Captured

Before I wrap up our trip, I want to share a few of my favorite non-touristy photographs taken on the trip:

(OK...ONE touristy photo...)

How I Broke In My Reefs

Walking, walking, walking, walkingwalkingwalking. Disney World involves an obscene amount of walking. I remembered to bring our pedometer, which is ironic because I had forgotten to pack any pajamas for myself, and used it each day. On a full day, it counted out approximately four miles, with the most at six. I had also made sure to pack a change of shoes with me each day in hopes to avoid sore feet or blisters. I would start the day wearing my Keen sandals and within a few hours, I would change into a pair of flip flops to finish the day.

This was a pretty successful plan until Wednesday morning I couldn’t find my Keens. Actually, I’ve never found them and I’ve called Disney World’s Lost and Found a week after my return hoping that eventually they would have made their way into a castmember’s hands. My only guess is that I must have sat them next to me on a bench when changing and forgot to put back into our rented stroller and that some weirdo claimed them as their own.

Aside from walking, a lot of time was spent just looking around and getting sucked into Disney retail stores. Aitch is fairly easy to dissuade from buying up all the Disney dolls and stuffed animals she could get her hands on, but Doodicus wouldn’t let go of the idea of starting a Disney Collection of pins. What that entails is buying a lanyard and decorative pins, and when you saw someone wearing a pin you wanted, you try to negotiate with a pin you already had by trading for it. Doodicus wasn’t going to ask anyone; he just wanted to buy what he wanted at anywhere from $8 to $10 a piece. He wouldn’t even consider buying the simple sets of four to six pins, which were much cheaper but of course less desirable. He didn’t care that these were the pins he could trade specifically with castmembers who were required to hand over whatever pin another collector wanted as long as they traded something. He wore it one day.

The strangest swearing-in ceremony I've ever seen

As for rides, Doodicus’ favorite was Star Tours, a virtual ride incorporating 3D glasses. With much pleading I agreed to give it a try, but I get motion sick and was glad it was over when it was. Granted, it was pretty cool. Aitch loved the Teacups, and would beg Dad to spin faster. She would have done the more daring rides if it wasn’t for the height restrictions that kept her from going on just about any ride that Doodicus was willing to try. Sadly, one of the most innocuous rides at Magic Kingdom, the People Mover, was the one that determined what each of the kids would or would not go on. There’s a brief moment where it is pitch black. Both kids were a little wigged out. Doodicus decided to not go on the Space Mountain ride, and Aitch decided to not go on any ride where it meant going inside any kind of building where it might be dark. Which meant just about everything but the carousel and Teacups for the next five days.

Teacups

Aitch also was so excited to see the characters throughout the parks. To SEE them from afar, that is. They scared the shit out of her, but after watching them in the line for 20 minutes, which was how long we’d have to wait to get a picture with many of them, she’d warm up a little and realize they were going to eat her head. The character she wanted to meet the most, Rapunzel, never did happen. The first time we came upon Rapunzel, her handler had just closed the line and Aitch was so sad. The second time, the line was so long I calculated it would have been a 45 minute wait and I’m sorry, but no, not even for my baby girl who in five years won’t remember one way or another.

Dancing with Daisy
ohmygodpleasedon'tletjessetouchme!
Now that's stoic.
Beauty and the Beast and THE Beast.

Doodicus was a good sport the first day and let us take character pictures of him with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore, but after that? No, no and NO.

NOOGIE!

By the end of the week, Doodicus would just turn towards the camera with an expression of boredom, his attempt to look “cool”. Aitch on the other hand hated the camera and we actually taught her to put her hands in front of her face and yell, “No paparazzi! I said, NO PAPARAZZI!!”

I don't want to share my cotton candy!

 

Grown-Up Time

We would leave the resort by about 9:00 a.m. and return around 7:00 p.m. Actually I don’t really remember what time we’d get back in the evening, I just knew it was dark. The exception was Wednesday when after a few short hours at Hollywood Studios, we returned by late afternoon. We had actually hired a stranger to come to our place to watch the kids so we could go out for a romantic dinner at Narcoosee’s, which was at the Grand Floridian Resort (romantic?! *snort*).

