Friday, June 7, 2013

Car Rides, Beaches & Characters, Oh My!

So we're back from vacation (okay, we've been back for almost a week now...). I think the few hours we spent on the beach that first day in Florida was the only 'rest and relaxation' we got the entire trip. We drove down over night (if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I posted pics of the major cites as we drove through) and hit the beach around 10am the next morning. Clearwater Beach was wonderful!
After the beach, we drove over to Kissemmee, FL to check in to our condo. We loved having three bedrooms for less than the price of one tiny room in a value resort at Disney World! Our resort was a gated community with pool house, game room, and many outdoor playgrounds! We only made it to the pool twice! Right outside our screened patio was a beautiful little shaded area. We took advantage of the shade! 
The next day started our crazy and insane Disney days... We did all four major parks (Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios) with one day off in the middle. We started out with Epcot on Saturday and Turtle Talk with Crush was so funny! We loved escaping the May heat and humidity to look at the enormous indoor aquarium! 
Day two was Animal Kingdom. This place is full of trees, which means lots of shade for parents pushing those strollers up and down the rolling hills! We loved just about everything about this park! The roller coaster was awesome! Using child swap, my 14yr old got to ride it twice! Between the rides, the trails, the meals and the shows, it was a LONG day! We did the shows in the afternoons when we were all too hot and a little too tired to do much else. Finding Nemo the Musical was great! The added bonus was that it's in an air conditioned theater! But if you ask anyone (except for maybe the 14yr old who will say Expedition Everest, the roller coaster) what their favorite thing at Animal Kingdom was, they will all say Festival of the Lion King. That show was artistic, acrobatic, and just plain amazing! 
The kids absolutely LOVE Magic Kingdom. Who wouldn't? Princesses, Pirates, Ghosts, Monsters, Mickey, and many more! We spent two days in Magic Kingdom. These were days three and four of our insane trip to The World. By this time, we'd perfected the fast pass and child swap strategies to ride the most in the first and last hours of the park operating schedule. Both days, we went back to the condo for lunch and naps (much needed naps!). We had an amazing time and never stood in line longer than 30 minutes. The kids loved The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh since the line has play areas just for them!

Our last day was Hollywood Studios. My husband really worried about whether it would hold the attention of the little two... But Toy Story Mania made the day amazing! We rode it three times! The big girl still got to ride the thrill rides and even our little preschool Star Wars fan was tall enough to ride Star Tours, twice! We watched several shows, including the Disney Junior Live on Stage (again, if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I posted pics of Doc McStuffins and Jake and the Never Land Pirates). This is the park where we saw a LOT of characters. By day five, our littlest had warmed up to characters and had no worries about walking up and giving them a hug! But Stitch was the biggest hit of the day!
In the end, we're glad to be home. We felt like we needed another week to recover from vacation... but we made memories to last a lifetime (of which we will remind them forever!). Oh... and many of the outfits the little ones wore in this post are still available... 

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