Making Plans

Well, I started some online work a few weeks ago and every extra moment I have had has been spent working on my projects. I took a quick break today to make a reservation for our trip to Hawaii. Abby (aka my dolphin obsessed daughter) will have an amazing birthday party in Hawaii complete with dolphin encounter. She will be beyond thrilled.
I have also been trying to figure out itinerary for NYC which is coming up soon. I have put our summer road trip on the back burner for now, but after NYC I’ll have to start back in on that too.

Disney World:: Magic Kingdom

This was probably my favorite day of our Disney World vacation. We started in Tomorrowland. We had a FastPass for Buzz Lightyear’s Spin, but we didn’t use it because the line was not long at all. I think it got longer later in the day. The Tomorrowland Speedway was lots of fun. I just kept laughing because Abby was bumping along back and forth and I just kept thinking how scary it will be when she turns 16! Abby and Cade got to meet Stitch. He was very funny. He pretended to pick his nose with Cade’s marker, which Cade thought was hilarious. After we made our way through Tomorrowland, we made our way into Fantasyland. We took a quick ride on Dumbo and then we utilized the Rider Switch again on Splash Mountain in Frontierland. Derek and the kids got in line for Splash Mountain while Cara and I headed back to “it’s a small world.” We rode that twice and then met Derek, Abby, and Cade in line at Be Our Guest for a quick service lunch. Be Our Guest had a neat electronic way of ordering on the way in. The dining room at Be Our Guest was beautiful and the drink machines were accessible. I had the carved turkey sandwich which was very good. After lunch, we went to use a FastPass at Enchanted Tales with Belle. That was a fantastic experience. The kids really enjoyed it and I had fun watching.

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We spent the afternoon meeting characters, riding rides, and having fun. Around 4:00, we left the park and rode around on the monorail to have some rest time and to look around. Then we went to Contemporary Resort to eat at Chef Mickey’s. Chef Mickey’s was a lot of fun. The food on the buffet was great and the characters were fun too. After dinner, we went back into Magic Kingdom. We were still hanging around in the front when we realized it was almost time for the Main Street Electrical Parade to begin. We got seats right in the front where the floats come out. It was a lot of fun and I got some glow things out of the bag for the kids that I had brought with. I had glow necklaces, bracelets, rings, and swords. It sure was a lot cheaper than buying the souvenirs they were selling.  After the parade, we met some fairies and rode some more rides. It was an amazing day…and night!

Walt Disney World:: Epcot

We went to Epcot on January 4, 2014. We started with Spaceship Earth which is inside the “golf ball.” Abby loved it and it was the first time we’d been on that one. For some reason we missed it in 2010. We rode a few rides in the morning and then ate an early lunch at Electric Umbrella. The best thing about this restaurant is that the drink machines were accessible to us. In other words…free refills! Electric Umbrella is also where I found out that Disney does not keep track of adult and child quick service credits. Since Cara was under three years old, we couldn’t get her a meal plan. So, there were times that we were sharing meals. Sometimes the kids wanted what was on the kids’ menu but sometimes the same thing was on the adult menu. It made sense to order the adult meal and get more food for the kids to share.
Epcot collage editedAfter lunch, we walked around the World Showcase. We rode a few rides, including Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros at Mexico and Maelstrom at Norway.  After we walked the World Showcase, we used our FastPasses. We did the rider switch again and Derek, Abby, and Cade rode Soarin’ while Cara and I went on The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Then Derek and I switched so that I could ride Soarin’ with Abby and Cade. It really worked well. After we rode Soarin’ we headed toward Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for dinner. We met Belle on the way in and met more princesses inside. I had the grilled pork chop with mashed rutabaga and it was amazing. It was one of the best meals I had the whole trip. When dinner was finished, we went into the Norway store to peek at Elsa and Anna. The line to meet Elsa and Anna was so long that at that point it had been stopped for the night. Earlier in the day  it was a wait of 4 hours. After we looked at the Frozen characters, we decided to call it a night and headed toward the front of the park and on to the hotel.

Laundry at All Star Movies at Disney World

When trying to pack lightly for a vacation, one idea is to pack half of what you need and decide to do laundry part way through the vacation. That is what I did since we were flying Spirit and I knew that laundry would be cheaper than another suitcase. Planning ahead will make everything go much easier. I packed quarters and Tide Pods, which I had gotten as samples on Tide.

