Sunday, December 15, 2013

Florida Trip - The Beginning!

I'm finally diving into the silliness that was my over two week long trip home to Florida! Writing about it is making me a little sad, since I would obviously much rather be there than here, but if I don't get around to blogging about it soon, I'm afraid I'll lose all of the details!

As you guys probably know, I am awful at sleeping what I like to refer to as "normal human hours". My sleep schedule is pretty nonexistent, but I most often fall asleep somewhere between 3-5 a.m. On the 25th, though (the day of departure), I managed to fall asleep before midnight and wake up around 4:30 a.m. That's almost normal sleep, right?

So there I was, hanging out in my bedroom, doing some last minute packing and emailing and such. Then I decided to do a last minute check of the weather, and saw that it was calling for freezing rain. Whaaat? I mean yes, the weather has been wintery, but the 40s/50s kind of wintery, not the angry things attacking from the sky variety! Why did the evil precipitation have to wait until the one morning that I had somewhere super important to be to rear its ugly head?

Plus, the Branson airport is in the middle of nowhere. It's about 6 miles off the highway, and those miles are so steep and curvy that you can only go about 35 mph the whole way. The evil weather meant that I needed to leave a good 45 min earlier than I planned, so the whole morning suddenly became a lot more rushed and stressful. Good thing I woke up so early! (My flight was at 11:30, and it normally takes about 45 min to get to the airport. Since it's a tiny airport, you don't need to get there very early, so I was planning to leave around 9:30.)

Yes, I snapped this on my way there. You can judge me for car photography now. But seriously, would you want to do this drive in freezing rain? I somehow made it in one piece, but by the time I arrived the edges of my windshield where the wipers don't reach were covered in ice. I guess that the rain would hit, freeze, and just stay there. Eep! I don't remember much about my pre-flight time in the airport, but I would assume that I basically flung myself at the check-in person with cries of "FLOOOORIDA! PLEEEEEASE!"

Nobody ever believes me when I tell them that the Branson airport is decorated with dead animals. Here's your proof.

This is the glamorous look of a Crystal who is pretty damn happy just to be on the plane, but is exhausted from the morning and wishing they would just finish de-icing the damn plane so I can get to Florida already.
(I totally knitted that scarf.)

I was a little creeped out by how ORANGE this apple juice was. I mean, I'm not a big drinker of juice, but isn't apple supposed to be kinda brown? Did the flight attendant mix me some kind of weird cocktail? So confusing. (Also, Southwest still serves peanuts. Unexpected.)

One unremarkable layover in Chicago and a whole bunch of hours later, I made it to Orlando! I walked as fast as humanly possible from the plane to the monorail, and then met up with Katie near baggage claim. Hooray for reunions! Do I have any photos of this reunion? Nope. But I do have a photo of the airport's half-assed Christmas tree. Oh, Orlando. You haven't changed a bit.

I didn't even stop walking to take this photo. "It's a half-assed photo of the half-assed tree!"

We stopped by Katie's so that I could change clothes and she could grab a husband (hers, not a random one.) and then we set off for Disney's Polynesian Resort so that we could drink things and possibly watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach. The bar ended up being super busy, so we drank at the pool bar instead.

I tried to capture the spirit of "Hey look! I'm at a lovely tropical resort with my drink, and definitely NOT back in Missouri with all of that freezing rain and stuff!", but that photo turned out looking like this:

Not quite what I was going for. So instead I'll just stick in this photo I took from my balcony when I stayed here in 2001. Just imagine this, but at night, and through a slight haze of alcohol and travel, and you'll have the right mood.

If you squint really hard, you can see Cinderella Castle on the horizon, right near the center!

We sat around sipping drinks and catching up, and I nibbled on the pork nachos that were ordered (not my thing, but I hadn't eaten since like 5 a.m., so I'll take it!), caught the Electrical Water Pageant as it passed (still cheesy and amazing) and then we hopped aboard the monorail to move on to the Grand Floridian so we could visit the giant gingerbread house there! (And also the bar.)

Checking out the holiday decorations at the Disney resorts is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. I'd planned to go around and photograph the decorations at most of the resorts to show you guys, but plans changed a bit and I only ended up with photos of a few. Oops! The Grand Floridian does this awesome gingerbread house every year. There are even people inside (kind of visible through that big window) who you can buy slabs of gingerbread from. Plus, it always smells great.

I've somehow never been to any of the bars at the Grand! I go here for afternoon tea with Katie a few times a year, but it's just never been a drinking destination. Who knew that there were still places at Disney World that I haven't been to? We shared some cheesecake and creme brulee, and then exhaustedly monorailed back to the Polynesian, since that's where we were parked. I was totally wiped out at this point! I'd been up since about 4:30 a.m., it was now after 10 p.m. (by best estimate going from the time stamps on my photos). NAP TIME!

Delightful vintage Harry Potter sheets were applied to the couch, and sleep I did... until about 3 a.m. when I woke up super sick. My body occasionally does this charming thing when I get super stressed where it just shuts down and very unpleasant things happen. I'll spare you the lovely details, but I spent the next 6+ hours throwing up, and then I slept for about 20 solid hours. Poor Katie kept watching to make sure I was still breathing. I had to move to Ashlee's house on Wednesday because Katie had other company coming, so we somehow managed to get my zombie self into the car and to my new temporary home. I basically dropped off my bags, plopped into Ashlee's bed, and slept another 10 hours or so until she got off work. Nothing says vacation like sleeping through the first few days, am I right?

I'll pause my story here, since this is already quite long, and pick up with tales of Thanksgiving next time!


Katie said...

This reminds me of your Trip Reports from ye olde days! Also, I'm glad you didn't die on our couch.

Marti Tabora said...

Wow. Just reading about it exhausted me. Also, I love the scarf you made.

Danielle Royalegacy said...

I love seeing animal busts! If that bothers you, you should never go to the Anchorage Alaska airport. They have polar bear, wolves, and so many different animals from all over Alaska. I found it fascinating.

Susan Broughton said...

It sounds like you stayed busy and had a good time. I love it when we take a trip down there. Its been a while since we have gone though.

Lisa Kerr said...

This looks a really nice place to visit, your pictures look pretty!

Birdie Bee said...

I would love to take my granddaughter to Florida. She has never been anywhere and was looking online last night at the sites of DisneyWorld. I haven't been to Florida in 20 years but would like to visit again.