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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day Four, Disney World

aka: "Okay, okay, I have finally given in to the Disney Capitalistic Machine and I want to collect and trade your pins. Now trade me the Mr. Incredible and no one gets hurt."

Day four started pretty smoothly. And we definitely needed it after meeting "Miss Congeniality" on the bus the day before. We headed over to the Grand Floridian to have professional pictures taken of the group. The skies were overcast, but that made nice lighting for the pictures. We had two hours to get two individual group shots of each family(one in front of some trees and the other at the beach), an overall group shot on a staircase and a "red couch" picture with the girls. I still can't believe we got it all accomplished in less than two hours. I was able to capture some of the chaos that was happening on the beach. And courtesy of the another family, a photo of the photographer that endured it all. He had the patience of a saint. We tried to get the girls in roughly the same position as the red couch picture in China, but since there were some girls missing and not all of our lovelies were cooperating at that point, we got as close as we could. Hannah was smiling for the first two pictures and then she was more interested in the stuffed Minnie and showing us her underpants.

After the photo shoot we headed over to Epcot. It had started to rain on and off for the rest of the day. But since there is a lot to do indoors at Epcot, it really didn't matter much to us. We were just hoping that it would not affect the fireworks show that night. Besides Tiffany bought these adorable panda ponchos - there is always room for panda ponchos. Tiffany and Audrey treated us to a wonderful lunch at the restaurant that is right behind the "Living Seas, Finding Nemo" attraction. The food was really good and each table had a view of the huge tank that had turtles, sharks, stingrays and all kinds of fish in it. I had to share this photo I took at the Living Seas exhibit, because I was so proud of myself that I got Nemo's Dad (lower left corner) and two Dori's in one photo.

After lunch, we went to the Finding Nemo ride (very cute) and then we started to make our way to the part of Epcot that has all of the countries. We stopped at "Journey to Imagination with Figment" (also cute) and met up with more members of our group. Once we got to the countries section of Epcot I think we all made a beeline to China. Gee, I wonder why? Hannah was very excited because she nows thinks that she was born in Epcot. Hmmmm, we'll have to work on the fake vs. the real China at a later date. Mulan and Moo Shoo were taking pictures and signing autographs. Hannah loved Mulan - she ran away from Moo Shoo. It was very nice to stroll around the countries. They had a mask for the kids to make and add to at each country. They also had many alcoholic beverages for the parents - so everybody wins.

Sidebar: It was around Germany that I could not take it anymore and we started buying the special pins that everyone was trading. Tiffany, you were right - now I'm going to blow my paycheck on some collectors edition something-or-other pin that I just HAVE to have. There goes Hannah's college fund... just kidding... or am I?

Hannah finally took her first nap of the vacation (of course after the rest of the girls had already taken theirs) and was awakened by Moo Shoo (by that time we had made it all the way around and were back in China). Boy, she did NOT like that.

Once Hannah was awake, we were able to take some cute pictures of Audrey and Hannah together in fake China. After some additional pin shopping (see how quickly it takes over?) it was time to head to the dinner event that was scheduled for the group. Dinner was really good. Hannah and the girls were invited onstage to participate in a little skit that involved elephants. Hopefully that will explain what all the kids are doing in the picture.
The event also included front row viewing for the fireworks show later that evening. My camera doesn't do fireworks any justice, so I didn't bother to take pictures. I just focused on whether the fireworks scared Hannah. There were a couple of parts that she wasn't sure about - but she did really well.

After the fireworks show, we headed over to a popular character area to meet Mickey Mouse. There were other characters to meet, but Mickey was the focus. How can you go to Walt Disney World and not meet Mickey? The line moved pretty well. I think we were on line for about 45 minutes. Hannah met Mickey and Minnie without incident. Then she punched Pluto in the face. I guess she had had enough. I don't blame her, I was pretty tired too and Pluto is just... well, a dog. He doesn't even talk in the cartoons. At least I got her to apologize, but I know she didn't mean it. We were asking for a meltdown - We woke her up early, took about thousand pictures of her, scared her with loud, booming fireworks and then we make her stand in line for almost an hour. Good job parents! Although, I would have rather she punched Goofy - he was a little too pushy when we were taking the pictures.

Friday, September 26, 2008

That was then, this is now.

Not the most telling picture in the world. Sorry that I am almost totally blocking the brick with my shadow. This was taken days after we got married in April of 1996. I think my friend Niki took the picture. She worked for Disney at the time and totally hooked us up.

