Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring Break in Florida: Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Home

Sorry I didn't get this one posted sooner, the computer was being dumb.

On the last Saturday of our trip, we headed to the Animal Kingdom park and met up with Amber. Amber got herself a free ticket for volunteering.
We headed over to the safari first. Many of the animals were pretty active (I guess in the afternoon they like to lie around). It was fun to see giraffes, crocodiles, a lion, flamingos, and other animals a little closer than we often do. It was also great because it was something Kiree could go on. After that ride, she was stuck in the stroller for a while. We took turns going on a raft ride and I got totally soaked. There was basically no line, so Jaide and Amber went on again with Bob. After some clothing wringing, Jaide and Bob went on the Everest rollercoaster. Amber, Kiree, and I went to the Dino area and Kiree and I went on this ride like the Dumbo ride, only with triceratopses. Kiree was so excited about that one. Unfortunately Bob and Jaide were stuck waiting around for us (we thought the line was longer than it actually was and our cellphones were dead by this point). When we met up with them again Amber didn't feel like riding Everest, so she took Kiree while Bob, Jaide, and I used the rider swap ticket to get on. I thought it was a really fun ride and thought the theming made it even more fun. We did a little wandering and took some pictures. Bob saw a sign that said Pooh Bear and friends would be taking pictures so we headed to that line. Kiree was really loving the Pooh Bear doll we had bought her earlier and we thought she just might go for taking a picture with Pooh and not being scared about it. The place where Pooh and Tigger were was kind of off the beaten path a bit and so the line was actually quite short. It was pretty cool, because Kiree actually went up and gave Pooh a hug. She was so happy to see him. Unfortunately, the best picture of this was one that the Disney people took, so I ended up buying the download of it after we got home. Fortunately, Pooh Bear took his break after we got pictures with him instead of before :) Then we got to take pictures with Tigger. We decided that we'd all take a picture with Tigger and it was really funny because Tigger "kissed" us. The costume made this funny kissing noise when he put his mouth near us. It made me laugh, so the picture (Amber took this one with our camera) caught some good smiles. It was Tigger's turn to take a break after our picture with him also, so he headed out along with us and then grabbed Kiree's stroller and bounced away with her. Unfortunately, the camera was in it's case on the back of the stroller at the time, so we didn't get a picture. We caught up and Tigger gave us back our Kiree. We also passed Eeyore (Amber's favorite!) on his way to the picture area.
We took the train ride to the conservation station where the petting zoo is located. The petting zoo had several goats and some sheep, but they all mostly stayed in the shaded "rest" areas. They didn't really want to be petted. I guess there are probably a lot of people who come through there every day. Kiree was way more interested in playing in the gravel/dirt in the petting zoo area than in the animals anyway. In the exhibit building, we ran into Pocahantas and the girls took a picture with her. There was a line for Jiminy Cricket, so we passed on waiting for him (that and the girls don't even know who he is). Amber said she had never seen Jiminy Cricket at Disney before.
We went to the It's Tough to Be a Bug 3D show. It was a little intense, but the girls werent' too bothered by it. The creepy crawly on the seats though was a little disturbing to me (just a little). We also went to the Lion King show and Bob and I went on the Dinosaur ride. The ride stopped near to the end in the dark and some girl yelled, "this isnt' supposed to happen! I've been on the ride lots of times!" and at first I was thinking, "wow. They're really trying hard to make this ride intense." But then several people opened up their cell phones for light and we continued to wait for another minute or two before the ride started up again. We didn't end up taking Jaide on that one. While we were on that ride, Amber bought a soda and my little moochy two year old kept on telling Amber how much she liked soda so she would give her some. Sorry Amber!
We didn't go on any of the walking trails to see more animals. We stuck mostly to the rides and shows. The grand finale of our visit to the Animal Kingdom park was going to Finding Nemo- The Musical. That is the show that Adam and Andrea are in. Andrea was Dorrie and Adam was Mr. Ray and some other characters. We ended up sitting, very, very close to the stage. But it was a really fun show. The actors carry puppets of the characters and so they're acting and singing but also working a puppet. Most of the pictures Bob took are pretty blurry, but this one is one of the better ones. You can see Andrea on the left and Adam on the bike. This was one of Andrea's last shows since she is expecting and starting to show. After the show we met up with Adam outside the theater and got to meet the whole cast. I think the girls were a little confused because they didn't have the character puppets with them. It was a really special ending to our day at Animal Kingdom. Crazy arms!
Crazy hair!
After that Amber headed back home, since she had church responsibilities the next day and she had had her fill of Disney, and we headed over to Epcot. We failed to get a picture of me holding up Space Ship Earth, I should have been much closer to Bob, oh well. We all went on the Nemo ride. It had some of the songs from the show. Kiree was happy for another ride she could go on. At the end of the ride we got to see the aquariums in that building. The manatee observation area was closed, but we did catch a brief glimpse of one manatee that came near the window on the main floor. Bob and Jaide decided to wait in the very long line for Soarin' while Kiree and I went to do something else. The fastpasses were all gone by that point, but Jaide said she had fun waiting in the line (I guess there were some kind of games going on). Kiree and I went on Space Ship Earth. I didn't know that it was even a ride, but after reading about it on the cakewrecks blog, I knew I had to go inside the big ball thing. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a ride kind of like pirates of the carribean, but with the history of people inventing stuff as a theme instead. You go all the way up to the top. The funnest part though was the end. At the beginning of the ride it takes your picture. For some reason, I had my mouth open in this funny sort of smile. Then at the end as you're going back down it makes a little movie about the future using your picture. You pick out certain things and it creates a little cartoon about you in the future. It was really funny with the pictures of Kiree and I. Kiree fell asleep during the ride, so she missed it (it was getting pretty late by this point). I thought Jaide would really like that ride. We went back to the Land (the building where the Soarin' ride is) to wait for Bob and Jaide. It took quite a bit longer than the posted wait time for them to get off the ride. While we were waiting Kiree got a second wind and was running around crazy as were other little kids waiting with a parent for their people to get off the ride. Jaide and I hurried to the fastpass line to use our riderswap but sadly, even that line was really slow. It's a long ride. Jaide was kind of hyper at this point and wouldn't stop talking. She had to tell me all about the ride since she had just been on it with Daddy (same story with a lot of the rides we went on together). I probably would have enjoyed the ride a little more if I hadn't been wanting to take Jaide on Spaceship Earth. It was a pretty cool ride. There's a big Imax screen that shows a movie of flying over California. You ride in this seat that lifts up and gets right in front of the screen. It moves around with the movie and they even blast you with appropriate smells (citrus, pine). When we got off the ride it was closing time. Bob and Kiree had gone on Spaceship Earth and Bob had inadvertently stolen someone else's stroller (it was the same model of stroller as ours, but much newer looking and parked near where ours was) but those people hadn't taken ours. We ended up taking the other stroller to guest services. I hope those people inquired about it, but probably they just went home thinking they got their umbrella stroller stolen at Disney. Jaide was super embarrassed about it. I found that a little funny, but I tried to be considerate of her feelings. I took the girls and waited somewhere else while Bob turned in the stroller. Jaide was sad too that the park was closed and she couldn't go on anymore rides. I guess we'll have to go again some time. We had already been talking the previous day about "the next time we come" so I think we probably will have to come again some time. Next time it will be a lot more expensive. Maybe we can convince my brother and his wife to get acting jobs at Disney :)
We headed back up to Jacksonville and crashed at Amber's place again. We went to Amber's old ward on Sunday and Jaide was excited to be a 'bisitor'. We made Amber's chicken and stuffing casserole for dinner. We liked it so much, we ended up making it at home last Sunday. The girls had a lot of fun dressing up Amber's ducks in all of their outfits at the same time. It was good to have a day of rest after two very full days of Disneying and before a full day of driving home. We packed it up and headed for home on Monday morning. We were really happy to have that cable to plug the laptop into the car power thing. The girls watched several movies and Jaide played computer games during Kiree's nap. It actually wasn't too bad of a drive and we ended up getting home before 9:30 that night.

