Monday, May 17, 2010

Disney World, Part 1

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The much-anticipated trip to Disney has come and gone, and we’ve got many, many fond memories of our time there. I left, with my mom, friend Montoya, and her two children, Aiydan and Aiyannah from Grand Rapids on a Thursday morning. We returned home Sunday afternoon. It was a quick – and whirlwind trip – but chock full of Disney fun.

Our favorites:

10. Staying at Disney World

In my opinion, this is the ONLY way to enjoy Disney with small children or people with disabilities. We didn’t have anyone in our party with a true, lasting disability, but Montoya recently had ACL surgery and so rented a scooter for getting around the parks. We stayed at the campground, Fort Wilderness, and borrowed a trailer of my aunt and uncle’s to stay in. All of the busses/monorails/etc. were handicapped accessible, so getting around the Disney property was pretty seamless. No trying to lift a very heavy scooter into a car! Also, being so close to our home base was great, because we were able to head back to our campsite in the middle of the day (when the sun was hottest and lines were longest anyway) and take a dip in the pool or take a nap.

9. Walking around the parks


There’s just so much to see that doesn’t at all involve the rides. And I really appreciate the attention to detail found in each and every park to make the experience so unique. There’s Sunset Boulevard at Hollywood Studios. Done up in old-school L.A. style, down to the architecture of the shops, the style of the cafes, and street signs. The pathways of the Animal Kingdom make you feel like you’re in a Costa Rican rainforest, the plants are so lush. Well, that is if Costa Rican rainforests sold Mickey Mouse ice cream pops at $4 each. I love it that even the signs pointing you to different attractions are "in character" with the overall theme. And the Magic Kingdom, my personal favorite, boasts five different “lands” and each one is unique. I love Universal, but Disney has the market on that magical, fairy dust thing, and does a great job of making you feel as though you’ve been transported to a different world and a different time.




8. The rides



I couldn’t go on the thrill rides this year, thanks to the nugget, but I still enjoyed a number of attractions. The Haunted Mansion has always been a favorite, and this time was no different. I also enjoyed the Buzz Lightyear ride at the Magic Kingdom and the Toy Story ride at Hollywood Studios, which, quite frankly, are pretty similar. Soarin’ was a family favorite at Epcot – even my grandparents went on it! It’s a Small World is still lame, but hey, it was in the shade, allowed me to sit down, and Aiydan enjoyed pointing that the moving dolls. My favorite ride was the Safari at Animal Kingdom. We saw some fantastic animals, from giraffes to elephants to ostriches. I was totally impressed.



7. Aiyannah & Montoya’s first flight

Aiydan’s, too, but he didn’t seem to care. Montoya was pretty nervous about it all, and for the flight down took a couple of Xanax to calm her down. By the time we went home, however, she realized that it was actually a pretty nice way to travel and enjoyed looking out the window.

Aiyannah got the special privilege of having her name called out over the intercom. The flight crew made special mention that it was her first flight and even gave her a pair of wings to wear and a certificate to bring home – signed by the captain and everything! She was so excited.


6. Aiyannah & the characters

When asked about Disney World before the trip, Aiyannah always said she was most looking forward to meeting the characters and getting autographs. Man alive, she met everyone! Everyone, that is, except for Princess Tiana, from The Princess and the Frog. We’d gotten to the place to meet Aiyannah’s favorite princess a tad too late, and she was gone for the day. My mom told Aiyannah that Princess Tiana had heat stroke and needed to take a rest in Cinderella’s castle. Aiyannah took the news pretty well, and for the rest of the night she’d look up to the castle and ask us how we thought Princess Tiana was doing.

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I'll finish up with the last 5 soon!


Clint said...

Did my tips help you out at all?

Mickey Mouse Birthday Invitations said...

You have nice pictures of Disney world!

Jenni S. said...

As always, *fantastic* pictures! And, of course, you've totally made me want to go back to Disney. We were supposed to go this fall, but that got pushed back to next year with the move. I cannot wait to introduce it to the girls (and to Dave -- he's never been)!!!