WDW Day 1

Approximately 452 days since the girls (in utero) and I had left the fabulous Walt Disney World resort, we were finally headed back. It had been a few months longer for Kyle, but he’s kind of a robot and refuses to show excitement about said trips, so I don’t feel at all sorry for him. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The planning for this trip had been a very different one since – if you have ever seen an infant you know – babies don’t like to let you get settled. I am very much a Type A, planner sort (as you well know) if you’re reading this blog you know we’ve been on a schedule from the start. Again, if you’ve ever been around an infant you know that a “schedule” means a routine that lasts a week or two, until baby (or babies as the case may be) change things up on you. I’m proud to say that ours doesn’t throw us too far off course usually, but that’s at home. Familiar rooms, familiar cribs, naptimes and feeding routines, etc. That’s not at WDW.

For this trip, I had “planned” to come back to the room for one chunk of time each day. It is completely unrealistic to plan to come back for all of our scheduled “nap times”, but I also refuse to be that family in the park that has pushed their boundaries day after day. It just won’t work like that for us, and I know it!

Still, planning a trip that includes children I’d never even technically met proved to be a bit hard, and didn’t really get much easier until a few weeks before we left. Heck, you know I can’t even figure out what size clothing to buy ever!

At 3:30am every day, I’m awake. This is one of many times throughout each night that I am, but I obviously don’t get up for the day most of the time. When the alarm is set to go off at 4 though, as the case was on our departure day, I obviously was not going back to sleep. I woke Kyle up and we started getting ready to head out. We were finally getting back to WDW!

At about 4:40am, we got the girls up. We changed diapers and assumed they would fall back to sleep in the car, but they were wide awake. Is it possible they were “Too excited to sleep!” at 8 months old?! Did I have some Disney junkies on my hands already?!

I’m sure not, but the fact remains that they babbled and laughed and played the entire way to the Dayton airport. This would become an issue later ..

At about exit 43 (which means absolutely nothing to any of you, except that it’s on the way to the airport), I looked at Kyle as When You Wish Upon a Star was playing (the Jesse McCartney version off of one of the Disneymania CDs) and said “Kyle, we are taking OUR CHILDREN to Walt Disney World. Can you believe it?” To which he replied something like, “I know… it’s pretty cool. We always used to talk about it, and it’s here!”. (Seriously, probably the most emotion he’s shown ever, to date. Including during our wedding and the birth of our girls. Probably close to the last I’ll ever see too, I’m sure :)). It really was special though, and something we had dreamt about for quite some time!

Speaking of the aforementioned song, I had made a CD for the drive. I told you I was bored out of my mind the day before travel day! I had tried to time it perfectly with the drive and parking, including – but not limited to – a variety of Disney soundtrack songs, park music and non-Disney stuff that was applicable, a variety of song styles (considering I got reprimanded for blaring upbeat Disney stuff “too early” on the last drive!), etc. I put a lot of work into it (mostly for the challenge itself), and then we decided to have Kyle drop me, the girls and the Stuff off while parking the car. I made him promise to listen and tell me how close I was with my timing. He loves me for who I am, which is a very good thing, and found it cute instead of obnoxious. For the record, I was about 4 minutes off. Must try harder next time…

At about 5:45am, the girls continued to be wide awake and flirting with everyone that passed by while waiting at the airport.

Holy crap, I thought to myself, this is ridiculous. I was referring to the amount of luggage we had, considering we used to travel so daggone efficiently! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not even pictured was the (awkwardly-shaped but incredibly useful) carseat bag that was a lifesaver in checking the girls’ seats. Seriously though, we were a crazy mess trying to get ourselves and the girls and all of our Stuff from point A to B to C and all the other places they make you take it that we never noticed until we were in dire need of about 2983 more arms!

As I had mentioned, I had every possible scenario covered with regards to our carry-on luggage and things we had to “declare” to security. I’m a former member of the “diamond” group of travelers (on the TSA sign.. never mind :P) that had everything ready and caused no trouble, so “breaking all the rules” (albeit legally) was something new for me. As predicted since I was so well-prepared, the TSA was outstanding throughout this whole trip. They have an entire lane for “Families and Liquids” and we were treated so well, put through so efficiently (with just a quick “pat down” because of the stuff we were carrying), etc. Everyone was so friendly, loved on the girls a bit (helpful, I’m sure, to have them with us!) and we were through in no additional time at all.

