Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth

Once again it's been a long time since I've posted here. Time and motivation have been very lacking lately. I did, however, just return from vacation so I have lots of stories and photos to share.

I have to admit that I was less than thrilled about the destination of our family vacation this year - Disney World. Now I know that many people, maybe even you, love Disney World and some people go year after year after year. Let's just say that I'm not one of those people. Years ago, when my girls were 5 and 3 and then again when they were 8 and 6, we went to Disneyland. (We lived in AZ at the time). It was fun to watch the girls experience the magic of Fantasy Land. But, now the girls are 17 and 15 and I'm just not feeling it. Not to mention that Disney World is in FLORIDA and it's JULY! Yeah, it was hot. And humid. But, I was overruled this year and I sucked it up and took one for the team.






So, here's the Cliff's Notes version of my summer vacation.

The Good

We stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort. It was a beautiful resort and our suite was lovely (not that I spent all that much time there, but still...)





Meeting Anita from A Wife, A Woman, A Mom!!!! Yes, I met a real life blogging buddy. It was amazing. Anita picked me up at my hotel and we spent the next 7 hours chatting in a bookstore, chatting over dinner and chatting over hot fudge sundaes with my family. For those of you who know Anita through her blog, I'm pleased to report that she is just as sweet, funny and charming in real life as she is in blogland. She even drove an hour to meet up with me! How nice was that? Meeting Anita was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.






There were some other good moments:

Arriving at our room and finding a lovely gift bag full of Disney snacks, water bottles and fruit from my friend and travel agent, Colleen! Thanks Colleen! That was so sweet and very appreciated.

Harry Potter's Wizarding World (is that what it's called?) at Universal Studios was amazing. Well worth the 90 minute wait to get on the "big" ride.





























Though I drew the line at waiting two hours with Katie and Madeleine to get into Ollivander's Wand shop to buy a magic wand (I kid you not). If I'm going to wait 2 hours for a magic wand it had better turn my husband into Prince Charming, my house into a castle, my sweat soaked sun dress into a ball gown, and my floppy canvas hat into a tiara.








Epcot Center's World Showcase was fun as was the ride Soarin' (I'm not much of a ride person).







Though I did ride The Rockin' Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios.



The safari ride at Animal Kingdom was exciting.




And we had some nice meals. Katie and Madeleine had a wonderful time and that was fun to witness. All in all, it wasn't as horrible as I feared it would be.

Now for...

The Bad

Did I mention it was hot and humid.
I have had some serious back issues in the past, but for the most part I've been fine for the past 5 years. Well it chose this vacation, which is nothing but walking for hours and hours every day, to go out. I lived on Advil for a week. I'm going to have to make an appointment with the chiropractor.

Waiting in lines. Long lines.

The downfalls of using your room card/park ticket to make purchases (everything from food, to souvenirs). Way too easy and too much like play money.

Disney is expensive (see above).

Katie lost her fairly new cell phone during the very last portion of our very last day of vacation.


The Ugly

Madeleine getting sick and feeling like she is going to throw up 15 minutes before boarding our flight to FL. (Guess who didn't get on that flight?)

Having to call someone to come and pick us up at the airport and drive us home only to realize 2 hours later Madeleine is fine and could you please drive us back to the airport (thanks Dad and Sandy).

Arriving at the hotel to find out that a bottle of spray sunscreen exploded in my brand spanking new luggage, leaked through the sealed ziploc bag it was in and ruined not only the inside pocket of said new luggage, but it also leaked through to the outside of the suitcase leaving a huge greasy looking stain AND it also managed to ruin several articles of clothing. Yay!

Realizing on the day of departure that Geoff THOUGHT he paid an extra $10 per ticket to guarantee "A" boarding passes on Southwest Airlines for all of us, only to find out that he didn't. And now it's too late. Guess who ended up sitting in the last row of the plane (you know, in the seats that don't recline) while the rest of her family found seats together up front? Oh yeah, it was a great flight home!

