December 31, 2013

The day had finally arrived. We woke the kids up at 5:30 am and were on the road by 5:50. We had everything packed the night before and just had to grab a few last minute things out of the fridge so we were ready quickly. It was a very cold morning and there was a possibility of snow so we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to get to O’Hare airport. We watched Peter Pan on the way and hit no traffic so we got there early. We parked in the remote lot F, took a picture of our parking spot, and hopped on the bus. We made our way to the check in and had to wait in line for a bit. Just before we were to the desk, the worker announced that if we had not printed our boarding passes that there would be a charge, so I hopped out of line and printed them at the only station of 4 that actually worked. I got back in line and we checked in. The next step was security and we got lucky with our first fast pass and were sent to the quick line. There was only one person in front of us. The other line probably took 30-40 minutes to get through. Yay! We made it to the gate and entertained ourselves.

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We took some walks, the kids played iPods, ate a late McDonald’s breakfast, and made sure we used the restroom before we boarded.

We flew Spirit and they have a bad reputation, but we knew going in that nothing would be included. We brought snacks and our water from McDonald’s. The flight went smoothly. The kids had fun and Cara was excited for her first airplane ride. ¬†Part way through the trip, Abby said, “I don’t know why I was so excited to fly on an airplane. It’s pretty much just getting there. It’s kind of boring.” Those are my thoughts exactly. I used to think flying was so exciting but it really is the idea of going somewhere. The actual airplane is pretty boring.

We landed in Orlando at MCO and made our way to the Magical Express. It was the first time we used our MagicBands. We scanned in and made our way to the bus. We had to sit there awhile but then we were on our way. After 3 stops, we were dropped off at All-Star Movies Resort. We checked in and made our way to the Love Bug section. The room was sufficient but had a funny smell upon entering and was less than I had expected.

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I emptied a few of our bags and repacked a bag to take to Hollywood Studios with us and we were right back out the door. We went to the bus stop and got on the bus for Hollywood Studios. The fun part was finally starting!

At Hollywood Studios, we decided to eat at Pizza Planet, so we walked straight there since we hadn’t eaten much all day. I ordered at the counter while Derek and the kids found a place to sit on the patio. It was so nice to eat outside on New Year’s Eve! After we ate, we headed toward the front of the park to get ready to go to Fantasmic. Last time we were at Disney World, we did not see the Fantasmic show, so I was really excited to see it. We used a fastpass and were able to walk right in. We sat in the third row and had a pretzel and some popcorn while we waited for the show to start.

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The show itself was amazing. Lights, water, fire, fireworks, and characters all made the show spectacular. I wish I’d have taken more pictures, but the show was mesmerizing and I really didn’t think to take very many!

After Fantasmic, we decided it was time to call it a night and we headed back to the resort. We explored the resort a little and then made our way to our room.

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When we got there, our suitcase had been delivered and I unpacked a little more and got Cara’s bed set up. It was a long day of travel but a great way to end 2013.

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Packing 101

Tip 1: I am finally going to tell you why I asked about old, worn out socks. Don’t throw them away! I know it sounds weird, but instead of putting them in the garbage, put them in your suitcase. To be honest, I do the same thing with underwear and tshirts that I am ready to get rid of. Here is why…next time you travel, pack what you need of the clothes you were ready to get rid of and then when you are at your destination, throw them away AFTER you wear them. This is a benefit for a few reasons. One is that you will have more room in your suitcase on your return for things like souvenirs. Another reason to do this is so that you have less laundry when you get home. After all, who wants to do a bunch of laundry when you already have the post vacation blues. It may not seem like a lot, but on our last trip to Disney World for 5 people, I had a plastic Walmart bag stuffed full of just socks and underwear.

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Tip 2: Plastic Bags are your friends. Personally, I like Hefty slider bags. I use the 2.5 gallon size, gallon, quart, sandwich, and snack. The most important size that most people probably aren’t familiar with is the 2.5 gallon size. I use that size for clothes. On our last trip, I had an outfit for each of the (3) kids, and shirt and underclothes for Derek and myself in a bag. That way in the morning when it was time to get dressed, I just got out the bag and all the clothes were in it. Another way to do it would be to put all of one person’s ¬†shirts in one bag, pants in another, and so on. I like packing by the day, though, so that when I get to the last day, I won’t end up with tops and bottoms that don’t match. I like to label the bag with the day we will wear it or with the person’s name.

Tip 3: Start packing long before your trip. This would be the pre-packing step. I lay the clothes out in a place that won’t be in the way and then I have time to weed out what I don’t really need. Overpacking is a pain. Too many things get in the way for you to find what you really need and it makes the bags heavy. Also, many airlines charge for bags now, so the lighter you can pack, the cheaper it will be. I like to travel light so I don’t have to haul a bunch of stuff around.