|Our home away from home|
|The name of our section of the hotel|
My tip: Do the online check-in. It is very quick and easy and really does save time. Also, if you can, get there before the actual "check-in" time. Especially during the "low season" they usually have your room ready. Kent went by the lobby to return a luggage cart and he said the line was out the door. When we arrived an hour or so earlier we only had to wait a minute or two. Also, we packed a lot of our own groceries for our trip. We got a Dining Plan (which I highly recommend) but it didn't cover all 3 meals for all the days we were there (although there is a Dinging Plan that will). So we brought our own snacks and breakfast foods, stuff for lunch, drinks, etc. If you buy these things there it will cost you twice as much.
Our first day at Disney we used to check out Downtown Disney. We didn't want to use up one of our 5 day tickets on just half a day so we took transportation to Downtown Disney. (Sidenote: Disney has bus transportation to all it's parks, resorts, Downtown Disney and various other places that are on Disney property. However, if you don't like waiting.. take your own car.) While at Downtown Disney we visited the Lego Store and the World of Disney store. We also ate a Earl of Sandwich (it was good, but I probably wouldn't go back). Zoey also got a hair wrap while we were there. Apparently a "must" for her whenever we go on vacation as this is probably her 4th time doing it. :) We then headed back to our room for some much needed rest.
|Taken at a Christmas Shop in Downtown Disney|
My tip: If you aren't in a rush, take the bus. If you aren't one for waiting take your car (if you have one). We did the bus thing for a few days but later found it to be a waste of time. When your kids are tired and cranky.. standing in line is the last thing you want to do. Plus, we had to wait over 30 minutes at the Magic Kingdom for a ride and that was while other resorts got two or three buses to them while we were still waiting for our one bus. Also, do not go to Downtown Disney on a Friday night. I will probably repeat this..
Our first day in the parks! Since Animal Kingdom had early magic hours (hours when the park is open early or late for resort guests only) we decided to go there. We were told to go straight to the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride. It takes you on an expedition of sorts through African savannas. You see all sorts of animals all along the way. And they are pretty close. We had giraffes running right along with us. Next up, was Expedition Everest. It's a roller coaster that only Kent and Zoey conquered. It was Zoey's first time ever on a roller coaster. She got off not too happy. Kent said it even caught him off guard. Nathan was too short to ride and Jon Kent was too.. cautious to ride. So while Zoey and Kent went I pulled out the disposable cameras and let Nate and Jon Kent take pictures. I can't wait to have them developed. There is no telling what pictures will come from them. Once Kent got his stomach back we headed for more adventures at The Boneyard. It a playground built around dinosaur fossils. The kids loved it and it gave Kent and I time to look over the map and rest a bit. Next, we went to DINOSAUR. That was a mistake. It completely scared the kids. I wasn't thrilled myself. And it was LOUD. You get in this car like thing and you are blasted into the past to hopefully bring back with you a dinosaur. All three kids had their hands over their ears and their eyes shut most of the way. From that point on before we got on any ride, Nate asked if there would be dinosaurs on it. So, to chill out for a bit we went to TriceraTop Spin. Thankfully this was a friendlier ride for the kids. Also, while in Animal Kingdom we went to Affection Section (petting zoo), rode the Wildlife Express Train (takes you to the area of Rafiki's Planet Watch from Africa) and saw It's Tough to be a Bug (very cool 3D show with lots of "surprises").
|On the safari|
|Ready to see It's Tough to be a Bug!|
|The Tree of Life|
My tip: There were a few rides and shows that we didn't get to see. But we were all tired and ready for a nap. I recommend nap time to those with kids. Or really adults, too. You don't realize how much walking you do and how tired you can get while on "vacation" at Disney. I went in to this trip knowing we wouldn't get to everything we wanted to and told myself that it would be fine. I wanted to make the most of this trip and wanted to get out as much as possible. But if you have cranky kids who are over tired then that's not fun for anyone. So sometimes you just have to let go of "the plan" and rest. Also, get a photopass card. You pay nothing for the card and you can hand it to dozens of Disney photogs at all the parks. They are usually in areas that offer great backdrops for the photo. Then you just register the card and you can buy and share any picture you want. We have several family pictures that turned out really well.
...to be continued