Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 5 Magic Kingdom

Sunday was our selected day for the Magic Kingdom.  We took the ferry into the park and arrived just in time to watch the morning Main Street parade.

Magic Kingdom is huge. For those that haven't been, the parking lot alone is bigger than all of Disneyland and California Adventure parks together.  The park is substantially larger.  For a little perspective, Disneyland is 300 acres.  Disneyworld (all four parks) is over 30,000 acres.
Disney World has some apps that provide real time wait times for the rides. We had been checking on the times over the past few months to get a feel for the ride times.  The ride times weren't nearly as bad while we were there but many still had an hour wait to get on.  Thank heavens for fast passes because there is no way we were going to stand in those long lines with that many little kids.  The longest we typically waited was about 15 minutes.  Wait times in the peak seasons can exceed two hours.  That's just crazy.
At the beginning of our trip we told the kids that they could choose one toy.  We advised them to keep an eye out each day at the different parks and then on the last day they could make their decision.  It was a good thing we told them that too because there were so many things those little kids wanted.  "I want that!" was a commonly heard phrase.  Thankfully though they didn't beg us because they knew the stipulations.
We spent the first part of the morning in Adventureland. We took the kids on a fun walk through of the Swiss Family Treehouse.  It makes me want to go back and watch the movie again.  We spent the rest of the morning riding the Jungle Cruise, the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and visiting the Tiki Room.
We had lunch reservations at the Crystal Palace where the kids got to meet the Winnie the Pooh characters and enjoy another wonderful buffet.

After lunch we went and did more rides. We first did Pirates of the Carribean. It has recently been updated and now has Jack Sparrow as part of the ride.  The kids enjoyed that.  Then we went and rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland.  That was a fun one.  The kids enjoyed the roller coasters quite a bit.  After Frontierland we then headed over to Tomorrowland. Unfortunately Splash Mountain was closed for renovations.  While in Tomorrowland we rode Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Space Mountain. Space Mountain was another favorite of the kids.

After Tomorrowland we headed up to Fantasyland.  We rode the tea cups at the Mad Tea Party, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and topped it off with Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

We then headed back to Main Street to watch the evening Main Street Parade.

It was a really fun, action filled day.  We didn't stick around for the fireworks though because the kids were getting tired and we knew we would be back again on Tuesday.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 4 Hollywood Studios

Blake started wheezing Friday night and of course I did not bring our nebulizer on our trip. I knew all he needed was one steroid treatment and he would be alright. I didn't want to take him to a doctor but finally decided it was the best thing to do. I found an urgent care and was one of the first in line Saturday morning.  He was much better after that treatment and after we were done we packed up our vans and headed to Hollywood Studios for the day. 
 Heather really wanted her kids to get pictures with Disney characters. When she was in college she did the Disney college program and was Winnie the Pooh in the Crystal Palace for a few months. 

Overall, Hollywood Studios was more fun than Epcot.  It had some more enjoyable shows like the Indiana Jones show, the Muppets 3D, and the Little Mermaid Show. We even did the Star Wars ride that morning.  It was pretty cool with some fun graphics.  We enjoyed the park quite a bit.
For lunch we went to Hollywood and Vine so that the kids could have lunch with the characters.  It was a buffet style of lunch and we let the kids eat whatever they wanted.  They loved being able to get up and go for seconds or thirds and dish up whatever they felt like.
 This is Sophia the 1st. A new Disney character. The characters come around to your table when you are eating so you don't have to get in a line.
 One of Blake's favorites is Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
 Doc McStuffins and a "real" doctor!
 Handy Manny.

After lunch we went on some more rides. We did Tower of Terror and Rock n' Roller Coaster.  Both were two of our favorites up to that point.  They were very entertaining. Blake was tall enough for Tower of Terror but hated it. He didn't cry, but we can still ask him if we wants to ride it and he'll tell you that he does not like it. Scared him a lot.

The line to see Tucker's favorite character, Sorcerer Mickey, was really long.  So we just took his picture from the side.  Tucker was content.

