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Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

By Tara Zandra | December 7, 2009

We got home very early yesterday morning from our 11 days in Disney World. It was supposed to be a Christmas trip and while they definitely had Christmas decorations around the parks and resorts, I can’t say we felt in the Christmas spirit. Which now means I’m a week behind on Christmas. But, while it may not have been a good Christmas trip, it was a good vacation! There were ups and downs, not the least of which would be Tabitha getting rather sick.

Day 1- Arrival. We stayed in a cabin at Fort Wilderness and it was too cute! While my BIL and I went to the campground’s store to get fixings for dinner, Chris and the girls decorated the cabin with decorations we brought. I can’t even fathom what time we finally all got into bed.

Day 2- Magic Kingdom! Always wonderful to start a trip with a view of the castle. Despite it being the day after Thanksgiving, we had a plan and managed to do a ton of attractions. We rode Dumbo, Peter Pan, Snow White, Pooh, Small World, Carrousel, Goofy’s Barnstormer, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Aladdin’s Carpets, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Tomorrowland Speedway, Pirates and I think a few others that I can’t remember without looking at our pictures. We also had a very nice dinner at Crystal Palace Buffet with Winnie the Pooh and friends.

Day 3- Animal Kingdom This day was a bit difficult trying to fit everything in. We managed new attractions in that Chris and I finally rode Everest Expedition! I also rode Primeval Whirl with Tabitha (won’t be doing that again as it was boring and not worth the fastpass wait), and Chris and BIL rode Dinosaur. Daisy stayed awake for the Safari for the first time ever! The Picnic in the Park lunch we had planned on did not work out due to them changing it a week previous. So we scrambled for lunch and it left me in a bad mood. The day also came down to a choice between the Christmas parade or the bats on the Maharajah Trek. We chose the bats because they are so very cool and it turns out they were in hiding due to the cold. So it was a double whammy disappointment since we gave up the parade for them. But the day was salvaged by two things; the 5 of meticulously going over the tree and spotting as many animals as possible and a fabulous dinner at Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Day 4- Magic Kingdom We started with the guys getting haircuts and then spent the rest of the day doing whatever we missed on the first day, which was mainly shows. We saw Hall of Presidents, Tiki Room, Country Bears, and Carrousel of Progress. We also took time out for lunch at Wilderness Lodge (quinoa cakes, yum!), and ended with a magical viewing of Cinderella’s Castle lights being turned on. We grabbed a quick but yummy dinner at the Contemporary before taking the boat back to Fort Wilderness.

Day 5- Epcot!! Ah, our favorite park and it was Chris’s birthday as well! We rode Test Track first thing and it was new for all of us. Daisy L-O-V-E-D it! She demanded we get fastpasses for later and told us we’d ride it many times during our trip. We headed off to Nemo and the Seas and then went to see Figment. We then went to World Showcase and explored Mexico before sitting down to lunch at Le Cellier in Canada. We ordered a few different appetizers as they all looked wonderful and Chris ordered a beer that really left him feeling it which is unusual. Next we explored all of Canada and sat for a story from Papa Noel before heading to the UK. We then did a bit of crossing over to hit Norway on our way out. Now I must say, we’ve never ridden Maelstrom before because Tabitha didnt’ like the description that the ride goes backwards and I was worried about the “scary” trolls for Daisy. We figured we’d waited long enough and we were doing it on this trip. The ride, if you can call it that, stunk. It was a few minutes, one troll, the backwards drop was less steep than my driveway. After you get off, they trap you in a theater to watch a film on Norway. In general, we like the films, but the only thing we learned from this one is the spirit of Norway is in it’s people and those people are apparently from the mid-80s based on the size of the computers, bangs, and shoulder pads. Never again.

Day 5 evening- Since it was Chris’s birthday, we decided to go to a really nice dinner that night. We set the kids up with child care at the Neverland club at the Polynesian Resort then the grown-ups headed to the Contemporary Resort to eat at California Grill. It’s on the 15th floor of the hotel and they have an observation deck so we were able to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the deck. They even pipe the music in. It was pretty neat and a fun experience. Dinner was next and it was _fabulous_. Chris and I started with a cheese tasting board, then moved onto a triple-cheese flatbread with Sun-dried Tomato and Arugula Pesto and finally a goat cheese ravioli. Everything was bliss! I skipped dessert and settled for one bite of Chris’s and one bite of my BIL’s desserts. All in all, I think Chris had a pretty good birthday!

Day 6- Resort hopping in the am. Today was supposed to be spent checking out the Christmas decorations at a few resorts. It didnt’ go so well. Tabitha was feeling really miserable but was determined to push on. First though, I did two loads of laundry while Chris took the kids into the pool. Eventually we made it to the Polynesian near lunch and saw precious little in the way of decorations. But we did have a quick lunch there that was really tasty all around. Tabitha enjoyed a soup to help her feel better. We headed to the Grand Floridian next to see the life-size gingerbread house. Considering I had to go find it as opposed to it being front and center when we walked into the lobby, it was a bit of a letdown. There weren’t any treats being sold there that appealed to me and the kids had various issues so it was kind of a bust. We went to the Boardwalk hotel next and on the way made the decision to cancel our dinner reservation there. Instead, we staked out a couch in the lobby and had Tabitha go to sleep for an hour and a half. Chris and I took turns taking Daisy outside and entertained. I must say, walking into teh Boardwalk made me smile and brought a soft “Oh” to my lips. It was truly beautiful in there and very Christmas-y. I felt more in the holiday spirit sitting in their lobby than anywhere else so far that trip.

