Monday, July 18, 2011

Family Vacation 2011

We have just recently returned from our family vacation to Walt Disney World and the Bahamas.  There are so many things about this trip I want to document for the sake of my children and to preserve the wonderful memories we shared as The Frazier Four. 

We tossed around so many things this year for vacation when we began planning and we knew all along we wanted to return to the Atlantis.  When we started planning airfare was outrageous to say the least, therefore we explored a ton of different options.  It ended up being far more economical for us to fly to the Bahamas by having a layover in Orlando.  This is where the dream was born to take a multi destination vacation, so we opted for a 5 day layover in Orlando.  Let me sum it all up for you, NO REGRETS!

We had lots of people tell us that our kids were way too young for Disney, it was way too hot, our kids would not remember it, it was the rainiest time of year and we would be miserable.  I am so glad that we followed our hearts, stepped out on faith and experienced the vacation of a lifetime.  In fact, our kids were the PERFECT age for Disney and we were able to do just as much on this visit as we would be able to do up until they are about 8 years old.  It was truly a MAGICAL experience for all of us and we are dreaming of the day we return, which will be soon but not soon enough for us.

Curtis and I have both been to Disney several times, but there is something far more SPECIAL about experiencing Disney with your own children.  There were so many times I could have bawled like a baby when I saw the look on my kiddos faces when they experienced the rides, characters, the castle,  parades and the shows. 

We happened to be at Disney on Curtis' birthday, so one of his birthday gifts was a replica of this bronze statue that he has loved since he was a little boy.  His Mom has a picture of him and his sister in front of this statue year after year.   Curtis is a lover of all things Disney and often recalls his best childhood memories being spent with his family on vacation at the HAPPIEST place on earth. 

We try to buy one very nice souvenir everywhere we travel to put in our home office to remember our vacations, so Curtis plans to get a plaque made to mount on the base of this statue that signifies "Our first trip to Disney ~ The Frazier Four".

My plan is to blog our vacation from the beginning to cover all the details since this is a journal dedicated to my children.  Let me begin by saying when we travel we take full advantage of the moment and rarely sleep. 

We arrived in Orlando and were shuttled to our hotel.  We chose to stay at the All Star Movies Resort in the Toy Story section for 2 reasons, cost and our children love Buzz, Woody and Jesse.  It all seemed grand until we put the key in the room and opened up the door of our VALUE PROPERTY.  Needless to say it was very small and just was not going to work.   After we got further in the room, I decided to go down and see if we could be transferred to another property regardless of the cost. 

The second I walked out in the courtyard, which was Andy's room I felt horrible. I looked at the 3 story Buzz, Woody, Rexie, Bo Peep and everything that was in Andy's room and I said out loud, "I can't do this to my kids". I continued to walk to the front desk to see what the options might be and request bed rails, because there was no way I could let Gavin sleep in the crib they brought to us. The hotel manager was super nice and agreed to move all of our things the next morning to a room that had been renovated 3 weeks prior to our arrival. I wanted to move so bad, but I decided that it would have been so selfish of me to take my kids out of the Toy Story section. We stayed and I am so glad because we were only in our room to sleep about 7 hours every night.

Here is the view from where we stayed when we looked out by the elevator.  Now do you see why I could have stayed anywhere for a few nights for my kids to be able to see this every morning and every night?

We would leave every morning about 8:00 and not return until after midnight and a couple of nights we rolled in even later. We opened and close the parks everyday that we were there, woo hoo! Our kids would take a little cap nap in the double stroller for about 20 minutes when we were walking from one ride to the next, but besides that they were troopers.  They never complained about the lines, the rain, being tired or being hot and we were so PROUD of both of them.  They were perfect, enjoyed Disney so much and are eager to go back. 

R/C sat right outside of Andy's room and of course the kids had to touch and get in it every time we passed by on our way in or out.   You can see the entrance to Andy's room in the background, can you tell we are a Toy Story family? 

The weather in Orlando was hot and rainy with the temperatures rising to about 98 everyday.  We were so thankful for the rain that occurred daily because it kept things cooled down to about 85 and it made for great days.   We do not think we could have survived 16 hour days in the park had it been a consistent 98 degrees all day.  We were prepared with a stroller cover and ponchos so the rain did not slow us down at all, we just continued on with our plans and no rides were closed due to the weather.  Gavin would take his shoes off and run barefoot through the park, while Emma jumped in every puddle she could find.

We took full advantage of the Fast Pass system, Curtis was a genius and installed an app on his IPhone that told us the wait time in every line.  We researched the park before we traveled and had an itinerary for each park based on popularity/wait time.  This allowed us to cover all 4 parks and Downtown Disney, riding every ride we were eligible to ride, seeing shows and visiting with the characters.   We were able to go to Magic Kingdom one full day and every evening.   There were so many rides that we rode more than once because we loved them so much.  We took full advantage of the extra park hours and were able to walk right on so many rides every night after the parade and fireworks.  I do not think we waited in any line longer than 30 minutes to ride anything.  It paid to research the parks out and to go so prepared.

At the time we traveled Emma had just celebrated her 4th birthday and Gavin was 2 years and 3 months old.  They were able to do so much and were afraid of NOTHING.  The second night Gavin decided he was terrified of the fireworks, so I would go inside a restaurant with him until they were over. 

I can not wait to document the rest of our vacation and I am giddy now that I have started.  There is no doubt in our minds that we will return to Disney very soon.  We got a sneak peak of the new Fantasy Land that will be complete in 2012 and the new Beauty and the Beast Castle.  We are already making plans on where we want to stay and dreaming of what we will do when we go back.

When I look through the 2000 pictures of our vacation, I truly believe that we made "Magical Memories" that will live in our hearts forever.

1 comment:

Hollye said...

I haven't had a chance to read your blog in awhile. WE LOVE DISNEY! We took Kennedy there when she was about 4 1/2 years old and it was the most awesome experience ever! It was also my first time, so getting to experience all that with her for the first time was AMAZING. It is hands down the BEST vacation EVER!!! When people say negative things about vacations....I always just tell myself, "they are jealous!" We actually went to Disney twice in 9 months. The first time we went in October and the second time we went in June. Our second trip we stayed off site with Joann and her family. Her mom went with us, so we were able to skip most of the lines with her handicapped pass. We thought about going again this year, but have decided to wait until 2012 fall break to go again. My sister in law and I have decided that we are all going on a Disney cruise in 2014, when my niece Taylor graduates from high school. I cannot wait!!!