Friday, September 30, 2016

Disney World- Hollywood Studios

Our last day was spent in Hollywood Studios.  I'd also never been to this park.  We got there at rope drop.  Our plan was to head straight to Pixar Place so the boys could be meet Woody and Buzz.

We waited maybe 10 minutes.

Barrett was a little nervous so he stuck close to Patrick. 

Green Army men.  I'm not sure how they weren't suffocating in those outfits.  It was so hot.

After we met Woody and Buzz the stand by line for Toy Story Mania was 10 minutes so we did that really quick.  We had a fast pass for later in the day but we knew the boys would want to do it again.  It was a lot of fun!  I liked it more that Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin at Magic Kingdom.  It was 3D and I thought the different games were fun. 
Then we went to ride Tower of Terror.  Just Jeremy and I rode it and it was so much fun.  I wanted to ride it again but I never did.  After that we went to see the Disney Jr Live show.  It was really cute and all three kids really enjoyed it. 
Then we went to lunch. Jeremy and Jessica, Jackson and Barrett watched some sort of Star Wars thing while Patrick and I went ahead and got started on lunch.  We ate at Dockside something and I had a foot long chili cheese dog that was delicious.
These ducks were walking on the bushes and then they would fly at your table wanting food.
After lunch we walked around a little more and it was just so dang hot. 
I'm going to go ahead and say it, Hollywood Studios is my least favorite park.  I loved the rides they had but there just wasn't too much else to do.  I guess I should say there wasn't much else we wanted to do.  Barrett was not a fan of the shows so we didn't do any of those.  We probably should have tried to do more of them, if only so we could sit in the air conditioning.  We rode Toy Story Mania again.  Everyone except me, Barrett and AveryAnn rode the Great Movie Ride.  There was a point after lunch that I was over it.  I was so hot, AveryAnn was hot.  I needed to feed her but I wanted to sit in ac.  We finally found a little coffee type shop.  We got drinks and just relaxed for a bit.  We were trying to figure out our fast passes.  The night before a man had given us 4 fast passes for anything and a rider swap fast pass for Rockin' Roller Coaster.  So we were trying to figure out how to use them.

We worked it out to use fp for Indiana Jones.  Barrett thankfully fell asleep because he wouldn't have liked the loud explosions.  But overall it was fun.  I feel like it was so iconic from my childhood I knew I wanted to see it. 

After Indiana Jones we decided to use the fast pass for Rockin' Roller Coaster.
It was so much fun!  I wish we could have rode it again. 
It started raining as soon as we came out and sprinkled so we sat under a cover.  Then we headed to where dinner was.  It started pouring again.  I was so hot that I didn't even put on my poncho.  Which was fine until we sat down for dinner and my shirt was soaking wet. 
We had dinner at Mama Melrose and again it didn't disappoint.  We laughed so much at dinner. 
After dinner we went back so the boys could ride Toy Story Mania one last time.  We also promised the boys we would get them Slinky Dog toys.  Well of course we get to the little store and they only have one slinky dog so Barrett got Rex and Jackson got Slink Dog.
Oh and they also got light sabers.
Can you tell their parents are suckers?
Our last picture.  We're all still friends so I consider this trip a success. 
My thoughts on Hollywood Studios.  It wasn't my favorite.  Maybe if it hadn't been so hot I would have enjoyed it more.  I think for girls that like Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid and Frozen it's probably a lot of fun or if  you like Star Wars.  We should have done Frozen Sing-a-long but we didn't.  I think it will be better when they finish Toy Story Land.  It's a half day park for me right now.  I wish we would have planned to spend half a day there and another half day at Epcot.  Also it's hot and there aren't many indoors quick service restaurants so I didn't feel like we ever got to really cool off and there didn't seem to be as many places to get free ice water as in other parks.  If we go back before Toy Story Land is finished I would just do this park as a half day.  I wouldn't want to miss Tower of Terror, Rockin' Roller Coaster or Toy Story Mania but I wouldn't want to spend all day there either.  We were sad to leave the park because it was our last day. 
We got up Saturday morning and started getting packed to head home.
We truly had a wonderful, magical vacation.  We can't wait to go back.  I was honestly shocked that Patrick had as much fun as he did.  I think Barrett was at a perfect age he really loved it.  He still talks about the Magic Kingdom and Buzz.  He says next time he wants to go inside the castle.  I can't wait to take AveryAnn when she's closer to Barrett's age and see it all again through her eyes! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Disney World- Magic Kingdom again

I was looking forward to day 4 the most.  This was the day that I scored reservations at Be Our Guest.  Beauty and the Beast is my all time favorite Disney movie so getting to eat in the beast's castle had me absolutely giddy.  (Spoiler alert: it did not disappoint!)

