Day 3: Animal Kingdom

LOVED Animal Kingdom! I never considered it one of the main parks at Disney but we all loved it enough that it is heretofore considered so at our house.

After learning our lesson at Hollywood Studios, we went to the easiest area first at AK-DinoLand. The crew went on TriceraTop first, I stayed to take adorable pictures. Super easy ride, what you see is what you get.

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Next on to Finding Nemo-The Musical we lurved this, only thing that could’ve made it better was if Ellen Degeneres herself showed up to be Dori.

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The kiddos played a bit in The Boneyard but mostly so I could figure out what exactly we were going to do that day for sure.

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We had reservations at the Tusker House (in Africa, obviously) for dinner but I noticed the characters were there during lunch so we swung by to see if we could sneak in then.

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Donald Duck greeted us which excited Binyam for obvious reasons.

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It’s a buffet style meal and, even as vegetarians, was really really good. I had purposely reserved Tusker house because they specify African cuisine and there were certainly a lot of spices reminiscent of our time in Africa. Needless to say, we LOVED LOVED IT! If you’re going, definitely go for lunch-so much fun for the younger kids (Trysten’s reaction-really? I have to get in pictures with them?).

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On our way out of Africa there was some great music being played. Tomas was talked into coming up front to dance where he promptly shook his booty. Classic.

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One of the reasons I personally loved Animal Kingdom so much was because there was so much to see just walking around the park-not just at the attractions. There is a huge tree at the center of the park that looks incredible from any angle and there’s this human who moves so slowly-it’s incredible!

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We also went on the Kilimanjaro Safaris. We enjoyed it because of how close we were able to get to the animals (in the jeep).

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Rides/attractions we loved:

Primeval Whirl, Kali River Rapids (we went on this twice in a row! Caution: you get soaked), It’s Tough to be a Bug, Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.

*There weren’t actually any rides/attractions we didn’t like, though we left early to return to Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic so we didn’t hit everything AK had to offer.*

As mentioned, we ate at Tusker House, please do so as well!

Of course Animal Kingdom had a special place in our hearts because there was a small taste of Africa there. The kids loved playing on the drums, listening to the music and just overall being submerged in all of the “cultures”.

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Day 2: Cocoa Beach!

We rented a van for the week for loads of reasons but one of them was so that we could see Cocoa Beach on Saturday which is typically one of the busiest days at Disney World parks. Trysten and Dailah have both seen the ocean but they were 3 years and 3 months respectively so don’t remember any of it, the other 3 never got to experience an ocean at all.

Let me just say, I am so happy we did this! It was a great way to recoup from a late night’s traveling and at Hollywood Studios, plus it was so much fun teaching the kids to boogey board and body surf.

Because of ole’ bootfoot, Zach did a lot of the parenting the whole week. Him combined with my parents made the week super easy for me. Not quite sure there’s a way to fully explain how great of a dad Zach is, but I feel like this picture is pretty close.

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This one is pretty good too.

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Kids also have a way of getting Mimi Connie’s attention as well.

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Zach even carried me out to the ocean a few times so I could enjoy the sand and surf as well, and watch Dailah dance like nobody’s watchin’.

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Whether you go to the beach or not on your Disney vacation, make sure you take time off to recoup as a family. We also called an early night a few times to let the kids swim at the hotel and relax a bit. I think that’s one of the many reasons the week went so well!

Day 1: Hollywood Studios

Originally I had planned our week to get more and more exciting as the days went on (with Magic Kingdom and Harry Potter world being our last 2 parks). I hadn’t heard as much about Hollywood Studios so I thought it’d be a good place to start. Interestingly, it ended up being the kids’s favorite Disney park.

A few notes about Disney parks: we went at the perfect time of year so we honestly had no lines. The longest we waited in a Disney line was probably 15 minutes. We scheduled Fast Passes-more on those later as well-but didn’t end up using most of them just because the standard lines were so short.

First spot we went in HS was Animation Courtyard. My scooter broke down soon after entering the courtyard so Zach took the kids on Voyage of The Little Mermaid, which they enjoyed, while my parents and I tried to fix the scooter (didn’t work-had to get a new one later that day).

My kids were at perfect ages for this kind of trip, I kind of loved that they were past the age of wanting to meet every character and get their autographs. Character lines were the longest in the parks so we ended up just getting a picture the first day with two of my favorites.

