Saturday is horse day! We stopped and took some laps on the way to breakfast and again on the way back. We checked out a little before 11:00, and then hung out at the Amberville Station, checked out the chapel we had somehow missed all week, then had some going-away ice cream. Gina had wanted to do some shopping, but by the time we tore ourselves away from GKTW, we only had about 20 minutes to spare. Instead of Downtown Disney, or even the Disney Outlet, it was the Disney Shop at the Walmart on the corner. They see a lot of this sort of thing there, I'm sure. Grab some t-shirts that might fit someone you know and get thee to yonder airport.
By now I have learned to turn off the GPS and follow the signs. We get to the airport half an hour past our appointment to turn in the van because I missed a left turn. It was TomTom's fault, I swear. We follow the herd to security and take our time getting through. We have more than an hour before they start priority boarding so we don't need to hurry or risk losing a child. Make it to the gate, gate-check the chair and it's time for lunch.
|Kayla enjoys flying|
During the flight, one of the flight attendants gave the kids candy bars, which was nice of her. Treats like that are not part of the usual air fare! On landing, we were last to get off because of the aisle chair and all that, and J &E sat quietly waiting our turn. Good on them, because it takes a little while to vacate a 737, and they were hyped up to be home again. I had just reached up to get our carry-on bags out when the same attendant approached and said these magic words:
"Who wants to see the cockpit?"
"ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME I DO I DO I DO I DO I DO!"
"Dad!!" If they think I'm embarrassing now, just wait until they're teenagers.
|Jason explains things to the flight engineer.|
Not one person ever asked if they like gladiator movies. What a missed opportunity that was.
We gather our gear and our wits, head out to get our bags, and completely miss the limo driver. We took an elevator when he was looking for us at the escalator. Add to that the extra time it took to get off the plane and I was a little worried he'd given up and gone home. He found us in just a few minutes though, and we got loaded in and headed home.
Our photos from this trip come from5 sources - my phone, Gina's phone, our camera, GKTW photographers, and the Disney PhotoPass. We have nearly 1,000 images and they take more than 2G of space on my hard drive. Mom wants every last one for the scrapbook. It will look like a set of encyclopedias.
Nearly everyone we met at GKTW is a volunteer. I had a chance this morning to ask an actual employee how they recruit and retain volunteers. Many of them are from the local area, retirees who are keeping busy and doing good. They have one guy there now who is serving for a year as part of Germany's mandatory military service. They get high school kids because of a community service requirement. Word of mouth has resulted in church groups from everywhere and college students on alternative spring breaks. Wish families come back and volunteer.
Running the Village is a lot like any other hospitality resort with the noticeable difference that the front line staff is all volunteer. Everyone you encounter on a day to day basis is there because they want to be there and it shows. While I certainly appreciate all the work the employees do, it is impossible to do what they do without the vols. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Disney corporation is a huge part of the success here, too. They could provide just the tickets and we'd all be grateful to have that, but they encourage the employees to volunteer. They devote the characters on a weekly schedule. The attention we got at the parks was phenomenal and made us feel like VIPs. Even when Kayla slept through an encounter, the characters still paid attention to her and interacted with her siblings. The selection and training for these people must be rigorous, I'm sure.
We had a great time, but are certainly glad to be sleeping in our own beds with nothing on the books for tomorrow but a trip to the grocery store.