I interrupt this ongoing trip report for an announcement.
A couple of months ago, Andy and I decided that I should go back to work full-time, ideally after July 4th since we had plans until that date. And as it was worked out, I’m doing just that!
Today I accepted a job offer for a job that I’m excited about. It’s for a major corporation but our group is its own entity that’s brand new and we’ll have to figure out a lot of things along the way.
I’m excited to be back at work. After a year of not working full-time, I’m ready to get out again. We have a child going to college in 2 years and at least half of my salary will go to an account for her to use for college expenses (want to start a debate? Bring up financial arrangements for kids during the college years. I guess you know our thoughts on the subject now!) and the other part of my salary can be used to finish up projects on our house, trips, extra things like that.
Now I need to find a housekeeper and lawn service and we’ll be set!
One of my goals for this trip was lots and lots of EPCOT time. Payton isn’t the biggest amusement park fan but loves the World Showcase section of EPCOT so I promised her we’d have lots of time for that. Blake is obsessed with the other half of EPCOT, Future World. After a rocky intro to EPCOT when we came mostly for dinner, I was hoping this day would go more smoothly.
And it did.
Our day began with Payton and I waking up around 6:45 a.m. to meet our taxi at 7:15. We needed to be at EPCOT by 7:30 to begin a tour that I was so excited about: a Segway tour of the World Showcase. You have to be 16 to do this tour so when we were making plans for this trip, I was so excited that Payton would finally be old enough. We arrived at the early entry gates and saw many little girls dressed up in their princess costumes waiting to get in for a princess breakfast. We were allowed in before them and made our way to a guest relations desk where we were given some info and told to head to the Innoventions West building where we’d be doing our training to ride Segways.
This tour just had Payton, me and one tall dude. We all watched a safety video and then got on our helmets and hopped on Segways to practice on an indoor course.
I should tell you that prior to this tour, Payton and I had very different feelings about it. I was super excited because I’d been on a Segway for a 4 hour tour in Austin, Texas, once and had a great time. Payton was anxious because she wasn’t sure she could stay balanced and Payton has a tendency to be anxious about anything new.
Funny how things change.
While practicing on our Segways, we had to navigate around cones, go up hills, down hills, practice stopping, etc. For some reason, I was getting really anxious about parts of this and when you’re on a Segway and get nervous, things don’t go as well as if you’d just stayed calm. So in those moments of “omg, I don’t know if I can stop,” guess what? You don’t stop. MUST. STAY. CALM.
So Payton breezed through this part and her fears of not being able to stay balanced were gone so anxiety was not in her way anymore. It was in mine, however.
We finally exited the building after our practice and we were off to tour the World Showcase. As we all traveled like ducks in a row, I was getting scared anytime we’d pick up speed. The handles would pull back toward me and I’d have to slow down. The instructor had me be the last in line since I wasn’t going as fast as the others. I’m still not really sure why my Segway did this when we went faster but it only added to my anxiety.
As we traveled through the World Showcase, we went in and out of all of the pavilions, swerving around columns and navigating on narrow pathways while our tour guide told us bits of trivia about each pavilion. We’d stop for a photo or some water and the whole time I was thinking: I can’t wait until this is over.
I had wanted to have fun on this tour and totally expected to but for some reason, my confidence was gone and I just couldn’t wait to be done. Payton was having a lot of fun and that mattered more to me.
Our view of the "golf ball" in Future World from the World Showcase
You will recall that the beginning of this day involved Payton and me being the first people in the park so when our Segway tour began, our only obstacles were buildings. Now that we were ending our tour and heading back to where we started, we had new obstacles: other people.
EPCOT was now open and there were people walking around as people do in amusement parks and many of them stopped to watch the Segways because they were curious and probably a little jealous. Visitors to EPCOT will often walk 8 miles in a day so being able to navigate on a Segway probably sounded suh-weet to them. As our tour guides handed out business cards to the curious onlookers, we made our way back inside where we started our tour and I didn’t even run into any people along the way!
