Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We Did Disney!

That's right, we took the boys to DISNEY this summer for the first time. You might remember that last summer we took the boys to SeaWorld for a little vacation. We were trying to test the waters, so to speak to see how they would do in the hopes that we would be brave enough to tackle the giant theme park this year. We did our research, gathered our courage and hopped on a plane ready to see "Mickey's House", as they kept calling it. I have to say from start to finish, this was by far the best time we've ever had on vacation with our boys. Maybe its because we waited until they were old enough to walk the whole time every where we went, maybe its because they were old enough to enjoy it and remember it but at the same time young enough that it was all very magical to them, or maybe it was because neither Michael nor I had been there in over 9 years. But regardless the reason, it was so much fun! Here is a documentary of our trip in pictures. But be forewarned: there are about a billion. So unless you're one of the grandparents, this might be a little boring and more than a little tedious. ;)

In our seat on the plane, buckled up and ready for the nice lady to come around and bring us some apple juice!

We made it through the flight with ease. They were entertained by all the coloring books, little cars to drive on the tray table, ipods with their own music on it, and a borrowed movie that they hadn't see yet (thanks, Brax and Brody!) and acted like very big boys.

Once we landed they were all about helping Daddy with all the luggage. What perfect little gentlemen. And all that excitement with no naps thus far lead to falling asleep as soon as we left the airport:But they quickly woke up as soon as we reached our destination. We chose to stay on park property and our own cabin at Ft. Wilderness fit our needs perfectly. Now, don't get me wrong--we're not the kind to do any cooking or anything like that when we travel. But, this allowed us to have both a little place for them to play in the evenings while I got ready for dinner, and gave us all a space of our own at bedtime. After we got all settled in, we headed over to Downtown Disney for some dinner and to explore. This was one of the things we did last year on our trip to SeaWorld, so it was nice to get our bearings and be someplace familiar before heading into the big parks.

