Friday, April 13, 2012

Walt Disney World

So, we went to Disney World again.

It was freakin' awesome. 

Blaine had another convention in Disney World's Contemporary Resort and well, we all tagged along. It was just us, and I must admit-- it was so nice to do something with just our little family. We love our big family vacations with everyone more than anything, (and we loved last year's trip with Blaine's folks) but we haven't done something like this since before Sarah was born. 

I just love my little family.

On the airplane.
The airplane went more smoothly than I could have ever dreamed. We were loaded up with all kinds of things to color, play with, and watch, and we never needed any of it. Since our plane was so delayed (which was super annoying) the kids slept for most of the flight. It sucked to not check in to our hotel until 4:00 am (seriously), but maybe it was best for our crazy kids.

The kids and I jumped in the pool the next day. Daddy was even able to join us during his lunch break.

We actually swam a couple days while Blaine was in classes, I can't remember which days are which, so these are all lumped together.

Isn't Sarah's swimsuit killer? I love it. (Thanks to you, Nona.) 
I think she loves it too. She knows when she looks cute.

On the monorail heading to Epcot for dinner.
This boy LOVES the monorail. He's been talking about it since last year... and was super pumped to be able to ride it again. 
I can't even count how many times he and Sarah screamed with joy whenever they saw the monorail.(Which was a lot, considering it ran right through our hotel.)

Little Sarah showing off her flashlight from Daddy and her new shiny bracelet.

Here we are!
We opted to take advantage of the Disney Photo Pass this time around. And while I think it's way too expensive, I'm happy we did it. We got a ton of family pictures that I know we wouldn't have had without it.

 By the way-- we LOVE Epcot. We were to excited to see the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival again.

We also love all the yummy food Epcot offers.
Blaine claims that Mexico gave him the best nachos he's ever had.

A very blurry shot at dusk.

Jake had a major melt-down once the fireworks started. We were nowhere near them but it didn't seem to matter. I love fireworks. LOVE them. But, this poor kid is absolutely terrified. He cries and plugs his ears and even starts to shiver. Poor kid. Needless to say, we never made him muscle through them... this trip. :)

 Since we checked in so late Sunday night, our room in the tower was no longer available. We were put in the Garden Wing--which is code for "parking lot views".
Call me a snob, but I loved our room last year and wanted to move if possible.  I knew I would be alone with the kids during the daytime for a few days and the less walking between the restaurant, the monorail, the unlimited refills on the best Diet Coke (for real) I've ever had, and the pool, the better for everyone.
Well, thankfully I'm married to Blaine who kindly pestered until we could move.
Here are the kiddos moving their stuff. Sarah kills me with her purses. 
Love her.

 I did take the kids into the park by myself. It was crazy and crowded but totally worth it. We wandered. We watched street and castle shows. We shopped for some shorts for Daddy (who doesn't bring shorts to Florida??!!) We ate cream cheese pretzels. We rode The People Mover. We loved it.
Jakey loved the maps. He had to have a map for whatever park we were in and he would commonly try to navigate us around all day long. He's such a smart kid.

 Sarah taking a little snooze.

 Proof that I braved it alone.

I love the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland, but this Cinderella castle is absolutely incredible. It's so huge and so pretty. There are these beautiful mosaic murals inside the tunnel walls that tell the story of Cinderella that are really stunning. I wish I had a decent picture of them but maybe they are just simply better in person.

Jakey could ride the monorail all day, everyday.
Sarah could admire the castle all day, everyday. She was obsessed with it. I'm trying to get a picture of it in her room somehow. Wish me luck.

Funny kids.

 We eventually all made it over to Magic Kingdom later for dinner and the parade.

And a some rides too. Gotta love the carousel.

The one in the middle is my favorite. This is Sarah's "cheese" face/smile. I love it so much.

I let the kids take pictures of each other/Mommy.

 More family picture time.

 Man, I hate parades. Unless they are Disney--then they rock my world. Seriously.

Animal Kingdom. 
We knew what to expect and thought that spending a half-day in Animal Kingdom was enough. I'm sure there's more to see and do, but all we really wanted to do was the Safari, Expedition Everest, and the Bone-yard. Done. Done. And done.

