We're back in Austin again, sigh. It was a really fun trip to Orlando, and we were sad to go. It was nice to have six whole days of uninterrupted family time, something that is pretty rare. I especially enjoyed watching Doug and Carter together. They don't get to spend extended amounts of time together very often, and it was really nice to see them get some bonding time. :-)
Overall, the trip went really well. We liked the location of the Hilton we stayed at, near Downtown Disney. It's a great central spot for going to all the theme parks, and even though we never made it over to Downtown Disney, it's great to have the possibility of easily being able to go get dinner or just walk around. The hotel itself was fine, though I would have liked to have a balcony and a more resorty-feeling pool. There's a Hyatt nearby with even lower rates and a fantastic-looking pool, and we might check that out for next year.
We totaled up what we spent and were astonished that this year's trip came in at about ONE THIRD the cost of last year's! We did all the same things -- we just didn't stay at a Disney hotel this time around. Crazy! So we won't be doing that again any time soon, obviously. Starting next year we'll have to buy park tickets for Carter, so it'll be a bit more expensive, but compared to the first year, that's nothing!
I think Carter had a good time, though he didn't really seem to care where he was all that much. He enjoyed the parks, and there were many times where he seemed genuinely excited about what we were doing. But for the most part, he was happy being wherever we were. He was just as excited about sitting in my lap on the parking tram as he was about riding any ride, and he was equally enthusiastic when we returned to the hotel as when we left. When he gets a bit older, it will probably be different, but for now, going to the parks is still kind of about me and Doug. We used to spend lots of time going to amusement parks together, and we always said we would save Orlando for when we had a child. So now we're doing it!
Orlando is a pretty amazing tourist destination, and there is SO much to do there. Even though we spent the mornings and evenings of five days exploring the parks, there are still entire areas in each that we didn't really visit. There is a whole Disney park we've never been to, let alone Sea World, the Universal Studios parks, various water parks, and so on. It's easy to imagine going there every year and never having the same vacation twice.
The flight home was easy. Our flight was delayed an hour, but it was a non-stop, so that wasn't a problem. Carter played with his toys in the airport by the gate, and watched a video during the two-hour flight. It's becoming so easy to travel with him now. It used to be that flying with him meant I spent the entire flight trying to get or keep him asleep, or otherwise entertaining him, but now he pretty much entertains himself. There was a woman sitting in front of us with a 6-month-old baby who cried the entire flight. She spent the whole flight shushing and bouncing her baby, and I really felt for her. But at the same time, I have to admit I'm glad not to have to deal with that anymore!
I don't have any new pictures from today, so instead I'll just post a slide show of all the pictures from this trip that I uploaded to Flickr.
And it's back to the real, non-Disney world tomorrow. *sigh*