To say that our departure for Disney was chaotic and emotional would be a gross understatement. As we were packing up the final cargo, we got a call saying that Grannie Nelson had been in a car accident on her way to meet us, and she was being transported to the hospital. They did not know anything else at the time, so we jumped in the car and headed out of town.
We had planned on picking her up in Beaumont and traveling to Florida during the night. In the end, Grannie was okay, but she was unable to travel with us. We were all very shaken up and emotional, so we stayed in night in Orange with my grandfather. It was nice getting the extra time to visit with him, and we got to sleep for a few hours before heading out at 3:51.
We traveled all day only stopping a few times for the 3Fs: fuel, food, and (restroom) facilities.
Emmy was a champ and traveled well. Brad, Mom, and I took turns driving.
We arrived at our hotel, The Wyndham Buena Vista Resort, at 6:20. After checking in and unloading our stuffed Suburban (it was like the Clampetts came to town guys), we finally made it up to our rooms. When I called to reserve our rooms, I booked rooms in the tower with a Disney view. It was only $10 more per night and completely worth it. The "nontower" rooms looked like a drive-up motel, and were not nearly as nice. Plus, we had a pretty nice view of Downtown Disney.
After cleaning up and changing clothes, we decided to head out to explore what Downtown Disney had to offer. We ask for a map from our hotel because we didn't really know how far away it was and set out.
Turns out it was RIGHT across the street. We left our hotel's property, crossed the street, and BAM we were in Downtown Disney. A beautiful world of shopping, dining, and entertainment was at our feet.
I found a couple of articles online that described some cool/unique souvenirs to buy at Disney World, and one of them said that you had to visit Once Upon A Toy. We did a quick look through and cataloged all of the things we would be coming back for later in the week.
Next, we went searching out a hat shop that embroiders the ears. We were sent a couple of places before we finally stumbled on the right place.
Getting her ears here was one of the best decisions that we made the whole trip. We picked out the ears (which of course I made into a painstaking decision), chose our embroidery option, paid and got our ears all within 20 minutes. In the interest of honesty, I have to admit that me choosing which ears to buy her probably accounted for about 14 of those minutes. The service was excellent, and we got to take our personalized ears with us right then. If you wait until you get to the park, they say you usually have to wait until the end of the day to come back and pick them up.
We looked around and ended up eating at a restaurant called Bodies. It was mostly burgers baskets and perfect for our evening.
After we ate, we took Emmy to the Lego store. There were tons of cool statues and figures made out of Legos to pose by.
Before long, it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for bed. We knew we needed to get up early, so we could beat the crowds to the gates.
(Disclaimer: All of the photos from this post were taken with my iPhone 5. Sorry it's not the greatest quality, but I promise the photos from the other days of our trip are better, so stay tuned!)