Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Disney Day 4: Magic Kingdom Last Day

We spent 2 days in the Magic Kingdom and I am so glad we did.  I highly recommend spending at least 2 if not 3 there with a little kid.  Day 4 was our absolute best day and I would say in my top 5 best days EVER anywhere!  We had so much fun and Nicholas had pure happiness all over his face all day!  Made me want to stay in the Magic Kingdom forever! 

We slept in that morning and finally got to the park around 11:30.  After riding the crowded bus on Monday and seeing how easy it was to drive to Hollywood Studios the day before, Michael decided we should just drive over and take the Ferry into the Magic Kingdom. Y'all, this was so fun and magical!  Best decision we made all week! 

The only negative of the entire day was when I went to take a picture of the Ferry sign, I realized the memory card from my camera was back at the hotel in my laptop! :-(  All I can say is thank The Lord for iPhone having a decent camera! 

I was worried about not getting there at rope drop and having to wait in long lines, but that wasn't the case!  I really cannot emphasize enough how light the crowds were!  It was amazing and unbelievable to just walk around fantasyland and not wait to ride Under The Sea or anything else!  There was an hour long wait for Peter Pan but I got fast passes for that at noon and we only waited about 5-10 minutes at 1:45 in the fast pass line. 

We walked up right as the Dream Along With Mickey show started. It is such a cute little show and I was happy Nicholas finally saw Captain Hook and Mr. Smee! 

It started raining around the time we finally got to ride Pirates of The Caribbean and we ran to Columbia Harbor House to get the lobster roll I had been promising Michael.  This thing was huge, but so good! 

It rained off and on the rest of the day, which was awesome. It cooled the temperature down and it wasn't so bad. We did jump on the Tomorrowland People Mover and Carrosuel of Progress to take a break and get out of the rain for a few minutes.  

Two of three favorite pictures of the entire trip happened in Tomorrowland that day.  Nicholas drove a race car and the look on his face is my favorite!  Michael said he laughed the entire time he drove. 

After the speedway we got the customary Mickey ice cream.  This picture is just classic and is going in the front of my Disney scrapbook! 

We went back around to adventureland (where we started the day) and rode Pirates yet again and let Nicholas pick out a few things in the pirate gift shop.  He got 2 swords, a hook, and a Mickey dressed like Jack Sparrow!  We ate dinner at Pecos Bill's and I had a taco salad that was so tasty!  As someone who loves to eat, I could seriously eat in Disney every day. 

After dinner Nicholas and I rode pirates AGAIN and we all had a Dole Whip for dessert.  To.Die.For!  If you've never had one, get one next time you are there!  We took a break and the boys had a sword fight right there in the middle of Adventureland!  Again, priceless memories! 

We ended the day riding Magic Carpets one more time and then watching Wishes from the intersection of Main Street and Adventureland.  Nicholas was ready with his light saber, glow sticks, and Monster's spiny thing. :-)

The highlight of the day wasdefinitely tinkerbell   taking her flight from the castle.  My little pirate loved it!  

We rode back to our car on the ferry and I took one last picture of the MK.  Definitely my happy place!  I can't wait to go back in a year or two with my mom and Nicholas. 

We got back to the resort and crashed.  We were all wiped out.  Remember how I said the dining plan is A LOT of food, well I had to go to the food court and buy a bunch of snack items to use all of our snack credits!  We ended up with 8 rice Krispy Mickeys!  :-). 

My sweet boy and I crashed and watched Jake on TV for a few minutes.  I loved our matching pjs! :-)

Disney really is a magical place.  There is truly NOTHING like watching your child light up when he meets his favorite character, ride a fun ride, or see the fireworks.  I know a lot of people think I'm crazy to have taken a 3 year old to Disney, but it was wonderful.  He had the one meltdown and that was it, he loved every minute of it, and he talks about it nonstop!  We spent 45 minutes last night looking at our pictures with him describing exactly what was going on in each picture.  We made memories to last forever that was worth all the budgeting and saving we did to make it all possible! I wouldn't take back our week at Disney for anything! 
This concludes our trip to Disney, but still one more installment of our trip...a quick beach trip!  Come back tomorrow for that one and over the next few weeks I will writing more " Disney For Newbies" posts.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Disney Day 3: Hollywood Studios and Meeting Jake!

Tuesday was a HUGE day for our family! We got up and went to Hollywood Studios to meet Nicholas' hero, Jake!  We had a 8:00 ADR at Hollywood and Vine for the Disney Jr Play and Dine character meal.  It was such a fun meal!  Nicholas got to dance along to songs from Jake and The Neverland Pirates and meet Jake.

Jake was right at the door when we got there and was as excited to meet Nicholas as Nicholas was to meet him! :-)  Sadly, he overwhelmed Nicholas a little.  I don't think he expected Jake to be so big and he was a little frightened.  Jake was wonderful with Nicholas though. He kept patting him on the back and playing peek a boo with him.

