Tuesday, February 19, 2013

GA and FL Day 15 - a windy drive home

February 19, 2013

I thought we were going to blow away today as we drove north through Indiana.  We had to really take our time because of the wind gusts blowing across the highway.  It was a bitterly cold day and I needed to re-winterize the RV before we got back.  We should have done it while we were still in Florida, but we thought that we might still need to use the water along the way.  It didn't take too long to take care of it, but it was just way too cold.

The main reason we stopped where we did last night was because it was before the last Camping World.  We needed to dump the tanks and add antifreeze.  We figured it was closed last night and we could stop first thing in the morning.  Turned out that Camping World didn't have a dump station, but they directed us to the Pilot station at the last exit.  They said it had one.  Guess we could have done that last night! I had no idea there would be facilities like that at gas station/truck stop.  We'll know in the future.

Well, after 2500 miles and probably 250 gallons of gas, we have completed our trip.  We are all quite happy to be home - especially Kyrie who really doesn't like road trips.  Our cat Bonsai is taking a vacation of her own at Kyrie's dad's house, so I took the opportunity to turn the heat real low before we left and when we arrived at our house in the evening it was a chilly 50 degrees.

It turned out to be a pretty long day of driving especially considering we thought it would be short.  We got home about 4:15pm. 

It was a fun trip, but I think I would do it differently in the future.  I don't think we should really travel in the RV more than about 6 hours a day.  Anything more than that and it's too hard to enjoy the areas that we're driving through.  Even though we took 3 days to get back, we still didn't have any time for fun stops along the way.  That made the drive more of a chore than a fun adventure.

Well, I'm sure that our next misadventure will be coming again soon!

Monday, February 18, 2013

GA and FL Day 14 - still on our way home

February 18, 2013

We didn't make it quite as far today.  Kyrie and I were still not feeling well, and when it became apparent that we weren't going to make it all the way home today we decided to stop early and get some much needed rest. 

The only way I've been coping with all this driving is by renting Redbox movies.  The passenger seat turns halfway around (why not all the way?!)  So we can all (except Marc) watch a movie together.  It passes the time better.  The boys have really been into Star Wars.  We watched Episode 1 (the 4th movie) together that we brought from home.  Then we really wanted to see Episode 2.  We even stopped at Walmart to see if we could buy it, but they didn't have it. 

We made it just a little into Indiana. I'm not even sure what town this is.  We still have about 280 miles to go, which shouldn't be too bad.  I've been starting to feel a little better tonight, so hopefully that's the end of that!  The kids have been amazing travelers.  Even Zoe only complains when she's starting to get tired. 

We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express tonight.  It was nice because there was a king size bed in one room and a sofa bed and a second television in another room separated by the bathroom and a kitchenette.  This was as much luxury as I've experienced in a while.  I got to watch some HGTV while the kids got their cartoons.  The kids couldn't resist taking a bath in the oversized jacuzzi tub either.  Fine with me.  I think that was their way to unwind!

GA and FL Day 13 - on our way home

February 17, 2012

Well, we still don't feel very well, but we started the journey home today.  There isn't too much worth mentioning. 

One of our stops was at a "Citrus Center."  I thought it would be nice to get some oranges and grapefruit to take home and eat along the way.  They had samples of a couple kinds of tangerines and oranges and grapefruit. They are in season and delicious.  The only problem was the smallest bags they sold were 1/4 bushel.  Even with juicing, we wouldn't use that much before they went bad.  So we left with nothing but a chocolate alligator that Max spent the rest of his souvenir money to buy.  He wanted a real alligator head, but thankfully didn't have enough money to buy one.

On another stop, we got our RV washed.  We had wanted to do it before we camped at Disney, but never found a wash.  We stumbled upon this one in Kentucky and decided it was a good idea to put away a clean(ish) RV than leave the caked on bugs for several more months.  The price was $35 including a coating of Rain-x.

We made it over 500 miles which is probably the longest we've driven at one time. We went from Orlando to a little past Atlanta. We decided not to chance it with the Comfort Inn this time; we stayed at the Hampton Inn which was very comfortable.

