About Me

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I am a very lucky woman with a husband and son who are smart, witty and entertaining. Our son, B, attended public school for two years, and then we embarked on a new adventure in the Fall of 2010 - homeschooling. We don't have all the answers, but we know B and this has been the best thing for him. I blog to preserve our stories and our memories, share recipes, vent and ramble on about our crazy, yet blessed, life. Would you care to follow along?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day Five at Disney - Epcot

When we got home from The Magic Kingdom the night before, I had a voice mail at the lodge that made me VERY happy. My dad got us reservations for the character dinner at Chef Mickey’s!!! I had tried before we left and while in WDW to no avail. It’s a very popular experience, evidently. But my dad got us 6:35pm dinner reservations on our 5th day in WDW.

I’m sad to say that Epcot did not get the attention it deserved. In my defense, I did not know it needed said attention until it was too late to do anything about it. From my perspective, Epcot did not offer too much to interest my 8 yr old, just a ton of walking and things for adults to look at.

After breakfast, I took our clothes to the laundromat in the lodge and washed some things we needed for our last 2 days (the things we’d been wearing everyday). Since World Showcase in Epcot did not open until 11am, I knew the front part of the park was going to be crowded in the morning, so I was in no rush to get to the park first thing.

The only 2 things the hubs wanted to do in WDW was to get on Test Track and Soarin’ in Epcot. We went straight to Soarin’ upon entering the park and got Fast Passes that were not good for another 2 ¼ hours. So we went and stood in line for Test Track for 45 minutes. That was a cool ride. We ate lunch afterwards, road through the Disney greenhouse and then went on Soarin’. That was a little too realistic for me and I was scared a couple of times but it is a fabulous ride (I tried not to say amazing again).

The only other thing we wanted to do in Epcot was for B to go on a Kim Possible Mission. The hubs’ knees were hurting from all the walking that week, so he decided to rest in the UK’s pub while B, my brother and I went in search of a Kim Possible station. We only had time for him to do 2 missions – one in the UK and the other in France – but they were so much fun! B got a cell phone from the KP station and that was his “communicator”. He received his missions via videos and text messages on that phone and went all over each “country” doing little missions and gathering clues to help Kim catch the bad guys.

For example, B went into a phone booth in the UK, entered a code and a golf ball came rolling out. He had to find the right store to take that golf ball to, find the ball washer and put it inside to be “analyzed”. Turns out the ball contained GPS info on the bad guy to help us track him to his lair. In France, B and I had to find and then position ourselves in front of a particular awning, look up at the Eiffel Tower and enter a code into the communicator. Evidently there was a camera on top of the tower that took our picture and sent it to the communicator for us to view. B was so funny as a spy, ducking here and there, hiding behind things, pressing himself up against walls and peeking around corners. At one point, we could not find a street we needed and he had to ask a cast member for directions. Oh, the story he made up for why he needed to find that street so they didn’t figure out that he was on a secret mission was hysterical! He took his missions VERY seriously. LOL! The hubs was very sorry he missed these missions after B described in painstaking detail everything he did.

That was all we got to do before it was time to leave Epcot and head to the Contemporary Resort for our Chef Mickey dinner. But we will definitely plan more time for Epcot if we get back. We took the famous WDW monorail to the Contemporary Resort! :o) We checked in and they called us back to the inner-waiting area where we got some family pictures taken with a Chef Mickey statue. Later we were taken to our table, our waiter took our drink order and we were free to help ourselves to the buffet. Preparing for this trip, I was looking forward to eating WDW’s world-renowned food. Then we got there and I found that everything is cooked with a soybean/olive oil combination and I am allergic to olive oil! :o( I had been eating plain meat without any fat or seasonings and plain, steamed veggies all week. The food at the Chef Mickey buffet looked so good and I’d had enough suffering. I decided I was going to eat everything I wanted to on that buffet just as it was. Oh, it was so good! When I went back up for my 2nd helping, I realized my face felt awfully hot. When I got back to the table I whispered to the hubs, “I think an allergic reaction had started to the food. Can you get me the allergy meds from our bag, please?” While he is digging, my mom looks over at me and yells, “Oh my God! Your face is COVERED in hives! What’s wrong with you?!” *sigh* Luckily it was pretty noisy in that place and I don’t think it drew too much attention. Plus, the allergy meds worked pretty fast. Don’t know why I did not think to take them on the monorail ride over…

