I spent 10 days at Disney World at the beginning of this month. It was easily the longest trip we have ever taken to Disney World, and it still seemed so short at times. Even so, for me it was the trip of a lifetime.
It very well may have been the last trip my family takes as a family together, as just the 4 of us. My daughters are 19 (Patricia) and 21 (Amanda) now, and are moving in different directions in their lives. Amanda will graduate college this spring and Patricia is applying to Nursing School this year as well. Given their ages I can be sure their lives will be changing significantly soon, and likely in some ways that are both expected and unexpected. While this will sadden me to some degree, that doesn't make it a bad thing. It's a good thing that these young women are ready to take their place in the world, I'll just be sad that it means they'll have to be apart from me to do it.
I'm not sure how I can effectively sum up 10 days in a single blog post, so I'll just try to hit the highlights. We spent our first seven days staying at Disney's Old Key West Resort in a 2 bedroom unit. The Old Key West Resort is part of the Disney Vacation Club, which is a first rate timeshare complex. The resort was very nice and the large accommodations were very relaxing. On our first full day there, my girls slept in and I got up early and headed out to the parks(and my wife would not arrive for 3 days due to some work issues for her). Disney has an extensive mass transportation system, and while it is not perfect it is good most of the time. The first day I did something I had always wanted to try, to go to all 4 major parks in one day. I did at least 3 major rides in each park, starting at Animal Kingdom and moving on to Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and then the Magic Kingdom. It got fairly busy later in the day, but was not too bad for a Sunday. I was guessing the cool weather was keeping the local population home during much of my stay, which was fine for me if cooler weather meant shorter lines. Monday - Thursday afternoon was a mix of touring the parks on my own, with just my wife and with the whole family. The weather was unseasonably cool to cold, but not terribly bad. I could go into a lot of details, but I think it's mostly fair to say that we just tried to enjoy ourselves. We did a lot of things but tried not to push too hard to overdo things, and I think we struck a good mix.
Starting on Thursday I was looking towards the races over the weekend, which time away from family but with other friends (and with some of you that read this!). I learned that it is very tough to balance meeting friends and being with family as there wasn't enough time to feel good about doing both, but I'll have to be satisfied with the time I got. September will bring another chance to meet up with the Disney running friends at the Disneyland Half Marathon. As far as the details of my race experiences, I already wrote several posts on those days.
Saturday morning was the wet and nearly freezing half marathon, and after getting back to the resort room I had less than an hour to be checked out as we were moving to the Port Orleans Riverside Resort for the next few days. After a warm bath (it was in the low to mid 30's and wet all morning!) I got dressed up and we headed out for the day. This day was cold and wet--it even snowed and sleeted during the race earlier--and we spent time relaxing more than touring the parks. Sunday was marathon day, although after completing the marathon I was on such an emotional high that I spent much of the afternoon and night at the Magic Kingdom. This was about the only time that my family could walk faster than me all during the stay as I shuffled around, but I still had a great time. Finally on Monday, I had to miss the opportunity to see some friends one more time as we were preparing to leave.
I would have liked to have spent more time with friends, but I can't regret the time spent with my family. Next time my friends will be around as well, but my family is transitioning into the next stage of our lives. This trip was 10 days--so short but yet so long--and was the most full vacation trip I may have ever taken, but I still would not have traded it for the world.