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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Magical World of Disney

One would think that nine family members spending nine days together in one of the most humid areas in the U.S. might be a recipe for disaster. (Oh yes, did I mention one of the nine was sixteen-months-old at the time?) Indeed, when I told friends we were traveling to Walt Disney World for over a week during peak tourist season and peak temperatures – they thought we were crazy. But, we did it anyway. It had been my Mom’s dream for seven years, and sweat or not, it was going to be a reality.

I’m very glad to relay that although my family is a bit crazy (we’d all admit it anyway) our trip to Disney World was magical – it truly was!! Alexa exceeded our expectations in every way, and we managed to laugh during the stressful times (well maybe all of us except me) and get rest when it was most needed. We definitely made many memories that will last a lifetime. And . . . we still love each other and hope to plan another fun getaway next year. Many thanks to Mimi & Pop for sponsoring this incredible trip and for Holly who was our travel planner extraordinaire!
I know I’ve been so slow at posting. I’ve been stumped as to how I can come close to capturing our time in Disney World without posting oodles of pics and videos (there were only 890 to sift through). Luckily, I already shared some of them with you in Alexa’s post. I’ll do my best to share the highlights. And, if you are still interested in seeing the “rest of the story,” I put a photo book together for my family that you are welcome to check out at the link below. You can click on individual pages to make them larger.

Click here for Disney Picaboo Album

We all look unusually chipper after leaving mom and dad’s at 5am to fly to Orlando via DFW airport. This was Rylen and Layton’s first commercial flight so it was a big deal!

Rylen checking out the view from her window seat.

Dad (i.e. Pop) standing in front of our resort – Pop Century. Our first stop.

As the sign says at the entrance to Magic Kingdom, “Let the Memories Begin!”


The family in front of Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom. I have to admit, seeing the castle for the first time was pretty amazing. It is absolutely beautiful – straight out of a fairytale! A little girl or a grown-up girl’s dream.

I enjoyed capturing different viewpoints of Cinderella’s Castle.

My favorite image of Cinderella’s castle. This is from the side – there isn’t a bad view.

Magic Kingdom at night. If you ever go, the laser show before the fireworks is unreal!


Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table, which is actually inside Cinderella’s castle. Definitely a highlight for me and the kids (The princesses come to visit you during your meal and take pictures with you). The food was delicious! Luckily, my sister made reservations for all of our restaurants in February so we could eat in high style.


The kiddos (Layton, Rylen & Alexa) set to ride “It’s a Small World.”

Alexa’s favorite ride, without a doubt, was Disney’s classic Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride. You can see her peeking out behind Dumbo’s green hat.

A view of Space Mountain before a crazy rainstorm caused us to seek shelter inside.


Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. This was called a “character” buffet because Disney characters come by and greet you, give autographs and allow you to take
pictures with them during the meal. The kids loved it. It’s an electric atmosphere.

The kids met several characters at breakfast including Minnie Mouse. Alexa was checking out Minnie’s nose. She loved grabbing the character’s noses.

Chris and I standing in front of Mickey’s sorcerer’s hat at Hollywood Studios.

I will get in trouble for this later but Mimi was ready for her nap with Alexa. I love all of the accessories – water bottle, fanny pack and diaper bag.

The infamous Tower of Terror. Speaking of terror, I was terrified to ride it but it was my absolute favorite ride – especially at dusk. Mark about lost his backpack on the first drop and subsequent others – it made for a great memory. Unfortunately, I don’t think he enjoyed it quite as much as I did.

At the Prime Time 50’s CafĂ©, Dad drank his first Coke in 8 years!! It was delish! I loved this restaurant. Every booth was decorated to feel like a dining room in the 50’s.

At the entrance to Epcot. Did you know there’s a ride inside the big golf ball? There is no way I can possibly share all there was to do at Epcot. One word – amazing! 

My favorite pic of the Kennedy three. Don’t you love Alexa’s “squinch!?”

The best seats in the house (according to our waiter) at the Coral Reef Restaurant. Notice the shark right in front of us. There was so much to see in this giant aquarium.

Chris excited to eat his yakisoba and practice his Japanese in “Japan.” He spent a year in Japan as an exchange student.

Sitting in “Canada” at Victoria Gardens. Can I hire that landscaper, eh!?

The fam in front of the Tree of Life at the Animal Kingdom. We hadn’t arrived yet. Hottest day I could remember. Thankful we got there around noon.

Posing with the cast of “Finding Nemo – The Musical.” Mom knew one of the main characters so he gave us VIP seating and let us go backstage after the performance. Loved it and definitely ranks as one of my favorite moments and performances.

Chris picking the monster’s nose at Downtown Disney and Legoland. Our last stop before heading home. (Yes . . . he is made entirely of Legos – the monster, that is).

Yes . . . entirely made of Legos too. Wish I could show you all of them.

Unfortunately, our time at Disney had come and gone. Look at all of those suitcases and look at Dad’s poor shirt. It does get pretty warm in Florida this time of year.


My precious niece and nephew entertaining Alexa Hope while we wait at the gate.

Per my father-in-law’s request, we took one last photo before heading our separate ways. A bit weary (and weighing a bit more) but still smiling. Thank you so much for the memories!! I’d love to tell you more if you ever want to listen. As they say at Disney, “Have a magical day!”

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