Monday, October 7, 2013

Traveling Home

We are on our way.
I woke up about 5 and began getting things in order. By 6 we were on our way to the airport. The J's fly home later tonight so waking them seemed like a bad idea.
The airport was a bit more crowded than I was expecting, but I think Orlando always surprises me, they get a large number of people through in a short amount of time. Which is always something to be thankful for.
We have about 2 hours in the Houston Airport this morning. We found some food... and might wander about a bit. From what I can see (just part of the C terminal) it looks pretty big, with a lot of food vendors and shops to browse if you are so inclined.

I picked up another mug for my collection!
The Starbucks You Are Here mug from Houston!
I think the price on these mugs is going down... not sure if that says something about how long they will be available. I guess we shall see.

All our flights were on time, something I was very thankful for.
Unfortunately, I was congested and landing twice in a day left me only hearing out of one ear for quite a while.
But we arrived home, got our luggage and a late lunch from the Beecher's shop in the airport... oh, such good Mac N Cheese! and were on our way to meet Grandpa and pick up our kids.

The kids were full of hugs and smiles - melts my heart. Gotta love them.
It's great to all be together and having a bit of time with hubby has been wonderful.
Tomorrow everyone is back to school and work - here we go!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Oh Let's Sleep In!

We had a plan for breakfast this morning, but we all forgot about it - I blame sleep deprivation :)
It was 11 before we were all awake. And after noon by the time we left the room. Our plan today was to go to the Magic Kingdom and Mrs. J and I had reservations for Tea at the Grand Floridan early afternoon.
Well our timing was a bit off with a late start, so we went right to lunch at  Pecos Bills - this was my first time eating there. The condiment bar was great. I had heard about it but I was surprised by the size and variety. I am sure we will be back next time.  From here, we headed across the park to the People Mover, a very low-key ride, that for some odd reason is a favorite of mine. The J's know Disneyland, so riding something that isn't at DL was fun also. Just as our car had entered Space Mountain we stopped... not unusual. But unlike other brief ride interruptions, this one was lengthy... and ended with us walking off the ride with cast member chaperones. This was interesting, as I haven't done it before.
pic one of two in a series.... Our runner asleep around Disneyworld.... 

pic two of two ...... Yes, he looks awake... but is he really?

But the timing meant Mrs. J and I needed to head directly to Tea. The monorail was down for a while so we hoped on a boat and arrived right at our reservation time. I think we were the most casually dressed of the guests, but that didn't matter really.  We choose the Buckingham tea service and settled in to enjoy (what turned out to be) a two hour tea service.  I selected there own blend of tea, called Mad Hatter's something - It was wonderful!

the last course of our tea service was a trifle... soo yummy - pineapple and something. 

We enjoyed our tea and caught another boat back to MK. With just an hour until the MNSSHP start time, we didn't have time for much before it was time to depart. We gave the peoplemover another go, and also went on Buzz Lightyear, before departing.
The J's planned to rent a car from one of the onsite agencies that evening, but we arrived about 7, and apparently they closed at 6... so they will try again tomorrow.
The guys dropped us girls off and headed to Downtown Disney to find some dinner. Mrs. J and I relaxed and chatted, until they returned with Wolfgang Puck Express - Yumm.
After eating it was time to pack and get some sleep - our flight would be early tomorrow.
We said our goodbyes to the J's and set about it.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Race Night - day

Breakfast today was at the Kona Cafe. A favorite place of mine for breakfast, and based on the crowds and wait times, I am not alone. We had a great breakfast with Kona coffee french press and their famous Tonga Toast... what a treat!

We took the monorail tour and I spotted this in the tile floor at the Grand Floridan... I had never  noticed it before. 

