Travel Day

Welcome to our August 2008 trip to Disney World.

The crew on this trip are as follows:

Me (big surprise)
Jeff (Hubby and fellow Disney lover)
Emily (20, My daughter who no longer lives with us but loves Disney as much as I do)
Bri (20, Emily's girlfriend, partner, room mate and good family friend.. never been to WDW)
Erin (16, Jeff's daughter, lives with her mom, and has been to the World once for one day a couple of years ago before a cruise)
Alex (13, easy going and a genuine pleasure to be around)
Katherine (just turned 9, our little princess we brought home from Russia 3 years ago)
Jeffrey Jr (7, our youngest and biggest goofball of the group)

There will plenty pictures of everyone so no need to post any here.

We live about 45 minutes from LAX and then 5 hours via airplane from Florida. I always try to book the earliest possible flight out so we can get there at a reasonable hour. This usually means that we have to get up while it's still dark and not everyone is happy about that even if we are on our way to the World. It also means that I don't have even a second in the morning to do any last minute packing. According to Jeff everything has to be in the suitcase, zipped up and waiting in the hallway to be dragged out to the van the minute he wakes up.

It follows then that I am up far too late the night before, refining my packing, worrying about what I forgot (despite the detailed list) and falling asleep standing at the kitchen counter trying to remember what I had come in there for in the first place.

Everyone who didn't live with us stayed overnight so there was no panic in the morning if someone didn't show up on time.

Luckily our van holds 8 people and after we stuffed everyone and their 1/4 ton of luggage into it, there was barely room to move. Suitcases in the rear and everyone's carry on's at their feet.

As expected, the freeways were empty and we made it without incident to Wally Park (which I like to call Wally World) where we park our car for the duration.

Here we are taking the shuttle to the terminal. As you can see not everyone is awake yet.

Alex, Katherine, Erin & Jeffrey:

As per usual, our flight was delayed an hour, so instead of grabbing something at one of the fast food places, we ate a leisurely breakfast at Ruby's Diner which was at the far end of our airport terminal.

We got done fairly quickly and still had time to spare so Emily took pictures of herself:

and the back of Jeffrey's head:

Our plane finally pulled up to the gate, everyone got off and then we got called to board. As we were getting on, Jeffrey said hello to the flight attendant who was directing people to their seats. She thought he was so cute and polite that she invited him to sit in the pilots chair with the captains hat on. Katherine got to try the hat on too. They loved it!

(I had to stop Jeff from making comments reminiscent of the Airplane movie "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?")

The flight was relatively uneventful and we each had our own video screens so Erin and I played trivia most of the flight. Jeff and Alex played a couple of times too. It was fun. I won 4 times and got the highest score on the whole flight... woo hoo! Of course I'm not sure that many people were playing.

Emily, still taking taking selfies with Jeffrey & Bri.

A pretty view out the window, somewhere over the middle of the country:

Finally we made it Florida!
I really like the Orlando airport. Its full of Disney stuff before you even get to the parks!
I always call this our first ride of the trip.... the airport monorail.
I try to get this seat every time we get on so I can take a picture.

And this is our second ride of the trip.... the Magical Express:

Jeffrey was so excited he could barely sit still.
Careful kid, you wouldn't want to your face to get stuck like that:

We got lucky and Old Key West was the first drop off.
Welcome Home!!!!
We got checked in while the kids watched some TV in the lobby.
Already I was so excited. All the sights and smells just dripped of magical good times!

We booked a 2 bedroom villa which works out very nicely for our group. Us in the master bedroom, Em, Bri, Erin and Katherine on two the queen beds in the second bedroom and Alex and Jeffrey on the pull out couch in the living room. We love the space. The room also has 3 TVs which works out well when there are 8 people who all want to relax in the evening and watch something different. We also love the large balcony. Although this trip, even though we had a prime location (meaning we could see some of the EPCOT fireworks), there were tall bushes and trees that blocked most of our view. I just so happy to be there I didn't care!

We had decided to let the Magical Express deliver our luggage again, even though last time we were here they misplaced 2 of our bags (well they technically belonged to Chris and his wife who were staying at a different resort) and they didn't find them again until mid morning after the night we arrived. We hoped it was a one time thing. Since we didn't have anything to unpack and we were all starving, we dropped off our carry-ons, walked up to the hospitality house and took the boat to Downtown Disney to get something to eat.

We ate at Earl of Sandwich which is such a wonderful value for what you get. I adore the tomato soup!!!

Part way through our meal Katherine was squirming around and asking if she could take off her shoes. (Not in a restaurant!) She continued to fidget until I asked her what was going on.

"My shoes hurt." I reached down and gave them the toe squeeze and discovered that her toes were jammed all the way into the front of the shoe.

"Why did you wear these?" (In my mind I was really asking "why didn't I check their foot wear more carefully?"). She shrugged her shoulders and got tears in her eyes. "I can't walk very well."

"Don't worry we'll figure something out."

As soon as we finished eating we started searching Downtown Disney for someplace that I could buy her something that would stand up to all the walking we were going to have to do.

We found a store called Team Mickey Athletic Club that sold name brand shoes with good support. We found her a pair of Nikes for a lot less than I anticipated paying and her vacation was saved.

We caught the bus back to the resort and just as we were going into the room  the sky opened up and it started pouring. It was actually pretty cool since we don't get that kind of downpour in California. Our luggage had arrived so we spent time unpacking while we watched the Olympics (gymnastics and swimming) and went to bed at midnight.