Carson went to Disney World for the first time!
Our sister-in-law was given a free stay in a Disney resort and there was enough room for nine people. Their family plus us two? Nine people.
So we got time off work (me - summer classes conveniently began for Carson the day after our return), bought Florida-resident Disney passes (serious bonus to living here), and headed down. Disney World is just under four hours away for us which is such an easy drive. If only those tickets were a little more affordable we might become seasonal ticket holders and go down more often...
We got there and went under the magical arch and were there! Only we could not find Trent and Erin ANYWHERE. With five children, we assumed they'd be recognizable eating lunch by the pool. Nope. Only when we got on the phone and began discussing landmarks did we discover that we'd been told the wrong resort! After that was sorted out, we quickly found them poolside.
Our room wasn't ready, so Carson swam with the kids and Trent and Erin switched off being with me and the two littlest, who had to take naps. Napping at a crowded pool in the sunshine? I'm impressed with these two.
At about 3, we got to head to our villa. We were fine, but after 17 hours of driving from Pennsylvania (and no sleep), Trent and Erin were ready for rest.
We got settled in. The girls quickly found the resort pads of paper and began drawing self portraits and pictures of us, and enjoying the balcony on our second-story room.
After some showers, Erin and I walked to Downtown Disney with three of the girls while the others napped. Brooklyn fell asleep in the stroller on the way there but quickly awakened when we arrived at the Lego store.
The men and the other two girls caught up with us and the girls all enjoyed a Mickey ice cream.
Everyone crashed that night. I think it was before 10 and we were all asleep.
Laela came in our room at 4am and asked to sleep with us - a new experience for sure. I didn't know what was going on as currently only my alarm and Carson's sleep-talking wake me up.
Kiki helped me get ready for the Magic Kingdom the next morning.
Our bus arrived and we piled inside, all excited.
Erin made the girls these cute ears after their favorite characters, all with details. She should sell them!
We'd planned to leave the room at 7:45 to get there in time to watch the opening show and get ticket stuff squared away and we did it! On the dot.
So here's the opening show. They've added more of the recent characters but everything else is just as it was on the Disney sing along video Grandmama had growing up!
We raced to get in line to meet Anna and Elsa, but even three minutes after the park opened, the wait was 90 minutes. So Carson and I decided to quickly ride some things with short lines while the girls waited to see princesses (they ended up seeing Cinderella and Rapunzel instead bexause it had a shorter wait).
We did It's a Small World (one of my favs - Carson loved it too!), the teacups, which he really enjoyed making it go fast (Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit were in the cup next to ours, randomly), and the Tomorrowland Speedway, which I thought was boring and during which Carson realized driving in a straight line isn't his thing.
We hit Space Mountain quickly too and by that time the girls were on to new things. We got in line with them to meet Ariel, who was actually very funny.
We ate our packed sandwiches at a picnic table, famished at 11am. Next, Laela decided to ride Splash Mountain with us, but she called it "The Big Drop".
The wait said 70 minutes (and since we were there we didn't want to let her down so we stayed) but it was more like 35.
We sat in the back and I'm pretty sure we squished poor Laela. She couldn't really see anything but was THRILLED the whole time. We were impressed.
And then she realized that we were alone with her and had no kids of our own so she worked the system and got an ice cream and asked for her picture to be taken next to this guy. Way to go, girl.
While we were in line, the little girls and Kennedy were riding things in Fantasyland. When we met up again, Princess Tiana (Laela's favorite) was about to come out so we waited in line. In the mean time, all the little girls fell asleep. Kennedy was so sweet and supportive of Laela's excitement. It was cute to watch her be a cheerleader for her sister, and stand back to let her have the moment.
I almost teared up at how sweet this was. Laela was in awe and the princess couldn't have been kinder.
After everyone woke up, we went to ride Pirates of the Carribean. Trent and Kennedy backed out so it was just the three of us again.
Carson and I rode a few more rides we had on FastPass and found ourselves exhausted, sitting on a curb in Frontierland wondering how we would make it until the fireworks. Apparently we weren't alone in this, and we headed back to the resort for rest. It also saved money on dinner, which was a nice perk.
RyRy talked my ear off the whole way there, mostly commenting on why uncle Carson was doing this or that.
Fed and rested, we went back in time to ride the one thing we all had a pass for - the Peter Pan ride. Someone snapped a family picture on our way back into the park.
We loved the Peter Pan ride - exceeded expectations. Next, we did the carousel. Laela named her horse "Sugar Bear".
Carson and I had a pass for the Buzz Lightyear ride so we went to do that while everyone else watched the Electric Parade. We couldn't find them when we got out and were so tired that we decided to maybe start heading back. Look at all these people!
A photo pass guy took this with our big camera, which I hadn't used until this picture.
In our last few minutes in the park, we browsed the shops on Main Street USA.
And got to see the fireworks after all as we walked to our bus!
We were the only ones in line. It turned out that Trent and Erin were one bus ahead of that but we didn't realize we were so close - we thought they were staying! They'd arrived two minutes before we got there and the girls all had jumped in bed immediately and were snoozing away.
Exhausted, we jumped into bed, ready for our very first trip to Epcot the next day!