To trip report or not to trip report

This trip report may happen. Or it might not. It may be live-ish. Or it might not. We might go to Universal. Or we might not. We might go to Disney parks. Or we might not. Because this last 14 months has been all about the pivots, yes?

But we’ve entered Florida and are staying on-property tonight. So we’ll see. Stick around and see our fabulous trip. Or witness me having a(nother) meltdown. Or some of both. Who knows?

When: Friday, May 28 - Monday, June 14

What: Two week road trip to WDW / UOR
1 night AKL-Jambo
14 nights Club Wyndham Bonnet Creek (CWBC)
(a huge shout out to @sliddlenc for arranging that!)
1 night either end Hampton Inn Mobile Downtown

Who: Me (DW), DH, DD20, DS16, DS11 twins, DM (my mom)

Who else: DC1 (cousin/DM’s niece) and DCSO (DC1’s significant other) that live in Orlando, plus DC2 (DC1’s niece) that is staying with them this summer

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I hope you have an amazing time regardless of any/all surprises.

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Once we get there come hang with us. We have ecvs and canes to keep the younglings safe!!

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running interference? :joy::rofl::joy::rofl:

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Yup!! Happy to do it for a liner!!! Btw we get there Monday we will be the 2 pooh sized 50 year olds on ECVs wearing hats!! Possibly holding umbrellas for the heat!! If anyone sees us come say hi!!!

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I’m heading to HS next week. Did you fill out @amvanhoose spread sheet on your trip?

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Yes, she did! I’ll find the form link in case anyone else wants to jump on…

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I found it. The day I’m in HS everyone else is in AK :joy::rofl::joy::rofl:

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For those of you planning May/June trips that might be interested in liner meetups or knowing who you might bump into, I’ve set up a Google form to collect everyone’s plans. You will need to sign into Google to use it, but this will also give you the ability to update your response as needed. After you submit your initial response (you can enter bare minimum data to start if you’d like), private message to me the email address that you use for google here on TouringPlans Forum to gain access to the results.

docs.google.com

Liner Travel Plans May-June 2021

Want to see what other Liners your plans might overlap with? Complete this form, then private message your gmail address to @amvanhoose on TouringPlans Forum to gain access to the results. To make filtering easier, please use the following…

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Woohoo!!

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Warning: This is going to be a NONSEQUENTIALLY created trip report. Because I’m fairly CDO (in alphabetical order, as it should be!)

I’ve now updated the lead post with summary info, so here’s your first jump point if you’ve been reading from the start:

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I’ll be following along! Hope it goes smoothly! ETA: and wave if you see me!

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I’ve fallen behind on yours! Hope you’re still having an incredible time!

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I don’t blame you! I’ve dropped off all other threads and other social media, TBH. Gotta focus on having an incredible time. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Lengthy background…

I joined TP for our one-week Disney trip (sans DM) back in January 2020. This forum was a HUGE help with planning, especially with the BG acquisition training. DH was unbelievably impressed with all the hacks…utilizing RD, FP placement and acquisition, dining suggestions…

I mainly stuck around to see how the opening of MMRR went and checking BG drops out of habit. Then Covid-19 happened, there was scribbling on a napkin, and here I am, nearly 19k coronavirus posts later…

Last summer we did a cautious road trip to Colorado from our home near Houston. Mostly Airbnb’s, lots of hiking, all outdoor dining (only 1 TS even). Our annual Christmas trip to visit my parents in Minnesota was cancelled due to rising case counts, just prior to their catching Covid in early December. (My stepdad did not survive. DM still has lingering shortness of breath and such.)

While pondering for a much-needed get away for this summer, I had been impressed with Disney’s safety protocols and also Universal largely falling into alignment. Combined with the very low transmission rates in schools as evidence of the effectiveness of masks and physical distancing, the ads for the Orlando Informer private meetup at Universal caught my eye.

With everyone except the DS11 twins being vaccinated and the safety protocols in place (at that time :persevere:), we felt like the 2-night event was within our risk tolerance. And then Disney logic kicked in…

We usually take a 2-3 week summer vacation. With the need to stay domestic this year, no other location was really jumping out at us, so we decided to expand the Universal trip. We looked at many other options in Florida that we’ve been curious about, but most just didn’t have the same safety protocols in place as Disney/Universal. (again :persevere:)

We normally only visit Disney every 5-7 years, but it seemed like the logical way to fill out our vacation. And, of course, we’d want a day at each park. And once we committed to a 4-day ticket, 10 days just doesn’t cost that much more. So here we are.

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I hope you guys have a fabulous time and really get to enjoy yourselves in whatever you do.

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We’ll pick up the story on May 13th, the day before my 51st birthday. Since my 50th birthday last year was pretty lackluster due to Covid, I really had my heart set on a certain restaurant.

A month earlier, we’d successfully negotiated our first dine-in experience in over a year, for DD20’s birthday. My birthday dinner would be our second.

Pictures of her birthday excursion here if you like pictures of super yummy food:

https://forum.touringplans.com/t/what-s-for-dinner-a-place-to-argue-about-er-discuss-off-topic-food/77544/27?u=amvanhoose

But the day before my birthday came the hints of Disney dropping their mask requirement. There was a meltdown. It wasn’t pretty. It spilled over into my birthday. My poor family was scared to even talk to me.

But prior to our dinner reservation came the news from Universal that masks would still be required inside, which we felt was workable within our risk tolerance, with the expectation that Disney would likely follow suit, so the birthday dinner was largely celebratory after all.