The girls ate breakfast while waiting for the plane, and sat and played for a while. They would be due for a nap as soon as we were on the plan, which should have been perfect!

Should have, of course, except that they didn’t nap. Why would they?! They were fine on the plane in that being on the plane didn’t bother them, but lack of sleep was certainly evident as they tried to squirm out of our arms repeatedly, laughed and squealed deliriously, and fussed just a little. Honestly, it could have been much worse. They didn’t scream, they didn’t really cry… they just didn’t sleep! Avery slept about 20 minutes, Elise probably an hour (in chunks). Bear this in mind as you keep a running total of sleep since 4:30am….

As we always do on this particular flight (yes, we try and fly on the same flight every trip – it just works out well for our schedule! :)), we were at the gate in Orlando about 25 minutes ahead of schedule. We waited 7 or 8 minutes for the previous plane to leave, and then it took a while to get off the plane (we’re used to sitting in the front, but because of errors with seating assignments (FYI – two infants can’t sit in the same row!), we were towards the back. ๐Ÿ™

Still, we were at MCO, ready to run a few errands (seriously, kids throw things for a loop, don’t they?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and then FINALLY be Home!

I waited for the luggage and fed the girls while Kyle went to get the car. I stuffed them silly so that they’d be ready for a good, long nap. Now it was just mama who was starving!

Kyle returned with a Dodge Avenger, which is hands-down the smallest car we’ve ever rented, especially considering it’s classified as a “mid-size”. We BARELY fit our luggage and the carseats in… almost not cool! The girls couldn’t see a thing except seat backs and doors, but it got us to our destination and didn’t have any weird shifting that Kyle couldn’t figure out so I didn’t really complain.

We sat for ages at toll booths that had only 1 lane open (?!), ran into the most crazy, crowded Walmart I have ever seen (ugh!) and I was finally REALLY excited. Elise and Avery were both asleep, and I realized that I hadn’t even been all that excited on the plane because I was so consumed with keeping them quiet.

Finally, FINALLY, at about noon, as the girls were fast asleep, we made our first trip through the gates of the Walt Disney World resort as a family. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We got to the Boardwalk Inn/Villas just after noon and attempted to check in. Our room wasn’t ready. I know that with every hotel it is never a guarantee to check in early, but NEVER in my life have I really had to wait for a room. Sometimes a room with a particular request isn’t ready when we arrive early, but we usually just forgo the request in favor of a place we can actually set foot into. I realize now that there are just a few studios that are on the Boardwalk (or at least I think I read that somewhere), so I’m sure that was the issue. I wasn’t angry at them, but at myself because I hadn’t even considered the possibility. Our stroller rental was also not there yet, so we had NOTHING. I had given all of our luggage to the bell staff when our car was parked. I stopped at the Bell Staff counter to ask if there was any way to bother them for our luggage so that I could at least have the baby carriers, credit card, etc (seriously – I had NOTHING on me!). A Cast Member named Jim (and all of the staff, really) was wonderfully understanding and let me go back to their storage room to “our” shelf and get whatever I needed. Meanwhile, he went off and found us two strollers (like the ones they sell (not rent) at the parks). They covered the girls in stickers and entertained them with balloons while we were trying to reevaluate our plans. The strollers didn’t recline (so we knew there would be little “nap-finishing” taking place unless we could get a room), but they were better than nothing, and an extraordinary gesture that you wouldn’t find at any downtown hotel on another vacation!

We headed for the boardwalk to find some lunch. We were all very tired and hot, and getting harassed by dozens of seagulls because a particular family quasi near us had been feeding them for what appeared to be all afternoon. Every person that walked by on the Boardwalk had to duck and dodge and gasp as a gull swooped past them. No lie.

The afternoon really wasn’t going as planned…..

By this point, if you have been keeping track, the girls have had between 50 and 70 minutes of sleep since 4:30am. That doesn’t bode well for 8 month olds who are also getting over pneumonia, etc. They were SO crabby. We called at about 2 (after killing an hour and a half or so) and the room was still not ready. Unsure of what else to do, we headed to Epcot (in our long-sleeved, gross travel clothes!) to get our annual passes. (Epcot is just a short walk from the Boardwalk!)