GA and FL Day 12 - Animal Kingdom

February 16, 2013

It's suddenly become much colder here in Florida and Kyrie and I both woke up with bronchitis.  Kyrie went to the second day of her conference and I took the kids to Animal Kingdom for our last Disney day.  It wasn't much fun feeling run-down all day, but the kids had a good time and it's not like we would have managed to get any rest if we stayed at the RV all day. 

Jacob was excited to go on two rides that he has never been on - Primeval Whirl and Dinosaur.  He liked them both, but especially Primeval Whirl - even Max loved that one.  Kyrie met up with us at lunch time when her conference ended. 

I took the smaller kids to see the Finding Nemo stage show while Marc and Jacob went on the fun rides.

Jacob and I went on Everest a couple of times and he decided that Rock N' Roller Coaster is still his favorite because it goes upside down.  By mid-afternoon we decided it was time to go get some rest. 

We caught the parade...rather nearly got caught IN the parade as we headed out of the park.  We stopped at a bench and watched from afar.  We've seen it enough times that that was fine.  We skipped the Safari even though we had fastpasses that were good about now. I was just too tired/sick to walk back there. We'll be back a couple more times this year and can do it again then.

The plan originally was to eat at Yak & Yeti tonight which we all would have enjoyed, but since we weren't well... We stopped at Rainforest Café on the way out so the kids could eat some dinner.  Then we headed back to the RV and put in a video for the kids to watch so that we could rest.

Friday, February 15, 2013

GA and FL Day 11 - another day at the Magic Kingdom

February 15, 2013

Kyrie had her chiropractic conference today, so I was on my own with the kids.  We “slept in” until about 7am.  We had a leisurely breakfast in the RV, then went to the shower house so that all the kids could get ready at the same time.  Zoe definitely does not like showers.  She doesn’t like baths much either, but showers are definitely not her thing.  Then we headed over to the Trading Post to get Zoe some milk. 

Eventually, we got to the Magic Kingdom.  We had a nice leisurely time there.  It was busy and we definitely weren’t early enough to easily go on a bunch of rides, so we went and saw a few characters – Zoe insisted on seeing My My Daw Daw, which is Minnie Mouse (Mickey Mouse is just Daw Daw). 

It's funny because Zoe is quite the advanced talker for her age.  She knows how to say everything!  She talks in complete sentences!  And yet, Minnie and Mickey have their own baby talk words.  The really strange part is Jacob also used to call Mickey Mouse, "Daw Daw" when he was an infant.  Weird.

Then we went to Mickey’s Philharmagic which all the kids loved.  We hit a few more attractions too before lunch.  Afterwards we tried out Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.  The boys loved it.  I liked the Agent P game at Epcot better, but this was alright and it gave Zoe a chance to take a good nap in the stroller for a while.  Eventually, it was dinner time and we met up with Kyrie at Beaches and Cream for “dinner”, although I’m pretty sure Kyrie just picked this place to have ice cream.  We had plenty of that.  All of the kids meals came with their own Mickey sundae, plus Kyrie and I shared a No Way Jose which is much too much ice cream for even two people.  Unfortunately, we had to take a boat to Hollywood Studios in order to get a bus back to Fort Wilderness.  We got to Hollywood Studios at just the wrong time and it took forever to get back to our campsite. Seriously.  Forever.

GA and FL Day 10 - Valentine's Day at Disney's Hollywood Studios

February 14, 2013

We spent Valentine’s Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  This time we got here way too early thanks to surprisingly good timing with the buses. 

Luckily, they let everyone in about 20 minutes early.  So, we got a quick ride on Toy Story Mania and got a fast pass for later before the park even officially opened.  Jacob and I went on Rock N Roller Coaster after that.  Jacob loved it and it’s now officially his favorite Disney ride although he is reserving his final answer until after he rides Expedition Everest again when we go to Animal Kingdom.

20 minutes BEFORE park opening.  NO line!

