Short Vacay Recap

11 Sep

I am really delayed in documenting our recent short trip to Florida. For one, Bandar is down with a bad viral infection  ..again. Also I am somehow really tired, vaguely depressed and frustrated with life in general. Anyway writing this cheerful recap will at least let me bask in the warm, golden recent memory we made and might make me happy for a little while.

To start with, we booked tickets for this trip purely on a whim. It was Bandar’s last “free” trip as she was still under 2 and did not need a ticket. We had planned to go somewhere  close by in the NY/NJ area but when we did some research online we found  car rentals and hotels are freakishly expensive for a road trip around here. Somehow if I plan a road trip, I do not even consider it a real holiday and more of a mini break and would like to budget very little for it. It is sad that hotels/ bed and breakfasts in this area in season are 3 times what we paid to stay in really nice places in Hawaii. Not kidding! Maybe my expectations of the Jersey shore are really,really low that I refuse to spend a 4 digit amount to subject my husband to do his hated task of driving and my child to do her hated task of sitting in a car seat for 3 odd hours in holiday traffic, and all of us to sub par veggie food and frigid beaches in September. So we will probably leave the east coast sometime next year without really seeing much of it but I frankly don’t think we are missing too much.

Side note: If any readers have any nice things to say about this area and must see places around here, please do comment and let me know.

Anyway, we narrowed our decision down to spending a certain amount (that was probably not a wise number given we are trying to cut costs in general) on a “real holiday” that involved flying somewhere.And then we scanned vacation spots and decided to do Orlando for the long weekend and giving Bandar her first taste of Disney World

We left at the crack of dawn on Friday morning. After our whole flight missing incident for our Puerto Rico trip, I try to err on the side of caution and  get us to the airport earlier than needed. This is obviously against the very core of the husbadoo’s beliefs as he rather spend a precious extra 30 minutes sleeping. But I don’t see us resolving this particular difference in opinion anytime soon.

Bandar was a delight that morning. I had meant to wake her after we had a few bags out the door and down 5 floors , but she sat up with all the commotion we made getting ready and proceeded to get ready angelically as we were going to “Dizzny Word” .Bandar’s teachers in daycare had been educating her on the various characters she would see on her trip and we had a mighty excited toddler the week prior.

For once we packed lightish...all our clothes in one strolley which is a huge achievement for us.

For once we packed lightish…all our clothes in one strolley which is a huge achievement for us.

Anyway, we got to Orlando around 10 am and picked up our car rental. Bandar has puked in every single car ride in the last 4 months and I was armed with bags and towels. But I think the combination of not feeding her before drives and playing nursery rhymes really helps and we had no hurling incident throughout the trip.

We picked Olive Garden for an Italian lunch. I know its funny, that we have access to some of the best Italian food in NYC and we pick a chain for our American-Italian meal! Maybe we just have country-mice mentality but I really don’t care. We miss are frequent OG trips that we did in Texas and we really were craving the breadsticks and salad.

We then did another activity we miss supremely in NYC – a trip to Walmart to pick up some essentials- from diapers to milk and snacks! Bandar had a blast running around the broad aisles, something she misses when she is confined to the narrow aisles in NYC bodegas.

Enjoying the wide open space at Walmart! I can seriously fit 10 NYC grocery stores into this space. I miss you suburbia!

Enjoying the wide open space at Walmart! I can seriously fit 10 NYC grocery stores into this space. I miss you suburbia!

We checked into our hotel near Disney around 2. As it was raining outside we crashed for a short nap, only to rise at 6 pm. We decided to have dinner in the Downtown Disney area and dressed up to go out. We reached Downtown Disney and we expected it to be like the Universal city walks in Orlando and LA and really lively and fun. Instead it was dull, dreary and there was a major reconstruction project going on . The rain didn’t help either. We decided to call off our dinner plans in that area and drove around near our hotel to end up in an overpriced Indian place for dinner. It was pretty decent food though.

