5/9/14

Day 5: Magic Kingdom - part 2

We made our way to the Merida meet and greet at Fairytale Garden and were stopped at an internal rope just outside the meet and greet area. Once they let the crowds through though we quickly got into line. There were roughly 10 families ahead of us, so it wasn't bad at all.

Kyle did okay, for the most part, but started to get a bit restless and was trying to pick a fight with his older brother (I no longer remember what it was about, but it was mainly due to Kyle's OCD-like issues and Evan might have been standing on the "wrong" side of his dad or something like that).

At 9:15 Merida came out and we were let into the Garden. I really loved it in there and Emma & I admired all of the Scottish-ness of it all, while James, my Scottish husband, couldn't wait to hear her accent. Emma was born in Scotland and she lived there until she was Kyle's age (moved to the US when was was almost 3) so she was particularly looking forward to this meet and greet more than anything this day!



It was 9:25 by the time we met Merida and she was a lot of fun. Kyle initially stood back by us and she teased him a bit, sticking her tongue out at him, and asked him if he's afraid of girls.




Merida even asked Kyle if he'd like to have his picture taken, too, and he quite happily had his picture taken next to her, which I thought was pretty amazing - Kyle was acting very shy and I love that she still made the effort to include him, when she could have easily had her picture taken with the older two and ignored him. She even asked him what was in his bag and wondered if he brought her sweets :)


I love this picture of the kids with Merida! Evan was celebrating his 5th birthday this week, but he was kind of embarrassed by the extra attention, so he often tried to cover up his birthday button and hide it from people before they had a chance to wish him Happy Birthday.

Here is a video of the meet and greet. She was just so much fun and sweet:



After the meet and greet, we decided to walk over to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Emma noticed Alice and the White Rabbit and wanted to get in line to meet them, but Kyle was starting to get restless and I just really wanted to get him on a ride before he had a meltdown. I told her that we'll meet them next time (hopefully next trip, since there is always a 'next' trip) and instead she decided that she at least wanted to have her picture taken alone with her dad.


But before I managed to take a picture, her brothers joined in and you can see grumpy written all over her face. It's the story of her life and the joy of being an older sister to two little brothers.

We then made our way to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and parked the double stroller nearby. There was a rather short wait and Kyle, in particular, really loved the queue! All 3 of them did, actually.



When it was time to board our honey pot, I sat in the back row with Emma & Kyle. I let Emma get in first, followed by Kyle and before I was completely in my seat, the door closed and my foot was hanging out of the vehicle. I tried to pull my foot in, but the door was shut too tight, so in a bit of panic, I screamed out, "My foot! My foot! The door shut on my foot!" A nearby cast member then motioned over to another cast member to open my door back up since I wasn't completely in the vehicle.

I did get an apology, but I could sense that he was trying to keep himself from laughing. Maybe I'll laugh about it one of these days, but it was actually very uncomfortable and almost painful since it was hard to sit down due to the way that my leg was twisted.

Kyle was very upset about the safety bar once it was pulled towards us. He started to freak out about it, since he doesn't like any sort of restraints or safety harnesses, but he calmed down a bit once he was able to really enjoy the ride - and he LOVED it!

Up next: we go under the sea...

5/8/14

Day 5: Magic Kingdom - part 1


We woke up early the next day and started to get ready for our first day visiting the Magic Kingdom. We wanted to be there for rope drop, so we ate breakfast in the room. I don't remember exactly what we all ate, since it was pretty much a free-for-all with whatever food we had in the room, but it more than likely consisted of cereal bars.

We left our room at 7:45 am and headed towards the Magic Kingdom parking lot. I didn't know what to fully expect by driving to the Magic Kingdom instead of taking resort bus - How bad could it really be, right?!



We parked in the Aladdin section and I had a very difficult time dealing with Kyle as he ran away from me, refused to sit in the double stroller, fell several times and burst his knee open again. I absolutely hated the walk from the parking lot to the Ticket and Transportation Center with him and instantly thought, "Okay, maybe we SHOULD have taken the bus!!" but it was kind of too late to change our minds though.

