Author's note:

Welcome to
Trip Reports!

We have made a lot of friends on the internet, on a number of boards. Unfortunately not all our good friends are welcome everywhere. That raises a dilemma: where to post trip reports where all our friends can enjoy them?

I need to post where all the people who have been there for me, when I needed them, can share the stories. So for now that will be at the Lodgeboards and here.

I ask that people respect my rights as an author by please referring people to where I put my work rather than copying them.

Trip Reports at the Lodge




LY/MI, Chapter 5,
Break the law? No, not me.

‘…with thundershowers, heavy at times later in the afternoon. In other news, Florida has passed the blinker law…’

Blinker law? Did Florida passed a law that says you have to use your blinkers, or is it a law that says you can’t drive 20 miles while insinuating that you will be turning left at any moment?

There are a lot of retirees in Florida.

What the hell is a blinker law? Why wasn’t blinker use a law in the first place? Were they just pretty lights to play with on your car before this law? Wasn’t it on an exam as some point?

Del turned the channel on the TV before I heard the rest of this important, must know, information. As a former pizza delivery diver, my driving record is pretty good. I can’t go back to Maine with a ticket for blinker use, or lack thereof. I mean, gosh, what would that do to my insurance rates? What would my friends say?

Or what if the word ‘blinker’ means something different in this state? All states seem to have their own language, like soda, pop, tonic and cola all mean a drink your son (husband, brother, father) uses to belch out the alphabet. When we ‘holler’ at someone in Maine, we are mad, but in other states (Tennessee) it considered casual conversation.

I might find more twouble today.

Today was a day Curt was really looking forward too. My future son-in-law, the hunting veterinarian likes the Animal Kingdom the most out of all the parks.

Del said he won’t hold it against him.

I rolled out of bed and sent a text message back home to my friends.

This was much faster than typing it out on my cell phone.

We had to get to the Animal Kingdom early because someone (okay, me) went and made a priority seating for 8:00 AM. This would not go unpunished. I had to listen to Em complain all the way over to the park.

She was sharing a room with Commando Nikki, and she had an early morning goal to achieve.

Em said

Before we left, when Em came out of their room I told her to change her shirt. If Em has a shirt she likes, she tries to get away with wearing it everyday.

“Dag-nab-it!” Em yelled as she turned around and went back into their room.

Dag-nab-it? Where the hell did she learn such language?

“Dag-nab-it, let’s get this show on the road!” Del opened the door and yelled in to her.

Em wasn’t amused.

When we got into the van, I started it and used my blinker before pulling out of the stop.

I was still unclear on this blinker law they had recently passed.

Either way, I could have made 12 citizens arrests on my way over to the Animal Kingdom.

The parking lot was almost deserted when I pulled in. I have never seen a Disney parking lot nearly empty in the daylight before. Talk about your prime real estate parking.

We were so close to the entrance, we walked over.

We got in the gates at 8:00 AM exactly. I was rushing the crew along because now we were going to be late. On the way over to Donald’s we were stopped by a park photographer.

“Would you like to have a picture of your family in front of the tree of life?” He asked.

“I would, but we will have to come back. We are late for Donald’s.” I said.

“Honey,” he said as he touched my arm “This is Disney World, the happiest place on earth. You’re never late here.”


This is where I have a confession to make. My kids were upset with me because there aren’t many pictures in existence of me. I am a chubby chic, (that’s not the confession) and have found fun and creative ways to hide that fact when having my picture taken.

If you look at the pictures of me taken with my cell phone, you will notice I held the phone up, almost over our heads. This gets rid of the chins. If I get any heavier, they will have to be taken by satellites in space. When I can’t have my picture taken from a tree, I block myself with a family member. It’s usually Em.

The photographer was trying to arrange us and had Em standing in front of Nikki when I pulled her over to stand in front of me. “She can stand here, why are you pulling her away?” Nikki asked.

I can hold in my stomach but unless you have figured out a way for me to suck in my thighs, the kid stands in front of me.

I figure with using this method I have about 2 more years of hiding behind Em before I really have to do something about my weight.

