Friday, September 19, 2014

Disney World Part 5

Thursday, September 11

Wow, I still can't type the date September 11 and not get chills thinking about that day. While we were in Disney World I kept seeing all of the flags at half mast around the property on this morning and wondering what it was for, and then it hit me. It was such a stark contrast to the surrounding scenery...a reminder that while we may have been in the "Disney bubble" there was still a real world out there and that we should all remember to share the pain and pray for those who lost loved ones on that day.

It was almost like a stepping stone back into the real world that we were about to enter. Only one more full day was left for us on our trip! Just one more day to soak in as much of the fun and magic and memories as we could.

We got up as early as possible in order to take advantage of the last of the time we had, but I still think we may have missed rope drop by a little bit this morning. Whew! We were trying, we really were. :)

We had a full agenda for this day, and we wanted to make sure we were able to hit a few of our favorites but also see and experience even more than we were able to on our first day. First up was the most requested ride of all from the girls - a mini-rollercoaster called Goofy's Barnstormer. They weren't going to let us do anything else this day until we marched them straight there!

Evelyn took her turn first with Eric, and she loved it! Next up was Gracie's turn. I was waiting with the other two kiddos to see their car go by when Eric and Grace came strolling up behind us. Apparently Gracie got all the way up to the loading area and got scared. I was shocked! Gracie LOVES watching videos of roller coasters and rode Test Track with no problems just a couple of days before. Guess she just wasn't feeling it on this day. :)

Right next to the Barnstormer is the Dumbo ride. The second most requested stop of the day was to let the kids play in the waiting area play place. In busier times you actually get a beeper for this ride so that you don't have to stand in line forever, and while you wait your kids can play in a special circus-themed area. We definitely didn't need to make this stop, but the girls wanted to check it out.

It was too cute, and a seriously genius idea on Disney's part. I think all rides should have beepers, haha.

Smile if you're at Disney!

We rode a ton of rides on this day, including a couple that I was convinced I wasn't going to get to ride at all on this trip. I had heard mixed reviews on whether or not Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion were too scary for little ones. Some people said their kids were terrified...others said that they were among their favorite rides. I looked at Eric and asked should we or shouldn't we?

The thing is, I really wanted to ride them myself, haha. They are iconic for goodness sake. But my mama bear instinct was telling me not to potentially ruin the magic by scaring the crap out of my children. :) In the end, Eric said we should go for it and I nervously agreed. Eeee...this could be really fun or really bad!

We tried the Haunted Mansion first. "It's not scary at all!" the waitress from the Crystal Palace had told us on our first day. It was Evelyn that I was worried about on this one. She's my tender-heart and is easily scared by anything remotely spooky. Wouldn't you know - she thought it was a hoot! Grace on the other hand, who is usually my brave child, thought it was the creepiest thing on the planet. Haha. As we were getting back into the strollers to move on to the next thing, Evelyn kept razzing her little sister, "Ooooh Gracie - it's soooo scaaaary!" Thankfully Grace took it all in stride, but it was such a complete switch from the norm. What was happening to my children on this trip??

The same exact scenario played out on the Pirates ride. There are cannons that shoot out in the very beginning and poor Gracie thought they were really firing at her. She seemed to be doing okay but then towards the end she turned to me and totally deadpan said, "I do not want to be on this ride, mom." :D She did great though, and didn't freak out or anything. Just not her thing! And that's okay. Now we know. 

We could have just kept riding things all day, but we had a very special reservation to get to for lunch! We were SO lucky to snag a fast pass reservation for the Be Our Guest restaurant. I had heard so many great things about how just walking into the building felt like you were stepping right into the Beauty and the Beast movie. People weren't lying....

There are three different rooms to dine in, all rooms depicted in the movie, and we were able to find a  spot in the ballroom - my favorite! Behind those windows a silent snowfall slowly drifts down while you eat. We were in the mountains, after all! 

