Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Florida Trip

A little over 10 years, Don and I went to Disney World in Florida for our honeymoon.  That was a trip we both immensely enjoyed and hoped to do again.  We actually wanted to take our two boys back there, but we were waiting for Liam to at least get a little older, so he could remember it.  Obviously, that did not happen.  He will just have to deal with having pictures and videos from the trip.  :o)  Oh and a big brother to tell him all about it!

Last month, Don's Aunt that lives in Florida, informed us that she would be moving soon and invited us to go out before she moved.  We needed to hurry, since her house was on the market and could be sold at any moment.  Originally I thought, NO WAY, I did not want to travel with a baby.  Traveling with babies require so much stuff!  Not to mention, they are a lot of work!!!  Don and I talked about it and decided to go for it.  Jackson would at least remember it and because Don's Aunt works for Disney, this was the only time a trip like this would be somewhat affordable.  We booked the tickets and kept the entire trip a secret from Jackson and Liam.  It was pretty tough keeping it a secret from Liam!  He is so nosey!!! ;o)

So, the weeks leading up to our trip, I would tell Jackson about Disney World.  I would say, "did you know there is a Disney World?  It's kind of like Disneyland, but soooo much bigger."  He went to Disneyland for his 4th birthday back in January, so he had an idea of what it was like already.  I even showed him Disney travel planning videos so he would have an idea of what it was like. Than, two days before we were going to fly out to Florida, we decided to tell the boys where we were going.  I took a picture of them first and Don video recorded our "reveal" to Jackson.  It was a lot of fun seeing how excited he was!

On Sunday, July 13th, we drove to the airport to begin our journey.  Here is Jackson with his new Mickey Mouse backpack all ready to leave!  

Jackson was about 4 months old when he flew on an airplane to Tucson, AZ for the first time.  He doesn’t remember it of course, so to him, this was the first time he’s been on a plane as well as Liam.  They both did great!  As you can see, Jackson is grinning ear to ear because he is so excited!

Liam fell asleep before the plane even took off and stayed asleep for a few hours.  Wahoo!  He did great!  Even after he woke up, he just played and entertained everyone around him.  

Jackson ended up falling asleep pretty quickly, once we ran out of stuff to look at outside the window.

 Once he woke up, he had movies to watch with Mickey.

I had to get up a few times during the flight to change Liam’s diaper and use the restroom and since I am prone to motion sickness pretty easily, I was feeling pretty awful!  But thankfully, I packed my essential oils in my carry on bag and rubbed peppermint behind my ears and kept inhaling it from my hands.  Instant relief!  I swear by these oils and they have been life changing!  If I took OTC meds for my motion sickness, it would have taken awhile to hit my system, it would have made me drowsy and not to mention those drugs processing through your liver!  Can I just say, I LOVE ESSENTIAL OILS!!!  Once we got to Florida and we started our descent to land, poor Liam’s ears were hurting so much.  He did start to cry, but the jets were so loud, you could barely hear him.  I again grabbed my oils, I rubbed lavender on his ears, his feet and swiped a little down the bridge of his nose.  Again, instant relief.  He stopped crying and just sat there content!  Saved again by essential oils!

Once we landed, Don’s Aunt Paula had a nice surprise for us!  Originally, the only park she had black out dates on her silver pass, (due to summer), was the Magic Kingdom.  She was able to score us 4 tickets the company gives out to their employees that overrides the black out dates on her silver pass, but for some reason, the night we got there, Disney didn’t have her silver pass blacked out!  So we got in the car and told Jackson, let’s go to Magic Kingdom to get dinner and see the fireworks!  He was so excited and so were we of course.  For those of you that don’t know, Disney World is comprised of 4 parks.  

1.) Magic Kingdom - This one is the most like Disneyland and has Cinderella’s Castle, therefore the most popular of all the parks.
2.) Animal Kingdom - Basically a zoo with rides and the most awesome African Jungle safari!  There is also a HUGE “Tree of Life" from Lion King here.  It’s pretty impressive!
3.) Epcot - We never went here, since we didn’t think Jackson would enjoy this park too much.  We instead spent an extra day at Magic Kingdom.  The history on this park is pretty cool though.
4.) Hollywood Studios - This park can be compared to California Adventure in Anaheim.  It’s theme is California and has similar rides and attractions with a few variances.  