We also met Special Agent Oso and Handy Manny. June from Little Einsteins was also there, but Nicholas was ready to go before we saw her.  

Nicholas and Daddy did join Handy Manny to sing our favorite pirate song, "Roll Up The Map"!

We finished eating and walked out of the restaurant right at rope drop.  I had been reading and hearing stories about how crazy HS is at rope drop and let me preface this story by saying that since I hurt my knee and back, I don't run unless something is after me.  Well, now we can add "or running for a Toy Story fast pass" to that statement!  When I saw the craziness outside I thought about everything I had read on the Dis forum and thought I better join in.  I took off across the park running in sandals and a heavy backpack with my boys trailing behind looking at me like I had lost my mind!  I actually heard them laughing at one point!  Hahaha!  Notice that no one was laughing at me when I pulled a fast pass for 9:50-10:50 and we walked through the non existing standby line right up to the ride at 8:58!  Haha!  Pretty sure it was Michael's favorite ride of all!  

We had rode on standby and met Buzz and Woody by 9:08! 

Y'all, seriously, September is THE time to go to Disney!  After meeting Buzz and Woody, we went over to Animation Courtyard to see Jake in the park and The Voyage of The Little Mermaid show. We were never able to catch a Disney Jr show, but Nicholas didn't seem to care.  The Little Mermaid show is definitely my favorite of the shows we saw.  It is excellent! 

We finally really met Jake and it was one of my favorite moments of the trip!  Nothing quite like seeing your child meet his 1st hero!  He loved meeting Jake and I loved seeing the happiness in his face!

After we saw Jake and rode Toy Story again, we ate lunch at The Pizza Planet from Toy Story.  Nicholas loved the atmosphere and the pizza was great.

If you want a good value on food, get a dining plan!  I got all of this for JUST one person on our quick service plan!  So.Much.Food. 

I also did a little shopping on the Streets of America in the It's A Wonderful Life Christmas Shop!  I always buy an ornament to remember trips so I got one for my tree and one for the playroom tree (any guesses which is which? Haha!)

We ended up going back to the resort for naps and pool time after lunch.  It was nice to have a relaxing, stress free evening for a change.  We sat at outside by the lake and ate dinner while watching Winnie The Pooh during the Epcot fireworks!  Perfect ending to a relaxing evening before another fun day at the Magic Kingdom! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Disney Day 2: Magic Kingdom!

We got up early on Monday and headed to the food court for some Mickey Waffles!  I am a believer that if you don't eat Mickey waffles before Magic Kingdom, you've already lost some magic. :-)

We rode the Disney bus that day...it is not for our family!  It was so crowded at rope drop and at 9:30pm after Wishes.  The next 2 days we drove and it was much better, but more on that later.  We got to the MK right as the train with the characters did.  It was fun to watch Nicholas' face light up as he saw the characters he loves enter the park.  One of my favorite pictures is this one showing his face when he was at the castle for the 1st time.

We went straight to Fantasyland to ride Peter Pan and it was definitely Nicholas' favorite!  We literally walked on everything we rode in Fantasyland!  It was unbelievable! 

After riding Peter Pan we saw that Peter and Wendy were right next to the ride so we got to meet them!  Nicholas was so happy to meet Peter! (even if you can't tell!)  

After this we walked over to Under The Sea and again, walked right up to the ride.  Little Mermaid is my all time favorite Disney movie and it has become Nicholas' favorite story.  He has asked to ride everything Little Mermaid he has seen!  Yay!

I rode in the Dumbo in front of them so I could get their picture riding.  The pure joy on this kid's face is the reason we went! 

All that we have heard for months was how much he wanted to ride "pirates". By 12:30 we finally made it around fantasyland and tomorrowland and walked over to Adventureland for the big moment!  We got there just in time for Jack Sparrow's pirate tutorial.  He sat on the ground mesmerized.  All was well until it was time to ride.  Then it happened.  A Disney-sized meltdown to end all meltdowns.  We don't know what caused it or why it happened, other than being overstimulated, hot, and over tired.  We carried him out to the bus and back for a nap and pool time.  

He woke up around 6:00 and we went back for more fun!  We enjoyed another round of fantasyland and ended our night by walking on Peter Pan...again!  I still can't believe how low the crowds were!  I never dreamed in a million years it would be such low crowds.  I think it is a great time of year to go and I am so glad we did!

By the time we realized how it was, all the restaurants had closed!  Oops!  We left the park with the masses after Wishes and packed in the bus.  We ended up eating at the resort for the 3rd meal that day, but it was actually good.  I had a really good salmon, broccoli, and rice that was perfect after a long, hot park day!

We ended up going to sleep around 11:00 (3 hours after Nicholas' normal bedtime) looking forward to our early ADR to meet Jake at Hollywood and Vine bright and early on Tuesday...

Happy Fall Y'all!

