I really can't express how WONDERFUL of a vacation it was! Our family of five and my parents and two sisters all went together. We rented a vacation home with bedrooms, 3 baths, and A PRIVATE POOL. It was sublime. We loved having everyone together in that house and the pool was so pleasant in the hot afternoons. The weather was a bit on the hot side but we ran our schedule so that we left early in the morning, returned to the house to sleep and swim in the afternoon, and went back to the parks after dinner. It was a perfect schedule and helped us beat the worst of the heat and the crowds.
I went thinking our favorite parks would be Epcot and of course Magic Kingdom. Actually we loved Animal Kingdom more than Epcot. Animal Kingdom is a good mix of thrill rides, animals, and places to just explore.
Overall, we all LOVED IT. It was perfect. No one got sick, no one got hurt, very little stress, the lines were short, fast passes were wonderful, no one got lost (though we lost track of Elijah a couple times for a minute or two), there was little fighting, everyone got along and everyone was happy.
When do we get to go back?!?!
Elijah, age six, summary of the trips likes and dislikes:
"I liked Everest, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain (though he really didn't like it at all, he was curled up in a ball the entire time). And I liked river rapids and I liked Winnie the Pooh, and I liked Star Tours, Jedi Academy. My favorite show was the Lion King. And I like Mission: Space, the Orange one. Mostly I just have one thing I didn't like, well I think it was... umm... it was Haunted Mansion. I liked seeing the characters Stitch, all the Star Wars characters in the Star Wars parade, and then there's Donald Duck, and Mickey Mouse and Pluto. At the Animal Kingdom I liked seeing the naked mole rats and the bats and the elephants. At the house I liked swimming and diving in the pool. I swam every day except for Sunday."
Sam, age four, summary:
""What I liked is the water rapids, and Star Tours, and all the rides except for some of them. Some of them were scary. Dinosaurs was the only one that was scary. Mickey's Philharmagic was my favorite show."
Moments that stand out to Josh and I:
- Josh and I riding Expedition Everest, our first roller coaster together, ever. We snuck on after running to get fass passes for everyone to go later.
- Taking Ben on the Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan and watching his face as he took it all in.
- Sam freaking out in the que line for Haunted Mansion, us forcing him onto the ride and him liking it afterall.
- Ben enthusiastically sucking on a huge Turkey leg.
- Playing the arcade with Elijah and Josh after riding Mission Space. Elijah wasn't very good at it but he was so into it and wanted to bring Sam back to play on it.
- Watching the fabulous Finding Nemo show and Sam had to go potty. Josh stopped at the back and said that if we leave we can't come back. Sam sat and tried to hold it but couldn't make it. Luckily they let Josh and Sam back in.
- Ben loved the Nemo and Lion King shows. He was so wiggly and excited watching all the action. He would practically crawl out of your arms full of excitement.
- Josh enjoyed going on the rockin rollar coaster with Rachel. (Thrill seekers)
- Riding Toy Story as a big goup and comparing our scores. Josh and Ben creamed us all. (and I thought Ben would be a handicap for Josh)
- Watching the Star Wars parade frow our aweful spot (the crowds were horendous) and still seeing the excitement on our boys faces as they saw the top of the heads of characters as they passed. The best was Elijah exclaiming "Thats the first really Ewok (he said Ewook) I've ever seen!!!"
- Elijah and Sam totally engrossed in the Jedi Academy presentation. Elijah came home later and repeated the fighting sequence they taught the padewans on stage.
- Josh and I got to spend a couple hours together one night at Hollywood Studios. I enjoyed waiting to ride Star Tours with him (before it was even officially open). We then walked around and rode it again.
- I enjoyed shopping (out of the heat) with my Mother. We got matching scarves as souviners.
- Coming out of Soaring -which we all loved, except Grammie- and seeing Grammie having a great time playing with Benjamin. She was a happy, proad grandma.
- We all loved swimming together. Elijah and Sam took to the water and the swimming skills greatly improved in our week at the house.
- The longest line we waited in was for Southwest on the way home.
- I loved always knowing there would be a little partner to sit next to me on the ride. Elijah and Sam would take turns with Josh and I and Grammie and Papa. They would alway cuddle in close full of anticipation and excitement.
- Elijah loved Thunder Mountain RR. A sure sign of that was the super high pitched scream coming out of his mouth as he held his hands up by his head.
- A yummy Dole Whip icecream treat on a hot afternoon.
- Two boys running through the house with ninja swords in hand and the sheeths strapped to their backs.
And here's some pictures. As I was going through them I realized that a large majority of them are from Animal Kingdom supporting the fact that there is a lot to see at that park and it goes at a slower pace.
|Sea Dragon made out of Legos in Downtown Disney|
|Prince and dragon (from Snow White) made of Legos. I'm looking up at it. It was HUGE|
|This bird is weaving a nest to woo a girl friend with.|
|Elijah and Rachel watching the big Daddy Gorilla|
|Waiting for Lion King to start|
|Waiting for Lion King|
|Tree of Life|
It has cool carvings of animals all over the trunk and roots
|Cute Ben hanging out in the stroller. I LOVE my new stroller (Instep Safari) It was a lifesaver on this trip. Ben was content and happy.|
|HUGE fruit bats. They were Grammie and Elijah's favorites.|
|Josh soaking wet after the rapids ride|
|Sam was wet and happy after the rapids ride.|
|Beautiful windows looking into the bats|
|The architecture through the asain jungle walk was SO beautiful|
|Cool water feature. Sam's expression is priceless|
|Grammie and Papa in a rigshaw|
|Rachel in the drivers seat. Watch out!|
Can you see her? We walked past and saw a group of people staring at a tree. We couldn't figure out what they were looking at until she moved. Very impressive!
|Can you see her now?|
|Love this pic of a young rhino and his mommy|
|Ben and a turkey leg that is bigger than his head. He was not letting go of that thing!|
|We all loved the aquarium. Elijah was expecially excited when he saw the Dolphins and also the hidden mickey in the tank.|
|He didn't like it at first, but Ben eventually grew to love the pool|