When You Wish Upon a Star...

Monday, April 25, 2011
For those who don't know the story...a quick background.

2001. My junior year, Ryan's senior year. We were both in band/marching band, and every two years the band directors orchestrated a trip to Disney World. I had wanted to go to Disney World since well before I was 4-5 years old. I LOVED Mickey and Minnie growing up. Thus, the 2001 trip was very, very exciting for me. We would get to march in the nightime SpectroMagic parade and then pretty much got to run around Disney as we pleased with 1 day at the beach thrown in there. Why did this trip and this place become so special to me?

A brand new boy (whom I had been taking a liking to for a little while before this trip) asked me to sit next to him on the bus. The bus ride would be a 30 hour ride in a cramped coach bus with no shower until arriving at our final destination. I knew I liked him, and he obviously liked me.

We spent the entire trip together with my friends and officially starting dating a few days after we got back and the rest is history...as that was nearly 10 years ago. 10 years.

Unfortunately, the amount of work it would take to dig up and find the prints from that trip and figure out my scanner I haven't used in months is just too much work, so I won't take you all the way back to that trip in photos, so before we get to this year's trip with Henry, here are a few from our 2005 Spring Break trip there.



The trip with a toddler was a little different than the 2005 trip or the 2001 trip, obviously, but I don't think it could have gone any better. Overall, Henry did absolutely amazing, and I am truly not exagerating that point. I was expecting terrible plane rides, countless tantrums, fear of the characters, not liking the rides, etc. etc. It could have been a nightmare, but it wasn't. It was amazing, well needed, well deserved, and a memory that we will absolutely cherish forever. Let me tell you more in words and photos.

Our first of 3 days was spent at my favorite place, Magic Kingdom. It obviously screams Disney, and I love that, because I love Disney. They easily had the most things for Henry to do and I don't even think we saw or did all that he could do.

One of many attempts at getting a frame worthy shot of the castle. This one could be good if I attempt to remove the two people in the lower left corner.


Here's a better one, I think.


One of the few times Henry didn't cooperate. And he did this in front of every "big thing" at each of the park's we went to. We didn't get a real good one in front of the castle, or the Tree at Animal Kingdom or the Sorcerer's Hat at Hollywood Studios.


While the big kids went on Space Mountain, mommy bought Henry a Minne & Mickey balloon which he didn't want to let go of for most of the day. The balloons ranged in price from $8.00-$15.00. I did NOT pay $15.00. Ouch. It wasn't like there was any way we would be walking out WITHOUT a balloon. The boy screamed balloon every time he saw one...and they were kind of all over.


Some of the rides he went on at Magic Kingdom included Dumbo, the carosuel, It's a Small World, Pirates of the Carribean, Buzz Lightyear, and the Tea Cups. We never got to the big train they have, but he LOVED the monorail and the parking lot train thing, so he definitely got his fill of what he thought were "choo-choos."

The whole family on the carosuel. He just loves this ride.




Dumbo was also a favorite since you got to control the up and down of it. It was nice that I was able to go on all the rides he could go on, so I didn't have to miss out on much!


They had a dumbo sitting next to the ride you could take pictures in. It didn't turn out the best, and man, was it hard to get good quality pictures since you can't control where anything is and where the light is coming from, so I did my best.


Despite his love for getting dizzy (especially on my office chair in the basement), he didn't dig the tea cups as much as we thought he would. It was late in the day, however. Daddy is too chicken for the tea cups, and I didn't think I should be spinning around even though the ride was ok for expecting mothers so he went on with Chris and Kelly.



While waiting in line for Buzz Lightyear, Henry plans out his next Disney move.


Speaking of Buzz Lightyear...he was the first character he met. We waiting in line for probably a good 20 minutes and my goodness, was it worth it. I cried, of course, and I cry thinking about how much pure joy this child had on his face.

The caption on the photo is literally how I read the look on his face.


