So I'm ready to start our trip report! We saw and did a LOT so this is going to be loooooong and I may do it in installments!
Monday - After being gone all weekend to my cousin's Kim's very fun wedding in Pembine we had to get up at 4:15 monday morning because we got picked up at 5:00 AM
The kids (ok and us adults too) were very excited to get picked up by a limo! There were no lines at the airport so we had lots of time to kill while we waited for our flight - then we waited even longer because they switched planes and it was oversold by 31 seats and nobody wanted to volunteer to take a later flight. Eventually they were offering 2 free round trip tickets per person and free lunch - I wish we could have taken the deal!
The flight was fine - neither Havalah nor Haley seemed to be at all afraid of flying or even nervous about it. They had a representative meet us at the airport and help us with luggage and the rental car. It was a Impala - not sure what year but it was very nice.
From the airport we went right to Give Kids the World Village which is a resort just for organizations like make a wish.
I had read a lot about the village and heard from families that had been there and even seen photos - but still i was surprised at just how nice it is. Everything is visually beautiful and looks freshly painted and clean. You stay in villa's ... which are little side by side duplex's and each has a driveway for you to park your car right outside your door. Our villa had a kitchen, living room, one room for us, and a room with twin beds for the girls - plus two bathrooms and a washer and dryer. Plus they had a big gift basket waiting for us with snacks - and drinks in the fridge. They also gave havalah a big stuffed Mickey plush on arrival and gave Haley a smaller Shamu plush.
We spent the afternoon unpacking and exploring the Village. First we went to the ice cream parlor and had a lunch of sandwiches, chips and ice cream! The ice cream parlor is open from 7:30 - 9:30 at night and you can stop in any time you like and have whatever you want free of charge. Next store they have the Castle of dreams - it has a carrousel attached to the front that the girls rode many many times. Inside they have a dress up room - a room shaped like the inside of a tree with lots of sparkling fairy lights, a giant pillow making machine, a wishing well with a sound effect sound it sounds like the pennies are going down a deep well - and sometimes it even burps. There are all sorts of drawers and cabinets that make noises when you try and open them and tons of fun games and toys for the kids to play with. The ceiling is covered with gold stars each bearing the name of a wish child that has stayed there. It is really an amazing place.
That night we had dinner reservations at the disney Polynesian resort at Ohana's. it was a really fun place with a hawaiian/polynesian theme where they cook all sorts of meats on skewers and walk around stopping at your table to offer them to you. They also have a coconut broom race for the kids and everyone with a birthday goes up and they sing a special song.
After dinner we went back to the village to join in their evening festivities. Eevery night at the village they have something different going on. That night they had people from Discovery Cove in Julie's Safari Theatre - a state of the art theatre painted with safari animals at the village. They had a 3 toed sloth and a macaw for the kids to see and have their photos taken with. They also had all sorts of theatre snacks like icees and popcorn for the kids. They also had volunteers there doing face painting so both girls got their faces painted. Then i went to the parent orientation and Steve and the girls stayed at the theatre where they had a double dare show. I know there were pies in faces but I am not sure what else went on. After that we all went over to Amberville (another building at the village) where they have remote control boats and a huge indoor train set and other fun stuff like pool tables for older kids. We stayed there until it closed at 9 and then headed back to our villa.
Havalah's fourth birthday! We went to the Gingerbread house (at the village) to have breakfast. We tried to eat as many breakfasts and dinners as possible there since it was free and pretty good. Agaian it is a really neat building with all sorts of dolls and stuffed animals up on shelves surrounding the room and a player piano that the kids thought was awesome.
Then we headed to the Magic Kingdom. Not only did our give kids the world button get us free parking and free stroller rental BUT it also got us to the front of all of the lines, which was great because it was crowded and VERY hot. I think it was about 95 every day we were there. The very first ride we went on was the Mad hatter's teacups. We were waiting at the special handicapped entrance- where we got on all rides - and Alice and the Mad Hatter happened to be walking by - saw us - and went on the ride in the very same Teacup with Steve and the girls! It was really a cool thing and even other people on the ride were excited just to be on the same ride with them.
After that we walked over to toon town and checked out Mickey and Minnie's houses - and donald's leaky boat. We also went to the autograph tent where again we got to skip the lines and gets lots of signatures. they had 3 different rooms - each with three characters. The girls got to meet :Chip & Dale, Goofy, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Cinderella, Minnie Mouse and Donald and Daisy Duck. it was really nice to get to meet so many characters and get so many autographs in such a short period of time. After that we headed over to hear Belle from Beauty in the beast read/act out her story.
Next the girls changed into the Cinderella dresses my mom made them and we had lunch at Cinderella's castle. They had their photo taken with Cinderella before we went in and at lunch (which was surprisinly good) we met The Fairy Godmother, Provincial Belle, Jasmine, and Snow white. The character lunches are great in that it's an easy 3way to meet several characters all at once but they are surprisingly hectic. it can be hard to try and eat - and to attend to two children and stop everything when a character comes to your table so that you can quick get their autograph and take a photo. You only get their attention for less than a minute because they have to make it around to each table.
