We went…we saw…we left lots of cake
We got home from Disneyworld Friday. It was a great trip and yes I am glad to be back. We all had a blast and we all equally were ready to get home. My wife’s mission was to do everything possible and give the kids some wonderful memories, my mission was to find the limits of my son’s energy and the kids were just happy to be there. Unlike President Bush, we can honestly say Mission Accomplished.
The following 1400 or so words are for my mom and for anyone who is thinking about heading down to Disney in the near future. If you are not in either of these groups and you continue to read to the end. It is not my fault for your waste of time.
We left Monday morning from Huntington Tri-State Airport, flying on Allegiant Airlines. Being an airline Captain, I have spent thousands of hours on an airplane. Being an airline Captain, the number one thing I look for when buying my tickets with my own money is price, meaning cheap. The price structure of Allegiant is perfect for an airline Captain because you pay for the seat and them you pay for the bags separately. Four hundred dollars got all four of us, one check-in bag and two carry-on bags there and back. Allegiant doesn’t fly into the major markets but they do get close. The options for Orlando are St. Petersburg and Sanford. Both are about 70 miles from Disney.
My daughter sat with me on the way to St. Pete. As we boarded, I asked the flight attendant if I could speak with the Captain. I carried my ID with me and introduced myself to the crew before asking if my daughter could take a quick look upfront. The crew was wonderful, like 99.9% of all flight crews. We spoke for about ten minutes while the passengers boarded. I left my business card with both pilots telling them that if they needed a recommendation at FedEx, I would be glad to do one for them. Both pilots were very happy at Allegiant. They make a decent wage and are home every night. Working four on and three off, they get to fly MD-80s and live in a great area. Leaving the house at 5am, they are home in the early afternoon. Overall, it is not a bad deal.
We landed in St. Pete and got the rental car, without a map and a plan of course. Driving north, we finally headed broke left and found the beach in Clearwater. Grabbing a bite to eat, we crossed the street and let the kids jump in the water. It was cold and breezy, but being kids, they didn’t care. Finally my son got some sand in his crawl and he had to change clothes. Wearing a new set of clothes, he found some friends who had a shovel. They dug a hole towards China, but only made it halfway when we had to go. My daughter played alone and never complained until we left three hours later.
We had rented a condo off of highway 192 in Orlando. We found it with no problems, after unloading the car I went to the store and loaded up on food. About 9PM the kids and my wife were sleeping. I am a vampire, so I watched TV until midnight before I shut it down.
Out the door at 8:30, we headed directly to the Magic Kingdom. Four years ago, we were there and shared a house with my parents. It was a great time, but I think my daughter was only 4 and too young to fully comprehend the experience. The only difference between that visit and this time, the park was packed. We pulled into the parking lot right at 9AM and were immediately caught in a traffic jam. Still hopeful because we were traveling off peak time, we finally learned that it was going to be a long day of waiting in lines because Disney is immune to a poor economy.
We still hit everything we could but the final straw was a 75 minute wait to make three swings on Dumbo. Since the last time, they added a second Dumbo ride and kids play area. That really helped but 75 minutes is a long time to wait for three passes, especially when they were advertising a 40 minute wait. It was my turn to hold the camera so I was outside and they were inside. Less than ideal, we all agreed that it was time to head beck for halftime. We had planned to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the park and during the late afternoon we would eat dinner at the apartment. About six, we would head back and close the park.
It was a great plan and worked to perfection. We figured that we saved about forty dollars every day by taking peanut butter sandwiches, chips and drinks. Not to mention, having water in the backpack. At 3.50 a bottle, that can add up as well. Please don’t think we are cheap, well I am. But my wife and I agreed long ago that if we could save a few dollars by eating a sandwich, we would. On our honeymoon, we went to London. We were there ten days and towards the end of the trip, we saw a family eating homemade peanut butter sandwiches. That was brilliant, because we were dropping forty bucks a day, just for lunch. After ten days, that adds up.
So we went back to the condo, took a nap and ate. About six, we were back into the mass of humanity to watch the parade and fireworks. We found a good place to see the show, and of course, one minute before everything started a couple of jackwagon families got in front of us and blocked the kids view. We sat the kids on a trashcan and they could finally see. I was kind of ticked, but it is a free world. That family paid their money too, so we did our best to enjoy the show. Both of the inconsiderate families left during the middle of the show, one had a crying baby and the other just walked away. So it all worked out. After the fireworks, we got onto the Lillo and Stich attraction which is more of a sit down type show, where Stich is apprehended and finally escapes from his holding cell. Blah, blah, blah it is kind of cool with surround sound, mist on your neck when he sneezes, ect. There were only two kids crying during the show, and they both belonged to me. We lingered a little while longer, but the kids were done.
Off to Epcot. Less people, in fact there were so few that we just walked to the front gate. We spent the morning exploring the space areas and the first five or so countries. With no lines, it was a pure joy to be at the park. The kids did a Perry the Platypus scavenger hunt in Germany which was a lot of fun. At halftime, we took naps again and headed back about 6. We did the Trip to Mars ride and my daughter designed a rollercoaster and we virtually rode it. We went to France to watch the fireworks show. We were told that Mexico and Italy were the two best places to see the show, but we found an open table so that was where we stopped. Great show, and in many ways much better than Magic Kingdom.
Disney Hollywood was the last stop on the adventure. Like Epcot, not as crowded but by the end of the day, it was just a crowded as Magic Kingdom. We started by watching a show on the main stage. Then off to Indiana Jones stunt show. Great fun, but get there about 15 minutes early so you can sit in the middle. We did the Star Wars show and 3-D ride and then the Muppets 3-D show. Everything was great. We did the Stunt Car show, which was a great must see show. Again, get there early to get the better seats. We tried to get in the Toy Story and Mermaid shows but the wait was just too long. The kids cried uncle first about 3:30. My mission was accomplished. I outlasted them, but only because of my daily nap.
We left the condo at 3:30 AM and drove back to St. Pete for a 6:40 AM departure. Everything went great and after dropping in to see my wife’s mother, we were back home by 11:00AM.
Lots of words to cover a trip but I hope it helps out a family looking to make a trip to Disney in the near future. As always, I am open if you have any specific questions. I am back to work Monday evening. Until then, keep on rocking!
That Goofy character kept following us. If anyone spots this guy on the street, call the dog catcher please.