Saturday, June 13, 2015

Vacation Hangover

So here's the thing about vacations - you wait for months, counting down the days, weeks, and hours until it's time to leave.

And then you are filled with anticipation during the flight - or very long road trip as it was - until you reach your destination.

You've made it! You can smell the salty sea breeze and hear the waves crashing on the shore.

And for the first day or so time moves at a leisurely pace. You wake up with the sunrise (or at least you do at the Outer Banks) and you sip your coffee on the deck of your beach house as you watch dolphins play in the surf.

Seafood is consumed by the bucket. Drinks of the day are made. Suntans are earned. Seashells are collected.

And then JUST LIKE THAT it's the day before your last day and you try in vain to fit in EVERYTHING you need or want to do.

And BAM! The vacation you waited a year for is over. Done. Finished. One for the memory books.

The suitcases are packed. The cars are packed. Tears are shed. And you drive away from your beach house starting the countdown for the next time you get to call that house "home" for a week.

And now, it's time for the vacation hangover to start.

The drive home is long and quiet. There's no excitement in the air. The suitcases are filled with dirty laundry.

But oh the memories.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Disney Dining Adventures

So today was THE DAY.

Today was the 180 day mark for making Advance Dining Reservations for our Thanksgiving week vacation at Walt Disney World Resort.

For those of you who are wondering what the heck I'm talking about...if you want to eat at a "table service" (sit down) restaurant during your Disney vacation you better call at 180 days out to make a reservation or you'll go hungry.

Or something like that.

So being the good Disney planner that I am...I was up at 5 a.m. 5:45 a.m. ready to attempt to use the online booking system to make ADRs for our party of 10.

Notice that I said "attempt" -- this is because the online reservation system is a hot failure. I spent an hour online trying to book ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING and I got nowhere. Every time I found something and tried to choose that time frame the website did nothing.

And so...I had to call the phone reservation system at 7 a.m. - and sit on hold for 20 minutes.

Thankfully the agent I finally spoke with was Disney-smart and very helpful and we managed to find good dining options and times for the Chaos Party of 10 vacation.

We didn't get everything we wanted. 'Ohana was booked until our last day when I managed to get an early dinner. Thanksgiving dinner will be at Chef Mickey's (instead of Whispering Canyon Cafe) because that's all I could get. There was NO HOPE of getting into Be Our Guest so I said "screw it."

All in all it was a less-than-magical morning but at least it's done and we have reservations.

Now to wait until September to make our FastPass+ reservations - I'm sure that'll be just as insane.

Monday, April 13, 2015

And the OBX Trip Planning Continues

This June will be our second (consecutive) family trip to the OBX.

Last year we rented a beach house from Carolina Designs Realty and we loved it so much that we re-booked it before we even left the beach!

 So you could say that the 2014 trip was a "training exercise" for Chaos Party of 10. We did some things right and we didn't some not-so-right things.

One of the things we did sort of right was visiting our local Sam's Club and buying some things in "bulk" for the house.

These items include: liquid hand soap (our beach house has about 8 bathrooms so this is a necessity), Kleenex (again, see the number of bathrooms), and some snacks for both at the beach house and in the car. We made the mistake of buying toilet paper at Sam's last year and it barely fit in the car. So this year...we'll be waiting to buy that.

Since we're driving over the course of two days to get to the OBX we'll need some "car snacks" and we have to covered (sort of).

One thing we did "wrong" last year was eat out almost every single night. Not sure what the hell we were thinking (other than the OBX is full of amazing places to eat!) but this year we'll be eating out only twice and cooking the other nights at the beach house.

I mean the house has an amazing kitchen so we might as well use it.

So this time around we're creating menus for lunch and dinner. So far the list is "surf and turf night" with steaks and a Steamer Pot (from Mulligans!), pasta night, taco night, and grill night. We also have plans to eat at Awful Arthur's because it's just damn amazing.