I handed him my photo pass card and he took two photos of us. Then he said “Let’s do something a little different. Everyone give me a silly pose.”

Gee, that might be a stretch for us. We gave it a try anyway. Wink

Are photographers in Disney just naturally happy or is it just us?

After the silly photo, the photographer handed me back the photo pass card and with a wink said “Okay, NOW you’re late. You really need to hurry now.”

Love ya, mean it, got to go.

We got over to Donald’s walking very quickly, but not running because we don’t do that, it upsets the CM’s, and I went to the podium already apologizing before I had gotten all the way there.

“No worries, love. You’ll be seated.” The sweet lady at the podium said to me. This breakfast was already turning out better than the one we had the day before at Chef Mickey’s.

We stepped aside to have our photo taken, which I have no idea how they turned out because they never made it to the table either.

So if Disney doesn’t want to sell picture at their character breakfasts, why are they taking our picture? What are they, mug shots?

Our wait time was only a few minutes which made us happy.

Some of us happy:

One of us thinking they were going to starve to death. Or maybe it was too early for her:

I pulled Curt aside to let him know I had ordered Nikki’s cake. This caused a problem with the Commando. Curt wouldn’t tell her what was going on. No matter how much she pressed him, he kept our little secret.

I really think they were looking for a reason to kiss and make up. Glad I could help.

Our name was called and we were seated by our waiter. Our waiter was spectacular. He was funny and attentive and allowed us more than one cup of juice.

I felt no need to get cheeky with him.

This is a photo of Donald’s spread. Donald has no Mickey waffles. This is the proof.

With a little food in her belly and some juice to wake her up, Em was feeling fine again. She was sitting in her seat, munching her breakfast when she spotted Donald himself at another table. Out of the blue she started singing.

“I like duck butts and I cannot lie….”

The waiter came to our table and said to Curt “I heard you needed ketchup” and squirted a fake bottle of ketchup at him. Curt didn't even flinch.

“Well, that went over like a fart in church.” Del said. Everyone, including our waiter, laughed.

It was a great breakfast, with tons of character interaction, even with the lack of Mickey waffles.

So, we finished up, paid the bill with the discount applied with no trouble, tipped properly in appreciation and headed out to explore Dino land. I made a quick stop in a gift shop and bought another pair of sunglasses.

The kids wanted to go on Primeval Whirl while Del and I, who wanted to keep our recently eaten large breakfast down, found a smoking area.

There was no line. With their hands in the air, cheering for joy, they got into the line for Primeval Whirl and they were excited about it.

They got to go on it twice, then came and found Del and I.

In the smoking area is a dinosaur. Em was hanging off it when a CM came out and spotted her. She jumped off and he said “If they cared if you climbed on it, they would put a fence around it.”


However, Curt found out why you shouldn’t climb on it.

Nikki was behind me when we started walking over to Dinosaur. “Mom, what is that on the back of your leg?”

“What?! What is on my leg?! Get it off!” I started freaking out, twisting around to try and see the back of my leg. I was doing circles.

I had a splotchy spot on the back of my leg. Other than a little itching and discomfort, I was in no danger of being hurt. It turns out, every place the sun touched my skin, I broke out and it got worse the longer I was in Florida. I think I may be allergic to the sun.

I know it’s not the sun block; I had put that on under my shirt and didn't break out there.

Let’s review, shall we? I am a chubby chic, sweltering in Florida and have enormous pit stains, my mascara ran under my eyes making me look like a raccoon, and now I was covered in hives.

I feel pretty, oh so pretty.

Let me tell you how I added to my look.

We went on Dinosaur and I tucked my sunglasses into the neck of my shirt. The ride was risky, we almost didn't make it and I dropped my sunglasses on reentry. To keep from losing another pair of sunglasses, I stepped on them. When we came off the ride, I put them on.

Nikki stood in front of me and tipped her head. “Del, Curt come here and look at mom.”


They tipped their heads too. Em, not wanting to be left out, stood beside them and also tipped her head.

I tromped my foot down on my sunglasses so hard, they were now permanently crooked. To make myself look straight, I would have had to walk around with one eyebrow raised.