We then took the ferry over to the Magic Kingdom, which Emma and Evan thought was a lot of fun, and they were both getting along so well - it was Disney magic at it's best!



I now know that I prefer taking the bus to the Magic Kingdom, but I was happy to have at least experienced taking the ferry across the Seven Seas Lagoon.



We were through the turnstiles by 8:30 and we found a place on the left side near the big tree so that we could watch the Opening Show. 

I didn't really get to enjoy the show as much I would have liked to, since Kyle had no interest in it and was getting very restless and impatient (I forgot that he doesn't like any sort of shows). I did think that it was kind of fun though to see the Fire Chief open the park .







One we were in the park, we headed straight towards Merida to the right of the castle for her 9:15 meet and greet. Here were our plans for the day:
  • Meet Merida 
  • Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Little Mermaid (ride and meet and greet)
  • Pete’s Silly Sideshow (meet all 4 characters)
  • Dumbo
  • Barnstormer
  • Teacups
  • lunch
  • 12:00-1:00 FP+ Peter Pan (later half of fastpass return time)
  • meet Peter Pan
  • It's a Small World
  • 1:20-2:20 FP+ Enchanted Tales with Belle
  •  2:20-3:20 FP+ Rapunzel
  • Mickey's Philharmagic
  • Carousel  
  • Finish for day just after 3:00

5/7/14

Day 4: Epcot - part 8

On the way out of Epcot, we stopped by to visit Duffy since the line to meet him was non-existent. The kids really wanted to meet him, anyway, and it turned out to be a fun meet and greet.

The definite highlight was when the photopass photographer asked the kids to smile and show some teeth, and Evan did his absolute best trying to show them off! It was hilarious, especially since he took it seriously.




And here is a video of the meet and greet. And if you listen to the video, the cast members were obviously looking forward to their dinner in Italy! They were very friendly though and they even took their time getting a nice photo of the kids standing all together, and they had them all change places so that Kyle was standing in the middle.

 

 After meeting Duffy, Kyle ran straight towards the shop on the other side of the walkway that sells Duffy bears and merchandise. He was desperate for a bear of his own, but I quickly led him out of the shop, only for him to run back in a second time. It was a bit of a challenge, but we managed to leave and head towards the park exit after quickly stopping for a photo with Spaceship Earth in the background. (Check out Kyle's bloody knee!)


It started to get dark outside while we were sitting on the bus and the driver turned the lights off which caused Kyle to scream and cry a bit, because he could no longer clearly see his dad who was sitting opposite us with the double stroller. I tried my best to comfort him and calm him down, which seemed to work a bit. Then, as soon as we arrived back at our resort and when the lights came back on, he let out a huge sigh of relief once he saw his dad and said, "Oh, Hiya, dadda!!" Fortunately, the bus wasn't very full and most people didn't seem to be bothered by Kyle's crying, but I was very happy none-the-less to finally be off that bus and we decided that we'd drive to the Magic Kingdom the next day.

After making Kyle a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the room, I decided to get him to sleep for the night while James left with the other 2 kids. It was 7 pm, which was his usual bedtime at home (he doesn't nap). James and the kids went to the gift shop and to the food court for ice cream while I stayed in the room with him and it didn't take long until he was sleeping.

Then, when they returned, I decided to go to the gift shop myself and to also fix the charging privileges on our Magic Bands, since I didn't want to have to take gift cards with me into the park and I wanted to be able to charge to the room. Emma & Evan came with me, which I think they kind of regretted since I was in a very short but slow moving line and they were starting to look tired, but they watched a bit TV in the resort lobby while I got everything fixed.

We all went to bed as soon as we returned to the room, since we were planning to drive to the Magic Kingdom to make rope rope.

5/6/14

Day 4: Epcot - part 7

After eating lunch in Morocco, we stopped to do a bit of shopping at Mitsukoshi in Japan. Honestly, shopping was my least favourite thing to do with a toddler, but my husband has a slight obsession with Japanese video games, anime and manga so it would have been wrong of me not to allow him a chance to browse through the shop.

