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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Giftbaskets and Chef Mickey's

After Gatorland, the kids (and Miss Katilin) found gift baskets in the hotel room from Mickey, Minnie, and Tinkerbell........Everybody took a nap though, and we didn't open them up til we woke up.All of the baskets had notes on them. :)Trying on the new ears that were in their baskets....We got a family picture taken at Chef Mickey'sI love starting the vacation out at Chef Mickey's.......Minnie took quite a liking to RJDonald is my favoriteEverybody doing the napkin dance......except Heidi, RJ was using her napkin too.

:)

-a

up next: Magic Kingdom

Monday, February 16, 2009

Airport and Gatorland

Obviously, our trip was highly anticipated with not only me, but with the kids too. RJ was so excited, he slept in his coat and shoes. I came home from work to pack and this is what I saw......Heidi was dressed, (although not in what I had set out for her, but she also had her Mickey ears from last year ready and waiting.)at the airport waiting on our planeon the freezing airplane (note the coats)....the kids were watching movies and eating poptartsGATORLAND!This aligator looked like it was 100 years old.....it's front foot is even all mangled.We enjoyed the shows that Gatorland put on, but enjoyed the stunt show more than any of them.After the stunt show, RJ and Heidi got to sit on the back of a real aligator.Obviously, this one is a statue, but the kids sure had fun with it.We also got to feed some birds. One of them landed on Heidi's head and tried to eat the gems off her headband.....she didn't particularly care for that.RJ and Heidi also held a big ole nasty yellow snake. (shudder)The flight and Gatorland wore them out, so they were asleep before we were at the hotel.

up next: Chef Mickey's

:)

-a

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cinderella's Castle

I had intended on posting my pictures in the order I took them, but I love the castle so much, I thought I'd start with those instead.

:)

We had perfect weather while we were there. I think you can tell in this picture......

and then there is nothing like Walt Disney's fireworks show........

:)
-a

Day 6 One Last Rope Drop and then Illinois Bound

Sadly, our 6 days went too fast!

I had mostly packed after shopping the night before. (although we came home with an extra duffle bag that I had to buy since I bought too much!) I just had to put dirty laundry away and pack the kid's backpacks for the plane.

I think all of us ALMOST said screw it and slept in. But we all managed to get up and get going. I wanted to end our vacation at Magic Kingdom just like we started it.

We managed to get to rope drop with a few minutes to spare, enjoyed the opening show and rushed in at the drop of the rope.

We needed to leave the park by noonish to get lunch and get to the airport so we only had a few hours. We intended to just hit our favorites.

We rode BTMRR twice and then headed for the tea cups (since we didn't get to ride at our earlier visit to Magic Kingdom). We rode Buzz Lightyear 4 times and then stopped and got Stitch's autograph. (against RJ's better judgement......He does not like Stitch, since he doesn't behave well)

We rode the Astro Orbitor and then rode the Haunted Mansion. We rode Aladin's carpets and then back to BTMRR two more times and Splash Mountain one more time.

Rick and Heidi wanted to ride Splash Mountain one more time, but RJ wanted to play checkers on Tom Sawyer's Island so we headed over there with Miss Kaitlin. Rick and Heidi were going to surprise us with ice cream when they came over but had to wait so long on the raft that the ice cream started to melt. The CM running the raft felt bad and gave us a voucher for 5 free ice creams, BUT apparently he has never met the Lindemanns before. We'll eat ice cream melted or not, just a little faster. :)

After we quickly ate our ice cream, we headed back from Tom Sawyer's island and hopped on to the Walt Disney World Rail Road which took us to Main Street. We all wished the castle goodbye (for another year) and headed back out the gates. Unfortunatly, we were running about an hour behind and I had to walk past Mary Poppins without getting her autograph and a picture. It seriously took all I had. :(

On our way out of the gates, I found a family of five and gave them our free ice cream vouchers.....(Disney Magic) :)

I was so happy that we headed to Magic Kingdom and was able to ride rides and have fun on our departure day. It made the vacation seem a little longer.

