May 2012 WDW Report Update (7/19/12) | Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish

Chapter 2
A Side, Level 1

 (Originally posted July 19, 2012)

We made our way through MCO toward ground transportation.

Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Our first Disney sighting of the trip came as we passed the Earport.

Disney's Earport | Orlando International Airport

Now we were determined to find the Magical Express counter without getting lost in MCO—a feat we had never once accomplished successfully. All the hidden escalators and lack of signage makes this a very confusing airport, but luckily we had just looked at the map in our Magical Express booklet and were fairly confident we knew where we were going.

“Where is it again?” I asked Tracy.

“A Side, Level 1, I think,” she replied.

So we started walking, found the A side of the airport, took the escalator down and walked in the direction I thought was right. We saw some Magical Express and Disney Cruise Line buses out the window, but not one sign indicating where to go. After we reached one end of the airport to no avail, I asked someone at the Hertz counter where the DME was.

“Oh, that’s on the B side. Go up the escalators, across the airport, back down the escalators and follow the signs.”

Oops. B side it is I guess. Maybe NEXT time we’ll successfully find the DME without getting lost. We followed our instructions and finally saw this sign like a beacon beckoning us.

Disney's Magical Express | Orlando International Airport

Once we knew where we were going, we found it was pretty simple finding the throngs of people constantly gathering to board the Magical Express. We had no reason to go to the actual counter, so we found the line for our Riverside and queued up behind all the other people going to Yacht Club, Beach Club and Boardwalk. We wondered why there is a different bus for French Quarter than Riverside—they are right next to each other after all—but never got an answer.

Disney's Magical Express Signs | Orlando International Airport

There were probably two full bus loads ahead of us in our line, but luckily it was a pretty busy time of day so they had the line moving pretty fast. Within about ten minutes our bus pulled up.

Disney's Magical Express Bus | Orlando International Airport

We were pretty excited to have an actual DME bus because there were lots of yellow Mears buses in the area as well, and we wanted the full experience, welcome movie included! We boarded the bus, hoping for the front seats so we could have the best unobstructed view of the signage as we approached Disney, but the woman who got on right before us swiped them. Blast! Oh well. We found a seat with a decent view of the TV.

Disney's Magical Express TV

We took Duffy out and put his mouse ears on.

Now I’ve always heard horror stories about it taking forever for the DME to start moving even after boarding, but we must have lucked out, because we were on our way within moments. The video started up.

Disney's Magical Express Video

My favorite part of this movie is how prominently Scrooge McDuck is featured among other obscure characters. Between the movie and the scenery out the window, the ride went really quickly. Before we knew it, we were passing under the gates.

Walt Disney World Welcome Arch

Seeing that arch is always one of the most “we’re here!” moments for me. It was at that point that it really started to sink in. We assumed that since we were the only moderate resort on the bus, we’d probably have to wait until they dropped off at all of the deluxes first, but then we saw this sign.

Port Orleans Resort Riverside Sign | Walt Disney World

Not only were we first; we were here!!

Port Orleans Resort Riverside | Walt Disney World

We got off the bus and went into the lobby. I was blown away right off the bat with all the awesome details of this resort. I was loving it already.

Port Orleans Resort Riverside | Walt Disney World

Port Orleans Resort Riverside Lobby | Walt Disney World

Port Orleans Resort Riverside Lobby | Walt Disney World

Port Orleans Resort Riverside | Walt Disney World

We had done online check-in, so we avoided the line in here, even though that part of the lobby is really cool.

Port Orleans Resort Riverside Check-In Desk | Walt Disney World

We walked up to the online check-in desk, and the cast member greeted us. It was time to press our luck once again. Would we be able to score an upgrade on top of our free trip?

Continued in Next Post


About Wandering Mouseketeers

We are Taylor and Tracy — husband and wife from Boulder, CO — and we love all things Disney, as well as general travel. This website was originally created to showcase our Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line trip reports, but we've also got an entire series of blog posts about what it was like to live for a year and a half in Orange County, CA. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading about our various adventures. All of our Disney trip reports have lots of pictures and details that you can use to plan your next vacation!

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