Since the room was STILL not ready, we headed into the World Showcase. We strolled through the gardens in the UK, sat there for a little while. The crowds were totally unexpected!

I was fast approaching a breaking point. I was doing VERY well with the total mess in which our plans had been thrown, but I was not doing well with the girls. I couldn’t tell if they were still sick, just tired, just hot, a combination of all of the above, but they were monsters. MONSTERS. They screamed bloody murder whenever we stopped. When we laid them down to change diapers and/or put them back the stroller, they screamed louder. Both Elise and Avery were beyond rotten when they weren’t getting their way. Fine, I can handle that since it’s been a long day. The only problem is, I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what “their way” was!

After a near-breakdown, I told Kyle we should head to the baby care center. It would be air-conditioned, quieter, maybe we could calm the girls down. If nothing else, we could cool off and PUT them down, just for a while. This was the key, and we are thrilled that we learned it fairly quickly in the trip.

I told some of you already, but this might have been the worst possible time in Elise’s and Avery’s short life to have taken this trip, although we couldn’t possibly have known. As you know, they’ve been crawling, working on standing and cruising, etc. They had this new found freedom, and then we took them to a place where they can’t exercise it. The time in the baby care center quickly demonstrated that – even when they were BEYOND tired and the quickest fix would have been some good sleep – we could always buy time just simply by letting them get down and explore. Even when Avery was hit (fairly hard) in the head with a dump truck by a “friend”, they were still the happiest they had been the entire day. ๐Ÿ™‚

By about 3:30 our room was ready, so we headed back to gather our luggage, etc very quickly before dinner.

If you’re anything like me, you might be thinking I’m a terrible parent for even considering keeping our Chef Mickey’s reservation after the girls have had such little sleep. Trust me, I went through all of that. I actually had to convince myself to keep it, but I’m glad I did. By the time we got back to the room, the timing was just all wrong for a “real” nap if I wanted any chance of getting the girls back into as close a “normal” swing of things as I could. We left as quickly as we could (which meant no time to unpack and no showers ), so that we could get the girls to catch a catnap in their carseats by driving to the Contemporary via “the long way” (driving around in circles throughout the World). I doubted myself every step of the way, but it turned out to be the right move for us. The girls were still somewhat crabby but we were all a little bit refreshed after hanging out in the room a few minutes, and we were optimistic that things would start settling down a bit.

Besides… the Minnie outfits we had bought months prior looked absolutely adorable, we got some of the first smiles we had from my girls in several hours, and we were about to see Mickey!

(So why didn’t I feel good about any of it?)

By this point, probably due to lack of sleep and lack of good food and girls that honestly had been grating on my nerves (through no fault of their own, but all the illness) for several weeks, I felt no magic. We saw the Castle on our way in, and I still felt nothing. I was so sad that my girls had been having the most miserable day of their young lives in what was supposed to be our Happy Place. I questioned whether we should have even come on the trip when they weren’t even totally healthy yet. I questioned how they would handle the characters on little sleep and if it would scar them for the entire trip. I pretty much questioned everything I did, which is SO unlike me. To be honest, from the time I was pregnant to the time the girls were born and since, I’m a pretty confident mom. I never had the first-time-mom jitters or psychoses that some have , I’m just pretty level-headed about it. Not about most things, but about the girls. I think I made up for it that night, I assure you.

Time to perk up though, and introduce the girls to my friend Mickey and his pals!

We got our picture taken as is customary before a meal at Chef Mickey’s, and it was hilarious. The girls were fascinated by the monorail whizzing by (through the lobby of the hotel!) and the commotion otherwise occurring around us, so I don’t have to tell you we didn’t buy any of the (mostly over-priced) pictures!

I did get a few of the girls playing in the waiting area, though. I think they’re pretty cute, and from the looks of them, you wouldn’t even know they were little devil children all day! ๐Ÿ™‚

After all the anticipation, all the questions of whether the girls (Avery especially) would be able to “handle” the characters…. they honestly couldn’t have even cared less that they existed! They were so excited by the plethora of finger foods in front of them, something they had been working on at home, that the characters would literally jump up and down and tap on the girls’ heads and shoulders to get their attention, and they barely got any interaction out of them. The corn, macaroni and cheese, noodles, muffins, chicken, etc was just INFINITELY more exciting!

