Is this the End? Last AP trip - Dec. 15-22, 2018


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Day 7: Thursday, December 20

We knew the weather would be rainy and windy today, but the forecast when we woke up was calling for up to 70 mph winds. Whoa. Jason didn't have to work, and we had planned to go to a park. However, the rain and his terrible cold that didn't seem to be getting any better solidified the decision to take the day off. I decided I wasn't staying in all day, I had a little more Christmas shopping to do, so I ran to Chick fil a to get breakfast for my crew, then went first to the outlet mall on Vineland then the TJ Maxx near our condo. It rained pretty hard all morning while I was out. I made just a couple of purchases at the outlet mall - nothing at the Disney outlet, which is unusual - and picked up a few stocking stuffers at TJ Maxx. Lunch at Pollo Tropical for the first time for me, and I headed back to the condo by 2pm.

I took a little nap, and it was then that the rain and wind kicked into high gear. I personally love listening to storms while I'm snuggled up in bed, but I don't think my kids enjoy it so much. When I saw that the forecast was showing skies clearing up by 6-7pm, we decided we'd go to Disney Springs to see a movie (Mary Poppins was the plan). We drove over to Disney Springs, parking in the orange lot, and went to the box office to purchase tickets. Unfortunately, most of the times were sold old, and the only one that had 5 seats available had them all on the front row, which we didn't want to do. So that was out. We decided to go to LEGO and grab some dinner on the way. Pizza Pointe was where Jason and I ate in January, and it was good, so that's where we stopped. The pizza slices were huge, and of course my crew was happy because we could eat pizza every day and be fine with it.

At the LEGO store, Abel was able to play with the LEGO Boost robot, which he has been wanting for a while now. It's $160, and we had already purchased it for him for Christmas, but HE didn't know that! He spent an hour trying to figure out how he could buy it, and was especially disappointed in himself because he had enough to buy it in November, but he bought so many small things that there wasn't enough left. I tried to remind him Christmas was coming, he would get money from grandparents, but he was pretty discouraged. He purchased a small LEGO set, as did Corban, and Jonah bought Corban a Christmas gift there.

We then went to do a first for us, Ghiradelli Fountain! I haven't been there in 20 years, but I knew the kids would love it. I guess the rain sent everyone home, because here it was 8pm on a Thursday at Disney Springs and there was no line at Ghiradelli. I ordered the brownie Sunday, Jonah had the Mint Bliss, and Corban and Abel each had a scoop of chocolate. Jason went to Starbucks for an espresso and donut (yuck). We even were able to get a hard-to-find table inside, and we enjoyed our desserts for about 20 minutes. I wanted to go back to Basin, where I had found the most delicious Lime Sugar lip balm Sunday, so I could purchase a few tubes for stocking stuffers for the girls in my family, so Abel and I headed that way. The rest of the crew joined us, and all 3 boys discovered the joy of the sugar scrub hand wash (said in a sarcastic voice, as they thought it was gross).

We were on our way back to the van after Basin, and back in the room by 10pm. I put on one more load of laundry, finished packing everything I could, Jason cooked up the french fries for a late snack and everyone drank milk. We would be checking out in the morning and moving over to Riverside for one night before we began our journey home. But wait! A Surprise! Stay Tuned...


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Day 8: Friday, December 21

Our plan was to check out of the condo, drive over to Animal Kingdom for the morning, then check into Riverside, and end up at Epcot for the night. So I was up at 7am to get ready, finish the little packing we had left, and cook what breakfast food remained. Everyone was ready to move over to Riverside, and we had the van loaded and ready to go by 8am. I just had to call to let the front desk know we were leaving, and drop the keys in the box by the gate.

We parked at AK and started making our way to the gate. Halfway there, Abel realized he left his magic band in the van, so he and I returned to get it. We continued up through bag check no-bag line (whoop!) and got in the turnstyle which time Jonah realized that HE too had left his magic band in the van. Jason took him back to get it while Abel, Corban, and I visited the animals in the Oasis. They finally caught up with us at the Oasis. Today's plans weren't huge. In fact, we had no specific plans other than Expedition Everest and the Maharaja trek. So we made our way to EE first. We did not have any FP+'s (all of our FP+'s were for that night at Epcot), so Jonah and I rode in the stand by line (10 minutes long). Jason and the other boys didn't want to ride, so they hung out in the gift shop. Corban fell in love with a cute little Yeti Kitty, and had to buy it.

