Saturday, December 10, 2011

Disney 2011

Our first family trip to the magical place of Walt Disney World was absolutely fantastic! It really exceeded all of my expectations and I am really looking forward to planning another trip there. Early on, I was having some anxiety about having lance's, my family, and my parents going and worried about all the different personalities and needs of everyone. But it couldn't have worked out better. We were all focused on what the needs of the kids were and it all fell into place. It also didn't stop anyone from riding the thrill rides (me, my mom and landon couldn't get enough of these!!!). I knew going in, that most of the group didn't like the big rides. But there are plenty of other things to do for the entire group.

Here is a recap of what we did (if you want to be spared of all the details, just scroll down to the pics and I won't bore you with details!!) ;) I want be able to record all we did so I can look back on it!

We did the direct flight from Jackson and I thought it worked perfect and highly recommend doing that. Probably my two favorite things about disney were how each 'cast member' or employee was extremely nice and how I never had to deal with my luggage (arrival and departure). This is golden when dealing with two young kids and 7 checked pieces of luggage. We arrived around 5:00 to our hotel (the Polyonesian) and got settled in before our dinner reservations at Ohana at 8:00. We had some time to kill so we looked around our resort and then hopped on the monorail to the Grand Floridian resort to see their large gingerbread house. After dinner, the kids and i went to the beach to watch the fireworks at 9:30 (everyone else was pooped and getting ready for bed) and this was a special memory i will have watching that with both kids in my arms.

Day 1 had to be a Magic Kingdom day and it was perfect. We had lunch at the castle and that was absolutely priceless. My favorite quotes from Lance this week was during the princess lunch, he said, "Whatever the cost was for this trip, that moment just made every penny worth while. I will never forget Kennedy's face." And, fyi, this was probably the third time i had cried on that day (the first was when we got to see Mickey 'open' the park). AFter a few rides following lunch, we started to get rained on. The Hall grandparents went back to the hotel to stay dry while the rest of us threw our ponchos on (thanks Suzanne!) to stick it out. I thought it was perfect because it cleared out the crowds and we were able to watch the afternoon parade right in front of the castle with no one around us. Even with this being our first parade, i still knew how lucky we were to have that opportunity. All the characters would come up to the kids and i got a huge kick out of it. Kennedy was very particular about who she wouldn't hide her face from (see pictures). I got a great video of it, but too bad I will never see it (that's a whole other story). The rain stopped and we were able to enjoy the rest of the evening there at Magic Kingdom.

Day 2 was a morning at Epcot. We didn't get up in time to be there when the park opened but we were still able to beat the crowds. Actually the crowds never got too bad. We had lunch in Norway at the Akershus Royal Hall. Looking back this is one reservation i should have canceled, but i know better next time (we had just seen these same princesses the day before, but i was told they would be new ones). Still good, but we could have done without. after lunch we went back to hotel for naps so we could be rested up for the Mickey's Merry Christmas Party. This was fantastic. We all loved it and I was glad we all got naps in because we didn't get back in until 12:30am. The highlight of this night was the dance party with Woody, Jesse and Bullseye. No one was there and we just got to dance the night away with them...just picture this in your mind right now: landon singing every word to Justin Bieber's song, Baby, to Jesse. It was priceless! This is also the night i will remember because i lost my phone somewhere. I am sick about the videos that will be forever lost. :(

Day 3 was Animal Kingdom. The kids really loved this...all the animals! And the most pleasant surprise favorite was eating breakfast at the Tucker House. We all loved it. The food was amazing and it was our first time to get to see Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Daisy. The kids were so cute. We spent the entire day at AK (it closed at 4:30) but we missed the 3:45 parade, which was supposed to be awesome. We had Chef Mickey dinner reservations at 5:00 and i was afraid we weren't going to get back in time because everyone leaving at once and us having to take the bus. Looking back, i think we could have made it...oh well. AFter dinner the kids were done....they went to sleep about 7:15 while Lance and I went downtown (believe me, we were VERY tempted to go to bed too, but we wanted to suck it up and experience as much as we could!). Downtown was nice (didn't care for the 35 min bus ride there and back). We did some shopping, drank hot chocolate, and admired the lego displays!

Day 4 was Hollywood Studios day. This is the day i was looking forward to. I would totally do this day differently, but you learn as you go. We didn't get off to an early start, which messed our timing on eating and the schedule we followed. But it was still fun. We had to eat our dinner at 2:45 so we could get the Fantasmic package. That would have worked out great but no one was hungry after our lunch. But it was worth it once we watched the show that night. I worried that Kennedy would get really scared (it was a bit scary), but we prepared her for it and I would totally do it again. Very impressive! And Kennedy enjoyed it way more than i thought she would. AFter the show we went to see the light on the Osborne Family street and this too was so impressive. I don't have any great shots b/c of the lighting, but i know it wouldn't do it justice.

Day 5, final day there, the kids got to choose and they wanted to go to Animal Kingdom (we originally were going to go back the MK, but we heard that justin bieber and other singers were there shooting a christmas show there and we didn't want to fight the crowds. As it turned out, we really enjoyed our 2nd day at AK. We didn't feel rushed and were able to do some things we missed the first time. After most of the day there, we decided to rest up and go back to the Christmas Party at MK for our last night. it was just as good the second time around! I loved not having any lines and the parades were really good.

That was our trip in a nut shell and it was great. Landon's favorites were: riding all the big rides, especially space mt, splash mt, mt everest and thunder mt. By the end of the trip, he was a pro and holding his arms up through all the rides. Kennedy's favorites were meeting the characters, watching the parades and the dance party was jesse, woody and bullseye. the 2nd christmas party we were able to dance with Pluto, chip n dale and goofy. My favorite parts were watching my kids faces during the parades, the fireworks and light shows, the thrill rides and character meals. Lance's favorite parts were the fireworks and lightshow, the parades and the toy Story Mania ride.

Here are some of the pictures i took. There were so many to choose from so this was hard!

Day one

Day 2, Epcot and Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom

And the coolest dance party ever and probably the best kept secret at the Christmas party!

Day 3, Animal Kingdom

Day 4, Hollywood and Fantasmic show

Day 5, Animal kingdom and Christmas party

Thanks for looking and huge big thanks to my buddy suzanne for letting borrow some clothes, bags, thoughts and ponchos!! ;)


The Tylers said...

Loved the trip recap! You did awesome, Mom! I'm ready to go BaaaaaCK!!!!

Mama Mandy said...

great pics! I know you had a blast and we would all do something differently...just don't know 'til you do it. I can't wait to go back in a few years when the girls are turning 2,5 and 8!

Hannah Lee said...

HOW FUN! We haven't braved taking the kids yet...I am hoping we can make that memory soon. Loved the pictures and glad yall had a great time!