We haven't even been home 24 hours and I'm already longing to go back. So I think I'll relive our trip with a nice, long TR. If you'd like to read the PTR, you can find it here. The cast of characters that went: me -- a school teacher, older than she's going to admit to being DH -- a mechanical engineer. If I tell you how old he is, you'll be able to guess my age. DS8 -- our son who thinks and thinks before he leaps. He has a sensory processing disorder which helps determine how we spend our days. DS5 -- our son who careens from being completely impulsive to completely anxious. The short backstory behind the trip: We werent planning on going. My mothers family had a big reunion planned for July and that was going to be our trip for the year, despite it meaning that my DH would be spending a week living with roughly 20 in-laws. Then spring came and was incredibly difficult for my family. My FIL passed away suddenly, we were forced to make an unwelcome change in childcare arrangements (and so my DS5 lost a huge support network), a flood changed our small rural town forever, and my DS5 developed an ongoing medical problem. There were a few comparatively small illnesses and issues, as well as the continuing saga of settling my FILs estate and making sure my MIL, who lives a couple of hours away, is ok. We needed some time together as a family where we could just have fun. We got a room at my beloved POR and the free DDP, so we went! When DH and I went in 2001 before the boys were born, I was a park commando. It killed me to spend an afternoon sitting by the pool. When we took the boys in Aug. 2009, I knew I had to be different and planned accordingly. I think I managed that again this year! Sunday, August 15th: We live about an hour from the nearest commercial airport, so a 7:15 AM flight meant being out of the house around 4:15. So, we put the boys to bed super early, in their clothes, and I packed muffins and juice bags to have as breakfast in the car once they fully woke up. We loaded the car the night before (and if you're one of the three people who read my PTR , all of DS5's underwear was in that load of wash!) and had nothing to pack that morning except for the boys' stuffed animals. Everything went according to plan, except s-l-o-w-l-y. We didn't leave the house until about 4:40. We left the car at the lot and got the shuttle to the airport. We were ok for time, but I almost panicked when I saw the huge security line. It wasn't even 6 AM on a Sunday, for crying out loud! Still, it moved quickly and our flight even boarded and took off on time (a first for us, as Southwest went 0 for 4 for on time flights for our family reunion trip in July). We landed in Philly as planned and headed to our next gate. We were supposed to take off at 10:10, and around 10:00 an announcement was made that there was a "maintenance delay" and the flight would be ready to go about 10:30. All I could see was my time in MK vanishing! By 11:00, we had been shifted to another gate, the plane had been switched for a smaller one, and everyone had been asked to recheck in. My DH grabbed his bag with the boarding passes and ran for the counter, along with a thundering herd of other people. I'm not just being poetic, either -- you could hear the thundering of feet dashing to the counter! In case you're curious, if US Airways has to switch to a smaller plane, their policy is to reassign seats on board the new plane based on your seat on the old plane. People towards the front of the old plane get seats on the new one, while people in the back of the old plane are bumped from the flight. We didn't know that at first, so the rumors started flying around the gate. People who were bumped were put on a flight just after 3 PM, then when that was filled, one after 6 PM. Things were getting bad at the counter and an armed security guard arrived to try to keep it calm. Then the news about their seating policy made its way around and the rumors went like this: people after row 20 weren't getting on, people after row 22 weren't getting on, people after row 18 weren't getting on. That's when I started to get really worried -- I had heard that the 6 something flight was filled and we were sitting in rows 19 and 20! They were giving out $350 vouchers, but even the idea $1400 wasn't making me feel better (although I did think it might cover most of the hideously expensive tickets to see my cousin in Idaho). Making matters worse, I realized my DH wasn't at the counter anymore and I couldn't see him anywhere. I finally found him at another counter and my heart sank. I figured we were off the plane and not able to fly out on the next two flights either. He came back and had the precious boarding passes for the (formerly!) 10:10 flight! Our first brush of pixie dust! The flight finally left around noon, so we were about an hour and 45 minutes late getting into Orlando. We hurried to the MME line and were on a bus about 25 minutes later! The driver even slowed down for people to get a photo of the gate, but we were so far back in the bus and my DS5 had the window seat, so my pictures weren't good. Within 45 minutes, we were at POR and checking in. The online check in service worked smoothly this year so it took about 5 minutes, as opposed to the 45 minutes it took last year. We even got our request for a close building and were in Alligator Bayou lodge 15! More pixie dust! We got our mugs and drinks, dropped our carry on bags, and caught the bus to MK. We were walking in the gates of the Magic Kingdom by 4:30, only 12 hours after leaving home. Here the boys are with the Mickey icon in our room. Our tradition (even if we've only been twice as a family, we've done it both times) is to get on the train and ride around the park first. We did get off in Toontown this time to get Buzz FPs first thing. The teacups had a 10 minute wait posted, so we decided to hop on. It was a great omen for our trip -- we were on, rode, and were off again in less than that! We never waited more than 15 minutes for any ride, and most of the waits were shorter than what was posted. Even more pixie dust! We managed to get on the Speedway (one of DS8's favorites!) and Buzz before our 6:35 ADR at the Plaza. Here I am with DS5 on the Speedway -- he even steered! Dinner at the Plaza was one of the few disappointments of the week. Despite checking in 20 minutes early, the CM wasn't overly polite and we weren't seated until about 7:00. The food was fine but the service was slow. However, the boys loved their Mickeylodeons for dessert! Even though we really needed to head back and get the boys to sleep, one of the things DS5 really wanted to do was ride the Liberty Belle riverboat. It was closing the next day for maintenance, so we knew we needed to get on that night. We should have done it before dinner, but we were focused on the short waits on other rides. We got on the 8 PM boat just before it left the dock, which was more pixie dust -- it was the last boat of the day! We hurried back to POR and rushed the boys to bed right after arranging a Mickey and Stitch wake-up call the next morning. We collapsed not long after! Coming next: our first full day and lunch at Chef Mickey's!