.......And lots of them, let me tell you.
Saturday was a bit of a haphazard day. We got a good enough start at Magic Kingdom - doing our favorite "Mountain" rides yet again - and securing a Fast Pass to return later on in the evening for Splash Mountain. However, after that - folks all went their own direction.
Poor Stephie got Mikayla's cold, the one that plagued me in the beginning of the trip with those sinus issues (and still has kept me from being able to hit anything in the higher octave). So, she opted to sit out of the day's activities. What a bummer. Mom and Dad went back to Sea World in the morning - and ended up with headaches in the afternoon.
Michele, Nati, and our family all headed over to Hollywood Studios to give John a taste of what he missed the day he was sick. We had made reservations to Sci Fi Diner again - but because everyone went different directions - we canceled those. Instead, we got in line for Toy Story Mania - and waited over an hour. Yuck. At least the waiting area was inside, air conditioned, and very beautiful - as you literally feel like you are the size of a small toy inside a very nostalgic toy room. However, our family kind of shut down at that point. We nearly left the park, half way through the wait....tired, grouchy, sad, hot, irritable......yup, not good combos.
As it was, we waited it out - John enjoyed the ride - and Michele beat me in the last round - AGAIN!
From there, we got both of our kiddos a special souvenir at Downtown Disney - and headed home to rest, pack, and regroup.
At around 7pm, we headed back to Magic Kingdom with the Schillings.
We all headed to a nighttime version of "Splash Mountain" which was my favorite ride on it so far. But, at the end, when Mikayla asked to ride again and we denied her (out of fast passes) reality smacked hard. The tears started flowing - and before we knew it - our family was leaning against the railing - with three of us crying - waiting to say good-bye to the Schilling family as those guys were planning on staying at the park much later than us. Traig was the one that did me in - as I went to give him a hug and he asked why - to which I explained we were saying "good-bye". He clutched hard then, and held me extra long (a rare and special treat for a nearly 12 year old boy) - and then I got all shook up too.
The kids proceeded to cry as we walked out of the park. They took turns losing it all over again expressing comments such as, "It feels like we just got here and now it's already done", "It wasn't the rides I loved so much, but just the atmosphere - so happy" - and most poignantly from Brayden on the way home, "I'd give up all my time on the lake and the boat and the wakeboard" just to stay here longer.
Wow. I guess that this is all the signs of a very good vacation when they are so sad to see it over. I have a feeling reality is going to really bite....but for now, I need to sign off as we are about to board the plane to depart from Orlando.
P.S. We are home now - we arrived to find a WELCOME HOME RILEYS banner taped to our garage door - and the house immaculately spotless due to our "houseguests-in-our-absence" Kaela and Julie. It, along with the Coldstone Ice Cream the kids and John are en route to get, might make this return-home adjustment just a little bit sweeter! (Thanks a ton, girls - you are so great!)