After receiving our Segway tour pin, Payton and I were off to try to find the rest of the group (Andy, Blake and all of Dan and Katrina’s family) who had already entered the park and started riding rides. We met up with them in The Seas after Payton and I rode the ride to get inside and then my fam saw a Turtle Talk with Crush show. We love the technology and humor of this show but this was our least favorite time seeing it. Actor just didn’t do a great job interacting with the crowd or making jokes.
At this point, we went over to ride Mission: SPACE and Test Track. We grabbed FASTPASSes for Test Track to use later and then split up to ride the two different versions of Mission: Space. Katrina sat out the whole ride with William (she got motion sick on it during her last trip). Payton and Blake came with me to do the mild version (I like the other version but wanted to try this one plus the kids wanted to do this so I wanted to go with them). Everybody else went for the full strength version.
As the kids and I boarded our ride and the doors closed, Blake began to cry. I’m not really sure why but I think he was not sure what to expect and with the doors closed, it was just the three of us and he felt safe crying. I knew he’d eventually be OK and as the ride began and we all had to focus on our “jobs” he did fine.
Afterward, we waited for the others in the exit area where Katrina and William had been. It felt like we were here for ages but it might have only been 15 minutes. I believe the consensus from the people who rode the full strength version of the ride was that it seemed toned down from what it used to be.
It was time to start thinking about lunch so we walked to The Land pavilion, home of one of the most popular rides – Soarin’. We were headed to eat lunch at Sunshine Seasons and then we would ride Soarin’ afterward. Sunshine Seasons is food court style with lots of different food options but was one of the most frustrating and disappointing meals of the week. It was very, very busy so every line for food was long and it was very difficult to find a place to sit.
After we finally did get a table and finish eating, it was time to use some FASTPASSes to ride Soarin’. While Payton and I were on our Segway tour, the rest of the group had ridden Soarin’ and picked up some FASTPASSes afterward. Now it was time for Payton and I to ride as well as anybody else who wanted to re-ride it. That ended up being everybody except Katrina, Joey and William.
We rode Soarin’ (loved it as always though we wish they’d splash some water on you during the water scene) and came out expecting to see Katrina where we left her but she wasn’t there (people who successfully herd cats should give the Dan and Katrina family a try. They were hard to keep track of!). After several minutes spent looking and waiting, my fam decided we’d head out to use our Test Track FASTPASSes.
One of the only ride photos that you can add to your Photopass w/o paying extra for it. Also, one of the most boring ride photos EVAH.
And then it was World Showcase time. We boarded a boat at a Friendship dock with our destination goal being Japan. I had hoped to see Miyuki the candy maker today but her schedule had changed and she wasn’t there. We used a snack credit to stay cool with some Kaki Gori (flavored snow cone with interesting flavors like honeydew. I got rainbow to try them all.).
Blake was doing the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure which is basically an old style flip phone where you read messages and have to find things in various countries of the World Showcase. He chose to do Germany so we were off to explore Germany. We got into a good flow – Blake would do Kim Possible missions, Payton would explore shops and get stamps in her passport and then Andy and I would either join them or take a few minutes to sit and relax.
World Showcase is HOT in the afternoon so that was our biggest challenge. We had various methods to keep ourselves cool including a spray bottle fan thingie, Frogg Togg Chilly Pads and cold drinks. We navigated through a few countries and finally by around 8 p.m., we decided to head out. Payton and I had been at the parks for over 12 hours and although we were all still in great moods and having fun, it was time to rest.
One of our last stops before leaving the World Showcase was to get this pic taken. We still look pretty good after being in the hot sun for 12 hours, eh?
Before exiting for our bus stop, we had this pic taken at the very front of the park
We headed to our bus stop and back to the hotel. It had been a good day. Our next day would be a much-needed day to sleep in and spend time out of the parks. It’s ironic that this day out of the parks was the one that caused some of us to get a very bad case of motion sickness.
Before I get started on this day-that-did-not-go-as-planned, I want to mention that I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from various places about how much detail goes into our trips. I only bring it up because I’m not quite sure what people are responding to because 1.) this is just how I know to do it so I’m not sure which part seems so detailed 2.) I haven’t even mentioned some of the most OCD/detailed planning I did and 3.) if you think I’m detailed, you’d be amazed at my sister-in-law Nicki who did the scavenger hunt books (she’s not a trip report writer but if she was, you’d see what I mean). Anyway, thanks for the great feedback (even if I don’t know what it’s about). Trip planning is my fave thing on the planet to do and I’m just going to assume that’s what’s coming through when you read about it.
