what a year it has been! a year of many firsts, including our boys' first trip to Disney World in Florida!
this trip has been in the "works" for about 4 years now. we waited purposefully for Jacob to turn 5yrs old, because we wanted all three boys to have some memory of the trip.
it was well worth the wait!
i had visited Disney waaaaaaayy back in the 80's. a LOT has changed since then! or at least from what i remember!
we only did a 5 day 4 night package, including the deluxe family dining plan (that's a good thing!).
however, 4 days is just NOT enough to see and do much in the World of Disney!
we woke the boys up at 4am!! so we could be at the airport on time for our 7:10am flight. we used the Albany Park Ride & Fly service! what a deal! $25 to park our car there for the 5 day week! AND they carry your bags right to curbside check-in! we were "chauffeured" to the airport via their shuttle and had plenty of time to meander through the security check point. (and yes, you have to take off your shoes!!)
we ate breakfast at the airport McD's, which the boys thought was absolutely fabulous! hahaha! it's amazing what excites them! afterwards, they watched some of the planes take off and land.
soon it was our turn! we boarded the plane and sat towards the rear. for some reason, Hank thinks this is the "safest" place to be in case of a crash. oh my! i didn't even want to think about that!
the take off was pretty smooth...except that all three boys were not used to the pressure, being this was their very first flight! we tried gum, chewing gummies, drinking, etc. nothing seemed to aleviate their poor little ears. thankfully, it didn't last long, and they were soon laughing and in awe of the plane going above the clouds! i swear the pilot could hear their joy-filled sentiments all the way in the cockpit!
we brought their school work with us, and some other activities to do while in the air, but before we knew it, it was time to land. the Orlando airport was very confusing but we made it to the Disney Magical Express busline that took us to Port Orleans Riverside Resort at Disney World! woohoooo!
and although we made it to our room by 11am, our luggage was HOURS behind!
instead of going straight to the parks, we hung out at the hotel. i wish now that we had gone to a park!
live and learn!
when our luggage arrived, we changed into bathing suits and went swimming at the hotel pool. the boys loved it! we had dinner reservations for Planet Hollywood in downtown Disney. being that we didn't rent a car, we had to take Disney transport everywhere we went. not so bad, but waiting for buses is not my idea of fun.
Downtown Disney was sooooo busy with people traffic, i was so nervous about losing the boys. but we managed to stay together (this time!). Planet Hollywood was quite the restaurant! the noise level in that place was unreal! i couldn't hear myself think! they played music videos of Britteny Spears and the like, none of which i really wanted my 3 young boys to watch! oh my! however, the FOOD was absolutely delicious! BTW, with the dining plan, the adults get one appetizer, an entree, and a dessert :) the kids get an entree and a dessert. you do have to leave a tip!! and the food is quite expensive. so even though we had the dining plan, tips for dinners and lunches ran us anywhere from 20-30 dollars!
by the end of our first dinner at Disney, we were all pretty much tired out from our travels that day...and remember, we were up at 4am! but i decided to drag us all to the "Wishes" fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom...good idea? well....not so much!
of course, we had to wait for a bus to take us there. when we got there, the crowds were HUGE and everyone was trying to get a good spot to see the fireworks. the boys were so darn tired and starting to melt down even before the show started. but we perservered. i knew that this was the only time that we would have to watch the show. they only did this particular show twice during our stay. it was AWESOME! however, i think the boys were so overtired, that they didn't enjoy it like i did.
after that, we had to take the bus back to our resort...and the line for the bus was sooooo very long! by the time we got on the bus, it was standing room only. poor Jacob was falling asleep on his feet! and no one would give up a seat for him. i tried holding him while i was standing & trying to hold on the handle, but i was just too weak. we should've just went back to the room after dinner.
live and learn!
our second day proved to be just as tiring as the first day...we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, and set out to Epcot and Magic Kingdom via bus. Epcot was wonderful! and even though we didn't get to see all the "countries," the things we did see (such as the future ride & the Seas with Nemo & friends) were well worth the visit. we had lunch reservations at the Coral Reef restaurant there in Epcot. i think that was the BEST restaurant we had the priviledge of eating at!! there was an aquarium right in the restaurant! and all the tables were situated so that everyone could see it! very nice atmosphere! and the food, once again, was FABULOUS! if you get a chance to eat here---you will not regret it!