Just look at us now. Hmmmmm well, at least you can clearly see the brick.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just Because

I just had to share these photos. I found this website through a couple of blogs that I frequently visit.
Yearbook Yourself
Thank you to bothAlison and Donna for introducing me to this fun diversion!




1994 (This one looks the most realistic, I think... except for the Lee Press On nails)

Sorry for the interruption, we now bring you back to your regularly scheduled program.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day Three, Disney World

aka "Just because you are at Disney World, doesn't give you the right to act like an a$$hole." quoted from grumpy, tired (possibly from NJ) lady on the bus.

No worries, I'll get to that quote in a minute. First things first. Since the Cinderella pictures opened my eyes as to how long our daughter's hair was - I looked into getting it cut the next morning. Unfortunately there was not a salon at our hotel, however there were salons at the fancier (read: more expensive) hotels on Disney property. Do you remember Day One's quote ""What do mean I can't take a direct bus to our hotel?"? Well that holds true when trying to get from one hotel to another in less than 2 hours. It took us FOREVER to get to the fancy hotel, get Hannah's hair cut and get back to Downtown Disney where Tiffany and Audrey were waiting and waiting and waiting. Since we had already held them up enough for that day, we decided to split up while we went back to the hotel to drop off some purchases (I always try and make time to Christmas shop). I took this picture of Audrey making silly faces at Chris before we left the bus.

The plan was to spend the day at Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately we lost a lot of time, so we tried to make up for it as best we could. Before we got in the gate, we met up with Pluto and Pocahontas. We also saw Rafiki (from Lion King) but Hannah was not interested. Never fear, we got lucky later.

We went straight to the Lion King show since we heard that one was the best. A lot of people from our group had already arrived and they were kind enough to save us seats. So we sat at the end of the section. It was a GREAT show - I highly recommend it. Towards the end of the show, a young dancer in a Zebra costume comes up to us and asks if Hannah can be in the show. Absolutely, so then the zebra dancer takes her hand and takes her to a small group of older children who have been picked by other dancers. They quickly showed them how to wave and shake some kind of gourd/maraca looking thing. Hannah loves to do both of those things so she was very enthusiastic. The stage was round so the dancers proceeded to lead the children all the way around the stage. Hannah was so cute shaking and waving as the zebra dancer hustled her around the stage. I was so proud of her, I almost started to cry. Here she was thrown in a completely new, loud, chaotic situation, and she just shined. Timone was singing the song and then I noticed that after going around once, all of the older children were lead back to their seats while the zebra dancer and Hannah were hanging out at one corner of the stage. Then Timone finished the song and says "That was great kids! Good Job, especially you!" as he points down to Hannah. Then she comes running back and her little heart was racing. I was so proud of our little pixie (and SOOOO happy we got her hair cut). We have the whole thing on video and if I ever figure out how to get that on this blog, I will share it with you.

After the show we headed over to the area for our next group event. We wanted to get across the park before the parade so we weren't late. There was time for a quick costume change (Tiffany had bought the most perfect jungle outfits) before the parade began. The parade was really cute (as most Disney parades are) and Hannah was most excited to see Minnie Mouse. After the parade we headed to our safari/group dinner event. Here is a picture of our group before we went on the safari (we are in the back row). The safari was nice because it was getting dark and they were feeding the animals so they seemed to be much more active than I remember. It was VERY bumpy, so Hannah got jostled around a lot. She really liked the baby giraffe and baby elephant. After the safari we headed to dinner. Dinner was buffet-style. Tiffany and Chris seemed to have a lot of trouble - I guess I went earlier before the long lines formed. I was shocked and amazed that I dodged that bullet. Dinner was good, and Tiffany and CHris decided to eat as much as possible to make up for there experience at the buffet. Hannah got to dance with the band that was playing for the dinner crowd. Hannah and I had time to meet Rafiki and Timone. I am bummed that the picture is so blurry - I guess I had it on the wrong setting. I think I need to get a new camera. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Oh, I almost forgot. Let me explain the quote of the day. After the dinner event, Animal Kingdom was closed to the public, so we were gently ushered out to the exits and onto the appropriate buses to get to our hotels. Sidenote: Did I mention that there were three older brothers (ages 6-7) in our group? Well, two of the boys were the catalyst of the "Incident" that I am about to explain. We are happily riding the bus to our hotel when a man towards the front of the bus turns around and yells "WHOSE KIDS ARE THESE????" Since both of the "kids" were part of our group and the man was yelling I immediately paid attention. Apparently the boys were rough housing on the bus and it really annoyed this man and his family. So one of the mothers in our group grabs her son and brings him back to where we were sitting and some people start making some comments like "Boy, someone is really grumpy... he's in a bad mood... murmur murmur murmur blah blah blah." So the wife of the angry guy gets out of her seat, turns around and says to all of us behind her on the bus, "Just because you are at Disney World, doesn't give you the right to act like an a$$hole." Uh Oh. That's when I raise my voice and say "Why are you cursing? Just stop cursing, there's babies on this bus." along with a few other people. She comes back with "I don't give a F-bomb." That's when Chris stands up and starts yelling at her to sit down and stop, to just stop, because there are children on this bus that had nothing to do with this... She refuses to sit down and insists that we need to control our children. And that's when Chris says "It's not my kid, there are other people on this bus..." Meanwhile I find it interesting that her husband is saying nothing at this point and that Chris is the only one standing up to this woman. I was holding Hannah's ears so she couldn't clearly hear all of this mess. Thankfully the angry woman and her presumably very angry family get off of the bus at a different hotel and the rest of the bus starts clapping.