Anyway, on to this day that I didn’t really like at first.
So Sunday, May 29, we were headed out for our day at Animal Kingdom. The plan was to be at the bus stop at 8 a.m. to get to the parks before they opened and begin our day. We didn’t end up getting on the bus until 8:20ish and by the time we got to the gates, the park had opened. This was hugely problematic because we were behind a lot of people who’d gotten there before us and already headed to 1 of 2 main places: the safari ride or the Expedition Everest coaster. Our plan was to head to the safari but by the time we got there, the line had built up so long already.
We waited about 40 minutes to ride Kilimanjaro Safari (a LONG time in Shannonland and something I was trying to avoid) and we waited alongside a family with 3 young ones who screamed the whole. time. This was the first time we’d ever ridden this ride in the morning even though I’d always heard that was the best time to see the animals. That ended up being true and we saw more animals than ever.
<-- Place where I'd love to insert pics if only we had them. I can't believe we don't have any. My perfectionist nature will dwell on the missing pics throughout our trip rather than focusing on the good stuff. Maybe our Disney trip money should become therapy money? -->
After getting off of the safari ride, I had hoped to head to the 10:00 Lion King show but it was already after 10 now. Instead, Katrina and I walked to get FASTPASSes for Expedition Everest while everybody else headed for Dinoland. When we got there, the group had taken turns riding Dinosaur while somebody stayed with 2-year-old William doing 2-year-old things (like The Boneyard and Triceratop Spin). Katrina and I decided that we’d ride Dinosaur together and then afterward, a few people decided they’d repeat it once again but Andy and I weren’t in that group. He asked me if I wanted to ride Triceratop Spin with him which was adorable because it’s just like Dumbo and we were riding it without any kids.
It was finally time to use some FASTPASSes so we all headed to Expedition Everest (except Payton and William who went to get another set of FASTPASSes on Kali River Rapids for us all). This was my first time riding this ride and OMG. LOVED IT. I super appreciate rides that do things differently and the way this one moved forward and then back was pretty awesome (I knew ahead of time that it went forward and back but until I rode it, I didn’t know how the two paths varied).
We all then headed for lunch, always good news for Dan who woke up craving food most days so we tried to do early lunches when we could. We ate at Flame Tree Barbecue which has awesomely delicious food (the people who had beans as a side said they might be the best they’d ever had) and I thought the seating was interesting as it meandered along the paths and had various shelters to choose from.
After lunch, we were ready to use our Kali River Rapids FASTPASSes and Katrina decided to head back to the hotel with William. We got in the FASTPASS line and….it didn’t move. The ride had stopped and we were all stuck waiting for quite a while (25 minutes or so?). Once we got on the ride, I warned everybody that they could get really wet and, of course, I ended up being one of the ones who got the most soaked.
Remember that Lion King show we missed earlier in the day? I was determined to see it this afternoon since it’s one of the best in all of Disney World. We walked allll the way to the other side of the park to get there before the next show started. Being soaked was really working for me here because Animal Kingdom is a HOT park and this was a long walk. We got seated and as always, this show was great.
Another must-do on my list? The Finding Nemo Musical show. My family loves shows but Andy and Payton hadn’t seen this one and I wanted to make sure they saw it. I didn’t know if Dan and his 2 oldest would want to see it but they came with us. We had a bit of time to kill before the show started so we decided to make use of those handy dandy snack credits and get a frozen lemonade (some of the kiosks called these Lemonade Smoothies but they were way better than the frozen lemonades that come in the cardboard cups. More slushy in texture and much tastier.). These were a huge hit with us all and got us cooled off for a bit.
