Friday, July 30, 2010

Disney Vacation - Day 2

[a little disclaimer; this post has a TON of pictures (and words, for that matter). It was our first day there, so I was probably a teensy bit shutter happy.  I promise that none of the other vacation posts will be this long.  Enjoy!]

The kids were SUPER excited to finally be going to Disney World, or as Olivia says it: "Dis-uh-nee Woh-rud".  They couldn't wait to meet Mickey and see Cinderella's castle.  We got up early to be there when it opened, and after navigating through the largest parking lot I've ever seen, a quick trip on the monorail, we had finally arrived at Magic Kingdom.  If I had my head on straight, I would have taken a picture of the grand entrance, but I was too concerned with getting every single bag checked, making sure everyone had tickets, and navigating the beast (our double stroller) through the gates & turnstiles, so I'll give you this one I found on the interwebs:

Along with about a million other people, we entered the park and headed down Main Street USA.  I turned a corner and finally caught my first glimpse of Cinderella's Castle.
Check out the crowd of folks in front of us

We also stopped for a few "professional" photos with the castle in the background (I'll have to post those later; haven't purchased the digital images yet), then we were able to snap this gem of Nana & JaJa and the kids.

We rode Cinderella's Golden Carousel first,

then on to Mad Tea Party (the teacups),

which is where we met our first friend, Alice in Wonderland.

Then we entered Mickey's Toontown Fair, which was probably the best part of the park for children of Carter & Olivia's age.

It was here that we finally met Mickey and Minnie.

Waiting our turn in line, though you can tell from Carter's face that he is looking at Mickey.
Carter was beside himself with excitement...
I think someone said something funny.
and Olivia wasn't too sure why two of her favorite cartoon characters were suddenly larger than life (her uncertainty of the characters would prove be an underlying theme of the trip).  She did allow us to take her picture with them though, as long as she was safe on Daddy's hip.

They both thoroughly enjoyed touring Mickey & Minnie's houses.
Taking a peek inside Mickey's bedroom...

After lunch, we stopped for a quick ride on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  Carter loved it...

And Olivia wasn't too sure...

Earlier in the day, Carter had set his sights on the Tomorrowland Speedway racecars (I used the term race very loosely here).

Since Olivia wasn't big enough to ride, Carter got some one-on-one time with Mom & Dad while NaNa & JaJa waited in line for Dumbo the Flying Elephant, which quickly became another fan favorite.

Next up was Stitch's Great Escape.  We honestly had no idea what we were really waiting for, but we knew Carter was tall enough, the wait was 5 minutes, and it was air conditioned so we thought, "why not?".  Famous last words, right?  Well, we went through a series of rooms waiting to get to the actual "ride".  Lilo and Stitch are talking it up, there's some funny stuff, and we continue to wait.  We finally get to the main part of the attraction and enter a room with individual seats.  This is Carter sitting in his seat:

Everybody's looking happy.  What you can't see is the harness type pad that lowered on his shoulder right after this picture was taken.  Strange, but I thought maybe the room was going to spin or something fun like that.  Boy was I wrong.  Basically, the room gets dark, a larger-than-life Stitch appears and starts into his act.  Before I knew it, the interactive show was spewing mist on us as Stitch sneezed, unpleasant smells and sounds were coming out of the "harness" and my son was breaking down.  I reached over and held his hand hoping to calm him and hoping that the show was almost over, but about 1.5 seconds before total and complete freak-out, I lifted our harnesses and exited the room.  He was relieved to see the light of day, but I tell ya, I think we scarred him for life.  From them on, for the rest of the trip, his fears got the better of him, and he doubted every ride/attraction we tried to go on.  "Is this a scary one, Mama?"  "Are those nice people?"  Poor thing.

It probably didn't help that we forced him to go on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad later in the day, which, for the record, he hated.  So, lesson learned.

Nana entertained Carter & Olivia for a little bit so that Dave, Nick & I could ride Space Mountain.  We had obtained a fast pass earlier in the day (best system evah!), so we were in and out of there pretty quick.  I've been on many roller coasters in my day but something about the famous Space Mountain at Disney made it really fun.  I'm glad we were able to ride it, and someday when the kids are big enough, they will too.

Anyway, we proceed on to many other attractions such as the Peter Pan's Flight, the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Swiss Family Treehouse, The Enchanted Tiki Room (almost had to bail out of this one early too), and of course, the Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

Basically the same exact thing as Dumbo, but this time, Daddy joined us!

