Our new destination was just an hour west of our beautiful cup of Cocoa Beach. We had a great time there, and yes, it is usually sad leaving the beach. This time...it was pretty dang exciting. At least it was for Mom and Dad. The kids were clueless. Jonah was still worried about playing putt-putt and Jesse...well, she's just care free and agreeing with Jonah's suggestions.
I didn't want to tell them. I don't know. I guess it's just a defense mechanism. I try to be positive, but this is a big deal, and the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint them. So, I held it in just in case we couldn't make it. The longer I held it in...the harder it was to let it out! Maybe....maybe I couldn't even believe it myself. Did he really do this for us? Did my love really email me a couple of weeks ago and say, "I booked Hilton Disney Friday and Saturday." Did I really almost fall out of my chair at work and cry?
He sure as hell did!
We checked in Friday afternoon, and this was our hotel room view of Downtown Disney.
Look to the right in the above picture...there in the distance. That looks familiar ha?
I do not remember Downtown Disney from my childhood. It looked like a theme park in itself from our view here. The kids were really excited to see it all, but still, they had no idea we were at Disney World. I knew Jesse wouldn't get it, but I was surprised Jonah had not quite yet. I mean, did you not see all the mouse ear signs on the way in son?
We threw down the bags and walked on over.
Hey there. Didn't we see you in New York? How did you get here?
Yes, they had Lego World, and we ate at an amazing dinosaur restaurant that was like Rainforest Cafe on steroids. Super cool.
But that night...first things first. I promised my boy some putt-putt. Disney had it. Of course they did. Not sure if anyone else makes time for it at Disney World, but we sure did.
The kids loved it.
Of course, you start each hole by placing your golf ball on Mickey Mouse.
And there were these little notes at every hole.
And the characters.
He absolutely loves putt-putt. Thrilling.
And we stayed up way too late playing it. We had a really BIG day the next day, and they still, with all the clues, had absolutely no idea. Mickey Mouse is everywhere and still, no idea.
Even the buses passing us on the way in were clearly labeled...Disney Transportation. My boy can read. I said, "Jonah, what does the bus say?" He says, "Transportation." Good grief! "Jonah, what funny shape is that sign?" He hesitates. "Mickey Mouse?" Hmmmmm, getting close. I say, "Where in the world would they have signs that look like Mickey Mouse?" Jonah...."I don't know."
Oh, I give up! I'm going crazy! I have to tell you! Look at your tickets! We are at Disney World!
Wow. Let the Memories Begin.
It's hard to describe a moment like this. Whether you have kids or not, walking into the Magic Kingdom is so incredible. Well, magical. Good name Mr. Disney.
We were there early and managed to make it in just after the gates opened. I like to compare us to the Grizwalds, except we didn't park in the back of the lot. We road the train in the parking lot to catch the monorail. Oh, and the park was actually open. I sort of felt like the Grizwalds though. I'm sure we were smiling ear to ear with so much excitement and in sort of a hurry to be the first ones in. I just might have went to Clark's extreme if our Wally World (aka Magic Kingdom) was actually closed.
For a brief moment, she window shopped. She gazed at the Princesses, and Jonah yelled to go forward. It was a sweet moment, and I had to capture it.
I wonder how the Real Estate market in Florida is? These curls are out of control, and I really, really need them back.
She's growing so fast. I've realized it so much lately. Maybe because she is my youngest? My last. My little girl. I don't know, but it makes me ache all over.
These balloons made me smile! I remember these! I'm so glad they still have them.
And Jesse knew right away who lived before us. Her sweet voice, "Cinderella's Castle! I want to go there!" And Jonah's, "No, I don't want to go there first."
I almost ran into this beautiful horse. I was so excited and taking pictures and not paying attention. Incredible.
The castle had to wait, cause we heard that we needed to hit the big rides first. So, that we did...with a Splash!
Looky there in the front row. My love asked me if he would get wet. I said, "No, just don't sit in the front row." As I took this picture, I could hardly hold still from laughing. Oh, and Jesse was screaming their name. She didn't seem to mind staying back with me at all. I was really surprised and delighted and laughing so hard at them.
