Sunday, September 26, 2010

Phase Two: The Actual Vacation

By NicoleMarie

Met the LaLas? Check.

Ridden our first Disney ride? Check.

Checked into our villa at Kidani? Check.

As much as I love the First Day Excitement – pulling under The Arches, checking into the resort, riding the first ride – there’s a part of the vacation that comes in a close second, and that’s Phase Two: The Actual Vacation. This part of the vacation can only start after the bags are unpacked and we’re sitched.

Which is why this installment comes right after the installment titled “Gettin’ Sitched.” I’m smart like that, friends.

But y’all know what I mean. There’s literally a moment that Phase Two kicks in, and you know you’re there. For at least a solid 24 hours prior to that moment – likely a full week if you’re Vacation Head of Household – you’ve been going ninety to nothin’. Gettin’ it done to get out of town. Traveling. Checking in. But all of a sudden, you’re all checked in, the last bag is unpacked, everyone has claimed their sleeping quarters and corresponding storage space, the toiletries line the countertops, the snacks fill the cabinets, and all that’s left to do is relax and enjoy your vacation. And for what is likely the only time during your vacation, your hotel room or villa is REALLY organized and everything is nice and clean.

Quick aside: This would be a good time to take pics. It is also a good time to pull out the bottle of Clorox and run it through the jets in the bathtub. And while that’s running, Lysol all the remotes and phone handsets. Your bed bug check should already be done, as EVERYONE knows it is far too late to find bedbugs if you’ve already unpacked. Those suckers are hitching a ride home with you by then.

I’m not saying the NMs are such neurotic germaphobes that we would actually do any of that nonsense, but if you ARE gonna do it, right before entering Phase Two of the vacation is the time. Cause who can relax when there are unchecked germs all over the place? I mean, WE could…but you might not be able to.


It was about 3 pm when we entered Phase Two. We had a 7 pm ADR at Coral Reef, which was perfect timing for a pre-dinner visit to the Kidani Pool. Everyone changed into their swimsuits, put on a little suncreen, and headed out the door.

The pool at Kidani Village was the primary reason we had chosen to stay there. We had checked it out on our Thanksgiving trip, and the kids were so impressed with it, there was no other place to stay even on their radar. It did not disappoint. It’s not huge, but strangely enough, it never felt crowded. The splash play area was tons of fun for every member of our party, (yes, even Roger and I) and we all love a zero entry.

So to the pool we headed. And we knew good fun as ahead. Because most of the time, I’m that Mama who is REALLY aware of what my kids are doing that might annoy the folks around us. I tell my kids that good manners show others that you value them. I believe good manners are a requisite behavior for people who love the Lord. And although we don’t always succeed, the NMs try to be those kinds of people who show a little bit of grace and mercy to folks around us. I don’t let my kids talk loudly in hotel corridors, I make sure they use nice manners in restaurants and other public places, and I really don’t believe there is any good excuse for being unkind to someone. Even when you think you’ve been wronged. In fact, especially when you think you’ve been wronged.

What does that have to do with the swimming pool? Hear this: In the swimming pool, all bets are off. We’re gonna get rowdy. If you’re hanging out by a swimming pool at Disney World, and the NMs are around, you are either gonna get splashed, get hit with a tennis ball, or hear my son’s laughter and smack talk no matter how far away from him you are. If you want an upscale pool experience, I can recommend some really nice places in Orlando where they’ll bring you a chilled towel and some fruity water while they spritz your face with a cool mist. The music is soothing and nice, and the fountains in the pool provide a pleasant sound track to the relaxation you feel as you lie in the sun. And the best part? The NMs won’t be there. Because we’re too busy being crazy at Kidani.

We’re on the slide. We’re in the zero entry playing baseball with a tennis ball. We’re in the shallow end playing Monkey in the Middle. We’re in the splash zone firing water cannons at each other. We’re everywhere. We are your relaxing afternoon at the pool’s worst nightmare.

It never fails that we draw a crowd, though. We catch the eye of all the kids who have polite parents that make them use good manners at the pool. We bring those kids into the fold, and we have a hootin’ and hollerin’ good time the whole time we’re there.

And that’s how we spent the first couple of hours of Phase Two: The Actual Vacation.

