Monday, December 15, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth

Friday - Scott took the day off. We finished packing and getting things together and then left after the kids were done with school. We drove over to the grandparents to say goodbye, and then we were off. We left their home at 4:30pm. We stopped at 10pm for the kids to go to the bathroom and brush their teeth and they fell asleep right after that for the night.

Saturday - Scott drove until around 2am (I did some dozing while he drove). I took over until we were past Jacksonville, FL but still a ways from Orlando (which was about 6:30am and the point where both kids were now awake) we stopped to eat breakfast (should have called one of the Jax girls). We arrived at hotel #1 (Comfort Inn Lake Buena Vista) at 9am. Lucky for us, our room was ready! We all got showers, brought in our luggage, and were off to Gatorland for the day. We ate at CiCi's for supper and then went back to the room for an early goodnight (about 7:30pm we were all fast asleep).

Sunday - We ate breakfast (free) and then checked out of our hotel by 8am and checked into our new room at Disney's Port Orleans - French Quarter. Our room was not ready yet, but we hopped on a bus to go to Hollywood Studios and actually got there before opening. On our first ride we were awarded the 2008 Dream Passes (part of Disney's Year of a Million Dream Event) so we had fast passes for all the rides. We had so much fun!! We left the park at 3:30 and went back to the hotel to get checked into our room and eat supper in the alacart restaurant they had on premises. We bought a free refill travel mug for each of us $13.00 each, so meals were not too pricey at the hotel restaurant when we ate there. (under $25.00 for lunch and dinners and under $15.00 for breakfasts). We went back to Hollywood Studios and stayed until 8pm and then went back to the hotel for the night.

Monday - We woke up early and headed out to the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom for breakfast. It was so yummy!! We finished up and got out of the restaurant before the park opened. We rode a ton of rides and then noticed the park was REALLY filling up. Miley Cyrus had been at the park over the weekend and I heard it was a MAD HOUSE). Thank Goodness we missed that!! We had a moderate amount of crowds, but it was warm and the kids were tired, so we went back to the hotel for some quiet and swimming for the kids. After swimming we ate at the hotel and then went off to go back to the park for Juliet and Dylan's 6pm appts. at Bippity Boppity Bootique.

Sidenote: Our economy is bad??? Its hard to see that when you see what you see at that shop. Now, mind you, we spent $60.00 for both kids to get their hair done...yikes Dylan was only $9.00. Juliet also got her makeup done and was given a bag full of makeup to take home. It is still a TON of money for us, which is why it was her birthday gift! In addition, she has been wanting this done everytime we go, and I realized that window of time in which she would like it is quickly coming to a close - my little girl is growing up. Now, as I said... we were just doing the hair ("Coach package" for Juliet and "Cool Dude" for Dylan), but most people were doing the large package that includes full outfit, shoes, wand, and nails for a whopping price of $250.00. And the place was JAM packed at 7pm. The person in front of us had 4 daughters and spent over $1000.00!! It made my $60.00 investment feel less painful. There were about 12 stations (heck... maybe more) and the place was full with many people waiting to get done. We had to make reservations months before our trip because it gets booked up so quickly. Mind you, the above is not a judgement... just an observation.

We left the castle (Bippity Boppity was in Cinderella's Castle) and the park was absolutely jam packed. I don't know why, but it was HIDEOUS. Absolutely hideous. We rode some rides, did some walking around the park, and left around 9pm. Back at the hotel I wrapped Juliet's hair with toilet paper and put it into a shower cap (per the hairdressers instructions). Dylan was horrified that his hair was crunchy, so we washed his Cool Dudeness out of his hair. We went straight to bed!

Tuesday - We slept a bit in on Tuesday and then we ate breakfast in our hotel. Jules was thrilled to learn that her hair was still PERFECT. I brought along cheerios, juice boxes, and raisins, and purchased milk... so we were good to go! We did not arrive at Epcot until 9am, but were quite lucky and got to ride on everything we wanted to right off the bat. We did have to fast pass Soarin (since we did not want to wait 40 minutes), but otherwise it was easy breezy. We ate at a Japanese counter service restaurant for lunch (my kids LOVED this meal the most I think). We spent the afternoon exploring the World Showcase and truly had a perfect afternoon. We had dinner reservations at the Garden Grill for 7pm and we were all STARVED by the time we got there. Soon after dinner was over we left the park and let the kids swim at the hotel until 10:30pm!

Wednesday - we ate breakfast at our hotel restaurant (another cheap meal at $10.00) and then headed off to Animal Kingdom for the day. We got in there for the opening and were the first group on the safari. We had an awesome day, with the highlight for me being the Nemo show. It is every bit as good as any show I have seen on Broadway (just quicker). This is the second time I have seen it, and I just love it. I had my normal frozen Chai and we split a couple pretzels. I also carried snacks in my bag everyday, so we always had munchies with us if needed. We left Animal Kingdom at 5pm and went back to our hotel, let the kids swim for about a half hour, and then we jumped on a boat to take us to downtown Disney. We spent the evening there and ate at Planet Hollywood. I guess we left at 9:30ish, and the kids fell asleep on the boat ride back to the hotel.

Thursday - We ate another cheerios breakfast in our room and then headed out to Magic Kington. Now, we KNEW it was supposed to rain, so we wore crappy clothes topped with ponchos. We looked pretty rough!! Luckily there were no crowds at all for the Extra Magic Hour in the morning and we rode tons and tons of rides (starting with Dumbo). The rain poured from about 10-12 and we watched a lot of shows during that time just to stay semi-dry. At 12:30 the sun came out and it turned gorgeous out. Of course, we looked absolutely horrible (dried drowned rats) but did not have time to get back to the hotel and come back for our dinner reservations at Cinderella's we just went with it. Our clothes dried, but we walked around with squishy wet sneakers (yuck).

We stayed at the park until 7pm and then went back to the room to pack (((sigh))).

Friday - We woke up early, got our things packed into the car, checked out of our hotel, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then boarded a bus to Epcot (the kids favorite park - Scott and I like it as well). Dylan loves Mission Space (low intense with me) and Juliet loves that and Test Track. Their favorite is Spaceship Earth (the big round ball). We were there until 3:00 and then boarded the bus to take us back to the hotel. We ate a late lunch and then left the hotel at 4:30pm to head for home. We stopped at 8pm for another small bite to eat (McDonalds) and kept going. Scott drove from 4:30-10pm and then I drove from 10pm until 5am (Richmong Va). It was a LONG night. I drank 3 large diet cokes and listened to a chick lit on CD.

Saturday - Scott drove us home and we arrived at 9am. I only had time to get the stuff out of the car and then I had to go to choir practice for 10am! I made it!! I had told them I may not make it, but was so glad that I was able to get one last practice in! When I got home we jumped back into the car and got groceries and then went to 2 different train display layouts and then went out to eat (per tradition).

Looking back, it was a wonderful trip. We had so much fun just being together. I do have to say though, that when we arrived back home and saw that the house was still standing I felt I could breathe a bit easier again. Despite the billions of dollars spent to make DisneyWorld a magical place; the happiest place on earth is home.