Monday, December 17, 2012

Disney World!!

Back in August, we decided to go to Disney for the kid's inaugural visit!  The treat was that my parents were going to give it to us for Christmas!  Since we had intended to go anyway, we decided to fly down (and make it less tiring for all of us).  I hate that we told the kids when we booked it, as we had to hear them ask "how much longer until Disney" for months.  However, when it came to December 10th, it was all worth it!

We got up super early and caught the first direct flight to Orlando.  The morning started off great, as the kids were excited about their trip, and happy to receive Bob the Elf's going away presents (an autograph book for Disney, and candy for the airplane). 

After checking into the Peabody Hotel (where Steve was staying for business), we watched the infamous ducks perform their show at 11am, and then rode the trolley to Sea World!

Procession to the fountain
Kids watching the ducks swim and eat
Once we arrived at Sea World, we visited a couple of exhibits and caught the "Shamu" show.  It was the perfect amount of time, as the kids got anxious to move on after they finished a snack and watched the whales perform tricks for 20-25 minutes.  After a little more exploring we ate lunch at the "Shark Encounter" where one whole wall was an aquarium.  The kids enjoyed seeing the fish and sharks swim around, and the food was divine.

Kids at Shark Encounter
Pres with "Shamu"
Bennett riding a train
Kids with Santa
Bennett mocking the flamingos
Family pic (day 1)

The next day Steve had to fly out for business, so the kids and I were solo.  Since we didn't get to see and do everything at Sea World, we headed back for the morning.  We packed up so we could quickly check out and move hotels to the Disney property that afternoon, and hopped on the trolley again (which the kids just loved since there were no seatbelts).  The kids wanted to return to the children's area at Sea World first where there were kiddie rides and a giant jungle gym/maze.  They had a ball running from ride to ride, and since the crowd was thin that morning, we rode the little rollercoaster back-to-back at least 6 times!  I even let them get their faces painted for an inflated price!  We had a fun morning together, and they LOVED the dolphin show.  It was so action packed, with dolphins jumping, birds flying around and people doing acrobatics.

Riding the dolphins around the pool
Love those sweet faces!

I finally convinced the kids to leave around noon, and we rushed back to Peabody and transferred over to the Coronado Springs Resort.  The kids and I crowded into a cab (again a fun experience for the kids) with all of our luggage and got settled into our new place.  We ate a quick lunch, and then changed into our swimsuits so we could check out the big pool.  Though it was heated, and the weather was warmer than usual, it was too cold for me to swim.  However, that didn't stop the kids from going down the water slide a couple dozen times and playing pool games with the resort staff!  They had a ball, but when Preston's lips turned blue, I knew it was time to call it.  We headed back late that afternoon, and I forced the kids to take naps since we had a very late dinner reservation to accommodate Steve and my parent's flights.
Pres LOVED the waterslide!
Bennett diving for balls
Once everyone got in that night, we headed over toward the Magic Kingdom for our dinner at Ohana (at the Polynesian),  It was set-up like a luau, with people dancing, passing out leis, and serving us a ridiculous amount of skewered meat and sides.  The kids had fun dancing around, and we all left with very full bellys!

Pres with Poppy

On Day 3 of our trip, we made plans to go to Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning.  The kids were super excited to check it out since that is what they relate with Disney World!  Right as we entered the park, the kids spotted Pluto signing autographs, so we immediately got in line.

Then we walked up Main Street so we could get a better look at the Cinderella's castle.  We posed for a family picture, and then set out to ride some rides!  They were over the moon to be there, and couldn't decide what they wanted to ride next.  The lines weren't too bad that morning, but as the day went on...they got pretty long.

We took a break for a late lunch, and then went straight over to meet three more characters: Cinderella, Aurora and Rapunzel.  Bennett was so in awe of them, and couldn't quit staring (it was precious).  Since the kids (and my parents) were hanging in there, we just kept going all day.
Nene having fun on the speedway
Pres had me laughing with tears because of his driving!
Aladdin, Magic Carpet Ride
We caught a parade or two, and even saw the special lighting of the castle that night!  It truly was a magical first day, but we were all beat (Pres fell asleep in the stroller before we even left).
Lighting of the castle (before)
The castle draped in lights!
For our fourth day, we headed to Animal Kingdom.  It was a cooler day, with a little misting here and there, so we dressed a little warmer and packed our ponchos.  We did the safari ride first which was fun for the kids, and got fast passes for the new rollercoaster, Mt. Everest (for Steve, Dad and me).  The kids made key chains in "Africa" and we enjoyed a delicious lunch.

