Grow Old With Me, The Best Is Yet To Be...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Disney World Day 3

Saturday, May 7th: We went to the Animal Kingdom park on this day. Our breakfast reservations for Donald's Safari breakfast at the Tusker House were at 9:25 am. The morning went extremely smooth and all 5 of us were ready and out waiting for our bus at 8:30!
The bus took us directly to Animal Kingdom because the restaurant was inside the park itself.

Donald met us right before we were seated at our table. The girls were so excited! Breakfast was buffet style with jamba juice (and anything else we wanted to drink along with it.) They even had a special little section where the buffet tables were kid-size!! So cute!
Mickey Mouse came right to our table! How fun is that?!
Then came Daisy! Mikenna took note of her shoes! She thought they were neat and now wants some "fat high heels" too. Ha!
Then came Goofy! He started a kid parade right in the dining room! Gave all of them each a maraca and marched around the room!
Then he stopped by the table. Adiee had to go to the bathroom, she was missing Goofy! :( But I had a little chat with him and he kept giving me the thumbs up/thumbs down for him to come back so she didn't miss him! How sweet! It took about an hour and a half for all the characters to come in and visit with everyone.
When we were done eating, we set out to enjoy our day at the park. Outside the restaurant there was a man who was singing and Isla was hooked! He thought she was pretty cute, shakin' her tush and all! :)
Look who we found!! We were making our way to the Expedition Everest ride when Kasey spotted King Louie and Baloo from the Jungle Book in a little cove! We went up the pathway and we got there right before a whole slew of people started to form a line! Now that is some good luck! They saw us pulling up in the stroller and they came part of the way to meet us. King Louie got on his knuckles and right in Adiee's face! Wow, it was great! And there was also a park photographer up there so he got some great shots like these as well! :)
SO CUTE!! Our day was already 10 times better than the day before!
After we were done visiting with the Jungle Book characters we made it to Expedition Everest. The line was only about a 35 minute wait. So Mikenna and I waited in line, while Kasey had Adiee and Isla. He went and got fast passes for later. The wait went by pretty quick for Mikenna and I, the lines at the big attractions are pretty entertaining with lots to look at. This one had a yeti museum, and a room full of necessities if you were to actually climb the Himalayas. Kasey was in a spot that he could see the people in the coaster so when he saw us on it, he met us in the air-conditioned gift shop at the ride exit. He took both the big girls. Remember how I had to wait 35 minutes just for the line? Well that's the beauty of 'rider swap'. He got to go in the fast pass line. So I only had to wait about 15 for them to be done completely! While he was gone, I took Isla to get her a popsicle, played in the shade where he said he was, and let her play in the dirt. When they got out, he said that he couldn't believe that I was letting Isla play in the dirt. He spent the entire time that I was gone trying to keep them out of it (thinking I would go nuts if he let them get dirty! I don't know where he would get an idea like that?! Haha) They are kids, they are on vacation, and we decided to be 'go with the flow' parents to make the best out of our trip - I think I just proved that I was serious about that! Haha :)
With fast passes on hand, we started on our way to Dinoland U.S.A. and we noticed another character greeting cove. Though we had to wait in line this time, it wasn't too long. Plus Adiee asked specifically if we were going to meet Winnie the Pooh and friends, and Isla got really excited when I said, "I don't know, maybe!" There were more park photographers, so again there are more great shots of the girls here.
 Eeyore! He's adorable! 
Tigger!! They LOVED Tigger!
We stopped at a little fountain, the girls went crazy over it! It was pretty hot outside, so it was an opportunity for them to cool off. Plus Mikenna needed to wash off that Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich goatee off her face! LOL
Isla doesn't usually go for things like this when she is in her clothes, but she made an exception with no hesitation! haha! It was that hot! While we were in the Dino-land U.S.A. area, we did the DINOSAUR ride. It was another ride that wasn't ok for Isla to go on, so Kasey took the big girls and we did the rider swap again. It was SO cool, a bit too loud, but it was really fun! Of course when I took the girls, Adiee had to go to the bathroom soooo bad she was almost in tears, but we were at the point of no return... In the seat, buckled, and ready to go! I felt so bad for her.
