Remember how we won a trip to Disney World? Well, February 29-March 6, 2016 was the week we got to visit the Happiest Place on Earth. Here is how it all went down:

Monday – Traveling to Orlando!

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Riding the shuttle to the airport.

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The magic started early – right after we checked our bags, in fact. As we turned around to ride the escalator to security, we saw my Dad taking a walk. He had no idea when we would be at the airport, and normally did not walk that part of the airport while at work. It was a very special and tender surprise to be able to see him before we left.

We all passed through security without a second glance, except our dear diaper bag. It had to be investigated. Upon a thorough inspection, it was clear to go to our gate.

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While we waited to board, we wondered who else in the crowd was also going on an all-expense paid trip through My Computer Career.

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When we finally boarded the plane, we decided that Casey would sit next to Rigel, and Jad, Kamren and I , would sit in the row behind. It seemed like a good idea, until Jad and I got sad that we couldn’t see Rigel’s reaction when he flew for the first time. I squeezed his hand through the seat and asked how he was. “I’m fine, Mom,” he reassured me. No fear whatsoever.

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Rigel drew a picture of the plane.

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Orlando, FL Airport

The flight wasn’t long, and for the most part, everyone was good. The Florida airport was huge. Our next stop was to take the Magical Disney bus to our resort – Disney Boardwalk Inn.

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Even the ride there was fun for the kids. Kamren was running all around the bus, and Rigel and Casey liked looking out the window. I got into a conversation with the other family who won the video contest from Raleigh. They gave us some nice tips.

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We finally got to our resort, and it was gorgeous. I was so excited to go in. My mouth opened wide when I saw the fabulous couch and carousel model when we first walked in. How gorgeous.


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It took us a while to find our room, but when we did, the kids found solace in the soft beds. They were tired. Our bags weren’t delivered yet, so we decided to go get our first snacks on our meal plan and explore before the scheduled dinner that night.

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The snacks were fab. Look at that rice krispie treat.  We sat happily outside, overlooking the lake. Then we decided to walk the boardwalk. Casey thought it was boring, until we spotted a pair of mallard ducks. It was so fun to be so close to them. Another male mallard flew in, and started to fight with the other – over the girl, perhaps? It was fun to speculate.

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After a little more exploring, we relaxed for a while, and then got freshened up to eat dinner. We met in a large ballroom where there were gorgeous tables set up. I was amazed at how many families were on this MyCC trip throughout the country. Tony Galati, the CEO of MyCC, and his daughter, Melanie, were delightful. It amazes me how down to earth all of the executives of MyCC were.

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We had a very nice meal that night. Unfortunately, the kids barely ate a roll each, and found it very difficult to sit still. But, it was worth it. We got a packet of info for our trip, and also a surprise $200 gift card to spend at Disney. You should have seen our faces light up.

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After the dinner was over, we had to take the kids to get food. We found a pizza place on the Boardwalk. It was really yummy, actually. Jad even fed a duck:

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After watching a fun street performer, who made kazoo noises instead of spoke, we retired to our room to unpack and get ready for bed. We were really excited for Epcot the next day.

Tuesday

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One thing that was really cool about our resort is that it was within walking distance to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Even cooler is that we could also ride a ferry yacht to the parks. So, that morning, around 9, we took our first ride on the water. The kids loved it.

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We arrived at Epcot and had no idea how to get around. Luckily, we recognized some people from MyCC, and followed them to our character breakfast at the Garden Grill.  We had to wait a little bit to get in, but it was worth it! The food was amazing. They brought us drinks first (I got a pomegranate lemonade –nom), and then this moist, delicious pan of cinnamon rolls. Next, we got a platter of American breakfast food, like bacon, eggs, ham, and the best breakfast potatoes I have ever had. We left that restaurant full, and with pictures of us with Mickey, Pluto, and Chip.

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Our first ride at Epcot, and at Disney World, was Living with the Land. It wasn’t particularly exciting, but it was interesting. The crops grown were absolutely gorgeous, and I wanted to eat some fruits and vegetables right then.

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We did a few rides that morning, such as Mission: Space, which was Rigel’s favorite ride of the trip. I rode the more intense version with Casey (I couldn’t breathe), and Rigel with the less intense with Jad. If you have to do the swap thing with kids, this ride is perfect for that, because as you exit the ride, there is an Advanced Training Lab, that Casey did, and a little indoor playground, which kept Kamren occupied. Win win!