This trip was different from other ones with Bandar as we did not have access to a kitchenette during our stay. Bandar doesn’t really eat all the stuff we eat outside, so we survived on some food I had made for her at home, frozen and packed to take, some stuff I made in our rice cooker in the hotel room (Seriously this thing boils pasta, steams veggies, rice, dal. Its the only gadget you need if you are travelling with a  baby) and other things like fruit and snacks.

The next day, we made plans to meet the husbadoo’s BFF , A and his wife P at Cocoa Beach. We drove 1.5 hours to get there, while they drove close to 3.5 hours form Miami just to see Bandar. Bandar is really attached to her “kaka and kaki” as she calls them and we spent a really fun 6 hours at the beach with them.We snacked on popcorn and pizza. The husbadoo stole some quite moments with his BFF and we, the wives joked that some sunset hand holding probably happened. I really miss having good friends in NYC and would love to end up in the same city as these people. Let’s see what next year brings

We did the short drive back to Orlando and decided to check out the kiddie pool at the hotel. Bandar was overtired by then though and had a royal screaming scene at the pool and we abandoned this plan and hit our room for some rest.

We picked up veggie burgers from Chillies that night (yes, another chain!) and had a peaceful dinner in our room.

The last day of our trip was our to be spent at Magic Kingdom, the kiddie themed Disney World Park. Here are some random points if you are visiting this park with a toddler. Else skip ahead 🙂

  • It takes forever to get into the park from the parking lot. We obviously missed the early morning hotel shuttle and had to drive ourselves there. Parking is Disney level exorbitant ($17). We took a motor coach from the parking lot to the ticker booths and picked up our tickets. Do buy in advance and pick up at the booth using the “Will Call” service. You then take a ferry ride across a man made lake to the actual park itself , where they do a bag check and let you in. All this is fairly exciting in the morning when you are fresh and ready for your Disney adventure and are pointing out the first glimpse of Cinderella’s castle to your little one. But bear in mind that the same journey is laborious and long with a screaming toddler at 11 pm when you are leaving the park.
  • Bandar with her "1st Visit" badge

    Bandar with her “1st Visit” badge

  • Being ferried across , you get the first glimpse of the castle and then it becomes bigger and bigger!Fun

    Being ferried across , you get the first glimpse of the castle and then it becomes bigger and bigger!Fun

  • The Disney Fastpass and App are pretty awesome. The 3 rides for a 2 year old that we used the Fastpass for afterreading multiple online forums were – Ariel’s Under the Sea ride, Peter Pan’s ride and Winnie the Pooh. Bandar enjoyed them in that exact order. She also liked the “It’s a small world “ ride. She didn’t particularly want to sit on the Dumbo or Magic Carpet Ride which are also toddler friendly and we didn’t force her
  • bandar and I
  • Other enjoyable things we did were the Jungle cruise ride, a visit to the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse and Tom Sawyer’s Island and the Buzz Lightyear ride. Overall  , I think we got our money’s worth on the rides with a small child in tow and we have no regrets there.
  • Even we surly adults found this pretty!

    Even we surly adults found this pretty!

