So we cried.
On Wednesday Dan took the day off and brought the very sick dog back to the breeder. We cried some more.
Five days later, my dad died. We cried even more. The girls started asking why all of this terrible stuff was happening. One said she would never pray about anything ever again.
I told Dan this was an emergency and we have to develop a Five-Star Diversion Plan, STAT.
He said those magical words: "Let's go to Disney World."
Because Disney heals.
Two weeks later we were booked for a six day trip that got us home a day before school started. It was wonderful because it gave us something happy and fun to talk about and plan while we waited the four weeks to go. We got out books from the library, made spreadsheets, talked about must-do rides, and planned our meals. I showed Michaela a page from a guidebook of character dining options and asked her, "Which one would you like to do?" She looked over the page, slid the book back to me and answered: "All of them."
I was a hound dog on the phone and web, hunting down cancelled reservations to Cinderella's Royal Table and Chef Mickey's, Crystal Palace and Ackershus in Epcot. But I got them.
I fell in love with Dan all over again when I emailed him the package prices comparing two resorts, one being the Grand Floridian (THE GRAND FLORIDIAN!!!), and he emailed me back the sweetest words a wife can ever read: "Do whatever you want. I want this to be magical for you, too."
So on September 2nd, we were off to the Grand Floridian.
We absolutely loved it. It was like living a postcard where every angle of every building, every palm tree, every area of landscaping was a perfect photo shot. We determined that the only problem with staying there is that it completely spoils you and you never want to stay anywhere else. Even Jenna said, "When we ride the monorail and they say the next stop is the Grand Floridian, I feel all special inside." We loved our room, we loved the main building and its grand lobby, we loved the location on the monorail, we loved the places to eat there, we loved the pool, we loved being able to see the castle from our room. Oh, yes... we could SEE THE CASTLE from our balcony. It was outrageous. OUTRAGEOUS.
We had a blast at all the parks and, not surprisingly, we spent most of our time at the Magic Kingdom. Our kids were a perfect age for the rides and attractions. The park was relatively empty so the lines were blissfully short- the longest we ever waited for anything was 20 minutes. We were able to go on more rides than we ever have before. The kids were wonderful and stuck nearby us so we didn't have to be hyper-vigilant like when they were younger. Alec, the third of our children we brought to Disney at age 3, was unanimously crowned Easiest 3 Year Old to Bring to Disney. Despite the warm temps, the dizzying over stimulation, the rides, the late nights and early mornings, and the total unpredictability of the whole trip, he held it together beautifully and was amazing.
One day at Magic Kingdom, as we were watching the mid afternoon parade, I glanced to my left and saw a family with a young toddler, her parents and a set of grandparents. The grandfather was wearing a t-shirt that read, "Have no fear... Grandpa is here!" And I started crying a bit and horribly, terribly missing my dad and feeling sad... but Disney heals.
We met tons of princesses, saw shows, shrieked on roller coasters, enjoyed a safari, introduced Alec to Its A Small World, waved at Mickey and Minnie, spun on the carousel, oohed and ahhhed at the fireworks, and marveled at having a chance to be all together, in this magical place, and started putting our sadness behind us.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from our trip:
On the Tomorrowland Raceway... one of Alec and Daddy's favorite rides
Waiting for the monorail
The whole park was decorated for Fall/ Harvest!
In the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse (because Mommy loves that kind of stuff...)
Walking from the dock at the Grand Floridian back to our building
Both girls had their hair and makeup done at the Pirate's League. Very cute.
Alec LOVED the Lego store in Downtown Disney!
One of my favorite places: the lobby at the Grand Floridian...
in the evenings they had a big band playing Disney songs!
Heading into Cinderella's Royal Table... a highlight for all of us.
Jenna was thrilled to finally meet Jasmine.
Watching the fireworks from the resort.
They even pipe in the music that they play in the Magic Kingdom!
Our girls taking advantage of some of the amenities available in the room...
robes, tea, and chocolate.
Jenna rocked all the roller coasters!
This is where Dan and I are going for dinner the next time we go...
Narcosee's at the Grand Floridian.
We hated to leave...
but we'll most certainly be back soon!