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By noon, we had to walk really fast back to our hotel to do a “Tell Us Your Story” video interview. I was a little apprehensive about being videotaped after sweating, I mean glistening, all morning. I also figured the kids would be crazy, and they were. There was yelling, and slamming, and licking of mirrors. But, the interviewer and videographer were really down to earth and kind. It was a fun experience to hear Jad get excited about answering questions about his school experience and life, and also to answer questions myself.

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After that was over, we quickly walked back to Epcot to catch our lunch reservation at Teppan Edo. It is a Japanese restaurant where the food is cooked in an entertaining way right in front of you. I had heard it was a great restaurant for kids. Yeah, it wasn’t. The kids didn’t like the food. Jad and I did like the food a lot, but I would not recommend it for picky children. The silver lining was that the vanilla ice cream was to die for.

We shopped at a Japanese store after eating, where Rigel got his first souvenir – a Sonic the Hedgehog toy. He was insistent. I thought of my Nana when there, so I called her and asked her what she might like. She wanted a hanky.

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We tried to browse the rest of the countries after that, amidst the kids’ complaining. We got some cute pictures, and even went to a German Werthers shop to get some rich caramel treats. Kamren had requested popcorn, and got it.

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There weren’t many rides in the World Showcase, but we did find one: Gran Fiesta Tour. It was a pretty cool boat ride and fun. The best part was riding on the water next to a huge volcano. I had tried earlier to get a reservation at the restaurant with the volcano, but couldn’t. I was thrilled there was a ride that brought me to the same location.

Since the kids weren’t too impressed with the countries, we went back to Future World.

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Look at these adorable pictures at the large fountain that sprayed water. I think that may have been the cutest part of the day for me.

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My very favorite ride at Epcot, and one of my favorite rides of the whole trip, was Spaceship Earth. That ride takes you up inside the Epcot geosphere. You are taken through time to explore the history of communication. The ride made me cry. I could feel God’s hand in all aspects of history that we passed through, and I felt so grateful to be a part of this wonderful world.

Other rides/attractions we did were:

Journey into Imagination with Figment – It wasn’t that great – air did blow in our faces once…

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Innoventions – There were a few cool things to do in there, like the Sum of all Thrills ride. Casey and I waited in line to do that. Casey took charge, and chose the intensity and movements we would experience when sitting in a machine closed over our bodies. It actually wasn’t that fun, so really, if you skip the Innoventions building, you won’t be missing anything.

Ellen’s Energy Adventure – This was funny because Ellen DeGeneres was in it, but it definitely more of an educational experience – better for older kids.

Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival – This is a must see. The videos were either hilarious or touching, and the 3D effects were phenomenal.

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After the film festival attraction, we rushed back to the World Showcase to get some food and watch Illuminations, the nighttime firework, water and light show at Epcot. We got a fabulous meal at La Cantina de San Angel in Mexico. The food was authentic, and Jad was super impressed. Kamren slept through it.

The light show began while we were still getting our food. We couldn’t see the whole thing, but from what we could see, it was lovely. The music was entrancing, and the colors were spell-binding. It was really well done.

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After the show, we walked back, caught a glimpse of Baymax on the way, and got excited for our next day!!!

Wednesday – Magic Kingdom

We got up super early Wednesday morning to catch the bus to Magic Kingdom. We arrived before the 8:30AM opening ceremonies. While we waited, we were able to talk to people from MyComputerCareer. It was nice getting to know others in our group.

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Finally, the opening ceremonies began. When the train came in that held so many beloved Disney characters, I got teary-eyed. Disney has a way of doing that to you.

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Once it was over, we waited a while to get a group pic with the rest of our group, and then we entered the Magic Kingdom! My first thought when entering was, “Wow!”

Cinderella’s castle was breathtakingly gorgeous, and the whole place was charming and beautiful. We were greeted by people all along the sidewalks. I knew I was going to love this place.

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Our first stop was the Crystal Palace, where I made a last minute breakfast reservation. I am so glad we went. The buffet was incredible. Everything you could ever want for breakfast was there, from healthy to super sweet. Not only that, the kids got to meet characters from Winnie the Pooh. What an enjoyable meal!!!

