A Fabulous Florida Escape…or so it should have been!
I recently went to Florida with my adorable little nuclear family. There was my husband Mike (DH), Jacob, Mathew, and myself.. it was going to be… wait there were more in attendance. How could I leave them out? My darling mother-in-law (mil) and my darling sister-in-law (SIL). I will refer to my SIL lovingly as nin or Cristina. Nin is what Jacob started calling her when he started talking and Cristina is her actual name. Go figure. Back to the story. It was going to be an epic vacation. Jacob was very excited to see all of the new Star Wars rides, shows, displays, characters, and exhibits. Matthew just adores many of the classic characters of Disney. He is crazy about Donald Duck and his classic cartoons, Chip and Dale and their antics. They both like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake
I was excited about seeing the big parade, all the beautiful whimsical princesses and all things happy. It is the happiest place on earth. The happiest place with the crankiness kids lol.
Ok well. The trip should have been the happiest, most exciting time of our lives. It was 3 years in the planning. All details were meticulously selected and every little thing was considered. Now things started to go wonky relatively quickly.
We were taken to Pearson International Airport by my Father-in-Law. A man who was about to have 10 days of quiet and relaxation. On our way to the gate, we passed many beautiful waiting lounges with individual entertainment stations, cafes and cushy bucket seats. Then we got to the Sunwing waiting area. This is where the chain of disastrous events started.
Next, are the raw notes that I took during the trip. Each time I got frustrated or close to implosion, I would pull out old trusty.. my iPhone. Despite MIL’s hourly reminders that vacation is no time for cell phones, I ignored this and started typing. This journaling was surprisingly therapeutic. I would write write write and then later my
Ok… here it is. Enjoy.
Day 1- Departure Day
The airport is so different than it was last time I was here. The last trip we took was actually the exact same trip minus three years. This time Jacob is 6.5 and Matthew is 3.5. Last time Jacob was 3.5 and Matthew was 5 months. Both ages combinations come with their own benefits and difficulties but the fun will be had.
The airport has become so much more automated. You can check in online 4 hours before your flight but you don’t have to. You start by walking up to a human who weighs your luggage and gives you tags etc. All the bags were under the dreaded 50 lb limit. Thank goodness. The family beside us had a suitcase that came out to 56 lbs. They found themselves sitting on the floor with their suitcases open, junk sprawled all over the ground as they tried to redistribute the weight more evenly between each other.
Next, we traveled down the hall to the luggage check. Here you put each piece of luggage on a conveyor belt, from here the checked luggage is scanned and again your boarding pass is requested and scanned. This hopefully connects your luggage with your flight. Here’s hoping. I’m just picturing feverishly heading into Walgreens upon arrival in Orlando… trying to find toothbrushes, bathing suits, and everything in between.
As automated as declaration and customs were. We still had to ensure 3 or 4 more ID checks. Finally, here we are in the waiting area beside gate A17. As we headed to our gate we passed another waiting area for a different airline. What a sight. Long tables, each seat equipped with wifi, an outlet, and its own IPad. Brand new seats, and an eating venue that I would have to coin the term “boutique cafe” in order to properly describe it. It was so classy. As we proceeded to “our” section of the terminal the decor faded to “normal” and less impressively “typical”. No iPads, no fancy eatery… just a place to wait. This may have been a blessing since it was 4:15 am and chasing a toddler and a 6-year-old around was the last thing we felt like doing. Less stimulation is better.
Fast forward 20 minutes.
$5 for small chocolate milk.
Fast Forward another 30 minutes – bathroom trip.
Fast forward 25 more minutes – time to board the
Upon arrival in Florida, we are late to meet our driver. We explain that it is not our fault but he is still visibly pissed off. At least he still helps us carry some of the luggage. It takes about 45 mins on a busy highway, weaving in and out. We have to make up the lost time of course. Time is money.
Rushing was in vain. Upon arrival at the hotel, we were told that the room would not be ready until
They finally called us to get our room. Not a minute too soon.
Room 164. I want to call this room a dumpster with a door but that would be a compliment to this place. It’s not terrible. It has two swimming pools that are decent. There is a hot tub that has no bubbles – and a slight film on top, the phone doesn’t work, the wifi is absent (since it says free they owe us nothing). The toilet already flooded and the tv has major lines scrolling from bottom to top and every tv show looks like the show takes place in the Arctic where blizzards blow all day. The maintenance guy has been to our room twice and now he is headed to the roof. What is Jacob going to do without his Funnel-vision and Fgteev? Duddy is like his second dad. I would “lol” but I’m really not joking.
