Monday, December 15, 2014

Birthday Fun!!!

We're back!!!

We had a super awesome time celebrating all the kids birthdays at Universal Studios Orlando last month!!! We were there for Halloween, and baby M turned 3 while we were there as well. It was a very relaxing (meaning no set schedule to follow) and fun extended weekend.

We had a photo finish to the airport because my new iPhone 6 (thank you Verizon Wireless for the $200 trade in, making my phone essentially free!!!) shipped 2 weeks early and was basically delivered as we were walking out the door. I am very happy it came in time though, because the camera takes really great pictures and that came in very handy while we were away!

The flight down to Florida was amazing. Boarding went smoothly, and once we were all on board we took off with no delay. That NEVER happens when you fly out of NY....

We had a late flight, so I was a little a lot nervous about the transportation situation. Thankfully the car service provided by Universal was there waiting for us, and they did have a car seat for little Miss M, so things were going way better than expected already!

We stayed at Universal Studios new on-site hotel, The Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Check-in was pretty smooth, although slightly time-consuming - although that just could have been because it was 10:30 at night, and after a long day of work/school and racing to the airport, we were all pretty beat. We got our keys and headed off to the room. This is where things started to go down-hill. Our room was in the main building, which was good, but it was far - I mean, REALLY FAR away from the main lobby and pretty much everything else in the place. We were the second to last room at the end of the longest hallway I have ever walked down. Needless to say, I was already annoyed...  When we got inside the kids were checking things out, and A noticed that the drawers weren't cleaned out. There were some receipts and loose change. Then he checked the fridge, and there was still food in it!!! I immediately called the front desk. While I was holding with them, M was horsing around on the bed. It was then that we discovered the sheets hadn't been changed!!!! Now, I was FUMING!!!! It was so late already, we were tired and cranky, and I was really hoping this was going to set a precedent for the rest of the trip.

Thankfully, it didn't. In the end, the hotel changed our room, and gave us two new adjoining rooms with a much beautiful view of the pool and a better bathroom set up. Once we were settled, things couldn't have gone better!!! The transportation from the hotel to the parks was a cinch. It is within walking distance, but since this hotel is relatively new, the walkway was not 100% completed. We didn't want to chance it with all the kids and the stroller, so we stuck with the bus. It was great! The seats were cushioned and leather, and the ride was less than 5 minutes from door to door. The bus lets you off at City Walk, so there is a little walking required to get to the actual parks, but since the weather was beautiful, no one seemed to mind.

In my opinion, this was the perfect time of year to visit. The temperature was good, a little cool Saturday and Sunday, but it sure beats sweating your behind off!!! The crowds were manageable. We didn't wait terribly long for anything except for Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts. The line for Transformers was also pretty darn long, but they gave us what they called a "birthday express pass" so poor M wouldn't have to spend her entire day waiting on line for a ride she wasn't even big enough to ride. We thought that was super awesome of them!  

We had the meal plan for this trip, and it really was worth it. For a large family like ours, we really did save quite a bit of money. We actually ended up taking some snacks home. I definitely recommend it. Our package came with two complimentary breakfast at Harry Potter, we had some quick but great lunches, and we had some pretty delicious dinners as well. Unfortunately, M's birthday dinner was our least favorite place, but live and learn. If you're down there, skip Vivo Italian Kitchen. It wasn't worth it. Food was sub-par & the service was terrible. They did take some stuff off the bill though, so at least there was that. We did the character breakfast for her that morning at Jake's in the Royal Pacific hotel, and that was a much better experience. The food was great there and the characters were awesome. M was loving it! We all had a good laugh when Gru ran around the restaurant with my cell phone while my mother-in-law was on FaceTime.

While we were away I had a bit of a breakthrough in the body image area. At the request of my husband I did bring my bikini on the trip, although I wasn't sure I would wear it. I let the kids talk me into going down to the pool even though it was only in the 60's, so I had to put it on... and I actually felt good in it!!! For the first time in almost 15 years, I put on a bathing suite and felt comfortable in it. The fact that it was a 2 piece just takes it to a whole other level. I've been working hard for that, and I'm proud of all that I've accomplished. I'm hoping by this summer I'll be even more comfortable! Small victories!!!

We really had a great time, and it was hard coming back to reality. It was nice to have the whole family together for 5 days. We don't get to do that often enough. The kids did not want to go home...

Somehow the time has slipped from Halloween to Thanksgiving and past, and now we are just 2 short weeks away from Christmas! How could this be??? Looking forward to some more family time while the kids have an extended break from school. After that, it will be Mommy & Daddy's turn for a little fun so....

Now I'm looking forward to some alone time with my man... Next up, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!!! Can't believe I'm running my second half marathon next month, AHHH!!!! 

More on that to follow....

Happy Monday :)

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