Friday, January 1, 2010

Disney World - Days 7 and 8 (The End)

Saturday December 19, 2009 - Day 7, and the last full day
Day seven was another cool one in Florida, but nothing compared to what they were getting back home. A northeast blizzard was hitting much of the Mid Atlantic and New England states, including Philadelphia, where they were getting what would total 22 inches of snow when all was said and done. This ended up being one of the largest December snow storms on record. Being a worrier, frequent checks of the Weather Channel on the hotel room TV had yours truly very concerned that we would be unable to get home on Sunday. I did check with the hotel's front desk, and if we got stuck they had plenty of rooms for us to extend our stay.

With that knowledge in hand, we were off to Animal Kingdom for round 2... Animal Kingdom was not as exciting to the kids as some of the other parks, probably because it is less interactive or participatory than Magic Kingdom, Epcot or even Hollywood Studios, but me and Mom pushed hard to return to it before we left.

You gotta love Tigger. And the girls look happy (me too for that matter...).

I love music of all types and forms, and one thing that Disney is great at, especially at Christmas time, is performances of all kinds of singing and instrumental groups. AK had a great percussion group that performed on the street that we were fortunate enough to see two or three times in passing. At one of the shows, the girls were able to grab some jingle bell sticks and join in.

And tigers are cool. Way cool. Unless they are eating you, I suppose...

Every parade at Disney is very well done, but I especially liked the one at Animal Kingdom.

Another great day, but for me, I was never able to completely forget about the blizzard back home and what that would mean for our return trip.

Sunday December 20, 2009 - Day 8 and Final
To make Sunday morning as easy as possible, we packed most of our things the night before, which worked out well. After getting up and showered, we were able to pack our last odds and ends, have coffee and a donut, and make our way down to the front of the hotel to catch our Magical Express bus back to the airport. We were due to catch a 10:00am bus in order to get there in plenty of time for our 1:20pm flight, which was scheduled to get us into Philly at 3:55pm. If all went well, a limo would be waiting to take us home (hiring a private car was cheaper than either parking at the airport for a week or putting 4 people on one of those airport vans - and much more convenient). Our flight was showing as on time when I checked at the concierge desk at the hotel, but I was pretty well convinced that we would get to the airport, wait all day through cascading delays, and then be cancelled. I couldn't help going through the list of everything that could go wrong - our plane stuck somewhere else and unable to get to Orlando, Philly airport unable to dig out, limo not waiting for us, us able to get home but having to trudge through 2 feet of snow to the house (I would gladly accept the last one!).

To make a long story short, and to end on a happy note, our return trip went absolutely as well as we could have hoped flying into the cleanup of a blizzard. Our plane got to Orlando from Chicago with no issues, which was actually my biggest worry. Since our flight wasn't due to get to Philly until late afternoon, and since the snow had ended overnight, I thought that landing in Philly would be OK. But if our plane was coming from a city in the northeast it might have been unable to get out in the first place, in which case there would be no plane to return on.

We had a short ground delay in Orlando while air traffic control in Philly found us a slot in the incoming traffic stream, and ended up taking off at 2:10, or less than an hour later than planned. After circling south Jersey for an extra 20 minutes or so, we were on the ground (amd looking at a lot of snow). Our limo driver was waiting for us, and our three suitcases were some of the very first to come up onto the baggage carousel. We were home before 6pm, and found that our driveway had been cleared in our absence. We found out later that since our neighbors knew that we were out of town and coming back Sunday, they had chipped in and shoveled part of it and then had a passing plow do the rest. Thanks guys!

A great trip, but good to be home.

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