Neverending Travel

Once upon a time, I flew from Tokyo to Dallas with a newborn on my shoulder and a one year old on my lap. I distinctly remember two horrific poo explosions happening mere seconds before our huge plane took off and being impressed (and irritated all at the same time) that the girls had managed to synchronize their business. As we flew for what seemed like forever, I remember thinking that any flight within the continental US would seem like a very short flight indeed after this.

But that was then. And now? I’m kind of spoiled. Which is why our first day of vacation (ie, the travel ALL DAY LONG day) seemed neverending. Sure, we weren’t crossing an ocean, but that newborn and one year old have morphed into preschoolers who can’t sit still on a plane and who think it’s hilarious to sing at the top of their lungs in Miss Piggy voices. Makes for a longer flight than you would think!

Anyway.

We arrived at the OKC airport early on Thursday morning, where we celebrated the fact that our vacation was finally getting started by ordering some chocolate milks and toasting one another. We were all having a great time until about five minutes before we were supposed to board our plane when it became impossible to get Ana to sit up and open her eyes. She kept complaining about how tired she was, and just as they were calling for us to board, she threw up everywhere. Hello, chocolate milk! You know, I pray against these kinds of situations (vomit in public places) and could only affirm, as I held Ana over a trash can while other passengers made a beeline away from us, that God has His reasons for not delivering me from such evils and that I will indeed be stronger for having endured the Great Airport Vomit of 2011. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

After Ana was done (ahem), she smiled and proclaimed that she was “ALL BETTER NOW!” Until she noticed that she had thrown up into the sleeves of her jacket. Then, there was some hysteria and much gnashing of teeth with the wailing and the hair pulling and so on and so forth. I still managed to get us both on the plane and asked the flight attendant for a motion sickness bag, just in case. He told me he’d do even better than that and handed me a garbage bag so that, I quote, “She has a bigger target to aim for.” Awesome.

And thus began the bumpiest flight I’ve ever been on. Wouldn’t you know that the one time I fly with someone who has already been barfing, it would be a flight so erratic that even the flight attendants had to sit the entire time? Ana (who did indeed appear to be feeling “all better now”) told me, “Hey, this ride is like the Tower of Tower Terror!” (Hollywood Studio’s Tower of Terror for those who don’t understand Anaspeak.) “See, we’re going UP and DOWN… UP and DOWN…” When we finally descended into Kansas City, we saw the reason for the bumpiness — a SNOWSTORM! Right there at the airport! Snow everywhere! Oh, and while I was freaking out about this, Ana threw up again. (And hit the target! Thank you, Mr. Flight Attendant!)

We spent an uneventful two hours in the terminal of the Kansas City airport where we paid $30 (!!!) for two sandwiches. Seriously, why is food so expensive in airports? And why is it rarely any good? Maybe I’m just bitter because Emma ate the lettuce, cheese, bread, and honey mustard off my sandwich, leaving me with just ham. $30 ham.

We were so excited when we got on the plane to Orlando, and we strapped the girls in and waited for take-off… and waited… and waited… Finally, an hour after we were supposed to depart, the pilot explained that the plane needed de-icing, and we were only cleared to leave once he came through the plane and got a visual for himself of the condition of the wings. At this point, I was beginning to think we were going to spend a week in Missouri because the snow started coming down even harder. But before I could begin to imagine the preschool revolt that would ensue when I would tell the girls, “Guess what? We’re going to BRANSON instead of Walt Disney World!,” we took off and got away from that cold weather. (Oh, and I would NEVER really tell the girls we were going to Branson because about a year ago, we got it in Emma’s head that we would spend this vacation there, and she was so prepared to go to Silver Dollar City and see that show with the Chinese dragon dancers that she was literally inconsolable when we told her we were going to WDW after all and that Branson would have to wait for another year. Em loves her some Branson, even though she’s never been!)

A couple of hours later, the pilot came back on to tell us that due to the spaceship launch, we were taking a much less direct route to Orlando. This pushed our arrival time back another hour. I really didn’t mind this, but I wish we would have been sitting on the other side of the plane because that half actually saw the spaceship taking off above the clouds. Ana craned her little neck as much as she could, but even those of us who are over three feet tall couldn’t see a thing. Sad day.

The greatest part about coming in two hours behind schedule was that once we got to the Magical Express line, it was empty! In the past, we’ve waited quite a while in a super long line, but this year, we got right on the bus and entered the Walt Disney World gates just as it was getting dark and everything was lit up so beautifully. The girls, who had been merely excited before this, were beside themselves. Those Disney Pros know that when you cross under the big purple and red sign EVERYTHING up ahead is Mouse-related.

Within minutes of arriving at our hotel (Port Orleans Riverside again this year, but this time we stayed in Magnolia Bend), we met up with the rest of the family. For those who don’t know, we vacationed this year with my parents and my sister and her family. There were ten of us in all, with four of those ten being five years old and under. My only childhood trip to Walt Disney World was in 1986, exactly 25 years before this visit, which means that my parents hadn’t been back in nearly three decades. Here’s just a peek at what it looked like back then…

Think it had changed at all? We would soon find out! (Oh, and that eighties gentleman in the picture isn’t related to us. Not sure how he got in this picture, but there he is!)

More to come…

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