Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Okay, so finally I am getting a chance to sit down and blog. My gosh, I miss y'all! On the way to town this morning Paul said, "Are you ever gonna blog?" I found this rather interesting considering that he really couldn't give a rat's patootie about my blog normally, so I asked him why he was worried about my blog. He said, "Well, the girls at work have been telling me to tell you to get busy!" So, I guess my fame has stretched out as far as Buffalo Run Casino.

DISCLAIMER: This post is long, full of pictures and if you're on a slow dial-up connection, it may very well make your computer cry. Welcome to my world.


Trying to sleep
Here's a shot of the family trying desperately to sleep at the airport Tuesday night. With the Ice Age that arrived days before the trip we were worried about the roads to Kansas City. We left the house around 6:30pm and after dinner at McDonald's headed north. We got to the airport around 11pm and since we had to be at the airport by 6 to get checked in we decided not to get a hotel room for just a few hours. We took over a row of chairs in front of United's desk and made camp. Tater and I, on one of our many walks, saw a real live homeless person seeking refuge in the nice warm airport. We live rather sheltered lives, obviously. I think everyone managed to grab some sleep except for me. I tried studying my Psychology, but it made my eyes cross and my brain ache, so I read my new Stephen King book instead.

Our flight went out at 8:05am and at 5:30 the really nice airplane lady saw us all sitting there blearly-eyed, waiting patiently while the folks flying out 5 minutes before us checked in and told us to go ahead and get in line. We checked our luggage, sent it off to be x-rayed and inspected, grabbed a few Cinnabon and then headed to the gate. (Cinnabon is very much overrated, by the way. Bleh. I belched that thing until bedtime.) My two eldest kids have always been notorious at getting car sick, so I doped my three up on Dramamine 30 minutes before we boarded. Ah, sweet peace, they slept most of the way to D.C. Well, they slept until the excruciating pain in their ears caused them to wake up crying. That was fun. No amount of yawning and gum-chewing helped, bless their hearts. The flight from D.C. to Orlando was pretty much the same - more dozing, more crying.

By the time we got to the airport we were all short with each other, the kids were whiny and I just wanted to sleeeeeeeep. We had park tickets for that day, but it was decided that we would not be visiting any. How much fun would that be, dragging 5 exhausted, whiny kids around. Instead, we did what any warm-blooded, redneck family would do - we visited the arcade in the lobby of the hotel. In case I haven't mentioned it here before, we all have mad skeeball skillz.

Kady and Paul playing PacMan

Kady honed her skillz at Ms. PacMan - guess she's decided to go her own way.

Mater! Thursday morning, after sleeping in a little bit, we went to Disney-MGM Studios. It's my favorite. Yes (gasp) even more favorite than Magic Kingdom. The first thing the kids wanted to ride was Star Tours. Just as we were heading toward the line, the nice dude said, "Y'all might not want to get in line just yet." Then he pointed behind us to where Lightning McQueen and Mater were driving out onto the street. You have never seen 9 happier people. Okay, well maybe Mom didn't get as excited as the rest of us, but I thought Sam was going to pee his pants. We ended up walking down the street behind the Cars, just like we were their own personal bodyguards or something.
Paul and Lightning McQueen Paul had to get his picture taken, too. Oh and just in case you don't want to magically embiggen the picture by clicking on it, his shirt says "May the horse be with you. -- Master Yodel" I got it when we saw Riders in the Sky at Silver Dollar City last fall. All day long everyone commented on that shirt, even the Storm Trooper noticed it.
Storm trooper When we tried to get back on Star Tours after seeing our favorite Cars, we noticed that indeed a Storm Trooper was outside the entrance. Then after getting a few autographs and pictures, we noticed Darth Vader standing off to the side. This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip:
Kady and Darth When she walked away, she turned around to look back at him again and said, "Oh, Momma! He was so tall!!"

We made the kids ride the Tower of Terror later in the morning. Yes, we made them all ride it once. I knew that chances were they would love it. Sam wanted to cry so bad and Kady actually did - before the ride ever started. The second they closed the elevator door, Kady went to sobbing. I was in the seat behind her and could do nothing. Thankfully Grammy was with her and managed to keep her from totally wigging out. It did take awhile for the crying to stop afterwards, though. But when it was all said and done, though, Abby and Sam LOVED it and wanted to ride it again. The second time, Mom sat out with Kady and TotTwo while the rest of us rode. After that, Paul was done. He gets motion sick really easy. Unfortunately, the Rockin' Roller Coaster was down for repairs that day, but when we went back on Tuesday it was running and Paul, Tater and I rode it many, many times.

One of the high points for the kids was the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground thing. I, personally, loathed it passionately, but it let the kids run out some energy.
That gigantic ant chittered constantly though and it totally gave me the heebiejeebies.

When we left the playground we happened upon oh, yes, THE POWER RANGERS!
The amazing SPD Red Ranger By the time we got out there, though, they were called away on a mission, but the cast member said if we came back about 15 minutes before they were due back, she'd get us a spot at the front of the line for the Red Ranger. She was true to her word and here he is in all his glory. The kids were mesmerized. Mom, Tater and I couldn't help but whisper and giggle about his um....well, bulging um....secret weapon. Wow....he was endowed. Or else the Red Ranger stuffs his drawers with a sock. Either way, it kept us entertained while the kids got his autograph.

