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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4/11/12 Making Memories

Well, Schnits! I finally had a moment to sit down and write and spent the last three afternoons writing two blogs, with lots of pics, my Disney Trip Report for the sites I used, and an article for BSS…saved (but not on the internet yet)…then came the computer sudden shut-down/crash…poof…gone. Where the bleep does that stuff go?! Sometimes I miss my old electric typewriter…or my handwritten journal…d*mnit!  I'll blame it on the whacky SNOWED here today (it was 80 degrees here before our trip in March)!

OK, this won't be the same, and sorry, but I don't have the energy to edit it again (so sorry in advance for the typo'$,…so here's the gist again…
First, I've missed you all!

To say life has been crazy is an understatement right now. I'm not going to get into the really crappy stuff (lets just say stress has reached a whole new level here, and DH is not the only one losing his hair from it) but some fun things I can share are that DS1 was home for his Spring Break and we got him prepped and new-suited up for an interview for a Summer internship…his interview was this past Friday out in Philly, and he's waiting to hear (said it went well, so we're scoping out short term car leasing this week). We had a great mini trip with just DS2 to Walt Disney World (more below), and he's still on his official Spring Break now. Easter was fun (we missed DS1 as he was traveling back to school from his interview to get ready for Finals) and DD and BF made it up for the day.

Some of the 'OK' that I can share is that Mom was in for hand surgery yesterday, and all went well. My youngest Sis finally decided to pull the trigger on finishing her basement and told me less than a week before our trip. I came home and seriously worked non-stop morning until late nights for over a week on nothing else but her plans (ask DH). I seriously didn't shower for days…and why does skipping meals always makes me gain weight…OK, I was eating crap whenever I could grab a bite. I did over 20 (she liked parts of all of them) architectural plans on my computer and a huge spec sheet. I love you Sis, but you're more indecisive than my DD (and that's saying a lot). I finally gave up and surprised her with an 'I know you said you wanted something else, but this is what I would do if I were you plan' and she loved it (next time I'll just start there). So then I was on to creating the electric, plumbing, HVAC, etc. plans and now she's waiting for bids from her contractors. I fell down half my stairs (a bi-decade event…I'm a klutz…at least this time wasn't before the trip) and I'm in bed on a heating pad now…I pulled the same 'trap/pap' or some such back muscle group, as I had before).

OK, on to Disney, and another trip announcement…

It was a great, and almost relaxing trip (as relaxing as Disney gets), which I wasn't expecting at all. I don't do well with big crowds, so Disney and 'Spring Break/Peak Season' are something we've never done. We also had to change hotels twice in four nights because of the Conference/Trade Show that DH had to work, but it went surprisingly smoothly with my planning (and thank-you SO much Linda for your help!). I'd forgotten how easy it can be to travel with only one kid (last time was with our oldest when she was a four-year-old), and he's almost an adult.

For you Disney-Lovers, some details/trip report, and for you others, just enjoy the pics.

First, my two biggest tips from this trip. If you have an iPhone (or other compatible), get yourself the Disney app (it's now free) that gives you their posted wait and Fast Pass times while you're in the parks/stuff they put on that main 'wait times' board (it uses your GPS to upload when you arrive). It isn't available for the Blackberry/we have, so we bought the 'Rides' app and another free one. The (Rides/Under Cover Tourist) Trip Planner/predicted wait times portion I used was NOT very accurate at all (actually never got the MK one to even work), but the actual info from other live users in the park was always accurate as far as wait times and was super helpful not to have to walk across a park or back to the board postings.

Secondly, they are enforcing Fast Pass expiration times now (I didn't know they weren't always doing this, so we were already following the rules), so 'PASS IT ON' the Fast Passes you can't use. Here's the deal…we ALWAYS have at least one Fast Pass in-hand, and since we like to park-hop, we often decide not to stay to wait to use a Fast Pass (or we got one to something good even if we knew we weren't staying)…in the past, we usually just tossed these on the way out. This time, I would hand our three FP's to DS2 and tell him to look for a family of three and give them our Fast Passes. He had such fun doing this 'random act of kindness'…although he made the mistake of going up to the about-10 year old daughter once and she promptly shut him down (as she should…never accept things from strangers), but her Mom and I quickly stepped in and I explained what the Fast Passes were and she took them thankfully as they'd just arrived at the park (DS2 said with a smile 'Just wait until they get over to Peter Pan and find out that the Stand By line is now over 2 hours long and they'll get to walk right on!!). I lost our old camera (we had a new one with us too) our first day at the parks, and it was found and I got it back…I swear it was because of our 'Pass It On' policy (I think we did it 4-5x).

We arrived in the afternoon and checked-in at Disney's Pop Century.

Went to Downtown Disney

and ate dinner outside at Raglan Road, and started our 'Drinks Around The World' quest (that I've been training for) in Ireland (actually, this turned out to be a multi-trip quest as we didn't check that box in even half of them...we had to be functional parents on this trip after's a reason to return). 
It was a PERFECT evening (say what you will about the peak season crowds, but the weather was spectacular the whole time).

Did some shopping (DH's mentor),

and our usual hat modeling (I need some Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo glitter!).