We departed EE and headed to Dinoland, where Jonah and I queued up to ride Primevil Whirl and Jason took the other two to Triceratops Spin. But the PW line barely moved in the 15 minutes we were there, so we left the line. Next we all headed to Maharaja Jungle Trek, where Abel was thrilled to see the 2 juvenile tigers taking a nap together. We learned many interesting things about them that day from the CM.

Africa was up next, only so I could get another one of those croaking frogs for my other nephew for Christmas. Jonah went with me and bought one for Abel as well for Christmas, as I told him Abel wanted one pretty badly but was running low on money. (Spoiler - Abel was so excited to open it Christmas Eve!) We were done by then and made our way to the front, and when we were just about 10 steps from our car, the bottom opened up and the rain poured down! Perfect timing!

We drove over to Riverside, and by the time we parked at the front lobby at 12pm, the rain had slowed to a drizzle. We were all ready for some good lunch, so we went to the food court. Corban had cheese pizza, Abel had nothing because he wasn't hungry, Jonah had the bacon cheeseburger, I had the brisket cheeseburger, and Jason had the make-your-own-pasta bowl. All was good except the pizza. No worries, Corban ate all my fries. I only ate half of my burger, Jonah finished it off with no problem.

While we were eating, we received the text that our room was ready. We were in building 27, which was right next to the preferred rooms. In fact, we didn't even need to move our car because we were so close to the lobby! I sent Jason and Jonah out to the van to get our one small bag and the laptop bag, and they returned pretty quickly. We made our way to the room, where Jason promptly fell asleep. Jonah was playing on his Nintendo Switch, so Corban, Abel, and I headed to the Arcade. We had 3 Arcade cards left from our visit in November, so I didn't even have to purchase cards. But I did buy 25 minutes in the massage chair!

We went back to the room, and Jason surprised me big time. We were supposed to check out and head home Saturday, 12/22, which was the next day. But Jason was lamenting the fact that he didn't make it to the Studios at all, or back to the MK. What did we have to return on Sunday for? I looked at the calendar and we had nothing scheduled. Why couldn't we stay another night? I called the front desk and asked about adding a night to our stay, but it was booked solid.

I spent a little time online, and found out that I could book one more night at Riverside at rack rate, which was well over $300. Jason wasn't interested in that. The kids put on their swimsuits and we took them to the Swimmin' Hole at Ol' Man Island. Y'all, it couldn't have been more than 62 or 63 outside, and we were passing people all bundled up but my kids were just in their swim trunks! Jason ordered a couple of margaritas for us, and the kids swam for about 15 minutes then the clouds came and the sprinkles started. We let the kids stay about 15 more minutes, hoping the storm would pass, but it was just getting windier and cooler. So back to the room we went.

We had FP+'s for Test Track that night at 7pm, so we headed to the bus stop at 5:30. The ride over was quick, and we started out with M:S two times, then Jonah got his usual croissant donut and Jason grabbed his ice cream. Test Track was next, and while we were waiting in line, Jason once again expressed regret that we were not staying another night. I realized he was very serious about this thing, so I started looking up rates on my phone. I found a great rate at All Star Music for one night ($167 including tax) and even though we were a party of 5 in a room for 4 (shhhhhh!), for one night I was willing to be a rebel and do it. Jason was so happy when I told him!

On to the World Showcase. We had missed everything from Japan to Canada on our previous visits that week, so that's what we planned to do that night. As we approached WS, we realized the boat was about to load up so we hopped on and disembarked right at Morocco. Everyone made a quick bathroom trip, then it was off to France. Jason went to Les Halles, where he ordered dinner for himself and me (ham and cheese croissants) and a creme brulee along with a hot chocolate. I took the boys to get gelato, and we sat outside and waited for Jason. Dinner was just lovely, sitting at a nice little table there in France, and it was a cool 55 degrees or so, making it really feel wintery (I'm a NC girl, so anything belo 60 is wintery to me!).

