Pictures are on Google now! http://picasaweb.google.com/rick.root/2007DisneyTrip
Like last year, we once again decided to make a trip to Disney World in January. It's a good time to go. January is a dry month, and it's relatively slow at the parks. And we don't have to fight the traffic on I-95 that you normally see during "high times" like spring break, christmas, or thanksgiving.
Day 1 - The Drive
Anyway, we drove down Saturday morning (January 6). Made the trip in about 10-1/2 hours, which isn't bad. Incident free, and Emily was pretty good too. It took her a whole hour to say "Are we there yet?"
We left at 6am, and so after we'd been driving for an hour or so it started to get light, and Emily looked up from her movie (she was watching CARS on my Creative Zen Vision) and said "Wow, it's day! I didn't know we were driving all the way to daytime!". That was pretty funny.
We stopped at south of the border for coffee and picture taking (you'll see them in the photo gallery above).
I won't bore you with the details but there were a few highlights.
Day 2 - Animal Kingdom
One of the things we like to do at Disney World is character breakfasts. I had arranged for breakfast at Animal Kingdom on Sunday at "Donald's Breakfast-o-saurus", a counter service restaurant for lunch and dinner that they convert to a fantastic breakfast buffet in the mornings. Our reservation was for 8am, which was actually an hour before the park opened. The spread was awesome too, I should've taken a picture of the buffet itself! (There are pictures of Emily with the various characters that were at this restaurant - Pluto, Goofy, Mickey, and Donald). Cinnamon-swirl french toast, breakfast quiche, chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits with gravy, and cheesy potatoes with peppers were among the many offerings. There was also a cold bar with yogurt, cereal, fruit and such things (we nabbed a couple of bananas for the road)
After breakfast, we wandered back out towards the Tree of Life. The park wasn't open yet, as it was only about 8:55am, and we wanted to find out when the first showing of "It's Tough To Be A Bug" was and if we could get fast passes. After conversing with the nice lady for a little while, I asked when the first show was, and she said "We'd love for you to be our First Family". So she took our name down and asked which Lion King show we wanted to go to - we'd get VIP front row seats for it, so we picked 1 o'clock. Then she tooks us back to the exit of the Tree of life theater, and sent us inside, where they seated us - and only us - for the first showing of the day. Yeah, we were in the theater all by ourselves! It was really cool.
We also took Emily on "Dinosaur" which was a huge mistake because the ride was scary - very scary - especially for a 4 year old. There were no warnings about it being scary, but emily cried for 5 minutes after we got off that ride.
We were surprised later to find out that Emily was tall enough to go on the 44" rollercoasters, and there was one such ride at Animal Kingdom - the Everest Adventure, a fairly large coaster by Disney's standards, though like Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom, it does not have a steep (or large) first drop. We did end up going backwards at one point, which was unique. Emily was a bit dazed by the experience, but at the end of the day she said it was her favorite ride. She's a thrill seeker (that's my girl!)
The rest of the day at Animal Kingdom was fairly uneventful. I took lots of pictures of animals, and we went to the petting zoo and stuff. Emily had a great time.
BTW, it was sunny and 85 degrees that day. HOT! I don't go to Florida in January for that kind of weather.
Day 3 - Magic Kingdom
The director here at work mentioned something about riding in the front of the monorail, which I didn't know you could do. So since we had to ride the monorail today, I asked when we got to the monorail station if we could ride in the front, and they said sure, just go wait over there. When the monorail arrived, we got to go in where the driver sits, right in the front of the whole thing. It was pretty sweet. The front only holds 4 people, and that's all we had, so it worked out well.
Not much to tell about this day except that we got to see Ariel in her "human" form, wearing her white wedding dress, and Belle in her yellow ball gown. Last year we'd only seen Belle in her blue and white dress. she looked good! Belle has always been my favorite Disney princess. Emily likes Ariel the best though.
Emily did go on Space Mountain. She said she doesn't want to go on it again until she's a little older. It's not a particularly smooth ride.
We did another character dining experience, this time dinner at the Liberty Square Tavern at 5pm. It's nice to sit down for a meal after a long day at the park. This meal was served family style - they bring you all the food on the menu and you eat whatever you want until you're full. It seemed incredibly wasteful and I said something to the server like "You guys must waste a huge amount of food here!" He responded that they do, but it's all turned into fertilizer! Go figure.
Amazingly, Emily managed to survive the entire day without taking a nap. We left after the parade but before the fireworks, so we were there from 9am to 7:30pm.
Day 4 - At The Resort
Okay, on Tuesday we decided to take a break from the parks, and hang out at the resort. It was only 68 degrees, but sunny, and I'd promised Emily I'd take her to the pool. We went to the pool by building three, which included a really cool waterslide. Emily was afraid at first, but after watching me go on it, she decided she was brave enough, and that was all she needed. She must've gone down that thing 30 times in the 2 hours we were at the pool.
Thank god it was heated. Being in the water was fine. Getting out kinda sucked.
We also went to Downtown Disney for some Ghiradelli chocolate and ice cream. I got a sunday with hot fudge, caramel, and strawberries. It was very good, as always.
Day 5 - Epcot Center
Today it was sunny again but windy and only 62 degrees. A good day for Epcot, if you ask me, because so many of the attractions are indoors. Emily was excited about going on Soarin' again (the flying seats, as she called them). She also really enjoyed Turtle Talk with Crush. Let me share her conversation with Crush
Emily: What kind of turtle are you?
Crush: That's a great question little dude! I'm a green sea turtle! Do you know why my shell is green?
Emily: Umm.... because you're a green sea turtle?
The crowd laughed - as did Crush.
Once again, we had a sit down meal but this time without characters. I made dinner reservations for the family to eat in the San Angel Inn, located in Mexico. I've probably eaten there 5 times now and it's always good. Sadly, the river board ride was closed.
Day 6 - Seaworld
It warmed up into the low 70s - and sunny again - but still not warm enough for me to sit in the "Splash Zone". Seaworld is only open from 9am - 6pm this time of year, and the place was pretty empty! We went straight to the dolphin cove first for an opportunity to feed the dolphins, which was pretty cool. Most of the rest of the day was spent going to shows. That's what Seaworld is mostly about, anyway. emily absolutely loved Shamu, and the only souvenir she brought home from the vacation was a shamu stuffed animal and a seaworld t-shirt. I hadn't been to Seaworld in over 5 years, so it was pretty fun. Emily also enjoyed the kids rollercoaster they had, but she's nowhere near tall enough for the Kraken.
Mom and I were plenty tall enough though. The Kraken is a good sized coaster with lots of loops and stuff, but it's very well designed and smooth as a baby's bottom! It's a great ride, that's for sure.
Day 7 - Resort Day 2
Thankfully, it was much nicer today for hanging out at the pool - sunny (again) and mid 70s. Nothing else to tell, really. We cooked dinner in the room tonight - meatloaf, rice, and corn. Nice home cooked meal.
Day 8 - The Drive Home
The ride home ended up being about 12 hours. Why? Well, we had to stop a lot more often to go to the bathroom for some reason. Plus, we stopped and sat down for lunch. We also stopped again at south of the Border to buy fireworks (um, only the legal kind, of course), and to take a ride up in the big sombrero. Emily and Adrienne also got ice cream there.
Finally, in Aberdeen, we got pulled over by a copy who apparently had nothing better to do than ticket people with expired registrations. Thankfully her inspection was current!
Nice way to end the vacation, eh? Welcome back to the real world!