Sunday, December 28, 2014

What a whirlwind!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!! We're still recovering here, and I plan to pick blogging back up soon!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

EPCOT Day #2 and Disney Day #5!

Our second EPCOT day was supposed to be a World Showcase day, but because doing nothing but World Showcase can be a bit boring for little ones, we mixed it up a little. 

We met some major characters...

And then apparently did a whole bunch of nothin'. I have no more pictures until that evening. 

It was a warm day, and the girls were begging to go swimming. It was warm, but not THAT warm! We went anyway, and all left with shivering bones and chattering teeth. For whatever reason, though, the girls were thrilled, so it's a success. 

We headed back to EPCOT that evening. We had reservations at San Angel Inn, and we thought we'd leave a bit early and mosey through World Showcase on our way to dinner. We stopped for some adult slushes first...

(pardon the post-pool hair)

And then we were stopped by the Imaginations globe making its way into the center of the World Showcase Lagoon. Seems like that wouldn't take to long, unless you consider the 23432 little boats following the globe that carry the fireworks. We were stuck there for a long time, and then the heavens opened and drenched us all. Thankfully we were able to squeeze into the African Outpost and prevent a wardrobe malfunction with me and my white tank top. 

We finally made it into the GORGEOUS Mexican pavilion for dinner. I just love it in here. The food will not knock your socks off, but it's tasty, and the ambience is worth it. Keep in mind: if you have vision problems, bring a flashlight. It's dark in here!

The girls wanted to get a souvenir, and they picked these dadburn bongo things. Luckily, the newness wore off fairly quickly and I haven't heard them since we've been home. 

We missed our Test Track FastPass since we went swimming that afternoon, so we decided to take our chances at night with the standby line. The wait was not much at all. We had a blast, and then I got to pick me out a car at the end!


 Ride #1

Ride #2

About this time Steve got an important work call (yes, at night and on vacation. Problems of owning your own business), so we started walking back to the hotel. Miraculously he was able to listen to his phone call right in the midst of Illuminations, with all the music and fireworks going off like crazy. The girls and I stopped and watched while he hid behind a food booth to try to finish his call. 


Up Next: Our last Disney Day at Magic Kingdom!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Disney Day #4: Animal Kingdom!

Animal Kingdom is my very favorite park! I'm certainly in the minority, but I could absolutely spend a whole week there. Mostly on Kilimanjaro Safari! 

 It was a bit of a cold morning, so Ella Kate needed pink blankie with her. 

 And also a bit of a sunny morning....

Animal Kingdom is undergoing a lot of changes, so there are a lot of scrims up around the park. Makes for yucky pictures, but I'm so excited to see the finished product!

We of course headed directly to the Safari to check on my old friends...

Giraffes! My favorite!

Flamingos! Caroline's favorite!

After the Safari, we made some pressed pennies then headed to another late breakfast, this time at Tusker House. Tusker House is my must-do restaurant. I just have to eat there on every visit to Disney. 

This time, though, we didn't have the greatest experience. I really felt rushed to eat and get out by our  waitress. In fact, our meal was winding down and we still hadn't had a meet and greet with Goofy yet. She had us get up and go into another room to see him rather than just letting us wait to until he came through. Not exactly magical. Now, I know that we could've just refused to do it, and waited at our table, but we truly did feel uncomfortable staying there because it was obvious the waitress was ready for us to leave. 

And apparently my Goofy pictures are lost in oblivion, too. 

My mother-in-law talked about the experience later, and we think it may have had something to do with the fact that our reservation was so late and it was running into their lunch service. It may not have been the waitress and more of the restaurant itself trying to get breakfast cleared out. IDK. It stinks that our experience was less than ideal, but it's still my must-do. I'll go back forever and ever, I imagine. 

After breakfast, we decided to try out Expedition Everest because we were coming up on our FastPass times for it anyway. To make a long story short, insert the same scenario from Rock n'Roller Coaster. The girls didn't want to ride it, rode it anyway, rode it 97834932 more times. 

Family Everest pic!

Our next FastPass was for Dinosaur, which is the only attraction that actually still scares me a little. I was pretty nervous about taking my girls on the ride, but by this point, they were little adventurers! I miss them being babies, but it's fun to be able to do all this big girl stuff with them now, too!

I got a little off on my timeline, and I missed these Festival of the Lion King pictures. We did this right after Tusker House since they're right next to each other now. It's one of my favorites, and makes me cry every time! I have no idea why, but I'm always in tears by the end. 

What I wouldn't give to just try on one of those costumes...

The day caught up to little Ella Kate, so she napped while we did Tough to be a Bug, and was still sleeping when 

 Caroline had been so excited to meet Russell and Dug, so she wore her Dumbow Shoppe Russell bow. 

