My family has taken many trips to Disney World, but I think the first was the most magical. It stands out in my head and I have some amazing memories from that trip.

First trip was in August of 1999. 5 of us – Me and my husband and 2 kids (8 and 10), plus Grandma came with us! We couldn’t really afford to go. We were rebounding from some huge medical bills (I had cancer), but the kids were getting older and we all LOVED Disney – so why not? Grandma wanted to go, too, which was great!!! I started planning about a year in advance, packing away as much money as I could, and started the planning process!!

We had a certain budget that I was trying to stick to. I didn’t know if we would ever go again, so I wanted to make it as magical as possible, and to try as many things as we could fit into those 10 days. Yes 10 days!  We did a split-stay. Started off at Beach Club (which is still one of my very favorites). We had one room for all 5 of us. Worked out fine. We had 2 beds and the daybed. It was cozy, but doable. Loved the location! We had a great room right near the lobby, with a large balcony and view of the water and Boardwalk area. It was a fantastic stay. The kids absolutely loved Stormalong Bay (the pool). We didn’t want to wear Grandma out, so we planed a bunch of afternoons at the pool, so it was fantastic! We loved that we could walk over to Epcot, and even over to Hollywood Studios (it was called MGM at the time). We used the Friendship boats a bunch, too!

We stayed at Beach Club for 5 nights, the moved over to Port Orleans Riverside (it was called Dixie Landing back then) for the remaining 4 nights. Why? I thought Grandma might want her own room by this point. It was a lot of togetherness that she was not use to! It was definitely a HUGE step down from the Beach Club room, but great in it’s own right. We had connecting rooms. Grandma could close her door and have some quiet time if she wanted, or she could be with us! She had 2 beds, and the kids took turns sleeping in Grandma’s room. The pool area there was not nearly as exciting as at the Beach Club, but the kids seemed to enjoy it! Transportation from this resort was purely by bus or boat to Downtown Disney (Disney Springs). We didn’t mind the buses, but missed being able to walk to the parks. I will say it was wonderful having that second hotel room. It gave us access to a second bathroom, and room to separate the kids a bit.

We had afternoon pool / relaxation breaks, which worked out great. I am typically a commando-style park touring person, so this was a little more relaxing. We got to see most things, even did a water park. We did a sit-down dinner each evening, which was also nice. I had reservations each night, so we knew where we would be going. We enjoyed every meal, and I conveniently planned them during times when the daily thunderstorms hit – so that worked out well. We would head to the parks for the evenings. We only had a couple real late nights, most of the time we were back in the room at a decent time, so we could get some sleep.

We got to experience a deluxe resort and a moderate resort. We went to all the parks, and even a water park. We did Hoop De Do Revue, ate at some amazing restaurants, and had a wonderful family vacation! I am so glad that we bit the bullet and went. We have been several times since then, but its been a while. I am super excited to go! Less than 3 weeks to go!!