Fall Break: The Final Chapter

Fall Break is well behind us now.  In the interest of wrapping up and moving on, days three, four and five have been rolled into this one post.

The morning of Day Three, we hopped a ferry and traveled directly from Ft. Wilderness Resort and Cabins to the Magic Kingdom.  The weather was perfect and it was easy to negotiate through the crowd of fellow visitors.

Per Y.K.’s request, we walked straight down Mainstreet U.S.A. to Cinderella’s Castle.  Though he was disappointed that there were no halls to roam or treasures to behold, each of us appreciated the magnificent mosaic murals depicting the story of Cinderella.

We rode everything we wanted to ride and saw everything we wanted to see – with the exception of experiencing the Swiss Family Robinson’s treehouse (under renovation) and seeing Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.  Word has it that Flynn draws quite a crowd.

From the Magic Kingdom, we caught the Monorail to the Contemporary Resort, then hopped a shuttle to Downtown Disney.  After thorough exploration of the Lego store, we enjoyed dinner at Ragland Road Irish Pub and Restaurant.

The forecast for Day Four was 100% rainshowers.  Yes, 100%.  And I neglected to pack lightweight jackets for everyone, much less raincoats (alas, there is a chink in my Girl Scout armor).  So we forged ahead to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and purchased rain ponchos as soon as we got through the gates.

The ominous clouds lurking overhead only amplified the excitment of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

While the professionals from those two shows were impressive, I must say that one of the “stunt men” from the Studio Backlot Tour completely captured me with his performance.  For my very own Hubby got to be one of the participants in the moviemaking experience that kicks off the tour!  Here he is, on the far right, in action. 🙂

We got in a few more things before the rain finally began to fall.  Then, with ponchos donned, we headed back to Downtown Disney for dinner and souvenir shopping.

I thought this would make a great fascinator . . .

 . . . but the “Mad Hatter” didn’t agree.

The fifth and final day of our Fall Break Adventure was spent at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  Between my daughter and I, I’m not sure which one of us was more excited about visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Luck struck twice (or maybe it was magic) when, like her dad, O.K. was chosen to participate in a show.  As she and I stepped into Ollivander’s Wand Shop for a demonstration, O.K. was immediately spotted by the wizard behind the counter.  He lead her through the wand selection process (remember, “the wand chooses the wizard”).  After a couple of “magical mishaps”, a wand of reed and unicorn hair core chose O.K. 😉

After having a jolly good time in Hogsmead, we joined the boys and toured through Seuss Landing, Jurassic Park and Toon Lagoon.  In our opinion, the Animal Kingdom’s Kali River Rapids have nothing on Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges.  It was the best raft ride EVER, and all five of us got drowned rat soaked! 🙂

We ended our day on Marvel Super Hero Island (a.k.a. The Most Awesome Place On Earth to Y.K.).  Y.K. got to meet his favorite super heros and a few villains, too!

Shooting webs with Spiderman

Powering up with Captain America

Sizing up Dr. Doom (for reference, Hubby is 6′ 6″)

I guess Y.K. wasn’t all that impressed with Green Goblin.

But Y.K. and I both were impressed with Cyclops from the X-Men! 😉

And so our Fall Break Adventure ended on a truly super note.  As should be evident by the photos and commentary in the last several posts, we had a blast.  The memories we made will, indeed, last a lifetime!


Fall Break – Day Two: Headaches, Heartstrings and High Jinks

Wow.  Getting back to reality and regular schedules is a buster!  If I’m lucky, perhaps I’ll finish posting about our fall break by winter break.

Day Two:

Part of our planning for Fall Break included strategizing what days we would go to what parks.  Since we made arrangements to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween the second evening, we figured it would be best to go to a smaller park earlier that day.  Therefore, we decided on the Animal Kingdom (my favorite).

Upon arrival, we made a beeline for Africa and the Kilimanjaro Safari.  I remembered being tremendously impressed with the safari habitat the first (and only other) time we went to Animal Kingdom.  I also recalled the ride being bumpy – but not enough to deter my husband (newly recovered from back surgery) and me (in my first trimester of pregnancy with YK) from taking OK and MK on the expedition.  Funny how some memories fade over time (e.g., the degree of pain that accompanies child birth, the relentless jolting of an open-air safari vehicle).   In addition to pictures included in this post, here is another that I captured between bounces:

Jarring aside, the excursion was great . . . with one exception.  Midway through, OK announced she had a headache.  This could’ve been cause for panic because she gets Complex (or Complicated) Migraines.  While no migraine is simple, this type is particularly alarming in that it can cause symptoms similar to that of a stroke (partial vision loss, slurring of speech, and numbness on one side of the body).  Medicines used to treat “standard” migraines contain agents that could cause permanent damage if taken while experiencing these stroke-like symptoms.  So it is especially important to administer the proper medication as quickly as possible.

Although OK had not had a migraine in three months, I erred on the side of caution and packed her prescription . . . in the backpack . . . with a bottle of water.  I credit maternal instinct and years of Girl Scout training for being so well prepared.  But the true Super Star was OK.  With the determination of a champion bull rider, she held on to the bucking bronco safari truck with one hand while gulping down her med.

When the safari was over, my tough girl said she was game for tackling the Kali River Rapids in Asia.  When the five of us hopped on the ride we were, of course, nice and dry.  By the end, four of us were decently drenched and one was completely water logged . . . poor little YK.  I’m talking drowned rat soaked!  As “luck” would have it there were towels available for purchase at every shop and souvenir stand.  Cute, don’t you think?

