Saturday, December 25

Disney World 2010

3 months later, I'm finally going to bite the bullet and start with the "blogging catch up". On September 5, we left for our long awaited trip to Disney World. John's parents had given the trip to us for Christmas 2009, but we wanted to wait until Brooklyn was closer to 4. We had to take Emma out of school for 4 days, but it was so worth it to not have all the lines! We truly had a great time and are so grateful to Nana and GDad for treating us to such a fun trip.

Day 1-Travel Day and Downtown Disney
Our four left from Little Rock and we met Nana and GDad in Orlando on Sunday, September 5. Traveling with Disney is so great because once you check your luggage at the airport, you don't see it again until you are in your hotel room. (a dream with little kiddos!) We hopped on the Magical Express bus and went to our awesome hotel: Port Orleans Riverside. We checked in and quickly found Nana and GDad. The hotel gave Brooklyn her "First Visit" button that Emma had told her all about and she was ecstatic! We had dinner reservations at Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney, so we hopped on a boat at our hotel to get there. The girls had never eaten there before, so it was a lot of fun. We walked around downtown for a bit after dinner, but we were tired and knew we had a big week ahead.

Day 2- Epcot, Bippity Boppity Boutique, and Dinner at Cinderella's Castle
We started day #2 at Epcot. The first character we saw was Stitch from Lilo and Stitch and Brooklyn was SO excited. She had no idea who he was, but because he was a character she was stoked. We went towards Soarin' (a really fun ride) to try to beat the crowd and when we passed by an indoor "character spot" and saw all the classic characters and no line, we stopped. The girls got their pictures taken with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto. We went on to ride Soarin' (a few times), Nemo, and Figment's Imagination. There were quite a few exhibits that we stopped for as well. We decided to do lunch back at our hotel. We were on the Dining Plan (which I totally recommend) and it was great to go back to the hotel to eat instead of eating at the park that afternoon. We all rested for a bit before we headed to the Magic Kingdom for a night of lots of fun.
We were all anticipating going to the Magic Kingdom because it is what we all think of when we think of "going to Disney World". We couldn't wait to see Brooklyn's face when she first saw Cinderella's castle. She DID NOT disappoint. It is a face I will never, ever forget. Her excitement brought tears to my eyes and John was able to capture it all! Talk about a picture worth a thousand words. Our little princess could not believe she was actually seeing Cinderella's castle.

Since Nana and GDad treated us to this fun trip, John and I treated the girls to Bippity Boppity Boutique at Magic Kingdom. We brought dresses from home, but they got to have their hair, nails and makeup done at the castle before we went to eat dinner with all the princesses inside the castle. It was a blast. The girls doing their hair and make-up were awesome and really did make it "magical". Emma chose the Disney Diva hairdo with extensions and all. Brooklyn went for the Classic Fairytale look. They both had such a great time and looked so cute. I prefer my girlies with no makeup, but it was a special treat to get all "fancy" for dinner.

When John and I took Emma when she was 4, we did not eat at Cinderella's castle, so this dinner was new for all of us. We were greeted in the waiting area by Cinderella and had time to take pictures with her. When our table was ready we went upstairs. All the girls (including Nana and myself) got magic wands and the boys got swords. Throughout the night, we saw 4-5 of the Disney Princesses and were able to take pictures and get autographs. Our meal was really great. It was a super fun night! The girls had napped that afternoon, so we stayed that night for the parade and the fireworks. The parade and fireworks were awesome. Disney really knows how to do it right. We didn't get back home until almost 11 and we were exhausted. The exhaustion was so worth it for a super fun day!

Day 3- Magic Kingdom
On Tuesday, we went back to Magic Kingdom to ride rides and see the shows. We did not have any reservations this day, so it was nice to be able to take our time a little more than the day before. The girls loved all the rides and so did the grown ups! John's parents took the kids to the Monster Inc. Laugh Floor while John and I rode Space Mountain. We went to Toon Town where Brooklyn and John rode on Goofy's roller coaster. Emma wanted no part in that! She is not our dare devil although we learned Em doesn't mind the dark rides and B does. Emma loved Pirates of the Caribbean, but Brooklyn was practically in my lap and ready to get off. We watched the Main Show on the castle stage while we had an afternoon snack. Nana was nice enough to wait in line for us (while we were watching the show) to see Tiana and Navene from Princess and the Frog. We did a lot that day and as you can tell from the pictures, B was worn out. She is not one to fall asleep on shoulders and laps, but she did many times this trip.

