There’s a lot to tell about our big trip. So much that there is no way I could fit it all into one post. So I’m going to do a post for each day and hopefully I’ll be able to get the whole thing out, do it justice, and not forget anything. But as I said… there’s a lot. Now that we’re home, I can’t quite believe that we did all this. It truly was a dream come true.
Thursday, August 6
We woke up at my parent’s timeshare condo, where we’d crashed the night before. It was in Kissimmee which is incredibly close to Disney World itself. It was a really nice resort and condo and it’s a shame we didn’t have more time to enjoy it. We had originally wanted to get up super early, head to the resort at Disney World (hereafter referred to as “WDW”, like all the pros do) and drop off our bags and hit the Magic Kingdom for their Extra Magic Hour. But it soon became apparent that we were TIRED. And we needed to kind of take a little extra time. We had a little breakfast, cereal and donuts and bananas. I stubbed my pinky toe HARD on the edge of the high chair and damn near crippled myself. This little detail will become important later on.
We packed up the kids and the bags and tossed all of them into the rental car (a Dodge Charger! Rawr!). It was time to go see the Mouse. It was around 9 am, if I remember correctly. Not bad for being as tired as we were.
It wasn’t long before we saw this:
I think once we saw that, we started getting REALLY excited. Liam, I think, wasn’t quite sure what all was going on, but fed off our excitement. We found our way to our resort, the Port Orleans French Quarter (hereafter referred to POFQ, for future reference). It was small and nothing special but at that moment, it looked like the Taj Mahal. I stayed in the car with the kids while Kile ran in to see about checking us in, leaving our bags and getting our passes for the parks so we could get to it. While he was in there, I took a picture of the bus stop that we would come to know and love and use quite often.
There were two stops there, the far one is the “A” station, which went to Magic Kingdom and… someplace else that I’ve sorta forgotten at the moment. I wanna say Hollywood Studios. The near station (which you can only see the corner of on the righthand side there) is the “B” station that went everywhere else (water parks, Epcot, Animal Kingdom).
The resort was more than happy to take our bags so we checked those in with the luggage people and then we were off. We still wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom and had the rental car for several more hours. I had the stupid idea of driving to Magic Kingdom rather than taking the bus. You’ll find we make many mistakes on this trip, but these mistakes made us stronger and wiser. But this was a key error on our part and I paid dearly for it later on.
We parked in the monstrous parking lot and waited for a tram with about a bazillion other people. It was hot. Did I mention it was hot? IT WAS HOT. The tram took us to the monorail and we rode that into the park. We had our bags checked, used our passes to get in and… voila! We walked down a very crowded Main Street until we saw a good view of the castle.
And that is when Liam “got it”. “Disney World!” he hollered, pointing excitedly. We all felt it in that moment. We were at Disney World! Let the magic begin! As we got closer to the castle, there was a show going on and we stopped to get our bearings. And take a few pictures.
Don’t we look like a happy bunch? I promise, Harry is just wincing at the sun. He’s not in pain or anything. And me, I’m starting to hate life a little here. The heat caught me totally unaware. Also, notice I wore sneakers with socks. Another grand mistake that I soon rectified.
Liam is still obsessed with the castle. Everytime we would pass it for the next several days he would shout, “Disney World!” A big fan, that one is.
Kile left us at this point. He needed to head back to return the rental car. I know. We had JUST gotten there! But it takes so long to get from one place to another. Taking the car to the park? BAD IDEA. Add it to the “mistakes” column! It took him a goodly amount of time to get the monorail and tram back to the car, drive the car to the return place in Downtown Disney and then take a bus back to our resort. He had planned to then come back to the Magic Kingdom via the bus. But it took him SO long to just get back to the resort. Taking the bus to the resort: mistake. Should have taken the boat. Boat is BETTER. We were making mistakes right and left that morning!
It soon became apparent to those of us left at the Magic Kingdom, that there were too many babies in strollers and not enough pushers to do much of anything interesting other than stumble about looking for shade and a cool breeze. Harry wanted to go on a ride, but everything had an obscene
line and I couldn’t go on anything with the babies. We eventually decided on the Dumbo ride. The line wasn’t too long and there was some shade for me to sit in while I waited. I was able to keep an eye on Harry and sit and feel the sweat drip down my back at the same time. Score!
Harry is on one of those elephants, believe it or not. He liked it, and felt better for having rode SOMETHING. After he got off, I needed to change Evie and I knew there was a “baby care center” in the park that was supposed to be the bee’s knees. Luckily, it was rather close so we headed over there. I struggled with leaving the strollers outside (WDW hates strollers, and they aren’t allowed anywhere, just about) but eventually ditched them because the air conditioning inside won me over to the dark side. I was able to change Evie, the kids could sit and watch some cartoons, I fed them some Teddy Grahams and we felt a bit better.
But we couldn’t stay there forever and eventually plunged ourselves back into the furnace. I saw a nifty bird and took a picture.
Little did I know, I would see dozens of these birds over the course of our stay. What were they? No clue. But there were a lot of them. And some of them were black. Who knows.
We continued to stumble around, exploring. We went through Adventureland, boggling at the lines for the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. I found a seat outside of a restaurant where we could feel a touch of air conditioning. I was tired. We were all hungry. Tired. HOT. Miserable, basically. Do you know what it’s like to be miserable in the Magic Kingdom on your first day there? Very discouraging. I got ahold of Kile and that’s when I found out he was close to getting back to the resort. There was some hemming and hawing before I decided that we would head back to the resort ourselves. I knew it would be hard to manage the kids and the strollers on the bus without Kile’s help, but staying in the park sounded AWFUL to me at that point. I wanted lunch and someplace cool to sit.