Jedi Training
Stereotypical photo op
One of the few days I remembered my hat
"No paparazzi!"

I had “reserved” the babysitter well in advance from a very reputable company, Kid’s Nite Out, but it was still hard to imagine that we were just going to let someone we’d never met in a strange city entertain the kids for a few hours.   The company called the day before to get the resort number and was told we would have Brandy. When she showed up at the door right on time, I opened it and said, “You must be Brandy!” “My name is Sarah.” “Oh, I’m sorry. I must have misunderstood.” About that time Aitch came running up to us. Sarah said to Aitch, “You must be Ava!”

“OK. Wait a second. We have two children, ages ten and three, boy and girl. We’re going out to dinner,” I summarized. I wondered for a moment if we had the wrong babysitter (she had on a shirt with the company’s logo), which might have meant she had brought activities and games for someone else’s kids, ages, and gender. She assured me that aside from the names, she was in the right place. We welcomed her and her small pink suitcase full of age-appropriate activities inside.

We had rented a movie for the evening (free) and arranged for a pizza to be delivered (a tip we were given by a castmember. It was delicious non-Disney pizza!). Plus, Sarah offered to take them to the rec-area at the main building (with our permission) which had video games, puzzles, air hockey, etc. The only thing she wasn’t allowed to do per the company was allow the kids to play in water, including giving either of them a bath.

My husband and I didn’t give them another thought after we walked out of the room.

Ferry boats ran from our resort to Downtown Disney. From there we took a bus to the Grand Floridian where our reservations were at 7:00. From our resort to the restaurant, it took us just shy of 90 minutes. I’m glad we left with plenty of time. I can’t vouch for how nice the inside of Narcoosee’s was because the lights were turned so dim, I could barely make out Sparring Partner across the table from me. I ended up sitting next to him for a while, but it wasn’t for the romance, but because the table behind me had three little kids, including an infant, screaming their heads off.

Grand Floridian Lobby

They left shortly after we arrived. We enjoyed an incredible dinner and could view the fireworks over Magic Kingdom from our table. It was such a nice evening I almost forgot about the the biggest roach I had seen in my life run across our path shortly after we exited the restaurant.

Dessert, thankyouverymuch

We relieved Sarah around 11:00 p.m. She handed over a form that indicated what they had done the past few hours, including the time each kid went to bed even though there were only 15 minutes between the two of them hitting the hay, and a grand total for her services. With tip, we shelled out 160 smackers for her services.

The next morning (bright and effin-early, of course!), Aitch’s first question was where was her friend. “Who’s your friend?” I asked. “My friend with the pink suitcase,” she explained. It was sweet. The kids had a great time with her. We would definitely recommend Kid’s Nite Out.

Same Places; Different Faces

My plan, which was so roughly put together as I had never been to Disney World before, was to end up in whatever theme park we had made dining reservations in. Yes, we bought the dining plan. I’ll go over that stuff later.

Because of our late check-in Saturday, I had our breakfast plans changed to lunch thinking – hoping! – that the kids would sleep in. But how can you sleep in on the first day of getting to Disney, right?!

We also have no idea how the transportation system would work. We had rented a car, but we thought we would start off using the bus system that ran from our resort to the park of the day: Magic Kingdom. It was easy enough to figure out. After walking from our building to the main building, on the way discovering that there was actually a bus stop right close to our compound, the buses arriving and leaving the resort were clearly marked and we just hopped on the one marked for the Kingdom.

The kids were thrilled with riding the bus. We could have flown back home by 11:00 a.m. and called it a successful vacation.

We took the typical photographs and saw the typical sites. The weather was cloudy but comfy even though it sprinkled on us during the closing ceremony at Cinderella’s castle.

Earning my Ears

Who wants to hear a long, detailed recounting of our week-long trip to Disney World?

YOU do??

Well then, you are fucking awesome. But you knew that already.