When we were ready for lunch, we ate at Restaurantosaurus. Cute name! Their kid's meals were served in buckets. Hamburgers/Hot dogs with carrots, grapes, and a juicebox.
Right after lunch, we hurried over to the Finding Nemo musical line since the previous showing was full. Kasey ran to park the stroller while the girls and I got in line. That show was wonderful!! This time it was me that was getting goosebumps! Ha! Mikenna had already filled up the memory on her camera, then she got ahold of my cell phone and took about 100 blurry pictures of the Nemo show herself. lol Isla was getting pretty tired, so she fell asleep. After the show, we promised the girls that we would go back and do the "Triceratop Spin" and I felt so bad because this was actually a ride that Isla could go on, so I tried to wake her up but she wasn't having it! By the time Kasey and the girls got off of the ride, it was time for us to go back to Expedition Everest for our fast passes, and we decided to head over to the "Kali River Rapids" (a 40 minute line) which worked out since Isla was sleeping. That ride got you pretty wet and we still hadn't gotten any of the pictures that I wanted done with the park photographers in front of the "Tree of Life" a 14-story tall, 50-foot wide tree in the heart of Animal Kingdom! But that didn't stop us, we went and got those pictures done anyway. I can't show the pictures they took yet...
With the park closing at 6, we decided that we were spent for the day. Our feet were KILLING us and we wanted to beat the crowd again to the bus stop. On our way out, we couldn't resist the "Discovery Island Trails" which took us all over and under the roots of the "Tree of Life", it was super neat! Isla didn't want to stand next to that commodo dragon (or alligator, whatever...) above for very long! Haha :) He made her nervous!
A rabbit carved into the tree root.
Look at all those various animals carved into the trunk! The girls really enjoyed pointing out all the different ones that they recognized! And this was taken right underneath it!
Our beautiful babies next to a waterfall under the "Tree of Life". We made a loop and then hobbled out of the park. We weren't the first ones this time, but the wait was only like 20 minutes. We didn't even come close to seeing all Animal Kingdom had to offer, not enough hours in the day!
The girls were so WILD when we got to the hotel room and all Kasey and I wanted to do was to take a short little nap! And do you know why they had all that energy?!? Because we let them all ride in the stroller! We had a 40 pound stroller, 20 pounds of cargo, and 100 pounds of kid that we pushed up and down, in and out, ALL over the parks for the last 2 days... Not to mention the fact that they didn't have to wake up until the last second in the mornings. But they did have a point... You can sleep when you get home to boring Rawlins! Haha :) We figured it was useless even trying, so we took them down to the food court for some dinner and then had the option to watch the outdoor movie, or go to the blizzard kiddie pool. They picked pool, total shocker there! They played their little hearts out while Kasey and I rested on the loungers and chatted with other exhausted parents doing the same thing! haha :) We finally talked them into being done at about 11!!

Disney World Day 2

Friday, May 6th: We didn't expect to be out until after midnight the night before. We set our alarm clock for 6 in the morning because we had breakfast reservations at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant in Hollywood Studios park where we were going to eat with the playhouse Disney characters at 8:05. At least we thought that we had set the alarm clock... When I woke up, it was 7!! There was NO way that we would make it... They say to allow 45 minutes just to get transported anywhere. So while I was frantically trying to get the girls and I ready, Kasey ran down to the front desk to see if we could push it back but ended up having to cancel our reservation. Over-sleeping... What an awesome way to start the day, huh?! So instead of eating with Disney characters, we slowed down a little, enjoyed some scenery outside our room, checked out the pool and ate at our resort food court.
Three beauties climbing all over the dalmation puppy... Shortly after we took this picture, Isla tried to get out of the front stroller seat without me knowing as I was pushing it. It happened so fast, I ran her halfway over with the stroller and that wasn't even the bad part! She smacked her front teeth (imagine that... I swear she is trying to blacken her front teeth on purpose, I think this makes it her 4th time!) loosened it and pushed it back a little farther, bit her lip, and got blood all over the front of my shirt. Wow, and I thought sleeping in was bad! Again - PERFECT start to our first real day in Disney World. After we got her calmed down, we continued on...
