Some Introductions, and "Day 0"
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|Mon, 05-06-2013 - 7:57pm|
Trip Report - Disney World April 2013
** I haven't had much experience posting here with the new format, someone please tell me if the formatting isn't right or my pictures aren't showing up!!
Some Introductions, and “Day 0″
Myself (Jaime) – grew up taking many short weekend or day-trips to Disney World, but never stayed on site, or did anything that I would count as a true “Disney Vacation“. I always LOVED all things Disney though, especially anything having to do with Winnie the Pooh. I am the Master-Travel-Planner for the family, whether Disney or otherwise, and like to be prepared for anything. I make spreadsheets, I create touring plans, and I do not like surprises.
DH (Brian) – had a similar story to mine growing up with regards to Disney. He loves any kind of adventure, as long as it involves plenty of good food, and is generally content to go wherever I tell him to. Sometimes he has a hard time knowing when it’s time to stop though. He has had a stressful few weeks at work and it looking forward to the time away.
DD (Lily – 9 years old) – this will be her 3rd Disney Vacation, though we’ve slipped in a few other mini-trips as well. She, of course, has been very excited for many months, and especially in the last few weeks as we neared the end of the countdown. She is a competitive swimmer, and a little nervous about missing practice for so long, but anxious to get back to some of her favorite rides and characters. I should mention that she is not exactly the carefree, happy-go-lucky type. In fact, she has spent much of the last few months in a rather uptight funk, and overcoming so that she can enjoy her vacation will be no easy task.
DS (Owen – 2 years old) – this is his very first Disney Vacation, though like his sister, has gotten just a taste of it on a few mini-trips already. He is my wild-child. Always running and jumping and generally causing chaos. He is crazy about Jake and the Neverland Pirates, as well as Lightning McQueen and Mater. Though we are a little nervous about how he’ll do with the characters, hopefully they won’t scare him! And he usually likes rides, once he gets on them. It’s the getting-on part that sends him into a meltdown usually. But he has been seeing pictures and videos for months, and is super-excited!
So, that’s us. As I mentioned, this is our 3rd “real” Disney Vacation. But my whole family lives in southern Florida, so quite often when we go to visit, we sneak over to the world for a day just to feel a touch of Magic. We have been planning this trip for over a year. And I do mean PLANNING. I like spreadsheets, did I mention that already???
There was much debate and decision-making on when to go and where to stay, but we finally settled on late-April (hoping for warm but dry weather, and lower crowds than we were used to in the summer), and staying at the Yacht Club (thinking it would be convenient to be close to Epcot, and that the kids would love the Stormalong-the-Bay pool)
Just for reference – our previous trips:
June 2008 – “The First Trip”, probably never to be outdone. We stayed at the Polynesian and it was the most Magical week ever! Lily, at 4 years old, was completely mesmerized by everything. It turned us all into a bunch of Disney-nuts.
June 2010 - “The Repeat”, well at least we tried. We stayed at Caribbean Beach, and actually brought along Brian’s whole family. That trip was fun, but also presented us with a lot of new challenges. Oh, and I was 7 months pregnant (with Owen). It was the trip that Lily discovered the thrill ride, and I couldn’t do any of them with her. Well, there’s always next time.
So here we are, ready to do it all over again, this time with Owen.
A little off-topic, but not really.
The weeks leading up to the trip were stressful. Almost to the point that I couldn’t look forward to it, at least not the way I wanted to. In part, because we found out about 4 weeks prior to the trip that Brian’s office was possibly going to be closed soon. A week before the trip, they gave us a date. May 15. Meaning we would have to move. To San Fransisco. Exciting, yes. Completely terrifying and overwhelming, definitely. We went through a roller-coaster of emotions in those few weeks, and spent much of the trip expecting that once home, we would have to get ready to move. Then, on our way home (actually sitting on the plane in Orlando before it took off for Denver) he got an email saying that the office was being kept open until at least August. But then what??? No one knows. So we’re back to being in limbo. I wish I could say that this stress didn’t manage to cloud our vacation at all, but I’m afraid I’d be lying if I did.
But, while it would most definitely not be a re-creation of either of our first two trips, it would often stand on its own merits. And teach me more in a week than I ever thought possible.
Maybe I should also mention… when we first got back, I SWORE I was NOT doing a Trip Report this time. I was too overwhelmed, had my mind on other things, thought I hadn’t taken good enough notes, just wasn’t in the mood, the excuses went on and on. That funk lasted about a week. I actually keep a personal website of Trip Reports for every vacation we go on (even the non-Disney ones), and once the dust settled, I knew I couldn’t leave this one out. Not with it being Owen’s first trip to Disney World! So I knew it was time to get to work. And here it is.
Chapter 1. Can we Beat the Blizzard??
Day 0 - Wednesday
Oh wait, I think I used that as my Chapter 1 title for a trip report a few years ago… WHY do we have such bad luck with the weather when we are trying to get out of town??? Yep, the day we were scheduled to drive up to Denver (for an early morning flight to Orlando the next day), a blizzard arrived. Talk about stress! I thought surely our vacation was doomed, but we made a last-minute decision to head on up to Denver early in the day (instead of later that night) in hopes that we could cross Monument Hill before the worst of it came. Monument Hill is the highest point we have to cross going to Denver, and the interstate through here almost always closes for a time in bad weather.
The only problem with this plan was that I had expected to have the whole day to finish packing, run errands, etc. Suddenly I had about an hour. It was a chaotic frenzy, but somehow, long-story short, we made it to our hotel by the Denver airport without any major problems. We had lunch at a restaurant across the street after checking-in (didn’t want to venture farther than we had to in the storm). It was nothing fancy, but finally we all began to slip into vacation mode, with the stressful morning behind us. There was no way to know if the storm would clear in time for our flight to get out the next day, but at least we were there, and if our flight was canceled, it was now the airline’s problem to solve, not ours.
But the afternoon creeped by in the confines of the hotel. I took the kids swimming for a while, and Brian got some work done. Unfortunately this meant he was going to have to bring his work laptop along on the vacation, since he didn’t trust leaving it in the car all week. For dinner, we considered going over to Village Inn, about a block from the hotel, but the weather was particularly nasty by now. The hotel was serving a free hamburger-and-hot-dog type of dinner in the lobby, so we settled for that instead, even though we don’t usually eat that kind of food. It actually ended up being just fine, and we talked to a lot of other guests while we ate.
I was periodically checking the status of our plane, thanks to United’s mobile website. Many of the flights into and out of Denver had been canceled today, stranding both travelers and aircraft all over the country. Fortunately, our plane had spent most of the day flying back and forth between Texas and Michigan, and wasn’t due in Colorado until early the next morning. With the weather expected to clear overnight, it seemed that it would have no problem being ready for us by 8am tomorrow. We were really about to be on our way!!!