S: W A L T D I S N E Y W O R L D ~ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 1
BC: In your fourth year... | when you wish upon a star... | So many memories. So much magic. We had a wonderful vacation. At three, Avery was the perfect age for a first trip to Walt Disney World, and Brady, while too young to "get" all of it, was just old enough to get a kick out of it. We can't wait to go back.
FC: j o n e s f a m i l y v a c a t i o n ~ f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1
1: B R A D Y | After this trip, we are believers - Walt Disney World truly is the happiest place on Earth. We stayed at the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort, just steps away from the Magic Kingdom gates. We explored all four main Disney parks, dined with Disney characters, rode rides, and watched as many shows and parades as we could squeeze in to a six night trip. Avery loved every minute - especially those spent with her best friend, Addison, who by chance happened to not only be at Disney World, but staying at the same hotel for the duration of our trip. Brady rallied after a rough start (a stomach virus and a black eye all before we even got checked in) and had a good time, too. Brian and I thoroughly enjoyed reliving some of our childhood memories and making new ones with our kids. It was a magical trip.
2: H | E | F | C | C | H | E | F | M | I | M | C | I | C | K | K | E | E | Y | S | Y | S | ' | ' | Soon after we landed in Orlando, we kicked things off with dinner at Chef Mickey's where we met Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto! Avery was so excited to meet up with Addison and loved meeting all of the characters and collecting their autographs. Avery and Addison were so enthusiastic dancing to one of the songs that Mickey Mouse himself came over to join in with them multiple times. Brady enjoyed the meal, too, but was a little worn out after a long day of traveling and being sick the night before. | d a y 1
4: chef mickey's | more fun at
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7: On our first morning in Walt Disney World, we headed straight for the Magic Kingdom. We arrived before the park opened so that we could see the Magic Kingdom Welcome. It was truly magical to be in the crowd as several Disney characters came riding in on the train. There was dancing and singing, and all of us watching were able to help the Mayor of Main Street count down to open the park for the day. We were so excited for the kids to see the castle, the characters, the rides, and everything else that symbolized "Disney" that we had been talking about so much in the weeks and months prior to this trip. | Jan - Feb 2011 | d a y 2
8: f r o m a v e r y m a g i c a l f i r s t f u l l d a y | This first day in the parks was all about seeing and doing the things that the kids most identified with as being "Disney." This meant we never ventured too far from Fantasyland. We rode Dumbo (many, many times), Peter Pan's Flight, Cinderella's Golden Carousel, Winnie the Pooh, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Buzz Lightyear. We watched Country Bear Jamboree, met a few characters, saw the afternoon parade, and finished the day off with the Main Street Electrical Parade. We had a fantastic first full day! The kids (and adults) slept very well that night. | highlights
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10: Rapunzel, Rapunzel | let down your hair
11: A highlight of day 2 (and of the entire trip) was meeting Disney's newest princess, Rapunzel, & her beau, Flynn Ryder. A small group of kids were let in to the fairytale garden together and led to call out, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!" Rapunzel and Flynn responded by joining the kids in the garden and leading them in a short dance followed by one on one time with each child. While Avery patiently waited her turn, she colored a picture for Rapunzel and Flynn. Just before her turn came, she rushed over to Rapunzel (while she was greeting another family) and said, "I made this picture for you! You can hang it in your castle!" They were so sweet and told her that they couldn't wait to look at it better when it was her turn. When her turn finally did come, she ran back to them with her picture again. They made a huge deal out of it, and Flynn tucked it safely into his satchel, telling her how great it would look in their castle. | d a y 2
12: our first parade. | While Daddy and Brady took a rest back in the room, Avery and I caught the "Celebrate a Dream Come True" afternoon parade in the Magic Kingdom with Addison and her family. With so many of the classic Disney characters in it, it was the perfect first parade for us! | d a y 2
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15: Our third day began with a ride on the monorail to Epcot. We ate breakfast with the princesses, met Tinker Bell and Terence, rode Nemo and Friends, and watched Turtle Talk with Crush. Avery and Daddy rode Spaceship Earth while I shopped for a bit as Brady snoozed in the stroller. Half a day was plenty of time at Epcot for us.
16: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall | Princess breakfast with Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, & Aurora at | d a y 3
17: The timing for this trip caught Avery in the prime of her princess loving stage, so sharing a meal with the princesses topped of our must-do list from the very start. She was able to meet all of her favorites at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot. She chose to dress up as Belle for the occasion. Each princess stopped at our table to chat with the girls (and Brady on occasion), sign autographs, and take photos. At the end of the meal, the princesses led all of the little girls around the restaurant in a princess parade. Our little girls felt so special!
18: After a mid-day break for lunch and naps, we continued day 3 at the Animal Kingdom park. We arrived just in time to see the afternoon parade - Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade. Everyone enjoyed the parade and a couple of rides afterward, but the highlight of this adventure was seeing Finding Nemo - The Musical on stage. The show was amazing and would have been worth the price of the park admission ticket all on its own. Our visit to Animal Kingdom was cut short because Avery wasn't feeling well. In fact, she got sick on the bus on the way back to our room. Thankfully, with a little rest and a relaxed evening in, she was feeling better in no time.
