounds like this isn't guaranteed - they have to have a plane available to fly us out on, and it sounds like they're counting on being able to get one of the two planes with mechanical difficulties from our original flights ready to fly. If not, who knows? Great. With all six bags that we didn't want to touch till we got back to Chicago, and two small kids in tow, we're supposed to get up to catch the 4 am shuttle back to the airport.

Well, we made it. But what a stressful, downer way to end the trip.

But we will definitely be back. Probably sooner than later.

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