Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Disney 2014, Day 4, Part I (Animal Kingdom)

(Tuesday, September 23, 2014)
Like many other mornings our group gathered for coffee in the food court at Pop Century.  As each family woke up some chose to head to the food court.  It was a different combo of people each morning.  This quickly became a fun part of our trip!  As expected the first couple of days we met shortly after 6 and by the end of the week it was 7 or later.img_4951a
We had originally planned on meeting at 3:00 this day but we decided to spend the whole day together.   Riding the bus to the park with Makenna and Katelyn.IMG_4952
We all had the dining plan but many meals were booked separately.  This morning we joined Bonnie, Paul and their kiddos for breakfast at Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom.IMG_4953
Characters at this meal were:
DonaldIMG_4954
DaisyIMG_4956
Goofy andIMG_4962
Mickey.IMG_4958
Since we were there last year Disney has built a new theatre to show The Lion King.  It was right next to our breakfast restaurant which was much nicer than the long walk to the old location.  It was as great as we remember!IMG_4967
Each year that we’ve been to Disney Hannah has been asked to be in the show.  This year as Paul, Hannah and I went in to get seats for our group the cast member seating us pointed to a spot in the 3rd row and offered it to us.  Sure enough it was the exact place where they choose the kids from and all 4 of our kids were invited to take part!  Nathan chose to pass but the girls were excited to help out with the dance!
When the show was over we found out that earlier in the day than normal the heavens had opened and our strollers were soaked!! Ugh!  Thankfully when it started a cast member went around and closed all the canopies on the strollers so with the aid of mommy’s rain poncho at least Hannah could sit for the day without getting a wet seat.  This happens to me at least once every single trip we’re away even though I try to cover it often.  The good news is that now the stroller is squeaky clean!    Sadly Tuesday was out day of rain as you’ll be able to see from the following pics.  It rained on and off the entire day and at some points broke records in the amount that came down in an hour!IMG_4976
One thing Hannah really enjoys is watching ‘Disney Parks’ videos on YouTube.  I like them because I know they are all safe and she can cruise through them watching what she wants.  This year she watched one for ‘Expedition Everest’ and decided she wanted to give it a try.  It’s a HUGE roller coaster and I was pretty sure she would change her mind before boarding.  I reassured her that I would support her whatever she decided.
I was wrong.  She was super excited to give it a try!  This is our before pic.  Check out that excited grin!img_4968a
Unfortunately this one was a bit big for her.  I had pushed her bar down firmly and had my arm around her the entire ride but I found out later that she was concerned she was going to fall out.  Poor pet!  I felt bad that I hadn’t thought this might be a concern of hers or I would have reassured her that this couldn’t happen.  When we got off she announced, ‘Mommy, I didn’t cry but, I didn’t like it and I’m never, ever going to ride it again!  Not even when I’m a Mommy!’ 
After pic.  LOL!!img_4968b
Cooling off with some frozen treatsIMG_4969
Bonnie offered to watch the kids in the Boneyard while Dave, Trish, Paul and I rode ‘Dinosaur.’  This is a new ride for me and it was scary but fun!  (Pardon the hair.  I had spent most of the day in the rain and very quickly given up on trying to stay dry.)IMG_4971
Bonnie is a trooper and loves all the kids.  Our relationship is quite neat and I love the way God has woven our families together!  If you’ve been around here for a while you’ll know that Norma is my best friend from work (she retired last December) and that she travelled to China with me when Hannah and I became a family.  Bonnie is Norma’s younger daughter so I watched Bonnie grow up and now we’re great friends!  Bonnie also is the daycare provider of my brother and SILs children so the friendship they share is special too.   She is also my backup provider when Ange is on vacation so Hannah knows her well too.  Norma and I have remarked about how we had no idea 25+ years ago when we became friends the way our 2 families would weave together.  It’s really neat!!
This is where Bonnie and I differ.  It was a hot, sticky, rainy day and I was doing everything not to walk in the little beads of sand the kids were playing in.  When we returned from the ride Bonnie had allowed the kids to bury her legs in the sand!  You’re a trooper Bon!IMG_4975
Coming up next….dinner at ‘Ohana.  Yum!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Disney 2014, Day 3, Part II (Epcot)

