“Wow, Disney is Far Far Away” A Single Mom’s Road Trip to Disney: June 2013 TR

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by luvmy2babies, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    Welcome to my trip report. I hope you enjoy it because we really did enjoy our trip. We’ve been back since June 9th, but I didn’t want to post a trip report until I had all of our photos loaded to Photobucket. Actually if you’re reading this, it means I’ve gotten at least half of the report saved in MS Word already. See, this was our third Disney World vacation. For the first two I completed long detailed PTRs, but for both of my previous trips, I left incomplete TRs. The first one barely got off the ground and the 2nd one, photobucket difficulties stopped me half-way through. I promised myself I would finally finish one.

    So, if you’re ready, we’ll start with a little back story because this time I did not do a PTR. So, even though it usually goes into a PTR, I’ll start with the “Who, When, Where, How, and Why”.

    The Who

    The cast for this trip was the same as the others. My two children and I love Disney World and we love going there together the three of us. Here we are on our 2012 trip with Mickey.

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    On this trip, my daughter was 10 years-old, my son 3, and then there’s me, age 40. For those who haven’t read my previous reports, we are a family of 3 since dh passed away in 2010. We started going to Disney about 8 months after that. My daughter was 7 and my son was 10 months old. We were hooked from the beginning.

    The When

    After Tropical Storm Debby joined us in Florida in 2012, I thought it might be better to vacation earlier in June hoping that would give us a better shot a normal Florida weather. My daughter is in private school and her school year ends before Memorial Day. I didn’t want to go over that weekend though so I decided we’d start our trip the weekend after on Friday, May 31st, spend an entire week touring and come back home the following weekend which ended on Sunday, June 9th.

    The Where

    I originally planned a bare bones (if you can call a Disney trip that) type of trip. There’d be no short airplane ride. There’d be no Magical Express and no character meals because there would be no Disney Dining Plan. There’d be no extras on this trip. I booked a room at an offsite hotel and planned to drive us down to Orlando from North Carolina. In between though I paid off two debts freeing up about $500 a month; so, I switched us over to a room at Pop Century with the 30% Military discount (dh was military).

    The How

    Plane tickets were still out of the question though so I planned out the drive. I reserved hotel stays in Savannah Georgia to break up the drive. Our stay at Pop started on the 31st. The plan was to leave here on May 30th in the afternoon, stop to sleep and drive the rest of the way on the 31st. Check out day was June 8th and we’d do the same on the way back. On the way down, we’d stop at the Baymont Inn and Suites. On the way back we’d stop at the Red Roof Inn. Along the planning road, I found the money for a few surprises. I’ll reveal those as I reveal them to the children.

    The Why

    This trip was planned with very little time compared to our 2012 trip, which I took 9 months to plan and pay off. I’d actually figured on spending a week at the beach this summer, but when I mentioned summer vacation around late February early March of this year, it was clear the little people had other ideas. I was immediately bombarded with passionate pleas to return to Disney World. I caved after about a week of listening to my son talk about how much he loved it there. My son for whom I was told I should seek speech therapy talked about how beautiful Disney is and how he could not wait to go back. So yes, I caved. I just didn’t tell them.

    Up next: The (not so) Big Reveal
     
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  3. angelabrezovsky

    angelabrezovsky Mouseketeer

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    Subscribing in :) I'm also a single mom!
     
  4. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    The (Not So) Big Reveal

    I kept this trip a secret for several reasons; mainly I wanted to be sure it was going to happen before I told them. Eventually I figured the wait would be easier for ds in particular if I waited to tell them. I eventually decided to let them in on it on Memorial Day. We were leaving that Thursday and I wanted time for dd to wrap her head around the idea of driving. We have always flown before. The people that did know seemed to be having difficulty wrapping their heads around it. “You’re really going to drive all the way to Florida by yourself!?!?” Yeah, I am.

