Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Disney 2015 ~ Animal Kingdom and Epcot

Monday was our first day in the parks. We decided to do a half day in Animal Kingdom and Epcot. I know every one has very strong opinions on all the parks but these are our two least favorite parks. We knew there were a few things we wanted to do in each of them though so we didn't want to miss out.

(I need to mention this here first. Last year we gave each of the kids $50 to spend how they pleased in the parks. This made it easier to get souvenirs because they had full control. So this year we mixed things up. We decided to "pay" them for each ride they rode. It had to be a ride they had not ridden before or one they didn't want to ride to earn money for it.)

(Also, another note, we really didn't take a whole lot of pictures this trip so I will do the best I can to add pictures in with stories. Reese has most of the character pictures on her iPad. We found this great app that allowed us to take pictures of the characters and then they could sign it right on the iPad.)

First thing in the morning we headed to Animal Kingdom. As soon as the park opened we headed over to Everest. We actually did not get to do this ride the last time we were there so we wanted to check it out. Both of the big kids were going to earn money for this ride so they were ready to get it over with. Lance and Reese were the first to go. Lance said that Reese had tears in her eyes while on the ride but once she was off she said she liked it. Sam and I were up next and he was scared. This was going to be his first big ride. We had watched videos on you tube about this ride so he knew what was going to happen. He had tears in his eyes the whole walk to the ride but once we sat down on the ride he was ready. I thought it was a lot of fun and he said it was fun but that he wouldn't do it again.

After this ride we decided to walk over to the safari ride. On our way over Reese saw Kali River Rapids and wanted to ride. Every thing in me wanted to say no but I didn't. We rode it. We all wore rain ponchos. However, Hayes didn't have one so I pulled him in close to me and tried to cover him with mine. Well, Hayes and I got drenched. Like the biggest wave ever came right over the top of us and the poncho was rendered useless. It knocked my sunglasses down my face and we were soaked. And wouldn't you know I had on white shorts. I was NOT happy. I was trying to keep from crying behind my sunglasses. Reese felt really bad and I kept trying to assure her that it wasn't her fault and I wasn't mad at her. I finally had to break down and buy myself a pair of shorts (at 35 ridiculous dollars). Hayes was much better at keeping it together and didn't complain once about how wet he was. There were no kid shorts anywhere or I would have bought him some too. After my little melt down, we made our way over to the safari, and did a few other things before eating lunch. I was still pretty miserable because of wet socks and shoes (and I may have been going commando) and I knew Hayes had to be too so after lunch he and I headed back to the Poly to change. Lance and the big kids stayed and did a few things we hadn't made it to. 

After Hayes and I were changed and happy, we met Lance and the big kids at Epcot. The timing of it all worked out perfectly and we were there within minutes of each other (and I was in a much happier mood). I have a lot of selfies with Hayes from this day because we spent a lot of time together. He was a half inch too short to do a lot of rides. He could have done so much more if he had that extra half inch in him. Reese and I rode Test Track together and Lance and Sam rode it as well. We had to take turns on most rides so that Hayes was covered. Luckily Disney has parent passes so that always worked out nicely and we of course had fast passes for all the rides we knew we wanted to ride. That night we had dinner at Garden Grill. It is family style and all of the food is locally grown. It is a character meal so we got to see Farmer Mickey, Chip and Dale, and Pluto. Sam and Hayes were even brave enough to take a picture with Mickey. The kids didn't love the food and Lance and I thought it was decent.

We realized that where our room was at the Poly was actually closer to the monorail at the ticket and transportation center than to the lobby of the Poly so most days we would get off the monorail there instead of at the Poly. It was a nice walk back though.

Up next Magic Kingdom...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Disney 2015

We made the trek to Disney once again this year for fall break. Our main reason in going again this year was that it was our last chance to go and not have to pay for all five of us. Since Hayes is not yet three, he was still free. Adding one more person to the dining plan and buying one more ticket is a lot so we snuck in one more year of just paying for the four of us. This year was definitely busier and more crowded than last year. It also seemed much hotter and more humid.

For the first time we changed up our lodging. This year we chose to stay at the Polynesia Resort and it was the perfect room for our family. It had a queen bed, a queen pull out sofa bed, and a twin pull out bed. Lance and Sam shared the queen bed, Hayes and I shared the pull out sofa bed, and Reese had the twin. It also had TWO bathrooms! That was perfect for getting in to the room late at night and getting everyone bathed for bed. We definitely loved this room more than our rooms at the Contemporary. I meant to take more pictures of the room than I did. The bottom picture is us packing up to leave but behind the luggage is where the twin bed pulled out.

Hayes's absolute favorite part of our room was that we looked toward the monorail. He spent every morning out on the balcony, eating his breakfast, and watching the monorail trains start running. He would get so excited every single time one went by.

After getting settled in our room on Saturday, we headed out to explore. We walked around the Poly, rode the monorail over to Magic Kingdom, and then rode the boat back to the Poly.

Once we were back to the Poly, we put on our bathing suits and headed to the pool. The pool had a great kids play area and a fun slide in the main pool. Reese and Sam loved going down the slide. I took Hayes up to slide because he loved the slide at the Contemporary last year and I wanted him to try it out for himself again this year. However, what I didn't know is that the slide goes completely dark for most of it because it goes through a "volcano". As I was going down the slide after Hayes, I giggled to myself because I could only imagine what he was thinking as he was being tossed around on the slide in the dark. Needless to say, he did not go down the slide again the rest of the week but the big kids loved it.

Sunday was much of the same thing. We explored in the morning and then spent the day at the pool. We didn't have any plans or meals scheduled for that day. However late in the day we decided we wanted to see if we could get lucky and find any dinner reservations around. After talking to a lady at the pool, we made reservations at Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We got there a little early so we could walk around a bit and check things out there. It was amazing!! Jiko is in the Jambo House and the building and grounds were beautiful. While there we saw many animals up close. Finally it was dinner time. The cast members working at Jiko were probably the friendliest people we met all week. And dinner!! Yum! It had a South African flare. I had the scallops and they were delicious. After dinner we decided we wanted to do some more exploring so we headed over to the Boardwalk for dessert. It was so beautiful and just a fun experience. When we got back to our room that night we couldn't get in to our room. Turns out the battery in our door had died and wouldn't unlock. Luckily they got someone out to us quickly and unlocked our door with a key and had some one come replace the battery. It was a little adventure in the hallway.

Exploring the parks up next...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

First games

Reese and Sam have both had their first games of this fall season.

Friday night was youth night for the high school football game. Reese was SO excited to get to be on the field with the high school girls she has done cheer camp with for the past several years. They were on the field when the players busted through the banner. She loved every minute. Meanwhile, the boys were ready for bed! They were being so pesky in the stands and I was ready to leave. We stayed through the first quarter and then headed home to end our night.

Saturday, Reese's first game was at the high school and she was so excited to get to be on the same field she had been on the night before with all of the big cheerleaders. They were super cute out there on the track. At halftime they did a dance and had a blast. They all looked so tiny on that huge field.

Wednesday night Sam had his first baseball game of the season. His team is the Orioles this season. They are on a new field this year because he moved up to U6. For the first half of the season they get five pitches from the coach and then can hit off the tee. The second half of the season they do not get to use the tee. Sam played awesome and he didn't need the tee at all.

These new seasons have started off great and I can't wait to see how the rest of the season goes.