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Old 01-22-2009, 08:34 AM   #241
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What a great trip ya'll had!! It was wonderful to read about it. My family also loved Astro Orbitor. I didn't think it would be any big deal, but DS was really wanting to ride, so we did that one am EMH, I think. Something about it being up high in the air makes it extra exciting! We got off and on again two or three times because there was no line and I knew there would be one later.

I admit, I still want to hear how Perla recovered from being sick...You made it sound like there was more to come. More more more.
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:45 AM   #242
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yea so interesting you should sell your story to TLC
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:39 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by JPFamilyMom View Post
What a great end to your trip(s).

great ToT pictures, I'm not a fan of the ride, but those pics looked great.

I think I enjoyed the boys day, especially McQueen with Jack Sparrow the most. My son would love to get picked to be a pirate. And I totally relate to Astro Orbiter (we went on in D-land though which is now on the ground not up high) and I was preggo with baby #2 when I went on. So I feel your pain (I have to add here that I get nauseous on the carousel ride even not preggo). But my boy loved it like your boys did. Must be a boy thing.

Great TR ladies.
The Pirate tutorial is very cute. You should definately try to see it. I never did find where they post what times they do it so it was hit and miss.

I get naseous on the carousel too. I usually stay off of it. But I kind of enjoyed Astro Orbiter. It didn't make me too sick just dizzy.
Me DH DS (17) DS (14) DS (10) DS (6)

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Old 01-22-2009, 11:24 AM   #244
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Day 10:

OK. This is it. Iím very sad to say weíre at our very final day. As Suzy noted, I still wasnít talking. But I had been hoping that I would awaken with some kind of miraculous recovery. Too bad, so sad. I woke up with a killer sore throat, especially since I hadnít been taking any pain killer, just the topical stuff, which had to be taken every hour and for 15 minutes numbed my entire mouth making my lips feel funny. Obviously, this made me talk even less.

Donald woke up in a dead panic. He was so not happy about the prospect of returning our rental car, getting the kids & luggage to the airline desk, flying to a freezing cold Ohio on a potentially delayed flight and then driving home in a blizzard. With a wife who felt horrible and refused to talk. He wasnít grumpy, just preoccupied and sighing a lot. And a tiny bit of spinning in circles.

But he is our official packer. I try to get everything washed and organized and he does the official packing. You guys should all be so jealous of me because I am telling you, this man can PACK. He could put a full size elephant in a suitcase and not get penalized with an oversized luggage fee. And he doesnít whine about it either. He just starts packing the huge pile of junk I have for him and one or two hours later, voila! Weíre ready.

My role in all of this is to stay out of the way and do what he tells me. And to clean a bit and keep the children from irritating him. This day was no different. I felt terrible so I just kept sitting down. Which was fine because everyone wanted me to stay out of the way.

I did deal with the kitchen, unloaded the half used stuff, the boxes of uneaten restaurant leftovers, the pantry items we never used. We did pretty good with eating everything we bought but I didnít do so well at paper goods. So I made a little pile that I hope the housecleaners were able to use. We only left unopen things. So I hope it didnít get trashed. I certainly wouldnít trash unopened paper plates, etc.

I also put the house back into the order it was before we got there, meaning I put all the breakable dťcor back. I feel quite proud our kids didnít break any pretties. Itís probably some kind of miracle.

And I took photos of the house. I wish I had of done it when we first came in but I forgot. Iím glad I remembered, though, or we wouldnít have any at all.

Here is Ariel amusing herself outside the house while waiting for us all to do the last run check to make sure nothing was left behind.

And the view from our house:

And the house & our vans being packed:

Awww, look at us. We're in cold weather clothing instead of sandals & capris.

Suzy & Milo had a layover and we were going direct so they left before us and were to get in after us. But we all wanted to leave the house together. So we opted to go eat at an IHOP to kill the time difference between their flight and ours. Donald has never eaten at one before and it had been on his list of things to accomplish in 2008. We donít have one near us and hadnít been able to work one in on our other traveling in í08. So to IHOP we went.

See the IHOP on 192?

We got seated almost immediately and Mulan and Donald argued about the little triangle peg game. They are like the same person. Mulan has to be sooooo smart by figuring it out on her own and Donald has to be soooo smart by telling her how to do it. BIG fights. I think it was good natured but I canít be sure.

