Saturday, October 13, 2018

Disney around the World - Day 1 - Flying to Korea

Let's see, what's today. November 2nd. That's just 20 days after October 13th. Not bad, not bad. Oh wait. 1 year and 20 days. Yeah... Sometimes these trip reports take a little while to come together. But hopefully it will all be worth it in the end.

As huge Disney fans, it's always been a goal to visit every Disney park in the world. Back in 2011, Theresa, Ruston, Jacob and I had an awesome visit to Tokyo Disneyland. And then in 2013, the four of us went to Paris Disneyland together.

I remember back in 2012 when the four of us were at Walt Disney World in Florida on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour, that there was talk about when Shanghai Disneyland would be opening up. I think it was right around then that the idea for us to visit all the Disney parks in the world began. Rumors were then that Shanghai would open up in 2016. The four of us discussed when we wanted to visit and everyone decided to give Shanghai Disneyland a year or so to get all the bugs worked out before we'd head there.
Well back in 2012, T and I didn't have kids yet, and come 2017 we'd have 2 of them. One who was 2 years old and another who was 4. Life was busy and everyone decided that waiting for another year wouldn't be a bad thing. Theresa and I wavered a bit trying to decide if this was something we wanted to attempt with the kids versus leaving them with the grandparents while we went off on an adventure.
The kids both did their part, proving themselves to be good travelers on long family trips to Michigan  or Florida. Alright then, let's take the kids!

And then the dream grew again. I don't know who started the idea but it was certainly a great one. Hey, what if we went to every single Disney park in the world, and we did it all in less than 12 months? Now you're talking! That sounds like a pretty epic and amazing trip!

Obviously doing all the Disney parks in Asia at once maximizes your time and cost, and so, the planners went to planning. Everyone figured out when they could take off time from work. Theresa worked her magic with travel points and figured out how to get our flights and some hotels for free. She could write a whole website about things like that, if only she had the time...

Personally, I would have loved to go into a brand new Disney park and experience it all for the first time, but wiser heads convinced me that that's not a good strategy when you're trying to see and do everything.
I scoured other sites for trip report, watched countless youtube videos, and made my own spreadsheets with agendas for each day in the park, rides not to be missed, foods to try, parades, shows and fireworks to see, and any tips and tricks I learned along the way. With just a month or so to go before the trip, everyone was excited!

With how Theresa was able to work out our travel, we're leaving LAX and flying to Shanghai China on a Korean Airlines plane. Because we're on Korean Airlines, it's not a direct flight, but stops for a layover in Seoul Korea. One "trick" you're allowed to do is have a bit of an extended layover, to stretch your legs for a few days before continuing on to your final destination. And so, because of that, on top of going to China, Hong Kong, and Japan, we get to add a few days in Korea to our itinerary too!

And now with all that backstory out of the way, let's get in to the trip!

So if we're going to Korea, I think it's quite appropriate to eat Korean food the night before our trip. Theresa and I have a favorite place that we go to often enough that they know our order as soon as we sit down, plus they bring extra sides and treats for the kids. Theresa has been teaching the kids a few Korean phrases like ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo (hello!) and gahm-sah-hahm-ni-da (thank you), and so they got to practice it a bit with the waitresses and owner. I know firsthand that it puts a smile on a lot of people's faces hearing Ian and Alli using their manners in a different language.

And it certainly wasn't just the adults who were excited for this trip. The kids talk to each other after Theresa and I put them to sleep each night, and we could hear them saying things like:
Ian - Alli, tomorrow we're going to be in a whole new world!
I'm glad they love traveling as much as we do.

Jacob drove up to our house and joined us on our drive to the airport. It's a Saturday morning and our flight isn't until 12:40pm, so there's no real rush.

Ruston made his own way to LAX and sent us update pictures as he was waiting for us.

Thanks for the ride Grandpa! We'll see you in 2 weeks!

First we had to check in at the Korean Airlines counter.

See much baggage? No you don't. That's because we're doing 2 weeks in 4 different countries with only carry-on luggage! And would you believe that Theresa and I have 2 folding strollers INSIDE these bags too! To do all this traveling I've found that it's imperative to travel light!

Alright kids. Smile for the camera.

Now smile like you're in Korea! Perfect.

They love luggage tags. Ian wrote his name on one and insisted it be attached to our bags.

Once we got through security we met up with Ruston. The whole gang is here! Let's go have an amazing adventure together!

Alright. Through security and it's only 10:15am. Everything went pretty quick this morning, just like we like it. That leaves us time to walk around the terminal and get something for breakfast.

Starbucks anyone?

Whoa. There's our plane and it's a big one.

Because I didn't know how well we'd be fed on the plane, I thought it might be a good idea to grab lunch for later. I offered Alli a ride on my shoulders, and then Ian wanted to be picked up too. I hope this isn't the start of a new trend for this vacation. I know there's going to be a lot of walking involved.

Where should we eat before we go? There's one restaurant here that is distinctly American. Kentucky Fried Chicken even has a US state in its name. The kids got chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, and a biscuit for our flight to Korea.

