Personal Post: Family Disney trip with The Otts!

Sorry about the lack of blogging while we were away last week. I had every intention of blogging a few times, but the internet service at James Island was really slow so I took it as an opportunity to have a little break from blogging. Which is nice every now and then. But I’m back now with a post that’s loooong overdue…our Disney trip! This was started several weeks ago so if the timeline of some of these things doesn’t make sense, that’s why. Oh, and you might want to go grab a cup of coffee before you settle in for this one. We were there for five days and I’m putting it all into one post, so it’s pretty long. =)


This is a trip that we’ve been talking about for nearly five years. And as ashamed as I am to admit it, the reason that it finally happened is that ugly word that has become so familiar over the past eight months…CANCER. Not that we didn’t really want to do it before the diagnosis. We absolutely did. Every single one of us wanted to. But we could never seem to find the time. There was work. And school. And jobs. And things just didn’t line up exactly the way we needed them to in our pretty little world, so none of us ever made it a priority. It was more of a “one day” kind of trip. You know, “One day, it’ll be so much fun, we’ll all pack up and spend a week together in Disney.” Well finally, last week, the trip happened. Because we all finally had the time for it? Ummm…NO. Let me tell you a little bit about the time frame. Robby received chemo on Thursday. Preached Sunday. Loaded the kids up in the minivan literally minutes after leaving the pulpit on Sunday morning to make the drive to Orlando. They spent a week at Disney and drove home on Monday. And then Tuesday Robby and April hopped on a plane to head back to New York so he could receive his other chemo treatments at Sloan Kettering. Only it wasn’t as easy as just “hopping” on a plane because their first flight was overbooked and the airline didn’t have them on that flight {HUGE Thank You to the guys who gave up seats for them!!}. And don’t forget that he’s in the process of recovering from MAJOR surgery that he had just a few weeks before the trip. And the kids were in their last two weeks of school. Yeah, after reading all of that it makes your schedule {and mine} feel a little less hectic, doesn’t it? So was this finally the right time to take the trip? Probably not. Except that it was because we finally made up our minds to do it. And just one of the many thousands of lessons I’ve learned since Robby Ott was diagnosed with cancer is to LIVE this beautiful life that Jesus has given us. Live out every opportunity that He gives you, the good ones and the ones that we deem not so good, and do it to His glory. I fail at this thousands of times every day, but through lots of lessons and lots of GRACE, I am learning. So we had the opportunity and we took it. I am SOOOOO glad that we did. It was an AMAZING trip full of birthdays, anniversaries, new experiences, lots of fun, and lots of love. I know, I sound like a Hallmark card. Sorry. =) I’ve always said that the best way to do Disney is to do it with a big group of people that you love, and once again I made my point with this trip. It’s one that will stay in my memory bank forever and ever.

So…Thanks, Cancer. You got us to finally take the Disney trip that we’ve been talking about for years. Job DONE. Go away now.

The trip…We arrived in Orlando a couple of days before the Otts did. We had a few portrait sessions to do, and then my parents arrived (SO thankful they were there!) and carted Mak and CB off so Collin and I could celebrate our THIRTEENTH anniversary with a date night at Magic Kingdom. How fun is that?!?! A lot, I promise. You should definitely do it someday. These past thirteen years have just been fun. Yes, obviously there has been junky stuff thrown in there. Of course it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, but honestly, there isn’t much about the last thirteen years that I would change. I love this man so much and I love that God gave us this marriage. I hate it when marriage gets a bad rap…I truly can’t imagine anything being more fun this side of Heaven. I am so thankful.

We did the “Collin arm out self portrait thing” all night and then I got the bright idea to text our friend and fellow photographer, Amy, to see if she was in the park and could take a photo of us where Collin’s arm wasn’t oddly extended. She was, and she did. But then she got all “Disney secret agent” on us and told us to follow her over to the Tommorowland Terrace, and all of a sudden this Disney guy was walking up to us with waffle cone ice cream sundaes for us to enjoy while we watched Wishes!!! Did I mention that Amy works at Disney? Gosh, I love this girl! You’ll see her later in this post…

The next morning we were ready for some Hollywood Studios tourin’ with our baby girl, big boy, and my parents. FUN!! We heard the question “When will the Otts get here?” about 735 times before they actually arrived in the park. But we had fun waiting.