Jonah was hungry as well, and wanted fish and chips, so we walked over to the UK and ordered that for him and tea for Jason. Abel decided at the last second he would try it as well, so we got two orders. Abel rarely tries new things, so if he's interested, I don't ask questions, I just get it and hope he likes it. We sat on the waterfront and Jonah practically inhaled his fish and chips (he said it was slightly better than the ones he had at the 3 Broomsticks at Universal). Abel ate half of one piece of fish, which I was thrilled about, I ate the other half, and Jonah finished off the rest.

We visited a few of the shops in the UK, then wondered back towards the front. We stopped at the Yukon kiosk, where they were about to close it down. We ordered one of the beef pockets, one salmon, and one maple cake. Jonah requested the salmon, surprising me again. He ate a little but didn't like it. Jason liked the beef pocket. I enjoyed my cake. The expediter saw that Corban wanted a cookie but I didn't buy him one, so asked me if it was okay if he snuck him one. I said yes. Corban was so excited, he even offered to share with Abel, who was so excited he didn't complain even a bit when Corban's half was bigger than his!

As we passed Club Cool on the way out, we saw it was still open so we stopped for one last sample. I tried the Beverly for the first time in years, thinking that it really can't be all that bad. I was wrong. It was so much worse than I remembered. The boys enjoyed that little episode!

The bus ride back was quick, and we were bundled up in the bed in no time at all. I spent time trying to get some FP+'s for Magic Kingdom the next night, and we were all out by midnight.


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Day 9: Saturday, December 22 (Bonus Day!)

My alarm woke me up at 7am, giving me plenty of time to pack the few things we had brought to the room and get everyone else up and moving before we left for the Studios. We had no FP+'s for the Studios that day, as we were hoarding them for the evening in MK. We started our walk over to the food court, which really was just steps away from our room, and discovered that the Dr. Pepper Abel had stuck in his hoodie pocket on the way out the door had leaked everywhere. My kid who cannot stand for his clothes to be wet for any reason, began edging closer to meltdown territory. I sent Jason, Jonah, and Corban on to the food court and took Abel back to our room with our bag to try to find something dry. I just let him wear what he had worn the day before, but his hoodie was soaked. And it was quite chilly out (upper 40's at that moment). He had his heavy coat in the car, but I told him if he wanted something lighter, I'd buy him something (spoiler: he didn't, I tried, he refused, he froze).

We met up with the others in the food court, where full breakfast platters were had by all except me (picked up some babybel cheese and orange juice in the gift shop, good choices!). They boys wolfed down their food and we stopped in the gift shop for my breakfast and to look for the perfect ornament (no luck yet), and we were off to the Studios. We arrived, parked, and were at the turnstyles by 8:30am, and they had let everyone all the way in. No waiting at Sunset Blvd. While we wanted to ride Slinky Dog Dash, we knew it would be a terrible wait, and sure enough, it was backed up significantly. If anyone else had been willing to wait, I would have ridden it, but alas, my crew is now a patient one.

We went straight to Alien Swirling Saucers, where we had just a short wait while the ride completed a round. Abel loved it! Corban was excited that HE had ridden it before his brothers. We thought about riding it again but decided to keep going.

Jason's favorite ride at WDW is Tower of Terror (he and my mama both!). I assured him that we should walk over now so he could ride it, as the line was still short. He and Jonah went on ahead while Corban, Abel and I browsed the shops on Sunset Blvd. Santa Claus was taking visitors, but the kids weren't interested. Ornament hunting was in full gear, but nothing we loved. We were walking into the TOT gift shop when Jason called and said the line was 40 minutes long, even though TP said it was just 4 minutes long. Except TP was wrong (I think the only time of our whole trip). One side was not working, so TOT was backed up. They weren't interested in waiting. What can I say - we are not a family that likes to wait in line. We are spoiled.

