Disney World-Downtown Disney/Hollywood Studios, FL

The last day of our Disney visit we decided to head down to Downtown Disney. George’s sister and husband gave the kids gifts card and boy were the kids itching to spend them. There was alot of construction going on. It made maneuvering the parking lots a little tricky. It was kinda fun walking down the streets and seeing the themed shops. We stopped into a few. The one I had to push everyone out of was Disney’s Candy Cauldron. The treats looked so yummy but were very expensive. Even George who is a candy lover didn’t have any intention of buying anything. We hit the jack pot when we found the Lego and Disney Stores. The kids had no problem finding something to spend their money on. The kewl thing about the Lego store are the great sculptures all around inside and outside the store. Baby Kermit got a Mickey Mouse, a Pluto car and a Donald car. Pooh got an Iron Man flashlight. Duke, Bubbles, and Jem all got the container of Legos. Pippi got an Elsa barbie doll. I got an Ariel shirt.

After an hour or so of shopping it was time for lunch. This really is the only reason I wanted to go to Downtown Disney. T-Rex. That’s right T-Rex restaurant was where I had chosen to eat lunch that day. The kids loved the outside of the restaurant and loved inside more once we were seated. On one side we could see all the different types of dinosaurs while on the other side there were fish tanks.The kids each received a T-Rex hat to wear. To be honest I don’t remember what anyone ate. I had chicken and George had ribs, I think. It was good nonetheless. Every few minutes or so the dinosaurs would freak out in fear of the meteor shower. It was a wonderful experience. One of my favorite experiences of our Disney World trip.

After lunch we decided to head over to Hollywood Studios. We had a few things planned but weren’t sure what the rest of the day would be like. The first ride the older four and George rode on courtesy of Fastpass was the Start Wars ride- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. I took the younger two boys to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set. The boys had fun running around, getting sprayed with water and sliding down a slide or two. They didn’t like all the dark, cramped tunnels. In fact getting lost in those dark, cramped tunnels leaves you at the mercy of a strange little boy who offers to lead you out. The boys had fun. I hated it. If we had taken all six to this spot, one would have gotten lost and started crying for sure. I say this because all of the props and features are huge and there are lots of places to wonder off and hide.

After somehow keeping track of the two boys we met back up with George and the older four. It was just after lunch and we were already dripping sweat. After the kids kind of played in the Muppets fountain we went in to see Muppet Vision 3D. Kermit and Gonzo are absolutely my favorite Muppets. My kiddos have seen enough of the Muppets to share my love but they did enjoy the show. I thought it was pretty well done.

Hollywood Studios feels like a lot more walking but I think that’s because theres more shops ,space, etc. between the rides. We made what seemed like a mile long walk over to Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. It’s a small gallery with a short film to watch about Walt Disney. I think even the older kids enjoyed learning a little about the man who created Mickey Mouse and Disney World. Walt Disney really was an amazing man.

Right next door is the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. We used our Fast Pass to make sure we got in pending the alternative of a long wait. So this is live action bits and pieces of the movie with special effects. Lots of smoke and lights. The singing was pretty good but it seemed to go so quickly through the movie. Jem really is a huge Little Mermaid fan but I think even the little boys enjoyed the show.

The last thing we were able to enjoy before buckets of rain started to fall was the Toy Story Midway Mania. It’s the same as Buzz Lightyears’ Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom. It was just a ride I thought the boys would enjoy after watching The Little Mermaid.

Since it decided to started to rain buckets we were not able to see the Indiana Jones show or any other shows. The walk to the car told me right away that it was going to rain for a while. We were all drenched by time we got to the car. We headed back to the hotel in hopes of staying dry and getting some laundry done.

Once we were back at the hotel we changed out of our wet clothes and ordered a pizza from the hotel cafe. It was pretty good pizza. I prefer my homemade so this was a close 2nd or 3rd I would have to say. Then I took my time gathering all the laundry from around the couple rooms we had been occupying the past of days. 8 pairs of clothes per 4 days plus pjs adds up pretty fast.

Pippi and I hung out watching videos on Youtube waiting for the laundry to be done. As we got closer to being done I had the husband finish up while I worked on gathering all the other various belongings into a bag or box to be put into the car. I like to have things done ahead of time in hopes of getting to enjoy a few moments of nothing.

