Monday, May 10, 2010

Disney we come!

Olivia "meets" Scarlett O'Hara at Georgia Welcome Center

Saturday, April 25

I am awake before the sun is up.
How can I not be???
I'm headed to Orlando today!

We get the kids up, pack our things, grab some breakfast (you have to love hotels that offer free HOT breakfasts!) and hit the road just as the sun starts to rise. We have a long day of driving ahead of us and we know that the weather in Georgia could get stormy.

Thankfully, I have The Weather Channel app on my BlackBerry so every now and then as we get close to Georgia, I am checking the radar. So far, so good. No rain until south of Atlanta.

Yeah, right.

It ALWAYS rains in Atlanta when we're driving through. Always. Never fails. And this time was no different. There was not a speck of rain on the radar, but sure enough, as soon as we were just outside the city the rain came down. In buckets. It was a deluge. I almost cried out of sheer terror because you could NOT see the car in front of us. It was raining that hard. And suddenly as it started, the rain stopped.

However, the radar was showing some VERY nasty storms just south of Macon, I made an executive decision (which, as The Navigator, I am allowed to do!). We would stop in Macon for lunch (a real, non-fast-food lunch) and by the time we were done eating the radar would be clear.

That was the plan.

And I am happy to report -- it worked like a charm. We stopped at Cracker Barrel (normally I would say 'ick' to CB, but I had pecan Georgia - home of the pecan! and they were delish), enjoyed a somewhat leisurely lunch, and 45 minutes later we were good to go. When we got back on the road, the radar was CLEAR. The sun was shining all the way to Orlando!

Let me say this - ever since I was a kid and we would drive to Florida every summer, the BEST part of the drive down was stopping at the Florida Welcome Center.

It's really the first time you see palm trees! And then there's the sign "Welcome to Florida" and of course, you can't go wrong with free sample of REAL Florida orange juice! I was so excited to see the Welcome Center I nearly jumped out of the car and ran inside! Olivia was excited too -- she picked up every single tourist brochure and book that had anything to do with Walt Disney World.

Oh. My. Gosh. We were in FLORIDA!!!
(It was at this point when I said to Kevin, "We should just move to Florida. I love it here.")

Now the anticipation was growing but we had one problem -- we had nowhere to sleep that night in Orlando. Our hotel for Sunday night (Best Western Lake Buena Vista) was booked for Saturday night. So, I did what any Neurotic Disney Mom would do ... I started looking up resorts in The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2010. We considered staying on property, but knowing we'd have to move off property Sunday and then back on Monday was a bit excessive - even for me.

Then the lightbulb went off!
Hold the phone!
I would call the Holiday Inn Express where I stayed in February (the last time I had to arrive early because Mother Nature was wreaking weather havoc). The rooms were nice. It was SO close to Downtown Disney. And, I remembered it had a POOL! (Not to mention free breakfast with really yummy cinnamon rolls).

As Kevin drove, I called and hoped they had rooms.
We were in LUCK!
They had rooms!
We had a place to stay when we arrived in Orlando.

For whatever reason it seemed to take FOREVER to actually get to Orlando! We just kept driving and driving. The girls were getting cranky (as was mommy!) and we were all tired and hungry and just wanted to GET THERE ALREADY!!

And then, I saw it.
The gates to Walt Disney World.
Oh my gosh.
I was HOME!!!!!
I shed a few tears of sheer joy as we drove through the gates and saw the signs to the parks and resorts. (We were taking a 'short cut' through property to get to our hotel. My choice. I just HAD to see property!)

A short time later, we made it to the Holiday Inn.
All Olivia wanted to do was SWIM! .... but we needed food.
We grabbed a quick dinner and then it was time to decompress.

And dreaming of what magical adventures were waiting for us.....

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