(Monday, September 22, 2014)
We enjoyed spending the day with Wes and Sarah and parted ways around supper.  Hannah and I had reservations at a new-to-us restaurant called, ‘Teppan Edo’ at the Japan Pavilion.  Hannah decided to catch a quick nap on the way so that she would be able to enjoy supper.IMG_4926
We had an idea what this meal could be like and it didn’t disappoint!  The cast members are all from Japan and oh so gracious!  I think I bowed for an hour after we left!  Winking smileIMG_4928
Guests sit around a large grill in groups of 8.  Hannah and I were with a family from Toronto and a mother and daughter from Maine…I think!  (We’ve met so many people this week that they quickly blend together!)IMG_4927
At the beginning of the meal we were each able to select a protein that would be cooked Teppan-Yaki-style.  Hannah chose chicken while I chose steak and shrimp.IMG_4939
Typical of one of these meals, it is part cooking and part show.  The only thing missing at Disney compared to other locations is the fire.  Here our chef made a Choo-choo train of onions!
Even adding spices to our meal is a part of the show.
Final prep of the veggies before serving. 
The food was delicious and it was such a neat, entertaining meal.  We also got along famously with the mother and daughter we sat with which is always a bonus too!  Mmm…noodles!IMG_4940
After we finished our delicious dinner Hannah we walked our of the International Gateway and passed China during our travels.  IMG_4943Hannah had one request before we left that I was happy to offer her.  She wanted to ride Test Track at night!   We did….twice and oh how fun it was even though it was raining lightly when we entered the outdoor portion of the ride!
I took this pic from the screen outside the ride.
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What a wonderful day we shared together at Epcot!  IMG_4951

Friday, September 26, 2014

Disney 2014, Day 3, Part I (Epcot)

(Monday, September 22, 2014)
Sorry for the slow posting.  It is partially due to the challenges of posting with resort Wi-Fi but also because we arrive back in our room exhausted each evening and taking the time to post without falling asleep on the keyboard is a challenge!!
Today’s park was Epcot and I had a special surprise planned for my sweet girl!!
Pardon the foggy pic.  The room is cool and the outside weather wonderfully hot and steamy so my camera lens takes a bit to adjust.  I think she looked absolutely beautiful!  Hannah loves that she was born in China and Mulan is currently her favourite princess so choosing this costume was a great fit for her!
Early in the morning as I was getting ready I called in the help of Auntie Trish and Miss Bonnie to help with Hannah’s hair.  (It’s such fun having all 3 families in rooms next to one another!!)
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The day was scheduled to be a shared with a friend and her family (Andrea and I work together) but unfortunately a nasty bout of food poisoning kept her in their room.  Wes and Sarah were still up to a day out so we met at Epcot in time for breakfast with the Princesses in Akershus located in the Norway pavilion.
The first princess the girls met dressed in her formal wear was Belle.IMG_4894
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Followed by AuroraIMG_4904
CinderellaIMG_4906
Snow White and finallyIMG_4908
Ariel.IMG_4909
After breakfast we headed next door to the China pavilion where Hannah was able to meet Mulan!!IMG_4913
So many people commented on ‘Princess Mulan’ as her costume is not easy to find.  (I ordered this one from Disney.com) It was adorable as many people (cast members and other guests at the park) bowed to her throughout the day and some even said they would be over to visit her in China and get her picture and autograph.  So sweet and Hannah soaked it all in!
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A visit to The Living Seas is often completed with pictures near the fish of Nemo.IMG_4921
During our travels we met Chip and Dale who also bowed to Her Majesty.  Sweet!
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Disney 2014, Day 2, Part II (Magic Kingdom)