Miss CB reached a BIG milestone on this trip! She was FINALLY tall enough to ride Rockin’ Rollercoaster. It’s now her new favorite.

And soon we saw this family!! YAY!!! Also, let’s all take a moment to give props to the lady to the left of them doing Disney in heels. Skills {that I don’t have}.

After a quick stop for Anniversary and Birthday buttons we were ready to roll!

This is April’s mom, Emily. I loved getting to know her!

First stop, Rockin’ Rollercoaster. Again, more love for it!

Evan was slightly concerned about the size of Manny’s head…

But he loved Playhouse Disney!

We rode Star Tours, got caught in a torrential downpour, watched an abbreviated version of Indiana Jones {due to torrential downpour}, and then our family called it a night while the Otts stayed for Fantasmic.

Day 2…EPCOT!! In the RAIN!!! =) We did a little Test Track and Soarin’ while we waited on the Otts to arrive. Do you like the new Test Track? I kind of miss the older one. Mak loves designing his car, though.

Toothless happy face while riding Test Track with her Daddy? LOVE.

The Otts arrived and so did Adam and his son, a mutual friend of Robby and Collin’s who now lives in Orlando.

Sweet girls!! I absolutely LOVED having Raelyn here for CB! She was always so sweet to my baby!

Soggy Evan.

I could sit in the United Kingdom in the World Showcase for hours. It’s just so pretty back there! So we did. We ate lunch and then the kids did a little Agent P.

The Otts headed out for some supper with Mickey, my parents headed out for a nice dinner at the Boardwalk, and the four of us headed to Downtown Disney to have ice cream for supper. That’s a requirement for at least one night of every Disney trip.

You can see the love in his eyes from having to share with his sister.

Then…Downtown Disney shopping with the Otts! And 100,000 other people! GLORY!! I almost lost my mind that night…

Mak has been working like crazy and saving up his money to buy a $200 Lego set that he saw here in January. He earned the money but once he got there he decided that he just couldn’t blow it all on that one thing. He worked HARD to earn that money. So he decided on a $50 set instead. Best money lesson so far in his nine years.

The next day was the BIG day…BIRTHDAY DAY for Clara Beth and Raelyn!! CB turned seven and Raelyn hit the double digits…TEN!!

A little present opening in the hotel. Our girl asked for one thing for her birthday. Paper. Plain white printer paper. I love her for that.

We let the girls choose the park that day and they chose my favorite, Magic Kingdom!

Amy!!! She was working in the Magic Kingdom that day and we ran into her as soon as we walked through the front gate.

CB wanted to ride Splash Mountain first, and she even convinced me to ride since it was her birthday {I’m not a fan of drops. Or being wet.}.

Birthday Girls!!!

Sweetness. =)

Here’s where we saw Amy again. She has to have the most fun job ever! I want Collin to work for Photopass for Disney as a retirement job. =)

And soon, Amy was off of work and able to play. Funny story. It started raining and we headed for the Haunted Mansion since it’s inside. Amy was going to ride with Raelyn and Clara Beth. Just as they were boarding their doom buggy, the ride attendant grabbed Amy’s arm and said “Excuse me, you three need to have an adult ride with you.” HAHAHAHAHA! In the end he let the three little girls ride together. 😉

My kids kinda like her…

Supper time!! We were dining with the royal Family that night over at the Grand Floridian.

Clearly, the boys were super pumped about dining with princesses. Actually, I have no idea what this is about…

Evan was NOT all about all of the princesses. Or step-sisters.

Back to the Magic Kingdom to end the night!

By the end of the night we were EXHAUSTED. Our family is simply not a stay out late kind of family. But it was so much fun and I know that CB and Raelyn loved their birthdays. When we got back to the hotel room CB discovered yet another surprise from Amy! SOOOO Fun!! Thank you, Amy!

Our last day of the trip was at Animal Kingdom and it was HOT. We did the Safari, some of us did Everest and Kali River Rapids, and then we left to head back to our hotels for naps and swimming.

Back to the Magic Kingdom one last time…

And that’s it! This trip was SO Wonderful and I’m ready to do it again. We were sad to leave that Friday but so thankful for the time that we had. Robby and April stayed a few more days to celebrate another special birthday, Bryson’s. Robby, April, Bryson, Raelyn, Jordan, Evan, and Emily…Thank you for letting us join you! We love y’all!

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