Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wrapping up our Disney 2017 trip

And finally.... 20 blog posts (or so it seems)  and 5000 pictures later we are finally wrapping up our Disney trip. Because of the way we scheduled the trip and going to Universal one day and taking a day off to rest, we went to the Magic Kingdom on our first day but then we didn't go back again until 7 days later. I think I am running in the park with excitement here because I missed it so much.

A fun picture of us all at the start of the day when we were still shiny and fresh.

We started our day with all five of us riding Space Mountain. Look at my incredibly brave 4 year old riding Space Mountain! What? My 9 year old was more scared than my 4 year old. And I actually have to say that I was so proud of Bennett. She really has a fear of roller coasters and it was a big deal that she rode this. It was fun all riding it together. Well, kind of. I was a nervous wreck the whole time because I was worried about the girls, but was relieved once it was over and I found out that they loved it.

And after Space Mountain we headed over to Adventureland and rode Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. All 5 of us. This was the first trip that all five of us could ride rides together without one parent waiting behind. It made for such a wonderful trip. We conquered the three Disney mountains!

We spent a lot of time exploring parts of the park we don't go to very often. We rode and danced on the Liberty Belle and explored Tom Sawyers Island thoroughly

Oh how I love this picture.

Gaston told Bennett that he knew she wasn't the real Belle but asked if Bennett could tell Belle that he wasn't so bad.

He's really just misunderstood.

We randomly stumbled upon a parade (as one does at Disney) and the kids jumped in and danced. And then Jessie grabbed Lainey by the hand and walked her around the floats. Because it's Disney and these kind of things happen.

And then in another incredibly magical moment, the kids joined in with the Main Street Philharmonic. I mean..... can we just move in? Please?

More rides. Because we just don't stop.

All five of us riding the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Definitely a family favorite.

And then it was time for the afternoon parade. Rob snagged us a spot while I waited in line with the kids to meet Pluto.

I absolutely love this picture.

And then we got these great shots of the kids on Main Street while waiting for the parade to start. I think these will be some of my all time favorite pictures from Disney World.

Happiest place on earth.

Lainey was in heaven during the parade and I was in heaven watching her. This was the moment Flynn Ryder pointed to her because she was wearing a Rapunzel dress.

And here was her reaction. And mine. I'm not sure who was more excited.

The floats and costumes never fail to blow me away.

 And Belle pointed to Bennett who was wearing her dress. Such special moments.

Checking out some shops on Main Street.

We rode so many more rides and stayed until none of could walk any further. But we couldn't leave without some Mickey ice cream bars.

Just the best. Every time.

And then the kids wanted to stay and enjoy extra magic hours a bit. Well, 2 out of 3 kids did. So Rob took them on some rides and I sat and enjoyed a Dole Pineapple Whip while Lainey napped. 

Rob finally drug me out of the park after we had been there 13 hours. Best day ever!

We sadly had to leave on Thursday but our flight wasn't until 6:30 and the Magical Express wasn't leaving our hotel until 3:30. You know what that meant? Back to the Magic Kingdom for some final hours of fun. But first we had to check out of our hotel a drop our bags off in the lobby. Not cool.
But we perked up once we got back to the Magic Kingdom! We met the Mayor of Main Street!! Of course we did. Because it's Disney and because every time you enter the park something new and fun is around the corner.

AND Bennett found her teacher!! We were so excited to run into Mrs. Virden in Tomorrowland.

Sigh..... We just don't want to leave.

We hopped on Space Mountain again and despite Lainey's face she really did love it!
We rode Astro Orbiter and with this ride, the kids have now ridden every single ride in Magic Kingdom. This was the one ride we had never made it on. They can't decide on their favorite but I think it is a general consensus that Haunted Mansion is their least favorite.

Some final hugs with favorite characters.

And one last ride on Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

Oh, no.... not this sign. Say it isn't so.
And that wraps up one of the best vacations we have ever taken.
I have to say that I have been to Disney world many times over the past few years and it truly never gets old for me. I only went once when I was growing up. I was three, I believe, and then my parents took me to EPCOT once again when I was 8 or 9 and that was only one park for one day. I hung out in Downtown Disney once when I was in college and on Spring Break in Orlando with some friends. But I didn't start going to Disney for a week as a long family vacation until my sister started having children and she let me tag along on her trips. And then I was hooked. From day one, I was hooked.
We love Disney because it really is a place where we can get away from it all and have fun as a family. Everyone from ages 1 to 99 can enjoy the parks. We don't think about cabs, traveling, renting cars, where to eat... we just go and enjoy. I love seeing my kids giddy over everything from meeting a character to riding a cool ride to seeing an incredibly well performed show.
I love the quality of Disney World and how everything has been thought through and perfected to make your experience so magical. Most of all, I love spending time with my family. 50 years from now I am not going to care that we never painted our kitchen cabinets or that we drove a 17 year old mini van. I am going to remember the moments where Lainey started jumping up and down after she met Mickey. I am going to remember Will being selected as the Beast and dancing with Belle. I am going to remember Bennett conquering her fears and riding Space Mountain. I am going to remember Mickey ice cream bars at 10pm, Will pulling the sword from the stone, Bennett gazing adoringly at Ariel and Lainey waving non stop to every float in the parade. I am going to remember falling into bed exhausted but happy at the end of the day. I am going to remember going on a safari with my family, my Dad holding Lainey's hand as they walked down Main Street and eating crème brulee in Paris next to stunning topiaries of Cogsworth and Lumiere. These are the memories and moments that matter. And I am already planning our next trip.

Until then, Disney. See ya real soon.