Eric and I ordered sandwiches which were among some of the best quick-service food we had that week. The kids chose grilled cheese and tomato soup. For dessert, we tried the "grey stuff" cupcake...

It was delicious! (Don't believe me, ask the dishes!) 

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Stunning details were everywhere we turned. They did such a great job replicating the movie here!

I planned it so that right after we had lunch at Beast's castle we could hop over and use a fast pass at Enchanted Tales With Belle. I thought we should get the full Beauty and the Beast experience. ;) This is a really cool attraction that is like a walk-through story which the children get to participate in.

Hello, Lumiere! 

Evelyn played the role of the wardrobe, and Gracie was given some silverware. 

Belle gave all of the children who participated appropriate from her book-loving character!

Gracie thought this was fabulous. She went all the way to Disney and was totally impressed by her new bookmark. :)

It had already been a great day, but one thing the girls were looking forward to most was up next! It was finally time to meet Anna and Elsa. Reagan had fallen asleep at this point, which I was bummed about. He actually loves these princesses, too. Some of his first words were "Let it go," and I'm not even joking. He might have heard his sisters sing it over and over and over for a few months, haha.

I was just watching the videos from this meet, and both of the girls were bouncing on their heels in nervous excitement as they watched the kids before them. Grace looked like she was about to come out of her skin!

Notice that she's still holding on to that bookmark, haha. Elsa was super friendly to the girls, carrying on a complete conversation even though both Evelyn and Grace seemed to be totally tongue-tied. They just stared at her in awe. :)

Anna is much more bubbly and hyper, and they seemed to loosen up a bit with her. The first thing Anna said to them was, "Oh, I see you went to visit my friend Belle!" 

Sigh...what I wouldn't have given to meet my favorite characters when I was their age. I only wish that Reagan hadn't been asleep in my arms!

This was the perfect time for us to say goodbye to the Magic Kingdom for a little while and head back to our room for a rest. I knew that it was going to be a late night for us that evening, and I didn't want to have to deal with crabby kids later. Plus, it's not a bad idea to take a mid-day break to escape the hottest part of the day (and the busiest!) If you have small children, I actually recommend it.

It's amazing how fast time flies, though! It seemed like we were only in our room for a little while before it was time to load back into the car and head to the Contemporary Resort. We had a dinner reservation to get to before going back into the park that night! 

It wouldn't be a first trip without a visit to Chef Mickey's!

Eric liked this place because there was sushi on the buffet. And the kids liked it because...well...

What's not to love?

By this time we had done so many character meals that the kids were totally used to know, this is just how we live life now! (How depressing when Mickey didn't show up at home during dinner time.) They were relaxed and into it...feeling the love....and getting goofy!

And speaking of Goofy....

Reagan made that fishy-face the entire trip. I think it's because he's getting some teeth, haha.

This was a fun meal! Sometimes Chef Mickey's gets a bad review online, but I can't imagine why. It was just peachy for us!

We were ready to get back to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy our very last night at Disney. Oh, how I was trying to soak it all in!

Our last picture with the castle, sniff sniff.

We made sure to walk slowly, enjoy the sights and sounds, and get in our very last rides of the trip. Per the girls' request that included going on It's a Small World and the carousel once again.

Nerd alert. :)

By now it was time to get ready for the event of the evening, the Main Street Electrical Parade. I had learned my lesson the hard way after the Halloween party...people take parades in this place very seriously. Haha. Like, they start sitting on the curb two hours before the dang thing starts. So I was so thankful that I had booked fast passes for us this time. This meant that we would get to sit in a roped off area with far less people and not have to waste our precious park time (and consequently, vacation dollars) sitting on our rears staking out a spot.

We were ready to see some lights!

What a fun night!