    I also decided on Memorial Day because we needed to pack. Planning surprise trips I usually packed in the walk-in closet in my bedroom, but due to a problem with her mattress, dd had been sleeping in my room. I still hadn’t picked out a replacement. So, I wouldn’t be able to pack in there without her knowing. I had shopping to do as well because since we were driving I was bringing more from home.

    So, on Memorial Day I called a little meeting. I told the children I had some additional chores for them since school was out now and I needed more help around the house. Both agreed more easily than I anticipated. I told dd I was printing a list and to wait for it to come out from the printer. What came out of the printer though was a different kind of list. I asked her to read the top of the page.

    She's smiling down at the paper because at the top it says: Disney 2013 Packing List

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    Cue the theme music! Next came lots of singing and dancing and screaming that I was laughing too hard to take pictures of while it was happening. After my entertainment, I let dd know I really did need help packing, so we headed up to ds’ room with the list. He has the most floor space.

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    With the list to work with and everyone helping, it wasn’t long before we were all packed.

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    After bedtime though I packed an extra bag with some surprises I had in store.

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    On Tuesday I went back to work after dropping dd off at camp and ds at daycare. That evening we had dd’s usual meeting with her reading specialist, then Bible study at church. On Wednesday after work, we went out to do some more shopping and I finished packing a box of essentials and I pulled the bags down to the door.

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    I think it was at that point ds really realized this was happening and we were really going. He’d been quiet since the big celebration that Monday, but he stood staring at the bags for quite a while.

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    I actually got into bed at a decent time that night.

    Next: Departure Day
     
  5. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    :welcome:

    Wow, a reader already! Thanks for joining. I hope you enjoy the report. I'm enjoying reliving the trip.
     
  6. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    Day 1: Departure Day!!

    This day came real fast for the children. Every day dd kept saying, I can't believe we only have to wait a few days to leave! Thursday finally arrived.

    It actually went almost as planned. I went to work after dropping dd off at camp and ds at daycare. I was supposed to get off work at 1:00, but I ended up working until 1:30 or so. By 2:15 I had picked up both children and we were home by 2:30. I loaded the van while dd washed up and changed. She was a little sweaty from the half day at camp.

    Despite me getting off a half hour late, we actually got on the road around 3:00 like I planned. Now of course with me being the only adult there won't be many road trip pictures, but it was more scenic than I anticipated.

    About 2.5 hours later we made our first stop. We generally eat dinner around 6:00, so it was a good time to stop. We found a McDonalds just off the highway with a play area.

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    We’d made it into South Carolina.

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    The children turned down the opportunity to run around though, so after eating and going to the bathroom, we got back on the road.

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    Thanks to plenty of electronics, and limiting liquids, this would be our only stop. I-95 continued to be a smooth ride and I continued to express my gratitude to the geniuses that implemented cruise control. It was about 3 more hours before we made it to our hotel. As I hoped, both children were still awake. I pulled up to the door, went inside and checked us in, then parked the van. Dd and I grabbed our backpacks (where I’d packed enough for one night so we could leave the suitcases in the van) and we headed inside.

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    I hoped to be in the room by 9:00. We did pretty well.

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    Here’s some pictures of the room. I liked this hotel, but I'm not sure I would choose it again. Not sure if it was my phone or what, but I had no bars once I walked inside the hotel. I had to go back outside to text my mom to let her know we’d made it to the hotel safely. Nice room though.

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    My two stretched out on the bed: “Hello from Savannah!”

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    After baths and a snack, I tucked the children in for the night. They talked for a while, excited that we were half way to Disney. I plugged in my work laptop as I realized after we’d left town there was an email I forgot to send before leaving. Fortunately I was too lazy to take the bag out of the van before leaving. This couch was pretty comfortable.

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    It didn’t take long before I joined the children in that comfortable bed.

    Up Next, Travel Day 2: Disney is Far Far Away
     
  7. makochibi

    makochibi Earning My Ears

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    Great report so far. Can't wait to read more.
     
  8. Aurora1972

    Aurora1972 Getting my Disney on! Where's the poporn?

