In Forbes family tradition, Steve's parents very generously hosted us for a long weekend down at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We opted to extend our trip to make it a full week, and we came home tired and full of magical new memories with Steve's family and our girls!
We've stayed at several different hotels over the years and this year we tried the Swan. We've stayed in its sister hotel, the Dolphin, several times and it's a great hotel within walking distance of Disney's Boardwalk, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. The Swan is a beautiful hotel but much more business convention-oriented...we felt a little out of place with our big double stroller and arms full of children, surrounded by people in full professional business suits. But the girls behaved wonderfully, and they were thrilled with the little coffee shop in the lobby that sold yogurt and granola parfaits.
First night at Epcot. The girls were really into the maps this year, so every time we went into a park they would help themselves to a map and pretend to be the navigators.
Epcot had some kind of rock band playing at their amphitheater and the girls wanted to dance!
Some Mickey ice cream bars, of course.
Friday morning found us at Animal Kingdom, the girls' favorite park behind Magic Kingdom.
Selfie pictures on the safari, because why not.
There were some very enthusiastic phone photographers on our safari truck so Anna started demanding we take pictures of every single animal the guide pointed out for us. The giraffes and the elephants were her favorites.
Apparently Hollywood Studios is taking out that big hat next year. I'm glad we got at least one picture with it!
For this trip, Anna had reached the roller coaster height milestone of 40", so she was able to ride some new rides this year. She LOVED Test Track at Epcot, Star Tours at Hollywood Studios, Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom, and Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom. Given her string of successes we gamely tried Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios - it didn't end well. As Anna said at the end, "It was too scary to me, I don't want to ride that one again!!"
The girls were so excited to see Poppy and SuSu!
All decked out and ready for Star Tours!
First day at Magic Kingdom! I have to give major props to a company called Magic Strollers, who supplied the stroller you see in this picture. The night before, we were dismayed to discover that our faithful double jogging stroller had gotten a flat tire. I hopped on to the Magic Strollers website at midnight when we got back to the hotel, and they delivered a City Mini double stroller right to our hotel's front desk by 10:00 the next morning. And I was able to add an extra day to our rental, right from my phone, when we decided to stay a little longer at Disney. Those long days at the parks would have been miserable with two tired kids so I am forever grateful to their prompt service!!
Breaking out the bubble guns!
Buzz Lightyear was one of Anna's favorite rides this year.
Ready to ride Thunder Mountain!
Ready to get on the Barnstormer roller coaster. This is a roller coaster that Maddie could ride too, and we rode it at least a dozen times while we were there.
Maddie can't wait to take her turn!
Stay tuned for Part Two!