Monday, April 3, 2017

Girls' Trip to Disney in March 2016

Disney is always super fun.
But Disney with friends is magical!
Living just a three hour drive south of Walt Disney World has been a blast these last few years.  We've loved all our trips up to Disney and especially loved the ones we've been able to do with buddies.  It's pretty awesome to be able to do playdates at such a magical place!

Monica, Jeni, Arianne, and I all got annual passes to Disney World and spent a good portion of our adventures up in Orlanado this past year.  Last March we tried something new, by all renting a house together for the week.  You can find some pretty inexpensive town homes and condos in the area, due to people needing to compete with all the massive hotels and lodging options.  Between all four of us, staying four nights, we each paid around 100$!  We each had our own rooms and three bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, living room, pool, the works.  It was great!

We drove up on a Monday in two cars; Monica and her daughter Claire rode with Daxton and I.  While Jeni and her daughter Olive rode up with Arianne and her two sons, Dean and Max.
Before checking into our town house, we decided to do a half day at Magic Kingdom.

Our whole crew walking down mainstreet

(L to R) Me, Dax, Claire, and Monica in front of the entrance to Magic Kingdom
(R) Daxton and I riding the monorail to Magic Kingdom.  Daxton LOVES the monorail!

Our whole group riding the Jungle Book.
Watching the kids react to all of the different things they saw was so sweet!

We also had tons of fun riding the Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

We of course had to stop for Dole whips while in Adventureland!
Best photo bomb ever below :)

We rode a few more rides, grabbed dinner, and then found a great place to watch the nighttime Electrical Parade.  The floats were SO fun!  The kids loved listening to the fun music, watching all the twinkling lights, and seeing fun characters go by.

That next morning, we were right back at Magic Kingdom bright and early!  Dax and I rushed to do Peter Pan before the crowds got into the park, while Jeni and Monica rushed to get in line to meet Anna and Elsa.  Daxton and I got pics in front of the castle on our way to Peter Pan.

We also saw the mice from Cinderella, tried desperately to pull the sword from the stone, and walked through Cinderella's castle.

After riding Peter Pan, we met back up with Monica and Jeni.  Jeni's husband, Brian, was able to drive up late the night before and join us for a few days at Disney as well.  Monica and Brian took one for the team by taking Claire, Olive, and Daxton on the tea cups.  The kids LOVED it!!  It makes me so sick though, so Daxton never gets to ride it when it's just me and him and Disney.  He was a very happy boy to be able to ride the tea cups!

Arianne joined us at Magic Kingdom as we were getting done with the tea cups, so we continued our fun down in Tomorrowland by driving cars.  Claire was super cute dressed up as Anna with our two crazy boys.  Daxton loved being able to drive on his own!  Monica took Dean and Claire, since Max wasn't tall enough to ride yet.

I love these pics Arianne snapped as we were leaving!

We also were able to catch the show in front of the castle and somehow managed to get a picture of all the kids.  We were quite proud!

After the show, we split up for the afternoon.  Monica and Jeni took their girls to meet princesses, while Arianne and I took the boys to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and to get another Dole whip.

After exploring Adventureland, Arianne and I took the boys back over to Tomorrowland where we rode Buzz Lightyear and the People Mover again.  It was SO fun to see Daxton and Dean interact at Disney together.  They are such good buddies and treat each other so well.

That night we all grabbed dinner, went swimming, and crashed from all the fun at Magic Kingdom!  The next morning turned out to be pretty crazy.  As we were driving to Hollywood Studios Jeni and Brian's car broke down.  Jeni and Brian ended up pushing it down a very busy rode while Monica steered and I drove my car behind with my emergency lights flashing.  With how crazy drivers are down here, I didn't want anyone to get hit!  They were able to push it up into a parking lot a half mile down the street.  Monica and I gave Brian a ride to a car rental company and then we headed to Disney with Arianne.  We were so glad that Jeni and Brian were able to get their car taken care of and rental car set.

On our way to the rental car company Monica had to squeeze inbetween two very large carseats in the back seat.  It was pretty impressive!  

Monica, Arianne, and I with our kiddos at the entrance of Hollywood Studios.

We all went on Toy Story Mania and then split up for a bit.  Monica and Claire went to go see Beauty and the Beast, while Arianne and I took the boys to do Star Tours.  The kids loved playing with the lightsabers Arianne brought.

One of the best pictures from the trip for sure!
Best buddies on the Star Wars speeder

Later that day Daxton and I split off from the group for a few hours.  Daxton wanted to see the Indiana Jones show so badly, while the rest of the group wanted to do Tower of Terror and meet characters.  It was really nice to be with friends that were flexible and fine with us exploring on our own.  Daxton LOVED the Indiana Jones show, especially all the fighting and stunt work.  I loved just watching his face react to everything!

After the show Daxton loved seeing the tanks and other Indiana Jones paraphernalia along the exit pathway.

