Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring Break - Day 3 April 17

We make sure to wake up earlier today – we’re having breakfast with the princesses in Epcot!! Plus it’s extra magic hours in the morning at Epcot, so we want to be sure we get in ahead of the crowd.

We arrive in plenty of time and make our way to Norway (where the restaurant for the Princess breakfast is). After we check in with the nice person at the front, we stand in line with C to have her picture taken with Belle. Belle in her yellow dress. And C in her yellow dress….it was very cute, how could we not buy the professional picture that the smiling man brought around to our table during breakfast?

During breakfast, C got to meet Cinderella (again!), Snow White, Sleeping Beauty (Aurora) and Mulan. I kept urging her to go up to Mulan and do the horse stance (hi-yah!) from karate, but C was scared Mulan would really do karate on her (since Mulan apparently has a black belt).

Breakfast itself was pretty good – semi-buffett (in which you got up and chose from a variety of fruits, some native Norwegian cheeses, smoked salmon, etc. but they also brought big platters of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes to the table as well).

After finishing breakfast we wandered around the World Showcase. D and C were on a mission to finish getting all the countries’ stamps on C’s mask, while I wanted to buy a present for my brother in one of the shops in Germany. We called it a day right after lunch (fish and chips in England) and decided to go to Typhoon Lagoon.

That was a mistake. Never go to the water parks in the afternoon. The lines for the rides weren’t horrible (by theme park standards anyway) but still long. And there weren’t a lot of chairs (definitely not two together)….Now, we love the water parks, so this was a bit disappointing for us. Especially C – she’s part fish, I think. We head back to the resort for a quick dinner at DTD and to re-group.

Dinner was a Wolfgang Puck Express – WOW that was an incredible meal. D and C went to the Once Upon a Toy store to get a Little Pony for C’s best friend, and I wandered around the World of Disney store. C was getting very cranky by this point, so we headed back to the room to call it a night.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spring Break Day 2 - April 16

C woke us up relatively early – 7 am-ish (she really is a semi-morning person, unfortunately!)….we stayed in bed a bit deciding what we should do (originally the plan was to go to Typhoon Lagoon, but the weather was a bit too chilly for that) and determined we’d go to Epcot.

We arrived at Epcot shortly after the gates opened. D ran to get us Fastpasses to Soarin’, while I arranged a stroller. (I know –C’s 5, she should walk, but trust me…it wouldn’t have been pretty if we made her walk all day). D came back to say that Soarin’ was down, but the Castmembers were giving out Fastpasses and we had some for around 1. Which was good – gave us time to wander around and look at all the pretty flowers and landscaping.

We went on the new Nemo and Friends ride in the Seas pavilion. That was pretty cool – C and I shared a clamshell, while D was behind us. The ride took us through parts of the aquarium, and some of the Nemo characters were actually shown in the aquarium.

And of course, my camera batteries died on me shortly thereafter. Since I didn’t bring any extra with me that day, I had to purchase them. Disney owes me a kiss at least, for what they charged me for stupid AA batteries! I don’t care that they were lithium. (I do have the rechargeable ones – next time I must remember to always pack them with me when we go someplace!!)

D and C go to an exhibit on vegetables and flowers while I hunted for the batteries. C got to decorate a box that the nice ladies put some flower seeds in for her to take home and plant. After finding them, we went to see if we could find “Tinkerbell’s Fairy Garden” on the path from Future World to the World Showcase. We did – it was a cute little area with a topiary Tinkerbell, a path to a playground for kids aged 2-5, little fairy houses scattered around, and a few tubes to climb through. C loved it! The only way we could get her to leave was to promise to go look for Minnie’s Butterfly Garden.

We spent some time wandering around the countries once the World Showcase opened. C got a mask and started collecting the stamps and other things that each country attaches to the mask in Mexico (after we rode their ride – which was ok, nothing to write home about). We ate lunch at the Mexican cantina, outside overlooking the lake, then went back to use our Fastpasses for Soarin’.

Fastpasses are so great. I don’t know why people stand in line (of course, maybe we tend to “do” the parks a little differently than other people). We got right to the beginning of the line for Soarin’ (a 60 minute wait at that point) and got ready to go on. Unfortunately, by the time we got to where the seating was lined up, we couldn’t all sit together. C and I got to sit in the first row (that goes up the highest) while D was two rows back. What a great ride! It really was like you were “flying” above California!

After that we caught a bus back to the resort for some pool time before dinner at Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom. Dinner itself wasn’t the greatest but worth it to be able to see C get to meet Cinderella.

