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View Full Version : BrerLund Celebration: 12/1-9 Day 1 Travel Woes and HIFS


BrerMama
12-10-2000, 06:04 AM
Cast of Characters:
Kim, just turned 30!, Obsessive/compulsive trip planner; Full-time early childhood special ed teacher; Love to scrapbook
Dan, 32, Truly a kid at heart; in sales; enjoys everything about Disney except the money -- he's our budget police
Brady, 6, Has really become a daredevil in the past few months; can be very shy
Mykiah, 4, Currenly a mommy's girl; not a shy bone in her body
Chesney, 10 months, Beginning to toddle; a very happy baby in general
Grandpa, 65, Loves his grandkids to death (This trip was his gift for his 65th birthday)

To read our pretrip report and introduction click here (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?a=tpc&s=40009993&f=12309246&m=893098854)

2:45 am. Dan and I actually wake up before the alarm goes off and he jumps into the shower while I finish some last minute packing and make sure my dad is up. Dad came down the evening before and spent the night with us; this was a great help as the kids were quite excitable and it was hard to get them settled into bed. I had all the kids sleep in their travel clothes: sweats and a tee for Brady, leggings and a tee for Mykiah and a bodysuit for Chesney. When they woke up, I slipped sweatshirts over the big kids and a dress over Chesney, put their shoes on and we were ready to go. It took a good 10 minutes to get all our gear in the van but soon we were on our way to the airport while singing along to "Celebrate the Future" which I had slipped in the casette player the night before. We don't get far before Dan thinks we forgot the tickets (of course we didn't) but we pulled over and checked anyway, just to be sure.

We arrived at the airport before the ticket counters even opened, but had only a short wait and were able to check our baggage through. We had 2 30" suitcases and a rolling duffel bag. We also took 2 strollers; we checked the nicer LiteRider and gate checked an older umbrella-type stroller (and were glad we did). We had purchased a ticket for Chesney so we also had her car seat, a diaper bag and my trusty backpack. I would grow to hate that thing.

After checking in, we wandered down to the gate which was of course the fartherest from the entrance as possible. I had been checking Delta's website daily for a week or so to get a feel for how often our flight was on time because we had a very tight (40 min) connection in Dallas. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 5:25 and when it got to be 5 am and the pilot started talking on a cordless phone to maintanence I knew something was going to go wrong. I immediately went to the gate agent and explained our situation and she went ahead and confirmed us on the next flight out of Dallas. Meanwhile, it was announced that a mechanic had done some work and forgotten to sign off on it so we had to wait for another mechanic to double check before we could board. We finally boarded at 6 am, knowing that it was at least a 1 hr, 15 min flight and our next flight was scheduled to take off at 7:30 am from Dallas.

Just a word about flying with kids: I gave the older children Dramamine because Brady gets motion sickness fairly easily and it wouldn't hurt Mykiah either. I didn't do anything for Chesney because I thought she would sleep. All three children had ear planes, which are ear plugs specially made to help with the air pressure during flights. The children did really well on the planes, although this first short flight was awful for me. It was a 30 seat turboprop plane and my own motion sickness was awful and I wound up chewing a couple of the kids' dramamine which was too little too late.

Our excuse for a plane finally landed at 7:30 am and I started a mad dash for our departing gate. Since I knew that we may have to run, I had prepared mentally and had also check the DFW airport website and knew exactly where I was going. I grabbed a cart, threw the carryon stuff on it and took off. Made it to the gate at 7:35 only to be told our flight had just left. Did I mention we now were looking at a 6 hour layover in Dallas with 3 kids (and 3 adults) who just wanted to get to Florida? We locked most of our carryons in a locker and found a quiet place to spread out as it looked like we were going to be staying awhile.