Our afternoon included lots of lazy time in the room and a little nap for some of us.  We enjoyed a wonderful spaghetti dinner in the room, thanks to Mr. J. And soon the race prep would begin.
We were able to take a bus right from the resort to the race, which was more convenient than last year. Having done this last year, we knew what to expect, and it was very similar. Based on the bib numbers, it seems that it was a similar size crowd, but it felt more crowded.  We found a piece of parking lot and settled in.  Just as last year the DJ (bellhop) was great and the people watching was very entertaining. The J's and I headed to the spectators' area about an hour before the official race start and hubby wandered to his pacing group.

My favorite runner.
One other thing that we noticed was like last year was some minor issues they had with the speakers along the starting route, that kept cutting out. So the music and commentary was intermittent for those of use back a bit from the front. We hung out and saw hubby's group go by. We enjoyed the first two starts with fireworks and then made a bee line for the park, and the Villains Hollywood Bash.

His pacing group headed to the start... he is back a bit from the camera.

The Studios.. all to ourselves... almost :)
The J's with a local villain, apparently he wasn't very chatty?
Its great fun to be in a park when it's so close to being empty. Two times on Toy Story Midway Mania and one show of the Muppets and we decided to look for some dessert. We found huge milkshakes at the Dockside Diner and took our treats to watch the runners go by - hoping to see hubby.  Using the RunKeeper website we were able to figure out when he was coming by and attempted a few pictures.  Afterward, we were able to find an empty table back by the Dockside and we relaxed a bit until hubby was done. He had less than a mile left when we saw him, so it wasn't long until he found us and had a seat.
With last year's experience he knew a bit better how to recover and spent some time refueling and relaxing. Once he had recovered enough to change, he and Mr. J headed to Tower of Terror and Rock'n rollercoaster. Mrs. J and I did a bit of shopping and waited for the guys.  We headed out to find our bus around 3 am... I think we were all shocked to have made it to 3 am. The bus dropped us at the hospitality house at OKW and we walked back to our room, as the regular resort buses were no longer running. Hubby took a long soak in the tub and sleep wasn't far behind.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Food and Whine ;)

Today was our Epcot day! My favorite park!
We headed out the door about 10 this morning. Our plan was for 9:30, but hey we are left coasters :)
First stop at Epcot with our friends (the J's) was Spaceship Earth, followed by grabbing fast passes for Test Track on our way to the Food & Wine Pavillion.
Huge mobile at the top of this pavilion... how have I never seen this before?
We walked around inside, made some mental notes at the shop and took a look at the chocolate exhibit, before heading out.
(if you go, get the Drinking Chocolate... its amazing!)

Mr. J, tasting the Drinking Chocolate... and he has good taste in T-shirts too. 
All made out of CHOCOLATE, even the background picture is painted in chocolate.
You can say it, WOW!

With plans to come back to Future World for our Test Track fast passes, we headed for the food! Starting with the Terra booth and working clockwise around the lagoon.
Last year one of my favorites was the Chili Colorado that Terra had... and it was back! Yumm. I tried the curry as well, but the chili was better in my humble opinion.

Another favorite was the Empanadas in Argentina... so good!
As we continued our way around the lagoon, we hit the 3 Caballeros ride, and the Maelstrom ride in Norway. We sampled at booths along the way and made a stop in for School Bread - which is a new must have each trip for me. I shared it with Mr. J and we continued along the way. Eating and chatting.
The sky was amazing today. 

We tried Ribbon Ice Cream... Mango flavored.

