Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Long Awaited (1st) Post About Our Trip to Disney World

It's perhaps hard to believe that our family trip to Disney World occurred almost two months ago now. And it's more than likely that everyone who needs to hear about the details have already heard them. But, I'm going to try and capture some of the trip here anyway.

(And while were at it, does anyone out there want to troll back through my posts and see how many of them I start with an apologetic tone? I've gotta work on that.)

ANYWAY . . .

We were down in Georgia for my brother's wedding. It was because we were already (more than!) halfway to Orlando that we decided to tack the Disney World trip at the end of the established wedding trip.

And can I pause here to note my utter astonishment when I mapped the route from my home town to Orlando, FL and discovered that it was less than five hours south?! I immediately felt cheated! How could I have lived SO CLOSE to the Happiest Place on Earth my entire childhood . . . only to visit it once with my family? Clearly they didn't love us . . .

But, to be fair, I did get to go two other times--once with a friend when EPCOT was new (and still enticing, but more on that later) and a second time for Grad Night 1990. YEAH! Grad Night! I'll have to search back through my scrapbooks and find the picture taken of me at Grad Night '90. But more on that later.

So, after the wedding festivities, we packed ourselves back into the van and drove south for the (SHORT!!) trip to the Magic Kingdom.

We arrived in Orlando in the mid afternoon and drove into the park's vortex soon enough. But before we were sucked completely below the Event Horizon, we stopped at a grocery store and picked up some kitchen supplies and breakfast foods for our cabin kitchen. We were planning to stay at the Fort Wilderness campgrounds, eating our first dinner there that night and then each morning making our own breakfasts before heading off to the park for the day. Once we got into the campgrounds and registered for our cabin, we spent the rest of the day settling down in our rooms, unpacking, and preparing our dinner of spaghetti.

That night, our first planned Disney thing was to gather with other Ft. Wilderness residents for the Campfire Jamboree with Chip 'n' Dale. So, Lynda gave Hannah a bath and put her in her pajamas--figuring that she'd get tired and fall asleep before we got back to the cabin. (This was the first misinterpretation of what Hannah would do during this trip.) Then, rather than catch one of the buses that drove through the campground, we chose to walk--which we never chose to do again during the next several days we stayed there. It was a bit of a long walk from our cabin, situated near the the entrance to the campgrounds, to the central area where the Jamboree was to be help. But we didn't know that yet.

So we gathered together the chocolate bars, graham crackers, and marshmallows that we'd bought earlier today at the grocery store and set off into the dark night. Using a flashlight and a map of the grounds, we eventually found the area where the two campfires were already burning and smores were already being made. I bought 50 cent dowels to stick the marshmallows on and we got to having some fun. After jocking for position amongst all of the families, I put together enough for everyone to have one (or two) of the smores (if they liked). After that we found a spot in the crowd and were led in some sing-alongs with Cowboy Bob and Chip and Dale themselves. Everyone was having a good time and Hannah danced along to the songs in her PJs. After the singing was over, Chip and Dale circulated through the crowd, "saying" hello to each family in turn and signing autograph books.

Collecting autographs was a new development since I was first visiting Disney World years ago. Apparently it's the thing to do to get a small notebook and whenever you get the chance to see a character in costume, get your picture taken, and get an autograph. I'm not sure how the "characters" can see well enough to sign, but they are surprisingly good at it. For each day we were out and about, we were always on the look out for signing opportunities. We did quite well, actually.

After the visits from the chipmunks, the last event of the evening was an outdoor theater viewing of a Disney movie. That night it was Monsters Inc. We stuck around for the first thirty or forty-five minutes of it and then decided to walk back to the cabin to bed down for the night.

The next day . . . our first day in the Magic Kingdom . . . was going to start early. So, we needed our rest.

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