Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Disney 2015 - Part Two!

Probably the biggest bummer about taking a short trip to Disney is knowing that you have to leave something out. Unless you have park hopper tickets and plan to only spend half days in the parks, it's impossible to see and do it all in just a few days. (And there's no way to see everything in each park in only half a day!) For many young families, the decision usually comes down to Animal Kingdom or Epcot. Which one will it be?

Our family chose to go to Epcot for this trip, mainly because there are literally three things we are interested in doing at Animal Kingdom at the moment. :) Tusker House, the Lion King show, and the Safari are totally awesome, and I KNOW there are more things we could do there, but there were even more things we knew we wanted to do at Epcot, so naturally, that was our pick!

With that said, Epcot is not necessarily the greatest place for the smallest set. A huge draw is the World Showcase, which houses pavilions from different countries around the world. The emphasis here seems to be on food sampling and shopping and taking in the culture, so while it would be totally awesome on an adult trip or with slightly older kids, your two year old just isn't going to get a whole lot out of it. Added to that is the fact that several of the most popular rides in this park have a height requirement...again, leaving the smallest in your group out. I do not regret our decision for one minute, because Evie and Grace actually did get a lot out of this trip. But Haha. And we all know Charlotte was just along for the ride!

I was excited to start the day with this stud in a Donald Duck shirt. ;)

Our day started off a bit shaky because of some of the very things I just mentioned. First up on our agenda was riding Soarin', a totally awesome simulation that makes you feel like you are flying over the state of California. It's an extremely popular ride that takes you through mountains and orange groves, over water and's really cool. You also have to be 40 inches tall to ride. This meant that Eric and I had to use a rider swap pass. One of us would take the girls to ride while the other waited with the two little ones, and then we get to swap. The cool thing is that the girls got to ride twice! Not so cool was the major fit Reagan threw when he realized he didn't get to go.

I spent the first 30 minutes of my day trying to calm down a SCREAMING child while juggling a baby, and of course I had a captive audience of strangers all around me which makes everything so FUN. Haha. A cast member came over to offer Reagan some stickers in an attempt to calm him down, but he was not having it! I was so frazzled by the time Eric and the girls came back that I was willing to scrap the whole thing and move on without taking my turn. But Eric wouldn't hear of it. He took over and made me take the girls and have a good time. I love him! I'm so thankful that I got to go, because they are getting ready to close down the ride and completely change it. The ride video will be updated, and I really wanted to see the original before it was changed!

After that fiasco we marched straight to an area I knew Reagan would like - The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Here we rode the Finding Nemo ride and gazed at the dolphins and fish for a little while.... 

Charlotte began to get fussy, so while I looked for a spot to nurse her, Eric took the older three to Turtle Talk with Crush. There was only one problem. As soon as I sat down I got a text from Eric saying that our lunch reservation was actually about 20 minutes earlier than we thought it was. I immediately texted back, "Then don't go to Turtle Talk!"

It was too late. Long story short, I bit my finger nails waiting and waiting for them to come out of that attraction. We narrowly made our reservation time, giving me my second panic attack of the day. (There is a fee if you don't make it!) It was just NOT my morning, let me tell ya. Thankfully, things really did start looking up from here! For a little while. Haha.

We had a lunch reservation at Coral Reef, the restaurant that is surrounded by giant tanks filled with sharks and sting rays and other under the sea creatures. We even saw a scuba diver or two! This was one of the locations filmed in the famous Full House episodes that we love so much. The girls were so cute here. They have absolutely no concept of space and time, and they kept asking if we thought the Full House people were still there. :)

Coral Reef gets iffy reviews sometimes, but more often than not I have read the steak is good, so our entire family ordered steak for lunch. I thought it tasted swell, and I would definitely come back here again.

Grace didn't want ANY help cutting up her steak. "Dis is fun," she said. So she just kept sawing away with her butter knife until Eric finally intervened. :)

We always get dessert all around since it's included in our free dining plan. I ordered a turtle cheesecake that was quite tasty, but the kids were more impressed by the sugar sculpture on top! Our waitress even brought us an extra dessert to celebrate us coming to Disney with four kids.

Oh my gosh, let me tell you something about going to Disney with four kids, hahaha. If you go to Disney, land of the convenient family of four, with THREE small kids, you will get more than your share of looks and comments about having your hands full. Trust me. But if you go to Disney with FOUR small are a complete and total sideshow. Everyone takes a second glance. Every other one cannot help but say something. Apparently *slightly* bigger families don't grace the World very often. And come to think of it...I don't recall seeing a single family there with as many kids as us. Not one. I am sure they existed...but we were a rare breed. Rare enough to get our own special desserts, haha.

By this time it was midday, and we decided we really needed to get out of the heat, go back to our hotel and regroup before a full night ahead. After our slightly stressful morning, we all just needed some rest. I highly highly recommend taking the time to do this instead of trying to push through with a bunch of little ones. We wanted to give ourselves a fresh start! (We also needed to make a quick run to the store for some necessities. That is one perk of having your own car while you're there!)