Oh, so very pretty.

We did get to go on Dinosaur a couple times in a row before the crowds started getting too much.

I guess I took too many pictures of my family. This is what happens when they have had enough.

Ok, I can tell they are getting bugged.

While we were still on that end of the park, the crew decided to go back on Primeval Whirl again because, even though there was a line, it was a little one.

Hands in air, cheering and excited about it.

Nikki, Curt, Del and Em went on Primeval Whirl and Nikki taped it for me. The entire ride was spent with them all laughing and Del yelling.

Not screaming like on Big Thunder Railroad, but still funny.

“Oh-my-god! This is scary! Whoa! Help! Where does it end?”

When they exited the ride and joined me, Em had a problem. She only had one lens in her sunglasses.

We have reviewed the tape several times, we still can’t figure out what happened. We are glad however, that what ever did happen, happened while they weren’t on her face.

Because it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

We wanted to go on Kali River Rapids, but knew there would already be a line. So we strolled over there and grabbed some fast passes. Nobody really wanted to go on it yet anyway because they didn't want to walk around the Animal Kingdom wet, so they took a vote and decided that it would be the last thing we did before we left the Animal Kingdom.

I was out-voted. I don’t see how walking around wet in the heat storm could be a bad thing.

Remember those soggy man-panties a couple years ago? I was really missing them.

Once we had our fast passes we were going to go see ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug.’ While walking over to Bug we passed the Flights of Wonder show. It was about to start shortly. If Curt hadn’t been walking and turning towards it as we past it, we would have missed it.

See, it’s good to have a new person with you. We didn't think it would be something that we would be interested in, but decided to stop and watch it for Curt.

It ended up being a pretty cool show.

Seriously, they have huge fans in there. I was quite comfortable.

We did end up enjoying the birds; they don’t ride on little bicycles or anything humiliating to a bird. It’s about how birds act in their natural environment. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth a look.

Continuing our journey over to Bug, we took a side path to the smoking area. On our way out of the path, I spotted a character handler.

“Why is there a character handler here?” I said to Em.

A character handler is a person who stands next to a character and keeps people from acting stupid when they see Pooh or Mickey. I believe they may have the hardest job in Disney.

There was also a large group of people standing at the end of the path. Maybe they were the smoking police.

“I don’t kno…AACK!” Em screamed and jumped sideways into me.

The tree started walking. Em nearly had heart failure.

Devine! We stumbled onto Devine.

She didn't turn around so I didn't get a good shot of her. Em wanted to get as far away from her as humanly possible, so we were in a hurry.

Em was leery of every bush and tree in the Animal Kingdom the rest of the day.

We made our way into a line for ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug.’ We made friends with the people around us, and finally made it into the tree.

This is how we measure how much Em has grown.

Flick had a bad case of conjunctivitis, when he came down from the ceiling to talk to us; one eye was full of water and kept rolling back into his head.

“Ewww!” a large group of small children said.

On the way out of the show, the lady in front of me put her and her families’ 3-D glasses into her backpack. Another lady tried to tell her that she needed to drop them into the bucket, but the thief told her to mind her own business.

Nice thing to teach your kids. They are loaner glasses, not souvenirs.

And apparently, Disney knows people try doing this because as I passed her, a CM came over to have a word with her.

We were getting hot and tired so we decided to go get on Kali and head back to the pool. On the way over, I needed a rest stop.

I stepped into the stall of the ladies room, lifted my backpack to hang it on the hook and…


I didn't just drop my cameras, OH NO, I did it from 5 feet in the air.

“That did NOT just happen!” I said.

“I think it did. I heard a smash.” A little voice from the next stall said.

If I wasn’t so devastated about my cameras, I would have thought that was adorable.

I finished my business in the ladies room and went back out to find the rest of the crew. We had obviously had a failure in communication on where we would meet back up.

I checked the video camera first and that seemed to be in proper working order. Then I tried turning on my digital camera and nothing happened.

No, no, no, no, no.

I took the battery out then put it back in and tried turning it on again. That time it powered on but looking through the view finder, I saw nothing but black.

