Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hello, Mouse

So Thanksgiving morning dawned, after three days of working nearly non-stop. I was up and showered by 5AM, so we could get the family assembled and on a handy JetBlue flight to Orlando - where we stayed until yesterday morning. The trip was the idea of Jane's folks, who assembled the entire extended family at Disney for the holidays.

Unfortunately, they did so without consulting me first - they originally booked us to go down there the Saturday before Thanksgiving and to spend the week. See the first sentence for the problem with that.

Once we straightened out that dilemma, the trip was nice. It was really our first vacation in almost two years. We arrived Thursday mid-day, and after picking up a rental car and checking into the hotel (the World Center Marriott), we joined her parents and her sister's family over at Disney-MGM that afternoon. Thanksgiving dinner was at one of the theme restaurants, and we stayed to do a few activities and see the evening show of Fantasmic. Which was spectacular, even if the middle part terrified David.

Friday morning we went onto the Disney grounds to go to Shades of Green - the military resort. Jane's dad (US Naval Reserve, Ret.) was able to get everyone heavily discounted Disney passes there, and we added one day to ours. After dropping them off, we went back and spent the afternoon at Epcot. Unfortunately for me, I was coming down with a cold by then that lasted the rest of the trip. But we had fun there, took lots of pictures, went on some rides, and David got to see the huge Finding Nemo-themed exhibit. That night we all ate together in the hotel, as her family was leaving the next morning.

So on Saturday we took Jane's parents to the airport (her sister's family had left a couple of hours earlier), and then continued on to see KSC over at Cape Canaveral. It was a pretty easy drive over, and David was fascinated by the tour. The KSC operation for tourists is now run by Delaware North (the company that owns the Boston Garden and Bruins), so it was all expensive and the food sucked. But we enjoyed the NASA parts and the bus tour. For the money, we should... We did a leisurely drive back that evening, and drove the International Drive "strip", to see all the neon.

And Sunday was dedicated to the Magic Kingdom. We were there from opening to nearly closing, David did plenty of rides, and we got to do a decent buffet breakfast that featured all the Pooh characters. Overall, the day was a hit. And we were back on the ground in Boston by 12:30 yesterday (and I was back in my office by 3).

Overall, it was a neat trip, though I learned a few lessons. First is to use a stroller every day. Carrying David on my shoulders got old real fast, especially with a cold. Each Disney park is pretty darned big. Also, take advantage of their Fastpass system when you want to do a ride. It really simplifies things. The rides themselves are actually pretty short - at least all the ones that queue up without taking passes. Allow at least a day per park if you're into rides.

And the biggest thing I learned is that going with a 3 1/2 year old is fun, but it'll be even better in a couple more years when he's less limited as to what rides he can go on and fully potty-trained. Carrying a diaper bag really slows things down.

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