Are the kids excited to go? Absolutely! Guys get back here! Wait for the rest of us!

Everyone is on the plane and ready to go! The plane seats are in a 3-4-3 configuration and our excellent travel planners have organized it such that the 4 Flowers are in the middle section and Ruston and Jacob are on the aisle seats right beside us.

The flight attendant came by and confirmed who was sitting in the seats, making sure it was a couple kids.

And then came right back with a really fun kids pack for each of them.

The kids loved their free gifts. What's inside?

I didn't recognize Pororo the Little Penguin but we did run across Pororo a few more times while in Korea. Inside was a coloring book with lots of pages and a bunch of colored pencils.

About two minutes into the safety spiel Alli looks up and asks, "Did we land? I feels like we landed."
Um. Not quite yet Alli. Just another 13.5 hours or so to Korea. You've got a little more time.

Takeoffs don't even phase the kids anymore. They don't even look up. This is probably the quietest plane I've ever been on. This Airbus A380-800 is nice!

The kids' meals came first and boy are they eating well! It's a kids meal, but they got more food than I did!

Each of them got a hot dog with potato puffs. Pair that with fruit, a salad, a roll, apple juice, chips, and an Oreo and they were eating well! They didn't need anything from KFC at all. That entire tray of food is just for Alli, plus the things you see on her fold-down tray.

Compare that to what I got for my meal. Next time I want a kids meal!

Our flight attendant was very attentive. Seeing Ian hadn't opened some things, she came over and asked if he needed help. Then she proceeded to give him a hand getting everything set up for him to eat, opening his hot dog and bag of chips for him.

Since it's a Korean airline, Theresa was excited to order their Bibimbap. It came with all the side dishes too. And even though the kids had all that food, they still wanted to eat all of Theresa's rice. At least she enjoyed the seaweed soup.

Thirteen and a half hours is a pretty long flight, but I'm really glad the kids are troopers. They're content to watch things on the screen.

The whole thing reminded Theresa of those long car drives to see family. Sitting in weird positions, trying to get comfortable. Snacking on anything and everything.

Alli was proud of herself for watching the entire movie Tangled.

Now for this entire flight we're going with the sun. The flight departed Los Angeles at 12:40pm and is landing at 5:50pm in Seoul. At no time will it be dark outside.
T and I pondered how to deal with the kids' sleep schedules for this trip. Neither of them take naps anymore. Sleeping on planes isn't always the most comfortable experience either. Alli likes to lay completely flat if she can.
Normally they'd be in bed and asleep at 7:30pm, but because we were letting them go however Alli ended up falling asleep on me at 9pm.

Ian lasted a bit longer, playing games and watching videos on his iPad.

But by 9:45pm he was asleep too. It was nice of them to dim the lights in the cabin for everyone. The kids appreciated that while they slept.

The kids tossed and turned for a couple hours and then at 11:15pm all the lights in the cabin came back on. T and I were expecting this. Hopefully the kids will treat that little bit of sleep-time as a nap and then adjust for the time change. The rest of us are just trying to stay awake for the entire flight.

All the lights came back on because it's time for our second meal. The kids' meals came first. Not as much food as last time, but still a good amount for such little kids. I know someone who is going to be excited to see his very favorite candy bar on here for dessert. 3 "Mousekateers". This time one of them got pizza and the other is getting spaghetti.

Someone wasn't quite ready to wake up. Alli has started to wake up a bit though. Want some cantaloupe?

Alli, would you like some pizza?
"No thanks. It doesn't look like normal pizza."
I'm with you on that one. That pizza is something.

Well I got this beef dish. Alli, have a bite of my rice.
"It's kinda good, but I don't like it."

She is liking my broccoli and the spaghetti and meatballs.

By 12:30am (about 12 hours into the flight), both kids are awake again and starting to finish off dinner or whatever this meal is supposed to be.

The two of them started taking selfies of themselves for the last hour of the flight.

Following along with the map on the screen and we're getting very close!

Buckle up Duffy! We're about to land in Korea!

Whew! Finally got through the first 16 hours of our trip! With that much detail about just the flight, I can only imagine what is going to be coming next.


  1. Yay! I love reading your blog (don't think I've ever commented before) and I've been waiting for these posts! It already sounds amazing!!

  2. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go!! It's "a whole new world" as Ian put it so well. Kudos for packing everything in only carry-on for a 2-week trip...don't know how you got those 2 folding strollers in there, too (wow). What a 1st flight leg...the kids did amazing for such a long flight (really laughed when Alli asked "have we landed?" when it was only the safety spiel...made me wonder how she'd last the long flight...but she & Ian did it!!!) Took a bit of extra mental & physical energy for you & T, too, since you were always concerned with how Alli & Ian were holding up, while trying to maintain your own well-being on such a long flight...way to go! Sometimes kids' meals are better than adult meals, even in restaurants...guess the airlines are no different :-) Another favorite Alli comment: "Kinda good, but don't like it!" (lol) Excitement is building up even more...ready to land & explore "a whole new world!" P.S. Appreciate & enjoy the fun details! EOM