We headed off to the airport and stopped at the WAFFLE HOUSE on the way for lunch. Mmmmm waffle house! Rick and the kids love it just as much as me, so it was an easy decision! After lunch, we headed to the airport. After security and finding our gate, we sat down to relax and saw Greg and Grant White. What were the odds? They were in Florida on a golfing trip and were on our plane home. We visited with Grant for a little while and then I took a nap.

Our plane took off and landed with no complications. The kids were well behaved and it was a smooth flight.

Unfortunately, it took us 40 minutes to find our car once we claimed our baggage. Rick had written our lot and row # down on a walt disney sticker on the suitcase, which the airline removed. Damn Northwest Airlines!

It worked out fine though and we headed home. Miss Kaitlin and the kids all fell asleep right away.

We had such a wonderful trip. I can't wait to start planning another! But it is nice to be home!

:)
-a

Day 5 Hollywood Studios

I had been looking forward to Hollywood Studios for about 8 months! They unveiled a new 3-D ride "Toy Story Midway Mania", and I couldn't wait to go on it.

We arrived about 30 minutes before rope drop and got in line to enter the park. We were at the very front of the crowd and you could tell that everyone was heading to the Toy Story ride. As they dropped the rope, RJ even yelled, "TOY STORY MANIA, HERE WE COME!" Apparently I had been pumping him up for quite awhile.

Rick got ahead of everyone and got Fast Passes for 9:40, and then we got in line to ride it. It was WONDERFUL. Everyone loved it, and even Heidi scored 25,000 points. I scored 122,000 on my first try and had one of the top 3 scores of the day. Granted we rode it in the first 10 minutes, but I was still proud of myself!

The ride was super cool. It's set up like a carnival ride and it takes you from station to station where you do different things, throw darts, break plates, hit targets, throw pies, etc. Of course you aren't really doing it, but it's in 3-D so it sure feels like you are. Very Very amazing ride. It replaced Buzz Lightyear as my all time favorite!

RJ and Heidi and I hung out while Rick and Kailtin headed over to ride the Tower of Terror ride. At exactly 9:40 I got more Fast Passes for Toy Story Mania which had a return time of 3. About an hour later, all the FPs for the entire day were gone. Crazy!

We accomplished quite a bit today. We watched the Jedi Training Academy, rode Star Tours, rode the Great Movie Ride, Watched the Indiana Jones Stunt show, watched the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, watched a Block Party Bash Parade as well as riding Toy Story Mania 2 more times. Rick and Kaitlin rode Tower of Terror again and Rock n Rollercoaster 2 times. They really enjoyed RnR.

While they were off doing that, I had a wonderful time walking around by myself with both kids. We saw the power rangers, and Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. We walked around the Streets of America and just relaxed. We saw Mater and Lightning McQueen from Cars. and then just went in and out of some shops before just relaxing by the giant sorcerer's hat.

We also saw Rhino from Bolt, Sorcerer Mickey and the Incredibles. Rhino was great! Heidi kept petting his tummy and Rhino tried to eat RJ's autograph book. When RJ took it away, he ate Heidi's marker. too funny.

The Voyage of the Little Mermaid was an excellent show that Heidi loved. It's amazing how they can really make you feel like you are under the ocean, and they blew bubbles on you during parts of the show. and it was nice to get off my feet for 17 minutes.

RJ really enjoyed the Indiana Jones show and all of the fire and stunts. He kept asking, "was that real?" "Are they really shooting each other?", "Is that guy dead for real?" He was just in awe. And the best part, I bought him an Indiana Jones fedora when we left the show and he looks so super cute in it.

Another one of my favorite things, was inside the Star Tours gift shop. I had RJ and Heidi's faces super imposed on Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Even Rick admitted that it was cool. I LOVE it. One of my favorite souvineers from the trip.

