Friday, December 30, 2016

Photo Friday: Gingerbread House

A few days before Christmas, Edith and I made a gingerbread house at our nearby rec center. It seemed so far away when we signed up for it weeks ago! They provided the house, frosting and a bag full of decorations. We created a masterpiece to take home.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Walt Disney World: A Look Back

Even from a few weeks' distance, there really isn't much I would change about our Walt Disney World vacation. Good times, good food, great memories. Edith, who turned 4 the week we left, was an excellent age to experience the magic. Atticus, at 20 months, may not have understood everything, but his smiles were proof enough that he was having a good time.

My fear was that I would over-plan. I generally do. I assumed we wouldn't get to do everything that I wanted. But surprise: We did absolutely everything I wanted. Rides, shows, restaurants of interest -- we fit them in without cramming them in.

Would I do it again? Yes. And we will!

A not-so-magical start!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Photo Friday: Christmastime at Walt Disney World

In the Grand Floridian hotel. (Nope, we didn't stay there!

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Epcot, day and ...

... night.

Magic Kingdom castle in icicles

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Meeting Disney Characters

I was planning -- maybe even hoping -- to skip the character meet-and-greets at Walt Disney World. What a waste of time when there are all those rides! But I changed my tune when I saw how much Edith enjoyed them.

Atticus was another story. He sometimes showed a little curiosity, but he mainly ran back to hide in Mommy or Daddy's arms. Edith, however, was eager to ask them questions and smile broadly for the camera.

Her favorite characters: "I love Elsa and Anna and Rapunzel." Tiana gets a shout-out, too.

Still no characters meals, though. Waste, I say!

Courtesy of a Disney photographer

Courtesy of a Disney photographer

Friday, December 16, 2016

Photo Friday: Visiting Disney Santa

We were on vacation during the Ohio Statehouse Christmas celebration that we usually attend, so we visited Santa at Disney World's Hollywood Studios instead.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

10 Days at Walt Disney World

Before we even stepped on the airplane to Orlando, we wondered if we were overdoing it with 10 days at Walt Disney World. More specifically, could our 4-year-old and 1-year-old handle the long hours, the crowds and the inevitable delays?

The answer: Yes.

We tried to be smart about it, intentionally scheduling downtime -- two days in a theme park, followed by one day of rest. It worked well. During our park days, we spent 12+ hours out and about with no more meltdowns than we typically would have at home. Atticus generally took his afternoon nap in the stroller, and was a night owl, almost always waiting to fall asleep again until we got back to the hotel around 10 p.m. Edith skipped afternoon naps but typically fell asleep in the stroller at night around 8 p.m.

We split our six park days this way: two full days at both Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and a day apiece at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Although I was sad to be home, I can't say there's anything mandatory that we skipped or that I regret not doing (or not doing again) anything at all. It was perfect.

What made it more perfect (is that a thing?) is the deal we got: free dining. Offered in the spring for certain dates later in the year, we received two free meals and a free snack every day we were there. That made it easy to decide to extend our vacation. Extra days literally cost only the price of our room.

Our favorites: Edith would say the tea cups, the Tiki Room birds and the new Frozen ride, and she really like Splash Mountain the first day. Both kids enjoyed It's a Small World, and I liked it better than I remembered (probably because I got a kick out of seeing their reactions to it). I like Peter Pan and Soarin'. Paul likes Space Mountain.

Edith was the perfect age for the trip -- everything was so magical. I can't wait to return to see the same expressions on Atticus's face in a few years.


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