Sunday, January 24, 2010
We were walking towards Splash Mountain to use our fastpasses and on the way we saw Goofy walking our way. As soon as Carissa saw Goofy coming she took off running as fast as she could, opening her arms to run right to him for a hug. Goofy opened his arms and took off running too... right past Carissa and straight to Tristan who was 10 feet behind her! In the end, he made it up to her with a kiss.
15 packages of shredded cheese, 2 bags of french fries, 3 bags of goldfish, some oranges and my favorite, yummy swedish fish. Guess what I paid for all of this... $6!!! Seriously! I am now totally sold. So for all my Northewest friends, I'm going to share the link and hope you can find some deals as good as this. :)
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The other reason for our visit was to meet baby Alden, who had arrived quite early just 10 days before. He was so adorable and tiny... just cute as can be! I'm so excited to have another nephew, as I think Randal is just adorable and so much fun! (On a side note, I finally get to see my other newphew, Jonny, this summer. I haven't seen him or my sister for 8 years. I can't wait!)
I enjoyed holding Randal, marveling at how tiny his little hands are and how he squinches up his face. Babies are so precious! Not that I want any more. LOL
The kids all adored Alden, but Tristan just hovered over him. Every time he'd make a sound Tristan would say "I think he needs something, he's making a noise!". I finally had to make him move away and quit hovering so Alden could sleep and Jimmy and Virginia could relax. LOL I think Tristan's going to make a fabulous Dad one day...
Saturday, January 09, 2010
We trudge out of bed this morning and hurriedly dressed. We packed all of the last bits of dirty laundry, found a bag to store all the hoodies and waited for bell services to arrive. They knocked right on time and quickly escorted all of our bags out of the room, to be safely stored for our pick-up later in the day.
This morning is early Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom and we’re going to take advantage of them to finally ride all the Fantasyland attractions. We arrive to the Magic Kingdom in plenty of time to watch the park opening, the throwing of the pixie dust and the dropping of the ropes to let us once again wander in this magical place.
We stride up to the castle and wait in it’s pathway for the rope to drop, hurriedly getting in line for Dumbo. We’re on the 2nd group of Dumbo riders. The boys decide to ride together and Carissa on her own. For the first time, I am sitting out of Dumbo. Too many icky feelings after riding early in the mornings have made me wary. But the kids are excited. The boys choose an aqua Dumbo, Carissa chooses the coral one. They spin around up in the air, going higher and lower and I stand there watching them, snapping pictures and wishing this day could last forever.
We've now hit everything we needed to in Fantasyland and really in the whole park. By the time we get done it’s not quite 9am. The only other thing on our agenda is to visit Mickey in Toontown and finally get a photo with him, but Toontown doesn’t open until 10am. Brian mentions that maybe we should just head to Downtown Disney and spend the rest of our merchandise credit. Since we have to spend it somewhere, we decide to forego Mickey and make our way out of the Magic Kingdom. I’m a little sad that we never got to see him in his Mickey clothes this trip (we did see him in his Chef outfit at Chef Mickey’s) but I think waiting around an hour doesn’t make much sense either.
On the way out we make one stop in Tinkerbell’s Treasures so Carissa can wake up Tinkerbell (if you look carefully you can see that the bell used to wake Tink is clutched in her hand). She saw a girl do it the day before and wanted to do it herself. The cast member today wasn’t as into it, finally allowing her to do it but not even offering up a magical sprinkling of pixie dust. I remind her that she still has some left over from her previous sprinkling and that helps. We head back down Main Street towards the exit.
A boat arrives at the dock just as we are leaving so we decide to hop in it and ride it to whichever resort it’s headed towards.
Once at Downtown Disney we take a few photos at the Christmas display, which we’ve passed many times this trip but never stopped at.
We then hurry our way to Earl of Sandwich for one of my favorite meals. Our last trip I had the Hawaiian BBQ Sandwich here and fell in love! It was soooooo good that I took a picture of it and completed a scrapbook page about it. This time I got it again and it was just as good as I remembered. Even better, it came with a yummy brownie which I saved for the trip home. Brian got a meatball sandwich, which he liked, Chase had a chicken salad, Tristan had a pizza sandwich (cheese and pizza sauce) and Carissa had a cheese sandwich. Everyone got dessert and I bagged those up for the plane ride home. We never did eat them on the plane, but enjoyed them a day or two after we got home. Those brownies were so delicious! After eating we decided to use some of our left over counter service credits and both Brian and I got a sandwich to eat on the plane. He got roast beef and I got – surprise – the Hawaiian BBQ.
