Disney World 2014! The Pre-Disney Days!

We booked our Disney vacation back in May when the annual FREE Disney Dining Plan promotion came out. Since there were only few dates available in October and I didn't want the kids to miss out on Halloween back home, we picked to go in November, around Will's birthday. The package included a 6-night stay at Disney's Pop Century Resort, theme park tickets (6 days for 3 people - Will was free), and of course, the DDP (!!!). So the original plan was just that - drive to Disney World, spend about a week there, and drive back.

But sometime in July, the Hilton Vacation Club contacted Luke with a relatively cheap 3-night stay at a Hilton property in Orlando (plus a few other freebies) if we sit through a sales pitch. We had done it before at Myrtle Beach, knew what to expect, and figured why the heck not? We were already going to be there anyway so we might as well extend our vacation and explore Orlando/outside of Disney, something we had never done before.

Well, it turned out we didn't explore much of anything in those 3 days...but I still want to document it for posterity. Even though it was uneventful, it was still memorable!

Day 1: After a 13-hour overnight drive, we tried checking in at the hotel at 9am, only to be told that there were no rooms available. Luke was half dead by this point so it was just me and the kids. Luckily, the hotel had a nice playground and we were just in time for a storytime/craft activity, but ultimately, the pool kept the kids extremely happy. The room was finally ready 2 or 3 hours (more like 3 if I remember it correctly because Luke was annoyed) later. We unpacked, cleaned up, ate a snack-y kind of lunch and everyone took a nap. We didn't do much for the rest of the day - had a great dinner at a Chinese buffet (we need Chinese food wherever we go) on International Drive and that was about it? All I know is that the kids were in good spirits - they loved being away from home and on vacation!!
Day 2: The morning was spent at the Hilton Vacation Club sales pitch. We didn't buy, but it still took over two hours. Luke and I agreed that we are never going to sign up to do such things again NO MATTER WHAT. Such a waste of time. After the pitch, we went back to the same Chinese buffet (we really need Chinese food wherever we go) for lunch. I think it was around 1pm - nap time - when we got back to the resort, but the kids really wanted to go swimming so we did. We spent a good amount at the pool and it was reaffirmed again for me that a pool is all the kids need. They asked to go to the pool every single day for the rest of the vacation and I think they would actually choose the pool over the Magic Kingdom.

Anyway, by the time we went back to our room and cleaned up, it was past 4pm and time for a late nap. And guess what? The next thing I knew, it was like 8pm when I woke up. And the kids were still sleeping! As it turned out, Will just kept on sleeping till the next morning. Anna woke up for about half an hour, ate a cereal bar and apple, and went back to bed. I thought I would never be able to fall back to sleep after my 4-hour nap, but I did without any problems. Luke, still sick, woke up for a bit but went right back to sleep too. I guess we were all so tired!

Day 3: This was the day I started to get sick (still felt alright, though), but it was the third day of our vacation and we haven't really done anything super exciting so off we went to Downtown Disney. It was nice to walk around and enjoy the beautiful warm weather. We browsed from store to store (Mickey memorabilia galore!) and had a great morning there. For lunch, we ate at T-Rex, similar to Rainforest Cafe, but with dinosaurs. The food was subpar, but we were there for the dinos!
We went back to the resort after lunch, showered, and napped. We didn't sleep the day away this time, but when we woke up, Luke was feeling horrible. His throat had gotten much worse and he wasn't looking so hot. He ended up deciding to go to a local clinic -- the man NEVER go see doctors so I knew it was bad. The doctor (nurse?) diagnosed him with a sinus infection and gave him antibiotics. When he came back with dinner (Papa John's), he said he was feeling a million times better and we thought that he was on his way to recovery. Little did we know that we would BOTH be sick for the rest of the vacation...

In the meantime, the kids were having all kinds of fun.
Whoa - this was a long post. If you made it this far, thanks! The next day, Day 4, we checked out and started our official Disney vacation at Pop Century. I won't be blogging about the vacation day by day from this point forward, instead I will just be sharing some highlights. Stay tuned :)


  1. Those sales pitches really have some 'enticing' lead ons... but its a case of if it sounds too good to be true, it is!

    Looks like a nice place to stay though!

  2. We're suckers for free stuff, so when they give us free hotel points and stays, I always say "Sign me up!". But yes, we're definitely not that desperate for free stuff anymore, especially now that the kids are older, so wasting 2 hours at these things is no longer worth it.

    Another thing we've decided is that Orlando isn't really our cup of tea. Other than going down there for work conferences, I prefer to vacation within the Disney compound instead of the usual tourist spots in the city.

    And the drive, yeah, not gonna do that again. If we drive straight down again, it'll be during the day. Sure, it'll take more than 13 hours with all the stops for the kids, but at least I won't have to worry about running off the road half asleep. But the most likely scenario is that we'll break the drive up into two days like we did for the trip back.

    Regardless, it'll be a while before we trek back down there again. Gonna take a break from Disney World for a few years, at least that's the plan for now.

  3. Wow, you guys slept a lot. Must have been nice :). I can't believe Will slept from 4pm until the next morning. Recharging! Sorry that you and the hubs were sick :(.

    1. I know, it sucked :( I think this was the first time I had ever been sick on a vacation. At least it wasn't the stomach flu so we weren't bedridden or anything and could still enjoy all the food.


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