Thursday, June 08, 2006

Day One: Travel Day

There are so many stories to pass on about our trip to Disney (The Evil Empire) that I’ve decided to split them out by days, kind of like the TV show '24', but rather than Hour one or Hour Two, it will be Day One, Day Two.

Why? It’s called filler material my friends, and it’s needed when one is tired and too pooped to post.

And be warned, we took three hours of video and over 500 pictures (that’s what happens when you buy a brand-spankin’ new compact digital camcorder and an ultra-large digital camera SPD card right before leaving on vacation), so when we get them all uploaded and sorted, I'll be sure to post some.

For those of you that need lists and schedules and agendas (like my wife), here you go...

Day One: Traveling to Orlando and the “Happiest Place on Earth”… unless you’re a toddler who doesn’t get the toy that they wanted… then it sucks ass.

Day Two: Magic Kingdom and it’s never-ending parades (Homer Simpson: "Oh, look! It's the 12-noon robot parade. Hurry up or we'll have to wait for the 12:05 parade.")

Day Three: MGM ('Star Wars' weekend, baby!) and Magic Kingdom

Day Four: Epcot & Magic Kingdom (are you sensing a theme here?)

Day Five: Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom (hmmmmm... wonder what it is?)

Day Six: Traveling home to Chicago and its broad shoulders

This entry, the travel. Rather than drive the 450 hours to Florida, we decided to fly... with toddlers... uh, oh...

Honey Mustard and I had heard and read all the horror stories about airports and long lines, so we were a little nervous about the whole flying experience. Truth be told, given that this would be the first air-travel experience for The Peanut Butter and The Jelly, we were more than a little nervous, we were very nervous. Also consider that the last time my wife or I flew was in 2001, before 9/11, so this was, for all intents and purposes, a new experience for us as well.

Since we got the tickets online for Southwest airlines, we were able to do a quick check-in. We gave our bags to the agent and proceeded to security, fully prepared to wait in a long, tedious and winding line.

When we got to the security checkpoint, there was no line… none...

Uh-oh, should we be nervous??

Yes and no. We took off our shoes, placed our bags and keys in the plates and HoMu went through followed by PB and J.

Then it was my turn...


Son of a...

Try again...


Damn it!

The TSA worker working the line asked me to go over to a little area that was off to the side. I went in and sat down. Next thing I know, a big guy enters while putting rubber gloves on…


It was at this point that I strongly considered surrendering and telling HoMu that she and The PB and The J were going to Disney World by themselves.

They had me take my socks off, take my belt off, checked me with the wand, patted me down and realized it was my friggin’ watch...

My friggin’ $10 watch that I bought solely for vacation with the reasoning of not wanting to wear an expensive (or even my nice, in-expensive) watch while traipsing around the parks and getting dirty and wet and being run into by people who have no idea what the concept of a line is… but that’s a post in its own.

We got through security and, since we had given ourselves WAY too much time, decided to get the girls something from McDonalds.

If you have never flown on Southwest airlines, the best way to describe the boarding process would be to say ‘cattle call followed by cattle stampede” as they do not have assigned seating.

We didn’t have to worry about that…since we were traveling with kids under 4, we qualified for “Pre-Boarding”, which meant we got to board the plane before the throngs did.


Now the tense part, how would the girls react to an airplane; the taxiing and taking off and any turbulence that may be encountered?

Turns out that The PB & The J can handle air-travel better than Honey Mustard can.

We had quite a bit of turbulence on the way down, bad enough that the stewardesses (yes, you saw that right; I called ‘em stewardesses) had to sit down and my wife was a little (read: VERY) nervous.

We landed, bypassed baggage claim (part of the Disney package – they claim our baggage and take it to the resort, we never see it until we get to our room and it’s already there, sweeeeeeet) and found our bus for the 45-minute trip to our resort.

The girls and the wife slept while I listened to some soothing Billy Holiday on my iPod and relaxed, bracing myself for what lie ahead...

Next: Day Two - The Magic Kingdom: home of Cinderella (the Jelly’s favorite) and Snow White (the PB’s favorite)... will the wife and I survive?