We got our food and it was really good. I, at least, enjoyed it. Donald found a syrup he loved but I think all in all he likes Waffle House better. So IHOP might not be on his to do list for 2009. It might be more of a happen if it happens.

Still, it was nice to start our day with a real, sit down breakfast. Our flight was right at noon so we headed out for the dreaded airport.

We pulled in & our trusty GPS (& proper Orlando signs) got us in the perfect place the first time around. We pulled in & turned in the van. It took like a second. They were amazingly efficient. While I was doing this a very nice man came up with a cart & asked Donald if he could help us. Uh, yeah. You can help us. Dear Lord, please help us! By the time I was done handing over the keys, the two of them had the kids out, the luggage on the cart, and the car seat out & packed. Seriously, it was well under 5 minutes from pulling into the lot to walking towards the airport. And all I was required to do was push the baby in the stroller. It was the best $20.00 we spent on the whole trip.

The guy asked which airline and took us on some cool little shortcut. Bam! We were in line. It was so quick.

See the guy in the red jacket with the flag on it? That was the guy:

And here he is cutting in line for us, he didn't get in trouble for this, it was a special guy in red jackets line, so we didn't have to stand in the airline line.

It was so painless, though I must say it was still annoying to have to drag the luggage over to be scanned. I know for normal people this is no big deal, but for those of us with babies and kids and strollers and coats (donít forget the winter coats we were once again dragging around) and junk, it is kind of a hassle.

At this point we went to security and I was dreading the long ďfamily & foreignersĒ line. But once again we were whisked away to a special line and immediately through security. Here again my bag had to be searched. I had purchased on my little trip to the outlet mall a Tinkerbell scrapbook which when you open it plays a little song. It never occurred to me that the batteries in it would have to be searched. But here again having my bag searched proved to be a blessing. As we were again put into one little area by ourselves with chairs and easily able to put everyoneís shoes back on.

Then we were on the speedy shuttle (I got to sit in the little window area, yea!) and then poof! At the gate.

We prepared to settle in to play some Nintendo DS since we were there so early and I hadnít even sat down yet when who should I see?

Suzy & Milo! What? My immediate question was, ďOh, no! Was your flight delayed?Ē

Suzy, was your flight delayed?
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:25 PM   #245
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Hi! I've just joined in. I'm only on page three but I'm enjoying your TR. We were there Thanksgiving 2007. The crowds were mad the whole week before. We left the day after to come home. We hope to go back in Sept. with some friends. (4 adults,3 kids). I've never been with another family.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:31 PM   #246
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It's always sad to leave WDW...I know how I'm going to feel when we leave and yet we haven't gotten there yet
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:39 PM   #247
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Oh! Your leaving us hang...what happened to Suzy's flight?!?
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:33 PM   #248
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Why were still at the airport????

So we all left the house at the same time. Our flight was 30 or 40 minutes earlier than Perla's so we didn't go to IHOP. We decided to grab breakfast at the airport after we got through security.

We planned on stopping and getting gas an exit before the airport but got so carried away following our GPS that we forgot! I was bummed because now we had to pay the Alamo's gas prices. Oh Well. It wasn't too bad, I think around $34.00.

We did not have any handy dandy guy in a red jacket with us. So Milo went to get a luggage cart and I unloaded the van and we got everything stacked on to the cart. We went to the wrong floor at first out of the parking garage because I forgot we had to cross the street to get to the terminal so that took some time.

Getting our boarding passes was a breeze though and that was done pretty quickly. Security was another matter. It took us quite a while. I was pushing that huge instep jogging stroller and it can't get folded up small enough to go through the scanner so I had to stand in line behind this woman in a wheel chair. I'm not normally an impatient person (not as bad as Perla at least) but when I say this took forever, it was painfully slow. She needed a lot of assistance. I considered just dumping the stroller and saying, "I got my $80 dollars worth out of this thing, take it." But instead I waited until my turn. And finally got through to start helping Milo with the kids' bags and shoes. He was not happy that I had disappeared for 15 minutes.

Then we picked up some Starbucks and some pastries (BK wasn't serving breakfast anymore by this time) and sat at a table and had our morning meal.

When we finally got to our gate, it was about 40 minutes before our flight. We were just walking up, hadn't scoped out seats yet, and heard the announcement, "Would the Stallard family please come to the desk?"

