Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Adams Family Visits for the Holidays: Disney World's Animal Kingdom (January 2016)

Our last adventure up in Orlando while my family was in town visiting last Christmas break, took place at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  We had spent an incredible week doing all the Disney parks together and we ended with one of our favorites.

We loved the Christmas decorations at the entrance to Animal Kingdom.

Daxton and Daddy having a blast riding the triceratops spin.

We loved all the details throughout the park.  There are so many fun things to play on and explore as you're getting from one area to another.

Riding Everest was the highlight for all of us.  It was pretty funny to watch all the different reactions from my family members as they went down the massive drop.  I wish I could have seen mom and dad react to the backwards section of the roller coaster ๐Ÿ˜‚

Stuart was a little nervous...

I'm SO glad I had my real camera with us this day to capture Bradley, Mom and Dad's reactions.  I had it zoomed in and set to super fast sports mode, so I caught it all from the top of the drop to where they zipped past us!  I don't think their mouths closed the entire fall!  So hilarious๐Ÿ˜‚
Their facial expressions are priceless!

It took a few minutes for every one to calm down after Everest.  We then took our time exploring the rest of the park and visiting all the different animal enclosures.

Family picture in front of the tree of life

Dax had so much fun running around with Daddy, Grandpa, and Uncle Bradley.  He loved all the different animals and extra attention from anyone who would give it to him.  He's quite the ham!

Another amazing encounter with our buddy the hippo.
We loved all the colorful fish in the hippo tank.

We saw several large silverbacks on the gorilla trek.

One of our absolute favorites was the production of Lion King.  We had all seen and loved the broadway version in New York and loved the 30 minute condensed show with similar costumes and just as amazing voices as well.  We had great seats on the front row and sang along the entire show.  It was so much fun!

Our last adventure was going on the Animal safari.  We were in the back two rows of the jeep and had so much fun looking for all the different animals.  They were all pretty active that day, so we saw a ton.

Leaving for our safari

Just a few of the amazing animals we saw...
Komodo dragon, bats, Okapi, crocodiles

The safari was awesome and we saw lots of active giraffe, hyena, rhino, zebra, wildebeest, flamingos, and elephants.

We were so excited that we got to see a mommy rhino and her baby!  The baby even followed along the jeep for awhile and than crossed behind it.  It was so much fun to see such incredible animals up close.

It may have been the time of day or the rocking motion of the jeep on the bumpy roads, but this little man fell right asleep in Daddy's arms.  It was so sweet, but crazy to realize he's grown so long it's hard to even hold him in our arms!

Our week at Disney could not have gone smoother which I was SO grateful for.  Visiting Disney the week after Christmas is always the most crowded time to go and yet we timed it perfectly to do everything we wanted.  We had such a great time together as a family!  Perfect second week of adventures for our holiday break last year.

Adams Family Visits for the Holidays: Disney World's Magic Kingdom (January 2016)

The very next day was New Years day and since we hadn't stayed out late the night before, we were awake bright and early to start our day at Magic Kingdom.  It was the perfect idea, since the large crowds didn't even show up to the park til around lunchtime.  We were able to ride all the rides we wanted to, explore the whole park, and see everything we wanted by 3 that day.  No lines or crowds!
Mom and Dad decided to stay back at the hotel, since it had been a rough night for dad, who woke to all the crazy fireworks going off at all hours of the night.

Our little family at the entrance and in front of Cinderella's castle 

Being welcomed by the dancing carolers 

Exploring Circus Circus where we all got to ride Dumbo...I may have gotten sick with all the circular motion...

While Stuart and Bradley were off riding bigger rollercoasters, we had fun checking out Winnie the Pooh and Under the Sea with Ariel.

We met back up with everyone at Gaston's cavern for yummy cinnamon rolls and spiced apple drinks.  While we were waiting we had to pull a certain 3 year old out of the wishing fountain...

Next we hit up, Small World, Peter Pan, and then made our way down to Adventureland for Pirates and the Magic Carpets.  Dallas and Daxton had fun shooting some of the BB guns in Adventureland.

Daxton was quite the entertainer again as we took a break before we rode Pirates of the Caribbean.  He loved all the added attention and extra snuggles from Uncle Bradley.

We had such a relaxing day and hit many more rides before making our way back towards the castle.  Right as we were walking by one of the shows started.  We listened to the music and then stuck around for the quick fire works.  It was the perfect way to finish off our day at Magic Kingdom!

Cannot get over how adorable Gel was at Magic Kingdom.
What a cute couple, seriously, my little brother married such an awesome girl!

We met up with my parents for dinner and ended up going to a spot Dallas had been for work.  Funny thing about work dinners...your not sporting the check.  Dallas still feels horrible about how much this insanely yummy steak dinner was for all 8 of us ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
At least the service and food were astounding!
They were also sweet to bring out a free dessert sampler in honor of Stuart and Gel's little baby.
It was another fun day in the books from our holiday break vacation with family!

Adams Family Visits for the Holiday: Disney Springs and New Years Eve (December 2015)

After two full days at Disney's Epcot and then Hollywood Studios, we decided to sleep in and have a relaxing lunch at Disney Springs (Downtown Disney) before heading back to the hotel for a New Years Eve swim.  Dax had so much fun showing everyone around to his favorite hot spots at Disney springs, which included...

The train and carousel

Eating delicious sundaes from ghirardelli's 

Playing with all the Mr. Potato heads
(Huge thanks to grandpa and grandma who actually bought him the large Mr. Potato crammed full with all the potato parts!)

 And ending in an epic battle with daddy after they built their own light sabers.