Laundry collage editedAfter we got back from Hollywood Studios, Derek got the kids ready for bed while I loaded all the dirty clothes into the suitcase. I grabbed my Rapid Fill cup and headed off to the laundry room. At All-Star Movies resort, it is located next to the pool area in its own little building. I was lucky to find two washing machines because a lot of them were being used. I got the laundry started, put the suitcase on top of the washer so it was out of the way and people would know it was being used, and then I headed to the food court. I filled up my cup with some Coke and sat by the pool for awhile texting my bestie back home about the weather. We hadn’t had great weather in Orlando, but back home it was negative 40 something with the windchill and lots of snow. (It sure is nice to have good friends who will check on your house and make sure the pipes aren’t frozen and then clear your super steep driveway for you!) Anyway, I think the most important thing about doing laundry on vacation is to bring everything you need so you don’t have to buy the overpriced (and not as good) detergent out of the vending machine. It was nice to walk in and get started right away and not have to mess with getting change either. The only thing I didn’t plan well enough was having a fully charged phone battery. I was mid conversation when my phone died and then I got bored waiting for the clothes. When the laundry was done, I just threw it back into the suitcase and folded it when I got back to the room. It really was quite easy and even somewhat relaxing!

Top 5 Character Experiences at Walt Disney World

The first time I visited Disney World as an adult, I had no idea how big of a deal the character meetings could be. When we went in 2010, Abby loved the characters (although Cade did NOT). It was even more special meeting them this time because all 3 kids LoVeD the characters. Although we did not have any character experiences that were not enjoyable, we definitely had some that stood out as amazing. Here is a list of our top character experiences (in no particular order):

1. Peter Pan and Wendy Darling: They were located at Magic Kingdom in the area between Fantasyland and Liberty Square where the bathrooms used to be. We just missed the cut off to meet Peter and Wendy a few times throughout the afternoon and kept saying we would come back. When we missed the 3:00 set, we found out that 4:00 would be their last one of the day. So, we decided to go ahead and wait in line even though it was only about 3:15. That put us first in line for the 4:00. When they came out, Peter came running into the area yelling and crowing. He actually made me jump a mile but I instantly started laughing when I realized what was going on. Peter and Wendy talked to the kids, asked them questions, and played their roles perfectly. Then they gave the kids “flying” lessons. It was such a neat experience and the kids still randomly talk about when they met Peter Pan and how he made them jump.

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2. Princesses at Akershus: When we went to Disney in 2010, we ate breakfast at Akershus and this time we ate there for dinner. Aside from the food and service being fantastic, the characters were fabulous as well. The night we were there, the princesses were Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Aurora, and Cinderella. We met Belle on our way in and had our pictures taken with her. The other princesses came out during dinner. They also had a Princess Parade where the kids walked through the restaurant with the princesses. It was cute and a nice way for the kids to feel part of the experience.

3. Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella: We met Cinderella’s step-mother and step-sisters near Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Magic Kingdom. They were perfect. They were in character but not mean and scary. The girls loved them. They asked Cara questions and Anastasia kept telling Cara how cute she was. Although they had their characters down perfectly, Cara was cute enough to get Lady Tremaine to smile even though I could tell she didn’t really want to.

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4. Playhouse Disney at Hollywood and Vine: We ate at Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios for breakfast in 2010 and lunch in 2014. The characters do not do appearances for dinner. When we were there, it was Oso, Handy Manny, June, and Jake. A few weeks after we left, the characters switched to Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake, and Handy Manny. Ugh! Cara would have LOVED to meet Doc and Sophia. Even without those favorites, the character experience was fantastic. They took their time at the table and didn’t make us feel like we couldn’t go to the buffet or we would miss out (as they told us at Crystal Palace). They also had times where the kids could go up and sing and dance with the characters. The kids really had a lot of fun and the fact that the food was amazing was a bonus.

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5. Enchanted Tales with Belle: This experience is at Magic Kingdom in the New Fantasyland area next to Be Our Guest restaurant. When we went in 2010, the New Fantasyland area was under construction so this was the first time we did the Enchanted Tales. We used a Fast Pass for this since we had the Magic Bands although I’m not sure how long the line would have been without it. It would be worth waiting for anyway. It reminded me of a reader’s theater. There were three different areas to the experience. In the first area, it is an introduction. The second area is where the kids “try out” for parts. They made sure everyone got a part that wanted one. Then in the last area, Belle came into the room and the kids acted out the story. Cade got the part of Belle’s father so he held up prison bars and shivered from the cold. Abby was Philippe so she galloped and neighed across the room. Cara got the part of Chip and she was to jump around. She did a great job! After the play, the kids all got a picture with Belle. It really was such a neat experience.

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