She was pretty tired even though dinner was early, so we went back to the resort after dinner and tucked her in to bed.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spring Break Day 1 - April 15

Sunday started out dark and rainy. The phone rang with our wake up call at 5:45 am. We groaned, got ourselves up and ready, and headed out the door by 6:30 (we stayed at the Westin in Stamford that night, in order to be closer to the airport. The Heavenly beds? Not so much. Unless you like sleeping on a really soft bed. We don’t.)

We arrive at the White Plains airport and quickly find a parking space. Never having been in that particular airport, I was surprised at how small it is. Somehow I thought it was bigger. Only 2 gates! We made our way through security and waited for our flight to be called (it was still showing as “on time” on the monitors). Once our flight was called, we made our way to the gate and through the walkway, out onto the runway to get onto the plane (I felt like I was in one of those old movies where you see the actors walking up the stairs onto the plane). We get on, get ourselves settled, and get ready to take off.

Once we were mid-air and comfortably above the cloud layer (35,000 feet!) it was a nice ride. We watched the tvs Jet Blue so thoughtfully provides, and C watched old cartoons on some channel called Boomerang where she learned about Smurfs. Darn you Jet Blue! After landing safely and on time in Orlando we made our way to the Magic Express desk. Having used this service several times before, we knew to send either D or myself in line to have our paperwork verified while the other occupied C. C and I sat down in the chairs thoughtfully provided to wait for D to finish. It didn’t take him too long and we were off to wait in line for the bus to take us to

We changed into flip flops and headed to Downtown Disney (a short walk) for a quick lunch at the Earl of Sandwich. D wanted to look for shorts so I took C into the Once Upon A Toy store, where she discovered the stuff a box with My Little Pony way in the back (you get a box, and there’s a huge amount of outfits and accessories that are sized to fit the My Little Pony you also have to stuff in the box (I guess you don’t actually have to include the pony if you’re like us and have twenty of them at home already, but then they aren’t Disney My Little Pony).

Dinner was at the Turf Club and Grille right at the resort. YUM. D had a mint julep (in keeping with the horse-y theme) and I had something called a Side-bet (which was dark rum with oj and something else and delicious and if C wasn’t there I would have moved outside and enjoyed several more of them on the patio). After dinner we changed into our swimsuits and went swimming (we had packed our swimsuits in our carryon since the luggage tends to take a little longer getting to you when you use the Magic Express. All our luggage had arrived by the time we were heading to dinner. The groceries were another story).

After swimming, we went back and got C to sleep. The nice thing about the one bedroom was that while she went to sleep in the bedroom, D and I could still watch tv in the living room. When we were ready for bed, he opened up the sleeper sofa and carried her there.
She woke us up the next morning, ready to go to Epcot.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

And, we're back....

We're back!! We made it out ok on Sunday morning (thank you Jet Blue!) and considering the weather up and down the entire East Coast (with tornado watches thrown in for effect in FL) it wasn't a bad flight. I've had worse with better weather. The big sigh of relief came mid-air while watching the Weather Channel on the tv (again, thank you Jet Blue for the distraction of satellite tv in flight!) seeing that there were 4 hour delays already from the various NY airports.

We landed uneventfully and had the quickest trip from the airport to the World - while checking us in for the "Magic Express" service, D learned that the reason it wasn't busy was that many flights up and down the coast had been delayed/cancelled.

I'll post a more thorough report later in the week (weather was incredible - sunny and high 70's/low 80's most of the week) but want to ask one question: WHY, if I did laundry twice during our trip, is there still mountains of laundry to do now?? WHY?

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Rainbows and Unicorns

All is rainbows and unicorns now. It would be puppies too, except the puppies imagery is being reserved until Sunday turns out ok.

I know Jet Blue has gotten a bad rep lately, but after waiting on hold for 15 minutes, I was able to change our flight on Sunday to an earlier time. And an entirely different airport! For no charge! So instead of leaving at 11:40am from JFK, we're leaving at 8:55am from White Plains.

And Teresa from Jet Blue tells me the storm isn't really supposed to get bad until Sunday evening (I'll reserve judgement on that)...

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We leave Sunday. Right now in the middle of the country is a storm taking shape...guess where it's tracking to be on Sunday?!

Add to that the fact I've not yet started packing, tomorrow is fully booked with normal Saturday craziness, and ARGH!!!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Leavin' on a jet plane

We’re heading back to Florida for Spring Break next week. C’s, not mine. We’ll be spending some time in the house of mouse (our first visit “home” after our purchase of the Disney time share). We made the mistake of telling C we’re going. It has to be hard to be 5 – a week must feel like a year to her.

