Friday, June 24, 2011

Disney Vacation Part 5-Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios under the Sorcerer's Hat at night-Lucas, Natalie, Me, Matthew, Derrick

Ahh, finally the end of our Disney vacation documentation. I'm relieved to have it all just to order my blog into a book and the pictures to scrapbook...need to get on that.

Our time at Hollywood Studios was on a super hot day, but the boys waited patiently for the Star Wars Motorcade. Yes, we were there for Star Wars Weekends again, and the new Star Tours Ride had also opened recently. So, it was busy. But, they saw some Star Wars characters, rode Star Tours for what seemed like umpteen times, and had a blast.
Lucas and Matthew outside of Rockin'Rollercoaster

We started with the Rockin Rollercoaster. I loved it. I loved the music, the ride itself, and the Aerosmith theming of the whole ride. It was super cool and super fast! Then we made our way to Toy Story Mania. While Derrick, the boys, and the Goldens went on Toy Story Mania, Natalie and I did the Adventures of the Little Mermaid show. L.O.V.E.D it...and so did Natalie. Ariel is my fave, and The Little Mermaid is my favorite animated Disney movie. So, of course I had to share that time with my daughter. We all met back up and headed to the Art of Animation, where they show you how they decide upon and animate characters. Especially Matthew loved it. The kid loves to draw, and was super thrilled with his Draw Disney Characters book we got him as a souvenir. Whatever works, right?
3 sets of twins in one place-Dale, Matthew, Mason, Nate, Lucas, Chip

When we came out of the Art of Animation, we were in a room with a ton of characters to meet. There were also animation simulators and games to play.
Mickey has a hug for Natalie.

So, that kept the boys entertained while Natalie hung out with Pooh. As soon as Pooh stepped into his greeting spot, the girl couldn't hold still. So, we met Pooh, and played peek a boo and giggled. It was fun. Since the boys were entertained with finding their animated character personality-Matthew is Jafar as far as personalities go by the way-Natalie met Sorcerer Mickey. This was a more fun greeting than the one at EPCOT. This Mickey played with her, gave her hugs and kisses, etc. It was fab.
Mickey letting Natalie kiss his nose. It was so sweet.

We did the Star Tours ride a few times, the Backlot Tour, and then decided it was time for a swim break. So we all headed back to our resort for some swimming and chilling out. Hollywood Studios was open until midnight or so that night, so we went back to finish our our fun. The boys rode Star Tours AGAIN, we did the Great Movie Ride-which is way cool. And Derrick did Tower of Terror and Rockin Rollercoaster again with the Golden twins. While they were doing that, the boys and Natalie and I shopped a bit, got a snack, and hung out on Sunset Blvd.
Natalie running up to Pooh. Literally running.

It was a great trip, and we can't wait to go back. Since we're probably going to the beach with my family next year, we'll be back in 2013 and the new Fantasyland will be up and running. That should be awesome!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Disney Vacation Part 4-EPCOT

Matthew, Lucas, Derrick, Natalie, Me outside of Spaceship Earth

I know, the Disney saga continues. But, can you imagine how long of a post it would be if I tried to get all of our trip into one the pictures! Oh, my, my! I don't even want to think about it. Anyway, moving on to EPCOT. EPCOT was worth two days of our park tickets. We can typically breeze through it in one day, but the boys are so into science and learning, etc., that we did it in two days.
Lucas in Germany.
First of all, we had to seriously talk them into Test Track. They didn't ride it last year because for some reason they thought it was too fast and scary from when they were four. Whatever. I took them on it while Derrick stayed with Natalie...and then they rode it about three more times the two days we were there. Loved it.
Lucas, Me, Matthew, Natalie, and Derrick at EPCOT
So did I, but I'm glad they actually loved it, too. Another ride we did this time was Soarin. Ok, it was WAY cool. It's a hanglider fight simulator that takes you over the California natural features. Like orange groves (and yes, you can smell oranges), the mountains, snow hills, some parks, and the beach. I could seriously feel beach sand and salt on my face and feet as we were going through that part. It was amazing. And of course, the end, you end up at Disneyland and you're so high up in the "air" that you're eye to eye with the fireworks. So awesome.
Jacque, Natalie and Mason-this is what we see at the exit of Soarin.
Of course, we come off of Soarin, and Jacque is sitting with Natalie and Mason, both kids passed out asleep. Too funny. We hit the World Showcase and browsed our way through the countries. I love me a German pretzel in Germany...ahh, it's so fabulous. And while the boys were doing the Kim Possible Scavenger Hunt in Mexico, I indulged in a Margarita. Yeah, of course I did!
Lucas and Matthew trying on sombreros in Mexico.
The Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure was fun for the boys. They give a Verizon phone that is programmed to give you clues as you search around the particular country for the villain. When you find the clue, you point the phone at it and press OK, and then it talks to you, or gives you a code to enter (like 3 pinatas lit up with numbers under them to type in for a code). In a way, it was sort of creepy, but the boys loved it. We had some killer ice cream cones in France, and the boys were super cute trying on sombreros. We also rode The Land-the growing and farming ride-and the boys made their own paper and video games.
Mason, Matthew, and Lucas recording their victory dance at the end of their video game.
It really is a fun park, and their favorite thing is riding Spaceship Earth-the big "ball" at EPCOT. I love the NEMO and Friends ride, of course, and Derrick's favorite is Imagination with Figment. Natalie, she just chilled out in the stroller and was along for the ride. She did meet the Mouse while we were there...totally fun.

