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  • Writer's pictureLisa Wain

NOLA & Disney Cruise: Day 1 - Travel Day

Tuesday, February 11th

We’re on vacation!! Finally! I feel like I’ve been talking about this trip for forever and it’s finally here. We had some small changes very last minute so it was a bit of a mad dash in the final days leading up to the trip, but we’re here eating ourselves sick from one hop-on-hop-off bus stop to the next. It really feels like we’re just here for the food and I’m totally alright with it.

Originally, we were leaving from Newark on Tuesday. Matt had to work at his office in Jersey on Tuesday and we were flying out of Newark after work. Rather than have him race home to get me and the kids and then race back to the airport in Jersey, my dad was just going to drop the kids and I off at the airport where we'd wait for Matt to get there. Being that I had next to no desire to hang around the airport with the kids any more than I already would have to, we decided instead to get a hotel room in Jersey Monday night and then I would just hang out with the kids in our hotel room and then waste some time at the adjacent shopping plaza once we had to check out of the room.

This new plan worked out pretty well. We drove down Monday night, had a late dinner, and then headed to bed. The next morning we were able to get late check out and hang out in our room until 12:30pm. Matt met us for his lunch break and drove us next door to the AMC theater for the kids and I to see Dolittle to waste the last few hours he had left at work. The movie was cute and we had the theater to ourselves so that helped when Vivian would get bored any time the movie’s pace slowed in the least bit. Really, Vivian? It’s Robert Downey Jr. on a massive screen. How can you look away for even a moment? I clearly have failed as a mother.

In perfect timing, Matt pulled up to pick us up right as we came out of the movie theater and off we went to drop the car at the long term parking garage. Everything from here on out at the airport went perfectly average and totally uneventful yet Matt & I both found every second of our travel day as unnerving as humanly possible. I think it was when Vivian dropped her slice of pizza on the airport floor, her slice of pizza that was priced as if it was coated in gold, that we finally just gave up caring and knew we were in for a long night.

After a mediocre and way too expensive dinner at the airport, we headed to our gate and to the bathroom to get the kids in their pajamas since we were taking a pretty late flight. Oh, to be the age where it’s still perfectly acceptable to walk around in a public place in your pajamas and not look like a walking-advertisement for “the people of Walmart” picture book.

We flew United where you get pretty much nothing- no TVs and while they offer Internet, you need the app to access it, but you can’t download the app on the airplane’s wifi and of course they don’t inform you of this BEFORE you board when you’re not on the plane’s wifi. Really? Considering our prehistoric flying experience, the kids did really well and slept for the majority of the flight.

Our captain originally told us that we may have a bumpy landing, but when it was finally time to land, after our three hour flight, the captain came back on to tell us that we were in for a smooth landing. Um. Not so much. As the flight attendants were making their final pass through the cabin we hit sudden and intense turbulence. Our seats were only three rows from the back of the plane, where the flight attendants were headed for their seats, when just as the flight attendant got to our row the turbulence hit. Nearly immediately the flight attendant lost her balance and went to her knees grabbing our armrests for support. From that position she continued to ask the final three rows if their seatbelts were fastened and tray tables were locked. It’s now getting even more intense, so she shifts to sitting on the floor in the aisle while still holding our armrests for support. I don’t know how, but the kids slept through this crazy turbulence. Finally, we were low enough to be out of it so she got up and nearly crawled the rest of the way to her seat just before we landed. It was crazy and we later found out that the airport ended up grounding their flights until 10:30am on Wednesday because of the thick fog. Needless to say, we were happy to finally be on the ground dealing with waking up our little gremlin, Vivian, who does not ever wake up well, rather than be in the air another second. She seriously needs a sippy cup of black coffee to make her tolerable in the mornings and on late night flights, but yet that’s still better than turbulence. Wellllllllll… then again. Never mind.

We headed for baggage claim where we met our car service, since there was no way we were lugging around car seats for literally only two drives in a 12 day trip. Our driver was the sweetest guy who seemed like a kid to me, but we later found out he owned the company! Have I really gotten that old that grown adults look like babies to me???? Our drive to the hotel was pretty uneventful and we were happy it went so quick. I had checked in to our hotel via the Marriott app yet I still had to go to the front desk to get my room key and find out my room number so I’m not quite sure what the point of online check-in is. In our final moments of our travel day we still had to deal with irritations a.k.a. human beings. Here it was 11pm NOLA time, 12am our time, we have three large suitcases, four backpacks, 4 winter coats, and two young children on the verge of complete exhaustion meltdown and we were met with a large group of middle-aged coworkers on a business trip overcrowding the street-level, hotel elevator causing the alarm to go off and the elevators becoming useless. These wonderful people couldn’t figure out how to ride an elevator successfully. This is who I was forced to interact with at this most exhausted moment. So after waiting literally my entire lifetime for these gems to figure out how to successfully use an elevator we finally made it to the 2nd floor lobby where we would need to go to the front desk to get our room keys. Oh, but it’s not that easy. What do I find as I turn the corner heading for the front desk? The same group of corporate America’s finest who now had to each buy themselves individual bottles of water or soda ONE AT A TIME. Jesus, take the wheel! Matt and the kids headed for the lobby couches as I stood on the line for 15 minutes chanting “serenity now” in my head as I watched 10 people paying $3 dollars for a bottled drink with a credit card, of course. I guess it could have been worse though. They could have paid with loose coin or even worse, a check! Oh, the humanity!

Finally, we got our room keys and our Amazon Pantry box I had shipped to the hotel full of snacks for the kids, since cruise ships don’t offer near enough food already (*sarcasm*) and we headed for our room.

Let me tell you, there should have been a hunk of cheese at the end of that maze of hallways! The cost of staying in a historic building, I guess. Watching the kids trying to lead the way through these hallways has been fun.

We did eventually make it to our room, but we may have had to incorporate a session of Marco Polo and use our phone’s GPS, but our room was found and we were all asleep within minutes of entering the room.

All-in-all, our travel day was pretty smooth, though it didn’t feel like it. I guess that comes with the territory traveling with two small children. It’s worth it though!

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