Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 1....Airplanes and Gators

Once again, I began our vacation with no sleep......

I ended up staying at the office 4 hours longer than I had planned. Once I finally made it home, and packed and showered, I laid down at 2 a.m.....the alarm went off at 2:20 am. grrrrr

Amazingly though we were out the door and on our way to the airport at 3 am. sharp. It did help though that RJ slept in both his coat and his shoes so that he'd be ready to go. (that was so cute) The drive over was uneventful and check-in at the airport went so much smoother this year. No drama from Heidi. She has really grown up in a year. (as we realized later in the day).

It was so nice leaving the freezing weather and heading to a warmer climate. It was SO cold as we waited for the shuttle in long term parking and it was SO cold on the plane. I think someone overslept and forgot to start the damn thing. Seriously, we wore our coats the whole plane ride. The pilot joked that it ought to be warm by the time we touched down. I thought he was kidding. Really he wasn't.

RJ and Heidi really enjoyed the plane ride this year. We brought them mini DVD players and Disney movies and headphones and they didn't make a peep. They were so cute sitting there drinking their "complimentary beverage" and listening to their movies. I didn't realize that the sub parr economy had even cast it's spell over the airline snacks. We had the option of paying for peanuts. Seriously? I stuck with stealing some gummies out of the kid's backpack instead. I sure do love those peanuts though.

After touching down in Orlando, we grabbed our rental car......(I use the word grabbed loosely as we waited for what seemed like forever for it). We headed to Target picked up some booster seats and it was off to GATORLAND.

Gatorland was really cool. Admission was kinda high, but the size of these aligators was out of this world. My dad was at Gatorland 25 years ago. I am prettty sure that we saw the same aligators.

There was so much to do there. We saw albino aligators, (as well as fat, skinny, old, young, and every other kind of aligator) went through a petting zoo, rode the GatorExpress train, fed the aligators hotdogs, had lunch, fed some birds, etc.

Its amazing to me that as a tourist I am stupid enough to pay to feed the animals that these places were going to have to feed anyway. What a racket. But, Rick paid for the $4.00 pack of food. I was prepared to buy the $20 jumbo pack. When I get in tourist mode, all of that silly stuff thrills me.

They had 3 different shows and we were fortunate enough to be able to see all three.....As soon as we arrived at Gatorland, we headed to the Gator Wrestling show which had just started. This show was SO COOL. The gator handler Johnny had a sarcastic sense of humor that I enjoyed.

After watching him wrestle the gator, show us the gators teeth, keep the gator's mouth closed with his chin, etc, he rolled the gator over and did something to it that put it to sleep. Then to wake it up, he tickeled it. I had never seen anything like that. Very cool.

And then.......he announced that (for a fee of course), you could sit on the aligators back and have your picture taken. RJ jumped right up and headed down to get in line, and to my sheer amazement, Heidi followed! They both hopped right on, and smiled for a picture. (that we brought home, for another fee of course)

I asked Heidi what the gator felt like....she said, "a rock". I still can not believe that she was grown up enough to do that.

We also caught the tail end of a Gator Jumparoo show, and watched the Up Close encounters show.

The Up Close Encounters show had different kinds of spiders, and snakes, etc., that they showed everyone. After the show, they announced that for a fee, (of course), you could hold one of those gigantic yellow snakes. (not sure what kind of a snake it was). And amazingly enough, both kids jumped right up and were first in line. Gatorland sucked another $20 from me so that I could buy those pictures too. Heidi said the snake was "squishy". blech.

After Gatorland we checked into our hotel room. Wow, it is so huge.

I was unsure about staying offsite this year, but the size of this hotel room, just stuck one in the plus column. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen/dinette. Our view is beautiful and it's peaceful. The pool looks great, although, I don't know if we'll have time to head down there.

When we checked into our room, their were gift baskets waiting for the kids and Miss Kaitlin. Mickey sent RJ's, Minnie sent Kaitlin's, and Tinkerbell sent Heidi's. Everyone was thrilled with their surprises, (mouse ears, autograph books, etc) and then we all crashed. Everyone took a nap but Kaitlin. Rick did find time before his nap though to enjoy the free happy hour at the hotel, and to stock the hotel room up with scotch. He tried to say it was in the room when we checked in....his gift from Mickey Mouse..... :)

When everyone woke up, we headed to Chef Mickey's for our dinner reservations. I LOVE Chef Mickey's. We got our family picture taken when we arrived and then Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto all came around and signed autographs and posed for pictures. Heidi gave Pluto a kiss, and Minnie really took a liking to Miss Kaitlin. In my opinion, this should be a must do for anyone visiting WDW.

After leaving Chef Mickey's, we headed to DownTown Disney to shop. Since we aren't staying onsite, we don't have the luxury of shipping all of our purchases back to our room, and I knew there were a few things that I needed to pick up. (for instance, I bought pencils for all of the kids in RJ's class, etc). RJ and Rick spent an hour in the LEGO store carefully picking out the perfect LEGO set for RJ while Miss Kaitlin, Heidi and I had a blast in the World of Disney store. All souviners were bought, and we headed home to the hotel.

Maybe I am a nicer person this year (doubt it though), but there have been less annoying people and more pixie dust this trip than last. There were no nose picking kids at the airport (huge plus), (although there was a really annoying little girl who wouldn't quit talking. Her mom just ignored her and let her talk to our kids. Now I know There wasn't any screaming horrible kids on the flight, except one at the very end, and in it's defense, the mom smacked it in the mouth for being bad. Everyone has been incredibly friendly. A Disney CM at the World of Disney store even gave Heidi a blank Tinkerbell gift card since she was eyeing it. Of course it's blank so he gave it to her for free. She thinks it 's a Tink credit card. She ran behind the counter and hugged him. Thanks Jason, you just made a little girls night!

I can't wait til tomorrow. We are heading for rope drop at Magic Kingdom. Here's to magic and pixie dust, and staying out of the emergency room this trip (knock on wood).



aczumbahlen said...

I cannot wait to see the Alligator/snake pics! Sounds like your trip is proving to be truly magical! Have fun!

Jamee said...

Where are you staying, just wondering?

amberlindemann said...

The Residence Inn by Mariott in Lake Buena Vista. (I'll email you a link when we get back)