Friday, June 7, 2013
On day four Jake and Eric had plans to spend part of this day having a dolphin experience. It was off of Disney property but it was one of those “bucket list” items for Eric so I was thrilled they had made the arrangements. They swam with dolphins ,
even kissed a dolphin , and had beautiful photos with them. I have to admit I think I would have loved meeting the dolphins too, but oh those really tight black outfits, not sure about those. I hope Jake and Eric will add some details of their dolphin experience to this blog.
Day 4 found Tyler, our 26 year old bonus grandson, Mike and I at downtown Disney. We decided to splurge on Cirque Du Soleil tickets and their theatre is located there. After securing our seats we strolled for awhile shopping, Mike and Tyler both tried some bikes they asked if they could purchase (they were Harley’s). We spent many hours with Tyler on our trip; he even stayed most of the nights in our rooms. We worried he would be bored with the “old people”, but he told us many times he was having a great time and thanked us again and again for bringing him.
This trip was a celebration of family for Mike and me. We were celebrating the beginning of our family because forty years ago this very month we were married. We had brought three generations to Florida and felt really grateful Tyler was with us. The first night we checked in Mike and I were given buttons to wear that said “happy anniversary, 40 years”. Disney staff is so well trained to notice the buttons that I bet we were told “happy anniversary” more then 100 times. These happy words made us smile every time and be thankful to be so blessed.
Everyone but Jake and Eric met at The Crystal Palace for our lunch reservations. This meal included such guests as Winnie the Pooh, Eyeore, Piglet, and of course Tigger. I look back and think no one enjoyed the characters more than Gabriel . Pre-trip I had worried Gabriel, who just turned 2, was too young for the full Disney experience. I was so wrong, he found so much he could do, so many to love and he absorbed every ounce of Disney magic possible. Charity has always been a Tigger fan. Roy, Courtney and Kinsey visited with Eyeore . Kinsey hugged Eyeore. Lunch was satisfactory and filled our tummies, our young ones paraded with Tigger holding Gabriel’s hand, which filled our hearts.
Charity, Mike, Grace and Gabriel found another photo spot and also got to meet Buzz Lightyear .
After lunch we divided, this was our first really sunshiny day, translation hot day. The hot afternoon found many of us back at our resort for some much needed rest. I spent some time at the beautiful pool. Mike, Jake, Courtney and Roy listened to a one hour presentation about Disney’s Vacation Club. We were staying at Saratoga Springs, a vacation club resort, and they were interested in the feasibility of being a member. If you are able to go to Disney yearly I think it might be a wise investment. I think an annual Disney trip might diminish its specialness, maybe that’s just me.
Our family had evening reservations at the Grand Floridian for dinner with Cinderella and Prince Charming. The wicked stepmother and Cinderella’s step sisters were there too. One of the sister’s was very interested in Jake and Eric; Gabriel once again captured the heart of a princess, Cinderella. Tyler posed with Cinderella as well The food was our very least favorite; we had imagined the Grand Floridian to be the best. I ate a slice of pizza from the children’s buffet, enough said. Princess Kinsey and Princess Grace danced with Prince Charming and hugged and posed with Cinderella , they had become use to being treated as royalty.
The Disney cast (from street cleaner, photographer, sales clerk, ticket taker, to every character) are all trained to bow or curtsy, offer respect and reverence and love every little princess. I saw a young sales clerk at the Disney Emporium bow on one knee in front of our Princess Grace; she looked him up and down and with a tiny smile dismissed him with a curtsy, her little hands holding her dress on both sides. I also witnessed Princess Grace being asked for her autograph, she happily granted their request. On the bus that transported us to and from the parks when a princess was aboard the announcement was given, “attention Disney vacationers, please make sure you are on your royal behavior because we have a princess on board”.
As day 4, now evening, continued, we spent time with Courtney, Roy, Colton and Kinsey. We wanted Roy to experience the vintage Disney rides, he had been on every roller coaster from Space Mountain to Splash Mountain to Thunder Mountain (wow, I never realized Disney kind of has a thing for that “mountain” word ). Roy, Courtney and I rode Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise, Disney classics. I had worried most about my son in-law, Roy, having a great Disney experience. This was his first time and not really his, for lack of a better phrase, cup of tea. Now that we are post-trip and he and Courtney are already planning a return trip I think that speaks volumes and makes me happy. Then all six of us rode “It’s A Small World” together, everyone loves that. It was time for fireworks, Kinsey sat on Mike’s shoulders and we all watched the sky light up again.
This might be a good time to mention my Colton. I feel certain he had a really great time, he used the word “awesome” too many times to count and I received many Colton hugs always with a “Nana thank you so much for bringing us”. I truly love all my grands the same, I have just known and loved Colton, the oldest, the longest.
Jake, Eric and Tyler hung out together that evening. These two pics were not on our photo pass when we got home. The guys remembered sporting their new Mickey hats and were disappointed this shot was lost. Mike made a phone call to Disney’s incredible photo department and together they tried to pinpoint a general time and location and among thousands of pictures taken that evening Disney’s people found the photos. A little more of that Disney magic. .
After the fireworks we went different directions from the Branch family and miraculously happened upon Charity and her family. It is late evening and we are all anxious to enjoy some fun rides. Grace and I started with Dumbo. The Disney cast member helping with the Dumbo line was intrigued with Princess Grace, (Gracie was wearing her Cinderella gown again) and questioned her about her evening and her feelings toward Prince Charming. Princess Grace told her she had danced with him that very evening, the young line assistant admitted she too had a crush on Prince Charming and said she wished she could have been at The Grand Floridian and danced just like Gracie.
Grace and I rode Dumbo two times, the sweet young men let us stay on and avoid the line. Not to be outdone Gracie then found her Grandad and asked to ride Barnstormer, twice for that one too. We made our way back to FantasyLand and all 6 of us rode Peter Pan, Charity and Mike finally riding just the two of them, Gabriel with Grandad, and I had the honor of Princess Grace. After another It’s A Small World we chose beautiful horses on The Carousel as our final ride of day 4. We stopped at The Disney Emporium as we headed to find our bus home, Grace and Gabriel had a nightly ritual of choosing their favorite character stuffed doll or animal to add to their collections.
We closed Magic Kingdom as day 4 drew to a close. The Disney bus took us back to our resort which I have never described. I mentioned it was called Saratoga Springs and was part of Disney’s Vacation Club Resort. Each of our four rooms had a spacious foyer, a nice kitchen, a living area with a large sofa bed and big flat screen TV, a balcony, a great size bedroom with another TV, a huge jacuzzi bathtub, a separate room for the shower, another room for the toilet, and a closet with a stackable washer and dryer. Very nice rooms and such a step up from our original rooms you would need a tall ladder.