Sunday, September 10, 2006

Disney Trip Report (Warning: Long!)

I finally have some time ..... so here goes:

Thursday night I finished up the packing, made sure we had all our travel documents, confirmation numbers, etc, and attempted to get the kids to bed early since we needed to be up very early.

Friday the alarm went off at 5am, we got up, got ready and my parents got up as well to help get the kids going. I was already having stomach issues (I'm a nervous traveler, especially being that we were flying and it had been 6 years since being on a plane), and Braeden was crying that he didn't want to go. He had been telling me he didn't want to sleep in a hotel, that he wanted to come back and sleep in his bed, in his own room. I think he was apprehensive about sleeping away from home, poor guy.

The limo came shortly before 6, we got in, Braeden was still crying, but he sat on my lap and I managed to get him calmed down by looking out the window. I was still having stomach issues, so it was a long ride to the airport. :(

Once getting to the airport, there was a long line to get checked in. It didn't take too long, but it passed some time before the flight. Got our luggage checked, got checked in, got through security, and got the kids a bite to eat.

Then it was time to get to the gate, and get in line to pre-board (since traveling with small children). I was still feeling very yucky, but composed myself so that Braeden wouldn't get too scared (B sat with me in 1 row, K sat with Mike in the row behind us). The beginning of the flight was uneventful, although I couldn't wait to land because my stomach was doing flip-flops the entire time. I tried to doze, since that made me feel a bit better, but it's hard to do with kids.

We arrived ahead of schedule, but because of storms in Orlando (I'm assuming the tail end of Ernesto), we were being held out until it cleared before we could land. So we were circling, and I could not wait to get on the ground. The weather was not clearing, so we ended up needing to go to Jacksonville, so that we could refuel. Upon the landing in Jax, I got airsick for the very first time. :( We landed, refueled, and taxied back out, only for the pilot to tell us we had to taxi back to the gate because there was some sort of problem with the plane. GREAT!!!! So, there I am, feeling horrible, in Jacksonville, and all I want to do is just GET OFF the plane. Mechanic comes, checks the plane, some sort of electrical issue, everything is good to go - so we taxi back out, and we were on our way to Orlando again. Weather was clear, we landed right away, and luckily this time my stomach faired better.

Once we got to the Disney counter to check in for the Magical Express, it was a little after 4pm, Orlando time -- we were supposed to land at 1:10pm there. Traveling took 3 HOURS longer than anticipated. I called my mom while standing in line because I knew they'd be worried as I told them I'd call when we got in Orlando. They were worried about me anyway, and as I talked to her on the phone, I had to fight back the tears. At that point, I wanted to be HOME. I was tired, still woozy and a bit frazzled.

Finally got on the bus, and headed off to the resort. Since we had dinner reservations for 6:40 at Le Cellier in Epcot, we called and cancelled since it didn't appear we'd be able to make it in time (it was already after 5pm and we were still on the bus). We stayed at the All Star Movies, so the bus stopped at all the All Star resorts, and we were the last stop. Finally got to our resort, and stood in line for AGES waiting to be checked-in. They were having computer problems, so their system was locking up and they'd have to reboot which delayed the entire check-in process for everyone.

Finally got to our room, relaxed a few minutes and decided to head over to Epcot anyway to just check it out.

Walked around there for a little bit, and decided we were much too tired & hungry, so we went back to our resort and got pizza & drinks from the food court there, and then headed to bed since we knew we needed to be up early the next morning.

Saturday morning we got up early, and it was off to Magic Kingdom.

We had reservations at Cinderella's Royal Table for breakfast (restaurant inside the castle), so we got in the park before it opened, and headed to the castle. Took a few pictures and then went inside. Kaelynn LOVED meeting Cinderella and having her photo taken with her. And both kids (Kaelynn moreso, though) loved eating breakfast in the castle and seeing the characters. The food was good, the service was astounding, Kaelynn got a wand, Braeden got a sword and we met Fairy Godmother, Belle, Aurora, and Snow White.

After breakfast we hit the park, the kids went on some rides, we walked around and just enjoyed the sights, sounds and sunny weather.

