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If you don't go, if you should stay...

Perhaps you noticed my recent disappearance.

Well, I was having a mini Disney vacation! Yay!

Saturday afternoon, my brother, Dave, his wife, Katie, and their adorable daughter, my 7-month old niece Samantha, arrived at Disney for a 5-day Disney trip, so the whole damn family rushed over to have a long weekend of fun and lots of walking and pictures.

I started out at Animal Kingdom early Saturday morning with Emily, Tom, Chris, and Zoe. We rode Expedition Everest (twice), Dinosaur (formerly "Countdown to Extinction"), Kali River Rapids, and saw the tigers (rowr!). We also won some prizes at over-priced carnival games.

Then, we headed to the Pop Century hotel so Chris and Zoe could check in to their room and Emily, Tom, and I had a few drinks at the poolside bar. We hung there for a little over an hour before going to Magic Kingdom, where we met up with Mom, Dad, Dave, Katie, and Samantha. We had lunch before deciding to head to EPCOT (specifically Mexico, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Margaritas). It was super hot that day, so we didn't do much of anything except walk around and play with the baby. Emily and Tom left early, because Tom had to work the next day, and the rest of us had dinner before dispersing around 9pm. I left with Chris and Zoe to Pop Century where Chris and I had more poolside drinks while Zoe swam in the Hippy Dippy Pool. I crashed in their room that night.

Sunday, Chris, Zoe, and I met up with Emily at Pop Century for breakfast before heading to EPCOT. (Mom, Dad, Dave, Katie, and Samantha went to Animal Kingdom so Dave and Katie could ride Everest.) We rode Mission: Space (twice), and Test Track. Then Chris joined Dad, Dave, and Katie for lunch at the Germany buffet while Emily, Zoe, Mom, Samantha, and myself intended to eat at China. Upon learning they no longer serve fried rice (what?!), we ate at the America pavilion (boring). It was hot again, but started raining super hard mid-day. We were stuck in the Innoventions pavilion for a very long time. It was cool, but got boring and the air conditioning was really cold.

When the rain stopped, we got some nachos from Mexico and went to Magic Kingdom so Samantha could get her first ears (oh man...SO cute). We also took Samantha on her first Disney ride ever..."It's a Small World." She LOVED it. She was watching everything, and I don't think she blinked at all. We called it a night after that, and I took my sister's car and went back to my apartment for the night. There, I did a load of laundry and packed up some of the things I had missed and slept in my comfy, familiar bed.

Monday morning, I woke up bright and early at 5:50am so that I could shower, pack up the car, and drive back to Pop Century by 7am, so I could drop off Chris's keys (so she could put Zoe and her bags in the car before check-out), and get to Animal Kingdom before Extra Magic Hours (8am for resort guests, park opens regularly at 9am). I arrived with time to spare at 7:40 to meet Dave and Katie, but they weren't there yet. They arrived a hair before 8am with Mom and Dad in tow, and we all headed to Kilimanjaro Safari so that Samantha could take her first Safari ride! It was excellent! I saw two cheetahs chase each other and one jumped into a tree (at least 6 feet up) in a single leap. Then, there was a lioness chilling on a hill (not to mention a TON of other sweet African animals like elephants, rhinos, giraffes, antelope, gazelles, and zebras). It was awesome! I love Animal Kingdom. Then, we got some breakfast before hitting up the Maharajah Jungle Trek, where I got to see more big cats...tigers! There were four of them, and they are so awesome.

We had a really good lunch...probably the best food I ate all weekend. It was in the Harambe bazaar, and it was yummy. There was also a full bar nearby (I found it!) but I didn't notice until we were on our way out, so no drinks. We headed to MGM to meet up with Zoe and Chris (who had been lazy bones and slept in before spending a couple hours at the hotel arcade). We walked around, did a little shopping, and chilled out in the much cooler weather (the rains brought in a very brief cold front...it's gone today). We did stop at that the full bar there (to make up for missing the Animal Kingdom one), and it was excellent.

After MGM, we headed to Downtown Disney to meet my aunt Judy, who was coming to see Samantha. Some shopping was done, some fun was had. It was all good. But I was getting uber tired, and I think everyone else was as well. I think I averaged 6 hours of sleep for the past three nights and definitely had many, many hours of Disney excitement and walking and sun. So we all dispersed around 5:30pm...Dave, Katie and Samantha headed back to their hotel (I'm sure they did more that night and again today...they fly out later), and Mom, Dad, Judy, Chris, Zoe and I headed back home to Spring Hill (and stopped for Panera dinner on the way).


So it was a long, but fun weekend. Disney is always wonderful, and it will be better in December when Dave, Katie and Samantha come back, and Samantha will be 14 months and able to do more stuff.

And this is not a very good picture of me, but it's the only one I have of me with the pretty baby...



Now, I'm relaxing, catching up on TiVo'ed shows, and trying to plan my trip home. I'm thinking...I'll leave Florida on Sunday, May 13th, drive part of the way, get a hotel and stay the night somewhere around Tennessee or Kentucky. I'll arrive in Deerfield on May 14th. I'll stay through the week and head back to Florida on Monday, May 21st(?). I'll probably get a hotel again and return to Spring Hill on May 22nd.

That's all tentative, I'll be researching hotels later today.

That's all for now.

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