Welcome to August, friends! Hope you are all enjoying the first week of the new month. We don’t know about you guys but we can’t believe that the year is already half over! It still feels like it just started! We just wanted to take the time to thank all of friends (new & old) who have checked out the blog so far in its inaugral month! We are so overwhelmed and appreciative of the feedback and support we have received so far! We can’t wait to keep writing and getting to know all of you!
Because Estelle is leaving for a teenie-tiny Disney getaway in a few days, we decided to do theme park-packed month. So we hope you look forward to reading about some of our favorite trips, our vacation routines, some tips here and there, and more! To hear more from us, please be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! Chat with ya soon! (By the way, we are so open to hearing your suggestions when it comes to what we’ve done so far! Don’t be shy!)
And now, for Estelle’s stand-out Disney trip…
For one reason or another, or maybe none at all, every Disney vacation (at least for most reading this blog) is a special one. Whether it is who you’re with, or an out-of-this-world dining experience, maybe the hotel room or the time of year you are visiting, it’s probably one of the hardest tasks ever to dub one of those trips as your “favorite.” They are all just so good!
So I decided to pick a trip of firsts – first plane trip to WDW myself, first whirlwind weekend, and first family trip cut short because I was (gasp!) a big grown-up sort of person who was allotted a certain number of days off. (Oh, the real world.) This trip occurred in August of 2008, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Probably because I will be returning to WDW in 9 days – my first trip in August since the one I’m about to tell you about, and my parents will actually be vacationing there (without me) in 2 weeks, as well.
Let’s journey back to 2008. When I had bangs, still lived at home, and traveled to work each day by bus. Rather than let go of the family pilgrimage all together, I settled on 3 full days. (Out their 12 or so, it didn’t seem like much but I did what I could.) I decided to leave work early on a Thursday and made sure my trip fit in my parent’s anniversary dinner at Narcoossee’s in the Grand Floridian Resort . I couldn’t miss that food. (Or, um, the fuzzy family time either!)
An uneventful train ride to Newark from NYC led to (of course) many flight delays. I was supposed to be on the last flight of the night, and I ended up getting on an earlier flight that left around the same time that my original flight was supposed to take off. I didn’t end up getting into Orlando until after midnight. But you know how it is, once you are in the arms of the Magical Express whatever happened before that doesn’t matter. I was on my way to Saratoga Springs, where my parents met me by the pool with wine. Vacation had begun!
After finally being lulled to sleep by my parents’ snore orchestration (it’s award-winning), I woke up to a move. My parents had hotel-hopped since they got here. Animal Kingdom Lodge (sad I missed that one!) to Saratoga and finally, ending the vacation at the Boardwalk – where we had spent so much time before. (I can’t get enough of that place!)
But not only had I brought the excitement (as I tend to do), I brought the rain. We had planned to swim at the Luna Park Pool for a good portion of the morning before heading to the parks. Instead we sat on the veranda overlooking the actual boardwalk, waiting and waiting and waiting. We eventually got to go in, but how typical is it that the first morning I arrive their routine swim is delayed? Thankfully, they didn’t ship me back to NJ.
Later that evening, my streak continued. We all got dressed up for a snazzy dinner at Narcoossee’s where we were given a window seat and I had champagne with a strawberry in it. Yum. The service and the food at this restaurant are impeccable. It’s pretty much one of the best places to celebrate a special moment. (Obviously, I was impressed enough to push for a honeymoon visit.) The Grand Floridian in general is just amazing. There is so much detail to look at, there is a live band playing in the lobby, and the grounds are so beautiful to walk around. (We took a lot of beach pictures.)
Anyway, it totally started raining again. Not just sprinkles but black sky, torrential rain with lightning and thunder. (You know, just another August day in Florida.)
My family and I certainly had a front row seat, and it added some intrigue to the dinner, which was topped off with a gorgeous rainbow at the end of the meal (and key lime crème brulee for me!)
The next day, we waited forever on a single-rider line to get on Toy Story Mania for the first time, and enjoyed a dinner at Mama Melrose. I don’t remember cursing this day at all.
On my final day with the family, my parents decided to be nuts and do two parks in a few hours. Holy moly, was it hot! I wore a pullover with my bathing suit underneath it, knowing I would need to jump into the pool right after the extravaganza was over. We did the old standbys – rope drop and safari at Animal Kingdom, and Spaceship Earth and a stroll around the countries in Epcot. We ended with a nice cold beer at Big River Grille on the Boardwalk. This was right around the time where I started appreciating beers that actually tasted good (I had no idea those existed) and I was feeling super proud of myself for trying something new!
I had quite a few hours to kill before I had to be back at the airport so we decided to lounge by the pool for the rest of the afternoon. My parents and sister had a dinner reservation at the San Angel Inn that evening (WITHOUT ME) and I would be rushing back to Jersey to go to work in the morning. (Cue sad song.)
Or so I thought.
I got a call once I was upstairs in the room that my flight had been cancelled. What?! The point of taking a short vacation was not to use ALL of my days (I had already taken a trip that winter, and I was supposed to be back in WDW in October to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding!). But there was no way around it. The Jet Blue lady explained that there was some issue with the clouds (I’m not kidding) and there were no flights going out that night. So for some INSANE reason, I scheduled the earliest flight in the world the next morning. The kind where I would have to wake up at 2 a.m. to hop on the Magical Express.
The weird cloud thing granted me an additional dinner with my parents (plus a margarita) and a gorgeous view of Illuminations (in the spot where La Hacienda is now). I emailed my boss and talked to another co-worker who was also traveling that weekend and in the same jam (she was taking a train instead of a plane). Might as well just enjoy my elongated mini-break. And I did. Later on, my parents and I clinked glasses at the Belle Vue Lounge in the Boardwalk Inn and I went to bed, happy.
It was so weird to wake up that “morning” when it was pitch black outside, sit on the same veranda where we had watched the rain just two mornings before, and not see one living soul (except for the cleaning crew, of course). I noted in my journal that day how some people were just leaving Magic Kingdom because it had closed at 3 a.m. the day before (that morning?). And here I was soaking in some peaceful Disney moments before heading back to the Garden State.
I didn’t want to leave.
And looking back, I shouldn’t have. My early morning flight was also delayed. I got home, and thought I would attempt to go to work but I was so tired, I didn’t think I could get on another bus again (plus my arm was killing me from carrying my bag for so long). I ended up arriving home, getting caught in another thunderstorm at the grocery store (where the lights flickered), and taking a nap – which also meant no sleep that night. I wish I had just used my head and booked a later flight, and been able to take in one last day hanging out by the pool, following my parents to whatever reservations they had made, and getting in more park time with my sister.
It’s actually the last family vacation where we have all been together, and it’s quite sad to think about it right now. I’m not sure if I realized it then. Who knows when the fates will give us another opportunity, but even if it means rain and some delays and just a handful of time, I’m looking forward to that next family trip. Crazy picture taking, dinosaur snores, and all.
(Okay, Mom, you can stop crying now.)