As we were making out way out of the park, I stumbled a bit, stubbing my foot. The same foot that I had smashed my pinky toe on earlier that day. And OH MY SWEET JESUS, the pain. I could hardly walk without limping, feeling the toe swell and throb inside that hot sneaker was just adding to my joy. Getting on the bus was the goal though… and it was just as difficult as I imagined it would be. Thankfully, a kind Samaritan helped me by getting one of the strollers on the bus for me. The bus was blessedly air conditioned and the ride back to the resort felt awesome. We got there, let Kile know we had arrived (he texted that our room was ready, just before 1pm… not bad!) and he told us he would come meet us. We stumbled towards the resort entrance from the bus stop and at the same time we spotted Kile coming toward us, my dad and my brother Tom stepped off a car rental shuttle bus. Great timing!
We all headed to our rooms together. We were all on the third floor of building three. We occupied a whole row of rooms, our room connecting to my sister and her families room. I collapsed on the bed and didn’t want to ever move. Even my hunger was eclipsed by my need for rest and cool air. Harry, meanwhile, was desperate to go in the pool there at the resort. We arranged for him to go down there with my brother. I stayed in the room and took a shower. I learned that day that I needed to just take a shower each afternoon or so to feel halfway human. I felt like before that shower that I stunk worse than any human being has ever stunk. I wanted to BURN my clothes. It was awful. The shower felt like HEAVEN. I put new, clean, dry, non-smelly clothes on and felt like a new person.
With that taken care of, we had to go get something to eat. We knew there was a McDonald’s, among other things, at Downtown Disney. We decided to head over there. The boat that shuttled back and forth was just down by the pool so we were able to easily hop on board and away we went. That boat ride was wonderful, winding through the backwoods of the Vast Disney Compound, taking us directly to Downtown Disney which is sort of a mall-done-Disney-style. It was still unbearably hot, but the sun had been obscured by clouds which was a blessing. I grew to love clouds during our vacation (not that I didn’t love them before!).
It took us a while to find McDonald’s but we eventually got there, found a table in the crowded dining room and Kile fetched us some food. Which I think I devoured in about 10 seconds. The food did wonders for us. Much like the shower had done, I felt like a new person. I was re-energized. No longer did my legs feel like jello and my head feel so dizzy. Who knew that you needed to EAT to keep your energy up! Lesson learned!
We browsed around a little after that, and explored the enormous “World of Disney” store which was like a regular Disney store on crack. This place was roughly the size of a city block and was filled with every sort of Disney product you could ever hope to find. We got Evie a stuffed Minnie Mouse and Liam a stuffed Lightning McQueen. Both were huge hits right off the bat.
We headed back to the resort, since we figured Harry might be looking for us and we had spent several hours there. We finally took an opportunity to take a few pictures.
After we returned to our room, we met up with my sister and her family. While the menfolk went down to the lobby to deal with checking in for the cruise (a debacle all in of its own), we caught up on news (she’s pregnant!!) and the kids played and got wild. It was getting late though, and dinner was needed. Patty wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom to eat and hang out. I was admittedly nervous about going back, judging from my poor experience earlier. I had even entertained the idea of staying in my room the remainder of our stay. It was THAT bad. But, it was cooler a tad and not as sunny so maybe not so bad. We headed out on the bus, deciding to give it our best shot.
The ride from the resort the park was a piece of cake and I felt stupid for not doing it earlier in the day. It was raining just a bit when we got there and it was downright pleasant. I felt encouraged.
We decided on a counter service restaurant in Liberty Square. It happened to be right across from the Haunted Mansion and when we were done, I couldn’t help but notice there was NO line. My sister’s family had been on that ride earlier in the day and they wanted to go through the castle so we agreed to meet up after we went on the ride. We ditched the strollers, grabbed the kids, and went for it. Liam got a little freaked out in the elevator, but the ride was just as fun as I remembered. Harry enjoyed the ghost in our “doombuggy” at the end.
After that, we decided to go for Pirates of the Caribbean. Again, there was NO line. I decided that evening/night was the best time to be at the Magic Kingdom HANDS DOWN. Of course, it was a Thursday night and I was sure it’d be busier on the weekend. Still. Less lines and cooler? Sign me up! The kids really enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean and I did too. I hadn’t been on it since the changes were added after the movies came out so that was kinda nifty.
After that, it was parade time. My sister and her family wanted to see the parade and it sounded like fun so we found a spot in front of the castle and set up camp.
The parade was typical Disney magic. I’m not generally one for parades but this was a good one to see. And it was kinda fun watching the castle turn colors while we waited. Afterward there was about a half hour until the fireworks so we decided to stick around and watch. We killed time by going to the Monster’s Inc “Laugh Floor” in Tomorrowland and that was a lot of fun. Evie was even picked out of the crowd for being a cute baby! It was the perfect thing to do because just as we exited the theater, the fireworks were starting. We found a spot nearby to watch from and I tried to take a couple pictures.
The fireworks were spectacular. Dare I say, they even brought a tear to my eye? I feel like our vacation began that night… we were finally “getting it”. It truly was magical and I’m SO glad we went back to the Magic Kingdom that night.
It wasn’t even that awful getting the bus back to the resort. The bus was crowded but not excessively so and we managed well. We arrived back at our room in good spirits. And everyone transitioned nicely to their sleeping arrangements, thank goodness. Evie was set up in a pack n’ play and Liam was in one of the double beds with Harrison, accompanied by a couple bedrails. Evie was a little cold because dumb me forgot to pack her blanket. I covered her with a towel but she was still cold in that air conditioned room. Still, we slept like rocks that night. All the better to rest up for the next day!
Coming up: Epcot!