Sunday, October 16, 2011

A few snapshots of our Disney vacation

My sweet boys at the airport in Orlando

I love this picture...just a few of the Mickey hats at Disney


Halloween at Downtown Disney

Look at all these Legos!

Digging for fossils at the T Rex Cafe

These apples for $10 each...but SO cute!

Loved these decorations

Love this one!

TJ got called up on stage to be sworn in as a pirate

Splash Mountain

As cliche as it may be, this is PRICELESS

I snapped this just before we plummeted down the huge waterfall!

Our hotel pool where TJ did the big waterslide by himself

At Wilderness Lodge

T Rex Cafe

Working hard on Lego cars


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just a few pictures from my phone to start with...

 Waiting at the bus stop.

 Trying on Mickey ears!

 Morning at our hotel.

 Pirate TJ!

 View from our table at T-Rex Cafe.


the finale

Our last day came too quickly but at the same time, we were all ready to get back to routine. I did shed a few tears just thinking about going home. Not because I don't absolutely love my life, but because it means reality. I loved living outside of reality for 5 days and realize I was lucky to do it.

We packed up while TJ played Lego's again and then headed down to the beach to say good-bye. Here is a picture of TJ saying his farewell to the sand. We did bring home Sand Friend in a little container. Good thing we didn't have to go through customs. : )

I will never forget the sight of TJ sitting there in the window seat, headphones on, tray table down munching slowly on pretzels and animal crackers listening to Kids Place Live. Quietly. That boy was listening so intently trying to pour his can of apple juice into a little cup of ice. Every few moments, he'd tell us what song was playing and since he could hardly hear, he'd say it so loudly. It was hilarious. On our way up and our way down, he was fascinated by the size of things down on the ground. As we expected. "Look at that tiny car! Look at that little toy bus! Are we gonna go upside down?" What a sweet little ham.

We had a great trip home and now that I'm sitting on my couch in my own, cozy home I can say I am happy to be here. We had an absolute blast, but I'm glad to get back to our life together as a little family.


In my last post, I wrote that TJ slept well Wednesday night. I should have written that he "went to sleep well" because he did, but was actually up coughing all night. He was very tired and sick on Thursday. Tim had his conference all day so T and I just went exploring. We took boats to the Wilderness Lodge and then the campground where we saw a show and got a popsicle. I had to carry the poor boy (and his dinosaur) because he was so exhausted. We loved the quiet time though, and spent time looking at all the cool stuff in the stores. Disney has really cool things! And Old Faithful at the Wilderness Lodge was awesome too.

We went back to the hotel to see Tim during one of his breaks and then split again for dinner. (Daddy's company won an award, by the way. Go Dad!) I was sad that we didn't go back to Magic Kingdom but it would have been foolish to do so - especially since he was sicky. So we headed back to Downtown Disney for more shopping and fun. There is so much to do there and so much to see. I just love the whole feeling and the lights twinkling all over at night.

We learned that at Disney, you have to make reservations for EVERYthing. That's something that we'll definitely do next time. Everything is booked way in advance. So when I asked TJ if he wanted to see the T Rex Cafe again just to look and play, he jumped at the chance. When we got there, I went up to the front and asked if they have any tables for walk-ups and the girl said we came at the magic time...and seated us a few minutes later! I was SO excited and TJ was ecstatic. We sat right next to some of the moving dinosaurs and this place was phenomenal. What a loud and exciting experience! My pictures don't do it justice, but it was truly amazing.

After dinner, we dug for more fossils, went back to the Lego store, played with the toys in the stores and people watched. Daddy's bus and our bus got back to the Polynesian about the same time and we headed back for some good sleep. We worked for it!


laying low

TJ slept in til 7:30 (woohoo!) the next morning. We had a day at the pool planned because Tim was at a conference. We floated and swam for hours, then built sand castles and stretched out in the hammocks. TJ went up the staircase to do the volcano water slide with a few other boys. I couldn't believe it when I saw him coming down the slide by himself. I grabbed him up out of the frothy water at the bottom and he kept asking me if he did it all by himself. Ha! He liked hearing that he did - and that I was so happy for him. He did a ton of things that surprised me this week. He is growing UP!

During our swim time, TJ made up a new dance called "the jellyfish". I laughed so hard when he showed me the dance and I practiced it too. Then he asked me to tell him about life when I was a kid. He thinks it's so funny when I tell him we had to crank down our own car windows.

