Having just got my internet up and running today, I am happy to be able to bring you a blog post this evening. I will do my best to remember details and such, as it has been a whirlwind of emotions, moments, and minutes spent just smiling. Grab a Dole Whip, sit back, and let me take you into what a dream looks like achieved.
So picture this… Sunday morning, we awake in Macon, Georgia and we are just over the moon with excitement. The sun is rising, as we are all trying to get it together at the crack of 7 a.m. We grabbed a muffin on the go and then made our trek to the FL border.
We knew it was coming… that FL border… we watched the mile markers tick away. We called each other on the cells to have the cameras ready, and the music ready. Emily was going to take our pic in the car, and Kyra was going to video tape it. Well, that didn’t work since we whizzed by it at 70 mph, but were happy to pull over that the official Welcome Center. We were floating on air as we looked at the palm trees while walking up to the WELCOME TO FLORIDA sign- lots of smiles. We took a bunch and then headed in for free OJ and laughed at the Star Wars Weekends cutouts of Vader and a Storm Trooper. The irony is that among all the brochures, there was one for the Appleton Art Museum in Orlando- (Hears “It’s a Small World playing in her head).
It would be 3 more hours later (and playing “This is Home” while bawling) that we would start to see the Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal billboards. As we took our exit for the first time, you could feel the excitement just building. What would our home look like? Would it be what we had in our heads? Would it be terrible? You just never know. We pulled into our suburb and drove past house after house… every time we would pass one, I would hope that ours was like that one or like that one.
As we pulled into our street, I knew this was it. I knew that if this house wasn’t to our expectations, that it would be a hard hit to take for all of us. As we pulled into the driveway, we just knew it was home. We got out into the heat, happy to be done driving, and happy to be home. Our landlords were here to greet us, show us around, and then left us to live out our lives here.
The door shut, and I think Craig and I almost broke down into tears. The living room is 2x the size of the one in WI, the master bedroom is HUGE with a walk in closet, a bathroom, AND a vanity area. The bathroom we have in the master bedroom also has a door to….. OUR POOL!! We have our very own pool, with a covered screen, and patio area for all sorts of outside fun. The kitchen has many entrances from the garage, the living room, and the main hallway- again, it’s huge. The counters and cupboards are like a pale tan, almost peach, but not. The other side of the house has the kids bedrooms, with their own bathroom, closets, and hallway. We call it the “kids wing” of the house- Emily likes that. The living room has a huge patio door that goes out to the pool area and patio- we have no one directly behind us, just on the other side of the ravine. The yard has grass, but lots of patches of sand- they are planting more once it rains more. The driveway is huge, and we have a basketball hoop for the kids to play with. The most important part of our yard are palm trees IN the front yard and INSIDE our pool area!! PALM TREES!!
We had this amazing moment when we all came down from cloud 9 where we all took our shoes and socks off and put just our feet in the pool. The four of us sat around the pool and just looked stunned… do you have ANY idea how terrifying it is to have a dream come true? Don’t get me wrong, it is AMAZING… but when it happens, it is JUST like in “Tangled”… you feel like “now what?” If you know the movie, you know you need to find a NEW dream- we didn’t need to do that, because we are riding THIS dream out!!
We decided we would head to All-Star Movies for dinner, and I know some of you might not “get that.” So here is the deal, our family has spent a lot of time at that Disney Resort, and especially the Food Court there. The lobby smell when you walk in, the excitement on the people’s faces, and the energy of the place is just so much fun to us. We walked from each food station, trying to decide, and honestly trying to understand that we were now RESIDENTS and not TOURISTS anymore. No more grabbing the refillable mug, or using the dining deal… it was sort of sad and sort of exciting. We could eat here anytime we wanted, and that just hasn’t sunk in yet. We got the back booth and I watched Craig’s eyes well up with tears- we had done it. WE HAD DONE IT!!! We were here- all the planning, the packing, the hardships and the heart breaks- we did them all and came out OK. Do you know how many things in our lives have gone wrong? That have been planned so right and then just went to junk for us? I guess we never thought it would happen so nicely because we were “those” people who seemed to have that rain cloud overhead at all times. We ate in silence through the tears, happy tears.
We walked though the Resort, saying hello to old friends like Woody, Buzz, and the Dalmatians. We got Cast Members to take our family picture there, and they were so kind and welcoming- love the Cast Members!!
We bumped into Brent Dodge later, and I was so happy to meet not only the winner of the D23 Scavenger Hunt, but also a great person and friend of the blog and Disney Community- we can’t wait to see you again Brent!!
We hugged our friends goodbye for now, and headed to Target to do some late night shopping. We did it as fast as possible before we all collapsed on the floor of our living room for the night.
Monday morning came early, as the floor is a hard place to sleep. I was up at 6 to just take a moment to have a bit of peace before the craziness of the day. I read the comments on the blog and my FB page, tearing up and smiling, and trying to grasp to any sanity I had left.
We were out of the house by 8:30 to head to the DMV. We got there in about 15 minutes and thankfully had made our appointments. We will have a blog ALL ABOUT the DMV and what is required later this week, so look for that if you are relocating down here. We were in and out in about an hour, and we even had to go back because they misspelled our names, yeah, again, it will be in a different post.
