Friday, May 27, 2011

Epcot

We were worn out by our last day but that's ok because we were able to just go through the park at a laid back pace.


It's not a good one, but we were finally able to get a picture of all 3 of us.


We started with Spaceship Earth and then moved on to Innoventions. I was hopeful that this would be fun for Marlie but the activities/displays were a little over her head.
The Seas With Nemo & Friends was our next stop. We went on a clamobile ride and participated in Turtle Talk with Crush, an interactive show. It was a funny show but Marlie was very upset that Crush never called on her when he was letting the kids ask him questions!


At the Land Pavillion, we got Fast Pass tickets for Soarin' which is one of the most popular attractions at Epcot. We weren't quite what the ride was but we wanted to find out. While there, we also watched Circle of Life which isn't much more than a basic 'save the earth' video. Living With The Land what a very interesting boat ride where we got to see "how innovative technologies permit food growth while preserving the environment."
We probably could have done without visiting Imagination Pavillion. We rode Journey into Imagination with Figment and then walked through Imageworks. The last thing we did there was watch Captain EO. Unless you're a huge fan of Michael Jackson or 1986, don't waste your time here. That's all we considered the video to be.
After taking a quick lunch break, we got in line for Marlie to meet the fairies, Rosetta and Vidia. The line for Tinkerbell was over an hour long so luckily Marlie was just as content to meet 2 fairies instead of her. They were very much in character and Marlie wasn't sure what to think about Vidia's sarcastic personality.


After standing in line for a few minutes to see the fairies we were hot and sweaty so we stepped into Club Cool. It's like a mini World of Coke where you get to sample soft drinks from all around the world.
Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival was taking place while we were there so these fun character topiaries we all over the park. This Cars one was at the entrance to the World Showcase.


We moved pretty quickly through the World Showcase. We rode the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico and Maelstrom in Norway. We stopped for some snacks along the way and Bryan & I reminisced about our time living in Germany and traveling around Europe. Marlie enjoyed a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream while Bryan got some German beer and a turkey leg!



Our last stop of the day was the much anticipated ride Soarin'. Marlie barely made the height requirement and after reading the description Bryan was nervous about whether or not she would enjoy it. I'm glad I talked him into letting her ride it, because we all thought Soarin' was a lot of fun!
Marlie must have had all the fun she could take because in the short walk from the park to our car she fell asleep in the stroller. Once Bryan got her in the car, she grabbed her new princess mouse ear hat, put it on and passed out again.


The next day we made the long drive back to Georgia. I think Marlie enjoyed not having to get up and go straight to the park because we found her in our bed with a bag of Munchkins from Dunkin' Donuts and a glass of milk watching Disney.


Overall it was a great trip and as I said before, we are so thankful to Warrior Vacations for giving us the opportunity to to enjoy Disney this year.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sick Day

I was lucky enough to come down with strep throat while we were on vacation, so one of our park days turned into a sick day for me. I spent part of the morning at an urgent care clinic while Bryan & Marlie just relaxed at the condo. After I returned with my antibiotics, Chloroseptic & Tylenol, I spent most of the afternoon napping. Thankfully, Bryan & Marlie were able to get out for a little fun. They played miniature golf and then had lunch at Chick-fil-A.



By the end of the day, I was ready to get out for a little bit of fresh air so we visited Downtown Disney. I'm not sure what this is supposed to be, but Marlie insisted on taking her picture with him.



Another great tip I learned in my pre-trip research was about the Once Upon a Toy store at Downtown Disney. The store has a huge variety of Disney Mr Potato Head pieces. You can fill a box with as many pieces as you can fit in it for $20. We already had a Potato Head at home that Marlie enjoys playing with so she enjoyed choosing the Disney character accessories to add to her collection.
Marlie was also able to sweet talk her dad (the sucker) into buying her one of these giant suckers!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Animal Kingdom

The third park we visited was Animal Kingdom. I love seeing animals so I was looking forward to AK, but it actually turned out to be a disappointment to me. If you have visited a good zoo lately, AK may not live up to that. We enjoy visiting the Nashville Zoo and even though it's not that big or that great, I still feel like it is just as good as AK. I must share the disclaimer that I was feeling pretty bad by this day so maybe my illness affected my opinion of the day.
There were multiple walk through attractions where you can see a variety of animals in their habitats.






We rode the Wildlife Express Trian to Conservation Station there was a small petting zoo, but the highlight for Marlie was meeting Pocohontas and Jiminy Cricket.



The Kilimanjaro Safari may be the most popular attraction at Animal Kingdom. We rode through the "savanna" and were able to see lions, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, and more!


It's Tough to Be A Bug is a 3D show but it wasn't as cute as Marlie in her bug glasses!


Ready to watch the afternoon parade...