(Lots of reallybad language)

I got sick of waiting on the crew and started walking back toward Kali when I spotted (heard) them over to the side of the restrooms.

“Uh, oh. What’s wrong?” Del asked after taking one look at me. I told him how I dropped my cameras, and that the video camera seemed fine, but my digital was black.

The first stupid thing he asked was ‘did you take the lens cap off’ followed by saying ‘You know, if you keep dropping those cameras, eventually they aren’t going to work anymore.’

I gave my husband a look only a wife can give a husband. A look that simply says, ‘Keep it up and you will leave me no other choice.’

I seem to have developed a bad habit of dropping my cameras on every vacation we take.

Get it, develop?

Okay, that is my best shot at finding humor in dribbling my cameras all over Disney every stinking time I go there.

Del took the camera from me and shook it. He then handed it back and said “Just go ahead and take our picture, see if it works.” I held the camera up and snapped a picture.

Huh, all it needed was a good shaking. It worked fine the rest of the trip, except for the last 4 pictures I took. Those turned out black.

I shook the hell out of it. I think it needs professional shaking now.

I placed them gently on the ground and took a picture for my friends.

“Do you think anyone will understand that picture?” Del asked.

“Zurg might. He is a camera dribbler too. We are thinking of going professional.” I told him.

We used our fast passes for Kali River Rapids. I was really looking forward to getting wet, I hate being hot. Wouldn’t you know it, on every turn that promised a good soaking; I was on the wrong end. We were in the raft with another family and the woman across from me, who was sitting alone, got smacked so hard with a wave of water, it knocked her over sideways.

She came out of her shoe. At first glance, it didn't look like a Badshoe, but apparently it was.

I was disappointed that I had stayed dry. If the wait time hadn’t been over an hour, I would have given it another shot. Here is an aerial view of me not being wet.

I was simply going to have to wait until we got back to the hotel to get wet.

Or so I thought.

On our way to the exit the air took a strange twist and the birds in the trees started screaming. “Uh, oh.” Curt said.

‘Uh, oh?’ My future son-in-law, the hunting veterinarian, just got a bad vibe from either the air or the birds. This couldn't be good either way.

The rain storm came up really fast. The sky just opened up and dumped on us. We were trying to get to the exit when Del turned to say something to me and started laughing his butt off.

The water was coming down so hard; I could hardly open my eyes. I was blowing out of my mouth to keep from drowning. It was like standing straight in front of an elephant shower. I needed a life vest.

I called my mom and asked her if we were in the middle of a hurricane or something. Other than the blinker law, I hadn’t really been paying attention to the news.

She said we were under a ‘disturbance.’

If this was just disturbing, I wouldn’t stick around for more serious.

When we had arrived at the park earlier in the morning, we had walked over from the van. It didn't seem very far that morning but standing at the exit now, it looked miles away.

One of us, I’m not sure now who it was, thought it would be a good idea to jump on the tram and ride that over to our lot.

In theory it wasn’t a bad idea, if the tram had doors or windows and if, after we got on it, it would have moved. We sat there for about 10 minutes before it moved. There was a lady sitting a couple rows ahead of us that was getting really mad. She started yelling “Move this damn thing!”

I don’t understand why she got so mad; we were just about as wet as humanly possible. Once you are soaked, that’s pretty much the end of it. It’s not like you can dissolve or anything.

Trust me, I did a lot of playing in the rain and I am still as chubby as I was before.

We found the van, used the blinker to pull out of the parking spot and returned to Pop Century.

Once we were back at Pop, we found ourselves again, starved to death. We walked over to the food court to get some late lunch, early dinner.

It was still raining pretty hard, so we decided to eat in the food court. Yes, we were wet and with the air conditioning it was cold, but the important thing to remember is…

It wasn’t hot. That’s all that really matters.

We sat near a window to eat and I watched as people ran for cover. There was one woman however, that was walking with a girl about Em’s age. They were just casually strolling along in the rain. I couldn't clearly see her from where I sat, but I just knew she was from the north.

We finished eating and returned to our rooms to dry off and to have a quickie nap. Curt and Nikki were going to Cirque du Soleil that night.