Despite the very hot weather the girls did no want to chnage out of their dresses right away so we let them wear them for a little while after lunch. We walked over to Fantasyland and they went on the Carrosel twice! Then Dumbo and the Winnie the Pooh ride. We also stopped at Ariels's grotto and had their photo taken with her. By then everyone was getting really hot and the girls needed to change so we found the make a wish lounge near the end of main street.
It was REALLY nice. It was a private area just for make a wish families and there was no one there but us and a very friendly disney employee. It was decoracted in sort of a indian theme with lots of beautiful pillows and a big tv with cartoons on. The girls laid on a big floor pillow on the floor for a few minutes and we all enjoyed complimentary bottles of cold water. After cooling off we changed their clothes - put the dresses into a locker and headed for adventureland.
The girls went on the Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride and we all walked through the Swiss Family treehouse. then we got Mickey head ice cream bars and went on The Jungle Cruise which is a really neat boat ride. By then it was time for dinenr so we just went with whatever was closest which ended up being Pecos Bill Tall Tail inna and Cafe. It was pretty medicre and it was really hectic and busy. We lost Havalah's GKTW button but luckily found it right away and Haley accidentally knocked over a 32 ounce soda all over our table - while people nearby us squabbled over who had stolen whom's chair from which other table. It also started raining so we all donned poncho's. Steve insisted that Pirates of the Carribean was not scary in the least so despite the book saying otherwise all 4 of went on it. Unfortunately it WAS fairly scary at least to Havalah who wasn't sure she wanted to go on any rides after that.
We decided to walk back to Fantasyland and after bringing Havalah on it's a small world she decided she liked rides again. Next we went on the flight of Peterpan and then headed over to main street and got great seats in the wheelchair area for the Spectromagic Parade. it almost didn't happen because it was still raining but it slowed down to a slight drizzle and we all thought the parade was great. We walked back over to fantasyland - watched the parade and then did some quick shopping before we left for the day. We didn't get back to the Village until after 11:00 so we were ALL tired.
We got up early - and got to the Gingerbread house for breakfast by 8:00 They had horseback riding for the girls that morning so we went to do that. Haley rode a big tall horse and havalah was going to ride a smaller pony. They were having a hard time getting the helmet to fit her head right and after it took several minutes and several adults to do it - she decided she was too scared and didn't want to. They still got cool felt cowboy hats to take with them though. Then we headed over to animal Kigdom which is way cooler than I was expecting. it's the newest park and everything looks amazing. We headed right back to the safari ride only stopping to get pictures with Flik from a bug's life. Haley did anyhow Havalah is afraid of ants whether they are tiny or 8 feet tall and blue.
The safari ride was AMAZING. You ride in a safari style truck - sort of like a jeep with lots more rows of seating ... and it feels like you're riding along a normal dirt trail. You go through water puddles a few times and see ansimals off to both sides. They have all sorts of mechanisms to keep the people and the animals seperate but they're all invisible so the animals seem really close and you can't tell there are barriers up so it feels like you're really in Africa. We saw all sorts of things including crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, lions and zebras. At one point you go over a little bridge and it seems to give out under the weight of the vehicle. It's all part of the ride of course but it's really pretty neat. We felt really fortunate to be able to get to the front of that line - because it was almost 2 hours long! After that we went to the Lion King show and then we had to leave because the girls had resevrations for an Alice In Wonderland tea party at the grand Floridian. Havalah fell asleep in the car on the way over and we had a frusterating tiem getting both girls dressed in their Alice outfits and ready. they had a long table set up with fun centerpeices and cute little fiestaware dishes for the kids. they let us see it briefly and then parents were kicked out. We made ourselves comfortable in one of the many seating areas in the Grtand Floridian's lobby and it was only about 15 minutes before they called us to come get Havalah. She got very nervous when they took thier individual pictures with Alice and the Mad Hatter and wanted her mom. We tried to convince her to stay and have lunch and play games but she was too tired so we brought her back to the lobby with us and she took a long nap on one of the couches. We had planned to go back to Animal Kingdom afterwards to spend the rest of the day there but the kid's seemed ay too tired so we headed back to the village. Havalah slept on the way back in the car and for a little longer back at the village. She was just exhausted from the long day we had on tuesday. Then we went swimming at the village pool and had dinnr at the gingerbread house. We wanted to head back to one of the parks for a few hours because it was one of our three disney park days. Animal Kingdom losed at 8 though so we went to Epcott instead and went on the finding Nemo ride and did Turtle Talk with Crush. Turtle talk with crush was a really cool interactive show - where an animated Crush the turtle talk and interacts with the crowd - making jokes and talking in surfer lingo. The girls got to do the count down at the beginning of the show and got certificates of that being a "certifiable magic moment" Afterwards we spent too much time looking in the Nemo store. Despite my battle with Havalah ownbing too many stuffed animals I practically encouraged her to get a stuffed Crush the turtle - so you know I had to have really liked the show! Haley got a Nemo stuffed animal - and left it there as we traded pins with an employee. (we did get it back) Anyhow we didn't make it all the way to the lagoon in time to really see the Illuminations show but we did see the fireworks and a little bit of the show from far off.
To be continued ...