I don't have any pictures because photography wasn't allowed, but the highlight of the day by far for me was Finding Nemo - the Musical. If you go to Animal Kingdom, I consider this a must see! We saw the show at the end of the day and ran out of time to see Festival of the Lion King. After how good Nemo was though, I wished we would have been able to see Lion King too.
We ended the day in DinoLand where we relaxed while Marlie played in the Boneyard. Like Hollywood Studios, this was the best way to end the day by just letting her run around and play.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hollywood Studios

We spent our 2nd day at Disney visiting Hollywood Studios.


I read that Toy Story Mania has one of the longest waits so we went there first. Although we did wait for a while, it was all inside and the room was full of giant toys. Marlie stayed interested in everything that was around us so we were all content.



After Toy Story Mania, we walked through Journey into Narnia: Prince Caspian, watched Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Disney Junior: Live on Stage! Marlie had so much fun watching the Disney Jr characters and dancing along with their songs!

We packed our own lunch so after taking a break to eat, we continued our adventure. We rode the Great Movie Ride, watched Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage (a favorite of Bryan's!) and Muppet Vision 3D. We ended the day by letting Marlie burn off whatever energy she had left at the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure. She had a great time running around and probably could have played there for hours!





After leaving the park, we went back to the condo to regroup before going out to dinner. We were in the mood for sushi so we went to the little town of Celebration to have dinner. It was such a nice little town and after dinner Marlie asked if she could play in the water "fountain". We didn't have a change of clothes for her but we decided to let her enjoy it anyway!




These are some of my favorite pictures from the trip because they show once again that all the money you can spend on attractions may not be near as fun as something simple like a spray of water!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Magic Kingdom

Now that I've had the chance to visit all 4 Disney World parks as an adult, I can confidently say that none of the others compare to the Magic Kingdom. Since it was our priority we visited MK on our first day while we were still fresh and full of energy. After getting the token photo of Marlie in front of the castle, we proceeded to Tomorrowland.


Bryan wasn't able to ride Space Mountain on his first visit last year because the lines were too long, so we went there first. While he rode that, Marlie & I rode the Astro Orbiter since we also missed riding that last year. Next we rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and visited Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. We enjoyed both of these last year and wanted to do them again. Marlie was just tall enough for Stitch's Great Escape so we rode it for the first time. I would NOT recommend this to anyone with small children. Most small children in there were scared & crying and Bryan & I didn't find it to be enjoyable either.
The next area we moved to was Fantasyland where we rode Mad Tea Party.


While in Fantasyland we also rode It's a Small World (one of my personal favorites!), Snow White's Scary Adventures and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (It was hard to find the Fast Pass for this ride. It's right in front of Mickey's PhiharMagic.) We decided to forego Mickey's PhilharMagic and Dumbo (it usually has a long, hot line) since we did both of those last year. Both last year and this year, we were unable to ride Peter Pan's Flight because of the length of the line. Maybe next time! Before leaving Fantasyland, we took a break and got something to eat at the Friar's Nook.

I don't think we did any attractions in Frontierland this year, but I had read that it was a good location for watching the afternoon parade. We found Marlie a front row spot where she could relax in her stroller and watch the parade.




While watching the parade, some teenage girls next to us befriended Marlie. They told me about having just come from meeting some princesses and Mickey & Minnie. I hadn't realized it and I guess not many other people had either, but they were all in the theatre just inside the entrance to the park. We went straight there once the parade was over and after waiting in line for only about 20 minutes, Marlie was able to meet Sleeping Beauty, Belle & Cinderella! Each princess took plenty of time with her and as you can see, she and Cinderella got into a deep conversation.




When we walked out of the room where we met the princesses, we were able to go into another room to meet Mickey & Minnie. We probably didn't wait 5 minutes there!



We ended our day at the Magic Kingdom in Adventureland. We walked through the Swiss Family Treehouse, rode The Magic Carpets of Alladin, the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean.


Before we left, Bryan went through the Hall of Presidents and Marlie & I enjoyed a HUGE ice cream cookie sandwich!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Warrior Vacations

As expected, things have been busy around here since Bryan's return from Afghanistan. We have been enjoying plenty of family time which included a trip to Walt Disney World. We had no intention of going there this year since we visited the Magic Kingdom for a couple of days last summer. However, a great opportunity fell into our lap. My friend told me about Warrior Vacations and we contacted them about participating in their program. Most of their properties are at Amelia Island so that's where we thought we may be going. We were surprised when they emailed to offer us a 2 bedroom condo in Orlando so that we could take Marlie to Walt Disney World. Disney is offering another great military discount this year so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go again.
We had a BUSY but fun week! I am so thankful for this organization and the property owners who are willing to participate in the program. It was such a blessing for our family to be able to enjoy this trip together. We were able to visit the most popular parks in the world but the highlight for me was just seeing the joy on Bryan & Marlie's faces as they had fun together.
Here are some pictures of the beautiful condo we were able to enjoy.
This was what we saw when we first walked in.


The dining area and kitchen.


Marlie's big girl room. She thought it was fun to have 2 beds and a tv!


The screened in patio where we enjoyed eating breakfast and dinner.


Master bedroom


Master bath


The resort's main pool was right beside our building so Marlie was always asking to go swimming!