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy stop by every table while you are there and will sign autographs and pose for pictures with you. We had gotten signatures from all of them at parks earlier in the week, so we just concentrated on getting pictures. When my dad got his picture taken with Minnie, he was so excited! He even kissed her! The staff sung songs while we all waved our napkins in the air and lots of the guests knew the words. While we were eating, we noticed that a cast member went to the tables on either side of us to show them the pictures taken with the Mickey statue when they arrived and discussed the prices if they wanted to buy any. I thought the price for each picture was steep and was pretty sure we would not buy ours, but I did want to see them. By the time we were done the picture guy still had not visited us. The waiter went in search of our pix and came back empty-handed. It was almost 8:30pm by now. My brother, the hubs, B and I had planned to go back to Epcot to catch their night show, but the hubs changed his mind. He did not want to be out in the cold again, like the night before, and wanted to get B in bed. So my brother and I headed to Epcot and my parents decided to stay at Chef Mickey’s and find out what happened to our pix. They were finally found and my dad was given all of them for free b/c of the mix-up. World-class customer service in WDW, I tell ya!

My brother and I had our coats with us this night, b/c our parents had brought them to us at Chef Mickey’s. We were nice and warm with the coats but also since there was no wind on this night like there was at TMK. There is a lot more spread out space to watch the evening show in Epcot, so we got right up front. I liked the show. My favorite part was the projection of movies on the continents of the globe in the middle of the lake. But I liked TMK’s night show better.

On the way out, I stopped at a vendor cart full of all the light up things that kids want after dark. B had been eyeing a rainbow lightsaber with Mickey’s head on it and I wanted to see how much it cost. Things like this are always expensive at fairs and amusement parks. It was only $7!! That thing would have cost at least $15 in Kings Dominion. So I got it for my B. The hubs and I were pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced most things were in WDW. Leaving Epcot was the 1st time we were not able to get on the 1st bus to our lodge. But that’s OK; people watching is fun, especially when you have such a variety of people from all over the world to observe.

Oh, I wanted to tell something I left out on my Day One post. I believe that the slight majority of people at the parks when we were there we from outside of the US. That is just another testament to how awesome WDW is! People from around the world spend their hard-earned money to come to the US and experience WDW. Anywho, as we were waiting for the Fantasmic! show at Hollywood Studios to begin, we the crowd entertained ourselves by doing the wave back and forth! Isn’t that awesome? No matter what country you were from, your race, religion or language, we all not only KNEW the wave, but did it. Together. And laughed. Together. That’s something. That’s hope.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Am I gay?

My eight year old son asked me that question last month in front of my mom. Kuddos to my mom for keeping silent, even though she froze, and looked at me as if to say, "Holy crap, am I glad I am not in YOUR shoes right now!" My mom, just like me and the hubs, does not care one way or the other what B's sexual orientation is. I just think she, like me, felt that was a loaded question from any 8 yr old, but especially from mine.

You see, I am a firm believer that your sexual orientation is not a choice, not nurture, but you are born that way; it's nature. And with the preferences and personality B has exhibited from the beginning, it would not surprise me if he was gay. However, it also would not surprise me if he is not. I can't wait to find out who he will grow up to be.

B has a very important couple in his life (Person 1 and Person 2) that he loves very much. He talks about them all the time; he wants to do everything just as well as they do and always wants to know when he can see them again. They happen to be a legally married homosexual couple. I'm proud of the way we have raised B. To him, it is a given that families come in all combos - man and woman; man and man; woman and woman; single; widowed; divorced; parent; childless. We've never talked to him about growing up and having a "wife"; we always use the terms "spouse" and "partner" and he likes to talk being a daddy someday. He has even asked us if "gender marriages" (his term for same-sex couples) can have babies. We have been open with him that they can be, and many are, parents, and the options for either adopting or getting donations and help from a member of the opposite sex in order to have their own biological children.

However, when he asked this question of me, I did not only think to myself, "Is he asking for help sorting out his inner feelings?" What also went through my mind was, "Did someone use this word around him and he is asking what it means? Or...did someone, perhaps, CALL HIM this name and he is asking me what it means and if it's true?" So, I answered his question with questions.

Me: Did someone call you "gay"?
B: No
Me: Did someone call someone else gay while around you?
B: No
Me: Do you know what "gay" means?
B: No

I did not push him further to find out why he was asking nor from where he heard it. He could have heard it from a conversation between the hubs and me, for all I know. But I did not want to make him feel like he was being interrogated for being curious and, thus, make him think twice before bringing his questions to his parents next time.

