I know I will not be able to convey to you, my reader(s), the absolute joy that was experienced by all. Even in the past 10-15 minutes, as I was going through the HUNDREDS of photos, my eyes were tearing up at the memories made. My ONLY regret about this is that I don't think I will be able to convince hubby to take us every year.... but I'm going to try.
DS #3 watching fireworks.
I will do my best to share some pics that are meaningful, plus a few anecdotes. I think this will actually be better than giving a day-by-day run down. OR, maybe I'll end up doing both. I don't really know.... just keep reading. =)
Our trip started the first Friday in December. My kids didn't know what was coming. We dressed them, packed their lunch, and shipped them off to school, just as we do any other day. However, once attendance was taken, we pulled them out. Thanks to the help of some friends who work in the office, we were able to make this a wonderful surprise. We had the kids (one-by-one) called out of the office. It sounded something like this:
"We need DS #1 to come to the office. He is leaving for the day. He is going to Disney World."
At that, the speaker was left on so we could hear the reactions from the other kids. "AHHHHHHH!!!!" Total. Coolness.
We did that for all three. We then went to the house for a potty break and to change clothes. They never even noticed that we were packed for 6 people the whole week prior (10-day's worth of clothes, I might add.) It was awesome.
We drove... an 18 hour drive in all, but honestly, it wasn't bad. And when you consider the major loot we saved by purchasing a bottle of Benadryl vs. 6 round-trip plane tickets.... well that, my friend, is some considerable moolah.
So we didn't stay at a resort. Again.... major moolah. The world didn't stop spinning. We don't feel like our Disney experience suffered. We had our own vehicle, stayed right across the street from Down Town Disney AND had free lodging, thanks to hubby's job perks. We probably got out for about 50% of the average Disney vacation for a family our size. (Just guessing, of course.)
We went to Animal Kingdom, Disney Studios, Magic Kingdom and Epcot over the course of 6 days. (We drove for 2 days either side of our stay.) We woke up early and went to bed late each night, save one. We were totally worn out. But, the kids were troupers and did so well. I'm proud of them. We had a blast.
Some of our fondest memories:
Did you know a 41-inch 4 year old can ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror? Hee hee..... yep. This is probably the best story, but I need to lay a little background.
My 4th son calls hotels "Abilenes." Yes... Abilene... as in the city in Texas. Why? Easy... his first memory of staying in a hotel was in Abilene.
"Daddy? Where are we going?"
There ya go.
So, we get on the TZTT. We go strap into the elevator. Go up, up, up. I get a good grip on said young'un, as I know he is about to freak out. Lights go out, we drop. Go back up. We drop. Repeat. Repeat. The whole time, my baby is screaming.
We come to a stop. EVERYbody lets him off first, since he is tearing out of his seatbelt yelling, "We have to get outta here!"
As soon as I step off, he collapses against me in tears. Why is this the best memory? Because of the following...
He says, "This is NOT a safe Abilene! I want to go to a DIFFERENT Abilene!" LOL
Then, later that night, he looks at me with THE most serious look and says, "Momma! If duh man says, "Duh elevator is ready for you." DON'T GO! It is a spooky ride!" HAHAHAHA!!!
That was the 2nd day. After that, he would put his head down and close his eyes during every ride that took us into a tunnel of some kind. He would also look for seat belts to determine if the ride was OK.
My 3rd son probably got the most out of the trip. He love, love, LOVED every bit of it. He was a madman, asking to get on the TZTT again. He loved Space Mountain and anything else that went "Super-duper fast."
My oldest, bought a Goofy hat. We were in one of the shows that is interactive. Well, my oldest had his noggin put on the big screen when one of the "jokesters" said, "First, let me show you something really goofy." This is focusing on the kid who does NOT like to be focused on. It totally made his day, and he still reminds me of it, from time to time.
My 2nd son really got into everything, too. He realized he wasn't going to die if he rode a roller coaster. He is now chomping at the bit to get into Six Flags, knowing that those rides are small taters compared to what he did at Disney. The cool thing for him was that his birthday was at Disney. He got a button that said "Happy 9th Birthday, DS #2." All of the cast members would tell him, "Happy Birthday." He also got a $68 gift card FROM Disney to spend on whatever he wanted. I don't know about you, but I think that is totally cool.
One night, we went to Epcot and ate dinner in "Germany." Well, they had a Polka band and some little kids were dancing on the floor. My 3rd said, "Can anyone dance?" I told him that yes, they could. I then asked if he wanted to dance. He said, "No." Well, a few minutes later, he wanted to go and asked me to go with him. I went and we twirled around a few times when suddenly it was like "Saturday Night Fever" took over. He pushed me back, threw his hands in the air and twisted and turned. He did cartwheels (as well as a 6 year old boy can) and mule-kicks. He even attempted a wee bit of break-dancing as he sat on his rump and spun around. I cried from laughter that night. It was great!!!
THEN, the band started to play the Chicken Dance. My 3rd yelled, "I KNOW THIS!" And was a VERY animated chicken.
We didn't check our computer, we didn't talk on the phone. It was a long-awaited, well-deserved, family vacation that I hope to repeat soon and often. Can we, Honey? PLEEEEESE???
Following are just a few pictures. I might caption a few. Some speak for themselves.
Mom and DS #2.
DS #3 watching fireworks.
These joyous smiles were common. Note the shirt... it is no longer "soccer monster" that is a daily wear, but Thomas.
#3 with his favorite Disney characters: Leo and Annie
Dad and 3 of the boys in "Andy's Room" at the Toy Story ride