Saturday, December 22, 2007

Magic Kingdom (Day 4)

Nov 30th

We headed back to the Magic Kingdom after a day at Epcot. The days at Magic Kingdom are usually about the same - start in Fantasyland, which has universal appeal to everyone. Head over to Tomorrowland for possibly our favorite ride - Buzz Lighyear. The kids and Mike head off to hit the roller coasters from time to time and we meet back up. Emma has a grand old time and takes a nap in the afternoon. Throughout the day, we visited with a variety of characters that we found throughout the park - that is one of my more favorite parts of a trip to Disney.

The two highlights of this day were our dinner at Crystal Palace and the Very Merry Christmas Party. Crystal Palace is probably our favorite character meal - and not just because its the Pooh characters. Pooh has been a favorite for all of our kids - and Emma is no exception.

After dinner at Crystal Palace, it was time for the Christmas party. They were shuffling out the other guests - we had our wristbands to show we were there for the party. We walked over to the castle mainstage so that we could see the Christmas party show. We took that time to TRY and get a family photo. Between random eye-blinking of one or more members of the family, and Emma refusing to look at the camera or wearing a hat or anything else of that nature, we finally got a decent photo of the 5 of us with the Christmas castle in the background - and I got a good one of Mom and Dad.

After the show, Mom and Dad and Emma and I headed down Main Street to get our places for the parade. The Christmas party parade is really different than the regular daytime parade. They have lots more floats and characters and everything is decorated for Christmas. AND, they have the marching "precision" toy soldiers. They march and play right on the beat - which has GOT to be difficult with those big soldier heads on.

After the parade, Mom and Dad and Emma and I headed back to the hotel. It was already 9pm and Emma would do better if she got some sleep. Mike, Samantha and Michael stayed and rode the rides some more, while the lines were especially short. They caught some of the parade on their way out.

I realize that I hadn't shared any of the fireworks that we saw our first day at the Magic Kingdom. I got some great ones during the show and thought I'd share a couple of my favorite.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Epcot (Day 3)

Nov 29th - Epcot

Today was our day at Epcot. We have always spent just a half day there and done "most" but never everything we wanted. So, we decided to spend the entire day there and take our time and see all that we wanted.

We spent the morning at the Land and the Sea pavilion. I personally hadn't ridden "Soarin" before. I loved it and we rode it a couple of times. In between, we rode the Living with the Land train and that was really neat. We saw a lot of different plants - and my favorite was seeing the mold that they put around the pumpkins to make them grow in the shape of Mickey Mouse. And I LOVED how they grew all of their "vine" plants on racks up above your head - a lot better results that way!! (and surprisingly I don't have any photos). We also popped over to the Sea pavilion to ride the Nemo ride and check out the aquarium. We love that they project the animation right on the aquarium - pretty neat.

After lunch at the Land pavilion, we worked our way back to the World Showcase. Mike took Samantha and Michael to ride Test Track while Mom, Dad, Emma (asleep of course) and I rode the boats on the lagoon - both of them. Mike and the kids made it back by time we were getting on the 2nd boat so they rode with us - and Samantha even got to be a guest pilot.

Once on World Showcase, we started at Germany and worked our way around back towards the front, as our dinner plans were at Le Cellier. We wanted to see some of the Christmas presentations at the different countries. We started with Germany. A lovely German woman came out and told of some of the Christmas traditions in Germany and she spoke of a Nutcracker, who then came out to greet her and have some photos taken!

As we worked our way around World Showcase, we enjoyed the Dickens carolers in the American Pavilion and then the Fife and Drum Corps performance just outside. Emma finally woke up from our nap and we worked our way around towards England and one of our objectives for the day - seeing Winnie the Pooh. He was greeting guests with Eeyone in the back of the toy store in England. We waited in line and were able to see and play with them - Emma showed them her stuffed Pooh and Pooh loved on it. And, as we were exiting the toy store, Father Christmas was coming out to tell his story of Christmas in England - so we were able to sit right down and hear that.

