Saturday, March 31, 2012

Well, you can probably guess...

Well, everyone, you can probably guess that I was able to get my to do list done, seeing as it's been a month since I posted and the trip has come and gone.  Life got crazy busy both before and after the trip, as life tends to do, so now it's time for me to make amends and finish talking about trip preparations and move on with the trip report!
As of my last post, I had a short list of to-do's, which included getting t-shirts made (didn't do it), prepping the first aid kit (got that one done), putting together pre- & post-entertainment (which I did, but not how I had planned...gotta love downloading episodes of The Power Rangers from YouTube onto the netbook at the last possible second!!), customizing touring plans (didn't do it, but did use what they had a few times on the trip), and picking up the little extras (do Star Wars fruit chews count?).  Needless to say, the things that got done were helpful, and the ones that didn't really didn't matter in the end.
I was packing up until the very last moment when it was time for the hubs to take Payton & I over to my mom's house!  And we were short an outfit, but I figured we would buy some shirts to wear home. 

Hilton website photo
We headed to Mom's on Saturday, March 3rd around 11 a.m., arriving about noon.  After quick goodbye's, Mom, my nephew Ari, Payton & I all loaded up in her vehicle and headed to Marion, IL.  We picked up a few things that we had forgotten and grabbed a quick bite at McAlister's Deli.  Then it was on the interstate for us, heading toward St. Louis.  Mom drove until we got close to St. Louis, then it was my turn to take over.  Now mind you, I'm not a big fan of driving in the big city, but I mentally prepared myself for it and away we went.  Of course, right away we missed the exit that our MapQuest print out had told us to take.  Mom began to panic a bit, but I just kept looking at the signs and saying, "As long as we keep heading for I70 West, we are fine.  It all comes out together eventually."  And it did.  Now finding our hotel was a bit tricky.  We found our exit with no problems whatsoever, but once we turned off the interstate, we couldn't see it.  Well, the Hilton Garden Inn happens to be down in a hole!  That's right, if you don't know exactly where to look, you might miss it, because as big as this hotel is, it appears to be down in a large hole on one side of the road.  We couldn't even see it until we turned the vehicle around!   Once there, we checked in and parked the car.  They have a very nice park and fly option, so the car stayed in their parking lot while we were in Disney. 

The hotel was beautiful, and we had a very nice room.  Unfortunately, it was not what we had requested.  If you ever stay at the Hilton Garden Inn near the St. Louis, MO airport, be sure that they give you what you requested.  We ended up with a room with a queen bed and a pull out sofa.  Now normally I would have gone back up to the front desk to ask about the room change, but the boys were so excited and just wanted to get in the pool, so we let it go.  MISTAKE!  We had thought that the sofa bed would work for the boys, but it was so horribly uncomfortable that there was no way they could sleep in it together.  Figured this out around 11:30 that night. 
So back to the fun parts.  The pool and hot tub area was really nice and we spent a couple of hours there.  Then we ordered room service from the restaurant on-site and had a really great meal.  We tried to get to bed fairly early since we had an early flight out the next morning, but it just wasn't meant to be.  Not only was the sofa bed super uncomfortable, we also had seriously noisy neighbors.  Nothing like trying to get two excited little boys to sleep when there is screaming and fighting next door, and teenagers making a lot of noise in the halls.  Around midnight I actually went into the hallway and asked them to stop, but it didn't help.  I sent Ari to sleep with my mom in the bed and sat in the chair trying to help Payton get to sleep.  He finally crashed around 1 a.m. and in desperation, I pulled out the sofa cushions and made myself a tiny bed in the floor, getting maybe two hours of sleep before the 5 a.m. wake up call. 

Mom and I got everything together before waking up the boys, then we headed to the lobby to catch our shuttle to the airport (which we nearly missed).  On our way out, mom stopped the manager on duty to tell him about our room and our neighbors.  He was very nice and told her he would take care of it.  In the end, they never charged me for that stay.  Probably simply because of that action, I would consider staying at the Hilton Garden Inn again in the future.  But next time, I will demand to have my two queen beds!
Next blog, our flight and our first Disney day!