And this was Russell's reaction when he noticed it!

 I wish I'd gotten it on video! It was such a great reaction that still cameras just can't capture. It was worth everything to see him get so excited, and Caroline to get so excited about him! It's the one thing she hasn't stopped talking about, and now she wants a Dug bow for next year!

Off to Expedition Everest for one last ride!

I just wish Animal Kingdom stayed open later. We all wanted to do more, but they close at 6, so we had to make our way out. 

Until next year, Animal Kingdom!

Up next: EPCOT day #2, Disney Day #5!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Disney Day #3: Disney's Hollywood Studios and The Frozen Premium Package!

On Tuesday of our trip, we headed to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Typically, DHS is a half day park for me, and I had intended to try to spend the morning at the resort and then head into the park. As usual, my Disney OCD kicked in and I had to get to the parks as early as possible. I was nice enough to let everyone sleep in, though. A little bit anyway. 


The Yacht Club is close to Hollywood Studios. So much so that they don't offer bus service. You can walk or choose to take the boat over. We decided to try the boat out, but in hindsight, walking is a better choice. The boat is supposed to arrive at 15 minute intervals, and maybe that's how long it took, but A) It's probably just a 15 minute walk, and B) the boat fills up fast! We had to watch 2 boats come and go before we were able to get on one. It was a PAIN! Now, we took the boat back the resort at the end of the night, and we got on the first bus and didn't even wait very long for it. So just a word  of warning: allow extra time if using boat service in the mornings. 

We had splurged on the Frozen Holiday Premium Package for our DHS day, which gave us preferred seating at the Frozen Sing-Along (and essentially a FastPass for it) and a dessert party with a reserved seating area at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. As soon as we got into the park, I headed straight for guest services to pick out our showtimes for the Frozen Sing-Along. We chose the 12:30 show, but I sorta wish now that we had chosen a later show. Not a big deal, though. 

After reserving our time and getting our VIP lanyards, we headed for Rock n'Roller Coaster. This coaster is AMAZING!!! Steve and I absolutely love it, and this was the first year that Caroline was tall enough to ride it. Since Ella Kate wasn't tall enough yet, we took advantage of child swap on this one. We told the cast member at the front of the line that one of us had to wait with Ella Kate, and she handed me a FastPass ticket. So Steve and Caroline went on into the standby line and Ella Kate and I hung out and had some snacks. Caroline came barreling out of the ride BEGGING to ride again! Luckily, the child swap FastPass is good for two riders, so she went right back in there with me!


Ride #1: It's sorta funny to see how terrified she looks on this first ride considering how many more times she rode it that day.
Ride #2

Then, once Steve's parents met up with us, she convinced her Papaw to ride with her again. How stinkin' hilarious is this picture of them? They look like they're asleep!

After having ridden RnRCoaster 4 times, it was time for the Frozen Sing Along. We started heading toward the Premier Theater, which was almost as far away from where we were as you can get! When we got there we saw a HUGE stroller parking lot that was full of strollers, and the line to get in was already crazy long. Thankfully, we were told to wait in a roped off area off to the side. We waited there for just a few minutes, and then were led in first (all this was because of the Frozen Premium Package). We were seated on the third row, which actually sorta bugged me since we were the first ones in. I felt like we could've gotten first row, but since that sounds very Violet Beauregarde, I'm going to stop whining now. 

We sat down for the Frozen Sing Along, and lemme just tell you. It was awesome. Like, totally. Honestly fantastic. Even Steve said how great it was, and that he's glad we did it. He's also quite glad we didn't wait in line forever, let's be real. 

The narrators just made the whole show. They were hysterical! They basically told the story of Frozen, but quickly and much more funny. 

Kristoff is a cutie!

Enjoy some random pics of the rest of our day:

I wish I could've gotten a pic with Baymax. I wanna know how squishy he is!

The Incredibles are always a great character interaction. Frozone acted upset that we all had on Captain America shirts instead of Frozone shirts. Lemme tell ya, he's so fun that if I can find a Frozone shirt by our next trip, I would totally wear it!

Steve and Caroline crack me up in this Tower of Terror pic!

Also included in the Frozen package was a dessert party with special seating to view the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Included in the dessert party was a large variety of Frozen-themed desserts, along with mixed alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, juices, and hot chocolate. 

 Our neighbors joined us for the dessert party, too!

Hollywood Studios is my least favorite park, but we had a wonderful time, and the Frozen package had a lot to do with that! The sing along was absolutely fantastic, and the dessert party with family and friends was a perfect way to cap off the day! 

Next up: Animal Kingdom! 

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