Well, Disney did indeed prove magic for the Hall kiddos (and maybe even their grownups, if we admit it!). I really don’t think we could have had a better week. We were threatened with rain and cold, neither of which showed up until the very end of the trip and did not put a damper on our time at all. We didn’t know how the days would go with four kids so little, needing naps and such, but they all four made it all day every day with a minimum of tears, whining, and begging. They were really all so very very good, it was so much fun to be around them. Places like that can have a tendency to be full of whiny, cranky kids, but–pardon my motherly bragging–our kids did not join that group. Everything was really magical to them, and they had so much fun just looking at all the sights, pointing and exclaiming over every little robot and painting and scene in the rides, meeting the characters and filling up their autograph book, and of course, anticipating what that day’s treat was going to be after lunch.
We started out with Magic Kingdom, of course. Is there really any other place to start? They could see the castle as the bus pulled up and the excitement just mounted from there. Everything fell right into place as far as timing went, and we went from characters to a parade to a show to some rides with short lines, all without even trying to plan. We barely even got out of Fantasyland that first day because that’s where all the good stuff for their ages was, but that was ok because we knew we’d be back. The next day we hit Epcot, which isn’t as preschooler-friendly, but we still had a great day. There were tons of characters to meet there, all in their native “countries” so that was the highlight of the day. They also enjoyed the Kidcot stops in each country. Clay and I even managed to squeeze in a date that night, going back to Epcot for the fireworks then heading over to Downtown Disney for a brownie sundae at the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain. Monday found us at Hollywood Studios, trying to plan around the threatened day of rain (which didn’t happen until we were about done anyway). Lots of fun shows there–Playhouse Disney, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Muppet 3-D movie, plus even more characters and a fun playground. Tuesday we rounded out the parks with the Animal Kingdom. We figured out early on that we would need to skip most of the “zoo” parts in order to fit everything else in since it closed at five, but we just managed to squeeze in all the fun things on our list–the safari ride, the Lion King show (in which Abigail and Elisabeth got to dance), and the Nemo show, along with–of course–a few more characters. Since we got in early that night, Nanny and Mommy left the kiddos with Daddy and we hit Downtown Disney to use our free voucher at Planet Hollywood. We were too tired for much else though, and didn’t even enter one store. Wednesday and Thursday both found us back at the Magic Kingdom. There was so much there, mostly geared right at their ages, that we really wanted to take our time and not have to pick and choose, so we decided to spend both of our extra days there. Wednesday we focused more on the part of the park we hadn’t been to yet, where Abigail and Catherine discovered the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster and absolutely loved it, which prompted Clay to try Abigail out on Space Mountain, which she also loved. We hung out most of the day in Frontierland and Adventureland, dodging the rain by ducking into shows. Thursday started out pretty darn cold, but eventually warmed up and we focused on doing everyone’s two favorite things again. Abigail picked the two roller coasters, Catherine picked the Peter Pan ride and the Magic Carpet ride, and Elisabeth liked the teacups and Dumbo. We also squeezed in a second round of the Winnie the Pooh ride for Mommy. We managed to catch the afternoon parade for the first time, and stayed for the electrical parade and fireworks that night. We milked every minute out of that day, knowing that was it for our trip. Samuel had a few issues that day, but we worked through them and we all ended the day on a good note.
We were all exhausted, and we all came back with colds, but it was truly a magical trip. Our kids were the perfect ages to go there–every one of them had a ball, from Abigail and Catherine living out their favorite princess stories, to Elisabeth enjoying the fun rides and hugging the cuddly characters, to Samuel shouting “Moo-Mouse!” and “Don-Duck!” over and over and over every time he saw them or even a picture of them. Thanks, Nanny, for giving us such a wonderful week!