We left Hollywood Studios with plenty of daylight left. After heading to the hotel, Rick and Kaitlin took the kids swimming (a short lived adventure because the water was cold) and then we headed to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.

Rick and the kids headed home to sleep (tomorrow is our last day), while Kaitlin and I went to Downtown Disney to shop.

It was another wonderful day full of fun.

Unfortunately, tomorrow will be our last day of sunshine and then it's back to Illinois.

:)
-a

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 4 Animal Kingdom

Today was a great day!

We were at Animal Kingdom at rope drop and the park was nothing short of deserted.

We headed over to the Dinosaur ride, that the kids rode last year. (they were a little scared last year, but did okay). This year, Heidi covered her face the whole time and RJ hated it, HATED it.

I forgot how incredibly dark, bumpy, and kinda scary it is. I can't believe Heidi rode it last year!

Rick and Kaitlin rode Primeval Whirl while RJ and Heidi and I killed time in Dinoland USA and got to see Goofy and Pluto.

We headed over and rode Expedition Everest. RJ was tall enough this year to ride it, and reluctantly agreed. He did pretty good. It was by far the scariest rollercoaster he has ever been on. RJ, Kaitlin and I rode together, and then when we were done, Rick and Kaitlin went. He did whisper to me while they were gone that he didn't want to ride it again. I think he was done with the scary stuff for the day. I was too.

After EE we headed over to Kali River Rapids. Maybe we should have taken a hint as we saw people exiting this ride with ponchos on, but we went ahead and boarded.

Rick and RJ got soaked. Like Rick was head coach and they just won the superbowl gatorade soaked. It was hilarious. RJ and Heidi were so wet too. Heidi announced to the stanger sitting beside her that ever her favorite Princess Jasmine panties were soaked.

We figured while we were already wet, we may as well ride it 2 more times. Rick got soaked everytime! After the 3rd time, I think he had had enough and we headed to a sunny spot to dry off a little bit.

Once we got going again, we were heading toward the Kilamanjaro Safari and spotted King Louie and Baloo. After stopping to see them, we grabbed fast passes to the Safari.

RJ and Heidi both had their faces painted. RJ was a pirate and Heidi was a butterfly. They really did look amazing! I couldn't believe how quickly the painters were able to get kids in and out of their chairs......We hopped on the Wildlife Express Train and headed back to Rafiki's Planet Watch. The kids spent some time in the petting zoo, and watched a show about parrots. We got to meet Jimminy Cricket and Pocahontas before grabbing ice cream bars and heading back to ride the safaris.

We loved the safari ride. It was one of my favorites from last year. Heidi loved seeing all the baby animals and announced to the whole jeep full of people when she saw antelope poop. The Safari had all kinds of animals, crocodiles, antelope, cheetahs, ostriches, lions, elephants, etc.

After the safari, we headed to camp Minnie/Mickey and stopped at some kid stations along the way as well for the kids to do some activities.

After seeing the bears from Brother Bear and Safari Donald, we headed over to It's Tough to be a Bug. I was worried that the kids would be scared of this 3-D movie because the bugs spid acid (water) on you and spiders drop down from the ceilings and all kinds of other cool things.....But of course the kids loved it.

Heidi had been asking to see Pooh and Tigger so we headed to see them next. Eyeore was there too. Sadly, Piglet was not.

Everyone posed for some pictures by the Tree of Life and we headed home before the parade. It was nice to have an early day.

After leaving Animal Kingdom, we stopped and let the kids play mini golf at a course next to the hotel. RJ got a Hole in One on hole number 9. He was so excited. After 18 holes, it was time for dinner.

We had reservations at the Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge. We got there a little bit early, so we just explored the Lodge. It's so beautiful. We will need to stay there in the future.

