This is the last post to describe our trip…thanks for bearing with me! Epcot was our second favorite park. We started the day with a monorail ride to eat breakfast with Mickey Mouse and the Gang, at Chef Mickey’s. We loved meeting the characters and indulging in all the treats there. Trey really loves Mickey and both kids were all smiles the whole morning. Hayden liked meeting Goofy the most…or should I say, reuniting. We headed into Epcot to see the big golf ball. We had so much fun because we had the park to ourselves. We didn’t have to wait in line to play the games or do any of the simulations. So much is hands on there and the kids loved exploring it all…and maybe learned a thing or two, too. Everyone was in a good mood so we stayed in the park till after dinner- no naps today. We introduced the kids to who Michael Jackson was- in the Captain EO 3-D movie…yes, the same one that was there in the 90′s. Then we went around the world and got to see what other countries looked like. Haley really enjoyed it. Hayden’s favorite stop was the Caramel store in Germany…we all got a snack…and it was so rich and delicious it almost made us sick. We got to watch a street show and were entertained all day. When we got to China, who did we see but Mulan. Mulan is one of Haley’s favorite characters. At this point, Haley was SO excited that she was talking non-stop. Not only did we meet Mulan, but we got to act out several scenes from the movie in the gift shop. We decided to eat in China too, for a change of pace…bad idea. It was not good, but worth it because Haley was so excited to eat rice with chop sticks…like Mulan. (We didn’t miss an opportunity to dress Hayden like an hombre in Mexico either! A tradition of sorts since our honeymoon…always gets a laugh.)
The next day was another fun filled day (but a little more tired) at Epcot. We were so excited because Whitney, Lance, and Townsend Tabb joined us!! The Tabbs were in our Sunday School class at Bellevue before they moved to Gainesville, FL. They just had a baby a few months ago so we were thrilled to get to meet Townsend. I was telling Haley about them bringing the baby and once I told her his name she asked, “do you think if they ever forget that name they call him Tarzan?” My answer, “if they don’t now…I bet they will after today!” So, little Townsend was Tarzan for the day. It was so great to catch up and finish exploring the park together. I miss Whitney so much and after seeing her, it just made me miss her more. She is a great mother and it’s a joy to see her taking in motherhood with such ease and grace…I’m so proud of her, Tarzan is a lucky boy!
We took more pictures, explored a farm, ate lunch, rode a few rides, and walked around the world again. We were able to have our last fancy dinner with the Princesses at Akerhaus. The food was good and it was great to see the princesses one last time before we left Disney.
Our last day at Disney was a Magic Kingdom day…we started and ended with our favorite park. We went in and rode a few rides, went home for a nap, then went back to ride the Peter Pan ride a few more times, hit a few that we hadn’t tried yet, then ate the family-famous Disney Hot Dogs. In my family (Platten’s), we don’t let a joke die. So, since our trip in the 90′s, we’ve used the amazing statement, “Did you know hot dogs cost $4 at Disney World?” as a subject changer. There was no way I would leave without eating one, since we’ve talked about them 1000′s of times over the past 15-20 years. We were starving so we agreed they were VERY good…even though Hayden had to wait in line almost 30 minutes to get our order.
The funniest thing that happened to us on our last day was when we were riding the rocket ships…it’s like the Dumbo ride but faster, and much higher. You have to take an elevator to a platform to get on the ride. So after waiting 25-30 minutes (our longest wait) we were about to get on when Haley said, “I have to go potty…really bad!” This quickly escalated to her telling us she had to go right then and that she had already gone a drop! Okay, this was serious, but we thought she was just being dramatic…not the first time we’ve heard this, she just knows this gets us to react. We told her to wait because literally we’d be in the bathroom in the next 3 minutes, and that included riding the rockets before. Well, as I mentioned on the other posts, Hayden and Haley were riding buddies and Trey and I were buddies. As soon as we got in the rocket- Trey sitting in front of me- I realized he also needed to go the bathroom while we were waiting in line…but didn’t have the courtesy to tell us! So, getting off the ride and getting to the bathroom after we landed was a very quick process. After about 25 wet paper towels later and a clean up process that reminded me how much I MUST love my kids, we were two pairs of underwear lighter and ready for the rest of the night in the park.
Because we had all taken good naps that day we were set to stay until the fireworks show! The laser and fireworks show was amazing and a perfect way to seal our trip. We were all super sad to head home. I honestly think Hayden was the most sad, then Haley. (Even though the last picture makes her seem very happy…she was on a Mickey-Mouse-Ice-Cream-Bar-High!…they cost $5…another Platten joke.) We had such a fun time together and definitely made memories that we will remember forever.