Those pictures start here:

https://forum.touringplans.com/t/what-s-for-dinner-a-place-to-argue-about-er-discuss-off-topic-food/77544/95?u=amvanhoose

We then came up with a plan for the 5 of us who are vaccinated to position ourselves to intentionally create distance between the DS11 twins and anyone unmasked in outside areas. Because surely it would be at least a month or so before Disney/Universal made any additional changes to their mask requirements…or so we thought…

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[Seriously, if I’m boring you, skip the background posts. Pictures will start soon!]

The following two weeks were a blur of trip preparations and end-of-the-school year activities.

Our school district gave us the same choice each 9 weeks of the school year: 100% on campus (mandatory masks and physical distancing) or 100% remote learning. The initial deciding factor for us was the risk to the teachers and staff.

Our remote learning experience the prior school year wasn’t particularly positive, but we knew we could make it work, much more practically than many families, and we hoped that by us (and others) choosing remote, it would make it easier to physically distance those that really needed to be on campus.

Many others felt the same way, so we had roughly a 50/50 split the first 9 weeks. (It was ~70% on campus for the final 9 weeks.)

Our pediatrician really didn’t think on-campus learning would last over a month or two. Turns out, the protocols were really quite effective when followed. But when they weren’t…

We (rather reluctantly for me) let DS16 participate in cross country in the fall after reviewing the protocols. They would be outside as much as possible (remote learning kids weren’t supposed to be in the building except for something urgent, like to use the restroom or unexpected lightening). Masking outside within 6’. We felt like the coach was committed to these, and from what I observed, they did a pretty good job. Maybe 4’ rather than 6’ at times, an occasional high five after a race, but overall pretty good.

December was the switch from XC to soccer. I knew it would be riskier than XC, but I observed portions of several football practices when dropping off DS16 for XC, and they were also following the protocols. But soccer turned out to be a different story. Right from the start, corners were being cut here and there, and It quickly became apparent other parents didn’t really support the protocols.

We made the difficult decision to let DS16 continue soccer, but we tried to cut off our ability to potentially spread it further as much as possibly, namely cutting off visits with DH’s parents. They live about 25 min from us, and we’d only been seeing them for the ocasional outside visit, but we stopped even those because they are in the high risk age group.

Sure enough, DS16 caught Covid. Followed by DH, DD20, and DD20’s boyfriend (he stayed with us for the school year and did college remotely; he’s now off at basic for National Guard). It felt kind of futile, but I had kicked off room quarantining as soon as DH tested positive.

Amazingly, I didn’t catch it (rapid tested negative at the time, and antibody tested negative when donating blood since). The DS11 twins showed no symptoms, so we are presuming they didn’t catch it either. (DS11-2 had a bad reaction to a blood draw in December, so we’d seen no need to confirm, well, until the mask changes started.)

Another piece of data is that the twins may…or may not…be at a higher risk of Covid complications.

Details on that are here:

So that takes us up to the last day of school on Thursday. For me, packing and final trip planning day. And then rumors came Thursday evening of Universal dropping their mask requirement. I plowed on with the trip preparations, but the news totally took the wind out of my sails.

Coming next…the trip begins…maybe…

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Woot, woot! It’s time to ROADTRIP!

Finished packing up the car, getting our fur babies situated for our house sitter, and off we go! We were on the road by 9:45am, reasonably close (for us) to our plan to leave between 8 and 9.

First stop was a local place, Peña’s, for breakfast to go:


(Brisket biscuit…biscuit was sooooo flakey!)

As we were getting back in the car, the official news came about Universal making masks optional (for all practical purposes).

The previous night, we had decided we were going to Florida no matter what. DH needs a vacation pretty badly, and staycations never seem to be much of a vacation for the mom, so might as well go where we already have nice rooms booked! Fall back plan is lots of board games and yummy carry out food at the hotel.

After getting the news, DH said he’d support whatever I wanted to do or make the decision if I needed him to. I mulled it over for almost an hour before I had a pretty epic meltdown. We found a park for the the family to alternate between kicking a soccer ball around and trying to console me. (“Mom, we don’t have to go to Disney. The important thing is we’re all together!” which of course makes me feel worse, because kids that sweet deserve to go to Disney!)

I eventually pull it together and we travel on. (A huge shout out to everyone on the various threads and PMs that lent support and ideas for our situation.)

Of course, I pull out my most unhealthy coping mechanism…let’s eat some amazing food!

And this is why we don’t typically get Cajun food at Disney…because we just drove through offerings like this…Uncle T’s…


(That last one is alligator.)

We tried to stop by the super cute “Coffee Depot” across the street. Alas, already closed for the day, but it was a great place to finally get a shot of the group (DM will meet us in Orlando).

Dinner was an unremarkable grab-and-go from Whataburger before arriving at the Hampton Inn in downtown Mobile about 10:30pm. (Yeah, it’s pretty standard for us to take 12 hours to do a 7 hour drive…)

View from our room:

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Last night’s hotel was a lot nicer than I expected. We were able to book a room for 6(!). Nice balcony, a wet bar that functioned as a second bathroom sink, and an extremely roomy room. Glad we have it booked for the way home too!

Things went like clockwork this morning. I was up at 6am and had everyone else up and packed by 6:45am. We were on the road a little after 7am.

Slightly above average free hotel breakfast:

Lunch was a quick grab-and-go from Arby’s. Of all fast food, Arby’s is definitely my favorite. (I have a sliding scale of how good something must taste to justify how bad it is for me.) Most fast food just doesn’t achieve that. Including Whataburger, which is a favorite of DH, but choices were limited last night.

And here we are, a little over an hour from Disney! See you real soon!

3:56pm ETA: Just got the text that one of our rooms is ready! And it’s from the short list in my TP request. Hoping the delay in the second room number means they’re getting us the one next door as requested!

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