The Land, The Sea & The Dark Side ... With A Toddler! 9/1 UPDATE!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by ariel1025, May 28, 2012.

  1. ariel1025

    ariel1025 DIS Veteran

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    Hello, and welcome to my fourth TR! If you are new to my TR :welcome: and if you are following over from my Pre-TR, I'm so happy to talk to you again :goodvibes

    A quick intro for all those who are new around here and then we will get to the good stuff :thumbsup2

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    My name is Shannon, and I am the narrator of this whole shindig! I am a 100% Disney addict and am in charge of all the planning, re-planning, and future planning of these trips. When I am not dreaming of, planning or hoping for our next trip :laughing: I work part-time in the HR Department of a local company. But, most importantly, I am the Mom and Wife to the other two guys you see there :goodvibes

    The big kid pictured is my Hubby of 4 years (celebrated on this trip!), Candi (short for Candido). He doesn't consider himself a Disney addict (simply meaning he doesn't spend every day dreaming of the next trip) but he definitely enjoys our trips and never opposes the next one :thumbsup2 He works full time for the same company as me (and, nope, I didn't hire him :rotfl: He actually recommended me for the job after he worked there for a couple years and now I would be the one that had to fire him if it came to that YIKES :scared1:). In addition to being a hard worker, he is also the most caring, loving, playful Dad I could have ever wished for our son!

    And, of course, the star of this show is our Son, James (who we also call Cinco, as he is the 5th generation!). He turned 16 months on this trip, and though we know he will never remember this trip, we also know we will never forget the pure joy and excitement he displayed for most of it. He is a major Mickey Mouse fan and would spend all day watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse if we allowed it (which we don't!).


    Also joining us on this trip were my parents, Ken and Mary.

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    I will also refer to them as Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa along the way. My Dad has been working for the same aeronautical company for the last 25 years and my Mom works part-time for a retail store to keep herself busy. Neither of them had been to WDW since our family trip in 1998! And I'm pretty sure only agreed to go so they could get quality time with their Grandson. They live 600 miles away, so we only see each other every 3 months or so :sad2:

    Ok, so maybe that wasn't exactly a short introduction :laughing: Now you have learned that I like to babble, but can also rest assured that this TR won't be lacking in details (or pictures for that matter - between the 4 of us we took close to 7000 of 'em :rolleyes1).

    Now, on with the show ....

    Oh, wait, sorry, quick disclaimer - this trip didn't take place solely at WDW (as my title probably gave away) so I will be writing the chapters in the coorelating categories on the DIS (don't worry I will post links so you can follow along :thumbsup2).

    Ok, on with the show (for real!)

    Day -1 actually started nice and late for me, as James decided to sleep in :woohoo: I had done all the necessary shopping and other running around in the days prior, which means I didn't have to leave the house at all and got the luxury of lounging around in my jammies while getting packed and ready for the trip :cloud9:

    I started my day, just like any other, by texting Candi (who wasn't so lucky, and was at worked dressed in shirt and tie :rolleyes:)

    At exactly 8:47 a.m. I sent him this message

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    Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

    I guess you could say I was just a tad bit excited :rotfl:

    The remainder of the day was spent working on all the last minute items I needed to clear up at work (I work from home, so that was done in my jammies too ;)) and typical day before vacation stuff. Packing, cleaning out the fridge, taking out the trash, emptying the diaper pails, checking and double-checking the packing list ... the usual!

    Unfortunately, my little guy was having a rough day with a new molar trying to break in so he was a bit of a snuggle bug

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    Now, don't get me wrong, at an age where he'd rather run around than snuggle, I will take those moment any way I can get 'em. But, I hated that he was hurting and it did set me back quite a bit in conquering my "to do" list.

    By the time Candi got home from work I had crossed off all the work items on my list and started laying out clothes to pack, but hadn't done much else :eek:

    We decided that we would run out and pick up dinner followed by getting James down for bed, and then conquer the packing together.

