Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Happiest Vacation on Earth!

Ahhhh, we just got back from the BEST vacation. Seven days away, six nights at a Fort Wilderness cabin, 4 days with The Mouse, and 1 day lost in space at the Kennedy Space Center. I could've stayed another week, I think, but it is nice to be home. A nice side benefit is that my mind is still on Florida time even though my body is in California. I got up chipper as Chip-n-Dale at 6am and have a ton of morning time left before we have to do anything today - which gives me time to blog! Now, if I could just get the kids back on Pacific Time (Linus woke up, ready to play, at 4am today) while I stay on Eastern Time, I'll be golden.

The flights went better than expected. The kids were really, really patient considering what they were being asked to do: 1.5 hrs from northern California to Seattle, an hour layover, 5ish hours to Orlando, then another 40 minutes on a bus to the resort. We left the house at 8am and checked into our lodge at 12:30am (yes, midnight). Lonnnnng day!

The cabins were FABULOUS. The kids had their own room - bunk beds, a double bed, and a portable crib all fit comfortable in the bedroom - and we took the fold down bed (You know, those ones that hide in the wall? What are those called?) in the living room. We had a full kitchen and a charcoal bbq and a picnic table out front. The only thing that could have been improved upon was the quality of the "trading post." They claimed to have supplies there, but there really wasn't much of anything besides souvenirs and beer. But there was a WalMart within a couple of miles of the place so it wasn't a huge tragedy once we had a car. (Yes, I bought food at WalMart; something I said I'd never do!) The resort restaurant, The Trails End, had really good food though, was open until 10pm, and they even had take-out. Our last night there we went to Chip and Dale's campfire and sing-along. Very fun. Big thumbs up for the Fort Wilderness Lodge and Campground (yes, a real campground was available too!)

The first day we went to Epcot. We had a great time. I heard from several people that it was huge and might be really boring for the little kids but it wasn't at all. It was really a homeschooler's dream, lol! We all loved the slow boat rides through history and through the different countries. The marketplaces were fun. The food, wine, and beer was great. The kids had a blast getting their passports stamped at each country... until they lost them. Cassia lost hers with only two stamps to go. She was heart-broken. Cameron waited until his was completely full before losing his. *roll eyes* But the fun was in the collecting. I should be glad that's two fewer things to mess up their rooms, right? They also had this really cool thing where certain parks stay open up to three hours late for resort guests so we just flew through the last few things and took another ride on our favorite attractions with no lines at all. It was especially easy since it was our first day and we were all still on Pacific time so staying until midnight was no effort at all for C&C.

The next day was not quite as successful. We tried to get up early and go to the Magic Kingdom after staying up until 1 am. Not a good idea. We overslept and decided to skip breakfast. Worse idea. By 11 or 12, everyone was cranky and crying. We had issues with the rental car we needed for Friday and need to leave the park early to pick that up. Lots of tears. And then on the boat back to the resort (sooooooo cool to take a boat back and forth!), Cassia's beloved Minnie Mouse ears blew off her head and into the lake. OMG. For twenty or thirty minutes all we heard were the desperate and tortured cries of "My Minnie hat!" Heartbroken does not even begin to describe it, even though we instantly promised her a new set of ears. Eventually she calmed down, but WOW. Getting the rental car itself was an adventure. The driver who came to pick me up got lost on the way so I didn't get the car until almost 6pm (even though the place closed at 5, lol) and then *I* got lost on the way back! I guess that's another improvement that I'd like to see at Fort Wilderness: lit signs! By the time I got back, we decided to just spend the night in and rest up for the next day when over-sleeping was not an option.

Friday we drove across the state to see the Kennedy Space Center. This was another place that I had been warned might not go over well with The Little Ones and The Girl but it was a huge success. Another homeshooler's dream! We took the Up-Close Tour and rode a bus out to the VIP launch viewing areas, the vehicle assembly building, International Space Station clean room, saw the crawler, and got the closest possible view of a shuttle on the launch pad. THAT was surreal. I didn't think I'd be so impressed with that but it was amazing. They had one of the best play structures I've ever seen, second only to the pirate cove at Legoland. Linus was not thrilled with all the bus riding, but Greyson had such a good time looking at all the rockets that he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up now. Firefighter is just not exciting enough anymore. ;) Cameron had a BLAST. Cassia got a little bored at times, but she still had a really good time overall. Overall, it was WELL worth the side trip. It was also nice to get a little different view of the state... and all it's toll roads, lol.

Saturday was originally supposed to be our "hang out at Fort Wilderness" day, but since our Magic Kingdom day turned out to be such a flop we decided to try that one again. We got such an early start that we were too early for the first boat over there but we took a boat over to the Contemporary Resort instead where we hopped on the monorail. Greyson loved that! He's a train man. Before the park even opened we got Cassia her new Minnie ears. Those ones did NOT get lost. ;) Once we got in we headed straight for Fantasyland and did all the rides before the lines got long. That was about all Greyson could handle. We could see the sanity just leaking out of his little head and the maniacal three-year-old seeping in. We still had to return the rental Bohemith (Suburban, lol) and Cameron had a 2:45 appointment on the archery range so we headed out at about noon once again, but this time with a much more satisfied feeling. After I returned the car (and did not get lost coming back) we hit the pool for an hour, let Linus nap while we had leftovers for lunch, and then Cameron went to archery and Cassia and Greyson had a pony ride. Next was an early dinner at Trail's End and then the little boys stayed home with Daddy (and were both asleep by 7:30!) while I took the big kids back to the Magic Kingdom and boy did we have fun! There were still virtually no lines and we hit up just about everything we had missed. I think the only ride we didn't go on was Aladdin's Magic carpet and Space Mountain (which was closed) and we did our favorites (Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain) twice. We did miss a few shows that we would have like to have seen, but we left feeling like we had thoroughly done the place. Overall impression - fun, but Disneyland is way better. It was nice to actually be able to do everything in one day though.

Our final day was spent at the Animal Kingdom. DH originally wanted to skip it, but we talked him into it. We were all very pleasantly surprised with that park! To me, it felt like real Disney magic there. The Magic Kingdom felt a bit like a cheap copy of Disneyland, but this was the real thing. I was transported to other worlds and very impressed with the message of conservation and respect for our world. And Expedition Everest rocked. Cameron went on it 4 times. First DH went with C&C and I got us all Fast Passes to go later but the line was so short that we decided I would go ahead and go with C&C then too. But Cassia didn't want to go again. So Cam went once with DH, once with me, and then again with DH and again with me using the Fast Passes. LOL, he tried to talk us into going again later too! Greyson got his first big/fast ride there on the rapids. Apparently, he LOVED it. It'll be nice when we don't have to keep splitting up to go on rides so someone can watch the little ones. Again, we did everything except the Nemo show and left feeling good and tired.

We finished up the night roasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs with Chip and Dale and then called it an early night in preparation for our big travel day home. The bus picked us up at 5 am (yawn). That means we got up at 4am... 1am our time! The wonderful thing about that though is that just about everyone (except Cameron) slept on the plane. It is a much shorter flight when you are asleep. This time we got on the plane at 8:30am and were back in our home county by 4:00 pm. Gotta love gaining 3 hours! But we were all asleep by 8:30, lol, and up this morning before 6:00. Oh well, like I said, it gave me some time to blog. And now we have arrived at the time I would normally be getting up so I guess I should get ready for the day.

I hope I can continue to get up early (while convincing the kids to sleep later) to enjoy a little bit of me time each day. I really miss my daily mind dumps - so therapeutic. ;)

1 comment:

G said...

Sounds like an awesome vacation! Glad you guys had a good time.