I thought it was wayyy too early to head to the theater for the show but Andy wanted us to get going. I was surprised they were already allowing people inside and we got super lucky to be seated at the top in the middle which allows you to see everything for this show. This show lasts over 30 minutes and with the air conditioning, I think many of us closed our eyes even though it’s a good show (3 times I said show in the last 2 sentences. Thesaurus.com recommends burlesque, carnival or pageant. Until Nemo starts doing this show in drag, none of those apply.).
Afterward, we had another set of Expedition Everest FASTPASSes to use (I don’t know when we got them – must have been some magical Disney thing?) but Andy and Payton were ready to head out. Dan, Isaac, Joey, Blake and I decided to use our FASTPASSes and then we’d head back too. We showed up in the FASTPASS line and BAM! We were on the ride and done riding it within 5 minutes. Now that’s how a FASTPASS line is supposed to work!
We waited forever for the bus to go back to the hotel (this happened every f***ing day – beware of this if you stay at POR) and finally made it back.
Time to rest after a hot, hot, long day at Animal Kingdom? Nope! Swimsuits on and we were headed to the pool.
It felt good to go swimming that evening after being in amusement parks for a couple of days and spending a lot of that time in super hot temps. I ordered a couple of drinks for Andy and me at the pool bar which were delicious.
Payton and I headed back a little before the boys and I ordered a pizza from our hotel restaurant to be delivered to our room. The boys had come back around the time the pizza was delivered and it was really nice to be able to just spend dinner in our room having a casual dinner.
After showers and some TV, we all fell asleep early after this long day. Our next day was planned to be spent at EPCOT and Payton and I were going so early we had to arrange for a taxi to come pick us up the next morning. This would end up being one of my favorite days of the whole trip.
On Saturday, May 28, after a long, tiring day of traveling the day before, we set our alarm for 6:45 a.m. to be at the bus stop by 7:15 headed for the Magic Kingdom. My family was up and out and headed to the bus stop at that time but we had planned to see Dan and Katrina’s family at the bus stop as well. By the time we boarded the bus at 7:19, it was obvious we wouldn’t be on the same schedule today. Andy knocked on Dan & Katrina’s door to check on them and they were still asleep. They hadn’t set an alarm because they were exhausted and needed the rest so we were off to begin our Magic Kingdom day without them. Although I’m fine touring with just my family, I regretted that their family wouldn’t get to benefit from empty-ish parks this morning, especially since we were starting in Fantasyland and they have a 2-year-old that would love it.
So after arriving at the Magic Kingdom and watching the rope drop ceremony (probably the best of any of the parks), we were headed into the parks for the first time during our trip. We walked straight to the back to begin the Fantasyland rides and for the first hour, this section was almost empty.
Rope drop ceremony at Magic Kingdom
We skipped Dumbo (should ride it first since the lines build up fast but my kids didn’t want to ride it) and got started on Peter Pan, Pooh, Snow White, Mad Tea Party (tea cups) and It’s a Small World. By 8:45, we had finished up Fantasyland which was still mostly empty.
Andy and I were in our own tea cup, trying not to spin
Trying to get a pic at the end of It's a Small World where it says "Sawadee" which is Thai
Then we headed to Haunted Mansion and chose the line with the scenic route which contains lots of really cool interactive activities. We proceeded to the ride which had almost no wait. I was excited to see the updates and other than getting stuck for several minutes, this became a fave of our family.
If we’d been with Dan and Katrina at this point, we would have ridden some coasters while Payton watched their 2-year-old but we adjusted that plan and headed for Pirates of the Caribbean instead. This is Blake and my favorite ride at Disneyland and since Payton is a huge POTC movie fan, I thought this could be a family favorite as well.
Notsomuch. Surprisingly. Payton just didn’t like it as much as I’d hoped and Blake (and I) really like the Disneyland one better.
Then it was a ride on the corny, corny Jungle Cruise. I’m always amazed at the new ways to be corny the skippers come up with on this ride.
At this point, Dan and Katrina were in the parks and had been to Fantasyland for a bit so we made plans to meet by Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.
One little issue today: Splash was closed. We got FASTPASSes for Big Thunder Mountain and then went with their family to ride Haunted Mansion. When it was finally time to use our Big Thunder Mountain FASTPASSes, Payton took 2-year-old William to go play while the rest of us rode the coaster (much more fun that I’d remembered).
