After spending one week at Disney World and one week on a Disney cruise, i'm going to do my best to cram all of that into two posts. These will be my final two posts for the blog after 10 years of regularly writing and posting.
The flight to Florida was smooth and completely forgettable, just the way I like it. We spent our first full day at Blizzard Beach. Other than being surrounded by snow themes and Christmas music while wearing just a bathing suit, I enjoyed the whole experience. One day there was plenty considering how many other parks are around. Not many opportunities to take pictures at the water park because technology and water don't go together very well. Besides, i don't think phones would do well sliding down the summit plummet ride at 50 mph as I bounce off the sides like a pinball machine. Kendra and Layla floated in the lazy river while Easton and I rode the water slides over and over.
Most of my Disney World days can be summarized by this picture where Kendra is leading us through herds of people from one ride to another. Not sure how many miles we got in each day, but Easton and Layla set records on their step counting Vivo Fit Jr. watches.
This is the picture to represent the reason why we saved for two years, planned for a year, and flew across the country. We created many happy memories that will last a lifetime for the twins. Those special moments and experiences were shared by the four of us in ways that couldn't happen in our day-to-day lives at home.
I don't remember why Easton snuggled into Kendra as they conversed, but I had enough time to get my camera out and take a picture. He is definitely a momma's boy who values the connection and comfort between them.
He gives and gets hugs from me too, but we also get to share experiences like shooting things at the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade. I asked Layla to join me for a round of activating animatronic owls, but she was not interested.
The highlight of our week was Pandora - world of Avatar. Of all the parks and attractions, this one captured our imagination and had the best attractions. We waited for the park to open, then ran... i mean walked briskly... to the Flight of Passage ride. The guy behind us in line was too obese to ride so his wife hung out with us through the line and ride. We waited in line for 45 minutes while Kendra took her time getting to the park. The line went by quickly because the scenery is amazing.
After we rode it once, the wait time for the ride was 5 hours. That's not a typo. seriously crazy. Kendra joined us and we used a fast pass to ride it again.
We wore 3D glasses and sat in a motorcycle riding position on the ride vehicles. The wind and mist in the face are very immersive when combined with the movement of the vehicles and the massive screen.
Easton has talked for months about buying (adopting) a Banshee at The Rookery inside Windtraders. He was so excited to finally get one. He picked it out and had it shipped for free to our Kidani village hotel. He had to wait an extra day to play with it, which was tortuous waiting for it to arrive.
Kendra waited in line with us for the Dinosaur ride, but then left before we boarded the vehicles because of the jerky nature described. I'm glad she did because we were whipped around in the jeep-like contraptions. The ride was not anyone's favorite of the week, but the scenery was well done and the dinosaurs were only slightly scary for Layla.
We found a Starbucks coffee at the Animal Kingdom where we treated ourselves to frappuccinos. The kid's didn't contain any coffee, but the unseasonably warm temperatures made these extra tasty.
Kendra's highlight of the trip was the Festival of the Lion King show. Kendra explained her cancer journey to the guest services lady and she gave us a VIP experience that blew us away. We sat on the front row that is only four-butts wide. We were so close to the entertainers that it was hard to get a wide enough picture to show how awesome it was.
Then Kendra and the twins were invited to walk with the dancers around the auditorium.
After the show was over we were invited to join the cast out back where we got to ask questions and interact with them all by ourselves!
They posed for this unforgettable picture and gave us a special certificate as the "family of the day" award. such a top-notch experience.
The Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition ride was pretty epic. Even though we saw many animals outside our hotel window at Kidani Village, going on this ride was a whole new level of up-close and personal with real wild life. Easton's favorite animal was the Wildebeest. I have no idea why other than their odd appearance and large stature.
Layla's favorite was the giraffe because of the spotted pattern and their long tongue.
We did a lot of eating, but not at fancy restaurants. We would grab snacks along the way and park ourselves at a random sidewalk. We ate often and in small doses because fancy sit-down meals are painfully expensive and hard to find seating.
The most nostalgic ride of our week was the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride, seen here in the distance behind us as I kiss Kendra's cheek. We rode the rickety, jostling ride that hasn't changed in the past 40 years. It bounced Kendra around pretty good, but her back and hips didn't take too much abuse. She walked away with a smile on her face and not a grimace or limp, so that was successful.