    The rule in our house is that we don't dirty dishes the night before a trip so it's usually a pizza night. As fate would have it, I got an alert for an awesome Groupon deal for Pizza 9 earlier that week! We had both been wanting to try out their pizza and I jumped on it quick as can be. I happily called in my order and was stoked when they told me it would be ready in 15 minutes. We all loaded into the car (don't worry I put real clothes on :rotfl2:) and entered the address into my phone's GPS. Ooops, in my quickness I didn't realize the new location was 30 minutes from our house. Oh well, what's done is done, and at least I don't have any last minute dishes to do - priorities people! :thumbsup2

    After getting home we all enjoyed our feast and after getting James his bedtime bath, I proceeded to start packing while Candi put him down for bed. Unfortunately, he had a rough time going to sleep (those pesky teeth!) so I didn't get help as early as I had planned. I had just finished packing up James' suitcase (using the ziploc method of packing) when Candi finally came in saying James had fallen asleep. We got our suitcases packed as quickly as possible, double checked the packing list, loaded the car and took our showers before we got the luxury of putting our heads on our pillows. I'm so grateful I was able to sleep in, but felt super bad for Candi who had been up since 6 that morning!

    The last time I looked at the clock before falling asleep it was 1:08 a.m. :scared1:


     
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  3. LuvEeyore

    LuvEeyore DIS Veteran

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    Shannon,
    I am onboard with you. Cant wait to hear more about your trip. Am I really 1st this time to join in?:banana::banana::banana:
     
  4. wild.zinnia

    wild.zinnia Mouseketeer

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    Subscribing. Can't wait to hear all about your trip. :)
     
  5. archdandy

    archdandy DIS Veteran

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    I'm following along! Ahhh the day before departure day is always so busy around here too. I'm glad you guys got everything done and remained in one piece! That's the important thing :laughing:
     
  6. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    I'm in! James is a cutie!

    Jill in CO
     
  7. JennisSilly

    JennisSilly Mouseketeer

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    I'm in! Can't wait to hear all about it!
     
  8. udflyer00

    udflyer00 Mouseketeer

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    reading along... living vicariously through your stories!! :)
     
  9. SOUTHERNtinkerBELLE

    SOUTHERNtinkerBELLE DIS Veteran

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    I'm here! Excellent start! :goodvibes I am so excited to hear about how James enjoyed Disney and the cruise! :woohoo:
     
  10. ariel1025

    ariel1025 DIS Veteran

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    Hello again! You are the first this time - thanks for joining in :goodvibes

    I'm so excited to tell the story :woohoo:

    Ack, no matter how hard I try, I am never as prepared as I want to be the day before :sad2:

    Thanks so much :goodvibes

    Yay! Hi Jen!

    Thanks!! Telling our story is the only thing keeping me from being thoroughly depressed that it is all over :sad2:
     
  11. ariel1025

    ariel1025 DIS Veteran

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    :wave: Hi Courtney! Glad to have you here, as always!
     
  12. ariel1025

    ariel1025 DIS Veteran

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    So, just what were my parents up to the day before our trip?

    Unlike us, they didn't have a day filled with jobs, or last minute work, or packing or final cleaning touch ups on the house. For them, this had been done in the days prior (I suppose it's a little easier to get stuff done without a 16 month old to distract you :laughing:).

    However, just because they didn't have a mile long "to do" list doesn't mean their day wasn't full of adventures too.

    In fact, their day was packed full of activities. They left their house at the ripe 'ol hour of 6 a.m. Why you ask? Don't worry, that's what I asked too :rotfl:

    The answer? Because they were driving to Dallas (area), TX that day. If I recall correctly, it's about an 8 hour drive from where they live in Kansas. Take into account a stop at the casino in Oklahoma and a nice long lunch stop and they arrived at their hotel around 5 p.m.

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    They stayed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Arlington. It isn't one of their newer hotels, but my Dad said it was recently remodeled and was great for what they were looking for. It had a hot breakfast included, comfortable beds and shuttles available for all their destinations.

    Wait! Didn't I just say they drove? Why in the world do they need a shuttle?

