You know those times when you get so wrapped up in your life that you forget how to tie your shoelaces?? Well this summer has been that kind of time. Thank God I wear Birkenstocks most of the time, so no tying required.
Where to start....
Erin turned 30 this year and our beloved daughter wanted to make a family pilgrimage to Walt Disney World. This parent never says "no" to Disney! So we make arrangements and book flights and get the entire gang to take off the same week from work and ... voila... we are off to Orlando.
But wait. Erin's boyfriend of the past 5 years has an additional idea. Just before take-off on their flight from Phoenix, he pops the question. And she says, "yes."
Wow - now this vacation is an "engagement-moon" for the entire family. Yippee!!!
And here we all are - ready to celebrate!!
Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter is our very favorite place to stay. We love the proximity to EPCOT, the one-bus-stop bus stop, the Sassagoula Floatworks Food Court, the doorman (love the doorman!) and the relaxing rooms on the river. You just can't beat the price as this hotel is in the moderate range for WDW hotels.
We decided prior to our visit to get the Photo Pass, and we are so glad we did. Those Disney photographers go out of their way to get good pics of you and your family all over the park.
Check out the fun time we had at the Magic Kingdom.
Just getting started!
My favorite ride - My favorite Toy Story Characters!
Big Papi loves Snow White's Mine Train
Sierra (first time visit) and Zach
Maria and Mike celebrated their first wedding anniversary!
We had a couple of first-timers with us on this trip - Zach's girlfriend Sierra, and Erin's new fiance Jeffery had never been to Walt Disney World. That made this birthday trip even more special.
Dinner this first night was a fantastic experience at "Be Our Guest" inside the Magic Kingdom. We had a terrific meal, excellent service, and we all chanced a visit with The Beast.
Sitting in the Master's Chair....
This restaurant is truly a "don't miss" experience, especially if you're a fan of Beauty and the Beast.
We rode every ride imaginable in our 8am to midnight escapade, even waiting around for the fireworks to show up at 11:45 after a huge storm.
Believe folks... always Believe!
Our second day took us over to the Disney Studios. Loads of construction happening out there and I cannot wait to see what the future brings with a Star Wars Themed Land AND a Toy Story Themed Land. Disney just doesn't sit around waiting for the future to happen, they bring it!! We love the Studios and had a great day with an epic downpour after dinner. Running in flip-flops on flooded pavement isn't as smart at age 57 as you might think. No injuries to report!!
Our kids' favorite ride here is Rockin' Roller Coaster and for good reason. If you can stand the pressure of an amazing 60-second ride of epic turbulence - do it. Me... I love the Toy Story ride.
Lunch at Mama Melrose's Place was decent Italian and service was exemplary. I won't bore you with the details of a lackluster dinner...
Weather in Florida is always dicey in the summer months - humidity, afternoon storms, and the like. We've done this time of year three times and always remember to drink plenty of water. A daily downpour doesn't ever stop us!!
EPCOT - Love this place. Love the food, love the experience, love it love it love it. We tried to grab a snack and beverage in every single country around the back side of EPCOT. We were moderately successful, skipping America of all places.
There are performances to catch, shops to meander, movies to watch, rides to enjoy, and food food food here at EPCOT. If you're traveling with adults - it's a great place to catch some tasty adult beverages as well. Check out Tequila del Cava in Mexico or the Biergarten in Germany, or the little plaza in Italy. All were cool, welcoming, and delicious.
We ate everywhere we could, and then sauntered over to Disney Springs. This place is hopping! Newly refurbed with some excellent dining choices. We had a wonderful meal at Raglan Road. Good food, good service, great song and dance performances as well. We wound up at Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar for evening drinks and it was a very cool space indeed. Indoors, outdoors, and a great drinks menu.
Animal Kingdom is spectacular. If you haven't been here in awhile, you cannot believe how huge it has become. This tribute to the wild has a good safari ride, excellent thrill rides (with a Yeti!), really delicious food, and their ever-popular Lion King Spectacular. I cannot get enough of this place and the nearby Animal Kingdom Lodge is a treat beyond all else. We headed over there for dinner and their buffet was absolutely delicious!! I cannot recommend it enough.
The Tree of Life (and us!)
Morning and Evening
Walt Disney World is quite possibly my favorite place on the planet. Well... I do love Bruges in Belgium too. Seriously, it is such a grand place for a family vacation and multiple generations always find something that inspires them to laugh, to hug, to celebrate, and to love.
these two... so happy for them!!
Until Next Time...