I've had a secret. A big one. I spent nearly 6 months planning a Disney trip for the kids and I with one of my best friends and her family. Let's just say, I'm notorious for being a terrible secret keeper, but somehow I managed to pull it off! My friends' kids are 3 and 1, so it wasn't much of a struggle for her to keep quiet, but with a 9 and 5 year old, this secret proved to be difficult to keep quiet.
So, to make sure it didn't get out, we came up with a code name (so that we could talk freely and plan the many, many, many details), Operation Queso, and I basically purchased the kids a whole new wardrobe.
Late on the 3rd of this month, my friends all drove down to Houston and we spent the next day running all around creation buying food and essentials for our trip.
We had a scavenger hunt for the kids on Saturday morning to tell them where we were going and it was a huge surprise to all of them! So, we loaded up in the rental car and off we went!
We stopped in Beaumont because one of our small people with us has a love affair with fire hydrants. Like, we have to stop and take a picture with as many as possible. I'm certain the vast majority of the past few years of photos of her include a hydrant. Anyway, Beaumont has the largest fire hydrant in the world, so we stopped and snapped a photo.
I took the first leg of driving and got us all the way into Louisiana. Let's just say that if there had been a selfie taken on the way back, neither of the people in the above photo would have looked so enthusiastic.
We stopped at some Mexican restaurant somewhere in Louisiana. I couldn't tell you where this was or what I ate or what the kids ate. Let's just say that Louisiana air and I DO NOT get along!
Early, early Sunday morning, we rolled into our hotel and got checked in and fell into our room.
We tried to go spend some time at the pool and splash pad, but no one was really into it, as we were all so exhausted that all we wanted to do was veg.
We managed to rally after we rested a bit, showered and headed to downtown Disney to walk around. We filled the kids full of as much sugar as we thought appropriate without ruining their dinner, so we had a lot of this:
One of the kids actually fell asleep at the table. Ah, memories.
Here we all are at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant!
The girls got to look around a bit at the hotel before we all went back to the room to prepare for the next day and crash.
Monday morning we all got up early (you'll notice a theme here in a minute) to get to Hollywood Studios before it opened. Our only requirement that morning was to get Caleb on the list for Jedi Training, a VERY popular event at that park.
The kids were super excited. What you don't know is that this photo was brought to you by bribes and Pixie Sticks. Hey, you do what you have to.
Caleb and I ran (yes, ran) through Hollywood while P went with my friend and her girls. We managed to get Caleb on the list for a Jedi Training later that afternoon, so we set about busying ourselves.
So, if I could change one thing about our trip, the above photo would be it. This, folks, is our photo on Tower of Terror. Y'all, this was the first thing we rode. That wasn't my best move and I spent the next week convincing both of my kids that every. single. ride. wouldn't be like Tower of Terror.
Next, we saw the Muppet Show and then taught Phineas and Ferb some TaeKwon-Do moves.
Next, we allowed the kids to cover themselves in chocolate, courtesy of Mickey Ice Cream.
Piper decided that she had to meet the guys from Monster's Inc. However, if you could rotate the camera to the left, you would see my 9 year old cowering in the corner. Let's just say that the characters weren't his cup of tea.
Caleb fought Darth Vader perfectly!
I have about a billion and a half of Caleb in his Jedi Training, but this one is my favorites. Each kid is walked through a pattern to fight Darth Vader, which he completed successfully. But, one kid is chosen to use "the force" to push back a storm trooper. Guess who was chosen?!? Oh, he was
If you hang out with Piper for any length of time, you'll learn that she's obsessed with the Eiffel Tower. So, we had to have a photo. *Note: This trip led to her planning the trip to Paris that I've been commanded to take her on when she graduates from high school. I don't think I'll fight that one.*
After Jedi Training was done, we headed over to Epcot to get in some of the countries and see the fireworks over the water.
We happened upon Belle coming out for her nightly photo op and jumped right in that very short line for a photo with the first princess that she ever loved.
She still loves Belle. I think deep down, she's still a fav!