We stumbled across Pirate Goofy in Adventureland, and once again, Olivia was not having it...

while Carter beamed with excitement.

We also watched the Country Bear Jamboree, which the kids really liked.  Something about robotic bears playing the guitar gets them, I guess.

After "THE BEAR SHOW" as it was affectionately called by the little ones, we decided that a leisurely trip on the Liberty Square Riverboat.

It was only after we had boarded the Riverboat and sat there for twenty minutes in the beaming afternoon sun waiting for it to leave the dock that we realized we probably should have skipped this one.  Oh well, at least another opportunity for a photo opp.
Loving the identical poses of me & the kids
Nana & JaJa
After we [finally] got off the Riverboat, Nana was gracious enough to entertain two young kiddos by herself yet again, so that we could ride on Splash Mountain.  I mentioned earlier that we took Carter on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad--we practically had to drag him, thinking he would have a fun time once he finally got on it--but there was no way he was getting on Splash Mountain, even though he met the height requirement.  But we three had fun anyway, and by this point in the day, it was actually kind of a relief to get wet and cool down some [major foreshadowing ahead, folks].

With the gang all back together again and the sky looking rather ominous, we decided to go in the Haunted Mansion.  After all, it was indoors and had a short wait, and everyone was tall enough!  I'm sure you're catching a recurring theme here... Carter was totally against it.  But we made him go anyway, telling him it wouldn't be that bad.  In all reality, it really wasn't that bad.  For those that haven't been on it, you move throughout the haunted mansion on a track seeing all sorts of imagined "ghosts" and other scary things, but I suppose to a three year old who's been traumatized twice already that day, it might not have been hard to tell that everything was fake.  Oh, and he rode the entire ride like this:

When we came out of the mansion, it had really started raining.  We retrieved the stroller, and booked it to the nearest indoor ride, which just so happened to be:

My father-in-law said it was a classic Magic Kindgom ride and that we had to do it.  At this point, I was just trying to take cover, but little did I know how much I would soon love it.  The ride itself isn't intricate in the least.  You travel throughout various "worlds" in a slow moving boat, taking in the people and culture of those worlds depicted by costumed dolls & animals.  Perhaps it was the reprieve from "scary" rides, the song "it's a small world" played over and over again, or maybe it was just magic.  But the kids absolutely LOVED this ride.
We even jumped right back in line to ride it again after we got off because they loved it so darn much.

It was pretty late at this point, but we were waiting around to see the evening parade and fireworks show.  Usually there's one at 9 pm and one at 11pm.  The 9:00 had already been cancelled due to rain but we held out hope that we'd be able to see the 11:00, so we stuck around and enjoyed a few more attractions.

We had to convince Carter to go into Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D show, reassuring him that it would be "nice".

Do you see the rain on our clothes?
Wet, but still smiling!
It was a cute little show that I actually really enjoyed because it featured some of my childhood Disney favorites like The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin and Lion King.  Of course Carter & Olivia weren't too fond of the extra effects of mist and wind puffed in their faces along with the 3D images, but at least no one cried.

When we came out of the 3D show, we heard that the 11:00 parade & fireworks show had been cancelled, but we went back to Tomorrowland to catch a couple more rides before heading out.  We rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, which was fun & entertaining, and then we went to Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, which was... not as entertaining.  I'll let you experience that one for yourself someday, if you're so inclined.

So, after about 13 hours in the park, we called it a day.  The rain was starting to come down a little bit more, so we made a bee-line towards the monorail.  By the time we got off at the Transportation Center (read: parking lot), it was pouring, borderline monsoon, and we started to get really drenched.  (so much for that afternoon cool down earlier in the day)  We still had to walk down the monorail platform, breakdown the stroller to get on the tram, ride the tram to the lot, and then walk to our car.  I swear, the wind started blowing, and the rain was coming sideways, and the tram ride was miserable.  At one point, Carter was zipped up in Gwlynda's jacket just try and stay somewhat dry & warm.  We finally made it to our row, but by that point, I didn't have a dry ounce left on my body, so I gave up.  I trudged through puddles in the parking lot pushing the double stroller the whole way and by the time we got to the car, I think I weighed 10 lbs more from being soaked.  The good news is, there wasn't a darn thing we could do about it, so the situation was actually quite funny, and we were all laughing pretty hard by the time we were safe inside the car.  Carter & Olivia, though?

Knocked out cold before we even put the car in drive.  Bless their little hearts.

Next up - Day 3


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