Saturday, December 31, 2016

Florida Vacation Day 9 - The Time Has Come

We had SUCH a blast in Florida, and it wasn't until dinner time the night before we left that either of the kids showed a desire to be ready to leave. So the perfect length of a trip, it was.

We had plenty of time to have one last big hotel breakfast. The funniest part of our meals and time at the hotel on this trip was how responsible Troy felt for getting to the hostess station first to let her know "2 adults, 2 kids". The night that he beat all of us down there and I called him back to wait in line with me behind other families, the hostess called US to the front as Troy had already checked us in. From that moment he did it every time!

Breakfast came with napkin animals this particular day from this waiter. He was so fun.

After getting ourselves and all our things to the lobby, we had a few final moments to soak in the fresh air so the kids and I took one last look at the palm trees.

Fast forward through airport arrival, time through security (much smoother this time) and arrival on the plane and more than an HOUR into it, Cass finally knocks out. Girl was SO tired. I had expected her to sleep the whole time but something was better than nothing!

And then we were back in the frozen tundra. Merry Christmas Eve!

Florida Vacation Day 8 - Epcot (briefly) and Hollywood Studios

We made our trip to Epcot earlier in the week and had our hugs and greetings with Anna and Elsa. But part of me really wanted to experience the new Frozen Ever After ride with my Frozen-lover. And since we had park hopper tickets, I decided to split from the boys first thing in the morning to run over there to kick off the day. We only had to wait about a half hour. And it was a wonderful ride! Definitely worth the trip for us :)

While we did that, the boys were on BIG rides. Certainly the biggest of the trip. Below, rock and roller coaster.

And Tower of Terror. Twice. My thrill-seeking boy loved this ride.

They took fun pics in front of the tower.

Olaf showed up, too! ;)

Memory Maker, worth every penny :) Love my boys.

We girls "hopped" over to Hollywood Studios just in time to catch Beauty and the Beast. It was good, but nothing could compare to the Lion King from Wednesday :) 

Ok, so we had a little more time to kill. Mickey bars for this hot day!

And hugs for BIG GIANT OLAF, as Cassidy called him.

We went to the Frozen Sing-A-Long event and while the majority of it was pretty eh, the ending was spectacular. And Cassidy's face was priceless. I call this photo "the reason parents take their kids to Disney". #magic

This is her re-telling the story of Frozen sing-a-long to the boys immediately afterwards at lunch.

We had a fun Star Wars themed afternoon planned for all four of us. Star Tours ride was up first. Pretty sure we were breaking rules by putting our glasses on early but whatev.

We included some muppets in our Star Wars afternoon since it was right next door and the timing for that show worked out well.

Not knowing a *ton* about Star Wars, I'm told these fun guys are "Jawa". Cass is showing her tough muscles to this one :)

Darth Vader, even though he wasn't even real. She still grinned ear to ear.

Then we had my favorite character experience of the trip. Because Mike got himself in trouble LOL. We went to meet Kylo-Ren and Mike tried to give him knuckles, get in his personal space, give him bunny ears... rejected, rejected, rejected! The Disney photog was quick to correct him. So much that we walked out of there doubled over laughing it was so funny how it went down!

Some photo fun while we walked over to the bigger rides, again. 

As I mentioned earlier, Troy was in LOVE with the Tower of Terror. So he and Mike had a (third) FastPass booked for later in the day to do it again. He pleaded with me to do it with him though because, "I think you'll really like it Mom!" Ummmmmmmmm. I did NOT like the Tower of Terror, not at all! It was even worse than like the Giant Drop at Six Flags because it was so LONG! Gah! Here I am squeezing my eyes shut and looking away and Troy is checking on me to make sure I'm ok, LOL. What a kid.

You'd think I'd be done with thrill rides after that, but I really DID want to ride the Rock and Roller Coaster. I thought it sounded like fun and since my 48.5" son had already ridden it I thought I'd take him again. The FastPass line was LOOOOONG but SO worth it! Here we are waiting outside :)

And the moment the ride began! I loved the way it started - head back, prepare to merge like you've never merged before. And you went from a complete standstill to 60+ miles an hour or so (pictured below). SO much fun!  Pretty sure my son realized how uncool it was to ride roller coasters with Mom though, when I was asking him to try to click his harness down another notch and he responded "It's supposed to fit like this, MOM!" and again, during the actual crazy ride while I kept reaching over to make sure he was still in the coaster with me! Sorry not sorry, Troy! You're six after all buddy!

