We woke up and got everybody dressed, then finished up our packing and got ready to check out of our Lion King room. Leah spent this time playing the iPad in her pajamas (yes, we bring pillow cases for our kids – so what?). I started hauling luggage down to the Red Grand Caravan while Rachel and the girls set out on a mission. Well, two missions, actually.
Mission number one (McLaughlin group voice)
As I mentioned the evening before, we needed to pick up the Simba plush toy for Aly at the gift shop in Art of Animation’s central building, Animation Hall, so the girls headed out that way.
Mission number two
The second mission was to be accomplished along the way to Animation Hall. We told the girls that they should find kids to give away their Disney balloons to, instead of just throwing them away. Aly actually remembered doing this last year and wanted to do it again. They actually ran into a suitable family riding down the elevator with them shortly after leaving our room, with two youngish kids and two parents. Rachel introduced our girls and asked if it would be okay if our kids gave the balloons to their kids. Their kids were quite excited, but their mom shot it down, saying “We’re on the way to the park and we’d have to go all the way back to the room to drop these off”, which couldn’t have been very far because they got on the elevator with our crew. Their kids were sad and ours were confused.
Thankfully, when they arrived at Animation Hall, Aly spotted another candidate family eating in the food court, and they took us up on the offer, with their kids very happy to get the Balloons. It’s kind of a fun thing to do at the end of a “all about us” trip to Disney.
Wait, there’s more character dining!
I picked up the girls after loading up the Red Grand Caravan, and we filled up the gas tank (and emptied out the trash!) on the way to the Beach Club resort, taking the tunnel under the EPCOT boat canal that runs between Boardwalk and Beach Club. We were running a bit behind schedule, so I dropped them off at the entrance to Beach Club and then parked the car. We didn’t have to wait long for our breakfast reservation at Cape May Cafe, which was a first-time visit for us, though we stayed at the Beach Club Villas a few years back.
We were seated rather near the buffet(s?) and grabbed a few things off the buffet(s?) to get the girls started eating, since we were just a tad rushed. I say “buffet(s?)” because it was a four-sided buffet with no discernible order for approaching any particular side of the buffet, so it was hard to figure out which food was where and how to get to it. I checked Apple Maps on my iPhone, but apparently they don’t map buffets yet, so it was no use.
Aly munched on salami, cinnamon rolls (you knew that, though), and Rice Krispies. I had some chorizo eggs with salsa, while Leah ate fruit loops and drank apple juice. Rachel had oatmeal, I think, but I have repressed it because of my feelings toward oatmeal, though that is a story for another day. Cape May has only three characters, but they come in their swimsuits, which you can’t see anywhere else. Leah had fun visits with Minnie, Goofy, and Donald, but was fairly impatient for them to arrive, which was a bit out of character for her. Overall, it was an okay meal, though it’s always great to be at Beach Club.
Back to the villains theme
I have no idea how Minnie in swimwear leads to this line of thought for Aly, but she once again quizzed us extensively on Disney villains along the ride to the airport, which is only about 20 minutes or so. We returned our rental car, hauled luggage into the airport, checked in, and got through security without incident. We even had time to break for a smoothie on the way to our gate, which was mostly consumed by Aly and Leah (not by my choice, mind you).
While we were waiting for our flight, Aly made friends with a girl the same age and Leah, and then the three of them ran around the gate area until our boarding time.
We took the AirTran check-in upgrade to Business Class, so we got some extra space and also got to board the plane first. Aly gets the window seat, Rachel has the aisle seat next to Aly (with Leah as her “lap” baby) and I have the aisle seat across from them (2×2 seating in AirTran Business Class). The space between Rachel’s and Aly’s seats has a wide armrest, probably six inches or so, and Leah more or less adopted that as her seat while we waited to depart, usually seated, but occasionally standing.
As we were taxiing out to our runway (it was a long taxi, probably 6-7 minutes), and Rachel let Leah loose at some point along the way, where Leah proceeded to stand on the armrest between the seats while Rachel kept a hand on her. One of the flight attendants unbelted from her jump seat and came over to say “Ma’am, you have to hold her in your lap, this is an active taxiway!” The girls were fairly well behaved on the flight, but Leah did not nap, despite what we had done to her two night prior and that our flight took off at noon, her usual nap time. I got to nap though, at least until Rachel poked me in the shoulder and scared the crap out of me because Aly had to use the bathroom. I never use airplane bathrooms (seriously, we’ve probably averaged three (round trip) plane trips per year for the last twenty years, and I have not used an airplane bathroom for at least fifteen years), but that is also another story.
During our final approach (final as in the scope of the flight, not final-final), Leah was once again upright, and this time the flight attendant got on the intercom and made an announcement that all lap children must be held during landing, but at least this time she didn’t make a personal visit. Despite this, we survived the flight and landed at GRR, grabbed our luggage, and headed out to our non-vacation car, which was not rented out to another family while we were on vacation.
Leah fell asleep shortly after we hit the road, and was still sleeping when we pulled in the driveway. We weren’t sure what to do with her, so we left her in the car seat sleeping while we unloaded the luggage and brought it into the house. Aly stayed in the other backseat playing her DS, not so much to watch her sister as not yet realizing that we were home and that the car was no longer moving. We laughed and joked that the pizza would get to the house before either of the kids, and that the only way Aly would come in is if she had to go to the bathroom badly enough. About 25 minutes later, that’s what happened, as Aly quietly left the car and charged into the house in search of bathrooms. Somehow, Leah still slept, and was even still asleep when the pizza arrived, waking up about ten minutes later. Don’t worry, we kept an eye on her from the window. At least until the Jet’s arrived.