After so much fun, our final day of vacation finally arrived. We woke up at 6:15 AM, got ready for the day, and packed up our bags. Before we hit the road, we went down to the lobby of the hotel to have breakfast. This time, I had a spinach and cheese omelet with my usual sides of fruit, potatoes, and a tiny bit of sausage and bacon. In addition, I drank some orange juice and got black coffee to take along with me for the drive. I did not get an omelet when we were at the hotel a week ago, because I was honestly too excited to eat that much food; the dreariness of this particular day allowed me to have an appetite. We sat right near the front of the room, and food was quite delicious. Also, the people around us seemed nice, which was a plus.
Once we were done with breakfast, we finished packing up in our room and got ready for our long day on the road. As we walked back through the hallway, we reminisced about the week before when we were excitedly walking through the same hallway. Aww.
We then checked out of the hotel and packed up our car. Within a few minutes, we were back on the road. I started out by listening to music, and then I listened to a Disney-related podcast, which has kind of become a tradition of mine. The podcast was hilarious and entertaining, which was just what I needed at this point in time. While I was listening to the podcast, we drove through the mountains and entered Tennessee.
Following the conclusion of the podcast, I am pretty sure that I started to listen to another podcast: the Gilmore Guys. I had about three hours left in the episode about “Winter,” so listening to it took up a lot of time in a very entertaining way.
After a while, I started to really have to go to the bathroom, and thankfully, we were able to stop at a rest stop a few minutes later. I am assuming we were past Nashville at this point, but my memory is failing me (that is what a full day of driving sans excitement or note-taking will do to a person). At the rest stop, some of my family members expressed their desire to eat lunch soon, so once we entered Kentucky and drove for another forty-five minutes or so, we stopped for lunch. I am fairly certain that after I said that I was not hungry at the rest stop, I did eat the rest of my Cheez-Its from the day before. All I have to say about this decision is that Cheez-Its are hard to resist when they are right next to you.
We went to McDonald’s (I know…we are so classy) for lunch, and I think I got a Mighty Kids Meal with Chicken McNuggets. I may have also gotten iced tea, but I really cannot recall for certain, as I might have gotten water instead. We sat by a window and ate our meals with dreary looks on our faces. Visits to the bathroom were taken, and then we started driving again.
If I was not done with the podcast at this point, I finished it, and then listened to music on my phone. I actually ended up going through the entire music library on my phone, which did not actually take too long, as I skipped through a lot of songs. It still did take up a good amount of time, though, and so the music was my source of entertainment for the time being.
The next city were headed towards was Louisville. A while before we drove by the city, I started to doze off while listening to music, and I then basically just listened to all of the Carly Rae Jepsen songs on my phone. I rested my eyes while listening to the music, and when I opened my eyes a while later, I realized that I had almost completely missed the views of the city from our car.
We then crossed over into Indiana, and soon we stopped at another rest stop. I am fairly certain that we stopped at the same one the last time we were driving back home from Florida, which was interesting. Last time, it was pouring rain, which made this visit look less dreary in comparison. After we went to the bathroom and I helped a family member get a beverage from a vending machine that did not want to cooperate, we continued our drive back home.
In the mid-afternoon, we drove by Indianapolis, so I made sure to take a picture of the last major city we would drive by before arriving home. I also took a picture of the mostly-blue skies at some point around our drive by the city, although I later realized that a reflection of my phone case is definitely visible in the photograph. Later on, since I was in the mood to listen to music but had already gone through almost the entirety of my music library on multiple devices within the past day, I decided to listen to one of my favorite podcasts, which is All Songs
Considered. Before we left for vacation, I made sure to download their “The Year in Music 2016” episode, so I listened to that for the next hour and forty minutes of the drive. By the way, it was a fascinating episode, as there was some interesting discussion, and although the overall tone was dreary, some amazing music was played and talked about. It started to become dark outside during this time, and we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel of our drive.
While I was listening to the podcast, we took one last stop on the road, which was at a gas station. Most of us (including me) took a bathroom break as well; the gas station was not very nice, but it was fine.
The podcast ended a bit later, so I started listening to another NPR podcast: Pop Culture Happy Hour, and specifically the episode “Arrival and Pop Culture Serotonin.” I started listening to this podcast a few weeks before, and this was probably only the second episode I had ever listened to of it. This episode was mentioned in the other one I listened to before, and I thought it would be great to listen to people discuss mood-boosters in pop culture while on the way home from vacation. The episode was indeed enjoyable!
We arrived back in our home state soon, and I listened to one more podcast, which was yet again an NPR podcast. I listened to the episode of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me with Michael Giacchino, and it was great. The podcast has really grown on me (the first time I listened to it, which was on my last Florida vacation, I did not enjoy it very much), and I actually think I did pretty well playing along with the various quizzes on the show this time around.
By the time the podcast episode ended, we were near home. We picked up pizza and some necessary groceries, and then I listened to music on my phone for the last few minutes of the drive.
The Golden Globes were on this night, and we luckily made it home in time to watch the award show, which really made the night more enjoyable. I will admit that I probably spent more time catching up on social media than actually watching the show, but it was still nice to see it.
We did not unpack very much this night, but that work would be done throughout the next few days. The night was spent relaxing, and we appreciated the fact that we got to embark on an amazing vacation and were now safely back home.
Overall, we all had a wonderful time on our vacation. It was so nice to be back at one of our favorite places, Walt Disney World, after more than a year away. It was definitely interesting to be at the resort during the first week of January as opposed to Christmas week, which is when we visited on recent trips. We definitely all felt as though we had more time to enjoy the resorts we stayed at, since the parks closed earlier than we were used to, but we also realized that we did not get as much done in the parks as we did during the busy Christmas week. There were many attractions and shows that we did not get to see, but I cannot complain, as I am lucky enough to have visited the resort once again. I do have some thoughts, though, on how I can improve future trips to the Disney Parks if I am so lucky to go back:
- Start planning further ahead of time
- Prepare back-up plans
- Try to be more adaptable and less strict with plans
- Since I am not very comfortable talking on the spot, prepare for character interactions a bit
- Say “We can do that later” as little as possible (we usually never have enough time to make it back to whatever we passed by)
- I worked on this idea a bit during this vacation, but I really need to spend less time in gift shops
- Take five minutes to sit on a bench and take in the atmosphere at least once every day
- Try to not look at my phone as much, even when waiting in lines…The My Disney Experience App does not need to be checked every five minutes
- Smile more and not worry about what others think of me
- Take notes every day of what we did so I do not have to rely on my memory and photographs later on
I do not know if anyone can tell, but writing these recaps of my vacation has been quite fulfilling for me. These posts took hours of writing and organizing each, and I think that looking back on them and seeing the details of my trip to Walt Disney World will make it all worth it. Of course, I am open to feedback, so let me know if you think I should continue this series in the future!
For the last time this series (at least in this incarnation of it), have a magical day!