Disneyworld, February 2012

Robert had to present for two days at the Orlando Airport Hyatt when Sam was just two months old, so with Marcus in his last year of attendance-doesn't-matter daycare/preschool, and me on maternity leave, we all tagged along and made a five-day Disney adventure out of it.

We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge on Disney property, where we had a savannah-view room and could see various antelope, birds, zebras, and giraffes right from our balcony. It was a huge hit, of course, and it made such a big impression that Marcus came home and immediately proceeded to arrange some stuffed and wooden animals on the living room floor, then climb up onto the blue chair and peer at them, yelling, "I see a rhinosaurus! Over there, behind the giraffe!" Even two mornings after we returned home, Marcus woke up and, still half asleep, mumbled something about how many giraffes he saw.

While in Florida, we went to the Magic Kingdom two days, Epcot two days, and the Animal Kingdom one day. We skipped Downtown Disney, the water parks, and Hollywood Studios for now. The hotel also had lots of activities for kids, including hula hoop games in the pool area, African drumming circles in the lobby, evening movies outside on a big inflatable screen in front of lounge chairs, campfires ("Daddy, we went firecamping!" said Marcus) every night, and of course a playground and a big pool with a water slide. Marcus enjoyed every single minute, until he would crash (sometimes literally, unfortunately, as in his exhaustion one night he ran into a rock wall and scraped his eyebrow and cheek) and fall into a deep sleep. Sam was just along for the ride, of course, but she was a fabulous baby who would nurse and nap anywhere, anytime.

We ate all our breakfasts and a couple dinners and one lunch at Mara, the quick-service (glorified cafeteria) place right at the hotel, which was surprisingly good, actually, and we also had dinner at Sanaa (African-Indian casual sit-down) and Boma (African and American casual buffet) at the hotel, the luau at the Polynesian Village, and of course lunches in the parks. Next time at Disney, we'll probably stay at one of the hotels either on the ferry or monorail, as Robert found all the bus trips back and forth somewhat aggravating. I really liked the bus to and from the airport, and the luggage service (you check your bags from Boston, with some special tags, and Disney picks them up and delivers them to your room).

Marcus loved all the animals at the hotel, the dinosaur playground at the Animal Kingdom park, Tom Sawyer's island, the carousel, the Speedway, the Buzz Lightyear ride, the Country Bear Jamboree show, the robot trash can who wanders around Tomorrowland and talks to you (we unfortunately saw this only the first day, and ever after Marcus would check all trash cans to see if they were robots), the luau dancing/singing/fire-dancing, and the magic carpet ride. He also liked "when our suitcases came out to us" (upon landing back in Boston). He was not thrilled with any ride that went in the dark, clutching my hand and getting concerned (whether on the Living with the Land boat, the Pirates of the Caribbean, or Spaceship Earth) and asking, "How are we going to find the way out of here?" Afterwards, though, he said he liked them "a little bit." He was also not a fan of the fireworks because of the noise, and generally disliked the very loud sound on most rides/movies (Sam agreed about the fireworks), and he saw "The Lion King" for the first time and didn't like "all the bad horses who tried to eat the little lion." Robert and I loved the Living with the Land ride (classic Epcot), the manatees at the aquarium at The Seas, the People Mover (a surprisingly fun ride--I had forgotten it takes you into all the other rides in Tomorrowland), the couple "date nights" we had when both kids were asleep in our various slings, and just generally getting to spend so much time together and watch Marcus's excitement and joy in everything.

Robert thinks I'm a bit nuts with the babywearing, and maybe I am, but it got us a lovely trip--we stuffed Marcus's carrier in my bag for the beginning of the day and pulled it out when he got tired, and Sam basically lived in a wrap or a sling, so we were able to travel very light and very fast when necessary. Since the parks got more and more crowded each day we were there (moving into a weekend, and a long weekend at that, and many public school vacation weeks as well), this was very necessary. At one point, when we were wearing both kids and realized we were attracting some looks (uh, nothing compared to the looks I got when I was wearing both kids at once, as I did two or three times when Robert was elsewhere and I needed to get us all from Frontierland to the Pooh ride, fast, or out of Epcot to go meet Robert, etc.), Robert said he wondered what people were thinking. "Maybe they think we're European?" he suggested.

Overall, we had a great trip--it was about 80 degrees the whole time, sunny for the first two days and then a bit cloudy the last few, but except for an occasional drizzle, really beautiful weather. We're definitely planning a return trip in another few years. And now. . . some pictures!

Tuesday, on the flight over and just after arriving in the airport

Wednesday, quickly checking out animals at the hotel before heading off to the parks and then making efficient use of space on the bus

Arriving at the Magic Kingdom and walking into Tomorrowland

Waiting in line for the Speedway

Riding the Speedway (Sam and I passed) and the Mars Orbit/rocket ride (Sam slept through it)

Walking into Fantasyland, and trying to get someone to take our picture in front of the castle (try 1: man doesn't hear us; try 2: woman declines because she says she takes bad pictures; try 3: man takes picture at left and misses the castle; try 4: woman doesn't speak English; try 5: man takes picture at right)

Riding the carousel

Tandem wearing across the park

Waiting for the afternoon parade to start

Exhaustedly leaving the park en route to the Polynesian Village and then just after the luau ended

Thursday morning, watching the animals from our balcony before breakfast and the view from our window

Posing in the Animal Kingdom park

Riding the safari ride

In the petting zoo area, brushing a very compliant pig

More petting zoo area adventures and then heading over to the dinosaur playground

At the dinosaur playground area

Exhaustedly heading home in the middle of the day so Robert could run to his conference and then enjoying some nap cuddles back in the room

African drumming circle for kids in the lobby

Campfire at the hotel

Friday morning at Epcot just me and the kids

Heading home not too exhaustedly to meet up with Robert again

Hanging out while Robert and Marcus enjoyed the pool, waterslide, and then the hotel playground

Heading back to Epcot in the evening (Marcus fell asleep on the bus back over after dinner at 6:30 and slept straight through all of Epcot, the fireworks, the return bus, even the transfer to bed around 11:00)

Enjoying the fireworks (Sam woke up and wanted to move a bit further away)

Saturday, back in the Magic Kingdom, on the carousel again, trying to pull the sword from the stone, and enjoying Marcus's first 3-D movie ("Mickey's Philharmagic")

On the People Mover

On Tom Sawyer's Island

Exhaustedly heading home at the end of the day, then napping in the hotel room, then still napping in my sling

Waking up ten minutes after I wore him down to the campfire, and then swapping so Sam could nap in the sling

Sunday, views from our room on the final morning

Waiting for an environmental movie in Epcot

Enjoying the World Showcase: Viking lass in Norway, more African drumming, hanging out in Japan

Our last activity in Epcot--making an interactive video game while both kids slept on us

Exhausted after heading back to the hotel at the end of the day, napping in the lobby while waiting for the bus to the airport, and then about to board our plane home

On the plane home

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Created: 2/21/12. Last Modified: 2/21/12.