Eventually they paid a bit of attention, but it was incredibly anti-climactic! Avery was a bit hesitant at times, but did much better than we thought considering my once crazy-flirtatious social butterfly has developed a pretty significant bout of stranger anxiety. Perhaps the next time they meet Mickey & friends will be a bit more entertaining…. still, some cute shots!

After dinner, since the girls were doing well and we wanted to try to keep them up until bedtime (you know, if it wasn’t going to be too traumatic), we took the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom. BIG mistake. The crowds were, again, unblelievable. This should have been a slow time! We could hardly get through anywhere, a fact which was made infinitely worse by the spectacle that twins always are (seriously, you’d think they were uncommon) and then compounded by the side-by-side stroller and matching outfits. Don’t get me wrong, I think my girls are the cutest on the planet (as any mama should!) … but I’d still like to go about my merry way and don’t appreciate you stopping to stare while I’m trying to get to my castle and my first Dole Whip Pineapple Float in entirely too many months!

The Dole Whip was outstanding of course, but otherwise the night was a total disaster. We headed back to the room as quickly as we could, let the girls play for a while, then put them to bed. The TOTAL meltdown began at about 8:15pm and lasted several hours. The girls were honestly freaking out to the point that Elise almost required a breathing treatment. You can’t have an anxiety attack at 8 months old, but if you could I would be 100% sure they both were. The sleep totals for the day (from 4:30am-10:30pm) totaled right around 2 hours each, so I’m sure that was a major factor plus the fact that they were in a completely unfamiliar surrounding. We consoled them the best we could until they were just completely wiped out.

We obviously didn’t watch Illuminations (the Epcot fireworks) from our balcony. We didn’t unpack. We didn’t hang out, we didn’t talk, we didn’t figure out our plans for the next day. Instead, I bawled my eyes out and called around to discuss details that would be necessary in case we cut our trip short. As in 7 days short, and left the following day. Kyle – who is the most even-keeled person I know, namely because he has no emotions whatsoever ๐Ÿ˜‰ – was just about to freak out. If I could have videotaped the chaos that was in our room that night, you could have used it as a torture device somewhere. The girls fits resounded so loudly in that small room, and we were all so tired, that I was going absolutely bonkers. In the midst of it, I praised God that it wasn’t late at night and we shouldn’t have too many complaints from the neighbors. Still, my Happy Place had not made me the least bit happy, and this was even after having VERY low expectation for this trip. (I swear! :))

There were two more GIANT meltdowns in the middle of the night (one for each girl) that probably did wake the neighbors (sorry if you were one of them! ) and left me with about 2 hours of sleep and a frustrated mess, and left Kyle not much better off.

The trip would improve dramatically, but some time in the middle of that first night I just cried and prayed that we could actually “start” our vacation tomorrow, a bit more rested (although not well-rested by any means), and forget that this first day even happened.

I had considered embedding pictures in this posts here, but it just takes too long. I’d NEVER get caught up if I did that! Instead, I’ll send you a link. I’ve pared it down quite a bit from the amount I took, to where I think the ones left are all worthwhile! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will share one thing here, since it never works out right on other sites. Wasn’t our view gorgeous?! (Click to Enlarge. Hopefully.)

And the rest of the Day 1 Pictures. Just as an FYI, that’s a flickr slideshow. You can look at the pictures individually, but not very big. I’m evaluating paying for more space on picasa versus using flickr in the future, but I won’t know how I feel for a while. At least this way you can see the photos from each day, and eventually I’ll let you know where they are in case you want to look again! ๐Ÿ™‚

Comments

  1. I have to ask, did you take notes? I think I would have forgotten half of this detail by the second day ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sorry the first day was so rough bu I’m anxious to hear about the rest. You obviously stayed (unless you’ve been in hiding) so I’m assuming it got better. I’m on my BB and can’t see the picts but can’t wait to check them out tonight at the hotel.

  2. I took a few notes as to where we went, but not detailed ones. I have this strange ability to remember every detail of trips we take! ๐Ÿ˜›

    We did stay, it got much better each day!

  3. HOLY LONG POST! …but i read every word ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Ha! It was rather wordy, as I tried to warn you. The other place it is posted it’s broken up so it doesn’t look as bad! ๐Ÿ˜›