For both of our Christmas and birthday presents this year, we asked our parents for help with a vacation to Disney World, and several of our service dog friends met us there!
We took two days to drive down. The first day I drove the 5.5 hrs to Jacksonville where we spent the night. It was difficult driving because it was raining, but not anything I couldn’t handle. Then as we were coming into Jacksonville, there was a huge bridge and it was super foggy and scary! I had a panic attack while driving, but there was nowhere to pull over on the bridge so I had to drive the whole thing! It took FOREVER and was horrible! I was so scared, and Brad was stressed, too, because of me being so scared and having to drive.
The second day, Brad was afraid there might be more bridges between Jacksonville and Orlando, so he drove that part (2.5 hrs). It wasn’t a really bad drive, though it was trafficky. It wasn’t great for his “body battery”, but neither is being stressed about my driving!
We arrived at Disney Springs at lunch time. Our friend Karin, who uses a wheelchair and has a Brussels Griffon service dog named Callie Mae, was already there waiting for us. She lives in Florida and goes to Disney a lot, so she was our guide for the time we were there. My friend Sabrina, who uses a wheelchair and a Golden Retriever service dog named Indy, met us there with her husband and her daughter Faith, who uses a German Shepherd x Malinois mix named Brida as her service dog.
It was so cute when Felix and Callie saw each other! They definitely remembered each other and started sniffing each other from our laps. Pretty soon Sabrina and family caught up to us; it was great to be together!
Disney Springs was crowded, but there were some parts that were less crowded so the little guys like Felix and Callie Mae could walk next to our wheelchairs. Brad got several shots of us walking around together.
We ate lunch at Cooke’s of Dublin which is an Irish restaurant. They had gluten-free fish and chips and gluten-free onion rings! The fish was just OK but the onion rings were great! Felix did a great job at lunch hanging out on his mat watching everyone walk past behind us!
Next we went shopping around to various stores including a dog store, a hat store, a gluten-free bakery, and a gourmet marshmallow store. A bird pooped on my shoulder at the marshmallow stand!
Sabrina and family wanted to go to the LEGO store, but it was super crowded with a long line just to get in, so the rest of us waited outside for a while. We got some great photos of Callie and Felix! Felix was on a low wall behind Callie, who was on the floor. Brad got some really interesting shots of them!
Finally, Karin, Brad, and I went to get Dole Whip (sorbet, sometimes swirled with soft serve ice cream). Karin got a flight of three small Dole Whips, but they were actually much larger than the tiny shot glasses that held the ice cream. So it melted all over the place, and even dripped onto Callie’s head! We were also seated next to the Rainforest Cafe, which has a volcano that “goes off” every once in a while. Felix was startled by it at first, but handled it pretty well. We got a video of that, but Brad hasn’t edited the videos yet so you’ll have to wait for that one. On our way out we passed a giant Christmas tree and got some pictures there, including a couple of Brad!
After that, we headed back to our hotel. We checked in using the app, but our room wasn’t ready between 3-4 like they said. At 5:30 we arrived to the hotel and they hadn’t cleaned our room yet! So we had to hang out in the hotel while it was being cleaned. Then when we got to our room with all our stuff, our magic bands and phones wouldn’t open the door! We had to call the front desk and they sent someone over to help us. They ended up giving us a physical keycard and said we’d have to get our magic bands reset at the front desk ugh! But at least the room was decent.
After grabbing some quick dinner, we met up with those we’d seen at Disney Springs plus Emily with service dog Lulu (Golden Retriever) and her husband Misha. We hung out at a table near one of the pools and chatted for a long while. Brad got some interesting shots with a thing on his camera that made a big swirl out of the background around the part of the picture in the middle. Most of them have the sign for Pop Century (our hotel) in the background. We went to bed around 9:30 to rest up for our big day at Magic Kingdom on Monday. Brad started working on those pictures, so you have something to look forward to!