A note about the food preferences of our little group. My  hubby and Mrs. J are both vegetarians... and as luck would have it both allergic to onions (but in different ways). I eat meat, not pork or fish. And Mr. J eats... whatever he likes :) So the festival had more offerings for some of us than others... but we all enjoyed it.
We found our way to the 12:45 show of American Adventure. And then it was time for our Test Track fast pass. Yes, it's true, you can't get much further away from Test Track than American Adventure, but whatcha gonna do?
After we took our ride, Hubby decided it was a good time for him to run over to the Wide World of Sports complex for Packet Pick up, while I continued to show the J's around Epcot. And we would resume eating when he returned.  So we headed to the Land for 'Living with the Land'. The J's have ridden Soarin', in CA and we choose not to wait in the standby line. After our boat ride through the greenhouses, we headed to the Seas with Nemo.
After finishing up Future World, we headed back over to the food and World Showcase. We hit a couple more food booths and I really enjoyed the pineapple fritters :)
Hubby met back up with us as we exited the circlevision in Canada and our group continued on to explore World Showcase and eat a bit more.  We wrapped up both the eating and the exploring in France and then wandered back to the room.
Tomorrow we hope to be lazy for the day. The race is at 10 pm.. with the post race party til 4 am... so a lazy day and maybe a nap sounds like a good idea.

Welcome to the Humidity

Our arrival last night uneventful.
We all landed, collected bags if needed, and headed for the rental car lot. We picked out a happy red Toyota Camry and headed out. Since it was after 4... more like 6, our room was ready and check in went quickly.  With our bags stored in the room we buzzed down to Downtown Disney for some food... breakfast was a long time ago and those "snack paks" on the plane don't really last that long.
Earl of Sandwich fit the bill and I (once again) had the best turkey sandwich ever! The restaurant was crowded, like usual, but we found a funny little table for four with a post right in the middle and ate while we leaned around the post to all see each other :) It would seem we are silly even without our kids present.

Dinner! Best Turkey Sandwich ever!

After a yummy meal we wandered a bit, over to World of Disney to pick up a few required purchases. Last summer when we came they had a line of boys T-shirts themed after Phineas and Ferb... funny shirts with the gang at Disney World... the tag line on each says "Best Day Ever". We picked up the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror shirt this summer, it has an "Elevator-inator" on it with Dr. D... funny. So we (I) wanted to get another one for our kiddo. We found a Pirates and an Astro Orbitor themed one and were pleased with those.
The rest of our evening was a quick trip to the Winn Dixie to stock up on water and some food for meals in the room.

We found these at the Winn Dixie.... Hmmmm? Not sure if it looks good or not. 

Then we spent the evening just talking in the room.... we haven't had much time with our good friends the "J's" since college. We keep in touch, but since we don't live the same state anymore, it's not as easy. But with good friends getting together is always fun and easy.  The only hard part was trying to get up off the couch and go to bed... finding the balance between Florida time and home time. Staying on our home time would be better for race night... but?
We were up late :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Few Days Off

As any mom (or dad) knows, you rarely get a day off. Of course, I love my kiddos and would rather be with them than without... but for the next four days, I am truly getting a vacation.
Hubby and I are off to the land of the mouse (Orlando), to participate (he will run, I will spectate) in the RunDisney Hollywood Tower of Terror 10 miler.  This is our second year to do this. This year we aren't going alone... not the kids, but some good friends we have known for a long time are meeting us in Orlando.  I am very excited to see them and hang out in one of my favorite places with them for a few days.
Preparing for this trip has been pretty easy, with the exception of my nerves. I have been very anxious all week, about nothing in particular, but still feeling it in my stomach and sleeping. And last night as we were packing, it occurred to me... I will truly be on vacation! Apparently the look of surprise and bewilderment on my face was rather amusing as hubby had to laugh (it was a supportive laugh - he's a good guy).
So, the Grandparents are on duty and the kids will be well cared for and kept busy.
Our day today started early with a 5 hour flight across the country.  We hit the Qdoba in the airport and got a couple yummy breakfast burritos. The line at Starbucks was nutty so I just grabbed a coffee drink from the refrigerated case at the airport store when we picked up our water.  And I plan to make at least my first drink order on the plane coffee - cause a girl needs more than four hours of sleep!
And in case I don't sleep on the plane, I came with a few Disney flix I haven't seen yet... shocking, I know. Wreck-It Ralph and Brave, along with a few episodes of White Collar season 1, a few episodes of Chuck and Northhanger Abbey... diverse, No?