So we ended up taking the ferry over to magic Kingdom.  Below is a picture of Magic Kingdom from the ferry.  You can see Cinderella's castle on the right and the train station on the left.  Once our boat docked, we ate dinner and watched the fireworks.  

Jackson and Liam loved the fireworks and Jackson was so cute with Liam.  The boys were in a double stroller that we rented and Jackson wrapped his arm around Liam and they both sat there for the entire show just in awe and wonder!  Seeing that and the look on their faces is a moment in time I will never forget.  It was so sweet.  It’s a memory that I will need to remember for when they get older and they are trying to kill each other! ;o)  

And yes, they are both wearing Superman Shirts! ;o)  I thought it was fitting for an airplane ride!

The next day was Monday, July 14th.  That day, we went to Animal Kingdom.  There are not a lot of rides at this park, but there were a lot of animals, a HUGE Tree of Life from Lion King and some pretty amazing shows and things to look at!

One of the rides we did go on was Expedition Everest.  It was built after Don and I went there 10 years ago, so we didn’t know how scary it would be.  Jackson went on Space Mountain back in January and did great, so we thought we would try it out.  We get stupid parents of the year award for that move!  Doh!!!  Yeah, I about scared the crap out of him.  Poor kid!  It was a train roller coaster that was fast, went backwards half way through the ride and had some G force action in it.  Way to start our trip off on a great foot for him!  He said he cried, but I watched him closely and didn't see him cry.  A week later, he is still adamant that this was not his favorite ride and he disliked it very much!  

We ended up getting a pin to commemorate him going on this ride and being brave.  Every time he sees it, he vehemently sneers at it and says, I don’t like that ride!  Sorry Jackson, send me your psychologist bills later! ;o)  

The Expedition Everest Ride is the mountain on the left hand side of this picture.  Yup, dumb parents of the year award...  It even had a scary monster in it too!  I spent days trying to convince Jackson it was pretend and it wasn't going to hurt him.  I felt awful!!!

We did it!!!  Well, not Liam...  He's in the picture by default.  People tend to frown upon leaving babies by themselves unattended! Hehehe...

Animal Kingdom has the most awesome African Safari tour.  This attraction alone was worth going to the park.  They load everyone up in a big jeep and you go out on this huge open reserve with LOTS of animals roaming everywhere.  Some of the animals came right up to our jeep.  It was pretty amazing.  One of the animals was a white Rhino.  These animals are pretty rare and it was so exciting seeing him up close and personal!  

We also went to the Lion King show.  That was pretty amazing too.  Disney sure knows how to put on a show!

Afterwards, we went to Dinoland and did some kid rides for Jackson.  At this point, the clouds rolled in and started raining so we had to find cover.

We booked it over to the Finding Nemo play to escape the rain.  This play was pretty amazing too.  It was just as good as a Broadway play.  Again, Disney sure goes all out!  Once we got out of this play, the rain stopped and I was told it POURED!!!  Thankfully, we draped some ponchos over our stroller before it rained, so it prevented it from getting too wet.  The rest of the week, we used a shower curtain to drape over our stroller and that was the best idea EVAH!  Completely saved our stuff from getting drenched, since it rains A LOT this time of year.

After the show, we met up with Don's Aunt and we had dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe.  That was a fun place to eat at.  I surprisingly have never been to that restaurant.  Not sure why, just never made it to one.

The next day was Tuesday, July 15th.  We decided to go to Magic Kingdom.  We were pretty tired with the time change and all, so we didn’t go until lunch time.  That was dumb since it usually starts raining around that time.  And boy did it rain most of the day!  We got there and all the outdoor rides were pretty much shut down.  It was a huge bummer!  