Here we are with one of the most popular guys in our house, Buzz LightyearAnd Mr. Potato HeadAt dinner the twins were SO well behaved. And Daddy treated them to the T-Rex Build-a-Dinosaur store and they were SO excited! Ben built a T-Rex, who he named Rex Friendy. And Drew built a Pteradon named --are you ready?-- Don. Both very clever and original names.
The next morning the new additions to our stuffed animal collections helped the boys get ready for their big day in the Magic Kingdom with some cereal and milk at their own little table. These Disney people really do think of everything.Here they are right outside the monorail (which they called "mottorail" the whole time, and we just didn't correct them because it was so cute) in front of the spinning Mickey. I'm pretty sure they liked this as much as they liked any of the rides we went on. And here is the train that delivered all the Disney characters to the park. The opening show at the beginning of the day was so sweet, and the boys were so excited that I will confess I got a little teary watching them enjoy something so much and the thought of my having my babies at Disney. I know, how pitiful, right? But I quickly pulled myself together and our day was off!
They chose to hop on the train to head back to the back of the park so we could hopefully beat the crowds. And we did! Here is the back side of Cinderella's castle. I, being the Princess of this family, thought that we should go in. But I got outvoted because that was "girl stuff". So I conceded and we rode every single ride that their height would allow them to ride. Daddy and Drew on Dumbo's Wild RideBen on the Winnie the Pooh rideAnd then we walked through Mickey's House and we actually got to meet Mickey and Minnie. They were SO excited! I don't think they knew that they would be that big because they approached them with a good bit of awe. After we came off the high from meeting the Mouse, the boys did the Teacups. I don't do well on spinning things like this, I can get carsick if I read even a sentence, so I stood on the sidelines and took pictures.Drew and Daddy raced ahead of Ben and I.And then we got to splash a little bit in Donald Duck's house.
After all that it was high time for a cool treat.
And then we hopped on the Space Needle thing to fly over all of Magic Kingdom.After that we had pushed them to as far into the afternoon as they could go and we headed back to let them take a nap. After we all took a rest and got cleaned up we headed back over to the park for more fun and found Pluto on our way in! Of course Drew was so happy to see him, but Ben wasn't so sure. So Michael walked with him till he got enough courage to say hello himself and Pluto gave him a great big kiss!And they loved getting to say hi to him!
We rode the Buzz Lightyear ride and many many more that I didn't take pictures of. We ate dinner in the park and wrapped up our day with fireworks in front of Cinderella's castle. The next day we were off to Animal Kingdom. Ben and Daddy and Drew and I watch the opening show. None of you will be surprised to know that we were early enough every day at every park to be at the very front of the crowds to watch all of the shows. ;) Mickey and Minnie welcome everyone in to the park:
We did the safari and all the other exhibits first, but really they have been up close to so many of those same types of animals that it really wasn't that big of a deal. We grabbed a great lunch of African fare and then headed over to the Lion King show. I know that they picture is terrible quality and blurry, but I wanted to get it on here so we remember what a fantastic show it was. The we got to see another set of twins! Ben had been especially looking forward to seeing them, and he did get them some hugs and high fives. But he did not want to pose for a picture. But Drew sure did! And isn't it so cute?Next we hopped on over to do the Bugs' Life 3D adventure. We really didn't know what we were getting into before we began this one. So here we are with our 3D glasses on BEFORE the tears. Needless to say, they hated it. It was scary to them, and we left within the first 5 minutes. If we ever visit this park again, we'll try again when they are much older. But for now we know that they don't like things in 3D. Oh well, you live and learn, right?Here they are in line for the big water ride. Now the signs say that you "might" get wet, and they met the height requirement. We prepared them that they might not like it and what might happen during the ride. But they were persistent that they wanted to go. So we did. This is the 'before' shot:And here is the 'after'. I don't think they loved the ride, especially not the part when the three of them got caught underneath the waterfall. But they both held it together very well and didn't cry or complain once. Needless to say, we went straight to the store and bought our treat for that day: a DRY Disney t-shirt.
And after that, once again, we had pushed them as far as they could go and it was time to head back for a nap. After we got all cleaned up, dried off and rested up we headed over to Epcot. But we didn't count on it storming. So we grabbed some little ponchos and didn't let a little shower deter us from having more fun.
We had plenty to explore and right outside of the Moroccan restaurant we ate at we saw Princess Jasmine. Guess who was SO happy to see her??? It was so cute! He hugged her and hugged her so long that Daddy finally said "okay, buddy, that's good" . And when he realized that we were all watching him with this pretty girl he needed a hug from Mommy since he got just a little embarrassed. She even put a lipstick print on his cheek, which he was proud of getting, but rubbed off since he got a little embarrassed. At dinner we had a table that was right next to the dance floor where we got to watch a belly dancer and both boys got to bang on the drums while she danced. Such a fun evening!The next day was Sunday so we got up and headed over to John and Holly McCall's church and then got to spend some of the afternoon with them. I hate that we didn't get any pictures of us all together because they are such dear friends and we love them so much. I only wish we got to spend more time together because our time with them is always such a blessing to both us and to our kiddos. And then after a good nap we headed over to the pool to beat the heat.
Back over to Epcot once again after we cleaned up from the pool for some exploring and some dinner, minus the rain this time.And we got to meet Donald!!AND Goofy!!!
Ben gets a lift from Daddy while exploring in Mexico...And then we made a point to go to China. When my parents took Britt and I to Disney as children, I remember Epcot being kind of boring. But not so this time. And not just for us grown-ups. Ben and Drew loved it! I think that must be because we talk so often about the different places Daddy has to travel for work, and we spend a lot of time looking at the globe. But regardless of the reason, they were SO excited to see what China looks like. They got to each decorate their own Chinese mask, complete with their names and birthdates in character. And then we ate ---what else-- Chinese food! I think the people around us were confused as to why two little four year olds were eating properly with chopsticks.
And this one is just too funny not to put on here. We ended every night of our vacation (except our final night) with the fireworks show at each park. Now, if you've kept up with our blog throughout the years you know very well that this is how Ben looks on every Fourth of July and New Year's Eve. He will tell you "I do like fireworks, I just don't like the noise." So this is how Ben looked at the end of every night during the fireworks show. And I thought it was too cute, so I had to get a picture of it. ;)And then our last day began at Hollywood Studios. A side note: I have no idea who the people are in this picture. Two little people were grouchy this morning, no doubt from staying up late every night, and couldn't be cooperative for a picture. But I digress. Onto the fun...
We began our day with a HUGE breakfast with some of our favorite characters: JoJo, Handy Manny, June and Leo from the Little Einstiens. You know thaany day that begins with icecream for breakfast is going to be a great day!
And immediately after breakfast we headed to see Lightning McQueen and Mater! I can't even descibe the level of excitement at meeting the REAL McQueen.
Kermit was cool to me because Micheal and I grew up with him, but I don't really think they knew who he was. We all rode the Star Wars ride, which they thought was pretty cool since they have Storm Trooper helmets and light sabers and some of Daddy's Star Wars stuff from when he was little....
And then we stood in line for what felt like forever to meet Sheriff Woody!!We played on a playground straight out of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Again, they liked the playground pretty well, but they didn't really get it. I thought it was great though because we watched that movie as kids. This day we decided to skip naps and watch the afternoon parade. It was our last day afterall. And I'm so glad we got to see it! It was so much fun!
We wrapped up our vacation by celebrating with dinner at Artist's Point. Now, I'll say this: for 4 year olds these boys have eaten at some pretty nice places. But this was by far the nicest meal they've ever eaten and one of the nicest restaurants. So we prepped them by explaining just how we expect them to behave like very big boys and use their best manners and all that stuff. So we sit down and Drew places his napkin in his lap and says very matter of factly "Daddy, I need an appetizer please." We were laughing so hard at being so caught off guard by him that we almost couldn't order. And then he had some applesauce as an appetizer.
We had SUCH a great time. At every moment it was so much fun. Even when we were lost in the huge land of Disney, and even when the boys were being typical four year olds, even when we were so tired from all the walking, it was great. And even though the four of us are pretty close, I feel like we grew even closer. Thank you, Lord for this family you've given me. I am a woman blessed beyond measure, and my cup truly runneth over.