I said, "Being gay means that you love someone who is the same gender as you. (Person 1 and Person 2) are the same gender so they are a homosexual couple and daddy and I are the opposite gender so we are a heterosexual couple. Daddy and I are not gay or homosexual and (Person 1 and Person 2) are gay or homosexual." I paused to let that sink in, then I continued with, "B, I can't tell you if you are gay or not. Only you can decide that for yourself." "That's right," my mom interjected. "Do you understand what I've said?" "Yes," he said, with a big smile. "Do you have any other questions about this or anything else?" "Nope," he said.

My parents raised two kids who graduated from high school without smoking, drinking, doing drugs, having pre-marital sex, sneaking out of the house nor lying to them. My parents knew our friends, knew where were going, what we were doing and created an environment where we could ask them anything or talk to them about anything while still maintaining the boundaries of parent/child instead of trying to be our best friends. Our family was the exception, not the rule, in the schools I went to. From the moment I became a parent, I agonized over how they did it and worried that I would not be able to. But looking at the face of my son at the end of that conversation, as well as looking at the face of my mom, I know we're going to be OK. I can do what she did; in fact, I just did.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Morning After

We had originally planned to come home at Super Bowl half-time to get B in bed and because the hubs gets up for work at 4am. But the half-time show was actually good this year, IMO, so we stayed for that and then decided to stay for the whole game. B was in bed by 10:30pm and awake at 6am this morning. By 7:04am the tears had started and he hadn't even got out of bed yet! He got out of bed at 7:30am and came downstairs to fix his own breakfast. I love that he has finally taken the initiative to do more things for himself this past year but they don't always work out.

B does not like cold beverages. He prefers his water and milk to be at room temperature. Evidently he poured himself a bowl of cereal, poured the rest of the gallon of milk into a glass pitcher and stuck it in the microwave to “warm”. He came back upstairs and told me, "Mama? I have a problem. I tried to heat up my milk but I think I did it too long because it's really hot and it sticks to my finger." Yup. The milk had been heated so much it had thickened! LOL! Luckily we had another gallon out in the garage.

We have an old wipe-off board on the fridge that B likes to draw on. The frame broke yesterday and instead of throwing the whole thing out, the hubs decides to throw out the frame and let B have the thin sheet to color on. I want the record to show that I told the hubs to throw it all out. After breakfast, B was drawing on this sheet that I just assumed was vinyl. Turns out it's a sheet of thin METAL. "Mama? I think there is something wrong with my finger." I go over and see he has sliced his finger with this metal and it is bleeding! *sigh* I threw that damn thing away, to the protests and tears of my son, and administered First Aid.

Not only am I mad at the hubs for keeping that metal (he handled the broken pieces yesterday so he knew it was metal) I decided to also get mad at him because I am administering First Aid. ;o) We each have duties to perform as parents and I am the one who assigned them based on my comfort level. :o) He handles all First Aid (injuries, bleeding, bones, etc.) and vomiting. I handle colds, the flu and asthma related illnesses. I go up my tree when B bleeds and the hubs goes up his tree when B can’t breathe. That's the deal! But my tree was not an option this morning because I was the only one here to deal with the husband-kept metal weapon!

B woke up wheezy this morning so I gave him a nebulizer treatment around 9am. Usually the medication makes him hyper, but by 10:15am, he asked if he could lie down in his bed and play his DS b/c he was tired. He was off his game today from the start and who am I to deny a child who wants to lie down? Even if it is with a gaming system.

At work this afternoon, I had the same argument with the same kids I have every week. I am so tired of it. I don’t care how old you are, nor what happens in your parents’ cars; if you are not tall enough to prevent the shoulder strap of the seat belt from laying across your neck, you need to be in a booster seat! When I drive you around, you are the responsibility of my employer and me. We take that responsibility seriously and I’m not starting the car unless you follow my rules. Phew. I needed to get that out. Thanks!

