Like you, we thought our exciting weekend was coming to an end as we finished up the 1/2 marathon. Little did we know there was still some magic left in store.
While we were enjoying the VIP experience post-race, Kris and Sami were plotting how they would get into the Magic Kingdom and ride Space Mountain before Sami and the rest of the production crew had to head back home. Since Sami works for ABC, she is able to get into the parks for free and can sign in guests with her – she was happy to take us along! Now we just needed to figure out the timing so she wouldn’t miss her flight.
As we were heading back to Coronado Springs Resort, we learned that the taxi was coming to pick them up for the airport at 1:15 … it was around 11am so we had 2 hours to get to the park, ride Space Mountain and get back. We knew it was all up to transportation – as long as we didn’t have to wait for buses, it would be no problem. Our friend Erika (the Disney PA) was kind enough to give us a ride to the Magic Kingdom to help!
Next thing we knew we were in the park and on our way. We headed straight to Tomorrowland where we saw the wait time to only be 20 minutes – in addition, the fast pass return was in 30 minutes so we would actually be able to ride twice with Sami before she had to leave!
As much as Sami wanted to stay, she knew it was time to leave. So, we grabbed a Dole Whip at Aloha Isle on the way out and headed back to Coronado Springs with her. We had put our gear bags in with her luggage in the lobby – so we grabbed that from her and figured we should go back to our hotel and freshen up.
Sadly, we said our goodbyes to Sami and secretly hoped she missed the flight so she had to come back and play with us. Unfortunately, she did miss her flight (oops) but they were able to put her on another one that afternoon (luckily, with no penalty) so she still had to go home.
Now it was up to us to keep the fun going. Since we had a free park hopper, we figured we should get the most out of it!
|Jeremy Irons narration was better.. just sayin’|
We headed over to Epcot to ride Spaceship Earth
|My future includes an Esurance commercial?|
|Almost as fast as Rachel Booth!|
It was then on to Test Track…
|Still no Dreamfinder..|
…and, once again, we had to visit Figment!
Then over to Living with the Land
|Strawberry shortcake- like a boss.|
We were able to walk onto every ride without waiting – this was going to be a good night! At this point we were getting hungry so we headed over to Sunshine Seasons and grabbed some dinner.
|Are there UN sanctions holding up the Mezzo Mix?|
After dinner, we tried Club Cool once more to see if Mezzo Mix was back … sadly, they were still out!
|Let the Memories Begin indeed!|
Now it was time to head back to the Magic Kingdom. We hopped on the monorail and were there in no time.
|How we felt after this weekend|
Fortunately, we were walking down Main Street at a good time and were able to watch a neat show being illuminated on Cinderella’s Castle.
|Jungle Cruise at night is the way to go!|
|Disneylanders- how jealous are you?|
We were starting to fade so we had a little popcorn, went to ride the PeopleMover and called it a night a little after 10pm.
I had a tough time staying awake on the bus back to the hotel (by hard time staying awake, I mean I fell asleep!) and we had no problem falling asleep that night! We were glad we didn’t have to set an alarm the following morning since our flight wasn’t until 5pm.
When we woke up Monday morning, Kris found a nice tweet waiting for him from Sean.
We got ready and packed up all our stuff. We took only what we needed into the parks and left the rest at the hotel. We would be able to pick it up when we came back to board the Magical Express to the airport.
|Psst, can you let them know they’re out of Mezzo Mix?|
Our first stop was back to Epcot – time to see some characters!
|Minnie is amazed at how boss this is.|
We felt bad Sami didn’t get to join us for more time in the parks so we let her photobomb our pictures!
|Cancelled flight and no Mezzo Mix= FAIL|
This was when Kris received an unpleasant phone call. Spirit Airlines called to tell us we would not be able to get home to Phoenix that evening and had a choice – we could stay another day in Orlando or take our first flight to Dallas and stay overnight there. Either way, we wouldn’t get home until 12am Wednesday morning.
Here’s where we started checking all our options. Since Spirit wasn’t providing us with many, we knew we would need to make something else work.
While we were waiting for something to pan out, we needed something for lunch so we went to Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie … YUM!!!
Kris wielded the power of Twitter and ended up putting us on a Southwest flight that afternoon for a very reasonable price … Thanks Southwest!!! Yet another reason why we normally fly with them! (we were only on the Spirit flight because of the last minute nature of this trip – otherwise we try to fly SW!)
The bad news – we had to leave right then if we wanted any chance of making it to the airport … everything would have to fall into place perfectly if we were to make it on time.
The good news – we were now scheduled for a 2-hour layover in Chicago … Kris’ hometown and home of Sami, Christina and the ABC 7 studio. Now it was time for us to work some 2-hour magic again (although, we were planning for better results this time!). We contacted Sami and started doing the math, studying up on the Chicago Transit schedules and deciding if we wanted to risk it.
We knew we wouldn’t make it if we relied on the resort transportation (while they are very reliable, they would require extra wait time that we didn’t have) so we walked out of Epcot and headed straight for a taxi – told him we needed to swing by Pop Century to get our luggage and get to the airport.
No problem – got to the airport and checked our luggage with a little time to spare. When given our boarding passes, Kris received a very pleasant surprise – an A17 boarding pass. Apparently we had perfect timing because we were told an A-lister must have just cancelled so they reassigned it to the next person to check in … like a boss.
We had no trouble getting through security and even had a moment to grab a sandwich before boarding.
|Chatting with Mrs. Robinson|
Since Kris boarded right away, he grabbed us front row seats to help our adventure succeed. The lady who sat in the window seat even joined in the fun by helping save the middle seat since I was the last person to board.
On flight, Kris was able to check the status of both legs of our flight. Things were working in our favor – the flight we were on was scheduled to arrive early, the flight leaving Chicago was showing a 20 minute delay … we were being given an extra 30 minutes to our layover.
|To the loop!|
We were first off the plane and ran to the train station. While running, Kris set a timer on his phone so we knew when we would need to be back.
We paid the toll for both legs of the ride and headed out to the platform. It was only a matter of minutes before the train picked us up and we were heading downtown.
|Lake Michigan in the distance!|
|It’s my kind of town!|
Fortunately, there is a stop right at the intersection where the ABC 7 building is … it also happens to be the same corner as The Chicago Theatre
|Made it to ABC 7 in record time…|
Sami met us in the lobby and took us on a quick tour of the studio. We popped in and said hi to Christina who was quite surprised to see us there … understandably!
Sami took us to the set where they film the show she produces – Let’s Dish
We took a quick photo and had to head back to the airport.
|Did you miss us?|
|Back on the ‘L’|
The updates were still showing our flight as being delayed … things were looking good for us to make it back in time.
|Time management like a boss.|
By the time we arrived back at the airport, our timer was down to 1:15 … no problem!
We ran back to security and luckily made it through quickly and were back at our gate before boarding!
|Weary travelers with a hint of
“can you believe this weekend?” in their eyes
You know those cool carts you always see zipping around the airport- the one you never get to ride on? Well after getting off our flight at Sky Harbor we were approached by a nice gentleman offering us a ride on one of them. Random and awesome at the same time. Going to baggage claim -like a boss.
From playing at Epcot with Figment to riding the train into downtown Chicago in a matter of hours – I thought Kris’ head would explode! (He assures me it almost did! A real Chicago style hotdog would have pushed him over the edge.) There definitely wasn’t a dull moment this trip!!!
We’re not quite sure how we can top this weekend- from top to bottom it was a whirlwind of amazing experiences. That said, we look forward to trying! Thanks for reading!