While Pres caught a cat nap, Bennett scored some major autographs.  After waiting in many lines the day before, we got smarter and all took one line since the characters were so close together.  Bennett ran from one line to the next and got autographs from Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Baloo, Pocahontas and Chip and Dale!

Lastly, everyone elected to do the rapids ride before we left.  Since we all wore ponchos, we were all somewhat spared, so the kids begged to do it again.  We all agreed, and unfortunately got soaked the second time, especially poor Preston.  Thankfully he was a good sport!

Since we were all wet and cold, we headed back to our hotels to change clothes before heading back to Magic Kingdom.  We had purchased tickets for Mickey's Christmas party, which was that evening at 7pm, and the crowd was supposed to thin out considerably allowing us an opportunity to do more with less lines.  It wasn't exactly what we imagined, but Steve and I did sneak off to do Space Mountain, while my parents took the kids on a ride.

Space Mountain!!

On Friday (day 5 of the trip), we had our princess breakfast at 8:00am at Epcot's Akershus restaurant.  I must admit that was the only thing I didn't like about our trip (having a late night before our earliest morning).  However, once we got there, it was worth it.  The kids had their picture taken with Belle right when we entered, and then the other princesses started walking around and greeting everyone!

By the end of the morning, Bennett had almost every page filled with character autographs!  She was very into it, and enjoyed meeting everyone and having photos taken with them.  Pres, on the other hand, could have cared less about so many of the people and wasn't into the competition with his sister.  Following the breakfast, we did a Nemo ride, and then caught a boat over to Hollywood Studios so we could do the highly acclaimed Toy Story Mania ride!  I must admit it was a lot of fun, even though it wasn't a rollercoaster.  It is a 3D game that requires you to shoot items (like in an arcade), as your little car is moving and turning.  The car you ride in keeps score of you and your partner, so it is a fun little competition (I personally loved it since I beat everyone in our group)!
Steve and Pres playing Toy Story Mania

Mom and Dad at Epcot, enjoying the day
After getting Buzz Lightyear and Woody' autographs we went back to Epcot for a little "adult time."  We walked around visiting the countries and sampling some beer along the way....just what we needed on a nice sunny day, while the kids did some crafts.  We then headed to the Coral Reef for another delicious dinner.  After a long day, we called it an early night and headed back to the hotel.  Our family had already made plans to make it to MK first thing the following morning, so we wanted to be well-rested for our last day.
Family fun at Epcot
Dinner at Coral Reef (Epcot)
Saturday ended up being our most productive day!  We arrived 10 minutes after the park opened and went straight to the new fantasyland area so the kids could do some of their favorite rides.  The four of us did the Barnstormer rollercoaster (without any line) 3 or 4 times in a row!  Then they rode several more rides, before we met up with my parents.  Once we connected with them, we did Thunder Mtn and Splash Mtn!  Then it was time for the kids to get made up!

Pres and Poppy on Splash Mtn
Love everyone's faces!!
Pres chose to get dressed up like a pirate.  We all went to watch him get his make-up and then they put a costume on him.  He was so excited, and was the cutest pirate I have ever seen!
"Chris Raidrage" without his eye patch

My mother, Bennett and I had to leave before he was completely finished to head over to the Bippidy Boppidy Salon for her big transformation.  We had seen girls all over the parks with various hairstyles, but nothing like the one Bennett chose.  I thought she would go for the bun with a princess tiara, but nope....she chose the hoochie mama rock star hair!  I wanted her to be happy, so I let her do what she wanted.

Our mean pirate and rock star princess
For our final day, we continued to ride our favorites, and squeeze in as much as we could.  We ate at the newest restaurant at MK for our last meal, Be Our Guest.  Pres slept in my lap, but the rest of us enjoyed our cuisine.  I must admit that all of the food we had was divine the entire time we were on the Disney property.  It is hard for me to imagine how they can serve such large quantities of people, and preserve the taste...but they do!  My parents left after dinner, but we lasted until 11pm (well Pres slept in the stroller, but the rest of us went strong).  We finally departed with nothing but good memories.  Thanks to my parents for the awesome gift and memories to last a lifetime!
Family Pic on last day!


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