then we were finally off to the Magic Kingdom via monorail. the boys loved that! there was so much to do in the Magic Kingdom, but our first stop was in Tomorrowland. we did the Toy Story ride, and when we got out, it was raining! so we bought $7 rain ponchos! i urge you to bring your own..because that was an expense we did not count on. $35 plus tax for plastic rain ponchos! ugh! but at least they kept us dry.
because it was raining, we meandered in and out of the attractions that were close together. we saw the Carousel of Progress (which is a rotating theatre), Buzz light year's space ranger spin, and monsters inc, laugh floor (great show!). then we headed back to our room to change for dinner reservations at the Boatswright where we were staying.
after dinner, the boys wanted to go swimming again, but it was still raining. so we just hung out in the room. pretty soon, it was time to catch some zzzzzzzzzzz's for the next day's adventure.
on Wednesday, we hit the Magic Kingdom once again...Stephen didn't get to go on Space Mountain, so that was the very first ride! Jacob wasn't tall enough, so i stayed behind with him while Hank, Nick & Stephen braved the mountain! this is the ride where you cannot see the track...they had a blast!
then we took the people mover around tomorrowland. it's a bit scary at the end of the ride...so hold on tight to the little ones!
we then headed to adventureland for more rides, such as splash mountain, pirates of the carribean, and peter pan's flight. we saw the tiki room show (which was cute!), and walked around Tom Sawyer's island and the swiss family treehouse. we also went throught the haunted mansion! WARNING: this ride was not appropriate for children under 6 or for those who scare easily!! Jacob was definitely scared!
we then headed over to Downtown Disney to do some shopping. this is where we lost Nick...see previous post! thank goodness it was only for a few minutes!
we had dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Express. now don't let the name fool you! the food was out of this country! wonderfully prepared and delicious! i had salmon w/horseradish sauce and arugula, with potato wedges seasoned to perfection. and CHEESECAKE for dessert! YUM-O! after Wolgang's, back to the room and more swimming!
the fourth and last day, we went to Animal Kingdom! i was so looking forward to this part of the park. we took the safari first! the animals were out and about, and we got to see giraffes, elephants, rhinos, gaters, even lions and cheetahs! the boys really enjoyed it!
next we saw the "it's tough to be a bug" show. pretty intense in 3-D! even Stephen jumped during the show, and Jacob was a bit scared! i won't give any of this away, because it's pretty cool what happens at the end! haha!
we then headed to the raging river ride! i practically begged the boys to put their rain ponchos on...but they said they wanted to get wet! ok! here we go! i wore my poncho (yes, i am a wimp!) Jacob and Nick got SOAKED! like "they went swimming in their clothes" soaked! and of course, Jacob did not like that! i told him so! the consequence was that he had to walk around wet for a while.
we stopped for a snack, and got to see a character parade, which we hadn't planned. it was fun!
the best part of animal kingdom for the boys, was dino land! there was a dino dig playground complete with t-Rex bones, triceratops bones, slides and caves! on the other side of the playground was a "pretend" archiological dig site, where the boys got to dig for dino bones! so fun!
we then went on the ride DINOSAUR! another WARNING!! this ride was terrifying to Jacob!! he actually was shaking when we got off the ride! it was pretty scary, even for me!
we then had to head back to the room so we could change for our fancy dinner at the Yachtsman's Steakhouse at the Yacht Club Resort. the food was amazing! it did cost us 2 table service points per person, but it was well worth it! we got to hob knob with the elite crowd! LOL!
i had in mind Fantasmic! the mickey the magician show with lights and fireworks at Hollywood studios. so we hightailed it to H.S. via boat. the lines were incredible already, and it was one hour until the show. Hank and the boys didn't want to wait in line, so we went to see the little mermaid show instead. that was a huge disappointment for me. i really wanted to see Fantasmic! we then headed back to our room.
since it was our last night there, i packed up while Hank took the boys swimming for their last evening...well, they stayed out until 11pm!! we had to get up at 7am! no worries though..we made it!
no one wanted to go home, but alas it was time. we had a leisurely breakfast and then waited for Disney's Magical Express to take us back to the airport. the flight home was uneventful. and we were all pretty much exhausted.
it was a memorable trip! there was way too much to do and see in the four days we were there, and we all would love to go back again some day. soon!