Getting up at 4:15 am was perhaps the most difficult part of our vacation although the kids were anxious enough to be headed for Mexico that they didn’t seem to mind and were on the best of behavior considering how tired they must have been. We were packed and ready to go and so following a very early breakfast, we loaded our luggage into the car and were off to the airport for our 6 am departure. Having checked in online for our Alaska Airlines flight did save us a lot of time at the airport and enabled us to show up only 50 minutes before our flight was to depart. Checking in online enabled us to preenter our passport information and print out our boarding passes.
Within 3 minutes of clearing security we were ready to board the plane. That’s one benefit to leaving from a smaller airport.
We were well prepared for our second flight which was 5.5 hours long. We packed plenty of toys and games for the flight which was a lifesaver since Alaska Airlines only rents out $10 portable TV sets. They are a far cry from Air Canada’s convenient seat back TV on demand or WestJet’s live TV’s. Alaska Airlines does not have much at all that caters to entertaining children but they were the most direct flights we could find so the flight convenience was the decision maker.
Another thing we had to prepare for was food. Alaska Airlines has very meager $5 sandwiches. My wife bit into one that still had ice frozen meat inside. She was not impressed. Compared to a delicious hot Terriyaki Chicken TV dinner dish I had on a recent Air Canada flight for the same price, it was less than impressive. Fortunately we were aware that meals were not provided and we brought plenty of snacks for the kids to eat. They passed the morning playing pocket electronic games, creating animals with snap together toys and running to the washroom.
Rather than paying a per person rate to be shuttled to our hotel after numerous stops I booked a private shuttle direct to our Resort with Entertainment Plus. It saved me about 50% off of the individual rates I had found elsewhere and was the most affordable private shuttle service I found. Entertainment Plus had someone holding up a sign with my name on it as I exited the airport. After he called our driver, he was there within 3 minutes to load our baggage and take us to our hotel. It was probably one of the most convenient transfers I have taken and I would highly recommend it (especially if you have 4 or more people traveling together). We went directly to our hotel and arrived in the Playacar area within about 45 to 60 minutes. The driver was friendly and although he introduced himself well, didn’t know enough English to answer my more involved questions. Much better than my limited Spanish however.
We arrived at the RIU Palace Mayan Riviera around dinner time. After checking into the hotel we were anxious to get started taking advantage of our All inclusive resort. Being that this was the first time our family has ever stayed all together at an All Inclusive Resort we had to go over the basics of the atmosphere, to enjoy all that is offered without overdoing it. It took a bit of an adjustment for our children to get used to the idea that they could order any drink or food they wanted including room service, but they were only too happy to oblige and get used to being spoiled for a couple of days.
This resort prides itself in being all inclusive 24 hours a day. One can eat 24 hours a day although I sincerely doubt that many people are up at 4am to take advantage of it.
The dining room was not open at 6 pm when we were anxious to eat and so we headed off to the sports bar for some nacho chips and sushi to tide us over until the Buffet dining hall was open. By the time we finally got into the dining room for the buffet dinner we were tired and famished. It had been a long day and we were ready for a quick bite to eat before heading in for the night. The food choices were enormous and tasty. Everything from a large salad bar to 20 or more dinner choices along with an amazing desert bar with cakes, ice cream and fruit. We were on the opposite extreme compared to the meager choices we had earlier in the day on our Alaska Airlines flight.
After a filling meal, Mom and the two youngest children Eli (4) and Orin (7) were ready for some sleep. The older three Dailin (9), Jaeden (11) and Alyssa (12) were too wired to go to sleep and so after waiting for some evening entertainment we headed outside to listen. It was an evening of live entertainment. Following the entertainment the kids were more anxious than hungry to try out the 11am to 11 pm Room Service Menu. It was even more enticing than the stocked and included mini-bar of drinks in the room. Following the late night snack of fruit they were well prepared for a good night sleep. It was a long day and the rest of us were well exhausted and ready for some shut eye.