James ended up buying Evan a Pokemon plush toy, and I was really surprised with Evan's excitement over his new toy, since I didn't know that he likes Pokemon, but apparently he does. :)



I left with Kyle whilst James paid for the item, and once we were back outside, Kyle started to run around in circles again. I started to feel a bit stressed out, especially when he almost ran into a blind man, who was walking with the aid of a walking stick. That would have been an absolute disaster!

Kyle was off in his own little world again and I wished he'd sit in the stroller, but he just wouldn't have anything to do with it and said he'd "hold hands" instead. He seemed to settle down a bit, but once his brother walked out of the store holding onto his new Pokemon, he threw a tantrum, because, yes, he wanted one, too.

I was trying to be very careful with money this trip by not buying the kids everything that they wanted, so I told Kyle that I'd let him pick out something later. Of course that did not help at all, and he continued to scream. It was then when I realized that maybe this is something that he really does want, but because his vocabulary was so limited, I had no real way of knowing.

I then decided, "What the heck. I'll let him pick out a Pokemon, too" and walked with him back into the store as a lady looked at me disapprovingly for giving into his tantrum. I tried my best to not let her judgmental and disapproving look get to me and then quickly paid for his new $15.95 toy (yes, rather pricey for an 8" toy!) He picked out a green pokemon that reminds me a bit of a hammerhead monkey, but it is kind of cute and Kyle lovingly carried it around with him for the rest of the day.

We then continued to walk around World Showcase whilst Kyle took a few breaks to sit on benches whenever he came across them, but still refused to sit in the double stroller. We weren't in an actual hurry though...

When we got to the German pavilion, we stopped to look at the trains for a while, and then went to Sommerfest. It was now 4:30 and I was so excited to try their currywurst, since I loved eating it when I lived in Germany, and because I wanted my husband to try it. Unfortunately, they were completely sold out, so I settled on 2x Nudelgratin and a side of Paprika chips. I wasn't hungry, so I just had a few bites of the nudelgratin and thought it was okay, but James really enjoyed it. I also thought that the kids would have enjoyed it more than they did, since they love non-Kraft macaroni and cheese at home, but they only managed a few bites each .

While we were eating outside, there was a drunk older man who was walking around and making small talk with kids and their families, and I prayed that he'd leave us alone, and fortunately, he did. I knew he would have set Kyle off if he tried to talk to us!

When we were finished eating, I was going to pick up a snack for later inside Karamell-K├╝che, but the line was too long, so we left, because I figured that nothing would be worth waiting for whilst standing in line along with an inpatient toddler.

We then decided to head towards Norway to ride Maelstrom, but first we let the kids let out some of their excess energy whilst banging on drums at the Outpost, which is always a lot of fun.


The posted wait for Maelstrom was around 20 minutes so we got in line. It was almost too long of a wait for Kyle though, and he was on the verge of a major meltdown, but we managed to board our boat before a meltdown actually happened, thank goodness.

Emma, Kyle and I sat in the back row, and we all really enjoyed the ride. Kyle objected though when I wrapped an arm around him, so instead I just rested my arm on the back of the seat behind him without him even knowing that my arm was there and ready to hold onto him if I needed to.

Kyle looked like he didn't know how to react when the boat went down the drops, so both times he looked towards me and I just smiled and giggled a little whilst saying, "this is fun!" Once he saw that I was obviously having a good time, he smiled and let himself relax a bit, too.

When we were finished, we decided to head towards Mexico to ride the Gran Fiesta Tour. Everyone really loved the ride so we entered the short queue a second time - the kids asked to go on it a 3rd time, but I felt that two times was plenty.

We then decided it was time to leave the park. It was after 5 pm and we had been there for almost 6 hours by this point, but we decided to stop and visit one last character. Duffy!

4/24/14

Day 4: Epcot - part 6

We had so much fun meeting Pooh & Tigger and it definitely was one of the highlights of the trip.

When we were finished, James wanted to check out football merchandise at the Sportsman's Shoppe (My husband is from the UK and refuses to say 'soccer' when talking about his favorite sport!) It was a bit challenging keeping Kyle away from the footballs that are available to purchase, because he was wanting to bounce and throw them all around the shop, so I quickly bought a $5 Dr Who magnet for myself and then left before Kyle had a full-blown meltdown.

