And now.. we have gone. We have conquered. We had an amazing time and I can't wait to go again.
Our trip down there was... horrific. No other way to describe it. We left Wednesday and ran into an INTENSE amount of traffic, thus making us late for the airport. We went encountered the longest, slowest line to check into our flight. We then encountered the longest, slowly line at security. The result? RUNNING to our gate and making it by seconds. The nice employee actually said to me "Oh, you're The Englands? We almost deleted you from the flight!" Wow. SO..there we were, begging people to switch seats so the 4 of us could share a row. We managed and happily sat down but that was short lived. Within minutes, the turbulence started (my gorgeous husband is a HORRIBLE flyer) -- and soon after that, Benny began crying and Layla became antsy. It was, in essence, 2.5 hours of trying to tame two little kids. The last 20 minutes was spent forcing Layla back in her seat while she screamed bloody murder. OY. BUT... we made it. Safe and (somewhat) sound. We gathered our luggage, found Josh's parents (who rented a Suburban for trip - awesome GIANT car) and went to our hotel! We stayed at World Quest Orlando again - it's a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom condo with a full kitchen & full living room plus a screened in porch. It's perfect for families and highly recommended (plus it's insanely affordable, comes with breakfast and is basically 4 minutes from Disney World). After checking in, we let the kids explore - unpacked and went to Publix for subs (YUM) and food shopping. It makes it much easier to keep fruit/milk/yogurt/snacks in our kitchen then in a tiny hotel room!!! We ended up splitting up the rooms with Me, Josh & Layla in one room, Josh's parents in one room and Benny in one room. Josh's sister, Sydney, came for 1 night and crashed on the sofa. It worked out well.
The next morning, we woke up ready for DISNEY!!! Layla woke up at 3 AM and came in our bed -- she hasn't slept in our bed since she was 5 months old so I'll admit I loved it but it was tough getting her back to bed. She eventually fell asleep around 4 AM so that was good. Benny was a CHAMP - he slept great and napped even better. My big boy!!! Anyway.. we all woke up early (me at 5:30 AM so at least I was able to straighten my hair). We quick got ready and were en route to the Magic Kingdom!! The downside? It was FREEZING AND RAINY. Like..beyond cold. I don't ever remember it like this when I lived in Orlando for four years. But we put our ponchos on and marched on!! We were one of the first ones in the park and it was truly magical. I'll never forget Layla's face when she saw the Castle for the first time. Pure love and happiness. We decided to slowly make our way to breakfast rather then try to do a quick ride. We had 8:40 AM reservations for breakfast with the princesses in Cinderella's Castle. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS. Josh & I had dinner there for our 2nd anniversary but this was 60468 times better. You first get to meet Cinderella and take two professional pictures with her (included in the price of breakfast). We then go upstairs and sit at a beautiful table -- the food was delicious but no one really noticed because you are surrounded by PRINCESSES. We were able to meet Ariel, Jasmine, Aurora, Snow White. SO great. Unlimited coffee & juice. And wonderful service. It's expensive but a great experience. After breakfast, we were ready for rides!! Because the weather was so crummy, the park was fairly empty (plus it's apparently a really great time to do Disney - not very busy) - we packed in ride after ride and each one was less then a 15 minute wait!! Layla's favorite was the new Little Mermaid ride (we did it twice). We also like meeting the princesses (we saw Rapunzel and Snow White). I was hoping Benny napped right after breakfast but instead he stayed awake sucking his thumb and lounging in the stroller. While in line for the new Belle ride, I decided to change Benny's diaper and try to get him to nap. I realized he had peed through his clothes (so now he was freezing, wet and peed upon) - poor guy! I changed his diaper, bought him new thick Mickey sweat pants and put him back in the stroller. I walked around (while getting poured on) and he passed out - success!! I met up with everyone and decided we should do one "adult" ride - Josh & I went on Thunder Mountain (so fun). We found everyone and realized Benny woke up and everyone was hungry. A quick meal & back to the hotel for naps. After everyone woke up, Josh, Layla & I went BACK to the park for dinner and fun! Layla's bedtime is 6:30 and our dinner reservations were for 6:30 so I was VERY nervous she'd be too tired to be happy. But she did great!! I think adrenaline helped? We made our way to the Ariel ride again, did the Winnie the Pooh ride, then dinner at the new Be Our Guest restaurant. This was eh - I was a bit disappointed. Belle is NOT there (annoying) and instead it's just The Beast (cool). The room itself is beautiful but it's an expensive restaurant with decent food. Oh well - it was a cool experience. Mid-way through dinner, Layla's sleepy face showed up and I knew it was time to go. We made our way to the front of the park and were able to catch some of the night-time show. It was pretty amazing - they project movies & objects on to the castle while music plays - she was so cute. Pure. Amazed. Happy. I loved it. We were going to stay for fireworks but she wanted to leave so that was that! We rode the monorail back to our car and got a quick glance at the fireworks as we left. Very cool. A long, rainy, cold, amazing day filled with memories we will all never forget!!!
Friday, another rainy & chilly day. Our plans were switched so we grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel, had lunch in Animal Kingdom Lodge (a restaurant called Senna - very good but not very kid appropriate) - checked out all the animals we could see and went back to the hotel for naps. We ended up ordering dinner in (semi-decent pizza & pasta), baths for the kids and bed. Josh went out with all of our college friends in downtown Orlando that night while I stayed back. He made his way back to the hotel around 4 AM and nursed his hangover the whole next day ;)
Saturday, I let Josh sleep in and got everyone ready for a yummy breakfast at IHOP. It was nice and the coffee was yummy, haha!! After breakfast, I got my hair blown out at a salon in downtown Orlando called Mosaic - I really liked it! Went back to the hotel - picked everyone up and headed to downtown Disney for lunch & shopping. Layla picked out Ariel pajamas (huge relief because she has been begging to wear the same Ariel PJ's and socks every night to bed). It was a nice day. We all went back to the hotel for kiddie naps - Josh & I got ready and left for Drew & Jamie's wedding. It was at a gorgeous location in a part of Orlando I've never been. It looked NOTHING like Florida and could have easily passed for a random location in Europe (no joke). It was a small, intimate wedding of around 80 people and really lovely. It was so nice to spend time with our college friends and made me really nostalgic for UCF in general. I wish we could have gone to the college to walk around but time didn't allow it - maybe next time!!
Sunday consisted of packing, cleaning and going to the airport. This trip home was MUCH easier then going -- we had plenty of time and Layla even made a friend in the airport while we waited. She's so cute and literally makes friends everywhere we go. I love it - she's so full of life and happiness, it makes me smile.
AND now... we're back and in the thick of winter. We're getting hit day after day with snow/ice/rain so it's tough to not want to pack up and head straight back for Florida - but alas, for now we live in a cold tundra (ha!)
It was a great trip and I'm already looking forward to our next time down to Disney World - this time my parents are coming with us. I need them to see the faces of pure joy on my babies :)
|Benny, Ariel & I at the Princess Breakfast in the Castle - please ignore my rained upon hair ;)|
|Drew & Jamie's wedding|
|A picture from my real camera - I love this!! I need to upload those ASAP!|
|Benny & I at the castle - notice how empty it was!|
|My family <3|