To the relief of many, we finally left the Kidani pool to head back to the villa for a little rest time before our dinner ADR at Coral Reef.

I love the downtime between the afternoon swim and the evening plans. (Yes, I realize that this is about the 14th thing I’ve said “I love” about a Disney trip, but would I be here if that wasn’t the case?) We pull the drapes closed, make sure the AC is pumpin’ some good, cold air, and settle into our various spots to slow it down for a little while. Usually, we all end up catching a few zzzzs. In real life, I’m not a napper. None of us are. But at Disney World, we can go to sleep faster than the Georgia Bulldogs can tank their football program.

We woke from our naps refreshed and ready to go. After we made ourselves presentable for an evening at Epcot, we packed our bags with the necessities and headed down the hall to the magic elevator that would take us right to our car. Said car would be parked in the shady garage and therefore not at all brutally hot. LOVE me some Kidani Village.

Arriving at Epcot is always a treat. We walked through the turnstiles and heard the Soarin’ soundtrack, saw Spaceship Earth towering overhead, and felt the warm humidity of a June night in Florida. We stopped and took some pics in front of the LaLas’ picture in the Legacy Garden, and then made our way back to Coral Reef.

We love Coral Reef – more for the atmosphere than the food – and we had a very nice dinner there. Until our waiter spilled an entire drink in Roger’s lap. But good ole Roger, ever the nice guy, just laughed and said it was OK. And that he was sure some VIP Fastpasses would make up for his trouble.

Sure enough, a few minutes later our waiter appeared with some Fastpasses, and as he walked away, we all high-fived one another and planned our next move. A quick spin on Test Track before Illuminations started would be the perfect way to end our first day.

So that’s what we did. As the sun was setting over Epcot, we took a 65 mile per hour spin around the Test Track. Screaming and laughing and hair flying. We disembarked the ride, walked over to our favorite spot to watch Illuminations, (Showcase Plaza), and pulled up to the front row. The cool pre-Illuminations music was playing, and before we knew it, the deep, melodic voice of the Illuminations narrator was introducing the show.

“Good evening, on behalf of Walt Disney World, the place where dreams come true, we welcome all of you to Epcot and World Showcase. We've gathered here tonight, around the fire, as people of all lands have gathered for thousands and thousands of years before us; to share the light and to share a story. An amazing story, as old as time itself but still being written. And though each of us has our own individual stories to tell, a true adventure emerges when we bring them all together as one. We hope you enjoy our story tonight; Reflections of Earth."

Then the sound of the torches being blown out. Then the steady drum beat. Getting faster and faster until it’s stopped by the first squeal of the Illuminations soundtrack, and the one arc of light that starts the show.

I couldn’t tell you how many Disney trips we’ve started in this exact way. Ten? Fifteen? I don’t know. But this time was no less exciting than that very first trip. And in some ways, it was MORE exciting. There was so much to look forward to. Traditions we’ve established at Disney that we can’t wait to do together. New things to experience this time – things we’ve still not done in ten or fifteen Disney trips.

Yes, here we were again. In our favorite spot. Literally and figuratively. Life moving forward so quickly that it makes our heads spin. But slowing down so that we can enjoy these next ten days together in our happy place. Phase Two has begun, and we are so blessed.

I prayed a prayer of thanks right then and there, and then put my arms around my family and sat back to enjoy the show.


  1. Oooh this is good! I can feel the excitement, NM, and I love all the things you love about a trip to Disney World. Of course, as you said, why else would we all be here? It's certainly not for ZZUB's bathroom humor.

    I am DED at the description of the NMs cutting it up at the Kidani pool. Causing a ruckus and encouraging all the well-behaved kids to disobey their parents! That is a giggle-inducing image, for sure. And I can so picture it.

    Congrats to Roger on the Mad Fastpass-procuring Skillz. I hope that fast ride in the test car helped to dry out his pants a bit.

    And tell the truth....did you have to Google the opening spiel of Illuminations? You didn't, did you?!

    You are such a dork.

  2. I love that magical moment a the start of Illuminations too! I actually have an album that was made by the group that does the flute music that they play leading up to the show. It's a group called Cusco, and I used to listen to them in the 90s when I was commuting back and forth from work. Those minutes before the opening always remind of those long drives.