After a super fun afternoon at Disney Springs, we all went back to the Marriott and went swimming.  It was pretty fun to be swimming in an outdoor pool with temps in the high 70s on New Years Eve.  There were lots of fun pool toys available to use and Dax loved the life size checkers and chess board.
After swimming, Dad, Mom, Stuart, Gel, and Bradley went out for a New Years Eve dinner celebration.  Dallas and I decided to put our little guy to bed instead and hung out at the hotel.  We were just fine staying in for the night but were glad everyone else had a fun night out.  It was a great way to bring in the New Year!

Adams Family Visits for the Holidays: Disney World's Hollywood Studios (December 2015)

Our next day was spent at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Once again we arrived at park opening and I scheduled out our Fast Passes with meticulous planning.  Everything went very smoothly and we ended up having a blast.

A couple quick family pictures at the entrance to the park.
Doesn't Gel's belly look super adorable!  I still can't believe she did all the parks at 8 months pregnant.  She's a rockstar!

We hit Star Tours first and rode it a couple times before heading over to the Star Wars launch bay.  This little boy is definitely obsessed!  He got so excited seeing the Storm troopers again and couldn't believe his eyes when he noticed the flame trooper as well.
Completely losing his mind over Darth Vador's helmet and all the other costumes located in the launch bay.  He also thought the Jawas were pretty funny.

Showing off some serious light saber skills!

Dallas was pretty proud of the amount of Star Wars knowledge this little boy holds.  He could tell you all the characters just from their costumes and even their light sabers.

Meeting Chewbacca!
You can see on this little boys face that he was pretty excited.

We were very surprised by how short all the lines were!  We didn't have to wait for a single character and we were able to see several!

Meeting Lightening McQueen, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Mike and Sully

Meeting Santa Goofy was the highlight for him.  At one point Goofy broke out into some killer dance moves and then Dax dropped on the ground and showed Goofy the worm ๐Ÿ˜‚
It was probably one of the funniest things ever!
The group of people behind us broke out clapping for Dax as he was dancing.  It's moments like those I hope we never forget!

We had a couple Fast Passes for Rockin' Rollercoaster and then a couple rider swaps, so we all had a blast riding my favorite ride at Disney World.  While people were taking turns on the ride, we hung out at Mickey's Dance club right around the corner.
Mickey's Dance club was super fun!
There were virtual painting activities for kids to do along the sides of the club, charging stations and comfy furniture for adults, and then a large dance floor for anyone who wanted to dance.  The great part is that there were 3-4 characters out on the dance floor or in the courtyard for kids to interact with.  It was such a fun experience, I wish they would have kept it around at Hollywood Studios.

We also rode several other rides including Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror.  Before this trip Stuart had never been on any kind of rollercoaster, so it was pretty funny to see his reaction to all the different rides.  His face below while riding Tower of Terror is pretty priceless!

It was such a great day and we all had a blast!
As we were leaving the park I snapped one more picture of my two loves.  What a blessing they are to me.

Adams Family Visits for the Holidays: Disney World's Epcot Center (December 2015)

After spending the first week of our holiday break with family in south Florida, we decided to move the party north to Orlando!  A huge shout out to Gel who did all of these activities while being 8 months pregnant.  She amazed me everyday, always had a smile on her face, and never complained.  Knowing that she and our mom would not appreciate long days at Disney parks, I was very meticulous with our planning each day.  We made sure to be at each of the parks right at opening before the large crowds arrived.  I also scheduled Fast Passes very intricately to be the most efficient with our time.  I know that sounds crazy, but it made each day so smooth and we were able to see and do everything we wanted.

Our first day up in Orlando was spent driving and getting settled into our hotel.  Gel, Stuart, and Bradley drove up earlier that day so they could see Universal Studios and do Harry Potter World.  Since I had literally been there three weeks earlier with my friend, Janelle, I decided to opt out of that adventure for the day.

Our second day in Orlando we planned for Epcot.
Epcot has quickly become one of our favorites over the past few years of living here in Florida.  There is actually a lot for both kids and adults to do.  We had a lot of fun exploring the different worlds, going on all the rides, and eating yummy foods.

Family pics under the Epcot ball
We loved that Bradley wore his new shirt!

Madly in love with our sweet boy!

We first went to test track, were we had fast passes and then a rider swap so everyone was able to skip the lines.  Dax loved building his virtual car and then exploring all the trucks and cars on display at the end.

We then made our way over to the Seas and rode the Nemo ride as a big family.  We all loved exploring the massive aquarium at the end of the ride.  Dax loved calling out all the sea animals he knew.
We love aquariums!

To help with mom's knee and back, we rented a little motorized scooter for her.  She loved being able to zip around the parks and Dax loved the chance to hop on as well.
After the Seas, we all headed over to the Land and went on a couple rides.  Living with the Land is one of our favorites.  It's an educational boat ride that takes you through the past, present, and future techniques of farming.  It was pretty interesting to see how they were able to grow all the different plants.

Dax was extremely excited to meet one of his favorite Disney characters...
Baymax from Big Hero 6
He even did a fist bump with him.

We walked around part of the worlds with everyone, rode the Donald Duck ride in Mexico, and looked at all the Christmas decorations.  Dallas, Daxton, and I then split from our family so they could visit the rest of the countries.

Dallas, Daxton, and I decided to go visit some of the disney hotels for a change of scenery.  We ended up doing valet at the Polynesian resort, looked around the hotel, ate yummy dole whip poolside, and swam the afternoon away.  It was a great way to end our first full day in Orlando with family.

The inside of Disney's Polynesian Resort

Dax loved all the different water slides in the kids area.
Seriously, that face!
We love our little man so much and love his excitement for life.

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