I had hoped to knock out the rest of Italy, but realized it was probably easier to finish up WDW.
When I found out Michelle was going to WDW right before Christmas, I asked if I could crash their trip! A chance to see Michelle plus Mickey seemed to good to be true! (And if memory serves, this happened last year as well!) Our friend Stacy also decided to come with us.
Saturday morning I was just about to leave for the airport when the lights went out! At least they went out after my alarm went off, so I didn't oversleep. So needless to say the flight was bumpy. But finally I arrived in Orlando and made my way to the hotel and met up with Stacy.
Sunday morning we started off at Animal Kingdom and met up with Michelle!! A safari, Lion King & Nemo shows, and the yeti later we were off to Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!! At the party you could get cocoa and cookies and you'd better believe I tried to eat my ticket's worth of cocoa and cookies! Well, okay not quite my ticket's worth. We didn't end up riding too many rides, but watched parades, fireworks & danced with Goofy.
Monday we started off at Hollywood where our fast pass and reservation magic were nowhere to be found, except for Tower of Terror. Now the tower and I have a love/hate relationship. But I have faced my fear (for the most part, it still scares me), and can go on it. It is Michelle's favorite ride, so basically I only ride the tower when I'm at Disney with her. We were the only fools to ride it which meant we had 5 fast passes at our disposal. Famous last words by Emily? I'll go once. Once turned into twice, which really didn't shock me. The first time my nerves were alleviated by the woman behind me who exclaimed ”can I get off, I really have to pee!". I was also able to grab the side and hang on for dear life. Second time was worse. I swear we never went up but it was a continual fall. I didn't have a handle readily available so I grabbed Michelle! We finished up Hollywood by watching Fantasmic (my fave!) and the Osbourne lights which were incredible!!
It was extra magic (until 3AM!!) at Magic Kingdom so we said goodbye to the girls and grandma and Michelle, Stacy & I headed over there where we knocked out a lot of rides and froze!! Would we make it until 3AM? We were basically walking out when we realized it was close to the lunar eclipse so we stood on Main Street and watched the eclipse. It was super cool! And so we walked out of the Magic Kingdom right before 3 AM!
As you can imagine, Tuesday we were exhausted and slept in. We had a loose plan to meet up with Michelle at Epcot later. We took it easy, went to Downtown Disney to do some shopping. The late night before had really taken its toll and we were moving slow. We ended up not meeting up with Michelle. Instead, we took our time at Downtown Disney and when we finished up we made our way over to Magic Kingdom. It was beyond crowded, so we walked around, took a few pictures, met Mickey & Minnie and decided to call it a night, especially since we had made plans to meet Michelle a little on the earlyish side tomorrow morning.
The alarm went off Wednesday and I somewhat reluctantly got out of my warm bed. Stacy decided to catch a few more zzz's. I walked around the Magic Kingdom, watching it wake up. The line for Peter Pan was non-existent, which never happens! So I hopped on to say hello to Peter, Wendy & the Lost Boys. When Michelle arrived, we fast passed Space Mountain and then enjoyed the short lines. Stacy met up with us in time to ride Space Mountain. We finished up and rode the Monorail over to Epcot. After Nemo & Crush, we split from Michelle and toured through the countries. In America we stumbled across a candlelight processional and so we stayed to listen. Brad Garrett was the guest narrator. It was really amazing!! And helped put me in the Christmas spirit! We met up with Michelle to watch the fireworks. As I was leaving the next day I said my goodbyes in case I didn't meet up with them tomorrow.
Thursday, my final day. I finished packing and decided to go with Stacy back to Hollywood to say goodbye one last time. From there it was time to head to the airport and enjoy Chick-fil-A for lunch. How do I love Chick-fil-A!! After my lunch I walked through security to my gate. Little did I know, this was where the real adventure was going to begin. And let me just say I am extremely disappointed with United. Not with the flight crew, but with the customer service once I landed. There was a mechanical issue on my flight leaving Orlando and we ended up sitting at the gate for a long time and then we were underway! But wait, it wasn't fixed right so then it was back to the gate. Finally after over an hour and a half we were underway. I knew catching my connecting flight was going to be tough. The flight attendant was extremely helpful, showing me on the map where I would have to run. The pilot attempted several times to contact the ground to find out about connections, but was never able to get a hold of them. Once we landed, I took off running towards my next gate. Oh, and there was no customer service agent to meet our flight. Really? A flight close to 2 hours late with over 80 people connecting, and no one is there to meet the flight? Well, my knee basically help up through the mad dash through the airport (although it may not have been my best decision). I made it 5 or 6 minutes before my flight was supposed to leave, but they had already closed the doors. The gate agent was borderline rude to me and as I stood there trying to catch my breath I had to ask her where I needed to go next. The next customer service agent was not at all helpful. All I was looking for was a little sympathy but I got nothing. I ended up in a bathroom crying because I was so tired and so frustrated. My next flight took off finally 3 hours later than my original flight. Oh, but wait. One, it was oversold (which again shouldn't they have held the earlier flight?) and two, they held it for 2 passengers. Now I know there are many decisions that go into holding a flight or not, but really? There were 4 passengers connecting on the original Seattle flight and they didn't hold it, but yet they hold the next flight for 2 passengers? It was an additional slap in the face. I arrived home close to midnight (which was 3AM Eastern time). Considering all the other flight issues people are having across the nation, I should be grateful I did get home in time for Christmas. And yes, I am grateful, it just takes me awhile to get there. :) I feel much better now after I have complained my little heart out.
P.S. RR - MM says hi and see ya real soon!