ORLANDO PT 1: All Moused Up for the White Flag of Surrender

Note: For some reason, I refused to get the Orlando wrap ups until I had done all parts of it. That resulted in it taking forever which makes the very first one I did kind of comical. Pfff, scheduling and organized.

As all things in this adventure, this post is a learning lesson. Since Orlando and the composition of this post, I’ve gotten better. By better I mean more than just the writing. I am better at outlining what I want to say, better at the physical part of sitting down to write, better at finding my voice. Overall, better.

It was a toss up on rewriting the whole post or letting it go as it stands. Ultimately, I decided to use the time it would take to rewrite it or leave it and use the time for something moving forward.***

 

As much as I hate to admit it, the excitement of the trip was better than the trip itself. Maybe I was just overspent. They say that kids have Disney Crash after a trip, I had Disney Build Up.

There is nothing better than taking a child to Disney World.  I am so thankful that Camp Lola’s crew got to join me. On the same note, I feel like most parents would agree that there’s nothing worse than taking children to Disney.  It’s almost too much then they crash after a few scattered meltdowns throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have done it differently if I could.

Instead of sleeping in my car, I stayed with Camp Lola at Disney’s All-Star Movie Resort. Lola booked her room just 2 days before and got them for less than $100 a night.  Much to my crazy surprise, I had media passes for 2 one day all park passes compliments of Disney. It kind of makes me feel bad about that post about Disney characters boinking guests.  Camp Lola had just relocated (maybe 2 weeks prior) to St. Mary’s, Georgia putting them just a couple of hours up the toll road.  Lola had her 31 Bonus ready to go, it all just fell into place.

This is going to be a shameless, unwarranted, nor requested plug.

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There was a LOT of packing and downsizing going on. 

There is nothing travel wise I love like the 31 mega huge utility tote that KLA got me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It has this one big canvas tote that spans my entire trunk with 3 separate zippered bags that fit into it. Best gift ever. When I packed for this adventure, I packed one of the totes per city/weather to go along with my overall bag.

 

Lola tells me they don’t make this bag anymore, unbelievable. You’ll be able to find the closest thing they offer now, the Deluxe Utility Tote. I’m not going to single anyone out, you all have a social media sales hustler come to mind, I will say that I have never seen Lola post once about selling 31 goodies (they make mermaid pillows!). She is the non-hustler hustler. That’s probably why she does so well with it.

Back on track!

imagesOur littlest camper LOVES Herbie. Not the Lilo kind, the originals Staying in the Herbie section was a must. Only at check in, we discovered we were not in The Love Bug section. We were instead in The Mighty Ducks.

Do kids still watch The Mighty Ducks? Or is Disney just too far in to remodel?  Granted, they have a hockey goal in their pool, it just wasn’t Herbie. Not a problem! A little fairy dust and we were moved. What a surprise! When we got to our room!

 

 

We weren’t just in the Herbie section! Our room  was smack dab right in the middle of it! Our room door opened right next to the two story Herbie himself! img_0025

 

No lie, img_4403it was like I was 6 years old when I got my Magic Band.  I WAS AT DISNEY! Even better! I was at Disney as a guest OF Disney! What is happening! I felt so legit.

Full disclosure, all of the royal “we” for check in was me being there during text. I arrived later after a warning that the white flag of surrender was hanging on the door.

 

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Legit, white flag of surrender was hanging on the door when I arrived.

Now that we’re all here! Oh. My. Goodness. Have I seen the gift shop yet?!?! Well, no Camp Lola Campers, I didn’t sneak over there before coming up to the room. I did per the head counselor’s request stop by Rite Aide for a bottle of wine though.

Dividing and conquering, I took the youngest camper to the arcade while the oldest went with the head counselor to the gift shop. Let me tell you, it was bananas. Did I have any tokens? Nope. Didn’t matter. 

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The gif is 1,000x times better. You can check it out HERE.  

Not even visiting the park yet and the campers were spent. All tucked in their beds, the grownups popped open the adult bug juice and gossiped. In a way, it was just like summer camp! I’m teasing. I never once drank at camp. Did accidentally miss curfew once, but always the angel in disguise! No other camp rules broken! Except maybe that year as a camper that we peirced my ears and…okay, so mostly as a counselor I never broke any rules. #AngelInDisguise #ThatsWhereTheGreatDayClapComesFrom

Today was the day!  The sun came up! It’s Disney time!

 You know I love a good theme. Had to dress the part. All moused up, I got first hand what all the mommies talk about in the mommy groups. I saw all the real life versions of the parenting memes.

 Y’all. Complete and utter chaos over shoes.

After all the shoes were on the correct feet, we were on our way….to wait for a bus.

It is a good thing Mickey is a mouse. Lord, the amount of cheese! I loved it! Our driver sang it all! He did all the dad jokes! It was…well, it was magical!