We had an auspicious start. The week before, Aitch came down with the 24-hour stomach flu. It was a Wednesday. Her first time vomiting since she was a baby. It made quite an impression on her. Of course, I’ll never forget the image when I picked her up from daycare that morning. There she was, my little girly-girl, wearing a pair of track pants torn at the knees and a grey t-shirt, both loaned to her from the daycare when she vomited all over her dress and leggings. Next to her was a wastebasket, at the ready. She started crying when she saw me. Relief? Misery? Annoyance? All of that and more? Selfishly, my only concern was that if we were all to get it, please god, let everyone get it before our trip. By Friday, Sparring Partner was throwing up at work. Two down! Two to go!

The Monday following I was feeling a bit green, but not bad enough to stay home from work. I felt optimistic about Doodicus. His somewhat anti-social habits might have been his saving grace, but Thursday he said his stomach hurt and my friend’s suggestions from Facebook to bring Ziploc bags on the plane, while met with a grimace on my end, were taken seriously. It ended up that Sparring Partner was the one to have a recurring attack of intestinal distress minus the vomiting. He didn’t feel quite up to par until our third night in Florida.

Not only were we battling illness, but Friday night, the night before our flight was scheduled to leave Nebraska, a major blizzard rolled in. We had already prepared for leaving our home and spending a night in a hotel in Omaha to avoid the early morning, two-hour drive. Thank goodness we did as we woke Saturday to eight inches of snow packed heavily on the roads, our vehicle and of course, the plane. It hadn’t been canceled (some flights had), but we didn’t get in the air until 90 minutes after our departure time. A good portion of that time was spent in the plane listening to the sound of the deicer pound away on the roof and looking at the orange slush of goop (an appetizing mix of deicer and slush) on the wings. I was a frazzled wreck.

We missed our connecting flight to Houston, but were rebooked on the last flight out and into Orlando’s airport. Instead of arriving at 5:00 p.m., we touched down close to 8:00 and locate our luggage, rent the car, and find our way to the resort in the dark. The kids, while pumped up from the day’s excitement were tuckered. They were asleep by 10:00 p.m. For me, it was much later. I cannot function out of a suitcase and unpacked everything that night and put it away in closets and dresser drawers.

Our resort room at Old Key West was as spacious as any two bedroom apartment. Maybe even more so. Now it was a bit dated (our shower stall, big enough for four, was flesh-colored; the floor was Spanish tiles), but the rooms were HUGE. The kids’ room easily fit two queen-sized beds, a dresser, table with chairs and a walk-in closet. They had their own full bath, plus a separate wash area. Our bedroom had a king and TV armoire, a seating area, plus a door to the patio. The Jacuzzi tub was in its own room. Then there was a shower and toilet. PLUS, we had a laundry room with full-sized washer and dryer. The main living space including plenty of seating and the kitchen. Not a kitchenette, mind you. But a kitchen with dishwasher, full-sized fridge and island as well as patio doors out to the third floor deck overlooking the water.

WOW!! Isn’t this all SO exciting?? I haven’t even talked about the actual park!!

We were officially Disney World vacationers.

Douchestic

Made it back from Disney. Alive but barely as I am now nursing one mother of a cold.

I was on Facebook getting ready to update, but wanted to block a couple people from the post (IRL people so don’t get paranoid on me), but I couldn’t remember the one person’s name!

I wasn’t about to pull up my friends’ list because I would ultimately notice how many less friends I might possibly have. I had to actually stop and stare into space to recall the person’s name. I bring her up only to find out that we aren’t friends anymore. Not that we were really friends to begin with; she’s a new neighbor and she works for my hairdresser – and that’s it.

What annoys me is that she sent me the friend request and I of course accepted, because regardless of what I write here I really am not an asshole. At least not an INTENTIONAL asshole. Accidentally? Hell, yes.

So she seeks me out, not that long ago, and already I’ve somehow annoyed or insulted her enough to unfriend me. That’s kind of douchey, I think. Did she just want to snoop into my life and find that there were too many updates with “fuck” in them?

This is an example of why I hate letting people from IRL into my social media-scape. I will eventually see this person around and there will be that awkward moment and I bet we’ll both pretend we didn’t see each other.

More on Disney World later, including pictures. I’m in a Nyquil daze and can barely keep both eyes open at the same time. One eye part of the time? No problem.