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20: trick or treat? | Valentine's Day | the way
21: After a long day of park hopping and Avery's (thankfully short lived) upset tummy the day before, we decided to spend our Valentine's Day in the Magic Kingdom, close to our room. We met Princess Tiana & Prince Naveen, rode Jungle Cruise, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and It's a Small World, watched the Dream Along with Mickey show in front of the castle, shopped for souvenirs, and even made it back to the park after naps so that Brady and Daddy could see the afternoon parade. That evening, Brian and I enjoyed Valentine's dinner and a prime firework vantage point at the California Grill on the top floor of the Contemporary Hotel. It was not your typical Valentine's Day, but wonderful all the same. | d a y 4
22: Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade
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24: Cinderella's Royal Table | Day 5 began with an early reservation to eat breakfast with Cinderella and some of the other princesses at Cinderella's Royal Table inside the castle in the Magic Kingdom. Our reservation time was before the Magic Kingdom actually opened, so it was quite a neat experience to be in the park mostly by ourselves. Venturing inside the castle was a very unique experience as well. This meal was the turning point at which Avery decided she was going to wear nothing but princess dresses for the rest of the trip!
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26: the tea cups | the day we discovered
27: After breakfast in the castle, we learned that the Magic Kingdom was having some electrical problems which resulted in many of the rides being shut down. One exception to this was the Mad Tea Party - better known simply as "the tea cups." This was, no doubt, Avery's favorite ride of the trip. We rode it over and over again on this day and in all of the days that followed. | d a y 5
28: so many memories.
29: Many of my favorite photos (and memories) of the trip were taken (and made) on this day. That Avery was so cute decked out in her Cinderella gear may have had something to do with it, but I think it is mostly because we didn't have much of an agenda this day and instead simply did what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it. The kids were so happy all day long. The shot of Avery on the carousel is iconic, but my very favorite photos of the trip are the ones of the kids eating ice cream, at 10 o'clock in the morning, with the castle in the background behind them. Priceless memories. | d a y 5
30: d a y 5 | One of our favorite parades of the trip was the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! street parade in the Magic Kingdom. This parade is a moving party that, unlike other parades, comes to a complete stop around the hub in front of the castle. People in the crowd get to go out on the street and dance with the characters and performers. Brady was a very big fan of King Louie on this particular day.
31: s t r e e t p a r a d e | move it! | shake it! | elebrate It! | C
32: oh, Dumbo, we love you so | This was our favorite day in the parks because we went back to many of our favorite rides and attractions. We rode Dumbo, Peter Pan's Flight, and Cinderella's Golden Carousel many times. We rode the tea cups many, many times. We met Alice and White Rabbit and Woody and Jessie. We rode It's a Small World because you can't go to afternoon. We even managed to keep the kids up late enough to catch Wishes! - the Magic Kingdom evening fireworks display. This was a truly memorable day, near the end of a truly memorable vacation. | Disney World and not ride It's a Small World. Avery was a princess all day - Cinderella in the morning and Snow White in the
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34: Wishes | M a g i c K i n g d o m f i r e w o r k s d i s p l a y | There is something so magical about watching the Disney fireworks from the center of Main Street with the park lights dimmed and the castle aglow. The music is beautiful, the fireworks amazing, and the timing of the two together impeccable. Avery was mesmerized with Tinker Bell's flight and watched the entire show in awe. Yet not even a show as special as this was enough to keep Brady awake past 7 PM - he slept soundly in the stroller through it all...dreaming sweet dreams, I'm sure.
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36: d a y 6 | Our last full day in Disney World began at Hollywood Studios. We rode Toy Story Mania and saw The Voyage of the LIttle Mermaid and Beauty on the Beast on stage. We had lunch at Pizza Planet and stopped to visit Lotso from Toy Story. It was a fun morning, but like Epcot, half a day was plenty for us.
38: our last day in the Kingdom | Magic | We spent our last afternoon and evening in Walt Disney World at our favorite park - the Magic Kingdom. No question, our kids were happiest there. Much like the previous day, we spent this day revisiting the attractions and rides that we loved most - predominantly Dumbo, Peter Pan, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, the Tea Cups, and the Carousel. We saw the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! street parade for the final time, and stayed once again in the park until after dark so that we could see the Wishes! fireworks display one last time. What a wonderful trip we had. Avery was at the perfect age for everything that we saw and everyone that we met to seem "real" and magical. Brady was a good sport and such a trooper despite very little of this trip being catered toward him. Walt Disney World is the happiest place on Earth.
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40: one last Mad Tea Party
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42: H | E | F | C | C | H | E | F | M | I | M | C | I | C | K | K | E | E | Y | S | Y | S | ' | ' | We ended our trip just as we began it - at Chef Mickey's. The kids appreciated one last little adventure with Mickey and all of his friends before we headed to the airport to fly home. Brady was much more in to meeting and interacting with the characters by this point, and he was generous with giving out high fives and kisses! | d a y 7
43: When Goofy stopped by to say hello, he grabbed Avery by the hand and led her away from our table. Every few feet, he (and she) turned around and waved. She had no problem going with him and ultimately allowed him to take her completely out of our sight and almost out of the restaurant. She thought it was great fun to run away with Goofy!
44: Mama's | F A V O R I T E P H O T O S
46: More | F A V O R I T E S