Monday, October 29, 2007

The Magic Kingdom

Saturday morning we woke up very excited, ate breakfast in the room and got ready to go. I was so excited to finally be able to take my kids to the Magic Kingdom, and Dean had only been once when he was fourteen. We went outside to discover it was pouring rain! Our first purchase of the trip was to buy ponchos in the hotel store. But, we were troopers and The Magic Kingdom was waiting…Here we are on the monorail:

Even Mickey had an umbrella!

I had envisioned our first glimpse of the castle against pristine blue skies. Not to be…
Fortunately, it didn’t rain long. First stop --- Tomorrowland! We rode Buzz Lightyear,

the people mover, and Space Mountain. Roan loved Buzz but passed on Space Mountain. Alyssa was nervous about it but went anyway and loved it! She went twice! Kai of course loves all things rollercoaster. Dean was happy to finally go on Space Mountain because when he was fourteen his mom wouldn't let him go! (hehe)We went to Mickey’s Toontown Fair and the kids got their faces painted.

We also rode Goofy’s barnstormer, and the kids rode the Mad Hatter’s teacup ride. Dean and I did not. After that we were already ready for lunch!

Now is the time to talk about the dining plan. This was so cool and well worth it. It is pre-purchased, then for the whole stay, we each get one counter-service meal (ie: fast food), one table service meal (ie: nice sit-down restaurant) and one snack each day. For every counter service meal we each get an entrée, a drink, and a dessert. For every table service meal we each get an appetizer, entrée, drink, and dessert. Every day! By the end of the week we could hardly keep up with all the food, we were stuffed, and even the kids started turning down dessert! It was awesome, I highly recommend it. For our first lunch at the Magic Kingdom we had rotisserie chicken/barbequed ribs with green beans and mashed potatoes followed by chocolate cake. This was the counter service meal. I rest my case.

Next we went to fantasyland where the kids rode the Winnie-the-Pooh ride followed by the carousel. We watched Mickey’s Philharmagic and then went on It’s a Small World. No, we did not ride Dumbo. Any questions? We were so glad to past that stage! (although we did rent a stroller a couple times in the evening due to Roan falling asleep.)

Onward to Frontierland. Unfortunately Thundermountain Railroad was closed but would open later in the week, we’ll be back. We rode Splash mountain, looked in some shops, watched the Presidents Hall of Fame and took a ride on the Steamboat.

Yeah, we even got one or two pictures of me in there! In Adventureland we rode Pirates of the Carribean (of course), went to the Tiki Room (eh…) and rode Aladdin’s Magic Carpet. Here's another pic of the castle from afar:

There's even a bit of blue sky! We looked in some more shops, bought some stuff, then we went back to Frontier land to have dinner at the Liberty Tavern (Table service) where we had roast pork, turkey and beef with green beans, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese with apple cobbler ala’ mode. Yum! During dinner Roan fell asleep. It was so cute! Some of the characters had been wandering around and he was wanting to meet Minnie Mouse but she didn’t come by until after he fell asleep, but we got the picture anyway!

After dinner we hightailed it back to the castle for the fireworks, then claimed a spot on Main Street for the Spectromagic Parade (naturally, we visited the candy store while waiting). After the parade we briefly went back to Tomorrowland for the Carousel of Progress and one more bout with Buzz Lightyear, then we finally made our exit at midnight. The kids even got to ride up front of monorail with the driver. In bed by 1am. Next, MGM Studios!

Roan Quote: "Mommy, the Magic Kingdom's getting wet!"

The Hotel

On Friday we took the kids out of school a couple hours early in order to get started on the road. We wanted the kids to get a decent night sleep for our big day at the Magic Kingdom. They were VERY excited! The van was all packed and ready to go. Dean took out the window paint and had them all sign their name on the back window. They loved it. They were very good in the van. They watched tv, played the gameboy, and read a joke book. I think I’ve heard enough jokes to last me the rest of the year! Of course, we did get the occasional ‘are we there yet’ but not too bad.

It was dark by the time we got there and Roan had fallen asleep, but Alyssa and Kai were awake to see the big ‘Welcome to Disney World’ sign! We woke up Roan and went to check-in, then went straight to the food court to eat a late dinner before finding our room.

As an aside, I should mention that we have been saving up for 6 years for this trip. (since BEFORE Roan was born!) I grew up near Disney and went with my family as a child and stayed at Fort Wilderness a few times. They are some of my best memories. I wanted my kids' first visit to Disney to be awesome, too. I was hoping to recreate the experience I had that will live on in their memories forever. Hopefully this record will help!

