Disney Recap – The Highs and Lows

So it’s time for a Disney recap. The return and resulting week since have been chaotic, to say the least, so I haven’t had a chance to get to it until now. As for the chaos, well, I’ll get to that in a little bit.
The day we arrived was sunny and warm, perfect Florida weather. Plane was on time, we got on the bus and when we arrived at the Grand Floridian, we didn’t even have to go inside. A concierge greeted us and took us to a cart where they drove us to our building and checked us in in the room! Going for the Club Level was a fantastic idea, and surprisingly, wasn’t that much different in price – we definitely got our money’s worth!
Throughout the day, the main room of our building is a mini-café. There’s breakfast in the morning, snacks and lunch throughout the day, afternoon tea, happy hour, desserts, everything. The kids loved it – they’d go down and grab some food and sit at one of the tables, watch the Disney videos.
This time around, we didn’t plan every second. We decided what to do when we got up, with the exception of a few dinners and lunches. Donald Duck was #1 on the hit list for the little guy – he somehow had developed an obsession for the crabby duck, and luckily we had some really awesome interactions with him throughout the trip – dinner and breakfast at Chef Mickey’s (where they sang Happy Birthday to the little guy to his amazing delight – he almost knocked Minnie over he hugged her so hard! Lol!) But Donald was the man on this trip, and we saw him in every park we went to.
This was little guy’s first time being big enough to ride a lot of things and he loved Space Mountain so much he went on twice! He likes the wild roller coasters – I personally am not much for them, and definitely not any that go upside down, but I can see he’s going to freak me out for years to come as he tries scarier and scarier coasters!
Anyway, we spent one day at Downtown Disney, and the last two visits, we just didn’t have time, so I was really glad to check it out. We all had a great time checking things out, and had a nice lunch. We saw Wreck-It Ralph, too. Cute movie, we all really enjoyed it.
Epcot was awesome – the annual Food & Wine Festival was in full swing – we somehow manage to hit that every time we go. We joked about eating our way around the world – lamb chops, egg rolls and pot stickers, ravioli, hot dogs & kraut, Swedish meatballs – you name it! The kids had a blast getting the snacks, and finding a corner to eat it while we watched the street performers of the local country doing their thing in the courtyards.  And we finally, after ten years, we met Princess Aurora – DD’s all-time favorite. We actually went and waited for her to come out, thanks to the awesome lady who let us sneak in on the Aladdin and Princess Jasmine line after it was closed. She was the best and we had a blast hanging out with her as the line moved along.
The one thing I do recall from my first trip in 1976, was that back then, the characters just walked around randomly. While waiting in line and spending a few minutes with the characters was awesome, the very spontaneous moment of seeing them just hanging around the park was truly magical. Been a long time since they did that.
Anyway, our last day was in the Magic Kingdom. We had lunch reservations with Cinderella, so we spent the morning there. And while we were there, the new Fantasyland was open for Dress Rehearsals! Everything but the new Be Our Guest restaurant in The Beast’s castle was open! We met Gaston – check this guy out:
Is he perfect or what?
We tried a LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern, and it was actually really good. Creamy and citrusy, but with a hint of carbonation. We got to see the Little Mermaid ride, and Belle’s Village, so it was literally the best day. Lunch was delicious – I’ve yet to eat anything at Disney that wasn’t.
We relaxed and packed that afternoon, since we had tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, complete with parade and all sorts of special events. Snow on Main Street, coca and cookies, etc. We arrived, got our wristbands, which they check just about everywhere, and h it a few rides. Then waited for the parade. As expected, it was amazing – every character, film, etc. was represented and done really well. The dancers and performers come right up to the kids and really get them involved. I have to say, as we shared our turkey leg and watched the parade, no one does it better than Disney.
And isn’t the castle just beautiful?
The holiday decor was incredible. But I’m not surprised – it is Disney after all!
But that was where it all ended. Shortly after the parade, DD is not feeling well. Her stomach. And of course, it’s not long before she’s in the throes of whatever this is. Thank you to the ladies in First Aid who helped us out – it was a rough night, but might have been worse if we hadn’t found you!
Poor thing was up all night and halfway through, DH is not feeling well. And they had the same thing for lunch, so now I’m worried about food poisoning. But when the little guy woke up the next morning in similar shape, I knew it was worse. We’d gotten a bug. At least it was the end of the trip, but now we had to go to the airport and fly home! Poor little guy was in the throes of it in the airport, the plane, etc. At least, everything was on time, and we made it home early in the day. Where they all proceeded to pass out. By that night, they were starting to feel a little better, so I made them soup, ginger ale and the whole bit.
By the next afternoon, I was down for the count, and far worse than the rest of them had been. Figures. At least my office happened to be closed on Monday, I was still in sad shape as I dropped the kids at school, after missing two weeks (!!!).
To top it all off, the day job has been incredibly busy, it’s budget season, so there’s been no time to breathe and because of our trip, I couldn’t take any additional time off to cook the annual two-day sauce for little guy’s birthday. He was quite happy with pizza though, and next year, we’ll get back to normal. I hope. Is there such a thing?

Happy Halloween!

Once again, this year the unusual is more unusual than ever. Last year, we missed the regular “school-parade-and-party-neighborhood-trick-or-treating” because we were in Disney. If you ever have the chance to go during the fall, I strongly recommend you buy tickets for the “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.” Everyone goes in costumes, the characters are all over hosting special events, the parades and fireworks are awesome, and they do have trick-or-treating. I saved the bags they give you, they were one of the best things of the night! To me anyway.
This year, the Northeast got pounded by a very early nor’easter that left power lines and trees down all over the place, worse than during Irene in the late summer. Basically, because the leaves are still on the trees, the wet, heavy snow on top made things worse than they’d usually be. I heard and saw several large tree branches, and in some cases actual trees, snap under the weight. Schools are closed, and all celebrations are, at the moment, cancelled. We will trick-or-treat, but we’ll be done way before dusk because it’s more dangerous than usual at night this year. Can’t see those dratted power lines, never mind the melting snow will ice up over the roads and sidewalks.
Nevertheless, this is a particularly fun time for me anyway. I love all sorts of creatures of the night, and this is their season! The creepier and scarier something is, the more I like it. Not the gory, in-your-face, blood & guts scary, but the sort that leaves everything a bit blurred, letting your imagination take over. Nothing can be more frightening than what you imagine it to be.  Like the creaking of your house, the heat flaring on. Normal sounds, unless you’re alone, at night, and you can’t quite make out what that shadow is in the corner. A wisp of wind outside suddenly becomes ominous, and you find yourself huddled in a comfy chair, with every damn light in the house blazing!
I remember having Halloween sleepovers with my friends in grade school, and we’d always turn out the lights, tell scary stories, make each other do things like “Bloody Mary” in the darkened bathroom, or playing with a Ouija board, where nothing would happen, but we’d end up scaring ourselves silly despite the fact we’d imagined all of it. Or had we? Needless to say, the reason we didn’t sleep all night wasn’t because we were chatting.
What are some of your favorite Halloween traditions? Do you carve pumpkins, go to a costume party, sit around telling scary stories? Let me know, and you can win a copy of any one of my books. With vampires and magic, they’re perfect kinky reading for the season.  And in the same spirit, here’s a couple of my favorite scariest magic folk, in pumpkin form: