Thursday, April 28, 2016

Disney World Trip 2016

Okay, so here's the abridged version of our trip. It's long. But if you knew how many pictures I actually had, you'd thank me for this. Walt Disney World 2016. We did it. We went full force. We knew we were only going to do this once (unless we become rich in the next 4 years, then we'll do it once more), so we went all out. I really have my husband to thank for preparing everything for this trip and making it so special for the kids. Noah will remember a lot. Leila might not remember much at the young age of 4, which is where the photos will come in handy in helping to refresh her memory. 

We stayed at one of the Disney World resorts: Port Orleans, French Quarter. We didn't bother with renting a car. From the Disney resorts you can grab a bus or boat to any of their theme parks. This took a lot of the stress out of the trip. In the photo above, Noah is enjoying his usual breakfast at the hotel: Mickey Mouse pancakes!

Here is the gang on our first day at the Magic Kingdom. Bliss.

Dumbo was one of my favourite rides when I was 4, and it was our first ride at the park.

Precious pics taken on the Mad Hatter Tea Cup ride.

The Small World ride was my absolute favourite when I was 4. Here we all are on the boat! Leila wasn't as sentimental about the ride as I was. Near the end she complained, " this song ever gonna end?!" Yep, this from the girl who made us listen to the Ole Ole cd about a million times, and is now doing the same with the MiniBops cd. :)

We caught the daytime Disney World street parade at Liberty Square. People are great about letting kids squeeze in front of them to see.

It was fantastic!

We thought of Maryam every time we saw Mickey and Minnie. :)

Noah had been saying he was going to go on Space Mountain, before the trip. When it was time to go on with his dad, he got cold feet. I was about to go on by myself, and at the last moment, Noah worked up the courage to go on. I was so proud of him! He was very proud of himself, too, evident in the post-ride photo below. He ended up LOVING the ride, of course!

It was all a bit overwhelming for Leila, and she seemed to be afraid of things we wouldn't expect her to be afraid of, like the 4D movies.

She appreciated rides like the good ol' carousel.

We waited in line for what seemed like far too long, for "Enchanted Tales with Belle." However, what we got was SO worth it. It was one of my favourite parts of the trip. They put on a little play and involved all the kids (and some grown-ups, like Dan, who was a knight). I'm so glad they didn't involve me because I was able to take photos of such a fun experience!

Leila was a tea cup. Her role was to jump up and down at a specific time of the play. This suited her just fine.

Noah, who might have been bored with something so princess-y, was the beast, and he LOVED his important role.

Noah's acting debut. ;)

Leila did a great job and was the cutest little tea cup ever!

How special must she have felt, to be holding Belle's hand as they traveled round the room? This princess seemed so real, too, in the way she looked and acted. It was awesome.

Noah got to dance with Belle. Boy, was he happy! He was a little shy, which was adorable. My heart was delighted.

Hugs from Belle, for a good job!

Skip to later in the day, when we had a reservation to have dinner with Pooh Bear and his friends. Leila requested to wear the Tigger costume from our dress-up bin.

It was a buffet dinner, and the Pooh Bear characters gradually make their way around the restaurant, to meet all the kids.

Some lovely people let the kids sit in front of them for the electrical parade as well. Friendly people like this really made it so much more special; I'm so thankful to them.

Pictures don't do the electrical parade justice. It was amazing. 

I bought these huge light sticks for the kids for $15 each, because, y'know, when in Rome...

The light projections on the castle, followed by the fireworks, were fantastic...inspiring...almost spiritual! (And I'm not even one of those Disney freaks.) Really, this one day at the Magic Kingdom would have been enough, even. It was so good. (Expensive also.)

We went to Epcot, which was alright. I was more excited about going through all the countries (we are in the Canadian domain, below), but by the end of our visit, I realized there was more fun to be had in Future World. I guess the country part was more exciting to me when I was 12. Now that I have been to some of those actual countries, or countries like them, this really didn't do it for me. And I wasn't into shopping. It was fun watching the young adults party it up through the countries though. One of our favourite overheard utterances was "Let's wait til we get to England, and drink there." Coincidentally, when we got to England, it was hopping. In a moment of impulsive playfulness, Leila and I held hands and ran through a tunnel made by guys who looked like they were playing London Bridges. They cheered us on. And that was about the extent of our partying. We returned to Future World, where things were much tamer. 

The video in the last blog post, and the following few pics, were taken in Future World, while Noah and my husband were on Test Track. Leila, as you may already know, was also terrified of this ride.

So I took pictures of her adorable-ness instead.

I later went on Test Track with Noah. It was pretty fast, and I was delighted to see Noah getting more comfortable with rides like this. He loved this ride. You make your own car via computer first. Then you go on the ride and they tell you how well your car performed.

We brought those light sticks to Epcot, and anywhere we could, even though they were over-sized and awkward to travel with. Because they cost $15 each. Another day, I was going to buy a balloon each for Leila and Noah at the Magic Kingdom. When the man said, "That'll be $24", I told the kids they didn't need a balloon that badly.

We spent one day at the pool at our hotel. I think this tired out Noah more than the theme parks did, because he lived in the water for practically the whole day!

We went to Disney Springs (Downtown Disney) by boat one evening, for dinner.

Leila had lots of princess dresses for this trip. Here, she is Sofia the First. It's Riley's old dress, actually.

We had a special dinner with my family, also staying in Orlando, to celebrate my mother and father's 50th wedding anniversary.

Uncle Scott showed the kids how to cross their eyes (NOT good, but man was it funny - and what are uncles for?!)

And the kids danced up a storm later on, outside. Noah even tried some break-dancing!

We visited Animal Kingdom with my mother and father on one of the days. I had never been there before.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well this park is set up. It is so authentic. Disney gives such attention to detail. Part of it really felt like a town in Africa might look like.

We had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, at the front of the park.

Noah and Leila with the signature Tree of Life, in the background.

We headed to the boardwalk for dinner. Disney springs was a little too crowded for us.

I love my babies. :)

We went to the ESPN sports bar for dinner. Noah was in heaven, especially since he was watching the Raptors compete in the play-offs!

Leila got a new dress from my mom that day, that she wanted to put on.

Sweet, beautiful girl!

We walked to the bus bay located by Hollywood Studios, to catch a bus back to our hotel. This walk inspired Noah to write a new song: Walk and Party. As with all of his songs, it was catchy, and we were all singing it.

Frozen Rice Crispie square. Very exciting.

The next day we were at Hollywood Studios. I loved the ride Tower of Terror. Finally, a ride at Disney that made my stomach drop!

There was a lot to do with Star Wars at the park.

This is just outside The Muppets 3D show.

The evening show and fireworks display at Hollywood Studios was great! (We also saw the fireworks at Epcot. We got spoiled!)

And finally, our last day at the Magic Kingdom. This was the day Leila was scheduled to have lunch at Cinderella's castle. She had saved her special Cinderella dress for this day.

I wanted to get some pictures of her in front of the castle, so I bribed her of course, by promising her a lollipop. Thank goodness for bribes! These are the sweetest!

They were renovating the garden area in front of the castle, which is why the boards are there. But, good enough, I say!

Every day they had a street party (different from the parade), with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck. We got pretty used to it, since we spent just over 2.5 days at the Magic Kingdom. (And I'm so glad we did. There was nothing we missed. Oh, by the way, something that should be missed, especially if you don't want to freak out your young child, is the Lilo and Stitch ride in Tomorrowland. Absolutely the worst ride. Ever. At any theme park.)

Leila wanted a pack of 3 princess lollipops. so Noah wanted one that equaled the same amount of lollipop. We still have this lollipop, and I'm going to make Noah eat it until he grows up and finds a place of his own. ;)

My family bullied me into wearing ears. I reluctantly wore them here and there to please them. Haha!

Leila meets Cinderella before her special lunch...

Leila watches the princesses in the dining area.

We got a picture of the kids with every princess, but I'll spare you. :)

This was the one and only time Leila fell asleep while we were out; not until the afternoon of our last day. She is a kid who really seems to need her naps, but just can't fall asleep anywhere else but her bed. On that note, we were bracing ourselves for 'out of this world' tantrums, due to heat and exhaustion. Surprisingly, they were little angels compared to how they are at home; I guess they were just too excited and happy to fuss too much. Also, our first couple of days weren't particularly hot. When the temperature started to get a little oppressive, I bought a Disney spray fan (for, you guessed it $15). This was great to have, but now that you know this, just pack yourself a spray bottle before you go. ;)

On this last day at Magic Kingdom, we were actually scraping the bottom of the barrel for things to do. This interactive pirate scavenger hunt was such a cool activity. You get a map, and have to locate the first item (all items are in the same general area of the park). When you find it, you touch your magic band (this is the bracelet we got at the beginning of our trip, which allows us to get into rides, buy food, etc.) to a metal symbol and get some cool special light and sound effects. You are then instructed where to go next. Noah and I had a blast doing it!

Me and my little guy on Main Street.

We finished off our trip with an appointment to meet Mickey Mouse. When we got to the final room, in a small line up to meet Mickey, Noah began to get the giggles. He thought everything Mickey said and did was hilarious. His laughter was contagious, and I caught the giggles too. This was such a fun, memorable trip. Though we aren't Disney fanatics who will be returning every year (we like to travel to many different places), it was definitely a one-of-a-kind trip, all about the kids. Thanks, Disney!