I'd hoped to finish writing about our trip to Florida before Christmas, but, alas, time got away from me. We are very thankful that we were all able to attend Adam's grandmother's memorial and that we could combine it with a trip to Disney World. I am now firmly convinced that visiting a Disney park in the off-season is well worth it, but I would not go during Advent again if I could avoid it!
As you may remember, we arrived in Florida on a Tuesday night. We spent Wednesday at Epcot and Thursday at the Magic Kingdom. On Friday, we relaxed in our hotel room for a while, allowing Betsy to get a much-needed morning nap, and then had brunch at Disney's Grand Floridian resort.
The Grand Floridian is the fanciest resort at Disney World and had the best Christmas decorations we saw in the park. That's a life-size gingerbread house! We enjoyed a delicious buffet at 1900 Park Fare - Claire and Maggie loved the Mickey shaped waffles.
While we ate, we met the Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Alice in Wonderland, and Mary Poppins. This is pretty much the "British Literary" character meal. When planning this trip, we knew we'd be busy with Adam's family on Friday evening and debated if it was worth spending a third day in the park. This character meal was the perfect solution - it gave us one more Disney thing to do on our free day without paying for park admission when we wouldn't be able to take full advantage.
After lunch, we drove to New Smyrna Beach, where Adam's grandparents lived in their retirement. It's on the coast about ninety minutes north of Orlando. Amazingly all three girls napped the whole car ride - on the very, very rare instances that happens it always feels like a mini date! We checked into our condo, got some groceries, and had dinner with Adam's family.
On Saturday, we relaxed in the morning while Betsy napped. (When I say "we relaxed" I really mean everyone else did while I worked on our Christmas cards. A downside to traveling during Advent.) Adam's grandma's memorial was that afternoon at her favorite seafood restaurant. We had lunch and everyone who wanted to shared a favorite memory of her.
Betsy was reunited with her godmother, Aunt Katie, and got to meet her great-grandfather.
Adam's grandparents had eight grandsons and one granddaughter. Now they have six great-granddaughters and one great-grandson. Oh, how the tables have turned. All the great-grandchildren are under age six and needed to stretch their legs after the memorial, so we walked down to the beach. Betsy dipped her toes into the Pacific and Atlantic oceans during her first year of life!
We ordered pizza for dinner and ate in a conference room of the hotel most of Adam's relatives stayed in. (We opted to rent a condo instead because sleeping in the same room as Betsy is very challenging right now. We had two bedrooms but Betsy actually got a room to herself while the rest of us all slept together!)
Most of Adam's family left on Sunday morning, but we met everyone still around for some beach time and lunch. We spent the rest of the day bathing our very sandy children, doing laundry, packing, and going to Mass. We started the long journey back to Seattle early Monday morning. Our flight out of Orlando was delayed, which meant we missed our connection in Dallas and had to catch a later flight to Seattle. We actually weren't upset at all because it meant we had time to eat at our favorite Texas restaurant, Pappasito's, which so conveniently has a location in the Dallas airport. Then Betsy miraculously slept the whole flight home!