Day 6 evening- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom. After waiting a lifetime for a bus to the Magic Kingdom from the Boardwalk Resort, we hopped in a cab. We think that was a very good decision. We met my BIL at Magic Kingdom and went into the party. First stop was free sugar cookies and hot cocoa. Next we did a bit of character hunting and saw Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, Minnie Mouse, Abu and Genie. We also took Daisy on Goofy’s Barnstormer twice in that time. We ate tons of cookies and took a long break to wait for the fireworks so Tabitha could rest on a bench. The fireworks were very enjoyable and then we got a spot for the Christmas parade. It was the longest Disney parade I’ve ever seen and it was wonderful! We felt like we had done enough after that and Tabitha finally admitted she needed to stop. It was like pulling teeth to get her to tell us when she needed breaks so we defnitely had to force her into a few. Even though we left early, we still felt it was a fun party.

Day 7- Fort Wilderness This is another one of those days that didn’t go as planned; there were more than a few of those. I’ll focus on what we did do instead of what we didn’t. My BIL was off for the day at Universal so all of this just applies to the 4 of us. We started with breakfast at Fort Wilderness’s buffet. It was only okay, to be honest. I don’t think I mentioned that we had a deal where we had the dining plan for free so frankly if the food wasn’t that great, at least we weren’t paying for it (other than tips, but the food has nothing to do with our server so to me I don’t mind paying that even for bad food). Anyway, one nice thing is they were rather accomodating as there were individual egg dishes that looked really tasty except for the pile of corned beef. We asked one of the nearby sous chefs if two could be made without the corned beef and he said yes. So that was really nice of them (though I ended up not liking it, I ate it anyway since they went to trouble for me). After breakfast we went to the beach. It’s a no-swimming beach, but my kids just love being in sand so they didn’t care. We stayed over an hour and I wrote about that already in my previous post. Next we wandered around Tri-Circle D Ranch and saw all the miniature horses that had been in the parade the previous evening. They offer pony rides for little ones so Chris led Daisy around the corral much to her delight. We then took a leisurely walk on the nature trail before stopping in the store for provisions for dinner. We decided to cancel another dinner and stay in our cabin. Once back at the cabin, Tabitha napped on the couch, Daisy played on her bed, and Chris and I napped on our bed. Eventually I got up and showered and then made dinner for us. Chris then took Daisy to the larger pool that had an area dedicated to little kids. Apparently she enjoyed the heck out of it and had a wonderful time. I convinced Tabitha to take a lovely bath and she was feeling better after that. We got the kids to bed and then my BIL came home so Chris and I took that opportunity to do the rest of the laundry. It sprinkled on us a bit but we didn’t care. Except, while we were folding the last of it when it came out of a dryer, the skies opened up and there was nothing we could do. We clutched our bags of dry clothes to our chests and scurried as fast as we could back to our cabin. We were so completely drenched through there was nothing we could do but laugh at ourselves.

Day 8- Epcot, we really love this park! My BIL wasn’t feeling so hot and decided to sleep in so the rest of up set off for Epcot again. We rode Test Track first thing again for Daisy and then headed towards the Figment ride again. The other day we had skipped all the stuff at the exit of the ride, so today’s goal was to enjoy all that after the ride, which we did. We then went to The Land, one of our favorite areas. We went into Sunshine Seasons and grabbed a hodge-podge of items for brunch. Tabitha and I both had veggie sushi, Daisy got a pasta salad, Chris and I split tabboulah rolls and he also had a tomato and mozzarella salad. Next we rode Livin’ with the Land and then it was time for World Showcase. We started in France and saw Aurora as well as Marie from the Aristocats. Belle was there too, but she had a long line. We stopped to watch Pere Noel tell his story and he brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my already smiling face. Then it was into the movie they offer and then shopping. I bought Daisy a new dress since I don’t think the dress from our last visit will fit next summer. I’m very pleased with the new one, it’s a slightly different style than the last one and a different fabric. I can’t wait until summer for her to wear it! Chris treated himself to a new cologne and after shave set. Then we went into the Boulangerie and grabbed a cheese plate, cream puff, and a napolean. We split everything and it was just wonderful. My BIL called to let us know he was ready to join us so we met up with him and then went to Japan. We watched another holiday presentation about the Daruhma and New Year’s traditions and then shopped a bit more. They had Domo stuff so Daisy and I were pretty happy. Tabitha picked out her new lucky cat and then she and I hit the snack section. After Japan we went to Italy and watch La Bufauna (the Christmas Witch) tell her story. I think we all agreed she was our favorite. Chris and I shopped for candy and then it was time for Germany where the shopping wasn’t so good, unfortunately. We had dinner here at Biergarten which was a buffet. Unfortunately, most of the non-meat selections were potatoes which Daisy doesn’t eat, but I got her a salad and the rest of us enjoyed trying different things. Not to mention the Oompah band and polka dancers. Oh, I forgot, before dinner we watched Helga tell us about Christmas traditions in Germany and she was wonderfully fun! We split up at that point as my BIL had things he wanted to do so the rest of us road Spaceship Earth before heading back to the cabin.