Anddddd the pass out of the day. This is also when Troy decided he didn't want to ride any more big rides again. And if we could go to Gramma's house for Christmas now, LOL.

This nap of Cassidy's wasn't like the others earlier in the week. She was in a DEEEEEP sleep as we walked over to our reservation for dinner which was a character dining experience. Waking her up was NOT fun. The only real meltdown of the whole trip which carried over into the restaurant. Eventually she snapped out of it when the waitress brought over light-up straw attachments though. Annddd we're back.

We were just wrapping up eating when Troy was polishing off his ice cream and Mickey snuck up behind him!

Mickey was having some fun with my boys! So funny!

I got to show him some love too.

Cassidy's half-smile she was able to muster at this point LOL.

She saved the big grins for Minnie. All the characters were dressed in their holiday best for this meal!

And of course by the time we left, everybody was all grins. Santa Goofy included!

On the way out the crowds were growing but we were loving the energy in the place. LOVE this guy!

Wouldn't be a complete day without some sugar-buzzed sword fights back in the hotel room to close it down. Did I mention how good everyone slept at night yet!? LOL. And that was our LAST day in the parks! Almost time to head home....

Florida Vacation Day 7 - Pirate Cruise, Disney Springs (again!) and Best Pool Night Ever

Troy's fun adventure from Grampa and Gramma was a kids-only pirate cruise that took off from one of the Disney resorts. We had him signed up and he was PUMPED to do something without the rest of us (thanks, Troy LOL) and he was looking forward to his morning.

A combination of our hotel's transportation and Disney's transportation, including the Magic Kingdom ferry, got us over to the Port Orleans.

It's a little strange to wave goodbye to your six year old while he sails away on a boat with strangers LOL

Cass, Mike and I had a couple hours to kill and it was GORGEOUS out. So we relaxed in the sunshine...

...played at the resort's playground...

...went for a scenic "New Orleans inspired" walk...

...and played at the resort arcade. Fun story. Disney nails it with the whole "experience" word. We were saying goodbye to Troy and one of the Disney staffers walked over to Cass and handed her a card with a large balance for the arcade "just because", while her brother was busy having fun. They know how to give EVERYONE a good time, even the kids not in that particular adventure. Thanks, Disney!

The pirate crew rode the boat down the river, visiting three other Disney resorts on their hunt for "booty". We hooked up with them back at the point of departure for their final stop in opening up the treasure chest. The kids were all SO excited! And all got a bag of loot. Cass included.

Troy and the pirates who were officially responsible for him the preceding two hours :)

After another visit to the arcade, this time with Troy, we hopped on another boat over to Disney Springs for our lunch at T-Rex. I thought, how cool, a dino-themed restaurant. What I was NOT prepared for was the "meteor shower" and constant roaring during our meal. Um, wow. That was some serious T-Rex-ing!

Afterwards, we walked around for awhile...pirate gear and all!

Stopped up at the Lego store again...

And (fun!) had a meet-up with my friend Christina! Now a Texas resident, I don't get to see her terribly often. But we were both in Disney at the same time and I was so glad we got to chat for a bit. Bunny ears courtesy of Mike!

"I don't need the stroller today", says the mom who carried the sleeping three year old clear across Disney Springs to get to the shuttle. Just for it not to come. Gah.

But eventually we DID make it back, and surprise, Cass had energy again! So down to the pool we went. Man, does she look old here!

"Um this doesn't seem right", says Mike while we sat poolside and watched our two kids play. What!? Big kid living!

So much that when it got dark and the resort lit up some of the firepits, I stalked one for a bit so we could sit and snack and sip while our kids kept playing. It was glorious! And maybe my favorite night of the whole trip!

My view from *outside* the pool!

Sigh. Vacation is lovely.

Eventually Cass crawled out and snuggled up with me in a big towel. Disney began shooting off fireworks we could see from the pool and it was time to call it a night! What a good day!