Monday, February 28, 2011

Disney Day Two

Animal Kingdom
This is also the first day we got to eat Mickey Ears ice cream!

We decided to make this our first park because 1) it is a calm park compared to some of the others and 2) weekends at Disney are nuts (especially holiday weekends) and we knew very well to stay away from the Magic Kingdom on a weekend.

This was only the second time we have ever been to Animal Kingdom.  Most of the visits we made to Disney in the past included the other three parks, but not this one.  But now that our kids are a little bit older and have a little more stamina for walking, we included this park for a whole day visit.
 Everyone was up early, despite the crazy day before, so we got a good start.  We caught a bus to the Animal Kingdom, and we were at the park by the time it opened at 9am.  It was quite warm already, but we were happy for the heat.  After the crazy 100 inches of snow and very cold temperatures we have had this winter, I didn't mind the heat at all.
Mat and I have learned with our many visits to these parks, to start with the most popular rides early before the teenagers wake up and hit the parks.  So we hit the big Dinosaur Ride this park has.  I thought that Finley and Cainan might be a little frightened of it, but they weren't.  Finley loved it.  Cainan liked it, but decided he wasn't going to be riding it again.  Arlington, I think, rode it a few more times.
(Okay - this is not it.  This is a kiddie ride.  But you get the idea!)

 Arlington also rode their big roller coaster: Everest.  Now that she is 48 inches tall, she is big enough for a whole new set of thrills, and she was so excited.
We rode all the rides they offered, and then walked through to see all the animals.  Finley did have a hard time locating the animals that were in their habitats, but enjoyed the animals she could see up close.
All three kids got to pet a live snake.  Finley and Arlington thought this was pretty great.  Cainan was unsure, but we were proud of him for going with Mat to touch it.  I stayed away from that, thank you very much.

 We saw some fantastic shows in all the parks, but the Lion King show in Animal Kingdom was probably my favorite.  We did have a pass that we could use, so that Finley could sit up front at all shows, and that helped her be able to see all the actors.  We had not seen this Lion King show before, and it was very, very well done.  The kids loved it.
Arlington even got picked to be a part of the show when they needed kids from the audience.
At first she was embarrassed, but she did enjoy being a part of the show with all the actors in those neat costumes.
We did get to meet a few characters.  The girls got to meet Pocohantas.  We haven't had a chance to take a picture with her before, so Arlington was the most excited about seeing her.
The girls loved her hair.  Arlington ran her hands through it a few times.
Cainan had a chance to have his picture taken with Mickey and Donald.

 The girls also got to take their picture with Minnie Mouse.

They also had a petting area, and the girls enjoyed this as well.  Cainan was not too keen on petting any of the animals, but he did watch them.
Finley and Arlington enjoyed brushing the animals.  Finley would just stand near one of the goats and would brush and brush it until it walked away.
The Animal Kingdom closes the earliest of all 4 parks - probably because it functions more like a zoo - so this was another good reason to do this park our first day.  We stayed until the park closed, and then headed back to our cabin for the night.
The park was not very crowded, and we loved the way they set this park up.  Unlike some of the older Disney parks, Animal Kingdom has been designed completely around the theme of the park.  And that also means, there were a lot of trees with a lot of shade.  They were really thinking when they put this park together.
 Tomorrow: Epcot!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Disney Day One

Now that we have had a little time to recover, I am going to start to post about our trip.  First - all the post you read last week were written by me before we left.  I had them "auto post" while we were gone - I don't like to advertise that we are gone.  But we didn't get on the internet during our trip.  It was kind of nice, really.  No internet or work to distract us.  Just fun with the family for 8 days.  It was bliss.

Disclaimer:  This blog is a journal for our family.  These post about our trip may be lengthy on some days, so if you want to skip reading them, my feelings will not be hurt!