 Sarah waiting in line to go down the big slides.

 Digging for bones in the bone-yard. 
Blaine and I think it's so funny that this is one of the things the kids remember best about the trip... playing in the sand and digging for bones.

 Sarah and me on a dinosaur kiddie-ride together. It was basically Dumbo but with little Triceratops.
We also enjoyed the local sky-writing... The "U + God = happy Jesus" was just a perk.

 Expedition Everest made me a little more queasy than I remembered. Still rad, though.

The Tree of Life.
This tree is amazing and features carved animals all over it.

 Some animals on our Safari ride. I'll admit that I don't know what a lot of them actually are.

Disney Hollywood Studios.
I really loved this park. There's a lot to do and see here, and while we didn't get to do everything, I still feel like we did what we wanted.
Well, I did. I got to ride Aerosmith's Rockin' Roller-Coaster. Blaine missed it due to some tired kiddos and the closing of the single rider line.

 We sped over to the Disney Junior show and even squeezed in Jake (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates) before-hand. Jakey was so excited to meet him and have his picture taken. I think he really thinks they might be the same person. 
I just love the Disney characters and the way they interact with all these kids. "Jake" made a big deal out of our Jakey. It was so sweet.


 We made it over to the Lights, Motors, Action! show again, and again-- it did not disappoint. I am blown away by the skill of these drivers. It was really fun to watch.
We even had a surprise visit from one of Jake's heroes, Lightning McQueen!

 The kids look pretty stoic. I promise that the show was a hit.

And here was our highlight of the day... 
Jake was chosen to participate in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! as the junior director. We got to sit right up front and he was called down to introduce himself and say the three magic words, "Lights, Camera, Action!" It was so adorable and he did such a great job saying his lines. Blaine said the audience was dying over him, and Jake had lots of congratulations when we returned to our seats. It was fun. I am still kicking myself for forgetting that I had our video camera in the camera case and forgot all about it. Oh well, at least Blaine got these cute pictures of him. I love how proud he looks in the last one.
Cute little man.

Jake's official "Junior Director" card.

 We reserved this "brunch" with the characters months ago and we are so happy we did. It's pretty awesome to be able to sit at your own table (with unlimited food, btw) and have all the characters come right to you. Jake and Sarah loved it and so did we.

 Jake was pretty insistent about holding Mickey's hand.
Actually, so was Sarah... she's got a hold of Goofy, Donald, and Minnie in the above pictures.

 At one point they have everyone in the restaurant participate... everyone (and all the characters and staff) wave their napkins around and dance to a silly song. The kids were in heaven.

 Jake hangin' with Donald Duck. I love the "thumbs up". So cute.

We love Chef Mickey's.
It was pretty nice that this place was located in our hotel. I love the Contemporary Resort so much.
(Jake made sure to leave part of his rice crispy treat in Mickey's bowl for him.)

 Yet, another reason why I love the Contemporary. Check out this view!
If you look hard on the right, you can actually Spaceship Earth from Epcot.
The other side of the tower showcases Magic Kingdom... *sigh*

After brunch and a much-needed nap, we went to Epcot.
I'm pretty sure we ate in Morocco this time around.

 Love these guys.

 The kids were pretty excited to see their new favorites, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Mr. Smee.

 Let's face it... this may be as close as we get to kissing in Paris. :)
Good enough for me.

 Best friends pose.


I wish I had taken a picture outside of Maelstrom in Norway... or at least the Rice Cream we ate there.

We were also able to do Soarin' while we were here. Jake and I rode it, then Blaine and Jake right afterward. Jake loved it. I loved the people we sat next to. They had never ridden it before and their reaction was epic. It made the whole ride so much better.

 Blaine had a big work emergency that had us rushing back to our hotel... still, I'm happy to have these character pictures for the kiddos.

It was pretty late, as we were well into our "magic hours", but Sarah still was happy enough to turn around and kiss Mickey on the nose after these pictures were taken. I wish I had a picture of it. It was the sweetest thing and completely unprompted.