    Well, the reason for the drive down to Dallas was so my Dad could take his new car to a mechanic he knows down there for an engine upgrade (or whatever the correct car lingo is :laughing:). They took the car to the mechanic immediately after checking into their hotel, which left them without transportation the rest of their stay.

    Since they were going to be down there anyway, my parents decided that they should start their vacation a day early, by catching a game

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    My parents are huge Texas Rangers fans and since there happened to be a game they just couldn't resist attending!

    Coincidentally the Rangers were playing the KC Royals, which they found hysterical since they are from Kansas :rotfl:

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    Unfortunately, it wasn't the Rangers night and they lost the game 8-3 (or something similar) :rolleyes:

    That's why you should be an awesome Cardinals fan like me - just sayin' :rolleyes1 :rotfl2:

    Oops, getting off track here ...

    So, while they were sad to see their team lose, they couldn't dwell on it too long. They had to get back to their hotel for a good night's sleep because the next day was (finally!) departure day ...

     
  13. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    [Clearing throat] The KC Royals are from Missouri! :) j/k...I'm born and raised in Missouri and a Royals fan from way back...when they were more than the farm team for the Yankees.

    That's a long boring drive from Kansas to Dallas! I used to drive from Killeen, Tx to Missouri...Yuck!

    Jill in CO
     
  14. CandleontheWater

    CandleontheWater Forever in love with Hathaway Browne

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    I'm in! James is a real cutie!
     
  15. ariel1025

    ariel1025 DIS Veteran

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    :lmao: I was wondering if anybody was going to comment on that :lmao:

    Well, since Kansas is lame and has no teams of their own, we have to steal yours :rolleyes1

    :welcome: Thank you!
     
  16. ariel1025

    ariel1025 DIS Veteran

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    *** Quick Disclaimer: throughout the course of our vacation there were 5 different cameras used. A Nikon D5000, Canon Powershot AD750, Nikon D7000, Fuji "somethingoranother" and the ever trusty Iphone camera :lmao: Needless to say, the pictures will vary greatly in quality. Also, as much as I wanted to, the photos will not be edited :sad2: ***


    It was here! Finally! The day I had been waiting on for over a year! Since James was born if we're being honest! Ok, if we are really being honest, I had been dreaming about it since I found out I was pregnant :rolleyes1 Problem was, I was still in the middle of dreaming when the alarm woke me up at 4:20 a.m.!

    I know everybody says how they hate mornings except on Disney Day. Yeah, well, I hate mornings even on Disney Day :rotfl: I am quite possibly the worst morning person you will ever meet. The hair is a mess, the attitude is less than stellar, the clumsiness is at an all time high ... you get the point right? Does being Disney Day make me slightly happier to get up? Sure! Does it make me leap out of my bed with unlimited joy and energy? Not a chance! :rotfl2:

    But, what must be done, must be done. And, getting to Orlando before dinnertime requires an early morning flight. So, I moaned my way out of bed (before the sun, mind you) and got ready. Or, as ready as I deemed appropriate for an all day plane ride. The hair and teeth got brushed and clothes were put on ... make-up however, did not make an appearance. So I will save your eyes from that scary picture ;)

    Once Candi and I had gotten ready we went in together to wake-up James for his first visit to meet Mickey Mouse :woohoo: However, he is like me when it comes to waking up. He can wake us up at whatever hour he decides is awesome. However, if we wake him up, it's all over. Yep, he's definitely my child :lmao:

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    This is how much he helped us get him ready. The little stink went right back to sleep - through the diaper change and all :laughing:

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    He was less than happy when we sat him up to try and comb his crazy hair. And, as far as he was concerned we were completely nuts if we thought he was actually going to allow us to brush his teeth.

    Once we finished getting the little guy ready we did one last house run through to make sure all lights were off, the AC was adjusted appropriately, the trashes were empty and no bags or items were left behind. After we felt sure enough that everything that needed to be done was done we loaded up the car to make our way to the airport.

