An unexpected, unplanned trip to Disney dropped into our laps when Isabelle’s Cheerleading Squad made their way to Nationals for their super cute choreographed dance routine! The girls worked hard and actually had a good shot of doing well at Nationals too! With a little luck and help from Grandma Ann and a few fantastic kiddos the trip was pretty much awesome!
Everything about it was a little overwhelming and crazy and well… unplanned. Brian had to be in Texas for work on Monday, so he flew out Sunday and would meet us in Florida on Tuesday afternoon just after the kids and I landed from Manchester, all followed by Grandma arriving from Arizona shortly thereafter.
Arlo had been building excitement about the trip (mostly the “plaaaaane” ride) all weekend. I crept into his room early Tuesday morning and woke him up and the first thing he says..”plaaaaaane” haha. I myself had only 2 hours of sleep, as I was up late working and packing everything the night before! Oh it would be a long day already I could tell. We picked up the big kiddos and got to the airport. It was a bit icy on the roads and a yucky day. Colin got stopped at security because he was packin’ scissors in his backpack…. uh-oh… luckily they were just below the size limit and we were on our way. Little did we know it would be a while before we were actually in the air. Due to some mechanical issues and then having to de-ice the wings, we sat forever in the plane before our adventure could even begin. Quickly running out of entertainment for our not-so-baby-anymore lap child who was squirmy and being bounced back and forth between the three of us snug in a row.
Finally we were on our way! I was already nervous traveling with just me and all of the kids, (Colin & Izzy ended up being a huge help of course) and now we were behind schedule, there was a decent size layover planned but we now have used that up sitting on a runway. We quickly made our way to what we thought was our gate in Baltimore and grabbed a quick bite to eat, just as we were sitting and eating, Colin says, “it says 3pm to Orlando on the sign is that right?” Me: “No, that is not right” I check. Not our flight number. FUDGE. No one at the desk, I go around to the other side to the gate next to us where there are attendants at the desk and see that our flight gate changed to this one and is now boarding… YIKES and PHEW! Thank you Colin for speaking up!
We made it to Florida in one piece. Hey, this picture spot looks familiar, Arlo and I were just here at the Orlando Airport last year visiting Great Grammy! Obviously, needed another updated pic of all the kids.
We met up with Bri and Grandma at the airport and then the kids and I boarded the Disney Magical Express bus to our hotel. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Which is where the team was required to stay. Grandma stayed outside the Disney parks and was renting a car with Brian and met us over there.
The kids sporting their personalized Park Hopper bracelets on the bus
The resort looked really nice and overall I suppose it was…
We arrived tired and hungry and the kids and I had to schlep with our luggage and all the way down through this long building to a certain conference hall to “Check-In” in a special area for the Cheerleading group, rather than right at the front of the hotel. Then had to walk all the way back and had received a map showing we had to also walk quite far to our room as well. This place was huge. Both me and Arlo who was much more vocal than I, were displeased with this arrival/check-in process. I call Brian with Arlo screaming in the background, “Where are you?” Thankfully they were one minute away and we met up with them back at the front by the time we got there.
The kids all went with grandma and the luggage in the car over to the room as we found out there was some parking back there, and Bri and I took a nice walk to the room alone to catch up after days apart and a crazy travel day.
We had dinner at the resort lobby in a restaurant that was overpriced and not very yummy, but it filled the need at the time. We bid goodnight to Grandma and went back to the room. Another great first impression came when we got back to the room and the group staying in the room next to us was most likely drunk and fighting/having very loud drama in and out of their room as we tried to get Arlo to sleep. I was NOT HAPPY, we called the front desk, I think someone in their room may have even called the police, either way things died down and we didn’t have to change rooms, like I was getting really tempted to try to do.
As it was, 5 people in our one room was a lot! It got messy and cramped and hard with sleeping times being very different, but we figured out to put Arlo’s crib behind the sliding doors to the vanity area and put the fan in the bathroom on for white noise so that we all didn’t have to go to sleep by 8pm every night, although we ended up not being long after that most nights as we were usually wiped by the day’s end.
Izzy had practice with her team in the morning and then after that we all headed over to the Animal Kingdom park for the day!
Every park had their own specially decorated huge Christmas Tree, Arlo loved it!
We saw lots of Animals (of course), Gorillas, Goats, Zebra, Elephant, Hippo, Giraffe, Tarantulas, Lions, Birds, Monkeys, Rhinos, Alligators, so many things!
Attractions we checked out were:
The Affection Section
I made everyone stand in line so I could meet Pocahontas!… (worth it!) :) It was a really fun day and great start to our Disney parks adventures.