  • Now we come to the silly thing we did. We decided to wait to see the parade at 9 pm and the fireworks show at 10 pm. Nutty, nutty, nuttier than a fruitcake idea ever! You assemble for the parade as early as 7 pm and Bandar refused to be restricted to an area. Finding veggie food in the crowd became a pain. The 3 of us survived on one giant ice cream sundae- whipped cream , 2 flavors of ice cream, giant waffle cup and all. The sugar obviously got Bandar to her highest spirits! She did enjoy the parade when it started though and called out to each of Snowwhite’s seven dwarfs with gusto! Oh and then we didn’t leave at 9:45 pm but stayed for the illumination show and the fireworks. Beautiful but maybe not worth tiring out our baby for. We left the park at close to 10:30  pm but only reached the parking lot at 11 pm. Most .miserable.30 minutes. EVER! So what I would advise is try and catch the fireworks on another day of your visit. Apparently they are visible from some of the Disney hotels that you can visit even if you are not staying there and the Disney Boardwalk that is open to all. So do plan to do that on another day and not on the day you have been at the park since 9 am.Learn from our mistakes!
  • We had a back pack for Bandar with a leash attached that we didn’t end up using as Bandar hated it. Bandar spent most of the day on the husbadoo’s shoulders , her favorite mode of transport. I do recommend this though if you have fast toddlers who want to run and explore.
  • We had carried cookies, chips, granola bars and oranges that the 3 of us snacked on through the day. We did pause for a pizza lunch at one of the casual restaurants in the park. Dinner in one of the nicer places in the park needs a reservation, so do that if you are interested and not amble along searching for veggie food and eat your weight in ice cream instead like us!




Early on that day, I  had decided I would not be losing my temper at all, come what may that day. So with this resolve, I was able to really somehow patiently bear toddler tantrums, a snappy spouse , long lines and other things. I probably need to make this resolve more often, eh. We skipped dinner that night after our park visit. I ended up packing till 2 AM. We woke at 5 am for our 7:30 am flight back home. We realized we had lost Bandar’s Piglet stuffed toy 😦 He was carried  all the way from NYC with the sole purpose of frightening her to eat her food. She had such a love-hate relationship with this toy! He did miracles for her eating habits though. I just had to place him by her high chair and make up an elaborate story of him taking away her toys and clothes if she did not eat, and she would swiftly chomp down. With him gone, no other toy induces quite the same reaction.We spoke to the hotel but have not recovered him yet. Here’s hoping we bring Piglet home soon,


So that was our very short but fun trip. We had entire Monday to relax at home though which was good. Often, I have hesitated making short trips as I felt it wasn’t worth it. But in this case, I do think it was money well spent for a fun experience.



5 Responses to “Short Vacay Recap”

  1. Kavs September 11, 2014 at 3:19 am #

    Hi P, I just loved Bandar’s pic! We have been to Disney Land in LA, way before S, and I got really excited too:) I am glad you guys had fun. Even we carried snacks and had a cheese pizza lunch. Wasting time looking for veggie stuff is just not possible 😦
    You guys should visit New England area – it’s beautiful all thru the year, but with Bandar, winter here can be given a pass. Fall is beautiful too. If you plan to visit Boston, we’ll love to host you, no really! 🙂

    • popgoesthebiscuit September 11, 2014 at 8:07 am #

      Uh typed a long reply and.lost it. Boston is on my list for sure. But might end up being only in summer. Will definitely let you know if so:)
      Ya, Disney was fun for us too in its own way.

  2. princessbutter September 11, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    Sounds like it was a fun trip! Moo and I had gone to Dland and CA adventure park in LA in Nov and it was really fun! The weather was being funny though. It was hot during the day and really cold at night. And we made absolutely complete use of the FastPass system! Also, we did the ‘single rider’ thing in some rides and did those like, twice or thrice within 10 min! Otherwise the lines were crazy!

    • popgoesthebiscuit September 11, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      I am really impressed with the level of organization and structure at Disney Yaar..they had a cool parent swap service where one parent rides and the other holds the baby and they swap without having to stand in line again. Stroller parking for each ride is so well thought of and nicely done. Of course, all customers follow the rules and lines too, which is great.
      We haven’t been to Disneyland in LA, just did universal. But I am sure we will in a few years:)

  3. Dil On The Rocks September 17, 2014 at 6:18 am #

    Aahh. I hope you can find a replacement. I know that pain when feeding. 🙂
    Oh that castle pics are indeed magical. 🙂 We are due a trip to Disney too, but I am exactly scared of what happened. Managing two kids there. Somehow I need to pull up some courage to do it. 🙂

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