Time was quickly running out, as we really needed to leave DTD by 11:30am. We traversed the now-rainy DTD and went to Once Upon A Toy. The kids shopped for a bit and picked out gifts for one another for Christmas. Chase happened upon just the most perfect Webkinz – a dragon for Tristan and a guinea pig that looks exactly like Koda, Carissa’s pet guinea pig. He grabbed those while Tristan snuck in an Imagineering book for Chase.
Meanwhile, Carissa was playing with the make-your-own lightsaber. The boys and Brian all got one last trip but she didn’t and she really wanted one. Sadly, she was out of money but she just had fun playing with it. Brian and I planned it well though, and Brian sneaked it to the register while I distracted her. It’s now safely wrapped under our Christmas tree. After all that we had finally used all of our merchandise credit. $1000 in 8 days. WOW! But seeing as how we didn’t pay near face value for it and we’re coming home with loads and loads of goodies to show, I think it was a good deal.
Holy moly, it’s 11:15 already and we still have snack credits to use! We go to Goofy’s Candy Company, where we each pick out one snack credit item. The boys each do the make-your-own marshmallows, but Carissa and I decide to pass when we’re told they only have dark chocolate right now. ICK! I end up with a huge piece of English toffee while Carissa and Brian each choose a decadent looking cupcake – vanilla with vanilla frosting for Brian, chocolate with chocolate frosting for Carissa. And the frosting is piled high on these things… it’s like a huge bouffant of frosting. I convince the cast member to box them up for me and we head on our way to the bus stop, moving as quickly as we can with all the new bags and food in tow.
It takes only a few minutes before a bus for Coronado Springs arrives and whisks us away to our resort. We arrive in plenty of time and go see the concierge to check whether we’re used all our meal credits. We have 3 more counter service credits, which we use to get individual pizza’s to go for the kids. We also have 2 snack credits so grab a cinnamon roll and one last chocolate croissant (I think I ate 3 or 4 this trip… yum!) to go.
By now we’re loaded down with food, drinks and snacks and have emptied out our credits. We have nothing left to do so head to the luggage room and check our luggage out. We spend some time repacking, as we have 6 drink bottles that can’t be carried past security at the airport and have to be packed. Then there’s all the toys we purchased at Once Upon A Toy. It takes some work, since we’ve purchased so much this trip and all of our bags are stuffed, but soon we’re all packed and ready to go.
A Disney’s Magical Express bus arrives at about 1pm, but it’s the 12:45 bus and we’re on the 1:15 bus so we don’t board. We wait and wait. Another DME bus arrives but it’s dropping off. Then another one, then another one, all dropping off. The clock ticks and no bus. The cast members just keep saying “it’s coming” but we just keep on waiting. And waiting. And waiting. By the time 2:00 rolls around I am scared that we’re going to miss our flight. A cast member in a suit walks by and we mention it to him. He says he’ll figure it out and let us know. While he does I call Disney’s Magical Express myself and ask about the bus. I’m put on eternal hold and hang up at 2:10, when our bus finally rolls up and we board. Brian loads the luggage (we’re flying Southwest so have to check our own luggage) and the kids and I grab seats right up front in the bus. We are on our way home.
Along the highway we see why our bus never arrives. An accident has blocked the highway. We count at least 6 Disney's Magic Express busses in the backup, along with 6 Disney Cruise line busses and hoards and hoards of other tour company busses. I never realized just how many busses there were here! LOL
By the time we get to the airport it’s 2:40 and we leave in just under 90 minutes. We have to grab our luggage but forego the man waiting with a luggage cart, who would haul us up to curbside check-in but would then expect a tip. Since we have no time to wait in the counter line we know we're going to have to hit the skycap and tip them and we don't want to tip twice for so many bags. Instead we each grab 2 pieces of luggage, our backpacks, food and carryons and run for an elevator. We run to curbside check-in, thankful that we purchased earlybird check-in and have good boarding numbers.
Next we run for security and things come to a screeching halt. Someone checks our ID and airline tickets and then we get in this huge cattle-call line of people shoulder-to-shoulder, no lines, trying to get through the security scanners. Holy cow! I have serious questions as to whether we’ll make our flight or not until a kind stranger mentions that they have a family security line, makes room for us and lets us pass to that line. Thank you kind stranger, whoever you are! We had no idea there was a family line and it saved our bacon. We got in and out of that, although it was a huge pain in the butt, as it always is. I swear, the airport is the most stressful part of the vacation for me!
