Jolly Holidays Monday

You know when you plan the perfect vacation, and everything is falling into place, and you can’t wait to get started, watching the kids enjoy themselves and then you start to relax and enjoy yourself?  Yeah.  Ain’t happenin’.  This is a Skamarakas family trip – did you expect the Brady Bunch?

I woke up early this morning – what else is new? – and went to the bathroom before waking Jim and asking him if he wanted to get up early with me, eat breakfast out on the balcony watching the animals before the kids got up.  He reluctantly agreed.  I quickly made breakfast for Jim, grabbed a protein bar for myself, and sat outside.  Then had to go to the bathroom.  Then ran back outside.  Then had to go to the bathroom.  Yes, ladies, you might recognize this as a symptom of a urinary tract infection.  I drink a gallon of water – give or take an ounce – and hope for the best.  The plan is to go to SeaWorld, then hit Walmart for a few things I didn’t know I needed – cranberry juice and Azo tablets – and to pick up a bag of groceries that never made it into our shopping cart yesterday.  We also left a bunch of stuff at Jim’s mom’s house, but I realize how low in importance it is when the pain from the UTI kicks in. 

We get the kids up, dressed, and fed, and we are on our way to SeaWorld.  The gallon of water is helping minimally, and I am in such great discomfort walking around SeaWorld that by 1 o’clock, I really can’t stand it anymore.  We decide to head out of the park and grab some lunch and then hit Walmart for the stuff we need.  Not sure where we want to eat, Jim starts heading down International Drive from SeaWorld, and we figure we’ll find some place we’ve never eaten to try, and then we pass Cafe TuTu Tango.  This was one of our favorite places when we lived in Orlando, but we haven’t been here in years.  If you have never been, this is a tapas style restaurant – basically, a menu full of appetizers.  It’s perfect for someone who has had gastric bypass surgery!  We choose a few things we think the kids will enjoy – steamed dumplings, chicken pizza, scallops, hummus and chips, and black bean soup.  It really makes a full meal for everyone at the table, and the girls are given pictures to color of Backyardigans characters – Granuaile’s favorite.  Another of the neat things about TuTu Tango is that they display the works of local artists all over the walls, and when the girls are done their pictures, the waitress brings them tape so they can add their art to the beautiful displays.  Eilis puts a price tag of $2 on hers – a bargain at twice the price.

Bordering on agony, I am finally on my way to Walmart.  I grab a six pack of diet cranberry juice and the box of Azo, a nightgown, since I forgot to pack one, and we get the groceries that we left behind the day before.  I pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner, and we are on our way back to the hotel.  Tonight in the lobby there is a craft set up.  The kids can pay $5 and make a Christmas ornament using dyed broken ostrich egg shells.  We pay for Eilis to do one – the money goes to animal conservation – and she happily sets about making a blue giraffe, which, of course, is exquisite 🙂  They give her a button which says she has helped with animal conservation, and we head up to the room for dinner.  The Azo is kicking in THANK YOU MAKERS OF AZO!!, and I am finally feeling a little bit better.  I take the girls downstairs and at the gift shop, they are getting ready to hold a parade.  The kids get to choose an instrument from the shop, and they parade around the immense lobby of Animal Kingdom Lodge singing, “We are in Africa!” over and over again.  It’s so much fun for the kids, they want to do it every night of the vacation!

We head back upstairs, have a bedtime snack of cookies and milk (thank you, Jim, for the nice cookies you picked up for the kids – they loved them as much as you do), and head off to bed.  No rush to get out tomorrow, since the plan is just to go to Magic Kingdom for the Very Merry Christmas Party.

Jolly Holidays, Sunday

I am up way too early.  My internal alarm clock seems permanently set on 6 something in the morning, and I don’t know how to break the habit!  I may have to find out during Christmas break!

I get up, and quietly start to pack our stuff.  At some point, Jim wakes up, and he starts getting himself ready.  When the girls get up, so as not to disturb anyone, I give them cereal and juice, and then I start to get them ready to go.  At that point, Dot and Russ wake up, and the kids decide they need “second breakfast” – a hot and delicious eggs and bacon, which certainly makes them forget the cereal they have already eaten. 

We take our time, load up the car, and we all head to CiCi’s Pizza for lunch. When lunch is over, we head to our hotel – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  This is our first trip “home” as Animal Kingdom DVC owners.  We checked in and found our room was not ready, so we headed over to do the grocery shopping.  The thing I like best about the villas at DVC is the kitchen and laundry facilities in your room.  It’s a great money saver to have the ability to make some meals – especially breakfast – and to keep snacks and drinks handy.  And going home with all clean clothes is AWESOME!  We hit Walmart and do our shopping, picking up more than we need of everything (come on, who doesn’t do that at Walmart?).  By then, we can check into our villa.

I had booked a 2 bedroom, working on the assumption that my mom would be coming with us.  She doesn’t feel up to it, and we have a ton of room.  The thing is, this is a lock off – meaning it’s really a 1 bedroom and a studio that are opened up at the connecting door to make it a 2 bedroom.  I feel a little cheated here, because I have tried to change our reservation to a 1 bedroom several times, only to be told they are not available.  They could have made another family happy by closing this unit off. 

This is, as I said, our first trip to AKL villas, and they are GORGEOUS!  The counter tops are all granite, and the color scheme is very earthy.  The CM who brought up our luggage tells us that AKL is now the largest African museum in America, and every piece in the unit is authentic – from the carved wood headboard and armoire to the art work.  I love how they incorporated things from The Lion King – my all time favorite Disney movie.  The room is just beautiful.

We have a nice dinner – Granuaile’s favorite – hot dogs.  And then we sit on the balcony and watch the animals.  We also have a great view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks, and we watch them each night that we are in the room.  We headed to the gift shop and rented a couple of movies, and Granuaile falls asleep early.  We’re visiting SeaWorld tomorrow, so we’re trying to be well rested.  The rest of us head to bed about 11 with no plan to rush getting up in the morning.  They’re saying the weather will be beautiful all week.  I can’t wait!