First day of Disney was strictly a travel/relax day.  Our flight was an early 8am, so we were up and on our way to the airport by 6am.  The kids were so excited, that it wasn't hard to get them out of bed and ready for the day.  I forgot to take pictures on the airplane.  I am a bit of a nervous flier, and I got distracted trying to not panic, so I blame that for not taking pictures.

We arrived in Disney 45 minutes before our scheduled time (the pilot was moving it) and that was a nice surprise.  Our flight was very smooth, and it was so nice to leave the snow and arrive in the sunshine and palm tree lined streets.
Disney takes care of everything when you stay on property.  This was the first time we have stayed on property, and it was a great experience.  We had a special part of the airport we went to to catch our "Disney Express" to our hotel.  We had everything we needed and they took care of our luggage.  It would arrive at our hotel, in our room, and we didn't have to worry about getting it from the airport.  So we got off the plane, and arrived at a special area of the airport for Disney travelers.  We got right on a large, comfy bus that took us from the airport to our hotel.
Orlando airport is about 30 minutes from Disney, and we had to stop at a few other hotels before getting to our own, but the ride had a movie for us to watch, so the time went by quickly.  The kids enjoyed the ride and were having a good time on the bus.
We arrived at our hotel - Fort Wilderness - a little before lunch time.  We checked in, and believe it or not, our cabin was ready, so we were able to go straight there.  We chose Fort Wilderness so that all 7 of us could stay together.  And these cabins were really nice.   My mom took some pictures:

We had our own stand alone cabin, which had a porch and a grill.  Inside was 600 square feet of a living room and a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom.  There was plenty of room for all of us - we never felt crowded.  The kitchen was fully stocked, and housekeeping did the dishes for us every day.  It was really nice.  We all fit comfortably, and we were happy to have the bedroom with a door where the kids could fall asleep while we were able to stay in the living room in the evening to watch TV.

After we checked out the hotel and dropped off our carry on luggage, we went to find a place for lunch.  Our hotel had two restaurants on the property, and two small grocery stores.  We ate lunch at a cute restaurant, and then went in search of breakfast foods at the stores.
 We were able to get everything we needed for our entire stay, which was nice.  We decided we were going to have breakfast each morning in the cabin, and eat the rest of the meals in the parks.  Mat and I always do this when we travel - it saves us a lot of money and time.
We then spent some time walking around the property.  It has its own beach, horses, bikes, playgrounds, etc.  It is a huge property - very spread out, so they ran a shuttle service to get from place to place.  It was very convienent, and the shuttles came every 5-10 minutes, so we never had to wait.  They were large Disney buses and so we never had to wait for one that wasn't full.  We would stay here again - we loved it.
After lunch, and looking around, we returned to our room and our luggage had arrived.  We unpacked and settled in.  That evening my parents met my sister-in-law, Tricia, and her little man "E" and Tricia's mom at Downtown Disney.  It was late, and the rest of us were really tired (and I wasn't feeling well at all), so Mat took the kids to a little show right on our property instead.
 Mat said the kids loved it.  It was a sing a long with Chip and Dale.  They had a great time and got to take their picture with Chip and Dale.  And every night they show a different Disney movie outside, but our kids were tired, so they opted to skip the movie this evening and head to bed.  Knowing we were going to be busy the next 6 days, we wanted everyone to be well rested.
So - day 1 was a success.  We arrived safely.  All of our luggage arrived without incident.  Our hotel was beautiful and comfortable.  The weather was perfect.  We immediately forgot it was the middle of February, and looked forward to the fun filled days in my favorite park in the world.
Day Two - Animal Kingdom.  Stay tuned!


In other news - my sister in lawn, Teen, is having a pampered chef party for Finley!  If you are interested in ordering, please get in contact with me, or her, and we will give you all the details.  You can order from now until March 14th.  All proceeds of the party go to our RDH12 Fund for Sight!  Please support!

Here is how to order online:

Please tell them to go to our personal website, select "shop online.  Enter Kris Ting as the host and select “search for host".  Click on the organization name (RDH12 Fund for Sight) and you are ready to shop!