Monday, January 25, 2016

More Disney Magic

Before drawing to a close with our Disney mania, I thought I would share about where we stayed and then a little more on the parks.

In previous visits we have stayed off property and had great experiences.  There are numerous hotels in the area and the parks are just a quick drive away.  Just don't forget to add parking into your budget! It can add up.

But this time well, again, this was a trip we have saved up for and one with the intention of being a "welcome home dad celebration" with no stress for dad.  Driving included.

Enter Art of Animation.

We did look at a few other properties and there were a few that were higher on my list, but price and availability steered us here and we had a blast!  While I do believe that is is one of the Disney properties that is more enjoyed with "littles," it is a great place to stay.  All things Disney are done well, and this place is no exception.  You can choose from several themes for rooms- Lion King won out!  Family BONUS tip- these suites have one separate bedroom, but also a pullout couch, fold-down bed and TWO BATHROOMS!  When you have a family of 6, two bathrooms are a must!

One advantage to having a meal plan, which by the way, you can only do if you stay on Disney property, is the FREE refillable mug!  For those of us who do not drink coffee, filling up that mug with a soft drink before catching the bus to the park was a good thing!  Not to mention, it provided a great cup to fill with water once in the parks.
See, my mug!
And the parks- well, where does one start?

We spent our first two days in The Magic Kingdom.  For those of you who have not visited The Magic Kingdom, it is one glorious theme park.  Not my favorite park, but a popular one for the kids. They love rides, I do not.  That being said, there are rides for all ages and all levels.  Unfortunately for me, Colby aged and grew into the older rides and so I spent a considerable amount of time waiting for them ALL to get off rides.  He also got to sword fight with Captain Jack Sparrow which was quite a way to start the week!

I mentioned last week that we went right after the holidays which was good timing, but I will say that our first two days were pretty crowded.  I think that not everyone had gone back to school after the New Year so watch for that.  Also, lesson learned- traveling the Sunday after New Year's Eve in Florida is a nightmare!  Just saying.

Animal Kingdom was next and by far MY favorite day. I love that park!  It is a little more laid back and the day we went was drizzling rain in the morning which thinned the crowds out even more. There were no crowds, few lines, and it was a peaceful day.  Plus, if you have not seen the Finding Nemo and Lion King shows, you have missed out!  I could see them over and over.  One of the things we really wanted to see was a character called DaVine, who looks like a tree vine and can sometimes be hard to spot.  As soon as we walked in, we saw her moving around!  So cool!

We had scheduled a "down" day for the next day so we slept in (much needed) and ate in the hotel before heading to Disney Springs in the afternoon.  Disney Springs is the new name for Downtown Disney and home to the big Lego Store.  OK, it is home to LOTS more, but the Lego Store was all that mattered to the boys!  It was a relaxing afternoon and the highlight was that Ashton got invited to the stage to dance at Raglan Roads, where we had dinner reservations, and got to do an Irish dance by herself!  A once in a lifetime opportunity for sure and a memory for us all!

The next two days we spent in Epcot.  We basically did a day doing rides and such and a second day concentrating on the World Showcase.  There are a couple of rides there that the kids LOVE and France is the BEST place for a snack.  We also got to eat lunch in Japan with new friends and see the "Oh Canada!" show, which is one of our favorites.  Again, if you have never been, make sure you wander "up" the streets "into" the countries instead of just walking past on the main thoroughfare. There you will find restaurants and shops tucked away as well as characters you might not see otherwise.

Hollywood Studios was our last stop for the week.  True story- the last time we went my hubby had a kidney stone attack right after we got to the park and so our kids did the day with dear friends while he and I did a day in the hospital.  We did at least get a behind the scenes tour from the ambulance. This visit was a little less painful! ;)  We got to see several shows that were new to us, Colby got to do Jedi training, and we ended the trip with the most amazing light show called Fantasmic!

Despite his face, Colby LOVED Rockin' Roller Coaster
All in all, a wonderful trip of healing and reconnecting as a family, allowing God to bring our family back together after a tough year of separation and giving us a renewed strength to enter 2016 with hope and joy!

I pray you allow God to give you that same hope and joy!  Not even Disney, no matter how magical, can top that!

Linking with friends!



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