Saturday, September 5, 2015

Disney with Friends for Spring Break

For Spring Break a group of us decided to head up to Orlando for a few days at DisneyWorld.  I love that we are only three hours from so many fun theme parks!  There were originally going to be four of us girls (Monica, Sara, April, and myself) but as the trip progressed Sara found out that her husband has work off, so Dallin joined us as well.  Sadly, April's son, Jack, got really sick the first day we were there and they ended up driving back to Fort Lauderdale for the week.  Monica was a rock star and rented a house for all of us.  We each got our own bedroom and bathroom and then shared the living room and kitchen.  It was located within 10 minutes of DisneyWorld and had a great pool and splash pad for the little ones.  Dallin was a total trooper and didn't mind that he was bombarded by moms and kids.  He even got us all food a couple times while we were getting kids ready for bed.  It was such an awesome trip and so much fun to share a house with everyone, so that we could stay up talking once the kids were all asleep each night.

Our first day at Disney we decided to get to Magic Kingdom at park opening.  We knew that crowds were going to be heavy since it was spring break, so we wanted to get in as many rides as we could before everyone showed up.  It was a smart idea for sure!

Our group in front of the Magic Kingdom entrance...
Dallin, Sara, Molly, Me, Daxton, Monica, and Claire 

Riding the ferry from the parking lot to the Magic Kingdom entrance.  The kids thought it was funny to throw goldfish crackers over the side to waiting fish or birds.

In front of the Sleeping Beauty castle!

Daxton and I rushed over to Buzz Lightyear first since there were no lines and it was his favorite.  He loved shooting all the targets and snuggling through the dark swirling tunnel.

After we rode Buzz Lightyear a few times, we got in line for the Tomorrowland Speedway.  There was only a 10 minute wait since it was still early in the morning.  Molly and Daxton had fun climbing on the railings and watching all the cars zip by.

Daxton was super excited to be able to drive the car.  His little legs can't reach the pedals yet, but it was no problem for me to do the pedals and him to steer.  We made quite the team!  Especially when he found out how funny it was to hit the middle track if he let go of the wheel.  Needless to say, it was not the smoothest driving, but this little man loved every minute!

As a group we went on several different rides (Under the Sea with Ariel, Winnie the Pooh) and checked out the Circus Circus play area.  We took a snack break at Gaston's tavern where Daxton immediately jumped up on the fountain and showed off his muscles for Gaston.  These kids were so cute together!

We made our way over to Adventureland to explore, ride on a few rides, and eat a yummy Dole whip.  By the time 1pm hit, we had covered most of the park, ridden several rides, and eaten yummy treats.  We figured it was a pretty good time to call it a day since the crowds had already tripled from the morning.  As we were leaving we caught the Mickey Wishes show which had a few fireworks at the end.  It was a perfect goodbye for our day one at Disney.  
I love that we are annual pass holders so we don't need to worry about leaving early or fighting crowds since we can always come back another day.

We got back to our house around 2:30 and as I was trying to get Daxton to eat a bagel, I turned around and found him passed out on the bed...bagel on his belly and everything.  We all ended up taking afternoon naps that day and then woke to the perfect opportunity for a swim.  We spent the evening swimming, chatting, eating, and relaxing before putting the kids to bed.  It was a pretty good first day of adventures!

For our second day at Disney, we all decided to go to Epcot Center. Spring is my favorite time to visit Epcot, because it's the Flower and Garden festival.  I've had a few blog posts over the years highlighting the gorgeously diverse topiaries throughout the park.  It's always so fun to look for each of them and soak up all the stunning colors dotting Epcot.

Monica and I at the entrance to Epcot

Just a few of the beautiful topiaries at the entrance...

As we were walking to the Nemo ride, we noticed that there was no line to meet Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie!  We couldn't pass up that opportunity, so we popped in to say hello before going on any of the rides.  
Claire is such a sweet little thing and was so excited to meet each of the characters.  She reminds me so much of little Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch story.  Daxton loves little Claire Bear as well and would often make sure she was ok.