 Looking at the Fantasia pool...
 "Perdy" girls!! I crack myself up! haha :)
 My little ladies and I... Love them!
We got each of them a character mug and after we ate our Mickey Mouse waffle breakfast, we got in line to be taken to Hollywood Studios park. I'm so bummed that I can't show my photopass photos yet, because we have family pictures taken in front of the Hollywood Tower of Terror Hotel, and the huge Fantasia hat when you first walk in... But here are some highlights that I can share! The first thing we did when we got there was put in for our fast pass tickets for Hollywood Tower of Terror. Then we walked around taking in the scenery, then found the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" Movie Set Adventure. It was like a huge playground, it was SO neat! I really enjoyed this part.
The girls riding "Anty" (I think that's her name, I can't really remember) We rented the movie right before we came here so they would know what this was all about! They had a blast in here!!
 Huge playdoh can! Awesome!!
Isla's big sisters helping her climb a spider web. This was so fun, our whole family went in it the first time, and the girls wanted to do it again so I went with them that time while Kasey watched.
The three of them on a leaf/flower? slide, Isla was being a scaredy cat so Mikenna helped her... Could have something to do with all the dark tunnels, sound effects, etc... But that slide looks pretty harmless. Ha!
Huge tonka truck and a scrabble piece! How cool is this place?! One of my favorites for sure!
We wandered around some more, and stopped in to watch the "Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!" And it really was! Thoroughly entertaining, the girls watched in amazement the entire time. It made the hour wait (half in line, half in our seats) kind of worth it... kind of! Kasey got goosebumps when they sounded the theme song when it began! Haha :) Downside to having front row seats? Having to wait for EVERYONE else to file out of the too few exits... When we finally got out, we got the girlies an ice cream treat (Mikenna picked a long rainbow twisty popsicle, Adiee picked a Mickey Mouse shaped dilly bar, and Isla picked a Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich) and Kasey and I shared a frozen banana covered in chocolate and nuts. Then, we got in line for the Studio Backlot Tour. Kasey distinctly remembered this when he went to Disneyland when he was little, so we had to make sure that we hit this. Well, we didn't have to wait in line long, but we just made it to be the very last on the tram and they took us around various movie effects... And the one part that he was most excited for was not that cool when you are in the back of the bus! haha ;) The train went up a "mountain" and it simulated some kind of disaster complete with a rocking bridge effect, exposions, etc... Isla didn't like it much at all, so she probably appreciated the fact that we weren't in the heart of the action, the rest of us felt pretty cheated.
Afterwards, we walked around trying to find "Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano" where we had lunch reservations at 2:25 pm - and we did NOT want to miss them too! Haha :) Especially because they were our ticket into guaranteed seating for "Fantasmic" with our 'dinner package'. While we were waiting for them to seat us, we were all kind of bummin' the whole day so far seemed kind of blah. We had been in the park for 5 hours and we only did 3 things, and most of it was spent sitting, waiting, and walking... (Including the night before at the luau.) The girls were not that impressed with Disney World so far. And to boot, the times for the "Tower of Terror" fast passes were quickly approaching and we hadn't even ordered yet. It was already almost 5, the park closed at 9, still only did 3 things, and we ended up missing our pass times. What a bummer! But we weren't going to let our first day of our vacation be a flop, we found out that the would accept late passes so instantly, our day got better. We headed all the way across the park so that we could ride it. Thankfully they have this thing called Rider Swap, so that one of us could stay behind with Isla (basically the same thing as a fast pass) without having to wait in the hour long line. Anyway, Kasey took Mikenna while I waited in the gift shop where the ride ended with Adiee and Isla. Mikenna was ecstatic when she got off! She loved it and all of a sudden Disney World was the greatest place on earth! Haha :) So I took Adiee, and Mikenna again! Adiee was kind of scared, and when we were on the ride, she had what looked like a silent scream on her face the whole time! Hilarious! She said she liked it, she just didn't want to go on it again, but she was super brave! Before we left, they wanted to poke around the gift shop a little. Mikenna HAD to have this notebook that was $15, I've got to admit that I tried really hard to talk her out of it, but she wasn't going to budge!! Hey, if that's what she wants, that's what she wants... Adiee didn't see anything in this particular shop so I took her to another while Kasey took Mikenna on the ride one more time. Adiee wanted a keychain with Stitch on it, and Isla decided if Adiee was going to get one, she needed one too.
