When You’re the Best of Friends
Disney World is fun all by itself, but add my best friend to the equation and it takes on a new life, and a new meaning. When Kel and I both lived in Wisconsin, we would talk about maybe one day going to Disney World together and having a girls only trip. But as time passed, and life events happened, the thought seemed to take back seat for awhile. Who knew me moving here would make that dream a reality? I should have done it sooner! So this blog, and it will be a lengthy one, is dedicated to my best bud, Kelly. Here is our weekend of magic… enjoy!
Well, it was a weekend of many firsts, which I LOVE! The first “first” would be picking up Kelly at the Sanford Airport. That’s right, Sanford, FL. I had never even heard of the city before, so it would be an experience for Craig and I to find her. MCO is 20 minutes from our home, and Sanford wound up being about an hour. It was located outside it’s small city, and we compared it too our small local airport in Appleton, WI. In fact, the irony was that she had a direct flight from Appleton to Sanford, so it was a bit eerie to see on the Airport Arrivals sign “Appleton, WI.” Seeing it while standing in Florida just seemed off to us. Oh, and the funny thing is that her airline, Allegiant, also flies to ICELAND from this tiny airport… so you can fly to Appleton, or Iceland!
We were there in plenty of time, and there parking system works with a ticket you take inside to pay then scan when you leave the lot. Thankfully we paid attention to all of the signage as we walked in. Kel’s flight arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule, so we were glad we got there early. Craig had got me an app on my phone where I could track her flight, so I was chomping at the jaw as it descended every 10,000 feet. She then texted she landed, and we waited. We had a game with everyone coming off the plane, we would count all the Packer shirts. Craig joked “I bet she comes down the stairs” and sure enough, she was looking down when I caught her for a hug on the stairs- BEST MOMENT EVER.
We jabbered on and on about her flight and all of the great stuff we were going to do as we waited for her luggage. I hugged her so many times that I started to tear up and I kept thinking “I can’t believe she is here in front of me.” With bag in hand, we headed back to home so she could see the kids.
At home the kids ran out to give her a hug, Emily is Kelly’s Godmother, so she was especially excited to see her. It was so cool to have her at our home and show her around. After some more chatting, I took Kel for her birthday dinner in Celebration. Our thing is “Joes Crab Shack” so we had dinner there, trying out the new “Queen Crab Legs” which were very meaty and juicy. It was worth the extra $4, and we enjoyed the cheesy potatoes with it. The corn wasn’t very good this time, but everything else was incredible. When there is butter dripping off your chin, it was a good meal. (Hence why I ate it Friday night so I could work it off before my next weigh-in.) It was surreal to be in a Joes again with Kelly, since the last time was in July 2010 in Gurnee, IL with our other gal pals. A perfect meal and wonderful memory made.
As we jammed to “Dancing Queen” in my car, we drove home to pick up Craig. The three of us had hung out a lot before Kel met her future hubby, so it was fun to have the old gang together again. In the brisk evening, and I mean it was COLD here, we decided to warm ourselves up with a drink at All-Star Movies. With our “Tangerine Dream” in hand, we perused the Resort, showing Kelly what the Values looked like. Her little guy, Josiah, loves Buzz Lightyear, so we had to show her the big Buzz there. We tried to get warm from the drinks while we walked, but it seemed like the cold kept catching up to us. It was a sign for what the weather would be like all weekend, but we had hoped for the best. Since Coronado Spings was nearby, we decided to head over to show Kelly the inside. It was still surreal to have her with us, a place we had walked many times, and here she was to enjoy it with us. Every picture I had scrapped with her I explained where I took it at the different Resorts. It was a relaxing evening, and well worth the effort in the cold. After hanging out at our house, we all headed for bed, excited for the Saturday that laid ahead.
We woke up to frost on the ground, never, never a good sign. I felt so bad that Kelly wouldn’t be able to enjoy shorts here at all, heck, she didn’t even get to enjoy a t-shirt while she was here. We bundled up in sweatshirts and headed to the Magic Kingdom. It was exciting to go under the arch with her and see her so excited. What she DIDN’T know is that I had booked a Character Breakfast for her and I at the Crystal Palace in MK, so we were right on schedule until we got to the Monorail. The Resort one was the only one running, and I was getting nervous as we stopped and they packed even more people in. This was her first ride, and of course it would be busy.
We got to MK, and thanks to an AWESOME friend, Kelly redeemed her ticket and we were in! No time to waste, we headed to the front of the crowd and showed the CM my reservation number. As we walked down an empty Main Street for her first time, it was PRICELESS! I told her “Surprise, I thought we should do at least one character meal.”
