Thursday, November 21, 2013

Disney World–Day 3

Thursday brought us to Epcot. 

I went to Disney World at age 10, 16, 17, 18, and 27.  I don’t think I liked Epcot on any of those trips.  This time I could have spent a few days there.  I must be getting more mature in my old age.  Nah, that can’t be it.  I’m guessing Epcot has upped their game and is now providing more fun than they used to.


Ellie’s first purchase was a fan.  It came in handy throughout the rest of the trip as it was unseasonably warm there!

We did hit a few of the rides at Epcot.  During a particularly long wait (which wasn’t that long considering we had fast passes for almost everything), we found Austin like this:


I immediately got the heebie jeebies and told him to get off the floor, but who does that?  What a weirdo.

The kids all put the ride “Soarin’” on the top of their lists from all the Disney parks.  Too bad we could only ride it once.  The fast passes (for the whole day) were distributed by about 11am.  I guess we know what we should do next time we go there!

After the few rides we tackled the countries.  The kids got a kick out of visiting each countries Ambassadors and getting their names written in a different language, and learning what the different countries flags were.  We were happy to spot Donald Duck in Mexico.  As a side note, I think out of all the characters we stopped for, only 1 did not go on break the minute we got in line.  We are bad luck for characters!


Of course the favorite country was Norway!  (Grandpa Gunderson is up in heaven saying “of course!”)

In case you can’t tell in the picture below, Austin is being stabbed by a viking.


He thoroughly enjoyed channeling his Norwegian heritage:


In fact, they all did:


I think Ellie makes a particularly convincing Scandinavian!

After a long day of walking through the countries, we decided to head back to hotel around dinner time.  It was a lot of walking and everyone was ready for a rest.  We told the kids we could come back and complete the countries they missed another day…something we never did which is a bummer since I was enjoying the experience so much this time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Disney World–Day 2–Princess Breakfast

On a cold day in April, Rob and I woke up at 4:45am to call Florida.  It was the day that we were 180 days away from our trip to Disney World and apparently if you don’t call right away when they open, at 6am (Eastern Time), your options for character dining will be limited.  Now, I’m not sure how valid this myth is, but we weren’t willing to risk it.  I had narrowed down our Princess dining options and Rob settled on Cinderella’s Royal Table.  “Go big or go home” is what he said.  Or something to that affect.

I don’t think any of the kids were disappointed.  (I thought the food could have been much better for what we paid but I guess nobody goes there for the food). We were able to meet Cinderella right away!


She’s quite kind.  She directed us up the stairs to our royal table.  Ellie was ever the princess daintily holding up her dress as she climbed the stairs.


Please ignore the tennis shoes.  They were definitely not her preferred footwear for such an occasion but I drew the line at plastic high heels getting put in the suitcase.

After we started breakfast we were joined by Snow White.


Next up was Princess Aurora.


We were only halfway through our meal but by the look on Ellie (and Riley’s) face I’d say it was pretty magical.


And speaking of faces, guess what this mischievous grin is all about:


That’s the look of a boy who may, or may not, think that Princess Ariel is beautiful.  I mean, not that he likes princesses, but if he had to get to know he has always thought Ariel was easy on the eyes.


I believe here he is winning her over with his knowledge on platypuses.  I’m not joking.

Next up was Jasmine:


Austin didn’t have anything negative to say about her either.

We rounded the meal off by making some wishes on our “wishing stars”.


When Ellie opened her eyes, Princess Jasmine was squatting right in front of her asking if she made a good wish.  I’d say her wish already came true!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Disney World–Day 2

Day 2 started very early.  Well, early considering the kids were up at 5am the day before and didn’t go to bed until close to 10pm.  We were outside and waiting for the bus to Magic Kingdom while it was still dark out.  We had a date with the Princesses for breakfast!  But, because I took a million pictures, that will be it’s own post.


After a delightful meal with the princesses we were off to experience Magic Kingdom!  I just love this place. 

We didn’t get far before we had our first ride, the Carousel.


As a side note, that kid next to Ellie lives across the street from Kerry.  We knew they (and another of Kerry’s neighbors) were going to be there because we all rode the same plane together, but I didn’t think we’d ever run into them.  But, I think we saw them about 3 times.  Small World!  “It’s a small world after all, It’s a small world after all….”  Yes, we went on that ride too. 

We zig-zagged our way through the park.  We had these wristbands they were trying out called Magic Bands and they allowed us to prearranged 3 fast passes each day.  They were awesome!  The only problem is that I didn’t plan our rides in any sort of order so we ended going from area to area and missing things in between because you have an hour to get your fast pass used.  Oh well.  We knew we’d be back for a 2nd day to Magic Kingdom.  At about 3pm we decided to head back to the hotel for a little break.  On our way out we stopped for an autograph with Marie, from Aristocats:


She’s very purrrrrty.  (I’m quite clever.)