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Next was the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Let me say now, we thought it was supposed to be a tame ride. It was a bit more than that, which was evidenced by Binyam’s facial expression in the photo they took during the ride. Hilarious. That said, the ride is fast, has loads of turns and is mostly completely dark. It definitely made all of the kids skeptical about the rest of the rides, assuming they were all equally terrifying. That said, it was thrilling and Tariku actually decided to go on it again.

Everyone went on the Tower of Terror-and loved it-except Dailah and me. She was beyond over the scary rides at that point so it was just easier to skip it altogether with her.

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We also went to The Magic of Disney Animation which was so-so.

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But everyone loved learning how to create their own animated animal-Winnie the Pooh for us.

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Other rides/events we loved:

Toy Story Midway Mania-this ended up being the favorite of all the kids, a ride we came back to time and again. (Even multiple days!)

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Muppet Vision 3D, Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage. And of course FANTASMIC! Which is a nightly show that is not to be missed!

Rides not worth the time, particularly if there’s a line:

The Great Movie Ride and The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.

Food:

We ate lunch once at Studio Catering (good!), Pizza Planet Arcade (ok) and Rosie’s All-American Cafe (great veggie burgers!).

We had dinner reservations that night at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, this was the best meal we had all week! Really, really amazing food! If you go to Hollywood Studios, get your reservations here (more on dinner reservations later).

Bean chose a cupcake as his dessert-which came in the form of spaghetti for frosting and a cherry meatball. So fun!

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I had a cappuchino with my dessert, Mickey Mouse ears? Fuggetaboutit.

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It also rained for a few hours that afternoon but my ‘rents just bought us all ponchos and we carried on as usual. Those ponchos came in handy the rest of the week as it sprinkled a few days and we were able to continue on our adventure no problem! So plan on bringing your own or buying some there if there’s a chance of rain, the rides stay open so there’s no need to get down.

Adventure Awaits!

As I mentioned yesterday, we just got back from a HUGE trip-I think I even threw out the word “epic”-on Thursday. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you heard all about it. But for the next few days I’m going to document our trip for those of you who might be going soon and for scrapbooking purposes. 🙂

My parents are amazing, that needs to be said. They told us they were taking us all to Disney World and Harry Potterland (aka Universal Studio’s Island of Adventure) months ago. The last few months have been spent planning which parks when (and how is bootfoot going to get around all week?!?!?) and getting excited.

Being parents to 5 young darlings we knew we couldn’t tell them too far in advance lest we field the question, “Are we going to Disney World today?!?!?” 40982304823098029385 times from just one child-cough, Binyam, cough-not to mention the other 4 who would also be asking more than we can handle. Our intentions were to tell them when my parents were around and approximately a few weeks ahead of time.

Then schedules got cray and soon we realized there would be no time we were all in the same room together until the day we were meant to board a plane and leave. Because we are Klipschs and we love nothing more than a good story, Zach and I came up with a plan to up the dramatic story telling.

So we sent our 5 on a scavenger hunt. Each kid would get a clue that they alone had to figure out, then all 5 would go to the next clue, etc.

First was Binyam.

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He proceeded to be a bit confused the rest of the time about whether or not to bring the horses inside the house or what exactly to do. Classic. Next, Dailah.

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And Tariku.

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Tomas

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Trysten

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Then all of them figured out the next one…

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When the kids got to where my parents were sitting, we handed this note to Trysten to be read aloud.

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and then this happened…

It was so. much. fun. There were tears and obvious joy. Bean had no idea what was actually going on, he just knew it was exciting and he had to embrace the moment.

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2 hours later we were in the van on the way to the airport. Apparently when you tell your kids they are going to Disney World, they will give you back rubs and head rubs. At least mine did for the 30 minute drive.

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The whole day was exactly like we pictured it to be. Including when we got on the airplane and Dailah befriended the woman sitting next to us. This woman, a 1st grade teacher in Florida, and Dailah chatted the whole flight until Dailah got a little sleepy. Dailah laid her head on my lap and the woman sweetly grabbed Dailah’s feet and put them on her lap.

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10pm our ragamuffin crew found ourselves at Port Orleans Riverside resort in Disney World. And the adventure began!