... but I'm much better now - though I can't say I'll ever try keeping a spring break trip location secret during a 15 hour drive again. Yeah. That put a whole new spin on "Are we there yet?"

After a late night baseball practice, we rushed home, packed, locked, and loaded and set out for a l-o-n-g drive to Tampa, FL where Pixie, my lovely middle sister and her husband (henceforth known as The Chocoholic) waited with their tiny little spawn child (whose nickname remains elusive to me, though Turtle is starting to stick). They had no idea what they were in for. Heh.

Oh my... I can't even describe how much fun we had spending time with them. The 2nd day we were there, we decided (smarty-pants that we are) to head out to the beach for the afternoon. Did I mention they'd just moved there and had not yet been to the beach?

On word of one of the baseball moms before we left, I suggested Clearwater. It was said to be an adorable place - very nice. Said mom failed to mention that it was SO adorable, everyone would want to go there on a Sunday afternoon. Our little 30-40 minute jaunt took TWO HOURS and then another half hour to find parking for our gargantuan truck. Our license plate couldn't have screamed "Texas" louder.

The beach was adorable, though, and fun... and we stayed until the sun began to set and the air grew chilly upon our non-sunburned skin (because I am all about the SPF!).

EARLY the next morning, we packed up again - amidst cries of "Not Fair" and "It's too early" and "Where are we going anyhow?" With secret little smiles, Mr. Clean and I ignored our spawnlings' objections to the early hour and set out on the road again. I tried SO hard to make it the whole way but 15 minutes before we reached our destination, I cracked. I practically screamed, "We're going to Disney World!" And to Disney World we went.

That first morning consisted of hastily checking in to our room (i.e. telling the front desk we were there, our bags were being stored by their porter, and "see ya! we're headed to the park!"). Then, ticket cards in hand, we boarded a bus and headed directly to Animal Kingdom. --- I should mention here that before we left, I realized I had no lists so broke down and made Mr. Clean buy me the Unofficial Guide To Disney. What a lifesaver! That book SO earned it's $20 price tag over the four days we were there.

Once at Animal Kingdom, I pulled out my trusty clip-out "tour plan" found in the back of the book and began following it. Life. Saver. Did I say that already? Seriously... LOVED IT. We made it on every ride, even though we started out a couple of hours after the park opened. My favorite ride there was Expedition Everest. Great little roller coaster that goes forward, then backwards, then forward again. It plunges you through a mountain guarded by a cranky Yeti who towers over the cars waiting to eat you. Shaggy was bouncing-on-the-balls-of-his-feet excited about this ride. Until he saw it, that is. Then he began coming up with excuses not to ride it. Heh. Nothing like having a nine-year-old on hand to say, "Well I'm riding it so I guess that makes YOU the baby."

Said nine-year-old screamed, "I-can't-breathe-I-can't-breathe-I-can't-breathe!" the entire ride. Humorous, unless you're the one sitting next to him saying, "In through the nose, out through the mouth," while being whipped in and out of a mountain with a Yeti hanging over you growling like he hasn't eaten in months.

Upon exiting the coaster, he began a collection of key chains that would spread over four Disney parks, provide never-ending clanging & jingling as we walked, and give our bank account a real run for its money. Really, it ran. And it lost the race. Big time. The only downside to the day was footwear. I started out in tennis shoes but halfway through the day, ended up in flip-flops. Thank goodness for flip-flops and remembering to pack them in my backpack. My feet practically cried as we began a trek that averaged close to 15 miles of walking per day.

That night we quite literally FELL into bed. It didn't matter that our resort was populated by teenage cheerleaders and baseball players who were fully utilizing every inch of open property available. I Tanked before 10pm. Shaggy, on the other hand, experienced his first real bout of freedom-sans-parents and was allowed to stay out a couple of hours to make friends. The resort? Loved It.

Except at breakfast. At breakfast, the food court was a mad house. So loud and crowded. If my stomach hadn't been growling loud enough to drown out cheerleader chatter, I'd have skipped that whole experience entirely. But they had coffee and I really, really needed that coffee.

