Thursday, January 20, 2011
Happiest Place on Earth 2011
About a week ago Casa KiP got back from 6 days in Walt Disney World. And for those of you who knew about our last trip, yes, we did in fact take Rage.
I, personally, was not really interested in going to Florida in January BUT we had to go then because my sisters and one of my brothers-in-law were participating in the Goofy Challenge. The Goofy Challenge for the uninitiated is running the 1/2 marathon and the full marathon during Mickey's Marathon Weekend. Why would one do this you ask? Well, because you get three medals--a Donald, a Mickey, and a Goofy. They also got three very sweet shirts. I will admit that during the excitement of the weekend I wondered why I didn't decide to do it too but then I remembered I HATE running. I have never once gotten a "runner's high" mostly I just curse every step I am taking and then I curse those steps for days afterwards because my shins and my feet hurt so much that I can't walk so running 39.3 miles in two days was not on the menu for me. PLUS, you have to be at the starting line for both races at 5:30AM--no thank you.
Besides the adult marathon festivities we also signed up all the kiddos(7 in total) for Mickey's Kids Races. Rage did the 400m with 3 of his cousins and Diva did the Mickey Mile with one of her cousins; her race was timed and she ran a mile in 7:40 and I am so proud of her. We had been practicing all last fall and her best time up until the race was just a touch under 10 minutes. Our youngest nephew had to race alone in something less than 400m; I can't remember what, as I said running isn't my thing.
Here they are after the races posing in front of the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex where the races were held:
The exciting thing for me was the planning phase which had been going on since last March when we signed the kiddos up for their races. It kicked into high gear in August when we were able to make our hotel reservations and get our travel packages. Instead of planning for my usual party of 4 I got to set up reservations for our giant party of 15 (8 adults, 7 kiddos). This classified us as a Disney Grand Gathering and we were eligible for a special Grand Gathering event. The only one that fit into our schedule was the Safari Celebration Dinner in Animal Kingdom. We got to go on a private safari through the park and then have a buffet dinner with entertainment. We also got to meet Timon and Rafiki.
I also got us dinner reservations at Chef Mickey's--I highly recommend that dinner for anyone going with kiddos. It's a well rounded buffet and you get to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto. They come right to your table for pictures so you don't have to hunt them down in Parks.
We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside in the Alligator Bayou. We had never stayed there before our family usually stays at Port Orleans French Quarter BUT Riverside has some rooms that sleep 5 so we had to go over there(as my one sister has a family of 5). I love the Port Orleans resorts because you can take a boat to and from Downtown Disney (my preferred shopping place so that we don't have to go into every gift shop in the Parks). The kiddos went swimming almost every night while we adults bundled up on the lounge chairs--it was COLD at night, not Colorado cold but cold none the less; the kiddos seemed unfazed by this. My only complaint was that we had a LONG, LONG walk to the main building where the food was; we looked at it as giving us time to work up an appetite ;)
Our extended family arrived and departed at different times. On our family's last day, the four of us went to the California Grill for dinner to celebrate my husband's Birthday which was the following day(the day we left). The California Grill is on top of the Contemporary (the hotel with the monorail running through it) and we got to watch the fireworks over Cinderella's Castle from our dinner table. It was a fantastic meal and my favorite Disney experience EVER.
I'm sure some of you may be wondering how Rage did. He did much better than last time. Only a couple of mini meltdowns. Maybe having all his cousins there and the option of not doing all the rides helped? I would by no means say he loved or even like the Parks but it was better than last time.
On a personal note, I got to see the hotel and the parks decorated for the holidays--I never thought I'd see that and it was great!
A closeup of the tree in front of Animal Kingdom: