Feb 2, 2010

DisneyWatch 2010: Day 8

This is it! The last post chronicling our trip to Disney World! It's been a little exhausting trying to remember the details and get them up on the blog almost every day, but it will be a while before I'm able to scrapbook our adventure, and the boys are enjoying watching "their story" unfold online.

On Friday morning, my sister's flight left several hours earlier than our flight and my parents' flight, so she took a bus from the hotel to the airport before breakfast. We got all of our things packed and then went over to Downtown Disney to have lunch with my parents before it was time for them to head to the airport.

We felt like even though we'd already eaten at the Earl of Sandwich twice that week, since they were the best sandwiches we'd ever eaten, WE HAD TO GO BACK. (And yes, I am one of those people who can eat Mexican three times in one week. If I like it, I can eat it again. Taco salad on Monday, cheese quesadilla on Wednesday, beef burrito on Friday, and chips and salsa all three times, thankyouverymuch.)

And you know what? Because the All-American was simply the best sandwich I'd ever had, I had it all three times. Three times in one week. No variation. I decided it could not be improved upon.

There is a reason that Southern Living has never hired me to be a food photographer ... I mean, aside from the fact that I've never applied. This picture doesn't do it justice, BUT LET ME ASSURE YOU that your life will not be complete until you have tasted this sandwich.

After lunch we walked back down to the LEGO store so they could play with the LEGOs again, and then we each bought a small souvenir at the World of Disney store.

Notice that the big boys are playing with the Duplos, which they figured out could be used to create taller structures in a shorter amount of time ...

While Jakey played with the smaller LEGOs, the ones that require more dexterity to snap together. He was actually pretty good at it.

While they played, I popped down to the Wonderful World of Memories store to pick up a few stickers for our scrapbooks that I didn't think I could find at home.

Finally, it was time to get back in the minivan for the last time and head back to the Orlando airport. The boys were playing on their PSPs to pass the time, since it was about a 30-minute drive. Grayson said, "Now remember, boys, once we're on the plane, you'll have to turn the PSPs off until the pilot comes on the intercom and tells us it's OK to use our electronic devices again." And Nathaniel replied in a world-weary tone, "Daddy, WE KNOW. WE'VE FLOWN BEFORE."

So apparently flying one time makes him an expert.

Our arrival at and dash through the airport were quite troublesome, but they were SO troublesome that I didn't even have the time or available hands to take pictures. So let me give you a quick recap while I try to avoid sweating just REMEMBERING it.

There was a good bit of construction in the parking structure when we pulled in, and I went 10 feet too far and missed the Alamo rental return line by one lane. Instead I turned into Enterprise (after waiting for a woman in a minivan to move for about three minutes before deciding to try to go around her).

We ended up having no way to get back around to Alamo, and a helpful Enterprise employee told me we'd have to completely exit the parking deck and come back in to try again. OK, inconvenient and would cost us some time, but we were up for it.

I circled around to the exit and cashier, who wanted our rental contract. We didn't have it handy, because we were just there to turn the car in, not to prove that we'd just rented it to gain exit from the airport. She punched a bunch of my personal information into her computer, then had us pull over to the side, where she had us UNLOAD ALL OF OUR LUGGAGE AND KIDS to leave the car there permanently. WHAT THE WHAT?

I loaded up with Jake, the large backpack and a suitcase. Grayson had another suitcase, my purse, his backpack and my camera bag. Nathaniel had his backpack and his and Nick's suitcase (which was pretty large, and the poor thing wasn't feeling well at that point, was running a fever and hadn't eaten lunch). Nick and Jake both had their backpacks on. And here we go trooping across the cement parking deck with all of our STUFF, and I have never been more happy in my LIFE that I pack "lightly."

We'd originally gotten to the airport about 90 minutes before our flight, but at this point the minutes were tick-tick-ticking away quickly and we were nowhere close to the ticket agents. Heck, we weren't even in the actual airport yet!

