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.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport

Derek and I decided to fly out of Milwaukee for our trip to New York City. This was the second time we flew out of MKE. The first time was in 2010 when we went to Disney World. We are lucky with our location in north central Illinois that we are able to use many different airports: Bloomington, Peoria, Quad City, Rockford, Chicago Midway, Chicago O’Hare. My parents live further north and so that helps with the use of Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. Of course I partially chose our flight for the price because I always enjoy a good deal but it also is an easier airport to fly out of than say, O’Hare. When searching for flights, it is good to keep in mind that you may be able to use a multiple airport search. Don’t assume that the one you are used to will have the best prices. Also take into consideration how much it will cost driving, parking, tolls, etc…

When we arrived at Mitchell Airport, we followed the signs to the SuperSaver lot. Remember of course which Lot and which area you park in because it would be difficult to find your vehicle when you return if you don’t. I wrote down the information. Ours was Lot A. Section H. 3rd Shelter. It was enough information that I was afraid I wouldn’t remember it. If you forget to take note of it, your shuttle driver may remind you. Our shuttle driver, Charlie, was very helpful. He announced the location of where he picked us up and also gave us information about where we would find the shuttle to take us back to the parking when we returned, which was outside near Baggage Claim 5. For a total of $6/day, the price can’t be beat. That even includes tax.

We had a 9:15 flight and we got to the airport by about 7, which is more than enough early. We were the only people at security so that was quick and easy. There was even a recombobulation area after the security area which made me laugh out loud. I kept asking Derek, “Why do I find that so funny?” Then I would laugh more. It was nice, however, to have a bench to sit on to retie shoes and get our stuff put back together.  There weren’t a lot of choices for breakfast once we cleared security, but there is enough. I wished I would have gone through McDonald’s on the way there. The airport was very clean and not busy. It was a nice change from O’Hare. We took off on time and had no issues, which is a great thing when in an airport.