We checked in and got seated right away for our 8:30 a.m. reservation. Another first for me, I had never eaten there before. Donning matching Incredible shirts, we dove into the yummy goodness at the buffet. Breakfast pizza, potato casserole, sausage… it was all mouthwatering. We loaded up and toasted to a fun day. As we finished our first round, Eeyore and Piglet came by, Eeyore bring Kelly’s first Character. It was great to see her have so much fun with them. After round two, Tigger and Pooh came by. By far, Pooh was our favorite! Pooh was getting down with his bad self, shaking his tummy and dancing- we were laughing so hard. I would highly recommend this breakfast as it was delicious, and you get the chance to get into the park early.
With such a great start to our day, we knew the rest of it would be amazing. We headed to Fantasy Land first, stopping to see Princess Tiana on the way. A walk along the side of the Castle, and we were headed to Peter Pan’s Flight. Her first ride, we waited about 20 minutes, as it was about 9:40 a.m. at this point. It was again fun to show her everything I loved about it, plus make the memory with her. After Pan, we hit Snow White and the Pooh rides, all with a small wait. As we headed towards the lunch hour, we had only made it to Tomorrowland. The crowds were huge, and I couldn’t get past that since I knew it was January. Marathon weekend was over, where were all these people coming from?
Since we were in Tomorrowland, we found Chip, Dale, Buzz, and Stitch to grab a picture with. In a moment of weakness, I agreed to ride Space Mountain with Kel. You must understand this, I have been terrified of Space Mtn all my life. The thought of riding it had my stomach in knots, but Kelly wanted so badly to share one first with me, so I agreed. We fastpassed it, because standing in line for it would have put me in cardiac arrest! After smoking her on Buzz Lightyear Spaceranger Spin, it was time for me to die. Im sorry, I mean it was time for me to ride Space Mtn. We got the first picture of me before I rode it, and then we were in line. I will say it was cool to see the queue as I had never ventured in to see it before. I tried not to think about it, but my heart was going nuts. We got to the top, and as I see the rockets, I almost want to bolt. But, I promised Kelly, so I get in the second seat, she is in front of me, and no one sat behind us.
I liked the beginning with the lights and the climb, but the minute we got into the main room, I screamed like a little girl. The turns are fun to me, but the drops, and I’m talking about the LAST one, was horrible. It was so unexpected that it really was startling to me, wasn’t happy about it. I got it, and I was THRILLED I had done it, but I won’t be doing it again. I love Big Thunder as I can see everything that is about to happen, but I am not a fan of the dark. So there it is, I did it, happy I did, I can write it off now, and I am happy it is over. I am actually happier that I got the chance to ride it with Kelly, so much we got Ride badges when we got off, along with a t-shirt. Check and check.
Craig and the kids were in the park now, so we all took a ride on the TTA before heading to Epcot. On our way down Main Street we ran into the Mayor, so we grabbed a pic along with a group one in front of the Castle. We would be back later that night, but for now it was time to check out Epcot.
Craig and I had a strategy for the weekend- he would drop Kel and I off where we needed to be, then take the kids and Fastpass rides in other parks so Kel and I would have them for later in the day. So while we were in MK that morning, Craig and the kids were at Epcot grabbing Soarin and Test Track fastpasses. The system worked well, and we were VERY thankful that Craig and the kids were willing to do that for us.
So we all headed to Epcot together, and found Daisy before heading over for a late lunch. Enjoying our meal at Sunshine Seasons with Kel, we showed her why we love it there so much. Emily rode Soarin with Kel and I, and it was awesome to have her experience it with us. After, the whole group headed to “Living with the Land” then over to Nemo for a ride. By this point Craig was pretty pooped from all the running around, so he took the kids home while I took Kelly on Test Track for the first time. We held hands on it like Thelma and Louise, and screamed our heads off in the last turn- it was awesome!
I took her to the infamous Mousegears to shop, then we headed to the Character Connection. It was nice that it was only a 20 minute wait, and we got 5 characters done off her “wish” list. We ended the Park with Spaceship Earth and couple of Duffy outfits made their way home with both of us for the kids.
We headed back to MK around 6:30 p.m., getting stuck on the Monorail for a bit. We made it in time for the Magic, Memories, and Me show, just as we got out of the INSANITY that was on Main Street. I hadn’t seen it THAT crowded since Christmas week. Seriously, you couldn’t move anywhere, so we got off the street and found a spot to watch in front of Caseys by the railing. She loved the show, and enjoyed Wishes as well.