After walking over the river and through the woods (and I felt TERRIBLE for the kids), we finally got to curbside baggage check, where we got everything weighed and checked in. Then we headed inside to Security. Ohhhh, Security. The line was back to THERE. No air, and I was sweating bullets. Jake is heavy, the backpack was heavy, and the kids were really fading.

We had 40 minutes until our flight left, and we were so far back in the line that I was almost certain there was no way we'd make it ... and my sister was waiting for us at the Birmingham airport! We inched and inched and inched our way forward, and finally with 15 minutes until our flight left, we got through X-ray, put all five pairs of shoes back on and repacked our backpacks, and ran for the tram to take us to our terminal.

Once we got on the train, it was a matter of getting to the terminal and hoping our gate was really close to the trains. It was! Grayson ran ahead of us to get to the gate (he's well-practiced at airport dashes), and we joined him shortly thereafter. Somehow, we had 10 minutes "to spare," and we were able to get on with the other families in the family pre-boarding section.

Grayson graciously offered to sit with the boys since I'd had them on the way down, and the boys were thrilled. And I, other than being completely drenched in sweat, was happy about it, too. I could read!

We had a completely full flight once again:

But Grayson was able to sit on one row with the boys, and I was on the aisle almost directly across from them.

It didn't take but a minute for them to get settled in. VETERAN FLYERS, YOU KNOW.

Just like in the parks, Jake found himself a fold-out map that he could read and enjoy, and he was all set.

So much to see! So much to take in! Too bad he wasn't in a exit row ... he would have actually known what to DO in the event of an emergency. He was probably the only person on the plane who read the instructions.

We had a wonderful day for flying; once we got above the clouds, we had a beautiful view.

Once again the boys played on their PSPs and Leapster, and I actually got to read! It was really nice, and none of the boys made a peep.

Once we began our descent into Birmingham, Jake did fuss some and pull at his ears, but we dipped his paci in his apple juice, and that seemed to help get him to swallow.

We landed without incident, and although Nathaniel was still feeling sick and (we found later, at home) was running a pretty good fever, everyone was glad to be home and in familiar beds. Grayson got up Saturday morning and went to the after-hours clinic, where he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. My parents called on Saturday afternoon to say that Dad was running 101.6 degrees and had a bad cough. And my sister started throwing up Saturday evening and went all the way through Sunday morning, so she missed her flight back to Wyoming and had to reschedule for Monday.

So five out of the eight of us got pretty sick during or right after the trip, but we're not going to let it deter us from trying again one day! Hopefully we'll have a chance to go back to Disney World when Jake will be old enough to remember the trip and can do more things while we're there. It was still Magical!


maura said...

Katherine, I have been following you disney trip all week. It sounds like you guys had a great time minus the illness. We enjoyed our trip two weeks ago also. It is just such a fun family place. Fun for all ages! Your kiddos are so cute. I hope everyone is feeling 100% soon and i hope you escape the illness. We had a similar airport story a few years ago when I was taking my two kids to arizona alone and my husband was dropping us at the airport. The major road to the airport was closed (95 south), and the detour sent us in a circle (we ended up back where we started) before they finally opened the road. My husband dropped the kids and I off and we just made it to security- yelled goodbye to my husband who had run into the airport after parking to say goodbye and I ran pushing one child and carrying the other all the way to the gate. I never sweat so much in my life and I just wanted to cry by the time I got on the plane. Sorry no this was a long post. Love reading your blog

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Maura, I feel your stress! Traveling alone is much easier than traveling with kids, especially if you find youself running late. I found myself imagining missing the flight, then having to re-book and entertain the kids for hours (or overnight) at the airport. It was not a happy thought! I'm so glad you've enjoyed the Disney posts!

Rachel said...

Thank you so much for all your posts. I feel like we got to tag along with you on your trip to Disney. I hope you all are feeling better.

Sarah T. said...

Barfing aside, it was an awesome trip, and I'd do it again in a second!

sara said...

How fun! I hope we can get to Disney some day. And the mickey hat on the plane is adorable!

The Cretens said...

We just ate at Earl of Sandwhich Sunday...you are right! yummy!

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