She’s been busy packing for her trip – she has a very small Princess wheelie suitcase, an Ariel backpack, and a small rolling suitcase that was part of a set we have. So far she’s packed:

• Ducks and a whale, for her bath tub time
• 2 swimsuits
• A wand and a crown “for when she meets the Princesses”
• Band-aids (“because I have a cut on my finger, mom”)
• 2 DVDs – Spongebob and Barbie
• 4 pairs of underwear
• A doll dressed like Minnie Mouse
• An Ariel doll

Each day she adds something else that she "just can't leave home without". Although, I have to give her credit. I don't think I would have packed my own suitcase at her age. I'd have left it up to my mom to do.

Next time somebody remind us not to tell her until the day before we leave?

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter - full of chocolate bunnies, peanut butter eggs and everything good.

The Easter bunny left tracks!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

High Stakes Weekend

This weekend was unusual. Unusual in what way? Glad you asked. Oh sure, we still had to do the running around to karate and swimming and a hair cut for C, but Saturday night was going to be different.

Oh wonderful Saturday night. A night that used to contain such promise, such excitement. Usually Saturday nights are spent on the couch, maybe some wine involved, probably me falling asleep and D telling me to go upstairs because I’m snoring.

This Saturday night we had made arrangements for C to go to her friend’s house while D and I went to her school’s silent auction fundraiser. I didn’t have the highest hopes, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was held at a banquet place not far from home, and after dropping off C we weren’t horribly late (more like fashionably late).

We check in to get our table assignment (table 16 – like the organizers somehow knew we should be in back!) (and of course, it would have made too much sense to organize the list of attendees alphabetically so it took two people about 3 minutes longer than it should have to find our names) and a program. There were two auctions – the silent auction and a live auction.

Dinner was to be held in one room, and the silent auction items (over 150!) were in another. Wait staff walked around passing hot hors d’oeuvres. Conversation was a dull roar. Adult beverages were plentiful. No one ran around bumping into people or things!

D and I agreed on a basic strategy. We’d get a glass of wine, wander around and look at all the items. Then we’d decide what we’d like to bid on (if anything). Now, I’m a gambler. I mean, even insurance is gambling (the customer is betting he’s going to have a loss, I’m betting he’s not) if you want to look at it that way. So you can probably see what’s coming, right?

There were only 4 sets of parents from C’s class in attendance. Two of the moms are ones who spend a lot of time with the class, doing creative stuff and helping out…Since they donate their time, it’s only right I donate money, right?

Each class had put together a basket of items for the silent auction. C’s class did “Reading is Fun – Classic and Award Winning Children’s Books”. The opening bid was a bit high, but nowhere near the actual cost of the basket and items (seeing as we had to send in $10 to fund the basket, and there’s 19 kids in the class, you can do the math). It wouldn’t do to not bid on that, so I quickly wrote my name and the minimum bid.

The teachers and staff each contributed things, and there were three baskets full of fun things. One basket in particular seemed to have a lot of Disney related items in it, so I wrote my name and the minimum bid. There was a beautiful basket that was referred to in the auction catalog as “Let’s play dress up” - 2 children’s gowns, tiara, jewelry, and a jewelry armoire. The gowns (what we could make out from the tulle the basket was wrapped in) were exquisite – almost too good for dress up. D thought C would absolutely love that, so more writing. I (unbeknownst to D) bid on a package that included 2 passes to Lake Compounce (I figured since I knew I wanted to go this summer at least once, why not get the school some benefit too?). We bid on a table and chair set that was painted prettily with dragonflies….we bid on a wall hanging and fireplace thing. Dangerous, I know…

Bids were sealed at 7:00 pm and dinner was served. We were seated, in the back with other kindergartners’ parents (we knew everyone already, from birthday parties and D’s having grown up in town). After dinner, the live auction started. There were some really cool things being auctioned off (I’m not talking about the golf or dinner with the priests) – there were things like a ride to school on a fire truck, or a garbage truck (insert obligatory Teamster joke here – we did!), mayor for the day, different kinds of birthday parties (at the fire house, a CSI party at the police station, princess, spa, etc.)…

The evening ended around 11:15, at which point we had to settle up. We had successfully bid on five items (one during the live auction – a pair of sunglasses that no one had bid on during the silent auction – I just wanted the evening to end).

C slept over her friend’s house (her first sleepover!) so you would think I slept really well once we got home. Not! I kept waking up thinking something was missing. So, I can’t win.

Now I just have to convince more parents to come with us next year and have even more fun!

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