Once through security we all sit down, put our shoes on, catch a train to the terminal, find our gate and then finally sit down to breath a sigh of relief. We made it. We go purchase drinks and then eat our not-so-hot-but-free food. Our plane boards and we get great seats towards the front. We stow our carryons, including all my breakable Mickey-head ornaments, and hope that they make it home in one piece. Thankfully they are all perfect when I unpack them at home. YEAH!
The flight to Denver is uneventful. We watch the sun slowly set, as we’re flying west towards the setting sun. When we arrive in Denver we’re a bit late but not too bad… until we’re told that there is a problem with the plane. Thankfully they don’t tell us until after we’ve safely landed, but our gyro meter isn’t working and apparently it’s pretty important. We’re let off in Denver for a few minutes to use the restrooms and when we return we’re told that we’ll have to change planes. We disembark with all our gear and wait for an hour or so before a new plane comes. Then we wait for them to refuel and do all their checks and such. By the time we leave it’s about 2 hours later than expected. But we arrive in Portland safely, albeit very late.
We quickly collect our luggage and head out. It’s a balmy 10 degrees and we’re all in shorts and capris with just hoodies to keep us warm. Thankfully my Mom meets us at the airport with our warm van and the coats inside. It’s 10:30 Portland time, 1:30 in the morning Florida time. We’re tired and chilly, cranky from the long flight and delays and, by the way, the dash lights in our van quit working while we were gone. Welcome to the real world… I think I prefer Disneyworld!
Thursday, January 07, 2010
We were all looking forward to visiting the Magic Kingdom again because, as Chase says, it’s “classic”. It’s just a great place to experience all the magic that Disney has to offer and for that it’s one of our fave parks at Disneyworld.
I came this morning with a plan of attack and, as usual, it went awry. That’s okay though, we had fun and accomplished all that we had planned and then some. We got to the park after rope drop, having just barely missed it because we got out of our room late and the buses weren’t running very quickly either. No worries though, as that didn’t really affect our plan much for today.
Our first stop was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, where we quickly walked right on the ride. It would end up being our final ride on Big Thunder Mountain this trip.
Then it was over to Splash for another walk-on ride. I snapped photos along the ride this time.
I really wanted some pictures going down the falls and braced myself to take them. I got this one just as we're getting to the top of the big drop. As soon as we crested the hill I started shooting but about halfway down I chickened out and stuffed my camera under my shirt. I didn’t want it soaked! I love this camera! The pictures I did take came out pretty good though. (They are in sequence on our way down)
We had been collecting coupons from the bottom of our food receipts that entitled us to 20% off in the big shops as long as we shopped before noon, so we decided to head the Emporium for some shopping. Tristan got a watch, we picked up the last of the kids pins for their pin boards and I purchased 2 more Mickey head ornaments for the display stand I purchased. Gotta love the 20% off, especially when using the merchandise credit that we purchased at 30% off the face value. Double discount. YEAH!
At this point Carissa makes it clear that she is STARVING. On this trip I have learned that she is usually either starving or in need of the bathroom… sometimes both! And you don’t want a hungry Carissa walking around… it’s not pretty! LOL. So we take a quick detour to Main Street Bakery where we get one of their big cinnamon rolls for the kids to share.
I didn’t find all the ornaments I wanted so I head towards Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square while Brian sat with the kids and waited for them to finish. I searched and searched the Christmas shop for this beautiful orange ornament that I’d seen in another shop. Just when I thought I wouldn’t find it, I finally did, clear in the last corner of the shop that I looked at. Whew! I purchased that as our fall ornament and a silver Mickey head that sort of reminded me of a birds nest for our spring ornament. I now had an ornament for each season so I can be reminded of Disneyworld all year long.
(L to R: Summer, Spring, Fall, Winter)
Brian and the kids caught up with me and since we were so close we decided to head to the Hall of Presidents.
We walked towards the castle next but quickly realized that the stage show was going on so took a hard left and walked around the castle to Fantasyland. Since there was only a 5 minute wait we jumped on Snow White’s Scary Adventure, which was neither scary nor an adventure. *snore*
I rode with Tristan... it was pretty dicey there but I think most of it was on purpose!
Brian enjoyed a thick chocolate milkshake while Carissa had a Mickeylodeon, chocolate ice cream in a cup with chocolate pieces for ears and a cone on it’s head. We all thoroughly enjoyed both of the meals we ate at the Plaza and will definitely eat there again if we get to come back to WDW.
Oh, and there were a rousing 6 rounds of Happy Birthday sang this time. What’s with people coming to The Plaza for their birthday? It’s a tiny restaurant and nearly half the tables got sung to! It must be the free birthday cupcakes. They did look scrumptious.
