I originally created this blog as a travel journal for my backpacking trip in Europe in May of 2006. Using the blog was such a positive experience--it became a log of my itinerary and allowed friends and family to follow me on my travels--that I decided to keep it going. My vacationing experience has evolved from traveling with friends to traveling with my husband to traveling with our children. I hope you enjoy reading about my travels, and please feel free to email me with any questions.

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 12th 2019

Today was our longest stretch at the parks with my parents. We got to Epcot around 10:30. We go took the boat from our resort, and it docks at the International Gateway entrance. It's currently under construction, undergoing an expansion, but Disney has done a nice job making it look nice enough with rolling carts of shrubs that block the view of construction. We met my parents at Mouse Gear, a merchandise shop that's air conditioned, and then we walked over to ride on the The Seas with Nemo. Our FastPasses expired at 11:10am, but we made it in time. In this ride, my mom was seated on a wheel chair, pushed onto an accessible clam shell, and buckled in. It worked well. I'd argue this ride is the worst one we went on in all ... read more
Ice Cream in Norway
Frozen Ever After

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 11th 2019

We had an early morning planned today. Disney currently offers a special ticket called "Early Morning Magic." With this ticket, you get let into the park at 7:45am (before the 9am opening), and you can ride a selection of attractions in Fantasyland: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan's Flight, It's a Small World, Princess Fairytale Hall, Prince Charming's Carousel, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mad Tea Party, and Under the Sea. The ticket cost was pretty expensive at $79/adult and $69/child. You need an admission ticket to the park as well, so the $79 cost is on top of the regular ticket price. However, it also includes a breakfast that you can enjoy any time before 10am, so that made the ticket price slightly more palatable. I bought these tickets months ago when I ... read more
An Empty Fantasyland
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (for the third time!)
Prince Charming's Carousel

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 10th 2019

On Thursday, we hopped from the resort at Fort Wilderness to the Swan. We did this because we had points to stay for free at the Swan, and it worked out perfectly to be next to my parents, who were staying at the Boardwalk. We have had the most spectacular customer service ever at the Swan. I think the main level of the resort is also new, and the pools are amazing as well. From our resort, there is an ordinary pool followed by a playground followed by a white sand beach where you can rent swan paddle boats followed by a grotto pool with waterfalls. Apparently, there are 5 other pools at our resort, but we haven't explored any more after finding the grotto pool! It's lovely. We set aside today to rest and recover ... read more
The Grotto Pool at the Swan and Dolphin Resorts
Our Resort - The Swan
Beaches and Cream

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 9th 2019

My parents arrived at Disney World last night. They weren't sure if they'd make the trip, as my mom broke her foot a couple months ago. On Tuesday, she had a good appointment with the doctor, and he moved her from a regular cast to a walking cast. Unfortunately for my mom, the walk through the airport was too much for her in her new boot. At best, she injured her foot. At worst, she rebroke it. Either way, she can't walk at all, and now she's at Disney World! The good news is that the people at her resort helped her contact a company to rent a kick scooter like the one she used in Des Moines before she got the walking cast. Today, they decided to try to come to Animal Kingdom with us. ... read more
Us with "Everest" in the Background
Waiting to climb Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 8th 2019

After spending the day at Magic Kingdom, it feels like we're officially at Disney World! This morning, we enjoyed a breakfast buffet at Trail's End at our resort. We then dropped off our luggage to be transferred to the Swan and turned in our golf cart at the Outpost. With our errands done, we took the internal bus back up to The Settlement, and, from there, caught the ferry to Magic Kingdom. Once again, we had no wait at all for Disney transportation. I have no idea how we got this lucky, but it's been wonderful. It was getting close to 10 o'clock. Our first FastPass was for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and it was good until 10:10am. I assumed we'd miss it. However, when we arrived at Magic Kingdom, we discovered that we had our ... read more
Yo ho, Yo ho
Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom

We have been having the best time at Disney Fort Wilderness. When we arrived, I knew almost right away that I wanted to write a blog post just about our resort. The kids played checkers on oak barrels when we arrived and waited to check in, and then we sat out on the porch outside of check-in and rocked in rocking chairs while we waited for the afternoon sun shower to ease up. It felt wonderful! There is so much to share that I don't know where to begin! Perhaps it's best to start with general info and then move into our experiences. First, there are over two dozen resorts at Disney World. Each one has a different theme and different amenities. Andrew and I had enough SPG points to stay at Disney Swan for free ... read more
Sun Shower at Fort Wilderness
Fun Riding the Golf Carts at Fort Wilderness
Walking through the Settlement

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 7th 2019

This morning, we heated up some bagels and Pop Tarts for breakfast. We placed a grocery order with Fort Wilderness, and they delivered our groceries yesterday around 6pm. Once we were fed and ready, we drove our golf cart to the Outpost and caught the bus for Hollywood Studios. Once again, we had no wait at all, and the bus arrived in Hollywood Studios about 10-15 minutes later. We were there at opening at 9am, and our first FastPass was for Toy Story Mania at 9:35. Disney allows guests to set 3 FastPasses for each day ahead of time that allow you to skip most of the line. You get an hour long block of time to arrive at that ride. Ours was for Toy Story Mania is in the new Toy Story Land, so, we ... read more
Toy Story Land is Cute
The Kids Loved Toy Story Mania
Waiting for Slinky Dog Dash

North America » United States » Florida » Kissimmee August 6th 2019

We made it to Disney World! We got up early for our 6am Central flight, ran through our connection in Atlanta, and arrived in Orlando at 11:15 Eastern. Disney is absolutely excellent at helping make people's vacations easy to enjoy. We made our way through the airport to the Magical Express, boarded our complimentary shuttle, and left almost immediately for our resort. The kids enjoyed watching the Disney videos on the shuttle, and we arrived at our Fort Wilderness Resort around noon. I'll go into more detail on our resort on another blog post. For now, I wanted to share our first dinner experience. There's another Disney resort, Wilderness Lodge, that is a short ferry ride away from our resort. Disney has two complimentary ferries that do a loop, going from Fort Wilderness to Wilderness Lodge ... read more
The Ferry Reaching Wilderness Lodge
Goofy Remembers the Bubbles that Came Out of His Ears
The Kids and Dopey

We made our drive northward toward Louisville. Andrew has a cousin who lives in Louisville, and we were hoping to make her Christening tomorrow. The weather was intense for the drive. At one point, rain started coming down so hard that visibility was severely impaired. It was a situation where we had to slow way down to see but were afraid of getting rear ended by someone else who didn't slow down. We pulled over as soon as we could to let the worst of the storm pass, but it was an anxious few minutes there. On our drive, we stopped at Mammoth Caves. I had the historic tour reserved for us and Paul and Colleen. Unfortunately, due to needing to be in certain towns for a Super Charger for the Tesla, they couldn't end up ... read more
Historic Tour of Mammoth Caves

LeConte Lodge sits atop Mount LeConte. The only way in and out is by using the trails. To get supplies to the lodge, and to get trash out of the lodge, they used to use horses. Eventually, they switched to llamas. Three times a week, a llama train makes its way up Trillium Gap Trail in the morning to LeConte Lodge. After eating lunch, the llama train is led back down the same trail. The Trillium Gap Trail is a popular one for hikers staying at the lodge. It's longer than the Alum Cave Trail, but it's not as steep. The trail has needed updating, so the National Park Service announced that they would be doing repairs on the trails for two years: 2019 and 2020. From mid-May through mid-November, this trail would be closed Mondays, ... read more
LeConte Llamas
Llamas on the Trail!
Bye, Llamas!

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