I went back to kickboxing class this evening and I was smart this time – I wore a Poise pad! I jumped those jacks like nobody’s business and without a care in the world. :o) When I headed out for class, B was getting another nebulizer treatment because he was still wheezy. When I got home the hubs informed why it was that B asked to lie down this morning. He’s getting the shakes and feeling sick after the treatment and he does not like it. “OK,” I said, “We won’t give it to him anymore.” The hubs did not like that. And they say women are hard to please…

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day Four at Disney - The Magic Kingdom

Here is where my reading and planning REALLY paid off. We did what everyone told me could NOT be done - we did The Magic Kingdom. In. One. Day. :o) One WDW veteran told me she sets aside 3 days to do TMK. I was pretty scared, especially when people told me I have no idea how big that park is. I did not think it was very convenient to maneuver around Animal Kingdom b/c of the way it was laid out. After we left AK, another guest told us that TMK is set up the same way but is 4x larger. I honestly did not feel like it was any bigger than Kings Dominion in Virginia, but maybe that is my perception b/c we did not hit everything.

I don't know if I can describe how I felt when we walked through the entrance and saw Cinderella's Castle. TMK is the most exciting place I have been as an adult. I don't think any 5 year old girl walking in there with her princess dress on and getting a hug from Belle herself could have been happier than me. The extra wrinkles/cracks I caused on my face from the ear-to-ear grinning that day was totally worth it. I am tearing up right now, just thinking about it. The memory of that feeling will always be with me and will be pulled out and relived on bad days and during discouraging moments.

I realized that I had taken the same detached attitude towards this trip as I did with my pregnancy. We had tried to get pregnant for 6 years. We had been to many specialists who tried to help, but couldn't and to some who flat out told us there was nothing that could be done and we should adopt. So when I finally got pregnant, although I seemed reservedly happy to others, I was unemotional about it on the inside. I stayed detached but went through most of the motions and did most of the right things you are supposed to do as a pregnant woman. But I would not get excited; I would not hope. I knew in my bones that this baby was not going to come out alive. I could not survive the loss if I had thrown myself whole heart and soul into that baby. A friend of mine had to register for me b/c I refused to do it. Paul kept pushing me to to the nursery and I refused. What was the point in picking things out and getting a room ready for a child that is not going to live there? Finally, 2 weeks before my due date, Paul pulled out the "Obey" and told me, "If you don't start on that nursery TODAY, I am going to tell your mom to do it and I don't think you'll like what she does!"

I've always wanted to take a vacation to WDW, but never thought I'd actually go. Whenever we've gotten a little set aside some car or medical or house emergency would come up. So, when the hubs told us in October that we were going in January, I was reservedly excited. He would not, and still hasn't, told me how he managed this trip. But I figured something would come up during those 3 months that would cancel out the trip. The hubs and I have been together for 16 years and have only take 3 weeks off in that time. We took the week after our wedding off, but never took a honeymoon. We visited people during that week. Then 4 years later, a family friend let us stay at her house on the Eastern shore for a week for our anniversary. The hubs had to go back to work halfway through the week. 10 years after that, this past September, we went back to that beach house for a week and we all stayed the week. So, I objectively did my research and planning without any heart in it, b/c I didn't think a "real" family vacation was in the cards for us.

Even though we had been in WDW for 3 days, it wasn't until I walked into TMK and saw Cinderella's Castle that I got that really-here-alive-and-breathing-my-own-baby-placed-in-my-arms feeling.

It was the perfect day to go. I did not think it was crowded. The Birmbaum book had said that Mondays and Saturdays are the busiest days in this park and I get that. So many people, like us, arrive in the beginning of the week and of course you want to go to TMK first! By Wednesday, when we went, I think a lot of people had moved on to the other parks. We got Fast Passes for every ride on my list that offered them and there were little to no lines for the rides that did not offer FPs. Ben got to ride lots of rides here, which made us both happy. Although he enjoyed the other 2 parks we had been to, he hadn't gotten on too many rides. It was cool in the morning, but our sweatshirts were enough, then warmed up beautifully. The evening, however, was cold, and I wished we had brought our coats. The temps did not, however, make us leave the park and miss the show at the end of the night. No one puts on a show like Disney!

Something occurred frequently in this park that we had not seen on the 3 previous days - meltdowns. There were a lot of those in TMK. Screaming, crying, kids throwing themselves down in the middle of the streets. Those poor kids. It can be overwhelming and exhausting for us adults, too.

