Monday, February 28, 2011

While you're waiting...


...while you're waiting for updates from our whirwind trip to Disney World...here's a few photo highlights. I have a backlog of dirty laundry and unpacked suitcases to get to in the meantime.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Downtown Disney to Minneapolis

Lounging in the FL sun.

We scrapped our original plan of hitting Sea World on our last day, and opted instead for a relaxing morning by the pool (high 70's!!) and lunch in Downtown Disney.

We ate at Captain Jack's Seafood restaurant, and enjoyed a beautiful view of the water.Outside the HUGE Disney store. Grandma Mary picked out a surprise for Alex and Justin while they were browsing.

Walking back to the hotel. Alex is holding her gift from Grandma Mary-- a baby Marie (see EPCOT day).By 2pm we were packed up, dressed for the airport and on our way home. We posed for one final 'Disney' photo before boarding our 5pm flight. Justin and I got to take Dave's first class ticket again (soooo nice) and Dave and Alex enjoyed a little in-flight DVD action before she fell asleep on his lap (first time since she's been about 8 months old!). We arrived back at the house around 10pm, exhausted but successful!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Magic Kindgom- Preschool Style

The rest of our day was planned out by RideMax (shameless plug for the best invention EVER). Despite it being a Saturday, we never had to wait in line for more than 10-12 minutes! Here is a recap of our day-- While Alex and I finised up breakfast, Grandma Mary, Daddy and Justin were able to snag primo spots in the coveted 'Dumbo' line. By the time we were done eating (9am) the wait was already up to 45 minutes!

Mama and Alex rode the Mad Teacups-- she was a great driver!

Justin's favorite ride of the day was definitely Small World. Alex enjoyed it too, but he was mesmerized by all the lights and music!

We followed that with a ride on Cinderella's Carousel. Alex chose this ride to make her 'solo Carousel riding' debut. Daddy got to ride next to her on another horse!


[Insert very tired children here]. We attempted to take a break in Mickey's Philharmonic (a 4-D movie). I thought it would be the perfect place to nurse the baby and take a break from the sun (it was hot!). Alex did not agree. We left shortly after the movie started-- too much for her to take in!


[Insert tempertantrum here]. Really. Full blown running away from Mama and Daddy. Thank you again Grandma Mary for being with us to care for the baby when we were dealing with overtired, overstimulated Alexandra!!


[Insert snack here]. Much better.

Winnie the Pooh ride was a BIG hit, too. We had a Fast Pass so we basically walked to the front of the line....nice!!!

Lunch at the Cosmic Ray Cafe and then one more trip on the carousel before going back to the hotel to swim and rest. Mama and Daddy got to hit the Magic Kingdom again in the evening while Grandma Mary attended to the troops back in the hotel room.

Breakfast at the Castle

Princess Alex awaiting her 'carriage'

Alex and I headed out before everyone else this morning to have breakfast with Cinderella at the Magic Kingdom. She carefully got on her Mama-made Fairy Princess dress, flower crown and gloves and eagerly awaited the arrival of our 'carriage' (white taxi). We were there at 8am to see the train roll into the MK Station with all the characters on it. We let the crowd shove their way through the turnstiles and pass before going in, and we got some photos that makes it look like we were the only ones in the park!Preparing in the hotel room. I had to wake her up today so we could leave the hotel by 7:15am. She was so exhausted from yesterday's activities that she actually told me "I think I didn't get enough sleep". Something she's NEVER said before in the morning!The early arrival was worth it, though. We checked in, received our 'invitation' and got to see Cinderella for another complimentary photo (what are we going to DO with all of these??). Then we started up the spiral staircase to the dining hall. Our meal was lovely-- fresh fruit and pastries greeted us at the table. Alex received french toast sticks and I got the stuffed french toast (yum!) while the princesses paraded from table to table. They all commented on her unique and beautiful dress (*bow*) and seemed genuinely surprised to see a homemade dress! (We were surrounded with Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique dresses) Had I known that the princesses for breakfast would be the exact same princesses we met yesterday, I probably would have not booked breakfast (which was a fluke that I was able to get it at all-- it normally books fully a year ahead of time, but someone had obviously just canceled when I tried for tickets!). The princesses were all very kind, but this breakfast seemed a bit more 'rushed' than lunch yesterday did. That being said, we had a wonderful Mama and Alex morning.Her favorite part of the whole morning was the 'Wishing Ceremony'. They had the children all wave their magic wands and make a wish. Then, all of a sudden, due to the power of combined wishing, the lights twinkled!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A World Tour


After the exciting lunch, we took some time to decompress by the beautiful EPCOT lagoon. Justin nursed while Alex enjoyed watching some ducks waddle around. The weather was gorgeous and in the shade it was the perfect temperature!

