Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our Big Vacation (Part 1)

We were VERY, very blessed to have the opportunity to visit Disney World last week!  We’ve been planning and saving for this vacation for quite some time.  The months seemed to drag by as we waited for our trip, but then suddenly we were scrambling to get everything packed and ready to go.

We knew that we wanted to go before Jensyn turned 3, as her young age would allow our family to stay in a 4-person hotel room and for her to have free admission into the Disney parks.  (Wow, do those two things cut down on the cost of a trip!)

Thanks to the help of our friend Kat, a Disney travel agent, we were able to have an almost-perfect vacation!  She took care of every detail for us, and we’re so grateful!

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I don’t like to fly.  I wasn’t excited about this part, but it just worked out better for our family to fly on this trip.  (Keith and I agreed that if there’s a next time, we’ll probably drive in order to cut down significantly on travel costs.)  The kids did quite well with flying, surprisingly, and we were pretty impressed!

Alex had flown once before, but he was only 10 months old and has no recollection of that trip.  All three kids were SUPER excited about the airport and airplane ride.  I allowed the kids to use the camera at the airport, so we have a TON of pictures that look just like the one below:

(Jensyn is on my lap as I type this, and she is excitedly yelling, “OH, there’s our blue air-pane!”)


One very sweet mama, who was flying with her husband and young son, brought Disney sticker/coloring packs for every child on the flight.  They handed them out while we were waiting to board the plane.  My kids, especially Jensyn, were very excited about that!  I couldn’t believe how thoughtful and generous this mama was!


All three kiddos did very well with flying.  They enjoyed looking out the window, seeing the tops of the clouds, and looking down at the teeny-tiny houses, roads, and cars below.  Jensyn did NOT like landing, but other than that, we had no kid complaints about flying.


We got to try out Disney’s new Magic Bands, and we are now big fans of the simplicity of a Disney Stay with the Magic Bands.  From the time we got off the plane, they came in handy.  We were able to simply scan our Magic Bands and get on a Disney Magical Express Bus.  Check-in at the hotel was very simple, and from then on, we needed no key cards, wallets, or paper tickets for ANYTHING from fast passes to meals to souvenir purchases.  (Oh, and the CONVENIENCE of booking your fast passes in advance – and being able to change them at any point in your day using an iPod or smart phone is great!)

We stayed at All Star Sports on this trip, which ended up working out well for our family.  We had originally intended to stay at Pop Century, but when free dining came available for October, Kat was able to get us a room at All Star Sports with the free dining.  That’s a HUGE savings, so we were glad to make the switch! 

We had a room in the “Coke Cup” hotel, which my kids thought was pretty funny.  It’s silly to climb the stairs inside of a giant Coke cup…and that happens to be Mama’s favorite thing to drink, which they thought was funny, too!

Here are the kids in our hotel room, all ready to set out for our first day at Magic Kingdom!  They were more than a little excited!

Here they are, waiting for the welcome show on our first morning at Magic Kingdom.


the welcome show at Magic Kingdom…


the all important family picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle…

(As I type this, Jensyn says, “SAY CHEESE!”)

We started our day with Pirates of the Caribbean because there was no line.  I was a little worried that they might be nervous about some of the slightly-scary elements of the ride, but there was no fear! 


From there, we moved on to taking turns bringing the boys on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Alex and Daddy rode first, and Alex came off just bouncing with excitement.  Max loved it just as much!  (I meant to get a picture of them standing by the ride entrance, and I totally forgot!  Phooey!  This was their first roller coaster, and we don’t even have a picture!)

Afterwards, Keith took the boys on Splash Mountain while Jensyn and I watched…and tried to get a picture.  I got bumped, missed the perfect shot, and we don’t have a picture of the boys and Daddy on this ride.  Instead, we have this.  Whoops!


It was time for some activities that included Jensyn, so we hit Aladdin’s Magic Carpets, Jungle Cruise, and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.  (That one is a workout while lugging a 2 year old on your hip!  I was quite grateful for the extra time I’d put in on the treadmill in the week leading up to our trip!)

Aladdin’s Magic Carpets


Swiss Family Treehouse

Jungle Cruise – home of the world’s dumbest jokes, yet we still laughed a lot!

After this, we took some time to find and purchase a bracelet as a special favor for a friend.
Max also found a bird that fascinated him:


We waited 45 minutes to eat a counter-service credit lunch at Be Our Guest restaurant.  After ordering your food at a computer kiosk, you simply sit down and wait for your food to be delivered to you on glass plates with real silverware.  It’s beautiful inside, and it even looks like it is snowing outside of the windows!  (Alex wanted a picture of the knights.)


We had a fast pass to meet Cinderella and Princess Aurora.


(Max didn’t want to pose with characters, so most character pictures just have Alex and Jensyn.)


I think this was in a gift shop, but I can’t remember…


Mickey’s Philharmagic
My kids have seen the little 4D show at the local dairy farm, but this was their first BIG experience like this. 
Alex actually fell off of his chair while grabbing for something during this show! Smile


Meeting Buzz Lightyear

riding the People Mover

(can you tell from Jensyn’s gorgeous hairdo – ha! – that it was 90 and humid?)


We left Magic Kingdom at around 5 PM to ride the monorail over to Contemporary and eat dinner at Chef Mickey’s.  This was the one table service meal for our trip, simply because we’d heard that the food is delicious and that it’s a convenient way to meet several characters in a short time.


We felt a little rushed to grab our food and hurry back to the table so that we didn’t miss any characters.  Other than that, it was a great experience – delicious food & lots of fun meeting & hugging the characters without waiting in long lines!







dancing with Minnie!


(Jensyn LOVES this picture!  As I type this, she is sitting on my lap saying, “There’s MINNIE coming to our table!”)

yummy, pretty desserts


(He put the autograph book on his nose to sign it, which Alex thought was really funny!)


When we finally made it back to our room, we discovered that we had a really fun Mousekeeper!  She dressed Alex’s puppy in Alex’s pajamas, and she made a towel animal for Max. 

This was only the beginning of a fun week of towel creations!DSCN0179

So…there’s day #1 of our magical vacation!  There’s plenty more to come,
but I’ll overwhelm myself if I try to post more than one day at a time Smile