Sunday, December 9, 2007

Disney World!

I’m writing this as we return home from vacation. We’ve had a wonderful time visiting family in Florida and Georgia, and as I mentioned in my last post, we also went to Disney World! This all came about at the last minute when a dear friend offered us the use of their timeshare in Orlando for the week after Thanksgiving. It had a wonderful water park that the kids enjoyed, and we were only ten minutes from Disney. Thank you, Rob and Laurie!
Since the children had never been to Disney and have wanted to go for quite some time, they were ecstatic when we told them where we were going. The excitement grew with each mile as we traveled down I-75, making a stop at my parents’ home in Ga. for the night and then heading to Orlando the next day.

Initially we were going to just spend one day at the Magic Kingdom, but after getting several opinions from friends on the FIAR boards, we decided to also attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party, which really amounted to almost a 2nd whole day for us at the park. I am so glad that we did this. The kids’ eyes just lit up as they took in all of the beautiful Christmas decorations, fireworks, and the Christmas parade. One of their favorite things was meeting the various Disney characters and getting their pictures and autographs.

We were able to do a character lunch at the Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and friends, which was a highlight of the trip. We’ve been big Pooh fans around here for several years,. Last year Superman and I read The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh together as our afternoon read-aloud, so these characters have become cherished friends of ours. Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eyeore each came around to the individual tables and greeted the children, giving out hugs and autographs. They also did a little parade around the restaurant with all of the children, and Superman and Giggly Girl got to be right behind Pooh for that. We took some great pictures, one of which might be our family Christmas card this year. I think this lunch was mine and Kurt’s absolute favorite part of the whole vacation. Just seeing the looks of wonder and delight on our children’s faces and watching them hold their little arms up for hugs from that “silly old bear” and his friends - this was the highlight for us.

The absolute favorite ride for all three children were the Indy race cars - they begged to ride this again and again. Other favorites were It’s a Small World (I love this ride!), face painting (Giggly Girl was a cutie of a tiger), meeting Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (one of Sweet Pea’s favorites), and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor where Superman got to be in the show! The only thing that was not looked upon favorably by the children was the “bad guy” float in the afternoon parade. They wanted nothing to do with Captain Hook as he walked over to them or with the various evil queens, wicked witches, and not-so-nice stepmothers that were showcased on that float!

Another thing the kids were fascinated with was Cinderella’s Castle. It has sparked so much interest in the subject that I think we’ll consider a unit on royalty and castles this winter. We also enjoyed one of the advantages of home school this week. After arriving in Orlando we learned that the week after Thanksgiving is Disney’s least crowded week! This proved true for us, as the longest line we waited in was maybe 25 or 30 minutes. That’s a good thing when you have a 2, 4, and 6 yr. old in tow! I can’t imagine now ever going back at any other time of year. Oh, and one more thing - I really benefited from The Unofficial Guide to Disney World (thank you, Diane). It really helped us plan our days and fit in what was important to us.
Below are some photos from our “magical” trip - Enjoy!

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