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WDW slideshow

  • Sunday, March 27, 2011
  • Jeff and Kari
  • Walt Disney World

  • Jeff and Kari

  • It's a daunting task to try and highlight the events of the past week or so, but we'll try and hit the highlights.

    So, we promised the kids probably two years running that we we would take them to Walt Disney World. We knew it'd be pricey and we wanted the kids to be old enough to enjoy it. Unfortunately, the only time we could get away this year was Spring Break (one of the busies times of year for Disney), but decided to do it anyways. The following short synopsis doesn't do justice to the amount of time spent planning this trip. For those planning a future trip or frustrated by past trips, we highly recommend the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. It definitely made our potentially stressful trip a whole lot smoother. Hannah had it practically memorized and any time we had a question about dining options or rides, Hannah could step in with the needed information.
    The family on their first flight together

    So, the trip started with a flight. We knew we would save a lot driving, but we would arrive tired and depart even more tired. Besides, none of our kids (except Hannah as a baby) have flown and I think the kids were almost as excited about the flight as they were Disney World. We flew out on a Wednesday and arrived that evening. We stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter--we highly recommend this hotel. We had no idea how spread out some of the hotels were at Disney and were glad that this hotel was pretty tightly compacted. Our first night there we took a boat ride down to Downtown Disney--a mess of shops and dining. Jonathan enjoyed the Lego store and all the kids enjoyed the massive toy store. We got snacks and headed back to the hotel so we could get an early start on the next day.
    Rachel on the morning of our first day-already tired!
    Day #1: Our first day was spent at Disney Hollywood Studios. The best way to tackle Disney is to to get there early and ride the popular rides first. As a result, Jeff took the 3 oldest kids to the Rock N' Rollercoaster. None of our kids have ridden a rollercoaster and they rode Disney's scariest first! It shook Jonny up a little, but unfortunately for us, turned them into adrenaline junkies the rest of the trip. The second ride was Tower of Terror which Kari and Rachel joined the group for and found it to be scarier than the roller coaster! We spent the rest of the day exploring the park and then had a New England clam bake dinner.

    Day #2: Animal Kingdom. Part zoo, part amusement park. The kids' favorite ride was Expedition Everest--like Disney's Matterhorn ride on steroids. They rode it twice. One of the neater rides was the Kilimanjaro safari ride that took you on an African savannah safari. We felt the crowds a little bit this day and missed some shows as a result, but still had a good time. We ate an African buffet at Animal Kingdom lodge--a hotel with a African safari outside the rooms. That was pretty neat.
    First in line at Magic Kingdom!

    Day #3: Magic Kingdom. The park everyone waits for! By this point we had the Fast Pass system down. We got to the park early and racked up the rides for the first several hours. In fact, we had seen most of everything and actually went back to our hotel for a midday nap for the kids (and the adults)! Refueled, we returned that evening for some more rides, dining with Winnie the Pooh and friends, and fireworks! Favorite ride this day: Thunder Mountain Railroad--Rachel made us ride this ride 5 times total! The kids even road Space Mountain twice!
    Jonny was picked by Cinderella to dance at one of our dinners!

    Day #4: No parks. Our day of rest. I don't think the kids would have made another early morning. It was nice to just spend some time together as a family outside of the park this day.

    Jeff and the kids in front of "Germany" at Epcot.

    Day #5: Epcot. We should've done this park first. Being the most "educational" Disney park, by this point of our vacation the kids were looking for their next "coaster fix". As a result, Epcot was not as popular with the kids as it could've been. Favorite ride: Test Track--a car test simulator ride. This was the closest the kids could get to a coaster and were disappointed we only rode it twice. Jeff was excited to eat his pre-birthday dinner at the Biergarten--a German family buffet restaurant. Kari and the kids finally got to taste some of his mission food. I think the kids just tolerated it for Dad!

    Big Thunder Mountain - a consensus favorite!

    Day #6: Magic Kingdom-Round 2. Our last day of vacation and we had already visited this main attraction once. As a result we hit the few rides we had missed the first time and revisited our favorites. In all, the kids rode Space Mountain 5 times and Big Thunder Railroad 8 times! Not bad for Spring Break crowds! It was Jeff's birthday this day and Kari and the kids got him a Disney birthday button that he wore the whole day. Every Disney worker (and even some patrons) that saw him wished him a "Happy Birthday!" After the park, we caught a bus back to the airport and flew home. We hit our beds in Sulphur Springs at midnight only to sadly wake up for work and school the next day.

    Rachel braving the front car of Space Mountain.

    We loved our Disney vacation. We did have the sad realization that perhaps we had waited too long to take the kids--we thought Dumbo would be the popular ride and the characters would be a big hit, but the roller coasters won out! The kids are already pushing for Six Flags this summer!

    Jeff's birthday has become a travel day as of late (we spent it travelling back from El Salvador last year).  As a result, we celebrated it as a family this last Wednesday.  Jeff's brother Kurt and his family were in town for their Spring Break so it was nice to see them as well.

    Jeff and the kids making 35 wishes!

    Countdown to the Magic...

  • Sunday, March 13, 2011
  • Jeff and Kari
  • Spring Break has sprung upon us--where does the time go? It seems like just last weekend the basketball season started and now it's over and the next sport has started.

    We're still in the midsst of basketball fever at our house. College basketball is definitely our favorite sport to watch. Kentucky had a decent season (it's funny how if they aren't top 10 in the county we think they're doing poorly). BYU has definitely captured our attention. Despite having the best team in decades, they still managed to unravel going into the post season. Although we love watching the NCAA tournament, our teams always tend to disappoint. Is it sad that Jeff is actually a little disappointed that our vacation will overlap the first round of tournament games (that's when all the excitement happens he says)?!

    Which brings us to Disney World. We've promised the kids for the last two years that we would take them to Disney World. Rachel is 6 (and the rest aren't getting any younger) so we are finally making good on our promise. Unfortunately, Spring Break was the only time that really worked with our schedule. So, our "relaxing" vacation may be battling the masses. But, that's alright. The kids are excited about the multitude of firsts they will be experiencing--their first plane ride, their first Disney World trip, their first set of luggage, and their first freedom to eat whatever they want for a week a straight!

    We'll keep you posted. While we're gone, keep track of BYU for us--you might even have time to learn how to "Jimmer" (terrible music but decent highlight reel). NPOY

  • Sunday, March 6, 2011
  • Jeff and Kari
  • Here's a post for ya...You're driving me nuts! (This post is meant exclusively for Jeff.)
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