Have you ever felt like you needed a vacation from your vacation?
That's how I felt when my family and I pulled into our driveway at 11:24 p.m. on Sunday, July 11.
Our day had started with a 5:30 a.m. (local time) wake up call that morning in Tampa, Fla., to get to the Tampa International Airport in time to fly to Atlanta for a short stop and then to New Orleans. Once in NOLA just after 12:30 p.m., we loaded up our van and headed home after a fantastic vacation.
I can't speak for the rest of my crew, but I'll say it's the greatest vacation I've ever had.
Let's run the numbers.
5 - We had five days in Walt Disney World parks.
4 - We had four takeoffs and landings in an airplane, and it was both of my kids' first experience flying. What a fun thing to see that was. We also stayed in four different hotels.
3 - We went to the Rays-Blue Jays game at Tropicana Field, my third time to attend a game there.
2 - Two visits to Magic Kingdom. When we made our schedule -- and it's smart to do this -- we figured we would need to go to Magic Kingdom twice. We were right.
100,000 - I am selling myself short here but that was the baseline step count for the week. In fact we went over that.
What a trip! It had been nearly 20 years since I had been to any Disney park.
Some Disney highlights, thoughts and an opinion or two.
• Animal Kingdom is really neat. We opened our time there with a ride on the Everest rollercoaster, and quickly made our way over to Pandora for the "Avatar" rides. Those were simply amazing. Also made me want to revisit the 2009 hit movie, which I did.
• Space Mountain -- no matter how old it gets -- never gets old, and neither do Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, Thunder Mountain and some of the old Disney favorites. I do miss the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine ride! Tomorrowland is such a neat place in the Magic Kingdom -- first time to do the Carousel of Progress!
• Epcot wasn't as crowded as I remember but still pretty awesome.
• Hollywood Studios was incredible. My first time riding the Tower of Terror, and that was a lot of fun. I'm not sure the Graham Thomas of several years ago would have ridden it, but I did! We also waited in line for 80 minutes to ride the Slinky Dog rollercoaster in Toy Story Land, and that was a lot of fun as well.
• • •
I could talk to you about this trip all day, and it's been fun telling people about our experience.
Now it's back to the grind! Football season is upon us and here soon we'll be getting started on the Herald-Leader's annual football preview.
The season will be here before you know it!
-- Graham Thomas is the managing editor for the Herald-Leader. He can be reached at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.