After finishing up I took Pippi over to the arcade as a reward for helping. We played several games together before deciding to it was time for bed.  It had been another long day and I was excited for the next couple of days.

As we drove away the next day I’m sure I sighed several times in relief that we had fun, saw the cousins and had survived 4 days of Disney World. It was an experience I hope the kiddos appreciate and never forget.

 

 

Disney World-Magic Kingdom part 1, FL

After getting to see some characters the day before the kids were very excited to see more. We planned our day around making sure the oldest 4 were able to enjoy a special experience at Magic Kingdom. First thing that morning we made our way to meet Ariel at her Grotto per Jems request. The line wasn’t long and Ariel was sweet. After a quick chat with Ariel we rode Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid ride. It was pretty much the movie. The kids liked it which is all that mattered. Music and bright colors why wouldn’t they.
Then we walked over to Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride. One of the most iconic Disney rides. My kids loved it. The awesome thing is that there is a play area for little people in the big tent. The girls and I rode 3 times. They really did like it that much.

Its awesome that you get to meet Cinderella and Rapanzel together. Pippi loves both princesses alot. The smile on her face made the whole trip worth it. You would have thought they were old friends. She hugged them both tightly as she greeted them and asked them to sign our book. They were both so friendly and great with all of the kids.

Then we took a break to eat at the Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, a futuristic restaurant . Burgers, sandwiches, grapes, and carrots. I really do love that they have healthy options. Little tummies do better without all the greasy food plus how cute is bread shaped like a fish. It was good to take a break from the heat. Plus eating seems to put kids in a better mood, more energy to burn I guess. We also had some time before meeting up with George’s Sister and her family.

So just a little heads up that the Mad Tea Party teacups aren’t far from the Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Yes, we rode the Mad Tea Party teacups right after lunch. The boys weren’t in the mood so it was just me and the older 4. I rode with Duke and Bubbles while Jem and Pippi rode together. No one got sick but I wouldn’t suggest it right after eating.

While wondering back we decided to use Fast Pass to ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. For some reason this ride had a really long wait. I thought since we have our very own Pooh we should ride. It was cute but didn’t last long at all. It was so quick. The kids wanted to ride several rides again but with an hour or so of a wait time it was not going to happen.

We rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The line was long so me and the older 4 used fast pass. The wait time was about an hour. While we we were waiting in line George took Pooh and Baby Kermit to ride Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel a few times. I really did think this ride would be fine. I wanted the kids to have the opportunity. I should have just walked by. I hated this ride. I have never really been fond of roller coasters and that’s still true today. I really really love my children. I will not get on another roller coaster for a very long time. I was ready to go back to the room and call it a day. Why not? by this time we had already ridden 7 rides for the girls and met 3 characters.

After some very messy ice cream we met George’s sister and her family. So it’s a small world has got to be one of the oldest rides. It’s cute for the first 5 minutes after that its just plain annoying. It was a good ride for all 14 of us as not many rides make it easy to keep your group together.

Man, was it hot. Just the walk to the Jungle Cruise had us hot and sweaty. We made sure to drink lots of water and give the kids snacks. While we were waiting in line a couple of the little people fell asleep. Again it was a good ride for the 14 of us. The ride is through the jungle with different scenes in a boat. The driver is suppose to be funny and entertaining. The guy we had seemed like he had been doing it for way too long. He didnt talk loud enough and rushed all the jokes. Let’s just say his heart didn’t seem in it. Had the line not been so long I would have considered riding again.

After the disappointment of the Jungle Cruise we headed over to the Barnstormer. It was a ride that most of the kids could ride and it was not far from our next Fast Pass. The two little ones had fallen asleep so I agreed to stay back. I also had two of my nephews decide they weren’t in the mood to ride either. So we just hung out and chatted a little while the others rode The Barnstormer. It’s funny how exhausting just being in the heat can be. Near by is Casey Jr’s Splash ‘N’ Soak Station. We stayed away from it for the most part mainly because how fun is it to walk around with wet shorts. Ironically when we were walking over to another section of the park it started raining. It was actually kind of nice and we dried quickly thanks to the humidity.

