Hey everyone! Remember blogging? Well, it’s back!
Yeah, I am sorry I have been MIA for the past few months but I mean, you get it right? COVID and all that.
You know, Coronavirus?
It’s like a pandemic.
A pandemic? It’s like a disease outbreak over an entire country or the entire world.
A disease? It’s a….wait, ok. Now you’re just messing with me.
Whatever. It’s been a weird time in America for sure and it’s been hard to find the motivation to write on here. Between the devastating effect of COVID and the unrest in our country, it’s been hard to pull anything together. And selfishly, we were supposed to have been in Walt Disney World for 2 weeks back in June and we had to cancel. So Disney has honestly been a meh subject to write about. Not that any of that is Disney’s fault or anything, mind you, but still.
That’s not to say summer wasn’t all bad. We managed to squeeze in a week on Martha’s Vineyard and a couple weekends here and there on Cape Cod. Plus, while being stuck in the house has definitely had its challenges, it has (I think?) brought us pretty close as a family. It’s a scary time for sure and all four of us have had our down moments so it’s nice to have each other to lift us up when we are feeling down.
Lean on me. When you’re not strong. And I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry…
Enough of that, eh? On with the blog!
We are actually sort of kind of planning a vacation maybe and we may – or may not – end up going to Walt Disney World in November.
There’s a chance.
Here’s the deal…
So, like I was saying, we did have plans to visit Walt Disney World in June 2020. It was to be our longest Disney World trip ever at 2 weeks. And we pretty much had everything ready to go though – rented DVC points, park tickets, dining plan, FastPasses, Advanced Dining Reservations – but as we got closer to June, we were becoming more and more apprehensive about the whole thing. On top of all that, Walt Disney World closed in March for an at-that-time undisclosed time.
So on May something-something 2020, we decided this trip was not going to happen. We knew the park tickets would be no big deal to figure out. And when we called to get a refund on the dining plan, we ran into no issues.
However, when it came to the DVC points we rented, things got a tad more complicated. I won’t get into the specifics, but it was going to be a pain to try and get a refund for them so we tried to figure out a way to use most of them before the end of 2020. I mean, maybe. Probably. There’s a chance. Unless there’s not. It’s been that kind of year.
Sooooooo….we went ahead and applied our 2-weeks-of-a-Deluxe-Studio DVC points to 5 days in a 1 bedroom in November. AND we had some points to use towards a stop at Disney’s Hilton Head as well, but I will get to that in a bit.
The planning for this trip has been obviously very different than our normal trips. Rather than fly, we are driving down to minimize risk. And due to COVID, there is no dining plan nor are there any FastPasses. Plus, while we were initially planning to do the full waterpark, park-hopping thing in June, there are no waterparks open at this time nor is there the option to park hop. Additionally, for those who don’t know, you have to now book Park Passes – essentially booking your specific park ticket in advance for a specific day. Rather than simply buying tickets and using them at whichever park you choose, this enables Disney to better manage attendance and keep crowd levels at lower capacity during the pandemic.
Annnnnnd…for the time being, dining reservations are no longer made 180 days out. Instead, they’re made 60 days before your trip. Which we did, but since no Dining Plan is currently available at Walt Disney World, our plans (which usually are very signature-restaurant heavy) are a bit different this time around – much more counter service planned, but we definitely have some 1 and 2 credit table services planned as well.
But I mean, I think that’s about it in terms of introduction. I feel like it’s been a while since I have done one of these so I am going to do a pre-trip report for this trip. It feels fitting. While this isn’t the long or extravagant trip we initially had planned, it feels like a big deal. A grand return or whatever. And at the very least, it gives me something to write about.
So, I am gonna start with Days 1, 2, and 3. Which are non-Disney days.
I know. But I mean, you’ve read this far. Might as well stick around.
And my usual pre-trip disclaimer applies – none of these plans are set in stone. So like, no mail from any of you “fans” calling me out for discrepancies.
Actually, I am kidding. Please send me fan mail.
Day 1 – Leaving Massachusetts, heading to Seton Hall, New Jersey
So, like, we are at the first sentence of the first day and already? Controversy.
Day 1 (as it stands here) may not even happen. It’s a Thursday, so we would leave after the kids are finished with school and Nickie and I finish with work. The original plan was to leave on Friday but Thursday has been tossed around to cut down on the drive. It will probably happen on account of we have trouble waiting to do things that are fun, but I mean we don’t have a hotel booked or anything yet.
Searching has started though and I kind of have my eye on this place – The Kenilworth. It looks nice enough, the price seems right, and it’s like 15 minutes from Seton Hall University, which you will see is important (hmmmmm….the foreshadowing is delicious.)
Anyways, whether this day happens or not, we ARE driving down and not flying. And while we have taken many a road trip, this will be our first one where we are not renting a car. Yup, we will be taking our own car down and back. Mainly because we now finally have a big enough vehicle – a Jeep Grand Cherokee – to handle all of us and our numerous road trip games.