Based on recommendations from friends, I had made reservations for lunch at Tusker House (African fare). But with OK needing rest and YK needing dry, well, everything, we decided to cut our time at the park extra short.  Here are my precious monkeys waiting for the shuttle:

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

After warm showers and rest, OK and YK joined MK in getting decked out for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween.

Luigi, Harry Potter (Yes, Harry.  Not Hermione.) and Spiderman

I admit that I was skeptical.  Would the experience really be worth the price of admission?  I’m pleased to say it was!  Disney’s trademark magical atmosphere combined with loads of costumed guests surely makes Halloween the most festive time of year at the Magic Kingdom.  And, apparently, it is the only time of the year that all of the seven dwarfs appear together in the park.

As a young child, I was rather fascinated with all things Snow White (especially the evil queen).  So, as silly as it sounds, I decided that getting a picture with Sneezy, Happy, Sleepy, Doc, Bashful, Grumpy and Dopey was a MUST!  The line was sooooo long that the rest of the family opted to hit trick-or-treating spots while I waited – feeling out of place because, among other things, I was one of a few not in costume.

Just ahead of me in line was a couple dressed as Snow White and the Prince.  Cynical Blake thought it was a bit cheesy.  But when they were finally standing among the dwarfs, I decided their costumes were cute afterall.  Then cute turned into adorably priceless when the Prince suddenly got down on one knee and surprised his Snow White (and the rest of the crowd) with a marriage proposal!  This isn’t the best quality, but I managed to capture the moment:

My family had officially abandoned me by the time I was next in line.  So here I am, looking completely ridiculous.  Is it just me or does it look like I’m goosing Bashful??

And so the report on Day Two ends on a happy (or should I say dopey?) note. 😉

Fall Break – Day One

This past week was Fall Break for my kiddos.  Thanks to five years of accumulating points on a Disney Visa card, the break was spent in Walt Disney World.  Starting with the post The Adventure Begins, I intended to drop hints over several days as to where we were and what we were doing.  But due to some technical challenges, I only got in one more post (Creature Encounters) while we were in Orlando.

Now that the technical issues are resolved and I’m out of vacation mode, the blogging continues.

The picture posted here was taken from the deck of our cabin at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort and Campground (not to be confused with Ft. Wilderness Lodge).   Although it wasn’t as remote as it looks, it was very quite and peaceful.  Space-wise, the accommodations were perfect for our family of five.  The cabin had plenty of elbow room and a fully equipped kitchen.  Had we brought in groceries, Ft. Wilderness would’ve been 100% perfect for us.  However, we utilized Disney’s transportation services and participated in the Disney Dining Plan.  And while those choices were ultimately best for us, the downside was that it was less convenient to get to the dining locations in Ft. Wilderness than at other Disney hotels and resorts.  Since it was a bit of a hike to breakfast, I (and my dear family) was quite thankful to have a full fledged coffee maker in the cabin. 😉  Dining access aside, our stay at Ft. Wilderness was very pleasant.

Day One:

This picture would’ve been the hint for where we spent our first day at WDW.  Can you guess?

It’s Spaceship Earth at Epcot!

As we boarded the shuttle from Ft. Wilderness to Epcot, the driver commented that Epcot stood for Every Person Comes Out Tired.  No truer words have been spoken, friends.

First, we took to the sea with Nemo & his pals.  Then we caught a boat voyage through some amazing green houses, went on a hang gliding adventure across the U.S.A., explored Space on a virtual mission to Mars – and that was just the first half of the day!

Lunchtime was spent at a German Oktoberfest.  Afterwards, we admired colorful architecture as we strolled through China.  Then we took a Viking boat voyage in Norway and hiked through Mexico.

We paused in Canada to get our Off Kilter groove on.

From there, we dashed to the UK where I made a quick phone call. 😉

We caught glimpses  of Mary Poppins in London and Belle and the Beast in France, then it was off to beautiful Morocco.

As the sun began to set and our bellies started to growl, we zipped through Japan to stop for pizza in Italy.  Although everyone in our family likes sushi, we opted for ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness.  And while it did not disappoint, I must tell you that it was pure sacrifice on Hubby’s and my part;  for the International Food & Wine Festival was going on that day.  We were surrounded by tempting morsels and beverages every step of the way around the world of Epcot . . . and for the kids’ sake, we had pizza.

Don’t feel too bad for us, though.  Hubby and I managed to imbibe a little along the way.  It’s probably a good thing we had to be responsible parents.  I suspect for many people the acronym that evening was Epcod.  I don’t have to spell it out, do I? 😉

Jaws, Claws and Ghastly Ghouls

We are back from our Fall Break Adventure!  There is much to share so I will break things down into several blog posts in the coming days.  If you haven’t guessed by now, Hubby and I took Oldest Kid (OK), Middle Kid (MK), and Youngest Kid (YK) to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.  We also visited Universal Studios Adventure Island.

In addition to our Creature Encounters at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we experienced “Jaws” at Disney’s Epcot:

Dinosaurs at Universal Studios Adventure Island:

Dancing Zombies at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween:

Fellow park guests decked out as Disney Villains:

And the scariest of all . . .

Harry Potter (OK), Luigi (MK) and Spiderman (YK)

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