When we got seated, we enjoyed a fantastic meal and lots of fun. RJ and Heidi rode ponies in the Pony Express and RJ did the Hokey Pokey with the wait staff. Everyone ate till we were stuffed and headed back to the hotel. The kids were asleep as soon as we started driving and for the 3rd night in a row, we had to carry them in and put them in bed.

Everyone had a fantastic day today and we are all looking forward to rope drop at Disney's Hollywood Studios tomorrow.

No complaints today......Heidi and RJ were tired during the afternoon, but there were no fits or tears. I was very proud of them both.

:)
-a

Sweet Dreams

I don't usually sleep very well. I never really have. I usually have nightmares and wake up crying (weird I know), or I fall asleep and talk non stop. (which is something I got from my mother, who used to be able to carry on a full conversation in her sleep)

I laid down for a quick nap tonight on the couch of the hotel room. I needed to rest before blogging about the activities of the day.

Rick videotaped me sleeping. Well, at least at Disney I have happy dreams!

:)
-a
video

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 3....characters, characters, characters

Today was Day 3 and we were headed back to the Magic Kingdom......Today was filled with plenty of magical moments and few not so magical ones too.

Thanks to Kaitlin were were up on time and out the door. Today I wanted to see CHARACTERS.

On the way to the monorail, we were walking behind these 3 women, 1 of which threw a lit cigarette in the bushes. They were only a few steps in front of us, and I looked at Miss Kaitlin and said, "that is ridiculous". She turned around and said something to me, so I passed them and went and told Rick what she had said. (he was in front of them). She then proceeds to say, and I am totally not kidding, "I should have put in out on your face". talk about the anti-magic to start the day off. All was well though. I just turned it into a lesson and made sure that I told RJ that if he ever started to smoke that he would be like that mean lady. Lesson learned, all was good. Thankfully they got on a different monorail.

Today was a special day because we had a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment before 9 and we were able to get into the park before rope drop.

We enjoyed an empty Main Street and had our picture taken in front of the castle. Miss Kaitlin, Heidi and I headed off to the BBB while RJ and Rick waited for the rides to start.

This year the BBB was a bit less magical than last, but it was still fun. Heidi's FairyGodMother in Training was the worst one we could have gotten. She wasn't helpful and to be honest, I think Heidi was scared of her. After I insisted that they not plaster Heidi's hair to her hair with tons of products, Dorothy had it out for me. Heidi ended up looking super duper cute though, once Miss Kaitlin did a few adjustments after we left with some bobby pins that I stole off of Dorothy's cart while she wasn't looking. :) (miss kaitlin's idea not mine)

Once we got done with the BBB appointment, we headed to Cinderella's Grand Carasoul and Heidi rode on Cinderella's horse. :)

Then we had to head to ToonTown because the line to the Tinkerbell fairies was opening at 9:45. We got in line and after basically a stampede once they dropped the rope, we were second in line to see the fairies! Hooray. We were able to meet Iridessa, Tinkerbell, and Silvermist. Heidi loved the fairies so much!

After the fairies we headed to see the princesses (cinderella, belle, and sleeping beauty), and then on to meet Ariel in her grotto.

During this time, RJ and Rick had fully taken advantage of the early park at rope drop and rode splash mountain, BTMRR 4 times, the jungle cruise, the magic carpets, and the pirates of the caribbean.

The met back up with us and we headed to Mickey's Philharmagic. This is a 3-d movie. RJ was being mean and didn't want to sit and watch it since it wasn't a ride, but everyone ended up loving it.

We headed to Adventureland and rode the Magic Carpets, the Jungle Cruise, and the Pirates of the Caribbean as a family. When we left the Pirates of the Caribbean, we happened upon Peter Pan and Wendy Darling. After a few pictures, we headed to Frontierland where RJ jumped rope with some CM's. and then we rode Splash Mountain and BTMRR before we headed for lunch.

