I thought I would switch gears for a post or two and tell you a bit about mine and Michael's 10th anniversary trip to Disney! I always enjoy reading reports of other people's vacations--living vicariously, I guess--and thought you might like to hear about our little trip.
We knew we wanted to do something special for our 10th wedding anniversary and Disney is our favorite place, so it seemed like a no brainer. I couldn't help but feel guilty, though, for going on such a nice trip without our kiddos. Ultimately, though, I decided we deserved it (Michael thought we deserved it the whole time ha!). My reasoning was this: On our wedding night, an hour after we arrived at the hotel where we were staying for that night, I developed the stomach virus. By the next day, Michael had contracted it and we spent the next 3 nights sick at a very nice bed and breakfast. On our first anniversary, we decided to try the same bed and breakfast again and, as fate would have it, we both developed the stomach virus on our first day there. On our second anniversary, I was pregnant with Kade and smack dab in the throes of "morning" sickness, so we didn't do anything. On our third anniversary, we had a four month old baby and I made a dry pot roast, which I sobbed over. I think we ended up getting $1 double cheeseburgers from McDonald's. And so on and so on for the next 6 years. We went out to eat several times, but we never spent the night anywhere or did anything really special.
Our anniversary is on December 30, but we knew that would be a very busy weekend at Disney, so we chose the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is still busy, but less so than NYE weekend. I chose to host Thanksgiving for both of our families at our house this year, so after we had eaten and cleaned up, we finished packing and dropped the kiddos off at my parents' house. Did I mention we couldn't have gone on this trip without the grandparents' help?!
Michael and I are veteran all-night to Orlando drivers. Well, he does most of the driving, but I keep him company so he doesn't fall asleep. We talked, turned the music up really loud and sang, stopped a couple of times for gas and snacks, and were really close to Orlando by around 7:30. We stopped for Starbucks and Cracker Barrel to take a little break.
Then, we were really ready to get there! We started seeing all of the familiar sights that always make us excited to be at Disney World again--Magical Express buses, the Holy Land Experience, Universal Studios, and finally those sweet, sweet Disney gates! We were back "home"!
We checked into our hotel, Port Orleans Riverside, and thankfully, they had a room ready for us! It was beautiful!
We were both exhausted and running on adrenaline, so we decided we'd better take a little nap before we headed out. However, after 10 minutes, we knew we were too excited to sleep, so we freshened up and headed out to explore. One of the things we've never done before at Disney is to go to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to see the decorations and their life size gingerbread house. I'd like to say it's my dream to stay at the Grand Floridian but both times we've taken the boys there, we spent half of the time saying, "No! Don't touch that! Don't run! Shhhh, be quiet!" so not anytime in the near future. It is definitely a grand resort, though!
There was a gigantic, beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the hotel, garland and bows everywhere, and as I mentioned, a life size gingerbread house.
Though we've eaten at 1900 Park Fare, one of the restaurants inside the Grand Floridian, we had never gotten the chance to explore this expansive resort before. Everything was gorgeous!
By this time, we were starving and headed back to our resort to eat lunch. We ate at the food court, which is called Riverside Mill and I didn't take any pictures, but I think Michael had a create-your-own pasta meal and I had a roast beef melt with house made chips. Both meals were yummy! After walking around our resort a little bit and getting ready, we headed out to dinner at Disney Springs. We had a reservation at 6:30 for a new restaurant called Chef Art Smith's Homecoming.
One of the neat things about staying at Port Orleans is that there is a boat that takes you straight to Disney Springs. It was a nice, peaceful 20 minute ride and when we reached the dock, we were greeted by this gorgeous sight--
We checked into our restaurant and were seated about 10 minutes later. From what I had read, it was a very Southern style restaurant, similar to Paula Deen's. They had deviled eggs, fried chicken, cheddar drop biscuits, Hummingbird cake, etc. We ordered some hushpuppies as a appetizer, which came with pimiento cheese and pepper jelly dips. I could have made a meal out of just those! For our entrees, Michael ordered a sandwich called the Hamilton, which was double burger patties on white bread, with chow chow and I don't know what else. I ordered chicken and donuts, which were delicious enough by themselves, but they also came with the best mashed potatoes I've ever eaten. They had a creamy, brown gravy with bits of bacon or ham and chives. I'm telling you, I'm still craving those mashed potatoes weeks later!
Bellies full, we set out to do some looking and shopping (mostly looking, because things at Disney are ridiculously priced and we go for the experience, not the souvenirs). We wanted to bring something home to the kids--guilt gifts, if you will--so we went into the Lego store and found some Lego ornaments for the boys.
Each of the ornaments had a little Lego set inside to build and then leave inside the ornament ball. They've taken them off the tree, torn them apart, and rebuilt them dozens of times already.
Something neat (and new!) at Disney Springs this year was the Christmas Tree Trail. They had an enclosed trail with at least 20 Christmas trees themed to every Disney movie imaginable. There was Christmas music and "snow" coming down everywhere. It was magical!
One of the many nice parts of this trip was that, even though we missed our kiddos immensely, we got to walk around holding hands and just enjoying each other's company without pushing a stroller or making sure no one got lost in the crowd.
We wanted to get ice cream at Ghirardelli's, but the line was literally out the door, so we headed to a place we tried on our last trip--Ample Hills Creamery at the Boardwalk Resort.
I got an Ooey Gooey Butter Cake ice cream sundae. It had a piece of wam, ooey gooey butter cake in the bottom, with ice cream of the same name, whipped cream, and caramel sauce. Oh my word!
We also got an extra treat! As we sat on the Boardwalk, eating our ice cream, we had a perfect view of the Christmas fireworks at Hollywood Studios.
Full and happy, we drove back to our resort and went to bed, ready for another day of fun!
To Be Continued.......