AveryAnn did not sleep good Wednesday night.  I don't really know what was going on but she woke up several times and I ended up putting her in the bed with me and then I didn't sleep because I worried about her being in the bed with me (and Barrett).
We were trying to make rope drop but we were all riding the struggle bus.  These two did not want to get up.  I was dragging I was still so tired.  We got there just a little after rope drop but the line for the 7 dwarfs mine train was already more than we wanted to wait.  I can't for the life of me remember what we did first. 
Our first fast pass was for Buzz lightyear.  Jeremy and I rode Space mountain before and it was only ok.  After Expedition Everest, all the other roller coasters were only ok.
Barrett looks terrified in this picture. Patrick looks so intense.

AveryAnn and me.  I didn't do great on this one.  I'm blaming it on the baby being in the way.

I love this picture of Patrick and Barrett.

We also rode the Astro Orbitor.  I thought it was like Dumbo, and it is except its really high and a lot faster.  Barrett wasn't a fan.  He rode with their rocket all the way at the bottom the whole time.  I think we rode Dumbo and Haunted Mansion.  Patrick, Barrett and AveryAnn did not ride Haunted Mansion.  We ate lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus.  It was good.  We rode Prince Charming's Regal Carousel.   The wait for Winnie the Pooh was short so we hopped in that line and it seemed like it was forever.  We had a fast pass to Meet Mickey around 1:15 so we did that next.
This Mickey talked and Barrett was not as excited about him. 

After we met Mickey The Horton's headed back to the room for naps, while the Moore's stayed in the park since Jackson would nap in the stroller.  We had late reservations and I did not want Barrett's exhaustion ruin it. He ending up falling asleep on the bus and then wouldn't nap when we got into the room.  But it was better than nothing. 
I changed them into these cute outfits.  I ordered AveryAnn's outfit before she quit gaining weight so it's a little big on her. 
I got them these monogrammed ears before we left the park earlier in the day.  Barrett was so excited.
When I put this shirt on him he goes "Hey, who's this guy?"  So I told him he's the beast and we're going to eat dinner in his castle.  I was definitely more excited than he was.

We headed back to the park around 6:00.  We rode the tea cups, probably Buzz Lightyear again.  (we rode it so many times I lost count)  We were doing whatever we could to pass the time before our dinner reservation. 

Then it was finally time for our reservation.  This restaurant is absolutely beautiful. 

It really feels like you're walking right into the beast's castle. 

We ate in the ballroom.  It was perfect.  It looks like it's snowing outside the windows.  Barrett looked up and Patrick and was so excited and said "daddy it's snowing!" then he said "Santa Claus is coming!" ha!  The Beast walked in and everyone claps. 

I had the shrimp and scallop pasta and it was so good. 

For dessert I'd read that the grey stuff was delicious, but that the brownie it is served on was only ok so I knew I wanted to try it but because I love food, I knew I wanted to actually eat the strawberry cupcake. So I convinced Patrick to get the grey stuff and I got the strawberry cupcake.  So everyone was happy.

After dinner the Beast was receiving guests in his office so AveryAnn and I went to meet him.  (Barrett was scared and Patrick did not care)  I love this picture of me because I was so ridiculously excited to meet him.  I was a little star struck.

He is huge!!!

AveryAnn couldn't have cared less about him.  But it was one of the top moments of the trip for me.

After dinner the wait for the 7 dwarfs Mine Train was 10 or 15 minutes so we decided to try to ride it really quick.  Jackson was just barely too short and he was so upset.   But the cast member gave him a little card to go to the front of the line when he comes back and is tall enough.  It was so sweet, I cant wait for him to cash it in!  It was fun but not exactly a thrill ride to me. 