Wow. I guess this is not your mother's Disney World.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day Two, Disney World

aka "Wow, my daughter needs a haircut."

Since today was the day the girls were going to have lunch at Cinderella's Castle, we started off the day with a toe and fingernail painting party. Since the pool was already crowded, we just setup in the hallway of the hotel. Thankfully there wasn't much traffic from the other guests.Lauren braided Hannah's hair in the cutest braid that with some luck and a lot of patience, I have hopes to replicate. So all of the girls had these cute bright pink finger and toenails - it was adorable. Hannah's toes are still in tact although the finger polish is now completely off.

Then we headed to Magic Kingdom. It was all decorated for Halloween - I don't remember seeing how Disney decorates for holidays. They also just started a trick or treat event at Magic Kingdom, but it was about $50 PER PERSON. No thanks.

I brought a tutu and crown with me to get Hannah in the royalty-meeting mood. Sorry Tiffany, I forgot to tell you that I was bringing some princess gear. Hannah did not have the dramatic reaction to seeing Cinderella's castle that I was hoping for. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but she was so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of EVERYTHING, Cinderella's castle did not make a dent. Before we got to the castle we met up with the Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters. They were rude as can be - even to the kids. Tiffany said that they must be from New Jersey and the Evil Stepmother says "New Jersey, I've never heard of it, it must a kingdom that no one wants to go to." Oh, no she didn't! Somebody hold my earrings while I tear this girl up... Oh wait I'm in Disney World. Never mind (It turns out that I had save my fighting energy for Day Three...Stay tuned).

Hannah was thrilled to meet Cinderella. The picutre we got at the end of the event was the one that made me think "Gosh, she needs a haircut." Cinderella was a really pretty Cinderella. I heard that sometimes the face characters are not as attractive - that's not nice to say about Princess Jasmine, oops was that out loud? See the Jersey coming out of me again. Hey, I'm no prize either, I couldn't walk around with my abs showing. First the girls got their pictures with Cinderella and then we had lunch in the castle with the rest of the princesses. Each of the princesses came around, signed autographs and took pictures. My favorite is Sleeping Beauty - did you know that Sleeping Beauty is Princess Aurora? The food was really good. I recommend the sweet potato fries. Once lunch was over, it was time to explore the rest of the park. We got really lucky in that there were really no lines for any of the rides. We walked right into "It's a Small World". Hannah just sat with her mouth open the whole ride. I don't think that she's ever seen such a production. I took pictures of her, but they are not very flattering. After "It's a Small World" we headed over to the Winnie the Pooh play area. And guess who shows up? And guess who gets shy around Tigger? Well, you can see from the pictures.

Then we headed over to the Mickey Mouse small kids area and Hannah was tall enough to go on her first roller coaster. Chris said she loved it. She was laughing the whole time. Great - now I will get to stand by myself again when Chris and Hannah want to ride the roller coasters - I've really got to get a hold of that fear. Anyway, later she got to ride the go-carts with Daddy too. Chris you just remember this when she wants to get her drivers license. She did not like "Pirates of the Caribbean" - I think the skeletons at the beginning were too much for her.

Before we left Magic Kingdom, we all visited our brick. Tiffany was kind enough to take some silly pictures of us in front of our brick. For our honeymoon, Chris and I went to Disney World. As a surprise, Chris purchased a brick and showed it to me when we got to Magic Kingdom. The brick was guaranteed for ten years, so we were happy to still see it. I'll have to scan in the old picture of the two of us laying down on the brick back in 1996 so you can laugh at us.

We had a wonderful day at Magic Kingdom.