Vacations are nice, huh!? I love vacationing. The only thing that perplexes me about vacations is that I always think I will come back refreshed and ready to jump back into work and it is always quite the opposite... Sigh. I am having Monday morning brain/pregnancy brain/post vacation brain and it is Tuesday!?
We had a BLAST. We visited Disney World this past weekend (photos to follow, I hope.) It was fabulous and fun and wow! It was so much fun to see Matthew face come alive. We visited Epcot the first 1/2 day we were there. It was good and fine but the weather channel totally lied. 10% rain my rear. We were wholly unprepared for the rain and cool weather that followed that evening. Otherwise it was great. If you do go with a little person go see Turtle Talk with Crunch (from Nemo) and take the Nemo ride. Go on the Journey Into Imagination With Figment. Visit with the characters there (the line sucks and man do people really not know how parent in certain situations...) Make sure you have reservations to eat at Epcot or else you are screwed (do not eat at the Chinese place - bleck!) and know that the fireworks start at 9pm, NOT 8pm. Give your toddler a nap if you travel in the morning (we did and he was still pooped out and wired like mad when we got back to the hotel.)
The next day was our 1st full day. We went to the Animal Kingdom. Wow! That was cool. It was sunny and nice. We went to a character breakfast where the food was great. The characters were Safari themed with Mickey, Goofy, Minnie, Donald and Daisy. I tell you Disney is not the place to go if you are trying to lose weight and also it is a pregnant woman's dream! Seriously, this breakfast was amazing. We did so much in the Animal Kingdom I am not I can recount everything. The safari ride rocked. Matthew loved the train ride around that park. The parade was excellent - Matthew sat quietly and observed the whole thing with a huge smile on his face. We got lucky that day as we were heading out for a nap there were a bunch of characters outside the gates so Matthew went and tickled them all (that was the only way to get him to go close enough to them!) He was not shy per say just I think overwhelmed by how big they were and, well, real, you know!? He was so cute with these guys and Matthew finally gave in and gave Rafiki a hug so that was neat! I know there was a ton more that we did at the Animal Kingdom. The Bird show was awesome - OH and the Nemo musical show was amazing! It made us wish we could gone to some of the big shows like Cirque but the Nemo show was wonderful!
The 2nd full day we went to the Magic Kingdom. The day Matthew was waiting for and asked about the whole time! We had another character breakfast with Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet & Tigger. Matthew was in love and actually gave a real smile and looked at the camera when Piglet came over! The food and service sucked here which was disappointing. Also, everything is a buffet and on your bill they suggest an 18-20% gratuity for someone to fill our water?! Matthew's jaw was to the floor when he was THE castle. He just stared at it with saucer eyes and asked where the princesses were! We did it all here. And when I say all we did it ALL.
"it's a small world", Winnie the Pooh ride - Peter Pan ride - Dumbo ride - Goofy's Barnstormer ride (his FIRST roller coaster - he was scared but I think he loved it) - the train around the park TWICE (three x... I lost count.) We went on the Jungle Ride, climbed the Swiss Family Robinson tree house, and watched the Country Bear Jamboree. We went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (he was a little scared but mostly just took it in.) He loved Micky's Toontown. I think mostly because he got to see the princesses here. We waited in a relatively short line (as far as theme park lines go!) and he just turned beet red when he came in contact with Sleeping Beauty, Belle and Cinderella. He could barely look at them and tried to hide in my hair the whole time. He is in L-O-V-E with these ladies! That title is a direct quote from my son!
We went on the Indy 500 cars, ate tons of junk food (and loved every second of it!), took in the Monsters Inc comedy show (how do they do that?!?!), walked off all of that food all the while carrying a 40 lb toddler around (let's face it - Kevin did a lot of the carrying by I did my fair share as well!) We chose not to rent a stroller or bring one. It sucked to carry him but on the other hand even though it was the "down time" at Disney it was was flippin' crowded. We would have not been able to get near as much done if we had a stroller and I actually felt more sorry for the people with strollers. The down side was carrying Matthew and schlepping our stuff all of the park. It sprinkled on and off this day but we were prepared for it this time and also it made for a less crowded park so we did not care! OH we watched the Make your Dreams come true show on the steps of the castle - SO cool with fireworks and everything! The parade in the Magic Kingdom was amazing! Matthew sat and watched again with a huge grin and he has his Micky ears on the whole time! I bought them TOO big and put his name on it before I realized it! SO he can grow into his ears! I know I am missing stuff but that is the basics of Saturday.
Sunday: we went back to the Magic Kingdom, to do the things we could not on the first go around. Amazingly (frightening?!) this is a short list... We saw the end of the show on the castle steps from Saturday. The rain started and they ended the show a bit early. We did not miss much. We got to see a show put on by Woody from Toy Story in the middle of Frontierland. Wandered around on Tom Sawyer's Island and took a ride on the Liberty Square Riverboat. We also hit the Haunted Mansion. Matthew decidedly disliked this ride the least. That was it about for the day.
Our hotel was very nice. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The rooms were 'eh' and really what they over charge you for is the setting. A beautiful spectacular lobby with views of zebras and giraffes and other animals from every window in the hotel. Our balcony looked out on this and it was fun to wake up and listen to the crazy flamingos! There was a lovely pool and four spas, a huge play ground that Matthew played his rear off on with two other little boys. Matthew was TOTALLY the ring leader as they ran away from the Cake Monster (?). We did not get to enjoy the pools at all. Not enough time.
That was our one regret (and my 'I told you so' moment) that we did not stay at least two days longer so we could go back and explore more as well as enjoy the hotel If you go, do the package deal through Disney. They take care of your luggage when you arrive, you take a bus to the hotel, check in, get your bearings and go out and see what you want to. There are shuttle buses to each park that arrive every 20 minutes or so. The wait is short. They pick you up at each park as well. At the end of the trip they basically get you set for your trip home right in the lobby and take your bags to the airport so all you need to worry about is the time to catch your shuttle bus back to the airport.
As all theme park adventures should be, it is expensive. EVERYTHING is expensive and if you have some kind of restrictive diet like say things that are organic or vegan or something health related diet there are few to NO options there. Enjoy the fatty pleasure of fries and churros (OMG I love these I remember them from when I was four and I first went to Disney!) and everything fried in between. Matthew ate mac n cheese and ice cream almost every day for at least one meal.
He was trooper. He slept on his little cot every night but the last. He fell out of the gigantic bed that night and he handled that quite well (he was tired.) He loved the overall experience, not the falling out of bed part... It is amazing to see him take it all in and he asks a million questions lately. Literally as we were driving home from the airport Sunday night he was asking crazy questions that trailed off because he wanted to know about everything about everything but was so tired he was rambling incoherently. He seriously never stopped asking questions the whole time (sorry Kelly!)
He is a well traveled little boy. He has been to both coasts and many points in between by car, bus, train and plane so he knows the drill. He charmed all of the people around him on the plane and finally melted down along with me in the airport at 9:00p after a very long day. I do not blame him! We were tired! I would do it again in a heart beat and we are already plotting our next visit to the Magic Kingdom with baby pancake in tow as well for a few years down the road! We so cannot wait!
My favorite part - the people watching. Listening to every language and accent under the sun. And see Matthew's face every step of the way - drinking in all the things he loves or is interested in from princesses to pirates to trains and learning about new things like Nemo, dreams (he even said "dreams can come true Mommy!"), and riding his 1st roller coaster!
With that said: Have a magical day! (thanks for putting up with LONG ass travelogue!)