 The "Voyage of the Little Mermaid" was absolutely incredible! We had seats in the very front, next time we will definitely shoot for the middle and a few rows back because we couldn't hardly see some of the smaller stuff over the rock stage. The girls were enthralled with it from start to finish, and LOVED the bubbles they dropped over the audience. Of course they have to put a gift shop upon every attraction exit, so again we had look. They were bound and determined to spend every last dollar they had the very first day even though Kasey and I tried to talk some sense into them. Isla picked out these sleeping beauty jammies, Adiee bought a Tangled figurine set, and Mikenna picked an Ariel purse. We ventured into Pixar Studios but the wait times were ridiculous. "Journey into Narnia: Prince Caspian" was right there and it was only a 20 minute wait so we decided to go ahead and do it. Biggest. Waste. Of. Time. EVER. We waited in line to basically watch an extra long movie trailer, it was disappointing to say the least.
We were pretty sick of sitting down and watching show after show, so we were looking for something to ride and so we got in line for "The Great Movie Ride" This picture was taken while we were in line, SO cute!! It was a gentle ride that took us through each movie era, and of course there were some parts that scared Isla so it was yet another ride she cried a little on... What a wuss!! Haha (That was a joke, she's just a baby! lol) I was able to console her pretty good.
We were headed to the Fantasmic! show, and I needed to get a picture of them in front of this sign. When we were at lunch, our waiter said that they opened seating for this show 90 minutes prior, and that it seated 9,000 people in the stadium and on average turned down 5,000 people at the gate! Well, we did NOT want to wait for an hour and a half to watch this show so we decided that we would go a half hour before (the latest they were going to let people in) since we had guaranteed seats. It worked out perfectly, we got great seats and didn't have to wait for-ever to get them!
The show was pretty neat! Over 50 costumed characters tying into a bunch of classic Disney stories, complete with music, water fountains, pyrotechnics, fireworks, etc...
The one regret I have, was that I really wanted to see Beauty and the Beast, Live! But there just wasn't enough time in the day with all that waiting we did. Next time though! :) And you know how I told you that we had to wait in line at our bus stop for almost 2 hours the night before?? Not this night, we are quick learners haha!! We booked it out of there before the rest of the crowd, got our stroller out of the stroller parking lot (haha) and sprint/ran/power walked all the way from the far right of the park, to the park exit, and then to the transportation area. We were one of the very first in line! I couldn't believe it! We were at the hotel by 10:30pm and we ordered pizza to be delivered to our room but the girls fell asleep before it even got there and Kasey and I weren't even really that hungry. So we ate a slice in bed, set the alarm clock (for real this time), and went to sleep.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Let The Memories Begin!

That's the motto outside the Magic Kingdom park and I thought it would be a good first title as I "re-live" this past week's excitement. It's hard to believe that our BIG family vacation has already come and gone, but let me tell you what - it. was. FABULOUS! I'm guessing it was so enjoyable because Kasey and I decided that we were going to be as laid back as possible and use this one as a learning experience, taking any mishap with a grain of salt and learning from them for next time. Also, I looked through our pictures that the park photographers took throughout our vacation and they got some fantastic shots, but I can't post them because I do not own the rights yet (I have to go through all of them and make sure any edits, borders, etc... are done before I purchase the cd.) But as soon as I do I will share them!!
