On Fall Break Fun With the Mouse (Part 2)

Part 2 of Fall Break Fun with a Mouse! 
On this trip, since we were doing things other than Disney,
 we decided to only spend two days in the Disney parks. 
We let the kids pick their favorites and they chose
(of course!)
The Magic Kingdom was having “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” on most of the nights that we were there, but we picked a night when it wasn’t happening so that we’d get to see the fireworks.
 We chose not to go mainly because:

  1.  For the party ticket it costs quite a bit more
  1.  My kids are allergic to most candy and I didn’t want to fight them
There was a lot of construction going on in the MK, some was finished and new
areas were there since we’d been four years ago.  
One new thing was the Beauty and the Beast castle and “Be Our Guest” restaurant.
I really was looking forward to eating there after reading some reviews-
Verdict?  Not even the kids were impressed!  
In their words:
“They don’t have it together yet.” (on ordering)
“Basically a cafeteria with GPS to get you your food.” (8 yr old)
“Cool ambiance but awful food.” 
“Almost no options for vegetarians.” 
“We waited for this and I’m still hungry.”
I’m excited about the new Snow White castle going in across from it- they will have a runaway mine car ride! 
My oldest finally got to ride the Dumbo ride.  She had been bugging me saying this was the third time she’d been and she HAD to ride the Dumbo ride (lines were too long the other times.)
Lines were non-existent and she got to ride it a couple of times I think!
It was so neat that all of my kids were old enough to ride anything- they had so much fun!
Kids’ favorites:
  • The Pirate Adventure Scavenger hunt- very neat & interactive.  (Gave us some time to drink something and put our feet up while they did that a couple of times.)
  • Splash Mountain- youngest is making me read him the Uncle Remus stories now 
  • Tom Sawyer Island- they didn’t want to leave this part!
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (we were stuck on this one awhile but the game still worked so they were happy!)
  • Space Mountain
Funny thing- we said we were jinxed because at least six of the rides we went on 
got stuck when we were on them! 
The second park the kids chose was the Animal Kingdom:
I secretly was hoping for Epcot since it was the Food and Wine Festival, 
I do love Animal Kingdom.  
It seems like a break from the rush of the other parks.
Very pretty and rides were great for older kids (and hubby.)
There were no lines at all in AK and they got to ride Expedition Everest probably 15 times in a row!
We ate in the Yak & Yeti restaurant and were disappointed again.  
Think I’d do the fast food stuff there if I had it to do over. 
One good thing was that this park closed at 5:30, which meant we had to take it a bit easy!
(And being pregnant I appreciated that for one day!)
Getting souvenirs in Downtown Disney
See my last post for tips on saving money in Orlando!

On Fall Break Fun with the Mouse! (Part 1!)

My kids go to a “year round” school, which means we get a lovely break in the fall.
So, the last week in September/first in Oct. we took a trip to Orlando.
Our first outing was to Legoland-so much fun!
  This new one in Florida
is located in the old Cypress Gardens park 
so it’s not only fun, but
There were NO lines at all so the kids rode everything they wanted over and over.  
Our next adventure was to Universal Studios
and then Universal Islands of Adventure
I wish we’d had more time to stop and pick oranges when we drove out to Legoland. There are beautiful U-Pick orchards and it looked like it would have been fun. 
We ate in Mythos in Islands of Adventure which I’d heard good things about on Universal fan websites.  It was better than anything else we ate in any of the parks, but the service was not the best.  (Pretty much everywhere in Orlando the service was slack though.)  The frozen butterbeer was a hit in Harry Potter World.  My eleven year old was chosen at Olivander’s for the wand selection, which he’d been hoping for before we left.  Made his vacation I think!  (Hint, if you’re in line try to not get next to other eleven/twelve year olds as they pick those kids for the “chosen.”)
I didn’t get to ride much of anything being pregnant, but the kids rode everything they wanted at all of the parks multiple times because the lines were non-existent.  The only time it took was the time it took them to walk to the front of the ride!  Perfect time to go to Orlando!

Next time I’ll tell you about 
the Magic Kingdom
Animal Kingdom!

