Although the official start to our trip was off to a VERY rocky start (see my last FB post before we got on our way), we got on the road right on schedule – 3am.
I had decided on this time because 1) I’m usually woken up by Emelyn at this time anyway for one of her marathon nursing sessions and 2) It would be easier on us all to drive through the night so the kids would sleep. I actually got up around 2:45 because I wasn’t sleeping well, got ready, loaded the car and woke up Wade. We grabbed the kids, loaded them into the car and headed out exactly at 3am. After one little mishap of missing the first exit we had to take, I had one terrifying experience while driving over the new Twin Span when a truck came speeding up behind me without slowing down one bit, he came within a couple of feet from hitting the back of our car and I hit the gas to try and avoid getting hit. I’m not sure what was happening b/c I was in the slow lane and there was no one else on the road, so I don’t know why he didn’t go around me. It was almost as if he didn’t even see me there, it was so scary, my adrenaline was flowing for a while after that! The drive from then on was uneventful. By 3:45 we were out of New Orleans and Emelyn woke up and fussed a little off and on from 4-6, but she went right back to sleep. Around 6am we were driving through Pensacola and there was the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen – the clouds looked like they were on fire. I wished I had my camera, but I was driving and it was all the way in the back of the car. The gas light came on about 6:30, so we headed to the closest Cracker Barrel for our first stop. Right about 7am, Emelyn and Hayden woke up and we arrived at CB for breakfast!
Breakfast was pretty quick and painless – the kids and I browsed the store, used the restroom and I changed Emelyn (twice). We all enjoyed our meal and after a stop at the gas station, were back on the road by 7:45 with Wade driving.
Here are the kid settled in for another long leg of our drive …
Emelyn fell back asleep a short time later and Hayden did some coloring. She woke up and shortly after this picture was taken (notice the face), we had to stop for a diaper change …
All smiles once we were back on the road!
Toys, cheerios and a few minutes of a Baby Einstein video kept her entertained for a little while, but by 11 am she was screaming and ready for a break. We stopped at Xaxby’s (yuck) for lunch.
Wade got us back on the road about noon and the kids took another nap … the GPS had our arrival time at about 2:15 so we had just a little bit longer to go! I read and played Dream Day Wedding for a bit and tried to sleep a little. Hayden got a little rest …
At 2:30 (after a one hour time change) we began to see the signs!!
I’ll stop here to give a review of the hotel and stroller rental company. I’m going to be making a copy of this trip report onto a Disney forum so I want to be sure to do reviews, if you aren’t interested, just skip down a bit :-)
The Ramada was a very large hotel, a convention center, actually. When we first walked in, I was impressed and thought it would be fairly nice. It only cost us $35 a night going through Travelocity and I wasn’t really concerned about how nice it was because it was just for the night before we checked into All Star Movies the next morning. The lobby was really nice and very pretty, the staff was really nice and got us checked in quickly. Our room was around the left side and to the back and once we headed that way, it was apparent that this hotel was a bit run-down and not busy at all. There were very few cars in the parking lot and most rooms seemed empty. Our room was just a typical room. It was clean enough, but run-down and not very nice. The light in the bathroom didn’t work so I had to shower in the dark, but since it was just for the night, I didn’t bother calling maintenance. It was fine for the night, but I wouldn’t stay here for an extended amount of time.
I can’t say enough about Orlando Stroller Rental! It was so painless and convenient to use them and we really loved the City Mini Double Jogger that we rented through them. About 2 weeks before the trip, I got nervous about rain and contacted them about a rain cover, which they easily added to our rental for an additional $10. That made the total rental for the week about $100, which is a great deal considering the Disney strollers are about $30 a day, have to stay in the parks and do not recline! The stroller was plenty big enough, even for Hayden who is about 41 inches tall and 40 pounds. He loved it and hardly got out of it all week, he napped in it a few times as well. I highly recommend this company for anyone looking for a rental stroller in the area! Wade hated the stroller because it was a bit big and a pain on the buses, but truthfully, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been for a double jogger. There were two straps right on the seats that you grab and pull up on and the stroller bends in half. It fit fine on the buses, but we always tried to sit on the row of seats by the wheelchair ramp so there was room for people to pass us. You also have to make sure there isn’t anything in the seat pockets because it would fall out. If it was in the basket under the seat, it stayed in just fine. There are no cup holders on the stroller, but you can purchase them. I just used these No Throw cup holders to keep the kids sippie cups attached and they worked fine. I also brought along a stroller hook to hang bags from the handle, which we used for our large backpack most of the time. There aren’t any cup holders for adult drinks either, but we usually didn’t mind that.
So, back to the report … the kids and I had no interest in sitting in the room while Wade watched the Saints game, so we freshened up and headed to Downtown Disney for some shopping. I wanted to get the kids’ Mickey ears so we didn’t waste time at Magic Kingdom on that as well as to get Hayden a shirt to wear for his birthday. My first glimpse of Disney was the Mickey sign above and yes, I got all teary eyed and super excited! I told Hayden I was going to cry, I was so excited and he got upset. I told him they were happy tears :-) I was finally in DISNEY WORLD!!!
