Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Kicking off Christmas Season at Disney World (December 2015)

I love our family tradition of hitting up Disney to kick off the holiday season.  Even before we had Daxton and moved to Florida, Dallas and I would visit Disneyland in California to bring in the holidays.  My husband's pretty amazing, because I fully realize he is not as crazy about Disney as I am.  We always have such a great time together and we love being able to create lasting memories as a family.
Last December we planned another fun vacation at Disney world.  We had so much fun, the crowds were lower, and we definitely loved the chance to spend time with daddy!

Our first day we spent at Hollywood Studios...

Outside the entrance of Hollywood Studios
We always love seeing all the holiday decorations at each of the parks!

Taking the tram (Daxton's favorite!)
Dax also loved being able to scan his own magic band.

We were so surprised by how low the crowds were.  The lines to meet characters were super short.  Dax loved meeting Sorcerer Mickey and once again ended up kissing him on the nose.

The big highlight was being tall enough to ride Star Tours!  Dax and Daddy ended up riding it a few times...I ended up getting motion sick after the first time.  Dax would have been happy simply playing with all the toys in the gift shop.

Daxton also loved meeting Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

My highlight was staying late enough to see the Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  It was the last year for it to be shown, since all the construction for the new star wars land was set to take over.  It was by far my favorite lights display in all of Disney.  Hundreds of thousands twinkling lights were set to music and they even had snow falling from the rooftops.
Needless to say, it was pure magic.
So many gorgeous lights!

The next day, Dallas and Daxton spent the morning and afternoon at Epcot.  I ended up staying at the hotel to sleep off a migraine, so these pics were taken by daddy of their adventures for the day.  It was so fun to get updates of their fun.  It was especially fun for mommy to be able to sleep in, relax, and rest for most of the day!

That night we explored Disney Springs (downtown Disney) as a family.  We loved checking out some of the new shops and bridges on our way to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner.
These two melt my heart! 

While we waited for a table at the rainforest cafe, we rode the carousel and checked out some of the neighboring stores.

These two also had some adorable fun in the photobooth at Rainforest Cafe.  Love all their silly expressions!

Other fun highlights from Disney Springs...
Looking for all the different fish in the Rainforest Cafe aquariums and riding the little train.

Dax also loved meeting Santa Claus!
Santa was so sweet with Daxton and listened very intently as Dax told him all the different things he wanted.  Daxton was pretty excited about the whole experience.

No adventure at Disney Springs is complete without participating in their nighttime dance party!  Daxton really got into it this year with some pretty awesome dance moves.  He could have spent forever there, dancing his little heart out.

We finished our night at the Lego store, which quickly became Daxton's favorite.  He spent forever playing with all the little pieces and creating all sorts of little guys.  It was funny to see both him and Dallas playing so intently at each open station.

Dallas's contribution was pretty hilarious.
He called it the effects of "busy season"
Before, Middle, End

Early the next morning my bestie from Utah, Janelle, flew into the Orlando airport.  Since she had taken a redeye and was exhausted, we let her sleep in and join us at Magic Kingdom later that day.  Dallas, Dax, and I arrived at MK around opening and were able to hit a ton of rides before Janelle joined us for the rollercoasters.

Driving through the MK parking entrance

Our little family at the entrance of Magic Kingdom

Once again, we loved seeing all the fun holiday decorations on display.
Daxton was definitely a sweetheart for letting us take a million pictures throughout the parks.  He even gave some pretty great smiles without any prodding.  I think it had more to do with daddy joining us than anything.  It's always more fun with daddy!

We had a blast on Buzz Lightyear, Tomorrowland speedway, eating yummy treats, and one of Daxton's favorites, the people mover.

It was SO much fun to sit back and watch these two have a blast together.  I'm usually the one that gets to do all the fun things with Daxton, so it was a lot of fun to take a back seat to daddy.  That boy worships his daddy!

Having some fun in the Winnie the Pooh standby line.

Janelle met up with us at Space mountain and then we all explored Magic Kingdom together.  We loved the views of Cinderella's castle from the wishing well.

We also made our way over to Small World, Peter Pan, Pirates, and Big Thunder railroad.  We loved walking through Adventureland along the boardwalk where there weren't any crowds.

True to Florida weather, we did get caught in a couple strong rainstorms throughout the day, but we still managed to have a blast.  I love this girl so stinking much!  I can't believe I've known Janelle for 12 years.  She truly feels like a sister to me.  I SO wish we lived closer, so our visits could be more frequent.

Around dinner time, Dallas and Daxton left to go back to our hotel, but Janelle and I stayed for the nighttime festivities.  We loved seeing the castle all lit up, especially with all of the christmas lights.  It was so much fun to walk around the park and simply catch up.

We slowly made our way towards the exit of the park right as the Electrical parade was starting.  It was the perfect way to end such a great day!
By far my favorite parade put on by Disney! 
Love all the twinkling lights.

The next day was spent at Animal Kingdom.
It was Janelle's first time, so Dax and I loved showing her all the fun things around the park.  I loved seeing all the unique holiday decorations for each park, especially the Animal Kingdom tree.
Lots of pictures at the entrance by the tree!

Dax was in rare form that day.
Probably because he had another Auntie to spoil him with attention!  He loves his Auntie Nellie so much and was very silly for her.

I love how diverse the vegetation is at Animal Kingdom.
I always feel as if we are exploring a jungle.
Taking pics in front of the tree of life

As Daxton was climbing on some of the logs in front of the tree of life, a group of parrots flew right over his head and landed on a nearby post.  Some workers came out, talked a bit about the parrots, gave them treats, and then off they flew again across the park.  Daxton LOVED it!

In front of the tree of life

There were NO lines to meet the characters, so we were very excited to get to meet Mickey and Minnie all decked out in their holiday attire.  It still melts my heart to see Dax run into their arms for big hugs.

After meeting Mickey and Minnie, we made our way over to Everest where we got rider swaps.  First Janelle and I rode it and then I rode it again with Dallas right after.  Needless to say, that was one of the stupider decisions I've made!  Since part of the rollercoaster goes backwards, I was super dizzy and motion sick after riding it twice.  I even had to sit and put my head down.  Basically it made me feel old 😳

The rest of the day was spent exploring the different animal enclosure and going on a few more rides.  We all loved watching the monkeys, especially while swinging so high above us.

The tigers and bats in the Asia enclosures were very active and fun to watch as well.

Exploring Asia

We also had a lot of fun playing in dinoland.
Dax had a blast going on the spinning triceratops.

Snuggles with daddy outside of Dinosaur (a truly terrifying ride that I refuse to ride anymore...especially since I still have nightmares about Jurassic Park!)  But these snuggles with daddy are pretty cute.

We also spent a good chunk of time letting this crazy play in the dino dig boneyard.  He could stay here forever if we let him.

Our last adventure was taking the safari, so we made our way back over to Africa and along the way played with every musical instrument we could get our hands on.

The safari is always so fun and I'm constantly surprised how we see new and different animals every time we ride.  As we got off the safari, we decided to walk through the gorilla trek before the light faded.  We were so happy we squeezed it in.  The crowds were totally gone, so it felt like we had a private showing of all the enclosures. 

We got the most amazing views of a very active hippo.  It was so funny to watch it swim back and forth.

And of course, it wouldn't be called the Gorilla trek without a few gorillas.  We saw several active silverback, which we were pretty excited about.

Overall it was another great family Disney vacay in the books.  Looking at this picture above will always melt my heart.  I love this age and his excitement for the world around him.  I love how magical everything still is.  I love that sweet boy with all my heart.

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