The famous Cinderella castle makes for the most recognizable pictures that represent family fun. I had to get at least one.
The other one I really wanted was during the Tree of Life Nighttime Awakenings show. What an outstanding display of video and lights and sound.
We took one day at Epcot, which stands for Every Person Comes Out Tired. That's what one of the Disney cast members said. I couldn't agree more. The park is spread around a massive lake. we walked more here than any other day of our vacation. Plenty of opportunities to enjoy food from around the world, like Hawaiian shaved ice.
I talked the twins into posing for this picture because I've done this before in different settings. I just like the way they look hanging out together.
Face painting is something Layla requested long before our trip arrived. Easton didn't really care, but he did it because they had a snake as an option. Layla chose the peacock because of the big palette of colors. It wasn't worth $14 each in my opinion, but the time to be frugal and save a few pennies is not while on vacation.
After a long day of walking forever and back again, we stayed late enough to catch the biggest fireworks show I've ever seen called IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. I didn't bother to video the experience because I wanted to just enjoy it real-time instead of looking through a lens. This is us in our sectioned off, front-row seats with an awesome view. Made the whole evening worth the wait.
We splurged for one big meal during the week at the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Kendra woke up at 4:00am one morning, several months before our trip, to reserve passes and events and seats. The food was not memorable for any reason, good or bad. The decorations and scenes were very well done. This tile art work showing Belle and Prince Adam made for a nice background we could mimic. Easton took the picture because we both wanted to be in one without the twins for a change.
Layla drove me around in a car on the Tomorrowland Speedway ride. Those steering wheels are ridiculously difficult to maneuver. She did a great job considering. Easton was behind us in his own car, but didn't enjoy the experience much at all. I hope they don't have a lasting bad impression of driving by thinking this is the way all cars feel when they bounce around all over the road.
Another special arrangement Kendra set up for us was the primo seating for the Festival of Fantasy Parade. We were in a special section of benches that were roped off right next to the path where the parade came by. The thing behind Layla is a fire-breathing dragon! She liked it, but there were many princesses following the dragon that quickly took her focus.
Every princess and character waved at, smiled towards, and sometime spoke directly to us. It wasn't like a normal experience where there are hundreds of people lining both sides of the parade. This section was like a private show.
Kendra and Easton sat together on the row behind us because the twins were arguing about getting in each other's way. These things happen and it's just real life. The view was just as amazing and Easton wasn't impressed with anything besides the dragon anyway.
We didn't buy much merchandise, but we did lots of window shopping. These two Minnie ears went perfectly with Kendra and Layla's outfits.
We coordinated a few of the days and this was the Mickey and Minnie day for us.
We didn't have much one-on-one time with parent - child outings because we were consistently flocking together as the 4 Webbs. However, Layla and I had fun adventuring together going to the lost and found. Layla accidently left her backpack at the Country Bear Jamboree show, but by the time she realized it we were out of the park. When we went back another day I took her to the lost and found to retrieve it while Kendra and Easton went back to the hotel. On the way there stopped in front of the castle with an awesome sunset view.
Layla did not enjoy the Hollywood hotel ride at Disneyland. She was 5 last time we went and this became known as "the ride that shall not be named" because simply talking about it caused Layla to get upset. Now that she is ten years old we talked her into giving it another try. She did much better this time, but still didn't enjoy the thrills much. Easton is had a blast just like when he was five.
Kendra and Layla only met a few characters during our vacation. lines were long and Layla was only partially interested in talking with princesses. Elsa and Anna are still high on her list of admired princesses so they took time to meet and take pics.
We had the photo pass package set up so we could take pics anywhere in the park by the Disney photographers. It is expensive, but well worth the
Star Wars day was a big hit for us at the Hollywood studios park. We buzzed through this park in about 6 hours and did everything we wanted to do.
With the fast passes we even rode the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster twice! The twins loved every twist and launch, but it was too jerky for Kendra so she waited outside for us.
I'm not sure why Easton looks like he slept through it, but this was our second favorite ride of the whole trip because it is fast and does loops.
We made the most of every day and good use of the time at each park. Kendra planned the entire week perfectly. There wasn't anything we wanted to do or see that we didn't get to. There will never be another time when the twins are this awesome age. They are tall enough to ride all the rides, old enough to enjoy the family experience, and young enough to still want to spend every minute of a week-long vacation as the 4 Webbs.
See you soon!