TJ started coughing and sneezing a lot by this time so we decided to lay low for the rest of the day. The three of us had an awesome dinner at the hotel. Tim got the coolest dessert (which I'll post a picture of soon). Afterwards, we went out to the beach for another movie and more fireworks. TJ had recharged by this time and raced on the beach with some kids for an hour. He slept well again that night too.


the magic kingdom and a sweet end of day

As I began writing this post Tuesday night, both boys were snoring and asleep in their beds. They were almost in unison on opposite sides of the room. Wish I'd gotten a picture of it. They were's why: 

The Magic Kingdom brought tears to my eyes as we entered the gates together that morning. I heard the famous music playing, felt the warm morning sun baking my skin and saw Mickey and Minnie waving as we skipped in slow motion into the famous gates. (Well, maybe not the skipping part, but it felt like a dream.) Insert reality - I also had a bit of a headache, TJ didn't want his picture taken because the sun was in his eyes, I sat in my own gum on the monorail en route and I had to pee like crazy but the bathrooms were on the inside - and we had to wait in line for tickets, etc. 

All in all however, the day was incredible. The park was decorated for Fall and Halloween and it was absolutely gorgeous. We spent time in Fantasy Land, Adventure Land, Frontier Land and did just about all of the rides. We didn't see as many characters as I thought we would and we had to wait in line to get pictures with them. TJ hugged Woody and kissed Jessie, high-fived Donald and waited in line to see Pluto but he left to take a potty break before we got to him. Mickey and Minnie must have been hiding out because we never actually saw them. That was a little sad for me, but TJ didn't know the difference so it was just fine.

The Snow White ride was fun and TJ thought the Mirror, Mirror was scary but cool. His favorite was Peter Pan's Flight and I might have to agree with that too. I was really surprised at how well done it was. T also loved It's a Small World and I loved that he thougth it was awesome. As we sat in our little boat together, he kept saying, "Look at that! Look at this! Look, Daddy! Look, Mommy!" at every bend and every turn. Thunder Mountain Railroad was a rough roller coaster for T but he was proud for doing it and being tall enough. Splash Mountain was a huge hit - and I knew it would be. It's a Purdy family favorite and I was excited to go on it with Tim and TJ as their first time. We went back to it at the end and rode it again. It's an event - not just a ride. I took lots of pictures of TJ and Tim on that ride, just looking at each other having a great old time. I loved watching them!

The Haunted Mansion was one we were looking forward to too, especially TJ. And he loved the spooky graveyard before the doors opened for the mansion. But once they scooted us into the second dark, scary room it was over for TJ. He literally went from saying, "This isn't scary!" to doing his sharkmouth cry and sobbing. We were escorted out the emergency exit. : ) We had him shake it off and then got a treat and went along without saying another word about it. He brought it up to me 3 days later when we were looking at our trip pics, and asked if I took any pictures of him crying about it. Ha!

Space Mountain was a ride I originally said I wouldn't do - but then changed my mind for fear of missing out on fun with my boys. I'm giggling as I write that because it was rough. TJ just met the height requirement so he was pumped to do it. Since the roller coaster cars only sat one and not two side by side, TJ had to ride alone with Tim ahead and me behind. He was so excited - and we took off in a flash. I had forgotten how pitch black the whole thing was though! You could not anticipate the next turn or drop or curve so your neck and your brain went every which way. I kept worrying about TJ but couldn't yell up to him because it was so loud. I grabbed his shoulders whenever I could but my hands got thrown off with each new turn. It was a long minute or two. At the end, TJ turned around and I was pleased to see no tears. But he was white as a ghost. He said he'd like to not do that one again. What a trooper! Tim and I are laughing about it as I write this...

Buzz Lightyear's ride was sweet. You actually shot at aliens with lasers on your moving car and earned a score. The aliens all glowed and TJ asked if they used highlighters to color them that way. Dumbo was fun and so was the carousel. The pirates ride was neat too, but even better than the ride was the show. Captain Jack Sparrow and his side kick were dead on as characters. The actors who played them did a great job and gave Johnny Depp a run for his money. TJ got called up on stage thanks to Tim's quick actions and was sworn in as a true pirate. So cute. That boy loves his pirate stuff.

We did so much at the park but missed a lot too. It closed at 7pm so it wasn't dark enough for the castle to light up or to see fireworks there. We didn't get TJ's hair cut at the Harmony Barber Shop or get pixie dust and colored hair gel either. There was no parade either. But we had such an adventure that I didn't really miss it. We were so tired at one point that TJ asked to go back to the hotel and "play Lego's". Ha! So, we did. We left almost an hour before the park closed for the day and I was truly ready too. There's too much to do for just one day.

We met a friend at the Polynesian (where we were staying) who we hadn't seen in quite awhile. Pat came over for pizza and TJ and I scoped out a place to sit at the pool. We decided to go further and venture out to the beach and I'm glad we did! They were playing a movie on a screen on the beach and it was a beautiful, hot night. TJ had recovered from the day and just rolled around doing head stands in the sand. (He STILL has sand in his hair.) As we were finishing up, a light parade began on the water, then fireworks of the castle set to music. Disney does fireworks incredibly well. Best I've ever seen! TJ had a bath and some cocoa and was out light a light. Snoring...


