Go to the Vigil. As you have said, it is the
liturgical celebration of the entire year.
Does the vigil Mass "count" (fulfill the requirement) for Easter Sunday?
Yes. The liturgical day begins at sundown.*
* This isn't a new "spirit of Vatican II" thing either. I challenge anyone who disagrees with the above statement to produce a breviary which doesn't have "First Vespers for Sunday" being said at sundown on Saturday evening.
Time-wise how long does that vigil Mass usually run?
About 2 1/2 - 3 hours. It will take more if there are - God willing - converts being received tonight.
I'm just trying to figure out what I can do, and what might be pushing it with my children and extended family coming over, etc, etc...
Obviously bringing your family would be the first option. If not, see if you can't get someone to hold down the fort while you're out. Perhaps an infidel family member or friend.