Tuesday, May 3rd: We went about our day as normal, Kasey went to work, Mikenna went to school, and the other two little girls and I deep cleaned the house so that I would be able to relax after we got back (fat chance, somehow it got messed up again right before we left! No idea how... lol) I had all the bags packed and organized ready to go by the time Kasey and Mikenna were home. Then we drove to Casper to drop off our zoo with my mom while we were gone, and the girls had eye appointments in the evening. Mikenna has great vision and felt totally jipped that she didn't need reading glasses or anything (we'll ask her again in a few years if she still feels the same, ha!), and I wrote about Adiee's little "condition" a couple weeks ago. She is a little far-sided and needs glasses with pretty minor correction. She picked out these cheap Christmas looking plastic frames at first but changed her mind after some "slight" parental persuasion. Looking back though, maybe paying almost $200 for her FIRST pair of glasses wasn't the smartest thing :) Oh well, she looks pretty cute in them though if I do say so myself!
Wednesday, May 4th: We stayed the night in Casper and all 5 of us got our hair done (including Isla, her first haircut mind you). Here's her before, during, and after pictures... Adorabe!!
And while my highlights were processing, Kasey got a pedicure by a 5 and 6 year old. He's such a good daddy! I don't know many men that would be seen in purple and orange toes (and later a butterfly/peace sign bandaid on the top of his foot! haha :) What a good sport!)
Now that we were all looking snazzy, we drove on to Denver. We got to town about 4ish, stopping at a few of the strip malls on the way in. We picked up some new clothes and shoes for the girls and I, became members at REI, Kasey got a new outback hat (HOT hubby alert! haha) and I got a big floppy crocheted sunhat that's super cute. We went a little crazy shopping before the trip even started! Ha! Then we ate dinner at Olive Garden, and went to our hotel. On the way there we saw a few of those yellow and black spotted buses (the shuttles for where we were parking our car for the week) and it started to sink in that we were actually going.
Just as soon as Kasey had checked us in, we all got in our swimsuits and headed to the pool. We were the only ones there, so we were able to jump, splash, laugh, and play any way we wanted! It was great! We stayed down there for a couple hours, and when we got back to our room Kasey and I tag-teamed bath-time. I gave washed their hair and as soon as each one was done, they would hop out and Kasey would blow-dry their hair.
We WORE them out!! Haha! They passed out as soon as their little heads hit the pillow! I did some last minute packing, making sure that all of our things were where they were supposed to be and re-packing the girls' carry-ons. They tore those apart in the back seat during the trip to Denver and I didn't want any surprises at security.
Thursday, May 5th: I couldn't sleep AT ALL that night I was so excited! I felt like a total kid on Christmas Eve! I may have fallen asleep between 4 and 5 in the morning; other than that not. a. wink. No joke! haha :) We started our day off right with Kasey breaking the ceramic soap dish in the shower... with his head... He went down to talk to hotel management about it and I finished getting the girls ready for our big day. Our goal was to eat breakfast and leave the hotel by 8. And even after all the "events" of the morning we made it!! And yes, I picked this parking area because of the fun shuttle buses! haha :) And when we checked out at the end of our trip, it was only $30! I was expecting a little over $50. Score! ;)
The girls asked us where we were going, and we said we were on our way to a park (they just didn't know what kind of park! hehe! Sneaky, sneaky!) When we got to the airport the girls took one look around and said, "This doesn't look like a very fun park." HA! Kasey and I decided that we should tell them so we lined them up against the wall and told them to close their eyes and hold out their hands for a surprise. I proceeded to put their hats in their hand, of course I had to mix up which one belonged to who, all the while trying to video it with the cell phone too (which I forgot only did 30 second clips! Ugh!)... It was kind of a mess.
But anyway, we told them to open their eyes and told them that we were going to Disney World. Wow, did their reaction surprise us. In a very dull voice, they said, "yaaay, disney world..." WHAT?!? What kid says yay that way?! Haha :-) I think they were just confused, overwhelmed, and didn't know what to exactly expect. After we started talking about it, they got more and more excited... You know, the way we were expecting them to react in the beginning and of course it wasn't captured on tape, haha. We got through everything pretty quickly, we had 2 hours left by the time we reached our gate. The girls watched the airplanes outside the window, and took a walk with Kasey to go get some water bottles, etc... It actually didn't seem to take too long for the time to pass. We left Denver at 10:45 a.m.