After lunch, we rode the Walt Disney World Railroad all the way around the Magic Kingdom and then headed back to Adventureland. While in line for the Magic Carpets again, Heidi discovered that she had a mark on her wrist that she needed a band aid for. I left everyone to ride and Heidi and I went to get a bandaid at the first aid station and on the way, I spotted Rafiki, from the Lion King. (stored this newfound knowledge).

We all headed to see Aladin, Jasmine, and the Genie and then off to the Adventureland Bridge and saw Rafiki.

Back to Frontierland to ride BTMRR (can you tell what the kid's favorite ride was?) and then we needed to leave to head to dinner.

We got on the WDW Railroad again and took it to Main Street to take a ferry boat to the Grand Floridian for dinner at 1900 Park Fare. The Ferry boat ride was just a peaceful way to travel, it was much better than taking the car)

When we arrived and were checking in, I heard a lady shriek and she came running.....

I had Heidi's dress for this day custom made. I wanted her to be Cinderella but not the blue dress Cinderella. I wanted her to be the pink dressed Cinderella wearing the original gown that the mice made before the stepsisters ripped it to shreads. Apparently the woman only made 3 ever. We owned one. The woman who shrieked had one of the other 2.

We couldn't believe it. The girls were both 4 and looked adorable standing next to each other. We took pictures of them together. What were the odds that we'd see each other?

I love that dress too. Everyone we saw in Magic Kingdom said "Hello Cinderella", or "Did you mice make your dress?", or they'd just go.....oh, I get it!

I was thrilled that people got it. I was a little worried that no one would know who she was.

At dinner we saw Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drucilla. The stepsisters both commented on Heidi's gown and RJ even got chosen to waltz with Drucilla (pixie dust) during dinner.

RJ ended the night mad at me for yelling at him at dinner for eating like a slob and wiping his mouth all over his arms. It was so very gross to watch. Dinner manners are something we REALLY need to work on with him. I am going to assume he acted so grouchy because he was overtired. (that's what I'm telling myself)

But hey, not every minute can be magical. All in all we had a fantastic day.

Tomorrow we are off to Animal Kingdom....Miss Kaitlin is super excited about Day 4.

:)
-a

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 2......Magic, Magic, and more Magic

Today went visited Magic Kingdom, and it lived up to it's name.......

We started the day off on a great foot, with Miss Kaitlin dragging everyone out of bed to go to breakfast so we could make rope drop and the Magic Kingdom. We made it with a few minutes to spare and watched as the steam train brought Mickey and his friends ,and the Blue family from Canada who were randomly chosen from the crowd to go on the train and throw pixie dust......(those lucky bastards). We were standing in the very front of the crowd and Heidi had her beautiful Snow White costume on. Snow White saw her and waved big and blew her a kiss! Heidi's day started with a bang. They sang a song and counted down from 10 and we were off!

We literally rain up Main Street, through the castle and then straight to Dumbo. We were the VERY FIRST family in line. How cool! The park was completely empty. I have pictures of the standby lines that say "0 minutes". It was wonderful!

This was the day that Heidi dressed as Snow White, so next we headed to Snow White's Scary Adventure, and then on to Peter Pan's Flight. These were two rides that we didn't have the pleasure of experiencing during our last trip. (snow white was being refurbed and peter pan always had a line). This time we walked straight on to both and were thrilled.

Next we headed to It's a Small World and tried to enjoy the ride even though two adults were kissing in our boat. gag. How am I supposed to enjoy the ethnic diversity of our world with people making out? You take their picture that's how...... :) When they'd kiss, my flash would go off. Now THAT was fun.

We headed to Haunted Mansion which the kids LOVED again this year....and then off to Frontierland.

On the way we got to stop and see Donald! Daisy and Donald are my favorites! Heidi loved Donald so much he had to take her by the hand and walk with her to the exit so she'd leave. He was super sweet though and even kissed her hand before we left.

Once we got to Frontierland we rode Splash Mountain once and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad twice. BTMRR is one of my favorite rides at WDW.