Next Up: Star Tours. Abel hates this ride, so I was going to sit it out with him since I don't love it either (little bit of motion sickness here). He surprised me by saying he wanted to ride. I guess a little courage is creeping in! We went through the stand-by queue, which was only about 10 minutes. We boarded and Abel sat next to me. I told him that if he started to get anxious or felt sick to just take off his glasses and/or close his eyes. I had to close my eyes pretty quickly into the ride, and I peeked at him and while he took them off for a moment, he put them back on and had enormous smiles throughout the ride. Jonah and Corban always love this one anyway, and they all wanted to ride it again. I told them I was sitting it out and would meet them by the Muppets. Perfect! I needed to pick up that Animal plush from Muppet Babies that Corban wanted - he would love it Christmas morning! Right about the time I got to the kiosk, Jason called to say they changed their minds, the line was doubled and they were coming to where I was. I rushed to buy that Animal as fast as I could and made it to a bench right about the time they rounded the corner, so OPERATION: SURPRISE was a success (Spoiler: he LOVED it! He won't let anyone else touch it. In fact, I wrapped him up in an orange t-shirt and put it all in a box, and he now associates that orange t-shirt with his Animal and calls it his Animal shirt!).

The kids are Xbox junkies, and always like to visit the Xbox stop, so we went there and they played Disney Infinity for a little while. We were getting hungry, so I let them play til 11am (probably 20 minutes or so) and we walked over to Backlot Express. Jason was very disinterested in Backlot Express, but when we arrived, he said "Oh, I remember this place!". This was the place that he had the Royal Guard Burger - a bacon cheeseburger with brisket. He was SOLD. He and Jonah got that burger, Abel got the kids chicken nuggers, Corban had a hot dog, and I had the Dark Side Chicken and Waffles (which was terrific, by the way). The kids liked the props, especially the old phone booth, in the Backlot Express. They were entertained enough to not argue for 20 minutes anyway.

The timing was perfect, as when we left Backlot Express the Indiana Jones show was starting in just 20 minutes. We walked in and were seated on the far right. It was still in the low 50's out, and the show was entirely in the shaded bleachers...except for the row we sat on! The sun was peeking in and hitting us on the back and it was soooo nice. The show went well, my kids tried their hardest to get me selected to be a volunteer, but since I wasn't really into it, Obviously I wasn't chosen. Jason was still trying to figure out who the "Special" volunteer was, which I can pick out in a hot second, and he was POSITIVE it was either THIS GUY or THAT GUY. One of the two. Ugggg, which one is it? I just sat quietly, trying to hide my little smile, resting in the knowledge that after all these years, I still know at least this one little secret. I mean, I know this is not really a secret, but in my family, it makes me look pretty awesome to say "It's HIM" and be met with skeptical looks, only to be vindicated a few moments later. Look, I'm the only girl in a house with 4 males; I've gotta take those victories where I can find them.

ANYway...the show was great as always, exactly as I remember it from the first time I saw it in 1989, and we were exiting the theater before we knew it. We stopped in a shop or two on the way out, but we were all pretty tired and knew tonight would be our last night at WDW for the next 3 years or so, and we wanted to rest up before we CLOSED THE PLACE DOWN. I mean, y'all, we were serious about this thing.

The drive to All Star Music was easy, and since we had received a text around noon saying that our room was ready, we just drove right there. We spent about 15 minutes "reorganizing" the van, getting clean clothes out of the suitcase (thank goodness I did laundry Thursday night), grabbing a few extra drinks, etc. Y'all: I don't think we could have been further from the lobby unless we had stepped off the sidewalk towards that little algae-covered retaining pond behind the very last building. I mean, we were on the 3rd floor of the County Fair section, last room on the end next to the trees. And since we were there for just one night, WE DID NOT CARE! I tell ya, it's a great feeling to be at WDW and not care what room they put you in. In fact, the room was so remote, it was kinda stuffy and we had the feeling it hadn't been occupied in a while. And we didn't see even one other person on our whole floor.

I was tired, people. As usual, I was the cheuffer, the planner, the tour guide, the meal planner, the scheduler, the chef (for the first few days), the launderer, the packer, the loader, the referree, and the mom (covers all the other jobs I didn't just list) for 9 days now. My kids and husband had this luxury (they don't even know it, and if they did, wouldn't want the responsibility) of not having to worry about a single thing all week. I just wanted a little nap. And a little nap I got.

Because once we stepped in that room around 1pm, I changed into "comfy clothes", climbed under the covers, and passed out hard. I think I probably slept for about 3 hours. It was glorious. It was invigorating. It was necessary.

