Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Disney Day 1: Hollywood Studios

During Mason's spring break (April 22-26), we surprised the kids with a trip to Disney World!  It really was a surprise . . . they had no idea we were going!  It was a secret Seth and I had been keeping for several months.  I shared our plans with my parents, cousin and some friends of mine, but they are all in Georgia so I knew there was no way the children would find out.  We didn't tell any of our family or friends here in Louisiana until right before we left and some not until after we got there.  We had worked so hard to keep our big secret, and we didn't want to spoil it.  

I do have a video of Mason's and Hannah Kate's reactions once we finally got there and were driving under the big Walt Disney World arch.  But videos and this computer and this internet do not get along.  After 13 hours of driving (we actually left on Friday after school and spent the night just past Mobile and drove the rest of the way on Saturday), they were definitely tired and anxious.  They thought we were going to the beach, but once they realized we were not going to the beach, I think they thought the driving would never end, and they weren't sure if they were going to like where they were going to end up.  So their reaction wasn't exactly what I'd hoped it would be, but they had never been to Disney World before so they didn't really know what it was, really didn't know for sure what they had to be excited about.  I was at that point wondering if maybe we should've gone to the beach instead (they would've LOVED it) and thinking maybe this hadn't been my greatest idea.  But I quickly dismissed those thoughts and started telling the kids all about the time I'd been to Disney World.

You know you're at Disney World when you check in to your hotel room, and the towel and wash clothes are arranged on your bed in the shape of Mickey's head. 
We grabbed a bite to eat at Downtown Disney (which proved easier said than done because it had rained earlier, and it had also gotten rather chilly so it was super crowded) and then tucked the kids in bed.

We woke up the next morning and headed to Hollywood Studios.
I have to admit . . . I was so overcome by excitement that I could hardly stand myself!  I really think that, even now, I probably had the most fun out of everyone!  I guess that's because I just really, really needed a vacation and really, really needed a "happy place."
As we entered the Sorcerer's Hat area, the kids spotted the first Disney character meet-and-greets.  So we got in line to meet Goofy.  They were so excited!  So imagine our disappointment when we were finally second in line only to watch Goofy saunter off for a "break."  We waited a couple of minutes debating what to do.  Several people behind us had already left.  Seth thought he heard that Chip and Dale were coming out.  Well, nothing against Chip and Dale, but we were ready to move onto bigger and better things, too.  And then guess who came around the corner?!?  Minnie Mouse!!!  Hannah Kate is beside herself, and Mason is looking for the nearest exit.  But I told Mason and his daddy that we were ALL going to have our picture made with Minnie.  And we did. 
We walked around a bit to explore the park and figure out what we wanted to do.  Mason had never been on a roller coaster before, and I wasn't sure if that's what he'd be interested in or not.  I don't do roller coasters because I don't like heights, and I prefer for my heart to stay inside my body.  And Seth . . . well, he has vertigo and gets motion sickness super easy so I didn't know how that was going to go down either.  I showed Mason the Tower of Terror (drops straight down), and thank goodness he decided he didn't want to do that.  Right next door was the Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.  Mason was immediately drawn to the humongous steel guitar at the entrance.  It was an indoor dark roller coaster ride so we couldn't see the track to know what it was like.  This one had been built since my last visit to Disney so I didn't know anything about it.  The line was really long so Seth got a couple of fast passes for he and Mason to come back to it later.

In the meantime, Seth and Mason went to the Star Wars enhanced flight simulator.  I took Hannah Kate to play in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set playground.  She loved it, especially the bigger-than-life bugs and leaves.
And then here comes Mason and Seth.  As soon as I saw him, I knew.  That flight simulator got the best of my husband, and it would be two days before he got his tummy back!  He could hardly walk.  So Mason went off to join his sister.  I think they could've played on that playground the rest of the day.  And then Mason remembered the roller coaster he was supposed to ride with his daddy.  Well, that wasn't going to happen.  And, as much as I didn't want to do it, there was no way I was going to disappoint my son.  So Mason and I headed off to the Aerosmith ride.  As soon as I stepped in my seat and that huge metal contraption was lowered over my head, and I was pressed so tightly in my seat that I could feel the bars against my rib cage, I knew.  I KNEW.  This was not going to be good. 

