Magical and near perfect are the two words I’d used to describe our trip.
I made a vow to stay off my phone as much as possible, which meant not posting daily updates. I knew that meant I’d miss out on the annual FB memories popping up on the exact dates, but I really wanted to be as in the moment as possible.
We chose this time in our lives because Anna is at the perfect age to enjoy the magic as well as many of the attractions but she absolutely blew us away with her courage! We had no idea if she’d like roller coasters as we haven’t taken her to an amusement park since she was three.
Spoiler alert: she loves them!
I began planning in March and made plans for this trip based on our typical homeschooling lifestyle. We do not do Florida in the summer. No, thank you! We prefer to take our big trips when everyone else is in school to minimize the crowds as much as possible (and increase the chances of riding more rides), so the dates I picked allowed us to go when the weather was nice in Florida, the parks had already changed to Christmas wonderland, and the crowds would be as light as possible.
When we decided to put Anna and Parker in school this year I called about changing dates and that was a no-go, so I spent a few weeks freaking out over how to tell their teachers and fearing their reaction. I even had a good friend who is a NYC teacher proof my letter. I took her edits and hit sent, dreading the responses. Surprisingly, both teachers were excited for my kids and wished us well, encouraged us to have fun and let us know that they’d help us with missed work.
As I write, both kids still have some assignments to catch up on but we are so thankful that they didn’t have to battle negative comments from their teachers in addition to make-up work. We have definitely made the right choice for this year and absolutely love their teachers.
Due to COVID we had to make reservations to the parks so I planned our itinerary long ago:
Day 1: Magic Kingdom (December 1, 2021)
Day 2: Hollywood Studios (December 2, 2021)
Day 3: Animal Kingdom (December 3, 2021)
Day 4: Epcot (December 4, 2021)
Day 5: Boys go back to Hollywood Studios and girls to back to Magic Kingdom (December 5, 2021)
We did Thanksgiving in a unique way this year, which I will write about soon! We left for Disney the very next day, with a very special stop in NC for “Christmas with family.” We knew we wouldn’t be able to be in NC for Christmas so we enjoyed our Hyatt traditions a little early.
11/26: 7 Hamricks left NY for NC.
11/29: 5 Hamricks drove to FL; Hayden flew back to NY to work; Carson flew to TX surprise his girlfriend for her birthday; Bailey’s girlfriend met us at our Disney All-Stars Music* Resort to hang out. We ate at Cici’s and played miniature golf.
11/30: 6 Hamricks moved from the Disney All-Stars Music Resort to Saratoga Springs Villa. Carson flew from TX to FL to join us for our Disney Vacation. Matt and I had a dinner date with two amazing women at Disney Springs. (We let the kids fend for themselves using their Magic Bands to pay.)
12/1-5: The PARKS!!
12/6: We picked up Bailey’s girlfriend and 6 Hamricks +1 drove from FL for NC.
12/7: Matt flew to Fort Bragg for work and 5 Hamricks +1 drove from NC to NY.
12/9: Matt flew back home
(12/11: And to continue the fun, Hayden’s best friend drove in yesterday and Carson’s girlfriend flew in last night. As I write we have 10 people in the house! Full house, full heart!)
(*We had two different hotels because I made our original plans to arrive in Florida on the 30th and start our park days the next day. Later I thought better of that and wanted a buffer day to relax and get settled… also, just in case we had car trouble on the way down… this gave us a sense of peace, knowing we had some built-in buffer-time. Our travel agent was able to get us on-property for the same price we would have paid in an off-property hotel.)
And so now for pictures of our journey TO the most magical place on earth!
Monday morning, leaving Nana and Papa’s for Disney World!
We stayed at Disney’s All-Stars Music Resort for the first night. The outside was very cute, but obviously a discount motel-type place. However, inside the room was lovely. Very high quality with two full bathrooms! The living room had two full-sized Murphy beds.
Killing time between checking out of the All-Stars and checking into Saratoga Springs. We ate Cici’s Pizza for nostalgia then played miniature golf. (The kids loved this so much we repeated this event later in the week… They had Disney, but also loved a cheap buffet and mini-golf!)
At one point we dropped Bailey and Ashley off at her house to visit with Ashley’s family while the rest of us went to Wal-mart for the grocery run and to buy some warm-weather clothes for Anna. It was hot and Anna was having none of that. We had already donated her summer clothes because they were not needed in NYC anymore! We found one pair of shorts and one tee-shirt which we washed every night. Gotta do what you gotta do.
Checking into our Saratoga Springs Villa. This room was the most beautiful and comfortable hotel set-up we’ve ever had. I wish I had taken the time to do a video walkthrough before we brought all of our stuff inside but we had groceries and six people eager to get out of the car and spread out. Here’s a link to a great walk-through that, while watching, gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies and brought back all the memories. I also found a second, slightly more detailed, video walk-through.
For dinner, Matt and I met with two amazing women at a Disney Springs restaurant. Such a special time.
That night we had a scare… Anna started vomiting around 10 PM and did so three times before midnight. I messaged a friend in Germany (I knew she’d be up and willing to pray) because we really didn’t want to have to miss out on all the fun… Magic Kingdom was the next day! (To finish out this story, she woke up fine, never had a fever, and we never missed a single thing. One night she had a meltdown (had to have her take deep-breaths to calm herself down) and there was another weird out-of-character episode she had which I can’t recall at the moment. At the time I attributed it to the over-stimulation and excitement of the trip, but the day we got home she said something weird. “Mom, I have two teeth coming down.” Sure enough, she cut two molars while we were at Disney! So glad we didn’t have to miss out on our park days, though I was at least comforted by the fact that we had purchased travel insurance just in case.)
Originally posted on 12-13-21, but backdating to 11-30-21.