Heidi was leary about both of these rides....(Splash Mountain has a 5 story drop) and Big Thunder Mountain is a real rollercoaster. She loved them both and couldn't get enough. She held her hands high in the air the whole time. She is so big.

She was patient though through all of those rides and so we agreed to head back over to Fantasyland and ride the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. After Pooh we headed to the Tea Cups, but got side tracked (and never ended up going back) when we saw Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter. Hooray!

We ran to get in their line, but they were headed for some tea (a break) and would be back in 20 mintues. So we rode the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway and then about 20 minutes had passed so we headed back over to be the first in line to see Alice and the Mad Hatter.

We were just standing waiting and a CM comes up out of no where and says "SNOW WHITE! I didn't know you were going to be here today. Can I have your autograph?" He pulls his Disney Autograph book out and hands it to Heidi. She carefully signs her name really big. H...E...I....D....I. He was thrilled and told her he would treasure it always. She just stood there and smiled. Next came the most magically part. He asked her how old she was, how long we were staying, etc....Then he gave her a Priority Fast Pass to take her to the very front of any line that we chose all day, because as he said...."Snow White waits for no one.". And then as quickly as he came, he was gone. I could feel the pixie dust sprinkling down.......

After meeting Alice and the Mad Hatter, we headed to Tomorrowland and rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin 4 times in a row. Now I like to think I'm pretty good at this game and my score is usually pretty high. 80-90,000. yeah, Rick put me to shame with his 388,000 he got today. Miss Kaitlin had a bit tougher time and usually got beat by Heidi, which of course Heidi thought was hilarious!

By this time, more people were accumulating in the parks and so grabbed some Fast Passes to Space Mountain and then had an ice cream break.

After ice cream, we got on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, which I didn't do last year. It was super cool! It takes you all around tomorrowland and even goes inside the Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear rides. We watched the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor show, and then had 30 more mintues we needed to kill before we could use our Space Mountain fast passes. I had heard a rumor that Daisy was making an appearance near Main Street so I thought this was the perfect time to see her. I love her.

We got there and all we saw were Chip/Dale and Pluto. disappointing.....oh wait, wait, HOORAY! Way off in the corner, hidden from most angles was Daisy. I almost ripped Heidi's arm off running to get in the line. While we stood waiting to talk to Daisy, a CM mentioned that Snow White would be making an unexpected appearance in a matter of minutes. YES! That was going to be a beautiful picture with them in their matching gowns. We headed over to see Snow white, and also got to see Pinnochio. Those were 3 characters that I missed last year, so I was more thrilled than the kids I think.

Our fast pass window had opened up, so Rick, Miss Kaitlin, and RJ headed off to Space Mountain while Heidi and I just relaxed on Main Street and did a little shopping. We found a perfect spot to watch the parade that was getting ready to start. The other 3 joined up with us a while later. RJ had been crying. whoops. Apparently Space Mountain wasn't fun this year. Last year, he rode it 4 times and loved it. This year not so much!

We watched and loved the parade. Dopey freaked out when he saw Heidi and Snow White recognized her and pointed to her again! During the parade, a dancer came up and gave RJ and Heidi their giant rainbow streamers (more pixie dust), which Heidi was sweet enough to take apart and give some to the little girl beside her.

It was 3:30 at this point and we had done SO much that we decided to leave the park and take a break. When we were leaving the Magic Kingdom on the monorail, RJ and Heidi were lucky enough to be co-pilots on the Monorail and go to sit in the very front nose of the monorail. The conductor even gave them a certificate to commemorate the occasion. (more pixie dust)

We headed to eat at TGIFridays and then off to the hotel. I took a nap while the kids played and then before we knew it, it was time to head back to the Magic Kingdom to watch Wishes, the fireworks show.