Day 9- Hollywood Studios. There is no other way to describe this day than a complete and utter failure. It rained all freaking day. And not just a little rain either. Both of our previous trips have had a day or two of rain, but both times were able to switch our schedule around and make it work. That couldn’t happen this time because it was so late into our trip. So we attempted to slog through it but honestly the whole day sucked. Even lunch was bad and it was just veggie burgers. Anyway, we kept pushing through and refused to leave until we saw the Osborne (no, not related to Ozzy) Spectacle of Lights. They are a can’t-miss event that only happens during the Christmas season. Our one chance to see them. You can see where this is going. Due to the rain, they didn’t run them. I had zero idea that was a possibility. We had two choices, laugh or cry. We chose laugh as we slogged our way to the bus stop. It was pouring and our spirits were rather crushed but we were determined to make the best of it. We made it back to our cabin, Daisy and I traded off with hot baths and we all got into PJs. Then we broke out the vegetarian marshmallows and made s’mores in the kitchen as we had missed the campfire the other night. While we ate, we each said one good thing about the day. Then we all said a favorite thing that had happened on our trip so far. This way we all went to bed in good spirits.

Day 10- Epcot The initial plan was to finish seeing the holiday stories going on in World Showcase but while we walked in the bitter cold (but no too rainy) day, I made a snap decision. So far on this “Christmas trip” everything Christmas we had tried to do, failed. It didn’t feel like Christmas and may the Disney World lovers forgive me but Disneyland does Christmas better. There, I said it. Disneyland had bigger trees, better trees, and way more decorations than all of Disney World. I will readily concede that the Christmas Parade during the party was absolutely fabulous though. Anyway, we decided (after our now-traditional morning ride on Test Track (in the rain, no less)) that we would forgo anything related to Christmas and just enjoy our last day in a normal way. We spent a couple horus in the two Innoventions buildings to stay out of the rain and by the time we went to World Showcase, the rain was done for the day (though still darn cold). We let Tabitha do a Kim Possible mission, much to her delight (Kids are given cell phones that give directions for various missions in World Showcase. It was pretty fun for all of us). We stopped in France and Japan for the mission and took a miso soup break as well. Then we went to the American Pavilion because we hadn’t been there yet. We walk in and the most fabulous a cappela singers dressed as Dicken’s Carolers were in the lobby. I was in awe and frankly if we had seen them on our first day I would have been in the Christmas spirit a lot sooner. We finished the area and then moved on to Germany for another mission. We also explored Morroco and bought Tabitha a fez. We took her to see Aladdin adn Jasmine and Aladdin was quite complimentary on their matching fez. Daisy wasn’t in the mood to get out of her stroller and when we told this to Aladdin he said something about her being a monkey. That struck us as rather amusing since we actually do call Daisy “Monkey” all the time. We mentioned that it was her nick-name and he goes “Of course, I always know a good monkey when I see one.” Very funny. Let’s see, we explored all of China for both a mission and because we hadn’t done that yet. We skipped the movie though so it’s on our must-do list for next time. We ended up back in Morroco for dinner which had incredible appetizers we all enjoyed and main courses that were so-so. But we had wonderful entertainment to balance it out. We made one last stop at Test Track and then called it a night. We got back to the cabin early and Chris and I immediately set to packing. We got to bed around 11:45pm.

Day 11 Alas, the plane ride home. We got out of bed at 2:30am. Seriously. Needless to say we stumbled around in the dark but somehow managed to get us to the waiting spot for the bus to take us to the airport. We had two plane rides and all went smoothly. We all managed to sleep at least a little. When we got home, it was only 11:30am due to the time change. Chris and I unpacked right away and then freshened up and we went to get Chipotle for lunch. So did everyone else in town so we ended up at El Pollo Loco instead. Then we went to Target for some necessities and all of us hit the wall. We came home and forced everyone down for a half hour nap which turned into 2 solid hours. By then it was 6pm so I got everyone up for fear we’d all wake in the middle of the night raring to go. Tabitha could not handle being up and went back to bed and stayed there until 6 this morning. Daisy kept going until 8:30 which is normal anyway and Chris and I got caught up on Amazing Race before positively collapsing around 9:45pm.

Topics: Life, Disney World |

3 Responses to “Home again, home again, jiggity-jig”

  1. Mel Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Welcome back! Sounds like an awesome trip for the most part! I’m so envious!

  2. Aunt Kari Says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Wow! What a trip. You guys are amazing. How fun that BIL could go with you.

  3. Susan Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Can’t wait to see the pictures!