There were no lines. It was shocking to me. I knew we were early, but this is the Magic Kingdom. It's Spring Break and April and Saturday. How can this be? I guess it pays off getting up early folks!
After I splashed with Jonah on Splash Mountain as well, we moved to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. My boy road this twice too. Once with Dad and then again with me.
I was so high. Beautiful weather, no lines. I know my smile is showing it here. So goofy. We were just having so much fun.
Then, Hello Pirates! Jesse can ride this! This really stood out in my childhood memories of Disney World. I remember this really big drop on the boat! Ha!
They have added the famous Pirate you see. We all loved this. Jesse loved the pirates and the funny thing is that she seemed to really like this the best out of everything we did. She would say, "I love the Pirates! They are so silly."
We hit a few more rides after meeting Goofy here...even the Haunted Mansion. Jesse thought those ghosts were really silly. Thank God! I was a little worried when I heard another child crying. That's my girl.
Then it was time. It was time for the big one. It's the ultimate roller coaster in a child's eyes. It's a roller coaster in the dark for goodness sakes. Would our boy like it?
Heck yeah he did! "Mom, this ride is in space!" I will never forget the smile on his face when he ran up to me after that first round with his Dad. I saw myself in him. I remember how it felt. It's just the best.
After three trips to space (twice with my love and once with me), Jonah seemed a little tired. Jesse had passed out in her stroller. I had thought all along that we would break mid day for naps and lunch. We decided to stick to the plan.
And as soon as we hopped on the little train to get to our car, she woke up and perked up.
This and the monorail and ferry boat were big highlights for her.
And buddy could hardly wait to get to the room before he was about to pass out. Yeah, too much putt-putt the night before...not to mention all the beach time too. Buddy needed rest. And that we all did.
We returned late afternoon on the ferry boat this time. Very fun for the kids. We got back with no problem. But, it was a little different this time. It was like everyone called their buddies and said, "Come to Disney! It's not crowded!" And every dang one of them came and the park was insane. So, we hit the things without a line. Like, my all time favorite, Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. It's exactly how I remembered it.
Jonah and Daddy were drawing up plans for one of our own soon after.
What else do you do when it's hot and crowded? Well, that's easy. Mickey Mouse ice creams.
They were good, but wow, really messy. We had to change Jesse girl after this little snack.
There was so much more I wanted to do, like the Jungle Cruise and Tom Sawyer Island. But, it was getting late, and I felt like It's a Small World was an absolute necessity for Jesse at her age. I just kept the details from Jonah. "Uhhh, yeah, it's a ride. Yeah, we get in a boat." Jonah, "Cool."
And he didn't complain at all. I even saw him pointing out things to Jesse. Jesse screamed and laughed and screamed "Look!" throughout the entire ride.
And my sweet Jonah. I'll never forget this. We were going to get the stroller after the ride, and you looked at me and said something I will never forget. You said, "Mama, that was really good for Jesse." Oh dear goodness. My heart exploded my sweet, best boy.
There will always be times you guys tie up. There will always be fights and screams. But every now and then, there will be times like this that just sort of erase the rest.
And he was even patient in the supposed to be 20 minute line that turned into a 45 minute line for his sister to ride Dumbo. That was the last ride for us. It was time to get back to Main Street. We napped for a reason. We're staying up late tonight my angels.
It's incredible when the sun starts to set, and the lights come on in the park. Main Street is so beautiful. And Cinderella's Castle....well...
Wow. That's all I got. Wow.
We lined up an hour early to get a good seat, and that we did. Front row. And yes, I paid way too much for this, but seriously right? Minnie Mouse with a skirt that twirls and lights up. I mean, come on! I had to have her. Excuse me, Jesse had to have her.
Jonah is very smart. He also got a twirly, light up thingamajig (minus the skirt). I said, "Are you sure you don't want that cool sword?" It totally lit up and changed colors. I mean, he's a Star Wars fan. I thought surely he would go for that. "No, I want the twirly, light up thingamajig." Ok, son. And then about five minutes later..."I changed my mind. I really want the sword."