George’s sister and her family decided to go check out some other rides and we would meet back up with them later. We made our way over to the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Try saying that 3 times fast. We had a little more time to kill and wanted another break from the heat we decided to see what Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress was all about. It was in an air conditioned room, no walking, and kind of like a movie. It was interesting honestly. It was about advances in technology over time. You would hear about one era and then the revolving theater would move you onto the next. It is a ride that Walt Disney himself created and seemed to have spent alot of time and energy putting together. So I say it was interesting because it was so very obvious that the last era was stuck in the 80’s. We have made so many advances since well the internet that I guess it makes it hard to update the ride. It was hard keeping the two boys seated but the older four seemed to enjoy it.

To Be Continued…….

Disney World-Magic Kingdom part 2, FL

After the interesting trip through history we headed to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. This was another ride we used FastPass for. The line was a lot long than I imagined even with FastPass. Disney World the place where you go to wait.

Anyways, the ride is actually really fun. You fire the cannon or gun and hit targets. The targets are balloons , cans, etc. The sad part is the ride doesn’t last as long as you would think. Even with the line and shortness of the ride Duke loved it.

Then we made the short walk over to Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. I would have to say even though it’s a show and not really a ride it was one of my favorites. It has two things going for it. It’s indoors and really pretty funny. Everybody could use a laugh from time to time. I think the kids enjoyed it just as much. George isn’t really into cheesy humor but I’m pretty sure I saw him laughing here and there.

We had dinner at Columbia Harbor House.This seafood restaurant has an old tavern look and feel. It reminded me a lot of a restaurant from another of our trips to Old Sturbridge Village. The macaroni and cheese was definitely as good. Jem really enjoyed her chicken pot pit. The wait wasn’t long and they had tables to fit our whole family, all 8 of us. If you like seafood or are into the taste of homemade I recommend it.

So the next ride was one that Bubbles was very hesitant about. Me being the mom I am made sure to check out a video on YouTube of the Haunted Mansion. I knew even before we walked through the gates my kids could handle it. I think it helped that we went while the sun was still out. Yes, it’s dark on the ride but I imagine if its dark outside too it will make it a little spookier. So the reason I think Bubbles needed some convincing is because she’s afraid of the dark. So my kids understand that somethings aren’t really. All of the things included in the ride are lights, animatronics, smoke machines, and cameras. None of it is really a ghost. Plus it’s all kind of funny. Ghosts sitting done to dinner , really is funny if you think about it. Anyways, we survived and Bubbles as well as the rest of them did fine.

After riding a ride and telling Bubbles it’s not real over and over again I was not in the mood for what happened next. We ran out of diapers. I’m not sure why I didn’t think to put more diapers in the bags but we had no extra diapers. Poor George had to run to a baby center close to the front of the park in order to get diapers. While me and the kids were waiting we ran into Georges sister and her family. The kids played and we made jokes about the Hall of Presidents. They went to go eat and as joked we went to the Hall of Presidents after George got back.

The Hall of Presidents was actually pretty interesting. They found a way to make history fun and appealing to kids. So it isn’t a hall really as more of a presentation by animatronics of our past and present presidents. They talked a little about their contributions to our country. Not every president spoke but it was enough to get the point. Our current presidents animatronic even took the oath kind of. I say kind of because an animatronic can’t take the oath and become president. My kids have grown to love History thanks to my husband, Seton, and Rush Revere. They really liked this presentation.

We decided to wonder around until Georges sister and her family were done eating. We looked at the store fronts and people, I guess. We saw a line with a short wait time an decided to see what it was about. We went in to see Country Bear Jamboree. This is a decision I quickly regretted. I guess I didn’t realize how much wholesome Disney was slowly going away but it is. This show had sexual innuendos and made light of drinking. This is not a show that ever was intended for kids. I guy behind me was just as shocked as I was about what was being said/sung. Just please trust me if you feel the same way I do about these things walk right past this show. Country Bear Jamboree is bad.

After that I really wanted to wash the bad out. I found a show called Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room on the map. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The description does not do it justice. It was the most surprising and entertaining show we had experienced.It is the first Audio-Animatronics show at Disney. There are bird animatronics hanging from the ceiling. But not just birds but plants and flowers too. They sing and move. It really is a great family friendly show. No wonder Walt Disney took such pride in it.