We also saw JoJo and Goliath, which made one particular 5 year old extremely happy. She was in absolute awe of that big lion.
Jojo and Goliath When we had lunch later that day at "Dance and Dine at Hollywood and Vine" she got to dance with JoJo and Goliath again, as well as Leo and June from Little Einsteins. The bigger kids didn't really enjoy it that much, but Kady and I had a blast.

Sam and Mr. Incredible
Before we went in to draw with a Disney artist, we saw Mr. Incredible and the kids lined up to get his autograph and picture.
Incredible! So did Paul. He was more excited than the kids.

Friday we went to Magic Kingdom. I ran around the corner ahead of the kids and snapped a picture of them in that moment when they first laid eyes on Cinderella's castle. Then I cried.
First glimpse of the castle It was pure magic.

The first thing we did was Stitch's Great Escape. The kids hated it and I have to admit, so did I. Paul said he gagged when Stitch burped chilidog in his face. I knew it was coming and held my breath. I guess I just forgot to tell him. My bad. When we entered the shop after that ride, Sam found the ears he'd been looking for - Goofy pirate ears. Ever since he saw a picture of Cousin Stacey in hers, he's been wanting some. Isn't he just adorable?

Our first princess sighting was when we went behind the castle and came across a little stage show. The kids danced and we thought that was it until one of the cast members looked straight at Paul and I and said, "And look! Two of the kingdom's most royal people decided to visit with us today!" Well, I thought that my fame had preceded me, but then Prince Philip and Princess Aurora walked up behind us. I'm just glad I didn't bow to my subjects or anything.
Princess Aurora and Prince Philip

It got warm later and we got the kids ice cream, but had to keep an eye on the skies. There are some seriously militant seagulls down on the boardwalk. While we were walking to the Hall of Presidents we watched one swoop down and snatch a hot dog right out of a woman's hand. We kept telling the kids to eat fast so no one would end up injured.

That night was our Grand Gathering at the Odyssey restaurant at Epcot. If you go to WDW in a large group, I highly recommend the Grand Gathering. We ate from a gigantic buffet with foods from every country at Epcot, plus prime rib to die for. There was a separate buffet for the kids, complete with PB&J and mac and cheese. We were treated to the musical stylings of TJ the DJ and Aunt Roz emceed. Then, much to our surprise, Goofy and Minnie showed up to party with us after dinner! Here's Goofy leading the Conga line:
Conga, Goofy, conga!

And because Paul was way ahead of me in character pictures, I got mine snapped with 'em:
Me with Minnie and Goofy

After dinner, the guests at the Grand Gathering were escorted out to a private patio to view the Illuminations fireworks show. We were also treated to desserts and plenty of them. This is one of about 5 tables laid out for us.

The next day we visited Animal Kingdom, my least favorite of all the parks. We rode Dinosaur! and the kid nearly wet themselves. Only Abby was tall enough to ride the Triceratop Spin so we didn't do much there. We got in line for Expedition Everest, but as we got close to the building they clicked the wait time up to 70 minutes and we decided that no ride was worth that, especially since one adult had to sit out with Kady because she was too short. We did see Lilo and Stitch, though, and that was uber cool.
Lilo and Stitch Kady was wearing her Lilo shirt that day and while Stitch mimed playing a guitar, Lilo danced for her. She was giddy. We also watched The Festival of the Lion King, which was something I wasn't looking all that forward to, but after seeing it....oh my gosh, it was amazing. After watching the monkeys do all kind of acrobatics, Sam said he's going to work harder in gymnastics from now on because he wants to work there when he grows up.

The next day, Sunday, was my birthday. I donned my "Because I'm the Queen - that's why" shirt, Mom got me a button that declared my birthdayness to everyone and we headed into the Magic Kingdom. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times that day - "Happy Birthday, Kristin!"

We stood in line 45 minutes to see Belle, Cinderella and a "mystery" guest who turned out to be Snow White. They were utterly amazing and wonderful and magical and precious. All three girls were nearly mute because they were so enthralled. I, of course, cried. After signing autographs and posing for pictures, Cinderella asked if we would like to see her slippers.
Cinderella's slippers Yep, I cried then, too.

We also saw The Mouse that day, down in Toon Town. When he saw my shirt, he bowed. Even The Greatest Mouse of All Time recognized my queenly birthdayness. That rocked.

The Queen and Mickey
For dinner that night we had reservations at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Hotel. Ohhh, that buffet was amazing. Again, prime rib that would melt in your mouth. We ate until we were stuffed on food and characters. Chefs Mickey, Goofy, Pluto and Donald, plus Waitress Minnie come around to the tables in shifts and pose for pictures. The kids grooved on that. So did Mom.

By Monday Paul was feeling his age (the ol' fart) and opted to stay in the room all day while we frollicked at Epcot. The first thing we did was visit Innoventions, where the kids made recycled paper.