Now, we were on a flight that had an hour and a half layover in Atlanta. Donald and Perla were on a direct flight. And we were bummed that morning. We wanted to get home without sitting in airports all day. But alas, what was done was done.

So we made our way up to the desk and the lady tells us that they have overbooked this flight and would we volunteer to take the direct flight back. Are you kidding?? Let me think about that for a minute. YEAH!! The only hitch was our luggage was already tagged for this flight. And we live 2 1/2 hrs away from the airport so couldn't just run back and get it. So she worked frantically to get them to find our luggage and get it on the other flight. (All of our bags made it except one which the Fed Exed to us free of charge the following day) So Milo and I can't believe our good fortune, things like this never happen to us. And then the lady off hand says, "so you'll get 5 round trip tickets for volunteering" What?? We are getting the flight we wanted and you're giving us free tickets?

So when Perla and Donald got there we were camped out at their gate acting real cool, like no big deal. We're flying home with you guys.
Me DH DS (17) DS (14) DS (10) DS (6)

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Old 01-22-2009, 10:24 PM   #249
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thats pretty awesome getting a little extra pixie dust at the end of your trip. i thoroughly enjoyed reading your TR, thanks for all the time you put into it.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:36 PM   #250
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Day 10 cont.

So after that exciting encounter we settled in to play Nintendo DS. My day continued on pretty much the same except for being excited for them. And happy they were on a direct flight home and could get home a few hours earlier. And happy they would get to fly somewhere else on vacation when they thought it would be two years before they got another trip. Yes, in general excitement. But quiet excitement.

We boarded our on time flight and had an uneventful flight home. I just remember I couldnít stop pondering we would land soon and then that would be really awful. Iím not sure Iíve ever wanted to stay on an airplane before. But I kinda didnít want to get off. It was a two hour flight so it was around 2:00 p.m. when we arrived in Ohio.

And then they kicked us off.
ďYou will get off in this freezing, icy place. You will stop seeing palm trees every day. You will go to school and work. Off, off, get off our plane.Ē OK, so they didnít say that but they might as well have. I was digging my fingernails into the carpet as they dragged me up the ramp.

In reality, I got off, grabbed the bags from the overhead compartment (did I mention Donald had Boo and I mostly just played DS and chilled?), and headed out. I grabbed the gate checked stroller and we were off.

Donald went to get the van while I went to the luggage area. I was a bit worried about him as it was really not nice out and we hadnít taken our typical photo of where we were parked. It had been so dark and miserable when we arrived that I had just forgotten. And truth be told, he didnít know where it was. He wandered in the ARCTIC parking lot with two carry-on pieces of luggage. In retrospect, he should have walked to the luggage area with me and just left everything but him there. But no. He had luggage because he was trying very hard to take care of his totally out of it sick & drugged wife.

He said it wasnít THAT big of a deal, but I could tell it had been unpleasant. And the van had been covered in ice so that wasnít fun either. Where is a palm tree when you need one?

The kids waiting:

I, on the other hand, had gotten my luggage quite easily and had set up a little spot by the door to wait. It was right next to the roses machine. I mention this because I was fascinated by it. It is a vending machine with roses in it. I examined them all very closely. Half were almost dead. Some were quite pretty. Pinkish orange. But no man would ever choose those.

Basically it was half dead roses from a vending machine next to the door of the luggage because you couldnít remember to get your wife something nice wherever you just were. Whoever owned that vending machine was an enabler of neglectful dhís and I had nothing but spite for the owner. Thatís right. Spite. I also had spite for the guy who looked rather slimy who we had to move for while he bought some half dead roses for his special someone. And yes, I watched his choice. Totally bought the cheapest ones. And not an interesting color either. Just plain old red and dead and cheap.

Anyhow, I was obviously bored to tears waiting for Donald. I even had Ariel in a big discussion about which dead roses she would enjoy getting.

Before long, actually a lot faster than I was expecting, Donald pulled up right next to where we were and threw everything into our van. Our cold van, even cold after being heated up by my lovely dh (who buys me flowers regularly but never from an overpriced vending machine cause he knows I would hate that.)

We piled in. And we started driving. But not without an argument first. The GPS was telling us to go home one way & I wanted to go home another way. I just absolutely knew my way was right. Donald just REALLY wanted to follow the GPS. He was driving. He won.