 Sarah was ecstatic about Minnie. (So was Jake--check out his little happy face.)
Sarah is kissing Minnie here... it's just hard to see.

Donald Duck.
"Say cheese, Sarah!"

Meeting the Goof.

We decided to go big before we went home on our last day in the park.
Not only did we all wear our Mickey ears for a while, but we were pretty ambitious and park-hopped to Magic Kingom, to Epcot, then back to Magic Kingdom... I was dying to see the fireworks show finally, and Blaine was nice enough to offer to take Jake to some remote ride or store while Sarah and and I basked in Disney bliss.

Happy day! Instagram on the Android.
I've gotta admit. I didn't really know exactly what Instagram was before. I didn't know how it worked. Oh--and, I'm hooked.
Anyway, here are the kids and me waiting for Dad to get off Space Mountain.

 The kids wanted to ride their favorite ride, Dumbo one more time.
Don't you love how much they love on their Daddy?

A poster of the Casey Jr. train, coming soon to Fantasyland.
Actually, Disney World is re-vamping their Fantasyland quite a bit. It looks really amazing... The Little Mermaid castle, Beauty and the Beast castle, and even a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs mine ride.

Fun on Main Street.

If I could be any character for the Disney parks, I would choose Mary Poppins. Hands down.

One of our last rides on the monorail.
Jake's face kills me.

Back at Epcot. I love these.
We really just went back to Epcot to eat more. We love food and this place is home to so much of it. We made sure to hit the Seasons Cafe and the croissants in France. Yum.

Steve's potato salad.

 Jake's official Driver's License.
He LOVES this ride... I wish I had some pictures of him driving, but it was too dark and well, too hard to take pictures of him while he is doing the driving. Funny kid.

Our last day doesn't have a ton of pictures, but here's our last shot in Magic Kingdom. Sarah and I loved the fireworks, Blaine and I loved WDW's Space Mountain, and we all LOVED our Disney vacation.

We had a late night and an early morning ahead of us... Very early... like 3:30 am early. We had to catch the Magical Express that early to make it to the airport in time for our flight back home. 
Blaine and I were laughing at ourselves when we were finally back home eating lunch at 12:30 pm and getting ready to throw the kids in bed and tackle the mountain of laundry. We had already been up for almost twelve hours.
At least Sarah and Jake slept on the airplane home. Actually, Sarah slept the entire time. It was so awesome. 

Anyway, I can't say enough about this trip. It was just wonderful. Thank you, Franklin-Covey and thank you Walt Disney.

If Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, then I think 
Disney World is the happiest place in the world... right?


Rachael said...

Aahh!!!! LOVE THIS!!! I'm so glad you decided to go! I love all the pictures and reading about everything you did! I'm so happy you had such an amazing time!

Good luck with the vacation hang-over. It sucks.

courtneykearns said...

i would choose mary too. she is the classiest disney character. loved reading this post... totally nostalgic for me. ah, disney!

Tara said...

Fun! One day I will get my family to Disneyland/world. Looks like a blast!

dxeechick said...

OH ALC!! How fun. You have no idea - I was reading this whole blog with eyes open wide and a huge grin on my face. So cool that you got to do this and that it was such a fun time! Love all the pics. You look amazing. One hot mama. Pure delightfulness. :)

dxeechick said...

PS I'm glad you're on Instagram too.

LEE BIEN said...

The vacation of a lifetime. Hats off (or should I say ears?) to the Carters!!

Okie said...

Super fun! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. WDW is such an awesome trip. I can't wait to go back. :)

Robby said...

I hate anyone and everyone who goes to Disneyland/world and I didn't get to go. jealously is raging right now. Kempton Family Reunion needs to happen there or Disneyland...forget boring AZ.

Jessie said...

Loved reading all about your trip!

Seriously, that contemporary resort looks like the place to be! Not that I have any future plans to go back to Disneyworld anytime soon, but when and if I do, I want to stay where you stayed!

And I was dying over Jake getting to participate in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. If I were up there with Crew, I seriously probably would of cried because I am a pathetic mom like that! Ha!

So fun! Glad you guys had a blast!

Michelle said...

I'm so so jealous!! Someday we will go to Disney World.