We had been in the park about an hour and the hubs, my brother and I were waiting while B and my folks went on a ride in Tomorrowland. We were amazed at the number of birds in this park! There was one of those stroller parking lots outside this ride and we were marveling at the bold birds that were all over them and in them, eating the crumbs and crackers left by the children, when a bird pooped in my hair! That had never happened to me before, but it's alright - it was a Disney bird and I made Paul wipe it all out with pride! ;o)

My brother and I were the only ones brave enough to ride Space Mountain. B wanted to ride, but we said, "No", after what happened in AK. I'm glad I went on it so I have no regrets. I wish we had gone back and rode it again. Now that I know what to expect, I think I would enjoy it. The Hall of Presidents was amazing (I know I keep using that word, I'm sorry)! My mom and I cried. Ben wanted to argue with me for half an hour after we left the Hall that those were NOT robots, they HAD to be REAL people! Another iconic ride I'm glad we hit was the tea cups.

The 2nd shop in WDW in which you can make your own Mickey ears hats was in TMK and B made another one. He had $72 of his own to spend on this trip between Disney GCs he received from relatives at Christmas and his piggy bank money. He even came home with $6. This hat is navy blue with a red mohawk down the middle, 2 black ears covered with fireworks and the words, "Mickey Rocks" embroidered on the front.

The nighttime show at TMK was the best, in my opinion. Unbelievable how the colors change on the castle, how the bricks appear to fall off and over 200 pictures of us tourists taken by cast members throughout the day appeared on the front. Tinkerbell flying by and the fireworks coordinated with the music brought back the feeling of walking into the park that morning. Again, the best and most exciting place I have been as an adult.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day Three at Disney - Park Break

A friend of mine who's been to Disney before shared all her knowledge and tips with me before we went. Thanks to her, I had the Birmbaum Guides to read and help me plan our week. I knew we would not be able to everything at every park. So, I made a list of the main things we wanted to see and it worked out great!

I planned Tuesday as a day of rest (especially for our feet!) from the parks. The original plan was to hang at the lodge - read, be lazy or swim, in Ben's case - in the morning and early afternoon then head to Downtown Disney for shopping and dinner. The weather, however, had other plans. A storm was due to start late afternoon and include heavy rain, hail, tornado warnings and 50+ MPH winds. So we changed our dinner reservations at Wolfgang Puck's to lunch reservations and headed out to Downtown Disney mid-morning.

Like I said in my last post, that place is amazing! We had much more time to go through lots of shops this day and took advantage of it. B made himself a Mickey ears hat - I didn't even know you could do that! I thought that they just sold the standard black hats with black ears and you had the option to add a name and/or Minnie's bow. He picked a bright blue hat with sparkles in it. He chose 2 different ears - one was silver with a raised impression of Mickey and the other was black with a "bejeweled" Mickey head outline in rhinestones and pink hexagon jewels for the face and ears. He added a patch to the front that shows the 5 main characters (MM, MM, DD, P & G) and says, "My 1st Trip to Walt Disney World" and had his name embroidered on the back in hot pink thread. He was SO PROUD of that hat! He had seen many other people walking around with ears on for the last 2 days and he finally had his own!

The hubs wanted me to get ears, too, but I did not want to spend the money. He begged me to at least try on a Minnie pair he liked b/c he said I'd look so cute in them. I tried them on for him and then he told me to look in the mirror, convinced I would want to buy them after I saw myself. I looked in the mirror and, you know what? I looked ADORABLE! ;o) It was hard to resist, but the practical gal in me did.

We must have spent an hour in the pin trading hut, looking at, buying and trading pins. That pin trading is such an awesome idea and the cast members seemed just as excited to trade as B was. We went into Goofy's Candy Co. and could not believe the homemade confections in there. I wish I had taken pictures of the large portions. After looking at the rice crispy treat cakes, Ben asked if I would make him one for his next birthday. Surprisingly, he did not ask me to buy one thing in that store. He did take the mint fudge sample a cast member offered us and it was good.

We had planned to do the Character In Flight tethered hot air balloon ride, but the winds had been getting stronger all day, so it was grounded. Bummer. That was the only way Paul would ever get me in a hot air balloon. But the lunch at Wolfgang Puck's made up for it - excellent food and service.

There is a life-sized Loch Ness Monster made out of LEGOS in the lake at DD! There is also a 6' tall Woody from Toy Story and a robot and T-Rex taller than the store, all made out of LEGOS. Paul and I went ga-ga over all the Disney-themed kitchen stuff you could buy. A co-worker had asked the hubs to get her a Disney shot glass and we bought B a tea mug with it's own spoon. So we did not have to carry it around, and so we could surprise B with it back at home, we had the items sent back to the lodge from the store. Isn't that a great service? Anything you buy, anywhere in WDW, can be sent back to your resort so you don't have to lug it around. And if you are not staying at a WDW resort, your purchases in the parks can be sent to the front of the park to pick up on your way out. All free of charge. I had heard that Disney's customer service was exceptional and, for the most part, they did NOT disappoint.

