Monday, December 3, 2018

When you wish upon a star...

On October 7, 2018 I was able to reap the rewards of my previous six months of planning, scheduling and dreaming of a most wonderful Disney experience for the Colorado girls. I had been wanting to make this happen since last year, but somehow it never came to fruition; so this year, as I made my New Year's Resolutions I knew what one needed to be. 

Every year, besides a resolution, I always try to "challenge" myself to do something I've never done before and that fete (zip lining - see last post) was accomplished with my other three grand kids in North Carolina. So last New Year's Eve found me with two big things to accomplish in 2018.

A lot of time and effort were required in the planning of a trip to Walt Disney World for four individuals who had never seen it and were HUGE Disney fans. I compiled lists that I checked twice (actually about twelve times), drew maps to plan out our walking routes, printed detailed calendars of each day, chose between rides and attractions at each park and kept track of about a dozen confirmation numbers!

The "Wonderful World of Disney" works like no other attraction I know. Sixty days in advance of your arrival, a "window" opens for you to go to their website to book "Fast Passes" for the rides and shows. This is crucial to seeing as much as possible, because with those magical passes, you get to go on the "express" waiting line. Sometimes, it shaves over an hour of wait time or more per ride. 

At the 60-day mark we were camped out in a KOA near Niagara Falls that had limited cell service and no WiFi. To ensure I would not fail, at 7:15 a.m. I gathered all my lists, laptop, cup of coffee, pen and pad and headed up to the porch outside of the office to connect to their internet. Don't let me leave out the fact that I needed to grab my umbrella too, as we were experiencing torrential rain. It sounds like the old saying of having to "walk uphill both ways" to get somewhere - and that's just how it felt.

Four hours later, all my boxes were checked off - and I could breathe. Let the official countdown begin for Walt Disney World. Sixty days and counting! Oh my....such a long....

time.....Fast forward 60 days and OMG, it's THE day and I can't believe it's here. The girls were already on the plane heading to Florida, believing they were going on a business trip with mommy to California.  I had wanted the trip to be a surprise, and I'm not sure it was a TOTAL surprise, however, there was enough excitement all around to make everyone happy and they really had no idea how special it was going to be.
George and I checking into Fort Wilderness

The trip officially began at the airport where I told them they were going to be staying in Florida with us and going to Walt Disney World together. I had a pair of ears for each - just to make it official.

Once everyone had their "Ears," it was time to get to the hotel to settle in and get ready for dinner at The Rain Forest Cafe in Disney Springs. Let's get this party started!

Lola at Disney Springs

Papa George smiled the whole trip!

Ready for the magic!

Getting ready to enter Magic Kingdom

The first day found us boarding a boat to the Magic Kingdom. We were able to get on many rides and see loads of characters at the parade down Main Street. We had a special visit with Belle, rode the Barnstormer, Peter Pan's Flight, Mad Tea Party and - of course - It's A Small World. You can't go to WDW without riding that one!

The Mad Tea Cup Ride WAS mad.
Nina and Belle

Emma and Belle

Lola and Belle

Nina with Mommy on the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train
After a long and exciting day we headed to Fort Wilderness' Trails End Restaurant where we had a great buffet dinner.

On day two we drove to Animal Kingdom where we got soaking wet on Kali River Rapids  We got even more soaked while on the Safari ride. A rogue storm blew in, we got drenched and Papa George lost his good Tilly hat. Some lucky worker is now wearing the best safari hat at Animal Kingdom. 

We had dining reservations for Tiffin's Restaurant and it was amazing food for adults, but skip this place if you have kids or picky eaters.  After dinner Meily, Nina and I went on Avatar Flight of Passage! What an amazing ride; I can't wait to do it again! 

On Wednesday, we returned to the Magic Kingdom and got to ride Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and Meema's favorite - The Enchanted Tiki Room where, "All the birds sing words and the flowers bloom." 

Today's lunch was at the Diamond Horseshoe. The girls also waited on a very long line to meet the famous Buzz Lightyear in person and were able to get some great photos. Meema is starting to feel a little tired. A quick check of my Fitbit had me passing my greatest number of steps ever. It was flashing at over 15,000 steps!

Meema and the girls waiting for the bus to Epcot

Lola pointing to Remy!!!!!

Thursday found us heading into Epcot. We had a full day planned here along with a break for dinner at Chef Mickey's, located in the Contemporary Hotel. Entering Epcot, Lola was able to take her picture with a figure of Remmy (from Ratitoue) in the background. Remmy is "our" special thing. 

The morning at Epcot was spent riding Soarin', Living with the Land, watching Pixar Film Shorts, as well as an  "up close and personal" visit with Minnie Mouse and Pluto. 

If you look close, you will see us all.


Outside Under the Sea With Nemo

The "Fake" Mickey at The Contemporary's Chef Mickey Restaurant
The "REAL" Mickey
Daisy with Lola and Emma

Silly and Goofy

After dinner, we headed to the World Showcase where we visited Norway and Mexico. We rode the Frozen and Three Caballeros rides. At this point, I am starting to feel my age. Tonight, besides recharging my body I'll need to recharge my Fitbit - I wore it out!

Entrance to Hollywood Studios

I awoke Friday morning extremely tired, but then realized that it would be our last day visiting a park. Today was Hollywood Studios. Due to height restrictions, this park had us splitting up often. Nina and Meily went on Star Tours and Rockin' Rollercoaster and Papa George, Emma and I visited Olaf (who seemed to like Papa George a lot) and then had lunch. All the girls got to participate in the Frozen Sing Along and everyone got on our last ride, Toy Story Mania. 

