Sunday, January 9, 2011

Vacation - Part Two

Part two of our vacation to the sunny Orlando area to see Grandpa Ron and Grandma Lorrie and the local sights.

On our third day we ventured to Downtown Disney, basically shops and restaurants. The two main attractions, as far as the kids were concerned, were the Lego store and the HUGE Disney store.

Ethan standing with one of the Lego statues. When he saw this photo he said he thought he looked like he was a wearing a "Mexican hat" (sombrero) because of the round sign behind his head.

In front of the giant Lego sea serpent in the river... pretty cool.

I've been to Disney several times in my life, but never during the fall season. The decorations were great! Here are the boys in front of a giant Mickey pumpkin.

Just a fun photo opportunity...

Ethan with his R2 D2 Mickey ears. He said to me as we were walking through Downtown Disney, "mom, I saw someone with a Mickey Mouse hat but it looked like R2 D2... it was cool." And he was right, it was.

Collin with the Lego statue.

Oliver was occupied for a very long time just building with Grandma Lorrie.

Ethan playing Lego games, Oliver building.

Day four was Sea World... a birthday/Christmas gift to us from Grandpa and Grandma - Thank you!!! Sea World was a lot of fun, very, very crowded, but fun. We used to have a Sea World in northeast Ohio which I loved going to and was sad when it shut down, so I was pretty excited to go to Sea World Orlando. Photos here were few and far between as we rushed to each show and tried to occupy the tired, very stimulated boys while waiting for the shows to start. They really did enjoy the shows, which was great. I think the Clyde and Seamore show was the favorite for all of them, though they enjoyed Shamu and also the Blue Horizons shows. At the beginning of the Clyde and Seamore show there is a mime that comes out to entertain you while you wait for the show to start. He interacts with the people coming in, it's quite humorous. At our show, he had been having a lot of "fun" with people and they were clearly newbies and didn't realize it. At one point though, a lady coming for the show who he was "having fun with" goosed him (as if to put him in his place). It was clearly not planned and very much a surprise and oh so funny... especially to little kids. Ethan STILL (like just this week even) talks about how funny that was and how much he wants to go again. The only disappointment was, since it was VERY crowded, we weren't able to feed the dolphins... really I am the only one (in relation to the kids) who knew just how cool that was, so it wasn't a major issue.

Oliver with Shamu. He was a fun Shamu who hugged, then tickled the kids. They LOVED that.

Ethan with Shamu (getting tickled).

One of the few photos I have with Collin, Mr. Grumpy pants. We were looking at the stingrays.

Day five we took "off", which was good because I woke up with bad vertigo for some reason (and visited an urgent care - thank you Grandma Lorrie!). We took the boys to Lake Jesup, which is where all the alligators they find, in places they shouldn't be, are taken. Unfortunately we did not see any alligators.
On a little pier at Lake Jesup.

After that, we headed over to park just up the road from Grandpa and Grandma's house where the boys expended a lot of energy.

There was a small group of women and their children there and one of the women was dressed up as a witch. She had a big cauldron and told all the kids (theirs and others in the park) to find her all kinds of stuff to put in the cauldron for their magic potion. Our kids happily joined in, grabbing twigs, grass, leaves, rocks and dirt... as you can see by Collin's dirt covered face above. After the gathered everything, she distracted the kids off somewhere and then another lady emptied it and filled it with candy... which again they shared with everyone. The kids, all of them, thought this was very cool.

Day six was... drum roll please... Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. We chose a Monday and it was October, both usually spell low attendance days... not so on this particular day... it was a zoo. Just as crowded as any peak season I had been in. Regardless of the crowd, it was still a lot of fun and we had Grandpa and Grandma, seasoned Disney vets, to guide us through the crowds. This was another gift from Grandpa and Grandma, who had held onto some old press passes from Grandpa's radio days for us. AWESOME!!!

Tell me, in all those commercials for Disney and the ads in magazines... how exactly do they get that great photo of their family in front of the castle? How? This was shot six and the best of all of them... sadly.

Ethan and Steve shooting some aliens in the Buzz Lightyear ride. This was definitely one of Ethan's favorite things at Disney.

The twins with sitting with me, so it was hard to photograph them, but I did...

In jail with Zurg.