  3. NM wrote, "But at Disney World, we can go to sleep faster than the Georgia Bulldogs can tank their football program." WOW! That's fast!

    Oddly enough, I've been known to squeeze in a Disney nap as well. But usually it's a power nap. I don't have time to be sleeping my life away.

    Love me some Epcot pre-Illuminations music. Indeed, just discovered some additional Cusco tracks on iTunes this weekend. For the longest time, they didn't have Montezuma, Flute Battle or Tula. They do now. Montezuma and Inca Dance are from the old pre-Illuminations music. Flute battle may be as well. But if I'm not mistaken, Tula is how the show starts. I flat out love that track!

    I'm not sure we actually flip a switch in our vacations. To the extent there is a transition from arrival to vacation, it must be very subtle b/c I've never thought about it or noticed it.

    Coral Reef? Really?!

    I thought you knew what you were doing in Disney World. Obviously I was mistaken.


  4. Loved this installment! Thanks, NicoleMarie!


  5. Great Installment NM!

    I was totally cracking over the pool shenanigans, especially the way you managed to draw others into the fray. “Mommy, it wasn’t me, it was those blurry people over there!” Classic!

    Our first day also included a pre-park nap for the girls, but I was too excited to sleep and wandered about the resort. It was great though because it allowed them to go much later than they normally would have. I did partake once, later in the trip…right in the middle of a rain storm. Best nap I’ve ever had.

    Great night shot of the lagoon. I think I’ll head off now and pull up some ‘luma-nashuns music. Awesome ending to your first day!

  6. Ash, OF COURSE I Googled the Illuminations pre-show narration. Because if I hadn't, I would have left off the "place where dreams come true" part. :) But I am a dork. For that and many other reasons.

    Steph, I also have a CD of tunes from the Epcot pre-show. It's funny because I would NEVER like that music were it not for the reminder of those evenings in the World Showcase.

    ZZUB, what do you mean, "Coral Reef? Really?" You have no love for the Coral Reef?

    Yes, we do flip a switch. Everything prior to finishing the unpacking is at a different pace. All the rush before leaving for vacay, making good time on the drive down, getting checked in and efficiently getting our bags unpacked, and then a big ole exhale. NOW it's time to relax.

    Thanks Preschoolmom!! Glad you checked in!

    GB! Yep, we're all blurry and ghostlike. I'm realizing I didn't take pics with my TR in mind. Oops. There will be more of those to come. The Headless NMs ride again.

    Thanks for the comments, y'all!

  7. NM You know I am short on time lately but just wanted to say I AM READING.



    Thanks for the update, girl!

  8. is momofmnm above...not Mariette! DED. I had to help a digital immigrant create a google account at work and apparently did not sign out of her new account!!! DEDED!! So don't email her. She won't know WHO you are...nor will she understand the use of the word cart or buggy. She won't understand BTMRR, CR, POLY, MK, EP, MGM or DHS (or how they can be interchanged even though technically they can't...) She will think animals when you say Swan and Dolphin and she will think the Beach Club is actually located ON a beach.

    Among other things that I don't have time to write or joke about!!

    Just too busy...another flaw of the US public education system. Teeheehee....

  9. The post above is not from ZZUB either. I had to help him create a username 7 years ago and that was the one he picked out. Buzz backwards. I know, weird huh? Do NOT email him. He won't understand a THING you're talking about unless you say things like, "Roll Tide," or "free refills," or "farting is optional," or "no, go ahead, eat more ribs," or "yeah, there's a bathroom right yonder," or "we agree, LaLa is a flagrant plagarist," or "Ashclan does seem very Ainsley Hayeish."

  10. This one isn't from ZZUB either.

  11. Serioiusly, how man nom de plumes can Momofmnm have? Isn't this her 3d or 4th?

  12. "Serioiusly, how man nom de plumes can Momofmnm have?"

    Seriously, say wha?

    NM! Great storytelling girl! I was right there with you at that Kidani pool, hearing the fake animal sounds and sipping drinks through the paper straws. My boys dug the handicapped slide more than I can tell you. They liked to stand up and surf down it when the lifeguards weren't looking. shhhh. I thought it was fabulous though that they had a handicapped slide. They really thought of everything. Good call on the pool and the resort! I know y'all loved it!

