This was not our first visit to the mouse house. Because of the International Builder's Show appearing every few years in Orlando, we have been able to go several times in the past few years. We've done it the fancy way, staying on the club level at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and eating at the Crystal Palace for lunch every day.
This was not that trip.
Just after receiving notice of our income tax refund (a complete and fabulous surprise), Doug found a great deal to stay in the "budget" hotel (Disney's All Star Sports) and subscribe to the pre-paid meal plan. Game on!
We packed food, snacks and bottled water and drove down in my car. The only big thing that only forgot was Dagny's dresses - we had enough outfits for every day, but I had laid out an equal number of dresses for both girls in case they had wardrobe issues or got dirty. Oops. Good thing they wear approximately the same sized clothes.
I have to say that we had just as much fun in the budget hotel as in the posh one. Yes, the food at the lodge was better and the setting was way cooler, but the rooms were about the same size with similar layouts. Really, at Disney, anything more than a room with beds and a bathroom is extra. We would have been more comfortable in a two-bedroom with Wifi, but it wasn't a big hardship to share the internet cable and be silent while the kids napped. Other than the fact that the meal plan gives you ridiculously large amounts of food and is very dessert-centric, it was a perfect set-up. We ate dry cereal or granola bars for breakfast every morning, had a self-serve lunch and had a sit-down dinner every night in the day's park. The food was all tasty and it was nice not having to worry about how much everything cost, especially since Dagny ate nothing the whole trip.
Coincidentally, Doug's sister Katie was going to Disney the same week. We saw them a couple of times, but their schedules did not mesh with ours because they didn't require naps. Fools. Naps are mandatory at Disney, everyone knows that!
Waiting for the opening of Epcot:
Here is Dagny posing for me in the Magic Kingdom while Doug and Annika rode Splashwater Falls again. We were surprised how much the parks freaked Dagny out. She is a control girl, and usually the life of the party but blankie rode a lot of rides with us and she spent a lot of time in the stroller. You should have seen her vibrating with excitement to meet Aurora and Tinkerbell, though. It was awesome.
We had dinner at the Biergarden in Germany at Epcot one night. The food was awesome - tons of sausages, cabbage, saurkraut, potato dumplings, pretzel bread. Yummo! A polka band played a set every few minutes, including at least one drinking song. As they do in Germany, we sat at a big table with another family. They sang their "hie, hie, hie"s with Coke instead of beer. Needless to say, they were not impressed with our singing and left quickly. Too bad, because the restaurant was really fun. Michael, our delightful server, was super-fast with the beer refills and Doug and I had more than our share. We completed Annika's Kim-Possible adventure and watched the fireworks before toddling home. We had a great time, but really suffered through the "Magic Hour" (and all of the other hours) at the Magic Kingdom the next day.
Here is Annika polka-ing with the other kids. That could be Dagny with her - it was hard to catch Dagny because she was so fast. Or, it could have been the beer, I don't know.
In other news, Doug has signed up for the Beach to Battleship Ironman in November. I'll be volunteering because there is no way to get two of us into ironman shape in six months. I'm still doing the Amelia Island race, though, because Aunt Gena has thoughtfully agreed to let us stay with her and Uncle Pat. Now, if I could just get my run distance up.