Heading Home

We had been sure to make our return trip one that didn’t include an early wake-up. Our ride back to the airport was set with MCO Luxury Transportation with a pick-up from Cypress Pointe at 1pm and our first flight leg going to Dallas not departing until 3:30pm.

We spent the morning sorting and packing all of our stuff and checking over the rooms to make sure nothing was left behind. We had plenty of coffee and breakfast goodies to keep us fueled up while we did all of that.

Just after noon we headed down to the lobby and officially checked out and then moved over to a lounge area while we waited for transportation.

While we were waiting the activities director came by with Charlie, the resort’s parrot. She was a very nice lady and he was very entertaining and they really helped pass the time.

Our transporation arrived on time and we loaded all those bags up

We made good time to MCO and were soon heading to the ticket kiosks where they had a pretty cool mosaic

Security was a breeze and before you knew it we were waiting for that last monorail trip.

We boarded and had the nose area to ourselves

Off we go

The standard slog down to our gate and then our chariot awaits

The Dallas flight was PACKED! I was very unhappy about it given the good experience we had with social distancing on our trip out. I know the staff at the gates are stuck in a bad situation but I made it clear that their company was putting money before humanity and that their quest for a bottom line was risking lives.

We arrived in Dallas at 5:35pm and we were hungry so made our way to the food court. Looks like some of us went for TGI Fridays

And some for Ling & Louie’s

Kyra was the only one who had the energy to take a pic of her food – I remember the rest of us just consuming 😀

We then took their rail system to get to our gate

Terminal shuffle complete we saw our plane already there

It boarded on time and was thankfully not near as full. It took off before its 7:10pm departure time which was nice as we weren’t landing in PDX until 9:30pm.

By the time we disembarked and grabbed our bags I was starting to drag a bit. We headed down to our hotel shuttle’s pick-up area and said farewell to Jinx as he was getting a ride back to his apartment across the river in Vancouver directly from the airport.

The rest of us got our shuttle van and made it to the hotel and up to our room around 10:40pm per this last selfie from Kyra.

I had loaded all of the big bags on one of those carts and trudged it up to the room. By the time I got it in I knew something was up. I had body aches, was extremely tired, and just felt like I was moving thru molasses.

Given the symptoms we did what we could to quarantine me and we crashed after showers. The next day I was obviously still sick and tried to keep myself separate as much as possible as we packed up.

Unfortunately this meant that Roxy would have to drive us home. I put an N95 mask on and we loaded up. It was a rainy day but that was okay with us, we always find it refreshing.

I-5 south here we go!

Farewell Portland

The trip home was uneventful – I honestly don’t remember it. One little aside, while we were gone we had Kyra’s friend Quinn housesitting for us and one day a bag of cereal was left on the table. We have little dogs, but they are very much opportunists and we forgot to say not to leave food there.


And after a lot of himming and hawing he committed to the jump

They all enjoyed the sugar rush for sure and thankfully none of them got sick.


On the sick front, I had caught COVID-19 either on our last day or possibly that packed flight from Orlando to Dallas. Roxy and Kyra also caught it for which I am sorry. Thankfully due to his more limited contact our Birthday Boy Jinx ducked it!

Roxy and Kyra just got the “head cold” version with Kyra getting a minor fever and some body aches. Roxy’s sense of taste still hasn’t fully recovered over a year later and same with Kyra’s sense of smell. I unfortunately caught the scarier version with body aches, weakness, and a high fever with delirium that lasted over a week. If Roxy hadn’t been there to take care of me with consistent food/liquids and medications I honestly believe I wouldn’t have made it thru.

Thankfully none of us had any major respiratory issues from it so no hospitalization was needed. And although both my sense of taste and smell were out of whack while I was actively sick, they recovered within a month. It took about that long for me to fully get my strength back too.

As soon as I got to feeling better Roxy collapsed in bed from having taken care of both Kyra and I, she was such a dynamo. So I returned the favor and took care of her for a week. This whole process brought us thru Christmas itself and it was the first year since we had kids that we had no decorations, no presents, no big meal or get-together.

But thankfully we had said when we had planned our trip that the trip itself WAS our Christmas, so we don’t feel like we missed out on anything. Rather we were relived that we didn’t have to do anything and could just continue to rest and recuperate thru the end of the year.

Looking back on the trip itself the CONS were the masking (especially in pictures and when we were in a hurry somewhere) and the social distancing/shut-down of FastPass. Me attempting to drink around World Showcase and creating grief for the rest of the family (hard lesson learned). Not being able to have some of the up-close character interactions that we had on past trips. And for me, no train at MK.

