I’ve given myself such a bad travel itch, that even only five months after Alaska, and only about a week after Florida, I’m already wondering when my next trip will be. I have so many ideas! Austin, Texas. DisneyLAND, instead of Disney World. St. Augustine again, or San Francisco again and again. I just love that hotel life, even that airplane life, and the fact that you can be warm in January, and smiling for 12 hours a day. Even smiling makes my face ache. Name that movie quote for a kiss!
This was our fourth year in a row going to Disney World, which is a high number for someone who thought she’d never get to Disney World with her kids. It all unfolded sort of naturally and progressively. Our first trip was a gift from my aunt and my now-deceased grandfather, and we didn’t have to fret about the trip at all. Every detail was taken care of for us, including flights, accommodations, car, carseats, food, and admission to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, and both Universal Studios parks.
Our second trip started in St. Augustine, Florida – where my in-laws had rented a house for a month. They gifted us with plane tickets, and a gorgeous place to stay. We couldn’t go so close to Orlando and NOT then stay there for a few nights and theme parks. We stayed in my brother-in-law’s apartment and since my aunt still worked for the theme parks, I don’t think we had to pay for tickets. We got so lucky again! Except we did Orlando at the end of our trip, and paid the price in exhaustion!
Last year – our third year – was quite different. We paid for everything, except to stay in St. Augustine, but we had learned to do St. Augustine second! We spent five nights at a Walt Disney World Hotel – for the first time – at the Art of Animation Resort in a Finding Nemo suite. We had told the kids we were staying in a Little Mermaid room, but surprised them with the upgrade. Five nights was a bit crazy. We then relaxed for four nights in St. Augustine at the beach, and didn’t do much – other than walk, read, sleep, eat, etc. It was totally awesome, so we were refreshed to return home after warm weather and sea air.
The cost was so high that we said we probably wouldn’t do it for 2017. For that money, I was thinking the Caribbean or Aruba. Anything! Somewhere early in 2016, Des got OBSESSED with the Cars movie franchise. I couldn’t believe this because there had been a whole Cars section of the Art of Animation Resort – only a two minute walk from our Finding Nemo Suite. I had even walked around it with Scarlet, but never thought to take Des. He got into the movie shortly after the trip. For nearly a year, Des had been talking about the “Lightning McQueen” hotel. Except for Christmas time, in which he asked us to tell him Santa stories every night, he got Lightning McQueen bedtime stories. This was big! As the new year grew closer, I also knew I needed to get to Orlando to visit my aunt. My uncle had died fairly suddenly in June of 2016 and I wanted to stay with her.
We booked last minute at the tail end of last year, but still got a great deal on JetBlue. This dream was on! We were skipping St. Augustine this year, which is still bugging me and I’m dreaming about somehow going during February vacation! That dream is probably ridiculous with the price of our last trip (just last week), and that I had to buy a new lens this week.
So Athena went to stay with our in-laws, we got a great cat-sitter for Juniper, and then we packed our suitcases full of bathing suits, Disney pins, and various layers of clothing. We ONLY needed warm weather clothing, though. Magic!
The flight was uneventful, which is good, and then it took an hour to get our rental car. It rained for ten minutes right after we landed, but then we got to my aunt’s house, the sun came out, we stripped down to shorts, and went into vacation-mode:
Next up – the first two days of sunshine, and then we’ll get to the theme parks. I can assure you that this trip was one of the best of my life – just for how it tested me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’m so game to tell these stories before I lose even a minute of them, or that they fade at all. It’s funny how a trip can be life-changing, isn’t it? Have you ever had a trip that you didn’t necessarily think would be a game-changer, but it totally was? Tell me about one of those trips you had!