The reviews were good and this place got an average of 3.5 stars. It’s huge with tons of rooms. It just has a general shiftiness to it. Am I becoming a hotel snob? It would seem so.
The rest of the day was spent complaining, bathing the kids, eating dinner at McDonald’s and getting ready for tomorrow’s
Best part of the day; swimming pool having fun.
Worst part of the day; waiting for the room to be available.
DAY 2- Animal Kingdom
Breakfast- here at the hotel breakfast was ok. MIL and SIL didn’t ‘pre-arrange’ the continental breakfast so their “free” breakfast cost each of them $8.02 American. Oh man. My sister-in-law had to continue the complaints to an apathetic front-desk worker about the lack of functioning wifi.
I can confirm that I’m not a hotel snob. This is not normal.
Mother in law says it’s fine here and she thinks it’s beautiful. She says that she can use the washroom in the main foyer area and she doesn’t need wifi.
Mike tries to call Expedia from broken hotel room telephone.
Ok, 7888 international drive – shuttle stopped here on the way back from the Animal Kingdom. This seems like a nicer place to stay. I bet the phones work and the toilet flushes. I will look into it tonight…if the wifi works. **Clarion suites
So far we have traded in vouchers for actual 5-day passes that don’t include the water parks. This is probably a blessing.
At Animal Kingdom now!
Have walked a bit- spoonbills, saw kangaroos, lemurs, the tree of life and the “Life of a Bug” show. Jacob cried so bad that Mike had to take him through the emergency exit doors. In fairness, I have to admit that if you or
Next onto the
Let’s hope for better results.
Rating for park 7/10
Rating for day 6/10
Best part – The ‘Finding Nemo’ show was absolutely amazing!
Worst part– Findings a table to eat, scary bug show, too crowded, maps that are difficult to navigate and literally help you to get lost.
Park secret – fast pass – This feature lets you jump right on a ride at a predetermined certain time. Make sure you go early to claim your fast passes. You can get only a limited number per day.
Taking shuttle back to hotel. We are 34 minutes early for the shuttle. Crap.
What the heck are we supposed to do with these hyper little ones .. except play fighting? Yes…that is what they tend to resort to.
4:32 – 8 minutes before the shuttle is scheduled to arrive: a minivan shows up. He is here to pick us up. There are 8 of us and room in his van for 6. He says the shuttle came and no one was here. Absolute crap. Whatever. We all cram in… breaking probably 11 different roadway driving laws. Good news is that we all fit and we got back to the hotel. Awesome.
Back at the hotel. We go swimming in the kiddie pool: it was surprisingly fun. The boys and I ran in a circle around the circular pool and created a whirlpool. It was pretty cool. A little physics for the kids. Mike was inside on the computer. Missing the family fun again.
Time to eat again? Always time to eat. Went to a restaurant called Bruno’s for dinner. There are signs everywhere that are warning you to not leave your children unattended. They will be forced to wash dishes. Hilarious. NOT. This restaurant had decent food but the service was rude and slow.
Signs were as Follows:
1) children left unattended will be forged to bus tables
2) if you are irritable, grouchy or just plain mean you will be charged $10 for making us put up with you
3) if you like Italian food come in otherwise keep walking, there are a franchise and fast food up ahead
Ok do these people have a chip on their shoulder?
We gave them a try. The food way ok.
Nice cold wine, that I earned today for sure.
I was entertaining Matthew who was havering a Convo with a strange little chef statue with a Santa hat.. while mike was settling the bill. Apparently
Needless to say.. he proved that they do have a chip on their shoulders…and we left thoroughly pissed. At least we have some yummy buns leftover to snack on tomorrow.
Bunch of crap heads.
Bedtime. Tomorrow is a
DAY 3 – Magic K
Ok so far so good. We are 56 minutes early for the park. We took the shuttle and then the ferry. We find ourselves yet again waiting. Jacob (a highly sensitive kid) can barely stand to wait. He wants to play Pokémon go but there is no wifi.
Ok it is starting!
We got fast pass all sorted out.
I feel a bit more relaxed knowing that we will be seeing at least 4 rides. Some fast pass rides are already full. Jacob does not like waiting at all.
