The ONE CHARACTER we hadn't met in person happened to be one of The Big Five: Goofy. Or, if you're Amelia, "Goopy." We'd seen him from afar a few times during the week, but we'd never been able to get to him.
Amelia was on HIGH ALERT from the moment we entered the restaurant, looking for Goopy.
And guess who was the first to come over! CHEF GOOPY!
Thank goodness we had our OFFICIAL LICENSED DISNEY AUTOGRAPH BOOKS at the ready. We didn't let any moss grow on those stones, let me tell you.
There was only one problem: Amelia didn't know quite what to do with CHEF Goopy. He didn't really look like himself.
And of course he couldn't talk to her in his trademark Goopy voice to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was who he purported to be.
Grayson had to go over and run interference, do some mild placating.
Goopy tried communicating via telepathy, and ...
HE MADE A CONNECTION!
Crisis averted, Internet!
Chef Mickey arrived next, and Jake was able to perform his usual Quality Control exercise on Mickey's signature, thank goodness.
Nick got right in there with Mickey ... I think he was hyper-aware that this was his last chance to give the characters some love.
This might be my favorite picture of Nick and Jake from the entire trip. I mean, can you say "BLISS"?
Nick and Don.
Look. If you think Jake wasn't ACTUALLY checking every. single. signature. against the sample on the back of his OFFICIAL LICENSED DISNEY AUTOGRAPH BOOK, I have some beachfront property in Arizona I'd love to sell you.
Apparently Donald passed.
Well, Jake MIGHT'VE given him a note or two.
Minnie was great ... for some reason, Amelia wouldn't hug her, but the boys were all over her.
Adore the differences in the three kids' expressions here.
Pluto was a real sport to sign our OFFICIAL LICENSED DISNEY AUTOGRAPH BOOKS, because if I'm being honest, it must be a total drag to try to do that while wearing prosthetic paws.
As soon as we finished our breakfast, my parents had to go straight to the airport to catch their flight. We took a minute to get our "official Chef Mickey picture," because our flight wasn't scheduled until later in the afternoon.
As we walked back out to our van, I checked my email and saw that our flight had been postponed by about an hour. We'd already planned to spend a couple of hours at Downtown Disney, so we headed that way and talked about contingency plans as we drove, now that we might have even more time on our hands.
Amelia was fascinated by the LEGO family, especially all the dogs.
She was also VERY quick to recognize "Cin-bretta's Castle" just inside the side door ..."
... and " 'Punzel's Tower" just on the other side.
She was REALLY into those, but they make the Cinderella, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White sets in Duplo versions, which is really more her speed. So that's what on her Amazon wishlist right now.
We wandered around and looked at all the LEGO creations while the boys played with all the available LEGOs -- which was a LOT of LEGOs.
Some of the store employees were outside at the building tables giving out LEGO wheels, encouraging the kids to build vehicles to race.
Our boys built and raced vehicles for at least half an hour, if not longer. HOG HEAVEN MUCH?
Amelia was fading a little bit (not a good sign, since we had hours and hours before our trip home), but she was willing to play for a while at the Duplo tables.
The whole time we were at Downtown Disney, I continued to receive emails that our 5:30 flight was being moved back and forward by anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
At this point in the day it was only around 1:00 and our flight had been postponed to 7:10, and we'd had such a large breakfast that we weren't interested in lunch. Ultimately Grayson and the boys decided they wanted to go back to Hollywood Studios for a couple of hours ... we had the tickets available on our Park Hopper passes, so it wouldn't cost any more for admission ... still, I wasn't sold.
I think I'd just mentally already checked out of Disney. Ha! My parents and sister were gone, we'd checked out of our resort, and we were just biding our time until we needed to head to the airport. Plus, the kids were so tired, and as much as they didn't want to admit it, I think they were ready to go, too.
Nonetheless, I didn't have a better alternative, so we drove over to Hollywood, but Amelia fell asleep on the way. I sent Grayson and the boys on into the park, and I sat in the van with Amelia while she slept. I caught up on Twitter and played all my Words with Friends moves. It was the opposite of terrible.
When Amelia woke up about 90 minutes later, she, Baby 'Punzel and I took the tram in.
At that point (around 2:45), she and I WERE both hungry, so we ducked into the ABC Commissary to eat a late lunch. And while we were eating, Grayson texted me and said, "They are being unusually annoying, especially Jake."
GEE, IT'S A SHAME WHEN I'M RIGHT.
I texted back, "Meet us at the photographer in front of the hat."
Oh, did I mention that it was Valentine's Day?
Also, I'd been traipsing around all day in my AIRPLANE CLOTHES. Meaning skinny jeans, T-shirt and a three-quarter sleeved sweater. I was about to DIE, but I hadn't been planning on walking around for six hours in the hot air. I'd been planning on two hours indoors at the Contemporary, two hours meandering around Downtown Disney, and then the rest of the day in the airport or on a plane. Hollywood Studios was nowhere in my plan.
After we had our cute conversation-heart pictures taken, we finally went on to the airport -- even though we continued to get emails with conflicting information about our departure time.
As soon as Amelia saw people taking their shoes off at Security, she immediately followed suit. Even though she didn't need to.
The TSA agent spoke to each of the kids individually, asking them their full names, ages and about their trip. Jake answered, and then said, "And you are NOT taking these SUNGLASSES. I JUST GOT THEM A FEW HOURS AGO."
I had to explain to him that he doesn't make the rules at the Orlando airport.
Little Miss Independent.
When we got to our gate, we ended up sitting there for a few hours.
Luckily, because of all the changes over the course of the day, there were hardly any passengers, and our crew was stuck in Minneapolis.
So we basically just sprawled. Everywhere.
Look! She's finally wearing a T-shirt that fits. Oh, but she grabbed Nick's cap, and it doesn't match.
No worries ... he took it back!
When we finally managed to board the plane -- four hours later than scheduled -- it was a huge relief.
There were only 15 of us passengers on it. I don't think I've ever flown in the company of so few people. It made for a very cozy flight ... and we were almost completely alone back in Coach, because all but two of the others moved up to First Class when given the option.
Amelia wanted to sit with me again, but I'd promised Nick he could sit with me for the first half of the ride home, and then Jake could take a turn by me.
She made several appeals, some calmer than others.
Once we took off, the cabin lights went down, and it was so peaceful.
I'm a total Window Seat Slut, so I spent every minute that someone didn't need me with my forehead plastered to the Plexiglas.
Eventually Nick moved up a row, Jake moved next to me, and Amelia moved up to sit by Nathaniel. Since we were virtually the only people in the entire rear section of the plane, we could essentially do whatever we wanted to. The flight attendants were really nice and brought us refills on our snacks and drinks as an apology for our delay.
Jake and Nathaniel picked up these Kingdom Keepers books at Downtown Disney -- have you heard of these? They're mysteries centered around young teens that take place inside Disney World.
Anyway, they're more Nick's and Nathaniel's grade level, but Jake is a great reader and was determined to take them on. And he did!
Amelia really wanted to sit in my lap as we got closer to Birmingham ... we were on final approach when she started screaming, "HOLD YOU! HOLD YOU!" -- but at that point, she needed to sit in her own seat and be buckled in.
She finally fell asleep and didn't even wake up when we landed.
And who could blame her? Her first Disney trip on the books. Home more than four hours later than we'd planned, ultimately after midnight by the time we got home and in bed, but I think that this trip may actually form some of her very first memories.
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