Our first FP+'s weren't until 7pm. So, the day we decided we would tack on one more day to our vacation and end our vacation at the Magic Kingdom, I had each of my 3 boys tell me what was their MUST-DO attraction at the Magic Kingdom. Abel: Jungle Cruise. Corban: it's a small world. Jonah: Space Mountain. BAM! Everybody was happy cause I got FP+'s for all of them! Plus, since a couple of people didn't want to do IASW and a couple didn't want to do SM, I even grabbed another for Tomorrowland Speedway. This would be an Awesome night!

So around 5pm, we got up and started moving around. First up: DINNER. Everyone was hungry. But Abel was still tired, he had only slept and hour and was pretty irritated he was being interrupted. He kept insisting he didn't want to go anywhere. We were so mean. We didn't like him. We were FORCING him to go. I had had it up to HERE (imagine me raising my hand sharply to about eye-level as I said that to him) and finally said, fine, you don't have to go; you can be hungry and you can sit in this room with the door closed and locked and NO SCREENS because you are "SO TIRED". And I walked out behind everyone else and shut the door behind me and walked towards the elevator.

Okay, okay, don't freak out; I didn't leave my autistic, ADHD, anxiety-ridden/depressed 11-year old son alone in a hotel room while we went to MK. I waited 30 seconds outside the door, then opened it up (well, tried to anyway, but he had latched it LIKE I TOLD HIM HE HAD TO) after I knocked ferociously for 10 seconds and he let me in. I told him we spent a lot of money on this vacation, we had just ONE more night and he didn't have to like it, but he was coming with us. End of story. He sighed dramatically but put on his shoes and followed me.

I know. I'm the meanest mom in the world. I wear the title proudly.

We walked towards the food court, reminiscing about our visit to AS Music just 5 weeks before. Jason seemed to be "off". I wasn't sure what was going on. We arrived at the food court, and Corban and Abel both wanted pizza, so I ordered us a large cheese pizza; Jonah had the chicken pot pie, and Jason had the baked chicken. It was just what we needed for the night. When I asked Jason to get me some more water (which I never do, ask him to do things like that, cause my arms ain't broke and I can do it myself!). He seemed to be in some pain. We sat and enjoyed our dinner, and when we were done, he finally told me he was feeling awful. He had had this crud all week, and I thought that's what it was, but y'all, my poor delicate husband had developed such chaffed thighs that he didn't think he could take another step. Ahhhhhh. Now I understand the strange gait, the look of anguish, the silent agony as he refilled my water cup. Please don't tell him I told you. This is a chronic thing for him, one that he usually is able to avoid, but 9 days of vacation had taken it's toll and wasn't letting go. He said that he wanted to go so badly, but the thought of even walking back to the room made a tear come to his eye.

Relieved that it wasn't anything worse, I told him (truthfully) that I understood and that he should do what would be most comfortable for him. He said he was going to go back to the room and get in the bed and watch TV (truthfully, he went back and got his work laptop out and played World of Warships with his little clan til 1am like he does everynight). And, since DADDY wasn't going, "Can I stay with him?", asked Abel. I sighed deeply, and said, yes, you can stay with him.

We parted ways, and I can truthfully say that the night was completely different without them. Not in a good way, not in a bad way, just different. We missed them, but what could we do?

Jonah, Corban and I jumped on the bus (after checking out the gift shop, of course) and were at MK in no time. One last time, NO BAG LINE!!! Through the turnstyles and under the train station, and we were on Main Street by 7pm. It was just beautiful. The lights, the sounds, the manageable crowds... well, there were smiles on all 3 of our faces as we made our way down Main Street. We had our first stop at Jungle Cruise, which was Abel's pick, but since the other 2 wanted to ride, we did it. The skipper was great, Corban laughed his head off. Next, we walked over to Pecos Bill where Jonah got churros and we all had hot chocolate. Because, y'all, it was COLD that night! I'm thinking low 50's at 8pm. That is cold to this girl anyway.

On to it's a small world, which Jonah said he didn't want to ride. He met us at the exit. Corban just loved it as usual. In fact, when we got to the unload area, we rode it again since there was no line (fireworks or something going on outside). Once we collected Jonah, we walked over to Philharmagic, which is another of Corban's favorites. MK was open until midnight, and it was around 8:30. Jonah and I had said we would wait up to one hour to ride Seven Dwarves Mine Train, since we hadn't ridden it all year, but the line was over 90 minutes long. Oh, well.

