School. Work. Meetings. Homework.
Supper. Dishes. Laundry. Football practice.
Dance class. School projects. More laundry. More dishes.
These are the things that my days are made of lately.
Since school and the kids’ extracurricular activities are in full swing once again in our neck of the woods, it seems like our lives have been turned upside down with barely a minute to spare. Because this year, moreso than any in recent memory, we’re always on the go and rushing around like chickens with our heads cut off.
Which is a freaky little Nightmare To Go if you actually picture it.
On second thought, don’t. It’s too weird.
I know the routine will become old hat (whatever that means) soon enough and we will adjust to the crazy schedule that has become our lives for the next nine months. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even in the craziness of it all, every time I turn on the TV and see another tropical sumpthinother spinning off the coast of Africa, I am reminded of just how blessed we are to be able to have laundry and dishes that need cleaning. And a comfortable home to do it all in. We are blessed BEYOND MEASURE. And I will never forget that. But it’s these crazy, ‘don’t have a minute to spare’ days that bring back fond memories of a simpler time not too long ago. Where the only thing awaiting my attention was my family. And a big ole hunk of School Bread. In a place where we had all the time in the World. Or at least, enough of it to spare a minute or two doing absolutely nothing. And everything. All at the same time.
It was on one of those such days that we fell in love. With the Yacht Club.
You could say it was love at first sight, I suppose. We’d definitely gotten to know each other pretty well prior to our first date, and even though we’d never laid eyes on each other or spent even five minutes alone together, I felt pretty sure we wouldn‘t be disappointed. Or end up hauling tail and calling my sister and asking her to pick us up after we ended the date prematurely. For good reason. Like that one time before.
No, this would be no sophomoric crush gone bad. Of that I was sure.
As we unloaded the van and made our way into the joint for the first time, we were some kind of happy. Yellow, even. And with each new discovery that we made that week, each moment spent relishing the relaxed atmosphere, the close proximity to our favorite park, every night spent swimming in the pristine (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) waters of the best pool on property, we fell that much harder.
In short: we’d totally marry the Yacht Club. If that wasn’t…like…all weird and stuff.
As we entered the YC lobby that morning, we noticed that although the lobby itself isn’t as big and impressive as the AKL or WL, there was something pretty cool going on towards the back of the joint that none of those other places had. Past the biggest globe of all time. Through the doors that overlooked Crescent Lake, the boat dock, and the walkway to Epicot. Our Epicot. It was the hint of fun times yet to come and it made us all completely giddy.
As we approached the front desk that morning, one of the CMs noticed my husband’s birthday pin and wished him a Happy Birthday. Loudly. My man, seizing the opportunity, immediately cocked his finger and pointed it at her (so as to REALLY put her on the spot) and threw back, “How old do you think I am?”
This would be a recurring theme for us for the rest of the day. They always came with the cheery “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!“ and then immediately fell silent when put on the spot. With the finger. As my husband waited.
She stammered for a second or two and eventually came back with some number that was completely bogus. Like twelve. Pleased with himself, he announced, “Actually, I’m forty today.“ And then he smiled. As his shiny teeth sparkled and made the “ding!” sound. Like a Colgate commercial. Knowing he’s lookin’ good at forty. She acted appropriately flabbergasted, as did everyone within earshot, and all was well with the world.
With that out of the way, we got down to bidness.
We were given our little packet of paperwork goodness and once our room assignment was complete (we opted for a room with a daybed at her suggestion because “there are children in our party”...and she was right, the girl dug having the daybed and the boy thought having his own queen bed on vacation was the bomb diggity), we were surprised to hear that our room was ready. We were checking in well before lunch and had fully expected to have some time to waste before The Annual Jumping on the Beds Celebration. But we were thrilled to hear otherwise.
So we turned around, shimmied off toward our wing, snagged way too many cups of ice cold water (for FREEEE!!!) while avoiding eye contact with the uppity CM sitting near the water jug, took the elevator on up to the 4th floor, found our room.... and did the Hoedown Throwdown.
We were in a perfect location, just across from the elevator, in a corner section. For the length of the trip, we barely saw anyone in our neck of the woods. Gave us the feeling that we had the whole place to ourselves. Which we LOVED. Because when you spend most of your days in a theme park rubbing shoulders with the tired, the poor, the unwashed huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of others’ teeming shores, coming back to a resort where you’re under the illusion that your family could very well be the only family on the entire floor is a very welcome change of pace.
Plus no one’s there to witness you acting your goofiest en route to the elevator each day. Except the other goofballs you either married or gave birth to. And unfortunately (for them), they’re stuck with you.
