1. Hakuna Matata. Unless you are just plain strange, you know this phrase is the name of a song from the Disney movie Lion King and that it means "No Worries." We heard this song about a million and a half times while we were there, but the reason it makes my list is that it is a great theme statement for the week. We just had a really easy, fun time. Things seemed to go our way all of the time, and the kids were relaxed and happy.
2. Meeting the Mouse. Well, and a bunch of others. We got to meet Mickey and Minnie at the Magic Kingdom on our second day there, and we saw them again, along with Donald, Pluto and Goofy, at our character breakfast at Chef Mickey on Wednesday. The kids were delighted by the characters, who were in my humble opinion equally smitten. The pictures do a great job of showing the mutual admiration. I cried every time my kids snuggled up to one of them.
3. No cheese! I have a really, really low corny tolerance, so I was worried that I would be more irritated than anything else by the shiny happiness of Disney World. Nope, I was totally hooked. The moment I stepped on Main Street, I was in love. I could have just stood there all day and stared.
4. House Beautiful. I will NEVER go to Disney World and stay in a hotel. We rented an amazing house that had 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, a pool, gameroom, big screen TV, and TONS of space. It was heaven. It was a vacation in itself. And it was WAY more affordable than hotels.
5. HSM Love. Abby and I got to watch the High School Musical 2 dance party from front and center. It would have been enough for her to just see the one thing that she was looking most forward to. But one of the cheerleaders took Abby by the hand and pulled her up to dance. She stood up there in her little Troy Loves Gabriella t-shirt and boogied her heart out with a smile almost breaking her face in half, and I tried to see well enough to take pictures through the tears streaming down my face at seeing my baby so thrilled. I may have boogied a little too.
6. Wild rides. I got to experience some very exceptional roller coasters, including Expedition Everest (3 times), Kracken at Sea World (4 times), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (2 times) and Aerosmith's Rock n Roller coaster (2 times and my favorite). Even better was that Abby has turned out to be a thrill seeker just like her mama. She begged to ride, and shrieked with laughter and not one ounce of fear as we flew down the tracks. She was an inch and a half too short to ride the ones that went upside down, and it devastated her.
7. Why ride when you can drive? One of the random things Disney folks never tell you is that if you ask, you can sit up with the driver on the monorail that you ride to the Magic Kingdom. Jacob and I took Jake and Abby, and they both got official Monorail Co-Pilot's licenses and everything. They were beyond thrilled.
8. It's better in a boat. Our last night there was the 4th, and we had the simply magical experience of being on a private boat at the edge of the lake in the center of Epcot to watch the fireworks. The moment was perfect in every way. Abby and Jake even got to drive the boat--when the captain asked them if they had their drivers' licenses, Abby immediately informed him that she had a monorail co-pilot's license. He managed to remain straight-faced.
Now we'll move to the visual portion of the presentation. I have about 800 pictures, and posting them on the blog is a big pain, so I tried to narrow it down to pictures that focused on the kids and showed how much fun they had. If you want to see the full montage, email me or post a comment and I'll send you the Shutterfly link so you can see them online.
The kids at their first encounter with the Mice. I'm pretty sure Ethan would have moved in with them if given the option:
Our sweet pad:
Scenes from the character breakfast at Chef Mickey's:
Minnie admiring Abby's headpiece:
Pluto was a slave to the rhythm:
A chat with the Donald:
That Goofy is such a riot:
E and Pluto talk world politics:
How could the characters NOT love these kids?:
It's a shame that they don't have any personality:
(the non-AMEN member in the picture is my nephew Jake)
The LOVED swimming in our pool:
It's not a Speedo, it's a swim diaper. Pretty dapper, I know:
The closest I will ever get to putting a picture of myself in a bathing suit on my blog:
My favorite picture of E from the trip:
Abby learning the dance moves of her heroes:
Abby learning the dance moves of her heroes:
This looks pitiful, but he was really never cranky--he'd just fall asleep when and where he felt like it:
Abby and Jake, aka Super Abby and Super Jake:
My sister-in-law Patty, the kids and I on the giant teacups:
Expedition Everest (which my rock star daughter rode!)
Don't they look happy?:
I know you're shocked, but this is actually not the real Cinderella:
Where's Ethan, and who is this little mouse holding our hands?
Abby taking over for the Cap'n:
Jake and Abby's moment of being the luckiest kids on the planet: