For the past five years, we have hosted little man’s birthday parties at home. They have always been a lot of fun, but we agreed that after year #5, we would end the big soirees and try something new. It was hard for me to give those up – I love planning parties and all the DIY and creativity that goes along with them. However, a deal is a deal, and I started poking around for new ideas.
What ultimately emerged was the idea of a trip to Orlando with two of little man’s oldest friends (one of whom was A Mom On The Run’s son B). The plan underwent many revisions (starting with a weekend in Disney seeing as how the guests all had annual passes), but finally, we settled on a weekend at the Nickelodeon Hotel to enjoy the water park and pools, characters, arcade and all kinds of kid-friendly fun. We decided on dates, made the reservations, and impatiently counted down to the trip.
While little man was at school on Friday, I was going to make the drive to the hotel and get checked in to at least one of our two adjoining suites. I had to pick up the cake, get balloons, stock the kitchen with water, wine and snacks, and then grab a platter of chicken nuggets for a light dinner for when everyone arrived. Mr PugRunner would follow later in the afternoon, after picking up little man from school, and then we would surprise him with his friends (he didn’t know anyone was coming).
It was a crazy day of racing around. I was able to check into one of the suites (the other would be ready later), so I claimed that room as home base, and then began zigzagging all over Orlando to collect everything we would need for the weekend. i ate two meals in the car and by the time I had hidden a few small gifts, organized the mini fridge and familiarized myself with the hotel’s weekend itinerary, Mr PugRunner and little man were pulling into the parking lot, with everyone else less than an hour from arrival. Perfect timing.
To help me out, Mr PugRunner left to pick up the chicken, while little man and I did some exploring of the property. Our rooms were on the 6th floor of Building 2, facing the Oasis Pool (which was the smaller and quieter of the two pools, and had shorter hours, so nighttime noise wasn’t a factor). We were a bit of a hike from the Lagoon Pool. Mall and Lobby, but nothing unmanageable. We had reserved one-bedroom KidSuites, which included a queen-size bed in a room with a door, an attached open room with two twin beds, one bathroom with tub and shower, a kitchenette, table and chairs, and a living area with pull out couch and large TV. It was a good amount of space, the rooms were clean and the location was fine.
As little man and I headed back from the Lagoon Pool, we saw that Michelangelo and Donatello were having a meet and greet. Little man wanted a picture, so of course, we stopped.
And then our guests were arriving, so we hurried back up to the room so say hello and get everyone settled. Little man was so excited to see his buddies – the look of happiness on his face was worth all the rushing around and insanity of the day.
We had something to eat, but the kids were focused on one thing: getting to the pool. Ordinarily, I would have probably tried for an in-room movie and an early bedtime (such an un-fun mom!), but we were on vacation and this was about the kids having fun, so we got them into their swimsuits and headed over to the pool.
As the sun set, things got more crowded. The hotel was offering Spongebob Squarepants episodes on an inflatable movie screen poolside. It was a really neat set up, although it would have been nice to have more available seating. The kids hunkered down on towels on the pool deck and enjoyed Icees and snacks until the yawns started and it was time to get cleaned up for bed.
The next morning, we popped out of bed early so that we could pick up bagels, donuts and a box of coffee. We enjoyed breakfast in the room, and I jumped in the shower. I had to report to the Lagoon Pool deck at opening to claim our cabanas for the day. Everyone else could follow when ready.
I’m really not a sun person, and we thought it would be nice to have a quiet, covered area in which to rest so we could prolong our pool time. We would have privacy in case anyone (that included the grownups) wanted to take a little rest, a safe spot to store our belongings, cold water, towel service and a server for lunch and drinks. Best decision we could have made.
I wish I had thought to bring down some balloons and decor, but at the end of the day, it didn’t matter. Little man was thumbs-upping all over the place.
We swam in the regular pool
until the waters slides opened with a mass sliming at 10:45.
The hotel offered private sliming on the pool stage, and little man wanted to do it so badly. For the life of me, I can’t tell you why. He hates being dirty and isn’t a fan of anything that feels yucky, but… he was the birthday boy, so…
He loved it and declared this day the best day.
We swam some more and ate lunch in the cabana, when things got really crowded. Then we split up – Mr PugRunner stayed down with Mr A Mom On The Run and B until 3:00 while the rest of us went up to the rooms to clean up and relax before dinner. I ended up having to run up and down a few times to take care of some things and was hoping to squeeze in a quick little nap before we had to head out.
I’m not sure entirely where things fell apart, or how it happened. However, somewhere between the pool and the room, Mr PugRunner had managed to lose a contact lens, although he thought it was stuck in his eye. Which led to all manner of upset and several phone calls to the local vision centers, trying to see if someone was available to see him on a Saturday at 4:30. Of course, our luck wasn’t that good, so I got dressed, and with the help Mr AMOTR, got him into the car. At this point, he couldn’t open the afflicted eye at all was pretty shaken by it.
Fortunately, the Celebration Emergency Room was about 10 minutes away, and so we headed there, while our friends stepped up to handle little man’s birthday dinner. We had our fingers crossed that all would be well and we could be back in 90 minutes for our 6:00 PM reservation. Either way, we knew the birthday boy was in good hands, and would have a wonderful time.
The verdict? A scratched cornea and chemical conjunctivitis, brought on from all the chlorine and chemicals in a public pool. The ER doctor found no trace of the lens, meaning Mr PugRunner must have lost it at some point, and he was prescribed an antibiotic ointment and to wear his glasses until the irritation cleared up. Excellent. We were discharged right after 6, and hurried back to the hotel.
We had booked the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle character dinner at Antonio’s Pizza-Rama. The meal was a buffet, featuring pizza and other Italian specialties, including entrees, made-to-order pasta, anti pas and a salad bar. Rumor has it that the food was delicious, but since we were late, I was only able to grab some tomato and mozzarella salad and a quick piece of pizza, before the heroes in the half-shell made their appearance. It was a really cute performance, comprised of ninja moves and each turtle stopping at every table for photos.
We also had a delicious Iron Man cake (vanilla with chocolate filling) to enjoy.
After that eventful evening, I was glad to get to bed. The kids had all gone to the arcade before dinner and spent a few hours playing with their new prizes, before we were able to wrangle them into pajamas and get them tucked in.
We didn’t really have any specific plans for Sunday morning. The one family was planning to head to a theme park, but I was ravenously hungry, so we decided to go to Spongebob’s Bikini Bottom Breakfast. We were seated pretty much right away, but I held off on grabbing food because Spongebob and Squidward were already making the rounds. This time, I loaded up with an egg white, bacon, cheese and mushroom omelette, fruit, and a biscuit, and I was a happy, happy camper. Little man was more interested in his birthday cupcake than breakfast. Not that I blame him.
Tummies full, I headed off to pick up Mr PugRunner’s prescription (And had a small panic attack when I couldn’t find our second car. The one that we had moved from its original parking spot after the whole hospital trip and subsequent journey to find a pharmacy late at night. Five days later, it’s just starting to be a little bit funny.)and the kids went to the arcade for the last time. We checked out and hit the road, with little man tearfully telling me he never wanted to leave. Not to worry, kiddo. We’ll be back.
On his actual birthday, little man wanted tacos for dinner, so I invited Nana and Papa Bear and put together a huge taco bar with all the fixings.
We had a lovely dinner with a small Spiderman cake that I put together the night before.
There were lots of smiles.
Happy birthday, little man! Hope it was the best one yet!
What’s your favorite kind of birthday cake?
What’s the best birthday dinner?