    Mariette! I'm ded! I thought, wow, this girl that I'm not sure NM 'knows' is telling her she loves her. When I found out it was you, I laughed so hard I fell backwards and hit my head so hard that I actually thought Dancing with the Stars was good.

  13. ZZUB?

    If you were a fish, you'd be a Dorkfish.

    There's YOUR nom de plume du jour.

    Frickles said:

    My boys dug the handicapped slide more than I can tell you. They liked to stand up and surf down it when the lifeguards weren't looking.

    I hope they were sportin' a handicapped bumper sticker on their swimming trunks because if not, Mr. LaLa is writin' them UP, sister!

    Not really. They're too cute for all that. But I'm DED over the image of poor handicapped people waiting to get on the handicapped slide while your boys hung ten and whooped it up NM style. Sans bumper sticker.

    Heh Heh.

    I'd like to be the first to welcome Mariette to the fold here. You seem familiar, but your name is throwing me off. Your post killed me DED though.

    Hey PMM!!! Glad to see you crazy self around here, even if you are posting under other people's names!

    And now that all THAT is out of the way, time to get down to why I'm here in the first place.

    NM- I LOVED your latest, girl! GOOD SHOW!!! I am SO glad you Googled that spiel and posted it because it took me straight back to the World Showcase at 9:00 p.m. Which is, hands down, my all time favorite time of the day/night at Epcot.

    Or in any park.

    Glad to hear yall enjoyed yourselves at the Kidani pool on Arrival day. That pool is the Mack Daddy, isn't it? The LaLas have had some serious good times in the splash area there and had we stuck around a little longer that day(and been the kind of people who pool hop), we SO would've allowed ourselves to be corrupted by the NMs and their tomfoolery. Sounds like a great time to me.

    But... I can't believe I read what I read. You took a nap? On your DADGUM ARRIVAL DAY?!!!! What the heck is WRONG with you? How on earth did you manage that? With the World at your feet? Just WAITIN' to be ridden and smelled and tasted and touched. Before AND after the standard HazMat Level Three Decon...of course. I can do naps at Disney. Especially after a long day in the parks, and especially if it's raining and the room is dark and cold. Some of my best naps have been taken in a Disney hotel room. But once we get there on that first day, there is just WAY too much excitement in our systems for us to be taking a nap. Chald please. So my hat's off to you for slowin' it down and relaxing on your first day.

    Or maybe you were just depressed that the LaLas left you and the prospect of facing the rest of the week without your new BFFs was so painful that you had to drown it out with dreams of leprechauns hosting dinner parties and clowns throwing dirty diapers in washing machines and giving them a go.


    Welcome to my Dreamworld.

  14. Forgot to say...

    The blurry pictures of your kids are KILLING ME!! That is, if those are REALLY your kids and not someone else's. That's just Creepy Dee. If that's all you got, save your time and just lift some from somewhere else.

    I'd be willing to let you borrow some of mine. They'd suit you just fine because apparently I am THE QUEEN of blurry images.

  15. That was NOT me up there. It was Anonymous.

  16. And by Anonymous, I mean Layla.

  17. And by Layla, I mean Lola.

  18. L-O-L-A Lola. La-La-La-La LOLA....

  19. Pssst...ZZUB: Next time, sign OUT as ZZUB and sign back in as Mel and you'll have us all confused.

    Where the heck IS Mel? I miss her crazy self. Meeeeeeeeeeeeel? Come baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!!!

    I see LaLa was having a good time last night. Talk about your one woman hootenanny. (Did you know that spell check does NOT pick up "hootenanny?" That's funny to me.) La, you must have been hittin' the sauce over there in Mississippi. Had a little too much sweet tea with ya dinner, didn't you?

    Frick. Oh, my girl Frick. I'll have you know that for a few minutes I felt really embarrassed for you that you thought the kiddie slide at Kidani was a handicapped slide. And posted that your boys flagrantly disregarded it as such, and surfed down it. Don't y'all have cotillion and/or manners classes up there? But then, in the wee hours of the morning when I had insomnia and absolutely NOTHING better to do, I did a little checking it out. And sure enough, there's a little handicapped symbol on one side of the "loading area" for that slide. There are also steps, though. So take that for what it's worth.

