I blissfully go about life getting stuff done when it needs to get done. As a result, I do all of my best packing last minute. If I pack too soon, I start second guessing what I need to bring, why I need to bring it, and end up packing way more than I need. If I wait until the last minute, I pack the bare minimum, wearing the same underwear four days in a row sounds like a good plan to save space in the suitcase, and having Eilis and Granuaile wear the same outfit on alternating days seems like a brilliant idea. It’s all good.
Then of course Jim comes behind me. He wants nothing to do with packing at all, except to carry the filled suitcases down to the car. Until everything is all packed and on its way out to the car. Then he starts asking, “Did you pack….?” “Don’t we need……?” And it becomes a chore to have to shove into whatever space we have left all of the things he thinks are urgent to bring. Plus some.
So our cab is due to pick us up at 5 AM on Saturday morning, 12/19. As with most Skamarakas family trips, it just wouldn’t be the same unless something went wrong or something exciting happened. In this case, we are about to be hit with a record breaking snow storm. The timing as it currently sits has the snow arriving in our area around 3 AM – but the heavy stuff not coming until during the day Saturday. We are due to fly out at 7:55, so we begin hoping and praying that we will make it out before the baddest of the snow comes.
Jim and I get up at 4, peek outside, and it looks calm. By 5, when the cab arrives, it is snowing steadily. We still feel confident we’ll beat the storm. Three hours later, as we pull through the de-icing bay, we are grateful to be one of the last planes out before the airport closes. Whew.
Our arrival into Orlando is safe and smooth, and we are so glad to be here and not digging out from what will end up being 26 inches of snow in our area. The original plan is to take Magical Express to the Polynesian Resort, but since we are now packing all of our winter coats and the extra essentials Jim decided we needed, he has called ahead and asked Brighid to meet us at the airport to get all of our stuff to the hotel. She arrives with Russell, and as Jim takes out the coats and carry on bags, I wait at baggage claim. We ended up packing the two Christmas present filled suitcases into Russell’s van, along with the coats and a few other things, so Jim and I head to Magical Express with just a few things – plus the bags they are picking up on our behalf.
I have wanted to stay at the Polynesian since I was a little girl. My first trip to Walt Disney World was with my dad, and we stayed at the Contemporary. It was lovely, but we went to the luau at the Polynesian one night, and the sights and smells were just amazing. There was the sweet smell of gardenias everywhere, and the brilliant colors of the hibiscus flowers. The memories are as vivid to me as if I was there yesterday, but everyone with me that first time through the resort is gone. That first vacation we took was with my dad, my sister Bean, and my Grandmom Bilbrough, and none of them are here now to share the excitement of coming to the Poly. I actually do get a bit teary eyed when the cast member at the front desk hands me the leis for the family.
Then we check into our room. I think it can’t get any better than actually being here, until we walk in and see our view from the balcony.
Because we are running so late, I miss the meeting I was supposed to have with Diane L and Jo Y from the Disney Moms Panel! OH NO!! I text Diane to update her about how late we are, and fortunately, they are able to meet me at the Grand Floridian before we head in for tea. I love my Moms!
So, as I mentioned, things often don’t go according to plan during our family vacations. We are supposed to meet for tea at the Grand Floridian at 2:20. This is our birthday gift to Jim’s mother, and I’m excited, as we’ve never done tea here before! We phone Brighid and find out that at 1:30, they have not yet arrived at Jim’s mother’s house to pick her up to bring her to the restaurant. By 2, they haven’t gotten out of the gate at their community. By 3, they are still at least 45 minutes away. And By 3:15, they are giving our table away to another large party. They can, however, squeeze Jim and I in for tea, and since we haven’t eaten and I’m starving, we head in.
The tea is just wonderful, and the holiday decorations are so pretty – very Victorian. Visiting the resorts during the holidays is really a must do. Each wreath and tree is themed to the theme of the resort, and you get a different flavor of the holidays each place you go. We love it.
The remainder of the evening is spent at the Polynesian Resort. I love this resort, and we are so fortunate to have a room that has a magnificent view of anything important – the castle, the Electric Water Pageant, Space Mountain, and best of wall, Wishes!
We were so exhausted, that by the time Jim’s mom and stepdad left, it was all we could do to get into pajamas and hop into bed. A long vacation looms before us, and I think we’re going to need a full eight hours to get a running start!