They just truely take your breath away. I teared up they were so pretty. For a second I thought I saw Rick wipe a tear too, but really I think he was scratching his face. After the fireworks, we took a picture in front of the castle and then RAN to Frontierland and had enough time to ride Splash Mountain one more time, and Big Thunder Mountain two more times. (they put me in the front on Splash Mountain and I got SO wet....a word to the wise, don't put the fat lady in front if you want your log to stay dry).

On the second ride of Big Thunder Mountain, I just mentioned to the CM how much fun we had today and how much I loved BTMRR. She told me to hang on and that she'd be right back. She brought me back a priority fast pass that she made good for tomorrow! Are your freaking kidding me? Can you say PIXIE DUST? We were so blessed today with all of the fun we had.

I asked everyone's favorite parts, Kaitlin's=fireworks, Rick's=no lines, RJ's=everything, Mine=listening to RJ and Heidi laugh on BTMRR, and Heidi's=the ice cream. Nice. that's my girl. :)

The kids had baths and headed to bed without a fight. What a fabulous day!

We have tons more to do tomorrow though. Heidi has a Bibbiddi Bobiddi Boutique appointment in the morning and will be dressed as Cinderella. We also need to ride all of the rides in Adventureland and then just repeat our favorites from today. Then we have dinner with the princesses later tomorrow night.

Rick and RJ will probably spent most of the day riding all the rides and Miss Kaitlin, Heidi and I are princess hunting and playing. To do tomorrow, meet the princesses, meet the fairies, meet Ariel, and ride Cinderella's Carosual.

Off to bed.....looking forward to an equally magically day tomorrow!

:)
-a

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 1....Airplanes and Gators

Once again, I began our vacation with no sleep......

I ended up staying at the office 4 hours longer than I had planned. Once I finally made it home, and packed and showered, I laid down at 2 a.m.....the alarm went off at 2:20 am. grrrrr

Amazingly though we were out the door and on our way to the airport at 3 am. sharp. It did help though that RJ slept in both his coat and his shoes so that he'd be ready to go. (that was so cute) The drive over was uneventful and check-in at the airport went so much smoother this year. No drama from Heidi. She has really grown up in a year. (as we realized later in the day).

It was so nice leaving the freezing weather and heading to a warmer climate. It was SO cold as we waited for the shuttle in long term parking and it was SO cold on the plane. I think someone overslept and forgot to start the damn thing. Seriously, we wore our coats the whole plane ride. The pilot joked that it ought to be warm by the time we touched down. I thought he was kidding. Really he wasn't.

RJ and Heidi really enjoyed the plane ride this year. We brought them mini DVD players and Disney movies and headphones and they didn't make a peep. They were so cute sitting there drinking their "complimentary beverage" and listening to their movies. I didn't realize that the sub parr economy had even cast it's spell over the airline snacks. We had the option of paying for peanuts. Seriously? I stuck with stealing some gummies out of the kid's backpack instead. I sure do love those peanuts though.

After touching down in Orlando, we grabbed our rental car......(I use the word grabbed loosely as we waited for what seemed like forever for it). We headed to Target picked up some booster seats and it was off to GATORLAND.

Gatorland was really cool. Admission was kinda high, but the size of these aligators was out of this world. My dad was at Gatorland 25 years ago. I am prettty sure that we saw the same aligators.

There was so much to do there. We saw albino aligators, (as well as fat, skinny, old, young, and every other kind of aligator) went through a petting zoo, rode the GatorExpress train, fed the aligators hotdogs, had lunch, fed some birds, etc.

Its amazing to me that as a tourist I am stupid enough to pay to feed the animals that these places were going to have to feed anyway. What a racket. But, Rick paid for the $4.00 pack of food. I was prepared to buy the $20 jumbo pack. When I get in tourist mode, all of that silly stuff thrills me.

They had 3 different shows and we were fortunate enough to be able to see all three.....As soon as we arrived at Gatorland, we headed to the Gator Wrestling show which had just started. This show was SO COOL. The gator handler Johnny had a sarcastic sense of humor that I enjoyed.