Jaide is now a Mickey Mouse fan

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April Kid-isms

(We were talking about marriage in the car) J: Before you get married, you have to ask each other if you choose to live happily ever after."

M: (asking Kiree about the fiber one cereal) Do you like that cereal? K: yeah M: It's got lots of fiber-that's good for you. K: yeah, it's got lots of teddy bears.

M: Kiree, why are you wiping peanut butter on your legs?

K: i doan wanna get sunburn

(While Bob was taking a shower at our hotel on vacation) K: daddy's at work!

(At breakfast two days after we got back from vacation, Bob was already at work) K: daddy's pwaying bollyball

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring Break in Florida: Disney's Hollywood Studios

We got to Disney's Hollywood Studios when it opened Friday morning (well, when it opened for non-magical hour people). We took Adam's very good advice and went straight to the Pixar section and got fast passes for the Toy Story ride.

watching some green army men do their thingThey ran out of fast passes pretty fast. When we got to go on it was really fun. It was probably the most fun ride that Kiree got to go on. Next we headed over to the Studio Backlot Tour. We were the first in line for the next tour (we just barely missed one). I was amazed to see how long that line got later in the day. I was really happy that there were things we could all do together. Later in the day we went on more rides that Kiree couldn't go on. She was kind of sad about that. When we finally went to do a rider swap, we found out that it was actually a little pass, like a fast pass, but you could use it for up to three people. That was really nice once we figured it out and had Amber with us the next day!