    It was 5:06 a.m. when we pulled out of the driveway - only 6 minutes behind schedule, not too shabby! I was more than pleased as I knew I had scheduled in extra time in case we ran into a highway closure or anything else unexpected. That week the news kept talking about a huge bike rally coming through town that was going to shut down several roads on that morning. The problem was, we never caught what time that was going to be happening, so I didn't want to take any chances.

    The airport is about 30 minutes from our house so I knew that 6 minutes wasn't going to put us behind enough to make a difference. Luckily, we never encountered any road closures or major traffic hold ups along the way and made excellent time.

    We decided to use the same parking lot as last time we traveled. It's an off-site lot, but they have shuttles that take you to the airport, costs about half the price as they do at the airport, and Candi is acquaintances with the owner so we trust it.

    A shuttle was waiting for us as soon as we parked and we were at the airport in no time. We were one of 2 families on the shuttle, so the driver quickly had us unloaded and on our way. We decided to do curbside luggage check so that we didn't have to haul all our stuff inside. Pre-baby we traveled with 2 carry-ons and a backpack. This time was a whole other story - we had 1 regular size suitcase, 1 medium size suitcase, 1 carry-on suitcase, 1 diaper bag, 1 camera bag, 1 backpack and 1 lunch bag full of snacks for James. Oh, and a stroller :rotfl: In the end we checked 2 suitcases and the stroller. The suitcases were $25 each :mad: but at least the stroller was free.

    Now to make our way through security - oy vey! It wasn't easy to lug all the stuff we were carrying on, but there was no way I was paying to check more than was required. And, since we were traveling with a lap child we were each allowed 1 carry-on and 2 personal items. So, away we go carrying all the additional luggage and James - while trying to hand over IDs, boarding cards, remove our shoes, get everything on the conveyor belt and retrieve it all at the other end. To be honest, it actually went more smoothly than I anticipated. When we flew last time James was 6 months so we didn't check the stroller and we had formula and baby food, which required us to go through additional screening. This time we just had to wait for everything to go through the x-ray machine and gather it all at the end.

    Once we had our shoes back on and ensured we had all our stuff, we made our way to our gate to wait for our flight. It was at this time we realized that the pizza the night before may not have been the best idea. Neither Candi or I had eaten any really large, greasy meals for close to 12 weeks, because we were participating in our work's Biggest Loser competition. Unfortunately, we were both suffering from major belly aches and Candi also had major heart burn going on :sick:

    I took a deep breath, hoping it would pass before the flight and took off to get James some milk for his sippy cup while the boys waited at the gate.

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    I was actually pleasantly surprised. I know close to $1.50 for a small bottle of milk isn't cheap, but I expected to pay double that since we were in the airport. I was also thrilled to realize that it was only 6:09 a.m. almost 30 minutes earlier than I had expected us to be at our gate!

    When I made it back to the gate James was busy looking for the planes while Candi called his parents to let them know we had made it and would be boarding soon

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    We took turns taking James to walk around to hopefully burn out his new found energy before we boarded. I'm happy to report - it worked! About 10 minutes before we boarded I posted this to Facebook

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    Oh Mom, it's TOO EARLY for pictures

    That eye rub was a clear sign that he was ready to fade back into a peaceful slumber. And, since they were starting to board the plane, it couldn't have been more perfect timing. When we heard them start to board we gathered our stuff to board, but were surprised to hear they didn't call for family boarding after the first class group :confused: Now, we were flying AA with assigned seats so that wasn't a big deal. I was just really hoping to avoid trying to smack people in the aisles while trying to balance all our stuff. That would not be the case, however, since we were boarding group 3. Oh well! I think in the end I only bumped one person with my camera bag and they were reasonably nice about it.

    We found our seats - right over the wing - and settled in for our flight. The great thing about our plane is that one side only had 2 seats in the row, so that was what we reserved. This way we could avoid being sat with someone who is annoyed by toddlers as travel mates ;)

    Before the plane had even closed it's doors James crawled into my lap and settled in for (what I hoped would be) the entire flight to Dallas

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  17. LuvEeyore

    LuvEeyore DIS Veteran

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    James is sooooooooooooo cute!! Sounds like the day is off to a good start!!:thumbsup2
     
  18. vikkii19

    vikkii19 Mouseketeer

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    Joining in, we're taking our then 18 month old in October, so I'm hoping to get tips while reading your TR on taking a toddler.
     