Tuesday morning we got up early and headed to the Bibbity Boppity Boo Salon in Downtown Disney where both girls donned their custom made Elsa dresses and got ready for some pampering!
P was super excited to get everything all done and sat patiently waiting for her fairy godmother to get started.
It cracked me up because they called the girls Princess the whole time we were there and the girls had a truly special morning!
Piper had her hair done (doesn't she look so different without bangs?), makeup (no lip gloss) and a manicure. My sweet girl was so happy!
Posing with her friend while little sister photo bombs...
After the salon, we went to Magic Kingdom to spend some time riding rides we wanted to hit before we left.
So, this is my friend Miriam. Y'all, I can't even express how tired we were and it rained this whole day, so we were looking rough. But this was just day two, so we persevered!
Miriam and I saw these tshirts on Pinterest and her husband made them for us. They say "she's my best friend" and have a Mickey hand pointing to the side. They are super cute but didn't get shown a whole lot since we had our rain jackets on most of the day!
One of the things to do at Magic Kingdom was called Enchanted Tales with Belle where kids were chosen at random to play parts in the story of Beauty and the Beast. P was chosen to be the Beast, the best role, hands down!
She was a super ferocious Beast (she's roaring here)!
But they eventually settled their differences and danced at the end. I have to admit, I cried when they danced. I don't know why. Let's just blame the Disney fairy dust that they must pump into all the parks.
Piper and her first princess love.
Next, we went to visit Ariel, who I didn't think that Piper would care anything about seeing. But, surprisingly she was very enthusiastic about getting her photo made with her. Who know?
The next day we went back to Epcot, where our one and only goal of the day was this:
A photo with Elsa and Anna. Friends, we stood in line for this photo op for 4 hours. Yeah. It was totally worth it!
Then, we went around the corner and found Donald Duck just waiting for us!
The youngest member of our group has a serious and deep love affair with Donald Duck, so we let her cuddle with him for a minute. She was thrilled and I think it made her trip more than the Elsa/Anna meet and greet!
The kids and I rode the Mexico ride at Epcot like 94959 million times. It was so, so hot, so we took advantage of a ride that was relatively light on crowds and rode it over and over, not even getting off.
While at Epcot, it was imperative that we eat at the Coral Reef Restaurant, which is my favorite on property place. Every time I've gone to DW (now 4 times), I've eaten here. Love it!
The kids and I in front of the Epcot ball.
Thursday, we got up a bit less early (see what I did there?), and headed to Animal Kingdom.
I have to say, of all the parks, this has to be our least favorite. When we go back, I don't think I'll push to go here. We did have some fun, though, and did what we could.
Piper found a skeleton of a bat. We had to pull her away from here. She kept asking me to buy her this in the gift shop. You can find some seriously cool stuff at Disney, but not this. Trust me. I looked.
The kids ran around and played some drums,
then we went on a safari. This was super fun and we got to see so many animal much closer than at the zoo!
There were a few rides here that we rode, not many, but this one I just couldn't do. Thank goodness that Miriam had no problem riding this spinning ride that would have made me hurl.
Then we met Mickey and Minnie. This was really the best place to see them, as the wait time was virtually non-existent.
Friday morning, we were up early and headed to Magic Kingdom for a full day.
Y'all we were tired. Like, drag yourself around tired. But they knew that this was the last day and we had so much fun planned.
Piper spent much of Friday like this. She may seem tiny, but go wrap a 40ish plus pound, bony child who refuses to sit still and walk about 50 miles in one day and you'll have some idea how my shoulders and back felt. I fear they'll never be the same.
All the kids at the front of the park.
All of us. Good thing this is from pretty far away. That way you can't see the bags under our eyes! Still having fun, though...
Magic Kingdom is really the best place to meet and photograph with the princesses, so we saw Rapunzel,
and Piper's favorite (after Elsa, of course), Aurora!
So, the trip was a wonderful one and I will and would do it all over again, with just a few minor tweaks. Both kids are begging to go back and I'm sure we will someday, but we all have to recover first!
*Obvious note: the photos contained within are just a very, very small fraction of the photos I have.*