Magic Kingdom

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And so we head-off to breakfast, and like everything at Disney, we wait in line…

Heading to Breakfast Heading to Breakfast

We didn’t have much planned at Animal Kingdom today…Fast Passes for “Everest” again, this time it was Adam and me, while Mom and Alex went to the “It’s Tough to be a Bug” show (which Alex loves!). As you can see, Adam has learned where the cameras are, so he can make faces during the ride…

Everest Again

and then, it’s Cindy’s favorite show, “The Festival of the Lion King”…

Lion King

Pomba

We were going to do the “Kilimanjaro Safari” ride, but Cindy and the boys were anxious to get to the pool at the resort, so we left a little early. The pool was really nice…

Caribbean Beach Resort Pool

and so was the beach…

Caribbean Beach Resort

So, while Cindy relaxed and sipped a tropical drink, and the boys ran wild in the water, I slipped-off to the Magic Kingdom to visit the “Hall of Presidents”.

Yes. I went there for that one attraction. Not only is it one of my favorites, I hadn’t see it since they added President Trump. Anyway, I drove to the park, walked to the gate, got on the Ferry to Magic Kingdom, walked down Main Street U.S.A. to Liberty Square and arrived just 15-minutes before the show started.

When I arrived, the Muppets were putting on a show right next door…

Muppets

Soon, the doors opened for the “Hall of Presidents” and the crowd strode in. I had an excellent seat…

Hall of Presidents

and the show was GREAT! As always.

Hall of Presidents

After the show, I walked back out to Liberty Square, down Main Street U.S.A., got on the Ferry back to the gate, walked to my truck, and drove back to the resort. Just so you know, this single attraction journey took about 2-1/2-hours.

Dinner was a BIG BUCKET OF CRAB LEGS at Joe’s Crab Shack and a slice of Key Lime Pie for the birthday girl.

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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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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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This morning we got an early start with a 8:30 reservation at the Crystal Palace on Main Street USA. We caught the first monorail over, none the worst for wear after two whirlwind days at the Magic Kingdom…

Joe and Cin

It’s great to get into the park before it opens to the general public. A great time for a family photo…

The Fam

The Crystal Palace is a great place for kids. The boys love the Winnie-the-Pooh characters that make the rounds there. Notice that Alex is not in the picture with Eeyore…he wanted to meet all of the characters EXCEPT him. I guess he didn’t want the droopy donkey’s “Oh, Bother” to bring him down…

Pooh Tigger Eeyore

After breakfast we headed for the Haunted Mansion to avoid what was going to be a long line as the day progressed. The boys were a little skittish at first, but had a great time with the ghosts and ghouls by the time it was over!

Haunted Mansion

We actually got a lot of rides in today, and the lines weren’t nearly as long as I thought they were going to be. We even rode the Peter Pan ride twice, as Alex simply LOVED it!

I suppose the big milestone for the boys today was their first ride on a roller coaster! They saw the “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” and wanted to give it a whirl, so we checked their height against the little chart at the gate and they made the cut. When the ride was over, they were so excited and wanted to go again, so we got a FastPass and arranged to return in a couple of hours. This time, Cindy hung behind to take a pic or two…

Rollercoaster Rollercoaster

I even got Alex to hold his arms in the air as we went around the track! Adam raised his arms are we rode up the lift, but clung to the rail as we went over the top!

Rollercoaster

With the success of Big Thunder Mountain, I checked-out Space Mountain, but alas, they boys were just a couple of inches too short! Maybe next year!

Taking a break to get something to drink, I caught this sweet picture of the boys together with Alex resting his head in his brother’s lap. Sweet, of course, until you look a little closer and see Adam annoying his brother by sticking his finger in his ear!

Stroller Stroller

And no day at Disney would be complete without some Photopass extortion, but hey, it’s for the kids, right? 😉 Seriously, though, it’s like their meeting their favorite actors!

Stitch Buzz Donald Duck
Goofy Hugs for Jessie

The unanswered question: How could Mickey be over there taking pictures and over here dancing on the stage? I guess that’s why they call it the MAGIC Kingdom!

Castle Performance

As the day wound down, we stopped for a ride on the carousel that we’d had walked past 4 or 5 times throughout the day!

Hugs for Jessie

Time to head home…

Castle Sunset

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Back at Disney! Seems like we were just here! Anyway, here we are, ready for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, that is, naturally, SOLD OUT!

Ready for Disney Sold Out

So, I’m thinking that the park was gonna be EXTREMELY crowded, but it turned out to be no so bad! The ride over on the ferry was pleasant, although Alex wasn’t too fond of the crossing at first. The sun was just going down and painted the sky…

Sunset at Disney

Exiting the ferry, we rented a stroller-cart-rickshaw and started-up main street to secure our place on the street for the parade. Did I say the crowd wasn’t too bad??