The kids were wonderful on the plane ride back and we were all so excited to get back home and see Avery!! We had a lot of stories to tell her about our adventure…and we promised we’d take her next time!
(Disney Trip, Part II)
Our second day started off with a delicious meal at “Disney World” (a.k.a. The Royal Palace). We had fun meeting all the Princesses and definitely agree that having character meals are the best way to meet them…no standing in line for a picture and autograph! Haley loved being on the inside of the castle and Trey LOVED getting a sword. After breakfast we ran around riding rides and ran into a few more characters. We lucked out twice- we were the last family to meet Jasmine/Alladin and Peter Pan. Peter Pan was magical for Haley…if you know our Pirate background, then you understand why. He was quick to tell her never to grow up, and she remembers all that he told her and has reminded me several times. Since we’ve been back, Haley has been whisked off to Neverland almost every night when Peter Pan comes to her room at night to take her on an adventure. She is always back by morning and he leaves her a note under her pillow. (This is 100% her imagination and nothing I started- the note he leaves her is our Mickey Mouse luggage tag that our travel agent gave us!)
We rode magic carpets and played with everything the gift shop had to offer in Akrabah. Trey was REALLY tired so I took him back for a nap while Haley and Hayden got some time in the park together. They rode the jungle cruise then took some pictures of Haley in her dress before coming back to the resort for some time in the pool. The pool staff had the party going on! Dancing, hoola hoop contests, water balloon toss, and more! Hayden LOVED the water slides. We had a relaxing afternoon and headed back to the Magic Kingdom for more rides and dinner. The weather was perfect and the lines were practically non-existent in the evenings. We took full advantage of this and ran from ride to ride. Being so carefree and non-scheduled was exactly what Hayden and I were hoping for and that is what made our trip so special.
On our way out of the park, we saw that the line to meet Rapunzel was REALLY short. This was a first and we jumped at the chance. Meeting Rapunzel gets it’s own paragraph because this was a true highlight of our trip. Haley was SO excited and couldn’t stop talking in line about things they could discuss. When it was our turn Haley was in awe. Trey was jumping up and down. Haley and Rapunzel compared hair color- it was the same- and did some twirls together. It was a precious time. As we left, Trey was blowing her kisses until we couldn’t see her anymore. I was jumping up and down too because I was so happy to see the kids experiencing the magic of Disney.
Day Three was our day at Hollywood Studios. This was an exciting day because we were going to have lunch with JAKE!!! (from the Neverland Pirates) Other characters were there too, but he was definitely the MUST SEE. We got to dance and sing with Jake while we ate lunch…it was really fun and the kids couldn’t get enough…and I still have the songs in my head. June, from Little Einsteins, was there too. Haley thought she was so clever because while we were about to leave she asked if she could go ask June one quick question… “was her birthday in June?” The characters couldn’t talk to the kids but since that was a “yes” or “no” question, I let her run to ask. June nodded yes. Haley walked away like she was such a clever cat, smiling so big. She said, “that is why her Mommy named her June, I guess!” I told her that was probably true and that I was changing her name to March. She loved it.
After standing in line for 40 min (they had fun photo ops along the way), we got to meet Buzz and Woody too. This was not the highlight. The minute it was our turn, our kids got totally shy and wouldn’t even get near them. Luckily, this was the only shy experience with characters. We hung around the park the rest of the day (although there wasn’t much for kids to do there.) Hayden and Trey took a nap on a bench while Haley and I explored some. We had to wait till 5pm to go home because we wanted to ride the Toy Story ride-our fast pass was for 5pm. It was really fun! We were glad we rode it, but were ready to get home and rest.
Magic Kingdom- real or pretend?
