Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer of Love, part 2

Coming home from Italy was stunning. I wanted to move everyone I love there with me and stay for the rest of my life. I'd get the language books and CDs and become fluent and have the best prosciutto and pecorino Romano every day with fresh olive oil. But the summer needed to move on. We have lots to do in a few months!

With a only a few days to wash clothes and repack plus get the boys packed for the next adventure, I concentrated on the tasks at hand. Then it was OFF to DISNEYWORLD and Universal Studios!! The last time was five years ago when my dad was dying of cancer but some incredibly generous souls from church and friends had gathered enough funds to send Maman, Daddy-O, our family and my sisters and bro-in-law to that wonderful, magical playland. Daddy-O rode every ride he could because as he said, "I already know what will kill me. Might as well have fun!" The boys were very small, 2 and 6, and don't remember that much so the Major and I had promised them we would be taking them back. This would be our Kid Honeymoon, a way to solidify us as a family unit before our move across the ocean.

The boys were nervous getting on the airplane but they calmed down a bit after the ride started. We didn't get into Florida until late since we didn't leave until the afternoon and nerves were running high. Arewethereyet syndrome. We stayed at the Coronado Springs resort on property and it was well worth it. Early bird and late owl hours were available to us at any of the parks and we had incredible service. We spent three days at Universal Studios and four at Disney. Yay, military discounts! Only sad point of the trip was the Oldest hurting his ankle and having to be in a wheelchair for most of the trip, hobbling around. But bright spot meant we got to the front of the line!
Harry Potter ride at Universal was probably one of the best rides we've ever seen! This was in the waiting area and the pictures conversed with each other. Definitely try the Butter Beer. SOOO tasty.

Our hotel, Coronado Springs on it's own little lake. Great waterfall swimming pool too!

Jurassic Park! My dad would have loved this. The ride was fun and the kids got to explore the exhibits.

The Major got to be in a movie! This ride at Universal was set up to take people as actors, make the worst B-movie possible and act as a ride at the same time! Yours truly even got to add her scream of terror!

Most wonderful Lego Store! Giant store with every color, size and shape you can imagine at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Tubs were available to play on boards set up around the store. A barefoot parent's nightmare.

The best way to watch a Disney parade is from the shoulders of a strong man.

The amazing dining room of the new Beast's Castle. The windows were digitally mastered to look like falling snow. The cherubs on the ceiling were pics of actual babies of the engineers who built it. The trick to getting in there is walking up and asking if anyone dropped their reservation. We got in immediately and were even offered specials because of the Kid Honeymoon. Wonderful French cuisine. SOOO worth it.

We WOULD have to pick a trip during Star Wars Weekend. Thousands of extra visitors to Disney Hollywood Studios flock to the park to see reenactments, actors from the movies and animated series and dress up in costume. It's like ComicCon for LucasFreaks. We LOVED it. The boys went to Jedi training school and fought some of the Clone Wars characters! We have tons of pics of those. 

Much of the first part of the trip was spent in the rain as Hurricane Andrea hit Florida. That just meant shorter lines for us and cooler temperatures. We had umbrellas and ponchos and survived by running in the rain and laughing about it. :)

Of course, Star Wars Weekend participation included making our own droids! From left to right: Major's, mine, Youngest and Oldest. You could mix and match legs, heads, bodies, and hats! 

The light and fireworks shows at all the parks were just spectacular. We stayed to watch the Magic Kingdom show twice. It was that good. 

The T-Rex Cafe in Downtown Disney was booked for months out. On a whim after a very wet day, I walked up to the desk, asked if there was a table for four anywhere in the restaurant and we got in within 5 minutes! A-Maz-ING! Definitely try to get in here if you can. Every 15 minutes the entire place saw an asteroid shower and the animatronic dinosaurs all over the place roared! The food was awesome too!

Despite several years of working for Disney and visits to both DisneyWorld and Disneyland, this is the only time I've gotten a picture with the main character. We went to the Lilo and Stitch breakfast Luau at the Polynesian Resort.
Love the Mouse!

We closed out every park we went to every night. Which meant sometimes staying up until 2 am to see everything.

The Major loves us. :) Special package ready for us upon hotel entry. He put so much thought into it!

The trip was so much about the food too. Every day was centered around the places we would eat as well as the rides. This was the crabcakes at Captain Jack's. God, I was stuffed. 

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