Monday, March 26, 2007

Disney 2007 Trip Report, Chapter 1

To pick up where I intended to be around this time last week, I give you the first installment (of about 5) of our Disney 2007 trip report.

March 13-14: Departure and Arrival

Tuesday turned out to be a more interesting day than I expected. See, my boss lives in Orlando, so he and I had never met. But since I go to Disney every year, I figured that would be the perfect time for us to actually see each other face to face. Way back in the first week of January when I bought the Braves tickets and booked the hotel reservations, he and I decided to meet for dinner in Orlando on Wednesday. Great plan, right? And we confirmed that plan the week prior to us leaving for Florida. Except that he was informed by his wife the weekend before that he would be visiting his sons in Atlanta that week! So Rick arrived in Atlanta late Monday, which only gave us time to have lunch on Tuesday before we departed for Disney. What a whirlwind! But he is just as lovely a man in person as he is on the phone. We hit it off great and chatted all through lunch at Red Lobster, barely even discussing work (we talked theme parks instead!). I am grateful that we were finally able to meet up, since we found the following Monday that he will no longer be my boss as of April 1 (he is being transferred to a different department).

Anyway, 4 PM came on Tuesday, and we departed for Florida more or less on schedule. We also discovered that traffic is significantly better when leaving for Disney on a Tuesday afternoon than a Friday afternoon. What a difference! We decided to stop at the Golden Corral on 75 just south of the 675 merge, since we knew Luke would eat there. He didn't eat as much "real food" as we would have liked, but he did keep us entertained with dessert. DH got himself a cupcake (chocolate with chocolate icing and sprinkles), and Luke insisted on trying it. We laughed until we cried! He was only interested in the icing and sprinkles; I don't think he even got a crumb of cake. And he certainly didn't want to touch it. Take a look:

We did have to make a diaper change stop on the way to my parents' house (our intermediate stop to pick up my mother (a.k.a. Nana; I will probably use Mom and Nana interchangeably)). We decided that instead of carrying the diaper bag, we would move all diaper bag items to an easier-to-carry-for-hours-on-end backpack. As we were leaving the rest stop, Luke *insisted* on carrying the backpack (which was too heavy for him, so DH had to hold it by the top handle so he didn't tip over; and no, I didn't have my camera!). I could see this being a recurring theme throughout our trip, so I called my mother with a strange "emergency" request: please run to Wal-Mart and pick up a Luke-sized backpack! I had no idea what we would put in it, but I knew it would prevent some meltdowns. She did so good! Check this out (is this not the cutest!):

We had a pretty good night once we finally got to my parents' house just before 11 PM. Luke slept until 7, and we were on the road just before 9 on Wednesday. And so began the day of errors, issues, and mishaps (but truth be told, of all the days to have such things go wrong, better Wednesday than Thurs, Fri, or Sat). Luke was understandably tired of being in the car, and at age 2, there is nothing you can say to convince him that it will be way fun when you get there! All he knows is that he spent 5-6 hours in the car Tuesday, and less than 10 hours later, he is back in his car seat, albeit with Nana in the back seat to keep him company. We didn't make it as far as we'd hoped before having to stop for lunch at Cracker Barrel between St. Augustine and Daytona; Luke was just too cranky.

He ate pretty well (shrimp), and he really enjoyed the rocking chairs outside. For those unfamiliar with the set-up of Cracker Barrel restaurants, it has a wide sidewalk next to the parking lot, then a row of bushes, then a wide front porch set with rocking chairs near the wall of the building. We said bye to the chairs (a method to keep him from fussing when it is time to leave some place), and turned to leave. And Luke took off like a shot, running full steam for the parking lot, with an SUV driving up to the front of the restaurant. Nana was the closest to the parking lot and took off after him, hoping to grab him by the arm before he reached the asphalt. She didn't quite reach him in time, grabbing his shoulder instead just as he stepped off the sidewalk. Thank God the SUV stopped, but now we had a different problem. (It is amazing how many things have time to run through your head in a literal split-second.) He was falling in mid-air, and her grabbing his shoulder had tilted him backwards, causing the back of his skull to be heading right for the edge of the sidewalk. Had his head struck, we would probably have been heading to the hospital instead of Disney. Thankfully, his butt hit the asphalt first, absorbing most of the impact, and his head barely tapped the concrete sidewalk (didn't even leave a red mark) since she still had hold of his shoulder. Don't get me wrong, I have no doubt that it hurt. He fell a good 2-3 feet before he hit the ground, but he did strike the most well-padded part of his body, and even though Mom's fingers left bruises on his shoulder (better than a skull fracture or squashed child!), I'm sure the whole thing just scared him more than anything. It sure scared the @#$% out of rest of us!

