(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...