At Minnie's Diner

Mickey and the girls
Donald in his Halloween costume.
The best part of the day was our lunch at Minnie's Diner, located at Hollywood and Vine. Besides getting a great buffet lunch, we got to see Minnie, Mickey, Daisy and Donald. Each one signed autograph books and posed for pictures. 

It turned out that Meema was not the only one who was tired. Our last ride was to be Slinky Dog Dash, but the ride was closed for mechanical problems. I don't think anyone was disappointed, because returning to the hotel for a swim sounded like the perfect activity.

Saturday morning as Papa George pulled up stakes and checked out of Fort Wilderness Campground, I drove over to Port Orleans for breakfast with the girls. It would be their last chance for "Mickey Head-Shaped" Bignets. Everyone was tired, but happy. 

The trip was a success. All the hours of planning, adjusting, changing and double-checking went off without a hitch. The only complaint we all had was actually nothing we could have controlled anyway - the putrid, hot and humid weather. We experienced 92-95 degree temps every day with 100% humidity, yet we all trudged through like (storm) troopers.  

True to "Florida Weather," it rained at some point each day, but instead of getting cooler, it only got hotter.  My glasses kept fogging up and slipping off my face. We only got caught in one deluge at Animal Kingdom and rain ponchos I bought back in May sure came in handy! A very handy item besides hand sanitizer!

Sadly, the magical adventure drew to a close. It seemed like it had just started, yet here we were giving hugs and saying our goodbyes. After they boarded the Magical Express Bus for the trip to airport I headed to my car to make the short trip back to our home-site to crawl into bed for a long nap with a heart full to bursting. My life is blessed.

Sorry all for the lengthy post, but I had to get it all documented before I forgot the little details.

Deep thought for the day: 

When you wish upon a star, 
makes no difference who you are. 
Everything your heart desires 
will come to you.

Click HERE to be serenaded by Cliff Edwards, the voice of Jiminy Cricket singing Disney's most magical song.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Push it......push it real good....

I titled this blog entry with a few lyrics from the song, "Push It," by rap duo, Salt-N-Pepa, because it actually defined what I did - I "pushed it real hard." Oooh, baby, baby.

Due to conflicting and busy schedules we only had a weekend to pack in some quality time and I'm pleased to say that we were able to squeeze a lot of fun things into that short time span.

Our first stop was to Sweet Spoons, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop. I witnessed several gummy worms, crushed Reeses bar, hot fudge, whipped cream and nuts being sprinkled over different flavored yogurts, but I stayed with my favorite - Salted Caramel Pretzel - sans toppings.

My Sweetie with Papa George.


9/22 "Triumph - "umph," added to try. How appropos.
On Saturday, 9/22, we took a trip to "Go Ape," a ropes/adventure/zip line course. Although we opted for the Junior Course, it was still a challenge for my old and out-of-shape body. We all made it through and my fear of heights was averted, because instead of looking down, I kept looking ahead at how the kids and Joan were doing. For me, walking off the edge of a platform in the trees was the most difficult part, but the (too short) zip line ride was worth overcoming that "drop-off" fear. Like George warned me, the kids would have no fear. They ran off the platform...I hesitated, grabbed my rope tightly and slowly slid off. This is something I had been wanting to try and I'm so happy I pushed myself past my comfort zone to accomplish the deed.

The "Zippers" minus Summer (hiding behind the mascot).

Savannah and mommy, Joan

Monkeying around before the course.

I followed Joan throughout the course and was encouraged by her shirt! 

"The Bird" and I.

Getting harnessed up and instructed.

Each checking our rope and pulley.

First victim, uh, participant, Summer.

Low, practice run.

Cooper starting off.

Joan and I thinking, "We got this." But forgot to look up at the real course.

Does anyone else see "What's wrong with this picture?"

Getting higher into the tall trees.

Jumping off the platform.

Joan, with me, bringing up the rear. Getting higher each obstacle.

One step at a time and two-stepping each board.

Our official certificate stating that we completed the course.
George holding a coupon - He was our photographer.

For Sunday, I had booked an Escape Room at Cipher Escape. Neither George or I had never done an escape room, but the kids have done a couple prior to this one. We were not successful in getting out of the room in time, but we solved several difficult clues on our own and got three hints that helped us get further, but in the end, it was too difficult of an escape room for us. Some of the clues were quite obscure and I don't think it was meant for their age level. But, it was a new experience that I will probably attempt again.

She loves to bake. Peppa Pig Cupcakes.
On Sunday night, we regrettably bid our farewells. Hurricane Florence caused schools to be closed for two days the week before, so instead of having a scheduled break, the kids needed to make up those missed days. We weren't sure of the route we would be taking home at this point either, because Interstate 95 southbound was closed from the exit we needed to access it well into South Carolina.

Luck was in our favor, because after planning an alternate route that would have added a whole extra travel day, I-95 reopened in the morning. We had smooth sailing the entire way. George got to "push it real good" on the ride back to our FL home with only one overnight stop.

We arrived safe and sound at Elite Resorts to find weeds bursting though our pavers and stones. With temps in the 90's, we will have our work cut out for us.

Deep thought for the day:  When push comes to shove, I'd rather push myself - it's easier.  ~vc