10 things to do with kids while they wait in line for a ride or to enter the park (since the frogging shuttles either come way to early or in the middle of the night!
1) Bring an iPad/Nintendo ds or
2) Play a game – I spy, Simon says, alphabet food game, I’m going on a picnic…
3) Have them show you a dance move…perhaps from Fortnight!
4) Sing a song – Down by the bay, Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
5) Clapping rhymes – BINGO
6) Teach them something – blow a bubble, whistling, tongue twister, magic tricks.
7) Read them a story.
8) Ask them a thought provoking question.
9) Tell them a story.
10) Beads or some other fine motor skill task.
So far we saw Mickey Philharmonic.. it is a 4d movie. Jacob was terrified.
Then it’s a small world – otherwise known as…”Cabbage Patch Nightmare”. Now we are on the Disney train
Rating for park 9/10
Rating for day7.5/10
Best part – race car ride
Worst part – crabbiness
Park secret fast pass – 3 rides
Ok so we ended up taking a taxi back to the hotel. For some reason the monorail was not running at all at the time we left the park. This left is in a line of about 200 people all waiting for one bus to take us to Epcot, so that we could take a different bus over to the hotel. It ended up costing us about $30 US. It was totally worth it.
Back to the pool and then McDonads for dinner and back to the room to relax, sleep and then start all over again tomorrow.
DAY 4- Hollywood Studios
Rating for park – 7/10
8/10 – Star Wars factor
Rating for day -5 or 6/10
Best part- Star Wars films, artifacts, exhibits etc.
Worst part- Crowds for everything, maps that make you get more lost.
Park secret – Fast Pass, Schedules shows, storm troopers in the hourly walk will talk to you.
We had a rough night. As you know we have been working on Matthew being a more independent sleeper. He is very dependent on me at night: I have been guilty of getting him a bottle out of sheer desperation. Anyway last night he woke up crying: I got him a bottle, he whipped it: I tried to read to him.. offered him tv, he wanted my Jesus neckalce and to go home. Kids. Omg. So I promised him I would “book the first flight home” then he cried louder saying he didn’t wanna go home. Fast forward to this morning. Jacob finds an ear wig in the bed. Oh man. MIL says she will no longer sleep in that bed.
7:38am – Ok now we are on shuttle to Magic Kingdhom. From there we will get a monorail to Hollywood studios..head straight for Fast Pass kiosk. This is the plan: I guess we will see what happens lol. Again we will be there about an hour too early. Que Jacob complaining. At least today we brought the 3DS with us. That will help. I will also be referring to my List of ways to keep kids busy in line that I posted from yesterday’s enty.
10:03- I ran ahead to get “Fast Pass”
Mike and the others saw P
10:49- Areal Show. Thought it was a ride but it is a show. Jacob is terrified . He is lying on Mike’s shoulder and covering his face with Mike’s sweater.
12:27 – We went to get a photo with Kylo Ren. Epic experience and I’m not even into this crapola.
1:17- In line for Mickey Club House Show
We have fast
7:04 – We just finished dinner at Manny’s.
It’s a restaurant that strongly resembles Jack Aster. I got a free glass of wine because it’s happy hour. The MIL thinks I’m an alcoholic now but idfc. She is driving me insane lol.
Now we will go back to the hotel and have popcorn and likely watch tv and sleep…
Ok I put he rest of my wine In a soppy cup to save it for tomorrow and MIL threw it out for no reason. Wow.
DAY5 – Lego Land…finally!
Rating for park 7/10
Rating for day 7/10
Best part – Lego Store with great prices
Worst part: Matthew peed his pants at the imagination station, Jacob freaked out when we would not buy him a $20 fake Legoland Drivers Licence.
Park secret – Go to Miniland irst
8:15am- Breakfast was a nightmare. Why can’t they keep Matthew for one damn minute do mike and I can have a decent quiet breakfast . Whatever. I don’t care anymore. Great way to start the day right.
Matthew was a terror. Throwing things etc. He hit me and then he hit his Nonna.
Ok so mike is calling über. I better go out there or I have to hear them bitching again. Why am I here ? Rhetorical question… but
Ok first time über user. So far so good. The Uber Driver is really nice. There is water for everyone in the door holder. Great service. Friendly and talkative but not too much.
9:44am – We are here at the gate. Bathroom trip #1 is complete. Now we are waiting for 10am to arrive so we can go in! Super excited!
Kids are doing the “Create while you wait” wall.