Before the storm hit, Don and Jackson went on the carousel and I waited for them outside with Liam.  I was sitting there and a few drops would hit me here and there.  I wasn't too concerned and didn't prepare for a down pour.  The heavens literally opened up and dumped on me.  People were running everywhere for cover!  Luckily, there was an area close by I ran to and Liam and I rode the rain out there.  We stayed there for about an hour, due to the rain and waiting for Don and Jackson to find us.  Apparently when they got off the ride, they made a mad dash to Cinderella's castle.  While running through the rain, Jackson told Don, "it's just like a shower!" :o)  Here they are after their mad dash in the rain.

Here is my view from my hide out spot.

One of the biggest and longest rides at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, is Peter Pan's ride.  It is a great ride, definitely one of my favorites.  It was pretty much an hour plus wait the entire trip we were there.  During this rain storm, a lot of people ran for cover, so Don and Jackson ran over to this ride since it was close by and they were able to get on it with a 30 minute wait.  Needless to say, they were pretty excited!  

Afterwards, we went on the Dumbo ride and wow, this ride is how ALL rides should be.  First you go into this big circus tent and they hand you a pager.  Than they send you into this huge play area for kids and there is seating surrounding the entire play area for the adults to sit down and rest their feet.  While the kids play and the adults rest, the pager eventually goes off and you take it up to a cast member.  Than they put you in the queue to ride the ride.  So instead of waiting in a huge line to ride this ride, you get to sit in air conditioning and the kids play.  Ummm, genius!!!!!!!!!!  Why can't all the rides be like that!  Just for that, this ride was my favorite!!!

Next, we went on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, which is in the top 5 favorite rides for Jackson.  I am usually horrible at this game, so I was pretty excited that I beat the person I rode with.  Let's ignore the fact that he is 11 months old and completely asleep on me!  Hehehe...

Jackson and Don walking together, during one of the few times it was not raining.

My little man was all giggles.  He was seriously the best baby to travel with.  I really lucked out with my boys!  Liam just loved looking and seeing everything.  He took his naps when he got tired, didn't fuss and since it was so hot, Don poured water in his tray on the stroller and Liam had a blast splashing the water and cooling himself down.  

Jackson's new pin to commemorate visiting all the parks at Disney World, (minus EPCOT.)  The castle is Magic Kingdom, the Big ball on the upper right is EPCOT, the hat on the bottom left is Hollywood Studios and the tree on the bottom right is Animal Kingdom.  I thought this was a pretty cool pin if you are into the whole pin trading and collecting.

On Tuesday, we didn't do a lot at Magic Kingdom, because of the rain and a lot of rides were shut down.  We tried watching the Electrical parade that evening, but that was cancelled due to the rain.  At that point, a huge sea of people left the park all at once.  It was a mass exodus!!!  We tried to ride it out, but it just kept raining and raining.  We finally said forget it and joined in with the rest of the crowds leaving.  It took us an hour and a half to get back to our car.  It was insanely ridiculous at the amount of people trying to leave.  They only had one monorail operating due to the thunder and lightening, so that line was ridiculously huge.  The ferry line was huge too, so we decided to walk, in the rain.  Jackson was WORE out, so he sat in the stroller while I carried Liam.  Once we got back to Aunt Paula's house, we were so glad to be home and out of the rain.  It was a long, tiring day.  On the way back to Aunt Paula's house, we picked up Wendy's for dinner and ended up getting Jackson a chocolate frosty.  He wouldn't even wake up to eat that.  Don ended up HAVING to eat it so it wouldn't go to waste of course.  ;o)

The next day was Wednesday, July 16th.  This day was a chill day.  I don't think it stopped raining from the night before and it ended up raining ALL day on Wednesday.  We didn't feel like dealing with the rain and we were exhausted, so we just rested, watched movies and did laundry which was nice.  Towards the evening, the rain died down a little and we went to Downtown Disney.  I wanted to pick up a few touristy items and couldn't believe the amount of people in the Disney stores.  You could barely walk through the stores!  There was definitely no browsing for us.  I had an idea of what I wanted, so Don's Aunt directed me where to go while one of us stayed with the stroller so we weren't trying to maneuver that monster through a sea of people.  It was great team work if I say so myself!  We also found a really cute Christmas ornament to commemorate our trip.  We try to buy one ornament a year that signifies something significant in our family that year.  We have an ornament for our house we bought, ones for the kid's first Christmas and other trips we have taken.  Just a fun tradition we try to do every year.  After all our shopping, we splurged and got some dessert at Goofy's Candy Co.  My favorite treat was the smores!!!  Oh my, was it delicious!  

