Orlando, here we are, not too much worse for wear.
After almost two solid days of packing (Amy’s bailiwick, not mine, she is far better at it than me) we actually found ourselves in bed at about 10 PM last night. We had said to ourselves that we didn’t want to start this vacation exhausted, and though we are tired, we did get a good night’s sleep.
Sunday morning dawned clear and cool after nearly three days of rain in the Valley. Surprisingly, all the kids awakened in good cheer, we had everyone dressed and ready to go by the promised shuttle arrival time. At least, we thought it was a shuttle, we had kept asking our Wish Granters for information about our transportation to the airport, all they would say was “oh, it’s a shuttle service that Make a Wish uses.”
Imagine Abby’s surprise when we opened the front door to a white vehicle that just didn’t seem to have an end to it! They had sent a limo to pick us up, complete with a tuxedoed driver who was most polite.
So began our adventure. Our Wish Granters met us at the airport, helped us with luggage, and stood by while we discovered that for some reason Southwest had Daniel’s name wrong on the itinerary. Sad commentary on the state of affairs here in the US—as passenger manifests are official documents subject to scrutiny by the FAA now, we had to correct it. In pre 9/11 days nobody would have cared—it’s not like we had ID for Daniel anyway. Southwest took care of it (after the poor ticket agent was on the phone with someone for a good 15 or 20 minutes), and we were soon at the gate after negotiating the zoo that is the modern security checkpoint.
Let me just say that the best part of traveling with small kids is PRE-BOARDING. We had everyone on board with boredom-reducing activities in hand before the flood of the remaining passengers on our very full flight.
All the kids did fantastic on the 4 hour flight, even Elizabeth, who started out a little crabby, but even took a 45 minute nap near the end.
A Give Kids the World volunteer met us at the Orlando airport, and even brought her two girls. Again, very sweet people who helped us with our luggage and filled us in on other fun things we might like to see while we are here. Unfortunately, we did arrive at Orlando short one of our pieces of luggage. As of 8:45 EST it still had not arrived. Our GKTW greeter, though, actually was also a Southwest employee, so we had an “in” as they looked for our luggage.
Currently we are short the kids pajamas and fresh underwear. (Update, the bag was delivered early in the morning. Whew).
GKTW is about 30 minutes from the airport. In the car you could tell that we all were getting a little worn out. Amy asked Daniel about halfway to the resort if he was tired. “No. I’m not tired”. “Are you going to take a little nap?” “No. I not.” 45 seconds later he was zonked. See picture at right.
However, we got checked in (Abby was presented with a stuffed Mickey dressed in the costume from the Wizard’s Apprentice segment of Fantasia, and the other kids each got a Shamu) without further incident, and headed to dinner, which GKTW provides for its guests on property. It was wonderful roast beef, mashed potatoes, salad, rolls, and hot dogs and macaroni and cheese for the kids. We were all really worn by the end of dinner.
Now they are all in bed. Sigh.