Trip Report Making Lemonade out of Lemons Fractal Family Trip Report

I think we can all agree that so far 2020 has been one big sour lemon.

For those that did not read my Pre-Trip report; my entire family (Val-wife, Alex - oldest daughter, Sterg - son, Toni - youngest daughter) has recovered from the Covid-19 virus. Myself, Val, Sterg and Toni got it in March and Alex in April while working as a nurse. Val had it worse with a fever for a couple days and flu like symptoms for about a week. The rest of us were either asymptomatic or had minor symptoms.

Add to that the mental stress of living in a society dealing with this pandemic, Toni missing out on a big chunk of her High School Senior Year and her last dance recital (where she was going to take on a major role as Jasmine), work reductions for Sterg and high stress work conditions for Alex on the front line. Yes, 2020 has sure been one big sourpuss.

But, as the saying goes; "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!"

It just so happened that last year I made a reservation to attend the annual AHEPA convention in Walt Disney World, just as I did in 2017. We were going to stay at the Grand Destino Towers but that seemed very much in jeopardy when AHEPA (which is a charitable organization I'm involved with. Like a Greek version of the Knights of Columbus or Lions Club.) cancelled their convention. Soon after however, I received an email that Disney would honor our reservation in July. This was pretty tempting since we had convention rates and discounts on tickets. Long story short, we decided to go. We felt that having already had the virus gave us an extra level of protection and we knew that Disney would handle the health risks properly. In addition, we later found out that our rooms were moved from Grand Destino to the Contemporary in order to accommodate the LA Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks. Sterg's and my dream of playing Marco Polo with the Greek Freak and LeBron James in the pool were quickly dashed. But who could say no to staying at The Contemporary for $175 a night?

We were a go! It was frustrating however because although we had a resort reservation we did not have park tickets. We also didn't have a "park pass" which was needed during this reopening of WDW. We had to wait for all that to open and I had serious doubts it would by the time our first day at the resort (July 20th) rolled around. I decided to book flights without tickets or park passes. Southwest had roundtrip flights from Philly to Orlando for $90 plus if you had to cancel you got that credit for a future flight. No brainer. This was turning out to be the cheapest Disney trip we have taken as a family! Soon after I was open to buy tickets and book Park Passes. We had started to squeeze that lemon and add it's juice to our pitcher of cold water.

Now for the Cast of our adventure.

Myself - Chris/Fractal. A lover of Disney Parks for the many memories it has given me over the years with my family, the way it helps me completely unwind from my job, and how it taps into my creative side and challenges my skills as a photographer.

Here I am with my crazy kids at Christmas.



Val - my beautiful wife. Not the biggest fan of Disney but in the end she was on board. I think secretly she likes it more than she lets on. I will make it up to her with a trip more to her liking.

Here she is with Alex.



Alex - our oldest. Now a traveling nurse. Alex is like me in many ways but as she's getting older and more responsible I'm starting to see her take on a number of Val's traits. She's a good mix and always a delight to be with.

From a trip to Colorado we took last year;



Sterg, aka Fractal Jr. One word to describe Sterg - catalyst - he just makes things happen. He creates reactions both good and bad. He graduated last year from Penn State. He was a captain on the Swim Team but not without drama. He had to miss his promising senior year of swimming when a series of concussions (all outside the water) forced him to medically retire. PSU handled it very well as he helped the team from the sidelines. He now works as a digital marketing consultant as well as helping his cousin get his music career off the ground. Never a dull moment when Sterg is around!

with our dog Prince (Charming).



Toni - For long time readers of my reports you know that Toni and I have a special Disney connection. Many times she would be the only one up early with me to tackle the parks at opening. We have had many great adventures together in the Disney bubble. She's now technically an adult (how did that happen?) so I was going to find out this trip if the magic was still there. She's going to attend Clemson University starting next month and I couldn't be prouder.

Toni in front of the Theater her Recital was supposed to perform at.



So Covid-19 made our family suffer in many ways, but we took that lemon, squeezed it's juice out into our water pitcher, now we just needed a little Disney sugar to make our Lemonade complete.

Coming up - Our trip begins with a WDW meet-up before our flight even leaves the ground!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster

Thanks Nick!
Can’t wait to read it!

Thanks for joining @LF85 !
I’m so excited (I should probably be embarrassed at how excited I am) for your report and to see what new amazing pictures you have to share!

Lol! I'm pretty excited to write it @meggo819 !
Super excited to read the full report!

Thanks @LisaBelle !
I’m on time for a trip report for once! It was nice running into you with @blreinsel 😁

Thanks, pleasure was mine @wishes2013 !

Can’t wait to see some more of the lemonade you made. Hi!

Hi lemonade. Lol! Thanks @Swissmiss !

Looking forward to reading about your trip, lovely that you had the whole family there. And excited to see all your photos.

Thank you @Piglet_the_brave !
So excited for this!! I love your TR’s!!

Thank you @riverside !
Looking forward to another awesome Fractal family TR 👍

Thank you sir!
You guys look familiar....have we met? 🤔

Lol! Maybe just in passing @Tuvalu! :)
Can't wait to see you pictures.

Thanks @coachwnh! Got some good ones. Have fun today!
I'm following along too! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Thanks @Ghostdog!
I'm here too - always love your TRs and wonderful photos.

Thank you @Tiggertoo56!
Hi! Here too.

Hi @BuckyMom! Thanks for following along!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
There were plenty of "firsts" on this trip. Obviously going to WDW during a pandemic was a true first. Here are some others;

First time staying at The Contemporary
First time "eats" at Be Our Guest, Spice Road and The Brown Derby.
First time to see Toy Story Land and Galaxy's Edge
First since 2013 that all 5 of us were together in a Disney Park, and since we took the Magical Express
First time we traveled together with everyone technically an adult (18 or over)

So bright and early on the morning of July 20th we were off to Philadelphia Airport for our 8:05am flight. Once again, our good friend Wally drove us down. Wally is a tough and tumble kinda guy. EX football player in college and a little rough around the edges with a gravely voice spoken at a volume that can knock a painting off your walls, but he has a heart of gold and is loyal as the day is long. Normally we do a lot of "manly" things together. We once even had a youtube channel dedicated to discussing offensive line play in the NFL. He loves ribbing me about my love for Disney.

"So Dude, you're going to be wearing your Mickey ears the entire trip? I bet you can't wait to get those on and find Mickey and give him a big magical hug! Dude, if you want to put them on now I'm ok with that - don't be embarrassed. HAHAHAHA!"



Of course Sterg (the catalyst) has to chime in and continue to egg "Uncle Wally" on. "Oh Uncle Wally, you know it. He's been wearing his Mickey underwear and Mickey shirts all week he's so excited (all lies, I have no Mickey underwear)!"

"HAHA! I can see that. Prancing around in his Mickey skivvies! I bet Valsey (Val) can't keep her hands off of you when your sporting those, Right Valsey?"


Rolling eyes from my wife.

So that was the gist of the ride down. Once again the entertainment was at my expense, but I didn't care and my skin is pretty thick and it actually was kinda funny; besides - we were going to DisneyWorld!
 
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