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One thing I loved about Magic Kingdom was how there were several lands, and all we easy to get to. We started out at Frontierland. The first thing we did was ride a raft to go to Tom Sawyer Island. That was actually really cute, and the kids loved running around and exploring.

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Next was Splash Mountain. I will be honest – some of it was fun (the parts where we got wet), but a lot of the ride we were floating slowly in our boat, looking at scenes with Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear. I rode it first with Casey and Rigel, and then Jad rode it with them. Unfortunately, Kamren ended up being too short. It was so cute – he got in originally, but as we approached the ride, the attendant asked that he be measured again. Kamren stepped on his tippy toes to read the wood. It was adorable.

He was so good while we waited for Jad and the other kids. He liked to experiment with the magic band by scanning pictures.

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Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was fun (I rode with Rigel, and Jad rode with Casey after). Rigel was a little scared, but it was a pretty mild roller coaster, actually.

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We shopped at one of the gift shops (it was huge and had tons of stuff), and then hopped on the train. Kamren was super excited to ride the “Choo Choo,” so we rode it for him. We met an LDS family from Texas on that train ride. They were delightful people.

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After we rode around the park on the train, we headed to Liberty Square. The riverboat was beautiful, but we didn’t ride it. Instead, we got in line for The Haunted Mansion. The line was fairly long, but that was okay because the closer you got to the mansion, the more stuff there was to touch and look at. The kids loved it – I would actually say the line went too fast for us to enjoy it fully. Unfortunately, when we got inside the mansion, we ended up standing really close to everyone in a hot room, waiting forever to get on the ride because it wasn’t working. When we got to a point where we all thought we would die, the ride finally started up again.

I must say, the Haunted Mansion was super cool. Rigel was my partner, and he was freaked out the whole time, but it was a silly kind of scary. It was very well done!

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We headed over to Fantasyland after that to grab some lunch at Pinocchio’s Haus. The food was good, and it was a cute little set up.

After lunch, we had a little mishap. Kamren punched Rigel and he got a bloody nose. That was fun to clean up. He was fine, but wow, it was bloody.

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There was tons to do in Fantasyland, and we wish we could have done it all. We didn’t stand in line to see any of the characters, but we did see glimpses of some.

And other than catching a small part of a parade, here is what we did do, not necessarily in order:

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Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid – This was my favorite thing in Fantasyland. Seeing Eric’s castle up close, and then riding in a clam shell, reliving Ariel’s experiences, was breathtaking. For some reason, this one wasn’t just a slow boat ride for me. It brought back happy memories from my childhood.

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Prince Charming Regal Carousel – This was just like any carousel, but it is always fun. Kamren didn’t want to get off.

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Mickey’s Philhar Magic – This was so much fun! It was a 3D video and was hilarious. Some of my favorite attractions in all the parks were the 3D videos because cool things happen like water raining on you, or air blowing in your face. They are really interactive and fun.

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We took a detour to Tomorrowland, and did the Tomorrowland Speedway, which was so much fun. I rode with Kamren and let him drive (don’t worry  – you can’t veer off course), and it was a little crazy moving back and forth all the time. He had a blast, though. Jad let Rigel drive, and he kept bumping us. Casey rode on his own, and was thrilled.

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Mad Tea Party – This was the traditional tea cup ride. My kids loved it, and Kamren didn’t want to get off.

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It’s a Small World –  This was one of my favorite rides because, even though it was yet another slow boat ride, it highlighted different people and cultures from around the world. I loved looking for Arabic people because it made me feel closer to Jad. It just helped me appreciate and have a greater love for the beauty and wonder each country of the world brings.

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Peter Pan’s Flight – This was like all the rest of the boat rides, except you were suspended in the air on a slow ride. It was pretty cool. It takes you through the story of Peter Pan through life-like mannequins. I was so impressed by all the moving mannequins at Disney World. They were so lifelike.

After Fantasyland, we went back to Tomorrowland, and this is what we did:

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Astro Orbiter – So, we were really excited about this one because you ride up an elevator, and get in these spaceships that fly in a circle high above the park. Casey got his own, Jad rode with Kamren, and I rode with Rigel, Let me tell you, I was scared to death. There is one big seat belt that holds both of you in (the littlest person rides in front of the bigger person). There is nothing to hold on to if you are the one in the back. Rigel was “steering,” and nearly the whole ride, we were slanted down right. I felt like I was going to fall out! I was so glad to be back on the ground when it was done. The kids loved it, though!

