Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Magic Kingdom - Round 2

OK, back to our vacation.

Quick summary so far....

Friday we drove to Minneapolis - and it went fabulously well. We stayed at the Staybridge Suites using their Park N Fly package - highly recommend it!

Saturday we flew non-stop from Minneapolis to Orlando, arriving by noon. Picked up our rental vehicles (due to a delay in getting there we ended up getting a free upgrade to an extended van because they were out of the "short" ones - mental note for next time, take your time getting to the rental counter!). Got to our house, (check out Romancing the Mouse - amazing vacation home rental company!!) ordered in pizza for a super late lunch. Swimming!!! Went to Walmart Supercenter to get groceries and autograph books for the girls.

Sunday we went to Animal Kingdom - perfect weather, not too busy, minimal lineups by using one of the Unofficial Guide to Disney Touring Plans. We went to Giordano's for supper - yum-o!

Monday Nathan took the girls to IHop for breakfast, then we stayed at the house and relaxed and swam in the morning. Later we did some shopping. We went to Prime Outlets at the north end of International Drive. We tried a short cut to get there, and thanks to my amazing navigational abilities, we didn't even get lost. Don't think it was much of a short cut however. :) Definitely some excellent deals there. The only complaint is the lack of coffee shops down there - what's up with that? They had a big food court in the middle, but there should have had coffee shops at both ends of the "mall". If that was in Canada there likely would've been 2 or 3 Tim Horton's. We went to Ponderosa for supper - that was a mistake. Blech.

Tuesday we went to Magic Kingdom where the girls got to meet the princesses - total highlight! We went to Uno's for supper - absolutely fabulous!! The girls were so tired they all fell asleep at the restaurant. Emma fell asleep right away and didn't even eat any supper till after we got back to the house.

Wednesday Nathan took the girls back to IHop and we spent the day recovering from the previous day, relaxing at our pool while Mom & Dad, Shaun & Lynn went to Epcot for the day. It was great! We did a bit of shopping late afternoon and then we all met up at TGI Friday's for supper.

Thursday Mom & Dad, Shaun & Lynn went to Blizzard Beach water park while we took the girls back to Magic Kingdom...... by ourselves! It actually went really well. We went knowing that we'd just do what we could do, stay till they got tired and go home. The only downside was that it turned out to be Extra Magic Hours (which means the Disney resort guests get to come to the park at least an hour early and stay late which means you lose the advantage of getting there at park opening) - which would be why the UTG didn't recommend MK on Thursday - oh well!

While Nathan and the girls waited in Ariel's Grotto to see The Little Mermaid, I grabbed fastpasses for us all at Peter Pan's Flight as that was one of the girl's favorites. Toontown (and, therefore, the princess autograph lineup) officially opened at 10, so I went and fed Jacob nearby around 9:30 to wait for it to open so I could go stand in line for them. I knew it would open early and it did - at 9:45 - people literally RAN to the lineups. Craziness! Jacob & I restrained ourselves from running, and still managed to get a decent spot in the lineup - in fact I ended up having to let some people go ahead of me before the girls got there. This was my first time seeing them in a character lineup (usually I used those times to feed Jacob) so it was really neat to see them interacting with the characters. BTW - make sure to warn your kids ahead of time that the only characters that actually talk to them are the face characters (like the princesses), the others (like Minnie, Donald, etc) do not actually talk.

The girls rode Goofy's Barnstormer rollercoaster again and then got to tour Minnie's House because it was open today after having been closed for renovations before. Then we rode the Peter Pan ride using our fastpasses. We wanted to go see Storytime with Belle but it was full when we got there and we didn't want to stick around till the next show. We let the girls take a peek inside the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique - the only way to see any part of the castle at all since we were unable to get reservations at Cinderella's Royal Table restaurant. Then we went around to the front of the castle where we watched Dream Along with Mickey - a live performance by numerous characters including some princesses - this was definitely another highlight for the girls. After the show we wandered the gift shops a bit, buying the girls each a hat (except Olivia because she insisted she didn't want one). Then we left and went back to the house for a late lunch, swimming and relaxing till we met up with the others for supper at Red Lobster.