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    Following along! That is awesome that you can do that much driving by yourself. I don't know if I could do the same. Looking forward to seeing what the surprises you planned are.
     
  9. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    :welcome:

    Thanks, I'm having fun putting it together. I hope you enjoy it.
     
  10. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    Yay!

    :welcome:

    I didn't think I would do it. I had in fact said I wouldn't, but I realized when it came to either driving or not going I was willing. Breaking it up was definitely the thing to do.
     
  11. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    Travel Day 2: Disney is Far Far Away

    I didn’t set the alarm. My only goal was to make sure we got to take advantage of the breakfast included with the room. I think we made it down to the breakfast room around 8:45 or so. They had a decent selection. There was milk, a couple of choices for cereal, apple and orange juice, bananas, apples, bagels, toast (jelly and butter), and waffles.

    The waffles were the frozen kind though. They were thawed and set out for us to toast. I really prefer the “make your own waffle” stations other places have. I got the room for $56 on Priceline, so if this along with the lack of cell signal was all I would have liked to be different, that was fine. Here’s dd and ds enjoying breakfast.

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    After breakfast we headed back to the room to brush our teeth and collect our things. Dd decided since ds was taller this trip, she would teach him to open the door.

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    Before long we were back up front to check out. I snapped this picture of the children waiting for me in the lobby. Dd had been explaining to ds that he hadn't seen Mickey yet because Disney was far far away. Reading here I realize we live close to Disney compared to a lot of people that visit, but when you're used to the distance between home and Magical Express being about 3 hours, this is different. They were happy though. Through the week though, ds kept saying, "Disney is far far away." He still says it now that we are honme. He thinks that is why we have not gone right back there.

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    Check out was smooth and within a couple of minutes, we were heading back to the van. For some reason I like walking behind them taking pictures sometimes. It’s probably because ds only in the last few months became willing to walk holding dd’s hand. He usually thought “hold sister’s hand,” was a signal to get into a chase.

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    After leaving the hotel, we headed over to a nearby Wal-Mart to pick up more supplies. Dd is helping me out marking things off the list.

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    We got back on the road and after a while we crossed the border into the Sunshine State. We stopped at the Welcome Center because I had read it was nice. We spent a little time there.

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    This display caught their attention. They both love Angry Birds. We also enjoyed the free juice. Of course there were plenty of Disney posters and decorations there too. Dd reminded ds Disney is far far away but we were getting closer.

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    Then they tried this stamp. Dd wasn’t quite tall enough, but it was funny anyway.

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    After emptying bladders, we were back on the road. I have to say we enjoyed the scenery along the highway. I was grateful there were plenty of rivers, some bridges especially that really cool one near Jacksonville and other things along the way and not just trees. Eventually, it was time to say our good-byes to I-95. It was also our good-byes to the smooth sailing and light traffic. I-4 which will likely not surprise anyone reading was significantly slower. It had also started to rain a bit. We were 40 miles outside of Orlando when dd declared she really had to eat. I needed to fill the gas tank too so we took the next food exit and had lunch at Chic Fil-A.

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    Back on I-4, I saw some signs that indicated there was an accident up ahead. Traffic slowed way down. It came to a stop actually. That's when I got this picture of dd. She passed the time coloring in the activity book I’d made her for the trip.

    [​IMG]

    Up next: We really are going to get there.
     
  12. mirage0306

    mirage0306 DIS Veteran

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    How cute are your kids!? Love the TR so far!
     
  13. jojosam

    jojosam Mouseketeer

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    It looks as though your kids are very easy to travel with! I did a similar trip to FL with my kids last year to visit their grandparents. We left by 4, stopped in Savannah, and were eating lunch with the grandparents the next day. I can also drive straight through, but if I'm tired a midway stop is nice! We just came back from a trip to Canada, so a stop was a no-brained this time. DH is also military, so we often take trips without him.
     
  14. lablady

    lablady Mouseketeer

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    Great TR so far! I too am bad about not finishing my TRs, so maybe I'll try it your way....if I get most of the way done before starting to post, maybe that will be the incentive I need to finish!