2 minutes after we boarded a bus back to the lodge, it started to rain. It stopped when we turned onto the lodge's property (I think even God was excited that we had finally made it to WDW ;o) ). But almost an hour later, the skies opened up and it poured. We got wind, but all the tornado activity stayed in other parts of the county from us. The lodge was full of people b/c everyone had abandoned the parks but there was plenty of entertainment and food to go around. We got to bed early and got another good night's sleep.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day Two at Disney - Animal Kingdom

Since the hubs and I were up the day before from 4am to 11pm, I planned for us to go to Animal Kingdom on Monday. The park closed at 5pm, forcing us go straight to our dinner reservations and, hopefully, call it an early night. Luckily, our breakfast waitress at the Lodge did not yell at us nor yell our business throughout the restaurant. Probably b/c we were there when they opened and there was hardly anyone else up that early. :o) B thought that the blankets on his bed were nailed to the floor b/c he was unable to loosen them at all during the night. hehehe They were just really tucked in well!

The Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom is a wonder to behold. We stopped and looked at it from several different angles and raced against each other to see who could find the 300+ different animals carved into it first. The Safari ride was awesome! To get that close to so many animals! I don't know how Disney got us that close without us seeing any barriers to keep the animals from the vehicle we were in. We rounded one corner and a black rhino was walking down the narrow road right at us, not 20 feet away! There was no room to go around him and I don't think that was a "planned" part of the ride.

I was bummed that I could not go on every ride b/c of my back problems, but my ride-phobic husband said he would rise to the occasion and gone on EVERYTHING with B that I could not. So, I sent my mom, my brother, the hubs and B off to Expedition Everest while my dad and I found a shady spot to rest in another section of the park. Unfortunately, no one got to ride that roller coaster. The hubs begged off at the entrance, leaving B, my mom and my bro to go on. After B and my bro were harnessed into their car, B FLIPPED OUT! It really affected my brother, seeing that kind of "episode" in his nephew (I'm used to it and no longer worry about what strangers around us think). The roller coaster did not bother B; he'd been on plenty before. However, the Yeti inside the mountain scared the crap out of him and B was unable to get past that fear. A cast member saw the scene and unlocked their harnesses. When my mom saw B and my brother getting out, she also asked to get out. B was evidently hysterical walking down that exit ramp. He felt so ashamed and I wish I could take that away from him! He flew into his daddy's arms at the end of the exit ramp and refused to show his face for at least 30 minutes after that. :o(

We had Fast Passes to the ride Dinosaur, and we ALL had doubts about Ben getting on that one after his reaction to Everest. He said he wanted to try, so all 6 of us headed in. We were watching the video of Phylicia Rashad explain the adventure were about to embark on, when B elbowed me. I leaned down and he whispered in my ear, "I changed my mind; I want to get out." My dad was only too happy to go out with him! LOL I'm glad B did not go through with that ride. It was dark, loud, things jumped out at us and it took every muscle in my body to keep from cracking heads with the family members on either side of me. There is no way I would have been able to hold and shield B during that ride and not crack something against another rider.

B got more autographs and pix in this park so it was another success from his perspective.

When the park closed, we headed to Downtown Disney for dinner reservations. That place is amazing! B and my brother could have spent all day in the LEGO store, alone. I did not realize that dinner was at a restaurant that did not take our Disney dining plan - Fulton's Crab House. Although the service was attentive, the food was not that good. The free crab dip appetizer was wonderful and, like everywhere we went, the drinks were great, but only 2 of us enjoyed our entrees. Not worth the high cost of the meal and long time it took for our entrees to arrive.

I Can't Believe We Actualy Went to Disney! - Day One

We went to Walt Disney World last week, 1/23 - 1/28. Back in October, when the hubs surprised B and me with the Disney trip as a combo anniversary present for us/birthday present for B, I ignorantly told everyone that the reason I was so excited is that none of us had ever been. That's right - a 43 YO man, 38 YO woman and 8 YO boy had never been to WDW. But I was mistaken. See, I thought "Walt Disney World" was a PARK. I now know that what I thought was WDW was actually The Magic Kingdom, just 1 of 4 WDW parks. So, I apologize for telling a lie. When I was a sophomore in high school, my school chorus went to Orlando for a national competition. While there, we had approx 6 hours in which we could go to "Disney World" (The Magic Kingdom) or Epcot. Since I had been to neither one, I relied on my friends to make the decision. They said that "Disney World" was for little kids and I should go to Epcot with them. So, I did. I had enough time to buy myself a hat in China and have a meal in Morocco, at which I tried calamari for the 1st time. That's it.