They also played a few video games -
Video games rock, even on vacation

- and I made a replica of an aspirin molecule. Abby was so utterly mortified by the fact that I was intent on buildling a molecule in a kids' exhibit. The embarrassment continued when I insisted that she hold it up for me so I could take a picture of my work.
Aspirin molecule

That night we went to Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks show. When Tinker Bell flew out of the castle, guess what - I cried. Betcha didn't see that one coming, didja?

Tuesday, after Paul had recuperated the entire previous day, we all 9 headed back to MGM. We were walking down Main Street when we heard what sounded like a high school marching band. Lo and behold, it was a HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL PEP RALLY PARADE!!!!
WILDCATS, LET'S GO! Abby nearly fainted.

That day was just gratuitous roller coaster and ride riding, character sightings and utter fun. Kady and I separated from the group at one point so that we could go see Playhouse Disney On Stage. It kind of seemed to aggravate the others, but I do not regret taking her to see it. She was on cloud 9.
Playhouse Disney on Stage

We also found out what time Ron Stoppable and Kim Possible were going to be signing autographs and we staked a claim 30 minutes ahead of time. I am a big KP fan, so it was rather exciting for me. This picture is just of the kids and the two teenage crime-fighters, but there is one with Paul and I as well. I don't think it's going to be posted. It'll probably surface someday if I decide to run for political office. We were supposed to be posing like super heros, but I got the giggles and instead look like I'm having a seizure.

Those two could've very well been the real deal. Especially Ron. His voice was just like the cartoon character's. They were so sweet and really joked around with the kids.

The next day was our last day and we started it with a Princess breakfast at the Ackershus in Epcot's Norway. The food was only so-so, but the Princesses didn't disappoint. We saw Belle, Aurora, Snow White, Mulan and Jasmine.
Princess Jasmine

After breakfast we rode Test Track a few more times, talked to Crush the sea turtle (which was so incredibly amazing I'm still wondering how they do it), then Mom took the kids to "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" while Tater, Paul and I went to Mission: Space. I could ride that ride a hundred times a day. If I had one in my backyard, right next to my very own Tower of Terror, I'd be a happy woman indeed.

After Epcot, we went over to Animal Kingdom because as of yet we still hadn't ridden Expedition Everest. Paul sat out with Kady and the 7 of us ended up riding it 4 times in a row before we decided we were running out of time. We grabbed a quick lunch at Restaurantasaurus and while we ate it started raining. And raining. And raining. We left Animal Kingdom and got in line to go to MGM again. Paul and Abby were tired of the rain and just plain tired and cranky, so they went back to the hotel. Mom took TotOne and Sam on Tower of Terror one more time, we did some wet shopping and then reluctantly left the park for the last time.

We're already planning to go again before the end of the year.

Yes, seriously.

(A tip: If you go, definitely definitely definitely get the Disney Dining Plan. You will eat until you are tired of eating. We all packed suitcases full of snacks and ended up bringing most of it home. For each day you are in park you get one snack, one counter service meal and one sit-down dinner. AND each meal comes with not only the main course, but an appetizer and dessert. We left every restaurant absolutely miserable. Even the counter service meals, like at Restaurantasaurus which had McDonald's food, was so much food we took our desserts home with us. Totally worth the money!)


Melessa Gregg said...

OK, now I'm crying too. I'm glad you all had such a great trip! Now I want to go back.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, this is one of the box office girls (Donna) We enjoy your blog....Paul told us about it and we check it often and couldn't wait for the Disney pics....He is a mess...We like the mouse story, I told him he was mean to call you guys weenies, He said"They are weenies".....Well just thought I would say Hi....Keep up the good work

Carrie said...

I also hated Stitch's Great Escape!! It was just downright stupid if you ask me. The Carousel of Progress was also a little stupid. The song they played in it still haunts me, too. I think my favorite part (besides the parades and fireworks and ears that I still wear) would be the Philharmagic show. Did you get to see that? Steve and I both loved it! It was so amazing!

Anonymous said...

You don't know me- I found your blog by a search. I of course had to read your blog because I two am a disney fan. It's my favorite place- I would go there many times a year if I could. I often joke with my boyfriend- that I would live there if I could! =) Reading your blog made me soooo excited because I'm planning another trip right now to. Not until the end of the year- december or the January- end of the first week- into second is my favorite time to go- its not busy at all with little to NO lines, the weather is nice,and there still is lights up and stuff from Christmas. I would love to share helpful information or thoughts with you on disney. This year I am trying the disney dining. If you have any helpful advice or good thoughts about disney- please feel free to email me at Thanks for sharing your trip! =)

Anonymous said...

this is random, but you don't know me either... i just stumbled across this blog, and it was about Disney World, so i read it :). i'm 16, and just recently went to Disneyworld for the first time with my mom. you sound very similar to me. I cried quite a few times. I was so excited to meet the characters - like, butterflies in my stomach when i was going to meet peter pan, who has been the love of my life since... forever.

anyway, your blog was fun to read. thanks! :)

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Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...