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Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – This ride was really fun. You have guns and you are supposed to shoot the aliens in different rooms. You can spin your seats around whenever you want, and the colors and sounds are exciting.

Monster, Inc. Laugh Floor – This show was a riot. A large part of it is done live. Mike is there, and different monsters are supposed to help make us laugh enough to fill this huge canister. Well, the other monsters were computer animated on screen, but were acted by live people, and random audience members were chosen to do certain things, like dance. It was hilarious. I am kind of glad I wasn’t chosen, but appreciated those who were and had fun with it.

We also got to see Buzz Lightyear from a distance, and saw Mr. and Mrs. Incredible at a dance party right by Space Mountain (we didn’t ride that because of the lines and a bad attitude from our 10-year-old).

For dinner, we got hot dogs for the little ones at a little place by the Astro Orbiter. (After we got back that night, Jad went to a restaurant on the Boardwalk called ESPN Club, and got food for the rest of us. It was fab.)

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I think the most magical part of our day at Magic Kingdom was the Celebrate the Magic show. Cinderella’s castle was lit up with Disney characters while lovely music played. I got teary-eyed during the Frozen part. Gosh, I don’t even like that movie much – why does it make me cry? 😉

After the show was over, it was really hard to get out of there, but we finally did, and caught the bus home.

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Kamren was wiped out by the time we got back! What a fun day at Magic Kingdom!!!

Thursday – Hollywood Studios

We didn’t have to rush out that morning, so we were a little lazier, and ordered room service. The food was good, but not the best ever. Kamren took some of my food, so I took his. Our biggest memory of that breakfast will always be how much butter they gave us. I think they gave us an entire stick. Not sure what we needed all that for!

After breakfast, we walked over to Hollywood Studios. It was a little bit of a ways out, but we made it. My first reaction to it, was that it wasn’t very pretty. It looked old and outdated in its faded baby blue paint. It was quite disappointing in comparison to Magic Kingdom. Luckily, the rides and attractions were 1000 times better than the looks of the park would suggest.

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Our first stop was the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. Casey and Rigel complained about being there, and I explained to them that some things are for Mommy to enjoy. Well, by the end, those kids were all completely mesmerized. Don’t judge me when I say that was my favorite show of the entire week at Disney World. It wasn’t just a sing-along. It was a hilarious retelling of the story by two Arendelle historians. They were perfect in every way, and Anna, Kristoff, and Elsa were all in it. Elsa came out at the end, and we all sang a fabulous reprise of Let it Go. As we sang, snow fell onto our heads. I am pretty sure I cried. It must be that song!

It was the perfect start to a wonderful day. Hollywood Studios is a smaller park, so we got to do a lot of it! Here is what else we did:

Star Wars: Path of the Jedi – This was fun because it took you through all the movies, even the newest, to tell the story of the Jedi. I loved it, and the kids definitely did. There is something so nostalgic about Star Wars.

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A costume from Brigadoon. So cool!

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The Great Movie Ride – This ride made me happy. Even while waiting in line, we had fun because they were playing scenes from old movies. And even though it was another slow ride, it was so amazing to see sets and moving mannequin characters from movies I grew up with, like Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz. There was even a real person dressed as a gangster who took over our ride. It was pretty cool.

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Indiana Jones: Epic Stunt Spectacular – This was so cool! They asked for people to volunteer to be extras in the beginning. I didn’t volunteer, and I was sad I didn’t, because they got to interact with the stunt actors as they did three major scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark. This was so fun to watch, and some of the stunts are awesome!

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Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show – This was another really cool show. We sat towards the back and could still see fine. Seeing cars do incredible stunts was more fun for Jad and Casey, but I still thought it was cool. They even had a car that was built to look like it was driving backwards, but it was really driving forwards.

Muppet Vision 3D – This was not my favorite 3D show. It was almost too cheesy, but it was cool to have the old sarcastic men up in a balcony laughing at the Muppets. The gift shop outside of it was also cool – worth going to if you love Muppets stuff.