Full and happy, we headed back to Tomorrowland for Stitch’s Great Escape, which Tristan says is his favorite attraction. It’s only his favorite because it has Stitch and not because it’s so exciting, but regardless we all decided to watch it again for him. This was my first time in the attraction and I thought it was okay but not one I need to do again.
Next up was Monsters, Inc. Laugh floor. The kids, especially Carissa, were really into it and took part in everything, laughing loudly. Unfortunately, we hit exactly the same show as we had the last time we were there, same characters, same jokes. Usually they mix it up a bit but maybe we were just unlucky enough that we hit the same one twice. We were lucky because, yet again, the kids were picked to be on screen and talked to about their fashion sense. They were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. They all said that they didn’t know so Marty said “I know what you’ll be! Grown ups!!!” It was cute and nice that the kids got to be on screen again. Wearing Mickey ears and sitting in the row behind the desk lamps seems to work for us. We’re 2 for 2 this trip.
Now it was time to use some Space Mountain fastpasses Brian had grabbed for us earlier (when I was escorting Carissa, yet again, to the restroom). It was nice to bypass the stand-by line but we ended up riding the right side again, while Brian prefers the left side. Oh well. Space Mountain is pretty darned good either way.
We had also grabbed fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear and used those.
Unfortunately I got a faulty gun (no, really I did! I’m usually decent at these games – not great but decent) so Brian kicked my rear end something fierce.
We decided to head back to Main Street because Tristan was dying to go look at more watches. We realized before he wore it that the watch he’d previously bought was not waterproof. There is no way my kid is going to remember to take his watch off each time he washed his hands, so we decided to exchange it. It took a while for him to decide which of the water resistant watches he wanted but we finally got it taken care of. And I must admit that it’s pretty nifty looking. If he leaves it lying around the house I may have to confiscate it for myself. ;)
Next up was a train ride from Main Street to Frontierland. We did have to make a few stops along the way for Fastpass pictures. We took quite a few of those today and I was thankful that my family was tolerant of my need for massive quantities of pictures.
It was 4:30pm and pretty warm so we used our fastpasses for Splash. I almost felt guilty walking by all those people waiting in the 30 minute standby line… almost guilty but not quite. The fastpass line led us right through to the front and on the next boat. Wow! We got in the back of a boat and we got wetter than any of the other trips, but it didn’t bother us too much since we knew we’d dry off fairly quickly.
A funny little tidbit to add: while walking the Splash queue Carissa looked at me and said “I don’t know why, but I think I’m Donald’s favorite!” Awwwwwww! She hugged him in Animal Kingdom our 2nd day, hugged him again and again when we saw him at Chef Mickey’s last night and then she waved to him and called out his name when she saw him on the Celebrate float today.
We headed over to Pirates again but this time for some shopping. Chase had finally decided that he wanted a Pirates hoodie as a souvenir and Brian found a Nightmare Before Christmas jersey that he purchased. With those goodies out of the way we decided to head towards Main Street to find a spot for the castle lighting, Spectromagic and then Wishes.
Still walking towards the parade route, we saw Lilo & Stitch and just had to stop. We didn’t have a picture with Stitch yet this trip and the line was short so we went for it. Tristan got to go see him first, all by his lonesome, before I let the other 2 go. That was nice for him.
When the music started Carissa and I put our heads together and sang…
“Star light, star bright
first star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
have the wish, I wish tonight
We'll make a wish, and do as dreamers do
and all our wishes...will come true.”
I got choked up right then. It was such a perfect moment. Standing in my favorite place, with my favorite people, watching my favorite show and just loving every single thing about this moment. Brian said “already!” because he just knew I’d be crying at some point tonight, he just thought it would take me a bit longer. I did however make it through Wishes without tearing up any more, though I did get choked up a couple of times. That one moment is the moment I will remember most about this trip – standing there with my family, arms around them singing the little song, listening to the music and watching the awesome fireworks. I can’t tell you how deeply engrained into my soul that moment is. I will remember it forever.
As always, Wishes is a fitting end to our vacation. Tristan has put away his video recorder because he wants Wishes to be the last thing on it. The kids have packed the pin necklaces that they have carried the whole trip. It really and truly is coming to an end.
We do have ½ a day tomorrow so will be making the most of that but will have to leave at lunch to make our way back to the resort and on a bus to freezing cold Oregon. *sigh* Do I have to go back??? Or can I stay in this magical place forever?