We also bought so much booze last year that we had to get a permit to drive it back to the beach house. No joke.

This year in an effort to avoid the need for transportation permits we're also creating a daily drink menu with the necessary ingredients.

Which brings me to my "vacation planning notebook." Yep, that's right. I bought a notebook where we're keeping all the lists, menus, shopping lists, reservations, and more. For the OBX and for the Disney trip in November. (And for the cruise next June but we won't talk about that right now. Wink, wink).

It's almost time to start creating the "OBX Pile" on the dining room table. That's where all the things I need to pack will be collected until I actually start packing. There is a method to my madness. Really.

And now, I have to go make some more lists. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

And...I'm back

OK honestly.

This poor blog.

I need to start paying more attention to this little ol' blog that is so very neglected.

And as luck would have it, I have three HUGE trips planned in the next 12 months! I know, crazy...right?

First up, the Party of 10 is headed back to the Outer Banks for the second year in a row. We've rented a gorgeous beach house in Nags Head and it's gonna be amazing.

Then, the Party of 10 is heading to Walt Disney World for Thanksgiving! Yep...I'm finally going to see Cinderella Castle all decked out in the twinkling holiday lights.

And finally, next June the Party of 10 is boarding Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas for a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise.


What does this mean for the blog? Well...I'm going to TRY and document all these travel adventures here.

Oh and in case you're wondering who the Party of 10's my family! My, Kevin, the kids, my sister and her husband and kids, and my parents.

We call ourselves "Chaos Party of 10." Trust me when I say the name fits. I've decided that when I make dining reservations for us I'm going to use "Chaos" as our last name so when our table is ready we'll hear "Chaos, party of 10."

OK. Let's get going!

Here's to happy traveling!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

And...Three Years Later I Suppose it's Time to Update this Blog

I think the real question here is "what in the world have I been doing that was so important which would lead to me neglecting this blog?"

Wow. That was a long sentence. I apologize for that.

One would think that our Walt Disney World trip three four years ago was so horrible that I couldn't bear to write about it. That is not the case.

Let's just chalk up the serious neglect of this blog to the fact that 2011 wasn't a great year (professionally at least) and when I did blog it was over on The Fishbowl.

We did take the kids to WDW again in 2011 - with the whole family - and it was a lovely trip. But I'm not going to blog about that here. Since then we've traveled to the Outer Banks (amazing), New York City (also amazing) and a few local trips here and there.

I might get some posts up on those adventures in the next few weeks.

But this summer is going to be a a fun travel-filled summer as we're headed back to the Outer Banks (with the entire family!) and we're going to Disney again. I will be blogging about both of those trips in addition to any side trips (Put-in-Bay, perhaps) that we might take.

Now the real question is whether or not anyone is actually reading this blog anymore.....

Guess I'll find out.

Happy travels!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another resort and our first day at the parks!'s been more than a year since our 2010 trip to WDW and I'm just now getting around to writing the rest of my posts...

So, after our mini 'adventure' at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista (not sure I'll ever stay there again), we packed up the car (again!) and headed to Disney's Pop Century Resort. This resort is one of Disney's 'value' resorts and I was excited to stay here. I was hoping we'd get a room in the 1950s, but ended up in the 1990s buildings. (A little history - the resort is split into decades 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s .... each themed for that decade).

We lucked out when we arrived at Pop - it was only about 7:30 a.m. and our room was ready! (I was so happy about this). So, we drove over to the building and Kevin unpacked the car while the girls and I jumped up and down in anticipation of the rest of day. Soon enough we were headed to the bus stop to catch a bus to the Magic Kingdom!

We made it to the park before 'rope drop' and had a chance to see the welcome show! That was the perfect way to start our day.

More about our adventures in the next post....

Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh good grief

I haven't finished my posts about the April 2010 trip.

I know this.

I will remedy this very soon.

Perhaps even before the end of 2010.