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Toy Story Midway Mania – This is the most popular ride at Hollywood Studios. After riding it, though, I say it isn’t worth the line. We had fast passes, and still had a long line. It wasn’t any better than the Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom. In fact, the Buzz ride as more fun. Skip this ride – it really isn’t that fun. It is basically a life-size video game.

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While we waited for Daddy and Casey to ride the same ride, Rigel and I walked around. He was mesmerized by this poster.

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Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – This ride was awesome!! Rigel and Jad rode it together first, and while I waited with the other boys, we viewed a light saber show with kids right next to it. Then, I went to the restaurant next door to grab some food for hungry Kamren. By the time I got the food, and Jad and Rigel got out of the ride, it was time to meet our group for the Fantasmic show and dessert party. Casey and I rode it after the show was over. C3PO is with us as we go on a mission in space that he wasn’t expecting to go on. The ride was really bumpy with really cool graphics. It was almost like were in Space.

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And just walking around Hollywood Studio was fun!

Now, let me tell you about  the food we had that day before I tell you about Fantasmic.

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For lunch, we went to a place called 50s Prime Time Café. It was set up, obviously, like a 50s home. The waiters were all supposed to act moody, and impatient, finding pleasure in yelling at guests.

We had the best waiter. He had this really nasally voice, and when he yelled, we couldn’t help but giggle. Jad ate this up, and deliberately did things to get yelled at for.

The food was really good. If you like home cooking, this restaurant is for you. I don’t like fried chicken much, but they had the best fried chicken ever! All the food was good, and they served huge milkshakes. Mine was raspberry white chocolate, and was a special, so it wasn’t quite as big, but boy was it amazingly tasty.

After we ate, a lady let the kids play with hula hoops outside the restaurant.

For dinner, as I said, we ate at a restaurant right next to Star Tours. Let me rephrase that – we wolfed down as much of our dinner as possible before running to our meeting place for Fantasmic.

A guide took us this weird Employees Only back way to the outdoor auditorium. We felt a little naughty going that way. We sat at a table, and even though we were stuffed from dinner, we got ice cream, punch and cookies.

The show finally started, and it was pretty good. It wasn’t my favorite light/music/fireworks show, but it has a lot of Disney characters in it. The first part was Pocahontas and the song Savages. Towards the end of the show, there were images of Disney villains in the water. The dragon from Sleeping Beauty was also there. It really was a pretty cool show.

After Fantasmic was over, and after we got free t-shirts from the school,  Casey and I ran to Star Tours, while Jad took the little boys to the huge gift shop next to it. The kids all got something. Casey really wanted to build a light saber, so he did. Then Kamren also wanted one, so Casey helped him build one – it ended up being a double light saber. Rigel had gotten a large Storm Trooper toy, but after I reminded him of another toy he had seen at another gift shop – Mickey and friends dressed up as Star Wars characters – he decided to return it and wait to get that toy.

Unfortunately, the gift shop with that toy was closed, so we walked around to other shops. We couldn’t find it, and I was getting frustrated I couldn’t find anything for myself. I figured out of all parks, this park would be the place to buy something. Oh well.

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At least the boys had fun playing with light sabers in the street.

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We took the ferry yacht back to the resort.

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When we were walking back to our room, we saw a street performer on the Boardwalk and had to stop. Casey got to help him. It was hilarious!

Friday – Animal Kingdom

This was our last park, and though we were excited, the kids were pretty tired. The bus ride felt long, and when we first got there, the kids were ready to be carried. We prayed that the kids would be good!

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Our first stop was breakfast at the Rainforest Café. If you ever go there, realize that it is located before you enter the park. We didn’t realize that, so we entered the park and promptly exited. It was a pretty cool restaurant. There were moving elephant mannequins. The ceiling had hanging vines. There were fish tanks in the back. Every few minutes, there would be a thunderstorm and monkeys would make noises. The food was not the best I had ever had, but it was good nonetheless. The gift shop was really neat too.

Animal Kingdom doesn’t stay open as long as the other parks, but that ended up being okay because it is also a smaller park. We did almost everything.

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When you first walk in, you see a huge tree, called the tree of life. It was breathtaking.

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Much of the park consisted of trails and animal sightings, like a zoo. Here is what we did:

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Discovery Island Trails – The lemurs were the kids’ favorite.

