Disney World

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Storms are in the forecast today, so we make a short day of our visit to the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow, otherwise known as EPCOT. The nice thing about having annual passes to Disney is you don’t feel like you have to get in as much “fun” as you can while you’re here. After all with a day pass, once the day is over, so is your fun. We’ll often visit one of the parks for just a few hours, then spend the rest of the day at the pool or doing some other activity. We love the flexibility it brings.

Anyway, we slept in a bit this morning, but the weather was pretty nice, so here we are…

Adam at EPCOT Alex at EPCOT

There’s a new “Frozen Ever After” ride in Norway in the world showcase we wanted to experience. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get FastPassed, so I waited in line while Cindy took the boys on something else. The wait was almost an hour, and Cindy and the boys arrived just in time to get on the ancient Norwegian boat for the ride through Arendelle (which essentially was a Fast Pass for them, right–Dad, the physical Fast Pass).

The ride was interesting (and fun) and wasn’t your typical Disney animatronics…

Anna and Elsa

Alex at EPCOT

When the ride was over, the boys wanted to go again, but I wasn’t up to waiting another hour in line (Dad-as-Fast-Pass duty gets old pretty quickly). So, we had lunch in China (next to Norway, of course) and then toured the World Showcase for a bit. It was clouding up by this time and the thunder was rumbling. We decided to make our way to the exit before the storm made it to the park.

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing games in the hotel room. This evening, we had a great dinner at Delmonico’s, where the inside of the men’s bathroom door says, “Women”, which momentarily threw me for a loop!

Delmonico's

HA!

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So, it’s Day 2 of our long Disney weekend and today we took in one of the water parks: Typhoon Lagoon…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

We’ve never taken advantage of Disney’s water parks before, so this year I included them in our annual passes. I’m glad I did because we had a blast! That was, of course, after we were through taking pictures…

Entering Typhoon Lagoon Entering Typhoon Lagoon

and a couple more…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

One with a frame…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

And finally, the FISH HEAD…

Typhoon Lagoon Entrance

So, we F-I-N-A-L-L-Y get to the beach and set-up our chairs…

Chairs

then we hit the pool…and not just ANY pool, it’s one of the world’s largest outdoor wave pools! It actually knocked me down and carried me several feet! We LOVED it!

Boys at Typhoon Lagoon Typhoon Lagoon

Mom and Alex

Dad and the boys

There were also several waterslides, one was family sized and we all road in it together. Alex was especially fond of this one…he liked it so much we had to ride it twice!

Big Raft

We actually closed-down the water park!

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Summer is in full-swing, so that means (at least) a couple of trips to one of our favorite place on Earth: Disney World. So, we arrived at our Hilton Grand Vacations resort about 3:00 this afternoon, unpacked, and hopped back in the family truckster to head over to the Magic Kingdom.

Given that we were arriving late in the day, there wasn’t the huge crowd of people entering the park, which made for a smooth and rapid entry to Main Street!

Family at Magic Kingdom

The boys even got to meet on of the famous Disney celebrities on the way in, and Adam, as usual, isn’t thrilled about having to stop for pictures…

The Boys and Tink

We had a couple of Fast Passes this evening…the first one is split between Space Mountain for me and Adam and the Buzz Lightyear ride for mom and Alex (since mom and Alex don’t really care for Space Mountain)…

Next to the People Mover, this is probably Alex’s favorite!

Buzz Ride

While Adam is the roller coaster king (and his dad is the jester :-))

Space Mountain

We also had a passes to The Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, which lately have been hard to get! The last couple of times we’ve visited the Magic Kingdom, we were unable to get Fast Passes for this ride. Alex was very disappointed during our last visit because we couldn’t ride, you’d think he’d have been thrilled this time! Well, he was until we got ready to board, then he had second thoughts. He still went, but he wasn’t too happy…

The Mine Train

The fireworks started just as we got on the Mine Train and it was really cool watching them from that vantage point! After it was over, Adam naturally wanted to go on again, while Alex said he’d had enough! So, we just sat back and watched the fireworks over Beast’s castle…

Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks

It was a GREAT show!

Fireworks

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This weekend, while I enjoyed (??) a Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Cindy and the boys met Jess and her family in Orlando for a mini-vacation. Today, they started with a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious breakfast at Disney’s Grand Floridian, then will be moving on to Animal Kingdom.