After England, we continued our way around to Canada where we saw Papa Noel tell his story of Christmas in Canada and then we went and checked in for dinner at Le Cellier. We enjoyed it a lot the last time we went, but the service was pretty slow - VERY SLOW. And, we went prior to the Candlelight Processional last time, so we were extremely rushed to get to the concert. From what I understand, we weren't the only ones to complain about the speed of the service. So, while we were 20 minutes late getting seated, the service was much more efficient and we had a good meal and were done in plenty of time to walk calmly to the American Pavilion, arriving just in time to sit down for the Candlelight Processional. It was, as expected, wonderful - and the deaf interpreter that was there two years ago, was again. She is quite animated in her interpretation and really enjoys the concert herself!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Disney Summary

I haven't had a chance to post about Disney. Probably because a) one of the main readers was on the trip with us (Mom) and she KNOWS already; and b) we've been trying to get schoolwork done and ready for Christmas.

But, I thought I'd post a little summary.

Tuesday, Nov 27
We got up early and took an early flight to Orlando. Luckily, Mom and Dad's flight was only 20 minutes later, so we waited for them and took the Magical Express bus to the Pop Century. It was nice because we were the first stop, so I think it was only a 20-25 minute drive!

Check-in was pretty quick; and they had the box of diapers and other items that I had shipped down. We ate some lunch and then threw our carryons in the room, our luggage arrived and the kids changed to shorts, and we headed to Magic Kingdom.

We managed to walk in right as the parade was starting, and we had a good view, so we saw the parade. The kids ran off with Mike to Space Mountain, of course!! We were able to ride a few rides with the kids before heading over to 1900 Park Faire for dinner. We took the boat over to the Grand Floridian. The dock master gave "trading cards" to the kids and told them about the 18 trading cards that they different transporations have (bus, boat, and monorail), so they spent the rest of the trip collecting them!

We were also excited to see the great Christmas decorations and the life-sized gingerbread house!

Dinner was nice. I was afraid that we wouldn't like the evil stepsisters but I think a better description is "the sarcastic, comedic step sisters" because they were great. They were very engaging and funny - we almost liked them better than Cinderella. This one asked Samantha while she was at the buffet if her brother was married!! :) Loved the food.

Wednesday, Nov 28th

We headed off to Magic Kingdom today. Two objectives I had on this trip were to a) see the opening show on the train platform; and b) be at the opening of Toontown at 10am. We accomplished both of these today. The opening show is cute - the Main Street singers come out and sing and then Mickey and his friends come around on the train to open the park. Its a great way to really get into the Disney spirit.

We headed to Fantasyland, our typical first stop. Emma loves to ride rides as much as her brother and sister, so there was no keeping her off rides. And, she wants to be in control - you don't get to drive when you ride with her.

After spending a day riding rides with Emma taking a nap after lunch (which she did EVERY DAY on this trip - thankfully), we went to Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner. We have been there for lunch before, but never for dinner. They serve dinner family style, and you get visited by Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale. Emma was doing great with the characters, was loving hugging them and kissing them. But, she was dawdling and NOT eating her dinner. So, after one of the characters left the table, I (innocently) said that she needed to eat quickly so she could be done before Pluto got there or Pluto would eat her food! Boy, what a backfire!

After dinner, we headed out to get our places for SpectroMagic and the Fireworks. Mike and the kids headed off to get in a couple of roller-coaster rides before then, planning to take the train around the main street in time for the parade. I think my favorite "Christmas" decoration Disney did this year was the castle. They have lit the castle with a bunch of "icicle" type lights. They have a little ceremony to light the castle and then it stays lit until the fireworks. It is truely breathtaking - photos just don't do it justice, but here are a couple anyway.

Next post: Epcot and a return to Magic Kingdom

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tooth Crisis finally over

Michael has had a loose tooth for a while. The past few days it has really gotten loose. The gums were turning red and the tooth was just really hanging loose. He was having trouble eating. We finally told him last night that it needed to go. He had a meltdown. He really didn't want it to come out. Mike tried to help, he wiggled it a lot, I bribed him with McDonalds McFlurry, but he just didn't want it to come out.

Finally Mike put him to bed last night saying it wasn't going to come out - that it was hanging on strong. I was waiting until the dentist opened this morning to call and schedule a time to take him in for them to pull it out - he was really looking quite snaggletoothed!

But, he finally came running in this morning to tell us it fell out while he was biting something for breakfast. Thankfully.

The two previous teeth that came out had to be pulled, so this is the first one that fell out on its own. I hope the rest aren't this traumatic.

Guess the tooth fairy will be visiting tonight!