We managed to catch Cinderellabration while we were there, and watched that as well.

I think we went back to the resort for a nap this day since we wanted to see the parade and fireworks later that night, but I can't remember now (I knew I should have written everything down) if this was the nap day, or if it was Sunday. :)

That night, though, the rain was teasing us, but it stopped for a while so we got all situated for the parade, and it rained again. Hard. We started to head out of the park, and it slowed up quite a bit, so we relocated to another spot at the front of the park, to wait for the parade to begin. It started raining again, and this time we just headed out and got back to the resort, SOAKED. I was disappointed that we didn't get to see the parade or fireworks (it was 2 things I really wanted to do), but hoped we'd find time another evening.

Sunday morning we got up, bought ponchos, and headed to MGM.

Now that I'm thinking about it, we may have stayed in the park all day this day.....I honestly can't remember. We had dinner reservations here at the 50's Prime Time Cafe, and dealt with rain again. Thankfully we had the ponchos this time. :) We ate dinner, and the rain stopped in time to see Fantasmic (GREAT show!!).

Monday morning it was off to Animal Kingdom.

Checked out the park, went on the safari, and left to go back to the resort for some swimming. AK was probably my least favorite of the parks. After swimming, it was back to our room to get ready to head to a park, to connect to the Contemporary Resort, where we had reservations for Chef Mickey's.

They brought us special cupcakes for our anniversary and we got a special visit from Minnie Mouse as well.

The kids met Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, Chip & Dale. After dinner, we took the monorail over to MK again, and got ready to see the Spectromagic parade (LOVED it!) and the fireworks (amazing!).

I LOVED Magic Kingdom, and we spent the most time there.

Tuesday morning we got up and headed back to MGM for breakfast reservations at Hollywood & Vine for character dining with JoJo & Goliath and Leo & Annie from Little Einsteins. After breakfast we headed to MK once again, then back to the resort to rest, and then hit Epcot one last time that night (caught a bit of Illuminations and was not impressed).

The kids were exhausted ....

Wednesday morning we got up, showered, packed and checked out of the hotel. The bus was scheduled to take us to the airport at 12:45, and our flight was leaving Orlando at 3:35 that afternoon. I really wanted to go home, so we called the airline to see if we could get an earlier flight, and hightailed it out of the resort. We debated on taking a taxi, but the Magical Express bus was taking another round of guests to the airport, so we got on that bus and headed to the airport. Got there about 45 minutes before the flight, the line to check in was moving slow, and when we got up the counter, the customer service guy walked away, saying he'd be back in a moment. Finally gets back (we had about 25-30 minutes at this point), and tells us there's no way our luggage will make it on that flight, it would go on the next, and that, in fact, we probably wouldn't make the flight either. So we ended up on our original flight anyway. We got to the terminal and could see the plane we were supposed to be on taxi-ing away from the gate. We probably *could* have made it if that guy had helped us right away when it was our turn, and if we really moved quickly over to the terminal rather than taking our time once we knew we were just going to be on the next flight anyway. Oh well. We left on time (I made it through the flight without getting airsick, but felt queasy and yucky the whole time), arrived back in Chicago a little ahead of schedule, we had our luggage by 5:15, the limo picked us up and we got home just before 7pm.

Aside from flying, I had a really good time. The kids seemed to have a blast, and for the most part, they did well with not having much of a set schedule, going to be no earlier than 10:30 every night, and being up and ready to go by 8:00 every morning. They met tons of characters, got pictures & autographs, went on rides, and took part in the magic of Disney.


Jordan and Tara's Mommy said...

Sarah that sounds like SO much fun!!! I'm so jealous! I've always wanted to go there! That's where I wanted to go for my honeymoon! Someday I'll take the kids! You're kids look liked they had dreams come true! How awesome!! I'm so glad you had a good time! I'm a nervous traveler too! Are you going to post more pictures?

mackeydoodle said...

Glad to hear that everyone had a great time!!!

Jess said...

Glad to hear that you all had fun. I love that picture of you and Mike with Minnie Mouse. You look great and so happy!

Rose said...

Sounds like you had such a GREAT time. How nice that you won the trip. What a Great Memory.