Up early the next morning (DS2 still enjoyed the 'Mickey Gift' that magically appeared each morning for him to unwrap) and I sent DH & DS2 off to the rope drop for Extra Magic Morning at the Studios, while I took a cab with our luggage just around the corner (reason I booked the Pop) to the Hilton Bonnet Inn. Fun Fact; while Disney was buying up land and overseas investor bought the property that this Hilton, it's sister, the Waldorf, and the Convention Center between them (and the golf course) are now built on…they are actually within the Disney gates!

I met the boys a moment too late (the Hilton bus) to use the planned Fast Pass on Toy Story Mania (never did get to ride it…next trip!). They actually talked me into riding Rock 'N Rollercoaster for my second time ever. This was my first trip to an amusement park post-Band and I was a little nervous about my always-have-had weak stomach as well as my delicate protruding port (didn't know where those harnesses would hit me). It went fine.

We rode until lunchtime and as the park got busy we park hopped over to EPCOT and stayed all evening through IllumiNations. The Flower and Garden Festival had started, and I always love the flowers.

Ate dinner at Teppan Edo (one of our favorites).

Waited almost an hour for the Hilton bus to get home (the reason we always stay on-site).

The next day, DH was working so DS2 and I were off to the MK and were at the rope for regular opening.

I rode both sides of Space Mountain with DS2 (and he did a few more) and we got on all the fun rides. We had a quick lunch and as the park got busy we headed back to the Hilton. DS2 needed a nap…I'll have to say that even he, a teenager who enjoys sleeping in, commented on how many rides we got on in the first few hours at the parks and how worth it it is to get there early (I was saying how I just read the average person gets on 9 rides in a day at Disney (probably less during peak season) and he lost count around 17. I sat by the pool and when he woke up we rode their lazy river and did the water slide for a while.

Back to the Studios for a beautiful evening and I got to ride one of my favs 'Tower of Terror' (although my stomach only allows it once in a day). We stayed for DS2's favorite 'Fantasmic'…it was wonderful having some one-on-one time that we never get.  I was surprised how little he really remembered from his first trip, but he was in Kindergarten then.

The next morning we were all up early to grab a cab back to the Pop so we could check in and get over to AK for EMHour. The boys rode Expedition Everest 4x in a row (I've done it…once).  I figured out how to do rapid fire photos on the new camera while I was waiting (takes about 20 pics in a row and here are a few in the series I caught of them.  DH is 'Waldo' (DS2 next to him)...check out that face...I'm naming it Munch's 'The Scream'. 

Check out the couple in the front seats...

...and check out what happens at the bottom of the big hill...

...wait for it...

...yep, that's my man...

...a little late, but worth it... (nice arms Honey).

Then we caught the Safari and other rides before early lunch at Anandapur (Asian take-out part of Yak & Yeti…good). I even got to my favorite 'show', Bug's Life!

I tried to warn them, but the boys insisted we at least 'take a look' at the Magic Kingdom since it was DH's only chance, so off we went. It was as packed as I've ever seen a park. There was no EMH, but the park was open until 1am and it was a Monday (always a busy day at the MK). We grabbed a Fast Pass for Peter Pan (something DS2 and I didn't do yet) and found a few things without hour-two hour waits to ride (I embarrassed them with my arms up on WedWay!). 

About two hours later DS2 had had it with navigating the crowds and asked us if we'd mind going back to EPCOT and finishing the countries we hadn't done? Are you kidding me?! EPCOT is DH's and my favorite, but this trip was all about him (and it's not my other two kids favorite). We all breathed a sigh of relief as we stepped into EPCOT…the wide paths and spread out park make even a crowded day seem light. We grabbed a FPass for Test Track (DS2's favorite), rode some rides, 
and made a return visit to 'Ice Station Cool'

before looping around the entire lake to finish the countries. 

A pint
and the rock-band concert in the garden at the UK was nice

and I was even able to book us some last-minute reservations for dinner outside on the lake there…ordered my first 'Fish 'N Chips' from a lovely Brit…which brings me to my next trip announcement…we're going to London for our 30th Anniversary in a few weeks!!!! More later…


Janice said...

Wow...what a fun trip! I feel like I enjoyed it vicariously without having to wait in any lines. Your son is such a cutie and looks like he had a great time. You look wonderful! Congrats on your anniversary trip to London! Life is good!

Chris said...

What great pics, and DS is a cutie! Welcome home to the land of April snow (seriously, what is up with that?!?)

Looking wonderful, as always!

Linda said...

Glad your trip was good - looks like you did a lot in your 4 days. London sounds amazing.

♫ Drazil ♪ said...

London! Woohooo! Good to hear from you!

DiZneDiVa said...

It looks like you had a great time. Yay! Flower and Garden Festival is awesome!

Darlin1 said...

Missed you!

You know how to make the most of every moment!

LONDON....nice....The Queen's jewels....Hyde park....the museums....the pubs..............


Sarah said...

What an amazing trip. We have always been big believers in the be at the rope drop strategy and rest later if you need to. You can do more in the first 2 hours than the whole rest of the day!

Yay for the anniversary trip. There is so much happening in London this year. xx

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