Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Disney pt.3

Wednesday we headed for Animal Kingdom - yay! It was our first day in the park, and we were really excited to go on the safari - and I couldn't wait to try Everest! We got to meet some characters - Chirt from Tarzan, Baloo, and King Louie. We headed to get fast passes for Kilimanjaro Safari, then went to do a few other things. We watched It's Tough to be a Bug, which was SO CUTE!!

After the show, we headed over to get in line for Everest. We stopped on the way to see the monkeys. They were out and very active. They were yelping and hollering so loud that we couldn't believe that it was real - we kept looking for a speaker that was making all the noise! Then it was on to Everest. The wait was only 7 or 8 minutes. We couldn't believe it. I loved it, but couldn't convince any of the kids to go on it with me. Oh, well, next time, right? :)

When we finished Everest, we headed over to Kilimanjaro Safari to use our fast passes. I decided to reapply sunscreen on all the kids before walking over. Unfortunately, it was hot and the kids were really sweaty. The suncreen ran into Chloe's eye and really stung. She cried forever, we took her to the bathroom and rinsed her eyes out. Then we gave her a moist napkin to hold on her eye herself. It took a while, but she finally calmed down. I know that drama is going to be a good day! :)

The Safari was amazing. We were so close to the animals! I couldn't believe how realistic the safari was. The driver was very enthusiastic, and the kids really enjoyed themselves.

Then we stopped to get some lunch at Yak and Yeti's quick service. If you haven't tried it, you totally should. :D It was so yummy, and the servings were enormous! Then we headed over to Dinoland. On the way, we got a great surprise - we saw DeVine!! Oh, my goodness, this was so neat. DeVine is a park favorite, and pretty rare to get a glimpse of her, let alone have an up close and personal experience with her like we did. She is dressed completely in foliage so that she blends in with the trees. She moves very slowly on stilts, very cool to see. She came out of the trees after someone had spotted her. She moved toward us, and I was snapping pictures like crazy. She stopped in front of me, then moved on to Kelly, sliding right behind him. He was afraid to move for fear of knocking her over! It was very cool.

When we got to Dinoland, Jason and I headed over to Dinosaur with Logan, Chloe and Connor, while Steph and Kelly took the rest of the kids to the Boneyard. I was really looking forward to doing this ride, knowing it was going to be a lot like Jurassic Park. Chloe was feeling brave, so we let her go on it with me. Let me tell ya, that was a BIG mistake! We were a ways into the ride, screaming like crazy, when I realized Chloe wasn't screaming in fun. She was terrified! I put my arm around to tell her it was ok, but then she started crying inconsolably! She didn't ride anything else for the rest of the day.

We headed to Epcot from there, and Canon fell asleep on the bus! I felt so bad for
him! He'd gone hard all week, without complaint, and he literally just couldn't go any more. So when we got to Epcot, we let Caleb walk and put Canon in the stroller to sleep. He slept for two hours, then was good to go the rest of the night!
We had dinner that night at Teppan Edo. We celebrated Connor's birthday here, since it's his favorite kind of food. Unfortunately, the chef was the best part of the meal. Truly, our Japanese restaurants in Springfield are much better than anything we had here. But they treated us well, and gave Connor a chef's hat with Japanese writing to keep. He loved it. When we left the restaurant, we stepped over to the pond, and Chloe found a hidden Mickey on the grate. This was only the second one we'd seen the whole trip!

We took the kids over to ride Mission Space, then called it an early night, and headed back to the pool to swim. We didn't try to do a lot that night, because we planned on being there all the next day.

We took it easy the next morning (Thursday)and headed to Epcot about 10. We got our fast passes for Soarin', watched Circle of Life, went on Living with the Land, and got some lunch. We went to Soarin' right after that. Wow, was it totally worth it! It was so breathtaking, I couldn't believe the feeling of flying over San Francisco. It was one of our favorite moments of the trip! We then went to Journey into Imagination with Figment. Oh, it was so cute! Caleb just loved Figment, and so did Canon. We played a lot of the games and little experiments after the ride, which was a lot of fun. Then we went to watch Universe of Energy with Ellen. We loved it - the feeling of being surrounded by the screen was nearly as exciting as Soarin'. We were heading to Animal Kingdom for dinner at Yak & Yeti's. This was going to be Canon's birthday celebration. Unfortunately, he kind of got jipped. The waitress was really lousy, the food was only mediocre, and he almost didn't get his birthday cupcake. :( It was ok, though, because we caught the parade on our way out and he got to dance with Molly and Chloe. Now that's the way to celebrate your birthday! :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Disney trip, part 2

Well, Stephanie pulled off the surprise proposal Monday night, and we were all headed to MK in the morning for a very fun-filled day. We met Rian and Heather at the bus stop. We decided to take the Epcot bus since the line was shorter and hop on the monorail to MK. Well, our time-saving trip backfired and ended up taking an hour to get there! :D Oh, well, it was an adventure!