OK, OK, enough complaining. It really was a nice vacation, even with the aforementioned Bad and Ugly. Disney really does know how to run a business and how to make their guests happy. Everything is very well organized, clean and efficient. There is nothing out of place and the staff (or cast members, as they are called) are all cheerful, pleasant and helpful. And seeing how happy Katie and Madeleine (and Geoff) were made it all worth it. At least until the credit card bill arrives.


And just in case you are dying to see more vacation photos, here are few more of my favorites:


























































































12 comments:

Sue Jackson said...

It sounds like a good trip, though I could certainly relate to the good, the bad, and the ugly! We had terrible luck with flight delays, etc. in June traveling to my MIL's funeral, and my oldest son got a stomach virus on our road trip this summer! Plus, I am totally with you on the topic of Orlando in July!! Looks like plenty of fun, though. Did you know that EPCOT stands for Every Person Comes Out Tired? We haven't been there in many years now.

Loved the part about Ollivander's Wand Shop!

Glad you had a good trip -

Sue

Anita said...

For anyone reading Pam's comments meeting her was absolutely the best time!! Pam and her family were warm and talkative and just a blast!!
Looks like some people enjoyed the Birch Beer....that stuff is so yummy.

The good and the bad all add up to great memories to cherish.

Jen said...

Oh, I'm so jealous! I love Disney World; I practically grew up there I went so many times! However, I never went when schools were on vacation, and I never went in summer (the closest I got was Memorial Day weekend).

However, I doubt I'll be going back anytime soon because I think my "schedule" overwhelmed my boyfriend last time we went, and I don't think he'll go back with me!

So glad you had a good trip, despite the pitfalls! I can't wait to see the Harry Potter exhibit! It looks incredible.

Sandy said...

What? No photos of you trying not to puke on the 'coaster? Seriously it looks like you had a great time. We haven't been to DW in 20 years and don't know whether we'll ever go back but it really is a place for all ages.

And I'm jealous you got to meet Anita! One day I hope to meet a bloggy friend.

Gail Foelsch said...

It looks like you had a good time overall but I do agree with you Disneyworld in July? Good for you for going anyway. My sisters and I keep saying we're going to meet there someday....we'll see if it really ever happens!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I"m with you in that Disney World would be my last choice. Fun once, but expensive I've heard.

Looks like all had a grand time.

Mommakin said...

I used to go to Disney about every other year, but I haven't been there in a decade. I don't think I'll be able to say no to the Hogwarts thing, though - that's just too cool. We've been trying to decide how long we want to allow the 'newness' to wear off before we attempt it.

Tom and I went for New Years one year - New Years Day was loony, but the very next day it cleared out and we had little to no wait for anything. Plus, you know, January...

This sounds like a fun trip - overall - and meeting Anita - what a bonus!!!

Dalia - Gen X Mom said...

Disney has got to be one of my favorite places. I have always loved it, as a kid and as an adult. It just gives that whole feel of fantasy and not real life. My family loves being there. Not just because it is Disney but it is peace and happiness. The Saratoga resort is awesome. One of our favorites. Was the new pool done yet? So sorry you had bad and ugly. The hot and humidity probably would have been ugly for me too. ;)

Star Forbis said...

Looks like a great vacation! We are going to Disney Land in August! Love your daughters Mouse ears with the Graduation cap! I'll have to make my son wear one too! Don't know if he'd be as game! :)

Debbie said...

Oh Pam. Although parts sounded horrible, it mostly sounds like you made some incredible memories!
I've been missing you.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Pam, you really made it sound like fun, in spite of the bad and the ugly. I'm looking forward to grandkids getting old enough to appreciate it, since I've never been. Glad you showed the Harry Potter venue...my hubby and daughter will love that! Also wonderful: your meeting up with blog friend Anita.

Gamma Sharon said...

Wow, sounds like fun except for those few things. Lol
Your family is beautiful and sweaty or not so are you. Wonderful pictures!

 

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