Yeah, I had to look that word up. I kept calling it ‘Circus of Soufflé’ because I can’t pronounce it. There really was no chance of me spelling it correctly.

That worked out perfectly. Del and I needed to get her something for her birthday and she had pretty much been with us since we got to Disney with the exception of the day they went to the Animal Kingdom. That night, Del’s feet were too messed up to be walking around gift shops looking for the perfect gift.

I already had a gift in mind anyway. I wanted to go to Epcot and then to Japan to get something special for her.

January 28, 1986: Three important events happened that day. 1) The Patriots lost to the Bears. 2) Space shuttle Challenger exploded. 3) Commando Nikki was born in Okinawa, Japan.

Nikki was the only baby girl in the nursery of about a dozen babies and the nurses and I taped a pink bow to her head. She was born on a military base, so she is an American citizen.

Over the years, she celebrated her milestones with a mother that knew as much about birthday parties as she did about spitting an atom. That’s what you end up with when your mother was raised by Jehovah Witness parents.

Her 18th birthday, instead of celebrating the age when you go from being a kid to being an adult, we spent it in mourning at a funeral for someone we loved very, very much.

He was my best friend’s son. He and my kids grew up together. It was a life changing experience for all of us.

And that is all I can say about that. It’s just too hard.

This year on her 19th birthday, she spent it crying with me on the phone and sobbing in Curt’s arms. Her date-of-birth would never be a day we could celebrate ever again. This day is now a priority for something much different.

So, I rescheduled it.

Everyone deserves a day when it is all about them. Nikki will never have January 28th again. Now it will be when ever I decide.

July 1st was looking pretty good. I don’t know when it will be next year, I’ll let you know.



Before Nikki and Curt left for their big night at ‘Circus of Soufflé’ they stopped by our room to give us an umbrella that they bought for us at the gift shop.

I just love those kids, had I mentioned that? What a nice thing to do.

Del, Em and I made our way over to Epcot so I could go to Japan. It was still raining and coming down like pellets. ‘Ouch, ouch’

I like to walk in the rain so I offered the umbrella to Del and Em. If Del carried it, it was too high to help out Em at all, so he let Em have it.

Not a good idea at all.

(**To learn all you’ll ever need to know about an umbrella: **)

Em, holding an umbrella, makes the spokes of the umbrella eyeball level. She caught me once in the cheek, once in the back of the head. She got Del 12 times in the head and almost scratched his contact lens.

See, when she got me the second time, I was smart enough to get out of her way.

She also figured out if she spun the umbrella, he father would screech. He would screech because the water from the umbrella would spray all over him.

We only got as far as Mexico before he took it away from her.

Zurg knew exactly what Del was doing here. A ‘hand umbrella’ for his beer.

We had to stop in Norway on our way over to Japan for some of those beautiful desserts. Del needed to make a rest stop, so Em and I walked around the corner to the bakery without him. Just as we turned the corner, over to our left was a door.

I know what this is! It’s that secret church I read about!

I led Em over to the door. “What is in here?” I asked her.

“I don’t know.” She said, very curiously.

“Open it and see what’s in there.” I told her.

“No way, not a chance. I might get into trouble.” She said.

“Nah, you can’t get into trouble. You’re a little kid, its okay. They won’t yell at you because of that.” I told her.

Em thought that over for a minute, then put one hand on the handle of the door. She took a deep breath, opened the door and yelled, “I’m just a little kid!”

The people standing inside the church almost pooped their pants.

Em and I thought it would be funny to play a trick on Del. She stepped inside the church to hide when Del came around the corner. “Where’s Em?” He asked.

“I thought she was with you.” I said and Em jumped out the door and said “Yeah, did you lose me daddy?”

He actually formed 12 different facial expressions in a matter of 8 seconds.

We had a beautiful dessert and started walking over to Japan, stopping in Germany so Em could make a mask and I could buy a coo-coo clock for my mom.

The clock I got is adorable. It’s only about 5 inches high.

Em made a mask and on the walk over to Japan, she hugged it to her chest. I don’t know what got into her head that made her think hugging a wet mask to her shirt was a good idea.