We had no problem parking at DTD, we got a spot only about 2 rows from the entrance, close to the toy store. Hayden was really excited and asked me to snap some photos of him:
It took me a little while to figure out where to go to get the hats, but it was a little store across from the Christmas store and next to Design A T. I think it was called Wonderful World of Memories? Anyway, Hayden decided he wanted to create his own hat and a really sweet Cast Member helped him do it. I really wanted him to get a traditional black one, but he wanted to make one himself and they were out of the black caps, so he chose a sparkly gold one LOL. He also picked out some red holographic ears and a Sorcerer Mickey patch. I picked the traditional pink infant Minnie ears for Emelyn and had their names embroidered on it.
While we waited for them to put on the names, we headed to Design-a-T to do Hayden’s birthday shirt. He and Emelyn are having a Mickey / Minnie party and she has a cute Minnie dress so I wanted Hayden to have something special to wear as well. I let him choose everything and the touch-screen process was super simple to do. I had heard that this store could get crazy and crowded, but there were several computers open and we walked right up to one. Hayden chose a red t-shirt with Mickey holding up a birthday cake. There were tons of categories and characters to choose from for graphics as well as several different size and color shirts. You get to choose up to (4?) lines of text on the shirt so we put “It’s my birthday!” curved over the top of Mickey and “Hayden” printed below it. The shirts take an hour, so we headed out to explore the rest of DTD. We walked through World of Disney, but it was so big and the stroller was kind of hard to maneuver through it. We did manage to choose something for Ethan, my nephew and Hayden picked out a big bucket of Toy Story aliens for himself. We also managed to lose one of Emelyn’s sandals in there, but it was just too big of a store to back-track and attempt to find it.
I was getting tired and hungry, so we stopped by Wetzels Pretzels for a snack. I LOVE fresh, soft pretzels, so I got 2 – one for me and one for the kids to share. I also got a strawberry-kiwi granita. Both the pretzels and the drink were delicious, definitely hit the spot! We sat in a little concert area by WOD and ate our snack while soaking in the Disney atmosphere. This was the first of many snacks Emelyn would eat for the first time during the week :-)
By this time, it was time to pick up the shirt and I was getting tired and hot. I had planned to meet up with a friend here, so I texted to find out where they were and let her know we were in town. We picked up the shirt and headed back to hotel to see if Wade wanted to get something to eat and come with us to meet up with them.
We headed back to DTD around 6:15 and met up with Stephanie, Craig, Kyleigh and a sleeping CJ. Stephanie and I met through a mommy board way back when we were pregnant for Hayden and Kyleigh. Once the babies were born, for one of our first exchanges, Hayden and Kyleigh were paired up, so we had joked that she would be Hayden’s girlfriend. I never expected to have an opportunity to meet them in real life, but when we realized we would be in Disney at the same time, we said we would try to meet up. I was really excited to meet Stephanie and Kyleigh after “knowing” them online for over 4 years! The kids immediately hit it off, it was so cute! Kyleigh asked to hold Hayden’s hand and they didn’t let go practically the whole rest of the night.
I’m so upset that I only got a couple of photos of them together and they didn’t turn out well. It was dark and I didn’t have my flash plus I was carrying Emelyn, so trying to shoot one-handed with a very heavy camera isn’t easy.
After walking around a bit, we decided to get something to eat since we hadn’t had dinner yet. We went to Earl of Sandwich where I had the meatball sub, which I thought was really yummy. We hung out and talked with Stephanie and her family for a little while then Emelyn started to break down a bit and we decided we should probably head home. We talked about trying to meet up later in the week, but we already had our schedules made up and weren’t going to be in the same parks on any day. After saying good-bye, we stopped by Once Upon a Toy for some pictures:
Emelyn loved Potato Head during this trip … she stared at this one and when we saw the moving, talking one at Toy Story Mania, she kept craning her neck all around trying to watch him while we waited in line.
This is when I noticed the huge bin of Mr. Potato Head stuff and remembered reading something on Disboards about a bucket that you could stuff with parts for $20. So we grabbed the big potato bucket and Hayden started throwing parts in it, then I had the thought to confirm how much it was. I asked the CM and turns out, its $49.95 … ooops. Wade and I looked at each other, then looked down at Hayden running around the store, filling up the bucket and Wade said, “Let’s just get it.” So we stuffed it as much as we could with Potato Head parts. All of the stuff is so cute … everything from Darth Vader to Cruella Deville and its all be scattered across the living room since we got home.
On the way out, we passed the Lego store and Wade wanted a photo of the lagoon monster ….
And that was the end of our first day at Disney …. what would we do next? Where would we go in the morning? Would Hayden enjoy the rides? Would Emelyn like the characters?