I took this time to pick up my favorite cupcake from Starring Rolls.  I got the Butterfinger cupcake put in a box to go so it could get to room temperature before we enjoyed it.  I got the kids some yogurt for a snack too and then we went to Tower of Terror to meet up with Marc and Jacob. 


Unfortunately, the park was so busy suddenly that the wait for ToT was too long by the time they got off Rock N Rollercoaster.  Ella and Jacob were disappointed but I know Marc wasn't.  He's usually quite happy to let me take them on, but it's not such a good ride for a pregnant person, so it was supposed to be his job this time.

Shopping for souvenirs

We took our second ride on Toy Story Mania and went on Star Tours before heading over to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground...a must do for the kids!

The Sunshine State didn’t live up to its name today.  It was cloudy and rainy all day.  No downpours though, so it wasn’t a big deal.  Kyrie had arranged a special Valentine's Day lunch at the Hollywoood Brown Derby. We then hit a couple more attractions before Kyrie, Max and Ella went back to the RV for a rest.  Jacob, Zoe and I had a good time on the Great Movie Ride and Muppet Vision. 

Max and Ella were hoping that the kids in the RV next to ours would be there and ready to play (in the rain.)  They weren't so they laid down and watched a couple cartoons while I rested too. Their friends came home just about the time Marc called to arrange the evening plans.  I had to tear them away to drag them to Downtown Disney for dinner and DisneyQuest.

Zoe while she was happy at DisneyQuest

For dinner we met up and ate at the Wolfgang Puck Café which was delicious.  But the service was awful.  We survived it though and then headed to DisneyQuest.  Jacob and Max loved it.  Jacob especially liked designing his own coaster – definitely one of his dreams.  Most of the stuff was a little beyond Ella, but she liked it well enough.  But, before long Zoe had had enough.  She was super tired and very overwhelmed by all the commotion.  We had to leave after about an hour or so, but I’m sure we’ll be back again in the future.  (We have premium annual passes this year which includes DQ.  It was certainly a good place for a cold rainy night even if we didn't stay long.)
How do you get four sleeping kids off of the bus? Yikes!

GA and FL Day 9 - Magic Kingdom Do-over

February 13, 2013

 We went to the Magic Kingdom again today, but this time did it right and got there with plenty of time to spare.  (We left our RV 5 minutes earlier than yesterday and caught the  boat to the Contemporary and then walked to the MK.  We quickly got through the ticket booth and the very front of the "rope" for opening.  What a difference!)

We went straight to Enchanted Tales with Belle and I think we were in the first group.  This was a really good show.  They use some special effects in the first couple of rooms and then they pick a bunch of kids to play parts in the show with Belle.  Max got to be the Beast and he was hilarious!  He’s funny because he wants to perform, but he also gets really nervous and it makes for a really interesting result.  The big problem with this show is that they can only fit like 30 people in at a time, so it was no wonder the wait time gets so long.  (We were out of the show 20 minutes after park opening and the line was again at a 80 minutes wait at that time. Now we had plenty of time for everyhting in Tomorrowland with minimal waiting.)

Belle's Cottage
A magic mirror that takes you to the Beast's castle.  Pretty cool.

Madame Wardrobe talked to us and selected people to re-enact the night Belle fell in love with the beast. 
Max was picked to be the beast.

After that we just went on a bunch of rides in Tomorrowland until lunch time.  We ate at Pecos Bill’s.  Then Kyrie and Ella experienced some “Limited Time Magic” when they were given little cups of Valentine colored M&M’s while they were waiting for the rest of us.  After lunch, we headed back to the pool.  The kids have been playing with the kids in the RV next to us and they were at the pool too, so they played with them most of the time.  Ella loves the water slide.  She must have gone down it at least 20 times.  Zoe had fun in the splash area, but what she really liked was the tot’s pool where she could pretend she was swimming.

Up to the People Mover...

Lunch at Pecos Bill's
We ate dinner at the Trail’s End buffet again and somehow dodged most of the rain. We watched a movie in the RV tonight. Well, really we turned on a movie and then the kids fell asleep. The kids were exhausted from swimming. Ella was asleep within 5 minutes and Max and Zoe didn’t last much longer. Jacob fought it for about a half hour, but finally gave in and said he wanted to watch the rest tomorrow. Hopefully we won’t see any more rain after tonight.

