I was up past 6AM on Saturday the 17th, packing books until I ran out of packing tape. Then I slept for a couple hours and joined Jill on final cleanup. Pictures had been taken the Monday before as Jill shadowed the photographer moving things around so he had a clean shot, then we’d continued to pack all week. The listing went up Friday night and there was an agent coming by at 11AM Saturday morning (first of seven), and we worked furiously to make the deadline. We did, and the agent arrived as we left with Illa. We dropped him at the kennel, then headed over to Manassas to trade in some books and ate lunch at China Jade – both of us had the buffet, quite decent as long as little kids don’t get their hands on them as one was doing to the desserts.
We ran some more errands, getting home around 5:30 (all the agents had left). I had just taken a shower and was relaxing and watching TV when another agent called, so we left again. When we got back I wasn’t in the mood to do much more than make dinner, while I was doing that Jill arranged the new things she’d purchased and kept packing. We finally relaxed after dinner – she packed and went to sleep while I stayed up packing, watching TV and surfing. There was a lot I wanted to get through and stayed up pretty late again.
Sunday morning we were out by 8AM for our taxi (the open house was scheduled for that afternoon) and soon we were at Dulles. We had a quick trip through security and finally got to ride the train to the gates (it’s so much better than the people movers). It was at the gates that I went by the Five Guys and made a marvelous discovery: if they’re open in the morning, they serve egg sandwiches and you can top it with a burger patty, still one of my favorite meals. Then we made our first (and likely not our last, as long as the first bag’s free) trip on JetBlue, a nice smooth flight into Orlando. After we got our bags, we waited for Disney’s Magical Express and were soon joining the rest of the family at Saratoga Springs Resort.
We plan our vacations far in advance with help of our resort club, and Jill had wanted to take her immediate family on a trip for a while. Now that everyone was living stateside, planning was easier and we decided to aim for the kids’ spring break. So besides us it was Jill’s mom Sue, her husband Dave, Jill’s younger sister Robin, older sister Melissa, her husband Dominic, and their kids Madelyn, Jake, Tiernan, and Ava. They were almost done with checking in, so we did too and were soon at our rooms in Congress Park, the section of the resort closest to Downtown Disney. Madelyn, Robin, Jill, and I were hungry and walked over to The Artist’s Palette for lunch, where I had the turkey wrap and Jill had a hot dog. I also had the only authentic Saratoga item there: a Saratoga Lager.
After lunch our lack of sleep caught up to us, and we napped for a while. Sue and Melissa were out at Wal-Mart with Aunt Kelley (who dropped by as she winters there), and they picked up some pizzas. I wish they’d gotten the name of the place, as it was truly the worst pizza I’d ever had – and everyone agreed. Thankfully, it was the only bad meal of the week. The nap was helpful, but we were still tired and had a big week, so we watched The Simpsons with Robin, then went to sleep (I even skipped a concert at Epcot but it had started raining).
Monday morning we headed to Animal Kingdom – we’d already purchased tickets. The last time we visited, the parks had been fairly vacant, but not this time. So we took full advantage of Extra Magic Hours and that determined the order we visited the parks. First up was Kilimanjaro Safaris and that was good as all almost all the animals were awake, then Madelyn, Robin, Jill, and I took in Expedition Everest before meeting up with everyone at Kali River Rapids where we took turns riding and getting damp (even with ponchos).
We gathered again and headed over to It’s Tough To Be A Bug with the three older kids (the boys loved it), then continued to Camp Minnie-Mickey to meet Disney characters. The older two (especially Jake) wanted autographs, and they all took pictures. Jake and I stayed behind when everyone else left to continue to get autographs.
We met up with Jill and Sue in the Boneyard playground, then got in line for Finding Nemo – The Musical. It took a while to get in, but it was pretty entertaining, a mix of Lion King and Avenue Q. Jill wasn’t feeling well (hadn’t been all day) and she went back to the resort. Sue, Jake, and I went over to Yak & Yeti for lunch where I had an appetizer explosion: Thai chili wings, pork egg rolls, and wok fried green beans along with a Safari Amber (surprising to learn it was from Anheuser-Busch because it was good). Rain was threatening when we finished so we left the park.
Jill was asleep and I joined her as I was tired. We woke up for a bit, and I checked email to learn we’d gotten two offers on the house, both more than $10K less then the listing price. I called our agent and arranged to counter the higher offer, then we snacked before Jill headed back to bed and Robin and I explored Downtown Disney to get a lay of the land, find some stores and a sweatshirt for her. We took our time getting back waiting for the boat shuttle around Downtown Disney then another one back to the resort.
Tuesday was another early day, this time we headed to Epcot. Once in we headed directly to Test Track, where some folks rode it twice. We went directly from there to Soarin’, but they already had a long wait so we picked up a Fastpass for everyone, then went next door to Honey I Shrunk The Audience (still pretty fun). Jake wanted more autographs, so Dominic and I went with him to get some.
We met up with everyone at Sunshine Seasons (the cafe next to Soarin’) where folks who hadn’t had breakfast yet did, then took on Soarin’. Jake decided last minute it wasn’t for him, so he and Dominic ducked out. It was pretty fun, but it’s not good if you’re afraid of heights. After that, Dominic, Jake, and I headed over to Innoventions to play some games. Lunch was with everyone at the Rose and Crown. Jill and I split a salad then both got fish and chips, very good choice. We met up with Alice and got some adult slushies on the way out.
Once again it was nap time after we returned. Sue and Dave had stayed at Epcot, and Robin, Jill, and I joined them again for dinner at Nine Dragons. I wasn’t that hungry after a big lunch and had the cucumber salad and sliced beef appetizers while Jill enjoyed the Kung Pao chicken. They stayed to watch fireworks while I went back to the resort – it turns out Melissa is also a Lost fan and it was the only show I wanted to watch all week (good, but not as good as the Hurley ep the week before). We got to enjoy the hot tub after Robin and Jill got back.