Here's some more pictures....


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Magic Kingdom

On the Tuesday of our trip all 10 of us went to Magic Kingdom. As you'll soon see, it was so good to have that many adults there - we got way more done that way.

It takes a little longer to get to MK because after you park in the parking lot you have to take the monorail or a ferry to get there.

The biggest piece of advice I have about the Magic Kingdom - for those of you with little ones, do NOT bother with the Dumbo ride unless you expect an absolute meltdown for avoiding it. We went straight there (like you have to - the lines are crazy for this ride), but by the time you walk down Main Street to get there, it was already 9:10 - we already had to wait 40 mins - to go on a glorified mid-way ride that goes around in circles in a Dumbo instead of an airplane (or whatever). Especially since we later saw a Dumbo "statue" that you could climb into to get your picture taken in.

Some of the adults stood in the Dumbo line for the girls while they rode Cinderella's Carrousel. Uncle Shaun went to get fastpasses for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I should've stood in line at Ariel's Grotto (meet and greet with Little Mermaid), but at the time there was no line so I didn't. Mistake.... by the time Dumbo was done the lineup was long. So, knowing we were coming back another day, we skipped it.

In the meanwhile Uncle Shaun & Auntie Linsay were waiting in the Princess Meet and Greet line for the girls. It ended up being a 45 min wait so we rode Goofy's Barnstormer (kid rollercoaster) while they were waiting. Next the girls got their prized princess autographs (Cinderella, Belle & Sleeping Beauty) and toured Mickey's House. Minnie's House was closed for repairs.

While we were out in Toontown doing all this, Uncle Shaun ran back to get fastpasses for the Peter Pan ride. So, next we went to ride Winnie the Pooh (using our FastPasses). We rode It's a Small World and then saw Mickey's 3D Philharmagic - it was awesome! Even the girls liked it, though they were a little scared in some parts. After that was Peter Pan's Flight - one of the girls' favourite rides.

After all this we got fastpasses for Splash Mountain, took the train back to the exit and then went back to the house for lunch, swimming and a rest.

Then it was back to the MK. I had to feed Jacob so Nathan spent some time with the girls, walking around and eating popcorn while the other adults went on the Haunted Mansion (too scary for the girls).

Then Mom watched Jacob, Nathan took the girls on the Liberty Belle Riverboat ride and I went with the others on Splash Mountain - most of us wore our rain ponchos so we wouldn't get wet! :)

Then we all toured the Swiss Family Treehouse and went on the Jungle Cruise - the tour guide for this ride was hilarious, so this was another favorite.

We were all famished by this point, so we decided to leave. Well, it was 8:30 and the parade starts at 9:30 so it took us awhile to get out of there! But we finally did.

Even though we got so much done, we likely saw only about 1/2 of the park, if that. It was fabulous and the girls loved it! And we were pretty tired!

Check out the pictures.....

Mickey & Minnie's Houses

The Carrousel, Dumbo, It's a Small World

Our girls!

Relaxing back at the house

Monday, 12 May 2008

Happy Mother's Day

For all those moms who sometimes need a little humour to get through the day, please check out this ecard - it is too cute/funny! I wish I could figure out how to get it to play directly on my blog - if anyone knows how, please let me know! Oh, and for the slightly computer challenged out there (cough, cough, mom, cough, cough) - you need to click on the same colored flowers on the left and on the right of the card to hear the difference in what we hear.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Animal Kingdom

OK, I'm finally getting around to posting some Disney stuff!!

We left Friday right after I fed Jacob and we made it to The City (3hrs away) before he needed to eat again - just like I planned :) I fed him while everyone went inside Paradiso and ordered already - worked great! We almost made it to Minneapolis before he woke up again wanting to eat, so we made a stop at the closest town with a McDonalds so the kids could have ice cream and run around.

