Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Disney 2011 - Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom
Friday, February 18th
Our last day at the parks was spent at Animal Kingdom. We had such a great time last year that we decided to revisit the park this year. We started our morning in Africa at the Kilimanjaro Safaris (exactly like last year) and only waited in line a few minutes.  We all enjoyed the bumpy ride and the sights of all the animals up close and personal.

After the safari we walked through the Pangani Forest Exploration. We were lucky to see the gorilla exhibit and get a glimpse of the new baby that had just recently been born.

We then took the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch.  We strolled through the Conservation Station and learned about all the animals, what they eat, how much they eat, how they are taken care of, and saw a veterinarian station for the safari animals.  Then it was off to Affection Section, Disney's own petting zoo, with rare but domesticated breeds from around the globe.  Of couse, we washed hands thoroughly when we left!!

After all the morning fun, it was time for lunch.  We washed and germx'd our hands again and then found a great spot in the shade to enjoy our packed lunch.  It was nice to sit down and rest a bit before heading into the Asia section of the park.  We stopped for a family picture in front of Mount Everest.  We then headed deep into Asia so Danny and Birdie could ride Expedition Everest...one of the best roller coasters, EVER!!!  After the boys rode Everest, we went to Dinoland USA and rode TriceraTop Spin.  We then had to make the tough call, wait around for an hour or so for the Nemo show to start or book it over to Camp Minnie/Mickey and try to get into the audience for The Lion King show.  We headed out for The Lion King and made it.  The Lion King is one of my all-time (all two times, that is!) favorite Disney shows.  I love this show and was so excited to see it again.

The Lion King

After The Lion King we headed to the character greeting section of Camp Minnie/Mickey.  Emerson really wanted to see Minnie Mouse.  After a short wait, she got her chance.  She wasn't interested in any of the other characters so she hopped back in the stroller and we headed back to Dinoland to catch the Nemo show.  About three minutes after being in the stroller, it got very quiet and when I looked down, Emerson was out.  Animal Kingdom was the same park she fell asleep in last year, but it was the Nemo show that put her to sleep last time.  We decided to let her nap and skip the Nemo show, so we headed back to Asia to use fast passes for Everest.  Since my mom was not interested in riding, she stayed with Emerson and Danny, Birdie, and I rode Everest two times in a row.  Again, one of the best roller coasters, EVER!!

After our thrill seeking, we wandered back to Discovery Island to find our spot for some parade watching.  We were all ready for a snack and some rest.  We let Emerson rest, but then about 5 minutes before the parade I woke her up to give her a snack.  We had some duck friends who weren't afraid of "quacking" for a snack.  Emerson obliged a few times and then we had to shoo them away.  We heard parade music and didn't want the ducks getting run over by a float.  Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade came through with lots of gusto; loud, fun music and dancing.  A few characters stopped to give Emerson hugs and kisses.  We really enjoyed the parade, but we were tired by the end of it and decided to call it a day.  Not before one last family picture and of course, Emerson's last daily surprise of the trip, a baby Dumbo.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Expeditions Parade
These past few months have been crazy, hectic, discombobulated, and we really haven't been much of a family with Danny traveling as much as he has been, so I'm SOOO happy we got to spend a week in February as a family enjoying Disney.  It was so nice of my parents to offer the trip and for us to help celebrate my mom's retirement!!  I think they had as much fun as we did, at least I hope they did!!!  We made great memories and I am sure Emerson will remember this forever and cherish the time she got to spend with her Mimi and Birdie.  I know this won't be our last trip to Disney, but I feel very fortunate for the times we have gotten to go.  Until our next trip.....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Show-and-Tell #68: Lolly

This past Friday for Show-and-Tell, Emerson took her new Giraffe.  That morning, when talking about the Giraffe, I asked Emerson her name and she promptly replied, "Lolly!".  So, Lolly it was!!  We've talked about the name Lolly recently.  Mimi's name was going to be Lolly before it was Mimi and I have a friend whose nickname is Lolly.  Emerson received this Giraffe from her Daddy.  Basically she has him wrapped around her little finger and after seeing Lolly within all the Beach Ball packages sprawled out at my house during April, she fell in love.  She begged and begged for Daddy to "win" the package at the Beach Ball event.  Danny knew he had to come home with the Giraffe, and he did....along with 5 more packages!!!
Show-and-Tell #68
May 27, 2011

Disney 2011 - Second Day of Rest

Second Day of Rest
Thursday, February 17th

After two full days at the parks, we needed a day to just rest, chill out and in the guys case, play golf!!!  So while the boys were out playing golf, my mom, Emerson and I headed to the small town of Celebration, Florida for lunch and shopping.  We ate at one of Florida's oldest restaurants, the Columbia Restaurant.  The original location is actually in Ybor City, Florida and Danny and I had one of our first dates at the St. Augustine location.  In total there are seven locations around Florida.  It has one of the best salads I've ever put in my mouth.  Emerson had a huge bowl of macaroni and cheese, which was also yummy.

After lunch and shopping, we headed back to the condo for some fun in the sun and swimming.  Danny and Birdie joined us at the pool.  Emerson had a great time playing with her new waterproof Cinderella, part of a set she got the day before.  She also practiced some of her swimming moves.

While at the pool, we decided we would try to find some sort of fun park to go to that night (like we hadn't had enough theme park action the past four days, right?).  Danny suggested a place called Old Town, located in Kissimmee, Florida.  When he was in school at Florida Southern, it used to be a great place to come hang out.  Well, after driving up, we quickly saw that times had changed and it was a bit more sketchy now, but we were there so we made the best of it.  We ended up eating at a hot dog joint and then it was time for some amusement park fun and (what I like to call) fair rides.

Emerson had a blast on the motorcycle and four-wheeler ride.  She had both rides all to herself!  

Birdie accompanied Emerson on the merry-go-round.  
My mom, literally, cried from laughing so hard after I pointed out what was used to make the horse's feathers.  It was pretty funny so I had to take a picture.
....and the winner with her prize!!

A roller coaster just for Emerson, the Caterpillar.  
Teacups with Daddy....(at least someone is excited to be on the ride!!).  

After riding all the rides that Emerson could (some even twice) we headed into the arcade for some fun!!
Deal or No Deal, the arcade game!!
The ticket redeemer....We had more than 200 tickets!!

Right next door to Old Town is a separate amuzement park called Fun Spot USA.  We walked over there and found it to have lots more rides and ice cream.
What's an amusement park without ice cream!!

The Fun Spot truck with super-sized wheels!!
Another prize won for fishing!!

Bumper Cars
Everyone had so much fun on the bumper cars.  They had the whole rink to themselves and had a blast bumping and dodging each other.  

The Flying Bobs
Emerson was dying to ride something super fast.  The Flying Bobs certainly fit the bill and she met the height requirement.  I would personally get sick on these but Danny took her on them.  My mom couldn't watch, she was so scared that Emerson was on them.  My dad and I just watched in disbelief that a three and half year-old would want to ride them.  Danny was holding onto Emerson as tight as he could as they went round-and-round.  Everyone survived the ride and Emerson got off with a huge smile on her face.

Slide with Daddy
Emerson chose the slide as her last ride of the night.

Although the evening started out a bit sketchy, it turned out to be tons of fun!!!