So I just shut up, which was easy for me. We then stopped to grab a quick bite at Arbyís. Except they werenít running the deal they were advertising. So after a few questions to figure this out with negative answers and then complaining through the little speaker, we drove away with no food. There was a McDonaldís nearby so we just went there. Not as good as Arbyís but a lot cheaper. And we were back to cheap world, ya know? The one we live in.

And then we got on the road in earnest as we were pretty sure we were gonna hit some bad weather.

Sure enough, we were in SUPER crappy weather before you could say blizzard. We all went very silent. Suzy called and they were also on the road and had gone the way I wanted to go and didnít have any bad weather at all.

So then I was giving Donald the silent treatment cause I was really irritated at him for dragging us the long way through a blizzard. Unfortunately, he didnít really notice I was giving him the silent treatment since I had already been doing that for 48 hours.

After about an hour things broke a little bit and we were going a bit more normal. We started talking at that point about our great trip and the drive started to go more quickly. All in all, the bad weather delayed us a half hour. Not too bad. But the stress levels made it seem more like 2 hours.

To top it all off, we live on a giant hill and when we got there it hadnít been touched. We really, really, really almost didnít make it up that hill. No joke. Donald was chanting, ďCome on, come on, come onĒ in increasing amounts of intensity. Mulan started to say something at one point and both Donald and I together said, ďSHUT UP!Ē Probably scared the poor girl to death. But really, it took us way too long and was way too scary getting up that hill. And I donít think one giant SHUT UP after 10 whole days of being together is too bad.

And then we were home. Our cat was desperate for attention, we were all hungry again, and Donald was literally shaking. He had bore the entire burden of the stress of that day. So thoroughly had he done that, that I have mostly positive feelings of this day. I mostly sat around waiting for him to do things. I hadnít had to carry any luggage, hadnít dealt with Boo, hadnít ran to grab food, or scraped ice off a freezing van, hadnít driven white knuckled in a blizzard. Iíd just flipped randomly through fluffy magazines and played my DS. Itíd been a piece of cake.

And to his even greater vindication, Suzy & Milo called us MUCH later to say that they had been delayed an HOUR by the weather they eventually hit (tho it was still earlier than it would have been on their original flight.) When Donald heard that, I got a stern looking at. A real ďI told you soĒ look. And I deserved it. For giving him such a hard time and the silent treatment he didnít know I had given him.

After relaxing enough, we went to bed. The next morning we slept in and looked at/organized photos for most of the day. I was sick. And for the first and only day of my illness, I laid around, took my antibiotics and numbing stuff and tried to get healthy. And that was it. The end of our great, 10 day Disney adventure.

Here is the view out my window:

And here is the photo patrol. Boo had to be involved in ALL PHOTO LOOKING AT MOMENTS. No looking at Mickey Mouse without Boo.

But donít be sad. This doesnít have to be the end of your tutorial. Stay tuned while Suzy & I divulge and repeat all our little tips and the things we learned as well as all our favorites.

As a side note to the end of this story, Donald got sick that first week we were back and was desperately ill for 2 whole weeks before going to the Dr. and getting himself antibiotics. For him the cold had turned into a sinus infection. That was one doozy of a cold. And then he had an allergic reaction to the drugs which lasted another 2 weeks.

So that little cold that Jack-Jack had plagued our family for 5 weeks. Some viruses are just soooooo obnoxious that no amount of Echinacea nor Vitamin C is going to help. But as youíve seen it didnít really keep us down much and it certainly didnít ruin our great time at all. Being sick at Disney is way better than being healthy at home.
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:38 AM   #251
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How lucky to get the direct flight home and round trip tickets. Wow!!!

stinks about both of your weather conditions driving home, sorry. And a sick family for weeks, bleh.

But you had a GREAT WDW vacation. Loved reading along and can't wait to read the extra little tips you will be sharing.
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:29 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by estherhead View Post

So then I was giving Donald the silent treatment cause I was really irritated at him for dragging us the long way through a blizzard. Unfortunately, he didnít really notice I was giving him the silent treatment since I had already been doing that for 48 hours.
This made me laugh out loud! Oh, the irony of a woman whose throat is too sore to talk trying to give her husband the silent treatment!

And then we were home. Our cat was desperate for attention, we were all hungry again, and Donald was literally shaking. He had bore the entire burden of the stress of that day. So thoroughly had he done that, that I have mostly positive feelings of this day.
Poor Donald - what a good husband.

I hope you're all feeling better now!
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