After This I'll Quit Teasing You About My Vacation

>> Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This vacation I just took was a weird one.  We wanted to give Bubba a real family vacation with his mom and dad to make up for us taking off and leaving the country.  You know, we'd never been away from him for more than one night before, and there we go taking off for his third birthday.  Great.  More evidence for our Parents-of-the-Year Trophy.

The problem was, after that big "mom and dad only" trip to Egypt, funds were ... well ... tight.  So, the trick was going to be "doing Disney" on a pretty down and dirty budget.  Toward that end, let me just tell you how much I love hotel reward points.  I spent eight days at a fabulous Marriott hotel with an amazing pool, and I paid for parking.

Yes, parking.

But, on a trip to Disney World, what is the single biggest expense?  Lodging?  Maybe.  Tickets?  Perhaps.  Food in the parks?  Now you are talking.  Disney, I love ya, but that park food is awfuly pricey for the family on a budget.  I thank you profoundly for allowing patrons to bring food into the parks.  I thank you, thank you, thank you.  Bubba thanks you, and my wallet thanks you.

There was one problem with the great plan of ours to pack food and take it with us.  It required us to have food worth packing.  No problem, right?  We had a cooler and a microwave, right?

Oh, no.  Think again.  We were staying at a full service hotel that doesn't have microwaves.  Nope.  If I want something heated up, I am free to work with dining services, and they will accomodate.


I'm going to go down to dining services in the morning and ask them to heat me some hot dogs and chicken sandwiches so I can take them to Epcot.  Ummm, no.

Fortunately for me, we were anticipating this problem.  Even more fortunately for me, my mother had the brilliant idea of suggesting that we pack the panini maker to help us out.  Whew!  (Thanks again for that inspired piece of thinking, Mom.)

So, there we were, in a nice, roomy hotel room, with a countertop, a fridge, a panini maker and a coffee pot.  I learned quickly that I can make a lot of food using only a panini maker and a coffee pot.  For the most part, I tried to stick with things that were "precooked" in case I did something silly like expose my family to a raging bacteria from poorly cooked chicken, but still, we did a lot.  We had broccoli, chicken, general tso's chicken, italian meatballs, noodles, even spaghetti once, and (of course) paninis.

Yes, you read it right.  All of this with only a panini maker and a coffee pot.  Necessity truly is the mother of invention. 

I just can't get over the irony.  Here I am, in a glorious hotel with multi-star restaurants and a fantabulous hibachi grill surrounding me on all sides ... and I'm cooking ramen noodles in a coffee pot.

The things I'll do for Disney.


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