At least it wasn’t her favorite shirt, dag-nab-it.

Once we got to Japan, I decided to get Nikki a pearl ring to go with the necklace she got last trip. Del and I spent the better part of a half hour picking out a setting. “What size?” The lady behind the counter asked.

Huh, that is an excellent question. I had no idea. I took a guess and said “Six, maybe?”

“I’ll call Curt, he will know.” Del said.

“Why would Curt know that?” I asked. It honestly seemed to me like an odd thing for him to know.

“He is her boyfriend, he will know. Guys know that. I know you have a size six finger.” Del told me.

I had a size six finger back when we were dating. My finger chubbed out of my wedding band about 5 months ago. The wedding band was holding my engagement ring on because it was too big. So I was back to my original question, why would he know, Del didn't.

Curt did know, she has a 5 ½ finger.

Now we had a size, we needed an oyster. I let Em pick it out.

Em picked out the smallest, hairiest oyster in the tank. Del and I just looked at each other. “Are you sure you want that one Em?” We asked her.

“Yes, I like that one. It’s cute.” She told us.

I don’t know anyone else that could look at an oyster and think it is cute.

The lady behind the counter took the oyster out of the tank and put it on the counter. She had everyone step aside so we could watch her open it.

She used a type of blade thing and cracked open Em’s cute oyster. She squished her finger into the oyster and a pearl made an appearance.

“That’s a nice one Em. Good job.” Del said.

The lady gave the oyster another squish and a twin pearl popped out.

“Do we get to keep that one too?” Del asked me out of the corner of his mouth.

“Yeah!” I said to him with a smile.

There wasn’t a living soul in Epcot that didn't know something major just happened.

One lady behind the counter grabbed a drum and started beating on it and the other lady started smacking two sticks together and was blowing a whistle. “Twins! You got twins!”

Del, Em and I were jumping up and down cheering. (Hey, they started it.) This was great, two for the price of one! They were almost exact, one just a tiny bit smaller than the other.

Now we had to spend another ½ hour picking out a different setting.

Then wait another ½ hour for the pearls to be put in the setting. That worked out because we had phone calls to make. We called some friends and told them our exciting news.

I called my mom and told her the story. Moms, they are great aren’t they? They have that special way of really opening your eyes.

“So, you called Curt and asked him her ring size?” She asked.

“Yes, and he knew it, it’s that weird?” I said.

“Robin, I am going to give you about another minute to think about that.” My mom said.


Curt knew Nikki’s ring size.

Hummm… Then it hit me.


OH CRAP! What did we do?!? WHAT did we do? What was HE going to do?

Love ya, mean it mom. Thanks.

I grabbed Del and shook him. “What did we do?”

Del shook me off and said “We can just resize it to fit on her other hand, can’t we? Calm down.”

He obviously couldn't understand that I was panicking because Curt knew her ring size. He didn't realize that it had just occurred to me why he would know that.

I had been eating around the world, not drinking. I think I had a sugar buzz, not to see that.

The oyster had two pearls in it; even GOD was trying to tell us to get her earrings instead of a ring.

Love ya, mean it, wicked sorry Curt.

We picked up Nikki’s accidental ring and watched Illuminations before heading back to the rooms.

Again, back in the room, I lay in bed listening for the sound of the door to their room. I heard it open and close and drifted off to sleep.

She may have a boyfriend that knows her ring size, she may be an adult, but she’ll always be my little girl.

The next chapter will explain this picture.


© Robin Costello 2005, All Rights Reserved

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Love Ya / Mean It and Pins

Tony, Delaney, Connor - Love Ya / Mean It

Robin & Del, Kimball & Bennet (aka Delswife & Scuba Steve, Zurgswife & Zurg) are proud to announce two unique limited edition trading pins to benefit research to help find cures for Juvenile Diabetes and Muscular Dystrophy.

We love going to Disney World and writing funny trip reports, after all it is how we became friends.  We care just as much or more about helping these two great causes. All the profits from pin sales will go to JDRF and MDA because, well, Robin thought it would be a fun idea.

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