Monday, April 14, 2014

Disney World 2014

We’ve been planning this trip for years – pretty fun to see it finally come to fruition. My parents have a time share at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee, FL – about 15 minutes from Disney World. We met them along with my sister and her family for a week ‘o fun. With 7 children ages 8 and under sleeping in a 3 bedroom condo, what could go wrong?! In all reality, we didn’t spend much time with all 13 of us in the condo anyway, so it turned out to be a great time.

On Saturday the 5th, our family got up at 4am to get to the airport for our 6:30am flight to Orlando. Meanwhile, my parents had departed from Dallas on Friday and were making their way to Orlando by car. My sister and her fam were also making the trek from Detroit by car and left Friday evening and went all through the night. We were the first to arrive and were able to check into the condo. Jennie and David made it soon after and we got all of our luggage unpacked and headed to CiCi’s for lunch. We went back to change for the pool, and were just about to head out when Mom and Dad arrived. We spent some good time at the pool and got some rest for our first day at Disney on Sunday.

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Our first full day on Sunday was spent at Hollywood Studios. We didn’t intend to make it a long day, but we had some folks that wanted to get there at the opening to make sure we got on the Toy Story ride and others that wanted to stay for the Fantasmic show. So, it turned out to be a lengthy first day for the later group! We had a great day riding Toy Story, Star Tours (a group favorite), watching the Indiana Jones show and the Extreme Stunt Show, seeing Muppets 3D and then the older kids enjoyed the Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith Rockin Roller Coaster. We also picked up some jedi light sabers which is always good for 7 children staying in a 3 bedroom condo.

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Monday was our day at Epcot. We did a little later start and took the boat over from the Yacht Club resort. We spent the morning riding rides including Test Track, Mission Space, Nemo and Friends, Talking with Crush and also spent some time in the Innoventions buildings. We got the Norway and Mexico boat rides in before squeezing in our Fast Passes to Soarin’ (one of my favorites) and then rushing back to Germany for our dinner reservations (that turned out to be about an hour later than when our reservation was). Dinner was good, though, and then we enjoyed the Reflections of Earth show before taking our very tired crew back to the condo. Apparently, I only took photos of our babies that day. Oops.

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By Tuesday, I admit. We were pretty tired. We knew we just had one more day to get through before our rest day, though. Plus, the kids wake up at the same time regardless. We went over to Magic Kingdom for our only day where rain was in the forecast. It wasn’t too bad, and it make the crowds bearable. We left before my sister and her fam, so we were able to hit up a couple of princesses (something we tried not to do when all the boys outnumbered the girls). We did It’s a Small World, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Space Mountain, the Barnstormer, Monsters Inc., Lilo and Stitch, Buzz Lightyear, the Speedway, Pirates of the Caribbean, and of course Dad’s favorite – the Enchanted Tiki Room. I may be missing something, but we were able to cover a lot of ground that day. I thought the Buzz Lightyear photos were pretty hilarious.

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From there, we took the monorail over to the Contemporary Resort for our one character dining experience at Chef Mickey’s. It was really good food, and the kids really seemed to enjoy the characters.

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We then decided that we had enough energy left to head back over to Magic Kingdom to enjoy the Electrical Parade and the fireworks show. I’m glad we did – they were both really good.

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On Wednesday, we had planned for it to be a sleep in day followed by a lazy day at the pool. Thanks to the rain the day before, though, it wasn’t QUITE warm enough for swimming. David had the idea of checking out Old Town which has a carnival-like amusement park. I had thought we’d check it out for a few hours and go back and nap the littles, but we had so much fun! We ended up staying until dinner, meeting Mom and Dad (who enjoyed some down time in the condo during the day) for dinner and then all heading BACK to Old Town in the evening. Not quite as restful as we’d intended, but such a fun day. This day was a little more catered to the babies which was nice since Disney isn’t as much. This was the point at which Jennie and James decided to do the SkyCoaster. The rest of us put the kids on the bumper cars while they got ready and then we had a great vantage point to watch them. Only issue was, they got ready WAY too fast, and we missed the whole thing! So sad. All in all, super fun day, though.

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Thursday was our day at Animal Kingdom. We had really great luck with there not being bad crowds until this day, and this day was pretty crowded. I’d say our crew was just a little off that day – we weren’t amused by the crowds. We still enjoyed Expedition Everest, the Boneyard play area, the Kilimanjaro Safari, the Kali River Rapids and the jungle trek. The Lion King show was closed for renovation, and the Dinosaur ride while our group was in line. Sad. We decided to make it a shorter day and head to the pool in the late afternoon.

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Our last full day there was another day at Magic Kingdom. We did Buzz Lightyear, Monsters Inc and Space Mountain again and also added in the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which was closed on Tuesday). We enjoyed the Country Bear Jamboree and the Hall of Presidents as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean Treasure Hunt before also making it an early day in favor of one last trip to the pool.

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We enjoyed a nice mexican dinner in Old Town that evening and got everyone to bed at a good time before our departure on Saturday. We all left around 10 and the road trip families headed on their way. Our flight wasn’t until 3, so we had just enough time to get the girls’ hair wrapped by the pool before we left for the airport. They were SO happy they got to do this.

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It was a great trip. So blessed that we were able to do it, and very grateful to Mom and Dad for the use of the condo. Great cousin memories were made for sure!

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