Side note: you may notice that I sound like a first time visitor when I talk about riding some of the bigger rides. Although I’m a huge fan of thrill rides, the last couple of trips I’ve just done whatever Blake wanted to do which meant no thrill rides. Now that he’s older and willing to ride them, I get to ride them too. No regrets doing what he wanted to do – he was only little for such a short time.
We headed for lunch at Columbia Harbor House which I’d never had but only heard good things about. Having the option to eat some great fish isn’t all that common at these quick service Disney restaurants. The tip to sit upstairs was a good one. It’s really quiet and spacious up there. After lunch, our 2 families split off to do our own things.
My family headed to Hall of Presidents – something I hadn’t done since I was a kid and was super excited to see again because 1.) our kids were excited and 2.) animatronic technology has improved with each new president they’ve added.
We really liked seeing this show. Very moving to see all of our “presidents” speaking about our country. Blake didn’t think the Pres. Obama animatronic was that much improved over the previous ones though.
At this point, it was probably around 1:00 or 1:30 and theoretically the time that we were going to leave for an afternoon break, especially after last night’s late night and today’s early start buuuut…
We headed to Tomorrowland instead. We rode Buzz and Carousel of Progress (thanks to this attraction, Blake routinely sings “It’s a great big, beautiful tomorrow..” now) and saw Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor for the first time which was probably 1 of our fam’s top 5 fave things of the week. We finished up with an easy ride on the Peoplemover and then decided to head out for a break.
At this point I considered the day to be a success. We’d ridden way more than I ever expected and had so much fun doing it. But that was all about to change….
Tipping the Mousekeeper daily makes the chances of fun towel animals much more likely. This one was on the bed when we returned for an afternoon break.
I love the idea of afternoon breaks and we’ve always done them but it was obvious that was not what was going to make my family happy on this trip. Although Andy and Payton and I all snoozed for various lengths in our hotel room, Blake was antsy and irritated that we were there and then when Andy and Payton woke up, they were groggy and tired from their afternoon nap. All 4 of us headed out for a dinner reservation in the Mexico section of the World Showcase at EPCOT.
This planning was not smart on my part. I was asking my family to go past the Future World section of EPCOT and head to Mexico for dinner. Although the kids had known this plan for months, psychologically it was just too much, particularly because Future World is 1 of Blake’s favorite things in all of Disney World.
We irritatingly made our way to our restaurant and managed to have some really great food at La Hacienda de San Angel. After having the great food and a great waitress (time to break out the thesaurus – just said great 3 times in 2 sentences), we all seemed to be in a better mood and we headed out to explore the Mexico, Norway and China pavilions of the World Showcase.
We rode the rides in Mexico and Norway (our first time! almost everything in the World Showcase was our first time) and explored China. The kids looooved China. We saw the Reflections of China Circlevision movie and the kids became obsessed with some marionettes they had spotted for sale. They made a note of this (literally, Blake wrote it in a notepad) so they could decide if this is how they wanted to spend their Disney gift card money.
It was almost 9:00 at this point and I knew the Illuminations show was about to begin. We weren’t planning to stay for it and compete with the crowds afterward so we headed out of EPCOT but with one stop before we go: Spaceship Earth (the golf ball).
We’d never been in it and there was no line so we got on for a ride. Blake and I sat together and Andy and Payton were in the car in front of us. When the screen in our ride vehicle asked what language we wanted to use, Payton chose French because she speaks a bit of French and thought it would be fun to hear the ride in a language she’s trying to learn. After this looonnggg but interesting ride, I heard the finale of Illuminations (didn’t know Spaceship Earth would be the same length as Illuminations) so we scurried quickly to the bus stop and we were finally headed back to our hotel.
Our next day was at Animal Kingdom and the plan was to meet at 8:00 for the bus. A misstep in the morning lead to a day that didn’t exactly go as planned.
On Sunday we returned from 10 days at Disney World…our longest trip to date. Here’s day 1 of the trip report from this vacation.