The room itself wasn’t too shabby. And the beds would turn out to be the most comfortable we've ever experienced at Disney. Loved those stinkin' beds!
The kids zeroed in on this spiffy little lamp on the desk and thought it was the coolest thing ever...
One of DH’s favorite features: the slightly strange but extremely useful mini shelf.
He unloaded the contents of his pockets and laid his watch to rest on it every night. For some reason, that’s just coolness personified to him. A dedicated space to store his loose change and pocket knife (because you never know when you may need to peel an apple or clean your toenails on the run) makes his socks go up and down.
Then again, he is twelve.
We immediately kicked off our flip flops, rubbed our feet on the hard carpet and deemed it satisfactory. We then turned on the TV just to hear Stacy’s voice as we explored (while cursing ourselves for it) and found ourselves shocked at how much bigger this room seemed than any of the other ones we’d stayed in to date. The storage space was WAY more than we were used to. There seemed to be so much extra room, and although we were initially bummed with the view from the balcony (a big magnolia tree), oddly enough, we grew to love it because it completed the secluded vibe we loved about that room location. Plus the balcony area was huge! It was easily twice the size of the balconies at AKL.
Cool little snack shelves...
Plenty of storage space in the dresser...
Man, I miss that room!
Once we had everything sitchated, we donned our pool gear, grabbed the beach bag and our beloved Keys to the Food and headed downstairs to find some grub and finally get our Stormalong Bay groove on.
But not before stopping long enough to check out the gift shop and admire this little sweetheart...
For MONTHS the boy (aka: my partner in crime) and I had watched videos of the resort as we shared a few giggles and oohed and ahhhed and dreamed about what it would be like to actually be there. Shoving our toes into the sand on the bottom of the pool and dominating Waterslide Olympics on a pirate ship.
During that time of anticipation, one of our favorite things to do was watch a slideshow of Stormalong Bay. It’s set to a Caribbean sounding beat and we spent many a day watching that slideshow and being impressed with photos of the place. You can find some pretty amazing shots of the pool area that the Yacht and Beach Club share. I know. I believe we saw just about every one there was to be seen in the months leading up to our trip. But I’m here to tell you: there’s no way any of those pictures do it justice. The place is massive, impeccably themed, downright gorgeous, and the architecture just screams classic Disney to me. Plus, with all the different themed areas, it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
It took a ton of restraint, but after we showed our room key and received our wristbands and towels at the entrance to the pool, we kept our minds focused on the pursuit of food instead of the pursuit of another gold medal. Hi ZZUB!
We strolled over to Hurricane Hanna’s and grabbed a table beside the walkway to Epcot.
The food at Hurricane Hanna’s is your typical CS meal. It's okay, but nothing to write a trip report about, really. The kids and my husband enjoyed their burgers while I enjoyed my salad.
But what’s not typical about H2 is the experience. There aren’t very many times that you can enjoy a meal with your family while being sandwiched between some of the prettiest scenery around. To the left of us was SAB with its expertly landscaped and aqua blue coolness...
... and to our right lay Crescent Lake, the pirate ship, and the walkway to Epcot.
We sat in between, in our swimsuit cover ups and flip flops. Alternately enjoying both views and our meal together while singing along to Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” (the ultimate two minute vacation), watching a family of ducks casually making their way between families riding surrey bikes on the walkway, feeling the breeze blow through our hair, looking forward to the rest of our trip, and just downright enjoying the heck out of life.
While enjoying a few of these....
Once we finished eating and tore ourselves away from the relaxed atmosphere along the walkway, we decided to Cupid Shuffle on over and shove our feet in some sand.
We hit the lazy river first and spent a LONG time floating around on our noodles. The ones we’d brought from home that measured roughly one foot in circumference. No wimpy noodles for the LaLas! Go big or go home. Either they spiked the beverage refill station at H2’s or we were Full On Vacation Giddy that day because I don’t remember a time when the four of us have acted so darn….silly. And given absolutely no thought to what we must have looked like to others. Well, not in recent memory anyway. The man was in rare form for his 40th and had all of us rolling with laughter as we floated around the lazy river.
Trying to be lazy. But not succeeding.
Case in point.