Mainstreet

We found the perfect location for the parade: Right at the corner of the turn they make onto mainstreet! Since we had about 1-1/2 hours before the parade started, I held our position while Cindy took the boys on a ride or two. Unfortunately, Cindy adn the boys missed the castle lighting. I saw it of course, as I had been standing with our stroller-rickshaw thing and waving people off our position…

Castle Lighting Castle Lighting

Castle Lighting Castle Lighting

Castle Lighting

After what seemed like FOREVER and almost coming to blows with a couple of would-be usurpers, the parade began. And just as we thought, we had the best seat in the house!

Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade Disney Christmas Parade

After the parade was over, we hit the rides…

Peter Pan, the People Mover (Alex loves this!), Buzz Lightyear, the Teacups…

Teacups

Whoa! I’m dizzy just watching! and the Grand Prix Raceway…

Grand Prix Raceway Grand Prix Raceway

On the way out of the park, we stopped for a picture with the Dwarves…

Seven Dwarves

The boys had a BLAST! Dad didn’t mind it too much, either…

Memories

Tomorrow, we’re off to Disney Hollywood Studios for the boys Birthday Celebration!

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We were up early because Cindy made 8:15 reservations at the Crystal Palace! The boys slept pretty well (after they finally went to sleep), so getting going wasn’t too awfully difficult. We were out the door about 7:30 and off to breakfast. We parked close enough to walk to the Magic Kingdom entrance where we activated our park-hopper passes. We rode the ferry into Disney…

Disney

and made a beeline for the Crystal Palace and breakfast…

The Crystal Palace

Alex and Adam love mixing with the Disney celebrities…

Pooh Bear

Piglett Piglett

After breakfast we started making our way around the park. We went on several rides, like “It’s a Small World” and saw a couple of shows, like “Mickey’s PhilharMagic” (in 3-D). Adam really liked the carousel…

Adam on the Carousel

We made it through Fantasyland and Frontierland, and the boys were ready for a nap (the telltale behavior thing), so we returned to the room for some quiet time. You’d think they’d be ready for a nap, but not these boys, they got a 2-minute power nap on the way back from the park, and were ready for more action. Still, we tried to put them down, hoping for a few minutes of rest ourselves. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and we were getting pretty hungry.

So, we were off to Disney Hollywood Studios for late-lunch-early-dinner at the Backlot, and the highlight of the trip for the boys, a chance to meet Woody and Buzz…

While waiting in line for the Toy Story stars, Cindy and Adam met “The Claw”…

The Claw

Meeting Buzz and Woody

They loved meeting their favorite Toy Story stars. They just stood there staring up at them, then they ran to ’em and hugged their legs…

Buzz and Woody

We did a few other things at Disney Hollywood, like “The Little Mermaid” show, but in the end, it all paled in comparison to the Buzz and Woody experience!

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We were up at 5:00 am to get to the airport by 6:30 (for an 8:00 flight). The boys snoozed for the ride into Philly. We checked in curbside for our Southwest flight, and fought our way through security. We were naturally among the first to board the plane. Me and the boys sat together in three seats with mom just behind. It wasn’t long before the plane began to taxi.

Adam really enjoyed the take-off experience, and giggled non-stop for the ride to altitude; Alex, on the other hand, was literally terrified! He scrambled out of the seat belt, jumped into my lap, clamped his arms around my neck, and buried his face in my shoulder. Every so often he’d venture a peek out the window, and squeeze tight as he saw the earth moving further and further away! All the while, Adam is talking and giggling!

After the plane leveled out and the seat belt sign came off, Alex settled down. We spent most of the flight watching Toy Story 2 on my iPad…

Watching the iPad

The landing wasn’t too bad and Alex actually joined in with his brother in giggling (although he did panic just a bit when the wheels hit the tarmac).

After grabbing our luggage, we headed to National for our mini-van rental. Then we were off to the Magic Kingdom…

Welcome to Disney

We stayed at the Shades of Green Resort…

Shades of Green Shades of Green

Checking in Checking in

After checking in and getting settled (diaper changes, juice cups filled, etc.), we headed out to “Downtown Disney” for a late lunch, a little shopping, and some sightseeing. We ate at “T-Rex,” which is a big, brash dinosaur-themed restaurant. It seats more than 620 people, has a couple of dozen life-size robotic dinosaurs, and real fossils encased in the bathroom walls. The boys had chicken strips; I had a beer…

Downtown Disney T-Rex

After lunch, which included roaring dinosaurs and meteor showers every 20-minutes, we walked through the town. The boys really got a kick out of the Toy Story displays at the Lego store…

Lego Buzz Woody and Buzz

We wrapped-up the day about 6:00 pm. They boys had had a l-o-n-g day; they were very tired, which was readily apparent in their behavior. So, we returned to our room at the resort for baths and bed.

Although the bath went off without a hitch, bedtime didn’t sink-in until after 10:00 pm. By that time, mom and dad were beyond exhausted!

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