Day 1 – Arrival Day
On Friday, May 27, we had a flight booked to leave at 8-something a.m. This day was also supposed to be the last day of the kids’ school but we used it as a traveling day instead. We left home right on time at 6: 15 a.m. (compromise between my desire to leave at 6 and Andy’s desire to leave at 6:30 – a reverse of our normal preferences) and headed to park our van at The Parking Spot. We’ve always parked in remote parking at the airport but after hearing so many great things about The Parking Spot, we decided it would be a good time to give it a try (the fact that Andy gets a discount through work didn’t hurt either).
Travel days are always anxious because there are so many details to juggle so driving to this new parking area was causing me a little bit of anxiety because we didn’t know where it was from past experience and weren’t sure how it would work. As it turned out, it was easy to find and we were taken immediately to our terminal at the airport, right from our parking spot.
Although I had already checked in online and printed our boarding passes, we had 2 big bags to check so we first stopped at curbside. This line took a while to get through as we waited behind a large family headed for a Disney cruise (they had the Disney Cruise Line luggage and have been to Disney World and on Disney cruises many times – jerks!). After finally making our way to the front of the line, we were relieved that both bags came in under 50 pounds, although at 48.6 pounds, one of them made it just barely.
With our bags finally checked, we headed to the security line. At DFW Airport, it’s always a little scary to head for security because the line can be pretty long sometimes. This line wasn’t too bad but Andy and I did get the full body scan treatment machine (the kids were following us and got into the line for the full body scan machine. I kept motioning to them “GET. OVER. THERE.” and they were able to go through the normal line. Whew. Pedophile TSA crisis averted.).
We got to our gate in plenty of time but my first order of business was to go to the desk at the gate. Our seats were all over the plane and although I knew the plane was fully booked, I had hoped they’d at least put one of us with Blake. If not, I knew he’d be OK but he was anxious about it so I thought I’d ask. Luckily the agent was empathetic and she shuffled some people around and put Blake and I together and then Andy and Payton together in another party of the plane. Thank you, gate lady!
When the kids were little, I would always pack their backpacks for vacations with snacks and activities to keep them busy en route. The rule was that they could open it once we got to our gate at the airport. I had stopped doing this in recent years because the kids are older and have gotten very good at packing their own stuff. When we were planning this trip, they asked that I resume the backpack packing so I did. I told them it was up to them to decide when to open them (I’m not a big fan of micromanagement – surely they are old enough to decide when it makes sense to open their backpacks) but they mostly decided to resume tradition and open them at the gate. The contents of their backpacks included these things.
Disney activity book, iPhone magazine, Mad Libs, fruit snacks, Oreos, Twizzlers, Mickey shirt
Magazines, fruit snacks, Princess Tiana scrapbook and art kit, PRETTY sodoku book, Oreos, Tink t-shirt
We boarded our flight – a direct, 2 hour flight – on time and the flight itself was relatively uneventful. The 7-ish-year-old girl sitting behind Blake and me was ANNOYING but once we landed and realized she had no idea her parents were surprising her with a Disney trip, I found them a little bit charming (although, honestly, a 7-year-old is old enough to understand the destination they are flying to and know that Disney World is in Orlando, right?).
We took the shuttle – always a hit with kids – to the main terminal to claim our bags and get our transportation to Disney World.
As we descended the escalator to the baggage claim area, there was a man standing there holding a sign with a familiar name on it.
The kids saw the sign and said “that’s not you though, is it?” I told them that it was and they were super surprised. Of course, Payton had to confirm if there would be any other surprises during the trip – she’s like me and likes to know what’s going on – and I assured her this was it.
Harry the Limo Driver waited with us while we claimed our bags and helped us get all of our stuff out to the limo. Blake told Harry “yeah, this is how we travel every day.”
I had requested a stop at a grocery store (Publix – what a nice store!) on the way to Disney World but it was only going to be 15 minutes to grab what we needed. I had index cards prepared for each member of the family listing what they were responsible for grabbing. Payton had produce, Andy had bottled water and milk, I had many packaged things and Blake could go with whoever he wanted (I think he chose Payton). We all met at the checkout and got out in less than 15 minutes. Our driver was impressed.
