Well, I made it to Disney World and back in one piece!!! I am the driver because I get sick reading in the car and thus can't navigate. The trip was 973.56 miles to our resort in Clermont, so we had to stop at a hotel both ways. I'll break the trip up into categories: Travel, Food, Entertainment, Accommodations and Extras.
TRAVEL: It rained A LOT on the way there and so much that I was driving about 30 mph or less on the highway!! Go figure leaving 100+ degrees here in St. Louis, huh?!
Traffic to Disney was pretty steady every day. Nothing like rush hour in good ol' STL or even what we encountered in Atlanta and Nashville. Once on the way out of Disney, a ding dong form GA all the sudden pulled off the road in front of a cop on the side of the road, causing the person in in front of us to slam on their brakes and then us as well. I about had a heart attack!!! I thought MO drivers were crazy!
Oh, don't get an abortion in GA, according to the billboards, the baby has heart beat after only 18 days!!! You can also retire very happily there and buy roadside pecans and peaches.....everywhere!!
Oh, I almost forgot our horrid travel uhoh to the parks. We read that you can take a Downtown Disney bus or another bus from the waterparks to the other major parks for free. Well, we tried and sure you can do this, but it takes about 1-2 1/2 hrs to do. We took the bus from Typhoon Lagoon (free parking) to a resort, waited at the resort for another bus, went all the way around the resort to pick up other guests and then finally to the Animal Kingdom. We repeated this awful process on the way back. 1 1/2 hrs to get there and 1 hr on the way home. We just paid the $14 parking after that!!!
We stopped in Metropolis, Superman's home in IL to go potty and took cute pictures.
FOOD: Food on the road was not great. Hubby wanted quick in and out, so that meant fast food garbage. I figured it was only a couple times so I made sure to get lettuce and tomatoe whatever. Then I saw Dunkin Donuts all over!!! I don't know how many of you know my love of DD, but my daddy used to work there and bring home the day old donut holes, now called munchkins. I couldn't stand the yeast ones, the smell is even awful, but the chocolate cake with coconut and/or nuts....YUM YUM!! So, it just so happened a couple of times that the gas/potty stop was at a DD place, too. One time we had Wendy's for dinner and the DD was in the convenience store attached to it and the gas station! Whoa! I some how managed to stop at the same one on the way home. It was a pure accident that time. I got some for the road.
I packed my Multigrain Cheerios for breakfast every morning and snacks for the parks. Lunches at the parks was kind of disappointing. We had an ok fish and chips dinner, but crappy lunch at Disney itself. Hollywood Studios had watery pizza and crappy (I spit it out) cookies, Animal Kingdom had a decent meal at Yak and Yeti's but it was $70 for the 4 of us, Epcot was overpriced Moroccan food, the baklava and salad were the best parts, we missed dinner at the French bakery because we watched the light show :( ! I lived in Belgium for 5 years and was really looking forward to it. We didn't eat at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. Yes, that is 6 parks in the week we were gone!!
Outside the parks we hit a bad chinese joint that was way overpriced. Our places here are so much better and our CiCi's pizza on Manchester kick's the one they have on 192s butt big time. Oh, and I discovered Sweet Tomatoes!!! I loved it! Cranberry, nut and feta salad and chipotle tomato bisque YUM!!!! Take me to lunch there anytime St. Louis friends. hehe
The kids and I really enjoyed tasting different types of Coca Cola at Epcot. They liked something called Vegabeta and one that was watermelon flavored. I liked Germany's, it said it was orange flavored, but it tasted like regular Coke. I haven't had soda in many years.
ENTERTAINMENT: 6 parks, yes, that is correct. Blizzard Beach on Saturday, Magic Kingdom on Sunday, Hollywood Studios on Monday, Animal Kingdom on Tuesday, Epcot on Wednesday, resort presentation, Typhoon Lagoon and Downtown Disney on Thursday, then home on Friday morning. My amazing children rode their 1st roller coaster, Thunder Mountain Railroad, by accident because we got in the wrong line. They endured The Tower of Terror, got soaked several times on the Kali River Rapids, my son got to fight Darth Maul, my daughter got to get pictures with a few characters she liked, I saw the stage I danced on 20 years ago when I was a Pom Pon dancer in H.S. at Epcot, we went on an amazing safari 2x and lots of cool rides, got hit by a 6ft. water wave at Typhoon Lagoon and survived and so much more!!!
ACCOMMODATIONS: Our resort was beautiful. The kids had a pool to swim in just outside our building. However, we were so busy that they only got to swim in it the first night we checked in. They also swam in the main pool at the club house and he attached lake/beach where they found some mussel shells (yuck). There was a gym, which I never had time to use, free wifi at the club house, which I only used the 1st night when they swam and many resort activities that we never did, including a dueling piano gig at our pool Thurs. night. There was a hot tub in our room, but only our 7 yr old used it one night. That's how busy we were!!! According to yahoo maps we were only 6 miles from Disney!! There was a Super Walmart and Super Target just around the corners from us. Cool!! We had a king size bed and the kids had their own beds behind a closed door in a second bedroom. Washer dryer in the unit (small, but hey it worked). I would definitely stay there again.
EXTRAS: Downtown Disney was awesome, too. I wish we had a bit more time there and at Epcot. DD was basically a bunch of shops and restaurants to explore. Many of the same prices at the parks, though. We found a good deal for our son. He kept grabbing swards, hooks and guns and we found a combo for only $8. At Disney we got our daughter a charm bracelet with only 3 charms and it was $18!!! Don't expect to go to Disney World and it be cheap.
We were told that Walmart was a great place to go for souvenirs and it was. Lots of shirts with Disney and 2012 or characters or both or all on them, $8-14. Cheaper looking photo frames $7 or so, photo books for 100-200 pics for only $5-8, key rings for less than $8, too, mugs, and so much more. Now you won't find all the same designs, of course, but for us it was just fine. We bought a couple things at the parks that we just couldn't do w/out. I got a cool had at Trend D for only $7, it was normally $26!!
Oh, I didn't gain as much as I thought I would. I got on the scale on Sunday and it said I had only gained maybe a couple lbs. I guess walking about 10 miles a day at all the parks counteracted some of the crap I ate. hehe I made a plan of attack when I got back and am doing ok on day 4 now!
Here are a few more fun pics of Disney! If you plan to go, take lots of pics and enjoy every moment!!
Thanks for listening,