So excited. And, amazingly, this child didn't have a problem saying goodbye to any of the characters. So not only did he love them (which is probably a little uncommon given his age and his reaction to Santa back in December), he also didn't have a problem moving on (and we always promised him "another one" and boy did we see our share of characters.)


We brought the monkey backpack (leash) and tried it out a few times, but he actually didn't do TOO bad most of the time when getting put back in his stroller. It was hot, he's approaching 25 pounds, and it was just easier. We did let him walk around a bit though each day.


A rare unhappy moment. We were alone waiting for the big kids to get done with Space Mountain and I wanted a picture of just him in front of the castle. I really wanted to take him out, but I didn't want to deal with the potential tantrum alone when I tried to put him back in. On second thought, I wish I would have attempted this photo again of just him when I had someone to help. Darn. Anyway, he was unhappy because right behind me there was an old fashioned popcorn stand, and to him, it apparently looked like a choo-choo.


We watched the afternoon parade and saw a ton of characters (many Henry didn't even know, but he was still excited). In photo immediately below, he was blowing a kiss to Cinderella. Such a charmer already.




Cheering for someone...probably Mickey.


Mommy's favorite.


After the parade, he finally zonked out and slept for a good 1.5 hours in his stroller, clutching his Mickey.


Ahh!! He smiles in a family photo.


Finally, the big moment of the day, and likely of the whole trip...meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time. Thankfully, the wait time was only 5 minutes, and he was inside where it was cool. We only have a snippet of video, unfortunately, but I think Chris and Kelly have more so I'll definitely mesh them together and post that once I get it. For now, here are the adorable photos. He LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Mickey. He gave him hugs, high fives, etc. and was all smiles the entire time. At every character station they have a "photographer" who takes photos too and they give you a little card you can use to check them out on a computer (I haven't looked at any of ours yet)...SO, if all else fails, I can go be a "photographer" at Disney. Anyway, I think this photographer woman thought Henry was just too cute, because we spent an awful lot of time with Mickey which was kind of the case with all the characters. I don't think any one of the character photographers hurried us along. Henry was just too cute!







He loved the noses.


More hugs.


Family shot.


High fives.


So excited again.


Again with the nose.


More high fives.


And one last hug.


We went back for the nighttime parade (which we pretty much missed) and the fire works on our last Disney day (we had the park hopper so we could come and go, which was nice). Henry fell asleep during these. I call shenanigans when wakes up for good from a nap if the dogs bark too loud/long.


Mommy and Kelly also went and visited the princesses on our way out. The wait at 11pm was only 5 minutes. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for particular princesses such as Cinderella and Belle. I joked with Kelly that they would all probably be the "newer" princesses that today's generation of girls are growing up with (think Princess and the Frog, Tangled, etc.) We also felt a little weird about it until a whole crowd of older (but not quite as old as us) girls walked in behind us. The princesses are a little more weird than the rest of the characters. The princesses actually talk to you, and what do you say to a princess?

Although slight disappointment in not seeing my top two faves, we did see Sleeping Beauty and Ariel.



Our next day at Disney started with a character breakfast. Ryan and I did this in 2005 and it was a great way to see the characters and get some photos without waiting in line, so I knew I wanted to do it again this trip. Unfortunately, Chef Mickey's which has everyone from Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Chip and Dale had literally no reservations for any day/time we were going to be at Disney's. We settled for Cape May at the Beach Club Resort because they at least at Minnie, Goofy and Donald Duck, all characters that Henry would recognize. Note to future travelers to Disney--you must make these reservations WELL in advance...like seriously, the day you buy your airline tickets. I suggest making multiple reservations, and that way you can choose at it gets closer or while at Disney with which one fits in your schedule best and just cancel the rest online.

We also have videos of all of these that I will hopefully post with the other Mickey one.

First up was Goofy.




Wait, before we go any further. How many engineers does it take to strap a kid into a high chair?


Next was Minnie. I don't think he gets that there is a difference yet. A mouse is a mouse.


He blew her a kiss.


