Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Florida 2014: Part 1 - Disney!

 We had a blast on our recent family vacation to Florida.  My parents have been planning this trip for months, and we are thankful for their graciousness and generosity in treating us all to a too-wonderful-to-put-into words time at Disney and the beach.  I took so many pictures (of course), and I tried to scale down a bit...I also decided to break our 12 days into a few separate posts.

We surprised the kids with a limo ride to the airport!  They were giddy.

 Waiting to board...

 The pilots/flight crew were so kind.  They invited the kids up to the front, and even let them each sit in the pilot's seat.  The pilot turned on lights and sounds for them, and offered to take pictures for me.  A fun surprise.

 You'd never know they were rookie travelers...;)

This first post highlights our time at Disney.  I had only been to Disney one time before (in college), and Kris/the kids had never this was sure to be a memorable trip!  I heard mixed advice from people about going with so many young kids...some told me that we were crazy and others told me that it would be so much fun.  I'm happy to report that it was the latter....we had a great time.

We spent our first 2 Florida nights at Port Orleans - Riverside, a hotel on Disney property.  We had dinner with Cinderella (and friends), a day at the Magic Kingdom, dinner with Pooh (and friends) and breakfast with Chef Mickey (and friends).  We ended our time there with an afternoon at the hotel pool.  

Princess Dinner at 1900 Park Fare:

Love this typical.  Shane having a difficult time smiling and looking at the camera.  Meredith posing.  Caleb blowing spit bubbles.  There you have it folks, my first 3 littles.

The first of many lizard sightings...

Cousins excited to meet a princess or two!

 Dinner spot...

 Waiting for dinner, dancing to music in the lobby...


We didn't know which princess(es) to expect.  Everyone was excited to meet Cinderella, Prince Charming, and her stepmother/stepsisters. 


 Meredith was shy at first, and didn't want her picture taken, but warmed up eventually...

Magic Kingdom:

 We got there just before opening...just in time to hear/see their opening songs.  So fun!

 Only Elsa/Anna sighting for us....3 hour wait to actually meet them was not worth it to us!

 First glimpse of the castle....the kids were so eager to see it!

I love these 2 photos of Grandpa showing Meredith the castle...

Perk up kiddos, the day has just begun...

 Right away, we had the chance to meet Minnie!

 We were able to ride more rides than any of us anticipated.  Wait times were manageable, which we were so thankful for!  Caleb was tall enough to ride anything and everything....and he was super pumped to ride Space Mountain with Daddy, Grandpa, Uncle Jon & Auntie Kir while Grandma and I stayed with the littler kids.   Meredith and Shane were tall enough for everything other than Space Mountain and all 3 of our big kids absolutely loved the roller coasters.  At the end of the night, just as it got dark, Kris and I took the 3 of them onto Splash Mountain (I was a bit terrified that my tiny yet apparently big enough Meredith was going to fall out) and they (okay, me too) had a blast.

We got on most of the typical rides...the teacups, It's a Small World, and Dumbo.  We also rode Thunder Mountain Railroad, another train-type roller coaster, Aladdin's Magic Carpets, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan's Flight, and the Jungle Cruise.  We took a train ride and a boat ride.  Caleb went into the Haunted Mansion with Grandpa and Uncle Jon.  I'm sure I am forgetting something!  We had such a fun day, and managed to stay until after the fireworks.  The kids did great, despite the heat and lack of naps and lots of walking.  I wasn't sure how it would go with lots of littles at the park all day long, but it went better than I could have hoped.  I wish I could have photographed, or even bottled up, their joy and giggles on the rides. 

 Girls were excited to see Rapunzel's tower...

 The kids liked to pretend that their magic bands had superpowers!



Excited that he's just tall enough for the roller coasters!

A little nervous for her 1st roller coaster ride!


On our way to dinner, we got to see this parade...very fun, with lots of dancing and music.

Dinner with Pooh and Friends at the Crystal Palace (at Magic Kingdom):

So, I was a *little* intrigued by these floral arrangements...


Boat ride at dusk...if we all look a little tired and sweaty, it's because we are.

Lights Parade.  Very cool.  Even cooler was the Castle Light Show after the parade.  I didn't take any pictures of that because 1) I couldn't get any good ones and  2) I wanted to just enjoy it.  The castle light show was incredible.  I don't even know how to describe was so amazing.  I may or may not have teared up a bit during it.  Anyway, here's a few from the parade...



 How Grandpa keeps a toddler entertained while waiting for fireworks to begin...a game of "throw the blanket"...

Chef Mickey at The Contemporary:

Pool Day:

Extra fun...we were able to meet up with friends from church on our last day at Disney, which was their first!

Leaving Disney was a bit sad....but we had a week at the beach ahead of us, which made it a bit easier to go.  Stay tuned for that post....a ridiculous amount of photos to go through.


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