The girls were really excited to be on a plane for the first time! The seating on our first plane was an "Air Bus" and had 6 seats across, cut in half by the aisle. So Adiee and Mikenna both got a window seat.
Kasey sat across the aisle with Mikenna, and I sat between Adiee and Isla on the opposite side.
Isla quickly fell asleep and slept right through take off. And I was able to hold her as soon as we were in the air. They thought the plane was pretty neat, they got to look at "Sheldon, the sea turtle" on the wings, the clouds underneath us, and before we got too high, Adiee said, "The ground looks like a puzzle!" So Cute!!
When we were landing about 3 hours later, Mikenna and Isla had a little bit of problems with their ears not popping, so they didn't like that part too much. They cried a little quietly, it's so hard to not be able to do anything for them. We arrived in Florida at 4:19 p.m.
When we all got off, we took a tram to the main terminal where my little sister was waiting to greet us. It was all short-lived though because immediately we had to find the Disney's Magical Express that was going to take us to our resort. So she ended up driving 2 hours to see us for 10 minutes, poor Melanie. They gave us some grief over Isla not having her own ticket for the motorcoach, even though I booked the whole trip through Disney. I just figured they didn't put her on there because she wasn't 3 yet. They put her on some lists and not on others so I had no idea that this was one list she did need to be on... But we got it worked out and had her added for the ride back to the airport.
Another 45 minutes or so, we were standing in the lobby of our resort getting checked in which took about 2 minutes because Kasey and I did the online check in the night before we left home. They gave Kasey a welcome packet and a Key to the World card for each member of our family. While Kasey was doing that, the girls were already busy getting balloons... and LOTS of them! haha :)
We went to check out our hotel room and drop off our carry-ons after we pryed the girls away from the balloon lady. Our room was on the third floor in the 101 Dalmations part of the resort which was neat, there was a GIANT Pongo in front of our building and the staircase was a GIANT fire hydrant. There was a Mickey Mouse head made of towels on our beds. 
The Toy Story section of the resort was probably my favorite with the 101 Dalmations coming in on a close second. The girls are in front of Andy's bedroom door and crawling all over RC. Love it! It was really hard to get them to look at the camera because they were so enthralled with their surroundings! Just like the Pongo and Perdy, there was a GIANT Buzz and Woody. Awesome!! 
First on our agenda - We had reservations for "The Spirit of Aloha" dinner show at 8 o'clock. We went to the concierge desk and got our confirmation ticket and transportation directions on how to get there. We waited for a bus that would take us to Magic Kingdom, and transferred to the monorail that would take us to the Polynesian Resort, then walking to the luau area. We waited in line forever, then we waited in another waiting area for even longer... The girls got pretty tired of the waiting part, but they were so good!
When we finally got seated, they brought out a plate of appetizers such as fresh pineapple, green salad with mandarin oranges and poppy seed dressing, pineapple-coconut bread. They sang and danced a few songs, then brought out dinner. They had roasted chicken, BBQ pork ribs, polynesian rice, steamed veggies, etc. After they gave everyone time to eat, they did more singing and dancing. They brought out a volcano desert that was shaped like one and was made of a chocolate mousse/cake thing, I don't know with raspberry lava and an orange syrup on the bottom of the plate. Mikenna didn't like it at all, Adiee scarfed it down, and Isla picked at it some.
They even had the kids in the audience come up so they could teach them a little hula dance!

After all was said and done it was like 10:30 pm. In my opinion, the show dragged on a little and it should have continued while people eat. The coolest part was the actual hula dancing and the fire dancer, they were AWESOME!! Right after we left the luau area, we stopped on a beach and all ran barefoot through this powdery sand, watched in the distance Cinderella's castle turn different colors and the last few fireworks go off. We put our shoes back on, and instead of riding the monorail back to Magic Kingdom, we took a water taxi. Then had to get in the bus line to go back to our resort; little did we know we were going to sit there until midnight because the park was closing and there was a huge crowd of people who wanted to go home at the same time. Whew! And this was just the first few hours in Walt Disney World!!