We were able to watch some of the electrical parade as we were walking out.  I'm a little sad we didn't see all of the electrical parade since it's leaving but we were able to ride so many things during the parade and still see parts of it.  I was sad as we were leaving because it was our last day in Magic Kingdom and we only had one day left of vacation.  I also knew it would be a few years before we were back and I wish I could bottle Barrett's enthusiasm for the magic at this age because I know it will probably be long gone by the next time we visit.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Disney World- Animal Kingdom

We love the zoo so we were very excited about Animal Kingdom.  When I went to Disney way back in middle school Animal Kingdom had just opened. (I was so sick on that trip that I didn't do anything in Magic Kingdom, didn't even go to Epcot or Hollywood Studios.  The day we went to Animal Kingdom was the day I felt the best, so it became my favorite park.)  I was excited to go back because I knew a lot more had opened since I was there.
We got there around 10:00 and the first thing we had fast passes for was the safari.  We took our time entering the park.  We stopped to have our picture made in front of the Tree of Life.  The Moores went first and the photographer told them to make a "roar" face so Barrett was ready with his "roar" face.  AveryAnn was sound asleep.

This was easily the longest line we waited in all week and we had a fast pass.  The crowd levels were fantastic all week.  In fact, Patrick said he could never go during a busier time because we were so spoiled.
I loved the safari 18 years ago and I loved it just as much this time.  The animals are so close and the guides are so good at teaching about each animal.

Barrett wasn't so sure when the truck started going. It's a little rough.  He was also a little unsure when we got up close with the first animal.  It was a little close and he was sure it was going to get us.  We survived!  He was smiling by the end.

For lunch we ate at Harambe Market.  Patrick and I got the grilled chicken skewer.  It was delicious.
We walked through the gorilla trails.  Then headed to our next fast pass at Expedition Everest.   
Barrett opted out of our family picture in front of Everest.
We had fast passes for all four adults.  Well Patrick and Jessica aren't exactly thrill seekers.  So Jeremy and I rode it first to see if they would want to ride it. 
This is our ride photo from the first ride.  Jeremy's face says it all.  it's dark and we really had no idea what was happening.  We decided that neither Patrick nor Jessica would enjoy it so we got their magic bands and rode it again using their fast passes.  It was even better the second time.  One of my favorite rides.

We watched the hippo in this tank for a while.  It was so big the boys had a hard time even seeing it.

We walked around the tree just in awe.  It is so amazing. 

We went and rode another ride and AveryAnn slept through it.
We again probably didn't take full advantage of this park.  We didn't see any shows except It's Tough to Be a Bug.  Barrett didn't do great sitting through the shows.  In fact he was terrified in the bug show so I had to take him out.  I also wish we would have done the Wilderness Explorers program, I think the boys would have really enjoyed it.  We had dinner reservations at 'Ohana so we headed there around 4:30.
I'd heard wonderful things about this restaurant and it did not disappoint.  It was delicious.  I think it was my favorite meal of the week.  (I say that Be Our Guest was my favorite dinner and it was but 'Ohana is the one that I constantly find myself wishing I was eating. I loved the whole experience at Be Our Guest the most though.)

It's all you care to eat, family style and it's amazing.  This pineapple bread pudding was to die for.  I wish I had some right now.  We were done with dinner by 7:00 and we headed back to the room for an early night.  We were exhausted.  Jeremy, Jessica and Jackson hit the pool and we just hung out in our room.  We needed to rest because we were hoping to make rope drop the next day at Magic Kingdom.  (We're not morning people and we aren't those kind of people that function just fine on no sleep.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Disney World- Epcot

I'd never been to Epcot but I'd researched it a lot and I had big plans to get reckless with my snack credits.  Also the number one thing that everyone said was you have to ride Soarin'.  Several people listed it as their number one favorite ride (both people in real life and on the internet).  I was really looking forward to this day.
We slept in a little.  Several people said it wasn't really a full day park so we took our time getting there.  (this is the one day I would do differently if we had the chance to redo it.) I would have gotten there at rope drop and planned to stay all day long.  I also would have done the fast passes a little differently. 

Our first fast pass was to meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.  Again we weren't really sure how Barrett would react so we went in with low expectations.
And then this happened.  He ran right up to him and gave him the biggest hug.
And this is where I had my ugly cry moment.   
I also love that his bear is in all these pictures too.