I'll just skip over the layover here as it was boring and everyone was more than a little grumpy by the time we boarded our plane to Orlando. We did have one magical moment, however. Mykiah had just had enough of sitting around and doing nothing and had a complete meltdown in the seating area, throwing herself around and screaming. Nothing I could do would bring her out of it so I finally just ignored her (the business travellers loved it, I'm sure). A Delta gate agent came up and offered to take Mykiah and Brady down to the cockpit of the plane and show them around. I'm usually hesitant to allow a reward for bad behavior, but in this situation I just wanted to distract the kids, so off they went to see a real plane (it wasn't even ours; it was headed for Albequerque). When they came back, the gate agent gave them Delta wings, which were promptly pinned on their shirts.

So back to our story... We arrived in Orlando about 5 pm, the same time that we were supposed to be dining at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. But no worries, we're here! We followed the masses to baggage claim and watched as the luggage went around and around. Finally after 10 minutes, I asked a Delta employee if all the luggage was off the plane. It was. And ours obviously was not on our plane (although I had been assured that it would be). So I lead the march over to the claims office. Now I know you are supposed to carryon a change of clothes for everyone but our carryons were full with baby and kid supplies so I hadn't done this. My plans for the evening are changed once again as I envision going to Wal-mart and buying everyone new clothes. As we approach the office, I notice a familiar stroller. Our luggage is here!! Lined up outside the office is our luggage, which apparently made the first flight to Orlando, even though we didn't. You may be wondering how this could happen, and so am I, but at the time I was just thankful it was here.

We did a happy dance all the way to the ground floor and Avis, where we were able to obtain our minivan (we chose a Montana) with a minimum of fuss. We loaded the van, jumped in and were off to Holiday Inn Family Suites in Lake Buena Vista. Of course, by this point Chesney has had enough of being stuck in a car seat so she cries all the way there but at least we were on our way!

It is very easy to get to HIFS following the instructions provided on the website (about a 20 minute drive). We checked in without any hassle and were given room 522, which was in Chesapeake Building, the 2nd floor, facing the adult pool. It was a great location in the building right next to the lobby and we could take the stairs if we didn't want to wait for an elevator. I never heard any noise from the pool although Dan said he did. We had a classic suite which had a small living room with a loveseat (which pulled out to a sofa bed; this is where Brady and Mykiah slept), tv, vcr, safe, end table and a regular table with two chairs. One wall had a microwave, refrigerator, sink and cupboards. The refrigerator was actually a little bit bigger than a dorm size fridge; we put in 24 cans of pop and still had room.

We dumped our luggage and grabbed the swimsuits. It was in the upper 70s and a swim sounded like heaven. The kids loved it and it refreshed the adults enough that we could function. When we returned to the room, the kids had a little surprise waiting. Mickey and Minnie had visited and left letters with a stuffed Mickey or Minnie and Guest of Honor badges engraved with each child's name. Brady and Mykiah were thrilled with their gifts and wore their badges everyday!

We went to the food court to eat. I think that night we all just had personal pan pizzas from the Pizza Hut Express, but we did eat there one other time also. It was standard fast food fair and even with the kids eating free from 11am-5pm it was still expensive ($14 for 2 adult bacon cheeseburger combos).

We went to bed early and as I drifted off to sleep I remembered old reports about trouble with the fire alarms when HIFS first opened. My last thought was that with everything else that had gone wrong on our first day, at least the fire alarms were fixed..

Mykiah quote of the day: That's the beautifulest Christmas tree I ever saw! --- talking about the tree in the Orlando airport

To read about our day at Disney-MGM Studios click here (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=tpc&s=40009993&f=12309246&m=172097954)

[This message was edited by BrerMama on 12-10-00 at 02:15 PM.]

LisaTx
12-10-2000, 06:44 AM
I'm so sorry you missed your flight. What an awful way to start your vacation. I hope it goes uphill from here.

Thanks for sharing with us. I'm looking forward to more. :)

Lisa :)

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Robinrs
12-11-2000, 04:08 PM
Brermom:

I tracked down your trip reports because I'll be staying at the HIFS in January. I needed another Mom's opinion of it!

Thanks for the detailed reports!

-------------------------

MOM
Mother of Michael

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Marla Hellwig
01-25-2001, 04:40 AM
But you are finally there and ready to start the fun. Thanks for posting!