Now, the drive from Malden to Kenilworth, NJ is a little over 4 hours. Let’s say we leave between 4-5 PM. That would have us on the road for dinner time. So who knows when it comes to dinner? With COVID, it’s even harder to say. During the time-before-the-time-we-know-now, I would have 100% expected us to stop at a rest stop for some rest stop D’Angelo’s. Because that’s how we do.
But speaking of COVID times, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention…ahem…our toilet situation.
Yeah, buckle up folks.
In order to combat the pandemic, we are of course bringing masks, hand sanitizer, preparing to socially distance, etc. etc. But the Goodreaus? We are taking it one step further. One disgusting step further. Nickie has purchased our way out of rest stop bathrooms. How, you say? Well, she bought one of these…
And also? One of these.
For those that don’t know…and I mean, honestly why would you know…that poo bucket is called a Luggable Loo and that port-a-port-a-potty is a Gigatent Pop-Up Pod Changing Room/Privacy Tent/Worst Nightmare.
So right, the plan (in Nickie’s mind) is that if we have to wee, we pull over, set this thing up, and then do our thing in there. She bought liners for the bucket as well so I mean…I guess that’s better than not having liners? But disposal should also be interesting.
The plan (in my mind) is that we use this once and then it ends up in the rest stop trash barrel. And as I write this, right at this moment, I am watching Nickie try to close up the Pop-Up Pod. And I mean, I don’t want to jinx myself. But my odds just got pretty good.
Editor’s note – actually, scratch literally ALL of that. Nickie has since decided to NOT bring our portable poo-house. She says it’s because she was getting too much grief from all of us, but I think the whole “putting it away” situation spooked her.
Right so, poo-ving on.
Ahem, I mean…moving on.
Day 1. We are driving from Massachusetts to New Jersey. We don’t know where we are eating. We don’t know where we are sleeping. Aren’t you glad you clicked on this post?
Day 2 – New Jersey to Richmond, VA
On Day 2, we wake up in New Jersey…somewhere. Well, somewhere near Seton Hall University. And first things first – breakfast! And once again, COVID has made THIS selection very difficult. As far as I can tell, though, the Grid Iron Waffle Shop is open at least right now. They have a patio but who knows what the case will be first week of November. But eh, let’s assume this will work. Because this place has some seriously amazing-sounding food. Like the OREO waffle (Vanilla waffle stuffed with white chocolate chips, topped with vanilla ice cream, Oreo crumbles and chocolate drizzle.
Or their eggs benedict over a brioche waffle.
Or their chicken and waffles.
Basically, what I am saying is I am really looking forward to breakfast in November. It’s September right now. I don’t have a lot going on.
After breakfast, we are heading to Seton Hall University for a campus tour at 10AM. Our first campus tour for Myles. Being a junior in high school, Myles has started thinking about where he wants to go after he graduates and Seton Hall is on his list.
Man, I can’t believe we are already looking at schools for Myles. Ugh. I mean, I am super excited for him to enter that new chapter of his life. All the new experiences and things for him to learn. But oof, am I going to miss him. To be honest, there’s a VERY good chance I will be a bit teary even today. Not that that would be a surprise or anything. I mean, I teared up the other day watching the Full House episode where Vicky and Danny broke up after Vicky got offered that lead anchor job in New York. To be fair though – I mean it was an emotional episode. With Steve’s whole “DJ is like a Christmas present” speech at that Perfect Couple taping and Jesse realizing Becky knowing so much about him is what he always wanted.
Sorry, where was I?
Oh right, so yeah we have a campus tour that morning from 10-12. And then I think we may end up grabbing lunch somewhere on campus. And then, hopefully attending a toga party and stealing the Dean’s car or some sort of other shenanigans. College and all that.
After lunch, it’s back on the road. Our drive that day is about 5 hours or so. So we expect to be rolling into our next destination – Richmond, Virginia – at 6ish. And guess what? We actually have a hotel booked. That night, we are staying at the Hilton Richmond Downtown. And guys, I don’t wanna brag or anything, but like this hotel rates 4.5 stars on Google.
First order of business will be checking in and then? Din-dins.
Dinner that night looks like it will be at The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing, which looks super real good. First off, look at this place…
As for the food, everything looks yumtown. I have no idea what I’ll even get. The shrimp? The crab cakes? The scallops? Who knows?
Oh wait, they have a Broiled Seafood Combination with shrimp, crab cakes, AND scallops?
Oh online menu. You know me so well.
After dinner, I figure we will probably just head back to the hotel to hang out, watch some TV, and get to bed. I am sure we will be pretty tired after all that driving. And we have a full day of driving the next day. Like, super full. Like, 8 hours full. Get excited.