Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In which the Malleycats go to Disney and more!

Let me preface this whole post by stating that yes, we know we are insanely lucky to have been able to go to DisneyWorld twice in the last 2 years. Let me also state that no, we are not made of money. We have our dear friend, Becky, who works at Disney and her insane hook-ups to thank for making it so we would basically be idiots NOT to go. This time she sweetened the pot by getting us all tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter too! I mean, who would be stupid enough to pass that up?!

So off to Disney we went, but not without a few hitches. Due to a work conflict, we pushed the entire trip back a day but were luckily able to do so without too much trouble in terms of reservations. But when yet another work conflict came up and would push the trip back yet again, it was decided that Seth would have to fly out a day later than the rest of us and miss one of the days in the park-- which was a very doable plan C. Chanel and I could easily manage the kids on a flight (they really are super easy going travellers) and Seth would arrive the following day about 1 in the morning. So we got to the airport with plenty of time to spare and things moving along nicely. About 45 minutes before the flight Eloise decided she needed to go to the bathroom. It then became obvious that this little girl was all sorts of constipated. I mean like, hadn't-pooped-in-who-knows-how-long kind of constipated. So for the next 40 minutes Chanel and I took turns sitting in an airport bathroom with Eloise who was feeling awful. When the plane was getting ready to board and poop was clearly not imminent, we forged ahead and got on the plane. The flight was uneventful and we landed in Florida around midnight. Obviously by this point the kids were dragging a little, but were being such champs. We headed down to the rental car area where we were scheduled to pick up a mini-van, after which we would drive to our condo and crash for the night! That is not, however, how things went. First of all, what is with the rental car process??! Why does it take one million years to begin with? And that's assuming there are no hiccups along the way. I waited for ages and ages until finally someone helped me. And by helped me, I mean informed me that there were no minivans available. I expressed my confusion at that being the case when we had specifically reserved just that. The guy assured me they would find another 8 passenger car for me, so we all continued to wait as patiently as possible. Eventually the guy announced that he had found us an Escalade and proceeded to tell me that even though he upgraded us to this luxury car, he wouldn't charge me for it. I expained to him that as nice as that was, it still wasn't going to fit all of us and our stuff in it, and he wasn't doing us any favors. Only because Seth wasn't there yet was I confident we could squeeze us in for the night and then we would worry about trading it in the following day. Finally around 1:30 in the morning he sent us over to the garage to pick up our car so we could be on our way. With four verrrrrry tired children in tow, we finally got to the garage, and spotted the Escalade just as another family was packing their stuff into it!! They had double booked the same vehicle for two different families, and we were about 30 seconds too late. So, back to the office I went where I waited for another full hour before they decided to give us some dumb Mercedes SUV that was even smaller than the Escalade. However, by 2:30 in the morning I no longer cared and just wanted to get the kids into a bed somewhere. So we made our way to the appointed vehicle only to discover what? You guessed it....another family putting their stuff in it. I gave the car rental guy a look that said, "if you don't get us in that car in the next 2 minutes I will ninja chop you in the windpipe" so he made the other family get out of the car and we began the process of the piling people and stuff into the equivalent of a really nice clown car. In the end, we managed to get everyone in a seatbelt, even though Lincoln was balancing a suitcase on his head, and bags were stuffed into every free corner. 30 minutes later we arrived at the condo and put the kids out of their misery.

And that's how we STARTED our vacation.

The next morning came ridiculously early, and we had scheduled ourselves to be at Animal Kingdom for the Donald Safari breakfast which meant we had to be ready and out the door by 9 am. I don't know about yours, but my children don't actually function well on 5 hours of sleep. And neither do I. But we managed to get there and enjoy our delicious breakfast (and if you ever wonder which dining experience you should have while in the Animal Kingdom, you most definitely want the Donald Safari breakfast buffet. It's ridiculously good, and you won't even be able to try everything there is it's so huge). That's when things started to go downhill. I realized that I hadn't actually brought any diapers or wipes into the park. This came to our attention after Oliver took the deuce of the century of course. So Chanel went and bought solid gold diapers and wipes from the parenting station, or at least you'd think they'd be made of goooooold for how much they cost. Oh, and speaking of pooping, Eloise had still NOT pooped by this point, making her both miserable and totally horrible to be around. She was the biggest growly-gus you've ever seen. By 11am I was ready to cut my losses and just go home, but by some miracle everyone got a second wind and we managed to really enjoy the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom.





Bennett was chosen as the Lion Leader in the Lion King Show. He led the audience in a round of roars. Not a shy bone in that kid's body.


















I won't give you a detailed report of the rest of our trip, but the overview is thus: We did finally get a minivan instead of the Mercedes clown car, Eloise did finally poop (after laxatives, stool softeners, and apple juice galore--she's gonna love reading about that someday), we did finally get naps, Seth did finally arrive and join the fun and we had a fabulous time. Some of the highlights include:

* The Not-So-Scary Party at the Magic Kingdom where the kids got to wear their Halloween costumes and trick-or treat around the park














* Breakfast at Cinderella's Castle with all the princesses


































*Riding Tower of Terror 7 months pregnant at Hollywood Studios, meeting the Toy Story Crew, Oliver's awesome meltdowns, and Seth's reuniting with Tigger at the Crystal Palace




































*The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Pumpkin juice and butterbeer at Hogsmeade, choosing wands, Hogwarts and the general awesomeness of it all. I have to say it's not super little-kid friendly, but it sure is cool.





















A huge thank you to our dearest Becky Baird who is not only an ambassador of awesomeness everywhere she goes, but who is just generally a wonderful friend who makes everything better.