Yes, after a whirlwind week of fun, along with some trials and tribulations, I am back home where I belong.
I thought I would give you all a quick recap of our trip, so you can sort of live vicariously through me for the good parts, and maybe sympathize about the bad parts. We were up bright and early to make our flight at 9:30 on Saturday morning. The munchkin (aka my stepdaughter) was a bit nervous about taking her first flight, but we reassured her all would be fine. We had great weather, and took off with the sun shining. The kid was a star, the flight was amazing (honestly, Porter is the best!) and we were in Toronto in no time. Munchkin's ears didn't pop immediately, but thankfully went within the next hour. From there, we were onto a bus to Niagara Falls, since there is no airport in the area.
We got to Great Wolf Lodge around 3pm and checked in. This is a very kid friendly resort, with things like animatronic animals that talk to the kids, pyjama parties where no adults are allowed, and a kid's spa/salon.
I loved the concept, however, it didn't come cheap (you are looking at $400 a night) and we had some problems with billing after we left. The beds were NOT comfortable, and the walls were paper thin, meaning we were up all night. Just an FYI for anyone interested in the location. More info below in my recap.
There was supposed to be a package waiting for us with our spending money and gift certificates for the Hershey store in Niagara, but it wasn't there, so we sent a front desk clerk to look for it and hopped into the waterpark, which was great. Within an hour or so, we had our package and off we went downtown to have some more fun!
We went straight to the Hershey store, and were overwhelmed at the selection! There was a giant counter of fresh items like fudge, chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes with themes (reese cupcakes) and other tasty creations. In addition, there was the normal hershey stock, hershey merchandise like shirts, sweaters, pillows, cookie cutters, keychains, necklaces - you name it, they had it! We actually had a hard time spending $250 dollars, but walked out of there with three bags of stuff!
We went to the Hard rock cafe for dinner, which was nice, but not nearly as impressive as the one in Orlando, which is the largest in the world. From there, we hit Clifton hill, the craziest street in Niagara, and went to a wax museum, where I got to see these characters:
Then we went off to the Skywheel, which gave my Munchkin and I a great view of the Falls (hubby was not keen on the heights):
After that, it was off to Ripley's Believe it or not, where we tailed a newly married couple, all dressed up and everything, through the museum:
We came back to the hotel and crashed, preparing for our next long day: Marineland. We were up at 7, and at the park by 10am. This was Munchkin's first amusement park, and she had never went on a roller coaster before. We started her off small on a couple of rides, then worked up to the big ones. She had a lot of fun, but may have surpassed her limit on the Sky Screamer, which scared her a bit too much. We saw all sorts of cool creatures, and Munchkin even got to feed a Beluga whale!
That night, my mom drove up from near Windsor, about 4 hours away, to have dinner and stay with us. She was so nice, and took us to the Keg that was located with a SPECTACULAR view of the falls right from our table. Great food+ great company + great view = Great evening.
Monday morning, we were up again at the crack of dawn to catch our bus to Toronto. It was a quiet ride, and we got to our new hotel by 10am. We settled in, and then I took the hubby and Munchkin by the TTC out to catch the bus for the Toronto Zoo. I had a meeting with the PR people for the Hershey event, so I couldn't go with them. My meeting went well, and I came back to the hotel with the full intention of getting my long run in on the treadmill(it was a taper week, back down to 12k). I was about 5k in when my hubby texted me saying it was pouring rain and that I had to go meet them. So needless to say, I had to cut my long run short yet again, and fight rush hour traffic on the subway to go and collect them.
We decided that we would have a quiet dinner at Casey's which was across the street from the hotel. It was lovely, until the waiter cam back at the end of the dinner and told me my credit card was denied, three times. WHAT??? I went back to the hotel, called VISA, and found out that both hotels had incorrectly placed huge charges/holds on my card. I got the one in Toronto resolved immediately, but Great Wolf Lodge was very unhelpful, and basically said tough luck. They charged me $940, which was more than the room (not paid for by us) cost for the two nights we stayed there. They said they couldn't take the charge off my card, and that it would be processed by Wednesday, which was the day we were scheduled to come home. I was NOT impressed at all. I ended up having to increase my VISA limit so that I could pay for anything over the next two days. Luckily I had that option, and the VISA people were very understanding.
Tuesday was a quieter day, we lounged at the hotel all morning, got some great sleep, and then checked out, delivered our bags to a friends house (where we would stay that night) and went off the the National Smores Day event at the Harbourfront Centre. Munchkin got right into things, and went to work assembling s'mores for the public. She got a free hat and apron, and everyone thought she was great.
We got to chill with the people from Veritas (PR for Hershey in Canada) and Hershey people from PA, who offered us private tours of the factory and of the Hershey Kitchen if we ever made it to Pennsylvania. It was sweet. I ate WAY too many s'mores (because clearly, that was our job as the family with s'more) and the hubby and I got sunburnt faces (hubby because he didn't use suntan lotion at all. Me because I remembered to put suntan lotion on my arms, Munchkin's arms and face, but I forgot I hadn't done my own face. Duh!) That night, we had a calm night at my friend's place, and I got some swimming in, which I realized I missed very much in the past few weeks.
Wednesday was our last day of the trip, and we spent it wisely by heading over to the Ontario Science Centre. I used to love this place as a kid, and I was sure the Munchkin would love it too. We saw exhibits about the human body, walked through a rainforest, saw all sorts of small creatures, walked through a bat cave, and of course, we went through the Harry Potter exhibit that was on. It was a great day, and we didn't want to leave.
We ran out of there at 5:30, and had the intention of grabbing a quick meal before heading to the city centre airport. Well, the meal wasn't as rushed as I thought it would be, and then we hit traffic, a four car accident and a film crew who was probably taping an episode of Rookie Blue, which really slowed us down. That combined with a ferry that was filled with people arriving back in Toronto meant that we were running to the check in counter. Sadly, by the time we got there (which was only about 10 minutes later than the suggested time on Porter's website) they wouldn't let us on the plane. We had to pay $300 to catch the next flight, which was 2.5 hours later. Needless to say, we weren't happy, but we got home around 11pm, said hello to our cute but crazy dog who was dog-sat by the neighbour, and hit the sack.
I have been trying to update this blog since getting home, but it has been a whirlwind with clothing to wash, following up on that interview I went on (recap: interview went well, they kept asking why I didn't want to be a lawyer, they are in the process of checking my job history and references so I think I'll be getting a job offer! Happy to have stable employment, next step find perfect/ideal employment. It's a step in the right direction.) and preparing for Munchkin's 10th birthday party today. I went all domestic and baked cupcakes for her and her best friend, who can only eat items that are gluten free. I'm no Martha, but I did my best, and I think she'll enjoy them.
(the cupcakes spell Happy Birthday Munchkin too)
K, I'm off to enjoy the birthday supper and cupcakes (will update you on how they tasted... mmmm) so I will check in either tomorrow or Monday with a recap of my long run, which is supposed to be back up to 18k. I am going to try and get it done, but I might ease back to 16k since I haven't been able to fully run my long runs in the past two weeks.
Thanks all for being so patient with my delayed return to posting!