It was about this time that I notice a young boy swimming in the middle of the 8 foot section. He wasn’t anywhere near his family, his head was bobbing in and out of the water and he was quietly calling for help. In a barely audible, jagged voice. Probably because of that whole Mama thing, every nerve ending I have came alive and after eyeing him for a second and assessing the situation, I sprang into action. Convinced this kid is drowning and so weak he‘s not able to work up the energy to yell loud enough for his parents to hear, I take off across the pool, make it to him in two strokes, grab his arm and guide him onto my Titanic sized pool noodle. It’s at this point that he dissolves into a fit of laughter and I hear his parents behind me yell, “JEFFREY! STOP PLAYING AROUND AND GET OVER HERE!“ He giggles again and swims off. Like Michael Freakin’ Phelps! Leaving me and my red Baywatch noodle, wide eyed and confused, in his wake.
I believe that children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way.
We eventually made our way around to the other sections of SAB. Our favorites were….well, all of them. But it was especially hard to pull the kids away from Sinking Sands.
The idea of a sand bottomed pool with a mystery hole periodically opening up underneath your feet didn’t necessarily sound like a good time to me, especially after being shell shocked by a fake drowning. But it was very cool.
The water depth is pretty shallow, considering, and the only thing that’s ever really in danger of sinking is your foot because the hole itself seems to only go down about six-eight inches or so. Give or take. Unless you consciously SHOVE your foot further down. Which we did. Cause that’s how we roll. But once that hole opens up, everybody and their brother is clamoring to get their foot in there. And get sunk. Which is lots of fun. If you like playing footsie with strangers. And loving thy neighbor. We spent a long time hanging out there. Again, relaxing and being goofy. I have to admit, I spent MANY afternoons and nights shoving my feet into that sand bottomed pool and wishing I didn’t ever have to leave. Like a kid. It was just the coolest feeling and I now want a sand bottomed pool in my backyard.
Complete with a kick butt water slide.
We had saved the best for last and spent the rest of the afternoon climbing up the cool as all get out pirate ship and sliding our way to happiness.
The view from the top on all sides...
Looking this way at night, you can see the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom lighting up the sky over the resort. I sat here one night just drinking in the sight and trying to memorize it. It was beautiful. And very, very cool.
You can see the top of the Eiffel Tower in the WS off in the distance. Very cool, yet cooler still at night when everything's lit up. You can also see Illuminations at night from this area.
Aside from the waterparks, I have never been on a slide that’s as fast as this one. Good googly GOO, you haul butt on this baby! The initial section of the slide is in an enclosed tube and is kind of dark. And hot. And the rivets smack your butt and elbows on the way down.
Not very cool.
But as you get to the end of that section, you take a little dip then bank to the left and really begin to pick up speed.
Once you’re out in the open, you accelerate even faster as the curves pick up and the drop off looms in the distance, and just as you feel yourself about to flip over, you splash down. Swim over to the side. Feel your toes brush against the sand on the bottom. And jump out, ready to do it all over again.
In a word: OUT-standing!
Normally either I will take the kids on the slide or my husband will take the kids on the slide. While the other one sits on the sideline taking pictures and nursing a smoothie. But since this was a special occasion, we all competed in the Waterslide Olympics as a family. And we could NOT get enough.
After about the third slide, the lifeguard noticed that DH was attempting to make himself go faster by laying down the entire ride. And trying his hardest to splash every ounce of water in the pool into the bushes with his size 11s. He called him over to the side and gave him some tips that would make him go even faster. Basically, you’re supposed to slide on nothing but your feet and shoulders for maximum speed.
“Hold your butt up and don’t let any part of your swim trunks touch the slide“, he says.
On the next go round, my husband took his advice. And just to plus it, he slid on nothing but his heels and head. The man ended up going Mach 3 with his hair on fire. Because he felt the need....the need for speed.
Best we can tell, he landed somewhere around Bermuda and has yet to be heard from since.
It was that fast.
After taking every gold medal ever made, we decided to slow it down a bit. The rest of the afternoon was spent just enjoying the moment. Taking full advantage of all of those minutes we had to spare. The ones I so long for on days like today. We were as far away from school, work, meetings, homework, supper, dishes, laundry, football practice, dance class, school projects, more laundry, more dishes and milkin’ cows as we could be. We were in another world.
Both in body and in mind.
We spent our time relaxing and sipping smoothies while watching our children swim and cut up. Makes my heart happy just remembering it.
But before long, it was time to head back to the room in order to get cleaned up for DH’s birthday dinner. Which is exactly what we did. And in the process, we experienced the Incident that sparked the horrible thought that maybe, just maybe, that newly discovered, deep abiding love we have for the Yacht Club could possibly turn out to be an unrequited love.
And that the bus for Pop Cent'reh would show up at ANY moment to escort us back where we belong.
In other words: we broke 'em in real proper like.
In the way that only my family can.