We smiled from ear to ear as we were “OFFICIAL” FL Residents now, and it was almost sad to see our WI licenses taken away. We drove past a Mattress store, so we checked it out and found great deals for all of our beds, so we came back later in the day and took home Emily and Kyra’s- ours gets delivered tomorrow- YAY- no more floor! As soon as we got home, we promised Emily we would let her swim in our pool, so I took her out in it for awhile. After a bit of rest, we were all geared up to go get our WDW Annual Passes, so we hopped into our van and timed how long it takes us to get to Epcot from our home- it was 5 minutes. We were so happy to be there, and laughed as we had to pay for parking for the first time. (We will get it reimbursed now that we are AP holders).
The first glimpse of “Spaceship Earth” was incredible… we all screamed to see it peek over the trees. We parked, rode our first tram, and then headed to a ticket window to sign ourselves up. If you didn’t know, you can do this as FL Residents right at any ticket window, as we didn’t have internet yet, so we had no way of signing up online. Our CM was awesome and welcomed us home, we couldn’t stop smiling! We signed up for the Premium APs, which will get us into the WDW Water Parks and Disneyquest as well (which we haven’t done yet, ever) so we are excited to try something new!
We walked through the turnstiles, and I was looking around for one of our friends and readers, Barbara. She said she would be there, but I thought she may have ended her shift already, so I didn’t look as hard as I should have. We all put our tickets in and wanted to cheer the minute we got into Epcot, and of course had to mark the event and found a Photopass person right away. She did something special for us and had us walk through the turnstiles again, one at a time, and took our pics doing it- then a family one in front of Spaceship Earth- magical. Her name was “Bee” and she was great if you get the chance to meet her at the Water Parks where she will be from now on. As we wound up pics with her, I heard someone say “Hey Amy” and I turned to see a reader and friend, Barb, and I hugged her and was so happy to meet a reader and now WDW friend. I can’t wait to see you more hun!
Our first ride would be “Soarin” and there were no fastpasses left, so we waited the 70 minutes in line. I was fine with the wait, it built the excitement we all were feeling. We attempted the games in line, but the crowds weren’t in it yesterday. Once we got in line, with row 1 MIDDLE section, and Patrick Warburton came on… Craig and I started to shake with excitement.
We walked into the ride, sitting in our row, and getting a pic quick before it started. As the lights dimmed and we started to rise, the humming of the song starting, the tears fell- and fell hard. I couldn’t’ believe I was here, in this moment, with my family all safe, and we were going to be able to do this anytime we wanted. I couldn’t squeeze Craig’s hand hard enough, and I knew his emotions had got the best of him as well. Our scene is the surf towards the end- and when that played, I just exhaled like I had been holding my breath for years- it felt so good to let it all go.
As we exited off the ride, we all just kept smiling because we knew we were eating at “Sunshine Seasons” next. I love this entire Pavilion, and to ride our favorite ride and eat our favorite things here, it just makes it the most perfect place to reflect and enjoy our rewards. As we walked into the food court area, I turned and saw a Club Scrap Member and friend, Debra, and I screamed and hugged her- again, what are the odds to see someone I knew THIS week of all times?!?!? We chatted and then I got to eat my Mongolian Beef with the family as we talked a mile a minute about what to do next. We did “Journey into Imagination” then “Nemo”, topping the night at Epcot with a ride on “Spaceship Earth.”
Since it was only 7, we knew we had time to head to MK as well. Why not, right? So we headed there, parked, took the monorail for the first time, and walked into MK- meeting a CM at the turnstile from… WI!!!! He was so kind and nice to us, it made our night. We headed to “Pirates” for the first ride, and took the left line to get on it quicker. (Yes- a LINE on Pirates!! LOL) We sang along, got to see the new effect, and then bee lined it to Fantasyland for a soda at Pinnochios Village Haus. We headed for the TTA in Tomorrowland, which was INCREDIBLE at night, then rode Carousel of Progress for old times sake.
As we lined up for the “Memory” show on the Castle, it was a moment of “Wow its crowded.” Now, as a local, I wont do a crowded night again if I don’t have too- it was crazy!! Humid and crowded doesn’t mix well, but we wanted to see the show so bad and Wishes, so we stayed. We LOVED the show and Wishes of course made us cry- no shocker there. As we left with the hoardes of people, we ducked into the Emporium to buy a 2011 magnet to mark our first WDW day and chocolate coins because they are our tradition.
After a long wait for the ferry, the ferry ride, the wait for the tram, the tram ride, then the car ride home… we all collapsed last night with Mickey dreams.
Today was a just a busy day of shopping, more shopping, cable being hooked up, cleaning the pool, and trying to get our rooms in order. We got our bank in order in Celebration, and decided to stop at the girls schools. Emily’s was huge, and we have a tour for it tomorrow. Kyra’s had their last day today, and we unfortunately ran into a rude woman at the front desk area who refused to give us a tour, not today, but EVER. Kyra got in the van and wept… my heart broke. What can or could I do? I tried to tell her we would work something out, but if you have a child at Celebration High School, I would love any help or advice- thanks!!
So the day went better with cable being turned on, Kyra got to see her boyfriend on our IPhones, and she got to plan out his trip for next month. I want both kids to be happy, and I am scared they won’t be with the school thing- any prayers or advice helps us greatly.
Tomorrow is tomorrow, no idea what we are doing but Em’s school tour and the bed is showing up. Stay tuned for more adventures and THANK YOU to each and every one of you for caring and loving us- God bless.