At Minneapolis we stayed at the Staybridge Suites - an excellent hotel!!! We had a two room suite with a full kitchen, we could park there all week, got a shuttle to the airport - for $110. Plus the continental breakfast was really a breakfast buffet - scrambled eggs, bacon, waffles, watermelon, canteloupe, cottage cheese, porridge, boiled eggs, name brand cereal, toast, muffins, yogurt - the best continental breakfast I've ever seen!

So, Saturday morning we flew to Orlando. The flight went well. I fed Jacob during take off and he was just fine. When we landed he was sleeping so I figured I'd just let him sleep. Probably a mistake - he was pretty cranky the rest of the day so I think his ears were hurting. On the way home I fed him during take off and landing and he was just fine. Emma was slightly dizzy during take off and landing - but nobody actually got sick, thankfully!

After renting our vehicles at the airport it was off to our house. It was awesome!!! The owners met us there was fresh chocolate chip cookies, muffins, juice and roses. They gave us some tips about Disney (including a short cut) and left us their cell number to call whenever we needed anything. They were great! I highly recommend staying with Romancing the Mouse. If you stay based on our recommendation you get a 30% discount (thats what we did), plus if you mention us, we get an extra discount off our next visit, 5% for every time someone stays there based on our referral.

Sunday we went to Animal Kingdom. It was a perfect day and it was not very busy. The first ride we went on was Kilimanjaro Safaris - everyone's favorite ride. The animals were incredible and the ride was fun - huge "jeeps" that sat 6 people per row. I had even worked it out that I could feed Jacob while on this ride. Yes, I was organized! We went on the Kali River Rapids - which was not the girls favorite since they got wet. We saw a show called "Flights of Wonder" with live birds performing tricks. We walked the Maharajah Jungle Trek. We saw an awesome 3D show called "It's Tough to be a Bug" - the girls were totally scared so they just closed their eyes through the whole thing - which was thankfully only 7 mins long. It was awesome though! The girls met Mickey Mouse and then we went back to our house for lunch, a swim and a nap. Then we went back to Animal Kingdom late afternoon (avoiding the worst of the crowd, and the worst of the heat) - the girls met Mickey again, as well as Minnie, Goofy and Donald. We saw the Festival of the Lion King - an amazing show - kinda like Disney on Ice without the ice. :) The girls rode TriceraTop Spin (like the airplane ride at our local amusement park, just with dinosaurs instead of airplanes). Then Shaun, Nathan & I rode Expedition Everest - an awesome roller coaster - while the rest took the girls to see Pooh, Tigger, Piglet & Eyeore. Then we went out to eat and came back to the house - phew - what a day!

We used the Unofficial Tour Guide tours for all our park trips - I highly recommend it, especially if you're going on a busier day.

Here's some pictures! I'll try and post more about our trip sometime soon....

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Surgery Update

Edited again: Dr confirmed that there is no infection. There may be some blood that got into a muscle causing a charlie horse effect in my jaw (fun fun!). And also, recovery is simply slower because I'm a mom and can't quit that job! I'm likely clenching my jaw unconsciously and simply overusing it (talking & smiling to my babes!). He recommended resting it as much as possible and using a heating pad to help relax the muscle. Unfortunately, no extra prescription for the pain.

But I think it might possibly be getting slightly better - we'll see how tomorrow goes. Thanks for all your thoughts/prayers!

My recovery is going very slowly. The pain is only marginally better today than it was at the beginning - so it's been 6 days now already. I feel like I'm going to be in pain forever! Of course, I know that it will gradually improve, but it's so hard to stay positive when you can feel so little improvement. I'm also hoping I don't find out that you become immune to Advil & Tylenol after 7 days or something :)

Edited to add: I called my dr to see if he could give me something else for the pain. Since I'm still having this much pain, he wants me to come in today to see him to make sure nothing's wrong. Please pray that everything's ok, and that he can give me someone else for the pain that'll work better. My appointment's at 2.


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