The next day was Thursday, July 17th.  We decided to go to Hollywood Studios.  This park is a lot of fun.  It's a lot like California Adventure in Anaheim, but with less rides and more shows.  Since there were not a lot of rides, the wait time on rides was crazy!!!  We still had a blast though.  

Jackson and I both wore our Mickey ears!

We were able to see the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage show and it was amazing!  Another show that Disney outdid themselves!

This park was pushing the Frozen theme hard!  They offered a Frozen package for ONLY an extra $50 per person, that offered a sing along, ice skating, pictures, a stuffed Olaf toy and an Olaf cupcake.  Rip off if you ask me.  I was told that Disney was probably doing this to try and over compensate for the fact that the new Harry Potter park opened up the previous week, so they had to do something cool to attract people away from Harry Potter.  I will say that the Frozen firework show was AMAZING!!!  Probably one of the BEST firework shows I have ever seen.  It truly was magical!

The Olaf carrot cake cupcake was actually pretty good.  The frosting was a cream cheese frosting, so it was a bit strong.  The arms sticking out and the face on top is all chocolate.  That stuff melted fast in Florida's heat!  Just meant we had to eat it fast.  Oh darn!

There was no rain or clouds out and the sun was just blaring down on Liam while he slept.  We found this adorable scarf and HAD to buy it, so we could cover the front of the stroller up.  I am totally in love with this scarf and can't wait till it cools off to be able to wear it!  Maleficent is one of my favorite villains! :o)

This park has the Disney Jr. Live show, like they do at California Adventure in Anaheim and they are the exact same show.  Jackson LOVES Disney Jr and watches all the shows.  He was especially excited to meet Jake!  Jackson has a Jake pin and Jake noticed it while we were taking pictures.  He was so excited, he gave Jackson a big high five, it was cute!

Jackson loves Sophia the first.  I am pretty sure he has a crush on her.  You should have seen him telling us and other people that she kissed him.  He gets all embarrassed and blushes.  It is too cute!

We went over to the Pixar Studios portion of the park to ride the Toy Story Mania ride.  This is Jackson's absolute favorite ride!!!  If you see him, you must ask him about this ride.  He mimics the action of the ride and it's kind of hilarious!

Liam was mesmerized by this huge Mr. Potato Head that interacts with you.  It actually was pretty cool.  Aunt Paula now calls Liam, Spud.

$50 Bzillion dollars!!!  Hahaha...

The boys and I on the ride.  

Jackson actually got to go on this ride twice on Thursday, which was pretty cool since this ride had the longest wait time at the park.  It was anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half all day.  Towards the evening, they were going to close this ride at 8:30pm due to the fireworks.  As the time was nearing for it to close, we were walking by and it said it was a 90 minute wait.  We were confused, because we didn't see a line.  We decided to go in and see how long the line was.  Those tricksters... there was barely a line!  They were just trying to get people to avoid going on this ride by lying about the wait time.  Shenanigans I tell you!  We didn't fall for it though and got to ride it a 2nd time. Jackson was super excited to say the least!

We found a pin for this ride as well.  Jackson loves this pin since it is his favorite ride!

Afterwards, we went into a museum/tour about Walt Disney.  I am fascinated by the man, so this was a real treat for me.  They had a lot of memorabilia here as well.  Like his old school desk when he was a child, dioramas of different rides and parks, a replica of his office, old toys etc.  It was a really neat museum and I learned a lot about the man behind the magic.  We also got to watch a movie at the end of the tour.  Very interesting.  For Jackson, it meant nap time for him! ;o)

Don and I had fast passes for Tower of Terror, so Aunt Paula was nice enough to watch the kiddos while we went on it.  That ride is definitely one of my all time favorites.  It's a little different at Disney World and I actually liked it better, Don did not...  When you are in the elevator shaft, it actually moves you forward on a track and it makes you enter "the Twilight Zone" through a "portal."  I thought that special effect was pretty cool.  Don thinks the ride didn't have as many drops and it was shorter than the one at California Adventure.  I honestly didn't notice a difference.

