Beard Family Trips & Vacations

Vacation in Florida

October 18 - November 3, 2013


The trip was for Wanda and Matt to go to Walt Disney World (Food & Wine Festival), Miami, Key West, and the Everglades National Park in Florida.

  2013 Map of Florida Vacation

Itinerary of the trip:


We made the Disney-related reservations for this trip through my sister, Lisa Klingenberger, who has started working part-time as a travel agent for Love The Mouse Travel (  This is the first time we have ever used a travel agent, since I like to plan the trips myself.  However, Lisa did a great job making the arrangements for what we wanted to do.  We made two reservations through the travel agency - All-Stars Music (October 18-24, 2013) and Art of Animation (November 1-3, 2013).  The first reservation included the dining plan and 2 days of Magic Your Way tickets, but the second reservation was a resort only reservation.

We were selected by Disney, based on the Disney resorts we had reservations for, to be part of the testing for the new magic bands.  We never saw emails from Disney about the test, but the option for customizing the Disney MagicBands suddenly appeared in the My Disney Experience app and website that I had been playing with.  They did not give very much time to customize the bands, so I noticed the option on the last day for our first reservation and was able to make color selections for that pair of magic bands.  I missed seeing the second set of magic bands until the day after the cut-off for our other reservation.  We did receive the MagicBands for the first reservation within 2 days of making the color choices for the MagicBands.  I actually did a limited test with my MagicBand on the business trip I made on September 29th by using it for admission after associating my annual pass to it.

I made the reservations for our other legs of the trip through the Holiday Inn website, the car reservation through Avis, along with buying some of the attraction/activity tickets through those websites.  Originally, Wanda and I were both going to fly back to Houston on November 3rd, but my boss asked if I could go to our offices in Titusville following my vacation, so I made plans for the 3rd to drop Wanda off at the airport, swap the car out, drive up to Titusville on the 3rd and then fly back to Houston on the 8th.

Day 1 - Friday, October 18, 2013 - Houston, Texas to Orlando, FL

We started the day early by leaving the house around 7 AM and having Conner drop us off at Hobby Airport in Houston.  I had finally had enough Southwest Airlines' trips that I was on the A-List and we were able to use the special lane at the check-in counters.  I wasn't sure if the TSA would allow Wanda to go through the special lane at the security check point, but when I asked, they said yes, so we got into line quickly.  However, an alarm started sounding, so we ended up waiting in line there for about 10 minutes without being able to go through the machines.  It turned out to be a false fire alarm.

We grabbed some breakfast at Wendy's after getting through security and then waited at the gate for our 9:30 AM flight to Orlando, Florida with an arrival time of 1:45 PM.  We arrived a few minutes early in Orlando, got our luggage (we didn't get the Disney Magical Express tags before leaving for the trip) and headed to the other side of the airport for boarding Disney's Magical Express for the trip to Walt Disney World.  We got the experience of using the MagicBands as we approached the check-in for Disney's Magical Express.  One of the party (me) had to scan my MagicBand twice as part of the check-in process.  Since we didn't receive our  luggage tags, or expected associated paperwork, we didn't have anythign with us as we had in the past for boarding the bus, but it turned out that the MagicBands were all we needed since the trip was associated with the account.  I wasn't too worried about it beforehand due to having made a trip before without the paperwork and knowing how easy it was to get what was needed once you get to the check-in area.

We were in line for less than 10 minutes (probably the quickest time I've spend waiting for the Magical Express bus), gave the luggage to the bus driver, boarded the bus, and relaxed for our trip to Disney's All-Star Music Resort.  I had pre-checked-in online, so we went to the queue for that option, but the Cast Member still spent a lot of time explaining the process for some reason.  We ended up spending 15-20 minutes talking to her where I thought we would be through in just a few minutes since we already had the MagicBands.  The check-in later in the trip at the Art of Animation lasted less than 5 minutes.  We were given the regular resort cards as backup to the MagicBands in case problems occurred or if we just didn't want to use the MagicBands.

When we left the resort's check-in area, we were stopped by another Cast Member and I was asked if I get do a survey, using a laptop set up on a table, about the My Disney Experience website and app.  Having just arrived for this trip, pulling our luggage, I thought this was a little strange, but I had been playing with the site and app over the last month, so decided to do it.  I had to keep remembering to grade on current capabilities, because the site and app vastly improved during that month of using it.  I was over half way through the survey when a pop-up timer appeared saying that the system would be rebooting in 2 minutes.  It was funny as the Cast Member and I hurried through the selections trying to beat the countdown.  We finished with 3 seconds left.

All Star Musc Resort map


We have stayed at the All-Star Resorts, especially the Music, many times in the past, so know the resort really well.  We tend to stay at the value resorts due to us spending so little time actually at the resort when we visit.

Disney's All Star Music Resort   Disney's All Star Music Resort

Disney's All Star Music Resort   Disney's All Star Music Resort

The first difference was the scanners on the door locks.  Pressing the MagicBand against the scanner unlocks the door, though it turns out that some scanners do a better job than others.


Disney's All Star Music Resort   Disney's All Star Music Resort   Disney's All Star Music Resort

Disney's All Star Music Resort   Disney's All Star Music Resort   Disney's All Star Music Resort

   Disney's All Star Music Resort   Disney's All Star Music Resort    Disney's All Star Music Resort

Disney's All Star Music Resort   Disney's All Star Music Resort   Disney's All Star Music Resort

There was one of the new referigerators in the room which was a great improvement from my previous trip.  This one actually cooled the items in it.  Another improvement was the free Wi-Fi at the resorts and parks.  After logging into the guest network with my iPad, the transition for each new location (other resorts or parks) was easy and didn't take any effort on my part.  This is a new feature that I really enjoyed and it came in handy during our two visits to WDW.

We went back to the main hall and split a dish for a late lunch.  We had our first table service reservations a few hours later (6:40 PM) at Sanaa in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, so didn't want to get a lot of food at this time.  Back to the room to clean up and then off for the bus trips.  We selected one going to the Animal Kingdom park where we transferred to the bus going to the lodge.  Since we had never been to the Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we wanted to take some time to explore.

Contact Information

Matthew Beard

10318 Sagegate Dr., Houston, TX 77089

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This site was last updated 12/01/13