Back outside, Kyle started to run around, but instantly stopped in his tracks and tried to hide behind a lamp post when a couple of ladies tried to talk to him and tell him how cute he was.



Now, that was the Kyle I knew - the painfully shy little boy who tries to hide when people just look at him. He was enjoying being off in his own little world up until this point, and they were only trying to be friendly, but he didn't cope well with his world being disrupted - he was happy in "Kyle Land" and those ladies most definitely hadn't been invited.

Once they left, he stared to have a meltdown. He started to scream and cry and people were turning around to look at him and to look at us. Emma wanted to see if we could meet Alice in Wonderland or Mary Poppins, but I had to say "no." I just wanted to get to Morocco so that we could sit down and eat. Evan was desperate to try shawarma for the first time, and I wasn't wanting to leave until he was able to try it since that is all he talked about for months.

I did love the look of the tea mug flower pots though and I quickly snapped a picture when we walked past. (I love mugs!)


Kyle was having a a full-blown meltdown by the time we were crossing the bridge between France and Morocco. He threw the bag that contained his puzzle and then ripped off his magic band and threw that, as well. I wanted to leave, but the exit felt so far away and it felt like it was pretty much six and two threes with whether or not we turned around here or continued walking around the lagoon. So, we decided to continue and I picked up Kyle's puzzle and magic band and refused to give them back to him until we finished crossing the bridge. Yes, he was screaming very loudly, but it would have been much worse if he had ended up throwing them off the bridge.

It felt like everyone was watching me and judging me, but I tried not to care. We ended up finding a bench near Spice Road Table and we all sat down while I handed Kyle back his things and tried to calm him down by talking to him. I just said, "Do you want to do your puzzle?" and without hesitation, he quietly said, "yes." Thank goodness for that puzzle. Once again, it was there to save the day!

It was a few minutes past 3:00, so we walked over to Tangierine Cafe, where, almost as soon as we found a table, Kyle was already working on his puzzle. Since he had entered into his "puzzle zone" I was able to go and order some food without him even noticing that I was leaving. Emma & James were wanting food from Sommerfest, in Germany, since the food didn't appeal to them here, so I didn't order much.

I ordered the chicken platter, a kids meal with a burger for the boys to share and a lemonade for Emma. Our total came to $24.47, with the platter being the most expensive item at $11.99.

I really enjoyed the food here, and Evan tried a bit of everything from the chicken platter. He didn't really care for the food as much as he expected to, so I ended up eating most of it, while he ate some of the burger and Kyle focused on the potato chips and apple juice that came with the kids meal.

It turned out to be a wonderful and much-needed break for our entire family. The restaurant was practically empty when we were there, and it was very quiet and relaxing inside. I doubt we'll ever go back though, since I'm the only one in my family who enjoys that kind of food, but I'm happy that we were able to experience it and that Evan was finally able to try shawarma.

4/18/14

Day 4: Epcot - part 5

At this point, I was really craving a drink from Starbucks. I had a $50 Starbucks gift card with me, which  was quite eager to spend, but I didn't think that a hot coffee drink and a restless toddler would be the best mix, so I decided on the next best thing to keep myself from crashing: sugar! And lots of it!

We then stopped at the Refreshment Port where I ordered three croissant donuts for $14.35. At that kind of price, I figured that we could share them and that the kids did not need to eat their own - I do think that I was nice enough though to let my husband have his own.

They were messy (for the kids anyway) but very good. Kyle still refused to sit in the stroller, so Emma sat in the empty seat for a few minutes




It wasn't long until we were joined by several birds, and even though Evan was very scared of them and tucked his legs up close to his body and kept his donut covered with his hands as best he could, he greeted them and said "Hiya, Friends!" But some friends they turned out to be when they turned their backs and walked away from us when they realized that we weren't sharing with them!




We quickly walked through Canada - one of these days I'd like to walk through the gardens and also see the waterfall - and we made our way to the United Kingdom. Even though we met Pooh and Tigger the day before, we really wanted to meet them again.

