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Old 07-05-2008, 11:44 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,008

Southwest Splendors July 5-July 12 Real Time Trip Report

Hello from Sedona, where we have reached the Amara Resort and Spa and the first stop on this week's tour. I thought it might be cool to post in real time what we've done and are doing, while the memories are as fresh as they are ever going to get. I can't promise to do this every day, but as time and energy permit, I will.

We are me, 43, DH, 44, DD 12 and DD 10. We flew in to Phoenix yesterday and had a lovely afternoon and evening in Scottsdale. For people who can come in the day before the tour starts, I really recommend it. The travel day is always exhausting and stressful, and it helped a lot to have the afternoon and evening to relax. The people who flew in this morning are totally exhausted, and some had some rough flight delays, which must have been pretty tense.

We got to the Starbucks right before noon (it's at the end of Terminal 4, right by the International Arrivals gate and is much larger than the other Starbucks in Terminal 4). Our guides for this trip are Tiffany and Geraldine, and so far they both seem terrific and true to Disney form. They told us our departure time would be 1:30, so we got some lunch and walked around for a bit before meeting up with everyone else. There are 29 of us on this tour, pretty much evenly divided between adults and kids (and the kids seem mostly to be younger teenagers, although there are a few who are around 8). It's a very nice size, and there's lots of room to spread out on the coach.

We got right on the coach and met our driver, Freddy, who seems pretty funny. The coach is very comfortable and clean. We drove for about 90 minutes to Montezuma's Castle, picking up a guide right before we got there. It was a nice way to begin, because the castle is unbelievably cool but the whole tour takes less than an hour. After a short drive, we arrived in Sedona. The red rocks are really jaw-droppingly astonishing. I gave up trying to capture them with my camera, because I think it's impossible. So I just stared and pointed, and that's pretty much what everyone on the coach did too. My daughters, who usually aren't at all impressed by scenery when we drive, were amazed and fascinated, which I think is a good sign.

When we got to the Amara, all we had to do was walk into the lobby and pick up our keys. Our luggage was waiting for us in our rooms, which was very impressive. The rooms are very comfortable and clean, with a few unexpected goodies from Adventures by Disney, and the staff seems very accommodating. We had a little over an hour to settle in before dinner, which was in a private room on the 2nd floor overlooking the pool and some more magical red rocks. There was a live animal presentation and some orientation from Tiffany and Geraldine, along with a few surprises, before dinner and a really nice music show. Everyone is pretty tired, so the evening ended at about 8:15.

All in all, I have to say that this was a very good first day. Things went as well as they could have, and everyone has been warm and friendly. And the views are just as spectacular as we had hoped they would be. I was excited before we got here, but now I am really looking forward to every day.

Feel free to respond to this with specific questions, and I'll do my best to answer them.
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