Mike already made a sly remark about how smart he is for calling Uber.
10:37 – We went on the carousel, then the little farm train. Now the boys are on the duplo train with MIL and NIN. Boys seems happy. Mike… not so much. He seems to be living vicariously through the boys or perhaps just plain using them as an excuse to see these things. Either way I don’t care. Same result. We are here on a trip. Must be happy:) 😁
Jacob was too scared to go on “Lego Knights” roller coaster and now the raft ride for Chima. I don’t wanna feed into these irrational fears of nothing. Having to constantly stop for the kids to eat popcorn is really waring on me. They are not gonna melt or fade away if they go more than 5 seconds without food.
12:19- we are not stopping for lunch
The MIL and Nin brought stuff. Hey save some money and spend it on toys right.
1:28 – we are sitting at a table in the imagination zone and panini grill. It is like a Lego science centre of sorts. Pretty cool.
Nothing the boys will eat here. Matthew eats an ice cream sandwhich and Jacob will wait for a burger at the burger place next door.
Jacob had a mega tantrum. Wow. He did the Ford driving school ride. His drivers livence that was presented to him upon completion of the course did not have a photo of himself on it so he flipped out. He started to yell and scream and kick the stroller. It was a little embarrassing.
1:47pm – We are at Lego city burger kitchen
3:20pm – Awesome mini land
Mathew hit his head on the table beside the security check outside of Lego land hotel. The security guard Jodi was really nice. She felt really bad about Matthew hitting his head. She called the medic and Ken came quickly. He gave Matthew ice, checked him out and gave him a mini figure to cheer him up. It was so sweet.
5:04pm – Charles from über just picked us up. It’s amazing how easy uber is. Anyway mike has fully engaged this guy in a sports based conversation. Apparently Charles is from Buffalo but he moved to Florida for his son to play Lacrosse. This is torture. Oh well. 4 more days and then departure day.
Lego land was pretty great- the best part being miniland. They boys got some Lego from the store. I’m picturing some swimming at the hotel, some quick dinner and then perhaps let the kids assemble Lego. Not sure about tomorrow. Uber Charles says it’s gonna rain on Saturday so maybe we should go to magic kingdom tomorrow. My feet are so sore and I’m pooped. Am I getting old? Maybe.
7:03pm -MIL and NIN went to subway to get dinner. I feel really annoyed. Gonna try a meditation.
No plan for tomorrow yet. I don’t know why but I don’t want to decide what we do tomorrow based on the premise that when things go don’t go perfectly … well
DAY 6 -Magic
Rating for park 8/10
Rating for day 8/10
Best part – Jungle cruise – so funny
Worst part – Dance party parade. We were waiting in the wrong place!
Park secret –Amazing Disney app.
9:30am – On the bus on the way to magic kingdom. Gonna try to start in a good mood. We decided to start some behaviour modification on Matthew. He will no longer be getting whatever he wants when he cries. He was not allowed to come to breakfast this morning because of yesterday morning fiasco. Damn beads. He was not allowed to move on the bus to come sit next to me.. even though he was crying… and then he wanted to push his baby – the stroller- but he was going too slow. We had to disarm him of ‘baby’ and then pick him up and run. We made it to the inter Disney shuttle bus. Yay.
Both boys in good moods.
Today’s plan. Go with the flow. Not gonna worry about fast pass or food or crowds or lines or plans. It’s all good. If we go on no rides it’s fine. At least we are here.
OMG the Disney app is amazing.an awesome 3D map with gps on it. Shows you where u are on the map and where the closest restaurants are, bathrooms and other attractions. Really cool. Only problem…battery eater.
12:24pm- We are waiting along picturesque Main Street. Waiting for the parade.
We saw part of the parade from a distance a couple days ago. This time we will be upfront and centre. I’m going to put Down the phone and really take it all In. This is al about princesses this time!
12:33 – time for the parade dance party thingy-it’s coming!
Ok it’s done. We waited in the wrong spot. Of course we did.
Now I’m in be
5:00pm – good blog article popped into my head- traveling with inlaws survival guide.Create an app for waiting in line with kid
DAY 7 – Disney S
Rating for park 6/10
Rating for day2/10
Best part – Lego store – Jacob met a master builder. He was very excited
Worst part – having to leave t-Rex because jj was too scared to go in.