We met up with the Daniels' in front of the castle, and away we went! So much to fit in for the one day that Heather and Rian were with us, but we managed to do a lot. Lots of rides, a couple shows, and a great lunch at Pinnochio's Village Haus. We headed back to Pop to get ready for dinner at the castle and to pick out a place to do the ceremony afterward.

Dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table!! Oh, truly, this was the highlight of the trip! I can't begin to tell you how exciting it was for all of us. Going in, you have no idea what to expect. Will the food be any good? Will the boys be bored? Which princess will we meet? Well, all the questions were quickly put to rest, and we knew this would be a memory to last a lifetime for ALL of us. We met Cinderella downstairs and had professional pictures taken with her. Chloe was on cloud 9, to say the least! The boys were polite, but to be honest not overly excited. Caleb was a little shy, and Kelly tried to get him to talk to Cinderella. She smiled and flirted with him a bit, and he finally came around. He kissed her cheek before we walked away, and he told her she was pretty! It was so adorable. We met a wonderful castmember named Callie. She came over and visited with us and told us that Cinderella told her we had a very charming prince in our group. We thought it was funny and had Caleb tell her what he thought of Cinderella. Callie said he was VERY charming and said she had something special for him. When she came back, she gave him a sticker that said "Honorary Prince of the Day". She told us to make sure we took lots of pictures, because the princesses would be looking for him upstairs. We had no idea what lay in store for us!

When our names were finally called, we all went upstairs together. It was beautiful. The tables, the walls, the ceiling - it was just amazing. We were seated and given our menus, and the waitress then brought the girls wands and the boys swords! They were pretty excited about that, but I was a little nervous! They behaved pretty well, though, and didn't break anything. Whew!

Once we had ordered, the introductions of the princesses began. What a grand affair! The announcer gave a short summary of each princess' story, and then she arrived to greet all the guests. It was very well done. We were seated toward the back, so we knew we'd be some of the last tables visited - but that was fine with us. We really enjoyed watching all the little girls meeting their idols. Some got so excited and would just jump and squeal!

Aurora was the first to arrive at our table. My favorite, and the princess Chloe was dressed as. She was very sweet, as you could imagine. She really made over Chloe and their matching dresses, visited with the boys, and told them to watch out for dragons. Then she saw Caleb. She looked at me and asked, "Is he the prince I've been waiting for all night??" I smiled and said yes. She quickly went and sat down beside him, and visited with him for a while. He kissed her, and she kissed him, she hugged him, and she held his hand. It was so precious. Little did we know it would almost become a competition of sorts!

Snow White arrived next. She was the most in character, I felt. Her voice was wonderful! She and Chloe talked about their best friends, and Snow White told Chloe that she was sleeping over with Cinderella that night! We pointed out Caleb and she exclaimed, "Did Aurora kiss you? She always kisses the handsome princes!" So she went to him and kissed him, too.

Ariel came after Snow White. I really enjoyed her, she was most down to earth. Chloe and the boys told her their aunt's name was Ariel, and she loved that. When it was her turn to meet Caleb, she went and sat down next to him very seriously. "Do you want me to kiss you like my friends did?" she asked him. He looked at her and said, "Uh huh!!" She grabbed her hands and said, "Well, okay, I will. But you have to promise not to tell Eric. He wouldn't like it at all!" We all laughed, but Caleb looked so serious and said, "Okay!" Ariel laughed then, and kissed him, too!

Finally, Belle came to greet us all. She was very nice, and she told Chloe what handsome beasts she had with her. She didn't stay as long as the others, but she gave Caleb a kiss before she left as well. It was such a blast, and the night wasn't even over yet. We still had a vow renewal to attend!

Steph thought about the wishing well for a great spot. But once we walked over there, we realized it was pretty busy traffic. She then decided we'd go over to Belle's story nook. It was lovely, shaded, and slightly off the main walkway, so we thought no one would bother us there. Bonus, when we arrived, CM's showed up and started taping off the walkway for the fireworks! I was a little afraid they may say something to us, but neither said a word.

Once we were settled, Heather and Kelly got the cameras ready, and Rian had me pray. Then he started the ceremony. It was precious. Jason and Steph are our best friends, and I was thrilled to share this moment with them. They are a wonderful example to so many people, and their love for each other and their children is evident. It was a short ceremony, about 15 minutes. But it was exactly what Steph was hoping it would be.

We quickly found a place to change clothes, then went to ride more rides before the night was over. We had a great time, and were looking forward to all the days we had left of the trip. It was going by faster than I imagined it could.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Our trip to Disney, Part 1

Hello, all! I am still on a Disney high, and we've been home four days! The trip was amazing, I'm so thankful that we were able to go. We left Springfield on Saturday, May 22. Not only was this the kids' first trip to Disney, it was also their first plane rides. So we started the week off with adventure for sure! Canon was a little anxious, but once we took off he was very excited.