(Disclaimer: this will take several posts…probably more than you
want to know about our trip, but it’s our way of chronicling our
adventure, so bear with us or bypass the next few posts- they will be
We just got home from the best vacation we’ve ever been on as a
family. Hayden and I took Haley and Trey to Disney World as a
surprise and spent six wonderful days exploring all the Magic we could
It was killing Hayden and I not telling the kids. We would lay in bed
and just talk about how excited we were-weeks before. The packing,
planning, and dreaming really built up the anticipation for us. I had
been collecting Disney t-shirts and treats for Mickey and Minnie to
leave every day for months. The morning of our departure, we woke up
early and had everything already packed and hidden. We blew up
balloons and attached them to a present, from Mickey and Minnie that
was left on our doorstep. The kids ran to the door to see who it was
and were excited to find a present. (actually more excited about the
balloons.) When Haley got the gift opened and found
embroidered-with-love (by Mom) Mickey t-shirts with our names on them,
she said, “UH! Clothes.” It was apparently very anti-climatic and
quite the let down. Luckily, a treasure map had been included- the
redeeming aspect of the gift. It was a map showing our car, the route
to the airport, an airplane…then it was ripped. So, we decided it
would probably be best to put on the shirts and follow the map. Haley
navigated us to the airport. In the car, we found the missing part of
the map! That is when the kids were told where we were going. After
big smiles all around, Haley got real nervous because she had heard
that Disney World was really loud and she got scared about riding on
an airplane. The smiles were gone until we got to the Park It Here
lot and rode a bus to the airport. Bus rides are super exciting and
we sang “Wheels on the Bus” til we got to the airport…the bus driver
chimed in and almost forgot the words to “the driver on the bus
says…” We were able to jog his memory!
Once we got to the gate- the kids VERY excited to pull their own
suitcases, we got to watch the airplane get serviced before take off.
The excitement really started to build and Haley was telling everyone
around us about how Mickey and Minnie sent us shirts AND a treasure
map and how we were following it all the way to Disney World…and
that it was her first time to go. When Haley gets excited, it’s
non-stop talking. So cute (for a little while!). She had a few tears
of fear on the plane before take off, but Trey was all for it. He
ain’t scared! It helped when I told Haley it’s like when I step on
the gas of the car and make it go really fast and the kids say, “again
Mommy, again!” Both kids loved looking out the window and did really
well on the plane.
We didn’t waste anytime once we landed in Orlando. We followed the
people wearing Mickey gloves and they led us right to the bus to our
resort…plastering us with stickers along the way. (Trey’s dream
already coming true…the boy loves stickers!) We took a little rest
in the room before hitting the park. First stop, Magic Kingdom!
If you notice in the picture, the dark clouds were rolling in but it didn’t give us pause. A little rain wasn’t going to stop this parade! We
were all amazed at the Castle, and everything else we got to see. We
ate dinner first because we were starving, then hit the rides. First
things first- It’s a Small World! Next was the Peter Pan ride- a
family favorite that would be repeated several times before leaving
Orlando. Haley knew the park was called the Magic Kingdom but kept
saying, “Let’s go to Disney World!” She had in her head that the
castle was Disney World. It was closed off our first night there but
we had planned for a Royal Breakfast- invited by Cinderella, of
course- for the next day. I asked Haley what she thought we’d be
served and she said, STEAK! She was right. Not only was the
atmosphere and food amazing, but we got to spend a few minutes meeting
several princesses. Haley wore her Rapunzel dress so she fit right
in. The girls got magic wands and the boys got swords. Both of those
gifts could not have been more perfect and rarely left the kids’ hands
the rest of the trip.
Haley was Hayden’s riding buddy, and Trey was mine. This was decided
by Haley because Hayden convinced her that he was very good at driving
elephants- the Dumbo Ride. She was a little nervous about going on,
but since Hayden is an expert, she thought it’d be okay. He taught
her how to drive the elephant and she talked about it ALL NIGHT.
Every time we got in line for a ride she’d ask Hayden, “Dad, do you
know how to drive this ride?” He ate up all the attention and
preference she showed him. Trey was up for all of the rides. He loves
adventure. We laughed just trying to imagine what it was like for him
taking it all in…it was sensory overload for us…he was just
turning his head right and left in amazement. We were glad to have
the stroller, he would have gotten lost in a second, not watching us
but trying to look at everything around him. He was too cute watching
TV come to life.
Hayden and I were OVERLY impressed at the characters playing their
parts so well, the cleanliness of the park, how organized the staff
was, and how Disney really does feel magical. Our Haley is a VERY
literal child (example- her yellow blanket is named “yellow blanket”;
her big maroon blanket is named “big blanket”) and she also is very
quick to point out how movies and shows are in the “pretend” world.
This is only Part I of our Disney post, but I come to tears thinking
of the last memorable comment said on our trip that completely summed
it up- As Tinkerbell flew down the zip line away from the castle and
the fireworks were about to begin, Haley said, “Mom, the pretend world
is REAL at Disney World!” I looked at her and thought of all the fun
we’d had and said, “YES!”
Needless to say, the kids slept very well that night!