Day 4-Animal Kingdom and Epcot
Day 4 was an early morning because we had breakfast reservations at Donald's Safari Breakfast at the Tusker House in Animal Kingdom at 8:00AM. The buffet was SO good. They had every breakfast item you could imagine and we were all stuffed at the end. The girls got to meet Donald when we first came in. Mickey, Goofy and Pluto came around to our table as we were eating. Em and B got all of their autographs and pictures. After breakfast, we quickly went to get in line for the safari. It is one of our favorites and a fun way to see lots of animals closer up than you see them at a zoo. We all loved this. My favorite part was the sweet little baby elephant with her Mom. Next, was our families all time favorite show anywhere in Disney, The Lion King Show. It is better than Broadway. The people, the costumes, the tricks, and the music are all amazing. John's parents were awesome to take the girls to Dinoland while John and I rode Everest. It is an amazing roller coaster. We wish the line would have been shorter to ride it more than once. We met up with everyone in Dinoland. It was so HOT this day that we were all getting tired quickly. John's parents left and the four of us finished up a few rides before heading to the hotel to eat and rest.
After resting, we went back to Epcot. We got there early to ride a few rides before our dinner reservation in Mexico at San Angel Inn. During this time we hoofed it across the park to get the girls picture taken with Aladdin and Jasmine. Mexico has a fun atmosphere inside and we always enjoy eating there. When we finished, we were in the perfect place to watch Illuminations, the fireworks show at Epcot.

Day 5- Hollywood Studios
We went to Hollywood Studios on Thursday. There are so many great shows at this park. Our first thing on the list was to get a Fast Pass for Toy Story Mania and for Aerosmith's Rockin' Roller Coaster. John and Emma were dying to go on the Star Wars ride, so we went there while we waited for our Fast Pass time. The girls LOVED Star Wars! Their Daddy was so proud. Honey I Shrunk the Kids has a really fun covered playground. Everything is HUGE, so it makes you appear like you shrunk. Very fun for kids of all ages. :) We finally got to go on the Toy Story ride and it was OUR FAVORITE. So fun! So fun that we just gave our girls the Toy Story Mania Wii game that is modeled after the ride. We had reservations at the Sci-Fi Diner for lunch and it was great. You sit in
old cars to eat and watch old movies on a giant drive-in screen. The food was really good and the atmosphere was fun for the girls. Nana and GDad, once again, took the girls while John and I went on my all time favorite roller coaster, Rockin' Roller Coaster. It did not disappoint. Emma and Brooklyn loved the Ariel show and Playhouse Disney. There are not a ton of rides at HS, but lots of fun shows. Right in the middle of the park, is an outdoor show of Highschool Musical and the girls loved dancing to that. We were all tired, but managed to get ourselves on the monorail because the girls wanted to ride it. We rode to Magic Kingdom to hit just a couple rides we had missed before.

Day 6- Downtown Disney, Swimming and Hollywood Studios
On Friday, Nana and GDad had to leave. They drove down and started back on the first leg of their trip that day. After saying our goodbyes and a million thank you's, the four of us took the boat to Downtown Disney. We still had not gone to Lego Land and the Christmas store for our ornament. We spent at least an hour at Lego Land. The Lego exhibits were amazing and the girls loved all the stations they had set up to play with. We let the girls pick out a Lego set to bring home. It is probably the best $25 gift we have ever bought. It has entertained all of us for many hours back at home. We also all picked our our souvenir Christmas ornament at the Christmas store.
We went to our hotel to finally enjoy the pool. The hard part about Disney is that there is so much to do that it is hard to really enjoy the really nice hotels. Our hotel had a great pool with a waterslide. After 5 days of being there, we finally had time (and energy) to go enjoy it. While we were there, we all voted and decided we would spend our last evening at Hollywood Studios. We ate at Pizza Mania and played games at the arcade before heading back over to Toy Story Mania to ride one last time. We had to wait about 35 minutes in line (yes, this was the longest we probably waited the whole trip for a ride), but it was worth it. One thing we did not get to do the day before was the American Idol Experience, so we did that too. We had never done it before and since we have always been big American Idol fans, we couldn't resist. It was really fun to see what the show is like and to actually get to vote on the contestants. The girls loved it. It was a perfect, relaxing day to an awesome (yet, exhausting) vacation. We can't even express how grateful we are to John's parents for taking us there. The girls were perfect ages and perfect little travelers. It was a blast!


kate said...

Wow! Great post Al! Feel like I just enjoyed it all with you! :) that had to be hard to write and remember. Happy for you that it is done!

Nana said...

It couldn't have been a more perfect trip! And the girls made it perfect for all of us - they were great little troupers through the long, hot days! Thanks for the blog - I feel as if I've been there again!