Disney 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014
This trip.  It was so important to finally have it occur and proved to be exactly what we wanted.  With a work conference for Rich being the the impetus for the trip, we stayed where it was hosted, the Grand Floridian.  We also planned light schedules, knowing that he would be in seminars for a few hours each day. This plan worked out well!  Here we go...day by day.

Day 1
Awesome flight there - even landed 10 minutes early.  Hopped the Magical Express which whisked us away to our classical themed hotel.  Will said he felt he was on the Titanic - live orchestra music and ornate decor! We had our first dinner reservation there and took a dip in the pool that our room overlooked.

Day 2
After the kids and I had a little more pool time while Rich learned a thing or two, we had a quick lunch and headed to Epcot!  We HAD to ride the Chevy Test Track again, but then did Mission: Space and Spaceship Earth.  Both were great!  The afternoon heat made us melt (down).  It became clear we needed to find cool places during this time.  We muscled through with the help of cool drinks and had a great Mexican dinner and toured the different countries.  The fireworks show was incredible again and we made our way home...very tired and sticky.
Never got one of these last time!

I could've found a park bench and just sat here all night...plus it was cooler now.

Paige's souvenir...from China
Wanting less of a schedule this day, we planned to travel to Downtown Disney in the afternoon.  Lots of neat shops and things to see in this area, but not the best area to beat the heat.  During the meltdown period, we hit a movie (Million Dollar Arm...loved it!) before our reservation at Planet Hollywood.  That restaurant was like going to a night club.  We had a blast (but Paige was admittedly overwhelmed by all the action)!  It was a great time and our walk back to our bus was FILLED with nonstop live music...from Shakira-like performers to Irish dancers.  So fun!
Hunger Games wardrobe!  A definite cool moment for Paige!

LEGO store!

"Having a crazy time at Planet Hollywood" selfie during the very annoying "selfie" song
This day was reserved for the park we hadn't hit yet...Animal Kingdom.  We had Fast Passed the Safari which proved to be quite a highlight (Paige and Cole's favorite).  Then, we rode Dinosaur and Expedition Everest (a true roller coaster that we deemed too intense for Cole).  Will's favorite was definitely this coaster so he was delighted when we won the "pick a number" game to get to ride a second time with Rich.  I screamed hard on this...like have a sore throat later hard.  To beat the heat here, we caught a live musical of Nemo in a dark, air-conditioned theater.  It was incredible (the costuming/puppeteering).  The whole family gave it a thumbs down except me because they don't have appreciation for fine arts and talent (but I didn't hear anyone complaining of being out of the afternoon heat for an hour).  This was followed by our dinner at Yak and Yeti.  This Asian Cuisine restaurant was our favorite as we got a great 2-story table in a windowed corner - great view and great food!  It started to rain a bit during dinner which emptied the park pretty well.  Therefore, we caught a no-wait 4D Bugs Life movie that was intense! (This might have added to the sore throat.  Think spiders...lots of big ones coming down at you.)  We happily rode home and slept GREAT!
Just amazing scenes on this safari

In front of the "Tree of Life" - the focal point of the park.  This is an enormous tree that is, ironically, fake, but the entire trunk is a jumble of all different animals.  Very neat.

In front of Expedition Everest.  The nerves are high at this point!
Day 5
Well, I don't even want to talk about this day!  We managed to squeeze in some pool time at a different one we hadn't been to with a slide.  We had an hour+ delay due to a storm (whatever nervousness Will doesn't have for coasters, he DOES for flying in bad weather - trust me).  And the workers were in such a rush to take cover that our luggage just sat down there on the tarmac...getting soaked.  Then the kids bonded so well they decided they wanted to sit all three together on the plane.  But, as we know, all good things come to an end and so 1 spilled drink and a fight over how much to keep the window shade open and well, vacation was over.
Swim lessons finally paying off as Cole had a blast swimming!

Before the drama.  Cole is holding a piece of gum...ready to begin chewing at take-off!

So glad we made this trip a priority and have these wonderful memories!  


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