She got a hug too, of course.


Oh, how he loved her.


Blowing kisses goodbye.


Nose snuggles again.


Finally, Donald Duck.


Fascinated with his beak.


The breakfast wasn't cheap, but I think it was worth it. And, if you stick around long enough, the characters keep rotating through the room. We saw each of them twice.

After our breakfast, we headed to Animal Kingdom.

Henry says "Bright". After wearing his new shades all over the house and to and from places the week before, he literally wore them in Disney for 2 minutes. He wanted nothing to do with them out of the parking lot on our first day at Magic Kingdom. Weird.


Henry didn't agree with my idea to stand by the sign by himself.


The tree photo I talked about. He wanted nothing to do with it.



Henry was napping, so we posed for a quick photo of just us!


At animal kingdom, Henry went on the Jungle Safari ride (which I couldn't go on, apparently it's too bumpy), which he loved!, the dinosaur ride (similar to Dumbo), saw lots of characters and walked around and saw lots of animals (the tigers were his favorite!) We only spent a half day there and later went to Hollywood Studios.

Henry and daddy on the Dino ride.


Animal kingdom also had a train to ride. Unfortunately, Henry did this right before we wanted to go on, so another train ride we missed.


Tons of characters here too, with very little lines. Note to future travelers of Disney: go to the parks early...like as soon as they open. It's not as hot, and it's not as crowded so there are pretty much no lines.

We met Winnie the Pooh.


And we loved his nose too.



The "photographer" at this station pushed me to get the "money shot". I should start using that phrase at weddings.


The only character that Henry didn't want to be friends with, even though he doesn't show it in this photo.


He walked away with an ever so slight look of fear on his face and moved on to Tigger.


Everyone got a hug...except Eyore...and isn't he the character who would need it the most? Poor Eyore.


He liked Thumper the bunny.


And, some of our favorites again, this time in Safari gear. He LOVED this Minnie. He pretty much wouldn't stop snuggling her nose.




Fascination with the nose again.




He smiles. And mommy looks disheveled.


Maybe he's done with them at this point. No smile.


That night we went to Hollywood Studios for the night show "Fantasmic". Henry was actually awake for it at 10 or 11pm, whatever it was. He was pretty entertained by the show, and for some reason, was snuggling me A LOT. He's not really into snuggling unless he's tired (which he probably was), but this was the type of "throw his arms around my neck and hold his face next to mine snuggling"...for probably a good 10 minutes. I just cried...darn hormones. Although I think I was also caught up in the whole Disney "magic"...and if you think I'm lame, go back to the first paragraph...and if you still think I'm lame, oh well. 10 years ago I held hands with my almost boyfriend during this show, 6 years ago, I was snuggling my fiancee at this show, and on this night, I was sitting next to my husband and was being snuggled by my amazing son. It was kind of a full-circle moment for me and a little emotionally overwhelming for a pregnant girl.

We tried to get a photo in front of the big hat, but as you can see, Henry was kind of done with the day at this point. Chris and Kelly's is adorable, though! I knew we were going back for our third and final day at Disney, so I wasn't worried about it, only I forgot to have someone take it that day, so this was the best we got of the hat.


The next day at Hollywood Studios again.

Henry was happy by himself, but didn't want a picture with mommy. Someone in the tantrum, daddy mangaged to snag the one on the right.


I would like to say that right before I took this picture I said "Show me your crankiest face"....but I didn't. We'll say it was hot.


While the big kids went on Hollywood Tower of Terror, Henry and I went walking around. I wasn't going to stop at this character, but Henry saw him, and thus, we waiting. He barely knows Handy Manny...I think he's seen the show once.


Right next door later on, they had a Disney Junior Live Puppet show. It had the MIckey Mouse Clubhouse characters, Handy Manny and some other show I'm not too familiar with. Either way, Henry would have LOVED it. However, he zonked out 3 minutes before the doors opened. I was so bummed I tried everything I could once we got in there to wake him up...stood him up, moved him around, talked to him, danced him around, etc. etc., but nothing worked. He was out cold and slept through the entire loud show. I again call shenanigans on him when he wakes up too soon because the dogs barked.