GA and FL Day 8 - Late to the Magic Kingdom

February 12, 2013

Let's start with some pictures of Fort Wilderness...
Pioneer Hall at the Settlement
A playground at the Settlement near the dock
The dock where you can catch a boat to Magic Kingdom or the Contempory and Wilderness Lodge Resorts

We went to the Magic Kingdom today.  We felt like amateurs when we showed up at the extremely crowded park just 15 minutes before open.  At Fort Wilderness there are 2 boats – one for Magic Kingdom and one that goes to the Wilderness Lodge and Contemporary.  We didn't know until we got to the dock that the one for Magic Kingdom doesn’t come until 30 minutes before the park opens.  We decided to wait for the Magic Kingdom boat which was a mistake.  We should have taken the other boat to the Contemporary and just walked to the Magic Kingdom.  We were lucky to get past the bag check before the park opened. 

Uh oh!  Our view of the crowd as we approached the Magic Kingdom

First glimpse of the new Fantasyland
We rushed straight to Belle’s Enchanted Tales, which is the latest popular (and super low capacity) attraction.  We were too late though, the line was already up to 80 minutes.  So, we hit Dumbo instead.  Now that they have the second Dumbo and the new attractions, it isn’t too busy anymore.  We rode on Barnstormer a few times, Winnie the Pooh, tea cups, the carousel and the Little Mermaid before stopping at Gaston’s Tavern for Le Fou’s Brew (which was really good – the toasted marshmallow taste makes all the difference!)  None of the kids liked it though.

A peek at the construction of the Seven Dwarfs mine coaster.  This will really make the New Fantasyland look cool!
The new Dumbo rides and play area
The play area inside the Dumbo tent

The Barnstormer

The girls spun me on the Tea Cups

Half the fun of Winnie the Pooh is the interactive line
The theming for the Little Mermaid ride is very nice.  Much better than at Disneyland!

The Seven Drawfs rolloercoaster being constructed in the background
The village outside the Beast's Castle including Gaston's Tavern

La Fou's Brew didn't go over well, but the cinnamon roll did!


The new Be Our Guest restaurant.  We didn't even take a peak inside.  Look at that line for lunch!

Max didn’t want to go on Haunted Mansion, so I took him and Zoe to get some fastpasses while the rest of them went on the ride. 
Even though I read so much about Disney, I didn't know about the new interactive line at the Haunted Mansion.  We almost skipped it as it split, but fortunately Jacob picked that side.  It was pretty cool, especially since it was a surprise.

I think the new policy of enforcing the one hour time frame for the fastpasses is good.  It keeps the fastpass line from getting too long and probably allows them to hand out more of them overall.  It also keeps Marc from running all over the park collecting fastpasses for later that we never end up using.

We had lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern.  I had the BLT, which was fine except that I didn’t like the bread it was on.  The best part about lunch at LTT is the dessert.  That Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake is delicious and so rich that sharing one for the whole table is fine.  After lunch we went on the Jungle Cruise which we all enjoyed and then we headed back to Fort Wilderness to rest.  Of course instead of resting we went swimming and did laundry instead.   The kids loved the pool and the slide.

For dinner, we just grabbed some carry-out food from Trail's End.  Then Kyrie stayed at the RV to do homework for her next conference while the kids and I went to the campfire show and movie.  The campfire show was a lot of fun.  I recommend it even if you are staying at a different Disney hotel.  I’ve been to a couple of the ones at the other hotels and they just don’t compare at all.  This one had Chip and Dale (which Zoe calls "babies"), and a musician, and plenty of sing-alongs and dancing and fun for the kids.  We bought a bag of marshmallows for roasting and then soon it was time for the movie.  It was Jungle-to-Jungle.  I’m not sure if I ever saw it, but it was good.  Eventually, it was starting to get too late for Zoe, Ella, and Max so we didn’t get to see the end.  We’ll have to rent it sometime.