Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Disney World Vacation--Continuing on with Our Journey

Day 2 of our trip was pretty boring after the hurricane on the first day. It would have been hard to top that. People kept seeing our Texas license plates and asking if we were fleeing the storm. We had to hang our heads in shame and tell them that we were from Dallas but that we had driven straight into Ike on our own free wills.

We had one funny incident at the motel that morning. They served a free breakfast, but it was a plated, basic Southern breakfast rather than the typical buffet. I think it was eggs, grits, bacon, sausage, and a biscuit. Chris took the older boys to the restaurant to eat while I got toys and things we'd need that day ready. I joined them later, and Tigger was overjoyed with his breakfast. Most of you know that he had extensive allergies as a baby, and he's recently outgrown most of them. Consequently, he hasn't eaten much restaurant food, and some of the things on his plate were new to him, including the grits. He pointed out the grits to me and said, "Look, Mommy! I got this white egg, but it tastes more like oatmeal."

We were surprised when we woke up that morning to see hundreds of bugs
on my minivan. They appeared to be two-headed bugs, but upon closer inspection, we determined that each of them was actually two bugs doing what needs to be done to create more bugs. We asked a local what they were, and it turns out they were love bugs. Love bugs are a mayfly-type bug that hatch in the hundreds of thousands and only live a short time, and they propagate their species their entire adult lives. When we started driving, we hit so many of them that it looked like we were driving through rain. We filled up with gas before we started going, and when our gas tank was 3/4 full, we pulled over at another gas station just to clean the windshield because Chris couldn't see well enough to drive.

We made one stop on the way at a fruit stand to buy real Florida oranges. Now, I've read that most oranges are picked green and then gassed so that they'll turn orange, so when I saw big wooden boxes full of green ball-shaped fruit about the size of large oranges but green, I assumed they were oranges. I didn't want to take chances, though. Pummelos are green, and we don't like those. So I decided to humble myself and ask. I actually went up to someone who worked there and said, "I know this is a stupid question, but those green things are oranges, right?" He was nice and didn't laugh too hard when he told me that they were.

The love bugs didn't slow us down. We got on the road around 8:30 central time that morning, and we pulled onto Walt Disney World property at 3:30 eastern time that afternoon. That's about 19 hours driving time. Not bad at all.

We didn't know how late we'd get there our first night, so instead of staying at our expensive Disney hotel, we stayed the first night at a Double Tree Suites hotel that's on Disney property but not run by Disney. We have a lot of Hilton Honors points, so we stayed there on points for free. Our room was ready when we got there, and it turns out that they gave us a room with a hospitality suite for some reason. In addition to the living area with kitchenette plus bedroom with a king bed and a bathroom that's in a normal king suite, we had another area with a huge conference table and an extra half bath. Plus the full bath was much bigger than the bathrooms in the normal rooms. It wouldn't have been a bad room to spend the whole week in, despite the fact that it wasn't a real Disney hotel, but I'm sure they wouldn't have given us that room if we were staying longer than overnight. Here are a few pictures.

(I told Chris he'd end up on the Internet if he didn't move, but he didn't believe me.)

Once we got to our room, we needed to get out and stretch our legs a bit, so we headed to the shops and restaurants at Downtown Disney. We weren't really ready to buy anything in the stores, but it was fun to look. We ate at Wolfgang Puck Express. Tigger had a side of macaroni and cheese (which was huge and plenty of food). He also had a little of my chicken from my rosemary rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes. Piglet had a kids' cheese pizza. I think Chris had a salad. It ended up being around $50. Chris asked if we would be able to use our dining credits for food like that once we checked into our Disney hotel and had the Dining Plan. I told him that yes, not only could we have gotten that food for free, but we also would have all gotten desert, and it would have been counter service credits, not full service. Free Dining is great!

After dinner, we found a car wash to get most of the love bug carcasses off the minivan. I got the antennae off before we drove through the car wash, and even it was plastered with dead bugs. Gross! We also did a little grocery shopping at Publix to pick up some fresh fruit and a few other things we needed for our trip, then we headed back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. The Double Tree has the channels that are available exclusively at Disney World, including the one where Stacy does the top 7, so of course, we watched that more than once. If you don't know what I'm talking about, there's a channel at all of the Disney hotels that just plays a 30-minute show where this really hyper lady named Stacy shows you her favorite 7 attractions at Disney World. Somehow, she manages to squeeze other stuff in there, and by the time it's done, you've seen about 50 attractions at all of the four main theme parks as well as at the other resort areas. It gets really annoying, but anyone who stays at a Disney hotel will tell you that they watched the same show at least 50 times before their vacation was over. (Hey, the TVs all turn on to that channel. You can't help it.)

Piglet and Tigger were excited about getting to sleep in a bed that was hiding in a couch (there was a hide-a-bed in the living room), but they eventually calmed down, and we all drifted off so we would have a lot of energy for our first day in the parks the next day.

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