Here’s the gang with The Mad Hatter…

Mad Hatter

And Kameran and Kalie don’t seem to mind the rather creepy looking Mary Poppins, but Cater John is a bit leery…

Mary Poppins Mary Poppins

Oliver was thrilled to meet Pooh, and A2 always enjoy hanging-out with Tigger…

Pooh Tigger

So, how do you top this breakfast adventure? How about a day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Animal Kingdom

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It’s been a while since we’ve been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Of the four theme parks that make-up Walt Disney World, this is Cindy’s favorite. The first event of the day? Riding the Expedition Everest roller coaster!

Mt Everest Bridge

One of the shows can’t miss shows here is the Festival of the Lion King. We had Fast Passes for this and our seats were great! And for the show’s Grand Finale, Alex was asked to join-in!

Alex Lion King Alex Lion King

Too cool!

Alex Lion King

INTERLUDE: Something I never noticed before carved into the Tree of Life…it’s Cthulhu. Which, of course, no one appreciates, but me.

Tree of Life Cthulhu

Lunch today was at the Tusker House Restaurant. The food was great…probably the only place at Disney where you can get curry! And our Disney pals stopping by the table just enhance the experience…

Mickey Goofy
Daisy Donald

In the afternoon, we had a Fast Pass for the Kali River Rapids. The last time we rode this, Alex and I got soaked! This time, we change into our swim suits. Except me…I use a poncho!

Mom and Boys

After our trip down the rapids, during which I’m happy to say, we stayed pretty dry. We visited Baloo and Looie…and Louie’s antics were hilarious!

Baloo and Louie Baloo and Louie
Baloo and Louie Baloo and Louie
Baloo and Louie Baloo and Louie

On the way out of the park, after an exhaustingly FUN day, we stop for a final photo or two. And as is often the case with TWINS, no matter how many pictures you take, you can’t get the perfect pose from both of them in the same picture!

Boys x 4

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We’re taking a break this weekend and spending a couple of days at the Hilton Grand Vacations Resort in Orlando. Right down the road from Disney, we kicked-off the day at the Magic Kingdom.

This picture of Mom and Adam on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train sums-up the day pretty well (one of these days, Cindy’s gonna lose he phone! 😛 )

Mine Train

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It’s DAY TWO of our Star Wars Weekend and at the top of the agenda is Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. This is the last in our year-long pursuit to ride all of the Disney roller coasters. This one was BY FAR my and Adam’s favorite…mom and Alex, not so much.

Rock n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith

I mean, not only did we get to listen to Aerosmith, THIS THING WAS FAST!! Oh, and as Adam wouldn’t stop talking about, it had a loop-the-loop.

Riding the Rock n Roller Coaster

After we recovered from the roller coaster, we took a break and had some pictures taken…

Our Family

and with a little Disney magic, the boys are fighting Darth Vader!

Adam fights Darth Vader

Adam fights Darth Vader

While we were walking back to the Star Wars side of the park again, we witnessed Boba Fett, as her prepared to blast-off to Tatooine with Han Solo encased in carbonite.

Boba Fett

I couldn’t resist getting a picture of the boys loitering outside a shop on Tatooine. Evidently, Alex is using the Force to push-off some stormtroopers.

Tatooine Boys

Of course, the Empire was EVERYWHERE and questioning EVERYBODY! The boys couldn’t avoid being stopped and questioned…these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Empire Questions

Finally as the day was coming to a close, we had dinner with Disney Star Wars characters at Hollywood and Vine. The food is good, but the company is GREAT!

Of course, Jedi Mickey greets the boys at the door!

The boys with Jedi Mickey

And Chip-and-Dale Ewoks, Donald the Stormtrooper, and Princess Minnie visit at the table.

The boys with Chip the Ewok The boys with Donald the Stormtrooper The boys with Princess Minnie

and last-but-not-least, was Darth Goofy, who was a blast!

The boys with Darth Goofy

This experience was the icing on the cake of a great weekend getaway! One our way to the car, we turn for a final look at the sun setting behind the Tower of Terror (which, by the way, I have absolutely no intention of riding!)

