June 24, 2008

Vacation Highlights

It would take too long to walk you day-by-day through our Disney World vacation, so I'm going to give you the highlights.

We stayed in a condo for the week. The complex was located about 15 minutes away from most of the Disney parks; Downtown Disney with all its stores and shops was closer by half. The condo had several pools, a putt-putt golf coarse, a tennis court, an activities center, and probably a lot of other stuff we never noticed. We ended up eating at one of the restaurants on the premises halfway through the week, but other than raiding the registration area on a Friday night for free slushies and cotton candy, we spent very little time at the condo. Of course, that's not counting the nights we spent in the pools. After a day of intense heat and near dehydration (well, we could have dehydrated!), the pools were a big hit and something the kids especially looked forward to every night.

The parks. How can I talk about a week of Disney without mentioning the parks? I can't!

We spent 13 hours at the Magic Kingdom on Monday (our first full day in Florida) and still didn't get to see and do everything. It was so hot. More so than any of us anticipated, I think. I don't know how those Floridians stand that kind of humid heat day in and day out. Ick. Luckily, Disney has several rides and shows that take place in air-conditioning. Some of our favorite attractions were Splash Mountain, Mickey's Philharmagic, the Laugh Floor, and the fireworks show.

We also managed to visit Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, DisneyQuest, and Hollywood Studios. A second visit to Magic Kingdom was in order, though, because we hadn't had a chance to ride Space Mountain or visit the Haunted Mansion on our first day. I know! 13 hours and there was still so much we didn't see or do!

Animal Kingdom was probably the least enjoyable park, which stinks because under other circumstances I think it would be my hands down favorite. There were just too many people. Think of the most crowded rock concert you've ever been to and envision the crowd after the show's done. Bodies everywhere, pressing against you, threatening to cut you off from your friends or family members. Yeah. That was Animal Kingdom. We had to be hyperviligiant that day. With five little boys to keep track of, we couldn't take our eyes off them for two seconds. Add to that the intense heat and you can guess how miserable we were. However, there were some definite highlights:
  • I absolutely adored the Finding Nemo puppet production. The fact that it took place on a huge stage in an air-conditioned auditorium didn't hurt, either.
  • I also enjoyed Everest Expedition. Ken and Kellie, not so much. It made both of them feel a bit sick.
  • The animals were simply amazing. The Safari Ride rocked. I have some amazing pictures from that brief ride. (I haven't uploaded them to Flickr yet, but I will!)
  • The silverback gorillas. Wow. Kellie captured this amazing shot (I love the zoom on her camera! It gets much closer than my 18-55mm lens).
  • Funniest Memory of the Day: The baby shat all over my hubby while I was in the restroom and everyone else was riding a water ride. For the record, he handled it very well.
We tried to break up our visits to the regular parks with water parks. It didn't quite work out to every other day, but it was close. My favorite water park was Tyhpoon Lagoon. The wave pool was simply amazing. It was also the prettier of the two parks, even though it had the worst food. I think the most amazing thing there, though, was the chance to swim with the sharks. Here's a photo of me and the boys getting ready to snorkel! Only the baby and one of my nephews didn't make it across the artifical reef. Everyone else went at least once. The water was frigid, but the experience pretty much took your mind right off the fact that you were suddenly freezing.

Probably the least impressive park for my little family of four would have to be Hollywood Studios. This was a great disappointment. I think we had set our expectations a little too high. Of course, perhaps we might have felt better about the attractions if we had seen more of them. We didn't make it to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectatular, which was high on my list. However, we did watch the Beauty and Beast musical, rode on the Tower of Terror, and watched a pretty thrilling Lights, Camera, Action stunt show. (Again, I've not uploaded any of these pictures...I'll try to add more photos to my Disney set tonight).

Wow. This is getting lengthy.

Time to say farewell for now I think.