As you may have read previously, we had an addition to our family about two years ago. After a few local trips, and Christmas in Texas, our little Ollie came along for his first real vacation. Of course, it included a Disney park visit.
Our three full days in Hawaii began with a completely planned day and ended with one without any specific plans whatsoever. (The partial days included travel, which is difficult to plan around.) I’m definitely a consummate planner, so I was nervous about how the unplanned day might go. While it was not without its share of disappointment, it turned out to have wonderful highlights all its own.
After our few days of wedding festivities in Seattle, we hopped on another plane and continued our journey west, to Hawaii. We flew directly to Kona International Airport on the west side of the easternmost island, Hawaii, AKA the Big Island. A quick walk through the all-outdoor airport, then we picked up our rental silver Altima (which appeared to be the official rental car of the Big Island), and we were off to the resort!
This past weekend, Gina and I returned from our latest travels, the furthest of which reached about 4750 miles west of home. Or at any rate, our bodies have returned… personally, my brain is still lagging a few time zones behind. Our first stop was about halfway, in Seattle, for the wedding that prompted the trip in the first place.
By the time we hit the halfway mark in our trip, the weather turned from record-breaking cold into something much nicer. The morning started with really appreciating the view from our room (and its small—but existent!—balcony), the blue skies, the sun, and the fact that we no longer had to worry about wearing layers. I’d tweaked our FastPass and dining reservations several times for the first weekday, and while things weren’t exactly ideal, we were happy to at least have a plan in place.
Yes, it’s happened again… I convinced my wife Gina to return to Walt Disney World for our fifth trip, five months after our last trip, to celebrate our fifth anniversary, before the fifth performance of the show I was directing. I sort of had to sell my soul for this one: I’ve agreed to not ask to return—to any Disney park—for two years (it’s not that we can’t return, I just can’t ask to do so). So, hopefully I’ve packed in enough memories to satisfy my Disney desire for a couple of years. Of course, at my age, two years doesn’t seem like that long of a sentence. Plus, Gina started prompting us to look into Disney Vacation Club, so I can keep the magic alive for the future.
It’s been several months since I first posted about our “small trip” vacation planning. The plans went through a few iterations, temporarily settling on Cape Cod… then veering south after seeing hotel prices in that region. Eventually, we decided on a multi-stop driving trip focusing on Williamsburg, Shenandoah National Park, and Gettysburg: Hence, “The ‘Burgs.” Or, possibly “The Beers.”
Most years, we take one large trip and one small. The Disney trip we just completed was this year’s “large trip.” Our previous Disney trip in 2013 was our “small trip.” We’re currently beginning to think about this year’s small trip, meeting with friends tomorrow to see about traveling together. It’s brought up some interesting thoughts.
Wednesday was probably the only day we had with no real plans other than dining reservations. Given that our first reservation was for the Rose & Crown Pub in EPCOT—and that Gina and I had only been to that park briefly so far this visit—we decided that’d be the best place to start our day. So, fairly early in the a.m., we headed out to the boat dock to get to the Magic Kingdom area, where we’d pick up the first of two monorails that’d allow us to reach EPCOT.
We got back fairly late after Monday night’s EPCOT visit (transportation’s not always all that speedy), so we figured we’d take it a little easy on Tuesday (at least to start with). We had a lazy morning, slept in relatively late, then moseyed on out to Magic Kingdom (where it seems we started several of our mornings). Gina and I had reservations at the Garden View Tea Room for afternoon tea, since I was only able to procure a reservation for two. For that reason, we all figured it would be easiest for the couples to divide and conquer (or whatever) until we linked back up in the afternoon.