After that, we went to check out the Frozen Fireworks.  Again, Best. Fireworks. EVAH!!!  Once the fire works were over, we went back to Aunt Paula's house and crashed.  It was a long day to say the least, but we had a blast!

The next day was Friday, July 18th.  We went back to Magic Kingdom and started our day shortly after the park opened, in case it rained again.  Usually it doesn't rain in the mornings.  Usually...  We were lucky that it didn't rain at all on Friday, so we spent all day here.

Our first stop was Tomorrowland Speedway.  When we were here on Tuesday, Don and Jackson stood in this line for awhile, but as soon as they got to the front of the line, just about to go on, they shut the ride down due to lightening.  I felt so bad for him.  Jackson was so bummed, so we made it our first ride of the day to ensure he got to ride it.

Our next stop was Adventureland!  We went on Aladdin's Magic Carpet ride.  That was a cute and fun ride.  I really liked it.

After that, we did the Jungle Cruise and the Pirates of the Caribbean.  The boys both loved those rides!

Taking a rest to take a picture and wish Uncle Jon a happy birthday from the Horn's!

I have no idea why Jackson is making this face, since Don took the picture and I think I was off getting fast passes for us, but it's hilarious!  This face should not be made when you are in the happiest place on earth!  It's a face of pure and utter disappointment.  He probably just missed me.  Ha!  Yeah right...

Than we did the tea cups!!!  We spun sooooo fast!!!

This is the new ride called Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  This ride just opened up a few months ago on Memorial Day weekend, so the line to ride it was RIDICULOUS!  Like over an hour and a half wait, plus they didn't offer a fast pass, or they just sold out every time we attempted to get one.  I was told the wait wasn't worth it, so we decided not to waste our time on this one.  

Next, we got to go on Dumbo again!  Unfortunately, there was no wait, so we didn't get to rest in the play area.  Aggghhh!!!  The one time I wanted to wait in a line!!!

We than rode It's a Small World.  Jackson never got the chance to go on this ride at Disneyland, since it was closed back in January, so we made sure he did it this time.

Here are all the goodbyes in the different languages.

I did not know Beast (from Beauty and the Beast) has his own castle at Magic Kingdom!  You can't go up to it, but you can see it from a distance.  I thought that was pretty cool.  There is the whole village from the movie below as well.  Very cute area.

We went on the Ariel ride.  It's pretty much the same as the one at California Adventure in Anaheim, but the outside was way cooler and you get to go through some caves while you wait in line.

Next ride was Star Tours!!!

Towards the afternoon, it was sooooo hot and humid!  We found this little splash zone.  Jackson and Liam, (Don was holding him,) ran through it and had a blast.  Don got it all on video as well, can't wait to see his footage.  

Finally, the electrical parade!!!  I was so bummed it was cancelled Tuesday night, so we made sure we got our seats early to get a good view.  It truly was an awesome parade!!!  At one point, some mouse characters, we think they were from Pinocchio, came up and untied my shoes.  These little characters were mischievous and were playing all kinds of tricks on people.  Jackson just thought it was the funniest thing in the world.  A week later and Jackson is still talking about it and cracking up.  He is telling people who were not with us, "remember when the mice untied Mommy's shoe?  Hahaha..."  So if he tells you that story, that's what it is from.  I think he assumes everyone knows about it and saw it.  

Jackson's favorite float.  This one is Captain Hook and Peter Pan fighting on the pirate ship.

My favorite float!  It's hard to tell in this picture, but this float made it look like fireworks were going off.  It was really neat!  Don got it on video, so hopefully when he makes his Disney World movie trailer, this might make it into the movie.