When we were done resting we headed to Mexico, to ride the Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride. Alex loved it-- even though the inside of the Mayan 'Temple' was dark, there were video screens where Donald and his 'Three Caballero' amigos would appear. We also got to meet Donald Duck, and Alex gave him a big hug- "he was SO fluffy!!" We visited China, where Alex got to decorate a fan and meet Mulan.In France, however, was a character that soon became Alex's favorite. She hadn't ever seen Marie (the girl kitten from Aristocats), but fell in love with her INSTANTLY!! By this time, we were all getting tired. Justin needed to eat again, so we found a lovely little bench by the lagoon and enjoyed the Florida weather before packing up and heading back to the hotel around 2pm. Dinner was takeout from the hotel restaurant and an early bedtime of 6pm.

Mulan

Now Announcing- The Royal Family Marotz

...is how we were seated at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. This experience was SO much more than I anticipated (and the one I'd recommend to ANY families with princesses visiting Disney World). I booked our reservations in mid-December, and was able to get a 12:15 seating for 5!
As we walked in we saw Belle, in her full yellow ball gown. I didn't realize it but we received a complimentary photo of Alex visiting her (plus all the photos and videos you can take). She was the most gracious, lovely princess! Both Mary and I were so pleased and excited by her total attention on Alexandra. She also came over and made a point of talking to "our little teapot" :-)

"Mama, I see a PRINCESS!!!"

After placing our orders (you have a choice of 3-4 hot entrees), we enjoyed a cold buffet- salads, meat, cheeses as a first course. After sitting and eating (who are we kidding...Alex did NOT eat much as she was scanning the room for princesses) we started receiving our first 'guests' at the table.Cinderella was the first to come by. She was beautiful and chatted with Alex about mice and slippers. After she signed Alex's homemade autograph book, it was time for the Royal Princess Parade, where all the kids were invited to form a line and parade around the restaurant. She glommed on to Cinderella and followed right behind her :-)

video

After the parade, Ariel was the next Princess to come to our table. She was a gem! Alex was noticeably overwhelmed (wouldn't make eye contact, kept fidgiting with her shirt), and instead of being pushy or ignoring it, Ariel knelt down next to her and talked with her in a very quiet voice about seaweed pizza. For the rest of the meal, every time that Ariel would pass our table she'd give Alex a little tap on the shoulder and smile at her.Aurora and Snow White followed in the line up as we received our entrees. Both very nice princesses as well. Dessert came after, and as Justin was just about ready to eat himself the two of us excused ourselves while Grandma Mary, Daddy and Alex finished their meal.
Wow-- talk about an adrenaline rush!!

Lunch with the princesses

EPCOT!

We got up bright and early to catch the hotel shuttle to EPCOT. Alex was VERY excited, and spent the twenty minutes we waited for the bus running back and forth across the front of the hotel. I'm so glad Grandma Mary was with us because we did have a few 'overexcited' moments when waiting for the gates of the park to open. So many emotions for a three year old to deal with! When Mama and Daddy ran in line to ride Mission:Space, Alex relaxed and regrouped by the dancing fountains. She also marveled at the green grass and beautiful flowers! While other kids were racing by, grasping light-up wands and Mickey Mouse hats Alex was busy collecting dropped blooms.We went to the Nemo & Friends ride, which we had prepped for by watching ride-thrus on YouTube. She had been excited about it, but got a bit nervous when it came to walking in. Alex and I ended up doing the 'baby swap' while Justin, Daddy and Grandma Mary hopped on. When they disembarked then I got to jump right to the front of the line and ride on my own. Good thing, too-- there were definitely 'jumpy' parts that would have scared the pants off of my little girl! We headed over to The Land to take a boat ride. Alex was excited for this one, and enjoyed the tour of the farm. We were scheduled to visit Figment on the Imagination ride, but decided to call that one off as well, and just head over to our main reason for visiting EPCOT-- lunch with the Princesses at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.