Friday, September 16, 2016

Disney Day 1

Once we left Tampa, we only had a short drive to get to Disney World.  As you'd expect, the excitement ramped up the closer we got and the more Disney signs we saw, until we finally hit the main entrance


We were early for check-in, but hopeful we could get into our room anyway, so we headed for our hotel.
We chose to stay at Art of Animation this time and we were not disappointed.  This resort has family suites, which was a must now that we are fully a family of 5 (last time, Secora didn't really count since she slept with Josh and I).  We also liked that it has super kid-friendly theming.  We considered some higher level resorts, but it didn't seem worth paying so much more money and losing all the cool stuff the kids would love.  We wanted a Finding Nemo suite, but all that was available were Cars suites.  They still looked pretty cool online and we booked one, but we called on a regular basis to ask to switch to a Nemo room (and never had any luck).

At check-in, we discovered rooms were ready and waiting, so we could get in immediately.  We also found out we could switch to a Nemo room after all, so we were excited about that.  Aside from the decorations, the main difference about the Nemo area is that it's really close to the main building, where the restaurant and gift shops are, close to the bus stops and close to the drink machines.

Some how, through out the entire planning process, we missed the fact that this room would have TWO bathrooms.  Yes, two.  Two bathrooms in a hotel room is a major luxury.  We can share for a week, but two bathrooms makes morning getting ready and evening showers go SO much faster.  We were thrilled with this discovery.
 So the Disney theme outside is awesome and there will be more pics later
 The theme inside, is just as good.  The girls "swam the EAC" every time they walked down the hallway.
 The room had a decent kitchenette, dresser and TV in the living room and a table
There was a master bedroom (!!) with another TV, dresser and a comfy bed.  The couch folded out into what must have been a comfortable bed because the girls argued about who was sleeping on it.  The table also (very easily) folded down into another bed.  Each night, two girls slept on the table bed and one slept on the fold out couch.

Once we were all checked in and unloaded the car, we picked up our refillable mugs.  We were there for free dining and as part of the dining plan, we each got a refillable mug that could be used for never ending coke/powerade at the resort.  Then, we ate a quick lunch at our resort before heading out to visit Epcot.

As soon as we walked in, Secora spied Daisy Duck and insisted on taking a picture with her, by herself.


Of course, the big girls got a turn too:

Next up, the girls really wanted to go "in the giant golf ball".  None of us have ever actually ridden Spaceship Earth and it had no wait, so we gave it a whirl.  All this day and the next, cast members always let the three girls ride together alone, so mostly we put them in one car and Josh and I rode in another one (on the 3rd day, there was suddenly enforcement of the "anyone under 7 must be with someone 14 and over" rule...not sure if they were just lax at first because it was less busy or Sierra looked 14 or they had the time to recognize the girls were well behaved).  The ride was fine except for a couple of brief stops (Sierra and I don't handle feeling "trapped" particularly well).

 After the ride, the girls played a few related games


Next, we headed over for a ride on Nemo and a showing of Turtle Talk with Crush.  Nemo was fun, the aquariums were cool to look at, and Turtle Talk wasn't quite as good as we remember, but it was still entertaining.
After Turtle Talk, we had an early "dinner" reservation at the Coral Reef Restaurant at 4pm.  This is a restaurant where all the tables face the aquarium so you can watch the fish as you eat.
 This was a bit of a dicey choice because they didn't really have food Secora would eat, but I figured she could chow down on snacks I had in the backpack if needed.  She ended up ordering fish and chips, and actually tried the fish (totally new food) AND said she liked it and took more bites!!
 Most of the time she was too busy saying, "look at that fish!!!" though
There was a GIANT sting ray in the tank that settled down right in front and just hung out like it expected the table in front to share its food.  (you probably can't really tell, but the "rock" at the bottom center is a humongous ray)

This is where Sierra realized that as an "adult" (as far as Disney tickets go), she was going to get adult meals.  And being on the dining plan, the meal was paid for, regardless of the cost.  This meant she could order herself a big ol' steak at this dinner.  She wasn't so sure she could be trusted with the knife they brought her
But she was THRILLED when the steak arrived (and Sedona...being Sedona)
Dinner was excellent and we all shared desserts, then went to catch the monorail for the Magic Kingdom.  Unfortunately, Josh had overeaten and wasn't feeling very well at all.  He didn't want to ditch me with all the kids and we didn't want to go out and have fun without him, but it was finally decided that the best course of action for everyone was going to be for him to make his way back to the hotel for a little while and me and the girls to stick with the plan of going ears shopping at the Magic Kingdom.
Ears shopping was a bit rough.  Secora is at an age where making decisions is just about impossible.  We had lots of trying on so we could figure out which ears were just right for everyone, but eventually decisions were made
And after embroidering names on the back of them, we were ready for a little exploring
Sierra was very excited to see Secora's reaction when she first saw the castle, but she was too short and too many tall people were around, so it took a little time for her to get a good view
The big girls were super excited to go take a ride on the tea cups, so that's what we did first.  They rode alone and Secora and I rode together.

Next up was Dumbo

 And a spin on the carousel


I offered to stay through the fireworks, but everyone was ready to get back to the hotel and check on daddy.

Thankfully, he was feeling better when we arrived, so we decided to venture out a bit and check out the sights around the hotel.
This playground was right outside our building

And around the corner, we explored the Cars section:





And by then, we were all thoroughly tired!  We had fast pass reservations at the Animal Kingdom the next morning, so we decided to hit the hay and get some sleep!

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