Birthday, Plane Travel, and Disney!

We're home, and getting settled back in. So time for me to overwhelm you with pictures! Stick with me, they are worth it.

Flashing back to the 16th and Gwen's actual birthday party:

We had a great low-key day. The girl loved having her Nonnie around, as well as GG, Casey, and Pat. She definitely enjoyed her ice cream cake.

Once all that was over, it was time to look forward to Disney! Which arrived quickly.

Our flight didn't leave until 1:30ish, so we could have a more relaxed morning. We headed out at 11am, and got through security in record time. We had a little bit of a rough start after that, since we boarded our plane only to have to deplane, switch gates, sit through a delay, then reboard due to a mechanical problem on the first plane. That was a little frustrating for all, but especially for a 4 year old who was exercising all of her patience and just wanted to see Micky Mouse already!

Thankfully the flight itself was smooth.

After we got to our hotel, got checked in and settled in, fixed the double booked room (hi random person, sorry we let ourselves in), we headed out to dinner with a girlfriend of mine from high school who now lives in Florida. It was great to see her, though too short thanks to plane delays and an early morning the next morning.

Disney Day 1: Chef Mickey

We were in a cab at 6:40 to make sure we were at Disney in plenty of time for our 7:15 reservations for Chef Mickey! It was NOT cheap, but it was a great breakfast, and a really great way for her to meet all of the main Mickey and friends characters. She was over the moon, and we avoided waiting in any long lines to meet any of those characters in the actual parks. 

She looks so grown up here!

After that we took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom!

Just a little excited about her first ride!
It was really nice to be able to sign up for the fast pass lines!

Though honestly the lines weren't too bad for most of the day. We mostly rode rides that she could ride too, though we did pick one or two rides each day that we would ride ourselves, taking advantage of the child swap passes (one parent rides, then when they are done, the other can use the child swap pass to speed up the fast pass line). We road Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain.

Trav was ticked by the "Mickey Milk"... it reminded him of the
"you can milk anything with a nipple" scene in Meet the Parents!
One of Gwen's favorite rides from the first day was It's a Small World. She LOVED the singing and all the colorful, dancing figurines.

Teacups, always a winner.

It was a great, though long day. So we were all ready when 5 o'clock rolled around to make our way to our hotel's shuttle bus pick up.

Riding the monorail.
It picked up from Epcot, so we got to see the famous "giant golf ball!"

We headed back to the hotel, ordered a pizza, swam until it arrived, then all headed to bed!

Disney Day 2: Animal Kingdom

Originally we just thought we'd do Magic Kingdom for two days, but after our first day, we realized that while we hadn't done it all, we'd done everything we "had" to do, and didn't think there was enough to keep us busy for a whole second day. So the next day we decided to hit up Animal Kingdom.

Sleepy girl...
I'm so glad! I forgot how in love with this park I am!

Monkey's playing overhead.

The whole place is just full of gorgeous buildings and amazing animals. And I absolutely LOVE the focus on conservation and their outspoken stance on poaching!!

"Mom, take a picture of me next to this tree doing rock and roll fingers!"
You got it, girl.
Gwen really enjoyed Raffiki's Island, and particularly the petting area.

This goat was digging Travis.

But hands down, everyone's favorite was the safari and nearby gorilla area.

The whole thing was gorgeous and surreal.

We decided to make our way towards DinoLand, but ended up behind the parade.

We started following it because it was heading in the same direction... we kept following it because:

girl was so psyched! Lol. She danced and cheered and pumped her arms while we literally walked in a giant circle around the whole park!

I did get to see my favorite tree again.

We finally headed to DinoLand after that, but really only had time for two rides before it was time to head out again.

Gwen enjoyed checking out her new figurines while we waited for the shuttle.

So one thing that worked nicely... Gwen got some birthday money from her Aunt and Uncle, and from her Nana and PopPop. We told her that she could buy one thing each day. So each day we had a list, and she would add things to her list as she saw them. She was pretty good though and each list was only 3 or 4 items long by the end of the day. She ended up getting figurines like this each day! A Toy Story set the first day, and the safari Mickey set and Lion King set the second day (you could buy two for the price of one). I'm so glad we did it that way. There were no tantrums about not getting toys, and she has been doing so much great pretend play with these things every single day. Real winners!

Okay, this is long enough for now, so tomorrow... Universal and the flight home!


  1. Great review!! i love it! making me excited for our trip in 6 weeks :)

    ps- we adore those figurine sets from disney. the kids get so much use out of them (even R at 7.5 plays with them all the time)

    1. Thanks! I'm going to be so excited and jealous when I see your pictures! I already want to go back. :-)

      I love these figurines because the conversations she makes them have are very creative, and very telling! Love imaginative play!


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