That's right, folks, we're talking about Disney World!
We just got back from our spur-of-the-moment vacation to Orlando. It's been planned for a few weeks on a whim Shawn and I had. Winters in NH can drag and drag, even when there's no snow. After a long winter and lots of stress over Clare eating/not eating and Shawn's job, it was time for a break!
Without boring everyone to death over every last detail of our trip, I can sum it up in two words - incredible and exhausting. We stayed right at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in the Walt Disney World Resort. It's an amazing place. Our balcony overlooked the savannah and we saw giraffes, zebras, ostriches (to name a few) every day right outside our window. And not behind a fence or glass - they were right there. Jamie loved looking for the animals with his "noculars." The Lodge is African motif and was stunning with amazing African restaurants. The one downside - apparently Jamie is allergic to guava! He loved the jungle juice they served at the Lodge, but had a nasty case of hives from it. Luckily the Benadryl has finally kicked in!
We spent our time between Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom (and the hotel, where Jamie discovered the thrill of water slides). It was truly a magical vacation. Shawn had never been to Disney, and I went once as a child to Epcot, so we loved it. The weather was perfect (so wonderful to be in 80 degrees, but quite a shock to come home to 3 degree weather.) It was tiring, though, because both Jamie and Clare preferred to be carried a good majority of the time. But it was worth it to see the expressions on Jamie and Clare's faces (not to mention Shawn's!). We weren't sure how Clare would do on the rides at Magic Kingdom, but she loved them (that great vestibular stimulation!) as long as they weren't too dark or noisy. She liked the flying rides best - like Dumbo and Aladdin's Flying Carpet. Jamie's favorite was the race cars. Shawn and I loved the shows at Animal Kingdom - the Lion King and new Nemo show.
We had reservations for character dining. You never know how that's going to go over. The first day, neither Jamie nor Clare got too close to any of the characters, but by the time we had dinner with Tigger and Pooh, they both loved it. We bought Jamie an autograph book (after he saw the other kids with them) and he was diligent about having every character he met sign his book. He also needed to receive and give a hug and kiss to everyone. After she warmed up to them, Clare, too, wanted to hug and touch all the characters. She was fascinated by them! We also had dinner with Goofy and Minnie (among others) and breakfast with Donald. The only people we really didn't see were all the princesses, but that's okay because we're not a princess family (yet!).
I can't describe adequately what an amazing trip this was. Although it was physically hard on us (especially me at 32 weeks pregnant), I am glad we have the memories. Clare discovered Krispy Kreme donuts (she ate at least two every morning for breakfast - not the healthiest diet, but good for fat!). She would start hollering if the second Krispy Kreme wasn't put in front of her fast enough and ate it in fistfuls of donut. Jamie couldn't wait to see what was around every corner. He was always on the lookout for a character or another ride. It was incredible to be able to experience the magic of Disney with our children. We hope to be able to do it again in the future.