Jon's Royal Pacific pillow fort

Jon’s Royal Pacific pillow fort

If you listened to the DAD Show podcast a couple of weeks ago then you’ve already heard the back story of my family’s recent Walt Disney World vacation. When Thursday, September 19th rolled around, we sent the kids off to school like a normal school day. My wife and I shifted into high gear, getting all of our packing for our 11-day trip done in about four hours. Once noon rolled around, it was time to pick up the kids from school and head to the airport.

I went into the school to get the kids, while my wife stayed in the car and set up the hidden camera to record the surprise reveal. The kids were called out of class to meet me in the office, and I explained to them sadly that I had to take a last-minute trip to Denver for work. I told them that I didn’t want to leave town without seeing them, so they were going to take the ride to the airport with me. Then, I started playing the podcast that we published on September 18. I couldn’t have written their reaction better myself. Sadly, I don’t have video of their reaction to share. The brilliantly camouflaged and hidden camera set to record it, didn’t. You’ll have to trust me that the reveal worked PERFECTLY. 

We had a couple of delays before our flight left from Kansas City, and after arrival in Orlando, it took longer than usual to get on our way to our hotel. We tried a divide and conquer approach – wife and kids to the luggage carousel while I headed to the Avis car rental counter. We encountered issues with both. They had to change luggage carousels after the initially assigned carousal didn’t work. Meanwhile at the Avis desk, I had to deal with the slowest moving rental counter line I’d ever encountered. When it got to be my turn, I understood why. The desk clerk started by trying to hard sell me on an upgrade from the full-size (on which I’d gotten a great deal via She cautioned me that the only full-size cars they had left were Chevy Malibus. In a conspiratorial tone, she warned me that they say the Malibu can handle five pieces of luggage, but it really depends on how big the bags are. She tried to tell me that it wouldn’t really be big enough for a family of four with luggage. I finally convinced her that I wasn’t interested in an upgrade (or any of the insurance she was trying to sell me. Yes, I know that I have a deductible. No, I don’t want your roadside assistance coverage – I have roadside assistance from both AAA and my insurance company). And when she came back with my car key, it turned out that the only full-size they had left was a brand-new Volkswagen Passat. I think I could’ve fit Cinderella’s Castle in that trunk.

We finally got the the Royal Pacific Hotel at almost 9 p.m. We were all hungry and tired, so we ordered room service and got ourselves settled in. The room service food was took a bit longer than we’d hoped to arrive, but the room service staff was great – helping get the table set up so that we could all eat comfortably, even with our stuff still strewn about from our arrival. Due to the late night, we were also working on scrambling our schedule a bit – there was no way we were going to be ready for early admission at Islands of Adventure in the morning. So Friday would be our relax at the resort day, and we’d save Islands of Adventure for Saturday. We got dinner eaten and cleaned up and got everyone into bed a little after 11 p.m., exhausted from the travel day and looking forward to a relaxing start to our vacation.

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