Hollywood studios had the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" playground which Henry really enjoyed. It had a variety of slides and such and those were of course his favorite. Look at his expression on the right!!


A giant crayon we saw while waiting in line for the Toy Story Mania ride. You literally felt like you walked into the movie Toy Story while you were waiting in line. However, the ride (which has wait times later in the day of 90 minutes) was a huge let down. Wasn't as fun as the Buzz Lightyear one at Magic Kingdom and Henry didn't like it...and it didn't really work for us to all sit in the same seat even though the guy sat us together (there were only two lap bars).


He loved Potato Head though!


We also saw the parade (which had Potato Head, Buzz, Woody and other Pixar characters) and I was FINALLY successful in waking Henry up to see Buzz and Woody. I have video of that...no pictures.

Our last character greeting of the trip was Sorcerer Mickey. This one was tough. I took him by myself when the big kids were on a ride and despite the fact that the wait was only 10-15 minutes, after you went down the first line, you were up close and personal with Mickey (even though you had another 3 lines to go down)...Henry was not happy to be moving farther away from Mickey. After a few hair pulls (maybe I ought to cut my hair??) and a few throw himself down on the floor tantrums, we made it.



And thus ended the Disney portion of our mini-vacation. We also spent a little bit of time at the beach. Henry says beach. It sounds like something else, but Henry says beach. He loved the beach. Airplanes kept flying by and there were birds everywhere. Loved it. For a kid who doesn't really like to get dirty at dinner time, he LOVED playing in the sand. At one time he was covered everywhere with wet sand. He even laid down on his belly in the sand so he could play with it. We also have some beach video I can post later.


Chasing birdies.


Sunscreen hair.



His eyelashes are seriously longer than mine. Jealous.


Already posted this one and my love for it on Facebook, but here it is again.



A little water in the eyes.


Look at his sandy butt.



I want to live near a beach.



Current FB profile picture.



Love the expression in both.




Bracing ourselves for a big wave! He only got knocked down a few times!






Although mommy wanted another cute beach photo in his cute outfit we changed him into, Henry was more interested in the sand. Still cute though.


And that concludes the vacation post. I hope you are all still with me. A refill on your coffee, snack or a potty break is probably in order. It really was an amazing vacation and I can't thank Chris and Kelly enough for inviting us along. Henry did great and I'm so glad we gave him the chance to do so.

I'll leave you with the boy and one of his new favorite things. The first airplane ride went as we expected. He was antsy and wanted to move and wasn't occupied with much of what we brough with him (even though he'll sit with the Ipod for 30 minutes if we let him). He did fall asleep for the last 30 minute though. The flight back had a connecting flight in Atlanta and he slept the whole way on the first flight (thank goodness for free satalite TV--Spongebob put him to sleep!), and on the last flight home we were lucky enough to get our two seats together in the first row of coach. That meant extra leg room and enough room for Henry to stand up and stretch his legs for the majority of the flight. Hard to believe we've already been back for over a week. I miss the sun, sand, and warmth.

Watching the airplanes. Ask him what an airplane says the next time you see him.



Sarah Helfinstine said...

Looks like you guys had so much fun! We went to Disneyland during our honeymoon, but I haven't been to Disney World. We'll definitely have to go when Abby gets bigger. And I love that you got pictures with Sleeping Beauty & Ariel--those two are my favorites!

Kelly said...

What can I say, but "LOVE IT!" We had a blast with you guys! It was so much fun being able to see the excitement in Henry's face! He was soooo good the whole trip!

Where to next year?! :)

Ryan said...

I vote for Hawaii!!!!

kfiland30 said...

Love the pictures of Henry! Make the trip into a book, he will love that.
Glad you all had a good time.. I have a few favorites I would like to have for pictures..


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