Daxton LOVED meeting Mickey!
I swear Disney is so much more magical with little ones.  His eyes lit up as he ran into Mickey's arms.  After hugging him tightly he posed for the camera and then kissed Mickey on the nose.  It was absolutely heart melting!

Daxton and his buddy, Mickey

Daxton also loved meeting Goofy and Minnie again.  There were lots of hugs and kisses given.  I even had to gently pull him away from Minnie since he wasn't wanting to let go.

Our next stop was over to The Seas with Nemo.  This is Daxton and I's favorite spot in Epcot.  The Nemo ride is super fun and then ends in a beautiful aquarium.  The kids had a blast looking at all the different sea animals.

In the largest tank, there were manta rays, sea turtles, several different types of fish, small sharks, and all sorts of other sea life.  We spent a long time letting the kids explore and in Daxton's case, talk to all the animals through the glass.  I also loved the hidden Mickey made of rocks in the aquarium!

We loved looking at all the other exhibits as well, including the manatees, dolphin, jellyfish, and baby clown fish.

Since there were four of us, we took turns doing the fun big rides with parent swaps.  While we were waiting outside test track for Sara and Dallin, we found a super fun play area for the kids that was based on the movie "Cars."  Daxton about lost it when he saw Lightening McQueen and Mater as topiaries.

We also found another fun play area that was based off the movie "Monster's University,"  another of Daxton's favorite movies.  He had so much fun playing on all the different structures, slides, and climbing obstacles.  I loved that there weren't many children!

A few of the beautiful colors spread throughout the park...

We loved exploring the butterfly garden.  Tinker bell and her fairy friends are the theme of the butterfly garden, so it was fun to find all the different little fairy homes hidden throughout the flowers.  There were several butterflies of course, but after visiting Butterfly World Daxton wasn't too impressed.  I do love that whenever he sees a butterfly he says, "Mom!  Butterflies for Mara!"  It makes me so happy he's talking about sweet Mara, even if he doesn't have any memories of his own of her.

Speaking of Mara, it was her birthday while we were at Epcot that day.  I loved that I thought of her the entire day!  With all the gorgeous flowers around, there were wild butterflies flying throughout the park.  I also fell in love with these giant butterfly topiaries in the middle of Epcot.  It was such a fun thing to be reminded of such a beautiful angel.
Love you, sweet Mara and miss you dearly.

Daxton was such a flirt whenever Monica would come around...He's quite the ladies man!
The new topiaries this year were, of course, Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

Meeting Duffy the Bear...
Neither of us knew who he was, but when you see a big fluffy bear, why not get a picture with him??

Daxton's favorite topiaries from our day at Epcot...
Peter Pan on the roof with Captain hook and Tick Tock Croc below.

Exploring the different lands...
Morocco is always a favorite.

The gorgeous bridges in Italy...

The one thing Daxton wanted to do more than anything was ride the monorail.  We were super sad that it was shut down at Magic Kingdom the day before and we weren't able to ride it.  So before leaving Epcot we made sure to put it on the top of our list.  We caught the monorail from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and then rode it back to Epcot, with this squealing toddler so excited the whole way.
It was literally the perfect day with friends!

Sadly the next day (and our final day we planned to stay in Orlando) Daxton and I woke with stomach pains.  I knew that it would not be a good idea to try and push it by going to Animal Kingdom with Monica and Sara that day.  Instead Daxton and I packed everything up and headed home.  I wasn't too heartbroken, because we had had such a magical trip up to that point.  Daxton was an angel, the crowds weren't nearly as bad as I though, the weather was great, and the company was perfect!

Thanks Monica for setting it all up!
We had such a blast with you, Claire, Sara, Dallin, and Molly!
Can't wait to do it again!

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