We took a BIG family vacation this year and headed to Disney World in Florida for 8 days from June 12th - 19th. This was every one's first time visiting Disney World (although I've been to Disneyland in California countless times due to growing up about 30 minutes away from it and let me just be the first to say - - not the same. So vastly different I can't even describe it.)
This trip was also Steph and Jen's first time riding on an airplane, as well as the very first time in 14 years of marriage that Ron and I have flown together.
Geesh. Guess we don't get out much.
Grannie (aka my mom) also joined us from Las Vegas and we stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside (which is one of the moderate resorts on Disney property).
Let me start by saying that I planned this trip for MONTHS. I did tons of research and read all kinds of blogs and forums and books and talked to dozens of people about it. I even called Disney numerous times with questions. None of this prepared me at all for the trip and I'll tell you why.
First of all we chose June as the month to go because we got free dining (can I get a WOOT-WOOT!!!) and because the average high temps that time of year are supposed to be around 90, which isn't too bad for Florida standards. We didn't want to go in July or August because we didn't want the extreme temps to damper the trip.
Notice I said the temps are SUPPOSED to be around 90.
Well....we didn't even see 90 during our trip (unless you count the fact that it was already 90 degrees outside by 8 AM each morning). GAH!
The heat index most days we were there was well in the 100's and a few of the days it got as high as 107.
Take a moment and re-read that last sentence. Yep. I said it. 107!!!! Who the h.e.double-hockeysticks wants to walk around riding rides all day when it's 107 out??!!!
And that's just what we did. And it was great fun, and something that I will always remember and that my kids are still talking about every single day (but oh.my.hell, did it have to be so hot!!!???)
The second reason I wasn't prepared is because it's an exhausting trip. Ignore the fact that we were walking around in scorching heat and we wondered if the soles of our shoes were melting directly onto the pavement all day. Nope, it's the constant MOVING and GOING and WALKING and STANDING and EXCITEMENT and PEOPLE and LINES and.....you get the picture. No amount of reading about that kind of exhaustion can prepare you for the feeling of not wanting to take one.more.step despite the fact that your at least 10,000 steps away from the hotel room and your husband is carrying a sleeping kid and can't carry YOU at this particular moment. *sigh*
All of that aside it was a wonderful vacation full of hundreds of memories that I will have for a lifetime and that I'm sure my kids will tell their kids about. Of course I took 1200 pics during our visit (plus about 150 from the photopass people) so I'll share a bunch here with you broken out in a few different posts.
Our first day:
At the airport watching the planes take off and land before our flight.
All of us on the plane just before takeoff. Each side of the aisle has three seats so we all couldn't sit together. On the flight out I sat with Jen and Ron sat with Steph, then on the flight back we switched. Both girls did TERRIFIC during the flights with the only problem being Steph's ears bothered her during landing on the way there (not so much on the way home though).
When we got to the hotel we checked in (and the girls caught some Disney cartoons in the lobby while they waited). Then we walked around the resort looking for our room and taking a few pics. It was a gorgeous place! Right away we saw lizards, tiny baby frogs, squirrels, and numerous different birds.
We found our room, dropped off our bags (and had a special Mickey waiting for us on one of the beds) then headed straight to Magic Kingdom.
Jennifer standing at the beginning of Main Street unaware of what is just beyond that corner....
These next few pictures are the exact reason we took this trip. This is Jennifer's face the moment she saw the castle at the end of Main Street.
And this is what she saw:
Afterwards we ate dinner and rode a few rides (It's a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) then watched some of the light parade. We were headed up to the top of the Swiss Family Robinson tree house when the fireworks started and we noticed that we were the only ones there. At the top we found a clearing with the most PERFECT VIEW of the fireworks and the castle, so we stayed up there to watch it. I didn't have a tripod so this was the best picture I got.
The highlight of the evening was when we saw Tinkerbell fly from the top of the castle. Jennifer's reaction was something I will never forget, it was an excitement I have never seen from her or anyone else for that matter. She was screaming at the TOP of her lungs and jumping up and down as fast as her little feet would take her. She couldn't believe what she saw and was giddy with happiness for the rest of the night.
After that we headed towards Main Street to leave but it was PACKED, so instead we hopped into the ice cream shoppe and grabbed some root beer floats and sat and enjoyed them till the crowds diminished enough to get around. We headed back to the resort after 11 PM to finally meet up with Grannie (who's flight arrived about 3 or 4hours after ours did).
Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.