  19. CandleontheWater

    CandleontheWater Forever in love with Hathaway Browne

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    You sound like my husband when it comes to getting to the airport. He likes to have lots of time, while I like to breeze in just as they are shutting the over-wing doors! :rotfl2:

    Awesome that you were able to wear James out, and put him back to sleep! I hope he slept the whole flight for you!
     
  20. ariel1025

    ariel1025 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! It was a much smoother start than I had anticipated :woohoo:

    :welcome: Awesome, hopefully my tips will be helpful for you. Our next trip is in October so I would love tips on traveling that time of year :thumbsup2

    It's funny, pre-James I was all about sleeping until the last possible second and giving us just enough time to make it. Now, I'm like "chop, chop, people, let's go" :rotfl:
     
  21. ariel1025

    ariel1025 DIS Veteran

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    As our plane took off, I enjoyed my view of leaving the New Mexico mountains behind and cuddling with my little guy

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    These days I get very little cuddle time, so I was eating up all the snuggles he wanted for the past few days. James slept peacefully with his head in my lap and legs in Candi's, while Candi and I talked about how excited we were. It goes without saying, I'm sure, that we had been envisioning this day for quite some time. We couldn't wait for James to take his first monorail ride, meet Mickey Mouse, experience his first character meal, ride Dumbo for the first time ... the list goes on and on. As we were talking, I kept telling myself that I needed to try to avoid having a vision in my head of what it was going to be like. I did this for our honeymoon - envisioned ultimate perfection - and there is no way to avoid disappointment when I do this. But, our chitter chatter continued on the subject as we enjoyed the 1.5 hour flight to Dallas.

    I'm happy to report that James only woke up once, he barely opened his eyes and whimpered a little bit. However, his blankey and Mickey Mouse put him right back to sleep for the remainder of the flight.

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    Before long we started making our descent into Dallas and my tummy was doing flip flops of excitement because we would be meeting up with my parents at this point. The last time we had seen them was for James' birthday almost 4 months prior - far too long! We were also nervous about how far away our next terminal would be. Our flight ended up only having a 30 minute layover, which in Dallas could mean a sprint across the airport. Luckily, we only had to walk 5 or 6 terminals over before we saw my Dad sitting by the window, waiting for us :woohoo: I'm sure I had the most ridiculous perma-grin attached to my face, but I didn't care. For the first time ever, the trip actually felt like it had begun before we got on the fake monorail in Orlando. James was a little hesitant to go with Grandpa at first, but he didn't cry or completely refuse, so I was relieved about that.

    After hugs and hellos we headed off to find the restroom so I could get James a fresh diaper before our next flight. By the time we got done with that my Mom was back from buying some food for James. Since we knew that we had a short layover, I had asked my parents the day before if they would mind picking him up a hot meal after they got to the airport for us. A quick hug for her from us all and we saw our plane pull up and boarding began

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    As with the prior flight, we had reserved seats on the aisle that only had 2 seats, and as luck would have it my parents were 2 rows behind us. Unfortunately, the flight staff on this flight were incredibly rude. The flight was actually boarding ahead of schedule, but they were barking orders at everyone to move faster, raising their voices about the way people were putting luggage in the overhead bin, and rolling their eyes when people would ask them questions. It was quite a difference from the friendly stewardesses we had on our flight to Dallas!

    Once we got settled into our seats we took out the McDonalds my Mom had bought James to eat. They weren't yet serving lunch so she couldn't buy the happy meal we had requested. Instead she got him a sausage McMuffin meal, which he had never had before. Not that I am ungrateful for it, I just wasn't sure if he would eat it as he can be quite the picky eater with new foods. Well, he ate the muffin and the egg but wanted nothing to do with the sausage :rotfl: And when it came to the hash brown, oh my goodness, he loved it so much that he refused to share! I think I got one teeny tiny bite before he devoured the rest himself!

