Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Disney 2013 part 2 - Princesses, princesses, princesses...

The park...oh sweet yes.  It was day one in Magic Kingdom and I was giddy with excitement for that moment I have been waiting for for what feels like my whole life.  The moment my children turn the corner on Main Street USA and see Cinderella's castle for the first time.  I had a hard time getting enough ahead of them to get "the shot" since it was crowded.  As soon as I put any space between me and them someone would step in and fill it.  I caught some shots with the camera but my eyes got the really good shots.  Sorry folks, those were evidently meant just for our hearts to see.

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First glimpse

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The realization setting in...

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Seriously, best ever!

We walked down Main street straight towards the castle like bugs to a light.  We happened to reach the castle right as a parade was starting. 

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 This was our first test of Natalie's ability to cope in a situation that 4 months ago would have sent her into a complete sensory meltdown. (more on this later) We held our breaths ready to run for a quiet place.  Instead we were rewarded with this.  This wonderful, laugh inducing, soul bursting relief.

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Instead of screaming and covering her ears she laughed... LAUGHED!  Pointing to the floats we heard "IT'S WOODY!  IT'S Mr. INCREDIBLE!"  Cliff and I exchanged that look filled with a million words.  Amazed and relieved we realized in that millisecond that this was going to happen.  We were going to be able to do Disney as a family not divided between a hotel room and the parks with whichever kids could handle it at the moment.  This was truly going to be the family vacation that we had only dared to dream about.  Bring. it. on!

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Alyssa and I had to leave the parade so she could make her appointment at the Bibbity Boppity the castle.  RIGHT?!  It's the stuff that freaking 35 4 year old dreams are made of!  It was adorable and part of me SO wanted to be her.  ;)  She looked like she was in heaven.  We chose to have Natalie sit it out since she HATES anyone touching her head/hair.  After watching Alyssa getting it done I would say it was a good call by us.

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The face protector so she didn't get pixie dust in her eyes of course.

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Pixie dust came out of that wand...her face kind of says it all.

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Officially a princess!  

Now that Alyssa was all gorgeoused up it was time to do a few things before our dinner with the princesses at the castle.  I KNOW RIGHT?!

First up?  Belle's cottage. 

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This was while waiting in line for Belle's show.  N waited in line.  Didn't mess with anyone else or try to run away....she just waited, and smiled, and took it in.  Thank you essential oils...thank you.

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BOOM!  Belle's cottage!  This, this He monked his way all over the park ;)

Belle's cottage.  Oh drool with all of the cuteness that happened at this fun place.  We got in line and the line winds through her cottage, which they had decorated as such.  The kids didn't even notice they were in line, all they saw was the real deal.  

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Belle's fireplace      

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She met another Belle and the two girls were temporary bff's as we waited for the show.

We got in and Alyssa was chosen to be Chip in the show.  This kid thought life could never get any better....little did she know.

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Through the magic mirror we went (if you look really close you can see Cliff and the girl's reflection) and on into the show room, the Beast's library.

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Belle entered and I am pretty sure that Alyssa's heart stopped.  :)

Then it was her turn for her role in the story... Oh my, the stars in her eyes....

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There are times as a parent where time feels like it freezes for a second.  Like your brain needs a chance to slow life down in order to take a proper snapshot to remember forever.  This was one of those moments for me.  I wonder if it was for her too. 

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My big girl sitting calmly, clapping and enjoying the show.  Sweetness...

After Belle's show we headed out to her village

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 I could not love this new section of Fantasyland more.  LOVE!  I can't wait to see it all finished one day.  It looked like they were working on some kind of Snow White and the seven dwarfs ride and we caught a glimpse of Repunzel's tower off the distance at one point.  

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While waiting for dinner we decided that it was very responsible to have some ice cream. haha!  VACATION ROCKS!

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By this point Cliff and I were exhausted and the kids looked ready to pass out.  We had just gotten in the evening before, they got to bed 2.5 hours late and woke up at 4:30...for the day.  We trudged on though.  We had a reservation with Cinderella afterall. 

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 I seriously cannot love Disney more if I tried.  They are so accommodating and understanding!  Natalie is very impulsive and was so tired by this point.  She google eyed Cinderella then promptly sat on her bench...behind her.  C had stood for every other photo we had seen taken so far.  Upon Natalie doing this she immediately sat down facing Natalie, pulled her onto her lap and got some pictures taken.  She got my girls to pose and smile for the "real" photo.  Amazing....and so appreciated by this mama.