Some of the "rides" were shows like the Muppet Vision 3-D. It was pretty fun and the girls seemed to like it even though they didn't really know who all the muppets were.After we saw the one show about animation, we waited in line to see the characters from Up. This was probably the longest line I personally waited in during our whole time at Disney. Kiree was not a big fan of the costume character people at this point. She was a little freaked out by the Up people. At least Bob took her around to the displays near the line while Jaide and I waited.

We decided not to wait in another line to take a picture with Mr. and Mrs. Incredible. We still got a picture with them, sort of..

We visited the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area which was kind of cool. We should probably show the kids that movie sometime before they forget this experience. Perhaps we should also explain what a roll of film is- that is what this slide Kiree was going down was supposed to look like. I think they got the gist of the giant supersoaker without too much explanation.

Kiree fell asleep as we were going to the Indiana Jones Stunt Show (and no strollers allowed inside) so Bob ended up taking her around while Jaide and I went to the show. It's kind of funny how they herd people like cattle at Disney, but I guess that's what you have to do when there's so many people. At church today the bishop mentioned how our ward has gotten big and we need to scoot in to the middle to fit more people in. Bob and I were saying maybe they need to get some people like they have at Disney- 'everybody scoot as far as you can to the left, we need every last inch!'

Anyway, Bob took sleeping Kiree around for a little while, eventually getting into a line to take a picture with Mike and Sully from Monsters INC. She woke up after a not too long nap. Kiree was okay taking a picture in the safety of her stroller.

Bob was our fastpass man. He kept track of when we could get more and ran and got them all for us.

Kiree and I waiting while Jaide and Bob went on the Star Wars ride. Kiree's Mater (or Motor depending on who you ask) cup from the Disney Store clearance section.We ended up having fastpass times fairly close together, so we got to go on several rides pretty much in a row. Jaide really lucked out, since with rider swaps, she got to go on some rides twice in a row. Jaide went with Bob on the Rockin' Rollercoaster and enjoyed it very much but when she and I tried to go on, they actually measured her and found her too short. I guess she is not 48 Disney inches tall yet (Six Flags thought she was). Somehow Bob lost our Tower of Terror fastpasses, but fortunately for us the regular line wasn't very long when we headed over there. Bob and Jaide waited in the line, then Jaide and I used the rider swap pass. Jaide was a little scared at first, but when Bob let her know it wasn't real (not a real haunted hotel), she decided that it was her favorite ride. Kiree was sad she couldn't go on this ride that Jaide liked so much. Just four more inches Kiree!

The original plan was to go home at dinner time and eat at the hotel. We had packed lunch but nothing else. And basically we're cheapskates and weren't going to buy food at the park. But we decided that we should stay to see the Fantasmic show since I had read that it was good and that it wasn't put on every night. The plan became that Bob would go back to the hotel and bring food. The girls decided they wanted to stay and see the Beauty and the Beast show. I think the real reason for that was because Jaide said something about there being popcorn at the show and they were both hungry at that point (it was dinnertime). Well there wasn't popcorn and tragically I didn't even have any way to buy any food, popcorn or otherwise. All I had when Bob left was the diaper thing, water bottles, and my nearly dead cell phone. I felt like the worst person in the world when I couldn't feed my poor hungry children as we waited for Bob outside the Fantasmic show. We didn't know if he'd make it back before the show. Fortunately he did and boy did we scarf that food down when he got there. We ended up having to stand in the standing section since it was so late, but we just sat on the ground and ate until the show started. I learned my lesson and kept cash on me the next day, but of course didn't need it.

Picture from Disney's site
Jaide loved the show. It was Mickey Mouse facing all the Disney villans with his sorcerer hat and fireworks and water and several Disney princesses on boats and fireworks too. Bob held Kiree the whole time and I held Jaide. It was cute to hear Jaide's reactions to the show. "Oh no Mickey! Behind you, run!" and at the end, "Yay Mickey!"

After the show, and a small amount of drama getting the stroller back, we wandered back to the Pixar area (still a huge long line at the Toy story ride at the end of the day!) and ended up going through the Prince Caspian thing (kinda lame) with a sleeping Kiree in Bob's arms. On our way out of the park we stopped near the giant sorcerers hat for some pictures.I wasn't the smart one who figured out how to get the picture to come out right, Bob did, but in the better picture, lighting-wise, of me with the kids I look psycho for some reason, so there you go.
We sure had a lot of fun though and did everything we had wanted to do there (which was just about everything).
A full day at Disney really tuckered the girls out. Aren't they cute?
Yeah, I couldn't do it in three posts, I'll try and wrap it up tomorrow.