After just a couple of hours of relaxing it was time to head back to Epcot for our dinner reservation. We always leave our hotel at least an hour early, because you don't want to underestimate how much time it will take you to travel. Disney is a BIG place, and then you have park, go through bag check etc. It's like getting ready for a flight, haha. But we made great time on this night, so we were able to stop for some pictures and even peruse a gift shop before heading to the restaurant.


We ducked into the Art of Disney store, which is filled the Disney variety. Eric wanted to buy a print for his office at work. But maybe you are able to see into the future just a little more clearly than we did in the moment. Four small an art store...$$$....

What were we thinking?

Eric was checking out when that slow motion parent nightmare happened. I saw Reagan pick up a Beauty and the Beast knick knack...probably handcrafted or something...and he dropped it. And I watched it break into three pieces as it hit the floor. We had ten minutes to get to our reservation. (Not again!) I scurried to pick it up and tried to find a price tag on this thing...there wasn't one.


I thought we had gone and done it. Oh well, nice knowing you Disney. We are on the outcast list for sure. :)

Eric took up the broken pieces and told them about our son's blunder. The lady responded with. "Is he under 20? It happens!"

And that was it. THANK YOU Disney. Haha. Whew!

So we breathed a sigh of relief and went skipping along to The Garden Grill for Chip and Dale's Harvest Feast Dinner! This would be our first character meal of the trip. The Garden Grill is a revolving restaurant that very slowly spins as you enjoy a family-style meal with some friendly critters.

Because of the curved shape of the restaurant, it was a little difficult getting good pictures here. Really weird angles from where I was sitting, haha.

On the menu here was salad, dinner rolls, beef, mashed potatoes, dressing, the sustainable fish of the day, turkey and gravy, mac and cheese, sweet potato fries.... NO excuses to be hungry after this meal!

I love the farming theme...Mickey looks so adorable in his plaid and overalls! 

Don't get Chip and Dale mixed up...the don't like that one bit! ;)

(Chip has a little black nose...Dale has the big orange one. You know, just in case you ever cross paths, haha.)

This was a fun meal, and our waitress was outstanding. I give her our best service of the trip award! I would definitely visit The Garden Grill again, and it was so much fun getting to see some new characters. We had a lot of laughs here, and it set the tone for one really great night ahead!

We were set to take on the World Showcase this evening. I know I said this last time, but it's worth repeating that Epcot really comes alive at night. It feels like a totally different park, and I love it! We decided to try something new for the kids this time to keep them entertained as we traveled through the countries. It was called Agent P's World Showcase Adventure, and it turned out to be our family's FAVORITE memory from the trip! It was SO COOL!

You are given a special phone and a secret mission which you can choose to begin in either Mexico or the UK. We chose the UK mission, and it was a blast!

It's basically a really awesome high-tech scavenger hunt through the country. Magical objects pop out of unexpected places, window displays come to life and start talking to you, tv screens appear from nowhere...there are hidden's just...amazing!

I think everyone really enjoyed this, kids and adults alike!

(That is until a soldier came to life and scared the crap out of Gracie. She took off running, haha! And the poor thing didn't live it down the rest of the trip.) 

Once our mission was complete we had the option to continue on and start a new mission in a new country. We decided not to because there were other things we wanted to do, much to Grace's dismay. She really wanted to do another mission! You better believe that next time we will be trying out the one that starts in Mexico. This has become a Disney vacation must-do for our family!

When you are done, you just drop off your phone in a designated box and get on your way!

I can't forget to mention that while we were hanging out in the UK, there was a really amazing cover band playing called The British Revolution. We were rocking out as we strolled along, haha. Really, if we weren't already preoccupied I totally would have stopped everything to go and listen to them. Love the Epcot nightlife!

The sun was setting and we made our way to some of our favorite countries. Norway is super cool...and so weird. Haha. This is the country that is going Frozen crazy, because that's the setting of the movie, of course. (I believe they are getting a new Frozen ride!) But they are most known for their folklore of trolls. The gift shops are FULL of troll stuff.

We couldn't help but get our Norwegian selves on. 

There are so many random photo opportunities throughout the world showcase. The shops all have displays out on the street, and they encourage you to come and mess with their stuff. You can try on huge floppy sombreros, play with the toys. Our girls were attracted to these marionettes! 

We had to make a stop in Germany to pick up some of our favorite snacks. The caramel popcorn from the Werther's store is SO GOOD. We got two huge bags of it! We just had a great time strolling along in the summer night air.

Everything about our crazy morning was forgotten and replaced by really great memories that night. As usual, Epcot totally redeemed itself once the sun went down! We joke (but maybe it's not a joke!) that next time we'll just save the park for nighttime. :)

There are gorgeous fountains lit up at night, so as we were making our way toward the exit we attempted a family photo.

Haha, Reagan looks so amused in these.

We had already packed in so many memories and we hadn't yet glimpsed the icon of Disney World...the one thing almost everyone thinks of when they think of a trip to Disney...Cinderella's Castle! We saved the best (in our opinion) for last. 

Next up: A very FULL day in the Magic Kingdom!


Stefanie said...

Reading these posts have me itching to take our kids. Hopefully we will go in a couple years! And you can plan it for us!

Adrien said...

I would love to! :)


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