Craig came back in without the kids to hang out with us, plus he had winter coats for us. Yes, it was that cold Saturday night. With jackets and mittens on, we were set for the rest of the night. We rode Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and saw Philharmagic. We even squeezed a late dinner in at Pecos Bills, chili and onion rings, which tasted amazing since we were very hungry. It was a great evening, and we walked out on sore feet around midnight.
Day Two would bring a different kind of magic, as we were headed for park opening at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure where Hogwarts awaited us. Thanks to another generous friend, we headed in to enjoy a morning of good old fun. Craig dropped us off so we avoided parking costs, and we headed in and back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as fast as we could. So excited to show Kelly how cool it was, we were walking in and past the train.
We headed to the ride right away, and it was already at 60 minutes and the place was packed. WHERE were all these people coming from? Again, isn’t January a dead time for tourism out here? I was baffled, seriously baffled. We walked in, got a locker for the first time, which was quite simple, then got in line. We put our coats, purses, pretty much everything in the locker so we would be nice and comfy on the ride. It was a good 45 minute wait, I wouldn’t say an hour though. It moved along quite quickly, and by the time we got into the Castle you are looking around at everything so it goes by fast.
It was time, we were on and ready and to fly. I loved hearing Kelly scream at the drops, and the different things like the spiders and dementors. It was just as much fun as the last time I rode, and when we got off we switched lockers and went right back in line again. By the time we were done riding, it was almost 11:00. The funny thing about planning is that it doesn’t always go the way you would hope, and I figured we would be done with everything by noon. So I threw the plan out the window and we just did as much as could in the area.
We shopped Zonkos, bought candy at Honeydukes, and took pictures in Ollivanders. We also checked out the infamous flying car from the movies in the Dueling Dragons line. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Three Broomsticks where we munched on BBQ ribs and corn- it was fanfreakintastic. We toasted our butterbeer, Kelly’s first, and it was soooo yummy. We enjoyed a second one before leaving the Park, which I tried the frozen and didn’t like it as much as the regular. While in line for our butterbeer later, we found a $20 bill on the ground- SCORE!
We wound up heading out at 2 p.m. after a tour of Seuss landing and the Marvel area. Thanks to my awesome hubby, we were whisked away and headed home to take off a few layers so I wouldn’t die of heat stroke at Animal Kingdom. It was a nice break, and then we were off to AK.
We headed in with sore feet but we were determined to get it done. We already weren’t going to make Studios, so I really wanted to make sure we made this Park. Kelly had never been to this one, so it was exciting to show her around. We walked in around 3, and the park was open until 8:00pm. Craig and the kids had once again been in the Park earlier that day and got us fastpasses for Safari and Dinosaur, so we would at least get to ride those. We headed to the Safari first, and it was cool to see the Lion and Lioness up and walking around. Kel enjoyed it, and I was happy she finally got to ride it.
Next we headed to Festival of the Lion King, as we only had time for one show so I chose this one. It was awesome as usual, and Kel got a nice seat so she could see everything. After the show we headed for “Its Tough to be a Bug” then a ride on Dinosaur. Another first, I never had been to AK after 5 and in the dark, so it was cool to see everything lit up at night- especially the Tree of Life.
We ended our weekend of fun where so many memories had been made over the years, the Rainforest Café. It was an unexpected meal, as we planned at eating somewhere in AK, but it just seemed right to eat there. We had been to ours in Gurnee, IL so many times, that it seemed only fitting to end the fun there. It was a hard meal as I knew it was my last with Kelly for awhile, along with my Packers being beaten by the Giants as we ate. I had the pot roast, Kel had the chicken, and we enjoyed raspberry daiquiris on the side. We laughed about our awesome weekend, and tried to avoid thinking about the next day.
After some goofing off in the gift shop, we headed home. Packing along with sharing our pictures with each other was the end of our weekend, and we both were quite tired. As the alarm woke me up this morning, I was sadly reminded it was Monday. It was time to say goodbye, and I wasn’t ready.
We left the house at 5:30 a.m. and got to Sanford right at 6:30. We dropped Kelly off at the curbside, and said our goodbyes. I was so tired that it wasn’t clicking that that was it for her and I until July when I head back for our girl weekend at Bristol. I hugged her and waved, and that was it. A long ride home and then I crawled back into bed.
I sit here now at 9 p.m., having wrote this for the past 2 hours, and I am happily reminded of the good times shared this past weekend. I am so blessed to have a best friend like Kelly, and sadly reminded that it will take a very long time to find someone even close to her. I am happy that since I moved that her and I have remained close, and it helped I saw her in Oct, and now her here in January. Even though it will be 6 months until the next time I hug her again, I know that she is only a phone call away. Thank you so much Kel for an amazing time, and I will think of you every time I see Space Mountain and never ride it again! LOL Love you girl!