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Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – Of note, we saw meercats and gorillas.

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Kilimanjaro Safaris – This was the coolest part of Animal Kingdom by far, and can’t be missed. You ride in a safari truck through a setting that looks exactly like Africa, and you continuously come across beloved African animals. We had a blast.

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Festival of the Lion King – I was disappointed in this show. I expected it to be a retelling of the movie, but it wasn’t. It was a performance that the animals were putting on for King Simba. Only Timon was “real.” The rest of the animals were puppets. There were really talented acrobats, which was the only cool part. Skip this one if you don’t have time to do it.

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Maharajah Jungle Trek – This was the Asian portion of the park. It was beautiful. There were humongous fruit bats, and even a tiger.

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Expedition Everest (Roller coaster) – This was the scariest, most exciting roller coaster we rode in Disney World. If you love a thrill, this is it! Rigel was scared, but enjoyed it.

Finding Nemo – The Musical – This was my favorite part of the day. It was a mini-musical, so wasn’t overly long for children. The kids and I were mesmerized. The acting, music, set, and props were wonderful. I highly recommend this.

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TriceraTop Spin – This was a little kid ride. Both Kamren and Rigel loved it.

Primeval Whirl – Only Casey and I rode this one. It was fun, but not scary at all. You got whirled and jerked around, and were sometimes high up. It was worth doing with a short line.

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Dinosaur – This ride was really fun. Jad and Rigel rode it together, and then Casey and I did. Jad didn’t love it, and Rigel was scared of it. I personally thought it was awesome, and so did Casey. The concept was really cool, and you could feel the urgency and the adrenaline pumping.

Before we left Animal Kingdom, we went to a nice gift shop and found that Mickey Star Wars set Rigel had really wanted at Hollywood Studios.

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We left the park right when it closed, and we were hot and tired. The wait for the bus seemed long, and we were glad to get back to the resort.

But, we had found out at Animal Kingdom earlier that day that we were about out of meals for our meal plan, so we had to discuss the issue with the front desk. It turns out that Kamren wasn’t put on our meal plan at all, so any meal he got counted against the rest. As a courtesy, we were given plenty of extra meals to tide us over. We appreciated that kind gesture.

After that experience, the kids wanted to swim, and there was a cool pool at the resort. I wasn’t interested in swimming, and needed to go to Hollywood Studios to replace a broken lightsaber, so I took the ferry there while the boys took a dip in the pool.

I thought I would love being alone, but I honestly didn’t enjoy it very much. It felt weird riding on that crowded ferry with no one to talk to. I got to Hollywood Studios, promptly replaced the lightsaber, and then thought I would shop a little more. I really wanted to find myself a nice souvenir from Disney World.

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But, I still couldn’t find anything! I had really wanted something that was reminiscent of The Great Movie ride, but an attendant told me there was no such store. So, instead, I bought the kids a Star Wars book that was written as if Darth Vader had raised Luke. It was cute. I also got them a CD of A New Hope.

When I got back to the Boardwalk, I went in the gift shop there to take one last look to find myself something. I still found nothing. So, I started walking to find myself something to eat. It was nearly 8, and I figured the kids had already eaten.

Surprisingly, I saw Jad on the Boardwalk. He was getting a pizza for the kids. They still hadn’t eaten. So, we ate together. Not long after, we crashed into bed, knowing we needed to get up early to pack up.

Saturday – Blizzard Beach and home

The original plan for Saturday was to go back to a park that we didn’t get a chance to get through. But later, we got a surprise – a free admission to one of four attractions. We chose the water park – Blizzard Beach.

We had to get up early Saturday to pack and get ready to fly home.

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First, we had our final breakfast – this time at the Boardwalk’s restaurant Trattorio al Forno. Jad loved his breakfast, and ended up eating a lot of mine because I didn’t like it. The food was a little too fancy for me.

After our early breakfast, we finished packing. Luckily, instead of dragging all of our stuff with us all day, we got to check our suit cases, and have our carry ons held by the resort until we came back to take the bus to the airport that afternoon.

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We took a shuttle to Blizzard Beach, and arrived not long after it opened. It wasn’t a huge park – we could tell from the beginning, but it ended up being one of the favorites. Why? Because it was a relaxed atmosphere. There weren’t that many people there, and everyone could go at their own pace.