The last ride of the day was The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. We split the kids between four adults of course with the youngest ones sitting with an adult. It’s one of those rides that if you don’t like heights you should avoid it for sure. I rode it and was okay until the camel spit in my eye. Yes, that 1 in a million chance of something happening happened to me. It hit that perfect angle that went through my glasses and literally spit in my eye. I honestly thought it was hilarious. How many people can say a camel spit in their eye at Disney World? I can.

We walked back over to Main Street in hopes of getting good seats for the Electric Parade. Even though we thought we got their early the streets were already packed with people waiting for the parade. We shared a snack with the cousins and the kids played. I will go ahead and say this I don’t think it was worth the wait. Don’t get me wrong the kids enjoyed it but for some reason people are so rude at the happiest place on earth. It was more time with the cousins and that’s all that mattered. I really did enjoy the show at Epcot better. So if you have to make a choose I suggest the show at Epcot for sure.

We were very glad to have the time with George’s sister and her family. We had a great time together. After the parade we decided to head back to the hotel. It had been a long day and was still a long walk back to the car. As we were walking back to the car we could see the fireworks show in the behind us. We left before the fireworks because we knew it would be a more crowded exit, the boys were exhausted, and the rest of us were too. We were all ready for a good nights sleep so that we could enjoy our last day at Disney.

 

Disney World-Animal Kingdom,FL

Believe it or not Animal Kingdom was the park I was most looking forward to. The morning started out great we got continental breakfast at the Royale Parc Suites where we were staying. No complaints from the kiddos there. The other great thing about the hotel was that not far from our door was a small playground, arcade and an entrance to the pool. Yes, we were on the first floor. It just makes it easier to carry all the stuff and kids. So before we left I handed out the cute hats I bought for the younger four. Two Lightining McQueen, One Lightining McQueen and Mater, and a Sophia the First. I had found them pretty cheap at the Base Exchange before leaving for our trip. So anyways, we are in the car almost to the park and I realize I don’t have my phone. In the excitement of the hats I put my phone down and forgot. I felt pretty dumb but we went back to the room I grabbed it and we were back on our way.

The first thing we scheduled for Fast Pass was Finding Nemo-The Musical. But because we were meeting the cousins we decided to explore the area before meeting up with them. We took our chances riding the Tricera Top Spin. We all rode it the first time. Baby Kermit didn’t seem to enjoy it so we watched the others ride instead the second time. The we headed over to where the Nemo-Musical was to wait for George’s sister and her family. Once they arrived we headed in to find our seats. Between our two families there are 10 kiddos. The Nemo Musical was pretty kewl and weird at the same time. I say this because The puppets look kewl but you can still watch and see the people. It was really hard not to watch the people. Really, really hard. Pooh absolutely loved it. He couldn’t get enough. He laughed alot.

After that we headed over to the meet and greet line for Pocahontas. It was the longest we had to wait for a character but at least the kids got a chance to talk and play with their cousins.Governor Ratcliff was there to greet us first. I told him to go home. No seriously I told him to go home. A little girl in front of us cried at the sight of him. Kids aren’t dumb. He’s the bad guy. Pocahontas was very sweet. Bubbles and Duke enjoyed talking to her. The funniest thing besides Jem making a face during our picture was that Pocahontas said we must have had to travel in a long canoe.

Anyways after the long wait the kids were pretty cranky so we decided to feed ours before our next FastPass experience. We ate at the  Flame Tree Barbecue. The good was really good. The kids either had an Uncrustable sandwich or a chicken drumstick with grapes. I had 1/2 a chicken with baked beans and cornbread. After lunch we headed over to Kilimanjaro Safari’s ride. It was nice to sit in the shade and be able to enjoy the ride. This was one of those rides that was very educational as well as some humor tied in. The girls really enjoyed this ride seeing as how they sat in the front and asked lots of questions. After the ride we were hot and in need of a snack. We quickly found an ice cream stand. Mickey mouse ice creams for everyone. At this point the 2 little boys decided to take a nap. While they napped George took Jem and Duke on the Kali River Rapids while I took the little boys, Pippi and Bubbles for a walk on the Maharajah Jungle Trek. This was a great compromise as the 2 little ones could not go on the Rapids ride.