And that it was actually more crowded than past trips taken during that same timeframe. This was due to the fact that Walt Disney World was the only Disney theme parks open at the time so everyone around the world was coming there to get their Disney fix. And for clarity I don’t count getting COVID as a CON since it didn’t affect us during the trip itself.

But the PROS included being able to do something special for Jinx’s 21st birthday despite the COVID situation, having us all be there as adults so nobody would feel left out of anything, and of course all of the new experiences we got to have.

Arrival Day:

  • Getting dapper and hitting the Edison at Disney Springs

At the Magic Kingdom:

  • Gaston’s Tavern
  • The Seven Dwarves Mine Train
  • Goofy’s Barnstormer
  • The Tangled area (yes they’re just restrooms but the theming was still cool)
  • Seeing the Rivers of America empty
  • Lunch in the Canteen in the Sea Room past the “secret” bookcase
  • Short and sweet Christmas Parade
  • Short and sweet fireworks and projections on the castle
  • Dinner at The Wave at the Contemporary

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Day 1):

  • Walking thru Toy Story Land
  • Batuu
  • Meeting Adam the Woo
  • Rise of the Resistance (boarding group 2!)
  • Smugglers’ Run
  • Oga’s Cantina
  • Droid Depot with droids for Jinx, Kyra, and I
  • Getting a 3rd shot of Jinx in front of the tank at the exit to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular at age 21 to go with the one where he is 13 and the one where he is 8
  • Dinner with the whole family at 50s Prime Time (Roxy and I had been there on our solo trip in 2011)
  • Holiday projections on the Tower of Terror
  • Riding the Skyway at night
  • Having the family tour the Art of Animation Resort

At Universal Studios (Day 1):

  • Capturing updated pictures of the kids on the Wave on City Walk
  • Walking into Diagon Alley and everything in it including all of the amazing shops and food/drink stands, the dragon, Gringott’s x2, and Jinx and Kyra buying new wands and doing all of the wand interactions, and lastly Knockturn Alley
  • The Night Bus interaction with St. Nick the shrunken head Alex the Night Bus driver
  • Kings Cross Station
  • Platform 9 3/4
  • The Hogwarts Express
  • Skull Island Reign of Kong
  • Getting truly soaked as a family riding Dudley’s Ripsaw Falls and Bluto’s Bilge Rats multiple times each and then being able to dry off and change clothes and enjoy the rest of our day
  • High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride at night


  • Being Dapper at EPCOT just made it extra special
  • Festival of the Holidays Booths with so much great food and drinks
  • Gingerbread Capital Buildings
  • Having a pint at the Rose and Crown
  • Mary Poppins interaction in the garden
  • Voices of Liberty in the America Gardens Theater
  • Jinx and I having the bar at Tutto Italia to ourselves and the bartender making him a special birthday drink
  • Frozen ride in Norway
  • Kyra and Jinx getting one last ride on Spaceship Earth

At Animal Kingdom:

  • Pandora with its amazing theming (especially at night)
  • Satu’li Canteen
  • Flight of Passage (x2 for Roxy, Jinx, and Kyra)
  • Na’vi River Journey

At Universal Studios (Day 2):

  • Springfield and all of it shops and photo ops
  • Transformers

At Universal Studios/Islands (Day 3):

  • Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
  • Raptor Encounter with Blue the Velociraptor
  • Universal’s Holiday Experience with the Macy’s Parade Balloons
  • Fallon’s Race Through New York
  • Meeting Optimus Prime
  • Beetlejuice as a pre-show for Universal’s Horror Make-Up Show
  • Getting to experience Give Kid’s the World Village during their Night of a Million Lights event

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Day 2):

  • Batuu Marketplace
  • Pixar Parade
  • Lunch at the ABC Commissary
  • Mickey’s Runaway Railroad
  • Classic Character Cavalcade Parade
  • Star Wars Launch Bay with custom photo op
  • Skyway during the day
  • Dinner at Raglan Road at Disney Springs

And that was just all of the new stuff we experienced! There was all kinds of fun on attractions we were familiar with and enjoyed again and again. Plus TONS of PhotoPass pictures and custom pics at Universal.

Despite hiccups here and there it was another amazing family adventure with lots of smiles and new memories created. The only thing we didn’t really have together was proper merch pics. Jinx got his droid, that Love is Universal sweatshirt, the over the shoulder expedition bag, his wand, and that Unicorn among other things. Kyra came away with a BUNCH of stuff from the Japan Pavilion in EPCOT along with he droid, pins, and her wand. Roxy got some pins and a mug. And as for me, I picked up some pins along with that droid which sits in my office to greet guests.

With that we’ll all say a fond farewell and look for you on our next adventure!