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Notice the view...

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I have to preface these next few photos by saying that Alyssa was DYING to meet Ariel.  She is her favorite and when she got the first look at her, Ariel was all she could see.  <3 font="" nbsp="">

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Here she was saying "You are my favorite princess" with this awe filled voice.

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Casting a spell with her wand and the "wishing star" that they gave to every child.  

When she opened her eyes the ceiling was lit up with sparkling lights...and her jaw hit the floor.  Remember me talking about "the window" in a child where this place is real?  Yep, this was it.

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The evening ended with dessert (yes it was gluten free for Natalie....and was the exact same thing that Alyssa had.  

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Our chef had celiac and said he would take good care of our girl.  Oh swoon...stressless dining.  I haven't felt that since before N was diagnosed.  I am going to live in Disney.  Is that inappropriate?  hee hee

On that note, our wonderful first day ended.  We hopped back on the bus back to the resort and promptly passed out.  It was amazing and I was still whirling from all of the amazing that had happened in just that one day.  I fell asleep to visions of 3 more days in the parks....


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Disney 2013 part 1 -  Arrival and resort details

It is no secret that I love Disney.  I have a history there, I grew up a lot while working there, I made friends there, I love how it is run and the products and movies that are produced there.  I can go anywhere there and be perma grin, blissfully happy.  For a bit of my Disney background go here.

Onto the trip! 
We always knew that we were going to take the kids back to Disney when they were older.  We figured when Alyssa was around 6-8ish we would do it.  That would make Bennett at least 3 and Natalie at least 8.  Perfect right?  WRONG!  My smarty, mature for her age, sassy pants middle girl went and fell head over heals in love with princesses.....way earlier than I was expecting her to.  I know all little girls love them but Alyssa hit that "I am a princess and they are REAL!" stage.  At 4.  *sigh*  I really wanted to avoid Disney with strollers and diaper bags but I also really wanted to be able to take her at the age where Disney is real.  ALL children (and 35 year olds) love Disney but there is this magical window in a child where the characters are real.  The castle is a REAL castle and Cinderella really lives there.  Well Alyssa is there, and I really wanted to make this trip happen before she matured out of that window.  We had the rest of our lives to have wonderful Disney vacations that we would all enjoy but we only had this one chance to catch the small window of childhood wonder.  We saved, I did a garage sale (I know right!?!?!) and with a TON of help from my parents....we pulled it off.  On Christmas eve we told them we were going to Disney and my mom gave them a paper chain (mickey mouse themed of course) to help them count down the days.  The excitement was tangible.  I am not sure who was more excited, me or Alyssa. hahahaha!  

D day finally arrived and we jumped in the car for the 8.5 hour drive.  For those doing the math it is about a 7ish hour drive but you have to take into account lunch and pee breaks.  Moving on ;) 

We hopped out of the car all ready for a week of fun!  We were greeted with the most awesome resort filled with Disney cartoon details. Insert a sigh of contentment.

We stayed at the Art of Animation and I was astounded by the scenery and high quality considering it is a "low budget resort".  For real.  I think it's my favorite resort so far!  I HIGHLY recommend it if you have kids.  Here are some photos of it as Alyssa and I walked around one afternoon.
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The Nemo section.  In between these buildings was the giant pool.

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Entrance to the Little Mermaid section

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The playground in the Lion King section.  :)

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The entrance to the Cars section which is where we stayed.  AMAZING!

I was shocked by the detail and shear volume of eye candy at this resort.  The kids LOVED it.  We had to walk to our hotel through this courtyard every time we went somewhere and EVERY TIME we had to stop at Mater. haha!  I have so many shots of them with him because Alyssa wanted me to take a new one every time we got to him.  The entrance to the pool and laundry room looks like the car hotel in the movie and the giant cones in the background of that photo are pool cabanas.  SO clever.  It really felt like we were in Radiator Springs.  Magical I say!

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The entrance to our building.  
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We truly could have had a week full of fun just at the hotel especially if it had been hot out.  The pool here is the largest on Disney property besides the water parks.  They are also saltwater....and heated.  bliss.

There is so much more to tell you all about but this post has gotten so long already. So many cute moments.  So many memories.  Stay tuned for the Magic Kingdom.  Here is a sneak peek of the heart wrenching adorableness and magic to come....

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