Ethan and Steve driving the cars... that is Ethan at the wheel... he thought that was so cool.

Ethan peeking through the back window of his car as we were waiting to get out of the cars, I was with the twins behind them.

Mickey's Garden was full of Mickey shaped pumpkins... so fun!

Some of you may know this and some don't. Collin loves Mickey. I mean he LOVES him. Therefore we were really excited to have him meet Mickey in person. I have to tell you, I was a little nervous about it... with his sensory issues and also just seeing a bigger than you Mickey can be scary. When we entered the room with Mickey and Minnie, behind another family and were waiting our turn, Collin was ALL smiles and kind of antsy (excited like). He patiently waited though and when it was his turn, he ran up and hugged Mickey. Now, it was really hard to take that all in and also photograph it... so I missed "the moment" but did get some good ones of the kids with Mickey and Minnie. Collin couldn't have been more excited or happy, and Ethan and Oliver enjoyed it too. There is a cute photo of all seven of us with M & M, but you know I have the "no photos of Wendy" rule for the blog... I may add it later... I don't know... maybe after I figure out a way to photoshop a younger, hipper, better looking me. After we left Mickey, Grandpa Ron said "I think we just made Collin's three year old life." To this day if I ask him who we met at Disney he gets a big smile on his face and says "Mickey!!"

Ethan had spotted some people with Mickey ice cream treats as we walked through he park and kept asking if he could have one. When we got in place for the parade, I decided to get him some to pass the time while we waited for the parade (great advice from a fellow mom of twins, Carrie - thank you!).
Ethan with his Mickey treat.

Collin with his Mickey treat... it was hot out and as you might imagine... there was melted chocolate and ice cream EVERYWHERE, but he thoroughly enjoyed it. (notice the Mickey shirt, the little stuffed Mickey - which is in every photo, the Mickey funtainer, the Mickey sticker on his shirt and the Mickey ice cream was the sprinkles of the day - meeting Mickey was the icing... and maybe the cake too... for this Mickey LOVING child)

Oliver was content just holding his. I think there was so much going on around him and to that point that he was still processing (I've noticed a lot of sensory processing issues with him in the last couple months, and so has his OT person, more on that in another post). He did eventually start eating it, but it was so melted that it took a dive on the concrete before he had more than a few bites.

Mickey and friends show at the castle.

Collin and Oliver seemed to really enjoy everything we did, as did Ethan. When Ethan had his "Celebrate Me" day at school in December and got to bring in a box of his favorite stuff, amoung the many different items he brought was vacation memorbilia - shells, the Sea Word brochure and the Disney brochure - and he talked about his vacation. When he was asked what was his favorite he said he liked all of it, though he does bring up the Haunted Mansion and the Buzz Lightyear rides a lot to this day (along with the mime at Sea World, the beach and the 'really cool giant Lego store').

One other kind of fun or maybe funny part of vacation... while we were driving around I kept seeing billboards for IHOP, which we do not have in our area of the country. When we lived in Maine (when I was Ethan's age and up), we used to frequent the IHOP on the weekends and seriously, what is cooler than pancakes with a ton of different sryups on a turntable on your table when you are a young kid? Feeling nostalgic, I asked if there was one close so we could go for dinner one night and sure enough there was. We didn't tell the kids where we were going because again, I was feeling all nostalgic and knew that they would get a kick out of a pancake restaruant and just wanted to build the surprise. As we drove up, Ethan spotted the big sign in the window which was a huge stack of pancakes with the word "Boo!" at the top (some Halloween special) and he knew instantly. To say he was excited by the fact that we were eating at a pancake restaurant for dinner would be an understatement... actually all three were very excited. Now the ambiance was not quite as I remember... but the pancakes were still good and the boys were oh so very happy. That in and of itself was worth it.

Though we had some bumps along the week with tired kids in a new place, different beds and with no routines, it was a really fun time with Grandpa and Grandma. We are very glad we were able to make it down there before they moved (though Fort Myers will be nice to visit too) and got to share all the 'kid fun' of the parks and beach with them. It's certainly a vacation that we will all remember for a long time. Thank you!!!!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Awesome, Wendy! I LOVE your post and your pictures. I'm so glad you guys had fun!

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