We got to our hotel about 9:30pm, so we basically grabbed some dinner, got our rooms set up and took a swim. We were thrilled to start our Disney dreams first thing Sunday morning with breakfast with Mickey and the gang at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Resort!

We loved the breakfast at Chef Mickey's. What a great way to start off our first trip! We met the entire gang - Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto. We had so much fun! The kids got pictures and autographs from everybody, and the food was pretty good, too. Then we were off to Disney Hollywood Studios.

This was the first park we would experience, and we weren't sure what to expect due to it being Star Wars Weekend. Boy, were we in for a crazy day! This was the hottest day of the trip, reaching 98 degrees. The crowds were unbelievable - I was kind of nervous to let go of any of the kids! I had a plan, thanks to my friend Kerry. She is a Disney specialist and made us a day to day schedule. Unfortunately, the plan fell apart for many reasons, and I almost crumbled right then and there. But after a few breaths and a little prayer, we quickly regrouped and chucked the plan. We couldn't ride Toy Story Mania because "Andy was home and playing with his toys". We weren't too excited to stand in line for over an hour to meet a couple of Star Wars stars. We decided to do the Studio Backlot Tour since it was a way to escape the heat and take a ride around the park. It was so much fun! The kids loved all the special effects and seeing props from some of their favorite movies. We got to go into Honey, We Shrunk the Kids playground, and it was cute. When we were finished there, the heat was exhausting us, the kids were getting cranky, and we all needed to rest. We were supposed to have dinner at Mama Melrose's and have reservations to see Fantasmic that night. But after talking it through, we decided it would be best for us all to cancel our plans and just go with the flow. I was hesitant to do this after all my planning, but I was so thankful that Kelly talked me into it! On our way out of the park, we caught the Block Party Bash. This was terrific! Chloe got pulled out to dance with some of the characters, Connor caught a bouncy ball, and we left in higher spirits, knowing that this was just the beginning of our dream vacation - we had plenty of time to do DHS again.
We went to the hotel and rested for a bit, then went to Magic Kingdom. MK was having Extra Magic Hours, so we got to stay till 2 in the morning. What fun! We experienced the fireworks, saw Mickey's Philharmagic, watched Stitch's Great Escape, rode Astro Orbiter, and so much more. Connor and Caleb were the first to wear down, but Chloe and Canon were still rearing to go. So Kelly took the two of them to Pirates of the Caribbean while the three of us sat down to rest. We got to see a lot of the park at our own pace, and the crowd level was not bad at all because we chose not to do the most popular rides. We got back to the hotel about 2:30 a.m. and slept in the next morning.

Monday we had reservations for lunch with Pooh at the Crystal Palace, so we just hung out at the Hippy Dippy pool for a couple hours after breakfast in the room. Chloe made a friend named Lacie from the United Kingdom, and they played together all morning. She told us she was there with her "nanny", and I introduced myself to her so she would know who Lacie was running around with. They were very sweet people. Kelly woke up and joined us for a bit, then we headed back to the rooms to clean up and head to MK again. The Crystal Palace was beautiful. Pooh and his pals were so cute, and the kids really enjoyed bouncing with Tigger and marching in the parade with Eeyore. After lunch, we walked over to see the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. We loved it! Thought of Meemaw and Papa the whole time. :D We then took the monorail for a ride around all the deluxe resorts, it was a nice little time to daydream! We went to Epcot from there.

We weren't sure what the night would hold for us. Jason and Stephanie were supposed to be in about 5, and we had planned on going to Hollywood for the evening. But plans changed when Rian and Heather were on the same flight out! The entire premise of the trip was Stephanie surprising Jason with renewing their vows for their 15th anniversary. Rian was coming to officiate. At this point, Steph was afraid they'd have to tell Jason up front instead of surprising him with a proposal. But they pulled it off, no thanks to Rian and his terrible skills at lying! Which, by the way, is a good thing - being he's a pastor and all! :D We ended up spending the evening at Epcot. We did the Seas, Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, and did a lot of looking around. This park is by far the biggest, and there was no way to see it all in one night - or 5, to be honest!

We went back to the hotel, and Stephanie decided she'd propose to Jason on the bridge. We got him out there on the fact that there was supposed to be a rocket launch that night. We let the kids play, enjoyed the view...and when the time was right, Steph handed me the camera, pulled Jason aside, and gave him the biggest surprise of their married life! It was so sweet, and we were thrilled to be a part of it. He was shocked that she'd pulled it off, a little embarrassed and we all laughed a lot! He was threatening all sorts of payback on Kelly and Rian, especially, but it was all in good fun. We were looking forward to spending the next day all together at Magic Kingdom!