Cast of Characters ( and we really are a couple of characters) Angela (me) - wife to Mark Mark (DH) - wonderful (and very tolerant) husband to me! Day One - The Arrival Today is our first day at the WL. We have been looking forward to this for months and our first step into the lobby was no disappointment. But Im getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning. We were driving from Tampa a short 50-minute drive from our house to WDW. Traffic on I-4 was pretty light for Labor Day. We were cut-off by lunatic drivers only a couple of times, so all-in-all a pretty good trip. Arriving on WDW resort property is always a special treat because we arrive from the west. We drive by the Mickey ears at the Reedy Creek power plant just before our exit to Disney. It always makes my heart smile to see this landmark, because I know Im just moments away from the magic! We made our exit and started following the signs for the turn-off to our resort (the Wilderness Lodge). Magic Kingdom resorts straight ahead. A few more minutes. Magic Kingdom resorts keep left. A few more minutes. See ya real soon. Whoa!! Hang on!! Whats this? See ya real soon? Were not even here yet!! Whats going on? Yes. We missed a turn somewhere. We were now on Hwy. 192 West heading AWAY from Disney!! NO, NO, NO! We cant have that! We found a turn-around and headed back with just the slightest frown on my face. We found the correct turn and made it through the Magic Kingdom parking gates. Okay. Frown gone. Only happy thoughts all the way to the WL. We go through the front gate and I am elated! What a monumental resort! How fantastic is the theming! I am in awe as we round the bend and the peaks of the hotel come into full view. We pulled up under the Porte Cochere in the hot Florida sun around 3 PM. I got out intending to go inside to check in. Mark started to remove the bags from the trunk. A woman with Bell Services approached us and said that we couldnt leave the car parked there unless Bell Services took our bags for us. We didnt have much (2 suitcases, a carry-on bag, and a pillow I have to bring my own from home) so we meant to take the bags ourselves. She said we could take the bags ourselves but we had to pull into the parking lot in order to make room for other guests (at this time, ours was the only car pulled up at the front). I told Mark just to let them take care of the bags. I could tell he was a bit put off by the womans approach, and I didnt want a scene on our first day at WDW. He was a very good boy, though. He just smiled and left the bags with her and said, Ill go park the car then. I entered the lobby and was soothed immediately by the cool blast of air coming through the front doors. But the grand entrance was completely overshadowed by the majesty of the lobby. Soft music was playing, I could hear the bubbling of a brook, and the wonderful smell of barbeque wafted past. I drank it all in for just a few moments. I stood there at the entrance just soaking in the atmosphere. I AM HERE!!! I AM REALLY HERE!! I turned to my right and approached the registration desk. Every CM smiled and welcomed me. A woman beckoned me to her desk and introduced herself as Doris. She made short work of the check-in process and gave me all my necessary info. She gave me our room keys, directed me to the elevators and wished me well. I spoke with her just a few more minutes to tell of my husbands birthday, and I found out this was just her first day as an official WDW CM! She did such a great job I never would have known! She was so efficient. WDW must make absolutely sure that their CMs are fully trained before letting them out into the World. Mark was just now coming in from outside so we made our way to the elevators. We were on the fifth floor, North side. When we stepped off the elevators, I was assaulted by the very strong smell of cigarette smoke. Fifth floor - South side is the smoking wing. We had asked for a non-smoking room (for medical reasons) and I was worried that we would be able to smell the smoke in our area. But the two wings are so far apart that once we got to our room, the smell was long gone. We simply didnt use those elevators any more. We used a set of elevators much closer to our room. Our room number was 5010 and it was immaculate. I had heard that the rooms were very dark, but really the darkness comes from the bedspreads and the carpet. With the curtains open it was nice. There were three lamps in the room and a light by the front door. So I thought the lighting was most adequate. The room did not seem to be in any state of disrepair. Everything seemed very well kept. Our balcony overlooked the otter pond. We could see the Contemporary through the tall pine trees and, off to the left, we could see the top of the MK train station. There were no otters to be seen at this time (though we looked for them for several minutes), but maybe later. Mark decided to lie down for a few minutes to see what was happening with Tropical Storm Edouard. He tried to turn on the television and the remote control wasnt working. We called for a new one. Housekeeping brought new batteries in a matter of minutes. Turns out thats all we needed. Now DH is happy he has a working remote. We headed down to the Whispering Canyon Café at 6:30 for our dinner priority seating. Anita (I-Needa-Break) was our server. She was funny and very friendly. She really got us into the mood of the restaurant. After bringing us our drinks, she gave us plenty of straws - about 10 or so (there were only the two of us, DH and myself). Mark was very thirsty and drank his iced tea almost gone in two minutes! Anita noticed this and brought a carafe of tea just for him. It had a straw in it that must have been two feet long! I laughed out loud at this, but Mark wasnt nearly as amused. He quickly got over it when his meatloaf came. He said it was terrific, and I must admit, my roasted chicken was very good too. After dinner we wandered around the resort for a while. We bought Tigger and Eeyore souvenir coffee mugs from the mercantile (buying coffee mugs has become a ritual for every vacation). I noticed they had pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream in the freezer case! Oh dear, they are $5.00 a piece! I dont know, though. This is Haagen-Dazs were talking about here. Ill have to give it some thought. We retired to our room around 9:00 from sheer exhaustion. As we were preparing for bed, we heard the music from the Electrical Water Pageant. I tried to see if we could see it from our balcony, but alas, we could not. Oh well. Well try to see it another night. Tomorrow is Animal Kingdom!