Side note: I hadn’t considered the absurdity of arriving to a grocery store in a limo but it did feel pretty ridiculous.
We made our way to our Disney hotel, Port Orleans Riverside. We had only stayed at Deluxe hotels on Disney property before but Port Orleans Riverside (I’ll call it POR from now on) is a moderate. When pricing the trip, I had determined that we just couldn’t stay for long at the current Deluxe prices but could stay for 10 days at a moderate so a moderate it was.
Disney has instituted online check-in for hotels and theoretically it’s supposed to speed things up. The online check-in line moved super slow but finally we got to the front of our line where we picked up our room keys. Included with our room keys were scavenger hunt books created by my sister-in-law Nicki who had arrived the day before. She’d left them at the desk to be given to us at check-in so that the kids could explore the resort and get to know their way around by finding items in the book. Once they completed the scavenger hunt and solved the puzzle, they were to leave the answers out on the table in the hotel room so a prize could be left for them.
The detail she put into it was amazing. I made a short video to show you.
We had arrived around 1 p.m. for check-in and our room wasn’t ready yet so we stored our big bags with luggage storage and headed to the food court of the hotel to finally sit down and eat. We were using free Disney Dining on this trip so this was our first opportunity to try it out. Our hotel had a create-your-own-pasta option which we headed to and everybody was able to get what they want.
After we all ate, the kids headed out with their scavenger hunt books while Andy and I just relaxed at our food court table for a bit and waited for the text message saying that our room was ready. It wasn’t until 3 that our room was finally ready and so we made our way to our room.
We were super lucky to have gotten our requests – building 14 (the closest of all of the buildings) with all 3 families right next to each other. With the kids still out and about on their scavenger hunt, I immediately set out to move in. I really like unpacking and getting organized ASAP. I hung up the over-the-door shoe organizer to hold our small things, put a Minnie and Mickey pump soap on each sink, put all of our clothes into drawers, plugged in the room scent that we’d chosen just for this trip and got all of our documents organized on the desk.
Minnie and Mickey soaps made by Method - they smell freaking awesome
The kids finally returned and were sweaty and hot and needed to cool down for a bit but we had a dinner reservation a little after 7 at Chef Mickey’s. Around 6 or so, our family and Bob and Nicki’s family decided to take the bus to the Magic Kingdom where we’d catch the monorail to the Contemporary Resort where Chef Mickey’s is located. Since we had a bit of time, we rode the monorail all the way around the loop just for fun and after a full trip around, we decided to check-in at Chef Mickey’s.
Just one, teensy little issue: Dan and Katrina’s family wasn’t there yet. Their flight had been delayed and they were currently on the bus from the airport to our hotel. I advised them to leave their bags at the hotel with luggage storage and head right to dinner. We were not optimistic that they’d make it but right when the hostess buzzed us, they had arrived by some miracle of all miracles.
We had a great dinner and I’d love to show you some pictures but I’m not sure we have any.
After dinner, all 14 of us headed back to our hotel to get settled in for our first full day in the parks. But not so fast….
Andy, Dan and Bob’s oldest brother David and his family were driving through on their way from South Carolina to Tampa for Memorial Weekend. We were all exhausted but made our way out in front of the lobby of the hotel to meet up with them for a little bit.
After that, we were finally ready to head to bed. The next day would be our earliest of the week since Magic Kingdom was opening earlier than normal. The plan: be at the bus stop by 7:15. Did we make it? Let’s put it this way: at least some of us did.
The last couple of days you would have thought that my mom had died if you saw me watching the final episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show. I’ve typed and deleted a few different posts regarding my feelings on the show ending but none seemed to be adequate enough. Since I was 11, I’ve seen 90% of her shows. Oprah’s been the best teacher a geeky girl seeking out smart, confident female role models could ever have. I will miss her being on my TV every afternoon immensely.
She did manage to soften the blow by Tweeting me last week. Sort of makes up for the 20 years of trying to attend a taping of her show. In my geeky world, this was squee-worthy.
My Tweet. Not necessarily directed to her but more about my routine Sunday night check of Oprah.com.
And then moments later, a reply that I never expected.