    After breakfast was complete we knew he wasn't going to go back to sleep, but we were hoping a couple episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the iPhone would keep him occupied. And, it did - for about an hour. Then he realized there were lights above our heads and wanted to stand up to turn them off and on. Yeah, not gonna happen! Luckily, my Mom had an aisle seat on the row opposite ours so a few rounds of peek-a-boo and "where's Grandma?" did the trick for a while

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    Then in the last 30 minutes or so (of our 2.5 hour flight) there really wasn't anything that would entertain him. Plain and simple - he was tired of being cooped up and wanted to run around. He never had an all out tantrum but he did whine a little and let out a scream or two. Perhaps it was because I was distracted with trying to distract James, or possibly our pilot was just that awesome, but I did not feel our landing at.all! It was the smoothest landing I had ever had on a flight :thumbsup2

    After landing it didn't take too long before the seat belt sign was turned off and we were able to start unloading the flight -thankfully! We were once again seated right over the wing, so we had to wait for about half the plane to get off before we could do the same thing, but it wasn't too long before it was our turn. And this time we had help to carry all our carry ons :woohoo:

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    Not quite refusing to be with Grandpa, but not exactly sure about it either

    Once we were off the plane Candi instantly commented on the humidity (as he always does) and I very cheerfully turned to James and my parents and said "WELCOME TO ORLANDO" :rotfl:

    We quickly found the fake monorail and made our way over to the main terminal of the airport.

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    However, instead of going straight to the Magical Express area we went towards all the shops. We were on a mission to find a jibbit for James' new Crocs and figured the Croc store would be the place to find it. Unfortunately, there wasn't a Mickey Mouse to be found, so we left feeling defeated and laughing about how sad it was that we knew our way around MCO so well :laughing:

    While heading back towards the ME counter my Mom saw the big fish tanks and wanted to take James over since she knew his love of aquariums.

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    Of course my Dad didn't notice the sign that said not to touch, climb etc so a little 9 or 10 year old kindly pointed it out to him :lmao: And immediately after that some other boy started to climb up on it and his Dad told him to get down and "just because other people break the rules doesn't mean he could" :mad: Ok, I get it, James wasn't supposed to be standing up there. But, the tone and volume of his voice lead me to believe that he was saying it more for our benefit than his sons. Oh well! Moving on!

    For the first time ever we found the elevators that lead down to the ME counter without any problem

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    And we were quickly lead to an empty line for the bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge! Unfortunately, this is where our luck ended. At this point in time James had had enough. He needed time to be free to run around (and probably a nap!) and the tantrum began. Oy! It started as a small whine and quickly escalated to an all out scream fest when we wouldn't let him get down. This is when I started wishing we wouldn't have checked his stroller. I knew if he was in it I could push it back in forth and he would (more than likely) fall asleep. I tried calming him, Candi tried, my parents tried. He just didn't care. Finally I remembered I had some bunny graham crackers left in the snack bag and that calmed him for the most part. Granted, he was still whiny, but the tantrum had subsided.

    Now, I understand, that the tantrum made it feel longer, but this was the longest we have ever had to wait for an ME bus. I guess we've been lucky, but we normally are on a bus within 5 minutes of getting in line. This time we waited almost 30 minutes before we were led to a bus. It kinda bummed me out, because I had talked up the convenience so much to my parents. But, at least we got to ride in one of the Disney buses and not the handful of Mears buses that were parked waiting for guests. Priorities right? :rotfl:

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    The bus loaded fairly quickly and we were (finally!) off to Walt Disney World. It had started raining about 10 minutes before our bus arrived and it pretty much poured for a big chunk of our travel time

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    It was then that I worried that all the weather predictions of bad weather for the course of our trip (in all destinations) would be correct. I tried my hardest not to think about it and just enjoy the drive to our hotel ...
     

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