(Note: I want to remember our vacation, so I will post in the coming weeks occasional journal-esque entries recapping each day of our trip. They might get long and fairly detailed, so I apologize in advance if I bore you.)
The day before we left was Friday. I had requested the whole day off so we could take our time getting ready. Ray loaded the car that morning and we left for the Cities early in the day.
The check-engine light in our already-damaged vehicle came on around St. Cloud. We got an oil change, stopped for lunch at Friday's (where Lola devoured her mac and cheese and proclaimed it the best lunch she'd ever had) and got back on the road, praying that the check-engine light would go away (it did).
The girls saw Ray's parents that afternoon as Ray and I went on a last-minute shopping trip for a few necessities (and a few non-necessities). We grabbed dinner all together and then left for my parents' as the snow fell rather steadily.
That night, we finalized our packing and ironed on Mickey-ear letters on the girls' T-shirts, spelling their names. They wore them the next day, as we finally embarked on our long-awaited trip to Disney World.
We woke up Saturday at 4:10 a.m. (Actually, I think I was already up, afraid to oversleep.)
Lola, who had been oh-so-excited about the trip, surprised every one of us with a meltdown as we approached the door, ready to leave.
"I don't want to go on the airplane," she wailed. It was a full-out breakdown. And she had been so excited to fly, to go to Disney World. It scared the crap out of me. I had finally come to believe that she was going to be just fine on the plane, despite the noise, ear pressure, etc.
Luckily, it was all for naught. I think she was just extra nervous, overtired. By the time we got to the airport, she was back to being excited and super happy. She loved watching the airplanes and came to understand how to board and what would happen.
When we got on the plane, she insisted on taking my window seat. And that was (mostly) OK with me. We watched them de-ice the airplane (which was a bit unsettling) and I held her hand as we prepared to take off, telling her when we would be going fast, when it might get loud.
She loved every minute of it. She was awed by the whole experience, watching everything get smaller and smaller down below.
With time, she settled into the plane and Millie, who was lap-sitting for the flight, fell asleep (after me) for the final hour or so.
We were greeted in Orlando, about 11 a.m., to sunshine and 70-degree temperatures. It was hot. And wonderful.
We made our way through the Magical Express process, taking a bus to our Art of Animation resort, which was absolutely breathtaking from the moment we walked in.
We checked in, without our luggage as it was supposed to arrive by the end of the day (more on that later), saw our room, dropped our stuff and within what seemed like minutes, we went to board another bus for the Magic Kingdom.
It was an eye-opening experience when we arrived. The crowds, the sun, the activity. Saturday was a crazy busy day there and I wondered more than once just what we had signed up for.
Lola was less focused on Cindeella's castle than she was the monorail. But it was extremely cool to see her happy reaction to the whole place.
We saw Merida, the main character from Brave. Lola was timid and asked that I go up there with her. But I could have easily stepped away once it was her turn. She hugged Merida and had her sign her autograph book.
And, just as we turned to leave, Lola ran back and asked Merida where her three silly brothers were. Merida was amazing, telling her that she didn't know, that they were probably up to some mischief and asked that we keep an eye open for them on her behalf.
Soon after, Lola got her first souvenir-gift: a Rapunzel princess hat.
Then we went off to an enchanted storytime with princess Belle. Lola wouldn't take part in the interactiveness of the attraction, but she enjoyed watching it all and, especially, getting to meet one of her favorite Disney princesses.
And then it was time for some rides.
We got "home" to the resort in the evening, enjoyed some food and then got the kids ready for bed.
Our luggage still had not arrived. And this was more than a little unsettling. Fortunately, I planned for a possible mishap and had packed Millie's medications with my carry-on. And we had shipped down there in advance boxes of baby food, yogurt and other necessities. Still, we wanted our clothes, especially our pajamas and our shorts.
After a long, full day, both girls slept like champs that first night.
We were off to a great start.
- Bethany :)