A few months ago, I was offered a wonderful opportunity to take part in an Adventures by Disney® trip to Peru. After some internal struggle — Can I go to a foreign country by myself? Can I leave my husband and kids for 10 days? Can I do this? — and an incredibly supportive husband who told me it was the chance of a lifetime and that I would be crazy to pass it the chance, I said yes. So, my agency owner, Cindy Minor, submitted my name for consideration. Thanks to some Disney magic (and our Regional Sales Manager, Tammy Spa), I was chosen to go to Peru! I was over the moon excited when my formal invitation came and was even more thrilled to learn that I could bring a guest. It was an easy decision. My husband, Lance, would be my guest. April is our anniversary month, we have never left the children for an adult-only vacation, and hey, he was the one who was super supportive of me going when it meant it would be staying home to main the fort. Sorry again to all of those who wanted to be on the waitlist in case he backed out!
Once I said yes, that was all I to do for the trip. The Travelistas at Adventures by Disney took care of the rest. The most difficult part (and it wasn’t hard at all) was lining up child and dog care. Thanks to our amazing family and a beloved teacher at school, it was simple. Our babies (ages 9 and 11) would be taken care of by those who love them.
Travel Days – March 31st and April 1st
To get to Peru, we opted to fly through Los Angeles as there is no such thing as a direct flight from Little Rock. The flight to Houston was a normal flight but it was really late leaving Little Rock so we barely made our connection to Los Angeles. When we got on board, there were only a few single seats left – all middle. So I did what any good wife would do who wanted to sit by her husband…..offered to buy a drink for whoever gave up their seat. My original one drink got me nothing but my two drink offer got me two seats side by side. Hallelujah!
Once we got to Los Angeles and checked in with LAN airlines, we were treated like royalty. We didn’t get upgraded to first-class but we were certainly treated like first class. A manager personally greeted us (and the other 5 people who were also going to Peru with Disney) and made sure we all had premium seats with extra legroom and we each received a lovely gift from the Account Manager. The excellent treatment didn’t end there. At the gate, the same manager made sure we had priority boarding and escorted us on the plane himself. Once we were seated, our flight attendant came over and offered us pre-flight beverages and welcomed us again. I am officially spoiled! And a huge fan of LAN airlines now!
The flight was uneventful and we got a little bit of sleep throughout the eight and a half hour flight. Note to self – it is mighty chilly sitting next to an exit door so bring a jacket! We landed in Lima and joined up with other Disney guests on our flight. Customs and Immigration coming in was a breeze and we all got through quickly. We are hoping it is the same when we fly out.
A driver met us, took our luggage and carried us to our hotel, Casa Andina Private Collection, in Miraflores. The drive over gave the seven of us a chance to get to know one another. Alex was traveling solo and is in Global Marketing for Adventures by Disney and Aulani; Sarah and Andrew are a mother/son team who work for another agency; and Scott and Yvonne are husband and wife — Scott owns an agency specializing in Disney travel and YaVonne is a nurse — and that would come in handy later in the trip. Lance and I already think they are great and can’t wait to get to know them more!
An hour after loading up at the airport, we arrive at our hotel where we were greeted by our Adventure Guides and given a quick welcome and info session. Michael is an American who has been with Disney for about 20 years and Harvey is a native Peruvian from Cusco. It was at this time that we received our duffle bag, lanyard and welcoming pins. We are huge pin collectors so we had been looking forward to the pins and weren’t disappointed. We couldn’t wait to see each day’s pins!
Since we had been traveling for about 24 hours and felt less than at our best, it was time for a shower and nap! The hotel was well appointed and luxurious. We both felt refreshed and ready to grab a bite to eat. After checking with Harvey about the best place to go, we ended up at Kiriko’s a few blocks away. It was a local spot full of locals, not tourists. That is always a great indicator of how good the food is. I loved my chicken cordon bleu and after Lance tasted it, he ordered another chicken cordon bleu for himself. YUMMY!! As we were eating Michael and Harvey came in to grab their dinner. My tip: always trust where the Adventure Guides are eating!
After supper we were feeling the effects of travel so we headed up to bed. Lance went straight to sleep but I checked Facebook. Turns out there had been an earthquake in Chile just a few hours before and as a result, there was a tsunami warning for Peru. Sweet friends and family were checking on us. We were safely about 24 blocks from the Pacific and up on top of a huge hill in a high rise hotel. All was good but I confess I was nervous about sleeping and prayed nothing would happen. Thankfully, when we woke up all was good!