Because we are going several times this year, we are driving down a few times and flying some as well. This trip was the first time my kids have traveled to Florida by car. My husband's sister lives in Atlanta, so we broke up the 11 hour trip by visiting family. We appreciated their hospitality, and my kids were thrilled to see their cousins. Even with the stopover, the drive was long, but I don't feel bad for kids who have iPods, iPads, DVD players and DS's! What's to complain about with all of that???? We also played the license plate game. I got a Melissa & Doug License Plate Game, and we found every state except Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Vermont. Here's my crew passing the time on I-75.
I have to give Dad credit for being a very good sport about this trip. Both of our long driving sessions were on the same days as the first two weekends of the NCAA tournament. He did not complain about missing the games, but he did check his Blackberry a few times when Tennessee was playing (he quit when it became painfully obvious that they would lose big).
We checked into our hotel on Friday evening. Because we had our own transportation this time, we stayed off-property using hotel points. Our suite was great, and the kids really enjoyed the recreation area. They even had a basketball court. My Favorite Boy spent many hours playing with his dad and other kids during the week.
On Saturday morning, we headed to Animal Kingdom. Here's the best advice for visiting Disney at busy times: be at the park when it opens! For the first few hours, you will have little to no wait at most attractions. Here are my two smiling kiddos standing by the rope ready to head to Expedition Everest.
After two rides on Everest, we headed to the Safari attraction for a very special meeting. Jennifer, the managing editor for 5 Minutes for Books, was visiting Disney with her family. I have been reading Jennifer's blog for over four years, and I have worked with her at 5 Minutes for Books for almost three. It was so fun to meet her and her family; it felt like meeting up with an old friend.
After an enjoyable few hours at Animal Kingdom, we headed to the Fantasia Gardens mini-golf course. We had a great time, and we even convinced my Favorite Boy to throw out the score card and just enjoy the game (his usual philosophy: why bother playing if you aren't in it to win).
On Sunday afternoon, we headed to Typhoon Lagoon. This was a first-time visit for us, and the park did not disappoint. Besides having many fun slides, and an area where you can swim with sharks, the park includes an enormous wave pool that produces six-foot waves. These waves literally knock you off your feet, and my kids LOVED it. This was a great way to spend the afternoon!
For those of you who have read many of my Disney trip reports, I hope you're impressed that I just fit three days into one post! I'll be back soon with fun pictures and stories from the next few days.