Thursday, June 23, 2011

Disney World 2011 Trip Report

What a way to start our summer vacation - in the happiest place on earth! Not to mention being with some of our favorite people on earth, we knew it was going to be great.

We left on Friday, May 27. We flew Allegiant from Springfield directly to Orlando/Sanford. It's not the biggest airline, but the convenience of no layovers, low costs and five minutes from our house are totally worth any downfalls you could think of! The ride was smooth, 30 minutes ahead of schedule, and our shuttle was waiting for us when we arrived. Great start to the trip! It was a quick 45 minute drive to Pop Century, our home for the next 11 days! We drove through Orlando, which was neat for me. I'd never seen the city, and I was impressed with all we saw.

When we got to the hotel, we checked in and headed to our rooms. We didn't get the location we requested, but we loved it better than where we were last year! We literally opened our door and took 10 steps to the swimming pool - fantastic for the kids. I took a few minutes to unpack the suitcases and get some stuff organized. Then we headed for the buses to take us to Epcot - we had that planned for some time. Caleb had been saying for months that the first thing he wanted to do when we got back to Disney was to go and see Figment, so that's what we did. :) (Being the youngest, he usually gets his way!)

Everyone was excited and in a great mood. Bart and April were loving all the photo ops, and we were all so happy to be back after a long year away. We walked under the ball, played in the fountains and rode Figment. Then we headed back to Spaceship Earth. When we got out of the ride, a big surprise awaited us - it was pouring rain! Our first night in, and we had to break out the ponchos; but that didn't damper our spirits! We'd rather be wet in Disney World than not be there at all!

The next day was Saturday, Star Wars Weekend, so we headed to the Studios. So much to do here, but first to get our fastpasses for Toy Story Mania. I think the shortest wait we saw the entire trip was 60 minutes! The guys headed to TSM and the rest of us ran to Rock N Roller Coaster. Connor was so scared to do it and wouldn't go, but Logan and Braden talked Chloe into it. She cried all the way through the line, but loved it when we got off. She came out of there with all the confidence of a rock star and talked big brother into trying it! He was so scared, but faced his fear and loved every second of it! For their bravery, I let them pick out some awesom souvenirs - Chloe got a backstage pass lanyard and Connor picked out new drumsticks.

The day was full of firsts. Many rode Tower of Terror for the first time. We saw Beauty and the Beast Live Onstage, and we ate at Mama Melrose's. The group also talked me into auditioning for American Idol. Don't get too excited, you won't be seeing me Hollywood week - but it was still fun! ;) But the biggest thing for me that day was that we got to see Fantasmic! I was so excited about this, and it totally lived up to my expectations. Think of all your favorite Disney movie moments, put them into a dream sequence in Mickey's imagination, and multiply what you imagine by 100 - then you may have an idea what this wonderful show is like. I tried to capture some of it on film, but it just couldn't recapture the moment. It's going down as my favorite show at Disney - I can't imagine anything topping it.

On Sunday, we went to Animal Kingdom - oh, I love this place! We took a quick walk to get our fast passes for Kilimanjaro Safaris, but couldn't help but stop in Africa to dance to the African drumbeats! April and I had so much fun, we didn't care who was watching! This is what memories are made of! We got to see a lot of things this time that we hadn't made it to last year. Rafiki's Planet Watch and Affection Section was great. The kids met Pocahontas and Rafiki, and we saw many other characters. It was a slower pace, which for us was just fine.

For lunch we went to Yak and Yeti's counter service - our favorite quick meal in the World. Their food is so good! After lunch, we split off into family groups to do our own thing for a while. This was the great thing about travelling with our best friends - no one gets offended when you want/need your own space! LOL! We rode Everest again, then headed to Dinoland so Caleb could take part in all the fun. He does so well, but it gets hard watching everyone else do stuff when you aren't big enough. We played in the Boneyard, a huge playground and bonedigging sandlot, for over an hour. He was so happy just to run and play and dig around. And Kelly and I were glad to sit! Canon rode Dinosaur and loved it - even though the picture makes it look like he was petrified! We rod Kali River Rapids, then grabbed a bus to Polynesian to eat at O'Hana.

If you've never tried O'Hana, I strongly recommend it. Kelly and I were very tempted to cancel a few reservations and eat there every night! We didn't, of course, but we may next time! It's all you can eat, and I think Kelly and Chloe ate $100 worth of shrimp a piece - we definitely got our money's worth that night.

We met up with everyone at the pool and rested for a couple hours. Then we decided to head to Magic for late night hours. Jason and Steph and the kids joined us, but Bart and April declined. There is something magical about the Kingdom at night. Like you just expect something extraordinary to happen. It's like being transported into another time, another place, where the worries of the world just can't penetrate. I can't imagine another place that makes me feel this happy on earth.

One of the biggest surprises of the trip happened when we were about to get in line for Space Mtn. We were sitting off to the side of the entrance when a small crowd passed us. We weren't paying much attention, but Jason was. He asked us if we thought that it was Lauren Alaina - we looked over, and there she was, along with her parents, Jacob Lusk and Scotty McCreary's mom! We were whispering excitedly to the girls and they kind of squealed. Lauren looked over at us and Steph yelled, "We love you Lauren!!" She just grinned and waved before some guards whisked her into a private entrance! We were screaming and laughing louder than our kids, Jason was so embarrassed - which made it even funnier! This was the weekend after the finale, so we figured Scotty would be at DHS the next day. I so wanted to go, but we didn't make it. Oh, well, we'd rather see Lauren anyway! :)


  1. My 5 year old asked me today when we can go to Disney. :)

    Stopping by from the Crew. Now following you.

  2. Yay, we get to go to Disney Land with the kids for the first time in September! Looks like you guys had a great time :)

    Stopping by and following from the crew: