At the risk of sounding terribly corny, we had a truly magical vacation. The start and end were rough, but the days we spent at WDW were wonderful. We woke up at 3:30am and drove to the airport only to find that our flight had been delayed 3 hours, ensuring that we'd miss our connecting flight in Chicago. We had to be re-routed through Denver, with an arrival time in Orlando at midnight. Fortunately, we made it on an earlier flight (yea standby!) and got to Orlando only three hours late.
After we got settled and ate some dinner, we headed to Epcot. We got right on the two rides we really wanted with no wait and stayed to watch Illuminations, the fireworks/laser light show. In the mornings, we did what the guidebooks advised and arrived at the parks before they opened. Seeing the opening "show" was really neat and added to the excitement. We spent the mornings and early afternoons at one park, went back to the resort for a nap and a swim, and then headed out to a different park later in the day.
I swear, it was like we were charmed! We never waited more than 20 minutes for any ride or for the bus. We only used their FASTPASS system a few times, and that worked really well for the few rides that had long lines when we got to them. The girls met so many characters that they filled up their entire autograph books. The weather was GORGEOUS -- warm, sunny, and lovely. It rained for about three minutes one day, but otherwise was perfect. The highlights for C were meeting Ariel, riding Test Track at Epcot, swimming, and eating breakfast with the Disney princesses. R loved every roller coaster, meeting Cinderella, and being chosen to be the captain of the boat on the Jungle Cruise. T and I really enjoyed Animal Kingdom -- the Kilimanjaro Safari was really incredible.
Soarin' at Epcot was one of my favorite rides, though to be honest, every ride was fun. Disney does an awesome job with atmosphere. Every ride has great "decor", so you feel entertained even while waiting in line. The shows were fun too -- we saw Beauty and the Beast, Nemo, The Lion King, Turtle Talk with Crush, the Monsters Inc Comedy Club, and several of the 3-D movies. C got a bit scared at "Honey I Shrunk the Audience", but otherwise she was game to do everything. She rode just about every ride she was tall enough for and loved the roller coasters we went on.
I forgot to leave a tip for "mousekeeping" the first day, but after I remembered to do so on the following days, we arrived "home" to find little surprises each day. The first day, our maid arranged all of the stuffed animals as though they were watching cartoons, with the remote in one paw. On subsequent days, she left little washcloth animals for the girls, which they delighted in (pictured above). Note to self: never forget the tip!
I never walked so much in my life! According to my pedometer, we walked 8-10 miles every day. My knees, shins, and feet were so sore I thought I'd need a knee replacement by the time we got home. As for my eating....well, it could have been better. On the Disney Dining Plan, you get a snack, a counter meal, and a sit-down meal each day. We used our snack for breakfast, since you could get a bagel with peanut butter or a muffin. I had a bagel each day. Our lunches were pretty healthy -- mostly sandwiches, with fruit or carrot and celery sticks swapped for the fries, cole slaw or chips. They were really good about allowing swaps. Unfortunately, each lunch came with dessert, so we had dessert twice a day (since dinner also came with a dessert). We didn't snack at all, but three or four of our dinners were buffets, and each had about 10 dessert choices. I left at least three of the buffets feeling overfull. Ugh.
We went to check out and leave our luggage with the "Magical Express" people, planning to use our final four lunches and snacks to have a leisurely breakfast prior to going to the airport. Unfortunately, we discovered that United (never flying them again!) had changed our flight time (and didn't notify us of the fact) and not only did we have to take our own luggage to the airport, but we had to get on the bus to the airport immediately or risk missing our flight. ARGH! R and I raced inside to grab muffins and we barely got on the bus to the airport. We spent about $50 we wouldn't have had to spend, using curbside check-in and buying lunch at the airport in Chicago. Our flight from Chicago had been changed too, so we didn't arrive home until 7pm or so. We arrived to 15 degree temperatures and lots of new snow. Yippee.
Today is my appointment with the therapist who specializes in BED. I'll let you know how it goes!