Some Toy Story soldiers were passing through the streets so Tucker decided to mimic one of them.

We waited a very long time at the end of the evening to meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody. 

 Buzz accidently knocked over Austin, big mistake, Heather had to come to the rescue. Austin was not happy and cried and cried.
 Cody, Dan, my Dad and Tucker waited outside.
 We finally got our picture and headed home for the night.

The evenings were so pretty with the sunsets.  Hollywood Studios looked cool as we took the train to the parking lot.

Day 3 Wild Florida

On Friday the 23rd we drove to Wild Florida in Kenansville, about 40 minutes away from Orlando. My cousin is the manager of the Alligator park. We were able to hold baby alligators, go on an air boat ride and see many alligators and other wildlife. It was pretty amazing. 

 If you look closely you can see the alligator. The air boat drivers just fly us along and then stop and point out the gators. 

 Heather and her oldest son Ethan. 

 Almost impossible to get 6 kids to hold still for a picture.
That evening a few of us went over to Jared and Carly's house to see their new baby, Oliver. 
We have some great photos of each of us holding the baby gator, Fluffy, but I haven't received them from my Mom yet. 

Day 2 Epcot

We headed to Epcot on our first day in the park. Cody was in the implant class for half the day, but met up with us around 2 in the afternoon. Our kids are perfectly capable of walking but we brought the stroller for when they grew tired of walking and to put the backpack and water bottles in.   
Heather is 6.5 months pregnant and sat out on some of the rides. 

 Cody bought the Birnbaum Guides book for Disney World and researched the best rides, shows, and restaurants to visit.  We planned out a rough draft for each day in the different parks.  Epcot was easier to plan for because it's not as jam packed as the other parks, but it's still a fun park. Some of our favorite rides in Epcot were Soarin and Mission Space. Mission Space made us adults queasy but didn't bother the kids one bit. It definitely was not a ride for pregnant ladies or young kids. Cole was barely tall enough to ride it. We also did the boat ride through Mexico and got to see the singing parrots.  The kids liked that.  The 3D show for Captain EO was cheesy, but when you realize that it was made 30 years ago, it is quite impressive.
In the evening Heather and my Mom went back to the hotel with the kids while my Dad, Dan, Cody and I stayed and went to dinner in Mexico. After dinner we road Test Track and stayed and watched the firework show. Since Cody missed the morning in the park we wanted to get as much of the day in as he could. We decided we would stay late for the fireworks in Magic Kingdom another day so the kids could enjoy a firework show.

Overall Epcot was fun, but not great for little kids. It would be great to visit all the countries and try the food without little tagalongs. Maybe when they are older.

Day 1 Disney World Vacation

We flew to Orlando on Thursday, January 21st. We flew on Delta with a layover in Detroit. Heather and Dan's family had a layover as well in Detroit and we caught a connecting flight with them onto Orlando. This was Blake's first airplane ride and Cole's first that he remembers. Aubrey flew with me this past summer and Tucker barely remembers flying when we lived in Colorado. Blake asked me a dozen times if we were off the ground yet as we taxied on the runway. I assured him that he would know when we left the ground. They were great fliers. Our aircraft had TVs in the back of each seat and we brought 5 sets of headphones so everyone ended up having a pair except for me. I read on this trip.

 We were cutting it a little close on our connection in Detroit but the pilot invited our kids to check out the cockpit and the flight attendant gave our kids wings. Lots of buttons to push.

 The weather was snowy and icy. They had to de-ice the plane before we could leave.
 This was our view before arriving in Orlando that evening. It was a long day of travel, but we were all excited to get there. Cody booked us a nice 2 room suite with my parents at the Sheraton a few miles away from Disney World. Our main reason for heading to Florida was a dental implant course Cody needed to take. When my parents heard we were going, they asked if they could come along.  Then Heather heard of our trip and her family asked if they could come too. It became a family Disney World experience for a week. I was happy about it. We hadn't done Disney as a family yet, so we in for a new adventure.