There was hardly a wait to meet them at all, but we arrived right before they were meant to go on a honey break. The character handler said that Pooh & Tigger would be back in a few minutes, and Kyle did amazingly well waiting for them to return, possibly because he already saw them and knew that they were coming back. He kept saying, "honey" and "eat" over and over, because he thought it was hilarious that they were taking a break to go and eat some honey.

The photopass photographer never returned while we met the characters, so I took a few photos while James videoed it, and I'm so happy to be able to watch it over and over again. Kyle ran into Tigger's arms when he saw him and at one point I noticed that he gave Pooh a kiss on the belly. Pooh giggled and Kyle started to giggle, too. Evan also had a lot of fun bouncing around with Tigger, and I'm just so happy that we decided to meet them a second time!

Here is another video (again, slightly shaky at times, sorry.)

 





4/16/14

Day 4: Epcot - part 4

While the rest of the family was enjoying Turtle Talk with Crush, I tried to keep Kyle entertained inside the Seas pavilion. I tried to show him the fish in the fish tanks, but he preferred running around the fish tanks instead. I managed to get him to sit down while I retied my shoes, but he managed to run away before I even finished, and I'd like to think that I'm pretty quick at tying my shoes!

[As a side note, I was wearing an older pair of Keds mules that I was so thankful for remembering to pack at the last minute! They were open-backed so my feet didn't feel too warm in them, and they were oh, so comfortable to walk in - they were wonderful to wear when chasing after a certain toddler! I had blisters on my feet that were caused by my Lands' End sandals, because I failed to break them in before our trip, something that is kind of hard to do when you live in a snowy winter climate! I don't think I would have survived this day if I didn't pack spare park shoes].

A few times Kyle tried to run back to Turtle Talk with Crush in order to rescue his dad and siblings, but I kept walking him back to other areas where I tried to distract him. He cried for them for a bit, and I guess that my plan to keep the family together kind of failed.
Eventually, I decided to take him over to the play area, where he had a lot of fun spinning a wheel to match the fish. A slightly older kid was getting annoyed with Kyle playing there, but his dad quickly lectured him about being nice to little kids. I would have liked to have gotten a picture of Kyle sitting in Bruce the shark's mouth, but there was a small queue behind him with kids who were waiting their turn, as well as other kids who were taking their time and playing around in his mouth.

While Kyle was happily exploring the interactive play area, I changed one of our fastpasses for Journey into the Imagination with Figment. I didn't think we actually needed it, but we now had 2 unused fastpasses each and there weren't any other real options.

I was so relieved when Turtle Talk was finished and Kyle was happy, too! The kids wanted  to have their picture taken inside Bruce's mouth, but the wait was still too long for my liking, so I promised them that we'd do it another time. Then, on the way out, Evan spotted a large plush Nemo toy and he begged me to buy it for him. I told him, "no" not only because it was kind of expensive and because he's never had a huge interest in Nemo before this trip, but mainly because you can't really buy a toy for one kid and not the others. Emma would have been okay, since she already had other things in mind that she was wanting to buy, but it would have been a nightmare with Kyle!

We spotted this little guy while we were looking for our parked double stroller:


The kids thought it was hilarious, and good thing we didn't leave snacks in the bottom of ours!

We then walked over to the Imagination Pavilion to ride Journey into the Imagination with Figment and we tried to use fastpass+ but unfortunately the Mickey reader did not turn green. Even though I was successful in changing the fastpass on my phone, it never showed up under the My Disney Experience app on James' phone. It may have been because I was logged into two phones at the same time?! It was strange, but oh, well. We just took a few steps back and entered the standby queue instead then and the ride was a walk-on anyway.

It was the first time on the ride, and I actually enjoyed it. James thought it was cool to see Eric Idle in it, and all the kids enjoyed it except for Evan who says that the ride was really scary and that he never, ever wants to go on it again. I think that he was mainly bothered by the stinky skunk and the blast of air near the end of the ride.

It was now almost 2 o'clock and we had finished all that we wanted to accomplish in Future World in 2.5 hours. Next stop: World Showcase.