After Indiana Jones, Daxton and I made our way over to the Star Wars launch bay.  This is where he almost lost his mind!  Out patrolling in the courtyard where a couple talking storm troopers.  He followed them for at least 20 minutes just watching and getting more and more excited every time they turned to talk to him.  It was such a cool experience seeing him light up.

Inside Star Wars launch bay Daxton about lost his mind being able to meet Chewbacca!  It was so sweet to see how excited he got.  Especially when Daxton showed Chewy how he spoke Wookie :)  When I got home and looked through the pictures I zoomed in on the picture and realized Daxton was hugging Chewy so tightly that he was caressing the upper thigh leg hairs!  Absolutely hilarious!

Dax couldn't get enough of all the fun things to see in the Star Wars launch bay, especially all things "Dark Side"

On our way back to the town house that night, we drove through the Chick-Fil-A for a treat.  When we looked back at Dax, we saw him passed out cold still clutching his chocolate shake.  Needless to say, he had a great day at Hollywood Studios!

The next day we all spent at Epcot.
I was so glad we got a group picture of all of us at the entrance!
(L to R) Arianne, Dean, Claire, Monica, Me, Daxton, Olive, Jeni, Max, and Brian 

We first took turns going on Test Track where Daxton had a blast and loved designing his own car and climbing inside of all the trucks and cars on display.

Then Monica, Jeni, and Brian took the girls to meet princesses while Arianne and I took the boys on Living with the Land and then Nemo and the aquarium.

We loved the boat ride Living with the Land!
It was so cool to see the new ways being explored for growing food and all the interesting plants and flowers in the gardens.
The boat ride was also a great time to take silly selfies :) 

Some of the interesting growing techniques used.

Afterwards, we took the boys on the Finding Nemo ride which ends at an awesome aquarium.  The boys had a blast looking at all the different marine life.

It was so fun seeing Dax and Dean literally freak out and squeal with delight as a shark swam right in front of them.  They also loved watching the spotted eagle ray.

Dax and Dean also loved looking at all the baby clown fish and learning about different types of sharks.  A volunteer had several examples of different shark jaws and then Dax and Dean got to figure out from pictures which shark matched which jaw.  It was pretty cute to see them love learning so much.

A few other cute highlights from Epcot with my handsome little man.

As we were leaving, we got to meet Minnie and Pluto at a secret meet and greet.  Daxton is at such a fun age for meeting characters!

I even hopped in for a quick photo.

After spending a great day at Epcot, we spent the evening having a blast at the pool.  The kids spent tons of time going down the water slide over and over.  That night Brian drove back home to be at work the next morning and Monica's husband, Ivan, drove up to spend the weekend with family.  It was funny to always have someone's husband taking care of our group.

The next day we all split up.  Monica and Ivan left to meet up with visiting family.  Jeni and Olive decided they wanted to spend another day at Magic Kingdom, while Arianne and I took the boys to Animal Kingdom.

We love Animal Kingdom!
It was so fun to show Arianne, Dean, and Max some of our favorites since it was their first time visiting the park.

Us in front of the Tree of Life

The boys had a blast climbing on all the different tree trunks and rocks in front of the Tree of Life.  We also were able to see a bunch of parrots fly by.

Our first adventure was going on the Safari.  They kids had a blast looking at all the different animals along the way.

We saw hippo, giraffe, wildabeasts, elephants, rhinos, and lots of different animals.

After going on the safari, we took the kids on the gorilla trek.  The boys LOVED running free through the different paths and seeing all the different animals.  My favorite is the Okapi, what an interesting animal!  

The boys loved the hippo enclosure where they were able to see lots of colorful fish, a massive hippo skull, and a very active hippo swim by.  The gorillas were all resting, but we did manage to see a Silverback gorilla close to the path.

Other highlights from Animal Kingdom included meeting Minnie and Mickey in their cute Safari outfits.  They were both so sweet with Daxton giving him fist bumps, hugs, and letting him kiss their noses.

Such a happy little boy!

We were also super excited to meet Russell and Doug from Disney's movie Up.  Daxton had literally just seen the movie about a week before our trip and was SO excited to meet them.

I love that sweet excited little boy so much!

After a morning full of adventures and fun, we made our way back to Africa to play drums and see the Lion King show, which was amazing as usual!
These boys could have spent forever banging on these drums!

These two little buddies were SO stinking sweet together.
They giggled and laughed the whole day.  They both really loved Lion King as well.

After Lion King, we made our way over to Dinoland where the kids had a blast riding Dinowhirl and playing in the Boneyard digging pits.  It was a great last day of Disney.

These two sweet boys absolutely melt my heart!
On a sidenote, it was this picture below that made me first realize how gigantic Daxton is.  Dean is a month older and almost a whole head shorter and he's not short for his age.

After Animal Kingdom, Daxton and I drove over to Magic Kingdom to pick up Jeni and Olive.  We picked up some dinner on our way home and the kids quickly passed out.  Jeni and I had a blast talking for the three hour drive, especially with two quiet kiddos in the back seat.
It was the perfect ending to a very fun trip with friends.

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