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First up, we rode the move around while sitting still ride. Then we rode it again. A then a few more times in a row for good measure. No prob. It gave me the chance to coordinate my map, app, and fast past all to my Magic Band. Really, this thing is genius.

The youngest camper needed to circle around a few more times. Divide and conquer, I took the older camper for whatever her heart desired. It desired the creepiest robots ever. EVER. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Funny how the future kind of panned out. All the advanced technology was a few decades behind minus the 3D goggles. The tree did seem to be missing a pair of rollerblades. They would have matched those sweaters and that hair!

img_4454Next on the agenda, It’s a Small World. Turns out, it isn’t as creepy as I remember. Our oldest camper was enchanted. See what I am saying! Magical! Kids change it all. Borrowed Kids, BORROWED.

You caught me. Even though this was not my first trip to Disney, I got a 1st time button. There was a great debate. Between the 1st time and the celebrating button, it seemed it would be easier expanding the truth than explaining I was celebrating finding myself. It had to be 1980 something the last time I was at Disney. The Carousel of Progress wasn’t even outdated yet!

 

We skipped the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opting for the free experience of a little fairy dust from a Fairy Godmother.img_4456 

It amazes me that we had done so little yet it had been hours. Already it was time for lunch and a little meltdown prevention ice cream. I didn’t even skip over any of the rides or anything in the recount.

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The Mad Hatter’s Teacups were just as much fun as I remembered. Totes more fun than cliche. 

Off to Dumbo where we found Disney’s gift to parents. There is a playground for the kiddos while you wait in line! 

That is the one thing I think Disney could do better with. Fast Passes are great, buy your way to the front! And if someone in your party is differently-abled, they get unlimited Fast Passes. Thanks to my perfect planning/dumb luck we had virtually no wait anywhere. Max 15 minutes. However, 15 minutes for that someone could be a lifetime. Disney does so much for families, they go so far out of their way to make sure everyone experiences Disney to the fullest. I just wish they could set up Fast Passes for special circumstances that made it easier. Something we brought up was even sensory sensitive lines. Just a thought for the big mouse.

Disney was ready for Christmas during the visit. Personally, I just wanted a good old fashioned thrill of Disney. It’s possible I tried to angle all my pics to cut out Christmas. Ba-humbug, it was hot and we just did Halloween! I coped and cropped.

The only Christmas that really irked me was the Jungle Cruise. It was an all time favorite as a kid. Did you know those hippos aren’t real? For the holidays, it is the Jingle Cruise and all of the ride is decorated. Puns were abundant and made up for all of it. Seriously, I had to keep myself from grabbing her intercom to share some of my bad cow jokes from my Ben & Jerry’s tourguide days. Just hire me! I’d pun it up all day!

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Swiss Family Robinson gave all the views of the park, leaving me hoping that it inspired little minds to go home to read the book.

We wandered Main Street. We caught the parade. There must have been more rides, it all seemed a blur.

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Let me tell you, those Cast Members have their “Parade is Over, Time to Leave” routine down pat. It was like trying to break through a game of Red Rover to get past them going back towards the rides. I only had half of my group!

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In the tips,  I talk about the perks of an early closing day. The campers were fading. I can’t even imagine how it is possible to do the park open to close during regular hours without nuclear meltdowns or spending a mortgage payment on meltdown avoidance ice creams.

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Back at the resort, the campers headed to the pool with me while Lola sought out our dinner. Assuring myself that she’d come back, I ohhhh’d and no way’d all the water stunts before tapping out to Lola. Sub Counselor out! That is when I got to sneak off to hear all the dirty on Disney from a former Cast Member. 

In all the times I’ve ever been to Disney, I have never ridden Space Mountain. Trips to Disney were with my single parent. Too little to ride myself with a sibling too little to leave alone, it just never happened. I cannot even imagine how single parents do it. Camp Lola has a regular pair of Head Counselors, but only one of them was there at Disney. Having no real authority, I was mostly just an extra set of eyes and hands for opening things. There was one point where Lola heard me tell one of them no, we weren’t going to do XYZ. Why didn’t I want to she asked me. I was completely indifferent to whatever was asked of me to go see, I had just said no in order to show my dominance. Who knows if that is a thing with kiddos. But props to you single parents, mega props to you. 

And let me just tell you this, kids at Disney never sleep. I headed off to the food court (okay, mostly the bar) to be an adult and go over some notes. That’s where I met the lovely couple who come every year for the last 9 years with their grandchildren that gave me all kinds of insights from experience. KIDS WERE UP ALL NIGHT LONG. Maybe it was the excitement, maybe it was time zones, maybe it was a desperate attempt to let them wear themselves out. Who knows.

For me, the day was done. It was time to say goodbye…

M-I-C, see you real soon…K-E-Y…why? because we like you…M-O-U-S-E