I grabbed Mason's hand and spent the next minute of my life waiting on my heart to come back to me because as soon as that thing took off, I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience.  It was all I could do to breathe.  The music was so loud that I couldn't hear anything, couldn't hardly think.  I kept my eyes closed tight the entire time.  I don't know why.  It was dark in there anyway.  So I really had no idea what was going on with Mason except that I could still feel his little hand in mine.  I just hoped he wasn't screaming and crying.  And then it happened.  Not only have I always avoided roller coasters like the plague, but I have always said I will NEVER ride one that goes upside down.  So you already know what happened.  Yes, I realize I am upside down.  And I can not believe it.  The exact thought going through my head at that exact moment was, "I am upside down.  Great.  I am UP. SIDE. DOWN."  And, of course, as quickly as it had started, it was over.  Once we slowed down and were in the light again, I found my boy.  His eyes were big, and his face was pale.  But I knew.  He liked it.  And I was only hoping he didn't want to do it again.  Because I sure didn't want to!

We got off and headed out to meet Seth and the girls.  It had started raining.  We found shelter, and I was going to pull my phone out of my pocket to check the times on a few of the shows (because there's an app for that!) since we needed an indoor activity to keep us out of the wet.  But my phone wasn't in my pocket.  I dug around in the diaper bag, but I already knew it wasn't in there.  And I knew what had happened.  My phone had fallen out of my pocket, probably while I was UPSIDE DOWN on that roller coaster.  Thinking it was a lost cause, I decided to head back over to the ride anyway, just to see.  The really nice girl at the entrance smiled and said, "Oh, that happens all the time!  We check the cars after each ride and retrieve all of the lost items so just go back in and tell them what you're looking for."  So I did.  I wasn't even halfway through my explanation before the guy interrupted me and said I must be looking for the phone with the flowers all over it.  Well, thank you very much, but it's actually paisley and not "flowers."  I'd been fearful that my phone had probably dropped into the deep, dark abyss of the building, but it had miraculously just dropped into my seat and somehow stayed there.  So I got it and headed back to the family.  In the meantime, Mason got really upset about my phone and decided that he didn't want to ride again because he didn't want me to lose my phone again.  Whatever works!

It rained enought to be a nusiance.  A lot of folks left the park, but we decided to stay and make the best of it.  We purchased ponchos and tried to stay as dry as we could.  We saw the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show.  Of course, Hannah Kate loved it!  And we also saw the Disney Junior - Live on Stage puppet show.  Again, Hannah Kate was beside herself with excitement.  This show featured two of her very new favorites, Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First, along with Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I have to admit . . . I love me some Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First, too!  It really was a great show.
We then went to the Magic of Disney Animation exhibits.
Mason and Hannah Kate met the Incredibles and whoever the guy in blue is.  As you can tell, Hannah Kate was ready to play the part!  The lines for Mickey and Wreck-It Ralph were super long (especially since it was an inside activity, and it was still raining) so we just watched them from afar.
We walked around some more, got a bite to eat, spent some more time on the playground.  And then we found Lightning McQueen and Mater.  Yeah, not sure where the girl gets these moves from! 
And, of course, Buzz and Woody.  I have to say . . . Toy Story is one of my favorite "recent" Disney movies.  It was Mason's very favorite when he was a little toddler.  So they have a special place in my heart.
 And, of course, a Mickey pretzel for snack time!
The rain stopped in the early evening so we stayed for the Fantasmic! live action, music and fireworks show.  It was my favorite fireworks show at Disney.  Mason and Hannah Kate were just enthralled.  My most favorite thing was watching their reaction to everything, watching them actually "live" the storybook dream that, until then, they'd only seen in the movies.  Mason was captivated and barely moved.  Hannah Kate, on the other hand, couldn't stop pointing and squeeling and covering her mouth with her hands as if she could hardly stand it.  Ellie . . . she loved it, too!  She really enjoyed riding around in her stroller.  And she enjoyed the shows and the music.  She was a little trooper through the rain (we had her stroller covered with a poncho). 

And for the first time in a long, long time, I had FUN.  Like real, little kid fun!  It was really late when we got back to our room that night, and I was so tired, but I was so excited and couldn't wait to start all over again the next day!  As tired as we all were, it was hard for everyone to get to sleep that first night.


Jennifer Hawkins said...

I absolutely love this post! I can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip!

Mimi & Pop said...

Me too!!