The plan was to rest up at the hotel for a trip back to Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks and parade at night.  I’m not sure how much rest anyone got.  I think we ended up at the pool again.  But, after dinner we found ourselves back at the park checking out a few things we missed during the day.

Rob’s favorite ride there was Buzz Lightyear’s Spin (or something like that).  So, we got in line to try that one out again.



We contemplated leaving the kids with the Evil Emperor Zurg for the rest of the night but took them with us in the end.  As a side note, it’s darn near impossible to get a normal picture of Austin.  He is always acting out whatever part he thinks is necessary at the time.

Austin and Rob ended up going back to this ride one more time while the girls and I saved our curb seats for the parade.

We did manage to watch the fireworks (and get the giant stroller stuck on a tiny walkway crushing at least 10 strangers toes on the way.  Rob was mortified).  But, the parade got delayed, and then it got delayed again, and at 10:20 we called it.  Ellie was understandably complaining about her eye hurting, a sure sign she is exhausted, and if a migraine was on the way I wanted it to take place at the hotel, not Magic Kingdom. 

We closed out our first day with another late night and a promise to sleep in the next day.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Disney World 2013–Day 1

Remember this post?  At the time 7 months felt like an eternity.  It went by in a flash though and last month we finally boarded the plane for Disney World! 

Our flight left at 7:15am, so the kids were up at 5:00am, to get in our taxi (thanks Dad!) at 5:30.  They were awesome.  There was absolutely no grumbling about being woken up or combing hair.  I wish I could tell them every morning we are going to Disney World, sure would make the mornings around here easier to handle!

The kids all wanted to sit together on the flight.


For the most part they did well, but about half way through Rob switched with Riley to make getting everyone what they needed (crayons, drinks, snacks) easier.  Precious (from preschool) thoroughly enjoyed his first time in an airplane.

Getting to the hotel was a breeze.  We didn’t need to get our luggage or anything.  Once we arrived we checked-in, put on our swimsuits and headed to the pool!  Our pool was awesome.  It was huge with plenty of lounge chairs and activities all day for the kids.  While the girls played Bingo and had a hula hoop contest Austin entertained the group with his very own dance party.  That kid loves to dance (to his own beat)!


We spent the majority of our first day hanging out by the pool and enjoying the warmth.  After dinner we decided to scope out the rest of our resort.  It was divided into 4 sections:  Little Mermaid, Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars.  We ventured over to the Cars area and the kids had a blast posing with every car they had….and they had a LOT.  Here’s their favorites:











And finally, Lightning McQueen.  He was the last car we saw.  Guess what we learned from the security guard by him….you are not supposed to climb on the cars.  Oops. 

The cars were a big hit with the kids since we’ve all seen the movie 50 times, at least!  And I’m sparing you the other 10 pictures we have with every other car.

We ended our first night with some lounging in a Cozy Cone.


After a very busy first day, and knowing that we had an early morning ahead of us we attempted to get the kids to bed early.  They were a bit too excited for that, but I think they finally gave in around 9:45pm.  Rob and I loved our hotel room with separate rooms, bathrooms, and TVs.  It actually allowed us to enjoy our down time too!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Halloween Recap

We were just a tiny bit more prepared for Halloween this year.  Tiny is the key word there.  Usually we are running around carving pumpkins (or actually purchasing pumpkins to carve), throwing together costumes 10 minutes before we run out the door.

This year I took the kids to Cal’s market to get pumpkins a full 4 days before Halloween! 


Cal’s is a fun place because of the Haunted House (in the background) they can walk through.  Plus, outside they have some calves, goats, and bunnies.  It was a good way to spend another night with Rob at school.

We carved the pumpkins Wednesday night (another first, usually we are racing to get it done right before trick or treating).  This is the first year the kids have been willing to actually participate in the de-gutting and carving.


Some were more willing than others to touch the guts.


The results:


From left to right:  Riley, Ellie, Austin

Earlier in the day I was treated to some spooky songs and a Halloween party at Riley’s preschool.


She was a fox.  She wanted to be a puppy but I couldn’t find a puppy costume above size 2T that wasn’t $20.  So, a fox was a good compromise.

On Halloween the kids rushed through homework and piano lessons before they got dressed and headed to our neighbors for a quick pizza dinner. 


We had Poseidon (Greek God of water…I think), Smurfette, and the Fox (who ripped a hole in her brown fox clothes so went as a fox dressed as a girl).

The kids covered the whole neighborhood and came home with lots of goodies.  I have no shortage of snickers now!