Deals in Orlando:
*I found a smoking hot deal online on the Legoland website before we left- kids were free plus they got a free Chima Lego set which was over a $20 value.
*Plane fare from LR to Orlando?  Try Allegiant Airlines, direct flight.  Cheap- but we aware that they charge you to sit together and also for each carry on and checked bag.  They are 1/2 price if you check bags at home online.  Pack light! 
*Universal Studios tickets were cheaper when bought online ahead of time.  I printed them before we left and walked right in.
*Disney doesn’t give a discount for buying tickets ahead of time so we didn’t, and didn’t have any trouble buying them at the park.  Their sales people are very helpful in figuring out which pass is best for you.
*Coupon in tourist book for Wonderworks which equaled over $10 off I believe.  The kids loved that place.
*Be ready to spend lots of money for subpar food.  Nothing besides chains really and service is horrific in Orlando.  If we had driven I’d probably had taken a cooler and snacks/lunch to the parks.  It’s easy to shell out over $100 just for fast lunch there.  Next time…
*I found a great hotel deal on Groupon at the Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista.  Fantastic
price, cheaper than anything else I’d found and free breakfast, happy
hour, snacks, and movies in the pool!  With a family of 5 the Embassy
Suites is a usually a nice choice.  The location was fantastic too-
right by Lake Buena Vista so we were close to the Disney and Universal

On vacations (or not wanting to come home…)

We are back to reality.  
Durn it.
It was a great week!  
We drove down to Cape San Blas, FL on Saturday and got there in the dark.
The next morning we got up to this…

View from our bedroom
Walkway over the dunes to the beach
We saw a lot of this
And this
Ate some great gulf shrimp
Creole Shrimp over grits at “The Hut” in Eastpoint
Went fishing- didn’t catch anything but saw lots of dolphins!
There was virtually no cell phone service which was great because hubby couldn’t work (well, he snuck in some computer time but it was not much so I won’t complain.) 
On the way home we stopped at the U.S.S. Alabama in Mobile to let the kids run a bit.  They had a great time looking at the ship and lots of cool airplanes.   Ate lunch at Felix’s Fish Camp, and it was great.  
Now to lose the five pounds I gained…


We’re back! Disney was fun. This fall break the kids have is going to be nice. Great deals on vacations, good weather, small crowds! Now for some shameless pics of my kids…
(All taken with my phone so forgive the bad quality.)

We happened to be there during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Oktoberfest, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and German Reunification Day which was fun too. (We didn’t make it to the Halloween Party for 2 reasons-

1) It would have been $420 more for us to go.
2) The kids can’t eat any food coloring so candy would have been a problem!

We had loads of fun anyway, and on the last day we went to the parks it was a special fireworks show which was the best I’ve EVER seen. Also Magic Kingdom was open until 1am that night and we actually stayed all day which ended up being really neat. The kids were great, except for maybe two small incidents- not the easiest thing for a severely hypoglycemic kid with sensory issues going into a crowded park- but he only had one melt down. The youngest had his on the plane which lasted a good ten minutes. The worst thing was that we were the ONLY family with kids on that flight! Talk about business people praying they weren’t sitting next to us! He crashed and slept the rest of the way which was good for all.
I am now trying to wade through the laundry. Tonight Emily and I go see “Mamma Mia!” which I’m really looking forward to also!

Fun Fourth

We were not at home this fourth of July. My 20th high school reunion/ Canal Zone Reunion was in Orlando, Florida and so mom, my honey, and I decided to go. The in-laws were kind enough to watch the kiddos so that they wouldn’t have to endure the long trip down and back. Fast and furious it was! Here is a quick photo diary of the days…

Mom and Me in Tupelo, MS (Elvis’ birthplace)

Rosen Shingle Creek Resort (HUGE PLACE)
Hosted the Canal Zone Reunion

Me trying to “steal” the Balboa head from BHS for Kenneth
(who was a CHS defector in ’95 and graduated from BHS)

Cristobal High Graduates from many years

Pensacola Beach
(Had to stop to put our feet in the ocean on the way home)

We saw old neighbors, teachers, classmates… It was so fantastic to see my “old” friends again. Some were grade school buddies I hadn’t seen since 5th or 6th grade!