    But girl, you KNOW I'm glad to see you. Always glad to see you.

    And MOMOFMNM? You are just hands down one of the funniest people I know. Girl, you are cracking me up with the Mariette sign in. Would the REAL Mariette please stand up?

    Thanks for the comments, y'all. It's always good to hear from my Disney peeps!

    In other news, it is FINALLY cool outside this morning. But talk about acclimated to the heat. I'm going on record to say that I'm cold right now and I don't like it. Yeah, I said it. So sue me. It's not like I posted some pics that aren't mine on the blog.

    Later -

  20. “But y’all know what I mean. There’s literally a moment that Phase Two kicks in, and you know you’re there. For at least a solid 24 hours prior to that moment – likely a full week if you’re Vacation Head of Household – you’ve been going ninety to nothin’.”

    Why don’t we have nodding smiley heads here?! Well, if we did, I’d stick one right here. Oh yes, I Know Phase Two well. 

    “…and felt the warm humidity of a June night in Florida. “

    What a lovely way of phrasing it. ;)

    Um, did our Kidani stays by any chance overlap? Because I think it entirely possible that MY child was one of those completely enthralled by y'all at the pool, lol! I have a similar pool philosophy, but it's just the boy and I, so he doesn't see as many hijinks as he'd like. He gladly adopts pool families. ;)

    Awesome update NM – you made me feel like I’m right back there!

  21. Y'know what, V, I think you and NM DID overlap! You were both there for the 4th, after all..... NM, check out V's report on the DIS and see if you recognize her adorable boy from the pool!! How funny would that be?!?!

    Mariette!!!! I am DEDDER than DED. And totally borg with Frick wondering who this stranger was telling NM that she loved her. PMM/Momofmnm/Melons/Iowa ....Girl, you KILL me. (And yes, you do have too many noms de plume. Even when we use your REAL name we need to add an identifier. We need to pick something and stick with it!)

    I am torn between loving and being horrified by the image of Frick's boys surfin' the slide meant for disabled peeps. But they are both SO frickin (no pun intended) adorable, that the charmed side has won out. Good thing you didn't post that story on the DIS, though ; )

    Anonymous sad: L-O-L-A Lola. La-La-La-La LOLA....

    Clapton, right, Z?

  22. V!!! Is it possible we crossed paths? Wouldn't that be something? We were at Kidani from Sat 6/26-Fri 7/2. We switched to BLT after that. I don't make it over to the DIS anymore, but I will for a good trip report!! I'm happy to know you're writing one - especially if our vacations overlapped. It's always fun to read a different perspective of the same place at the same time.

    And Ash, you are right. I just hopped on the DIS for a couple of seconds to see if it would be easy to tell when V was there. (No dice - TR too long, and that's GOOOOD!!!) But her boy? An absolute DOLL!!! Thanks for the hook-up, Ash. You know I love reading a good TR.

  23. Ash said Anonymous sad: L-O-L-A Lola. La-La-La-La LOLA....

    Clapton, right, Z?

    Uggh. Please, for the love of all that is holy, tell me this is a joke. Or I'll have to go all Ray Davies on your sorry butt.

  24. LOL, thanks guys! I've got my TR going on here, too - eBlogger? What IS this called anyway?! - so I can Tweet it out without leading random Twitterers to the DIS. I have no idea why I think that to be "safer" but I'm really enjoying the blog thing anyway.

    Alas, we missed each other by ONE DAY NM! We switched from the Yacht Club to Kidani on 7/3. But rest easy - another family took your place at the pool and made it fun, fun, fun for all! ;)

  25. Relax, Chap. It's a joke. An OLD joke.

  26. What's the joke? And who's Ray Davies? Does he use the so-called handicap slide at Kidani?


  27. Just wanted to stop by to say I've been reading but not commenting (shocking, I know!) I signed in to read La's new installment but not before I give you props for a very enjoyable read!

    We loved Kidani too. We didn't figure that the "little" slide was for handicapped kids because Little YAK also did some surfing off it! Great minds - heh-heh!

    Did you partake in any of the organized poolside games? We were runners up in the song trivia challenge. I believe the one we missed was something by the Kinks??

    Keep it coming!

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