(Sunday, Sept 21, 2014)
We had been able to secure a coveted FP+ reservation at ‘Be Our Guest’ so we enjoyed a delicious meal there for lunch.IMG_4838_thumb
After lunch….Dumbo!IMG_4843_thumb
This picture is typical, energetic Hannah!IMG_4845_thumb
Our final FP+ for the day was a visit with Ariel after enjoying her ride Under the Sea.  The girls were surprisingly quiet as they sat there and Ariel called them ‘Giggle Fish’ which of course made them giggle all the more!IMG_4851_thumb
At this point the adults did take a moment to enjoy a ride on Space Mountain.  It’s fun being here with other adults as it offers me an opportunity to ride some of the bigger rides.  I screamed all the way through this one and Trish said she couldn’t scream because she was too busy laughing at me!  Hee!IMG_4854_thumb
We happened to be crossing the park at the same time the new ‘Festival of Fantasy’ parade was starting so we watched that before heading to Adventureland to enjoy a refreshing Dole Whip!  Mmmm!!!IMG_4862a_thumb
This day was hot, hot, hot with temps in the 90’s and high humidity.  Ice cream and mister fans were a refreshing treat.IMG_4864_thumb
The final ride was Aladdin’s Flying Carpets.IMG_4867_thumb
Here the girls are ducking trying to avoid the spitting camel.  I in turn was riding with my brother who manoeuvred us so that the camel spit in my ear!  Touché I guess for the acting part I gave him with Belle this morning!IMG_4869_thumb
As we were preparing to leave for supper our friends who we’re also here with (Bonnie, Paul, Nathan and Kaitlyn) were just arriving for ‘Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party’.  They looked adorable dressed up as Peter Pan, Wendy, Mr. Smee and the Pirate Fairy.IMG_4873_thumb
From here we boarded the monorail and rode to the Polynesian to enjoy supper at the Kona Cafe.  Hannah has this thing she does where she rubs the thumbs of those she’s closest to while sucking her bottom lip.  It’s sweet (unless you’re trying to use your thumbs to text, write or….cook!)  On this day she found Uncle Dave’s thumbs and he became one of her inner circle of comfort peeps. IMG_4873a_thumb
The Polynesian Resort is undergoing a lot of renovations so things look much different with constructions walls everywhere.  Like it does everything else, Disney has a way of making even construction walls pleasant.  A new photo op place in front of a wall.IMG_4877_thumb
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We left the restaurant shortly before 8 and Hannah was asleep before we exited the monorail 2 stops later.  We transferred to a bus and headed to see the ‘Frozen Fireworks’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  They won’t be playing when we’re there Thursday and I didn’t want to miss them as this is their final week so this was the night.
I went up within a bout 6’ of then entrance/exit turnstiles and was pretty sure security was going to ask me to move since I didn’t have entrance for the park that day so I was too close.  A kind security guard did approach me and quickly told me I could not stand there for the fireworks!  He instructed me to walk 6’ closer the moment they started as I would need a much better view then what I was able to get to where I was due to the overhang.  Heh….I had a great view standing with my toes touching the entrance to the park line.  Perfect!  Thanks Joe!
And, in customary Hannah fashion, this was her ‘view’ of the fireworks!  IMG_4886_thumb
She was out until morning even though we took a bus back to our resort, I stopped to get a drink and then changed her when we returned to our room and put her to bed!  That’s my girl!!
Tomorrow….Epcot!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Disney 2014–Day 2, Part I (Magic Kingdom)

(Sunday, Sept 21, 2014)
Hannah and I were awake bright and early Sunday morning, ready to spend our first day in the Magic Kingdom with my brother Dave, SIL Trish and Hannah’s cousins Makenna (5) and Kallen (just turned 2 two days prior!)
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We took the bus to MK and arrived in time to watch the opening show which is my favourite way to begin any MK day!  After the show were made our way into the park and Trish and I looked at each other, barely able to contain ourselves that we were finally there together with our families!!  (The ‘littles’ of the family in Dave and Trish’s case as their oldest 4 are home this week.) 
We stopped for our customary photographs in front of Cinderella’s castle.  They’re getting ready for Christmas so please pardon the crane in the background.  IMG_4814
This next picture just makes me howl!  Makenna was having a bit of a rough moment and I was able to capture it as a Disney photographer took their family pictures.  Hilarious!IMG_4816
Yes, we are at the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ and yet the kids have their moments.  Hannah will too I’m sure!  We love Disney but long days with stimulation overload can lead to the odd meltdown that we just help them through and move on.  (Unless it’s mommy’s meltdown and then Hannah gently reminds me to ‘Take a deep breath’ and then I apologize and we move on.  Oh no, meltdowns are not just for kids!)
We eventually did manage to take a quick family shot in front of the castle but the bright sun did not lend itself well to the kiddos looking at the camera.IMG_4818
After taking a ride with Pooh where the girls found these beautiful jewels on the way out IMG_4820and a ride on Prince Charming’s Carousel
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we had FastPass+ (FP+) reservations for Enchanted Tales with Belle.  I think at this point Dave was questioning the planning of being here with his sister as when they were asking for palace guards I quickly pointed him out and he was chosen as were Hannah and Makenna!IMG_4830
Our final ride before lunch was the new ‘Seven Dwarfs Mine Train’ and it didn’t disappoint!  Hannah and I had watched them building it for more than 2 years and have been excited to ride it for months!!  This video starts just after my poor kiddo wacked her head but then after that we were off and she loved it!  (Heh…can you tell Mommy did too?) As our car rolled to a stop Hannah declared it the ‘Best – Ride - Ever!!’  High praise from my wee adrenalin girl!   We’re looking forward to riding this one again a couple of times later in the week!
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