Matthew making his own paper.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Disney Vacation Part 3-Magic Kingdom

Matthew, Derrick, Natalie, Lucas, and I at Magic Kingdom

We had five day park tickets, so we spent the first and last days at Magic Kingdom. It's totally our favorite park. Day one, we were there from about 10 am to 10 pm. We just went through the park, starting with the boys' favorite, Adventureland. This is where Aladdin's Carpets, the Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean are. They L.O.V.E the pirates ride. I admit, it is rather fun. Our first ride of our whole vacation was Aladdin's Carpets.

Natalie, Derrick, Matthew, and Lucas on Aladdin's Carpets.

I took the kiddos on since the wait was only about five minutes, while Derrick found a place to park our stroller and kind of make a plan for the morning. It was so fun. Natalie loved the rides. She didn't cry on anything or let anything scare her. She especially loved Pooh's Adventures and Peter Pan's Flight. She just pointed her fingers, "oohed" at everything and kept saying "this". She's a laid back kid when it comes to that kind of stuff. We grabbed a quick lunch, then did a fastpass for Splash Mountain and hit the Haunted Mansion and did a little bit in Fantasyland. It was so nice to be relaxed about our trip, and just hit the fun things we've loved in the past...and add in one or two new rides that the boys wouldn't do before like Splash Mountain and Haunted Mansion. Of course, they had their favorite treats-the Mickey ears ice cream bars.
Natalie, me, Lucas, and Matthew on the tea cups.

The first night we were undecided as to whether or not we'd stay for the Electrical Parade. It's Derrick's favorite of all the Disney trip, but staking out a spot and then waiting for like 45 minutes isn't our idea of fun. So, we went into a few shops on our way out of the park. As we were leaving a shop, Derrick told me to go out and if there was a spot to get one for the parade, and if not, he'd meet me at the gate.
Lucas and Matthew at the top of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.

Yep, there was a spot-a perfect one actually, behind a lady who was sitting on the curb with her daughter. I pulled the stroller in behind her and we were set. We only waited about 15 minutes for the parade, and I'm so glad we did. It's really magical to watch that, and see how excited the kids were to see it-even Derrick loves it.
Mason, Lucas, Matthew, and Nathan in jail with Zurg after riding Buzz Lightyear.
On our last day at Disney, we went back to Magic Kingdom with our friends, the Goldens. Jacque and her twin boys happened to be on vacation at Disney the same time we were, so we spent a few park days with them. We met up with them later in the morning, and the kids were able to ride together, or she'd stay with Natalie so we could take Matthew and Lucas and her boys on a ride.
Natalie playing with honey bees while waiting for the Pooh ride.
Natalie riding Dumbo with Matthew and I.

It worked out so great. We made our way around, doing some of our favorites again. The best part was when the boys rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad-a rollercoaster. They aren't the hugest coaster fans, and it took some talking and some peer pressure from the Golden twins to get them to go. They came back all smiles, claiming they'd had their hands up the whole time and wanted to ride again. Awesome. We started the boys on pin trading this year, and it was very cool. Apparently, this is a huge deal-like coin collecting, etc.-but they thought it was fun to trade with castmembers and see what pins they would get in return. They wore their lanyards everywhere, and by the end of the trip, I think only Lucas had an original pin that had come with his lanyard left. They can trade twice with castmembers, and the castmember has to let them pick which pin to trade. It was neat to see some of them interact with the castmembers and be excited about their trades.
Matthew and Lucas making their first pin trade.

Natalie was all about the Dumbo ride-and I was all about taking her on it :). She totally loved it, and the tea cups. I rode the tea cups again with the boys-without Natalie-and they had a high time of making mommy so dizzy. The things I do for the kiddos. We left Magic Kingdom fairly "early"-like around 5, to get back to the room and finish packing before meeting the Goldens at Downtown Disney for dinner. We met them at Wolfgang Puck, and had our last Disney dinner.