And I caved. I felt he truly thought the twirly, light up thingamajig would be fun. I got the sword. Shoot, I wanted the sword.
He hit that guy beside us like a hundred times. The guy was very understanding.
We didn't get the monogrammed mouse ears. In fact, we really didn't shop at all there. Well, except for the Pirate sword and Mickey Mouse lollipops at the Pirates ride. This was it. I thought we made out pretty good.
The lights on Main Street are spectacular. But, right before the parade starts, it all goes black. Seriously. Black. The music starts and you know you are in for something incredible.
Oh, when Jesse saw Tinker Bell open the parade, she was hooked. She was screaming with her Southern accent, "Tinker Be-all!" I love how she adds an extra syllable to Bell. I just don't know where she gets that from.
This is something I did with my Mom. I remember the parade. It was really important for me to share it with them.
And, I'm pretty sure I have some of these exact pictures from my childhood, and I can hardly wait to go through them all again.
Cinderella heard Jesse call her name. She waved right at her. No joke.
Peter Pan and Captain Hook, oh my! Jesse, "I love the Pirates." Jonah was excited and having his own battle with the back of that poor man's head beside us. I know...it was just a really cool sword.
We must get the Pinocchio movie. We don't have that one.
Nor do we have Puff the Magic Dragon, which I am assuming this beautiful dragon is. I stand corrected. This is Pete's Dragon! I remember now! I need to get this one for the kids too.
The beautiful thing about this parade is that it is truly just like I remembered it. It hasn't been upgraded to include all the new characters like Lightning McQueen and Nemo and even Woody and Buzz. It's the original characters. It's Cinderella, Peter Pan, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Mickey and Minnie and all the old gang. The kids were still amazed. I was pleasantly surprised and so appreciated this. Fabulous.
As soon as the parade ended, we began strategizing for a position to see the fireworks. First we were up closer to the castle. Then, we got a little claustrophobic from the size of the crowd. So, we moved back around mid Main Street center.
And she fell asleep. It's OK. She saw the parade. She saw Minnie and the Princesses...and the Pirates. It's OK. The Grand Finale was about to start.
I can't put it into words, and the pictures will not do it justice. The laser show on the castle before the fireworks start. The music. The choreography of the entire show. The stories. It is truly indescribable.
I tried to capture it though, in between kisses to my boy and answering his questions as to how they did that.
The visual is spectacular, but the music is powerful.
It hit me. I had so many emotions. Maybe I was overwhelmed and exhausted. I don't know. I was feeling so incredibly blessed to be there with the three people that I love more than I can ever say.
I'm an emotional girl. My friends know this.
I cried. I cried because I was so happy. I cried because I loved being there with my family. I cried because I felt like she was with me. All day...I know it is weird, but I felt like she was there. Right about here, I could almost feel her.
And my love noticed and asked. "I'm just so happy."
I will remember this moment for the rest of my life. I think it was even better than watching it as a kid with my Mom. I appreciated it so much. I really soaked it all in.
I'm not sure what else to say.
"We had a good time" is an understatement. I've taken so long to go through these pictures because I keep stopping and thinking back and laughing and crying.
This place is beyond magical. I felt really close to heaven. Maybe that's why I felt her?
One last thing to do. They say these character breakfasts are pretty fun, and we were in luck. They had one at our hotel.
Mickey Mouse waffle?? I forgot to ask if they sold this waffle iron. I wonder if I can find one on ebay?
Those sun kissed cheeks. I'm going to have to run upstairs and kiss them one more time before I go to bed.
I just about did a flip when we walked in and saw Minnie. Jesse had an opportunity to see a princess, and she decided not to. I just knew she wouldn't pass up on Minnie.
And finally, here we are. The four of us and Pluto. Perfect. Gosh, we need a dog like him.
And that's it.
We did it. Thanks to my love, we did it. He's our magic maker.
My angels...you two...well, you are our dreams come true.
Oh, and I can't wait to go back!