We are excited here today!!!  It is FINALLY officially Fall, my favorite season!  It has unofficially been Fall at our house since July 8 (1st day of high school football practice), so we are excited that we now have all of our Halloween decorations and Fall d├ęcor out!  I'm looking forward to daily pumpkin spice k-cups, pumpkin patch visits, soups, chili, a lot more football, sweaters, boots, scarves, and Fall candles!

Yesterday was cool and rainy, so I made our 1st batch of our favorite, taco soup, and broke out the pumpkin beer!  It was the perfect football watching day! 

I've never been one for Halloween decorations, but my child is obsessed with the few I have, so it looks like I'll be headed over to Hobby Lobby next weekend for some more!  Haha!  He found my Halloween wreath I always put on the back door and asked to hang it on the front door, so that is what we did.  I didn't get out many pumpkins or leaves, I think I'll hold off on those until after Halloween.  We will focus on jack-o-lanterns for now!  :-)

It is a little pitiful for now, we desperately need to get to the pumpkin patch for some pumpkins and a larger scarecrow!  (Nicholas was obsessed with my little scarecrow I usually put in the kitchen and put him in the grapevine pumpkin, so I guess we will leave him there...for now! Haha!)

Today I meal planned and prepped.  I decided to make some heavier meals this week to celebrate Fall.  We will have chicken pot pie and cooked apples tonight; chili mac tomorrow; leftover soup Tuesday; chicken tetrazzini on Wednesday; ranch pork chops Thursday; and shrimp and crab etouffee on Saturday!  Yum!  This little piggy is excited for our meals this week!  Haha!

Happy Fall Y'all!!!
(Disney Day 2 will be up later tonight!)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Disney Day 1: Resort Day and Nicholas Meets Mickey!

Sunday was the day I've been dreaming of since January...ok, who am I kidding, since I was little...the day I took my own child to my favorite place as a kid...DISNEY!  We spent the night in Valdosta, Georgia Saturday night and started driving again at 8:00 the next morning. It is about 3 1/2 hours from Valdosta to Disney, so much better than driving all the way from Ringgold in 1 day!  I forgot to pack Michael's swim trunks, so after a quick stop at a Target in Orlando, we arrived!

At check in we walked up to the online check in window (I checked in 2 months ago online and requested a 1st floor room close to transportation) and Nicholas looked up and asked the girl at the counter in an annoyed tone "where's Mickey?"  Hahaha!  We did tell him he was going to see Mickey, so I guess he was expecting Mickey to meet him at check in! 
We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort and I really can't say enough good things about it.  I kept reading negative comments about it before our trip, but we loved it!  We got our requested 1st floor room directly behind the bus stop that was ready early!  I ran ahead of the boys while they got out of the car and put out his 1st Tinkerbell gifts!  We all got ears, his autograph book and a note welcoming him to Disney!  He loved his ears and wore them almost nonstop for the week!

Nicholas LOVED the pool and resort!  It is perfect with the Caribbean and pirate theming!  Our room had a Nemo theme and he called it "our Nemo house".  We spent the afternoon at the pool, which was one reason I chose this resort. Once I saw the pool, I KNEW it was the place for us!  Nicholas pretty much hyperventilated when he saw it!  Haha!

He loved the shipwreck play area, but also enjoyed the big water slides with Mommy and Daddy!

We went to our room around 3:00, rested a little then on to the big moment...meeting Mickey!  Nicholas was sooooo tired that he wasn't wanting to go.  Next time I plan to do Chef Mickey on our departure day and have day 1 a little more relaxing.  However, once we got there, it was so fun!!!  

Pluto came over to our table 1st.  Nicholas didn't like him very much, but did ask him to sign his book. 

Minnie was next.  He keeps telling us how much he "loves Minnie".  His interaction with her was priceless and I'll never forget this moment as long as I live.

Unprompted he leaned over and gave her a big kiss on the nose!  I almost cried right there! 

Next we saw The Mouse himself!  Nicholas was SO EXCITED to see him!!! 

Goofy was next and Nicholas didn't want to hug him, but he did give him 5 and Daddy gave him a big hug! 

Donald was last.  He is Nicholas' favorite, although I think he was somewhat insulted Nicholas handed him a Mickey doll! :-)

We had such a fun time at dinner!  Yes, it is ridiculously expensive but it is priceless to see your child interact with the Fab Five characters, dance, and wave their napkins in the air.  I would pay that money over and over for that again!  I've also read a lot of negative reviews about the food there and my husband who is very anti-buffet and very critical of food said it was his favorite restaurant of the week.  We ate pretty much one of everything and nothing was bad.

As a kid I always wanted to ride the monorail, but we never needed to, so we never did.  After dinner we hopped on and rode the resort line.  It was so cool to ride right by all the resorts and "the kingdom" as Nicholas calls it!  :-)

We went back to our resort after the monorail ride and to bed to rest up for our 1st day at the Magic Kingdom...