Our version of the movie “Vacation”

Gary (reluctantly) and I took Lissa’s kids, Nils and Sophia to Walt Disney World. What follows is our first weeks’s experience. Enjoy. (or not) And FYI, the rest of the trip went swimmingly.

  1. June 25-Jon and Lissa bring the kids to Dallas where Gary has officiated at a beautiful wedding for Carter and Raquel at the Dallas Arboretum and we leave for Walt Disney World with a song in our hearts! That night the only campsite we find in Louisiana is clean and secure but nothing else. No swimming pool, no picnic table.  Oh yes, and no wifi, to which they are both addicted, not even with Verizon. Kids are not happy.
  2. June 26- arrive Camp Gulf in Destin. Kids now like Esu. Beach is mesmerizing to them. Immediately run into the ocean. No crabs biting which Sophia feared. Also no sharks. (at least that were visible)
  3. June 27-spent day at the beach evidenced by Esu’s forgetfulness. No sunscreen. Kids get burned. Esu too. Still, a good day at the beach. Kids supplied with sand toys, 2 shovels, 2 large inner tubes, a beach umbrella, two beach chairs and a boogie board. A moored sailboat sinks before our eyes and Esu spots something floating about 50 yards out in the ocean. She directs Nils by hand signals and he proudly appears with a large wooden hatch cover. Kids are happy.
  4. June 28-Notice there is no propane, thus, no hot water and no way to cook. Thus, cold showers. No problem. It’s hot. Fill up with propane, still no hot water. The hatch cover mysteriously disappears overnight. (actually, Esu tossed it due to weight) No problem. We are only 6 hours from Walt Disney World! Last leg! Drive through Tallahassee. All is well!

Life is good! UNTIL about 40 miles east of Tallahassee we hear this tremendous explosion in the bowels of the RV. A tire has blown. We limp into a rest area about 100 yards ahead. Call a tire shop in the metropolis of Laporte. Three unintelligible men appear with the correct tire, which happens to be on the inside. Upon removal, we spy several miscellaneous wires and cords dragging on the ground. Not good. Also not good: Holes have been blown into two of the basement compartments. We call AAA for a tow. We are assured the tow truck will be there in one hour. Three hours later, after an irate phone call made to AAA by Esu the tow truck appears. (ever herd the squeaky tire get the attention?) After hooking up the RV the four of us climb into the bed of the tow truck. Literally, the bed. (The one used for the driver to sleep). Did I mention it is 95 degrees and 95% humidity? No air conditioning. They drive us back to Tallahassee. Kids are troopers. Esu is not.

Arrive at Freightliner Tallahassee after they are closed. Esu get the kids, pajamas, clean clothes and leaves. (Thank you, Uber). Uber driver is directed to the nearest hotel with a bar. Gary is left to his own devices.

Eventually Gary finds us and we walk to a seafood restaurant and make several calls, many disconnected to WDW and book a cabin at Fort Wilderness.  I say in my final call to WDW “If you tell me to have a Magical Day I will kill you.” The man complies and says as we hang up, “Have a better day”. I love WDW. Alls well except we have lost the first days all important, line avoiding “fast passes”.

June 29-Gary gets us a rental car. And we start out for the second time to Walt Disney World. Finally, after a day in hell, we arrive at Walt Disney World. And it’s still there! And grandma didn’t die and didn’t get put on top of the car! We head to the Magic Kingdom. Kids are again, enchanted.

June 30-Epcot-all went well, but didn’t make it to the countries

July 1- Hollywood Studios- we arrive at 8:15 by car. Kids want to sign up for Jedi Training. Esu insists we get there early as do thousands of other parents. We notice people being let through even though the gates don’t officially open till 9. Esu finds out just exactly how this is done. Fortunately, we can make reservations for a $200 breakfast at guest services. Esu makes them and we enter the gates early. It is a character breakfast and the characters are Bob The Builder, Jake the pirate, some nurse, and ta-da!…Queen Sophia. Sophia is secretly enchanted but shy and tells us her name is Caitlyn, not Sophia. She relents and takes a selfie with Queen Sophia. She is, after all, a kid.

We sign both the kids up for Jedi Training and they give us a 3:10 time for the performance. Esu is not happy, but she is resigned to staying the whole day.  Her plans, which up until now have been followed precisely: do the parks early, be back at the cabin by 1:30, let Esu nap and the kids vege on the wifi. Gary deserts us, er, leaves us about noon. We have lunch, do Star Tours, Little Mermaid, Stunt Spectacular. We return to Jedi Training at 2:40 as instructed for preliminary training, amidst threatening thunder. Sophia has decided she doesn’t want to do it. (Smart girl) Nils, on the other hand is determined. He enters the training center and answers every question about Star Wars correctly. At this point, the resident Star Wars expert asked the kids if they could make a Chewbaca sound. Naturally, Nils volunteered. However, the expert then asked Nils to identify his mother or father (the parental units were required to stay with their Jedi wannabes). Obviously, no one volunteered so I identified myself as his grandmother. The expert’s eyes lit up! “Would you turn around to the audience and make the sound Chewbaca makes?” Me? Fortunately, I did know who Chewbaca was but I had no idea what sound he made. I think I roared, somewhat, and was greeted by ecstatic applause. I was informed later that there is some sort of clicking sound involved. Oh well, next time.

Alas, at 3:30, his performance is canceled. However, they have promised the little kiddies who have waited so patiently that they will have a visit by a “character”. Esu pooh-poohs this and we head out of the park.

Gary has left the car keys and told Esu it is parked in “42”. There is no 42. No numbers, anywhere. None. zip. nada! Esu is now going crazy and sees a bus to Ft. Wilderness. However between her and the bus is a fence and a street for official vehicles only. She instructs the kids to follow her. She climbs over the fence, crosses the street, and is only 15 feet from the Ft. Wilderness bus. However, this 15 feet is thick with bushes. She considers bushwhacking through it just as a security car pulls up and a uniformed guard instructs her to STOP. They inform her that they will get her to the bus. We jump in the security car and head for the bus just as the Fort Wilderness bus is leaving. Then Esu remembers the car and the number “42”. She informs the security officer driving the car and explains that she didn’t see any numbers anywhere. Only Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and Stage and Television. (you had to have been there). The officer, who is trying his best to calm Esu, says the numbers are painted on the ground in front of the rows and they will take us to the infamous 42. And there it is! Our precious VW white Jetta! There IS a god! Even though it is raining cats and dogs and WDW characters.

We return to the cabin where we find Gary rested and cool.

July 2-to be continued