November 1, 2013: The Drive to Disney

We only made a small amount of the long drive from Houston to Orlando last night. Today is our real driving day. Many miles to go. About ten hours of driving to do today and the family needs to stop often. Luciana, at least, after having seen the doctor yesterday is feeling much better.

We drove all morning and then not far from Tallahassee we stopped for a morning nap at a quarter till eight in the morning. We slept in an Econolodge for several hours. We got up and were on the road around noon trying to get down to Disney so that we could make it to the Halloween Party tonight.

We were not on the road for very long when the rains, which had plagued us last night, picked up.  At one point the rain was so fierce that we had to stop driving altogether and rest at a rest stop.  We could not see the road!

We made it, although it was a struggle all day. I was very tired when we got to the Pop Century to check in.  It was nearly eight in the evening.  We parked the Acadia and got checked into the hotel. We got our room, 9163, and got the girls into the room. I stayed in the room with them while Dominica worked on getting stuff out of the car that we would need for the week while in Disney.

The hotel is decent. Definitely one of the value resorts. We stayed in the All Star Music, a similar level resort, when we were here in 2009 for Liesl’s first birthday. No surprises for us. There was, however, a strong odor of something rotting right outside our hotel door that lingered the entire week. Liesl will probably never forget that smell.

We were not in the hotel for very long before we made our way to the Magic Kingdom so that we could attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party there. We scheduled this trip around making it to this, the very last night of the Halloween show and to stay just long enough to make it to the first night of the Christmas show – both were shows that Dominica has always wanted to see so this was a chance to get them both out of the way so that she will hopefully not feel any need to see them again.

We made it on to Main Street, USA and Katie, who had driven up from Tampa (we saw her just two days ago in Austin) joined us there to watch the castle illumination and fireworks show. That was okay although not actually very interesting. The video projected on the castle was kind of neat but just high powered projectors, nothing really special and fireworks are fireworks and not something that I particularly enjoy. The girls seemed to enjoy it but were getting restless.

After the fireworks were over we went into Fantasyland and gave Liesl and Luciana there first real taste of Walt Disney World. Their first ride was the Tea Cups which we had to do tonight because only Katie could take them on that ride. My vertigo and Dominica’s nausea preclude us from even making the attempt. Katie rode with them twice, the girls thought that this was great fun.

Then we took them on Cinderella’s carousel. Katie took Liesl and I took Luciana for a spin on the wooden horses. They loved that too. Maybe even more than the teacups.

We went to Liberty Square and while there we watched the Halloween parade go by. And we tried to get some food. Katie and I stood in line for half an hour to get the special “Halloween Party only food”, part of the big draw of these events. After waiting for half an hour, I was told that no, I could not use my snack credits for the special event food. So I tried to pay with room credit and I was told that the hotel credit was not attached to the Magic Band that I was wearing. I had the backup credit card style thing that the hotel told us to keep “just in case” but it did not work either. Dominica had thrice made sure that our credit card was attached to the Magic Band and not having to carry your credit card into the park with you was, we were told, a key benefit of the system. If they can’t figure out how to get you food or allow you to enjoy the things that you are paying for already, it is a pretty big failure. I was not happy at all after that. Disney’s response was simply “sorry, you can’t buy food here for no fault of your own and we aren’t going to accommodate you even though we are the ones failing.” Not impressive.

We then went to the dance party where the girls and I danced to overly loud music in Tomorrowland out on the street for probably half an hour, maybe longer. While we were there dancing Dominica went and got dinner, veggie sandwiches, from Cosmic Ray’s and we ate out in the public area before loading the girls up into the stroller and calling it a night. We are all so tired, we need sleep. Katie has a long drive back down to Tampa and we just need to get to bed so that we are able to be functional tomorrow. Tomorrow is our real first day at Disney and we want the girls to be able to enjoy it.

We were asleep in no time tonight. We have two double beds so Dominica and I will be taking turns with Liels and Luciana all week. The girls really miss me so fight over who gets to sleep with me. But we will be just alternating each night, probably.

One really awesome change that has happened since the last time that we were in WDW is that there is now free WiFi in the hotels and all through the parks. What a difference that makes. Now we can stay in contact all of the time. And we can use FourSquare, Facebook, Flickr, email, etc. while we are in the parks. That is really great.

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