The sun sets behind the Tower of Terror

Tomorrow, we’ll be heading back home, but tonight the boys can relive their Disney Weekend Adventure in their dreams…

The boys are fast asleep

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As Alice Cooper once said, “school’s out for summer,” and what better way to kick-off the boys summer vacation than Star Wars Weekend at Disney Hollywood Studios! We drove down to Orlando and started-off bright-and-early this morning. We started DAY 1 with the “Legends of the Force” parade. The boys enjoyed watching the Star Wars characters they love so much, like

Jedi Mickey…

Jedi Mickey

the evil Darth Vader and a squad of Stormtroopers

Darth Vader Storm Troopers

the bounty-hunter, Boba Fett and R2D2

Boba Fett R2D2

And their favorite, the dreaded Darth Maul!

Darth Maul

One of the first rides (just about any time we come) is Star Tours. We had a “Fast Pass,” so there was virtually no wait! Afterward, the boys got to buy something in the gift shop. Adam picked-out a lightsaber favored by one of the characters on the Star Wars Rebels cartoons, while Alex chose to construct his own Darth Maul lightsaber…

Alex builds a lightsaber Alex builds a lightsaber Alex builds a lightsaber

Too cool! Of course, then we had to carry it around the rest of the day. We should’ve thought that one through. Anyway, waiting in line f-o-r-e-v-e-r for Alex’s lightsaber, it was time for our next Fast Pass event, Light’s, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show. We had never seen this show before and it was AWESOME!

Stunt Cars

It was LOUD and FAST and the boys LOVED IT!

The boys watch the stunt car show

And what would a Star Wars Weekend be without a little hob-nobbing with the characters. Although he had bravely fought the Darth Maul during Padawan Training, Alex was a little apprehensive about meeting the Sith Lord…

Alex watches Darth Maul

But in the end, he mustered-up some courage, and stood his ground during a face-off with the evil villain…

Darth Maul Face Off

They also got to meet Commander Cody! Although the commander was a little perplexed at their “The Dark Side” tee-shirts…

Commander Cody Commander Cody

but in the end, it was all good!

Commander Cody

It was a very busy day and we can’t wait for the adventure to continue TOMORROW!

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Big surprise! We went to Disney World. Again! 😉 This is the last week of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and the last remnant of the boys’ sixth birthday celebration!

Happy Holidays

First order of business: Disney Hollywood Studios, where we found the day had a decidedly Star Wars focus. Why are the boys smiling? They just finished the Star Tours ride and are sitting atop a “speeder bike”.

Alex Speeder Adam Speeder

Anyway, the highlight of the day was an epic battle with Darth Maul.

Darth Maul Darth Maul

Adam was ecstatic, and grinning from ear-to-ear the entire time!

Adam Trains Adam Fights

As for Alex, he was worried, yet determined…

Alex is worried Alex is determined

Alex is ready Alex is ready

and in the end, his courage shines through…

Alex Courageous

Adam, on the other hand, was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force…

Adam and Alex

Oh, and then we went to the Christmas Party, which was a lot of waiting and crowding, lights and fireworks,

Fireworks

Sitting on the curb and waving…

Waving

and Santa!

Santa

Seriously, though, it was a great night, and I didn’t have to ride on “It’s a Small World”!

SCORE!

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Florida played Alabama today and I had to go to “The Happiest Place on Earth”. Given that the Gators lost the game, I guess this wasn’t such a bad idea after all! 😉

Anyway, here’s the obligatory family-entering-the-Magic-Kingdom photo…

Disney Entrance

Once inside, we headed down Main Street USA and hooked a right to Tomorrowland where I accompanied Adam for his first ride on Space Mountain! Meanwhile, Alex had an important meeting to attend to with Buzz Lightyear, so Mom assisted him with this agenda item…

Space Mountain Alex and Buzz

Next, we waited in a long, long line for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Alex didn’t seem to mind, though…

Alex waits for the Mine Ride

Our goal was to hot all the roller coasters on this trip. So, we made our way to Adventureland and rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railrode, and topped off the day with a ride down Splash Mountain…

Splash Mountain

It was a very, very BUSY and FUN day. Using Disney’s FastPass we were able to enjoy so many rides. Back at the hotel, I reminisced about my trips to Disney as a young boy. Tomorrowland looked a lot cleaner in the 70s; now it seems so cluttered. Instead of a smooth futuristic feel, it looks more cartoonish, like something out of the movie, Robots. I wonder what Alex and Adam will remember of these days 40-years from now?

Tomorrowland

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