The day was very long, but wow, it was fun! The magic started before I even arrived at the park when I got an excited text from my daughter - they were given a surprise hotel upgrade! Instead of the "value"resort (which most reviews describe as fine for families with young kids, but not awesome) they were moved to the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort! That isn't the official Disney site, but it has the best photos of the property, which is delightful! They have a first floor, garden view room in a quiet building. Check-in wasn't until 3, so they left their stuff in their car and went straight to the Magic Kingdom, where I met them about an hour later.
It was a very long, very full day. My daughter and family got to the park in time for the opening show, and they went on several rides in the uncrowded early morning before I joined them a bit later. Delaney decided she really didn't want to ride Big Thunder Mountain after all, so my daughter and I went on while her daddy waited with her. I hadn't been on that coaster since my daughter was a child. I rode it with Delaney's comfort level in mind, and yes, it was wise that she passed. It was faster and rougher than I remembered, and I think she'd have hated it - too scary. Barnstormer and Mine Train are her roller coasters at this age. She insisted that Grandma take her on the Barnstormer coaster while her parents went on Splash Mountain. Crowds were light to moderate, but the wait for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was still utterly insane, and no Fastpasses were available. The sun was the only issue - it was HOT. But we knew that would be the case and expected it. And BTW - Neutrogena sunscreen is the bomb. I don't have a trace of sunburn today.
When check-in time rolled around the heat had done us all in, so we were grateful to retreat to the resort in the late afternoon. Daddy headed for the pool bar to watch college football, while Mommy and Delaney and I took a walk along the river to explore, then went to the pool. We played in the pool for over an hour. I didn't take any pictures there because I was in the water the entire time, which says something about how much I liked it.
At this point it was dinner time and nobody had taken the naps we'd planned, including Delaney. She took a catnap in the car on the way from the Magic Kingdom to the room, but woke up rarin' to go when she saw where she was. Then she played in the water for over an hour, and played the poolside games, and danced, and it was exhausting just watching her. We fully expected her to crash, but that child can hang. She was having a blast.
We ate dinner at the resort - the food was very good. After we finished dinner we decided that if we stayed at the resort we'd all fall asleep and never make it back to the Magic Kingdom. My daughter was determined to do the "extra magic hours" offered to the resort guests. So we got on the bus and went back to the park. Delaney was beginning to flag.
We walked in right at 9 p.m., when the Main Street Electrical Parade was beginning. Delaney LOVES the parade, and we got a great spot curbside. She waved and called out to all of her favorite characters, loving it to the end. The instant it was over, she asked that her stroller back be reclined, and she was OUT. Out, out, dead-to-the-world out. Sleep through the fireworks booming over her head OUT.
This in itself wouldn't be a deal killer for the adults - we could have taken turns doing things while one adult waited with Sleeping Beauty in her stroller. But when our Fastpass Black Belt checked to see what she could schedule, nothing we wanted to do was available, and the wait times were longer than they'd been all day! So we wandered a bit, thinking it over, getting ever more tired and irritable. The park felt more crowded than it had during the day, and we couldn't think of anything we really wanted to do. Delaney slept peacefully on.
We didn't make it to the extra magic hours, and were back in the resort room around 11:30. Then I had a decision to make - did I really want to sleep there, or just go home? The room was charming, but not exactly spacious for three adults and a child and all our stuff. The bathroom in particular was problematic. There is a large curtained dressing area with sinks, but the toilet and tub are in a very small space behind a door. I showered there after swimming, and the logistics of three adults getting through the morning shower process PLUS bathing a small child seemed daunting. In one afternoon we'd created a heap of wet bathing suits with nowhere to put them to dry, and it wasn't going to get less cluttered. It felt cramped, and we were already misplacing our stuff in the clutter. I'd have slept there if we'd gotten in at 3 a.m., but I've driven back from Disney after 11 p.m. too many times to count - it's an easy 40 minutes door to door. So on the bus back to the resort I decided I'd just go home. I had spent time at the resort, played in the pool, ate and explored, but if we weren't doing the extra hours I really didn't need to sleep there on this trip.
So I collected my wet bathing suit and towel and pile of sweaty clothes from earlier in the day, and was home in my jammies by 12:30. Delaney had been transferred from the park to her bed without stirring, so when we told her I was going home she just half opened her eyes and muttered. I mildly regret missing the morning beignets, but otherwise, I feel like I had a very nice resort experience. I'd like to do it again, but next time with my own room.
They are at the resort today, planning a visit to Hollywood Studios before enjoying the resort activities again. Delaney was fascinated by the phone on the nightstand in the room. She's a child of a cell phone only world, and it was her first up-close experience with a land line. A phone with a CORD?? WHAAT?
So this morning she had to call me to ask if I was going to join them at Hollywood Studios, but mostly as an excuse to use this fascinating device. My daughter had to coax her to get off the phone so they could go. Finally she said goodbye, and then I heard her asking, "What do we do to turn the telephone off?" before her mommy hung it up for her. She is a child of the digital age, where everyone she knows has a smart phone in their pocket. The use of a landline is as alien to this generation of preschoolers as milking a cow. No, more alien than that - she's been to petting zoos and understands cow milking theory. That weird phone-thing with the funny curly cord flummoxed her.
I am on my couch, resting my tired feet and contemplating a nap. I'll go back tomorrow for the character brunch at the Grand Floridian, and weather permitting, we'll do a few hours at Epcot. And I still have seven more days off!