I was trying not to cry, while smiling.  Not the best picture face.

I wasn't sure if we would get any pictures of just AveryAnn with the characters.  But Mickey knelt down and the photographer told Patrick to sit her in his lap and it was so perfect.   
And then when I thought it couldn't get any more perfect, Barrett sat in there with them. 
It was so sweet!! 
Then we met Goofy and I had to fight tears again. 
I just love the character interaction. 

Minnie is my favorite and Barrett was smitten with her too.

AveryAnn was trying to grab her nose.

After we met the characters we went to Turtle Talk with Crush and it was really cute.  Then we rode the Nemo ride, it was really neat.  We spent some time walking through aquarium and then we set out to find some lunch.  We walked all over the world showcase and finally settled on China for a quick lunch.  Okay that's not the whole story... we thought we wanted a quick lunch in Italy but it turns out Italy doesn't have a quick service restaurant.  So while we're standing in Italy trying to decide what to eat, it starts pouring.  And it's not your typical florida, it'll be over quickly downpour.  So we debate about what to do.  We finally decide to poncho up and head to china.  It worked out perfectly.  About the time we were finished with lunch the rain had stopped and we finished our day in the sauna.
(i'm pretty sure my timeline is off because we made two passes around the world showcase)

The other thing that I really wanted to do in Epcot that I'd read about was the "pick a pearl" thing in Japan.  You go in and pick an oyster and they open it and you get to keep the pearl. 
Here we are choosing our oyster.  I'd read to choose the ugliest one for a better pearl. 

It was a fun little "show" she made us count down in Japanese and then she opened our oyster.
She opened it and her eyes got big.  I was so excited...

She said "You are very lucky, because you got two pearls!"

They are the same size and are going to make perfect earrings.  I was so excited.
AveryAnn had pooped on her other outfit.

After this we headed to Norway for our Frozen Ever After fastpass.
I'm not a fan of the tiered fast pass system at Epcot and Hollywood studios, I understand why it's necessary but it makes things a little tricky.  (If I had realized how to take advantage of the rider swap system I would have totally done it).  We had fast passes for turtle talk, character meet and greet and Frozen Ever After.  No Soarin', I just knew we would be able to get one later in the day after we used our 3.  I was wrong.

Here we are on Frozen.  Jackson fell asleep in the stroller so Jessica stayed back with him.

Our plans were to go back to the room after Frozen and rest because we had an 8:45 dinner reservation.  So we headed out, then it started pouring rain. We went ahead and left but if I had it to do over again we would have stayed.  It rained so much that we didn't even go to our room when we got to the resort, we just hung out in the little play area and then headed back to the park for dinner At Le Cellier in Canada.  We seriously considered cancelling our dinner reservations.  We didn't want to pay the fee and it was our two table service credit dinner so I knew we wouldn't be able to eat two more table service meals to cover it.  So we poncho back up and headed to the park.  The bus driver actually told us we were a little nuts when we all got on the bus.  There was a young couple that asked where we were eating and then said it was totally worth it.  The rain, the kids, the late night was all worth this meal. 
And they were right.  This was Patrick's favorite meal of the whole week.  Barrett was a total nightmare of a kid that night.  He required multiple trips to the restroom for discipline but it was still worth it.   There was a couple at a table next to us that joked with their server that they were celebrating the fact they didn't have any kids due to our kid's behavior.  It was a little annoying.  I didn't know they'd said this until we had left or I might have walked over to their table to tell them that while dinner was less than ideal, they're also missing out on seeing their kid meet Mickey Mouse.
After dinner the wait for Soarin' was something crazy like 5 minutes so we rushed over there and got to ride it.  At first it was Patrick, me and Jeremy.  As soon as we got off we knew we had to force Jessica to ride it.  Patrick wanted to ride it again so I sat with the kids.  I was so glad we went back.  We would have missed the awesome meal and getting to ride Soarin'.  If I ever did an adult only Disney trip I would definitely spend two days at Epcot.  I would love to take my time strolling around the world showcase. And I would definitely use some snack credits.  I didn't use a single one and I'm still disappointed about it.
There were a few rides we didn't get to ride like Test Track and Mission Space that I will definitely do next time.