Next: Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and going home

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Break in Florida: Orlando

Monday evening we checked into our hotel in Orlando. It was a pretty small room but it faced the nice courtyard/pool. That courtyard was also where free breakfast and a couple of cats showed up in the mornings. We hung out and made dinner in our room.

When Bob and I came to Orlando on our honeymoon we took the bus all over and it always stopped for seemingly extremely long periods of time at the Florida Mall. Since we were staying very close to the mall, we headed there first on Tuesday morning and actually went inside this time. We got a power inverter so we could plug the little laptop into the car for longer kid video viewing on our drives. We also stopped at the Disney Store and bought some Eastery toys on clearance. Jaide got a kitty in a basket and Kiree got a Pooh Bear in an egg and a Mater cup. Unfortunately, this didn't have quite the effect I wanted it to have on the kids further asking for souvenirs at Disney. Oh well.

Another thing we often passed by in the bus way back in '02 was this upside down building. It is actually a science museum called Wonderworks and it looks like the white house fell upside down on top of it. We went there after the mall. Kiree really liked it even though she was very whiny near the end of our visit. "it cracked," she likes to say about the upsidedown building. Jaide and Bob went on a simulator ride which had a long line to get on it. The girls talked about the upside down house for a long time afterward. Jaide told me at some point that we did so much fun stuff and then we just kept doing stuff that was more and more fun. Kiree played the piano on the floor at the request of some random senior citizens. I think Kiree was crabby mostly because she needed a nap, but there was too much excitement. We went back to the hotel to go swimming in the pool. Kiree didn't want to take a nap when there was pool goin' a going on. So we all went down to the pool. Kiree wasn't much for actual getting in the water, but liked the poolside scene. Eventually I got her to lie down on a lounge chair wrapped up in most of our beach towels and take a nap al fresco. I don't know why I didn't get a picture of it. Bob and Jaide ended up going to the grocery store while I hung out poolside with napster and Bob brought me down the camera before they left.

file picture of Kiree napping

When Kiree woke up, we went back to the room, got changed, and had dinner when Bob and Jaide got back.

In our original plan, we were going to head back towards home on Wednesday after two days at Disney. We were going to stop at Myrtle Beach since it is basically on the way home, to break up the drive and have some fun beach-going time. We waited and waited for some reason to make hotwire reservations for those nights (we were going to stay two nights) and then one Saturday night we did. Unfortunately the next Sunday we found out Adam wouldn't be able to get us into Disney until Friday and Saturday of that week- doh!. We thought about going up to Myrtle Beach and then coming back down, but as it got closer eight hours driving both ways didn't seem like a sane plan. So we had to find a place to stay less far away than Myrtle Beach. We decided to just stay in Orlando for the next few days since it was really the cheapest place to stay. We found a different hotel on hotwire closer to Disney for the same price as where we were staying. No free breakfast there (Bob loves the free breakfast, but honestly, they're not always that great) but it was actually a really great place for us. It was a bigger room, which was nice, and it had a lot of fun amenities.

Wednesday morning we checked out of our hotel and headed to the Gulf of Mexico. We went by Tampa Bay and found a beach to visit. The beach we ended up at was Gulfport Beach. We tried to find one called Treasure Island, but somehow missed it. The girls loved the soft sand at this much smaller beach and Jaide had fun with a friend she met there. That's Jaide and her little friend in the water, not Kiree The water was very calm and shallow. It was also pretty full of seaweed and some dead things. We collected shells at this beach too (and some random piece of something with rows of flat teeth). That particular bag of shells stunk up the trunk of the car the rest of our trip.

Wednesday night after we checked into our new hotel, we went to Giordano's for pizza.

New hotel=more pads of paper to fill up with drawings. Giordano's was just across the street (we get deep dish pizza there every time we visit Chicago, they aren't in very many areas). The girls got balloon animals while we waited for the food and we also looked for things starting with each letter in the alphabet.

Thursday we were going to go to this cool looking state park you could go tubing in, but we decided to just stick around the hotel and enjoy what was there. We had a relaxing and fun time playing the hotel's mini golf course. Kiree developed her own special golf technique (cheating). The kids played with other kids in one of the playgrounds for a while (and Kiree went down a big slide all by herself for the first time!) Then we visited each of the three big pools and the two kiddie pools. They were heated too which was really nice (that's Bob's favorite kind of pool). We neglected to get pictures at the pool or of the cool little lizards we saw running across the sidewalks. Later Bob stayed in the room with Kiree for nap time and Jaide and I walked to some nearby souvenir shops (I wanted to find some small things for my primary class and of course Jaide wanted something too).

Next up: Disney!

Here's the video of Kiree's "golf technique" If I had just let it go a few more seconds I would have caught the happy little "i did it!" Kiree proclaimed at the end.