We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside Hotel, one of Disney's moderate resorts. We were in the ‘Alligator Bayou’. The hotel is beautiful and of course now that I’m home, I’m thinking of all the pictures I should of taken but didn’t! These pics were obviously not taken the first night because it was dark, but it makes sense to put them here. Also, it was overcast for most of our stay so I don’t think there is a blue sky in the batch. (But, it did help keep the temperature down.)
We unpacked our suitcases and basically got to bed as soon as possible. Tomorrow, the Magic Kingdom!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We're Back!

We had an absolutely wonderful vacation. I must say that looking back at all the parks, rides, shows, etc., the best part was the time with each other. I loved being at Disney with my family! I have taken over 500 photos, and that is after having deleting at least that many more! So, it will take some time to sort and organize them all since they were on, let's, 5 different SD cards! Then I will start to blog. A lot. Please understand that this is primarily a personal journal, so there will probably be lots of stuff that will bore you so feel free to skim or just look at the pictures if you want to.

Back to the grindstone...

Thursday, October 18, 2007


…you’ve cleaned the house, caught up on the laundry, worked out, lost 16 pounds, run all your errands, got the kid’s their flu shots, mailed contest photos, brought books back to the library, picked up your prescription, crossed one item after another off your checklist, researched, planned, scheduled, saved, and packed four suitcases. What are you going to do now?


Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Scoop

I recently found out that our local zoo, The Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens (the place where I take many of the photos you’ll find on my photo blog) is having a Garden Photo Contest! This is their first. There are four categories, Garden Overview, Black & White, Close-up of flower or plant, and Garden critter. I’ve visited the garden several times now, taking lots of photos. I was stuck with the black & white, but I think I finally got a good one. I’ll post my entries later. They are already on my photo blog if you want to try to guess which ones I entered! Also, there is a youth division for 11-15, so Alyssa is also going to enter. Wish us luck!

Alyssa, Kai, and I all entered a scrapbook page in the SC State Fair, and we all got blue ribbons! Yay!

The Tot-Trade is finally over! It’s kind-of a lot of work, but not as bad as a yard sale at home, and you make much better money. I just got my check in the mail for $287. I probably would have gotten less than $75 dollars at a yard sale. I’ve been consigning at the Tot-Trade for about 5 years. All the money has gone toward our upcoming Disney trip.

Alyssa is all settled back in to Honor Choir and Kai and Alyssa both in Karate. Kai takes an extra Karate class while Alyssa is at choir. They are both loving it.

Dean and I recently started attending a new small group at our church. We are doing the ‘Love and Respect’ series. We decided it’s always a good idea to brush up on our “marriage skills”!

Dean recently went to Scranton, Pennsylvania to run a marathon. He was attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He was close. He needed a 3:15 time but came in at 3:25, still a personal record for him. Great job, Dean! You are awesome!

While Dean was in Pennsylvania, Andrea & Amy (with Canyon & Aly) came for a visit. Amy arrived Friday night. Saturday morning we took the kids to the Congaree National Park. It was pretty cool. We walked 2.4 miles on a raised boardwalk.

(That's Roan & Aly holding hands, so cute.) The boardwalk sometimes was as high as 8 feet off the ground because the area is often flooded (it's a swamp). In fact every 4-5 years it floods so high that it covers parts of the boardwalk! You can see moss lines on the trees that show how high the water gets. Pretty cool.

I was disappointed though that I didn’t get very good pictures. It was pretty dark and I was having lighting difficulties. Oh, well.

Andrea arrived in town by the time we were done, so we met her for lunch at Olive Garden. Later that evening we all went to FamJam at our church. Kai and Alyssa are on the JamTeam and Dean does drama. Afterward we got a babysitter so we could go out. We did a little shopping and went to dinner at O’Charlies. They have a DE-LISH salad there with candied pecans, mandarin oranges, strawberries, and craisins with Balsamic vinaigrette. MMMmmmm. Me likee. Sunday we went to church followed by lunch at El Chico’s, then Amy & kids, and Andrea went home. Short but sweet!

Today was my first time singing on the worship team at church. It’s kind of a big deal because we sing for three services in a row. I’ve been on worship teams before, but not on this scale. It's a lot more high tech than I've been used to. I haven't been on a worhip team in 12 years! A lot has changed. It was cool.

Now I need to get into gear this week for our trip to Disney. We are leaving this Friday! YAY!

Roan Quote: Roan got a soccer ball for his birthday. He went outside with it for a few minutes then called me, “Mommy! It works perfectly!”