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 1 at Disney

We successfully landed (whew!) in Orlando yesterday at noon and couldn't wait to begin our adventure in Florida. I felt so fancy hopping onto the train/tram to the luggage terminal where we skipped picking up our baggage and got right in line for the Disney bus. (With the tickets we got, baggage was taken for us and put in our rooms a few hours later. Splendid!) We sat on the bus and TJ gleamed with excitement. It took a bit for us to get going but then once we started driving, we saw a movie of Disney highlights and short films.

Jumping off the bus to the Polynesian was incredible. The plants and vegetation were beautiful and I got a flower necklace (what the heck is it called again?) when we checked in. Again, I felt fancy! Our room was nice and spacious and we had fun checking out the pool with a volcano and the beach details. We decided to head straight for some food because it was 2pm by that time and we hadn't really eaten much of anything all day.

We decided to get on a monorail and go for food. Well, it was a learning experience to say the least. For an hour, we went from monorail to monorail looking for a bus to take to these restaurants we'd heard about. Then the transportation we'd heard about truly didn't exist ... so we ended up going back to the hotel even hotter and more starving than the hour before. I get a little cranky when I'm hungry so my inner beast was about to jump out at any minute. We ventured in the hotel eatery and finally figured out the system of ordering and paying since there are Disney meal plans and rules we didn't know much about.

We got it though, we got it. And after a very long, long wait and much silence as we stared at the pager on the table willing it to buzz so that we could eat....we ate! Then hit the deck with our swim suits. The pool here is incredible and there are little lizards all over the place. We took a family walk on the beach, swung in the hammocks and built some scary sand creatures. By then it was time to shower and head to downtown Disney.

Already spent for the day, we waited for the bus and climbed aboard. Seeing TJ's eyes light up 80,000 times in one day has been reward enough, and our evening was magical in itself. Twinkling lights, bright colors, beautiful shops with huge pictures took our breath away. I can't wait to post pictures for you to see! I didn't even factor in the Halloween holiday, but there are Mickey pumpkins everywhere and Disney truly spared no expense in "doin' it up" right. (They can afford it since we are paying these crazy food prices!)

We went into the giant Disney stores and felt like we were on a different planet. This place is truly amazing and T's eyes were as big as saucers - and so were ours. He was so good and patient about the million pictures we took around every corner too. The Stitch statue on top of a store was a big hit for TJ because it spit water from a few stories above. He also loved the Pirates, Star Wars, Toy Story and Lego toys. The Lego store was laughable it was so big. And TJ picked out a Pirates Lego set with his money from Grandma and Grandpa.

One of my favorite places was the T Rex restaurant. This place was remarkable. Kind of along the same lines as Rainforest Cafe only with giant, lifelike dinosaurs and everything else to go with it. Dinner there would have been an event - not just a meal. We didn't eat there, but played in the pit where T discovered dino bones and then shopped in the store there. Again, amazing. They even had a Build-A-Bear workshop completely for dinosaurs. Another purchase made with TJ's prize money. In true TJ form, he named his dinosaur, Dino-y. God bless that hilarious kid.

We went back and played with more Lego cars before heading back home. T fell asleep on the bus back to the hotel - just in time to miss the fireworks overhead. It was fun to watch them out the window. Romantic too. Tim and I had been to Downtown Disney quite a few times in college on our Spring Break trips for track. It was pretty cool to be back there 10+ years later, married with our 4-year old. Really cool, actually. I think it made it that much more special.

Tomorrow, I'll write about the day at Magic Kingdom (Tuesday). For now, I need to put my swollen feet up and get some rest as we've just returned and I am beat!

Here's a look back on our vehicle rides: car to airport parking, shuttle from parking to terminal, plane to destination, tram to baggage, bus to hotel, monorail to 3rd stop where we got on another monorail then took it back to hotel, bus to downtown Disney, bus back to hotel...and that was enough wheels for one day.


Monday, October 10, 2011

en route to magic kingdom!

We are en route to Disney World, my friends! I can hardly believe it. Tim has a conference in Orlando this week and TJ and I got to tag along with him for the whole week! We managed to keep it a secret for the past few months and I'm still not sure how one of us didn't just blurt it out. (Mainly me, since I get a little overly excited about these things.)

Before dinner two nights ago, Tim told TJ he had to leave again for a trip for work. TJ looked down at his dinner plate and then back up to Tim with sad but understanding eyes. Then Tim asked if he wanted to come with him...ON and airplane...AND go to Disney World. I'll have to show you the video if I can figure out how to post it. His eyebrows and eyes literally sparkled and he didn't really believe it. It took a bit of convincing that this was "for real" before TJ got it. "Straight to Disney World? We can straight go there?" he said. We had to laugh at that. Usually he asks that question when we're going to the library or a playground because I usually have to do errands on the way. So we don't go "straight" or directly to a destination most of the time. But this time, we got to say that once we're off that plane, we go straight there.

So, we are in flight and starting to descend. I am on cloud 9 ... literally.

Love, TJ's excited mom


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