Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

Well, we finally bit the bullet!  We took the kids to Disney World last week.  It's been a plan in the works for several months now, and now we are back, resting up from our crazy, memorable, and fantastic week in Disney!  Nora discovered about a year ago that Disney World is an actual PLACE, not just the store in the mall.  Ever since then, her interest has been growing and she's been asking to go see Cinderella's Castle.  However, we weren't sure we were quite ready to take three kids 4 years old and under to such a busy (and expensive) place.  But, we did a little bit of research, came upon some great deals, and decided to book our vacation.

We told Nora and Liam the night before we left.  For the past few months whenever Nora would ask about going to DW, we would tell her that we needed to save up money for tickets because it cost money to go.  So, she has been "saving" her money in her purse....she's gotten some money for her birthday and several friends and family have given her a dollar here or there to go toward her "ticket."  So, the Thursday night before we left, Jonathan came home with about five dollars in cash from the girls in his office.  We told Nora to go get her purse so that we count the money.  When we counted all of the dollar bills and coins, Jonathan told her that she finally had enough money to buy a ticket to Disney World.  Then, he told her that we were going to go and that we were leaving the next day!  It took about two or three minutes for the magnitude of what he was saying sunk in, and then....she wouldn't stop bouncing off of the walls.  Liam was just excited that he was going to be staying in a hotel!

Jonathan had to work most of the day Friday, so Jonathan's parents took the kids and drove half way.  When Jonathan got done at the office, Stella and I picked him up and we drove to meet up with the rest of the crew.  We woke up the next morning and finished our drive to Orlando.  That Saturday, it was POURING!  We had to unload the cars in the pouring rain, and we were just praying that our entire week there wasn't going to be a washout.  That first night we were there we took a bus to the Magic Kingdom to show the kids Cinderella's Castle from a distance, and we rode the monorail to The Polynesian where we got some supper.  After that, we went to bed so we could be well rested for our upcoming busy days.

Sunday, Day One:  We woke up to more rain!  But, everyone was so excited to be there!  We had planned a character lunch at Hollywood Studios to eat and meet with the characters from Playhouse Disney.  Agent Oso, Handy Manny, and The Little Einsteins were there.  The kids really enjoyed getting to meet everyone, especially June from The Little Einsteins.  (When she finally came to our table, Liam hugged her and just stayed hugging her for at least a minute.  He has a thing for girls with dark hair!)  After lunch, we got to see more characters like Tigger and Winnie the Pooh, Mater and Lightning McQueen, and Chip and Dale.  The kids were beside themselves!  The rain finally stopped and the weather turned out to be beautiful the rest of the day!  One of my favorite rides of the entire trip was in Hollywood Studios.  It was the Woody/Buzz Lightyear ride and it was AWESOME!  I highly recommend it.  Mid-afternoon, Liam was exhausted, wet, and ready for a nap, so Mr. Paul took him back to the room while Nora, Jonathan, Ms. Joyce, Stella and I rode some more rides.  Nora rode the Tower of Terror and LOVED IT!  She was so brave!  We ended that night by eating at the restaurant at our resort.  We stayed at Old Key West, and the restaurant there is called Olivia's.  Nora was awarded the Artist of the Day award, and her artwork (color sheet) was displayed in a special spot and she was awarded a certificate and a balloon.

Monday, Day Two:  Gorgeous weather...no more rain!  Praise the Lord! This was our first day at the Magic Kingdom!  In my opinion, the Magic Kingdom has the most to offer for small kids.  There are tons of characters to meet, but there are so many rides that Nora and Liam could go on.  When we first entered the park, we saw an opportunity to meet "The Princesses!"  This was Nora's whole purpose in being in Disney, so we waited for over 45 minutes to meet Cinderella, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty.  Nora was speechless!  Seriously, she was so shy upon seeing them.  I would feed her things to say, and she would repeat them, but I think if I wasn't there prompting her that she would have totally frozen up.  It was precious!  We made lunch reservations at the Liberty Tavern.  The food there was AH-mazing!  All of the adults got their pot roast and mashed potatoes, and it was DIVINE!  Definitely try to eat there if you haven't been there....YUM!  Again, Liam got tired by the mid-afternoon, so Mr. Paul took him back, allowing Nora and Jonathan to ride lots of rides that Liam couldn't go on anyway.  Mr. Paul and Liam came back after a nap to meet up with us and ride a few more rides.  While in the Magic Kingdom that first day, Nora rode Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, It's A Small World, The Pirates of the Caribbean, and many more.  She was having so much fun and wasn't afraid of anything.  After each ride she would ask to ride it again!  Jonathan was having so much fun with his little playmate!  We stayed at the Magic Kingdom until they closed that night, then headed back to the room to rest.