Once each set had taken their turn we started walking back towards the front gates. By chance we had the opportunity to get our picture taken with Mickey and Minnie. Boy, were the kids excited. Well, a few of them were. Pooh and Baby Kermit seem to love Mickey more than their siblings. It was one of those opportunities I was happy the kids had. We continued our walk toward the front gate and noticed that there was a short wait for the Tough to Be a Bug show. We went in not sure what we were getting ourselves into. The show was really well done and I know the kids remember it. ***Spoiler*** Spiders come down from the ceiling. My kids along with my husband are not fans of spiders at all. It was funny watching them all. Before leaving we decided to stop at one of the photo stations to figure out how that worked. I’m glad we did because we had were one of the few ppl that had a chat Tarzan. The kids talked to him and I did my best to get him to beat his chest and yell. Instead he wanted me to do it and I felt like a complete idiot but again I think the kids got a kick out of it.

We went back to the room get everybody ready and jumped into the pool. Sadly though the pool was not much cooler than it was outside. THe kids love the water so it was hard as usual to get them out. That night for dinner we enjoyed Chinese leftovers from the night before. It really was good Chinese. If you haven’t figured out already we just can’t seem to find any good restaurants near us. We decided to give the kids a Disney themed gift that we had bought a couple weeks before. Pooh and Baby Kermit got a Cars rug with 2 cars to play with, Duke and Bubbles each got a drawing book of Cars or Sophia the First. Pippi and Jem eat got a Stationary kit of Rapunzel or multiple princesses.  Another long day that ended with alot of tired little people.

Disney World-Epcot, FL

I decided that we should start our Disney adventure off slow. We had a slow start that day as we had to drive 2 1/2- 3 hours to Orlando. We arrived at Epcot around lunch time. The first thing we did was get a quick picture with Pluto before heading to the Electric Umbrella. I choose it because I knew it would be easy to find and American style food. If you remember most of the kids especially toddlers are picky eaters. It offered the basic burger, fries, and chicken nuggets. I think the thing I liked most were that the kids meals included grapes. That’s right fresh,ripe,delicious grapes. After lunch we had to hurried over to our very first use of Fastpass. We were there a little early and to be honest the lines we not bad so we just jumped in the regular line. Our first ride was The Seas with Nemo and Friends. The kids enjoyed Nemo , Pooh most of all. I am a huge fan of the ocean and fish so the aquarium tanks were great. It was a mad house though. Too many kids and places for kids to hide. By time we got back outside it was sweltering hot. Disney was smart about the placement of water fountains. They are all over the place. After drinking as much water as the kids could we headed to Living with the Land. It was another ride where the line went quickly. After Living with the land we grabbed some slushing to cool us down and made our way to Mexico. The two little boys were napping so we wanted to make the most of it. I remember going to Epcot when I was in 5th grade. I don’t remember the countries being of much interest to me. I don’t remember much of my trip to Epcot as a kid. Early morning, rushing around, a Snow White and the 7 dwarves pin, and getting home late. Anyways, back to our trip. We stumbled upon the Tres Caballeros ride. The kids haven’t seen the movie yet but I would have to say the ride was really well done. It was another of my favorites. The kids would agree. We made our way all the way to Italy before deciding to head back. It was really hot and we were starting to get tired. We round the ferry boat back across near Mexico. We headed back towards the rides. We got in line for Journey into Imagination with Figment. Not what I expected but when you get off the ride there is a huge room with different ways to experience music. The kids enjoyed the music and the cool. Then on to Captain EO. Interesting movie. I knew when I saw the sign it would be very 80’s. I did not leave disappointed. At least not by the very 80’s feel. I’m pretty sure this was the point where Duke lost us. We walked out of the theater and he didn’t see us. He started walking back when George grabbed him. I was hoping he learned his lesson about not staying close. Our last ride before heading back to the room was Spaceship Earth. Courtesy of the children I heard it in Dutch and Spanish. I had no clue what was being said. It was nice until they have you going down backwards and stop the ride in the dark. We headed back to our hotel for dinner. The initial plan for dinner was that we would cook but things didn’t quite work out that way. So George grabbed some Chinese takeout. It was a great meal to finish off such a busy day. The kids all went to bed with a word excited for a new adventure the next day.