My Florida trip was not only a much appreciated break from the cold, Kansas winter, it was a family get together, a chance to explore all the theme parks with two life time experts in all things Disney, and I also attended a "writer and reader retreat"
This was something new for me, the event and the genre of novels. My pal, Terry was helping coordinate the workshop, and I offered to tag along and help her out. Her friend, S. E. Smith is the author of fantasy romance and was quite a sweet person to get to know.
I offered to make name tags from white card stock with book covers taken from the author's book jackets.
We clipped them to lanyards and I wrote the names on the blank backs of the mini books. Attendees could use the books to gather autographs from the writers and messages from their friends.
Gifts given out were non-stop, and I was lucky enough to win a couple myself, even though I was just there as a helper, I was treated so kindly, and like one of the group.You won't find a nicer bunch of ladies, anywhere.
There were games too. This is "Hero Bingo" done with the names of the hunks in the novels instead of numbers. I leafed through a lot of books during the writer's signing night, and "hunk" is a very mild term for the magnificent men described in those pages.
All of us had gathered at Disney Springs, and when it ended, Terry, her daughter, Holly, and I moved on to stay at Animal Kingdom and a couple of other resorts there at the parks. They had gone in together to join the Disney Vacation Club and were hotel hopping to check out the various places.
How nice of them to invite me along on their mother/daughter trip!! I didn't want to intrude for long, so spent three nights with them, then let them have their own time together for the rest of of the week, while they visited a few more hotels. My three days were ideal from my point of view, and I hope I didn't wear out my welcome.
Our first night was spent at Animal Kingdom, a resort I've always wanted to stay at, and it was even better than I'd thought it would be. We woke up to the sight of an ostrich wandering around outside our balcony, then as the morning went by, all sorts of wildlife sauntered along on the grass below us. Feeding stations are set up in the courtyard to encourage visits, but we noticed that there isn't a lot going on very early in the morning.
If you are going to splurge on the cost of staying there, my advice is to make sure you aren't trying to get to one of the theme parks when it opens, or you'll miss the herds of hungry critters who happen by as the morning develops. We were lingering and leisurely, or we wouldn't have spotted so many creatures throughout the 9-11am period. This is the kind of hotel that is a vacation in itself, and if you stay there, you'll want to make sure you have plenty of time to take advantage of it.
Leisurely was the name of the game, we took our time and didn't feel rushed anywhere we went. Both of these Disney Pros know the ins and outs of where to be and when, what to see and what not to, short cuts, secrets, and were the perfect guides for seeing the parks.
Terry is a season ticket holder for Florida AND California parks. And she lives in Utah. That right there is true Disney love.
I felt as if I'd hired two expert tour guides to show me around. Not to mention, they are both a lot of fun, and we had a wonderful visit.
But the best bonus was having a chance to get to know a far away niece.
As a Vacation Club member, Terry got a lot of perks. Free photo passes, discounts, etc. And she was generous in sharing them. I rarely had my camera out, since there were professional photo stations at every landmark. Plus, I was a little chilly, and kept my gloves on. So it was extra nice to get photos that I didn't have to take myself.
Of course, cold temps are all relative...
In Orlando, I was loving the blooming flowers, while back home in Kansas, there was an ice storm.
I'm certainly NOT complaining about keeping my gloves on!
And who doesn't need an excuse to pick up a pretty, pink, Minnie Mouse hoody? I didn't pack as good as I should have, layers were the key. I ended up with a few wearable souvenirs to pile on.
We found some hidden Mickeys that I can point out to Sugarwings next time we go, too.
I now have so many things to show the grand fairies when we go back.
This trip was so much fun, that coming back again was on my mind the whole time I was there.
Thanks, Holly and Terry for such a perfect vacation! And thank you, Susan for letting me be a part of your workshop.