After watching him wrestle the gator, show us the gators teeth, keep the gator's mouth closed with his chin, etc, he rolled the gator over and did something to it that put it to sleep. Then to wake it up, he tickeled it. I had never seen anything like that. Very cool.

And then.......he announced that (for a fee of course), you could sit on the aligators back and have your picture taken. RJ jumped right up and headed down to get in line, and to my sheer amazement, Heidi followed! They both hopped right on, and smiled for a picture. (that we brought home, for another fee of course)

I asked Heidi what the gator felt like....she said, "a rock". I still can not believe that she was grown up enough to do that.

We also caught the tail end of a Gator Jumparoo show, and watched the Up Close encounters show.

The Up Close Encounters show had different kinds of spiders, and snakes, etc., that they showed everyone. After the show, they announced that for a fee, (of course), you could hold one of those gigantic yellow snakes. (not sure what kind of a snake it was). And amazingly enough, both kids jumped right up and were first in line. Gatorland sucked another $20 from me so that I could buy those pictures too. Heidi said the snake was "squishy". blech.

After Gatorland we checked into our hotel room. Wow, it is so huge.

I was unsure about staying offsite this year, but the size of this hotel room, just stuck one in the plus column. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen/dinette. Our view is beautiful and it's peaceful. The pool looks great, although, I don't know if we'll have time to head down there.

When we checked into our room, their were gift baskets waiting for the kids and Miss Kaitlin. Mickey sent RJ's, Minnie sent Kaitlin's, and Tinkerbell sent Heidi's. Everyone was thrilled with their surprises, (mouse ears, autograph books, etc) and then we all crashed. Everyone took a nap but Kaitlin. Rick did find time before his nap though to enjoy the free happy hour at the hotel, and to stock the hotel room up with scotch. He tried to say it was in the room when we checked in....his gift from Mickey Mouse..... :)

When everyone woke up, we headed to Chef Mickey's for our dinner reservations. I LOVE Chef Mickey's. We got our family picture taken when we arrived and then Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto all came around and signed autographs and posed for pictures. Heidi gave Pluto a kiss, and Minnie really took a liking to Miss Kaitlin. In my opinion, this should be a must do for anyone visiting WDW.

After leaving Chef Mickey's, we headed to DownTown Disney to shop. Since we aren't staying onsite, we don't have the luxury of shipping all of our purchases back to our room, and I knew there were a few things that I needed to pick up. (for instance, I bought pencils for all of the kids in RJ's class, etc). RJ and Rick spent an hour in the LEGO store carefully picking out the perfect LEGO set for RJ while Miss Kaitlin, Heidi and I had a blast in the World of Disney store. All souviners were bought, and we headed home to the hotel.

Maybe I am a nicer person this year (doubt it though), but there have been less annoying people and more pixie dust this trip than last. There were no nose picking kids at the airport (huge plus), (although there was a really annoying little girl who wouldn't quit talking. Her mom just ignored her and let her talk to our kids. Now I know why....wow). There wasn't any screaming horrible kids on the flight, except one at the very end, and in it's defense, the mom smacked it in the mouth for being bad. Everyone has been incredibly friendly. A Disney CM at the World of Disney store even gave Heidi a blank Tinkerbell gift card since she was eyeing it. Of course it's blank so he gave it to her for free. She thinks it 's a Tink credit card. She ran behind the counter and hugged him. Thanks Jason, you just made a little girls night!

I can't wait til tomorrow. We are heading for rope drop at Magic Kingdom. Here's to magic and pixie dust, and staying out of the emergency room this trip (knock on wood).

:)
-a

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Out of the Office


We will be out of the office today through February 12th. We will return to the office on Friday February 13th.


We can be contacted via email during this time. Phone messages will be returned when we arrive back.


:)

Mickey Mouse here we come!

Monday, February 2, 2009

72 hours and Counting

72 hours until we are back at the Happiest Place on Earth!

:)
-a