So, now that I have that off my chest, here is our 1st day in WDW...

Our very good friends picked us up at 5am on the 23rd to take us to the airport. While we were checking our bags at the counter, I realized that I had left our Magical Express stuff at the house! Magical Express is the Disney transportation from the Orlando airport to our Disney resort. It included bag tags that would automatically send our bags from the plane to our resort and our tickets to get on the Disney bus at the airport. The airline ticket agent took our bags and told us we would just have to collect our own bags at baggage claim in Orlando and carry them to the Disney bus ourselves. OK, but I still had no way to get ON the Disney bus! I called our friends, in tears, and the wife had to calmly talk me out of my tree before she could figure out what the heck I was upset about. We keep each others' house keys, so they went back to the house for us, collected our Magical Express envelope and brought it back to the airport for us. Just the 1st of many blessings our wonderful friends would bestow upon us during this trip...

We got to see the sunrise from the air in our plane; it was so cool! I have never flown into Orlando before, but they must have some HUGE spread down there because, I kid you not, we taxied for at least 10 minutes back to a terminal. At one point B asked, "Is the plane driving us all the way to our resort, Mama?" LOL We finally got to the terminal, collected our bags and got on a Disney Express bus to the Wilderness Lodge. My parents and brother had taken the 2 previous days to drive down to Orlando and were waiting for us in the Lodge's lobby. After checking in, getting our room/park/meal plan cards and stowing our luggage, we got some lunch at the Lodge and then hopped a bus to our 1st park - Disney's Hollywood Studios.

By the time we arrived, it was almost 1pm. All the Fast Passes were gone for rides and Jedi Training Academy was full. But I'm a smart mom, and never told B about those things. :o) So he does not know what he missed out on. What we did get to do and see, B was TOTALLY excited and happy about and that's all that matters. We saw the Indiana Jones stunt show and B got autographs from and pix with Indy's and Miriam's stunt doubles. That was a great show! The only objective B went down there with for Hollywood Studios was getting into the Playhouse Disney LIVE! show, and we did. He got to holler and dance with the best of them! No matter that he was the oldest kid there by at least 3 years; his dance moves impressed and entertained all the other parents.

Santa had given B an autograph book for Christmas and our travel agent had given him a lanyard and his 1st trading pin. His biggest excitement was walking underneath "the hat" in this park - the wizard hat Mickey wore in Fantasia. The pin selling and trading hub of the park was located there. He bought some pins, with his own saved money and GCs received at Christmas, and made his 1st trade with a fabulously friendly cast member. We got pix and autographs from Disney characters and B got to dance in the Disney ROCKS! teen show. It was 4:52pm and I was filming B in the Disney ROCKS! show when reality FINALLY sunk in - I'm. Actually. In. Walt. Disney. World. I could NOT believe it!

We stayed for the 6:30pm Fantasmic! evening laser/fireworks/story show. To tell you the truth, we could have done without it, but we only know that b/c we stayed. If we chose to skip it, we'd always wonder and regret. Lessons learned. We got back to the hotel and the 4:30am rising had taken its toll on B. My mom put him to bed and stayed with him while the hubs, me, my dad and my brother went down for dinner. The Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge is quite an experience. They throw things at you, yell at you, yell your business to everyone else in the dining room and talk to you as if you were family. However, every Disney restaurant impressed me b/c the chefs came out to our tables to discuss our food allergies and bent over backwards to try to accommodate. B's peanut allergy was no problem; my olive oil allergy was another story. Everything on Disney properties is cooked in an olive oil/canola oil mix. Bummer for me. I was SO looking forward to experiencing world-class dining but, due to my olive oil allergy, my food had to be cooked in a pan w/o oil and seasonings and could only be accompanied by steamed veggies. Oh, well. B got to eat WHATEVER he wanted and that made me so happy!

Our travel agent secured us the best rooms at the Lodge and we were so pleased. We all got a great night's sleep.