There was just one thing left for us to do. One thing that I had wanted to accomplish the entire trip that I hadn't already. And that one thing could be found in Adventureland. We ended up following the parade and swimming upstream in a sea of people...risking life and limb! that I could get my lips on a dole whip float. :)

It was sooo worth it. Mmm-mmm! And apparently Reagan thought so too, because he stole mine and wouldn't give it back, little stinker! We sat and enjoyed our treats right as the fireworks show Wishes was getting ready to begin. Instead of heading to Main Street and picking one spot to sit and watch the show, we decided to slowly make our way to the exit and watch them as we walked. Grace was really the only one who desperately wanted to see the fireworks, and I didn't want to disappoint her, so right as we entered the Town Square I turned the stroller around and let her watch the grand finale. I really can't think of a better way to have ended our trip. 

I took one more look at the castle and then we walked under the the "See ya real soon!" sign for the last time. Oh, how I hope it won't be too long before I get to visit this place again!

Friday, September 12

No one wanted to get out of bed this morning. We all laid around for as long as we possibly could before we had to get up and start gathering all of our things to leave. What an amazing trip we had! Soon we had our suitcases packed and we were wheeling them to the car. But first, I stood in the doorway of our room and just stared at it for a while. Haha. It was such a sad moment to leave our "home" for the week, knowing we'd probably never be in that same room again! The Caribbean Beach Resort had been good to us. We'd definitely stay there again sometime.

Thankfully, we had one final hurrah before hitting the road for a long day of driving. We had a table service meal credit left on our dining plan, which I had saved back so that we could have a special breakfast on the morning we left. We were headed to the Polynesian resort to dine with Lilo and Stitch at 'Ohana.

Although this was a character meal it was a nice change of pace, because the food was served family style and brought right to the table. No more buffets for us! There was bread and fruit, bacon, eggs, sausage, biscuits, potatoes, and even Mickey waffles. All we could possibly eat. Oh, and I can't forget about the yummy juice they serve up here. I believe it's called POG juice - pineapple, orange, and good!

Gracie's face in these pictures...haha...

"I'm over it." :)

Haha, just kidding....

The kids had one more chance to parade around and shake some maracas....

And then it was time to say goodbye to Disney World for real.

Gee, I think I'm getting more choked up about it now than I did then! Goodbyes are always a little harder after the magic has worn off. Having a week together with no worries or cares in the world...that was priceless. And we could do that anywhere, on any vacation. But I'm so glad that our first real family vacation all together was in the place I always dreamed of going myself. It took me 29 years to get there, and I'm so thankful that my kids had the chance to go when they still believe in the magic themselves. 

I'm especially thankful to this guy:

He's a good sport, and a great dad. :)

Many of you know we took this trip as a celebration of over five years of working towards becoming debt free. None of that would have happened without God blessing us with good health and giving Eric the ability to work and provide our family. There were a lot of sacrifices to get here. Was it worth it? Ohhh yes!

The very next day was our six year wedding anniversary. We spent it on the road, holding hands...listening to that biography of Walt Disney together. :) And feeling very content and blessed to be with our family. A van FULL of people, and one little person we haven't even met yet. Wow, what an eventful six years we have had. Has it all been worth it...? Yes, again! So very worth it. 

Let's just...not wait six more years to come back again - okay, dear? :)

Thanks for reading, friends! Have a magical day!

The End.


Glingdidit said...

If I'm being honest...this made me tear up a bit too...I miss that magical place! I had to laugh at your comments about the Haunted Mansion. Addison loves Casper and Scooby I figured the Haunted Mansion would be right up her alley. WRONG! Nearly every day over the past 2 months, she's reminded me that she's been praying and wishing to go back to Disney (and let's face have I!), and that she will NOT be riding the Haunted Mansion ride, EVER again. :-)

Heather said...

Wow. Just wow. This should all be put in a book somewhere. Not even kidding. You have made me even more sure that I want to take Kinley there some day! So glad you guys go to go, you deserved it!!

Cassie said...

how did i not comment on this? i read it and didn't comment - ayi, so sorry! LOVED LOVED LOVED this last post.

i enjoyed reading your entire trip. i even forwarded your blog on to a disney lover at work here. she LOVED following along!


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