    Your kids are adorable! It sounds like they were good road trippers too. :thumbsup2
     
  15. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Joining in. :goodvibes
     
  16. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    Thanks and :welcome:
     
  17. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    :welcome: I'm glad to have readers.

    Thanks. They were very good on the trip. Electronics did help. Ds had my Kindle Fire and dd got one from my parents for her birthday.

    I love to travel though so I introduced travel pretty early in each of their lives. Being that I am on my own, I'm glad we flew before. It was helpful that my son could talk before I did this. We did a trip to the mountains during the fall last year that probably helped too. We spent a lot of time driving on that one, but when ds was younger, and could not verbalize his feelings, once he reached his limit in the vehicle, it got ugly.

    I'm hoping typing it up elsewhere like this works. I really feel good about finishing this one. The only one I finished was the 2011 report which was mostly Sea World. I posted that one on the Sea World forum.

    Thanks and :welcome:
     
  18. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    Are We There Yet?

    After we finally made it out of the traffic jam, we had to stop at another bathroom. But around 4:20, an hour and 20 minutes after I’d hoped, we saw the sign we’d been waiting to see since leaving home. We passed under the big arch. We’d made it.

    I followed the signs and my printed directions to Pop. After showing the CM at the gate my driver's licens, I parked in the “check-in” parking lot and we all walked into the hotel for check-in. Then we had to go back to the van to move to the 60s parking lot. Ds was not too happy with this development. He didn’t understand I was just moving the van. Meltdown time. He went from :cool1: to :furious:.

    He was not particularly tired, but he’d had enough of the van for sure. He was also well aware he was in Disney World and he wanted no more of traveling. I don’t blame him. It took me a few minutes to get him calmed down and convinced we were just moving the van closer to our room. But we got there eventually. I will go ahead and say right now, that van didn’t move again until it was time for us to go home.

    After parking the van, we walked the path to the side of the main building to get a cart, but the guys weren’t busy and offered someone to come with me. I was not turning down the help. He came to the van, helped me unload, came up to our room and unloaded everything for me. I thanked him and tipped him and we started getting settled.

    The Garden Grocer order had also arrived. Well part of it. I had ordered a case of bottled water and several boxes of juice boxes so I wouldn’t have to haul them from the van. I’d also ordered some perishable items from them. As I went through it and checked the printout of the order, I realized the perishable items weren’t there. I figured they’d held them at guest services, so I called them and they brought the stuff immediately. Another thank you and another tip. We continued getting settled.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

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    This was our first trip with the new RFID door locks. The children enjoyed tapping their cards on it whenever we returned to the room.

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    After we got settled, it was time to decide what we were going to do that evening. I’d given dd two choices. We could do hang out at the resort, have some pool time, eat at the food court, and relax in the room. The second choice was to visit Downtown Disney. We had never been there before. After telling dd again that her first choice (going to Magic Kingdom) really was out of the question, she sat down to make her choice.

    I can’t blame her for trying. Magic Kingdom is usually what we do on the first day, but we just had 7 park days planned and I figured it would be best to just get a fresh start there the next morning. That decision would end up in the list of lessons learned at the end of the trip.

    Up next, what did we do that first evening?
     
  19. ThePin Princess

    ThePin Princess disney princess

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    Hi:wave2: Just joining in and I'm all caught up! Your kids are adorable!! Can't wait to read more!
     
  20. RNlovesWDW

    RNlovesWDW If it doesn't have hot sauce on it, I don't want i

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    Fellow NC Diser joining in. :)

    My DH has far less vacation time than I do, so my DD and I often times take trips with just the two of us. We love visiting Disney World and have driven 1/2 the time and flown the other half.

    I have a very similar picture of DD at the Florida sign from our trip this past April.

    I am enjoying your TR and look forward to reading more.
     
  21. luvmy2babies

    luvmy2babies DIS Veteran

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    Thank you and :welcome:

    I'm really motivated by having so many readers so quickly!
     

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