There truly is no place like it, especially in the company of a 3-year-old.
Yes, magical is the only way I can think to describe it.
When we arrived to our hotel (Animal Kingdom Lodge) early that afternoon, we had already decided to simply take in the sights around the hotel and (attempt to) rest up for the busy two days that were to follow. The day did not disappoint, as we spent time at the (heated) pool (swimming in February = awesome!). I sat poolside and watched my boys splash and cannonball to their hearts' content. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening animal watching around the hotel and participating in impromptu bongo drum and marshmallow roasting sessions.
We spent the entire next day at Magic Kingdom, leaving the hotel at 7:00 am and returning home at 9:00 pm. Whew! This was, without a doubt, my very favorite day of the trip. It was just amazing-from the character meals to the shows to the rides to the parades to the fireworks-it was just awesome. But. Man, were we worn out by the time our heads hit our pillows!
The following day was split between Animal Kingdom in the morning and Hollywood Studios in the afternoon (more on this decision coming in my next post). It was a more laid-back, but still very full and fun, day, lasting from 7:45 am to 8:00 pm. Needless to say, we were one tired trio by the end of Park Day 2.
Although we were sad to have to leave the magic that is Disney World on Wednesday, I was really excited to get home to my little lady, who had a blast with her Bammy while we were away but still gave me the sweetest reception when I walked in the door. Oh, and the kind and thoughtful pilots on our return flight invited Banks into the cockpit before we took off, which was a great way to end our trip.
Because I don't want to forget any of the beautiful memories we made on the trip, now, in no particular order, are some of my very favorite moments:
- The smile that spread across my little buddy's face the first time he saw Mickey (which was at a character breakfast just before starting our day at Magic Kingdom). I literally had tears in my eyes and had to tell myself to hold it together so as not to melt into a puddle on the floor. Such a precious moment.
- Being SO excited every time he was allowed to chew gum, which was every time he asked for it-minimal no's and mostly yeses at Disney. We do not let him chew gum yet (when you're 4, we tell him!); so, this was a special treat. :)
- His little hand reaching out to grab 3D images during the various 3D shows we enjoyed.
- Seeing his sweet face light up upon seeing Woody. Ohmygoodness, Woody!
- Resting in my lap in the late afternoon during a train ride through the Magic Kingdom.
- Watching him full-out dance without a care in the world during the Electrical Parade. Little fella had no shame. It.Was.Awesome.
- Watching him steer his race car around the track while his daddy controlled the pedals-that little body behind the wheel-ahh!
- Having him fall asleep in my lap on the bus on the way home from a very full day at Magic Kingdom.
- Watching him bust a move as we awaited our final show on our final night-Fantasmic-and then seeing how much he loved watching Mickey sword "fighting the bad guys" and "throwing them in the special trashcan" (huh?!?) during the show.
- Seeing his face light up each time we bought him a souvenir (Sword! Pirate flag! Race cars! Giraffe! Light-up Mickey necklace!).
- Seeing his excitement over flying high on Dumbo-his first authentic ride.
- Watching him be so excited to travel by his way of choice for the majority of our trip-on Daddy's shoulders.
- Watching him pull his new little rolling backpack through the airport and knowing how thrilled he was over his first flight.
- Hearing him say, several different times, he missed his sister and then helping choose souvenirs for her (a special bracelet! A new puppet!).
- Jumping and jumping and jumping off the wall and into daddy's arms into the pool...in February!
- Letting him have chocolate milk with every single meal.
- Seeing him asleep in his daddy's arms as we we entered Hollywood Studios.
- Seeing his wonderment as we viewed different animals during our safari ride in Animal Kingdom.
- Watching the giraffes and zebras and gazelle graze outside our hotel balcony.
- Seeing our little boy stand in front of the very same "Tree of Life" I stood in front of as child.
Thank you, Disney, for making the dreams of a very special 3-year-old boy, and his Momma and Daddy, come true. We will never forget this amazing time with our little buddy.