We had time to kill before our Tomorrowland Speeedway FP+ at 9pm, so we walked over to Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor, which is one of our favorites. When we re-entered Tomorrowland, we realized that the line for Buzz Lightyear was SHORT. I mean, not even out the door. We made a bee-line for that, and were shooting lightning bolts within 10 minutes (I think there was another fireworks/castle show or something going on, because when we exited, the line was waaaayyy out the door).

Tomorrowland Speedway was next. Like Buzz Lightyear, not much of a line and we didn't even need our FP+'s at that moment. Corban was actually able to reach the pedal himself, so he thought he was big stuff as he was able to steer AND press the gas pedal.

We decided we needed to do People Mover next, which is my personal favorite ride at WDW, and Corban shocked both me and Jonah by saying he thought he would try Space Mountain with us (our FP+ return time was 10:45pm). I was thrilled, but a little worried, as I didn't make him a FP+ reservation since he never rides it! Uh-oh. Let's see how that goes. We browsed some shops, and when it was time to ride Space Mountain, we queued up in the FP+ line. Corban quickly told the CM manning the Mickey FP+ lights that he didn't have a FP+ but he wasn't even sure if he was going to ride. I didn't have to explain a thing; she just buzzed him right on through and we joined the line. Corban was super impressed with the line, he looked at everything, and when we finally were close to boarding, he asked what would happen if he changed his mind. I told him he could just wait at the exit, no one would be upset, but I was so proud when he actually got in the rocket ship. I sat behind him so I could grab his hand if he needed it.

We took off, and within 30 seconds, I heard him screaming (not the "Yay, this is so fun, aaaaahhhhhh!" type of scream either) then I heard a sob and "I hate this ride!". By the time we were exiting, he had calmed down significantly, but insisted he didn't like it. Oh, I forgot to mention that I promised to buy him something in the Space Mountain gift shop if he rode. So we found a great t-shirt and got in line to pay.

This was our last ride of the night and we were heading back to our hotel when we left Space Mountain. Or so we thought.

So Corban told the CM checking us out that it was his first time riding Space Mtn. and he didn't like it. She asked what his favorite ride at MK was. He thought for a few moments and said "Test Track". She laughed and said she loved that one, but she wanted to know about his favorite ride at MK. He was thinking about it and she said "Mine Train?". He told her that he hadn't ridden it. I told her we were unable to get FP+'s and while we were willing to wait up to an hour, it had not been under an hour when we had been nearby. She said "Do you want a FP for Mine Train?" What what? "We'd love one!" I responded. She reached in her pocket and handed me a paper FP, good for up to 5 people, to ride. WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?

I told her tonight was our last night visiting on our AP's and we would not likely return for at least 3 years. And that we were so bummed we didn't ride 7DMT. She just smiled and said "Now you do!". I was nearly speechless (and that's weird cause I talk A LOT).

We finished up our purchase, thanked her profusely and wished her the Merriest of Christmases and headed towards Fantasyland. It was about 11:15pm. Corban said he didn't think he could ride it, we told him he could wait at the exit for us. We entered through the FP+ line and were on the ride within 5 minutes! Jonah just loved it. He liked how smooth it was. It had been 3 years since we rode it.

Wow. What a way to end our night! Corban held the door open for all riders, and we walked towards Main Street. Bonus: we were even able to walk through the castle, which Corban had been wanting to do but it was always closed! We stopped to look for the perfect ornament for me, but couldn't find one. Jason had called to ask us to bring us some Goofy's Gummies, so we stopped at the Main Street Confectionary. Jonah picked out a bag of m&m's/skittles (by the pound, it was like $9, good thing I like this kid!), Corban picked out those mickey ears suckers bundles, we got Jason's gummies, and I bought cotton candy for me (pink) and Abel (blue). We took our time walking back to the bus stop, rode back in comfortable silence, and walked back to the room at midnight, admiring the steam coming off the pools (ooooh, magic, according to Corban).