8:11am: Today we are heading to Disney springs. Shuttle comes at 8:55am. We have Jacob watching iPad and Matthew.. well .. he has been dancing and now he is servicing the two umbrella strollers. The woman working at the counter is getting a kick out of him. Both boys in relatively good spirits.
Breakfast was ok. We actually got to go alone. Just Mike I. It was nice.
3:31 – the worst day of the trip. It may be due to the weather or perhaps the bus schedule controlling us. We heard on the way there that they have great evening shows and hundreds of drones are released into the sky blah blah. Do you think we can make it to the evening with this motley crew?! Yeah
Ok back to Zara. Zara part 2. Mike wants to get the broken zipper sweater. Ok while there I found a jacket for Jacob. We bought it. As soon as we got outside Matthew decided he needs a jacket too. Zara part 3.
Matthew has trouble choosing between the orange and grey ( like Jacobs ) or the turquoise and navy one. He finally decides on the latter. Whoopdee
Now NIN points out that mike is ‘inconsiderate’ as he didn’t make sure that she got to go to Pandora. We did pass Pandora for her. She chose not to go in. She said it was too busy. Mike leads us back there and she refuses to go in. We don’t get it. We bring Matthew in so he can try on rings from their new stackable ring collection. They are so cute!
This day is so bad.
4:42. Finally on the final leg of the trip back to the “resort”. I’m so cold and tired and now we are talking about food and potential ideas for dinner. Maybe the buffet. Nin wants to do the buffet. Mike says he doesn’t want to go there. He suggests pizza. I plug my ears at this point.
What else could happen .
Dare I ask?
5:57pm – Ok not going to the buffet. We are
I kinda wanna go home.
Dominos screwed up the pizza. Wind up with a free 2l Diet Coke and dipping sauce.
DAY 8 – not going anywhere.
Rating for park – NA
Rating for day – Doesn’t matter.
Best part – Shopping
Worst part – Shopping
Park secret = NA
It’s about 8 or 9 degrees out. Everyone at breakfast is wearing puffers and parkas and tuques and scarves. Kinda funny really. It looks more like a ski lodge than a Florida resort. I have one pair of long pants, one long sleeve top (actually a
I will try to text and email people today to feel connected back home. As soon as I get back I’m gonna go visit my family.
8:44am- the MIL and NIN are back from picking up Mcdonalds.
Ok let’s try a new affirmation.
Today is the best day I have ever had.
That didn’t last long
DAY 9 – Magic Kingdom…again
Rating for park – 8/10
Rating for day – 8/10
Best part – The Parade
Worst part – Crowds
6:56am- We are heading to breakfast.
Note to self: upon getting home promptly book at appointment with psychiatrist. We are on the shuttle now. On our way to magic kingdom. It doesn’t open until 10. It’s about 10 degrees out. It doesn’t seem to matter that all of the adults are going to become a bunch of popsicles. The kids have their coats. Whatever. This bus smells like pastrami and kraft singles and tired tourists.
Plan of the day- mind my own business and speak only when spoken to. Everything else leads to a bullshit argument.
Mommy why did you bring these packets of jam back to the room?
Mike why aren’t you wearing a long sleeve shirt today? It’s freezing . You are so stupid.
Stupidest arguments we have had all week
10 – Wifi fight
9 – Shouldn’t have cells here on vacation
8 – The 7:15am departure fight
7 – The dominos pizza every day fight
6 – The sofa bed fight
5 – The uber car fight
4 – The Lori wine fight
3 – The light sabre in the room fight
2 – Lori wanting to borrow Mikes hat fight
1 – The Matthew holding the open large pop cup – with no lid- in his stroller fight
Ok park opened at 9 not 10. That’s good
3:07 – Wow today has been productive. Nin just called Mike a cheap-ass. She accused him of never buying the boys anything since we got here. “Mommy bought them everything since we got here”. She was referring to her and his mother…the kids grandmother.
DAY 10- Heading Home… Halilulia.Rating for park
Rating for da
Richard Cohen was thinking of the day he headed home from a vacation with in-laws, a toddler, 6-year-old, 2 strollers, 7 suitcases and a spouse who has to be at work in 6 hours.
They say you don’t know what you have until you lose it.
Thank you for reading my fun little Disney adventure story. I do not mean to sound like I do not appreciate that we had help on our trip. I do appreciate it. It was a test of the age-old mother-in-law, daughter-in-law on-going conflict. As long as MILS and DILS argue, funny stories will abound.
And remember Eh! Be Negative.