Adventures with Uncle Deej - Old Sport Turns Two

Over the last two years, I've learned that there are some pretty cool perks to being an uncle. You get to watch Disney cartoons and play with toy train sets whenever you want, not to mention swapping a bottle of wine and 6 episodes of you're latest Netflix-binge for babysitting on the occasional Friday night. But easily the best perk of being an uncle comes at birthday time, because it means a good excuse to spoil them beyond measure and usually a trip to celebrate the occasion.

As if MJ and I have ever needed a good excuse for either of those things...

Last weekend our nephew turned two years old, so naturally my entire family celebrated with a trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. Although Old Sport had been to Disney once before, his first trip included a stomach bug that left him pretty wonky the next day at the Magic Kingdom. I suggested keeping him in a Seinfeld "Bubble Boy" tent for the weeks leading up to this trip, but sadly I didn't get far with that motion. Instead, we all kept our fingers crossed that we'd have better luck this time around. 

I think Uncle Walt must have put in a good word for us, because to say Old Sport was in top form would be the understatement of the year.

The adventure started with a quick breakfast gathering at the home of my parents, where I supplied plenty of Starbucks and what could only be described as a "donut buffet." My brother had previously informed me that Old Sport preferred donut holes to the real thing, so clearly my only option was to get him three different kinds.

Sufficiently high on sugar and caffeine, we all set off for the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort. Since the complex opened in 2008-ish, I've been one of Bonnet Creek's biggest fans. The Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, and Wyndham Grand (not to be confused with the Wyndham) all rank as some of my favorite hotels for Disney trips thanks to their location and better value for the price as compared to the Mouse's resorts. Soon after we arrived it was pretty clear that the Wyndham would fit into that mix as well.
"I'm practicing my slide Uncle Deej."

Our 3-bedroom villa was ready for check-in when we arrived at roughly 10am - a relief to us all. Room availability isn't usually an issue when MJ and I visit a resort, but after seeing that Old Sport basically travels with everything he owns, I came to understand why there was a concern with us arriving early.

The only thing perhaps more surprising than its availability was the room itself. The villa was bigger than my house with 3-bedrooms, 2 baths, and a full kitchen, not to mention views of the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club and Disney Hollywood Studios. At $249 for the night, this was a steal.
"I can't wait to play golf here Aunt Meggy!"

One knock against the Wyndham is they forced my brother to listen to a timeshare spiel in order to get our parking passes - a scary proposition given the guy has to muster every ounce of will to decline the inevitable air filter pitch when getting his oil changed. It wasn't the full on timeshare pitch like the kind that offer the free weekend in Tahoe. This was more along the lines of "Wouldn't you like to save thousands of dollars on future vacations? No? But we're practically paying you to take vacations. Are you sure? Are you really really sure? Ok if you want to just keep wasting your money, I guess we can't stop you. Here's your parking passes." You know, that sort of thing.
"Seriously Uncle Deej, it's a bargain."

That was all soon forgotten, however, when we arrived at the resort's pirate ship themed pool. This is the kind of place I'd typically avoid like the plague, but I'd have come wearing a Minnie Mouse bathing suit if Old Sport asked me to. The kid loves to swim but I think he had even more fun than usual because the pool was zero entry, meaning he didn't have to clutch the wall or one of us for dear life. The result was an epic splash fight which I lost to a 2 year old.

Although I'm still learning the logistics of traveling with a kid, there was one part of our adventure that needed no explanation: Nap Time. I never grew out of my need for a mid-afternoon cat nap, so I was happy to take a break so Old Sport could take his. Once he was back up, it was time for stop #2 on our adventure...

The Magic Kingdom.

The original plan for our trip was to simply spend the day by the pool and then hit the Boardwalk area for dinner. My brother "called an audible" right as we were ready to depart, suggesting that we hit the Magic Kingdom instead. He should have known he wouldn't have to ask us twice...

After convincing the guard at The Contemporary that we were all there to rent water sprites, we headed inside for a quick stop at Contemporary Grounds, and then on to the Monorail - or as Old Sport calls it, the "Hoo Hoo."
"Aunt Meggy, why does that sidewalk go nowhere?"

Despite the ridiculously long bag check line, we were soon inside the park and strolling down Main Street. Just in time for the bedlam that ensues for the 3 o'clock parade...

This is traditionally one of the slower weekends of the year, but you wouldn't have guessed it by the wait times. So we set off to a ride that rarely has much of a line - one that I hadn't been on in at least a decade... The Jungle Cruise.
"Hey look, Simba!"

After enduring the incredibly lame jokes from our boat captain, we started to head to Fantasyland, only our progress was thwarted by one of our spur of the moment Florida rain showers. We sought cover in what turned out to be the entrance to the Enchanted Tiki Room just as the show was starting.

First the Jungle Cruise, then the Tiki Room. What was next... Aladdin's Magic Carpets?

You got it...

Finally, we headed over to Fantasyland in search of Old Sport's favorite character of the day: Winnie the Pooh. Thankfully, his Disney geek uncle knew just where to find him...

In spite of the heat, crowds, rain, talking birds, and two breaks for Pooh and Tigger, hearing Old Sport exclaim "Hi Pooh!" when he saw the Silly Old Bear pretty much made my life.

As we sat down for dinner at the Contemporary, it was clear the long day had taken its toll on us. We were all exhausted...well, all of us except for Old Sport. Just when it looked like he was starting to tire out, his Aunt gave him a new reason to run around like a wild man...

The next morning, it was back to the Contemporary for breakfast at Chef Mickey's. Before our spur of the moment decision to visit the Magic Kingdom, Chef Mickey's was to be the main event of our weekend. It still turned out that way..
"So if Mickey is here, who's watching the clubhouse?"

Watching Old Sport interact with most of the gang from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, all while stuffing my face with french toast, was a real treat. Naturally, getting to meet the restaurant's Chef was a big deal for yours truly, but I think my nephew was kind of sweet on Minnie. 
"One, Two, Five, Ten... ready or not here I come!"

Of course, no birthday celebration would be complete without cake, which the Mickster was also happy to provide. Clearly, Old Sport learned to eat cupcakes from his father, who has been known to eat icing straight from the jar with a spoon. 
"This isn't going on your blog, right?"

For a guy that spends far too many weekends at Disney than he should, I have to say that this one will certainly go down as one of the best. It's sort of amazing to see how much Old Sport has grown up in just the span of one year, and it would seem that our plans to full indoctrinate him into the Disney fold are right on track. With any luck, maybe next year he'll be able to pronounce "monorail."

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