Tuesday, Day Three: We headed to the Animal Kingdom.  This was our hottest and most humid day in Disney World.  By this day, also, Nora had been going for four days nonstop, so I could tell once she woke up that she wasn't feeling like her usual, happy self.  Our day in Animal Kingdom didn't last as long due to the combination of those things.  However, they really enjoyed it.  We saw the Nemo show, ate lunch, and then headed to Dinoland where they have a large outdoor playground called The Bone Yard.  It's a gated playground with slides, caves, water fountains, things to climb on, and fossils to dig for.  Liam was in heaven!  We let the kids run around and play in there for at least an hour and half, and they would have kept going had we let them.  It was just right for us that day because there were no lines to wait in...they could just run and play with a bit of freedom.  We got some frozen icees, some popcorn, and rode a dinosaur ride before heading home for a nap...for everyone.  That night, instead of going out to dinner or hitting up another park, we played in the big resort pool...which was awesome.  They had a gigantic water slide which we got to go on several times, and the kids got to experience a hot tub for the first time ever.  It was a good day, although different from our other days there.

Wednesday, Day Four:  Epcot!  I just love Epcot!  It's so fun and interesting to me, and the layout of Epcot makes it feel less crowded than the other resorts.  I also think less families with young children end up at Epcot.  The kids got to ride a Nemo ride while I fed Stella, then we ate lunch in Mexico (at the Cantina there), then we rode the Mexico ride two times.....it was cool, quiet, and entertaining!  Can't lose!  We rode a few more rides there (Test Track, Figment, and some others I can't remember right now), and then we headed BACK to the Magic Kingdom.  There were many rides we hadn't been able to get to the day we were there earlier in the week, and Liam hardly rode any rides there since we spent so much time meeting characters.  So, Liam rode Small World, the Carousel, saw Philharmagic, and the Tea Cups.  Just as it was getting dark, Liam started getting exhausted, so Jonathan's parents took him home to clean up and play at the room.  We finished up a few more rides and grabbed some hamburgers.  Just as we were about to leave, we caught the fireworks show.  We tried to beat the crowd out of the park, but MAN was it crowded!  All in all, we got to do and see most everything that we wanted to.  It was such a great time!

Stella was a DREAM the entire trip.  Seriously, the girl cried like three times the whole time.  She didn't sleep that great while we were there, but I cannot complain.  She is such a wonderful, sweet, content baby girl.  I am so thankful to God for her.  I carried her most of the time in my baby carrier.  It seemed like every time I would strap her in, she would instantly fall asleep.  I felt like a Momma Kangaroo!

We loved where we stayed...the Old Key West!  So much character, such nice accommodations, the perfect space for our crew.

Jonathan's parents.....they were great!  I am so thankful that they came with us.  The kids really enjoyed them being there, and they were so helpful. It would have been nearly impossible for Jonathan and I to handle the three kiddos by ourselves in Disney World, especially with me having to nurse Stella every 2.5-3 hours.  Jonathan said that we probably won't go back until our youngest is four years old.  Nora did great and hardly complained about anything the only trip, but for Liam, he didn't really understand the reason behind the lines and the waiting.  All in all, it was a good practice at patience while we were there!  HAHA!

We had such a wonderful family vacation.  I am so thankful we were able to go and had a great time.  We made some fabulous family memories.

For the record, these pictures are from my point-and-shoot camera.  I wasn't about to take my big camera to Disney....I had WAY too much to carry around anyway, and I didn't want anything to happen to it! So, please forgive the poor picture quality!  Also, please forgive the sporadic order of pictures....I don't how that happened.


The Smith Family said...

i'm so glad you all have such a great time...looks like a ton of fun

The Law Family said...

I love all the pictures. Looks like you guys had a great time!