2nd Day = Epcot. Loved it! Again, thanks to my trusty clip out touring plan, we made it through almost every ride there with the longest wait being maybe 40 minutes - most were between 15 - 30 at most. The two rides we missed were due to bathroom emergencies while in line and weren't anything huge. Now, I have to mention a few rides here:
Test Track - cool but ehhh, not as much as it was hyped to be.
Dinosaur - ROCKED! The cool thing about Disney is the attention to detail and realism. Almost every ride has a "briefing room" where you have television monitors and people (actors) telling you about your mission, etc. It comes off very realistic so once we were finally loaded into our vehicles and ready to go through a time warp, Doodlebug was convinced it was R-E-A-L. The good part? It made it that much more exciting. The bad part? The screaming in my ear when the dinosaur came at us. Or maybe that was me screaming...
Misson: Space - Ohhhh, where do I start? I'd read about this one in my trusty little guide - mostly the fact that there are two options -Spinning & Non-Spinning. After also reading that the spinning version is often shut down, for Cleaning, we opted for the non-spinning. Imagine my reaction when we climbed into the simulator and found a nice little selection of barf bags right there on the console. Heh. Yeah, it was everything I could do not to scream, "Let me outta here!" But how was the ride? you might ask...
Doodlebug (in the pilot seat - screaming and close to tears): But I Can't Drive! I don't know how to drive!
Mr. Clean: It's not real.
Doodlebug: It IS! And we're going to crash! Because I don't have my driver's license!
Me: Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap.
Shaggy: *crickets chirping* (the boy was scared silent)
Best. Simulator. Ever. It really felt like being launched into space.
Soarin' - Awesome. I was a bit trepidatious about this one due to my fear of falling and the fact that it was a simulator that made it seem like you were hang-gliding. Umm, I probably wouldn't go on it again... but it was cool.

We ate at a restaurant called Marrakesh - Moroccan food, belly dancer, music. The prices weren't too bad and it was worth it (if only to watch Shaggy's eyes bug out when the belly dancer came over close enough to touch and danced for him). Again, I tanked back at the room - my feet complaining enough to take a pain pill - and Shaggy ran around making more friends.

Wednesday dawned and we headed out the Magic Kingdom. I'd really looked forward to this one because I remembered some of the rides (or thought I did):
Space Mountain? I remembered going on this with my Dad when I was 11 and being a little scared. When I got off this time, the first words out of my mouth were: "I did not like that. At. All." And I didn't. I kept envisioning my head hitting the supports because I could hear the other coaster cars above and around us but couldn't see them. Oh my, they sounded so close. Not doing that one again.
Pirates of the Caribbean was even more awesome than I'd remembered, probably due to the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow (yum!).
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad -- heh heh... When I was little and we went there, GypsyRose was but 6 years old. My most intense memory of the entire trip was of her screaming her lungs out on this ride, big crocodile tears streaming down her face. Upon coming home, I called to inform her that, seriously? Kinda dinky. Nice sedate little roller coaster, perfect for nine-year-olds who couldn't breathe on Expedition Everest.
Splash Mountain was also quite fun. I love the inside of the mountain and the whole Br'er Rabbit motif.

Our last day was spent at Disney-MGM Studios. It was fun but I didn't get to go on Rock N' Roller Coaster (the Aerosmith one), though Shaggy and Mr. Clean did. They reported back that it was awesome. Also didn't get to go on The Tower of Terror. I wasn't At All upset about not riding something that simulates an elevator plummeting to earth. Yeah. No Thanks. We didn't quite spend the whole day there, finishing almost all of the park well before 3pm and then packed up and headed back to Tampa. No complaints from me on the early departure. My feet practically groaned with joy - having chosen that morning to begin swelling. My flip-flops barely survived the venture. They have footprint depressions literally worn into them.

We spent our last full day in Tampa celebrating Pixie's birthday. I cooked my Sausage & Butterbean soup. The Chocoholic put together a Black Forest cake that, while it looked umm... interesting... tasted DIVINE.

I've had dreams about it since returning home. We ate and laughed and then our husbands stayed up all night putting down 18 beers and THREE bottles of wine. I've never laughed so hard as I did looking at the two of them the next morning. Good Lord.

So there it was... long and lean (trust me, that was the lean version). We got home and are now living off mac & cheese until our next paycheck. The Happiest Place on Earth is also truly the Most Expensive. The only thing missing there? Starbucks. Damn, I missed my coffee.
Labels: | edit post
4 Responses
  1. Deb R Says:

    Glad you had a good time! It was fun to hear about your adventures. :-)

  2. BabySis Says:

    I am impressed that you went on so many rides... LMAO. I am truly jealous, I haven't been there yet. :(

  3. katkin Says:

    Welcome back! Disney World is an awesome place. I've been twice, once when lovely daughter was 7 and once with daughter (10 then) and my mother (who was in a wheelchair). We stayed on property and loved it! Those guidebooks are truly lifesavers. I wanna go back again.........

  4. dragonfly Says:

    Thanks y'all. One of these days I'll get back to some finer details of the trip - like when we turned around in line and found Shaggy missing, because he was so busy flirting (and getting digits!) he'd lost his place.