Jad and Casey were really excited about the big, scary water slides. That definitely isn’t my thing, so I took the little ones to the kids’ water section. It was actually pretty cool. There were three slides, and plenty of splashing areas. Kam and Rigel went on the slides over and over, and had a wonderful time.

Later on, Jad relieved me so I could do a couple medium intensity slides with Casey. I really don’t like water slides, so it wasn’t much more fun than watching the little ones.

But then, we found a family tube ride, called Teamboat Springs. We all loved it. We got on a large tube as a family, and descended down a huge large slide, while turning and curving and getting splashed. It was perfect for all of us, and we rode it multiple times.

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We really liked being at Blizzard Beach because we could do the slides as many times as we wanted, and there was no pressure to rush around. We finally left a little after 2 PM, so we could get to the shuttle bus in time.

But, first, we had to cash in all of our snacks at the gift shop. With a meal plan, you don’t want to leave any of your points behind. So, we stocked up on candy and other snacks.

We got to the resort in plenty of time to collect our stuff. Jad even went to one of the shops at the Boardwalk to collect nice free water bottles we didn’t know about until that day. And then it was time to get on the bus to go to the airport.

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It was sad to say goodbye to our trip, but we were also happy to be going home. As we rode to the airport, we reflected on the blessing of Jad attending MyComputerCareer, winning the video contest, and being able to go on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. We were also so grateful for our hosts. Melanie, the CEO’s daughter, had placed this card by our door the night before.

We got to the airport in plenty of time, so got to shop around, and eat dinner leisurely.

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We ate a lot of food at Disney World, but Jad and I both remarked that our food at the airport may have been our favorite. It was Italian food. The boys, however, got good old McDonald’s.

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Kamren slept during much of our airport time, until not long before we boarded. He was so tuckered out from a week of nearly no naps.

We got to the airport late that night, and drove home, happy to get back to our routine.

Adjusting back to home life

Other than the endless laundry, we were all content to be home. And really, we realized that the happiest place on earth is really just wherever we are together.

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We enjoyed eating and sharing our final snack spoils, and the boys quickly utilized their light sabers in the open space of our living room.

Later we talked about our overall favorites/least favorite things about Disney World:

Jad

Favorite Park – Hollywood Studios

Favorite rides/attractions – Mission Space, car stunt show, family tube ride at the water park, the safari, 50s Prime Time Cafe, and running at the Boardwalk

Least favorite rides/attractions – Finding Nemo, Dinosaur, Fantasmic

Mandy

Favorite Park – Hollywood Studios

Favorite rides/attractions – Spaceship Earth, Great Movie Ride, Frozen, Magic Kingdom light show, Star Tours, Everest coaster, Ariel ride, Laugh Floor, Pixar shorts, and Mickey’s Philmar

Least favorite rides/attractions – Lion King, Splash Mountain, Toy Story Mania, Astrospace, and all the whining and crying the kids did all week

Casey

Favorite park – Hollywood Studios

Favorite rides/attractions – Indiana Jones show*, Magic Kingdom light show, Everest coaster, Splash Mountain, Mission: Space, car stunt show, Star Tours, 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Fantasmic, family tube ride at water park

Least favorite rides/attractions – Waiting in line and countries at Epcot

Rigel

Favorite park – Blizzard Beach

Favorite rides/attractions – Mission: Space*, Finding Nemo, AstroSpace, water park (really tall slide), Star Tours, Pinocchio Haus mac and cheese, 50s Prime Time Cafe, and Star Wars toys

Least favorite rides/attractions – Everest coaster, Haunted Mansion, and Big Thunder Mountain (only because he was afraid of them, though ironically, he couldn’t stop talking about Haunted Mansion later)

Kamren – 

Favorite park – Blizzard Beach

Favorite rides/attractions – kids’ slides at water park, hotel slide, tea cup ride, carousel

Last favorite rides/attractions – countries at Epcot, rushing around

 

We will never forget our time at Walt Disney World 2016!

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Thank you for sharing!

One thought on “The Al-Bjalys in Disney World”

  1. Wow, Hon, you remembered a lot of things, I loved reading this post, thank you very much for putting this together for our family memories, and thank you MYCC for this trip.
    Love you Dear

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