Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rest day

Not much to say about today. We rested. We toured the Art of Animation resort. Then we swam. A whole bunch. The kids played some poolside games, and when the rain started, the poolside games were brought inside. 

In the evening we headed to Downtown Disney for dinner. Of course, the dounpour of rain started as the bus arrived at DD. So we hip-hopped from store to store for shelter and had dinner at the Earl of Sandwich. 

After dinner, we shopped a bit. The kids started spending their Disney gift cards on souvenirs. Liam purchased a Lotso doll and Jessie and Bullseye figures. Holly bought Minnie Mouse doll dressed as Rapunzel. Bridget and Megan are still deciding what to spend their money on. 

Before leaving we enjoyed some ice cream and a visit to the Lego Store and then we called it a night. 

Fun times!

Art of Animation
Poolside games (indoor)

Lego Store

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom day! 

We boarded our bus and got to the Magic Kingdom for our breakfast with "Winnie Apu" (What Liam calls him.), Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore. Of course the kids loved it. They didn't want to get food or go to the restroom for fear of missing a character. Boy can Liam put away the Mickey waffles!

After breakfast we rode Alladin's carpets. We saw Alladin and Jasmine signing autographs but did not get to meet them. 

It was a scorcher! Temps in the high 80's but the humidity is what gets you. I don't know why anyone would want to live in this wretched environment!! 

Throughout the day we went on/saw: It's a Small World, Mickey's Philharmagic, the Carousal, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Carribean and the afternoon parade. Megan was afraid of everything! She wouldn't look at the Haunted Mansion ride. She buried her head in Shawn's chest. We convinced her to go on Splash Mountain, and she loved it. She said she was scared but that it was fun and it was her favorite ride. After that, we convinced her to ride Pirates.  She did hide her face a few times, and she said she "did NOT like that ride" but she said it with a smile! 

We left the park "early" and made our way back to the Art of Animation for dinner. Overall, another great day! 

Tomorrow we rest!

After Splash Mountain


The kids were ready to hit the parks Sunday and Epcot would be our plan for the day. They enjoyed taking the Disney Bus to Epcot but didn't understand why the sign on the front of the bus said Art of Animation on it. "This bus is gonna take us to the hotel?!? We need to go to Epcot!" Didn't matter how many times we tried to explain, 8 and 5 year olds know more than their parents!

Once to Epcot, we made our way to Norway for breakfast with the princesses. We got our photo with Belle, and saw Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora and Mary Poppins. Liam says that Belle is the prettiest princess. I though Mary Poppins was beautiful. 

Breakfast was good, and the kids had a blast getting autographs and parading around the restaurant. 

After that, we headed over to the character spot and met Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale. The kids thought Chip and Dale were the best. 

Throughout the day, we rode/went to: Soarin' twice, Living with The Land twice, the Nemo ride, Turtle Talk with Crush, Journey into the Imagination, Maelstrom, Grand Fiesta ride in Mexico & Spaceship Earth. We also visited all of the countries and got stamps for the Kidcot activity. We had dinner at The Land and saw Mickey, Chip, Dale and Pluto. Chip and Dale helped us think of a character's name that starts with H. (Hercules we then thought of Happy) That was a fun little experience. 

It did rain for about a half hour and that's when we rode the Land ride and Soarin' for a second time. We also got to see Pooh and Tigger. 

We hung around for the fireworks and Megan cried her eyes out. She's not a fan of loud noises. I think we made it back to our hotel by 10 pm. What a long day! Everyone's feet hurt, we were hot and sweaty, and tired but what a great start to our family vacation! 

The girls. 
Our future. 
Disney even trains the squirrels, who apparently don't mind getting close to humans while posing for photos!

By the way, can I say that the Magic Bands are amazing! Well, they're not the most comfortable things to wear, and sometimes it's hard to scan properly. But other than those bugs it's great! No more keeping track of fast pass tickets. No more hotel key card. No need for a credit card. No more photo pass bracelets or tickets to log! It's all on the band. 

By the time we got back to our room, our photos from the park were loaded onto Shawn's Disney account. We took advantage of any photographer we saw along the way. It seems like I hardly took any personal photos. (And for me that means I'll probably come home with less than 1000 photos!) 

The kids got a kick out of being able to unlock the hotel door with their magic band. I find it comforting and alarming that if a child gets lost, Disney can locate him/her through the magic band. I was surprised by how many people still aren't using them. 

It does seem a bit unfair to locals that might want to go to Disney for the day. Fast passes are arranged months in advance. I wonder if the locals plan their spontaneous trips to Disney or not?!?

But anyway, the longest we waited in a line at Epcot was maybe 25-30 minutes. The weather is unbearable hot and humid, but that's the trade-off for getting here before all the schools went on summer vacation. 

That's all for now. Next up: Magic Kingdom. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Zero Days Til Our Disney Vacation

Well our first day couldn't have gone any better. Last night, the kids were excited, but managed to fall asleep about 30 minutes after being put to bed. Shawn and I managed to get a decent amount of sleep, and didn't ignore the 3:15 am alarm when it went off. 

We managed to complete our final task list quickly and then we woke the kids up at about 3:45. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, all four woke up without a complaint, got dressed and ready quickly, and didn't argue about anything! 

Soon enough, our limo arrived to take us to O'Hare. Shawn was able to get the ride comped/discounted since he uses Plainfield Limo when he travels for work. The children LOVED the ride to the airport and filled their quota of asking, "Are we there yet?" We learned That Liam gets a bit queasy riding in the sideways seat. 

At O'Hare, the kids were champs. Each kid carried their own backpack filled with books, games and toys. After breakfast and a short wait, we borded our plane to Newark. 

My view to the left. 
My view to the right. 

The kids kept themselves busy playing with small toys and the classic Yes/No books. We made it the entire 90 minute flight without the kids asking for electronics! I was so proud of them. The flight attendant even awarded the kids their wings. 

Megan's wings. 

Bridget's wings. 

When we landed in Newark, that was the closest I've ever been to New York City.  What a beautiful skyline! Maybe someday we will visit! 

We had another short wait until we boarded our plane for Orlando. By now the excitement was being beaten out by exhaustion. The kids loved that they could each choose whatever they wanted to watch on the tv, but Liam fell asleep during The Muppet Movie, and Megan crashed during Frozen. 

They recharged their batteries in flight, and the next thing we knew, we had landed in Orlando. On the Disney Magic Express bus ride to our resort, Holly conked out. Three out of four ain't bad! They definitely needed their rest. 

After a 35 minute bis ride, we arrived at the Art of Animation resort. Yippee!!

We got checked in, and had dinner. Then off to the pool to swim. Bridget is definitely a little fish! She is so happy in the water and loves swimming under water. She was the first to notice that they play music UNDER the water that is different than the music they play OUTSIDE the water. That was pretty cool. 

After a swim, we thought the kids deserved a treat for their great behavior. They loved the gelato, or is it gelatta? Bridget kept calling it gelatta. Cute!

Put it in the books...Disney day 1 was a huge success for the Morris family. 

Can't wait for tomorrow. The girls get to meet the princesses and Liam gets to meet Mickey at Epcot.