The next day was our travel day back home; while we were in no real hurry, I didn't want to wait around too long. Jason was, of course, leading his clan in some battle on World of Warships. It was about 1 or 2am before we were all quiet and sleeping. What a great night.


unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversa
What a great trip! How cool that the CM gave you FP+s for Mine Train! For future reference for Jason....Bodyglide! I slather it all over my feet and inner thighs when I'm at WDW. Best.stuff.ever to prevent chafing.


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What a great trip! How cool that the CM gave you FP+s for Mine Train! For future reference for Jason....Bodyglide! I slather it all over my feet and inner thighs when I'm at WDW. Best.stuff.ever to prevent chafing.
I told him before we started he needed that! He decided to stick with the Gold Bond powder. Big mistake. I mean, though, what do I know? We loved riding the Mine Train last!


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Day 10: Sunday, December 23

Time to return to the real world. Had it been any other time of year other than 2 days before Christmas, I would have been bummed. But I love Christmas, and I was ready to get home!

We wanted to hit the road early-ish (9am is early for my crew). I woke first, as usual, and it wasn't long before we were all up and moving around. It was right around 9am when we made our way to the van. I wanted to drive to the front to look one last time for an ornament. We contemplated eating breakfast in the food court, but realized at 9am it would be crowded and that we could eat on the road for 1/4 of the price. So we all looked around the gift shop (I saw Jason sneakily purchasing something...), and while I didn't find the perfect ornament for myself, I did find a lovely little light wood votive box with a mickey sillouette and holly carved in each side. I thought that would be nice to remember this trip with, so I purchased it. I also purchased a couple more stocking stuffers, and we were in the van departing right around 10am.

Jason was requesting Chick Fil A, so I made my way over to the one in LBV...only to remember right as we were driving up that IT IS SUNDAY and CFA is CLOSED on Sundays! Tim Hawkins has a song about Chick Fil A..."kids, get in the van so we can go there today. But their stores are closed, I forgot that it's Sunday... chick fil a, what a dirty rotten trick to play..." Anyway, it's pretty funny and we could do nothing but laugh at our foolishness. We settled for Burger King, but it was 11am before we finally were back on the road.

The ride was uneventful, we stopped a couple more times. I thought the traffic would be much worse than it was, but it was clear all day. We arrived home around 10:30pm.

Final Notes:
*We loved Mystic Dunes. Especially the price. Very nice.
*Not having solid plans was the best ever. Haven't done that in a long time and I can't imagine we ever will go in to a WDW trip with a rigid schedule again.
*Riverside is still our favorite hotel
*2 weeks after "date day" with my kids, each kid says that their date day with me was their favorite day of our trip.

Oh, and the LEGO Boost set for Abel was an enormous his. We actually bought and wrapped a LEGO Boost Idea book up, which he opened before the LEGO set itself...and he totally didn't catch on. He said it would be great to use when he finally had enough money to buy the Boost. Jason and I were trying not to laugh. And it was literally the last present that was pulled out from behind the tree (not on purpose though). Abel became a little sad and said that he knows he's not getting the Boost because this box was not the right size. And when he half-heartedly ripped the paper, saw the LEGO logo, then Boost, he jumped up and down and screamed "Boost! Boost! Boost!" about 10 times! He spent the next 2 days building robots, writing commands, and watching it move. Big hit.

So that's it for this trip report. The last family trip to WDW for a couple of years at least. These Annual Passes yielded us 4 trips. February: 7 park days, May/June: 11 park days, November: 5 park days, December: 8 park days, for a grand total of 31 park days (though I think there may have been a day or two in there that we didn't do a park).

OH, and while there are no more BIG trips, my mom and I are doing a quick 3 day trip in January. I have a conference in Atlanta in January, so she's going to ride down with me and spend time with some friends there, then we will drive to Orlando on Jan. 13 and stay at All Star Music ($450 for 4 nights) and return on January 17. One more trip!


unsure of the release date for the dumbo anniversa
Loved following along on your trip. Thanks for sharing!

Mrs Darling

Active member
Really enjoyed your trip report - and especially your touring style. And I really admire how you roll with the punches.
That would be a good resolution for me, to follow your example on that front!


New member
Thanks for sharing yet another great trip with us! Maybe I’ll see you when you’re there January 13th-17th. We will overlap 2 days, as we arrive the 15th.