We all pile back in the car (after a combination of lots of stern lecturing and hugs), and it's off to Disney! According to DH, the car was very very quiet during those 2 hours, since 3 of the 4 occupants were asleep. I woke up just as we were coming into Orlando (Disney is on the far side of the city as you head West from Daytona on I-4). We arrived at the hotel between 1 and 2 PM (I don't remember precisely). I knew we were a bit early for check-in, but we may as well try it. The worst thing that can happen is that the rooms aren't ready and we'll go hang out for a while at Downtown Disney. Or so I thought.

This is the same hotel we almost always stay at when we visit (Country Inn and Suites on Apopka-Vineland Road, for anyone curious). I can tell you for sure that we have stayed there at least 5 of our previous 8 visits, including last year. Since I knew Luke and Mom would be going with us, I intentionally booked early so I could get two one-bedroom suites. EARLY! As in January 6. So imagine my shock when I walk up to the counter and say "Checking in, last name Gaston," only to be greeted with the response of "could the reservation be under some other name?"

I beg your pardon? Um, no, really can't be under some other name. I did give my maiden name for them to try (since my credit card lists my current full legal name: first, maiden, last; maybe they got confused?), but no go. I explained that I made the reservation online back in January. "Do you have your confirmation?" It just so happened that I had printed it Tuesday afternoon, right before we walked out the door, "just in case." In case of what? This exact occurrence! Bless my father for teaching me to do such things. I had jumped out of the car as soon as we pulled up, so Mom, DH, and Luke were just walking up to the hotel as I walked back to the car. They gave me quizzical looks, to which I responded only "don't make me have to kill someone!" LOL (It's a little funny now; it SO was not funny at the time.) I came back with the confirmation, explaining to the guy (who was looking rather fearful for his life, and rightfully so) that we stay here every year, and that I had made a point to book early this year so that we would have two of the right kind of room. When DH walked in, the guy even recognized us! (Either of us separately are not overly memorable, but for some reason, the two of us together people tend to recall.) I thought he looked familiar when I came in. His name is Carlos. Very pleasant guy. But still, our reservation was no where to be found. Apparently, it never came through the internet system to their hotel. Great, here we are, confirmation in hand, and no record of it anywhere else. Inside, I am seething, but I have still managed to stay externally calm (if a more-stern version of my usually-pleasant self). So, Carlos, what can you do for me?

Turns out that they do, by some miracle, have a one-bedroom suite available for all three nights (Wed, Thurs, Fri). But only one. They try to offer me a kids' suite, which has part of the room partitioned off with bunk beds and its own television and X-box (with free games). That would have been great, if Luke was 8 years old, but not 2. We need a room with a *door* that we can close, so that the adults can do things like shower or go out and are not confined to their room with the child that goes to bed at 7 PM. They do have a regular 2-bed room available, but we didn't want that because Jacob (who was coming up Thursday night) has trouble sleeping with my mother's snoring. But given the available options, or lack there of, we took the regular room and the one suite, knowing Jacob would be able to handle it for a couple of nights, even if the situation wasn't ideal. Small price to pay to spend some time with his favorite (did I mention only) nephew. And of course, only my mom's room is ready. The suite is still being cleaned. So we dump everything in her room, change Luke's diaper, and head to Downtown Disney.

In our next installment, the continued misadventures of our arrival in Orlando. Here is a link: Disney 2007 Trip Report, Chapter 2


  1. Here's hoping the hotel snafu was the only problem you encountered!!! ;)

  2. Oh man, sorry about the hotel room issue. That's one of my nightmares. I hope that was the only bad thing that happened on the trip and you got it over right at the start. Off to read the rest...

  3. I'm so glad you are posting a trip report - our trip begins May 5, so it is getting close now. I'll be reading intently! :)

    I'm already feeling pretty self-satisfied having anticipated the backpack issue for Katie. I knew she would want something of her own to carry since Alex and I have fanny packs to take! Hey no laughing at the fanny packs - yes I know we'll look like geeks, but as someone who never carries a purse, I need the convenience of the fanny pack! I managed to snag a Katie-sized backpack on clearance at Kohls for only $6. Perfect!

    Onto the next installment!


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