The next day was Saturday, July 19th.  Don wanted to go to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park originally, but I was adamant that we should go to Universal Studios, since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was there.  I suggested going to the water park on Sunday instead and he finally agreed.  A little reluctantly if I say so myself, but in the end, he enjoyed himself!  Jackson loves Harry Potter too, but this park doesn't really cater to small children.  Don's Aunt Paula was so nice and offered to watch Jackson and Liam so we could go.  Thank you again Aunt Paula!!!  This was a huge highlight of the trip for me since I LOVE Harry Potter and being able to go here was so amazing!  A dream come true that's for sure!  

There are two Harry Potter parks.  One is on Island of Adventure, which is called Hogsmeade.  That park opened in 2010 and the other park is Diagon Alley which is located in the main park of Universal Studios.  Diagon Alley just opened up the week prior on July 8th, along with the Hogwarts express train.  I was blown away by everything!  The detail was so precise!  Truly amazing!  We first went to King's Cross station to ride the Hogwarts express train.  You actually go through platform 9 and 3/4 to get to the train.

Once you are inside, you get into your own train car or whatever they call it.  On the window is a sophisticated screen that plays a movie like you are watching it outside.  Than in the actual train, you see shadows behind the door of the characters from the movie talking to each other.  You even get to see dementors!!!  It was pretty detailed and amazing.  It truly made you feel like you were on the real train.

Once we got off the train, we went into Hogsmeade village.

Who knew Florida could have snow in the middle of the summer! ;o)  J/K

Our first ride (besides the train) was the Dragon Challenge.  That was a pretty awesome ride.  

During the line up to the ride, there were a lot of Harry Potter references from the movie/book.

You could see the castle from there

Hagrid's cabin

The car Ron and Harry highjack to get to school and crash into the whomping willow.

After that ride, we decided to go on the ride at the Hogwarts Castle.  I soon regretted this decision...  This ride made both Don and I sick!  I thought for sure I was going to throw up after we got off it.  There is a lot of flipping around while you are watching a screen with 3D glasses and I think that's the part that made me sick.  Don usually has a high tolerance for that stuff, so the fact that he felt sick, says a lot.  Just don't do it if you ever go here.  It almost ruined my whole day.  And stupid me, I left my peppermint essential oil at Aunt Paula's house, so I just had to suck it up and deal with the nausea.  

The sorting hat was inside the castle.  
Hogwart's castle from a distance.

Once our stomachs settled somewhat, we got lunch at the Three Broomsticks.  This little Tavern was exactly how I imagined it in the books.  The detail was amazing!!!  I of course had to try butter beer.  It was everything I had hoped and imagined it would be!  Yum-o!  You can get it frozen or just regular.  I was told frozen tasted better, so that's what I did.  It tasted like a root beer float, but with butter scotch, instead of root beer.  Don thought it was too sweet, but he is not a fan of sweet stuff, so ignore his review. ;o)

After that, we rode the train back to King's Cross station.  There was a different movie playing this time, which I thought was really neat.  Once we got there we had to search for Diagon alley.  It was pretty ingenious how they hid it.  Don and I were searching everywhere for it.  They set up this little mock town of London and you kind of have to find the entrance.  

We noticed a ton of people going into this random building with no signs, so we followed them.  Once we got inside, a whole new world was opened up behind it.  It was amazing how they did it!  The picture below is what was behind the building we walked through.

Knockturn alley was pretty amazing.  Very dark and seedy like it is in the movies and books.  It was pretty dark, so I didn't take a ton of pictures in here.  Definitely something to not miss though!

Next, we did the new Gringott's Bank ride.  This was truly an amazing and fun ride.  The wait time was 120+ minutes.  We decided to do the single rider line to save on the wait time.  The ride ended up shutting down at one point, so we waited a while longer, but definitely not as long as we could have waited had we not done the single rider line.

Once inside, you get to see the bank.  The detail was nothing short of spectacular.

