I'm on a need-to-know basis in my house. I just go where I'm told to go, when I'm told to go there, then do whatever my wife Betty tells me that I should do once I get there. This is my key to a happy marriage.
So it was a pleasant surprise when, one day after work, I found that four suitcases had been packed, trips for a vacation had been planned, my parents had been invited, and oh, by the way, our flight was leaving the next day. And where were we going?
I actually had more than a day's notice about our trip, but only because my wife asked if I'd be up for driving all the way to Orlando in a single day with two kids. I said no, and suggested that we fly. We talked about it for a few weeks. Originally, flights were pretty pricey, but we were able to get some great rates from Southwest - and right before oil prices went up. So we flew.
This was both of our kids' first time flying. We were worried about their ears, so Betty gave Anne some Benadryl to try to knock her out. Unfortunately, it just made her cranky. Fortunately for us, my parents were with us, so we had her sit by them.
We also sat across the aisle from them, so she couldn't kick our seats. It was all part of the plan!
My son Peter loved flying, since it mostly involved looking out the window and then napping on my dad.
We were going to Disney for two reasons: first just for a much-needed vacation, but also because my daughter's birthday is on 4/4, and she's able to get in for free while she's under two years of age.
We stayed at Port Orleans, which is a Disney resort, so we got to use the buses. There are two parts of Port Orleans... there's the French Quarter, where we stayed, and then there's the Riverside resort. We stayed at the French Quarter because there's only a single bus stop instead of the several at Riverside, plus I thought I would get to see some ladies flashing for beads at night. Alas, the French Quarter resort only looked like the real French Quarter, but didn't really feel like the French Quarter - there were no drunk women flashing, no debauchery, it was completely clean of trash and didn't smell like horse manure, there were no bums asking for money, and I didn't feel like I needed to walk down the street with my wallet in my front pocket. But we still liked it anyway.
Port Orleans is built near the Sassagoula River, which connects Port Orleans, the Grand Floridian, Downtown Disney, and lots of other places. We determined that Sassagoula is a combination of Mississippi, Pascagoula and something that starts with an S. But we liked the Sassagoula River because, in my family, we've always called a girl's hoohoo a "goula." We think it's the Italian slang for it, but are not really sure. Either way, I had to get a picture of my mom by the sign, and we made her stand in front of the "Sassa" part of Sassagoula so we could just get a picture with her and a giant Goula.
Then we called it the Sassy Goula River for the rest of the trip.
We took a ferry from Port Orleans to Downtown Disney. This ferry boat was actually a momentous occasion, because it marked yet another mode of transportation for us Tanorys. That day we had also been in a van, a plane, a bus, a tram at the airport, elevators, escalators, people-movers (moving sidewalks)... and now a boat! All of this moving around made up for the several weeks prior, in which I sat on a chair for 64 hours straight and just propelled myself with my legs in order to go anywhere.
Anne likes to watch Curious George on PBS / LPB, and they always have a commercial for Rainforest Cafe right before George comes on. So we thought it would be fun to take Anne to the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. She had been before when she was a baby and she loved it then, but this time, she started a new motif for our trip: her hands over her ears whenever anything was remotely loud.
So... she hated Rainforest Cafe, but the rest of us liked it. We made it up to her by taking her shopping and taking pictures with statues of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
Then just to make sure that my little munchkin was happy, we took her to the Girardelli place and got a sundae.
After that we took another ferry boat ride on the Sassy Goula River back to Port Orleans and went to bed. We had a big day ahead of us!
I'd like to say that this was the easiest vacation we'd ever planned, mostly because we didn't plan it. One of our friends gave us the name of a travel agent, Nancy Swope, and she was incredible. We originally emailed her at 10:35 PM, and heard back from her at 10:45 PM the same night - and our travel agent lives on the east coast, so it was really 11:45 PM there! She was so responsive, it was incredible.
So I'd like to give a shout out to Nancy, our Personal Vacation Planner, who is affiliated with MEI-Travel and Mouse Fan Travel. The crazy thing is that it was free for us to use her services. She booked our hotel, got us our reservations for the character meals, got us rooms on the first floor of our hotel right by the bus stop... she did it all! If you contact MEI-Travel, please ask for Nancy Swope!
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