Wednesday, March 21, 2012

spring break marathon part III

So our last full day in Florida was spent at the Magic Kingdom and we took advantage of the early magic hours.  Magic Hours are the best, it isn't crowded and the early hours give you a head start to get some rides done before everyone else gets there. 
early morning magic hours, love it when there aren't many people at the park

We went to Tomorrowland and hit up all the rides we still needed to, did a few more in Fantasyland, got to ride Splash Mountain (without a fast pass, wait time 15 minutes), had lunch on Main Street (the one time we made reservations), went through Adventureland, and the Hall of Presidents.  We basically did the whole park in the morning and early afternoon, twice as much as we got accomplished on Monday and even had dinner at table service restaurant.
lily on the tea cups

at the speedway

waiting to spin

Prince Charming's Carousel 

We even saw the 3pm parade, though Lily didn't because she fell asleep in the Hall of Presidents and continued snoozing in the stroller so unfortunately she missed seeing all of her favorite princesses.  The best Lance quote of the day came during the Hall of Presidents.  When George Washington was speaking, Lance turned to me and whispered, "How is he still alive?"  I loved it, I wondered what was going on his head, was he thinking that all of the presidents came and lived at Disney when they were done being president?  I explained to him that Washington was a robot and wasn't real, I loved that Disney, even the presidents were real and magical to Lance.

lily missed seeing Cinderella

lance taking it all in
Last stop for the afternoon was Tom Sawyer Island.  
We got into a raft and headed over and while we were on the raft I got a text message from my sister saying that her and her husband were ready to leave, they had decided to split up the trip into two days instead of powering through just one.  So we quickly walked through some of the island and boarded a raft to return. 
Red flags were going off when we were waiting for the raft to dock so we could board, there were two cast members on the raft, one was instructing the other on how to dock and drive the raft.  We should have left and gone to the other raft docking area, but we stayed and boarded the raft, big mistake!
The cast member doing the instructing stayed on the island and the other cast member started off across the water.  She made a turn and tried to dock, but missed, backed up, tried again, missed, backed up, tried again, missed.  At this point she was very frustrated and we had drifted into the middle of the "river" and then we heard the the riverboat horn and started to get a little nervous.  We were packed like sardines on a fake raft in the middle of a fake river in the path of a large fake riverboat, not good, not good at all.  The poor cast member who was driving the raft was getting instructions on what to do from her radio and she holding back the tears and probably very frustrated, I felt so bad for her, but at the same time, I was annoyed, I wanted off of the raft.  She managed to make it back to the island before the riverboat came through.  Her instructor got back on the raft and took us to the other side of the water where we quickly exited and left the park.  What should have taken 5-10 minutes took over 20, go figure when we had somewhere we needed to be, things took forever!  We rode the bus back to the villa and said good-bye to my sister, I was sad to see her go, it was the beginning of the end of our vacation. 
After saying good-bye we had some dinner then dressed in slightly warmer clothes and headed back to the park to see the Electric Parade, the memories castle light show, and the fireworks. 
my favorite picture of the lagoon by the entrance of the magic kingdom

We thought we had a horrible location for the Electric Parade, we were under an awning at the end of Main Street and not close to the road, but when it started to rain we were thankful we were there. We were also across from the emergency exit so no one was in front of us, though there were people constantly walking in front, but it wasn't too bad.  After the parade we navigated through the mass of people and found a spot to claim for the fireworks in between Main Street and the castle.  It was perfect and the Memories show and fireworks were awesome. 

the only downside to our spot was the lamp post

the fireworks set to music was awsesome

the finale

 I am just amazed what they can do with lights, fireworks and technology

I was too enthralled with the magic, memories, and you show I did not take any pictures, I am just amazed at what they can do with the castle and the part where the lanterns from Tangled float up through the castle was just so beautiful.
Main Street with street lights out for the fireworks

After the fireworks and waiting for the crowds to thin out, we hit up the stores and then said good-bye to the castle and Disney.  We had driven to the park that morning so to get back to the parking lot we tried the ferry (we had been taking Lance's preferred method, the monorail).  I highly recommend the ferry at night, it was neat watching the castle get smaller and smaller as we crossed the lagoon.  It was sad leaving the Magic Kingdom that night, there is just something magical about that castle, and I hated to leave.

Magic Kingdom from the ferry

We got back to the van, headed back to the villa and called it a night.  It was an amazing night and the best day of our vacation.

Friday morning we got up packed up the car and headed out.  We hadn't officially planned anything for Friday, we didn't know if we would be too tired, but we hated to leave Florida so we headed east and went to the Kennedy Space Center.  
lonely palm on the way out to Kennedy
When we saw the ticket prices we questioned whether it was going to be worth it, but we decided that we would just stay longer than expected a make a day of it, which I am so thankful we did, it was amazing.  I have never really been interested in the shuttles, rockets, or even space in general, but I was blown away at Kennedy.
the rocket garden

the launch pad

the missile building building facility which was HUGE

I was in awe at the size of the rockets and the microscopic capsules the first astronauts were in, especially when compared to the rockets, those guys were sitting on bombs!  I learned a lot of interesting facts about the lunar rockets, the launch pads, and the lunar program, it was all very fascinating.  I was amazed at how large the missile building facility is in real life, it seems large on TV, but in real life it is indescribable. 

on the tour bus

Lily and the Saturn V rocket

We had arrived at Kennedy about 10 and left a little before 4 pm.  We started heading north towards home.  It was sad leaving Florida and around 10pm we were in South Carolina, 6 hours from home, and tired of being in the car so we started to look for a hotel.  We stopped at the first exit in South Carolina and went to 3 hotels all to discover they were sold out.  We drove to the next town, went to several hotels and discovered they too were sold out.  Florence was about 40 minutes away (where we stopped on the way down), so I called the hotel we had stayed in before and made a reservation.  At 11:30 we arrived and checked in, my mom and Jeff went to the room, opened the door and discovered the TV was on, the bed was unmade, and it appeared that someone was staying there so they quickly exited.  My mom went back down to the office and they gave her a key to a room that supposedly had a king and pull out sofa, she went into the room, it had a king, but no pull-out, not enough room for all 5 of us.  The woman at the front desk offered my mom sheets to make the bed in the room upstairs they had first encountered, but she said no thanks, why pay $80 for unclean room you have to make the bed for and who knows who was in there before.  We called around to try and find another hotel, couldn't find any, the front desk found a room across the street at the Ramada, we didn't have much choice so we headed over.  If it hadn't been midnight I would have looked elsewhere or kept driving, but we were exhausted and didn't have any other options.  We quickly learned why the Ramada had vacancy: the bathroom needed some serious remodel, the veneer was peeling or missing, the hot/cold sign on the faucet was missing, the sink was dirty looking and crooked, the toilet was crooked, and the room just looked tired and gross, yet there was a HUGE new flat screen tv and a nice fridge.  The sheets were clean and appeared bed bug free, in fact the bed was a lot nicer than the rest of the room (tv was nice too).  Anyways, we touched as little as possible and went straight to sleep.  The next morning we got dressed and headed home.   We sadly made it home at lunchtime and our trip was officially over. 

Our first trip to Disney with kids was a lot of fun, I can't wait to go back especially now that I have learned so much about what to do and what not to do.  I am so thankful that my whole family got to have a nice family vacation, everyone stayed healthy, and the weather was perfect.  I am already planning another Disney vacation for when Lily is Lance's age, and I can't wait.  I miss Disney, though there were crying fits, arguments, and some not-so-happy moments, Disney is a magical place.

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