This ride had some of the best special effects I have ever seen on a ride.  We were blown away!  it's a train roller coaster, but it separates and moves on different tracks, you see characters from the movies, there is 3D action going on, special affects that make you feel like you are right there in the story.  It just fully immerses you in the ride.  Surprisingly, we did not get sick on it either.  The Hogwarts Castle ride was different, this one, I could handle.  Maybe because I wasn't being turned around all over the place.  I highly recommend this ride and doing the single rider line, if the wait is longer than 45 minutes.

After that, we just walked around Diagon Alley, went into all the shops and took pictures.  Everything is so detailed, so it was fun looking at everything.

The Leaky Cauldron

Weasley's Wizarding Wheezies.  Loved the sign above the door.  It's my word, shenanigans!!!

After that, we wanted to try out the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Roller Coaster at Universal Studios.  Oh. My. is all I have to say.  Probably one of the craziest roller coaster rides I have ever been on!  Here is a clip from Jimmy Fallon, when he and Kevin Hart went on it a few weeks ago.  I think the clip sums up the ride pretty good!  

After that, we were beat.  That park did not have a lot of shade and between the Hogwarts castle ride, (which we never fully recovered from) and the Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster, we were not feeling so hot.  When did we get so old?!?!?!? ;o)  Plus we missed our kiddos, we were exhausted and wanted to go back to Paula's house to rest and cool off.  So we did!

Once we got back, Jackson immediately fell asleep on Aunt Paula's couch.  Apparently the boys had a fun day playing with Aunt Paula and Jackson was wore out!

The next day was Sunday, July 20th.  We ended up going to a character breakfast with the Disney Jr cast at Hollywood & Vine Cafe in Hollywood Studios.  Jackson was so excited to meet all the characters.  Even Liam was excited and got in on the action.

After breakfast, we headed to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park.  We were all so excited to go here and as soon as we got there, the park closed due to thunder.  We decided to wait it out and see if it would reopen and this happened...  Rain, lots of rain that didn't stop for a long time.  We got there at 1pm and waited till about 3pm.  We finally gave up since the park closed at 7pm and the rain just would not stop.  We were so bummed.

In the end, we went to go see the Orlando Temple.  That was really cool!

After that, Paula took took us to the Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney's Wilderness Lodge.  This hotel reminded me of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa in Anaheim.  Whispering Canyon Cafe was very unique and fun.  Despite the name "Whispering" Canyon, there is nothing quiet about this cafe.  So don't go here if you are looking for a quiet dinner.  :o)  Diners are given the option to "turn it up" (participate in the fun) or not.  Leave your sensitivity and egos at the door as the waiters will definitely take their "jabs" at you.  All in good fun though.  Jackson kept saying, "our waiter is funny!"  He truly was and had an awesome british accent!  At one point, we needed ketchup.  The waiter announced to the entire restaurant very loudly that, "WE NEED KETCHUP" and 10-20 bottles were delivered to the table by the last guest who needed it.  What a blast!  All in all, the restaurant had really good food, great endless milk shakes and such fun waiters!  The kids were also encouraged to do Pony ride races in the restaurant.  Jackson LOVED that!

Wilderness Lodge

Whispering Canyon Cafe

Lobby of the Wilderness Lodge 

As we were sitting in the hotel lobby, we noticed a bunch of people on a scavenger hunt looking for hidden Mickey's.  Upon further investigation, everyone was looking for a particularly difficult hidden Mickey on the fireplace, so we joined in on the fun and found it!  It was very cleverly hidden.  

On Monday, July 21st, we had to end our fun and go back home. :o(  I am not gonna lie, I was pretty sad about this.  We had so much fun and of course, didn't want it to end.  It truly was one of my most favorite vacations!  It was even better that we got to create such wonderful memories with our kids!  Someone asked me my most favorite highlight of the trip and that was our first night when we were watching the fire works at Magic Kingdom.  Seeing Jackson with his arm wrapped around Liam and they were both so mesmerized by the fireworks was a memory that will always stay with me.  It was such a sweet sight to see and melted my heart.  Creating memories with each other is what it is about!  I am so grateful that we were able to do that and grateful for Aunt Paula for giving us the opportunity to make this trip somewhat affordable for us!  Now it's back to the real world! ;o)  Adios amigos!